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When driving through major cities during rush hour on a regular day, it felt like it took forever to move a mile at times with stop and go traffic, said Madisonville truck driver Franklin Cope Jr.

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Baptist Health Madisonville now has a dedicated COVID-19 unit for patients with COVID-19, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Wayne Lipson during a Thursday Facebook live briefing held at Madisonville City Hall.

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A third death in Hopkins County from the coronavirus became official Thursday. And after weeks of resistance, the Judge-Executive imposed a partial curfew.

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Before the coronavirus began devastating the U.S. economy, unemployment in Hopkins County was slightly above the state average. But now? Well, who knows at this point?

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies around the country are finding ways to retune their operations to provide Personal Protective Equipment for medical professionals. A week ago, a Madisonville plant was approached to do the same.

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In a day when you don’t want to be at the doctor’s office, because of risks involved in seeing others, health care providers are leaning into one of their newest social distancing strengths — telehealth.

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called out the county he has deep roots in Wednesday during his daily coronavirus briefing. In the process, he released more details about how the virus has spread and killed two people in Hopkins County.

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At the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are essential workers who are providing basic necessities for their communities. In Madisonville, one set of those unsung heroes comes in the way of grocery store employees.

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The only coal mine in Hopkins County shut down temporarily Monday because of the coronavirus, while a factory with confirmed COVID-19 cases reopened.

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Food pantries across the county are adjusting their procedures to comply with social distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The first Hopkins County death from the coronavirus was confirmed Friday, while the number of positive cases now stands at three.

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One of Madisonville’s major employers revealed Friday that a worker has tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s led to the plant shutting down for an extended weekend.

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In the midst of one of the most challenging times in recent memory, everyone seems to be finding ways to help their neighbors, said Cameron Edwards, development manager of the Baptist Health Charitable Foundation.

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President Trump signed a coronavirus economic stimulus bill Friday, after the House approved it by voice vote. Western Kentucky’s congressman figuratively held his nose as he did.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers, first responders, corrections officers and those who work for the Department of Community Based Services have their mission: To keep the commonwealth safe and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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In the classroom, teachers have a routine. They set their classroom standards and expectations early, but now teachers are adjusting to the new, for now, normal, Non-Traditional Instruction.

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A Madisonville man was arraigned Thursday on child sex crime charges which could date from 2012.

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Thursday was the warmest day of the year in Madisonville. But parents who took their children to city parks to enjoy the 80-degree sunshine might have been stunned and disappointed.

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If you’re going to stay at home due to the coronavirus, you might as well fulfill another government requirement while you’re there.

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The most unwanted visitor in modern Hopkins County history officially arrived late Wednesday — what President Trump has called the invisible enemy.

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Kentucky might be a “Bible Belt” state. But right now, church sanctuaries largely are closed to the public while liquor stores are open.

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During a special called meeting Tuesday night, the Hopkins County Board of Education unanimously approved the inaction of provisions outlined in Kentucky Senate Bill 177, which was unanimously passed by both the House and the Senate Monday and signed by Gov. Andy Beshear yesterday.

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While rain poured on their shoulders, three volunteers with Salvation Army assisted Major Mike Good in delivering boxed meals to the elderly at the Creek Crossing apartments and Adrian Circle on Tuesday.

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The provider of Smart 911 service to Hopkins County is clarifying what residents have to do to continue receiving emergency alerts.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Town Crier

Cell tower worker’s last picture was Harrison vista

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A wireless communications worker was killed at the top of a Verizon Wireless mobile phone tower on Waits Road on July 2 when the routine installation of a new antenna went wrong. Heavy equipment plummeted over 240 feet trailing a cable that caught and severed the worker’s right arm and then, tragically, decapitated him before the eyes of his crew.

The man was identified as 28-year-old Joel Metz, a father of three from Indianapolis, according to an account of the incident from the Indianapolis Star.

The other three men involved in the installation managed to escape physical harm in the accident, according to the report from Harrison County Sheriff Bruce Hampton.

According to the sheriff’s report, the four-man crew was nearing the end of a project to replace an antenna array at the top of the tower, which is owned by the Verizon Wireless Company.

The crew was employed by Fortune Wireless, Inc. of Indianapolis which contracts with Verizon Wireless to service its mobile phone towers.

Standard procedure is to have two men on the ground and two men harnessed in at the top of the tower to transfer the equipment, Hampton was told.

According to the testimony of the workers, the old antenna had been removed and a new one was within two feet of being installed when there was a “pop” sound and the equipment fell, Hampton said.

In the process of falling, Metz’s head and right arm were severed by the cable. The antenna array smashed into the ground.

Metz’s body was left in the harness while the other worker at the top of the tower slowly descended from the horrific scene.

At 2:20 p.m., Harrison County Fire and Rescue teams, Emergency Management personnel, and Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area.

After assessing the situation, the Cynthiana Fire Department was also called in to assist with retrieval of the body. The area was cleared of all but emergency response personnel, but it was soon determined that no Cynthiana or Harrison County first responder was appropriately equipped to attempt the climb.

Blue Grass Energy employees arrived to safely remove fallen cables that had draped themselves over the electric lines during the accident.

Later that evening, the Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue team was invited to implement a safe retrieval plan, Hampton said. The rescue team is made up of highly skilled fire and rescue specialists who could bring the proper equipment and experience to the scene, he explained.

The sheriff, who remained at the scene throughout the recovery effort, said the complicated retrieval lasted until the late night hours.

In an ironic twist, on Tuesday, July 1, the day before the tragedy, Metz’s Facebook page included a panoramic photo of the Harrison County countryside as seen from the top of the cell phone tower.

None of the workers involved in the accident were from Kentucky, Hampton said.


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