Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Executive Order 298 Funding for Somerset Water Intake Modification

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, April 24, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Lanny Brannock

Awards  funding for regional workforce training center and body armor

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced that the city of Somerset, by his executive order, will receive a $565,000 grant to help with the cost of modifying its public water intake to function in Lake Cumberland at a level as low as 610 feet above sea level.

Somerset is among public water suppliers forced to modify intakes after the Army Corps of Engineers warned that Lake Cumberland – already lowered to 680 feet – could be lowered another 30 feet by December 2007. The Corps lowered the lake in January to begin a seven-year repair project on Wolf Creek Dam. Somerset’s current fixed water intake cannot function at a lake level below 675 feet. The new intake would float on a barge to allow for water level fluctuation.

“It is important that we be prepared in the event Lake Cumberland is lowered even farther by the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Governor Fletcher. “Our actions now will ensure that all citizens, businesses and industries have a safe, reliable source of water as repair work is done to Wolf Creek Dam.”

Somerset provides potable water for more than 100,000 people, 2,400 businesses and 23 industries throughout the region. The grant will pay for almost half of the expected $1.175 million project cost.

On April 12, 2007, the Governor Fletcher signed Executive Order 2007-298, authorizing the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD), in coordination with the Office of the state budget director, to fund projects to ensure the continued public health and safety of counties in the Cumberland River basin.  GOLD is the agency responsible for administering the funding for this project.

$500,000 for Cumberlands Workforce Investment area training center

Governor Fletcher presented $500,000 in state funds to the Cumberlands Workforce Investment Board.  The funds will support the creation of a regional high-growth training center in the Cumberlands Workforce Investment Area. The center will provide job training for adults and displaced workers to fill increased demand for jobs in the utilities industry.

“Kentucky must continue to be a leader in supplying energy to the nation,” said Governor Fletcher.  “These funds will help us keep up with the increased demand for Kentucky-based electricity through training workers to fill jobs in the utilities industry.”

The Cumberlands Workforce Investment Board is funded by Workforce Investment Act statewide reserve funds. The board will partner with several public and private industries in the creation of a high-growth training center, including the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Somerset-Pulaski County Industrial Foundation and Southern Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.

"As a longtime advocate of adult technical education, I support Governor Fletcher’s continued efforts to prepare adults through additional training opportunities for the constantly evolving workplace," said Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville).

"I appreciate the Fletcher administration’s efforts to build public-private education partnerships in order to prepare Kentuckians for the job opportunities of the future," said

Senator Vernie McGaha (R-Russell Springs).

An eight-acre site adjacent to the Valley Oak Technology Park has been donated for the training center by the Somerset/Pulaski County Industrial Foundation. The project is in the design phase with completion expected by spring of next year.

The project has been approved for nearly $2.5 million in funding from the Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, the Appalachian Regional Commission and a community development block grant.

“Governor Fletcher understands that moving our state forward involves education and workforce development working together,” said Kentucky Education Cabinet Secretary Laura Emberton Owens.  “Today’s award is a great example of public and private entities coming together to foster economic growth in our commonwealth.”

$42,383 Body Armor grant awarded to Pulaski County law enforcement agencies

Governor Fletcher presented a ceremonial check representing $42,383 in grants from the Kentucky Body Armor Program to several Pulaski County law enforcement agencies. The grants will be used to purchase protective vests, service weapons and ammunition for officers.

“The safety of our sworn officers is one of the highest priorities of this administration,” said Governor Fletcher. “My goal is to make sure our officers are equipped with the best possible means of protection while they are serving and protecting our local communities.”

Receiving grants are:

  • Somerset Police Department – $26,069
  • Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department – $7,070
  • Burnside Police Department – $4,388
  • Eubank Police Department – $2,428
  • Science Hill Police Department – $2,428

The Kentucky Body Armor Program allows law enforcement agencies to acquire body armor, weapons and ammunition for sworn officers.  The program, a collaborative effort by GOLD, the Kentucky State Police and the Division of Surplus Equipment, is funded through the sale of firearms that have been confiscated by state and local law enforcement agencies. 

Applications for the Kentucky Body Armor Program are available through GOLD and are accepted on a continual basis.  Projects are selected for funding three or four times a year based on need and the availability of funds. 

Since its establishment in 1998, the program has approved 4,173 officer vests and 35 service animal vests. This represents a $1,588,456 investment in the safety of local law enforcement across the Commonwealth. In addition, approximately $211,000 has been provided to the Kentucky State Police for the purchase of new equipment.

GOLD is the agency responsible for administering the funds.