Friday, November 21, 2014

Blankenship pleads not guilty, released on $5 million bond

Former Massey Energy president and CEO Don Blankenship will face a January trial date in connection with the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in Raleigh County.
As family members of the UBB tragedy looked on Thursday in federal court, Blankenship pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements to investigators. His trial was scheduled for Jan. 26 with a pretrial hearing on Jan. 6.
Blankenship’s bond was set at $5 million. U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort refused to release Blankenship on a personal recognizance bond. The judge limited travel for Blankenship to southern West Virginia, Pike County, Ky., and Washington, D.C. to meet with his attorneys. Blankenship, who faces up to 31 years in prison, also had to surrender his passport.
There were no comments made by federal prosecutors, defense attorneys or family members after the court proceedings. U.S. District Judge Irene Berger enacted a gag order on the case last week.

Federal prosecutors allege Blankenship knew about the myriad of safety problems at the Upper Big Branch mine in the months leading up to the massive explosion in April 2010 that killed 29 miners. The charges allege Blankenship conspired to cover up the problems so the mine could produce more coal and profits. 

Congressman Hal Rogers Responds to President's Immigration Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement on his plan to provide amnesty for illegal immigrants tonight:

“With this new proposal, the President has once again demonstrated his willingness to act unilaterally - against the spirit of our Constitution, against the law of Congress, and against the will of the American people – to make misguided, unwarranted changes to our immigration laws.

“His flagrant disregard for our nation’s laws is not only disappointing but deeply unsettling – I won’t stand for it, and the American people won’t stand for it.

“The President’s proposal simply won’t solve the problems plaguing our nation’s immigration system – in fact, it may make things worse. Granting this kind of unilateral amnesty to illegal immigrants undermines the integrity of our laws, and at its core harms the thousands of people who have patiently waited their turn to immigrate to the United States legally.

“Rather than acting alone to extend this broad-reaching amnesty, the President should work with Congress on legislation that more completely addresses our nation’s broken immigration system, and he should start by turning back the tide of illegal immigration, fully enforcing our laws, and securing our borders – all which are crucial to any successful U.S. immigration policy.

“We have heard the collective outrage of the American people. Congress must fight this executive order tooth and nail through legislative means that will enact real change. ”

Arrests made in McDonalds Robbery

Three people are now facing robbery charges in Floyd County.

According to authorities, the trio allegedly robbed McDonalds in the city of Martin.

Police arrested James Goines, Kyle Gregory Tackett and Jennifer Martin.

Authorities say Goines told them he commetted the robbery to finance his drug addiction. He faces robbery and public intoxications charges.

Martin and Tackett face complicity to commit robbery after they apparently dropped Goines off at the restaurant.

Kentucky's jobless rate falls to 6.2 percent

Kentucky officials say the state's unemployment rate dropped again in October to its lowest rate in more than six years.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training said Thursday that last month's seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 6.2 percent, down from 6.7 percent in September. The statewide jobless rate was 8.2 percent in October 2013.

Officials say last month's decline was the biggest one-month drop in Kentucky's jobless rate since 1976. It surpasses last month's record-breaking drop of 0.4 percent. The state's 0.9 percent decline in the jobless rate since August is the largest reduction measured in a two-month period.

Officials say Kentucky's professional and business services sector added 6,100 jobs in October 2014 from a month earlier. The educational and health services sector gained 2,100 jobs during that same period.

Kentucky State Police kick off 'Cram the Cruiser' food drive

The Kentucky State Police kicked off its fifth annual ‘Cram the Cruiser’ food drive on Thursday. Food collection sites have been established at all 16 posts throughout the state and at the agency’s headquarters location in Frankfort.

KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb said the agency collected more than 124,000 pounds of food during the 2013 campaign.

“We were so pleased with the results, hard work and effort from each of our posts and regions last year,” says Webb. “It is a wonderful opportunity to give back to those in local communities who are struggling financially during the holiday season.”

Webb says the food will be distributed at post level to local shelters, churches or other organizations serving those in need. Suggested donations include canned fruit and vegetables, canned meat, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned soups, chili or spaghetti sauce, brownie and cake mixes, coffee, water, powdered milk and juices.

The campaign extends through Dec. 16, 2014 and is designed to collect non-perishable food items for needy families.

Donations can be dropped off at any KSP post. 

Search continues for fake EMT’s

Johnson County authorities are still searching for a trio of women posing as EMT’s.

Johnson County Sheriff Deputies believe this is a scheme to steal prescription medications.

The women will knock on a door and ask to see medications that the residents take.

Investigators say its not clear whether the women are trying to take the medications or merely scoping out the area to come back later.

Police remind you not to let anyone into your home.  EMT’s are not allowed to ask for medications unless they are treating a patient and then they would be in an emergency vehicle.

If you have any information on this case you are asked to contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s office or call 911.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Election Results Thrown Out in Pikeville City Commission Race

A hearing was held yesterday in Pike Circuit Court to determine whether the votes for current Pikeville City Commissioner Eugene Davis were certifiable by the Pike County Board of Elections.

Circuit Court Judge Steven D. Combs ruled that since Eugene Davis withdrew his candidacy prior to the election, his votes for the race should not be counted. Combs added that once a candidate withdraws from a race, there is no legal mechanism for the candidate to change their minds.

Combs announced that due to this, the Board of Elections will not tabulate the votes cast for Eugene Davis and the next highest vote recipient be certified. That was Joshua Huffman.