Saturday, December 31, 2011

Environmental Groups Sue Johnson County Mine

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...The Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pikeville claiming a Laurel Mountain Resources mine in Johnson County violated the Clean Water Act by releasing water containing selenium into local waterways. The environmental groups want the company to pay civil penalties and conduct monitoring to prevent pollution.

Pike County To Enforce Smoking Ban

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Five years ago, the Pike County Fiscal Court approved a smoking ban for the Hall of Justice and courthouse. In the new year, officers will be cracking down on smoking inside the buildings. Anyone caught smoking in the buildings will receive a citation and a $50 fine. Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says officials will do the best they can to enforce the ordinance. Maintenance workers will also conduct routine checks around the buildings looking for signs of smoking.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Statement from UPIKE President Paul Patton on CPE resignation

 "I have today submitted my resignation from the Kentucky Council on
Postsecondary Education to Governor Steve Beshear.  My advocacy for the
inclusion of the University of Pikeville in the state system of universities is
inconsistent with continued service on the Council.

The fundamental question of whether there should be a state supported university
in, and devoted to, serving the citizens of the Eastern and Southern Kentucky
coal producing counties is a public policy issue to be determined by the General
Assembly with advice from the Governor.  The Council does not opine on issues of
public policy; however, the details of this issue will most certainly involve
the Council.

Since Governor Beshear intends to use the CPE in the review of the study he is
conducting from the Governor’s office with the assistance of an independent
consultant, it is obvious that a conflict of interest will exist at that time.

I am confident the Council, under the leadership of President Bob King, will
provide the Governor and the General Assembly with helpful and unbiased advice
when asked.

I am honored to have been appointed to the Council and believe that these past
three plus years have been times of progress for postsecondary education in
Kentucky."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Man Pleads Not Guilty In Pikeville Stabbing

{Pikeville, Kentucky}... A preliminary hearing is set next week for 21 year old Daniel Gillispie who pleaded not guilty Thursday to assault first degree and impersonating a police officer. Police say, Tuesday night, Gillispie claimed to be a police officer to get 21 year old Tommy Bray to open the door at an apartment building on Poplar Street in Pikeville and then stabbed him. Bray is in intensive care at Pikeville Medical Center. Gillispie's bond remains $30,000 dollars cash.

Johnson County Church Offers Reward

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Nearly $3,000 worth of items were stolen from the Whitehouse Community Church in Johnson County on Christmas. Pastor Richard Salyer is offering a $1,000 reward after thieves took musical equipment and instruments used in Sunday school and worship service, vacuum cleaners and humidifiers. Anyone with information is asked to call the Johnson County Sheriff's Department at 606-789-3411.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Attempted Robbery In Letcher County

{Hazard, Kentucky}... About 8:00 A.M. Wednesday, Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard received a call of from a person advising them that someone was attempting to rob his grandfather at gunpoint outside his residence at Happy Hollow Road in the Jenkins community of Letcher County. Preliminary investigation indicates that the victim was going to work and had a computer in a bag as he left his residence. The perpetrator attempted to take the bag, and the victims struggled with him. The perpetrator was disarmed in the altercation and then threatened the victims with a knife and fled the scene before police arrived. The perpetrator was a white male approximately 5'7" tall weighing about 140 lbs. wearing a camouflage jacket and pants with a black mask. He fled the scene in a small tan passenger car believed to be a Toyota Corolla with a "Friends of Coal" registration plate. Anyone with any information is asked to call Kentucky State Police at 606-435-6069 or 1-800-222-5555, and you may remain anonymous.

Perry County Woman Competent To Stand Trial

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Forty-two year old Sarah Melton has been found competent to stand trial after being charged in the shooting of her brother Kirby William "Bill" Couch and the shooting death of his girlfriend Cindy Caudill. On June 28th, Kentucky State Police in Hazard responded to a shooting in the Brownsfork community of Perry County and discovered that Bill Couch was involved in a dispute with his sister. Couch and Cindy Caudill were traveling on an ATV when Sarah Melton fired one shot with a shotgun, striking both vicitms. Cindy Caudill was pronounced dead at the scene. Couch was flown to the UK Medical Center in stable condition. Sarah Melton was arrested and charged with murder and criminal attempt to commit murder. Melton's lawyers plan to use an insanity defense. A trial date has not been set.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beshear Orders UPike Feasibility Study

{Frankfort, Kentucky}...Governor Steve Beshear said Tuesday he has ordered a study to look into the advisability and feasibility of adding the privately run University of Pikeville to the state's public university system. Last week, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and former Governor Paul Patton, who is president of the University of Pikeville, proposed that the private university be taken into the state system, noting that none of the eight current state universities are located in the coal counties of southeastern Kentucky. Proponents say Kentucky's mountain residents need a four-year state university closer to their homes than the two nearest them, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University. Robert King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, which oversees higher education in the state, recommended the study be done by an outside party because Patton is currently chairman of the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Armed Robbery In Floyd County

