City of Elizabethtown

Shane Howard loves Elizabethtown.

He says living in Elizabethtown — just 45 miles south of Louisville — allows him to remain in close proximity to a bigger city without having to deal with city problems like rush hour traffic.

He’s only 35 minutes away from downtown Louisville. Arguably, Howard says, for someone living in the East End, it can take them the same amount of time to get to downtown. But the cost of living in Elizabethtown is much cheaper.

“The new restaurants popping up, new entertainment things, sports bars and those things popping up, it’s becoming more and more attractive,” he says.

Howard is founder of Custom College Recruiting. The service matches high school student-athletes abroad with sports scholarship opportunities in the U.S. He founded the company in 2009 and received funding in 2014. Prior to that, he bootstrapped. But Howard said he knew if he was going to expand his business from something he was doing at home alone on his couch, he was going to need help.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Two dozen Hardin County area nonprofits are trying to gain a better picture of the local homeless population.

The groups are hoping to draw 300 to 400 families to an event Wednesday afternoon in Elizabethtown.

Megan Stith, President and CEO of United Way of Central Kentucky, says the groups are reaching out to those who may have been missed during a statewide homeless count conducted earlier this year.

According to Stith, those could be people “who are living with relatives, in between housing situations and staying with friends, or have family staying in multiple locations, or staying in a shelter or some kind of temporary or transitional housing.”

Stith says the event will be a one-stop opportunity for those who are housing or food insecure in Hardin County to learn more about local programs that can help. Feeding America is providing food distribution at the event.

Two Elizabethtown cancer doctors are being sued for allegedly extending chemotherapy treatments in order to make more money.

Six former patients and the estates representing two other patients are suing Doctors Yusef Deshmukh and Rafiq Rahman, accusing the two of diluting the drugs used to treat their cancers, so that the treatment period would be made longer. The Courier-Journal reports the alleged actions by the doctors between 2006 and 2014 allowed them to improperly bill Medicaid and other programs for reimbursements.

Deshmukh and Rahman are already under investigation by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure related to the allegations.

The suit asks for unspecified damages and says the patients were made to unnecessarily retain catheters and ports inside their bodies.

The defendants have not yet filed a legal response to the suit. Meanwhile, the doctors accused in the suit are allowed to continue their practice, and their clinic remains open.

Emil Moffatt

The city of Elizabethtown will be responsible for testing and any abatement necessary at the historic church that’s set to become part of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame. 

The News-Enterprise reports the City Council voted unanimously Monday to enter into a contract with the board of the Hall of Fame for a fee simple title.  The former home of First Presbyterian Church has been vacant since 2011 when a non-profit organization moved out.

Organizers say they’re close to having the $1.15 million in place to start construction.  A groundbreaking ceremony could take place as early as July.

Emil Moffatt

Plans to give the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame a permanent home continue moving forward. 

The man spearheading the  project, Mike Pollio, says fundraising efforts have netted nearly a million dollars so far.

“We’re really excited about where we are,” said Pollio. “You know a million dollars is obviously a lot of money in today’s times. We’re only about $120 thousand short of building it.”

Pollio says they hope to break ground in July. The Hall of Fame could open a year later.   The Elizabethtown City Council is expected to vote next week on giving organizers a title to the property on West Dixie Avenue.  

Preliminary designs call for a historic church to be used as part of the Hall of Fame. A new building will be constructed next to it.

The long awaited final extension of the bypass around Elizabethtown got a big step toward completion Wednesday morning when Governor Beshear presented a $4.5 million check to the city for pre-construction funding.

The money represents estimates in the 2014 Highway Plan for right-of-way acquisition and utilities work for the final Ring Road segment.

The concept of a Ring Road bypass goes back to planning studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The project first appeared in the Kentucky Highway Plan in 1998 and has been built in stages,initially as a two-lane road but since widened to five lanes and now providing access to commercial and industrial business sites.

It currently runs from U.S. 31W, around the western side of Elizabethtown to connect with the Western Kentucky Parkway. The final extension will connect with I-65.

It’s a problem facing many dog owners who don’t have a big backyard or live an apartment: finding a place to let dogs spend their energy running without a leash. 

On October 4th in Elizabethtown, the city will open its first dog park at Freeman Lake Park just off Nalls Road.

Current mayor Edna Berger says the idea for a dog park came from the late Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker, who died suddenly of a heart attack last year.

The grand opening takes place October 4th and Friends of the Hardin County Animal Shelter will be on hand to promote pet adoptions.

Four Kentucky children remain hospitalized after suffering an apparent E. coli infection. The cluster of cases is being investigated by the Lincoln Trail District Health Department based in Elizabethtown. 

The first illness was reported in mid-August. Health Department Public Information Officer Wendy Keown says investigators are trying to determine if there is a common cause. 

"We thoroughly investigate activities such as recent travel, exposure to animals, food histories. You know, have they been swimming anywhere? And try to find any commonality between those to determine a source.  As of right now, there has not been a confirmed source of infection identified," said Keown.

The five children sickened with hemolytic uremic syndrome range in age from 18 months to six years. 

Keown says they are suffering kidney related problems. She says three of the children are from Hardin County and one each from Oldham and Boone Counties. 

