- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015
Kentucky Baptists say baptisms increased last year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Baptists say their churches baptized more than 14,000 people in 2014, an increase from the year before.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention says Baptist leaders have been focusing on evangelism and growing ranks by building new churches and reviving existing flocks.

“We can’t help but be humbled by these reports from our churches,” Convention executive director Paul Chitwood said in a release. “In one year, we saw enough people saved to populate a mid-sized Kentucky city.”

About 20 percent of the 2,400 member churches did not submit baptism numbers, according to the release. The convention recorded 14,223 baptisms in 2014, up from 13,975 the previous year.

Hillvue Heights Church in Bowling Green recorded 511 baptisms, the most in the state. Hawk Creek Baptist Church in London was second with 252, and Valley View in Louisville had 234.

The Baptist Convention said undesignated financial contributions to churches were up to $314.3 million in 2014 from $309.8 million the year before.

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Guardsmen rescuing stranded motorists in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky National Guard soldiers are firing up Humvees to make emergency medical runs and rescue motorists stranded by a winter storm that has dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the state.

Kentucky Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht says more than 75 guardsmen have been dispatched for emergency missions since the storm hit.

Hilbrecht said Thursday the Guard has helped rescue stranded motorists along Interstate 65 and the Western Kentucky Parkway in the Elizabethtown area. Stranded motorists are being taken to a warming center in Elizabethtown.

He says guardsmen are also picking up stranded motorists along I-24 in the Paducah area in western Kentucky.

In Marshall and Hardin counties, guardsmen are helping transport emergency personnel and medical patients.

Gov. Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency.

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Beshear declares state of emergency in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency for the second time in less than a month after more than 20 inches of snow fell overnight in some parts of the state.

The declaration authorizes the National Guard to help with relief efforts and empowers state officials to close roads in the interest of public safety.

A full day of rain on Wednesday meant it was impossible for road crews to prepare roads in advance of the snowfall that began about 5 p.m. EST and continued well into Thursday morning.

Heavy snowfall hindered road clearing efforts and Beshear urged Kentuckians to not travel if possible and to check in on elderly neighbors.

A statewide declaration does not automatically close schools and businesses. Residents should check local media for closing information.

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Road crews out in force to deal with winter storm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Road crews are out in force across Kentucky to clear roads covered by thick snow from the latest winter storm to hit the state.

State Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe says the snow is so thick that some snow plows have gotten stuck or blocked by stranded vehicles. Wolfe said Thursday that the snow fell so fast that roads had fresh blankets of snow on them soon after being plowed.

Some roads were blocked by tractor-trailers that jackknifed due to the slick conditions.

Wolfe says snow plows are out in all 120 counties. He says the main priorities are the interstate highways, parkways and other major routes.

More than a foot of snow has fallen in parts of Kentucky.

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