Tuesday, May 24, 2016

BREAKING: A second person has been charged in connection with a Mingo murder.

Ricky Dean Peterson of Wayne is charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing/resisting and officer and false information to a trooper in connection with the murder, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wayne County Circuit Court.

This is the second arrest in the shooting death of coal executive Ben Hatfield, who was found shot to death Monday in a Mingo County cemetery.


Anthony R. Arriaga, 20, of Gibsanburg, Ohio, who was arrested in Ohio, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death.


West Virginia House kills tobacco tax hike, stymieing budget

(AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates has killed a key tax hike on cigarettes and other tobacco products, stymieing budget negotiations.

The 44-55 vote on Tuesday occurred during the GOP-led Legislature's seventh day of budget session. Each day of session costs $35,000.

The bill would have raised taxes on cigarettes by 45 cents a pack to $1. It would have also increased taxes on other tobacco products.

Many Democrats and some Republicans opposed the legislation.

A similar version previously passed the Senate.

The tax hikes were expected to raise about $76 million annually.

Lawmakers need to cover a $270 million budget gap. Without a budget plan before July 1, the state would go into a government shutdown.


Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called lawmakers into session May 16.


West Virginia begins allowing concealed guns without permits

(AP) — West Virginia now lets people 21 years old and up carry hidden guns without permits or training.

The law passed by the Republican-led Legislature took effect Tuesday.

In March, lawmakers needed only a simple majority to override Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of the bill.

Tomblin vetoed it over safety concerns from law enforcement officials. He vetoed similar legislation last year.

It was already legal in West Virginia to carry guns openly — in a holster, for instance — without permits.

The law lets people carry concealed guns in public without permits, by wearing a coat for example. People ages 18 through 20 still will need a permit and training with live firing.


West Virginia is one of 10 states that don't require concealed carry permits.


Beshear asks Supreme Court to hear college funding case

(AP) — Kentucky's Democratic attorney general has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to cut college and university budgets without the approval of the state legislature.

A state judge ruled last week that Bevin does have the authority to order public colleges and universities not to spend all of the money the state legislature gave them. Attorney General Andy Beshear is appealing the decision, arguing it gives the governor's office too much power.

The case would normally go to the state Court of Appeals. But Beshear is asking the state Supreme Court to take the case because of its "great and immediate public importance."


A spokeswoman for Bevin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Monday, May 23, 2016

2 Kentucky groups get federal grants to help poverty areas

(AP) — A group will receive a $250,000 federal grant to help low-income communities develop businesses and create jobs in eastern Kentucky.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the grant last week for the London-based Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation.

The USDA says matching funds are required locally to double the impact of the grant. The grant will support the Leslie County and Perry County fiscal courts and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program.

The agency also announced a $95,000 matching grant to Community Action Kentucky to help five rural utilities operate a database to map and manage assets. The communities are Cumberland, Evarts, Jenkins, Liberty and Lynch.

The USDA says the grants involve persistent poverty areas.




Investigation underway into discovery of body in Mingo County

The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered this morning at a cemetery.

The body was found about 6:30 Monday morning at Mountain View Memory Gardens outside Williamson. The cause of death is not yet known, but reports indicate the victim had a gunshot wound.

The Sheriff’s Department requested that the State Police Crime Scene Team respond and assist with the investigation.




Extras sought for film about FBI informant slain in Kentucky

(AP) — A film about an FBI agent who pleaded guilty in Kentucky to strangling an informant in 1989 is scheduled to begin shooting this week in Lexington.

Extras casting director Taylor Woodell says she is looking for paid extras for the movie "Above Suspicion." Information about becoming an extra is available on the Facebook page TW Casting, and some casting calls are planned for Tuesday.

The movie is about Mark Putnam, who pleaded guilty in June 1990 to first-degree manslaughter in the death of Susan Daniels Smith, a Freeburn, Ky. resident, with whom he was romantically involved. Putnam strangled Smith in a Pikeville Motel. Putnam served 10 years in prison.

The moviemakers are also looking for cars made between 1970 and 1985.


Woodell said filming would be in areas around Lexington and Harlan.