From Pikeville to Paducah and all points in between, flooding devastates the Bluegrass

Despite being flooded, the Three Forks Tradition and Beattyville Enterprise/Booneville Sentinel

didn’t miss a beat and printed their editions this week

National Guard Specialist David Lynch, of 429 I company helps clean out the Three Forks Tradition office after severe flooding in downtown Beattyville, Wednesday, March 3. “No question this is a catastrophic event,” said the director of Lee County Emergency Management Josh Allen said.  By Silas Walker LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

You name the river flowing through or along the borders of Kentucky and you’ll find at some point, that river has flooded. And even in the next few days, some rivers will continue to do so.

While most all newspapers we checked with were inconvenienced by the flood waters, two papers in Beattyville most likely felt the effects the most. The Three Forks Tradition and the Beattyville Enterprise. And since the Enterprise staff is also responsible for the Booneville Sentinel, it affected that one as well.

Flood water in the city of Beattyville didn’t reach the Enterprise’s office on the second floor but did keep the staff from accessing the office.

The Enterprise offices are on the second floor of the building where it’s located so the inconvenience for Jessica Butler and staff was not being able to get into the office. Everything should be safe since the water reached only the first floor.

But down the street, Linda and Bob Smith had a different story for their Three Forks Tradition.

Linda had an odd request for Rachel (McCarty, our ad director). “Can you sign my name to the insertion order?” That was in reference to an ad order from KPS and maintains a record that a newspaper has received the insertion order and has it scheduled to run.

But it was a request Rachel handled without hesitation when she saw the reason from Linda for that request.

You see the Three Forks Tradition was well under water. So much so, that Linda and Bob saved the computer but couldn’t save the printer or fax. Without the printer, Linda could not print out the insertion order and without the fax she couldn’t have sent the signed copy back to KPS.

The Smiths posted updates on the newspaper’s Facebook Page, including one about this week’s issue:

“The good news is that we were able to publish this week. The paper is at the printer. Selling them may be a different story. Obviously, the distributors in the flooded area will not have the paper for sale tomorrow. If Jack’s IGA is able to open in the next few days, they will have the papers for sale. As it stands now, these are the businesses where you can buy the TFT tomorrow: Dairy Queen, Travelwise, Walgreens, Stufflebean, Rec Center, Zoe Food Mart, Torrent Beer Store, Save A Lot and Tobacco Barn, Bobcat Dairy Bar, Lee County Building Supply, JJ’s Mini Mart, Kay’s Quick Shop, Beartrack Grocery and Booneville Food Mart. We will also have them in our vehicles for sale. For our subscribers, we think we will be able to mail from a different post office, but please bear with us. We could use all the support we can. Buy a paper, better yet — buy 10. This is something you will want to preserve for your kids and grandchildren. This story isn’t going away anytime soon and we are going to do our best to report the news while trying to clean and rebuild like everyone else. Thanks for your understanding.”

Enterprise general manager/editor Jessica Butler used the newspaper’s Facebook Page as well, to post an update:

I have not said much during this flood, other than making sure all the up-to-date information is given to both the Lee and Owsley communities. However, my staff and I could not work from our Beattyville office, displacing us, as well as all the businesses on Main Street in Beattyville.

My staff and I were still able to get both papers built and printed from another location. We are thankful that our office is on the 2nd floor and so there was no damage to our Beattyville office, and also, no damage to the Booneville office.

However, like everyone else, my staff and I have families who we must support, and these circumstances do not make it easy to provide for our families. Yet, we are still working hard 24/7 to provide a top-notch media service for our readers and the wonderful communities that we live in.

Our hearts go out to those businesses that are worse off than us. So, please, if you can, donate to those businesses that need help and make up the heart of Lee County. Also, please, continue to purchase from these businesses, including ours, to help keep us Beattyville Strong!

Here is the link for donating to businesses on Main Street in Beattyville:

The Lee County Judge-Executive’s office will be creating a fund for those businesses throughout Lee County that are not located on Main Street. Once we receive it, we will post that link too.

Sending much love and prayers for all those struggling right now and thank you to our readers who have kept us going since 1883. Thank You!

Jessica L Butler, GM-Editor

The news from both the Three Forks Tradition and the Enterprise/Sentinel shows once more than newspapers — Kentucky newspapers — are resilient. Despite losing equipment, despite being unable to get to the office, despite all of the other roadblocks they got on the press and printed an issue this week.

It would have been easy to throw up the hands and say, “Well, we’re just not going to have an issue this week,” using flood waters navigable only by boat as a reason to take the break. But that’s not Bob and Linda Smith, that’s not Jessica Butler and her staff. That’s not Kentucky newspapers. It may not be easy, they might have to ask for help and find some equipment but whatever it takes, Kentucky newspapers are resilient. We’ve told you that before and will continue to salute you for all the barriers you overcome to get the paper on the streets.

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