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Gov. Beshear Provides Team Kentucky Update
 

Bill Stephens

September 15th, 2022

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on continued economic growth, the historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky, the newly updated COVID-19 booster, National Recovery Month, the Rockport Bridge Rehabilitation Rail Project, declining gas prices, public safety and COVID. He also named the officers and troopers awarded at Kentucky State Police’s annual sworn awards ceremony as Team Kentucky All-Stars.

Economic Development Update Today, the Governor highlighted four economic development projects that will create close to 400 full-time jobs and that represent nearly $200 million in investment.

Gov. Beshear joined local leaders and executives from Log Still Distillery to cut the ribbon on the Nelson County operation’s full-scale opening, including a more than $60 million investment and the creation of at least 146 full-time jobs.

The Governor announced further growth of the state’s distribution and logistics sector as Renfro Supply Co., one of the region’s largest wholesalers, will expand operations in Whitley County with a nearly $8.5 million expansion creating 25 full-time jobs for Kentucky residents.

Gov. Beshear announced Chemical & Industrial (C&I) Engineering Inc., a full-service engineering firm, will expand the company’s operations in Louisville with a $264,000 investment that will create 24 full-time jobs.

The Governor and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer joined leaders from Inxeption, an industrial commerce and supply chain digitization company, to cut the ribbon on the company’s new Louisville headquarters, which will create 200 full-time jobs with a $125 million investment over the next five years.

Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Emergency Response
Fatalities
Gov. Beshear said there are 40 confirmed fatalities in five counties.

Missing Persons
Kentucky Emergency Management has coordinated with the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Aviation Branch to conduct an aerial search for the two missing Breathitt County citizens: Vanessa Baker, a 60-year-old woman, and Nancy Cundiff, a 29-year-old woman – both from the Lost Creek community. If you have any information about either of these individuals, please contact KSP Post 13 in Hazard at 606-435-6069.

Water Outages
All drinking water systems are now operational; 22 systems were down immediately after the flooding.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park lodge and cabins are now completely restored to city water connection. Boil Water Advisory will likely remain through Monday, Sept. 19, for the entire Buckhorn system.

There are 52 service connections without water, down from 34,121 on July 28. More than 330 customers remain under a boil water advisory, down from 46,000. Two water systems have limited operations: Breathitt and Hazard. Four wastewater systems are not operational: Fleming-Neon, Millstone Alternative, Buckhorn Elementary and High Schools and Robinson Elementary School.

Shelters
Local organizations including state parks, churches and schools are providing shelter to survivors. Kentucky state parks are currently housing more than 338 people.

Debris
Another 558 loads of debris, amounting to 7,351 tons, were removed on Wednesday from waterways and state and county rights-of-way. To date, 171,089 tons of debris have been removed from state and county rights-of-way and waterways. Based on hauling tonnages to date, it’s estimated costs will reach $11.5 million for waterway and $18.6 million for right of way debris.

Stabilization Phase
FEMA
More than $65.8 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program for 7,348 households. In addition to visiting a Disaster Recovery Center, Kentuckians can also apply through FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov, on their mobile app or by calling 800-621-3362. There are six fixed Disaster Recovery Centers now open. To see the locations, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

Travel Trailers
Since Sept. 7, an additional 51 travel trailers have been moved to Eastern Kentucky. Currently, 371 individuals are being housed in 132 travel trailers across seven state parks. There are 248 travel trailers onsite. Individuals seeking emergency sheltering in travel trailers can find more information and register at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources or call 502-234-1225. Last week, Gov. Beshear and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the State of Louisiana is donating up to 300 travel trailers originally acquired to aid Hurricane Ida survivors to shelter Eastern Kentucky flood victims.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Lee County residents are now eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Disaster Unemployment Assistance claimants in Lee County can apply for benefits online through the Kentucky Career Center website or by phone at 502-875-0442. The deadline to apply is Oct. 10.

Private Bridges Emergency Repair
Currently, 475 private bridges have been registered through the Private Bridge/Access Emergency Repair program. These bridges will be evaluated by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and FEMA. The Governor noted, however, that evaluation does not guarantee eligibility for emergency access. So far, 314 bridge assessments have been completed. To register for the program, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

National Flood Insurance Program
The program has issued a total of $16.5 million in payments.

U.S. Small Business Administration
To date the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $40.7 million.

Rebuilding Phase
Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
Flood survivors that qualify for FEMA are eligible for an additional $500. Much like the process for the Western Kentucky tornado relief, there is no application for this assistance. Data is being collected through FEMA, and eligible recipients will receive payment directly. So far, 6,507 checks are going out for this additional $500, totaling $3,253,500 in payments. The fund has paid for 40 funerals totaling $400,000.

To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief fund has raised over $9.6 million from 37,060 donors. The Governor also highlighted and thanked major donors this week including: Humana Inc., $250,000; Liberty Utilities Co., $50,000; Four Roses Distillery, $50,000; Chevron Products Company, $25,000; Altria Group Inc., $25,000; North American Stainless Employees, $18,200; and United Way of Laurel Co., $16,200. Donations can be made at TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.

Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund Awards
Gov. Beshear announced Tuesday that Knott and Letcher counties are the first to submit requests for and receive financial assistance from the Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (EKSAFE) Fund. These funds will be used to help support recovery efforts following the massive flooding that began July 26, devastating areas of Eastern Kentucky.

Together the two counties will receive more than $1.28 million in funding, which includes $531,000 to the Knott County Fiscal Court to relieve strained fiscal liquidity and $531,000 to the Letcher County Fiscal Court to ease strained fiscal liquidity and $220,000 to engage a floodplain coordinator.

Rockport Bridge Rehabilitation Rail Project
Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $1.5 billion from the popular Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) competitive grant program for highway, multimodal freight and rail projects that will make the nation’s transportation systems safer and more resilient, eliminate supply chain bottlenecks and improve critical freight movements. A project in Kentucky was selected for a $17.3 million grant for the Rockport Bridge Rehabilitation Freight Rail Project. The investment will rehabilitate the 100-year-old bridge, which serves as a vital link for the transportation of commodities such as chemicals, grain, coal, lumber, steel and petroleum along the 280-mile railway. The project will replace the deck of the bridge and upgrade the electrical and mechanical components that allow the bridge to be raised to accommodate river traffic.

Gas Prices Continue to Decline
The Governor shared the good news that gas prices continue to decline in the commonwealth. The average price for gas in Kentucky is almost 40 cents lower than the national average of $3.698 at $3.31, according to the American Automobile Association. The Governor said this morning that gas in Frankfort is at $2.99. To see a full list of actions Gov. Beshear has taken to provide Kentuckian’s relief from high gas prices as well as tips to help families save, click here.

Gov. Beshear, First Lady Receive Updated COVID-19 Booster During an event hosted Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda, Gov. Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear rolled up their sleeves to receive the newly updated bivalent COVID-19 booster. The Governor said his son received a booster yesterday and his daughter will also receive one soon, once she is eligible. These boosters are recommended for everyone 12 and older who had their last COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago. The booster is available at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and health departments. Locations and appointments can be found on vaccines.gov.

National Recovery Month
National Recovery Month is held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those struggling with mental health or addiction to live healthy lives.National Recovery Month celebrates gains made by those in recovery and reinforces the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health.

“This isn’t a fight that’s won overnight. But it’s a fight we are committed to seeing through,” Gov. Beshear said. “Addiction affects us all. It affects those we love and care about, and it impacts our economic success. Let’s work together to win the fight against opioids and build a better Kentucky – a better country – for us all.”

The Governor recapped the actions he took as attorney general to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for inundating Kentucky with opioids as well as steps he has taken as Governor to help make sure more treatment and recovery options are available to help Kentuckians.

If you or someone you love needs help with treatment resources, please call the KY Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP or, visit findhelpnowky.org. Kentuckians can also visit the KSP website to find one of KSP’s 16 posts where those suffering from addiction can be paired with a local officer who will assist with locating an appropriate treatment program.

Public Safety
At a time where more Americans are concerned about crime, the Governor said that Team Kentucky is working to put more law enforcement on the streets in communities across our commonwealth.

“From responding to crimes or safety concerns to stepping up following natural disasters or the pandemic, our officers are the brave heroes who are there for Kentuckians during their greatest times of need,” Gov. Beshear said. “It’s essential we invest in them – because through those investments, we are investing in the safety of our families.”

To date the administration has:

  • Secured a $15,000 pay raise for Kentucky State Police troopers;
  • Increased training stipends;
  • Put enhanced benefits in place for retired KSP troopers and CVE officers to help make a career in law enforcement more desirable;
  • Invested in recruitment efforts; and,
  • Launched the Military to Law Enforcement Program, making it easier for local law enforcement to hire our military heroes looking to begin a career in law enforcement.

“We aren’t just talking about building a better Kentucky – we’re actually doing it,” Gov. Beshear said. “And that includes making our local communities safer.”

Team Kentucky All-Stars
In speaking of public safety, Gov. Beshear named the 75 law enforcement officers recently awarded at Kentucky State Police’s sworn awards ceremony as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The ceremony is held every year to recognize troopers and officers for their acts of bravery and service.

He also recognized the five “Of the Year” recipients, who include:

  • 2021 Public Affairs Officer of the Year, Trooper Daniel Priddy;
  • Trooper of the Year, Trooper Elliott Young;
  • Detective of the Year, Detective Kyler Wright;
  • Commercial Vehicle Officer of the Year, Logan Lynch; and
  • Facilities Security Officer of the Year, Officer Wayne Burke.

“There were 75 troopers and officers honored, making this year’s event one of the largest in recent years. This speaks volumes – because these honors are not given, they are earned,” Gov. Beshear said. “All 75 awardees should be commended. As well as the incredible families who stand with them. Together, they make unimaginable sacrifices for the safety of our commonwealth.”

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