HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Residents of three additional Kentucky counties with damage from severe storms and flooding in July are eligible for federal assistance, Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they are Breathitt, Fleming and Perry conties.
Federal funding was already available to affected individuals in the counties of Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble.
“This is good news for residents of Breathitt, Fleming and Perry Counties as they work to recover from these devastating storms,” Beshear said. “Our emergency management officials have worked hard to document damage and help in recovery efforts. I encourage citizens in the eligible counties to register with FEMA.”
People in the specified counties who need assistance can apply with FEMA online at: http://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Strong storms from July 11 to 20 caused heavy rain and flash flooding, which claimed lives, washed out roads and forced people from their homes in the affected communities.
Four deaths have been attributed to the flash flood in the mountain community of Flat Gap in Johnson County.
Breathitt, Fleming and Perry counties were already on the list of those eligible for public assistance.
In those counties, federal funding is available to local governments and certain private non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides.
The other eligible counties are Bracken, Carroll, Carter, Clay, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Magoffin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Spencer, Trimble, Washington and Wolfe.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire state.
“This is a very positive outcome,” Kentucky Emergency Management director Michael Dossett said. “The incorporation of Breathitt, Perry and Fleming counties immediately makes available federal resources to impacted citizens for their long-term recovery efforts.”
Beshear issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for all of Kentucky on July 13. The state’s Emergency Operations Plan and the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center were activated.
During the disaster, Beshear also issued an executive order prohibiting price gouging in the sale of goods and services in the state, and implemented other provisions to protect Kentucky consumers.
Additional information on KYEM’s Recovery Branch and FEMA’s assistance programs can be found at http://kyem.ky.gov/recovery/Pages/Public-Assistance-Program-Overview.aspx where you can also ‘like’ and ‘follow’ KYEM on Facebook and Twitter.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Drew Curtis of Versailles plans to officially enter this year’s race for governor on Monday as an independent candidate.
Curtis, founder of Fark.com, an Internet news aggregator, said Friday he has collected about 8,000 signatures, about 3,000 more than the 5,000 needed to get on the ballot.
Curtis’ wife, Heather, will be his running mate.
Tuesday is the last day a candidate can get on the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election.
The two major candidates for governor are Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway, both of Louisville.
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT – State Auditor Adam Edelen and officials with the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs will hold 14 meetings across the state this summer to talk about the state’s problem with untested rape kits.
Edelen, a Democrat who is seeking re-election this year, said the meetings are part of his office’s efforts to conduct a statewide count of untested sexual-assault kits.
He also plans to make recommendations to the state legislature to reform how evidence in cases of sexual violence is handled.
The statewide count was prompted by legislation sponsored this year by Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville.
Senate Joint Resolution 20 calls on Edelen to count the number of untested sexual-assault evidence kits in the possession of law enforcement. Kentucky State Police officials have said there might be as many as 2,000 to 5,000 untested kits sitting on shelves in police stations and prosecutors’ offices across the state.
Edelen said the kits contain biological evidence collected from assault victims during investigations and might contain DNA from assailants who can be identified by comparisons with the national DNA database.
“These meetings are an important part of our examination of the complex issues surrounding untested rape kits,” Edelen said in a release. “I hope to hear from law enforcement, prosecutors, survivors and others as we begin working toward recommending reforms to the system.”
Edelen said he wants to talk to survivors, victims’ advocates, nurses, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and others who are involved in sexual assault investigations and gather testimony about the issues and challenges they face.
He said his office is focused on issues such as how kits are logged, tracked and stored, how decisions to test kits are made, whether victims are notified of the status of their kits and whether law enforcement have sufficient policies, procedures and training to handle kits and deal with victims.
Survivors, victims’ advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors and others who are involved in sexual assault investigations are invited to attend the meetings to voice their concerns and experiences.
Persons who would prefer to share privately their concerns with the auditor’s office may request time in advance of the meetings to do so, Edelen said.
Also, individuals may share their stories, concerns and opinions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Confidentiality may be requested.
