An influential Eastern Kentucky legislator owns the permits on Pike County coal mines that have been cited repeatedly by the state for safety and environmental violations.
Rep. Keith Hall’s Beech Creek Coal Co. and others that are mining coal on the Phelps Democrat’s permits have been cited since 2010 for dropping rocks on homes, mining outside of permitted areas, water pollution and failing to obey regulations on blasting, reclamation and maintaining slurry ponds.
Barbara Eldridge lives next to the largest of Beech Creek’s three surface mines near Phelps. A year ago, a rock slab the size of a truck tire slammed into her home, denting a wall and shattering a paved walkway.
“It’s a danger to everybody out here, I think. Every time you hear the blast, you wonder if something’s about to come down on you,” Eldridge said.
Neighbors and state records say rocks from that mine also have landed on the properties of four other neighbors, though no injuries have been reported.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Board of Regents meets this week to consider tuition rates for the next academic year. The board will vote on a recommendation to raise tuition 2.8% for the 2013-14 school year.
The Council on Postsecondary Education has authority to determine tuition rates for Kentucky’s state-supported universities and the KCTCS. At its April meeting, the CPE set a tuition parameter of three-percent for all schools.
Under the $2.8% hike, in-state students would pay $144 per credit hour. Out-of-state students from contiguous counties would pay $288 while other out-of-state students would be charged $504 per credit hour.
The Board of Regents is expected to approve the tuition increase at its meeting Friday at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland.
The Bowling Green Daily News reports that the #1 ranked Greenwood Gators of Bowling Green beat #6 Owensboro Catholic 8-0 Saturday to win the state softball championship and complete the first undefeated fast-pitch season in state history. Greenwood finished their season 44-0.
Members of the public who would be impacted by a potential rate increase by Big Rivers Electric Corporation have opportunities to speak out this week. The Kentucky Public Service Commission is holding meetings in Owensboro and Henderson, and a chance for Brandenburg residents to link via video conferencing.
The Henderson-based Big Rivers wants approval for a rate adjustment that will raise $74.5 million dollars in increased revenue. The possible 20 percent increase would account for an extra $24 per month for the average customer. Industrial customers would see nearly 17 percent rate increases.
The utility says most of that new revenue is needed to offset the loss of the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville, which will cease to be a Big Rivers client in mid-August. Big Rivers provides power to a region extending from Meade County through Owensboro and Henderson and into Paducah in far western Kentucky.
The Public Service Commission will hold two meetings this Thursday for public comments on the proposed rate hike. The first is at South Middle School in Henderson at 1 p.m., and the second will be at the Owensboro Community and Technical College that evening at 5:30.
Big Rivers customers in the Brandenburg area can watch the Owensboro meeting via a video-conference at Meade County High School starting at 6:30 p.m. eastern.