KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Beshear and Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman updated Kentuckians on economic development projects, recovery efforts in eastern Kentucky, mental health funding for students, the Department of Juvenile Justice and more during this week’s Team Kentucky update.
Here are the highlights from Thursday’s press conference.
Gov. Beshear congratulated Neogen, a leading manufacturer of animal and food safety products, on the relocation and expansion of its Lexington operation, a $6 million investment creating over 70 full-time jobs.
“The commitment from Neogen’s leaders to continue to invest in multiple communities in our state is the type of success we love to see,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to thank Neogen’s leadership for continuing to invest in the Lexington community and growing their presence here in Kentucky.”
Eastern Kentucky flood
According to Beshear, 208 families are housed in travel trailers following the historic flooding in eastern Kentucky last year. Kentucky State Parks are now housing 20 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1.
According to a release from the governor’s office, over $10 million in awards have been approved for the buy-out program. The awards account for 61 properties from Perry County, the city of Jackson, Breathitt County and newly approved Letcher County applicants.
Mental health funding for students
Lt. Governor Coleman joined students and educational leaders on Tuesday to announce federal funding that will increase access to school-based mental health services for over 100,000 students.
The U.S. Department of Education selected two educational cooperatives that applied for funding. The Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services will receive $13,263,481 over five years and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative will receive $5,281,577 over five years.
Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs award
Governor Beshear announced that for the third year the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs won the Department of Veterans Affairs Abraham Lincoln Pillar of Excellence Award in the Customer Service for Veterans Affair Benefits and Services category.
The governor said the award means Kentucky is a national leader in how to treat veterans and that they are getting their benefits faster and easier than in other states. Last week, the governor signed House Bill 2 to provide funding to complete the Bowling Green Veterans Center.
Department of Juvenile Justice
The governor announced that 59 people have graduated from the Department of Juvenile Justice’s training academy and have reported for the first day to their assigned facility.
The governor said 22 people began the training academy on Monday and are expected to graduate in March. Of the 81 new security personnel, the governor says 61 have been hired as correctional officers for a juvenile detention center and the remaining 20 have bee hired as youth workers at other facilities like youth development centers and group homes.
“A core component of ensuring safety at our juvenile justice facilities is having enough qualified, trained individuals on-duty,” Gov. Beshear said.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Governor Beshear named two Kentucky chefs as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars
Ouita Mitche, the six-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee known for her restaurants Holly Hill Inn, Honeywood, Wallace Station and Smithtown was recently appointed to the American Culinary Corps. The governor said this achievement will allow her to work with other culinary stars to utilize food, hospitality and more to bridge cultures and strengthen relationships.
Sara Bradley, the runner-up on “Top Chef” season 16, will return for season 20 in England and France to compete against other previous winners and finalists for the World All-Stars title. The governor said Sara is already an all-star in Kentucky, and that he wishes her the best of luck.