- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014
Grimes campaigns in western Kentucky

CLINTON, Ky. (AP) - Wesley Cooper was eyeing a glass dish at an estate auction Saturday morning when Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign bus pulled up across the street.

But the 69-year-old wasn’t interested in shaking Grimes’ hand or hearing her speech in this sparsely populated county along Kentucky’s western border.

“I think it don’t make a hell a lot of difference whichever one gets in there,” Cooper said. “Most politicians don’t know this part of the state until it’s time to get out and time to get a vote. Once you get elected we won’t see you again for four years.”

Hickman County, with a population less than 5,000, doesn’t get many visits from politicians. But Grimes made three campaign stops in Kentucky’s most western counties on Saturday with the hopes of cutting into what has become a Republican advantage in federal elections. Like most of the state, registered Democrats far outnumber registered Republicans in western Kentucky. But the area has consistently voted Republican in federal elections.

The reason, said Bardwell City Councilwoman Kay Presson, is voters here just don’t like Democratic President Barack Obama.

“(Grimes) supports Obama. She’s one of his main supporters and I do not like Obama,” Presson said while eating lunch at the 51 Grill in Bardwell, shortly after Grimes dropped by to speak to a capacity crowd there. “I think more people would support her if she didn’t support Obama.”


Advocates seek to expand agriculture in E. Ky.

HIPPO, Ky. (AP) - Agriculture advocates are attempting to expand farming opportunities in eastern Kentucky.

Former coal worker Todd Howard is part of the movement. He started out in 2010 by selling corn and tomatoes at the farmers’ market in Floyd County. By last year, he and others sold goods worth about $50,000.

Advocates say there’s a lot of room to expand agriculture production in the region, which would also help diversify the economy in an area that has seen the number of coal jobs decrease sharply in the last two years.

Howard, who operates HF Farms, told the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/T7zKnS) that realizing the idea’s potential would take time, money and effort on the part of many. It would mean finding affordable financing for farmers, assisting with marketing and aiding in developing infrastructure.

“There’s a lot of steps that have to happen,” he said.

The market value of agricultural products sold in several eastern Kentucky counties was recorded at less than $100,000 while several counties in central and western Kentucky have $100 million or more.


United Way chapter cuts funding to some groups

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - United Way of the Bluegrass in central Kentucky is responding to a drop in donations by decreasing funding to some organizations it supports.

Bill Farmer, president of the United Way chapter, tells the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/1leDVcYhttps://bit.ly/1leDVcY ) donations were down about 15 percent - about $800,000 less than last year. He says the yearlong giving campaign that just concluded generated about $4 million.

The United Way chapter finished 2011 with revenue of $5.3 million and 2012 with $4.9 million.

Farmer attributes the revenue decrease to a “soft economy” and competition for charitable giving.

He says most of the 80 central Kentucky agencies that receive United Way funding saw a decrease in funding, some of up to $50,000.

The organizations were notified recently of their funding levels for the coming fiscal year.

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