{McDowell, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are look for the person who robbed the McDowell IGA gas station in Floyd County Monday. Troopers say a man entered the store wearing a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt, black gloves and a green ski mask, showed a weapon and demanded money from the register before fleeing the store in a maroon Nissan passenger car last seen traveling east on Ky. 122. Anyone with information is asked to contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pikeville Man Arrested

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville Police arrested 20 year old Shane Maxwell of Redale Road of Pikeville Thursday and charged him with third degree burglary and theft. Police say Maxwell contacted them and confessed to burglarizing the Mount Zion Baptist Church last week.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Patton Likely To Resign Chairmanship

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Former Governor Paul Patton, who is currently University of Pikeville President, says he will likely resign as chairman of the council on post-secondary education to avoid a conflict of interest as he pushes for the state to add UPike to its university system. Wednesday, he and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, announced for the first time a proposal for the university to become the first college in more than 40 years to join the state system.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Accident Kills Jackson Man

  • {Jackson, Kentucky}...Police say 34 year old Donald Tharp of Jackson was traveling about 8:00 A.M. Thursday on Highway 15 near the Perry-Breathitt county line when he lost control of his car, crossed the center line, went through a guard rail and over an embankment, the vehicle landing on its top. Tharp was pronounced dead at the scene. Police do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

University Of Pikeville Seeks Public Status

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...University of Pikeville President Paul Patton confirmed Wednesday that discussions are underway about making the private university a part of the state's public higher-education system. Patton says the annual cost to attend Pikeville now is more than $16,000, compared with $6,5000 to $7,000 at state-supported regional universities. Governor Steve Beshear has been asked to support the  push. Proponents say Kentucky's mountain residents need a four-year state university closer to their homes than the two nearest them, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University. The legislature would have to approve making Pikeville a state university. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg endorsed the idea. 

Pikeville Churches Broken Into

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Police are investigating after two churches in Pikeville were broken into and Christmas presents were opened. Church of God pastor Gene Layne says he was surprised to see his church's front door wide open Monday afternoon. Nothing was stolen from the Church of God, but members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church say they were not so lucky. Anyone with information is asked to call Pikeville Police at 606-437-5111.

Three Face Child Pornography Charges

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...After a three-month investigation into criminal activity involving the sexual exploitation of children, the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch and Kentucky State Police Post 9 executed several search warrants in the Pikeville area involving illegal Internet activity during the week of December 12–16th. It involved the investigation of ten individuals suspected of participating in the distribution of child pornography computer files. To date, Roger Thacker II, 23, of Pikeville, Clarence Thacker, 37, of Robinson Creek, and 38 year old Michael Shepherd of West Van Lear have been arrested. Roger Thacker and Michael Shepherd were charged with distribution and possession of matter portraying a minor in a sexual performance. Clarence Thacker was charged with distribution and possession of matter portraying a minor in a sexual performance and sexual offender registrant prohibited from using social networking website, instant messaging or chat room accessible by minors. Clarence and Roger Thacker were booked into the Pike County Detention Center. Shepherd was booked into the Johnson County Jail. KSP anticipate several more arrests pending further investigations. 

Holiday Highway Safety

(Pikeville, Ky) - With the Christmas and New Year's holidays just around the corner, local police agencies are wanting you to know that enforcement efforts will be stepped up on our roads with additional patrols and traffic safety checkpoints. Between busy last minute shoppers with other things on their minds and people who are driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, this holiday period can be a dangerous one. Officer Tony Conn with the Pikeville Police Department explains, "We see a lot more DUI related crashes this time of year. You've got a lot more people on the roads and you've got more people going back and forth to stores doing holiday shopping. A lot of people have to go to three or four parties, both business and personal. Hopefully, they'll use their common sense and get a designated driver."
And, remember, the Designated Driver is NOT the person who has the least to drink. It is the person who has had NOTHING to drink. Identify the person who will be doing the driving before your holiday celebration begins.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Drug Roundup In Floyd County

  • {Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...As the result of an eight-month undercover investigation into the illegal sale of drugs in Floyd County, Operation UNITE, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police arrested 10 of 17 suspected drug dealers Tuesday. The investigation led to the interception of a package containing Suboxone hidden inside materials mailed from 26 year old Larry Ellison of Somerset to a relative inmate at Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright. Police arrested nine other individuals:

• George Adkins, 63, KY 3379, Grethel, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and persistent felony offender.

• Eugene Arms, 43, Georges Branch, East Point, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Joshua Blanton, 24, Myrtle Branch, Prestonsburg, cultivating of marijuana (30 plants).

• Donna Case, 51, Little Mud, Harold, one count each second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Finley Case, 45, Little Mud, Harold, one count each second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Ronald Gayheart, 59, Middle Branch, McDowell, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, two counts possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, and two counts possession of a shotgun by a convicted felon.

