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  1. Bridge Inspection Today at Wickliffe
    Traffic will be restricted to one lane on a section of US 51 in Ballard County today.

    The restriction between mile markers 4 and 5 is to allow inspection of the Willow Slough “Mile Long” bridge just north of Wickliffe. 

    Motorists should be prepared to encounter one lane traffic controlled by flaggers between about 8:00 am and 3:30 pm.

    All Kentucky bridges get a detailed inspection every two years, with long-span bridges that cross rivers and lakes getting an additional annual walk through inspection.

  2. Rotary Club to Give Dictionaries to Local Schools

    Nearly 800 third grade students in our area will soon have a new dictionary thanks to the Rotary Club of Paducah. The annual dictionary drive is one way the service organization partners with the school districts to positively influence the literacy level and quality of life of children in the community.

    Third grade students attending the 10 Paducah/McCracken County public and private elementary schools, including Community Christian Academy, Clark, Concord, Heath, Hendron-Lone Oak, Lone Oak, McNabb, Morgan, Reidland and St. Mary will all receive a free dictionary on September 4, 9, 10 and 11.

    More than 20 club members personally deliver the dictionaries to every third grade classroom in the city and county, leading the students in discovering the variety of information the dictionary offers. Students look up the longest word, the solar system and state capitals.

    “Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary is so very fortunate to have a community partner like the Rotary Club,” says Jon Reid, Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary Principal.

    “Their generosity and dedication to education is reflected through the Rotary Dictionary Project.  Having a tangible tool in the hands of our students is invaluable to their academic success.”

    Co-chairs of the dictionary project, Melanie McNeill and Steve Bright say that studies have shown that reading levels are more likely to predict future income than socioeconomic status at birth, and the Rotary Club of Paducah is doing what it can to increase reading levels of students across Paducah and McCracken County.

    “Paducah Rotarians overwhelmingly support the Dictionary Project and look forward to it annually,” states John A. Williams, Jr., Paducah Rotary Club President. “In fact, the month of September is Basic Education and Literacy month, one of the six areas of focus of Rotary International. Our hope is that the dictionaries help third grade students to improve their language skills, which in turn, will lead to smarter students and better citizens in our communities.” 

    Rotary Club of Paducah dictionary delivery schedule:

    September 4 – 9:30 am – Hendron-Lone Oak and 2 pm - CCA

    September 9 – 8:30 am – Morgan Elem. and 9:15 am – Lone Oak Elem.

    September 10 – 8:15 am – Clark Elem., 9 am – St. Mary, 10:45 am – Concord, 1:30 pm – Heath

    September 11 -8:45 am - Reidland

  3. US Attorney Issues Statement on Rowan County Clerk
    A U.S. Attorney in Kentucky issued a statement Wednesday that said he has "grave concerns" about a county clerk who had defied court orders and refused to issue marriage licenses.

    For two months since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has cited her Christian faith and "God's authority" in defense of refusing to issue licenses, even in the face of a contempt of court hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.

    "Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it," U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey wrote in a statement on the eve of the hearing. "The County Clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is time for the Clerk and the County to follow the law."

  4. Stivers Asks for Time to Change Marriage Law
    The Republican president of the Kentucky state Senate has asked a federal judge to withhold his ruling ordering a county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples against her religious beliefs.

    Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said in a court filing on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge David Bunning needs to give the state legislature time to pass a law that would exempt Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis from issuing marriage licenses.

    Stivers noted the state legislature is not in session and won't be until January. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has declined to call a special session. Stivers said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide has completely obliterated the definition of marriage and said the state legislature will need to change several laws in order to comply with the order.

  5. Trigg County Crash Sends Woman to TN Hospital
    A two-vehicle collision Wednesday morning in Trigg County left one person hospitalized. According to Kentucky State Police, the crash happened at approximately 6:30am on US 68-80 at the intersection of Interstate 24, north of Cadiz.

    Troopers said 58-year-old Delroy Gouldbourne of Rock Hill, SC was operating a semi truck, pulling a loaded box trailer. According to police, Gouldbourne had exited I-24 at the 65 mile marker and was attempting to cross US 68-80 and re-enter I-24.

    State police said Gouldbourne failed to yield the right of way at the stop sign and continued going straight across US 68-80. A car driven by 20-year-old Amber N. Ryan of Cadiz was traveling east on US 68-80. Ryan was unable to stop in time and collided with the front of the semi trailer.

    According to troopers, Ryan was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and was flown to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville due to her injuries. Gouldbourne and his passenger, 61-year-old Roberta W. Gouldbourne, of Charlotte, NC, were not injured in the collision.

