Muhlenberg County

Environment
5:50 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

As Land is Cleared for New Gas-Burning Plant, TVA Leaders Say Paradise Will Easily Meet EPA Rules

The Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro currently has three coal-burning units. By the spring of 2017, that number will be cut to one.
Credit Tennessee Valley Authority

Construction crews have cleared about 60 percent of the land needed to begin building a new natural gas facility at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. The new plant is scheduled to open by spring of 2017, and will take the place of two coal burning units currently in operation at the TVA facility.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the future site of the new gas-burning unit, Transition Manager Billy Sabin said this week’s announcement of new E.P.A. regulations on power plant emissions won’t impact the Paradise Fossil Plant, because the TVA had already decided to reduce carbon emissions at a much faster rate than what the federal government is now seeking.

“We will have a reduction of about 50 percent of coal. Because Unit 3 will continue to run, it’s going to burn about 2.7 to 3 million tons of coal a year,” Sabin said. “So it’ll be about a 50 percent reduction from what we do now.”

Sabin says the excavation stage of the new cleaner-burning gas plant project will be completed by early 2015, with construction of the facility following. He says the new facility, known as a combined-cycle gas plant, has several advantages over the older coal-burning model.

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Regional
5:54 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Utilities Ask For Delay on Power Plants Request

Kentucky Utilities Co. and Louisville Gas and Electric Co. say they want to delay a request to build a natural gas power plant in Muhlenberg County and a solar facility in Mercer County because nine municipal customers plan to cancel their wholesale power contracts with KU.

KU and LG&E say the cancellations are effective in 2019 and total approximately 320 megawatts of load. The companies asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission in January for approval for the two facilities. The companies asked the PSC to delay the case for up to 90 days while it considers the effect of the termination notices.

The companies said the potential loss of the nine customers won't affect service to their remaining 1.2 million customers but could have an effect on the cost to serve the customers in the future.

Environment
9:53 am
Wed April 30, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court: EPA Allowed to Regulate Emissions from Coal Plants

The Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Credit Tennessee Valley Authority

The U.S. Supreme Court is upholding the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal pollution that crosses state lines.

Tuesday’s 6-2 decision is being called a major victory for the Obama administration’s environmental agenda, and will likely have a major impact on coal-fired power plants in Kentucky and other states.

The White House has put forth a set of new Clean Air Act regulations aimed at cutting pollution coming from coal-fired power plants. Coal industry advocates and many Republican lawmakers—including Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell—have sharply criticized those regulations, describing them as government overreach and a “war on coal.”

The EPA is expected to unveil new climate control regulations in June to cut down on carbon pollution from coal plants. Kentucky gets an estimated 90 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants, such as the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County.

Many power suppliers have been anticipating increased scrutiny of coal pollution, and have been implemented changes at their plants to make their coal-fired operations more environmentally-friendly.

Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Scott Brooks told WKU Public Radio that Tuesday's Supreme Court decision has "no impact" on the utility's plans for the Paradise plant.

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Arts & Culture
10:52 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Everly Brothers 1960 Hit Included in National Recording Registry

Promotional material from the Everly Brothers' 'Homecoming Concerts' in Muhlenberg County
Credit Emil Moffatt

The Library of Congress has unveiled the list of this year’s 25 additions to the National Recording Registry.

Among the recordings – the Everly Brothers 1960 hit “Cathy’s Clown”, which was recorded at the RCA “Studio B” in Nashville.

Earlier this year, Muhlenberg County held a celebration of life for Phil Everly, who died January 3rd.  Everly and his brother Don held a series of charity concerts in their family’s hometown in Western Kentucky in the 1980s and 1990s.    

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Regional
9:07 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Owensboro Health Inks Deal To Operate Muhlenberg Co. Hospital

Muhlenberg Community Hospital
Credit Muhlenberg Community Hospital

A new multi-year agreement means Owensboro Health will be taking over operations at Muhlenberg Community Hospital.  The three-year contract officially takes effect May 1st, but hospital officials say the transition process has already begun.  Owensboro Health President and CEO Philip Patterson says his company was looking for a “new and emerging” partner. 

“We, as Owensboro Health are not looking to own all the hospitals and health networks of western Kentucky,” said Patterson "We’re looking for those established networks that will allow us to partner and bring the best and highest-quality of care to western Kentucky." 

Patterson says residents in Muhlenberg County won’t notice any drastic, immediate changes. 

“Our hope is that they will not see any significant change when it comes to the staffing or the look of Muhlenberg Community Hospital, unless it’s to the betterment of the hospital itself,” said Patterson.

Ed Heath, who has been with Owensboro Health since 2008, has been named the CEO of Muhlenberg Community Hospital. He’ll oversee the hospital’s 450 employees. 

