Mountain Water Group Is Hiking Rates And Still Pat-a-Caking With Utility Management Group

You remember the Mountain Water District? The fancy funtimes water and sewer mess affiliated with W. Keith Hall? If not, dig through the archives and prepare to have your mind blown.


Check this out. The Public Service Commission just allowed MWG to raise its water and sewer rates. $1.27 million for water, $12.23 increase for the average customer using 5,000 gallons per month. And $1.51 million for sewer, $32 increase or 170%.

That’s a total $2.77 million increase or 32.6%.

Here’s the release from the PSC:


While the PSC is allowing MWG to hike rates, it also told the hot mess of an agency that it needs to review its management outsourcing contract with Utility Management Group:

For the last 10 years, Mountain Water has contracted out its management to Utility Management Group (UMG). In today’s order, the PSC noted that during this 10-year period, Mountain District has amended the contract seven times and renewed it for three years in March 2014.

But Mountain Water has not put the contract out for bids “nor has it attempted to conduct a benefit analysis to show that the outsourcing of its operations to UMG is beneficial to its ratepayers,” the PSC said.

“Based on the significant difference between Mountain (Water’s) cost under the UMG contract and the stand-alone basis,” the PSC found that the district should retain the services of an outside independent consultant that has no past history with the district to assist it in a conducting a new bidding process.

Too little, too late.

Happy Friday! Everything Probably Sucks

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway enjoys a sizable cash advantage over Republican Matt Bevin as the two men head down the home stretch of the governors race. [H-L]

Syria’s chief-of-staff on Thursday declared a wide-ranging ground offensive by government forces, a day after Russian airstrikes and cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea backed Damascus’ multipronged advance into two Syrian provinces. [HuffPo]

Former Louisville basketball recruit JaQuan Lyle, in an interview with the NCAA this week, confirmed “the gist of allegations” against U of L in a new book. [C-J/AKN]

When David Martine arrived at the redbrick federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, in the summer of 2011, he was three years past his retirement and had not participated in an interrogation since 2007, when he was one of the CIA’s top inquisitors. On this day, however, he was not going to be asking questions. He was going to be answering them. [Newsweek]

There were some frightening moments at a southern Kentucky elementary school on Wednesday. [WKYT]

The Obama administration has formally threatened a veto on a House bill that would lift the federal ban on crude oil exports. [The Hill]

The Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Executive Board has given the green light for communities in the region to apply for grants up to $250,000 for job creation and broadband expansion via the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development (KARD) fund. [State Journal]

A U.S. jury on Wednesday awarded a cancer patient $1.6 million after finding DuPont was liable for leaking a toxic chemical used to make Teflon into drinking water near one of its plants. [Reuters]

Following a report this summer showing Floyd County led the state last year in the per capita number of drug-overdose deaths, House Speaker Greg Stumbo is gathering state and local leaders in Prestonsburg on Friday morning to discuss solutions. The public and community partners are invited to attend. [Floyd County Times]

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen in an attempt to support the embattled regime and counter the advances of the Houthi rebels. This coalition, supported by logistics and intelligence provided by the United States, has now been accused of war crimes in a recent report by a prominent international rights group. [ThinkProgress]

Some prominent Northern Kentucky Republicans have told the Enquirer they support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway. The bitterness among many Republicans against the tea party, which has challenged many in leadership recent years, might catch up to Republican candidate Matt Bevin, often seen as an outsider candidate who has heavy tea party support. []

The death penalty reared its head again at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. It was the first time the court publicly considered a death case since last term, when a constitutional challenge to lethal injection procedures erupted into a rare, nasty and vituperative debate among the justices. This time, the issues were far more technical but still a matter of life and death. [NPR]

The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy will train pharmacists across the state to distribute naloxone, a medication used to prevent overdoses from heroin and other opioids. [H-L]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… If you’ve ever wanted to experience space from the perspective of an astronaut, here’s your chance. [HuffPo]

It’s Now Trendy To Hate Kim Davis

Hillary Rodham Clinton says that jail was the “right thing” for a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Wednesday, breaking with President Barack Obama on the 12-nation trade deal that is set to become a key part of his legacy. [HuffPo]

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate lectured the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet on Monday for recently agreeing to a confidentiality clause in a proposed settlement of a case against an Eastern Kentucky oil company for a leak of diesel fuel into the Kentucky River. [C-J/AKN]

Planned Parenthood has sought class action status for its Medicaid patients in Arkansas after a U.S. judge ordered the state to continue payments to three women who challenged Arkansas’ move to halt payments to the organization. [Reuters]

