Lt. Col. Christopher Grice was presented the unit flag during a Wednesday morning ceremony symbolizing his taking charge of the Blue Grass Army Depot’s Chemical Activity from Lt. Col. Steven Basso.
The chemical activity, under a separate command from the depot itself, routinely gets a new chief every two years.
“There is nothing easy about the mission that Congress has assigned the Army’s Chemical Material Agency,” Basso said.
But, if he had been able to choose his successor, it would be Grice, Basso said.
The two men first met when they were both lieutenants in the same battalion early in their careers at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Basso has set a high standard for his successor, said Don Barclay, acting director of the chemical materials agency, who presided over the change of command.
A two-year review by the inspector general found no deficiencies at the chemical activity, a rare occurrence, Barclay said.
In addition to improving efficiency and synchronization, Basso had overseen construction of new buildings at the activity responsible for the safety and security of weapons that contain at total of 523 tons of lethal chemical agents.
Under an international treaty, the chemical weapons are slated for destruction by a facility being built on the depot.
Basso and his family are moving to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he will begin a teaching assignment at the Army’s General Command and Staff College.
Grice, a veteran of the Iraq War, comes to the depot from the Pentagon, where he was counter proliferation branch chief for the Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Division.
He grew up in Galesburg, Ill., and graduated with military honors from Southern Illinois University. He also earned a master’s degree in environmental management from Webster University in St. Louis.
The new commander said he has been impressed by the professionalism of the chemical activity staff since arriving at the depot and assured the community that his unit will continue to protect the stockpile, the community and the environment as it has under Basso.
In addition to Iraq, Grice has served overseas in Saudi Arabia, Kosovo and Germany.
Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@
or at 624-6622.
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EKU wins OVC tourney
The Eastern Kentucky University Colonels are OVC champions and are headed to the Big Dance.
Hot early shooting propelled EKU to a thrilling 79-73 win over defending champion Belmont Saturday in the championship game of the OVC Tournament.
The Colonels receive the OVC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The win gave EKU it's sixth OVC Conference Tournament title.
The Colonels hit four consecutive three pointers to open the game and led by as many as 15 points in the first half.
Corey Walden led all scorers in the game with 29 points, including 10-of-11 free throws. Glenn Cosey finished with 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting on three-pointers and Tarius Johnson added 15 points and five rebounds.
Veteran certification officer fired from EKU
Accusations of cheating on an online test led to the firing of an 18-year Eastern Kentucky University employee Wednesday.
Retha Sandlin, formerly a veteran certification officer in the Burnam House for EKU’s student veterans, said the decision resulted from a misunderstanding on the part of Jaime Roberts, the house’s interim office manager.
Proposed bill takes aim at heroin problem
Proposed legislation before the Kentucky General Assembly aims to combat the state’s growing heroin problem using three strategies – education, treatment and law enforcement aid.
Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, is one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 5. The bill was passed in the Senate earlier this year, 36-1, and is waiting to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.
New kid at the market
A three-day old black-and-white goat named Ellsa was the star Saturday morning at the new Richmond Downtown Farmers Market.
The Nubian goat mix was brought to the weekly market by Four Sisters Farm. Located off Four Mile Road in Madison County, the farm specializes in goat products.
Hundreds turn out for fishing team’s fundraiser
Madison Central High School’s bass fishing team got a boost Saturday when its first-ever Fishing Tackle Swap turned out to be a huge success.
About 500 buyers showed up to check out what the 38 vendors had to offer. At least 17 of the vendors were from outside Madison County. There were even a few boats for sale.
Pets of the Week from the Madison County Animal Shelter
The Madison County Animal Shelter is located at 1386 Richmond Road in Berea. Shelter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Animals available for adoption can be seen from noon to close Monday through Saturday.
Feds deny giving OK to selenium standards
When lawmakers wrestled last year with new standards for releasing selenium into streams by coal mines and industry, they were assured by state officials the proposals were based on sound science and approved by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.
Eastern students practice fire fighting in burning building
Thick barrels of smoke rolled out of the room as nearby observers could feel the fire’s heat on their faces. Furniture and drywall fueled the blaze. Flames licked the top of the door frame and the flat ceiling.
Airport planning mock disaster drill
Madison Airport officials and Eastern Kentucky University are making plans for a mock disaster drill tentatively scheduled for August.
Prior 'bad acts' to be allowed in Marcum murder trial
A Madison Circuit judge ruled Friday that prior “bad acts” of murder defendant Christina Marcum may be admitted during her upcoming trial.
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