SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

Calloway County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded yesterday to a report of a two vehicle injury collision. 72-year old Karen Paul of Murray was reportedly eastbound on Highway 94 approaching Clayton Drive when, for an unknown reason, she crossed into the westbound lane. 78-year old Clara Thomas of Cadiz was westbound on Highway 94 at the time of the collision. Paul and Thomas were both entrapped in their vehicles and were extricated by Calloway County Fire-Rescue and Murray-Calloway County Ambulance Service. Both were transported to Murray-Calloway County Hospital and later airlifted to trauma centers for treatment of injuries.

At 2:40 pm yesterday, Calloway County Sheriff’s Department Deputies responded to a report of a single vehicle injury collision involving an all-terrain vehicle. A female juvenile from Murray was reportedly operating the ATV on Independence Road at a high rate of speed when she lost control. The ATV left the roadway and struck a tree. There was also a female juvenile passenger on the ATV at the time of the collision. Neither the driver nor the passenger was wearing a helmet. Both were transported by ambulance to Murray-Calloway County Hospital for treatment of injuries.

Murray State University has revised the 2021 spring semester calendar as part of a proactive approach to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the Racer community. Classes will now begin January 19, moved back from the previously planned January 11 start date. February 24 and March 30 have been designated as non-instructional study days. Classes will not be taught but campus offices will be open. Spring break was set for March 15-19, but has been cancelled. May 4 marks the end of classes with final exams scheduled for May 5-7. Commencement will still take place May 8.

The Calloway County Health Department yesterday received notification of 2 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of confirmed cases for Calloway County now stands at 537, with 481 cases recovered, 45 are isolated at home, and 2 are hospitalized. There have been 9 deaths in the county. Murray Calloway County Hospital’s latest COVID-19 positivity rate is 6.38% as of Monday, which is up from the last reported rate of 3.75%. The Marshall County Health Department reported 5 new cases and the county’s 3rd COVID-19 related death. The Purchase District Health Department reported 7 new cases in McCracken County, 4 in Ballard County, 3 each in Carlisle County and Fulton County, and 1 in Hickman County.

The COVID-19 school report shows Murray State with 1 new staff case and 2 new student cases. The total number of student cases stands at a revised total of 89, with 78 recovered and 11 active. There have been 6 staff cases, with one active. The Calloway County School District reported no new student or staff cases, leaving 11 student and 4 staff cases, with 5 total cases active. The Murray Independent School District also reported no new cases, leaving the district with 6 total student cases, 3 which are active. The District has reported 1 staff case which has recovered.

At Tuesday’s statewide COVID-19 update, Governor Andy Beshear reported 824 new cases and 7 deaths, raising the total to 1,119 Kentuckians lost to the virus. The deaths reported Tuesday included two men from McCracken County ages 79 and 90. As of Tuesday, there has been over 1,142,000 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky with a positivity rate of 4.52%, which is higher than last Tuesday’s rate of 3.97%. There are 511 Kentuckians hospitalized which is 22 less than last Tuesday, including 133 in ICU, which is 8 more than one week ago. At least 11,361 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

Murray-Calloway County Hospital has announced the retirement of two long time physicians. Dr. Richard Crouch works in Family Medicine at Murray Medical Associates and Dr. Ray Charette is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Murray Orthopaedics. Dr. Charette has served the community for over 40 years. He is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and a fellow in Total Joint Replacement and a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Dr. Crouch has cared for the families of the community for over 42 years. He will continue serving on the Murray Independent School District Board of Education and during retirement plans on taking some classes at Murray State University. A retirement celebration for the doctors will take place at a date to be announced.

A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans a traffic shift tomorrow along the U.S. 68 work zone in central Trigg County. Weather permitting, one lane of eastbound traffic will be established along the new eastbound lanes from the U.S. 68 Lake Barkley Bridge at Canton extending eastward to the KY 164 intersection. This one-lane traffic arrangement westbound will facilitate paving of the final driving surface along the westbound lanes, as well as final paving of side road connections and the multi-use trail. The contractor hopes to complete the final driving surface along U.S. 68 between Averitt Lumber Road and the Lake Barkley Bridge around October 15.

The Graves County Sheriff’s Department reported that a man identified as 29-year-old William Cody Rodgers forcibly pushed his way past the deputy yesterday at the entrance to the courthouse and began running down a hallway into the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office while screaming. Office personnel hid while deputies attempted to gain control of Rodgers who reportedly kicked a hole in the wall as they were trying to restrain him. Two deputies received minor injuries. Graves County Sheriff Jon Hayden said Rodgers appeared to be under the influence of drugs and a taser was ineffective. Once Rodgers was at the Graves County Jail he reportedly began fighting with deputies and jailers, causing minor injuries to a jailer. During a search at the jail, deputies found three bags containing methamphetamine. Rodgers is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, assault, resisting arrest, public intoxication, and promoting contraband.

