Wednesday November 13, 2019
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Trained advocates will provide support to victims at every KSP post in the Commonwealth

Gov. Matt Bevin today joined with Kentucky State Police, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and the federal Office of Justice Programs, within the Department of Justice, to announce a new initiative that will provide trained advocates at every KSP post to support and assist victims of crime.

KSP is among the first state police agencies to implement this program on a statewide basis.

The program, called Victim Advocate Support Services (VASS), is launching this fall with a dual purpose. Advocates will administer care to crime victims – or those involved in traumatic events – connecting them with immediate resources, such as mental health services, crisis intervention or legal support. These skilled professionals will also serve as liaisons between law enforcement and the victim, simultaneously helping victims navigate the system while allowing detectives to focus more efficiently on the details of the case.

“I am proud of KSP for leading the charge to ensure that every single state police post in the Commonwealth has a trained advocate that can provide compassionate care and essential resources to victims of crime,” said Gov. Bevin. “The Victim Advocate Support Service program will ensure that victims are immediately connected with trained professionals who will be available during every step of the process. We are grateful to the federal Department of Justice for partnering with us on this important program, and I am confident that this initiative will allow us to better serve and support crime victims who need it most.”

One advocate will be assigned to each of KSP’s 16 posts throughout the state. They will work with community partners to provide fair, compassionate and sensitive treatment of victims, families and witnesses – from the investigative stage of a crime through a follow-up period after the case has been adjudicated. Providing these services in the first hours following a crime is not only vital to healing, it also helps victims secure available compensation funds for out-of-pocket expenses.

KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the VASS program will fill a void in the system when it comes to victim outreach and ensure that victims are provided with immediate assistance and resources.

“Last year, our agency opened more than 8,000 criminal cases involving more than 10,000 victims,” Commissioner Sanders said. “Many of these victims have experienced severe trauma and need support from a trained advocate. Although, our troopers are compassionate, they must use their training to immediately investigate the crime or assist with a critical incident as it is unfolding, and having a trained advocate at each post will allow victims to receive immediate support.”

The VASS program is funded through the federal Department of Justice’s Victims of Crime Advocacy (VOCA) grant program. Last month, the Grants Management Branch in the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which administers VOCA funds in Kentucky, awarded KSP $2.5 million for the program. KSP is providing a $632,000 match.

In addition to the advocates, the grant will fund vehicles for each position and a program director. It also includes funds for staff to attend training in trauma-centered care, compassion fatigue, and victim advocacy. KSP will also work with community-based agencies to develop a resource guide for each post’s service area.

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley praised KSP for the innovative approach to helping victims at a time when police are taking on more complex roles.

“We want to empower victims right from the start,” Secretary Tilley said. “Enduring a traumatic event is overwhelming enough without having to worry about navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system. We have a duty to uphold the rights of victims while also helping them navigate the labyrinth of information, resources and procedures. This will also help KSP troopers and detectives focus on what they do best – solving crimes and protecting communities.”

Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, praised the initiative.

“The Department of Justice is excited about Kentucky’s new program and always happy to make these resources available to support crime victims at the moment they need it the most,” Sullivan said. “I’m confident that this program will serve as a model for other states, and I’m hopeful that it will set a new standard for law enforcement agencies everywhere as they seek to do more to respond to the needs of victims.”

KSP has begun interviewing and hiring victim advocates and will begin offering services as soon as the hiring process is complete.

Gov. Matt Bevin released the following statement regarding the Kentucky Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling today that Attorney General Andy Beshear broke the law:

“The Supreme Court today unanimously held that Andy Beshear broke the law in awarding outrageous, uncapped state legal contracts to his friends and campaign donors. As Attorney General, Andy Beshear claimed that he is above the law and attempted to put his campaign donors ahead of the interest of Kentuckians in ongoing cases with opioid manufacturers. If allowed to continue, that practice could take millions of dollars away from Kentuckians who need it most and put it in the pockets of Andy’s largest campaign contributors. With today’s ruling, Andy Beshear can no longer engage in this type of soft corruption and will be subject to the same procurement laws and financial oversight as other state agencies. If Andy Beshear feels that he and his office are not competent to fight against the opioid manufacturers, he can still hire outside counsel, but he must do it legally.”

To view today’s 7-0 ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court, click here.

Gov. Matt Bevin today recognized the sacrifice of a Kentucky sailor who died in World War II, but whose remains have just been positively identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has announced that Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Ulis C. Steely, 25, of Corbin, Kentucky, was officially accounted for on Oct. 15, 2018.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Steely was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Steely.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Steely.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify Steely’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA,) analysis.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Navy for their partnership in this mission.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,674 still unaccounted for from World War II, of which approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable. Steely’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

For family information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at 800-443-9298.

Steely will be buried Oct. 5, 2019, in his hometown of Corbin, and Gov. Bevin will order flags lowered to half-staff in his honor on that date.

The Governor’s Scholars Program, within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC), recognized 1,024 outstanding Kentucky high school students, representing 118 counties, for completing the 37th Governor’s Scholars Summer Program.

The Governor’s Scholars Program is a summer residential program for outstanding high school students focused on enhancing Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leaders through educational and career opportunities.

“The Governor’s Scholars Program is a nationally recognized program that has helped foster the next generation of Kentucky leaders,” said EWDC Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “For 37 years, GSP has provided unique opportunities for the high school students to exchange ideas, learn new disciplines, and interact with peers from different regions of our state.”

To participate in the program, a statewide selection committee chooses participants based upon nominations submitted by each Kentucky school district. Selection criteria is based upon academic records and test scores, teacher and community recommendations, extracurricular and service activities, and a writing entry. The program is available at no cost to eligible students.

This year, the program was hosted at Centre College from June 16 – July 20; Morehead State University from June 22 – July 26; and Bellarmine University from June 23 – July 27.

Scholars balanced a busy academic schedule in the sciences, mathematics, social sciences, humanities and the arts with a variety of co-curricular and residential activities. They also participated in community projects, seminars, and other student-initiated activities throughout the five week program.

To learn more about the Governor’s Scholars Program, visit https://gsp.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx.

Gov. Matt Bevin today joined federal, state and local officials in Georgetown to announce $3,471,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for housing rehabilitation projects across the Commonwealth.

These federal funds, allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered by the Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG), will benefit 45 families in central, north, east and west Kentucky.

“We are excited to announce nearly $3.5 million in CDBG funding that will benefit families here in Georgetown and across the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Bevin. “Increasing safe, affordable housing is vital to strengthening our communities and promoting economic opportunity. We are grateful to our federal, state and local partners who will help us make these projects a reality for homeowners in Campbell, Christian, Hopkins, Perry and Scott counties.”

CDBG awards include:

  • $804,000 to the Campbell County Fiscal Court for the rehabilitation of six vacant and dilapidated houses for sale to low- and moderate-income families,
  • $791,000 to the City of Hazard (Perry County), for the acquisition and demolition of a shopping center to construct 15 new single-family homes,
  • $366,000 to the City of Crofton (Christian County), for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of five homes for low- and moderate-income families,
  • $510,000 to the City of Georgetown (Scott County), for the rehabilitation of eight homes in the Boston area, and
  • $1,000,000 to the Hopkins County Fiscal Court for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 11 homes for low- and moderate-income families.

Mayor Tom Prather noted the impact of today’s grant announcements, which took place in a ceremony at Georgetown City Hall.

“Georgetown is delighted to host Gov. Bevin for these important announcements! We are excited about efforts to improve our neighborhoods, and grants like the Governor announced today are critical to the success of each community represented,” he said.

Members of the community’s delegation to the General Assembly also celebrated the major CDBG funding awards.

“These critical projects are an excellent illustration of government agencies working together to improve communities in all corners of the Commonwealth,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, of Georgetown. “This investment will have a tremendous impact on the quality of affordable housing in Georgetown and in other communities across Kentucky. I’m grateful to Gov. Bevin and the Department for Local Government for their support of this project.”

“Increasing the available stock of affordable housing and improving our neighborhoods are two very important issues in the City of Georgetown,” said Representative Phillip Pratt, of Georgetown. “These grant awards provide a much-needed opportunity to revitalize our communities, and I’m grateful to Gov. Bevin and DLG Commissioner Sandy Dunahoo for coordinating these grants.”