• Anthony Gunnels, 37, River Pass Road, Harold, three counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Randall Ratliff, 37, Big Branch Hollow Road, Honaker, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Tracy Risner, 23, Madison Avenue, Prestonsburg, one count second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Knott County Water Problems

{Hindman, Kentucky}...Knott County officials say several families on the Knott County Water System were left without water after both water pumps failed over the weekend. Wednesday morning, a crane will lift the tanks out of the lake to see what the problem is and two new pumps will be ready for installation. The city of Hindman and the Caney area have been put on the old city of Hindman water system. For everyone else, bottled and gallons of water will be available.

Water pick-up points:
• Carr Creek Water Treatment Plant on Wednesday afternoon
• Ball Creek Fire Department Wednesday afternoon
• Fisty Fire Department Wednesday afternoon
• Lotts Creek Fire Department Wednesday afternoon

You must have a recent water bill to prove you are a customer to receive the free water.

Holiday Shopping Safety

(Pikeville, Ky) - Most people are full of the holiday spirit and good cheer this time of year, but this is also the time of year when criminals are looking to take advantage. Police officials say you should shop during daylight hours when you can, and shop with a friend. You are more likely to be targeted if you are alone. However, Officer Tony Conn with the Pikeville Police Department says you should also pay attention to what you leave in your vehicle. "Most of the robberies we see are 'smash & grabs'. People leave their packages in the seats without thinking. Theives will case the place out and walk along through the parking lots and bust the windows out of the cars," explained Conn. "You need to lock your packages and your purse in the trunk or in the rear section of an SUV where it is not as easily seen."
Other suggestions are for women to wear their purse straps across their bodies instead of their arm. And, men, carry your money and wallet in your front pocket. This week, you may be busy making last minute Christmas purchases, but don't get in such a hurry that you get careless and make yourself a target for a thief.

Pike County Accident Kills One

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Police say Robert Adkins tried to turn west onto U.S. 460 from Blair Adkins Street in the Yellow Hill area of Pike County when he pulled into the path of an oncoming car driven by Michael Bartley. Adkins was pronounced dead at the scene, while Bartley was taken to the Cabell Huntington hospital, along with a passenger.

Pike County Marathon Robbed At Gunpoint

{Virgie, Kentucky}...Police are searching for two suspects who robbed the Virgie Marathon in Pike County at gunpoint Sunday. Officials say one man, wearing a white hoodie and a black stocking over his face, came into the store, waved a weapon at the clerk and demanded money. A second person, wearing a black hoodie and a black stocking over his face, stayed by the gas pumps. They left heading towards Penny Highway in a white four door car with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Tanker Truck Overturns In Floyd County

{Ivel, Kentucky}...A tanker truck carrying liquid nitrogen overturned Monday morning on US-23 in Ivel in Floyd County. Officials say the driver lost control and the vehicle turned over in the middle of the highway. Officials say the truck was from Norton, Virginia and on the way to Auxier in Floyd County. The road was shut down for three hours while haz-mat crews cleaned the area.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Multi-State Credit Card Scam Busted

  • {Paintsville, Kentucky}...Johnson County Sheriff's Deputies busted a multi-state credit card operation at a home in Paintsville, seizing thousands of dollars worth of items, including watches, jewelry, perfume, shoes, clothes, and dozens of other items. Investigators say each item was purchased on the Internet with a stolen credit card number, involving victims in Oregon, Texas, Florida, Utah, Arizona, California, and Kentucky. The items were shipped to a home in Paintsville. Deputies went to the home and said the woman living there told them a man she met on the internet was buying the items and shipping them to her house and had asked her to mail them to him in New Jersey and Ghana. She said she did not know they were bought with stolen credit cards.

Apartment Fire In Hazard

  • {Hazard, Kentucky}...State fire marshalls are attempting to determine what caused a fire in an apartment inside the old Hazard High School building Sunday night. Hazard Fire Chief Sam Stacy says the fire started on the bottom floor before working its way up causing the floors to collapse, filling the first floor with debris and rubble, leaving several homeless. Before the fire, there were 30 apartments that were home to more than one dozen families. A meeting will be held at 1:00 P.M.Tuesday at City Hall to help coordinate a community response.

They are already accepting donations and anyone who wants to send in something can send it to:

Community Ministries
Hazard High Fire Victims
151 Miss Edna Lane
Hazard, Kentucky 41701.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stumbo To Kick Off Supreme Court Campaign

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo is expected to kick off her campaign for Supreme Court in Prestonsburg next week as she runs in a rematch against Justice Will T. Scott for a seat representing most of eastern Kentucky. Stumbo previously served on the Supreme Court until being defeated by Scott eight years ago. She later ran successfully for a seat on the appeals court. Stumbo will formally roll out her campaign at 6:00 P.M. Tuesday evening at Reno's Roadhouse Restaurant in Prestonsburg.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fire Destroys Pike County School Bus

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are investigating after a Pike County school bus serving Belfry Middle and High Schools and Southside Elementary went up in flames. Thursday morning, the bus driver walked out of her home in Turkey Creek to prepare for the morning route and found a charred shell, along with small flames in the front of the bus. The $70,000 bus was destroyed. Police opened an arson investigation, saying they believe it was a prank that got out of hand. Anyone with information should call Kentucky State Police Post in Pikeville at 606-433-7711.

