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Federal money goes towards more energy efficiency, flood recovery efforts in Hazard, Isom and Fleming-Neon


Another round of federal grant money from the United States Department of Agriculture is going towards energy efficiency and public safety across eastern Kentucky.

That includes more than $395,000 from the Rural Energy for America Program. It’s granting $122,776 to Tim Short Automotive in Hazard to help install energy efficient LED lighting and a roof-mounted solar panel system, as well as $272,826 to the Isom IGA grocery store to install energy efficient lighting and freezers.

“A really interesting fact is that these improvements to the operation in Hazard will lower his electric bill by about $1,000 a month, which is substantial,” Tom Carew, USDA State Director for Rural Development, said. “That would be substantial for anyone, I think.”

Isom IGA is lowering their electric bill by $3,000 per month, Carew says.

Another Community Facilities grant owing up to $36,900 is going towards Fleming-Neon to replace a utility vehicle the town lost during the 2022 floods. The town has also had discussions to rebuild its town hall outside of the floodplain.

Carew says allocations in the federal budget have allowed the agency to provide more funding to businesses who need it.

“We've gone from an allocation of about a million dollars a year, we're receiving eight or $9 million a year,” Carew said. “So that's that many more folks, we can help with this program.”

Carew says more grant money is expected from the USDA’s rural energy and water sewer disaster grant programs this winter and in early spring.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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