Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No Verdict In Letcher County Murder Trial

  • {Kentucky}...After deliberating for more than four hours, a jury did not reach a verdict in the Letcher County murder trial of 25 year old Jonathan Anderson. Anderson, who is charged with murder after hitting Gwendolyn Whitaker's vehicle and killing her on the Whitesburg by-pass at Stone Avenue on November 21, 2010, took the stand Wednesday in his own defense. While on the stand, Anderson admitted to drinking eight beers and having a shot of whiskey before getting behind the wheel that day. Anderson and his defense admit he is guilty of reckless homicide, but not wanton murder. Attorneys argue the prosecutor over-charged him for the crime.

Prestonsburg Woman Enters Guilty Plea

{Kentucky}...The body of 20 year old  Brian "Jake" Gayheart was found in the Big Sandy River just south of Catlettsburg on May 12th, after his mother reported him missing on May 1st. Benjamin Meek, 21, and his wife Kaitlyn Crum Meek, 20, both of Prestonsburg, were arrested in late May and charged with the murder. Police say Benjamin Meek beat and killed Gayheart during a drug deal and then sent his body 75 miles down river. As part of her plea deal, Kaitlyn Crum Meek entered a guilty plea to the lesser charges of robbery, assault and evidence tampering during a hearing in Floyd County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon and agreed to testify against her husband. Benjamin Meek still faces charges of murder, robbery, assault, tampering with evidence and theft. Both are being held in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

ARC Conference To Be Held In Prestonsburg

Governor Steve Beshear will welcome leaders from 13 Appalachian states to Prestonsburg next week. The annual Appalachian Regional Commission Conference will be held at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park September 7-9th. This year's conference theme, "Healthy Families: Healthy Futures," will focus on the unique health challenges of the region. Health experts and community leaders from across Appalachia will examine key health issues and highlight successful health-care programs throughout the multi-state area. "As the 2011 ARC States' Co-Chair, I am honored to host this broad spectrum of regional community, business, health and education leaders from across Appalachia in Kentucky for this annual ARC event," Governor Beshear said. Some of the many topics to be discussed at this year's conference  include expanding health-care access for children, preventing substance abuse among adolescents and improving children's oral health. Governor Beshear announced last week that approximately 25,000 Kentucky children in Appalachia will receive preventive oral health services through a new pilot program called Smiling Schools, funded mainly through a $1 million grant from the ARC.

Pill Dragon At Work In Magoffin County

(Salyersville)  Magoffin County residents brought 25,548 pills to be destroyed as part of a “Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Day” program held in Salyersville Wednesday, August 31. This was the third event held in Magoffin County since UNITE unveiled its “Pill Dragon” – a mobile incinerator provided in cooperation with Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and the Kentucky Army National Guard – in 2010.

“Magoffin County has accounted for more than 13 percent (84,553 of the total 628,278) of all unwanted or outdated pills brought in for destruction in the Fifth Congressional District,” said Dan Smoot, deputy director for UNITE. “This signifies that the Magoffin ASAP/Drug-Free Communities UNITE Coalition is serious about addressing the drug issue.”

“Proper control of personal medications reduces your risk of being a victim of a burglary or theft,” said Smoot, adding it also “avoids the potential health and environmental effects of having these substances in our water system and soil if they are flushed down the toilet or tossed in a landfill.”

Some studies have shown that 90 percent of teens that try prescription drugs for the first time turn to the family medicine cabinet or to a friend’s family for prescription and over-the-counter medications – making them an Accidental Dealer.

Aside from the fact that taking or giving away medicine that is not prescribed to you is illegal, even at small doses the potential exists for serious health effects – including death. This is especially worrisome in southern and eastern Kentucky, where the average age of first-time use is age 11.

Harlan County Mine Back Open Today After Yesterday's Accident

(Harlan County, Ky) - A coal mine in Harlan County is back open today after an accident yesterday sent one man to the hospital. Officials say Jimmy Saylor was working on a belt within the mine when he was struck by another piece of equipment that was supposed to be shut off. Electrical inspectors are on the scene today checking to see if the accident was a mechanical error with the equipment. Saylor remains in stable condition at Holston Valley Hospital with several injuries.

KSP Receives New Equipment

(Pikeville, Ky) - Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville now has another weapon in their arsenal to fight crime in our region. They recently received a new Crime Scene Response Vehicle from Frankfort which is a Ford Super Duty truck equipped with everything they need to survey and assess a crime scene. The CSRV gives detectives a one-stop shop to conduct investigations with greater storage capabilities and state of the art tools to collect evidence at the scene of a crime or traffic fatality. KSP Trooper Shaun Litte explained that this is an invaluable tool for the KSP. Since receiving the CSRV, Trooper Little said it has been dispatched twice to crime scenes.

