Gov. Beshear Provides Team Kentucky Update
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky, the creation of the Council for Community Recovery and Resiliency, Mountain Parkway expansion, eviction relief funding, orphan well capping progress, declining gas prices and COVID-19. He also named the 2023 Kentucky Teachers of the Year and Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Schools as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Kentucky Emergency Management and the Kentucky State Police (KSP) are continuing search efforts to locate two missing Breathitt County citizens: Vanessa Baker, a 60-year-old woman, and Nancy Cundiff, a 29-year-old woman – both from the Lost Creek community. If you have any information about either of these individuals, please contact KSP Post 13 in Hazard at 606-435-6069.
All drinking water systems are now operational; 22 systems were down immediately after the flooding. There are 32 service connections without water, down from 34,121 on July 28. More than 330 customers remain under a boil water advisory, down from 46,000. The Village of Buckhorn lifted a portion of their boil water advisory, which includes the Buckhorn Lake State Park Lodge. Four wastewater systems are not operational: Fleming-Neon, Millstone Alternative, Buckhorn Elementary and High Schools and Robinson Elementary School.
Local organizations including state parks, churches and schools are providing shelter to survivors. Kentucky state parks are currently housing more than 331 people. Seventeen individuals are sheltering in six hotels in Eastern Kentucky.
Another 523 loads of debris, amounting to 7,928 tons, were removed on Wednesday from waterways and state and county rights-of-way. To date, 225,253 tons of debris have been removed from state and county rights-of-way and waterways.
Today, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is beginning to remove and collect abandoned cars and trucks and start the process of notifying their owners. This applies to vehicles that came to rest on public rights-of-way or in waterways and which block access to a public-use area or pose a threat to infrastructure. Vehicle management sites have been designated in five counties where recovered vehicles can be temporarily stored. Those counties are Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott and Letcher. For more information on this process visit, governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
More than $71 million in grants has been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program for 7,610 households. In addition to visiting a Disaster Recovery Center, Kentuckians can also apply through FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov, on their mobile app or by calling 800-621-3362. There are six fixed Disaster Recovery Centers now open. To see the locations, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Currently, 409 individuals are being housed in 149 travel trailers across seven state parks. There are 248 travel trailers onsite. So far, 16 individuals have transitioned out of the Commonwealth Sheltering Program. Individuals seeking emergency sheltering in travel trailers can find more information and register at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources or call 502-234-1225.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Lee County residents are now eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Disaster Unemployment Assistance claimants in Lee County can apply for benefits online through the Kentucky Career Center website or by phone at 502-875-0442. The deadline to apply is Oct. 10.
KYTC has identified 854 private crossings within the flood-impacted counties in Eastern Kentucky. More than 730 of these bridges have been assessed for damage by a team that includes representatives from FEMA and KYTC. So far, 40 bridges have been approved by FEMA for emergency repair funding.
New Legal Actions
On Sept. 15, the Governor sent a request to FEMA to extend the registration period for the Individuals and Households Assistance program for an additional 30 days. If approved, the deadline will be Oct. 29.
On Sept 17, FEMA approved Kentucky Emergency Management’s request to activate the Community Disaster Loan (CDL) Program for Kentucky. The CDL program provides operational funding to help local governments that have incurred a significant loss in revenue, due to a major disaster, that has or will adversely affect their ability to provide essential municipal services. Interested local governments should reach out to FEMA representative Martha Castro at Martha.Castro@FEMA.dhs.gov to apply.
FEMA also extended the performance period for emergency work eligible for reimbursement under Category B of the Public Assistance Program to Dec. 12, 2022, as it pertains to the non-congregate sheltering program.
Yesterday, FEMA approved Direct Temporary Housing Assistance for Floyd County. To see a full list of executive legal actions, click here.
Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
Flood survivors that qualify for FEMA are eligible for an additional $500 from the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund. Much like the process used following the tornadoes in Western Kentucky, there is no application for this assistance. Data is being collected through FEMA, and eligible recipients will receive payment directly. So far, 6,507 checks are going out for this additional $500, totaling $3,253,500 in payments. The fund has paid for 40 funerals totaling $400,000.
To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief fund has raised over $9.7 million from over 37,000 donors. The Governor also highlighted and thanked the Kelly Clarkson Show, which donated $20,000. Donations can be made at TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear also thanked Rep. Randy Bridges and the Kentucky Moose Association, who donated $53,265 to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to support rebuilding efforts in Western Kentucky.
