RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of
emergency Saturday after a tornado killed two people in central
Kentucky and flooding sent hundreds scrambling for dry land in the
eastern part of the state.
On Friday, an EF2 tornado with winds of 120 mph struck the
Kirksville community of Richmond, about 20 miles south-southeast of
Lexington, National Weather Service Meteorologist Nathan Foster
Glenda Charbonnel, 42, and Shawn Yarber, 35, were found dead in
a pond near a mobile home community, Madison County emergency
management spokeswoman Roma Pedeau said. Witnesses told authorities
they were leaving a trailer when it "exploded."
Michael Bryant, assistant deputy emergency management director
for Madison County, said at least eight other people were injured.
About 150 homes are damaged and destroyed, he said.
Madison County, the city of Richmond and some 13 other counties
have declared states of emergency, said Buddy Rogers, spokesman for
the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. Such declarations
allow local governments to spend money on storm-related expenses
and ask the state for help.
More than 40 Kentucky National Guard troops were deployed to
Madison County to assist with traffic control and security. Sixty
troops are conducting door-to-door wellness checks and evacuation
missions after floods in Breathitt, Knott, Foyd, Pike and Owsley
counties. The guardsmen, many of whom returned from Afghanistan in
March, will be on duty for disaster relief until Monday, according
to a news release.
Districts seek state OK to waive makeup days
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Disruptions caused by the winter ice storm
and winds from Hurricane Ike in September have prompted nearly 40
percent of Kentucky school districts to seek approval to waive up
to 10 makeup days.
The state Department of Education released a document indicating
66 of the state's 174 school districts are seeking the disaster-day
waivers under a bill approved by state lawmakers this year.
The state already has approved half of the requests, with most
districts "getting what they asked for," department spokeswoman
Lisa Gross told the Lexington Herald-Leader last week. The state is
still considering other requests, she said.
"Staff is working around the clock on these requests," she
said. "It's a very complex process."
School boards wanting waivers had to submit amended school
calendars to the state by May 1.
The calendar had to show that all makeup days included in the
district's original school year calendar had been used before other
days are waived.
Fort Knox, Ky., hospital helps brain injuries
FORT KNOX, Ky. (AP) - Soldiers suffering traumatic brain
injuries in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being treated with new
technology at Fort Knox's Army hospital.
Ireland Army Community Hospital recently unveiled its new
traumatic brain injury clinic, featuring high-tech advancements
that help repair a soldier's damaged thought processes.
The $1.2 million clinic gives physicians a gamut of programs,
video games and exercises needed to rehabilitate memory, sequencing
of events, coordination, repetition and even moods, said Maureen
O'Brien, an occupational therapist.
"Your brain is an organ," O'Brien told The News-Enterprise in
Elizabethtown. "It needs to be exercised."
O'Brien said patient care ranges from reconstructing a model
vehicle to helping schedule appointments or track prescriptions
with personal digital assistants, or PDAs.
Another is a video game program designed by NASA that detects
brainwaves. O'Brien said it doubles as a helpful training tool for
astronauts and the military. The program adds distractions, O'Brien
said, and varying levels make it more like the world the soldiers
A shy religious group in Ga. fights insurance law
METTER, Ga. (AP) - The small community of Mennonites that
multiplied along a web of dirt roads in rural southeast Georgia has
steadily grown the same way it does just about everything: Quietly.
The community's 100 or so members have raised their own church,
started their own three-room school and seeded their own businesses
since they settled the untouched plains on the edge of Metter in
And they've done it while remaining steadfastly detached from
mainstream culture to abide by their strict religious beliefs,
refusing to watch TV, listen to the radio and - above all -
steering well clear of politics.
But a painful economic reality has compelled leaders to stray
far from their farms and workshops and venture to Atlanta to cohort
with politicians. Now the most reclusive of religious groups, whose
members do not even vote, is turning to the government for help.
"We do feel like a fish out of water in that we try to separate
ourselves from politics," said Kenneth Kreider, a community
minister who runs a tractor repair shop. "But this is the
environment in which our request needs to be made."
Their pilgrimage toward politics is an attempt to tinker with
state laws that require their members to carry insurance for their
personal vehicles - rules that conflict with long-held spiritual
beliefs involving gambling.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)