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Florence: Lawmakers, Police Officer, Retiring Fire Chief Honored

Florence city council's meeting on Tuesday night included the presentation of awards from the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) to State Senator John Schickel (R-Union) and State Rep. Sal Santoro (R-Florence).

KLC presents its Friends of Kentucky Cities award to lawmakers who work on behalf of cities in the legislature, according to the organization.

Santoro sponsored House Bill 561, a KLC initiative that would have modernized how Kentucky funds vital infrastructure, a news release said. 

“At a time when cities see funding shrink and costs soar, Representative Santoro continues to lead the call for Kentucky to reinvest in infrastructure,” said KLC Executive Director J.D. Chaney. “House Bill 561 was a fair compromise that would have created a more accurate reflection of how Kentuckians live and travel in the 21st century. We are grateful to Representative Santoro for his ongoing commitment to this important endeavor, and we look forward to resuming the discussion on this topic in the 2022 session.”

“I am honored to be known as a driving force in the work to modernize road funding in Kentucky,” said Santoro. “It has been a long and hard journey, but I believe that the goal is worth every mile of effort. The people of the 60th District and the entire commonwealth deserve a safe and reliable transportation infrastructure. I will continue to be a voice for smart solutions to this issue that impacts every city in our state. Thank you, Kentucky League of Cities, for this recognition and partnership.”

“Representative Santoro understands the need for a multifaceted approach to improving how Kentucky pays for the streets and bridges everyone depends on,” said KLC Director of Public Affairs Bryanna L. Carroll. “That includes a much-needed update to the outdated road funding formulas that no longer reflect where a majority of Kentuckians work and live. His leadership on this issue has been key in progress made so far on this top priority. I can’t thank him enough for being a champion for cities.”

Senator Schickel sponsored Senate Bill 66 in the 2021 session, a KLC initiative that helps cities safely and efficiently operate youth camps, a news release said.

“This bill had a direct impact on the lives of children and families who enjoy the many youth camps offered in cities throughout the state," Chaney said. "Every parent wants to know that their child is in safe and trusting hands, and Senate Bill 66 provided that piece of mind while giving cities the guidance they needed.”  

“I saw this as a commonsense measure,” said Senator Schickel. “Many children in Kentucky enjoy participating in city camps, and they are often an affordable summer option for parents. The background checks component of Senate Bill 66 ensures children are not put at risk, and the language eliminates confusion and unnecessary costs for local governments that offer these important programs. I would like to thank the Kentucky League of Cities for this recognition.”

Carroll thanked Senator Schickel and other legislators who worked to secure passage of important legislation in the 2021 session. “Public health concerns created difficult circumstances in which to complete vital legislative work,” she said. “Senator Schickel understood how important it was to focus on this bill, especially as Kentucky families anticipated the return of activities like youth camps. We appreciate his hard work on this legislation that improves the quality of life in our cities.”

In other business, Chief Scott Knoll was honored upon his retirement as chief of the Florence Fire Department. He served the department for twenty years and departs at the end of August.

Members of the fire department attended to show their support.

Mayor Diane Whalen read a proclamation which lauded Knoll's service and personal attributes of character, ethics, and loyalty, and declared August 24, 2021 as Scott Knoll Day in the city.

Police Officer Josh Dalton was praised for his service when resident Tony Mason went into cardiac arrest on May 19. Tony and Debbie Mason attended Tuesday night's meeting to thank Dalton for taking over CPR efforts from Debbie until the life squad arrived.

Tony Mason's heart stopped multiple times but a defibrillator helped him at the hospital.

A tearful and grateful Tony Mason shared the story, and said that he was glad to be standing there. The couple presented an award to Dalton.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor