KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Beshear updated Kentuckians on a variety of topics, which included economic development and infrastructure improvements, as well as the state’s response to the flooding in Eastern Kentucky.

Economic development update

Governor Beshear announced the Courier Journal reported that Kentucky led the nation in job growth for the month of August. New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the state added 26,700 nonfarm payroll jobs from July to August. That means it’s a 1.4% month-over-month growth rate, which was the largest seen by any state.

One of the job creation announcements Beshear had were some new coal industry jobs. The jobs are through River View Coal, which operates an underground coal mine in Union County, and will expand its footprint in the state with a new facility in Henderson County. This will create 260 well-paying jobs with a $35 million investment.

Eastern Kentucky flood update

Beshear provided an update on Eastern Kentucky stabilization and rebuilding efforts following July’s historic floods. Almost $73 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program for 7,785 households. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is now October 28.

Over $50 million has been approved under the U.S. Small Business Associations for 662 applicants. Governor Beshear also announced that Kentucky has gotten approval from the federal Food and Nutrition Service to allow flood survivors in Eastern Kentucky to purchase hot food with SNAP benefits until November 1.

Beshear said that Kentucky State Parks are currently housing 297 people. Since last Thursday, 34 individuals have transitioned out of state parks. Currently, 464 individuals are being housed in 168 travel trailers. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is collecting and removing damaged cars that came to rest on public rights-of-way or in waterways that block access to a public-use area or threaten infrastructure.

To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief fund has raised over $9.8 million from over 37,000 donors. The Governor also highlighted and thanked the Pikeville Medical Center’s Foundation for Quality Healthcare, which donated nearly $44,000. To contribute, click here.

For other information regarding flooding in Eastern Kentucky, visit this website.

Governor Beshear announces $3.2 million in transportation funding

Governor Beshear announced more than $3.2 million in funding from KYTC to make travel and safety improvements on dozens of local streets and roads across the state. These awards will benefit 43 projects in four cities and 17 counties.

Governor Beshear recognizes John Prine Memorial Park

Beshear recognized local officials and volunteers in Muhlenberg County, who on Saturday will dedicate John Prine Memorial Park at Rochester Dam along the Green River. Prine, whose career as a singer and songwriter spanned five decades, grew up in Chicago but spent his summers in Muhlenberg County, where his parents were from. In his song, “Paradise,” inspired by Kentucky, Prine sang: “When I die let my ashes float down the Green River / Let my soul roll up to the Rochester dam.”

“Sadly, the world lost John Prine in April of 2020 to COVID-19. It was a shocking loss so early in the pandemic,” Governor Beshear said. “We paid tribute to him during our then-daily COVID briefings, including a video set to his wonderful rendition of ‘My Old Kentucky Home.’ In honor of the park’s dedication, and John Prine’s legacy, I also have issued an official acclamation paying tribute to John Prine Memorial Park. Thanks to everyone who helped make this recognition possible.”

Hurricane Ian Response

A press release says the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade of the Kentucky National Guard is providing five UH-60 Blackhawks with aircrews to assist the Florida National Guard with search and rescue operations. These are the same aircrews that provided lifesaving rescue operations during the Eastern Kentucky flooding in July. Airmen and units from the Kentucky Air National Guard remain on standby to assist. Requests for assistance so far include Beshear authorizing the three C-130 aircraft and 22 personnel to assist Florida as needed.