The CDBG grant program, overseen by HUD, provides assistance to communities for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities, providing infrastructure and/or improving community facilities and services. CDBG projects must comply with federal regulations, and funding is determined based upon project needs, reasonable costs, and overall effectiveness.

DLG is an arm of the Office of the Governor dedicated to supporting local officials and communities. To learn more about resources and opportunities available through DLG, visit http://kydlgweb.ky.gov.

Gov. Matt Bevin today announced Pounds of Plastic Inc., a supplier to the automotive and general manufacturing industries, will locate in Owenton with a more than $4.1 million investment expected to create 54 full-time jobs.

“Kentucky has a world-class automotive industry, leading the United States in vehicles produced per capita,” Gov. Bevin said. “It is exciting to see continuing growth within the auto industry at all levels, and it begins with suppliers like Pounds of Plastic. We are grateful for the strong collaboration between this company and state and local economic development leaders, resulting in 54 new jobs that will benefit families in Owen County and the surrounding region.”

Pounds of Plastic will locate in the former Itron Inc. warehouse, a 30,000-square-foot building across from the former Itron manufacturing facility. Itron closed its Owenton operations this spring, laying off about 400 employees.

At the plant, Pounds of Plastic will manufacture custom polymers and thermoplastics for automotive customers. The company’s investment will cover costs to renovate the facility and purchase new equipment. Company leaders noted proximity to existing and prospective customers as a deciding factor in selecting both Kentucky and Owenton. Work on the project is expected to begin in November, with the facility operational by December.

“We are truly excited to become part of your community and look forward to a mutually prosperous partnership in the years ahead,” said Richard Pounds, owner and president of Pounds of Plastic. “We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the fantastic representatives of the government of Owen County and the state of Kentucky who made this possible. Our decision to choose this location over other potential locales in other states is a testament to the dedication of these individuals. We look forward to calling Owen County home.”

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Pounds of Plastic specializes in custom polymers and thermoplastics used in automotive and a variety of other industries. As well, the company provides technical expertise for customers including assistance with recycling programs. Richard Pounds founded the company in 1997 in response to an insufficient supply of nylon compounds and other materials for use by southern Ontario’s moulding industry. Since then, the company grew to service processors throughout North America.

Sen. Julian Carroll, of Frankfort, said the local workforce is ready to serve its newest company.

“This auto supplier will strengthen our community through new jobs and improvements to the local economy,” Sen. Carroll said. “We stand ready with a skilled workforce to meet the company’s needs and look forward to a long and prosperous partnership.”

Rep. Phillip Pratt, of Georgetown, said statewide, pro-business policy changes have made projects like this possible.

“The new jobs and economic opportunity that Pounds of Plastic is bringing to Owenton is the direct result of the pro-business, pro-jobs approach I have brought to Frankfort,” Rep. Pratt said. “These new jobs will bring increased economic opportunity for our families, and are just the latest addition to Kentucky’s manufacturing comeback. I’m proud of our efforts in Frankfort to promote policies that strengthen our economy and create this kind of good news for our working families.”

Mayor David Wotier noted the team effort necessary to make the project a reality.

“I speak on behalf of the city of Owenton: We are very excited to welcome Pounds of Plastic to Owenton,” Mayor Wotier said. “Their commitment has certainly been a breath of fresh air for us and will positively affect our economy. Thanks to all the hard work and diligent efforts of everyone at the Cabinet for Economic Development. There’s been a great spirit of teamwork involved.”

Owen County Judge-Executive Casey Ellis said the arrival of Pounds of Plastic leads the way for new growth in the community.

“On behalf of the citizens of Owen County, I would like to thank Gov. Bevin for his leadership in assisting to expedite the commonwealth’s economic incentive package as well as Rich Pounds, president of Pounds of Plastic, for choosing Owen County for his first US manufacturing location,” Judge-Executive Ellis said. “The prospect of this many new jobs locating to Owen County is only the beginning in revitalizing our community with new economic growth opportunities.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $900,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In addition, Pounds of Plastic can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

Photo: Kentucky Cabinet For Economic Development

Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated AgTech Scientific for breaking ground on a new facility to develop and manufacture hemp-based products in Paris. The facility is part of AgTech’s plan to work with Kentucky farmers to grow hemp and to partner with the University of Kentucky on research.

