Justice Bill Cunningham and Judge Christopher Shea Nickell to speak at the Annual Chamber Dinner in March 2014
La Center – Ballard County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Myra Hook stated that the Annual Chamber Dinner is going to take place on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at the recent Ballard County Chamber Breakfast held at the Bluegrass Restaurant this month. This years guest speakers will be Justice Bill Cunningham Supreme Court of Kentucky 1st Supreme Court District and Judge Christopher Shea Nickell Kentucky Court of Appeals 1st Appellate District Division 1. Cunningham has written several books and Nickell is an authority on Alben Barkley. Everyone is invited to attend the dinner.
Hook then introduced one of the guest speakers, Anita Campbell representing the Salvation Army in Ballard County. Campbell spoke about the funds that the local Salvation Army received from the United Way in 2013. The United Way donated approximately $2,800 to the Ballard County Salvation Army (BCSA). Campbell said that donations can be made at the First Community Bank in Wickliffe (formerly First Southern National Bank), or donations can be directly given to her. Campbell continued by saying that there are currently two members on the board, and the board is looking for volunteers as well. Campbell also stated that the BCSA works in conjunction with Western Kentucky Allied Services to help citizens in the county who have financial needs.
One of the attendees at the breakfast asked about getting a red kettle for donations as seen at the Paducah Walmart during Christmas time. Hook referring to the funds donated in Paducah said that they stay in Paducah. They are not distributed to the surrounding areas. If the citizens of Ballard County want to help make a difference in Ballard, they need to donate the funds locally. Campbell responded by stating that the red kettles are rented for $150, and monetarily, the kettle is more than the amount of funds collected by the kettle. Campbell said, “This was tried or recommended several years ago, and it just did not pan out.” Another attendee asked about advertising around Christmas time at various restaurants by having some signs about where to make donations.
Hook then introduced Michael Clarke of the Ballard County Ambulance Department and was pleased that Clarke was not called away to respond to an emergency during the breakfast. Clarke’s main topic of discussion was the changes that have occurred over time with the Ambulance Department. Clarke started by saying that he has been with the Ambulance Department since 1997. In 2007, the Ambulance Department went from emergency medical technicians (EMT) to being able to hire paramedics. Prior to this, the Ambulance Department had to call Mercy Regional Emergency Medical Services to provide medical attention to patients with chest pains and meet them between Ballard County and Paducah. Also, in 2007 the Ambulance Department moved into a new constructed county facility on Broadway in La Center. Currently, there are 10 paramedics and 10 EMT’s, a total of twenty full time and part time county employees. Also since 2007, the Ambulance Department has partnered with the Fire Department in Wickliffe for the Ambulance Department’s second station, stated Clarke. As of January 2014, the Ambulance Department has been designated as a critical care service. There are currently two qualified critical care paramedics and three more paramedics attending classes who will be trained by April 2014. By being a critical care service, this allows the Ambulance Department to transfer patients to Nashville, TN or Louisville, KY who are on a ventilator or other certain types of medication. Prior to this, Mercy Regional had to be called to transport the patients with these specific conditions.
Clarke also informed the attendees that there is a hospital preparedness program that he is looking into applying in conjunction with the Ballard County School Board for a school bus grant. Clarke plans on using the funds to convert a school bus so that it will be able to transport ten to twelve patients on spine boards at one time and cover the River Counties with it. This will be used during times of natural disasters or large accidents to transport multiple patients at one time.
Clarke strongly urges people who are in need of medical attention to call 911 instead of the individual stations. At times, the paramedics and EMT’s are on calls, and no one is available to answer the phones at the stations. Clarke ended his presentation by saying, “We have come a long way since the nineteen seventies.”
Hook stated that on April 24, 2014 the Ballard County Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Meet and greet” event at the Ballard County Schools. This event will allow the current candidates for all the positions of this year’s election to meet the constituents and discuss their goals and reasons for being elected to the public office for which they are running.
The next breakfast will be held on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 at 7:30 am at the Bluegrass Restaurant.