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Regional
7:14 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Muhlenberg County Father Speaks About Fire that Killed his Wife, Children

Chad Watson spoke Sunday to a Greenville audience, his first public comments since January 30 when his house caught fire overnight, killing his wife and eight children.
Credit Lisa Autry

For the first time since a house fire killed his wife and eight of his nine children, Chad Watson shared his story Sunday, just days after leaving the hospital and returning home to Muhlenberg County. 

A packed auditorium at Muhlenberg County High School sang worship songs and joined in prayer, but when Chad Watson took the stage, you could hear the proverbial pin drop. 

With his burned hands still bandaged, Watson said as the father of nine healthy and vibrant children, he considered himself the most blessed man on earth.

"That night as Kylie and I waited for an ambulance to come, all I could think of was 'It's being taken away,' and the only one who can stop it is allowing it to happen," Watson said passionately.

He choked back tears, but otherwise the preacher by trade was right at home as he read scripture and spoke of his unwavering faith in God in the most trying time.

“He is the one, no matter what happens, no matter what we think He should have done, no matter what we think He could have done, no matter what we think of His plan, He is the only one that has any true comfort to offer," Watson told the audience.

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Regional
6:16 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Father and Daughter Who Survived Muhlenburg County House Fire Return Home

11 year old Kylie Watson and her father Chad have been released from Vanderbilt Hospital.

A father and daughter who were injured in a tragic house fire that killed nine other family members returned home Saturday to a community parade.

Chad and 11 year old Kylie Watson arrived in Greenville to signs, balloons and cheers from well-wishers. The parade ended at Calvary Baptist Church in Central City, where there was a celebration for their return.

Kylie and her father were injured on January 30 when some type of combustible material fell against a baseboard heater in a bedroom. the blaze killed La Rae "Nikki" Watson and eight of her children aged 4 to 15.

Regional
12:45 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Muhlenberg County Fire Survivors Improving

The conditions of a father and daughter who were the only survivors in a Muhlenberg County house fire that killed nine family members have been upgraded.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials said Monday that 36-year-old Chad Watson and his 11-year-old daughter, Kylie, are both in stable condition. Hospital spokesman Craig Boerner said the two had been in critical but stable condition since they arrived on Jan. 30 but were upgraded over the weekend.

Police say the fire started when a combustible material fell against an electric heater in a bedroom overnight in the home in the community of Depoy near Greenville, Ky. The blaze killed La Rae "Nikki" Watson and eight of her children, ages 4 to 15.

The funeral for the nine family members was held Saturday.

Regional
9:25 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Western Kentucky Community Remembers Family Killed in Fire

Pallbearers carry the nine caskets following the funeral service.
Lisa Autry

Several hundred mourners filed into Muhlenberg County High School Saturday to remember a mother and her eight children who died in a house fire. 

Among them was Charlotte Groves, who had a firsthand account of the tragedy.

“I lived next door to them, I’m the one who called 911,” she said.

Charlotte Groves was awakened in the middle of the night on January 30 to screams coming from her neighbor’s home engulfed in flames.  Chad Watson and his 11-year-old daughter Kylie escaped the burning home, but his wife Larae and his eight other children did not.

“He kept it together for his daughter.  He kept saying 'God is a good God, they're in a better place.'  He was remarkable,” said Groves.  “He tried to go back in there three times but he told us the fire was so hot every time he tried, he got burnt.”

Inside Muhlenberg County High School, nine closed white caskets were lined up on the stage of a packed auditorium.  Propped up on easels behind the caskets were large pictures of each family member: 36-year-old LaRae Watson, and her children, 15-year-old Madison; 14-year-old Kaitlyn; 13-year old Morgan; 9-year old Emily; 8-year-old Samuel; 6-year-old Raegan; and 4-year-old twins Mark and Nathaniel.

“In the 27 years I’ve been in the ministry, I’ve never had anything that has devastated me and touched me anymore than this,” said Tim Burden.

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Regional
11:35 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Nine Muhlenberg County Family Members Killed in House Fire to Be Buried Saturday

A Muhlenberg County town is preparing to bury a mother and eight of her children who died in a house fire.

Members of the Watson family died Jan. 30 when police say a combustible material fell against an electric heater in a bedroom on a sub-freezing night in the community of Depoy near Greenville, Ky.

Killed were 35-year-old LaRae "Nikki" Watson, 15-year-old Madison Watson, 14-year-old Kaitlyn Watson, 13-year-old Morgan Watson, 9-year-old Emily Watson, 8-year-old Samuel Watson, 6-year-old Raegan Watson and 4-year-old twin brothers Mark and Nathaniel Watson.

The father, 36-year-old Chad Watson, and 11-year-old Kylie Watson, escaped the blaze and were at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. The funeral service is being held at the Muhlenberg County High School's west campus Saturday afternoon.

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