Johnson County Accident Injures Driver

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...The Johnson County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky State Police, and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement are investigating after a Brown's Food tractor trailer crashed around 1:30 P.M. Thursday on U.S. 23 in the Wittenville area three miles north of Paintsville in Johnson County. Assistant Chief Brian Jeffiers with the W.R. Castle Fire & Rescue says it took about 30 minutes for firefighters to extricate the driver, 48 year old Daniel Guyton of Ohio, who was taken to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center. Police say Guyton lost control in a curve, causing the vehicle to go off the road, fall into a culvert, and flip over.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Floyd County Woman Pleads Not Guilty

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Twenty-six year old Gladys Dickerson of Floyd County pleaded not guilty to murder and four counts of criminal abuse Thursday. Her husband, 30 year old Jason Dickerson, is also charged with murder and criminal abuse and will be arraigned next week. Two year old Watson Adkins, Gladys' nephew, died in September after police found him unresponsive at their home along Town Branch Road in Prestonsburg. The four counts of criminal abuse involve other children allegedly abused in their home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Arch Coal Announces 117 Layoffs

Kim Link, a spokeswoman for Arch Coal, Inc. has announced 117 layoffs which went into effect December 2nd, 37 layoffs in Perry County, 42 in Knott County, 33 in Breathitt County and five in Pike County. Link says that laid off miners were offered severance packages, and mine personnel are working with other Arch operations and state employment agencies to help affected employees with job opportunities. County officials say the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules are not allowing coal companies to get permits, and now the companies are starting to see the effects.

KSP Investigating Floyd County Robberies

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police in Pikeville are investigating a string of robberies that have occurred in the Left Beaver area of Floyd County during the past two months. Police say, Friday night, a man wearing a ski mask entered the Vance Quick Mart in Hi Hat and demanded money. The Wheelwright Cardinal Country Store is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in a robbery on November 21st. The suspect is described as five feet, five inches tall. He was wearing a black mask, white or tan hoodie, camouflage pants and dark colored gloves. The suspect in the Quick Mart robbery is a man about five feet, five inches tall, in his thirties to forties, wearing a ski mask, a hoodie, and camouflage. He had tattoos on his hands. Robbers have also hit other gas stations, restaurants, a hardware store, and other businesses. Trooper Shaun Little says. if anyone sees something suspicious, they can contact Kentucky State Police in Pikeville.

Perry County To Get New School

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Officials with the Perry County School District have signed a deal to purchase 24 acres of land along KY 80 for a new elementary school to replace Dennis Wooton Elementary. Recently, officials obtained approval from the Kentucky Department of Education on a parcel of newly developed land just east of the Daniel Boone Shopping Center. Superintendent John Paul Amis appeared before the state board of education on December 7th for the final approval, and signed the purchase agreement with the landowners two days later. The district began selling bonds to raise money for the project Tuesday, and Amis says he expects the bonds will be sold by December 29th , and he's hoping construction can start by January 2012. The property was purchased for $4.25 million, and the total cost of the project will be roughly $25 million at completion. The project calls for a preschool through 8th grade elementary school with a capacity of 650 to 700 students, along with new high school athletic fields on the grounds. If all goes well, Amis says the project could be complete in time for the start of the school year in 2013.

Hazard Attorney Files Campaign Papers

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Hazard Attorney John Hansen filed this week to run for the Commonwealth's Attorney in Perry County. Hansen, who served in that position from 2000 to 2006, would face current Commonwealth's Attorney Teresa Combs Reed in next year's election.

Winter Fire Safety Tips (part 3)

(Pikeville, Kentucky) - As the temperatures outside drop, more and more people turn to their fireplaces as a source of heat this time of year. And, one thing we need to remember, especially on Christmas, is how dangerous it can be to throw wrapping paper and tissue paper on the fire. It sounds like a good idea at the time, but Battalion Chief, Robert Lindsey, with the Pikeville Fire Department says that could be putting your life in danger. The paper is so light, the updraft created by the fire will lift it up inside the chimney. "It can either cause a buildup in the flue or at the weather cap which keeps rain from coming back down the chimney. The paper can't get out, so it gets stopped up," explained Lindsey. "The smoke cannot escape and it comes back inside the house. When people go to bed, they put the fire out in the grate, but they don't realize there is still something burning in the chimney. The smoke can't go out the top, so it comes back in the house and the carbon monoxide builds up."
Winter fires cause $1.7 billion dollars in property loss each year. But, the good news is that the majority of these fires can be prevented with regular maintenance and careful attention.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

American Woodmark Shutting Down In Perry County

{Hazard,  Kentucky}...American Woodmark is shutting down in Perry County, leaving more than 150 workers without jobs after the new year. Director of Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Jeff Whitehead says it's a tough job market, and eastern Kentucky has some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, but there are employers hiring, and some people are getting jobs. For more information about EKCEP and the programs they offer to help people get jobs, go to www.ekcep.com.