    Gouldbourne was issued a citation for hours of service for drivers and parts needed for safe operation, due to a flat inner tire. He was placed out of service for 10 hours due to being over his driving hour limit.

  6. Authorities Looking for Suspected Rug Thief
    Police are looking for a woman they say stole a rug from a school Monday morning.

    According to Mayfield police, at around 6:50 am a woman was captured on surveillance video taking a rug off of the steps of Mayfield Middle School.

    The woman is described as having red hair and pale white skin. She was seen driving a silver 4 door Buick or Mercury with a sun roof.

    Mayfield Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 270-247-1621.
  7. Resident Tired of Repeated Flash Flooding of Home
    Paducah resident Kevin Comer wants some accountability for local flash flooding, because he's seen it get worse and worse over the last few years.

    Comer told the Greg Dunker Show that the property where he and a friend live on Deer Lick Place has flooded, "courtesy of the city of Paducah," 34 times in the last 21 years, with water inside the house on eight occasions. The last time was July 7, when the National Weather Service measured almost 5.5 inches of rain in just a 90-minute period that morning.

    "I had a foot of water in my house that morning, and it wasn't just standing water, it ended up being rushing water. We had two feet plus in the yard, my garage that I converted to an office ended up with 2 feet, 2 inches in it," Comer said. 

    He indicated that water flow in the home was so strong that it permanently bowed a wooden door, almost breaking it.

    Comer said he went to the City Commission meeting along with other victims to tell them the flooding is getting worse and more frequent, but left unsatisfied. He said the city claimed the flooding in July was caused by a 100-year rain event, but Comer said that doesn't account for other incidents. 

    "Anyone who wants to look around can see the reckless over-development that is constantly going on in this area - particularly the Crooked Creek area," Comer said. 

    He claims construction of Heartland Worship Center, the Murray State Extended Campus, and other businesses in the Crooked Creek area have covered ground that used to absorb water with asphalt, so water now runs off that property toward his neighborhood. Comer says when Pecan Drive was extended the city had the opportunity to dig culverts on the opposite side of the road and dump water farther downstream, but chose not to do it. 

    "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that for every square inch of ground you pave, that ground's no longer absorbing water, it 's running off, and it has to go somewhere. You know, you look at the lay of the land and gravity, and right now it's all being funneled in our direction," Comer said.    

    Tony Crouch of NHD Properties owns apartment buildings on nearby Oakcrest Drive. He said tenants in two of his buildings had to move out after July 7, and he is repairing/remodeling the buildings because they flooded. He hopes to have the apartments available to rent by the end of October. Crouch said the buildings also flooded in 2013 because the creek overflowed.

    Comer's home also flooded two years ago, and he still doesn't have carpet, flooring or kitchen cabinets because he knows they'll be ruined again. He keeps his bed and furniture on cinderblocks, and raised the floor of his office, which he built years ago in the garage of the home. 

    Paducah's City Engineer and Public Works Director Rick Murphy said he and city officials understand the concerns of citizens in this area, but explained that new construction isn't to blame. He explained that for every development over 10,000 square feet, current law requires each builder to individually compensate for the increase in run-off by including retention basins or other structures, so creeks or tributaries aren't overwhelmed downstream. Water is held in those basins and the flow downstream is restricted to what the creek had before construction. He used the extension of Pecan Drive as an example, saying that an 11x19 foot bridge was replaced by an 11x19 foot box culvert, which acts as a valve to protect property downstream.

    Murphy said, "We didn't make the opening bigger, we left it the same size so anybody downstream of that opening would not experience anything different than what we did with the construction or anything different than what happened with the development upstream."   

    Murphy said based on what he and others have seen, and their calculations, the systems are handling water as they were designed. He added that engineers typically use their calculations as the minimum requirement for what is built. 

    "I know that's hard for people to understand as their belongings are being flooded, but it is factually correct, and I'm just trying to provide compassion with factually correct information," Murphy said.  

    Comer said the city is responsible for protecting property, and that should require stopping more development, and making sure building codes are up to date so storm water has somewhere to go.

    "They're saying, 'our building codes are to spec.' Well no, they're not, because people's homes are being flooded," Comer said, "Now, if their homes were being flooded, I'm sure they would do something about it. Our homes are being flooded, they're going home to their nice warm beds at night with no problem. They're not concerned about that."  

    Murphy said the most current FEMA hydrological maps are from 2011, after Pecan Drive was extended. He said banks use those maps when considering home loans, and if the maps show a creek could flood, the borrower could be required to purchase flood insurance to get financing. Murphy said this information is readily available to the public. He said in many cases, property owners are responsible for maintaining creeks on their land - whether they know it or not. He recommended checking the deed to be sure.