Already home to one of the most underfunded public pension plans in the nation, Kentucky Retirement Systems is losing further ground through its investment choices. [WFPL]

The myth of the good guy with the gun. [Politico]

If the prevailing judgment about the 2015 gubernatorial race is that no one is excited about it, then Tuesday evening’s debate between Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway probably didn’t set any fires under prospective voters. [Ronnie Ellis]

A Florida candidate for US Senate has come under criticism after it emerged that he once killed a goat and drank its blood. He’s a “Libertarian.” [BBC]

The proposed reconstruction of Berea City Hall is touted as a project that could meet the needs of city administration and emergency services for years to come. During a Tuesday meeting of the Berea City Council, however, Audit and Finance Committee chairman Jerry Little raised concerns about the project’s $11 million price tag. [Richmond Register]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued nationwide custody standards governing how immigrants are treated when in U.S. Border Patrol custody. [NPR]

Status reports from Rowan County deputy clerks will now be filed monthly instead of every two weeks, according to a federal order filed Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Heads-up, Matt Bevin, you jackass. Tennessee’s first year of drug testing welfare recipients uncovered drug use by less than 0.2 percent of all applicants for the state’s public assistance system. [ThinkProgress]

Eastern Kentucky University canceled all classes on all of its campuses through Friday in part because of threatening graffiti on a bathroom wall on the Richmond campus. [H-L]

House Republicans created a special committee on Wednesday to investigate abortions, fetal tissue procurement and the use of federal funds at Planned Parenthood. [HuffPo]

The KY State Police Need Your Help

Danny Ray Burden fell asleep in mid-sentence as he was booked into the Grant County jail, toppling over on the bench where he sat. Prodded awake, he coughed, shook and pleaded for emergency medical attention. [H-L]

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a shot this week at President Barack Obama’s immigration strategy from his first years in office, saying it wouldn’t work with today’s GOP. [HuffPo]

A self-proclaimed prostitute says she was told that University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino knew she and other escorts were being paid to have sex with players and recruits. [C-J/AKN]

Hillary Clinton holds double-digit leads nationally over all her Democratic challengers, including a dream team of contenders that remain on the sidelines, according to a new poll. [The Hill]

A few Kentucky counties are searching for poll workers for the upcoming Nov. 3 general election but not Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

The “Resolution Condemning Judicial Tyranny And Petitioning God’s Mercy” asks the state to join rural Blount County in fighting against the ruling and to “protect Natural Marriage from lawless court opinions and the financial schemes of the enemies of righteousness.” [Reuters]

Stephen l. Pruitt today officially became Kentucky’s sixth Commissioner of Education since passage of the landmark Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990 that created the position. [Ronnie Ellis]

It’s hard to deny that the NRA has won the gun debate over the past 20 years. Despite mass shootings — and despite some 80 to 90 percent of Americans saying they are in favor of background checks — no legislation expanding on the 1993 Brady Bill has passed Congress. [NPR]

This will make your eyes roll back in your head. The Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission described state Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, as having demonstrated “the highest level of ethical standards.” [Ashland Independent]

The Justice Department is set to release about 6,000 inmates early from prison — the largest one-time release of federal prisoners — in an effort to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to drug offenders who received harsh sentences over the past three decades. [WaPo]

Habitat for Humanity of Madison and Clark Counties collected more than $58,200 in pledges for the coming five years during its annual Building Hope Community Breakfast. [Richmond Register]

Hillary Rodham Clinton, as she offered up a sheaf of new health care proposals, said she was “building on the Affordable Care Act.” But lurking in those proposals was a veiled criticism of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement: For many families, the Affordable Care Act has not made health care affordable. [NY Times]

Kentucky State Police are asking for help from the public as they search for a Knott County woman who has been missing since May. Natasha Fugate Jones was last seen by family on May 7, and state police began searching for her on June 7, according to a news release by Kentucky State Police. [H-L]

Three top officials with Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign claim political motivations are behind charges alleging they violated federal financial disclosure laws by secretly paying an influential Iowa politician for his endorsement. Paul, a former Republican congressman from Texas, will be called as a prosecution witness at the trial, set for next Tuesday in Des Moines. [AP]

Corruption? Fine. Prostitution? FREAK OUT!

