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News
Mixed results for sidewalks at city commission meeting
 Wes Swietek  / 
 07.02.19

The Bowling Green City Commission on Tuesday approved the current fiscal year list of sidewalk projects while it awaits more information before deciding on next year’s projects.

Commissioners unanimously approved a $357,792 bid from Infinity Pipeline of Bowling Green for construction of about 6,300 linear feet of sidewalks along portions of Kenton, Park, Magnolia and Sandra streets, North Lee Drive and Potter Avenue. The work includes five-foot sidewalks, utility relocation, drainage boxes, curb, gutter and related projects.

The city public works department also presented at a work session Tuesday its candidates for fiscal year 2020 sidewalk projects. They are:

• Loving Way from U.S. 31-W By-Pass to Rodes Drive.

• Holly Drive from Dennis Way to 1745 Holly Drive, and then the opposite side of Holly Drive from that point to Catherine Drive.

• North Lee Drive from Old Barren River Road to Trent Way.

• Highland Way from Smallhouse Road to Westen Drive.

The last project spurred the most discussion after receiving some negative feedback from property owners.

The city surveys impacted property owners for each sidewalk project. While the vast majority of respondents indicated approval for the proposed sidewalks in the other areas, a majority (75 percent) of those who provided feedback on Highland Way said they opposed the project.

The city surveys indicate that anyone not providing feedback is assumed to consent to the project. Using assumed consent, 60 percent of the property owners indicated they were in favor of the project.

But that was not enough for commissioners to provide consensus support for the proposed 2020 sidewalk projects. Instead, at the request of commissioners, city staff will provide them with more information about the Highland Way project, including specific survey responses from those opposed to the project.

Assistant City Engineer Kyle Hunt explained that the list of proposed projects comes from resident requests and they are ranked based on a variety of factors, including connections to existing sidewalks, cost and technical feasibility – “Basically, how easy will it be to construct,” he said.

The Highland Way project is currently the No. 1-ranked sidewalk project in the city. The proposed sidewalk would connect existing sidewalks between Smallhouse Road and Westen Drive.

The city has been aggressively building sidewalks since 2008, with more than 15 miles of sidewalks constructed since then, Hunt said. The city has budgeted $500,000 for sidewalk construction for fiscal year 2020.

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved a municipal order dissolving the Convention Center Corp., which the city established to oversee the Sloan Convention Center. With the bonds for that project paid off this year, the city commission will take direct control of the convention center.

In June, the corporation board approved issuing a request for proposals for the sale of the convention center, with board members explaining they did not think the city should compete with private convention businesses.


Bac Totrong / Bac Totrong/Daily News  

Above: Author and Western Kentucky University English professor David Bell reads an excerpt Tuesday, July 2, 2019, from his new book “Layover” at the Warren County Public Library Bob Kirby Branch. (Bac Totrong/photo@bgdailynews.com)


Bac Totrong / Bac Totrong/Daily News  

Author and Western Kentucky University English professor David Bell signs copies of his new book “Layover” Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at the Warren County Public Library Bob Kirby Branch. (Bac Totrong/photo@bgdailynews.com)


News
Logan County jail to purchase body scanner
 Jackson French  / 
 07.03.19

The Logan County Detention Center will soon have a body scanner to help deputy jailers in the ongoing struggle to keep inmates from bringing contraband into the jail.

Logan County Jailer Phil Gregory said every jail is tasked with preventing inmates from bringing contraband like weapons and – more commonly – drugs into the facility.

The scanner will enable jail staff to more efficiently check inmates for contraband, he said.

“It’s just another tool we (will) have to combat the ongoing issue we have with inmates bringing contraband into the jail,” he said.

Typically, contraband gets into the jail when it is brought in by inmates after being booked or by inmates returning from work detail, Gregory said.

While the scanner will make the process of searching inmates more efficient, Gregory said his desire to purchase the scanner extends from his concern for maintaining safety in the jail.

“It’s a safety and security issue,” he said.

Gregory also noted that a number of other jails across the state have installed body scanners in the last few years and said he saw installing one as a way of “modernizing” Logan County’s jail.

“We’ve known we’ve needed this for some time,” he said.

According to Gregory, 10 inmates tested positive for methamphetamine use recently after some was brought into the jail from a worksite.

Gregory spoke about his desire for a scanner at the county’s regularly scheduled fiscal court meeting June 25 and received approval to put out bids for the device.

“It’s going to be very difficult for them to get through that scanner with any contraband,” he said.

The scanner is expected to cost somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000 and will be paid for with funds from the jail’s commissary, Gregory said.

“There’s no cost to the local taxpayers,” he said.

Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said fiscal court granted unanimous approval to Gregory’s request to put out bids for the scanner.

“I think it would just make his booking a whole lot easier,” Chick said. “They can just scan the inmates instead of conducting a search.”

Gregory said the request for bids was sent out and should be opened at the next fiscal court meeting scheduled Tuesday.

Barren County Jailer Aaron Bennett had positive things to say about the body scanner in the Barren County Detention Center, which was installed in 2017, before he became jailer.

“It’s very good, especially when that community knows there’s a body scanner,” he said. “It deters them bringing in contraband.”

While working as a sheriff’s deputy in Barren County shortly after the scanner was installed, Bennett said he found that telling prisoners about the scanner and the felony they’d face if any weapons or drugs were found was enough to persuade some people to admit they were carrying contraband before arriving at the jail.

“It did deter a couple and they did say, ‘Yeah, I do have something on me,’ ” he said.

The main purpose of the scanner is to prevent inmates from being able to sneak contraband into the jail to make the environment safer.

“The main thing is stopping people from bringing in drugs they could hurt themselves with, that they could overdose on,” he said.


News
KSP preparing extra patrols for 'deadly' holiday
 Caroline Eggers  / 
 07.03.19

Millions of Americans pack up their cars every Fourth of July to hit the beach or visit a trendy metropolis.

And annually, Kentucky State Police prepare for one of the most dangerous – and sometimes deadly – holidays on the calendar.

“During any holiday period, traffic goes up,” KSP Trooper Daniel Priddy said. “Usually, we do have more collisions with more motorists on the roadway, especially nowadays with people on their cellphones distracted.”

Independence Day celebrations often involve the use of mind-altering substances during the holiday period, defined this year as Wednesday through Sunday.

During the 2017 Independence Day holiday period, 237 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes, accounting for 39 percent of the holiday’s traffic deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which considers “buzzed driving” as “drunk driving.” That year, there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – the equivalent of one fatality every 48 minutes.

Whether drinking or taking drugs, NHTSA recommends planning for a designated sober driver, public transportation or a ride service.

The other increasingly worrying form of impaired driving is texting, which the NHTSA considers the deadliest form of distracted driving. If you’re driving 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for five seconds, the average time it takes to send or read a text, it’s like driving blindly for the length of a football field, according to the NHTSA.

KSP will deploy extra officers on the major interstates, highways and other roadways to monitor for impaired drivers, seat belt use and speeding during the holiday period.

“During this time, leave early, take your time, and make sure you’re paying attention to the roadway” and other drivers, Priddy said.

The American Automobile Association predicts a record-breaking 48.9 million American travelers during the holiday – including an estimated 41.4 million drivers.

Based on AAA Travel bookings for Independence Day, the top destinations included Orlando, South Carolina beaches, Virginia Beach, Niagara Falls, Washington, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, Chicago and Tampa.

AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists on the roadways this year – usually from dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts – and recommends that folks make sure their vehicles don’t need maintenance before leaving home.


News
BG man pleads guilty to robbing four banks in three states
 Justin Story  / 
 07.03.19

Decorise Major

A Bowling Green man tied to bank robberies in three states pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court.

Decorise Major, 47, pleaded guilty to four counts of bank robbery, reaching a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green in which he will be required to serve a prison term to be determined and pay $20,618 in restitution.

Authorities accused Major of participating in four bank heists in a two-month period in 2016, starting Sept. 1, 2016, with a robbery of Cecilian Bank in Elizabethtown, getting away with $3,187.

According to published reports, a man wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses entered the bank on that date, displayed a gun to the teller and demanded she place money in a bag.

Major also admitted taking part in the Sept. 7, 2016, robbery of Midwest America Federal Credit Union in Scottsville.

In that incident, employees said a man with a light beard, sunglasses and a hat brandished a small black handgun, demanded money and then left the business on foot.

This robbery proved the most lucrative of the four, netting Major $13,575, court records show.

Major was also tied to the robbery of New Washington State Bank in Jeffersonville, Ind., on Sept. 26, 2016.

A surveillance video released by police in Indiana showed the robber wearing a clear poncho with a white shirt, gray sweatpants, sunglasses and a dark baseball cap.

The robber also brandished a handgun during the incident, according to police, and stole $2,500 from the bank.

Major also admitted robbing Capital Bank in Portland, Tenn., on Oct. 7, 2016.

Portland police released a surveillance camera image from that robbery showing a man in dark clothing, a brightly-colored traffic safety vest, a light-colored hat and dark sunglasses entering the bank.

Employees reported he was armed and took what was later determined to be $1,356.

Each robbery count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors dismissed two additional counts as part of the plea agreement, including a charge stemming from a 2016 incident at Citizens First Bank in Glasgow in which Major was accused of entering the business in a fake beard, latex gloves, dark-colored pants and a blue-and-white hat, only to leave without committing a robbery.


Decorise Major