    Comer told Greg Dunker that continued development at Strawberry Hill is now creating conditions downstream where overwhelmed culverts can't evacuate water quickly enough, and quicker run-off upstream causes the creek to flood his street and others in the neighborhood. 

    "There are several houses that have never flooded before that have started flooding during the last two floods," Comer said.

    Murphy said there are several factors that could contribute to this, and the city can only help in some cases. Debris in creeks can quickly accumulate at multiple locations during a heavy rain, creating obstructions that weren't there an hour before. This can happen naturally, but property owners contribute when they give in to the temptation and throw leaves or limbs into the creek. Murphy said it's a human tendency that can literally pile up.

    He said, "You get four, five, six, eight, ten people in a neighborhood 100 houses, it don't take very long for that material to get washed downstream and get lodged on something that creates a problem for everybody. Do I have evidences of that? Yes, I do. Do I know where it came from? No, I don't."  

    Murphy said in most cases, the city does not have easements for property that would allow them access to inspect or clean creeks. He repeated that if the deed says the property includes the creek, it's the responsibility of the owner to keep the creek clear. If the city hears of a problem, they do have ordinances in place that allow them to fine someone for neglecting their property, or eventually put a lien on the property if they have to go in and correct a problem. But he said that hasn't happened in the last couple of years, and those types of discussions with homeowners are obviously not pleasant.

    "Do we walk the creeks annually and give notices of violation with regard to obstruction of water courses? No, we do not," Murphy said. 

    So what can or should be done? 

    Comer said he wants to see all development stop, building codes upgraded, and money spent on flood mitigation instead of some of the city's current projects. He also believes different leadership is needed, especially the Mayor and City Engineer.

    "These people need to be removed, forbidden from holding any such positions where they are ever responsible for anyone else's life, safety and property ever again. They are completely incompetent and negligent. We need real engineers in here, and real leadership that can look at this problem, and start to correct things," Comer said. 

    Murphy said the city's response has to be very diligent and conservative, because of financial constraints.

    "The city's coffers and/or financial resources may not be sufficient to respond to things because what we do, we have to be willing to do for the entire community," Murphy said. 

    He said their immediate response in July was to provide debris pick-up free to citizens, rand request an emergency declaration and help from the county, which then asks the state, and the state asks the federal government. If approved, funding would be passed down to be used for relief and recovery. Unfortunately, that determination is out of the city's hands, and funding was denied last month.

    Murphy gave a similar example from this winter, when three emergency declarations were requested from weather events, two of which were significantly heavy snowstorms. He said the city only got disaster money for the first 48 hours of the first snow, when city crews worked around the clock for ten days. Nothing else was approved.

    "That's how restrictive these dollars are," Murphy said.

    Murphy encouraged anyone to investigate the FEMA maps relating to their property, check into flood insurance, and investigate the deed of property they own or are considering purchasing, so they are fully aware of current and possible future issues. 
  8. Clerk Says She is Unable to Follow Judge's Order
    A Kentucky county clerk says she is unable to obey a federal judge's order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it would irreparably violate her conscience.

    Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, and U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses.

    But Davis has refused to obey that order even though it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. She will appear in court Thursday as Bunning decides whether to punish Davis by imposing fines.

    On Wednesday, Davis' lawyers argued in a court document that Davis should not be punished because she is unable to comply with the order and because she still has an appeal pending before a federal appeals court on a related issue.

  9. Former County Commissioner Seriously Hurt in Crash
    A former Marshall County Commissioner was seriously hurt Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash.

    According to the Marshall County Sheriff's Office, former Marshall County Commissioner Hoppy Hicks was involved in a single-vehicle crash Wednesday on U.S. Hwy. 68 near Aurora.

    Sheriff Kevin Byars said Hicks' vehicle left the roadway, traveled down a steep ravine and hit an embankment.

    Hicks was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville with serious injuries. His condition is unkown at this time. Hicks served as a magistrate and county commissioner from 1990 until 2006.
  10. Police Seek Credit Card Theft Suspect
    Paducah police are seeking the public’s help in locating a woman they say used a stolen credit card for purchases.

    According to Paducah Police,  55-year-old Robin S. Lowe stole a credit card on July 2 and used it to obtain cash and merchandise, valued at more than $680. Police do not have a current address for Lowe, but they say she may be staying with her son in Ballard County.