Here is the schedule of the meetings:
2 p.m. CST
New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services, 1716 Scherm Rd., Owensboro
10 a.m. CST
Purchase Area Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center, 1605 North Friendship Road, Paducah
10 a.m. EST
Women’s Crisis Center, 3580 Hargrave Drive, Hebron
11 a.m. EST
Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services, 751 South Provident Way, Elizabethtown
10 a.m. EST
Cumberland River Behavioral Health, 1203 American Greeting Road, Corbin
2 p.m. EST
Adanta Sexual Assault Resource Center, 130 Southern School Road, Somerset
1 p.m. EST
Center for Women & Families, 927 S. 2nd Street, Louisville
10 a.m. CST
Economic Justice Institute, 2109 Old Louisville Road, Bowling Green
2 p.m. CST
Hopkinsville Municipal Center, 715 S. Virginia Street, Hopkinsville
10 a.m. EST
145 Constitution Street, Lexington
11 a.m. EST
Mountain Comprehensive Care Center’s Healing Program for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, 104 S. Front Street, Prestonsburg
2 p.m. EST
The Rising Center, 637 Morton Blvd., Hazard
10 am EST
Mason County Health Department, 120 West Third Street, Maysville
2 p.m. EST
Park Place, 1701 Central Avenue, Ashland
Jack Conway’s Democratic gubernatorial campaign on Monday released a schedule of six forums where Conway or his running mate, state Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris, plan to appear alongside their Republican opponents, Louisville financier Matt Bevin and Jenean Hampton.
“I look forward to a serious discussion with my opponent about the issues that matter most to Kentucky families,” Conway, finishing his second term as attorney general, said in a statement.
Ben Hartman, Bevin’s campaign manager, said: “We have agreed to some (of the forums) and are in the process of scheduling the rest. As Matt has said numerous times since Election Day, we would like as many debates as possible.”
June 19: Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association summer conference at the Galt House in Louisville.
July 23: Kentucky Farm Bureau “Measure the Candidates” forum at KFB state headquarters in Louisville.
Oct. 6: Centre College in Danville. This will be broadcast on television.
Oct. 19: Kentucky Educational Television’s Kentucky Tonight forum for lieutenant governor candidates in Lexington. This will be broadcast on statewide television.
Oct. 25: Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. This will be broadcast on television.
Oct. 26: KET’s Kentucky Tonight forum for gubernatorial candidates in Lexington. This will be broadcast on statewide television.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT –State Rep. Richard Heath of Mayfield, a Republican candidate for agriculture commissioner in Tuesday’s primary election, asked Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Thursday for a statewide recanvass.
Unofficial vote totals currently show Heath wth a 1,427-vote deficit to his opponent, state Rep. Ryan Quarles of Georgetown.
Grimes, the state’s chief election official, said she will forward Heath’s request to all county clerks and remind them of the procedures for a recanvass.
“Our office is always available to assist county boards of elections in any way we can,” Grimes said. “Integrity in our elections processes is crucial, and Kentuckians deserve to know that their votes are properly counted and tabulated.”
On Wednesday, Grimes received a statewide recanvass request from James R. Comer and Chris McDaniel, Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. They trail the GOP ticket of Matt Bevin and Jenean Hampton by 83 votes out of 214,187 cast.
County boards of elections will convene at 9 a.m. May 28 to recheck and recanvass the voting machines. Immediately upon completion of the recanvass, the county boards of elections will file their recanvass reports with Grimes.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday that her office is prepared for a potential recanvass in Tuesday’s razor-close Republican primary election for governor.
Unofficial results show Louisville businessman Matt Bevin with an 83-vote lead over state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of Tompkinsville.
Comer has said he plans to ask for a recanvass.
“Both candidates and the public are entitled to confidence in election results, and I stand ready to facilitate any proceedings necessary to provide those assurances,” said Grimes, the state’s chief election official in a statement.
“My office is prepared and will continue to provide updates regarding any recanvass requests we receive and the procedures being followed.”
To obtain a recanvass in a statewide election, a candidate must submit a written request to the Secretary of State’s office no later than 4 p.m. Eastern Time on May 26.
The request may be limited to certain precincts or counties or seek a statewide recanvass.
Once the request is made, Grimes’ office will communicate it to all county boards of elections involved.
Under Kentucky law, the county boards of elections for the counties in which a recanvass was requested will convene at 9 a.m. on May 28 to recheck and recanvass each voting machine and make a return to the county clerk.
That will become the official return for the county.
Each candidate and both political parties are entitled to have a representative present at the recanvass. In addition, the county board of elections shall authorize members of the media to observe.
The purpose of a recanvass is to verify the accuracy of the vote totals reported from the voting machines.
The method for conducting the recanvass depends on the type of voting machine and is set forth in an administrative regulation.
No voting machines are unlocked during the recanvass. If there was an error in the original canvass, the returns will be corrected.
The county board of elections must file its recanvass report with the secretary of state immediately upon completion of the recanvass.
On May 11, Grimes office sent to all county clerks vote total certification forms and a memorandum with the procedures and forms to be used in the event a recanvass is requested.
Since January 2011, the secretary of state’s office has received five recanvass requests – three for legislative offices and two for judicial offices.
The recanvass results did not change the outcome of those elections.