Snow And Ice Removal Rodeo

 (Lawrenceburg)  Four top place finishers in Highway District 12's annual Snow and Ice Equipment Rodeo advance this week to the state tournament scheduled for Thursday, September 1, at the Lawrenceburg Fair Grounds.

Representing the seven-county district are Danny Smith, Phelps Maintenance, overall winner; Justin Prater, Minnie Maintenance (Floyd County), first place in the snow plow contest; Mike Smith, Knott County Maintenance, first place in the backhoe contest; and Andrew Cornett, also of Knott County, first place in the low boy competition.

The Snow and Ice Roadeo is held each year as part of the district's annual training for upcoming winter weather. Heavy equipment operators from the district's 10 state maintenance garages work their way through a maze of barriers in the snow plow event, pick up a golf ball with a backhoe and place it on a pipe; and back up a low boy to a simulated loading dock to see how close they can come without touching the dock. All events are judged on skill and the amount of time each driver takes to complete the event. In the snow plow event, Danny Smith placed second and Martin Wright of Lawrence County Maintenance came in third. In the backhoe event, Danny Smith placed second and David Kilburn of Minnie Maintenance placed third. Second and third places in the low boy event were captured by Rick LeMaster of Johnson County Maintenance
and Tommy Queen of Lawrence County.
 
The skills of our heavy equipment operators are quite impressive, said Chief District Engineer Kevin Damron. Their skill is what keeps them, motorists, and people's property safe during critical weather events. The snow plow maze, for example, simulates mailboxes and trash cans that drivers have to negotiate when clearing snow and ice off the roads. More often than not, these men and women are driving at night with extremely low visibility. Their skill and their knowledge of their routes are essential to their ability to keep our roads as safe as possible. We are proud of all of them, and especially congratulate the winners.

Whitley County Has Large DUI Backlog

  • {Kentucky}...The Kentucky Administrative Office of Courts says the Whitley County court has the largest backlog of DUI cases among a three-county area, including Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties. District Judge Fred White says a combination of factors has led to the backlog, including changes in adminstration at the Whitley County Sheriff’s office, but the court has been working diligently to clear the backlog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Testimony Continues In Judge Alred Case

{Kentucky}...During day two of testimony in Harlan Circuit Judge Russell Alred's misconduct hearing, the Judicial Conduct Commission rested its case. Sheriff Marvin Lipfird testified that Judge Alred asked to see the video evidence of Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop allegedly trafficking drugs out of his office. Lipfird said, when the case went to the regular grand jury and Judge Alred found out, he blew up and said I'll have the FBI here on every one of you. Judge Alred moved for all charges to be dismissed right before lunch. The commission considered the motion during the break but denied it. Judge Alred called a number of witnesses that testified Sheriff Lipfird was vocal with others about the investigation into Judge Grieshop. Attorneys for the commission pointed out that Sheriff Lipfird never showed them the video evidence. Investigator Gene Weaver took the stand, and Judge Alred questioned his practices regarding a conversation Weaver had with Judge-Executive Grieshop. Weaver said that particular conversation was bizarre and was about beliefs of people being atheists and people's sexual desires and preferences. Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop, who now disputes some claims made to the investigator, was the last to testify. Judge Alred will take the stand Wednesday morning.

Mistrial In Perry County Attempted Murder Case

{Kentucky}...After about four hours of deliberations in a Perry County attempted murder case, the jury said they were deadlocked, and a mistrial was declared. Tracy Lynn Napier is accused of trying to kill Carl Holbrook. Police say Napier shot Carl Holbrook several times near the Bonnyman community last year. A status conference is set for Thursday afternoon to determine what happens next.

Floyd County Schools Launch New Initiatives

{Kentucky}...Floyd County's graduation rate was 78.95% for the 2009-2010 school year. In an effort to get more students to graduate from high school, Floyd County school officials have launched new initiatives this year. Students at the Renaissance Learning Center in Martin are taught lessons a little differently with a one to one basis. Ted George, Floyd County Schools Director of Instruction, says knowing the kids, knowing what they need, what the school needs to provide them to be successful and barriers that need to be removed for the kids is proving successful. Floyd County elementary and high schools are also implementing intervention programs.

Magistrate Charged With Domestic Violence

{Kentucky}...Jackson County Magistrate Doug Rose has been charged with fourth degree domestic violence with minor injury, and authorities say this is his third arrest in six months. Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies say, on Monday, Rose went to the Sand Gap Post Office, where his wife works, spilled soda on her, then jumped across the counter and began pulling her hair and scratching her arms. Rose was in family court Tuesday morning where he was ordered to not have any contact with his wife nor go to the Sand Gap Post Office where she works.

