Latest Post

Kentucky on verge of lifting nuclear moratorium


Image result for kentucky nuclear waste site

James Bruggers , @jbruggers 10:23 a.m. ET March 8, 2017

Nuclear critic says no nuclear power plants will likely come to Kentucky any time soon because of their costs

A bill that would overturn a three-decade-old law that effectively bars construction of nuclear power plants in Kentucky is on the verge of passing the General Assembly and being sent to Gov. Matt Bevin for his signature.

Senate Bill 11 would get rid of a mandate that any nuclear power plants have access to a permanent disposal facility for their radioactive wastes, which can remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. They’d only have to have a plan to manage those wastes.

Already successfully through the Senate, Sen. Danny Carroll‘s bill passed a House committee on Tuesday and was sent to the House floor for a vote, where one of its long-time critics, Kentucky Resources Council director Tom FitzGerald, said he expects it will pass.

“We’ve had 15 years of arguing over this,” FitzGerald said Wednesday, observing that his organization withdrew its opposition this year as new wording was added to make sure all costs of nuclear energy would be weighed before allowing any plants to be constructed in Kentucky.

He said there was little chance of a nuclear plant being built in Kentucky anytime soon because they cannot compete economically with other forms of energy such as natural gas, scrubbed coal or renewables.

►MORE:  Bevin, 18 states, call for EPA to back off

Still, Carroll, a Paducah Republican, whose district includes a former nuclear fuel factory in Paducah, said Kentucky needs to be ready to diversify its energy portfolio.

In a news release, he said that U.S. energy demand is expected to increase. “That means the United States will need many new power plants of all types to meet the increased demand and replace older facilities that are retired. To ensure a diverse portfolio, many of these new power plants will have to be nuclear,” he said.

FitzGerarld said it’s more likely that the bill might allow the Paducah facility — which will be in a cleanup mode for many decades — to attract some additional research and development money to Kentucky.

Despite spending billions of dollars over two decades, the U.S. government failed to open a permanent disposal facility for high-level nuclear waste at its Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.

Reach reporter James Bruggers at 502-582-4645 or at jbruggers@courier-journal.com.

CONTINUE READING…

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 3-0)
Status: Engrossed on March 2 2017 – 50% progression
Action: 2017-03-07 – reported favorably, 1st reading, to Calendar
Text: Latest bill text (Draft #2) [PDF]

Summary

Amend KRS 278.600 to require that nuclear power facilities have a plan for the storage of nuclear waste rather than a means of permanent disposal and to add definitions of “storage,” “low-level nuclear waste,” and “mixed nuclear waste”; amend KRS 278.610 to allow certification if the facility and its plans for waste storage are approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; eliminate the requirement that the facility have a plan for disposal of high-level nuclear waste; eliminate the requirement that cost of waste disposal be known; eliminate the requirement that the facility have adequate capacity to contain waste; give the Public Service Commission authority to hire a consultant to perform duties relating to nuclear facility certification; prohibit construction of low-level nuclear waste disposal sites in Kentucky except as provided in KRS 211.852; direct the Energy and Environment Cabinet to review regulations required for permitting nuclear facilities and report to LRC; repeal KRS 278.605, relating to construction of nuclear power facilities.

CONTINUE TO SB11 …

HEALTH, Latest Post

In chaotic scene, Rand Paul demands to see the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill


By Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Updated 3:25 PM ET, Thu March 2, 2017

Rand Paul 3.2.17

Senator demands to see ‘secret’ Obamacare bill 01:59

Story highlights
  • Some House Republicans were being granted a chance to review an Obamacare repeal draft
  • GOP leadership has taken a new level of caution with their Obamacare legislation

(CNN)  Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul marched to the House side of the Capitol Thursday morning, knocked on a locked door and demanded to see a copy of the House’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which he believed was being kept under lock and key.

Aides in the room told the senator — before dozens of reporters in a crowded hallway — that there was no bill to see. In fact, it wasn’t the room where GOP members of the Energy and Commerce Committee were told to meet with staff to review the current draft of their bill at all. But that did little to dissuade Paul, openly critical to the House Republican leadership’s preferred path on the process, from making his underlying point.

“This should be an open and transparent process,” Paul said. “This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if this was a plot to invade another country, as if this were national security. That’s wrong.”

    Paul ventured to the House Thursday afternoon after reports surfaced that House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee were being granted an opportunity to review the current draft of the Obamacare repeal legislation and ask questions behind closed doors.