Winter Fire Safety Tips (part 2)

(Pikeville, Kentucky) - With Christmas less than two weeks away and homes decorated with displays, lights, garland and of course, Christmas trees, fire department officials remind us that those decorations are all fire hazards. And, if you decided to go with a fresh-cut Christmas tree this year, Battalion Chief Robert Lindsey with the Pikeville Fire Department explains that there are several things to remember to avoid a potentially dangerous fire in your home. "When placing your tree, pick an area that's not near any type of heating element or vent. People don't realize that a floor register for a regular central air and heating unit will dry trees out faster. You need to make sure you maintain the water leel in the tree as well," explained Lindsey. "Also, watch about the number and size of the lights you put on the tree. Those do produce heat and can create a drying effect and cause the needles to ignite."
Winter holiday fires are more severe than the average fire during the year across all loss measures. Injuries during Christmas season fires are twice as high, fatalities are five times greater and the dollar loss is more than three times the average. Watch for more holiday fire safety tips coming up tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Armed Robbery In Letcher County

  • {Isom, Kentucky}...Sunday, at approximately 10:31 P.M., the Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard was notified of an armed robbery which happened at 9722 Highway 15 at a Double Quick convenience store located in the Isom community of Letcher County. Two white males, each dressed in green camouflage style clothing and armed, entered the store through the front door and brandished a handgun then demanded cash and cigarettes from store employees then exited the store with an undisclosed amount of money and fled on an ATV which was believed to have been parked behind the business. No shots were fired, and there were no injuries during this incident.

Drug Roundup In Perry County

  • {Hazard, Kentucky}...Arrest warrants for 14 individuals on 30 charges have been issued after an undercover investigation into the illegal sale of prescription medications in Perry County. Monday, law enforcement officers from Operation UNITE, the Hazard Police Department, Kentucky State Police and Perry County Sheriff’s Office conducted  a roundup. As of 2:00 P. M., 10 of the 14 suspects had been charged and lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Detention Center.
• Rocky Caudill, 45, Mountain Avenue, Hazard, first-degree trafficking in
a controlled substance second offense.

• Elijah Combs Jr., 58, Brookfield Lane, Hazard, first-degree trafficking
in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Elmer Combs, 64, Gregory Branch, Hazard, four counts first-degree
trafficking in a controlled substance second offense.

• Gregory Combs, 44, Town Mountain, Hazard, first-degree trafficking in a
controlled substance.

• Shirley Combs, 44, Mountain Avenue, Hazard, two counts first-degree
trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Fallon Hall, 29, Highway 15, Vicco, first-degree trafficking in a
controlled substance and second-degree trafficking in a controlled
substance.

• Romano Hensley, 50, Bulan Hiner Road, Bulan, first-degree trafficking in
a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Elijah Walker, 46, Justice Drive, Hazard, three counts first-degree
trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Johnny Williams, 33, Right Fork Rome Napier Branch, Hazard, three counts
first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Willie Williams, 22, Right Fork Rome Napier Branch, Hazard, three counts
first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Former Paintsville Doctor Pleads Guilty

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Monday, Dr. Richard Albert, 64, a former Paintsville doctor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Pikeville to conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances, admitting he unlawfully dispensed approximately 50,000 prescription pills to individuals in eastern Kentucky. Albert admitted that, from January 2009 until February 2011, he wrote numerous fraudulent prescriptions to individuals without a legitimate medical purpose. Albert worked at a Care More Pain Management and shortly after resigning from that clinic he worked at Second Street Enterprises. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when sentenced April 18th.

Man Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...On May 19th, Millard "Mitty" Thornhill's trailer in Hatfield burned, and firefighters found his body inside, but the medical examiner says he was shot to death before the fire started. Jeffery Lowe, Randy Thomas, Cynthia Ryan, and Shannon Turner were indicted on murder and robbery charges. Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Bartley offered Lowe a plea deal to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter, and Monday morning, Lowe accepted it and pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery before Judge Eddy Coleman. Bartley recommended a twenty year sentence, ten years for manslaughter and ten years for robbery to be served consecutively. Lowe will be sentenced January 27th.

