Court denies Jailer salary increase
By: Greg Bird 3/13/14
An hour-long meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court Friday evening mainly focused on personnel and jail-related issues.
One of the topics was the salary of Jailer Tony Ball.
Ball, as well as other elected officials such as the Judge Executive, is eligible for annual pay raises based on length of time served in office. Ball was slated to receive an increase of $2,300 this year
Judge Stephens told the court he had spoken with the Department for Local Government attorneys who informed him since the jail is closed, the Fiscal Court did not have to award the raise, and, as such, he recommended the Court vote against granting the increase.
Magistrate Roger Phillips noted that magistrates are not eligible for similar raises, and made a motion, which was seconded by Magistrate Stan Cox. The Court voted 4-0 to not give the raise. Magistrate Frankie Ball, Jailer Ball’s brother, did not vote on this, or any jail-related issues.
The Court also discussed the purchase of a new transport vehicle, since the one in use has logged a lot of miles and broken down twice in the past month. Judge Stephens said he would look for a used-vehicle and would not spend over $5,000. Magistrate Phillips recommended looking for a 4-cylinder vehicle as a way to save fuel and money, but noted some extra work might have to be done to fit the security cage in the car.
Jerry Spradlin and Barry Strunk were removed from the transport officer list due to limited availability, and Jerry Privett was removed at his own request. Sherry Anderson-Slaven, Cody Lee Stephens and Cecil Floyd were added to the list as well.
In a related topic, during the citizen participation portion of the meeting, part time Transport Officer Deborah Moses asked the Court for help purchasing new tires for her vehicle, which she uses to transport prisoners. Judge Stephens informed her that the county does cover insurance and reimburses gas as part of the lease for the use of Moses’ vehicle in transporting, but it can not be responsible for maintenance.
Citizen Tim Freels asked the court about ways to help combat speeders on Perkins Lane in Pine Knot. Freels said he and other residents on the road are concerned with safety due to a high number of people driving fast through the residential area.
Judge Stephens said the County could not put speed bumps on a residential road, but he hoped something, such as increased police presence, could be done to alleviate the traffic issue.
Harvey Meadows asked what is being done to curtail illegal dumping in the county, and if the County could include billing for garbage service along with water bills. Judge Stephens stated litter abatement officer Donnie Morgan is documenting illegal sites when he comes across them – targeting them for future clean-ups. As for the billing question, Magistrate Phillips said he did not believe it would be legal for a government agency to perform billing for a private company.
Mark Foster of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet presented his recommendations for road improvements using the Rural Secondary Road Program funds.
A total of $892, 213 is available to be used, and Foster will recommend the state work on portions of Highways 478 and 1470, for a total of 8.029 miles of resurfacing between the two locations.
The next regular scheduled meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be on Friday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fiscal Court room.
Bank of McCreary revels new nameBy: Greg Bird 3/13/14
The merger of the Bank of McCreary County and First Trust and Savings Bank of Oneida is moving forward with the announcement of a new name and slogan this week.
Gordon Kidd, President and CEO of the Bank of McCreary County and Jim Johnson, President and CEO of First Trust and Savings announced the new name Monday: United Cumberland Bank, and the new slogan: “Generations of Trust. Neighbors you know.”
With the merger expected to be completed next month, Kidd and Johnson say it will combine the two financial institutions into one stronger bank, but customers should not see any changes in their banking experience.
“It is a privilege to have served the communities of the Cumberlands for generations, and this merger allows us to continue to do that on a larger scale, responding to the growth of the region and serving the customers at the highest level,” Kidd said.
The merger will combine over 200 years of banking service between the two banks. Bank of McCreary County was founded in 1906, while First Trust and Savings has been in operation since 1923. The two banks have been affiliated since 1994, and both are owned by the shareholders of McCreary Bancshares Inc. It will also combine assets to more than $280 million.
Johnson said the merger would combine that experience but still provide customers with the same service they have grown to expect from their bank.
“United Cumberland Bank’s new tagline is ‘Generations of trust. Neighbors you know,’ and this really sums up our philosophy of service to this community. We live, work, and play here, just like our customers. We think that’s what makes this bank so special,” he said.
The new bank will have seven branches in total, three in McCreary County, two in Oneida, and one each in Huntsville and Jacksboro.
