Times Journal

Posted February 24, 2015 at 7:24 pm

The Russell Springs City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance at its regular meeting a week ago Thursday to begin two scholarships for Russell County students. The second reading will be at the council’s next meeting.

Mayor Eric Selby said he had spoken with several different cities in the state of Kentucky who provide students with scholarship money on a yearly basis, in particular the city of Erlanger, on how best to approach a scholarship.

“They have done a scholarship for several years and it has worked out real well,” Selby said. “I would like the city to start a scholarship to help out some of our local students.”

Selby said the scholarships would be basic and both for $1,000 each.

“If we do it as an ordinance it will keep every year,” he said, noting that the only change would be the actual dates on the time it would be submitted into the city.

Students must meet basic scholarship criteria, including high school or home school graduation and minimum GPA of 2.0 and all two-year technical or four-year institutions can be utilized.

“This would come out of the general fund,” Selby said. “And it would actually be written to the students.”

The reason for that was to avoid the city attributing funds to a religious institution, which has some case law backing it up, according to City Attorney Matthew DeHart.

Eligible students for the scholarships cannot be related to any city employee, city official or council member, Selby said. The students will be selected by a committee of three council members, which will rotate on a yearly basis, the mayor added.


The Russell County High School Cheerleaders attended the UCA National Cheerleading Championships February 5-8 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, bringing home the 2015 Medium Coed National Game Day Championship.

The championship is one of the largest and most prestigious high school cheerleading nationals where more than 12,600 cheerleaders came to compete for a national championship and the coveted white jacket.

The Russell County Cheerleaders competed in two divisions this year, the 2 1/2 minute routine and the Game Day routine. Due to two injuries in the warm-up area before the 2 1/2 minute route on Saturday, the Lakers did not perform as well as they would have liked in the 2 1/2 routine but regrouped on Sunday and performed an almost perfect routine in the Game Day competition to become the 2015 Medium Coed National Game Day Champions. This is the first game day national championship in a coed division ever awarded and the first ever Universal Cheerleaders Association National Championship for Russell County. This is only the second year that UCA has had the Game Day National Championships.

“The Game Day competition is a new competition based on traditional cheering. You do things that you normally do at a ball game,” said Coach Teresa Ellis. “That is why I knew we would be good at this competition. I am from the old school and we still try to cheer good at ball games. Our cheerleaders have to compete but also love cheering at the games. This really showed in the Game Day Championships, with us scoring a great score of over a 90.”

To be in the national game day a squad must attend an overnight UCA camp and must qualify at a regional UCA competition.

“We really worked on this competition and I am so proud of this group of cheerleaders,” she said. “Winning this competition and receiving the white national jackets was a goal we set this summer at camp and it was amazing seeing them achieve this.”

Ellis said the squad would like to thank everyone that helped get them to the competition, all the parents, the Russell County high school administration, faculty and board of education, and all of their sponsors.

“All of your support has been amazing and greatly appreciated,” Ellis said.


After an arduous process of vetting some 70 applicants by committee, the Russell County Hospital Board interviewed applicant finalists and decided on Bill Kindred of Metcalfe County to be the new hospital CEO, a choice that board chair Mark Antle said was a good combination of expertise and person ability.

Kindred replaces George Walz who had been the interim CEO for the last couple of months, himself replacing outgoing CEO Rob Ramey.

Raised in Michigan, Kindred attended Washtenaw Community College where he earned a two-year degree in respiratory therapy and began working at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

He would meet his future wife, Theresa, in the Florida Keys and would marry in 1980, moving to his wife’s hometown of Metcalfe County (Edmonton) in 1981.

In 1985, Kindred went back to school, attending Western Kentucky University where he earned his Bachelor’s in Health Care Administration. At the time he was commuting from Edmonton to Bowling Green, working the night shift at the Bowling Green Medical Center while carrying a full load during the day at Western.

He was accepted as an Administrative Resident through the Health Administration Program at the Medical College of Virginia, a part of Virginia Commonwealth University; at the time ranked the third best health administration program in the country, receiving a spot into the competitive executive program.

In 1990 he landed a graduate internship at T.J. Samson Hospital in Glasgow, was hired as the Director of Human Resources, and would graduate from the executive program in 1992.

Kindred would move up to the position of Chief of Support Services, as executive management position over all non-clinical departments in 1997, and around 2002 he garnered further responsibility of non-nursing clinical services as well.

Equivalently acting as Chief Operating Officer for the hospital, Kindred was appointed CEO in 2007 after the untimely death of the acting CEO.

He would continue as CEO of T.J. Samson from 2007 until his retirement in 2013 to work his blueberry farm full time, a venture he began in 2011 and continues to operate under the name Bellview Blueberry Farms with his twin sons, Russell and Grant, as well as his oldest son, Nick.

While working the farm, he received a call from the Russell County Hospital that they were looking for a new CEO. Though at the time he had not considered the idea of coming out of retirement to once again become a hospital CEO, Kindred said after some thought he was ready for the new challenge of a small community hospital.

“I got to thinking about it and still had a fire in my belly,” Kindred said. “We worked it out so that I could come over and visit and I met with some of the board members and several of the physicians and got to walk around the hospital and talk with some of the staff and I thought, ‘this is really a great opportunity, it’s a critical access hospital, which to me is so important to the community.’”

“When I look at the Russell County Hospital, sure the scope of it’s services is less than would be at a larger hospital, but everything that they do, they do well,” Kindred said. “And I think that’s a message that has to be brought to the community, but the things we do in Russell County are done as well as they can be done anywhere in the country, and if I believe that’s the case, then I want to get that message out to the community.”

“A lot of people believe bigger is better, and believe me, with my years of experience I’ve found that not to always be the case and many times it’s not,” he said.

Board members and hospital staff have expressed a degree of excitement to have someone take the helm that has experience being CEO of D.J. Regional Health in Glasgow, with 296 beds and 1,300 employees including a partnership with a physician group T.J. Health Partners which employs 70 physicians.

“We did most everything short of open heart surgery,” Kindred said. “We had robotic surgery and did a lot of things. So it was very large, about $150 million revenue a year organization.”

Kindred said he really looks forward to working with a staff of 140 employees and the ability to get to know the staff personally, and the ability to interact with patients and families as well as spending time in the community.

“I like working at a small community hospital, and I really enjoy it because of the importance it is to the community and you can get more intimate with your community in a smaller environment,” Kindred said.

“I think it’s important to let the community know what a great hospital we have, and that they can come here with the assurance that they’re going to get good care and compassionate care,” Kindred said. “The things we can’t do, for sure we want them to go to hospitals that they can get that care, but I hope that everything that we can do for them in Russell County that they’ll come to us for that care.”

Kindred steps into the position during a window of opportunity for up to $21 million in loan guarantees to renovate the hospital.

Kindred has had extensive experience with renovation projects, including a $30 million pavilion and a $25 million expansion of the main hospital.

Kindred said everyone has been very welcoming, and when told that the board and staff were excited to have selected him at last month’s hospital board meeting, he said, “The feeling’s mutual. Everyone I’ve come in contact with, from board members to physicians to staff, the judge executive, have just been great people and I’m as excited as everyone else to come here.

“I’m very, very thrilled and pleased and excited for the opportunity,” Kindred said.