Suspect Still Not In Custody

{Perry County}...Kentucky State Police in Hazard received a call of a shooting at Clark's Liquor Store on KY 80, in the Avawam community of Perry County. KSP officers responded to the scene, and obtained information that Ronnie W. Clark had sustained injuries after being struck by shotgun fire. It was learned that Ronnie W. Clark had been involved in an altercation with his son, Ronald K. Clark, in which the son fired several shots at his father. Ronnie W. Clark was transported to Hazard ARH, where he remains in stable condition at this time. Ronald K. Clark fled the scene prior to Troopers arrival, and his whereabouts remains unknown. Warrants have been obtained on Ronald K. Clark for Assault 1st degree, Wanton Endangerment 1st Degree, and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree.  This incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Randy Combs.

Water Issues May be Solved for Some Pike County Residents

(Big Branch, Ky) - Recently, leaders of Pike and Martin counties came together to discuss providing safe, potable water to residents of Big Branch of Brushy in Pike County. This is the same area that has gotten attention from the water well which has been burning since the first of May. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford and Martin County Judge-Executive Kelly Callahan along with several others met recently to discuss providing water to 12 households whose water is contaminated as a result of underground mining in the area. Martin County has an existing contract to upgrade its water lines at the county line, which just happens to be at the top of the hill above Big Branch. At the conclusion of last week's meeting, Martin County officials agreed to run water lines to these 12 homes, which could be operational by the end of the year. Judge Rutherford says these residents could have water by the holidays, and couldn't be receiving a better Christmas present. After a survey is completed, the final cost of the project will be determined, which is estimated to be around $130,000 dollars. Two other areas of Pike County which are also in need of safe water are Ridgeline Road at Grapevine and Bad Branch of Marrowone. Judge Rutherford says he hopes these residents can also expect safe, clean water in the near future.

Hazard Couple Charged With Burglary

  • {Kentucky}...Hazard Police have charged 40 year old James Messer and 41 year old Janet Jent with burglary. Police say they stole more than $40,000 of surveillance equipment from a van outside the Hazard Hampton Inn on August 9th. Police believe they may be responsible for other robberies in the area. The case will go before a grand jury on September 9th.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ethics Hearing For Harlan Circuit Judge

{Kentucky}...An ethics hearing began Monday for Harlan Circuit Judge Russell Alred. Alred is accused of abusing his office for political and personal gain. Alred initially faced 20 charges of ethical breaches, but the state Judicial Conduct Commission has dismissed some of the charges. Jeff Mando, an attorney for the Judicial Conduct Commission, accused Judge Alred of  ethics violations including appointing a special grand jury to investigate county Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop, who was being challenged for re-election at the time by Alred’s cousin. Alred says the case against him is untrue, and the grand jury he appointed was at the request of a prosecutor, not because of politics. The hearing is expected to last through Wednesday. The judicial commission is charged with investigating complaints against judges and is the only panel with authorization to discipline a sitting judge.

Layoffs And Reduced Hours In Paintsville

{Kentucky}...On September 1st, Paintsville city employees will face layoffs and reduced hours due to budget problems. Starting Thursday, Paintsville City Codes Enforcer Bob Stewart will only work three days per week. Paintsville City Council finally adopted a budget for the fiscal year, but Mayor Bob Porter says, with no new revenue, expenses must be cut. Two street employees are laid off and hours are reduced to part-time for employees at City Hall and the Recreation Center. The Recreaction Center will be closed on Mondays.
The ambulance service is the only thing being spared after ambulance officials say they can make changes and make money. Mayor Porter says they will re-evaluate the ambulance service in a six months and see if they need to make any changes. The mayor says the pharmacy school opening next year is expected to bring in more revenue. If so, they will reduce the cutbacks.

Harlan County Man Charged With Murder

{Kentucky}...Thirty-five year old Tommy D. Polson is being held in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $5,000,000 bond after being charged with murder, robbery and tampering with physical evidence in the death of 22 year old James Feltner whose body was found in an abandoned strip mine in Harlan County. Feltner was reported missing in early July, and his body was found at an abandoned strip mine later in the month.