FRANKFORT—Kentucky has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an additional three weeks of Lost Wages Assistance payments. Eligible Kentuckians will receive $400 for the weeks of August 22 and 29, and September 5 for each week a claimant meets the criteria. To be eligible, you must qualify for a weekly benefit of at least $100 per week in unemployment compensation for each week covered by FEMA’s LWA, and you must self-certify that your employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Payments will be automatically processed for claimants who meet the weekly benefit criteria and have already provided a self-certification. Claimants meeting the weekly benefit requirement who have not yet self-certified will be given an opportunity to provide the required self-certification, and those claimants will receive the benefit so long as FEMA funding remains.

LOUISVILLE—An officer involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor is showing support for the members of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Sergeant Joe Mattingly blasted leaders he called “pencil pushers” and said the purpose of his note was to show support for his colleagues as they face a week that may end in turmoil. Mattingly was shot during the no-knock raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment in March that ended with her being shot to death. He has since recovered and says the officers involved in the raid did the “legal, moral, and ethical thing” that night.

LEXINGTON—A Lexington pastor is calling for peace as the announcement of grand jury results in the Breonna Taylor approaches. Reverend David Peoples says the preparations being made by city leaders shows that they “anticipate that injustice will be served again.” He and other faith leaders called for an end to no-knock warrants this summer after Taylor was shot to death during such a raid in March. Peoples says regardless of whether charges are pressed against the officers involved, he doesn’t want to see unrest, but he and other Black faith leaders are still calling for racial justice and accountability.

HOPKINS COUNTY—A Hopkins County man is alive after falling from a deer stand. Rick Plunkett says a call to police from his employer alerted authorities that he was unusually out of contact. Emergency crews searched a wooded area outside of Earlington based on a cell phone ping and found Plunkett several hours after he had fallen. He was flown to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

FRANKFORT—Governor Andy Beshear says he has not authorized activation of the Kentucky National Guard ahead of an announcement in the Breonna Taylor case. Governor Beshear said yesterday that it’s reasonable to believe the announcement about possible charges against the officers involved in the deadly drug raid is coming soon after Louisville declared a state of emergency. However, Beshear said he can’t comment on when a decision will be announced by Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

FRANKFORT—Governor Andy Beshear says the decision in the Breonna Taylor case will have an impact beyond Louisville. Yesterday, Governor Beshear said there’s a great amount of worldwide attention being focused on Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s impending announcement. Cameron has not given a timeline for when an announcement will be made about the probe of the deadly drug raid on Taylor’s home. However, it’s expected to be made this week after the city declared a state of emergency.

LEXINGTON—UK and the University of Tennessee are working together on a study. The schools are studying their students to determine how long a close contact should remain in self-isolation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The study was announced yesterday. It’s optional for close contacts on both campuses.

TENNESSEE—The Tennessee Department of Health reported 739 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the total since the outbreak began to over 185-thousand. Nearly 30 additional COVID-19-related deaths were also reported. There have been over 22-hundred deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Tennessee since the outbreak began.

TENNESSEE—It’s not yet known if the Governor will let his executive order on masks expire. Governor Bill Lee previously granted Tennessee’s counties the ability to issue mask mandates. That executive order is set to expire a week from today.

TENNESSEE—A Republican state legislator is calling on fellow lawmakers to issue a vote of no confidence against the Tennessee Education Commissioner. Rep Bruce Griffey of Paris criticized Penny Schwinn ahead of the Tennessee House Education Committee’s summer study yesterday. Griffey called Schwinn’s handling of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak “flawed” and said she should be replaced “immediately.” He said if no action is taken against her this week he’ll introduce a resolution when the next legislative session starts.

TENNESSEE—Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn is responding to criticism from legislators. During questioning by the House Education Committee yesterday, Schwinn said she appreciates the feedback and the ongoing conversations they’re having. She was especially criticized for spending a million dollars on a failed rollout of a child well check program over the summer. Governor Bill Lee’s office says Schwinn is leading the state’s public schools through the most difficult school year in history due to the coronavirus outbreak.

TENNESSEE—State officials are asking Tennesseans to follow guidelines when stocking up on firewood this fall. They say firewood shouldn’t be moved across county lines. The Tennessee Division of Forestry says firewood has funguses and insects that live under the bark. When firewood is taken from one area to another, those pests are transferred to the new area.