    Opposed to the House legislation’s principles, Paul said he wanted to see the bill himself even though he didn’t serve on the committee.

    “I’m not allowed to read the working product so I can comment on it?” he said.

    Outside the small House office, the chaotic scene continued with a handful of Democrats demanding they, too, see the legislation, which aides continued to say was not even in the room. Two Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, asked aides if the bill was ready, only to be rebuffed.

    “I want to see the bill. I want to read the bill,” New York Democrat Paul Tonko said, noting that as far as he knew, Republicans were still planning to move forward with a markup on the legislation next week.

    At one point, the GOP staff allowed Hoyer, Rep. Joe Kennedy and a dozen or so reporters into the room to inspect it themselves. It was, in fact, bill-less.

    Hoyer proceeded to hold an impromptu news conference near a bust of President Abraham Lincoln a few feet away from the misidentified room. He then held an imaginary conversation with the 16th president about what Hoyer said was the poor state of the Republican Party.

    Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, downplayed perceptions of secrecy in a statement Thursday.

    “Reports that the Energy and Commerce Committee is doing anything other than the regular process of keeping its members up to speed on latest developments in its jurisdictions are false. Simply put, Energy and Commerce majority members and staff are continuing to discuss and refine draft legislative language on issues under our committee’s jurisdiction.”

    Leadership has taken a new level of caution with Obamacare repeal and replace reconciliation drafts after a leaked version of the bill in progress was circulated to news outlets last week.

    House aides told CNN that the review process was simply part of regular procedure of giving their members an opportunity to review the current draft and ask committee staff questions. The committee — along with a second panel responsible for the repeal legislation — is tentatively shooting to consider their respective pieces of legislation as soon as next week.

    The leaked draft — which aides say was outdated — drew condemnations from conservatives who pledged to oppose any final bill and set off a new round of internal divisions that threatened to endanger the repeal process before it even gets off the ground.

    CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO…

    Latest Post, Marijuana-Cannabis-Hemp

    Sen. Morgan McGarvey Hosting Public Mtg RE: Medical Marijuana (KY) on February 18th in Louisville, Kentucky


    _JE_b292

     

     

    Senator Morgan McGarvey Hosting 2/18 Public Meeting

    Legalize Kentucky Supporters:

    Sen. McGarvey filed a bill to allow medical marijuana in last year’s Legislative session and is expected to do so again this year. We need to get a huge crowd to attend this Saturday to thank him for his past support, and show him there are still many supporters of this important issue!

    Here is the information: 

    Senator Morgan McGarvey

    Public Meeting

    10 AM

    Saturday, February 18

    Douglass Community Center

    2305 Douglass Blvd

    Latest Post, ShereeKrider

    Happy Birthday Daddy!


    In memoriam, for my Father…

    Mom Dad 1941

    Above:  Kenneth Eugene Hardesty and Marie Nelson Hardesty 1941

    Kenneth Eugene Hardesty was born February 10, 1917 in Irvington, Kentucky.

    He was enlisted October 10, 1941 out of Jefferson County, Kentucky and  Served in New Guinea, Southern Philippines (liberation); Luzon.

    He received an Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with (3) Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Ribbon, and American Theater Ribbon and Philippine Liberation, Victory Medal WWII.

    He served as a Private First Class for over four years until he was discharged at the end of the war.

    And then he came home and had me…In the baby boomer years!

    For this I thank him and my Mother who so tirelessly worked to take care of me.

    I will remember you and celebrate this day,

    and I hope You will too, gathered with friends and family who have long since left this Earth,

    For this is your 100th Birthday! 

    A day that comes only once, and would not come in a time that we could celebrate together. 

    But I will remember you forever!

    May God Bless You Both where ever you are – I know you are in Heaven!

    For all the love and hard work that you and Mom put into having and raising me,

    I remember your birthdays, each and every year, even though you are not here to celebrate them with.

    I will love you forever!

    SHk

    Abuse, Justice, Latest Post

    We, the people of America, demand reform of ; Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children


    Among Bevin’s campaign pledges was that he would reform the cabinet’s social services agency.

    By:  Robin Rider-Osborne·Sunday, January 31, 2016

    KENTUCKY REPRESENTATIVE EMAIL ADDRESSES AND ANNOUNCEMENT LETTER / ALL STATE PARTICIPATION. Copy and paste letter to email addresses listed below; Bulk email dump at bottom of page for one letter bulk sending.