Winter Fire Safety Tips (part 1)

(Pikeville, Kentucky) - As the weather gets colder, more and more people tend to participate in indoor activities and the need for indoor heating increases. And, with the cold weather comes the peak season for house fires. In fact, 27% of structure fires in the winter are caused by heaters inside the home. Robert Lindsey, Battalion Chief for the Pikeville Fire Department, will be giving us fire safety tips this week, and today discusses the importance of following directions. "The first thing people need to do is look at the manufacturer's standards. They all set parameters on how close you can have an item to the heater," explains Lindsey. "You need to watch when running extension cords. Those heaters are not approved to have extension cords. They will pull an excess of 1,500 to 2,000 watts of power when they first kick on, and most cords people have in their
homes are not rated for that."
Other winter safety issues we will be addressing this week include Christmas tree and electrical issues as well as fireplace and chimney safety.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Floyd County Gets New District Judge

{Frankfort, Kentucky}...Friday, Governor Steve Beshear appointed Jimmy R. Marcum II as Floyd County's newest district judge. Marcum replaces retired Floyd County District Judge James R. Allen. Marcum, who has been practicing law in Floyd District Court for nearly 14 years, has been working as an assistant county attorney for Floyd County and as an associate with the law firm of Vanover, Hall & Bartley. Marcum serves as the city attorney for the cities of Allen, Wayland and Wheelwright. He received his juris doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law, in Ohio.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Indictment In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...A federal court grand jury in Pikeville has indicted Donnie “DK” Kinder, 79, of Mouthcard, Brenda Branham, 50, of Albion, Michigan and Janice Branham, 54, of Springport, Michigan. In November, Operation UNITE detectives and DEA agents arrested them for what investigators say was an interstate drug pipeline that brought tens of thousands of prescription pills into Pike County. The indictment charges each with one count of distributing Oxycodone in Pike County between April 2010 and April 14, 2011. Investigators say the operation was responsible for distributing more than 50,000 Oxycodone pills within Pike County during a 12 month period. If convicted, they could each face a minimum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Fire Destroys Floyd County Home

{Eastern, Kentucky}...Police say a trailer fire on the Right Fork of Turner Branch in the Eastern community of Floyd County around 5:00 A.M. Friday morning left the family of Jesse Little, Anna Little and their four year old daughter with nothing. The family, which is usually home at that time of the morning, had left home earlier than normal due to a shift change for Anna Little. They are asking several churches for help with clothing and other items, and donations are being accepted at the nearby homes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Johnson County Sheriff Seeks Drug Informants

  • {Paintsville, Kentucky}...The Johnson County Sheriff's Department has seized dozens of illegal drugs and arrested dozens of alleged dealers in the past year, but Sheriff Dwayne Price says community involvement is needed to combat the problem. Price is willing to pay up to $100 to informants who will tell him who is dealing drugs and then possibly help with undercover work. Price says all informants will remain anonymous, and the identity of anyone who does undercover work will be kept secret. Anyone who is interested can visit the Johnson County Sheriff's Department in Paintsville or call 606-789-3411.

Hazard Man Pleads Guilty

  • {Hazard, Kentucky}...Ryan K. York, 29, of Hazard, was indicted in June on an allegation that he attempted to murder Emanuel Jones on June 18th by running him over with a vehicle in the parking lot of the Brown Derby in the Lothair area of Hazard. According to the agreement announced Thursday, York, who is currently lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of first-degree wanton endangerment, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In exchange for his plea, York could be sentenced to serve three years in prison. Upon his release, he will be required to stay out of Perry County for 10 years. York is scheduled for sentencing on January 12th.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Former Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive Enters Plea

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Wednesday morning, the Pike County Humane Society filed new charges against former Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive Randal Good after animal control officers seized more than 100 dogs from his property in Grapevine. Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hays, who oversees the Pike County Animal Shelter, says many of the dogs had to have extensive medical care, including having teeth and eyes removed. Animal control officers filed one attempted animal cruelty misdemeanor charge against Good, and the Pike County Humane Society filed 125 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Good pleaded not guilty to all the charges. More than seventy of the dogs are now in rescue mission homes, and 34 are available for adoption at the Pike County Animal Shelter. County officials are asking the County Attorney to pursue restitution from Good and make him pay back the thousands of dollars the county spent caring for the animals. In 2004, Good pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to 180 days probation. Good is due back in court on February 14th.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Operation UNITE Rounds Up Suspected Drug Dealers

{West Liberty, Kentucky}...Sealed indictments were released Tuesday after a Morgan County Grand Jury indicted a dozen individuals suspected of illegally selling prescription pills. Operation UNITE deputy director Dan Smoot says several cases involved the individuals traveling out-of-state to obtain the pills. By early afternoon six of the 12 had been arrested and lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Paintsville. They are:

David Caskey, 29, KY 1161, West Liberty, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Ronald E. Caskey, 60, of KY 7, West Liberty, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Stephen Caskey, 27, Highway 7, West Liberty, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Angela Peters Robbins, 36, Darris Smith Road, West Liberty, one count each first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Charles Robert Sanders, 36, Conley Branch, West Liberty, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Jack Sharp, Sr., 69, of KY 134, Adele, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Paintsville Doctor To Plead Guilty