“The hemp industry is expanding rapidly, and Kentucky is on the leading edge of this growth in terms of its science and commercial viability,” Gov. Bevin said. “AgTech Scientific’s exciting new venture represents a unique collaboration with the state’s agricultural community, the University of Kentucky, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are grateful for AgTech’s investment in Bourbon County, and we look forward to the innovation and job growth that will take root in the Bluegrass State as a result.”

Today’s ceremony took place in Paris, where AgTech is building a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art structure on a 10-acre site in the Bourbon County Business Park, 333 Cleveland Drive. The company has an option to purchase an additional 10 acres there. AgTech’s initial $5 million investment is expected to grow substantially. AgTech will start with around 50 employees, projected to grow to 271 within three years.

“The Ag Tech team is excited to announce that our first beta test planting season has been a success. We initially planned on 2,000 plants. However, as word and interest in our project spread in the farming community, we ended up planting 200,000 plants in 2018,” said Dr. Brian King, the company’s chief strategy officer. “We are planning to plant over 4 million plants next season. Our new state of the art 50,000-square-foot facility in Bourbon County will allow us to scale operations and ensure top quality throughout the supply chain. We deeply thank everyone in the community who has made this possible. Some of the biggest help came from the Governor, Ag Commissioner Quarles, Congressman Andy Barr, Matt Koch, Bourbon County Executive and all the great farmers of Kentucky.”

More than 6,700 acres of hemp were planted in Kentucky in 2018 under the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, placing the commonwealth behind only Colorado among all states in total industrial hemp acres planted. Approved Kentucky growers have skyrocketed from 20 at the program’s outset in 2014 to 210 in July 2018.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles noted the state’s success in the burgeoning industry.

“Kentucky continues to be a leader in industrial hemp production,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We congratulate AgTech Scientific on this important milestone. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture will continue working hard to position the commonwealth as the epicenter of industrial hemp research.”

AgTech holds both a Processor/Handler License and a Grower License from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture hemp program and intends to partner with Kentucky farmers for largescale hemp production. The company would then extract cannabidiol (CBD) from the locally grown hemp. CBD differs from THC, the intoxicant in marijuana. Initially, the facility would produce an energy drink incorporating CBD and would later expand its product lineup.

In partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, AgTech is researching potential health benefits of hemp-based additives for animal food. AgTech plans to eventually begin manufacturing pet and equine foods, among other products, contingent on changes to regulations.

Sen. Stephen West, of Paris, said he is eager to see the fruit of the company’s labor.

“I’m pleased to hear that AgTech Scientific has chosen Paris as the home for its new facility as the hemp industry continues to grow in our state,” Sen. West said. “I look forward to seeing what this partnership with the University of Kentucky can produce and the opportunities it will bring to Bourbon County.”

Paris Mayor Mike Thornton said the company’s presence could have a far-reaching impact locally.

“We are excited to welcome AgTech Scientific to Paris and Bourbon County. I look forward to helping them grow and expand on the opportunities that this area can provide,” Mayor Thornton said. “Their willingness to locate in Paris creates much needed employment opportunities and offers an exciting new process for industrial hemp that will surely be a huge benefit to our local farmers. I anticipate seeing great things from AgTech Scientific in the future.”

Bourbon County Judge-Executive Michael R. Williams said he is proud to see the community at the forefront of a new industry with unlimited potential.

“Bourbon County is thrilled to have AgTech Scientific join our family of business partners. This is a great day for all of Bourbon County and central Kentucky,” Judge-Executive Williams said. “Their impact on our farmers has already been very positive and will continue to bolster our already leading-edge agricultural economy. They will truly be pioneers in an industry that is positioned to bring new prosperity and a bright future to our farms and businesses. Their plans for more than 200 jobs in the processing plant is a major impact to the economy and their confidence and support of Bourbon County will be the inspiration for other businesses who will consider our community in the future. It’s a great day for Bourbon County and a great day for Kentucky. Welcome AgTech Scientific to your new home and your new business family!

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in January preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In addition, AgTech can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

For more information on AgTech, visit www.agtechscientific.com.

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