August 31, 2015

Murray State University has again been recognized as giving students more bang for their buck. For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly’s “The Other College Guide: A Road Map to the Right School for You” has Murray State highlighted as a best value for students seeking a college degree. MSU was the top ranked public university in Kentucky in the Southern Schools category of “Best Bang for the Buck.” Schools were sorted into four categories — national universities, liberal arts colleges, master’s universities (where Murray State appears) and baccalaureate colleges. “Best Bang” schools were ranked by region. The southern region had 214 schools ranked in the “Best Bang” category, with Murray State coming in at #44.

Unemployment rates fell in 115 Kentucky counties between July 2014 and July 2015, but rose in five counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. The Purchase Area jobless rate was 5.8% with Calloway County’s 4.9% jobless rate the lowest and Fulton County’s 8% rate the highest. Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 4 percent, while Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.8 percent. Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working

An expansion project for the parking area at Wildcat Creek Boat Ramp on Kentucky Lake is currently underway. Due to the ongoing construction, the ramp will close intermittently over the next four to six weeks. While the project is currently scheduled for completion by October 9, that date is subject to change depending on progress and the weather. The expansion is expected to increase the number of spaces for vehicles with trailers from 35 to 70. An additional eight spaces are included in the project to provide parking for those anglers wishing to use the facility’s fishing pier. The ramp is located in Calloway County, on the west side of the lake in the Blood River arm. Locals may also know the site as Thoroughbred Ramp. Boaters have two other nearby public ramps to use while construction is underway. These include Pacer Point, located at the end of Watersport Road in Calloway County, and the ramp at Kenlake State Park.

Kentucky State Police responded to a two vehicle collision Sunday afternoon at the intersection of US 45 North and State Route 1241 in McCracken county. According to the accident report, 69-year old Ronald Peterson of Ledbetter was traveling west on State Route 1241 and failed to yield the right of way at the intersection with US 45 North. 33-year old Victor Ramirez Wenatchee, West Virginia was traveling south on US 45 North and his vehicle struck the passenger side of Petersons vehicle forcing both the vehicles approximately sixty five feet across the intersection. Both vehicles came to final rest against the guardrail of the south traffic lane of US 45 North. Peterson was pronounced dead at the scene by the McCracken County Deputy Coroner while Ramirez and five passengers were transported to Lourdes Hospital ER for treatment of non-life threatening injures.

Police are searching for a Paducah man who’s considered armed and dangerous. No one was hurt on Saturday when gunshots were fired on Highland Church Road. Two children told McCracken County deputies that 40-year-old Jeffrey Collier was demanding to know the whereabouts of his estranged girlfriend and allegedly threatened to shoot them if they were hiding her. Collier has a long record, including multiple convictions for marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, terroristic threatening and contempt of court.

WAVE, a Murray State University student club, will once again support Living Waters for the World, an organization that implements and maintains water purification systems in countries that have unclean water. All MSU students, faculty and staff are invited to the first meeting on Wednesday at 4:30 pm in room 107 of Carr Health Building. Last year WAVE generated $1,000 for water purification. The student group will be making plans to host a “Splash Down with Wave,” a water balloon contest resulting in a dip in the Carr Health pool fully clothed. Every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease contracted from drinking contaminated water. To help eradicate that statistic, Living Waters has implemented and maintained over 600 purification systems in 25 countries

Dr. H.S. Jackson retired from active practice last week with Urology Associates after 44 years of providing healthcare to the community. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Memphis, Dr. Jackson completed an internship in Tulsa, Oklahoma and first started a practice in July of 1971. He was in the navy from 1969-1971 until he moved to Murray and began practice at that time. Dr. Jackson called Moving to Murray was one of the best decisions he ever made. Dr. Jackson said the biggest change he’s seen at MCCH over the years was the completion and building of the South Tower in 2010. He also believes that for a town the size of Murray, the city has some of the best doctors he’s ever seen.