    We, the people of America, demand reform of ; Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children & Family Law courtrooms. I request of your office the following;

    1. Implement removal of Abusers, not children from Family units.

    2. Remove Immunity for Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children workers.

    3. Restructure Family Law court into budget cutting mediation forums of two party negotiations.

    4. Redirect Family Law Criminal allegations into Criminal court.

    5. Restrict Judges and various interpretations of Family Law codes to abuse either party.

    6. End Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children abuse and Family Law abuse against the people of Kentucky. We demand an end to wasteful spending on agencies devastating families financially.

    7 Allow a Jury trial in Termination of Parental Rights Cases

    8. Amend or repeal that law that allows for children being removed due to disability and termination of rights without working towards reunification.

    9. Release records upon request without redaction and revamp the Ombudsman to process the complaints in a timely and proper manner.

    10. Revamp Foster Care Review boards as originally spelled out in CAPTA.

    I cite the cases of ;

    Pike Co. Circuit Judge Steve Combs DUI,

    Garrard Co. Judge Ronnie Lane Drug trafficking,

    Russell Co. Judge R. Maricle illegally distributing prescription drugs,

    Judge Charles Huffman Extortion,

    Russell Co. Judge Executive Kent Clark, Alcohol related charges,

    Judge Executive Joe Grieshop charged with third-degree burglary; theft of items valued at over $10,000; 10 counts of retaliating against participants in a legal process; and one count of official misconduct,

    Knox Co. Judge executive Raymond Smith(deceased)Attempted murder of Robin Smith, Murder of Mychael Smith and Micheal Smith,

    Warren Co. Judge Margaret Huddleston DUI,

    Marshall Co. Judge Executive Mike Miller, False entry/unauthorized act, .

    This partial list of neglect of office, unethical professional conduct and evidence of failure within the Judicial branch of Kentucky. We strongly oppose Judges overseeing Families in crisis in the Family law division.

    I cite the case of the failure of Kentucky Cabinet of Families and Children in protecting a nine year old, Amy from her adoptive siblings, known to have history in sexual abuse and undisclosed by the KCFC prior to the adoption. Problems were reported to indicate the adoptive parent, Kimberly Dye desire to ‘return’ the adopted girl shortly before her death This was an enormous failure of several to ignore all the warning signs of this broken adoptive home. While we acknowledge review and actions were taken as the result of the death of this girl, we feel more can be done to insure the safety of children seized and accountability by this agency.

    We know there is rampant corruption in the government offices of Child services and Family law. This is a national epidemic of criminal activity within the programs, courtrooms and agencies that are bankrupting the American Families. We demand reform and strict laws on government seats of power placed with the power of office to seize children, financially destroy individuals, and racketeering to conceal internal corruption within our state and federal offices.

    End legal abuse by Judges and Lawyers by instituting forums for successful dissolution/custody between spouses with guidelines without ruling Judges or lawyers. Enforce penalty of perjury, redirect criminal actions in Family Law to the Criminal courts. Remove immunity for Judges operating outside the rule of law. Reform Child services to an efficient team of child crime investigators and not our out dated model of Child protective services.

    We, the people, unite and demand reform of CPS agencies and Family Law practices. We, the people, take back our rights to protect our children and families.

    Robin Rider-Osborne can be contacted at:

    Citizens Investigating the “Runaway Cabinet of Kentucky” Task Force

    and by email to:  MercedesMcSweeney@gmail.com

    Thank You for your attention in this matter!

    EMAIL LINKS (EMAIL BULK DUMP AT BOTTOM OF PAGE / WINDOWS LINK EMAILS BELOW SITE LINKS. COPY /CUT PASTE LETTER BODY INTO EACH EMAIL LINK. NOT ALL REPRESENTATIVES PROVIDE EMAIL ADDRESSES.

