As we head deeper into fall, I wanted to take this time to update you on some of the things going on in your government and some of the projects were are actively working on.
Election Day is also right around the corner. There are many important statewide offices on the ballot this Tuesday. I encourage you to get out and vote. It’s important for our county to be engaged in the process of electing candidates. The more people that participate in the election process by exercising their right to vote, means the more influence our county has in fighting for the issues that are important to us. I also want to encourage you to take this Election Day opportunity to take a child or grandchild with you when you go to cast your ballot. This gives you the opportunity to educate them about the election process and get them understanding the importance of our right to vote.
Many people in our county and around the state have already decided who they are voting for in different races. I am not going to try and persuade you in this column to vote for any particular candidate. However, I think it is my duty as your chief elected official to let you know which candidates have actually been to Harlan County to hear concerns about the issues we face.
Fortunately, all three candidates vying to become Kentucky’s next governor have been to Harlan County. Democrat Jack Conway has made two stops in the county this year; Republican Matt Bevin was here earlier in the summer and Independent Drew Curtis made a trip to Harlan County a few weeks ago.
In the race for attorney general, Democrat Andy Beshear has been to Harlan County four times since announcing his bid to become Kentucky’s next chief law enforcement officer. Beshear’s opponent has not campaigned in Harlan County at this time.
In the race for state auditor, Democrat incumbent Adam Edelen spent the afternoon in Harlan County in late September with residents at the Harlan Center. Edelen’s opponent has not made a campaign stop in Harlan County at this time.
In the race for secretary of state, Democrat incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes has been to Harlan County three times this year and was here in Harlan County again on Thursday. Grimes’ opponent has not made a campaign stop in Harlan County at this time. In the race for commissioner of agriculture, Republican State Representative Ryan Quarles visited Harlan County last week to talk with residents at Dairy Queen in Baxter. Quarles’ opponent has not campaigned in Harlan County at this time.
In the race for treasurer, Democrat Rick Nelson, who is also one of our state representatives and a Harlan County native, has been to the county multiple times this year. His opponent has not campaigned in Harlan County at this time. In the non-partisan race for Supreme Court, Letcher Circuit Court Judge Sam Wright and Janet Stumbo have both campaigned in Harlan County multiple times this year.
If you are not sure where your precinct is located, please contact County Clerk Donna Hoskins’ office at 606-573-3636. Encourage your family and friends to get out and vote on Tuesday.
Now on to some of the issues we are working on in county government. Loyall residents have been dealing with the mosquito infested lagoon for years or as many have referred to as “Lake Mistake.” I am working closely with Congressman Hal Rogers office on this matter to see that this is properly addressed and corrected. Congressman Rogers has been a champion for flood control projects for our county and region. He wants to see this corrected as well. I met with him two weeks ago and he informed me that he had met with top Corps of Engineers officials, the week prior, about the lagoon situation. The Corps of Engineers had a team here earlier in the summer to thoroughly evaluate the inlet and outlet of the lagoon. We are hopeful that we will see some movement on this issue in the coming months and some funding can be put in place to get this mess cleaned up.
The Harlan County Fiscal Court passed its second reading and adoption of the joint sewer agency agreement for the Tri-Cities area. We are hopeful that the councils of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch will do the same so we can all move forward together with this exciting project of combining sewer services in that area. With the daunting challenges that face the three cities, this project can help eliminate a financial liability to the city governments and go a long way in getting the towns in compliance with regulating entities. I firmly believe this action, if approved by all councils in the Tri-Cities area, will be a monumental step in the right direction.
The Stone Mountain Boat Dock will close for the winter on Nov. 1. Boat owners are advised to remove their boats by this date. The Harlan County Fiscal Court will not be responsible for any property left at the dock after Nov. 1. The boat dock will re-open March 1. Those who want to reserve a slip for next season can come by the courthouse to my office or the Harlan County treasurer’s office. We plan on developing primitive campsites on property near the dock during the winter months and making some other improvements to the property. We are also working with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to get all necessary requirements met to put in the new boat ramp.
Some improvements have been made to the property at Highsplint Lake on Clover Fork. A new shelter house has been constructed along with benches placed around the lake so that people can have a good place to sit down and fish. We encourage people to use the shelter house for birthday parties, church picnics and family reunions. Highsplint Lake is a beautiful place and there is also some good fishing there as well. We hope to work with Operation UNITE officials next spring to put on a “Hooked on Fishing…Not on Drugs” event at this location also.
Be on the lookout for the little ghosts and goblins running around in our communities on Halloween. Trick or treat hours are from 5-7 p.m. out in the county on Saturday.
If you need or want to contact me, you can call my office at 606-573-2600. You can email me at [email protected] or write to me P.O. Box 956 Harlan, KY. 40831. As always, I would love to hear from you. Also, feel free to drop in and see me any time I can be of assistance. My office is located on the top floor of the old courthouse. Thank you!