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Freezes this weekend likely will end growing season
There were some snowflaks spotted in Shelby County on Friday afternoon, and a freeze warning is following close behind.
The National Weather Service issued freeze warnings for this morning and and Saturday morning, when forecasters predicted temperatures to dip into the high 20s.
Earlier in the week morning lows had pushed to 35 or lower, and Thursday afternoon chilly showers turned into a wintry mix.
Canadian high pressure will keep a cold air mass over the Ohio Valley into this weekend, the National Weather Service reported. A freeze is likely early Friday, with lows falling into the upper 20s, with some mid-20s possible in valleys. That could end this growing season.
Shelby railroads to get work
The state has announced nearly $2.2 million in grants to help fund safety improvements at railroad crossings in 17 Kentucky counties, including Shelby.
“Many accidents involving trains, motor vehicles and pedestrians can be avoided with improved signaling equipment, lighting and railroad crossing conditions. That’s the objective with all the grants being announced today,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release.
The grants, all of which require a dollar-for-dollar match from the railroad companies, are funded through the Kentucky Railroad Crossing Improvement Program, which is administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The Cabinet processed applications for 105 projects at 99 crossing locations. Thirty-nine projects are for crossing reconstruction. Sixty-six projects involve added or improved signals, including upgrades to LED lighting.
R.J. Corman Railroad – which has tracks in Shelby County – is carrying out 77 of the projects. Twenty-two of the projects are by TransKentucky Transportation Inc., and six are by Paducah & Louisville Railroad.
Six of the projects are on crossings at which passenger trains are prohibited and the speed limit for freight trains is 10 mph because of substandard track conditions. At least 11 of the projects are on crossings at which there has been at least one crash involving motor vehicles or pedestrians in the last five years.
Other counties on the list: Graves, Todd, Logan, Warren, Grayson, Hardin, Nelson, Jefferson, Franklin, Woodford, Scott, Fayette, Bourbon, Nicholas, Fleming and Mason.
School redistricting forums
Shelby County Public Schools has scheduled a pair of public meetings to discuss the proposed redistricting of its elementary schools that was approved preliminarily last week by the school board. The shift the balance of elementary school students for the 2014-15 school year to coincide with the opening of the new Southside Elementary School would reallocate 131 students to Southside.
Those plans will be presented in forums at 7 p.m. Monday at Southside and Tuesday at Painted Stone.
Director of Student Services Dave Weedman led a committee made up of administrators, principals, teachers, parents and board member Brenda Jackson that determined how best to increase the enrollment of Southside and ease crowding at schools such as Simpsonville and Painted Stone.
Middle schools and high schools are not affected.
I-64 bridge work starts Sunday
The Transportation Cabinet announced that work is scheduled to begin Sunday on bridge deck repairs on westbound Interstate 64 at the Bardstown Trail overpass (mile point 45.5) in Shelby County. Lane closures are scheduled from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
Other road work, closings:
Shelbyville leaf pickup
The City of Shelbyville’s Department of Public Works will offer free leaf pick up starting Monday and continuing through Jan. 1.
Leaves must be bagged in strong garbage bags, tied with a 50-pound weight capacity and placed on the curb, not blocking the sidewalk or street.
Residents must call 633-1094 to get on the list for pick-up.
Teacher pilot training program
Kentucky has been selected as one of seven states to participate in a 2-year pilot program to train future teachers. The Council of Chief State School Officers created the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation to help states ensure all new teachers are ready on the first day of their careers to prepare their students for college, work and life.
During the next two years, the states will work with educators, training programs, colleges and universities, and school districts to improve the way states prepare the teacher workforce.
Kentucky and the six other states – Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Washington – are joined by 17 national organizations committed to support the states’ efforts to accelerate change in educator preparation and entry into the profession.
Tree dedication honors Lisa Matthews
Family and friends of the late Lisa G. Matthews are invited to participate in the dedication of a tree honoring Lisa’s memory at the Shelby County Public Library at noon on Saturday.
The tree has been given by Friends of the Library in acknowledgement of Lisa’s interest in and support of the library and her dedication to the Friends from 2001 until her death in 2011.
United Way withdraws Scout support
After more than 50 years of support, United Way of the Bluegrass has suspended nearly $100,000 in annual funding to the Boy Scouts of America’s Blue Grass Council because of national scouting policy to not allow gays to serve as adult leaders. The Boy Scouts National Council voted in May to allow openly gay youth to join but maintained its ban on gay leaders.
In addition, parents and leaders in scouting locally and across the country have told the Blue Grass Council and Boy Scouts of America they “weren’t quite comfortable with openly homosexual adult leadership,” scout executive Chip Armishaw told The Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Blue Grass Council, which has a $2 million annual budget, receives $96,000 a year in funding from United Way of the Bluegrass, said Dan Koett, chief marketing officer for the council. United Way of the Bluegrass was the largest single donor for the council, according to a letter the council sent to families involved in scouting.
Armishaw said the 5 percent loss in funding “is a hurt. I’m not going to lie to you.” But he said the organization will work to close the funding gap through donations.
Metro United Way in Louisville also said Thursda it is reviewing its funding for the Lincoln Heritage Council of scouts, which includes Shelby County.
The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.