State Representative Tommy Turner is back on his feet after breaking his leg while on a bear hunting trip last fall. He has recovered sufficiently to resume bear hunting and is ready to go back to Frankfort when the General Assembly convenes in regular session January 7.
Believe it or not, Turner has been bear hunting “two or three times” since he broke his leg. “We went bear hunting yesterday (Monday) over on Black Mountain in Harlan County,” Turner said. “We didn’t do any good ... fog moved in ... we couldn’t see anything. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Looking through fog to see a bear is an analogy of trying to find money in state government to meet pressing needs. Someone said it’s almost like going bear hunting with a switch.
“We’ve got to find some money for education,” said Turner. Educators are demanding that financial support for education be returned to 2008 levels.
“And there must be money to fund the (state employees’) pension liabil-ity,” Turner remarked. “We’ve got to move money around and plug holes,” he suggested.
For Pulaski County, Turner said money must be available to four-lane the eastern end of south-eastern bypass. Widening the two-lane section of Ky. 914 is currently being advertised for bids. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet hopes to award a contract in February that would include a completion date of August 1, 2015.
Turner also mentioned extending Somerset’s northern bypass. The relatively new road, a part of Cumberland Parkway, is the designated route for Interstate 66. The northern bypass currently is complete to U.S. 27 about two miles north of Somerset. Its designated route takes it from U.S. 27 easterly across Ky. 39 to Ky. 80 at Barnesburg. From there, a selected route for I-66 is through Shopville and Squid and across Daniel Boone National Forest to I-75 near the weigh station south of London.
“Hal (Rogers) is working on that,” Turner commented.
“Another thing is a shelter for homeless,” said Turner. “Churches have been talking with me about that. We apparently have more homeless people than we realize,” he said.
Turner said his leg is much better ... I still have to be careful,” he said, adding: “But I’m back bear hunting. We’ve even been back over in Virginia.
He got hurt while hunting bears in Virginia.
“We were over in Virginia letting our dogs run bears ... we go over there to Virginia and to Harlan and Letcher counties a lot. We run bears over there like we run raccoons over here,” said Turner, an avid sportsman.
“Our dogs treed a bear and I was walking around a ledge (left from a coal mining operation) and got too close to the edge. The ledge gave way and I fell,” Turner related.
“The boys with me said I fell about 15 feet. I landed on my right leg and broke it,” Turner said.
“They had to winch me out of there. When I got out, I got on my four-wheeler and made it back to my truck. I didn’t know where any hospitals were around there so I drove on back from Virginia to the Somerset hospital (Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital),” Turner related.
Turner represents the 85th House District, most of which is in Pulaski County. His district was recently realigned and a small part of it continues to extend into Laurel County.