KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on November 17, about the following subjects:
Here are some of the highlights from this week’s Team Kentucky update.
Kentucky National Guard
Governor Beshear announced 208 Kentucky National Guard members will be returning home from their deployment in Kosovo. The soldiers, part of the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, are from Barbourville, Middlesboro and Ravenna. They mobilized in December of 2021 and have been serving as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping force according to a release from the governor’s office.
“We are very glad to have them back with us in Kentucky. It is going to be an extra special Thanksgiving for you and your families,” Gov. Beshear said. “To each and every one of you: welcome home and thank you for your service.”
Governor Beshear highlighted four economic development projects expected to create 435 jobs and representing $632 million in investment.
The governor joined UPS Supply Chain Solutions Inc. last month to announce the company would be increasing its footprint in the commonwealth with $334 million in investments to establish two new locations in Jefferson and Bullitt counties. The facilities are expected to create 435 jobs for Kentuckians.
UPS highlighted progress on a $220 million project to create a two-bay hangar at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. The project is expected to be completed next year. The hangar will be able to house the largest UPS aircraft and serve as a location for maintenance and service checks.
UPS company leaders also announced a $78 million Global Aviation Training Center expansion in Louisville, which includes four full-motion flight simulators that will be used for pilot training, office space and classrooms. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.
Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Jeff Noel joined British Airways and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on Wednesday to help announce a new direct flight from northern Kentucky to London Heathrow, with flights set to begin next June.
On Tuesday, Governor Beshear signed an executive order that will allow Kentuckians with certain severe medical conditions who meet specific requirements to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions beginning on January 1, 2023.
The governor said the executive order is part of an effort to reduce Kentuckians’ reliance on addictive opioids and provide them relief from pain. Governor Beshear talked about Jared Bonvell, a veteran from northern Kentucky who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and who described his daily struggle after being prescribed 13 medications that weren’t effective.
The governor also said the state will regulate the sale of Delta 8. Delta 8 contains THC, but at a lower level than marijuana. It is not a controlled substance in Kentucky nor under federal law, and a court has ruled that it is legal in Kentucky.
Beshear announced more than $88.1 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency Individuals and Households Program for 8,460 households and over $55.8 million has been approved under the U.S. Small Business Administration. To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $12.2 million from more than 41,000 donors. Beshear highlighted and thanked HCA Healthcare for their donation of $100,000 to the fund.
The governor said Kentucky State Parks are now housing 216 people, down eight from last week and down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1. Currently, 660 individuals are being housed in travel trailers. There are 320 travel trailers on site in 10 different locations.
Governor Beshear announced another $11,746,999 in awards from the Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund to communities and public entities to support recovery efforts in counties impacted by the July floods. Payments going out this week include:
- $3.2 million to the Knott County Board of Education to ease the district’s strained fiscal liquidity
- $906,203 to the Knott County Fiscal Court to cover the required match of FEMA projects and to an employee floodplain planner
- $226,160 to the Knott County Water and Sewer District for its required FEMA project match
- Over $6.2 million to the Letcher County Board of Education to ease the district’s strained fiscal liquidity
- Over $1.1 million to the Letcher County Fiscal Court for required FEMA project match of $31,531 to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District to obtain engineering and surveying services.
Governor Beshear also announced more awards from the Western Kentucky SAFE Fund, including:
- $550,000 to the city of Bowling Green to restore its greenspace
- $65,500 to the Princeton Water and Wastewater System for the restoration of underground service lines
Governor Beshear said recent rainfall provided enough moisture to help extinguish or control all wildfires from last week. The Division of Forestry installed fire safety breaks to prevent the fires from growing again. As of Thursday morning, Kentucky has had 369 fires, with 29,155 acres burned during the fire season.
The governor thanked those working to put out the fires, including five state forestry agencies from Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas that sent crews to assist. He also thanked the volunteer firefighters from Daniel Boone national Forest and conservation officers from the Kentucky Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The governor updated Kentuckians on influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19 and monkeypox in the commonwealth.
Beshear said influenza is spreading widely in Kentucky at this time. One influenza death has been reported for Kentucky’s current 2022-2023 influenza season. The flu vaccine has been updated this year and is expected to perform well against the circulating strain.
RSV, a common respiratory virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms, has increased in the United States, and outbreaks of the virus have occurred in Kentucky daycares and preschools. RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
A total of 80 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Kentucky from 18 different counties. More than 6,400 doses of the monkeypox vaccine have been administered in Kentucky.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
The governor named the Bourbon County High School Marching Band and their band director, Michael Stone, this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The Bourbon County Marching Band was selected to perform in the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“We couldn’t be more proud or more honored to have the Marching Colonels represent Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “Be sure to tune into the parade on Thanksgiving Day so you can cheer on our very own Bourbon County Marching Colonels!”
Governor Beshear also named Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Yetter this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star. Yetter, who focused on reporting abuse, neglect and children’s welfare in Kentucky, announced that she had completed her final day on the job at the Courier-Journal after 40 years in the industry. In April, Yetter was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame for her work and loyalty to the people of the commonwealth.
“Through her 40 years of work and her tireless efforts to keep our people informed, Debby truly made progress to achieve a better Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “She has made an immeasurable impact – not just in journalism, but on the people of this commonwealth.”
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