The Council for Community Recovery and Resiliency
Gov. Beshear announced that he signed an Executive Order to establish the Council for Community Recovery and Resiliency. The group will consist of members from several state and federal agencies ranging from local government, health and family services to transportation, infrastructure, housing and more. With support from Kentucky Emergency Management and Military Affairs, this group will meet and provide leadership and guidance for community recovery and resiliency planning across the commonwealth.
“We have to accept the fact that we are going to face more frequent disasters with more intensity. Once we accept that, we know we have to be ready. We have to be resilient and we have to be strong,” said Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker. “This council will allow us to all come together with our resources, our funds and our expertise and sit down in the same room to make sure we are not duplicating efforts but amplifying them.”
Gov. Beshear Announces Plans to Complete Mountain Parkway
Monday, Gov. Beshear joined state and local officials to announce plans for the final section of the Mountain Parkway Expansion in Eastern Kentucky – delivering on a decades-old promise to expand the parkway into far Eastern Kentucky. While in Prestonsburg, the Governor also announced that the first phase of a $4.1 million Dawkins Line Rail Trail project will soon begin to improve the popular recreation trail.
Lexington Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Funding
Today, the Governor announced that the U.S. Department of Treasury approved reallocating nearly $7 million of the remaining Health and Home Eviction Relief funds to Lexington’s program. Fayette County residents can continue to apply for rental assistance through the Fayette County program at covid19renterhelp.org.
Since March 2021, more than $187 million has been provided to help Kentuckians stay in their homes and to help them keep the lights and air on and the water running throughout the pandemic. This funding has helped over 43,000 households keep their family safe during tough times.
As part of his Better Kentucky Plan’s Stronger Communities Program, Gov. Beshear previously announced a $25 million grant to plug orphan oil and gas wells across the commonwealth. Interested contractors are encouraged to bid through the Finance Cabinet on “packages” of orphan wells identified by the Division of Oil and Gas as eligible for this program.
The first ten contracts were awarded last week. These contracts will plug 153 wells in Allen, Christian, Cumberland, Daviess, Henderson, Lee, McClean, Ohio, Pulaski and Webster counties. The commonwealth has the potential to receive an additional $79 million in the next phase of the five-year infrastructure program.
Kentucky Gas Prices Continue to Decline
The Governor shared that while other states are seeing an increase in prices at the pump today following a break in the 99-day decline of gas prices nationwide, Kentucky’s gas prices continue to decline. The average price for gas in the commonwealth is almost 43 cents lower than the national average of $3.684 at $3.253, according to the American Automobile Association. To see a full list of actions Gov. Beshear has taken to provide Kentuckians relief from high gas prices as well as tips to help families save, click here.
Funding to Support Crime Victims
Today, Gov. Beshear announced nearly $23 million in grant funding from the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Formula Victim Assistance Grant Program supporting victims of crime in the commonwealth.
Health Updates: COVID-19
The Governor urged eligible Kentuckians to get the new booster shots to protect against COVID-19. These boosters are recommended for all persons 12 years and older who had their last COVID-19 vaccine dose at least two months ago. The updated vaccine is available at pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health departments. Locations and appointments can be found on vaccines.gov.
“These vaccines are the exact same technology that has been used all along. They are also the same technology that has been used to immunize hundreds of millions of Americans,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “They are well proven, highly safe and very effective and well tolerated.”
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Gov. Beshear named the 2023 Kentucky Teachers of the Year as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. This year’s Teachers of the Year include:
- Elementary School Teacher of the Year: Kelly Gates of Pride Elementary in Hopkins County;
- High School Teacher of the Year: Amber Sergent of Woodford County High School; and
- Middle School Teacher of the Year and Kentucky Teacher of the Year: Mandy Perez of Crittenden County Middle School.
He also recognized the schools named 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools, which include:
- Fancy Farm Elementary School in the Graves County School District;
- Samuel Woodfill Elementary School in the Fort Thomas Independent School District;
- Frankfort High School in the Frankfort Independent School District;
- Cairo Elementary School in the Henderson County School District;
- Saint Francis of Assisi School at the Archdiocese of Louisville;
- Saint Therese School in the Diocese of Covington; and
- Longbranch Elementary School in the Boone County School District.
“These past few years, schools across Kentucky have shown resilience during unprecedented times. Our teachers have kept showing up each-and-every day for our kids. Our schools have adapted and bounced back better than ever,” Gov. Beshear said. “As Governor, and as a dad to two young kids myself, I am so grateful.”