October 26, 2004, News
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Library Board - Voters - Tobacco Buyout - Photo Catch
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Library Board talks with
|By Al Owens
Meeting in regular
session last week the Library Board of the Helen H. Rayburn Public Library of Lewis County
entertained the construction consultant for the Kentucky Department of Libraries and
Archives, Chris Bischoff.
Bischoff came to Vanceburg to look at the roof of the library to determine the cost of
repairing a leak. He checked the roof after the meeting was over.
He also presented the board members with information about constructing a new building
from start to finish including recommendations for a grand opening once a new library is
The library board has made no plans to build a new edifice but is in the talking stage
of doing so. A site would have to be located outside the citys plain flood area in
order to file for any construction grants that might be available.
Bischoff told the board that without a state budget no grant money is available right
now, and the shortfall in state funds obtaining grants of any kind might be a long way
|He explained that if and when the board
decided to purchase property and construct a building the new funding program would call
for the library to use what cash it has on hand and then borrow the rest for the project.
Then the state would help pay, and in some cases pay all, of the balance by providing the
local library with enough money for the monthly payments. This, of course, is contingent
upon the availability of state funds and grant money.
Bischoff estimated a new library
for the population of Lewis County would need a minimum of 9,860 square feet.
The board amended the new budget to adjust the increase in the Library Directors
salary to equal the amount of the raises given to other employees and then approved the
Helen Rayburn told the board that the audit was supposed to be done the last of October
although she hasnt heard anything from the auditor since last months meeting.
Library Director Marilyn Conway said that the DSL is working out well, and the patrons
love it. However, it has had some problems. The router and monitor have both been replaced
because they went down.
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Voter turnout could be higher on
|If the state's registration numbers are an
indication, Lewis County and Kentucky could see a fairly high voter turnout on November 2,
Secretary of State Trey Grayson said last week.
Whether they're fueled by an intense
presidential election, a proposed constitutional election prohibiting gay marriages or
something else, more of our citizens are registered to vote now than ever, Grayson said.
And, many of them are expected to vote, he said. An estimated 65 percent of the state's
registered voters could show up at the polls in November, he said.
"During the summer months and into the fall there have been a lot of groups --
campaigns, churches, communities -- to push voter registration," Grayson said.
"The president and the constitutional amendment, those are the two big factors
motivating the groups."
Nearly 2.8 million people in Kentucky are registered to vote -- more than 87,000 signed
up since the May primary.
|That's an increase of about 3.14 percent,
according to Grayson's office. The voter registration deadline in Kentucky was October 4.
typical in presidential election years to see more voters register in the months leading
up to the contest, Grayson said. But, this year's increase in voter registration since the
primary eclipsed what happened before the 2000 election, when there was a 2.09 percent
boost. That year, 61 percent of Kentucky's registered voters actually cast ballots.
Lewis County Clerk Shirley A. Hinton said that Lewis County has 9,852 registered
voters. Of those, 7,238 are registered Republican, 2,320 are Democrat and the remaining
292 have registered under something else.
Additional evidence of a possibly high voter turnout this year is the number of
absentee ballots that have already gone out. As of October 11, county clerks across the
state have sent out 19,164 paper absentee ballots. There have been 9,196 absentee votes
already cast at local county clerk's offices statewide.
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Tobacco farmers may lose payments
|(AP) The tobacco buyout signed into law by President Bush
might bring about an early end to millions of dollars in payments farmers had been
receiving from cigarette makers.
While the buyout legislation itself will be worth
billions to American tobacco farmers, most were also counting on receiving the last of a
series of annual payments from cigarette makers this year.
Those payments, negotiated when the four major cigarette makers settled the states'
tobacco lawsuits in 1998, were intended to compensate growers over 12 years for any losses
they might have suffered as a result of higher cigarette prices. The latest checks are
scheduled to go out December 30.
From the beginning, farmers have known that any tobacco buyout would probably end the
payments. And now that just such a buyout is set for next years, some officials are
concerned that cigarette companies might try to end the settlement payments, known as
Phase II payments, this year.
"It's still an open question about 2004," said Michael Plumley, an assistant
attorney general in Kentucky. Plumley said he thinks big tobacco companies will attempt to
challenge this year's payments.
Spokesmen for Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, which now owns Brown & Williamson,
said the companies were considering their options but had not made any decisions.
|Kentucky burley farmers are worried they might lose the
$128 million they expected to receive this year, money that many have already spent,
The tobacco companies and several tobacco states, including Kentucky, will
probably take the question to a judge in North Carolina who is handling arbitration of the
Phase II payments.
Judge Ben F. Tennille has asked the parties to submit reports by November 11 on issues
that need to be dealt with as a result of the buyout. A hearing is scheduled for November
Three-fourths of this year's Phase II money -- about $300 million -- sits in Chase
Manhattan Bank in New York, but Plumley said he thinks the cigarette companies might try
to get all the money back. "We're planning to argue that the buyout will be effective
next year and the Phase II money should be continued until then," he said. Plumley
said it is unknown what would happen to farmers and the state is cigarette companies win a
Kentucky legislators established a guarantee in law for tobacco farmers that if Phase
II payments ever fell below a certain threshold, the state would make up the difference
from tobacco settlement money paid directly to the state.
"I don't think there's agreement on how that will work," Plumley said.
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Sam Howard/Lewis County Herald
The Lewis County Lions played a fierce
game last week against Powell County. Friday game, Senior NIght, was the Lions' last home
game. The Lions lost 33-21.
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