By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
The Madison County program to aid victims of domestic violence and their families will now be able to keep its doors open until at least June 2014 thanks to the support of the community and grants.
Representatives from Hope’s Wings spoke at Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, thanking the elected officials for their continued financial support.
In February 2010, the program had to cease full-time operations because of a lack of funds. Hope’s Wings Board Chair Barbara Bentley said during that time several laid-off workers continued to work for the agency as full-time volunteers.
However, new grants have allowed the program to reopen full time last year.
“Hope’s Wings is financially sound,” Bentley said.
In 2006, the Madison Fiscal Court, in agreement with other local elected bodies and groups, helped a group of residents who attend Richmond’s First Christian Church to obtain a state grant to create the program. The money was used to purchase five acres of land and build a 5,000-square-foot emergency shelter.
Since its opening, the emergency shelter has housed 300 women and children, Director Jennifer Lainhart said. The agency also provides transitional housing; child, court and medical advocacy; a 24/7 emergency line; counseling and support groups and community referrals.
“Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life,” Bentley said.
Another grant allowed the program to hire a retired Kentucky State Police trooper as a special victims investigator last year, Lainhart said. In 2011, 20.9 percent of emergency protective orders went unserved because respondents could not be located.
However, in 2012, the proportion had shrunk to 10.2 percent, Lainhart said.
Hope’s Wings will have its second annual Jail and Bail event April 19 with all “bail” proceeds to benefit the program. To nominate someone to be “jailed,” contact Jennifer Lainhart at 623-4095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also at the meeting, the fiscal court:
• Approved a resolution to apply for federal funding to build an additional two miles of walking trails at the Battlefield Park.
Clark said the grant money comes from the Federal Highway Enhancement Fund, which is distributed to each state. Applications for grants are sent to the state Department of Transportation.
Previous grants from the fund have been used for a variety of improvements at county parks, Clark said. The county is expected to provide a 50-percent cash or in-kind match to the grant, which Clark said usually is met by county workers performing the labor required for the project.
• Decided to have a special-called meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Richmond to select the architectural firm that will design the $4 million, 13,000 square foot expansion of the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
Eight bids were received for the architectural contract, and Emergency Management Director Carl Richards said interviews were being conducted this week with each of the firms.
Clark said because of the strict timetable for the expansion’s construction, a recommendation must be made to the fiscal court by Monday.
The EOC expansion, which is being federally funded, is part of the preparations for destruction of chemical weapons being stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot. The Army wants the center to be around-the-clock operational by 2016.
• Discussed a delay in the White Hall Road work. Clark said the county is currently waiting on an encroachment permit from the state before proceeding with the reconstruction work.
• Discussed the upcoming bid for work on Wilderness Road. The bid will be publicized in April with the expectation of work commencing in mid-May. The road will be widened to 16 feet, black-topped and as much shoulder as possible will be added, Clark said. Also, about four “rough” spots will be worked on.
• Talked about when the new truck for dead livestock pick-up and disposal will be ready. The county had previously accepted a bid for a 16-foot aluminum truck bed that is being fitted to an International 7400-series truck.
The vehicle is expected to be on the road by mid-May. The county received a $50,000 grant through the Madison County Tobacco Settlement Board to purchase the new truck.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.
Infobox: To Get Help
Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline: 877-HOPE-040
Hope’s Wings: 623-4095