    Anyone with information about Lowe’s whereabouts is asked to call the Paducah Police Department at 270-444-8550 or Crime Stoppers at 270-443-TELL. Tipsters also may access the online tip form through the City of Paducah website at http://paducahky.gov/paducah/west-ky-crime-stoppers. Information leading to an arrest or indictment may result in a reward of up to $1,000
  11. KY Avenue Closure Starts Thursday Evening
    As part of ongoing reconstruction along US 45/Kentucky Avenue in Paducah, the entire length of Kentucky Avenue will be closed, and 21st Street will be closed at the Kentucky Avenue intersection starting Thursday night.

    The one westbound lane of Kentucky Avenue and the 21st Street intersection with Kentucky Avenue will be closed starting at 5:00 pm Thursday to allow concrete paving.  The one westbound lane of Kentucky Avenue along the work zone is expected to reopen to traffic at 6:00 am Friday. 21st Street is expected to reopen sometime Friday night once the concrete placed in the intersection has had time to properly cure. 

    When traffic resumes along the one westbound lane of Kentucky Avenue Thursday morning, there will be no right turns from Kentucky Avenue to northbound 21st Street at the intersection until Friday night.

    This is part of concrete paving along the westbound lanes of Kentucky Avenue.  The paving crew will start at Otis Denning drive and work eastward along the project over several weeks.  During the concrete paving the volume of trucks delivering concrete mix to the paver will require the one lane of Kentucky Avenue along the work zone to be closed overnight Thursday.

    The 16th Street intersection across Kentucky Avenue will remain open during this first round of paving.

    This is part of continuing reconstruction along US 45-Business/Kentucky Avenue from Otis Dinning Drive at mile point 0.447 extending to Walter Jetton Boulevard at mile point 1.554, a distance of just over a mile.

    The Kentucky Avenue Corridor carries a significant part of the Paducah's water, sewer, and drainage lines, some nearly 100 years old.  This project includes extensive reworking and modernizing of those utilities, followed by reconstruction of the roadway, with sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

    As a reminder, businesses all along this work zone have access from the rear or via side streets and alleyways.  While accessing some businesses along Kentucky Avenue requires some extra navigation, business owners in this area would appreciate your continued patronage.  Signs are up indicating access points for many businesses along the US 45/Kentucky Avenue work zone via Broadway and side streets.
  12. Possible Buyer for Whaler's Catch
    New life could be on the horizon for Whaler's Catch, a longtime favorite restaurant in Paducah that has been dormant for months after the owner's death last year. 

    A possible buyer has surfaced, according to Nancy Bergfield, a realtor with Sirk & Company in Paducah. Bergfield confirms that the restaurant is under contract to be purchased, and the sale may close within 45 days but the buyer remains a mystery for now. No word on the price either, but it was listed at $735,000. 

    Ro Morse, who started Whaler's Catch in 1977 on North 13th Street says she's glad the building won't be empty any longer, and hopes "people continue to make memories of great food and great times" at that location. 

    John Harris bought the restaurant in 1991, and after a fire, moved it to the North 2nd Street location. After Harris' death in November of 2014, the family closed the restaurant. 


  13. Kentucky Finalizes Details of New DUI Law
    Kentucky transportation officials say the state is getting close to finalizing details of a new law that will require some drunken drivers to get ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.

    Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe told The Paducah Sun that the agency is "very close" to finalizing regulations so that the law can go into effect.

    The General Assembly voted in March to pass the law, which requires ignition interlock licenses as part of the sentencing for repeat offenders or for first offenders who have an aggravating circumstance such as having a child in the car.

    Court officials say they think the devices will help curtail the number of repeat drunken driving arrests.

    ___

    Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com

  14. Graves Police Arrest Louisville Man on Meth Charge
    A Louisville man was arrested in Graves County Tuesday night for possessing methamphetamine. According to the Graves County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to US 45 South just outside the city limits of Mayfield after receiving a tip that a drug deal had just happened in Wingo and the vehicle was reportedly headed toward Mayfield.

    Deputies conducted a traffic stop and a K-9 indicated on the presence of illegal drugs. David Poindexter of Louisville was arrested after he was found to be in possession of methamphetamine. Poindexter was lodged in the Graves County Jail.

  15. Police Patrols Increasing for Labor Day Weekend
    Kentucky State Police officers will be out in force to crack down on drunken driving during this coming Labor Day weekend.

    State police say patrols will be increased during the holiday period running from Friday evening through Monday night.

    Last year, state police say there were six alcohol-related highway deaths in Kentucky during the Labor Day holiday.

    Across the state, law enforcement officers arrested 55 people for DUI during the same period.

    In addition to statewide DUI enforcement, state police will conduct traffic safety checkpoints in an effort to enforce all traffic laws. State police say special attention will be given to seat belt use, vehicle safety, insurance compliance and registration violations.

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