When the idea of the merger was first announced last summer, Kidd stated changes in federal banking regulations required both banks to add services, which also added to expenses.
There has been some concern about the name change, with some people expressing regret about giving up a name that has been known locally for over 100 years.
Kidd said the bank is very aware of its place in McCreary County history, with more than a century of service to the county, but any changes will not affect the many community projects and initiatives the bank provides.
“It’s hard to give up 107 years of history,” he said. “But we used to be known as the Pine Knot Banking Company, so we have been through a name change before. We will keep our focus on community in both banks.”
The merger is expected to be finalized on April 14.
A new website will be available to Bank of McCreary customers on April 2, and to First Trust Savings Bank customers on April 14. More information on the merger can be found at www.bomconline.com/home/abo/ucb or www.ftsbonline/home/abo/ucb.
You're Still the OneBy: Eugenia Jones 3/13/14
At eighty-five years old, Jerry West of Strunk, Kentucky is quite a character! His wife, Virginia, happily attests to that.
There are two things that a stranger meeting the couple for the first time will instantly notice, and those two things are rare enough to not to be taken lightly.
The first is that Jerry can still make his bride of sixty years giggle like a schoolgirl with his constant barrage of light-hearted teasing and joking.
The second is that Virginia can still politely and gently get her good-natured and fun-loving Jerry in line when she so desires.
Yep, it is obvious. Jerry and Virginia, even after all this time, are still very, very much in love.
Before sharing stories of their own love, Virginia insists Jerry share his story.
As one of nine children born to Willie and Bessie West, Jerry was born in a one room cabin at his old home place in King Valley past the Duncan Cemetery in the southern part of the county. The Native American ancestry of his Cherokee grandmother, Sarah “Sallie” Lay Hamby, is proudly reflected in his strong features and in the warmth of his chocolate brown eyes.
Jerry’s best memories of growing up are centered around his old home place. He recalls always being around “those hills and woods” as a youngster.
“I hunted all these hills growing up,” Jerry recalls. “We grew up hunting deer, grouse, and all sorts of wild animals.”
Ginseng hunting and cutting firewood were also a part of Jerry’s life as he grew up in the hills and woods of King Valley.
Jerry, who today speaks authoritatively about Bible history and prophecy, also remembers attending a Baptist church, just out the road, when he was a child.
“The church had a hell fire preacher,” Jerry shares. “He scared me to death! I was always searching for the truth, and I finally figured it out!”
When Jerry was seventeen, he began working a four year stint with the railroad where he was paid 35 cents per hour.
“We’d ride the train down to Glenmary, TN on Sunday,” West shares. “We’d ride and sleep in railroad cars with a cook on the train to fix our meals. We worked on the tracks.”
Eventually, Jerry moved on to Cincinnati where a contractor took him under his wing and taught him bricklaying. He quickly became the bricklaying foreman. Later in life, he served in the Army and attended school to learn auto body work under the GI Bill.
At the age of twenty-five, Jerry married his sweet Virginia who, when he met her, was working with a cousin of his.
“I came from a blue-eyed family,” Virginia blushes and laughs. “His dark eyes got me! Everybody talked good about him. You can look in those brown eyes and know!”
After Jerry and Virginia met and started to court, Virginia’s sister sent her off to New York.
“She thought Jerry was too old for me,” Virginia explains. “She didn’t want either one of us to get hurt.”
While Virginia was in New York visiting her brother and working in a drugstore to earn enough money to get herself back home to her sweetheart, Jerry was busy telephoning Virginia every day and happily wrapping Virgina’s family around his finger! Eventually, Virginia’s mother relented and went to New York with Jerry and the two star crossed sweethearts were reunited.
Virginia grins, “When you’re caught, you’re caught!”
Becoming serious, she shares, “He’s been a mighty fine man. He’s a gentleman. It’s all in the way they treat you. I was blessed. We both respected ourselves and each other.”
In between teasing about Virginia’s habit of charging him a quarter every time he forgets to turn off a light, Jerry turns serious when he shares his secret to their long lasting love.
“I determined it would last,” he says solemnly. “I always thought it should be forever. “ Suddenly, he grins again and adds, “Besides, what would she do without me?”