How long will it take this guy to turn a blind eye to the things people like Joshua Powell have done in the name of education? Will he clean house? Let’s not hold our breath, now. [H-L]

A deal that allows thousands of companies to transfer data from Europe to the United States is invalid, the highest EU court said on Tuesday in a landmark ruling that follows revelations of mass U.S. government snooping. [HuffPo]

The veteran journalist who co-authored a book filled with explosive allegations against the University of Louisville men’s basketball program said Monday that the escort he wrote with is “pretty damn credible.” [C-J/AKN]

GOP strategists say McConnell’s strategy for protecting vulnerable incumbents is to show that the Republican Congress knows how to govern, especially in battleground states such as Ohio and New Hampshire, where swing voters will decide the outcome. [The Hill]

A former inmate at the Boyle County Detention Center has filed a lawsuit, saying he received “significant bodily injuries” while being detained at the jail. [WKYT]

Amtrak has told U.S. lawmakers that it will suspend service on its national network in mid-December unless Congress extends a Dec. 31 deadline for implementing advanced safety technology, according to an Oct. 5 letter from Amtrak reviewed by Reuters. [Reuters]

A Massey Energy safety official warned former CEO Don Blankenship about the severity of the safety violations at Massey mines, according to a June 2009 memo the prosecution plans to use to show the “warlike” relationship between Massey and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. [Richmond Register]

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign is grappling with a pressing and difficult question: How can she contrast herself to Bernie Sanders in next week’s Democratic presidential debate and beyond, without employing the sort of attacks that could boomerang to harm her? [NY Times]

Residents of Russell will see an increase in property taxes after City Council voted to approve the ordinance Monday morning. [Ashland Independent]

Powerful interest groups are already lining up to oppose various provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the sweeping trade agreement reached Monday by the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations — in hopes they can sway the votes of enough wavering lawmakers to have the deal rejected by Congress. [WaPo]

Members of the Rowan County Historical Society, Rowan County Arts Center Board, Morehead Tourism Commission, Rowan County Veterans Foundation, Morehead Theatre Guild and other concerned citizens met Thursday to discuss a proposal to tear down two historic structures. [The Morehead News]

John Boehner’s speakership is not ending quietly. With less than four weeks left in his decades-long congressional career, Boehner is maneuvering to shape the House Republican Conference on his way out. [Politico]

Kentucky’s education commissioner is appointed by the state board of education, but a state lawmaker wants to change that. State Rep. Kenny Imes, R-Murray, has prefiled a bill for the 2016 General Assembly that would require the commissioner to be confirmed by the state Senate. For another option, he said, he’s also drafting a bill that would require the education commissioner to be elected by a statewide public vote. [H-L]

A top U.S. commander said Tuesday that the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan was accidental — but the humanitarian group, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, claims otherwise. [HuffPo]

Surprise! Horsey Track Slots Instant Racing Machines Bring In The $$$

The gambling parlor at Red Mile took in more than $5 million in wagering in the first 19 days it was open, according to figures reported to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. [H-L]

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants Congress to establish a Select Committee on Gun Violence in the wake of the Oregon college shooting that left 10 dead on Thursday. [HuffPo]

If the campaign of Republican Whitney Westerfield for attorney general does not have the money to compete with its Democratic opponent Andy Beshear, the Republican Attorneys General Association does. [C-J/AKN]

We might not be able to remember every stressful episode of our childhood. But the emotional upheaval we experience as kids — whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the chronic stress of economic insecurity, or social interactions that leave us tearful or anxious — may have a lifelong impact on our health. [NPR]

The tell-all book claiming that a former University of Louisville staffer hired escorts for players and recruits is topping charts. [WKYT]

All it takes to officially run for the Republican presidential nomination is a one-page form sent to the Federal Election Commission, the US government entity in charge of overseeing campaign laws. [BBC]

The Department of Justice has issued a statement of interest in a federal lawsuit over children being handcuffed by a school resource officer in a northern Kentucky district. [WHAS11]

Girls, many of whom have suffered a range of trauma at home, make up a growing share of children arrested and detained across the country. [ProPublica]

It’s been more than two months since Beshear’s comments and it’s hard not to believe this controversy hasn’t cost the state of Kentucky more than the $60,000 day it would have taken to call a special session. Aaaaaand this guy is straight up lying to the folks in Richmond as he pushes for more separate but equal nonsense. You wondering why average Kentuckians remain in the dark? People in the media push that sort of crap. [Richmond Register]

Here’s what the world thinks about the American response to the Oregon massacre. [ThinkProgress]

People who live in Eastern Kentucky are a lot less impressed with this Mountain Parkway business than media would have you believe. [Floyd County Times]

About two dozen Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday sent President Obama a letter urging him to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016. [The Hill]

Do you smell the backroom fun things going on here? [H-L]

Looking back, nearly 20 years later, Jay Dickey is apologetic. He is gone from Congress, giving him space to reflect on his namesake amendment that, to this day, continues to define the rigid politics of gun policy. [HuffPo]