  • {Paintsville, Kentucky}...Dr. Richard W. Albert, a doctor accused of illegally distributing drugs at a Paintsville clinic, was scheduled to go to trial next week on a federal drug charge, but his attorney filed a motion Tuesday seeking a hearing for Albert to plead guilty. A grand jury charged Albert in July with conspiring to distribute prescription drugs without a legitimate medical reason between January 2008 and February 16, 2011, when authorities raided his house and a clinic where he'd worked. Lynne Thompson, an investigator assigned to a federal drug task force, says the clinic, which investigators say fed the region's crippling drug addiction, generated a lot of cash. In January 2011, Albert's weekly pay was $17,000 to $21,000. Albert faces up to 20 years in prison. The indictment included a forfeiture count under which the government seeks to take more than $530,000 Albert had in bank and investment accounts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

U.S. Postal Service Announces Plans

{Washington, D.C.}...In an attempt to avert bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service announced Monday its plans to slow first-class delivery next spring and eliminate next-day delivery for the first time in nearly 40 years. The changes could affect everything, including check payments, and add cost to mail order prescription drugs, especially in rural areas. The cuts will also close about 250 of nearly 500 mail processing centers across the country as early as next March. These consolidations could lengthen the time it takes for consumers to receive mail. Currently, first-class mail is generally delivered within one to three business days. However cutbacks could lengthen delivery time to two to three days and periodicals could take two to nine days for delivery. The price of stamps will also increase to 45 cents beginning January 22nd. "The U.S. Postal Service must reduce its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 in order to return to profitability," said David Williams, vice president of network operations. "The proposed changes to the service standards will allow for significant consolidation of the postal network in terms of facilities, processing equipment, vehicles and employee workforce and will generate projected net annual savings of approximately $2.1 billion." The USPS is waiting for Congress to authorize a plan that would eliminate Saturday delivery and reduce labor and health care costs. While the USPS is an independent agency, Congress does control some portions of its operations. The changes in first-class mail can be implemented without congressional permission.

Pregnant Elkhorn City Woman Faces Drug Charges

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Twenty-two year old Erica Coleman of Elkhorn City appeared in Pike County District Court Monday morning where she entered a not guilty plea to four charges after Pikeville Police Officer Tony Conn arrested her Friday on several drug-related charges. Officer Conn says he noticed a suspicious car behind Hardee's on Hambley Blvd. Inside the car, he found Coleman and Kyle Thacker who appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. Upon further investigation, Conn discovered a large amount of drugs. He says Coleman told him she was injecting Suboxone. EMS took the eight month pregnant Coleman to Pikeville Medical Center, and she was released the same night and lodged in the Pike County Detention Center. Judge Darrel Mullins agreed to put her on home incarceration and ordered frequent drug tests. Coleman is due back in court in February. Thacker was arrested on several drug charges and is out on bond.

Letcher County Rock Quarry Robbed

  • {Gordon, Kentucky}...The Bluegrass Materials-Cumberland Rock Quarry in the Gordon community of Letcher County is offering a $1,500 reward after being robbed twice between November 12th and November 27th, leaving them searching for almost $20,000 worth of equipment and tools. Manager Mark Roark says, after breaking in, the suspect disarmed the alarm system, but security footage caught the man in the act. If you have any information about the robberies, you should call Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555 or 606-435-6069. The investigation is continuing by Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard. 

Pikeville Accident

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville Police say Lillian Pearl Elliott was driving a Chevy Blazer in the Buckley's Creek area of Pike County Sunday morning when she crashed head on into a car driven by Jeff Robinson. Elliott was taken to a Lexington hospital for surgery, but does not appear to have life threatening injuries. Robinson's vehicle had two young children inside. Police say they believe the Blazer had run a red light.

Floyd and Knott County Water Dispute

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...More than ten years ago, Floyd and Knott County officials signed an agreement on the Floyd/Knott County line allowing Southern Water and Sewer in Floyd County to provide water for some Knott County customers. Knott County officials say the contract states that, by 2005, they were supposed to have their water lines funded by Knott County coal severance money back. Alice Ritchie, the board chairwoman at Knott County Water and Sewer, says the customers were to be returned once Knott County could provide water for them. Knott County officials have filed a lawsuit. A motion hour for the dispute is set for Thursday at 10:00 A.M. in Knott County Circuit Court. Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley has filed a motion that the case be transferred to Floyd County Circuit Court.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gulnare Church Ban Overturned

{Gulnare, Kentucky}...An issue that caught a week of national attention has been resolved, and Pastor Stacy Stepp says he hopes the lifted ban ends all of the controversy. Members of the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church voted to prohibit interracial couples from joining their church. The National Association of Freewill Baptists issued a statement Thursday saying, "It is our understanding that steps are being taken by the church in question to reverse its decision. We encourage the church to follow through with this action." Saturday morning, the member churches from the Sandy Valley Conference of Freewill Baptist met at Bowling Fork Freewill Baptist and ruled against the church's vote. Jim Patton, Representative of the Sandy Valley Conference, said, "We the church of the Sandy Valley Conference strongly denounce prejudice, racism, and all other ungodly forms of conduct whether it's inside the church or out. The vote concerning interracial marriage was not carried out in accordance with Robert's Rules Of Order. Even by a unanimous vote, it is null and void." Church members voted Sunday, 14 voting to do away with the motion, while two didn't vote. Pastor Stepp says he opposed the ban from the beginning and is ready to get his church back on the right track.