The Murray-Calloway Endowment for Healthcare was recently presented with a $5,000 donation from Dr. Dick Weaver in memory of his wife, Dr. Jan Weaver. Jan was the first female dean for the College of Education at Murray State University, and a resident of Spring Creek Healthcare who suffered with dementia and passed away in 2009. Dr. Weaver’s donation will be used to support the Dr. Jan Weaver Music and Memory program at Spring Creek Health Care. This program supports the training of five employees who have recently completed their Music & Memory Training Certification allowing them to work with dementia and Alzheimer patients by providing high quality, person-centered care through digital music technology. These employees will identify those residents who could benefit from the program and work with them to provide IPods with personalized playlists tailored for each one. Spring Creek Health Care will be one of seven facilities in Kentucky to be Music & Memory certified.

Photo L to R: Melissa Lewis, LSW, JoAnna Thomas, Activities Director, Keith Travis, VP of Development, Dr. Dick Weaver, Whitney Villa, Activity Assistant, Erin Delancey, SLP, and Missy Liles, Activity Assistant. (Photo by Melony Morgan (MCCH)

Photo L to R: Melissa Lewis, LSW, JoAnna Thomas, Activities Director, Keith Travis, VP of Development, Dr. Dick Weaver, Whitney Villa, Activity Assistant, Erin Delancey, SLP, and Missy Liles, Activity Assistant. (Photo by Melony Morgan (MCCH)

Murray State University’s Program of Distinction in Telecommunications Systems Management has officially become a Cisco Networking Academy. The Cisco Networking Academy program offers students skills to access career opportunities in the rapidly growing IT market with its valuable foundational technical training. The TSM program will incorporate four Cisco courses as part of existing curriculum. An added benefit is the access to a network simulation software that teaches students how to design and configure both small and extensive computer networks that carry data and voice traffic with security and redundancy features over wired and wireless networks.

FRANKFORT—Representative Brad Montell of Shelbyville announced Friday that he will sponsor legislation in the 2016 Regular Session to stop the sweeping of excess funds from the Public Employees’ Health Insurance Trust Fund into the General Fund. Montell believes the funds should instead be used to address the unfunded liability within the Commonwealth’s pension systems. He called it an insult when any money that is put into an account for the benefit of state employees is instead swept into the General Fund when there is a surplus. If the bill is successfu, 75 percent of excess dollars generated within the health insurance trust fund would be directed in statue to employee pension systems.

LOUISVILLE—The 2015 Kentucky State Fair is in the books. The fair wrapped up yesterday at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Good weather is expected to translate into an increase in attendance from last year. Officials with the Kentucky State Fair Board say total attendance may surpass 600-thousand people. Last year’s attendance was about 515-thousand people. The official attendance numbers are expected to be released tomorrow or Wednesday.

MCCLEAN COUNTY—The McLean County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the name of a nine-year-old drowning victim. Nikolas Coomes was swimming in the Green River in Rumsey late Saturday afternoon when he disappeared. Rescue crews pulled the boy from the water, and he was pronounced dead at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.

BARREN COUNTY—It’s not been a fun summer for amusement park owner Will Russell. Cave City police arrested the 39-year-old owner of Funtown Mountain on Saturday on charges including DUI and possession of marijuana, and he was booked into the Barren County jail. Russell was arrested last month at a Louisville bowling alley on charges of marijuana possession and resisting arrest.

HARLAN COUNTY—Authorities are searching for an inmate who walked away from his work detail in Harlan County. The “Harlan Daily Enterprise” is reporting that police are looking for 26-year-old James Lewis. Lewis was last seen cutting hillsides in downtown Harlan on Friday afternoon. He’s described as five-feet-ten, 165 pounds, with dark brown hair and green eyes. He has the word Kentucky tattooed across his neck.

POWELL COUNTY—A teen had to be airlifted for treatment after falling off of a cliff in Powell County. WKYT-TV is reporting that authorities got the call around 1:30 yesterday morning that someone had fallen about 20 to 25 feet at Pilot Knob. Several agencies assisted in the rescue. The teen reportedly suffered several injuries including head trauma. He was taken to UK Hospital for treatment.

