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About 1,400 lose power because of fire, accident
Two separate incidents Wednesday knocked out power on opposite ends of Shelby County, causing nearly 1,400 customers to Shelby Energy Cooperative to lose power.
In Bagdad, some 1,100 customers were affected when a transformer caught fire around 5 p.m., and that was an hour after about 300 more along Aiken Road in northwest Shelby County lost power when a car struck a utility pole.
In Bagdad, power was restored quickly to 800 customers, but 300 were out for a couple more hours, Shelby Energy Spokesperson Candi Waford said.
Bagdad Fire Chief Rusty Newton said he does not know how the transformer caught fire.
Waford said the customers on Aiken Road were without power for about six hours because the damaged pole had to be replaced.
Anti-pipeline law moves on
Scores of Bluegrass Pipeline opponents cheered Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would prevent the pipeline from going through property of landowners who do not want it.
The committee voted, 11-1, for House Bill 31, which says that developers of natural gas liquids pipelines do not have the power of eminent domain to gain access to land.
“I’m ecstatic,” Cindy Foster, a Scott County landowner who said she rejected offers from pipeline developers to buy an easement through her land, told The Courier-Journal. “I’m just so thankful that most of the committee members were sympathetic to our concerns.”
The Bluegrass Pipeline is being developed by two companies – Boardwalk Bluegrass Partners and the Williams Co. It would run from Bracken County south into Kentucky’s Bluegrass region and then west to Breckinridge County, where it would link to an existing pipeline that would be repurposed. Part of the planned route touches the southeastern border of Shelby County.
Opponents – including the fiscal courts in all counties affected – have voiced concerns about the safety of a natural gas liquids pipeline and the environmental damage that would be caused by leaking. Developers have said the line will be closely monitored and is safe – and, they say, far safer than other modes of transportation such as truck or rail.
Tom Droege, spokesperson for the Bluegrass Pipeline, said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote, “Kentucky already has over 12,000 miles of liquid fuels pipelines and singling out NGL (natural gas liquids) pipelines that are regulated in the same manner by the federal government is unnecessary.”
Rotary sets speech contest
The Shelbyville Rotary Club will be hosting its annual speech contest on Saturday at the law office of Mathis, Riggs, and Prather in downtown Shelbyville.
The competition, which will begin at 9 a.m., is open to any high school student who lives in Shelby County or attends a high school in Shelby County. The contestants will compete for over $800 in prize money and the opportunity to move on to the sectional and state contests, where the cash prize money increases at each level. The theme for this year's contest is: "Engage Rotary, Change Lives".
Any interested student should contact Mark Hewlett at email@example.com 633-2229.
Rulings in Spencer complaints
Three complaints filed by Taylorsville resident Lawrence Trageser in November and December with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, claiming violations by the Spencer County Board of Elections, have received mixed results.
The AG’s office determined that the board did violate the Open Meetings Act twice by not treating rescheduled regular meetings – one held Nov. 19 and another Dec. 19 – as “special” meetings. But it did not agree that the clerk’s office violated the Open Records Act.
The board’s regular meetings are set for 8:30 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month in the county clerk’s office. The board rescheduled the November meeting from Nov. 28, which was Thanksgiving, to Tuesday, Nov. 19. At that meeting, the board rescheduled the December meeting from Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, to Thursday, Dec. 19.
Because they were rescheduled meetings, they automatically became “special” meetings.
Both regular and special meetings require agendas, however, during a special meeting only those topics or actions included on the agenda may be discussed.
In 14-OMD-009, dated Jan. 14, the AG’s office determined that “the open-ended ‘Any other new business’” included on the agenda for the Nov. 19 meeting was in violation.
Murray may cut program
Amid almost $2.5 million in state cuts, Murray State University is recommending that the Board of Regents cut the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, according to Assistant Dean Roger Weis. He says a move like that would hurt the university more than it would help. It’s a move MSU has been looking at for several months now, Weis said. Last year, budget and planning review teams worked to tighten the school’s belt some, but Interim President Tim Miller later formed three subcommittees to further MSU’s cost-reducing measures amid state mandates that employees work to ease pension deficits.
The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.