By Adam S. Sulfridge / Staff Writer

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Whitley County Fiscal Court, several local groups received checks from the county’s newest anti-litter initiative, a volunteer fire department received praise from a federal fire protection program, and Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. explained how the county will be prepared for what they expect will be a harsh winter.

Representatives from Williamsburg High School and Wolf Creek Baptist Church were presented checks and certificates for participating in Litter Lieutenants. The anti-litter program pays nonprofit groups $100 for each mile of roadway its members clean. Falls Road Runners, Whitley East third through sixth grade football team, Corbin High School Thespian Society, and Christian Community Center were also awarded money through the program, but no representatives from those groups attended.

The fiscal court also approved resolutions allowing the judge-executive to reapply for a litter abatement grant and an illegal open dumps cleanup grant. White noted that the county cleaned 16 illegal dumpsites using the grant money last year. County Project Manager Tracy West added that the county hopes to attain funding to clean up an additional 24 dumpsites next year.

Cindy Bennett, the state coordinator for Firewise, a national program which offers educational opportunities to local fire departments, presented the Oak Grove Fire Department with an award. She explained that Oak Grove members had participated in seminars which teach firefighters to better assess fire risks and how local fire departments can help the public reduce those risks.

She said, “The Oak Grove Fire Department joined our program last year and performed an assessment for the Tattersall community… they’re our first member in Whitley County and one of 30 certified programs in the Kentucky.”

A member of the department proudly explained that Oak Grove was awarded nearly $9,500 last year through the Firewise program, which, he said, was used to help pay for a fire engine. This year, he said the department will be awarded $20,000, which is the maximum amount a single department can be awarded. He said that, too, will likely help pay off one of Oak Grove’s fire engines.

Bennett had one recommendation for audience members. She explained that every residence should have its address clearly visible from the road. She suggested using, at least, four-inch numbers so emergency personnel can locate homes more easily.

The fiscal court also voted to allow the judge-executive to purchase a large quantity of road salt for the upcoming winter. “There’s a lot of expectation that this winter will be bad,” he said. From the state, the county will purchase 150 tons of road salt, and from a Michigan company, the county will purchase another 250 tons.

“We’re trying to prepare for the winter as best as we can … we’ll have double the amount of salt we normally have,” he explained.

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