    BULK EMAIL DUMP / ONE SENDER; ONE EMAIL

    Julian.Carroll@lrc.ky.gov;Bob.DeWeese@lrc.ky.gov;Ron.Crimm@lrc.ky.gov;Robert.Damron@lrc.ky.gov;Jim.DeCesare@lrc.ky.gov; Tom.McKee@lrc.ky.gov;MaryLou.Marzian@lrc.ky.gov;Jimmie.Lee@lrc.ky.gov; Jeff.Greer@lrc.ky.gov; Keith.Hall@lrc.ky.gov; Jim.Glenn@lrc.ky.gov; Jim.Gooch@lrc.ky.gov; Arnold.Simpson@lrc.ky.gov; Sal.Santoro@lrc.ky.gov; Tom.Riner@lrc.ky.gov; Marie.Rader@lrc.ky.gov; Rick.Rand@lrc.ky.gov; Tim.Moore@lrc.ky.gov; Richard.Heath@lrc.ky.gov; Richard.Henderson@lrc.ky.gov; Rick.Nelson@lrc.ky.gov; Charlie.Miller@lrc.ky.gov; Terry.Mills@lrc.ky.gov; Thomas.Kerr@lrc.ky.gov; kim.king@lrc.ky.gov; MarthaJane.King@lrc.ky.gov; Adam.Koenig@lrc.ky.gov; David.Osborne@lrc.ky.gov; RuthAnn.Palumbo@lrc.ky.gov; Joni.Jenkins@lrc.ky.gov; james.kay@lrc.ky.gov; sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov; Jeff.Hoover@lrc.ky.gov; Dennis.Horlander@lrc.ky.gov; Jody.Richards@lrc.ky.gov; jill.york@lrc.ky.gov; Jimmy.Higdon@lrc.ky.gov; sara.gregory@lrc.ky.gov; Johnny.Bell@lrc.ky.gov; Kevin.Bratcher@lrc.ky.gov; Regina.Bunch@lrc.ky.gov; Robin.Webb@lrc.ky.gov; Robert.Stivers@lrc.ky.gov; Kevin.Bratcher@lrc.ky.gov; Regina.Bunch@lrc.ky.gov; Tom.Burch@lrc.ky.gov; Dan.Seum@lrc.ky.gov; Joe.Fischer@lrc.ky.gov; Kelly.Flood@lrc.ky.gov; Morgan.McGarvey@lrc.ky.gov; Alice.Kerr@lrc.ky.gov; Bob.Leeper@lrc.ky.gov; Brent.Yonts@lrc.ky.gov; Susan.Westrom@lrc.ky.gov; David.Watkins@lrc.ky.gov; Jim.Stewart@lrc.ky.gov; Tommy.Thompson@lrc.ky.gov; John.Tilley@lrc.ky.gov; Tommy.Turner@lrc.ky.gov; Myron.Dossett@lrc.ky.gov; Leslie.Combs@lrc.ky.gov; Dwight.Butler@lrc.ky.gov; John.Carney@lrc.ky.gov; Larry.Clark@lrc.ky.gov; Leslie.Combs@lrc.ky.gov

    This issue was submitted by Robin Rider-Osborne, Lexington, KY.

    Abuse, Justice, Latest Post, ShereeKrider, SHEREEKRIDER

    Regarding kendra sams – "lodged" at laurel county corrections" in kentucky…


     

    Ms. Kendra Sams,  29  years old, was being lodged at the Laurel County Corrections.

    According to Facebook posts she suffered a seizure on July 12th which caused her to fall from the top bunk in her cell and land on the floor.  She was not given medical attention at that time.

    At some point she was transferred to Casey County Corrections where her illness became acute.  Her Mother was apparently contacted and she was then transported to the Hospital.

    Facebook Timeline Posts:

    Roger Hoskins

    August 18 at 12:18pm · Garrard, KY ·

    I’m waking up to some heart breaking news out of the family and asking for all who can please pray

    Roger Hoskins

    August 18 at 3:10pm · Edited ·

    Please be praying for Kendra Sams she’s going into surgery right now … This young lady didn’t deserve any of this and I’m confident that the story will be told soon…. Please now all the family ask is to be praying

    Roger Hoskins added 2 new photos.

    August 18 at 7:15pm · Garrard, KY ·

    These picture are of Kendra Sams and this is not even the Justice this young lady has suffered .. She’s has much more going I inside her… And is in critical condition at UK hospital … She’s in bad shape according to family who is with her when I am updated on her condition I will pass it along .. The family ask for prayers and this should have never ever happen to anyone else

    Roger Hoskins

    August 18 at 7:49pm · Garrard, KY ·

    Update on Kendra they have 3 drain tubes in her and not sure one will work right but already pulled 2 ounces of infection out of her back but keeping her sedated until tomorrow to do more test … No one is allowed to see her till tomorrow so please keep praying

    Roger Hoskins

    Yesterday at 3:36am · Garrard, KY ·

    They have started a feeding tube on Kendra and a temp of 102 … Doctors said that the next 72 hour will be very critical… So keep prayers coming and I have had a lot ask what happened… Right now the families focus is on Kendra … All they need is prayers but I promise this story will be told .. Thank for all the praying that’s going on and as always it’s in Gods hands ..

    Roger Hoskins

    Yesterday at 1:37pm · Garrard, KY ·

    The story is coming out …. Please pray for Kendra the doctors are hoping she last throughout the day

    Roger Hoskins added 4 new photos.

    Yesterday at 3:19pm · Edited ·

    This all started at Lcdc and she was sent to Casey county jail with the out come being her fighting for her life …. On July 12th she had a seizure a few weeks later she was sent to Casey county detention center will little or no medicinal help … Her mother was called to come get her and this is now her daughter returned home to her …. Don’t know if she will see tomorrow… Please pray….

    Roger Hoskins

    17 hrs · Edited ·

    So thankful for Facebook this night as my post for Kendra has brought some light on all this but most of all I wanna thank the people who are brave and step up in behalf of Kendra … That is why Facebook is a valuable tool … As of 2 am there is no changes in her … I wanna thank each person who has shared this and by all means please continue to do so … This family deserves answers ! This could be your family member……………I will not disclose their name but here is a tid bit of information ……………..

    My sister was in the cell with this girl in Casey co jail! She needed medical attention from day 1 this could be anyone’s family member please share this lets raise awareness

    Michelle Jackson

    11 hrs ·

    Update on Kendra!!!!!!
    She is still in critical condition they are having trouble keeping her BP up still and now they’re having to give her blood (1pint) so far… Please keep prayers coming.. TIA

    — with Roger Hoskins and 8 others at UK ICU.

    Michelle Jackson

    3 hrs ·

    Look what the Lord has done…. GLORY GLORY GLORY I PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME THANK YOU SWEET JESUS!!!! SHE MOVED HER MOUTH AND TOLD HER MOMMY SHE LOVED HER!!!!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!!!!! KING JESUS I KNOW YOU HEAR ME WHEN I PRAY

    — with Roger Hoskins and 9 others at UK ICU.

    Michelle Jackson's photo.

    Roger Hoskins

    2 hrs ·

    Please keep sharing my post maybe someone seen something and will step forward for Kendra Sams … This needs media attention to get to the bottom of this

    Roger Hoskins

    6 hrs · Edited ·

    The family knows she is not perfect but to see this after being in 2 jails and her mother was called to come get her only to go into uk hospital is sad this is Kendra Sams if anyone was in her cell with her in laurel or Casey county please get ahold of this family … We are looking for answers to what happened .. This is truly sad … We have tried to contact all media but no help as yet so family has no choice but turn to social media .. Any information is appreciated …please share

    ***

    It is currently 8/20/15 at 10:30pm and I am awaiting a call from Roger Hoskins who is willing to fill in the gaps in this atrocity which has happened under the watch of  “Kentucky Corrections “.

    We can only hope and pray that Kendra Sams receives the justice that the State of Kentucky owes her because of this horrific ordeal.  She is not out of ICU yet.   She is currently still fighting for her life.

    It never should have happened. 

    ANYONE who is incarcerated is entitled to receive healthcare under the Justice Department.

     

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=401505606710487&set=pcb.401506100043771&type=1&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/roger.hoskins2

    Fracking, Latest Post

    STOP the F/G Fracking in Kentucky! Send the message now!


     

    Governor Beshear, the General Assembly and the Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) are seeking comments on how the Commonwealth should move forward with regulating the oil and gas industry — including fracking. Around the country, fracking has been known to create toxic air pollution, contaminate drinking water and lead to health problems in communities near fracking sites.

     

    ¹ Tell Governor Beshear’s administration that regulations won’t protect the people of Kentucky from the consequences of fracking.

     

    Fracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, is the destructive process of extracting oil and gas from deep underground by injecting millions of gallons of fracking fluids — a mixture of chemicals, water and sand — into a well at high pressure to crack open underground rock formations and release oil and gas.

    Since the early 2000s, fracking has been growing rapidly across the country, producing massive volumes of toxic waste, causing accidents, leaks and spills that threaten drinking water, and releasing hazardous air pollution. It has also created explosion risks in homes, marred landscapes and fragmented forests, damaged roads with heavy truck traffic, and lowered property values. Take a stand against fracking in Kentucky.
    Over the last six months, New York and Maryland both rejected moving forward with fracking after damning health reports showed that the health risks posed by fracking were too high. If it’s not safe in those states, then it’s not safe here, either.