Elizabethtown Business Acquired, Will Expand

Jun 13, 2014

Soudal Holding NV will acquire and expand Accumetric LLC. The international adhesive and sealant manufacturer will retain the 85 jobs currently at the facility and create as many as 77 new positions, investing nearly $21.2 million in the project.

Soudal will upgrade the technology of the plant and expand the 200,000 sq. ft. facility which will still operate under the name Accumetric.

Doctors, Practice Settle Elizabethtown Billings Case

Jun 4, 2014

Federal authorities say an Elizabethtown medical practice and two owners have agreed to a $3.7 million settlement in a case alleging false billings for chemotherapy patients.

A settlement agreement  announced by the U. S. Attorney's office in Louisville said federal and state officials contend that Dr. Rafiq Ur Rahman and Dr. Yusuf K. Deshmukh billed for unnecessary evaluations and along with their practice, Elizabethtown Hematology Oncology, extended chemotherapy times so they could improperly bill Medicare, Medicaid and other government health care programs.

The U. S. Attorney's office said some of the allegations were included in a "whistleblower" lawsuit brought by another physician who will receive more than $280,000 in the settlement.

Hardin County is one step closer to having its first ever YMCA facility.

A steering committee announced Thursday afternoon the selection of a 14 acre site in Elizabethtown where the YMCA will be built. Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nannette Johnston is chair of the committee, and says the project could have a positive impact on the community’s health.

“One of the alarming factors that I have seen is that when our student-athletes have physicals, the hospital has shared with us that they’re seeing an increase—even in our student-athletes—of cases of high blood pressure, weight problems, and some who are even on some kind of blood pressure medication,” Johnston told WKU Public Radio.

The Hardin County YMCA will be a branch of the Greater Louisville chapter of the organization.

The privately-owned land selected for the project is on Veteran’s Way in Elizabethtown behind the Best Buy store. Johnston says the property owner has agreed to make a sizeable donation to the effort, meaning the land will be bought below market level.

Anthony Clark Evans

The rise to prominence in the opera world continues for an Owensboro native.

Last week, Anthony Clark Evans was named a winner of the Sarah Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music foundation. Evans is one of only five young opera singers nationwide to win the $5,000 award this year. The audition for the grant was by invitation only.

“What it really means to me, is that I’m able to maybe make a few extra trips here and there and audition for more people because I’ll have a little bit of extra cash just sitting in the bank,” said Evans.  “I’ll be able to maybe take a flight out to New York again to sing for somebody that’s important out there.”

The  28-year-old baritone now resides in Elizabethtown but is currently studying at the Ryan Center of Lyric Opera in Chicago. He says he comes from a long line of singers.

“It really comes from my father. He was a trained singer and his father was a trained singer. I think it goes back four or five generations,” said Evans.

He studied voice at Murray State, but left school twice to save up more money to continue his education. The second time away, he got married and the couple settled in Elizabethtown where he took a job at a car dealership. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

This week’s snowfall and ice across parts of Kentucky are taking a toll on the Transportation Cabinet’s salt supply. Spokesman Chris Jessie says District 4 – which includes Hardin, Hart, Larue and eight other surrounding counties, has had to order reinforcements and borrow from the reserve stock in Louisville.

“We’re keeping close watch on the forecast through this upcoming week,” said Jessie.  “So while we have salt on hand in our District 4 counties, if we continue to get these rounds of snow and ice as we’ve had over the past week, our situation will become more critical.”

He says crews are currently using salt “wisely”, but if supplies continue to diminish they may have to resort to conservation efforts.  He says that means treating only main routes and those roadways with the highest volume of traffic.  

“We want to be sure motorists understand this potential conservation method before we have to implement it,” said Jessie.

As of last week, the Transportation Cabinet said that crews had spread more than 220,000 tons of salt across the state this winter.

An Elizabethtown woman is facing charges after police say she deliberately smashed her car into a Kroger store, and it's not the first time she's done it.

June Ann Blocker allegedly drove through the front door of the Dolphin Drive store Wednesday, injuring two people when she slammed into the checkout lane. She's charged with drunk driving, assault, criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. Police say Blocker was charged more than a decade ago with doing the exact same thing at another Elizabethtown Kroger. Friends say the incidents are related to a running vendetta she has with the company as a former employee.

Kroger isn't the only chain where Blocker has been blocked from entry. A court order demanded she stay away from all Hardin County Walmart stores and take her medication.

Emil Moffatt

Five months after Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” made its debut in theaters, residents of Elizabethtown will have the opportunity to see the film on the big screen this weekend. The State Theater in downtown Elizabethtown will show the movie Friday through Sunday. 

In August, Ike Boutwell, the owner of the town’s first-run movie theater and a Vietnam veteran, refused to show the film because it featured Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan.  

Fonda’s actions during the Vietnam War have not been forgotten by many veterans.

But Emily West, the director of the State Theater says Elizabethtown residents deserve a chance to see the movie on the big screen.

“I appreciate his decision and I appreciate what he [Boutwell] did for this country,” said West. “I am in no way a Jane Fonda supporter, I do think what she did was wrong, but it was a very long time ago and this is a wonderful film that was not able to be shown originally and I’m just giving folks the opportunity.”