Highway Grants For Southern And Eastern Kentucky

  • {Washington, D.C.}...U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers has announced the release of highway emergency relief funds through two separate grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds totaling $2.7 million, will assist seven counties across southern and eastern Kentucky repair damaged roads as a result of severe storm damage beginning in June of this year. The following counties in the 5th Congressional District are eligible for repair funds: Bell, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Perry, Pike and Whitley Counties.

Nominees To Replace Retired Floyd County District Judge

  • {Frankfort, Kentucky}...In Frankfort Friday, the Judicial Nominating Commission announced nominees to fill the vacant District Court judgeship in the 31st Judicial District, Division 1, consisting of Floyd County. The three attorneys named as nominees to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge James R. Allen, effective August 16, 2011, are James D. Adams II, Brett D. Davis and Jimmy R. Marcum II, all of Prestonsburg. Adams has been a sole practitioner in general practice since 2004. He received his juris doctor from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. Marcum is an assistant county attorney for Floyd County, an associate with the law firm of Vanover, Hall & Bartley and serves as the city attorney for the cities of Allen, Wayland and Wheelwright. He received his juris doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law in Ohio. Davis formerly served as deputy judge-executive under former Judge-Executive Paul Hunt Thompson. He is currently head of Low Income Housing Coalition of Eastern Kentucky.

Pike County Church Votes to Move On

(Gulnare, Kentucky) - The small Free Will Baptist church in Pike County that received international attention last week for its stance on interracial marraige voted Sunday to walk away from that issue and never look back. Dean Harville, a long-time member of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church whose daughter's interracial relationship was at the center of the dispute, says he is glad it is over, and believes it is now finally behind them. "We had a vote in the church to do away with the motion (on interracial marraige), not bring it up anymore and go forward. There were 16 members altogether...14 voted for it, and two didn't vote," said Harville.
Last week's vote of 9-6 not to extend membership opportunities to interracial couples made headlines across the country, and painted a picture of the church that no member wanted. Now that the matter has been addressed and last week's decision done away with, everyone agrees it is now time to heal...even the Harvilles. Dean Harville summed it up when he said, "...like those who voted for it last Sunday, I've already forgiven them. I've got to move on."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gulnare Church Ban Overturned

{Gulnare, Kentucky}...Members of the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church voted last Sunday to prohibit interracial couples from joining their church. The National Association of Freewill Baptists issued a statement Thursday saying, "It is our understanding that steps are being taken by the church in question to reverse its decision. We encourage the church to follow through with this action." Saturday morning, the member churches from the Sandy Valley Conference of Freewill Baptist met at Bowling Fork Freewill Baptist and ruled against the church's vote. Jim Patton, Representative of the Sandy Valley Conference, said, "We the church of the Sandy Valley Conference strongly denounce prejudice, racism, and all other ungodly forms of conduct whether it's inside the church or out. The vote concerning interracial marriage was not carried out in accordance with Robert's Rules Of Order. Even by a unanimous vote, it is null and void."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Potable Water Coming To Letcher County

{Payne Gap, Kentucky}...Access to potable water will soon be available to 181 households in Letcher County. The Department for Natural Resources' Division of Abandoned Mine Lands announced Friday the award of contract and the start of construction for phase one of the Payne Gap-Kona water supply project that will provide the citizens of Mayking and Payne Gap with access to a clean, safe water supply. The project, with a memorandum of agreement between the Jenkins Water and Sewer District and AML, totals $800,000 with the remainder of funding provided by Letcher County's coal severance funds. The project will be operated by the city of Jenkins. Akins Excavating of Corbin was awarded the contract with a low bid of $1,213,502.50. Nesbitt Engineering, Inc. of Lexington provided engineering services.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fatal Pike County Accident

{Millard, Kentucky}...One person is dead after a car accident Thursday morning near U.S. 460 in the Millard area of Pike County. The coroner says two trucks collided. A passenger in one of the trucks died at the scene.

Chamber Of Commerce Launches "Shop Local" Campaign

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is starting the annual "Shop Local" campaign to boost the economy and increase tax dollars. Brad Hall says there are deals in eastern Kentucky with great businesses, and for every one dollar spent locally, that dollar will turn over at least five times in the community. To entice shoppers, local businesses are posting coupons on the website www.shopeastky.com. Chamber of Commerce officials say new businesses are adding coupons each day to the website.

Magoffin County Accident Kills Toddler

{Salyersville, Kentucky}...Investigators say four year old Abigail Volk and her mother, Rebecca Volk, who is two months pregnant, were in a car that hit a van just before 2:00 P.M. Wednesday on Highway 460 near Bloomington Road in Magoffin County. Abigail Volk died at the scene, while her mother was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released Thursday morning. Capt. Carter Conley of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad says the child was in a restraint seat.