    Send a message to your lawmakers: Kentuckians don’t want to be part of an uncontrolled public health experiment.

    Fracking isn’t safe for our communities, and it only prolongs our destructive reliance on fossil fuels. We can meet our energy needs with clean, renewable resources. Instead of spending time trying to regulate a polluting industry, the Governor, the General Assembly and the EEC should put their efforts into energy solutions that don’t poison human health, damage local economies or trash the environment.

     

    Speak out and submit your comment against fracking today.

     

    Thanks for taking action,

    Renée Maas
    Senior Southern Region Organizer
    Food & Water Watch
    rmaas(at)fwwatch(dot)org


    1. Toward an understanding of the environmental and public health impacts of shale gas development: an analysis of the peer reviewed scientific literature, 2009-2014, PSE Health Energy, December 10, 2014.

    Abuse, Latest Post

    Growing Number Of Kentucky Children Being Removed From Homes


    Image result for heroin abuse

     

    Posted: Wed 11:10 AM, Jun 17, 2015

     

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The number of Kentucky children who have been removed from homes because of abuse or neglect has reached nearly unprecedented levels.

    The Courier-Journal reports that there are currently 8,208 children who have been removed from their homes and placed in foster or residential care. Five years ago, that number was about 7,000.

    Teresa James, commissioner of the agency that oversees child protection in Kentucky, says that statistic is close to an all-time high.

    Jefferson County Family Court Chief Judge Paula Sherlock says much of the blame for the trend lies with the public’s growing use of heroin.

    Kentucky lawmakers this year passed a broad bill aimed at combating addiction and getting more people into drug treatment.

    James says the state uses about 3,500 foster homes, and is seeking more.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Farming, Latest Post, Marijuana-Cannabis-Hemp

    Local farmer leading the way in growing industrial hemp


    By Sheldon Compton scompton@civitasmedia.com

    HIPPO – Hippo resident Todd Howard had never been employed in his adult life when he was laid off as an engineer for the coal industry in 2010. He had also never farmed a day in his life. All that was about to change.

    After Howard lost his job as an engineer, the Hippo resident said a key aspect of his personality was revealed in the best way possible.

    “They had to make the decision to lay folks off, and I’ve just never been one to sit around and do nothing,” he said.

    Howard lost his job in December and by Feb. 10 he had constructed a green house. Construction on that green house led to a crop of 10,000 tomato plants the first year. By the third year, Howard was overseeing the Floyd County Farmer’s Market and closing in on $50,000 in gross sales. But the time required with the market became difficult to manage.

    “The farmer’s market was taking up a lot of my time and last year we decided to to try a sixteen-week program with Community Supported Agriculture,” Howard said.

    This move launched Howard’s work as a full-time farmer, and now he is at the forefront of the movement to grow hemp in Kentucky in an effort to see Eastern Kentucky’s economy improved through ready resources not always popular throughout the state and nation.

    Shortly after his efforts with the farmer’s market got underway, Howard soon became a board member for a statewide community farm alliance, testifying before senate and house agriculture committees, supporting the hemp bill introduced roughly three years ago.

    “After getting to know some of the folks who helped get this legislation passed, I made a few acquaintances in that regard,” he said. “Mike Lewis and I got close.”

    Lewis, who is a Kentucky farmer and COO with the organization Freedom Seed and Feed, a company with offices in Lexington, reached out to Howard, along with University of Pikeville’s Eric Mathis, visiting lecturer of applied sustainability at UPike.

    The organization is a subsidiary of Mountain High Acquisitions Corporation, a Colorado-based company who advocate the legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp.

    “He (Mathis) got in touch with me and asked if I’d be interested in growing some hemp, saying Mike had recommended me,” Howard said. “I’m a person notorious for diving in head-first without realizing sometimes I’m diving into the kiddie pool, but in we got a site located, got seed in the ground. So we have crop in the ground. It’s sprouted, it’s coming up, and it’s growing.”

    The site is located along what was once strip mine land at the Pikville-Pike County Regional Airport, a section of land difficult to farm, to say the least, according to Howard.

    “Growing on these mine sites is like a crap shoot,” he added. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. To date, no one I know has had any success growing at these places. The land is compacted soil and has huge rocks. It’s nothing like a standard agricultural piece of land you’d normally work with.”

