FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, First Lady Britainy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the Eastern Kentucky Christmas Toy Drive and the deadline to apply for inclusion in the Team Kentucky Gallery. Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on economic development progress; lower gas prices; disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky; grants to bring high-speed internet; upgrades to Interstate Highway 69; funding for child care providers; the opening of the first female-only juvenile detention center; and public health. The Governor also named those helping with the First Lady’s toy drive as Team Kentucky All-Stars.
First Lady Announces Additional Toy Drive Drop-Off Locations
Today, the First Lady kicked off the Team Kentucky Update, announcing new locations where Kentuckians can drop off new, unwrapped gifts as part of the Eastern Kentucky Christmas Toy Drive, benefiting children affected by July’s historic floods. Visit FirstLady.ky.gov/ToyDrive to see all drop-off sites. Donors can mail or ship toys to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, 75 Theatre Court, Prestonsburg, KY 41653.
The First Lady said that Northern Kentucky University and Murray State University are collecting during specific games and that sites at Kroger stores and the University of Kentucky will be collecting during all regular business hours. Click here to view the current drop-off locations.
First Lady Reminds Photographers To Submit Work for Team Kentucky Gallery
The First Lady reminded Kentucky photographers that tomorrow, Dec. 2, is the deadline to submit their work to be featured in the Spring 2023 Team Kentucky Gallery exhibit. To learn more about the exhibit, see the full release. To apply, click here.
“As many of you know, one of the Capitol hallways is now filled with artwork from Kentuckians,” the First Lady said. “It makes the People’s House even more special, highlighting the talents and stories of those who call our commonwealth home. And this next exhibit is the first to be exclusively photography!”
Economic Development Update
Gov. Beshear highlighted two economic development projects that are expected to create 100 jobs and represent more than $600 million in new investment.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced the largest distilled spirits-related investment on record in Kentucky, as Louisville-based Sazerac Co. will invest $600 million to construct nearly 20 barrel warehouses and expand Robinson Stave and Cumberland Cooperage in London, creating up to 50 full-time jobs and supporting the company’s continued growth.
Yesterday, the Governor joined local leaders and executives from LDG Multifamily, an affordable-housing developer, to cut the ribbon on the company’s new location in the Madrid Building in Louisville. LDG leaders have invested $10.75 million to purchase and renovate the new headquarters, creating 50 high-wage jobs for Kentucky residents.
Gov. Beshear shared that the average price for gas in Kentucky, at $3.179 per gallon, is 29 cents lower than the national average of $3.470, according to the American Automobile Association. Click here to see a full list of actions Gov. Beshear has taken to provide Kentuckians relief from high gas prices and tips to help families save. A free application for help with home heating costs is available through Dec. 16 as part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Visit capky.org for more information.
Eastern Kentucky Floods Update
Gov. Beshear provided an update on Eastern Kentucky’s stabilization and rebuilding efforts following July’s historic floods. More than $89.5 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency Individuals and Households Program. Over $56.4 million has been approved under the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Although Disaster Recovery Centers have closed, seven Multi-Agency Resource Centers are available for face-to-face help. Visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources for more information.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet continues to oversee contractors who are clearing streams of debris and transporting damaged vehicles found in waterways or on public rights-of-way to vehicle management sites. Residents searching for a missing vehicle can find information on Gov. Beshear’s Flood Resources web page.
The Governor said that Kentucky State Parks are now housing 154 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on Sept. 1. Currently, 675 individuals are being housed in travel trailers, and 75 individuals have transitioned out. There are 325 travel trailers on site in 10 different locations.
To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $12.4 million from more than 41,000 donors. The Governor thanked the Arby’s Inspire Foundation for its donation of $23,516 and the Kentucky Distillers Association for its additional donation of $85,352 to the fund. To contribute, click here. For other information regarding flooding in Eastern Kentucky, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Abandoned Mine Lands Water Supply Restoration Project
Using $10.6 million of the first year’s grant from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands will restore water infrastructure for over 3,600 residences in Breathitt, Knott and Letcher counties, which suffered heavy damage in the Eastern Kentucky flooding.