GARRARD COUNTY—Police in Garrard County are investigating a deadly motorcycle crash. The Garrard County Sheriff’s Office says it happened around 4:30 on Saturday afternoon. Terry Carmack, of Stanford, was driving her motorcycle when a bird flew into her path. She lost control of the motorcycle and went over a 60-foot embankment. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

DANVILLE—Police in Danville are searching for an armed robbery suspect. Police say the attempted robbery happened at the Comfort Suites on Ben Ali Drive early yesterday morning. The male suspect displayed a handgun but ran from the hotel before getting any money. Some witnesses saw the man flee the scene. No one was injured.

MT. STERLING— A man wanted for a gun store robbery in Mount Sterling is under arrest in West Virginia. Authorities had been looking for Christopher Maness. Maness was caught on surveillance video using a stolen car to smash a dumpster through the window of Walters Arms last week. He stole two guns from the shop and caused several-thousand dollars in damage. He was arrested on Friday night and is being extradited back to Kentucky.

LEXINGTON—Lexington police arrest a suspect in a hit-and-run death. Jess Greathouse is charged with second-degree manslaughter, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Police say Greathouse struck and killed a bicyclist, 59-year-old Martiano Pozos, on Newtown Pike on Friday afternoon. Witnesses gave officers a description of the driver and the license plate number.

LEXINGTON—Police are searching for a woman who drove through a wall of a Lexington Rite Aid. She also hit a light pole and a pedestrian, who was not seriously hurt. She then took off running early this morning at West Loudon Avenue near North Broadway. The car penetrated the drug store up to its windshield.

LOUISVILLE—Police are investigating a single-vehicle crash that killed one person. Police say the accident happened on I-65 North near Fern Valley Road around 1:55 yesterday afternoon. They say the driver lost control of his vehicle and hit a support pillar underneath an overpass. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

LOUISVILLE—The Story Avenue ramp to I-64 West is expected to be closed this morning. Officials with the Ohio River Bridges Downtown Crossing Project say the Story Avenue ramp is scheduled to have closed around 5 o’clock this morning. The ramp could be closed for several months. Drivers are being detoured to the Grinstead Avenue ramp to I-64 West.

LOUISVILLE—Crews with Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities are helping those affected by Tropical Storm Erika. Line technicians and other employees left for Florida on Saturday. Florida’s governor declared a state of emergency on Friday. The crews were expected to arrive to West Palm Beach sometime yesterday.

LEXINGTON—Another man is facing charges in connection to an assault that’s believed to have been part of a gang initiation in Lexington. Police arrested Thomas Wallace Jr. on Friday night. The alleged assault took place back in 2014 at Whitney Young Park. Wallace and three other men are facing charges of criminal gang recruitment. The gang ritual is part of a Chicago-based gang that’s active in Lexington.

TENNESSEE—A teenager is facing numerous charges in connection with a triple homicide. WCYB-TV is reporting that the deadly shootings happened at a home on Henson Road in Sullivan County around 5:45 on Saturday afternoon. When officers arrived they found two female victims who were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim, a male, was airlifted for treatment but later died. Robert Denton, of Bristol, is facing several charges including three counts of first-degree murder.

TENNESSEE—Authorities in Sumner County are searching for a kidnapping suspect. The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office says it is looking for Daryl Baskerville in connection with an incident that happened at a home on Butler Ridge Road on Friday. Authorities say he held a woman against her will. She was able to escape and call for help. Police say Baskerville is considered armed and dangerous.

TENNESSEE—Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a church in Knox County. WBIR-TV is reporting that the fire happened at the Texas Valley Baptist Church in northern Knox County on Saturday. The church is being considered a total loss. No word on a possible initial cause. The church had just undergone renovations. Officials with the church say they plan to rebuild.

TENNESSEE—The FAA is investigating a crash landing in Lincoln County. A physician from Huntsville, Alabama crash-landed his plane while traveling from Shelbyville back to Alabama on Saturday. He began experiencing electrical problems and could not get his landing gear to deploy. The pilot was the only person on board the plane and was not injured.

TENNESSEE—A man is facing charges after an app helped police locate a stolen iPad. WKRN-TV is reporting that a Millersville man was robbed at gunpoint in his garage on August 18th. The suspects stole an iPad, a watch and some clothing. The iPad was equipped with an app called the “Find My iPad” app. Police were able to track the device’s pings to its location. Police have arrested one suspect and are searching for two others in connection with the robbery.