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Ky. receives evacuees, sends help

Some 350 National Guardsmen and eight helicopters are being deployed from Kentucky to Louisiana to help with Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.

Meanwhile, Lexington was readying for at least 350 evacuees from Louisiana that were expected to arrive shortly before dawn on Sunday. The evacuees, who are arriving by plane, will land in Louisville and be transported to Lexington by LexTran and Fayette County school buses, said Mayor Jim Newberry.

Newberry said at a press conference Saturday that Lexington could receive up to 750 evacuees. It's unclear when the others will arrive.

The press conference was held at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lexington, the site of a special needs shelter.

Louisville and Lexington are the only Kentucky cities that will receive special needs evacuees — those who need medical attention but don't need to be hospitalized, said Pat Dugger, the director of Fayette County Emergency Management. Bowling Green and Owensboro have also agreed to take evacuees. The local chapters of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army and other civic groups will contribute to running the shelter.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini ordered the deployment of more than 350 troops on Saturday. Five Kentucky Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk and three OH-58 Kiowa helicopters will also be used. Aircraft crews from the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade will begin pre-flight operations at 8 a.m. Sunday at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery and 203rd Forward Support Company with armories in Glasgow, Tompkinsville, Campbellsville, Monticello, Elizabethtown, and Brandenburg have been ordered to active duty. They are directed to report to their armories with all of their equipment and clothing no later than 8 a.m. Sunday. These troops will provide security in Louisiana. They should depart Monday.

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