    Howard said the general goal is to create smaller cooperative models for growing industrial hemp on a larger scale.

    “Obviously Eastern Kentucky has a brand right now and has some potential for this,” Howard said. “It’s sort of the elephant in the room to a player on a larger scale with all of this acreage. Let’s find a use for it.”

    Sheldon Compton is a staff writer for the Floyd County Times. He can be reached at 886-8506.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Justice, Latest Post

    Widow sues attorney after husband commits suicide


     

    By Adam Beam | AP June 10

    PRESTONSBURG, Ky. — The Social Security Administration told Leroy Burchett and some 900 others like him in Kentucky and West Virginia last month that their disability benefits were being cut off because they were tied to an attorney suspected of fraud.

    His wife said he then stopped taking his antidepressants and shot and killed himself less than two weeks later, on June 1. Now she’s suing that attorney who represented him, Eric Conn, blaming Conn for her husband’s death.

    “If he hadn’t got that letter and hadn’t been losing his medical insurance this never would have happened,” Burchett’s widow, Emma, told The Associated Press, weeping as she recounted her husband’s final days. “He just wasn’t that kind of person. I mean, heck yeah we had problems, everybody has problems. But not like that.”

    The wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday targets Conn, who represented all 900 of those people whose benefits were temporarily cut off. The agency restored those benefits June 4, at least until the recipients had a chance to plead their case in court. He has been investigated on accusations of fraud before, though he has never been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

    Conn bills himself as “Mr. Social Security” and estimates he handles roughly 60 percent of disability claims in this part of Appalachia where many depend on government benefits because of the coal industry’s decline and little else in the way of job opportunities. The parking lot of Conn’s office displays small-scale replicas of the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty, and billboards urge potential clients to call 232-HURT.

    He is the target of a whistle-blower lawsuit in federal court brought by two former Social Security Administration employees. The federal government declined to prosecute Conn in that case, according to his attorney, Kent Wicker. But the letters sent by the Social Security Administration told Burchett and others their benefits were suspended because “there is reason to believe fraud or similar fault” was involved with evidence submitted by Conn and his office.

    Conn’s attorneys instead blamed the Social Security Administration for suspending the benefits without a hearing. And they blamed the publicity surrounding the suspension for creating a panic.

    “Let me emphasize once again how sorry Mr. Conn is … for the people who have been victimized. But they were victimized by the Social Security Administration and not by Eric Conn,” said Joseph Lambert, one of Conn’s attorneys and a former chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court. “One wonders if the publicity and the somewhat overwrought rhetoric may have had something to do with Mr. Burchett’s decision.”

    Mark Hinkle, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, declined to comment about the lawsuit but said “the agency is saddened by Mr. Burchett’s death and his family remains in our thoughts.”

    More than 8 percent of residents in Kentucky and West Virginia draw disability checks, among the highest rates in the nation. More than a quarter — 56,000 — of the nearly 194,000 people in Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District are considered disabled workers, according to the Social Security Administration. In Floyd County alone, more than 11 percent of the population receives disability benefits.

    Leroy Burchett, was a furniture delivery truck driver when he met Emma, a part-time clerk at a Double Quick convenience store. He wooed her without saying a word, simply stopping in the store frequently and putting a pack of gum on the counter.

    They were married for 14 years and had two children together. Emma Burchett, 45, said her 41-year-old husband had worked manual labor since he was old enough to push a lawn mower. He was plagued by chronic pain, culminating in several surgeries to have metal plates installed in his neck and back. He was granted disability about six years ago with Conn’s help.

    “It was our main source of income,” Emma Burchett said.

    Emma Burchett said she stopped working after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and black lung disease, an ailment caused by exposure to coal dust that mostly affects coal miners. She has never worked in a coal mine but has lived near one for years.

    When the letter from the Social Security Administration arrived, Emma Burchett said she panicked, but her husband was even worse off. Afraid that he was losing access to his medication, including two antidepressants, he quit taking them.

    “If he was even late taking it, he would get confused in his head,” she said.

    She urged him to keep taking them, telling him she would lower his dosage to help his supply last longer until they could get everything straightened out.

    But on June 1, Emma Burchett said her husband told her he “couldn’t take it anymore” before shooting himself. The next day, she discovered he hadn’t been taking his medication. The pill bottles were still full.

    ___

    Correspondent Claire Galofaro contributed to this report from Richmond, Ky.

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