Grants expand telehealth, opioid addiction help, small businesses

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The fight against opioid addiction in Kentucky got some help Wednesday.

At a press conference, 10 agencies received federal USDA grants that will improve services to adults and especially children. Telehealth will be a big part of that, making it easier for counselors and patients to work together.

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And the agencies say it will make a big difference.

“They get moved from place to place  so their mental health teams flip. With telehealth, they won’t have to, they will stay with their counselors all the way…It’s unbelievable at what it will mean to them,” said Susan Campbell Turner of CAFCA.

Sixth District Congressman Andy Barr announced the grants to also support agribusinesses, small businesses and colleges.

“Rural Development is committed to building strong communities, and it would be reprehensible if we didn’t do everything we could to help address the scourge of opioids and substance abuse,” said Kentucky State Rural Development Director Hilda Legg.  “In October 2017, President Trump called for an all-of-government approach to addressing this problem, and since then, Kentucky Rural Development has obligated over $6.7 million to help in that fight. We appreciate Congressman Barr’s efforts not only in appropriating funds and helping bring them back to Kentucky but especially his leadership on this issue.”

A full list of the USDA grant awards announced impacting Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District are:

Estill County Ambulance District receives $49,860 to replace an older, unreliable vehicle with high mileage and maintenance costs.  This will enhance the County’s ability to respond effectively to emergencies.

City of Stanton, Police Department receives $50,000 to purchase two new 2020 all-wheel drive law enforcement vehicles to replace older, unreliable vehicles. This funding will provide effective and efficient emergency response and law enforcement for a rural population in Powell County, one of Kentucky’s persistent poverty counties.

Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, Inc. will get $1,000,000 in USDA rural development funding to strengthen Telehealth services by replacing aging software and hardware to upgrade to a new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant video and audio-conferencing system.  This grant impacts 20 Counties across Eastern, Central and Western Kentucky including Fayette, Clark, Powell and Wolfe Counties in Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District.

Bluegrass Care Navigators has been granted $468,483 to establish a regional telemedicine network with a hub site at Bluegrass Care Navigators headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.  The regional hub will also serve constituents in Wolfe County in the Sixth Congressional District.

CAFCA Cares, Inc. is going to receive $207,083 to provide interactive video conferencing equipment and telemedicine cars to support mental health services.  The services will include treatment for opioid substance disorders to patients as well as the professional development of staff.  This grant will impact five Kentucky Counties, including Fayette and Madison Counties in the Sixth Congressional District.

Denali Stud will use a $8,190 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 12.6 kilowatt solar system. The project will generate and replace over 14,000 kWh of energy each year.

Runnymede Farm Inc. will use a $19,513 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install three solar systems totaling 36.36 kilowatts. The project will generate and replace over 42,000 kWh of energy each year.

Butler Farms LLC will use a $197,831 Value-Added Producer Grant to expand the market for their packaged pork and chicken products. They plan to expand and ship meat subscription boxes, improve marketing to increase customer base and improve the processing and logistics.

Inside-Out Design LLC will use a $7,157 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 15.02 kilowatt solar system. The project will generate and replace over 19,000 kWh of energy each year.

Lazy Eight Stock Farm LLC will use a $7,522 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 21.6 kilowatt solar system. The project will generate and replace over 28,000 kWh of energy each year.

The City of Berea will use a $100,000 Rural Business Development Grant to construct a permanent structure for a multi-use farmer’s market pavilion, which serves small and emerging farmers located within a nine-county eligible rural area. This permanent structure will offer more space for additional vendors while breathing new life into a blighted area that is located at the main point of entry into the city.

Berea College will use a $50,000 Rural Energy for America Program grant to perform energy audits that will assist rural small business and agricultural producers in making energy efficiency improvements to their businesses and/or farming operations.

Jani K. Schneid will use a $13,963 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 31.08 kilowatt solar system. The project will generate and replace almost 40,000 kWh of energy each year.

Jani K. Schneid will also use a $15,278 Rural Energy for America Program grant to install high-efficiency LED lighting. This project will save over 3,000 kWh of energy each year.

Bluegrass Biochar LLC will use a $5,925 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 10.5 kilowatt solar system. The project will generate and replace over 11,750 kWh of energy each year.

Elmwood Stock Farm will use a $239,332 Value-Added Producer Grant to expand the community supported agriculture (CSA) share program and to expand the value-added, processed foods produced from Elmwood Stock Farm commodities for sale within the CSA basket, which is sold at the farmers market and through an online store. This project adds value as a USDA certified organic operation that supplies vegetables and meats to the local community.

John F. Ruggles Jr. Inc. will use a $500,000 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 1.4 megawatt solar system. The project will generate and replace over 1.8 million kWh each year.