- The award will help 961 residences in the Breathitt County communities of Lost Creek, Clay Hole, Hardshell, Haddix, Altro, Turners Creek, Morris Fork, River Caney and Watts, which will see $1.7 million worth of work. The work in Breathitt County will include the replacement of 4-inch and 6-inch waterlines, radio-read meters, meter bases, directional boring of stream crossings and the installation of flush hydrants. This project will help ensure safe and adequate supply of potable water.
- Nearly 2,500 customers in Knott County who live in or near Big Branch, Montgomery Creek, Kentucky Highway 15 North, Kentucky Highway 1231, Amburgey, Sassafras, Kodak and Vicco will see about $4 million worth of work, which will include reconnecting and replacing transmission and service lines and other damaged equipment. The Knott County water system repairs and upgrades will help alleviate water loss and low pressure at the Montgomery Creek pumping station and is only the first phase to meet current service demands and future growth plans for Knott and Perry counties.
- The 176 residences in Letcher County in the Millstone area will see $4.9 million worth of work, which will include the installation of potable water service lines and meters, construction of a 100-gallon-per-minute pump station, and a 100,000-gallon elevated water storage tank.
Applications Open for Grants To Bring High-Speed Internet to More Kentucky Families
The Governor announced that the application window is open for the next round of grant funding to support the state’s expansion of high-speed internet access to more families across Kentucky. This round includes more than $206 million. The distribution of these funds supports Gov. Beshear’s Better Internet Initiative, which is committed to expanding high-speed internet access to areas of the commonwealth with unserved populations or those with download speeds of 10 megabits per second or less.
Gov. Beshear, whose Better Kentucky Plan includes continuous improvement of Kentucky’s transportation system, announced today that work will begin in December on a project to bring the Julian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway up to interstate standards, allowing Interstate Highway 69 to be extended from Mayfield to Fulton.
Funding Available for Prospective Child Care Providers
Today, Gov. Beshear announced that more than $6.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act had been made available to support childcare services in Kentucky, including funds to incentivize Kentuckians to open licensed childcare facilities that will support and retain the state’s workforce and will help parents and guardians connect with qualified, accessible help.
To apply for a new provider start-up grant, click here. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2023.
“High-quality facilities give kids the strong start they need while allowing parents or guardians to stay or get back into the workforce,” Gov. Beshear said. “These federal funds will help address the needs of more facilities, especially in underserved areas.”
The Governor added that the one-time start-up funds for family childcare homes have doubled in amount to $5,000 in an effort to incentivize more new providers. Retroactive payments have been made to individuals who had previously applied, so that they will receive the full $5,000. In addition to the $5,000 start-up grants, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department for Child Care has offered a $100,000 matching grant for those wanting to establish a facility in a childcare desert. The deadline to apply for this matching grant is Dec. 31. To get the list of regional childcare agencies and contacts, click here.
First Female-Only Juvenile Detention Center to Open
Furthering his commitment to keeping youth in state custody safe and secure, Gov. Beshear has ordered the Department of Juvenile Justice to open a female-only detention center in Campbell County. Beginning this month, females between the ages of 11 to 18 ordered by the courts to secure detention will be housed at the DJJ Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center, with limited exceptions.
The Governor also updated Kentuckians on influenza, RSV and COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Gov. Beshear said that the spread of influenza is increasing in Kentucky. Six influenza deaths have been reported for Kentucky’s current 2022-2023 influenza season. Most influenza detections in the commonwealth have been identified as Type A. The flu vaccine has been updated this year and is expected to perform well against this circulating strain.
RSV, a common respiratory virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms, has recently increased in the United States, and outbreaks of the virus have occurred in Kentucky daycares and preschools. People of any age can become infected with RSV, and most recover within one to two weeks. RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. Early data suggest that RSV activity has peaked in Kentucky and is declining. The Kentucky Department for Public Health will continue to monitor trends from available data.
Gov. Beshear said that the most recent COVID-19 data continues to be encouraging. Fewer Kentuckians are hospitalized for COVID-19 than seen at nearly any point during the past two years and more and more counties are showing as “green” on the COVID-19 community levels map.