First woman statue coming to Capitol; DG opening warehouses; SNAP benefits extended

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — The Kentucky State Capitol will get its first statute of a woman in August 2021.

It’s the culmination of a project that began in 2014, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced Wednesday during Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily briefing Wednesday.

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The new monument of education pioneer Nettie Depp, will be placed in the West Wing of the Capitol.

“In honor of the United States Women’s Suffrage Centennial August 18 and Women’s Equality Day on August 26th,  I’m announcing the first monument honoring a woman, Nettie Depp, in the state Capitol,” the Lieutenant Governor said. “The unveiling of the Nettie Depp monument will occur next year, August 21, 2021.”

Nettie Depp was a pioneer in education in Kentucky, as a teacher, principal and elected school superintendent in 1913, seven years before women earned full voting rights in Kentucky. She advocated for improved education for every Kentuckian, regardless of gender or race.

Depp served from January 1, 1914, through December 31, 1917.

The statue is paid for with private donations. Artist Amanda Matthews, who is Depp’s great-great niece, is making the 6-foot statue out of bronze. Nettie was also the great-great-aunt of actor Johnny Depp who is the great-grandson of Nettie’s brother, Oren R. Depp.

“She was a true visionary in education reform and suffragist,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “The impact Nettie Depp had on her community is profound and can be felt a century later. May her life serve as a lesson to us all.”

She noted the project aims to redress a historical lack of honor and understanding of American history regarding women’s work, sacrifices and untold contributions.

“I hope that by having the statue of Nettie Depp prominently displayed in the Capitol, we can inspire the next generation of Kentuckians, promote gender equality, and highlight the importance of education and careers in education for the thousands of student visitors we welcome to Frankfort every year,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said.

Beshear said the state still has not decided how to replace the statue of Confederate President and Kentucky native Jefferson Davis that was removed from the Rotunda in May.

The options include rotating statues in and out, leaving the space open and letting the public make suggestions.

Dollar General Opening New Distribution Centers
Beshear was pleased to announce Wednesday some positive economic news that will bring hundreds of needed jobs and spur wider business activity.

“This morning, Dollar General Corporation announced plans to open two new distribution center facilities in the Bluegrass State, including a traditional warehouse in Walton in Boone County and a DG Fresh cold storage facility in Bowling Green in Warren County,” the Governor said.

The addition of both facilities is expected to create more than 365 jobs for Kentuckians and support operations at more than 2,300 store locations. Construction on both facilities is expected to begin by September 2020 with plans for Walton to be operational by January 2021 and Bowling Green by summer 2021.

“I wanted to take time to thank Dollar General for this latest investment in Kentucky and our people,” Gov. Beshear said. “Protecting our workers is a top priority for my administration and me as we work to recover from the widespread economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Dollar General was founded in the commonwealth, currently operates more than 580 stores in the Bluegrass State and employs more than 5,600 Kentuckians.

Benefits and Long-Term Care Updates
Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, provided updates Wednesday on benefit programs to help Kentuckians and work to keep long-term care facilities safe.

“We want folks to sign up for benefits,” Secretary Friedlander said. “It makes sense to have health care coverage during a pandemic. It also makes sense to have food during a pandemic.”

Secretary Friedlander continues to encourage Kentuckians to apply for health care assistance and access to food through the Medicaid, SNAP and WIC programs.

He said approval of a waiver under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has been granted, giving thousands of Kentucky families an additional six months of SNAP benefits that would have expired June 30. This is in addition to an extension granted to those SNAP households with benefits expiring in March, April and May.

“Take advantage of signing up. When you get SNAP you support your local grocers. When you get Medicaid, you support your local health care industry,” he said. “Without Medicaid, the health care industry would collapse. Without SNAP there would be significant damage to our grocers and local communities.”

Secretary Friedlander also said Kentucky CARES funds are being used to support testing of staffers in all of the commonwealth’s 286 long-term care facilities every 14 days for COVID-19. The testing will continue through 2020 and will help keep residents of these facilities safer.

“We have done a good job in Kentucky and we are going to continue to do a good job,” Secretary Friedlander said. “We are going to continue to provide the services necessary to make a difference. I believe we have and I believe it shows in our rates.”