The last statewide recanvass occurred in the 2011 Republican Primary for the office of Secretary of State between Bill Johnson and Hilda Legg.
The recanvass resulted in a change of 6 votes in favor of Hilda Legg, the losing candidate, but did not change the outcome of the election.
By Sam Youngman
Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer, under fire for allegations that he abused his college girlfriend, confirmed a report that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul reached out recently with a supportive message.
Politico reported Friday that Paul texted Comer after Monday night’s gubernatorial debate on KET with the message to keep his head up during trying times.
Comer did not elaborate on what Paul told him, but he did confirm to the Herald-Leader that the senator, who is running for president, contacted him with a supportive message.
Comer has repeatedly denied allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive to his college girlfriend.
Both Paul and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have declined to get publicly involved in the increasingly contentious Republican primary featuring Comer, retired state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott and Louisville businessmen Hal Heiner and Matt Bevin.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is predicting only 10 percent voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election.
Grimes, the state’s chief election official, said a review of absentee data from county clerks and historical turnout for similar elections indicates that about 10 percent of the 3.1 million people registered to vote in Kentucky will go to the polls Tuesday.
Races in play are for governor and the state’s other constitutional offices.
In 2011, the last election for statewide constitutional officers in Kentucky, 10.35 percent of voters went to the polls for the primary, said Grimes.
About 17 percent of the Kentucky electorate voted in the 2003 primary election, which is the last time there was not an incumbent candidate for the office of governor.
As of May 11, she said, 3,388 voters had voted absentee on machines in county clerks’ offices and 3,586 absentee ballots had been mailed to voters.
Grimes urged voters to prepare to vote on May 19 by checking their polling places and viewing sample ballots.
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Nearly 3.2 million Kentuckians are registered to vote in the May 19 primary election — the most ever, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Monday.
The total number of registered voters – 3,175,905 – beats the 3,147,157 registered for last November’s general election held in November 2014.
The difference is an increase of approximately 1 percent, or 28,748 voters, over five months.
“I am excited to see that more and more Kentuckians are registering to vote, and I hope these newly registered voters will exercise their right and responsibility to vote in the primary election,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official.
Of the registered voters, 2,923,556 are affiliated with either the Republican or Democrat party, making them potentially eligible to vote for partisan offices, including statewide constitutional officers, on the primary ballot.
Both political parties have seen an increase in registered voters since the May 20, 2014, primary election and since 2011, the last election year for statewide constitutional officers, Grimes said.
Democrats currently make up 53.09 percent of Kentucky voters, while 38.97 percent are Republicans. 7.94 percent of voters are identified as “Other.”
Approximately 53 percent of registered voters are women and 47 percent are men, which is consistent with the 2014 election cycle.
“As Kentucky’s chief advocate for civic engagement, I hope all eligible voters will head to the polls and vote on Election Day,” said Grimes. “There are various methods for registered Kentuckians to vote, including going to the polls on May 19, voting in county clerks’ offices before Election Day, or casting a mail-in absentee ballot, so I urge all Kentuckians to know their options and make their voices heard.”
Voters may access the Voter Information Center (VIC) on the State Board of Elections’ website to confirm their voter registration status, view sample ballots, and locate their polling place.
For complete registration statistics, additional election information, or to access the VIC, visit elect.ky.gov.
“Kentucky Tonight,” a weekly public affairs show on the Kentucky Educational Television network, will start on March 30 its candidate programs for the May 19 primary elections.
Hosted by Bill Goodman, the programs will begin at 8 p.m. on KET and will also stream live at KET.org/live and be archived online.
The scheduled candidates are:
Republicans for State Treasurer
– Allison Ball
– State Rep. Kenneth Churchill Imes
Democrats for State Treasurer
– Neville Blakemore
– State Rep.Rick Nelson
April 20 (two-part)
Republicans for Attorney General
– Lawrence County Attorney Michael T. Hogan
– State Sen. Whitney H. Westerfield
Republicans for Commissioner of Agriculture
– State Rep. Richard Heath
– State Rep. Ryan F. Quarles
KET plans to announce its programs for candidates for governor and lieutenant governor after April 10.
KET said candidates appearing on these programs have “demonstrated satisfaction of KET’s candidate invitation criteria, published at www.KET.org/candidate-invitation-criteria-2015.”
Live primary election night coverage from KET begins at 7 p.m. on May 19.
Prior to that, additional election coverage and analysis continues on “Comment on Kentucky,” and the topic of the May 18 Kentucky Tonight program will be the election.
Kentucky Tonight is a KET production, produced by Deidre Clark. Goodman is host and managing editor.
KET serve more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile.