Friday, May 1, 2015

Person dies after home catches fire

 (AP) — Officials say one person is dead after home caught fire in eastern Kentucky.

Lawrence County Emergency Management told media that the blaze was report around 11 p.m. Wednesday in the Blaine community.

The Blaine Fire Department responded along with the Kentucky State Police and thestate Fire Marshal's office.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

The name of the person who died hasn't been released.

Alpha records first quarter loss

Alpha Natural Resources reported a loss of $34 Million for the first quarter of 2014. Despite the loss, it’s an improvement over the 2014 first quarter where the company lost $289 million.
Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield says the prolonged downturn in the coal market was a key contributing factor to the loss, but it wasn’t the only drag. He said the weaker market for met coal specifically, longwall development at the company’s Emerald operation, and difficult weather were also contributing factors to the loss.
Alpha has idled several mines and laid off thousands of workers trying to get a handle on the company’s balance sheet in recent months.
“In the first quarter we idled additional mines to further adjust our cost structure, and we expect to take further actions to optimize our mine portfolio and reduce overhead costs in order to achieve, and potentially exceed, our target of annualized savings in the $60-75 million range when these actions are fully implemented,” said Crutchfield as part of the company’s earnings statement.

Alpha Natural Resources is the largest coal company during business in West Virginia

Judge declines to sentence man in kickback case

A judge declined to sentence a 45-year-old man as planned Thursday for allegedly forcing companies to pay kickbacks for machine repair work.
Delbarton resident David Runyan is the former manager of an Arch Coal mine in Logan County. He pleaded guilty last year to a count of extortion and of tax evasion. Nine others have also pleaded guilty in crimes associated with the kickback scheme at the Sharples Mount Laurel mining complex.
Prosecutors have accused Runyan of benefiting from extortion schemes by forcing vendors and contractors to pay kickbacks, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston felt there wasn’t enough evidence of what happened to approve a plea agreement.
Johnston declared that if the prosecution and defense can’t agree on the facts, the case should go to trial. For Runyan to have committed extortion, it must be evident that he threatened or intimidated the vendors. He also insisted that getting the cases right is more important that trying to get them over with.
Another hearing on the case is scheduled for May 27.

Press conference to be held to introduce safer rail cars

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Canada’s Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt will hold a press conference Friday on safer rail cars.
The conference will aim to introduce a new generation of stronger and safer rail cars for the transportation of flammable liquids in North America.

Foxx will also divulge other aspects of the DOT’s final rule. The press conference will be streamed online.

Flags to be lowered to honor late senator and war veteran

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered the lowering of State flags the Capitol Complex and at all state-owned Brook County facilities from dawn until dusk on Friday in honor of former Senator John Chernenko.
Tomblin said in a statement that Chernenko lived a life of service.
“John dedicated his life to serving people – as a member of our Armed Forces, as a State Senator, and as a strong advocate for the Brooke County community,” Tomblin said. “Joanne and I extend our deepest thoughts and prayers to his wife, Kathryn, and the Chernenko family during this difficult time.”
Chernenko served his country in World War II as a part of the U.S. Army, and was a part of the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was captured by German troops. He was a held as a P.O.W. near the North Sea.
In 1961, President JFK appointed Chernenko to serve as the United States Marshal for the Northern District of West Virginia. He was a West Virginia Senator from 1982 to 1994.
At the time of his death, he was awaiting confirmation as a Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government.
Chernenko died on Monday at the age of 90

President Obama signs Kentucky disaster declaration

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the severe winter storms, snowstorms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of February 15-22, 2015.

Federal funding is available to commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storms, snowstorms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides in the counties of Boyd, Boyle, Caldwell, Clark, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Letcher, Lyon, Marshall, Menifee, Metcalfe, Morgan, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Simpson, Taylor, Washington, and Wolfe.

In addition, federal funding is available to commonwealth and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for snow assistance for a continuous 48 hour period during or proximate to the incident period in the counties of Boyd, Boyle, Caldwell, Estill, Floyd, Jackson, Jessamine, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Lyon, Menifee, Morgan, Pike, Powell, Simpson, Taylor, Washington, and Wolfe.

FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Hal Heiner apologizes to James Comer for rumors

(AP) Republican candidate for governor Hal Heiner has apologized to fellow candidate James Comer after emails surfaced in a local newspaper linking a Heiner campaign associate with a blogger who has accused Comer of committing a crime while in college.

In a statement, Heiner personally apologized to Comer but did not admit direct involvement. He called the rumors "un-Christian" and said they were the worst kind of politics. Comer said he is disappointed with Heiner but said he is focused on winning the primary and uniting the Republican party.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that blogger Michael Adams traded emails with Scott Crosbie, the husband of Heiner's running mate, KC Crosbie. In one email, Adams said it was OK for the campaign to distance itself from him and his claims.