11th Annual Ride For the Island a Success

(Pikeville, Ky) - The 11th Annual Ride for the Island motorcycle ride sponsored by the Kentucky State Police took place on Saturday, and it was a success. According to Trooper Shaun Little, 120 people registered for the ride. In addition to the yearly motorcycle "poker run," there is also a golf tournament fundraiser for "Trooper Island," a 35 acre camp for boys and girls in the middle of Dale Hollow Lake in Southern Kentucky. Each summer, kids from all 16 KSP posts across the commonwealth attend the week-long camp. Post 9 in Pikeville takes 16 girls and 16 boys each year to the camp that has been a much needed escape for children since 1965. But Trooper Little explained that the fundraisers and donations are the only things that keep Trooper Island going from year to year. Anyone interested in learning more about the camp or in making a tax deductible donation can visit www.kentuckystatepolice.org.

Former Breathitt County Teacher Pleads Not Guilty

{Kentucky}...Charles Andrew Mitchell, a former Sebastian Middle School teacher in Breathitt County charged with several counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, entered a not guilty plea in circuit court Friday. Mitchell, who was an 8th grade social studies teacher at the time of the incident, resigned in May. Mitchell's attorney, Ned Pillersdorf, says allegations against Mitchell have been grossly blown out of proportion. Mitchell will be back in court on August 30th for a bond reduction hearing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fortune 500 Company Considering Pike County

{Kentucky}...Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says a Fortune 500 energy company wants to locate on the Scott Fork property on U.S. 119. Rutherford says state and local officials are working with the company to negotiate a deal, and the county will do whatever it takes to attract the company and its 60 new jobs that pay around $60,000 salary. Brad Hall with the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says more people with good paying jobs can attract new retailers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby Dies From Cough Medicine

(Cumberland)  A nine-month-old baby died this week after getting a hold of cough medicine. Harlan County Coroner Philip Bianchi said up to four capsules of a medicine called Tessalon Perles were “left inadvertently” on a coffee table at the baby’s home in the Cumberland area. State police are investigating the death, which happened Tuesday. An autopsy was performed, but toxicology results won’t be available for a while. At this point, Bianchi said, there’s no evidence of injury, but nothing has been ruled out yet. According to the Web site webmd.com, the medicine “works by reducing the reflex in the lungs that causes the urge to cough.”
It is not recommended for children under the age of 10.

Cowpen Road To Close

(Pikeville)  Cowpen Road in Pike County, KY 2061, will be closed starting at 8 o'clock Monday morning, August 29th, and could remain closed through Thursday, September 1st. This is what people call the old Airport Road. The reason for the closure: construction crews are ready to tie in Cowpen Road to the new connector road to the airport. No through traffic will be allowed. We sincerely apologize for this temporary inconvenience, said Shawn Ray, project engineer for Highway District 12. Crews have to replace the pavement on Cowpen Road and build the intersection with the new road. There is no way to do it and keep traffic moving, so people will have to use an alternate route most of the week.

Prison Van Recovered In Letcher County

(hazard)  Kentucky State Police in Hazard received a call from an official with the Letcher
County Fiscal Court, advising that a white Dodge van had been located on
KY 931 South, in the Sandlick community of Letcher County.  KSP Troopers
responded to the location, and determined that the van was the same
vehicle used in the escape of a Perry County prisoner in Letcher County
on Wednesday, August 24.  The van was recovered and released to the
Perry County Sheriff's Office.  Authorities continue to search for the
escapee, Stevie Wynn, who has yet to be located.

Floyd County Inmate Overdose Leads To Arrests

{Kentucky}...Police say Cline Salyer, Jr. of Wittensville was found dead in the Floyd County Detention Center Thursday morning  from a drug overdose after being arrested Wednesday night after he was allegedly driving under the influence on US-23. Several prescription pills and marijuana were found in his car. An investigation led Prestonsburg Police to the Super 8 Motel, where Salyer was with friends before his arrest. Detectives found Chasity Wallen and Crystal Clevenger in the motel room with drugs and two children under the age of four. Wallen and Clevenger were arrested on endangering the welfare of a minor and several other charges. Joshua Wallen, who was in the car with Salyer Wednesday night, was also arrested.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beshear Announces New Appalachian Dental Program

{Kentucky}...Thursday, Governor Steve Beshear announced a new $1.25 million pilot project to improve the dental health of schoolchildren in the state’s Appalachian region. The Smiling Schools program, funded through a $1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $250,000 in state funds, will provide fluoride varnish and dental education to 25,000 students in 16 counties this school year. Under the program, first through fifth graders at selected schools will have their teeth painted with two fluoride treatments over a four- to six-month period. The UK Dental School will perform examinations before and after the treatments to gauge their effectiveness. Beshear announced the program as part of his Healthy Smiles Kentucky imitative, which was launched in 2009 to improve dental health in children, with an emphasis on Appalachia. Selected schools are in Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Knott, Knox, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Owsley, Perry, Russell and Wolfe counties.

Police Continue Search For Letcher County Escapee

{Kentucky}...Police were continuing to search Thursday for Stevie Daniel Wynn, 32, of Thornton, in Letcher County, an inmate who escaped Wednesday. Perry County Sheriff Les Burgett says Wynn was not handcuffed while being returned to the Letcher jail from a court appearance on shoplifting charges in Hazard, but he should have been. Burgett says the driver was slowing down or stopping when Wynn came through the security screen, overpowered the officer, pushing him out of the van, stole the van and fled. Wynn had less than a month to serve in the Letcher jail, but Burgett says, once he's caught, he will face charges of assaulting a police officer, theft of the van and escape.

Former Whitley County Sheriff's Sentencing Postponed

{Kentucky}...The sentencing of former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge has been indefinitely postponed, and the reason has been placed under seal. Hodge had been scheduled for sentencing Thursday in U.S. District Court in London after pleading guilty in May to using his office to take kickbacks, distribute drugs and pay for personal expenses. His plea agreement called for a 15 1/2-year prison sentence. Hodge must also pay $50,000 to the federal government and an unspecified amount in restitution.

Supreme Court Rules Against Death Row Inmate

{Kentucky}...The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday against death row inmate Benny Lee Hodge's challenge to his sentence, saying testimony about a rough childhood did not explain "pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder." Hodge was convicted of killing Tammy Acker and attacking her father, Dr. Roscoe Acker, in their home in the Fleming-Neon community in Letcher County and stealing more than $2 million in 1985. Dr. Acker survived a strangulation attempt, but Tammy Acker was fatally stabbed more than a dozen times with a large kitchen knife. Hodge had been paroled after eight years in prison at the time of Tammy Acker's death. Hodge claimed his trial attorney was ineffective because he didn't present evidence of an abusive childhood to the jury. Roger Dale Epperson was also convicted and sent to death row. Donald Terry Bartley pleaded guilty and testified against Hodge and Epperson. Bartley is serving a life sentence.

Clay County Man Charged With Wife's Murder

{Kentucky}...Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies say the body of 39 year old Stephanie Roark of Sandhill was found buried under the crawl space of her husband’s mobile home Wednesday. Her husband, 45 year old Walter Roark, has been charged with murder and abuse of a corpse. Stephanie Roark had been reported missing on July 6th by family members. During an interview with police Wednesday, Roark admitted to hiding her body and led police to his home, where they found Mrs. Roark’s body buried under several inches of dirt, wrapped inside a sleeping bag.

Pikeville Fire Department in the Trenches

(Pikeville, Ky) - Several members of the Pikeville Fire Department spent much of the day Thursday in "Trench Rescue Training," which is one of the most potentially dangerous rescue scenarios rescue personnel face. When responding to a cave-in or trapped victim, rescuers need to know how to respond in order to design a plan that is safe for both the victim and the rescuer. And, that's exactly what the Pikeville Fire Department was training for. Robert Lindsay, Battalion Chief for the PFD explained that most people don't realize that a trench is considered any ditch or hole that is more than four feet deep, but less than 15 feet deep. Sargeant Frank Williams with Anchorage Fire and EMS out of Louisville was conducting the training Thursday, and said he would put the Pikeville team up against any team in the state. Every year, the firemen must complete eight hours of in-ground training.

Perry County Attempted Murder Trial Continues

  • {Kentucky}...Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial of Tracy Lynn Napier, charged with attempted murder in Perry County. Napier allegedly shot and injured Carl Holbrook of Bulan in the Bonnyman community last September. The prosecution rested its case Wednesday, and officials say the defense will begin calling witnesses when the trial resumes Monday.

Hardin County Accident Kills Driver

  • {Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police say April L. Crain, 20, of Upton, was driving nortbound on Interstate 65 near the Glendale exit in Hardin County about 1:30 P.M. Wednesday afternoon when she apparently failed to notice a tractor-trailer truck slowing because of road construction and struck the rear of the truck. Crain was pronounced at the scene. The driver of the truck, Larry Harris, 56, of Nashville, Tennessee was not injured.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Questions Raised About Missing Johnson County Records

{Kentucky}...Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said Wednesday that when he took office on January 1st, there were a lot of missing records, accident reports, investigative files, even personnel documents. Questions have raised about whether former Sheriff Bill Witten might know where the records are, but Witten's attorney, Stephen "Nick" Frazier, a former circuit court judge, says tampering with public records is a felony, and, in his long experience, people commit felonies because they're crazy or have something to gain, and Witten's not crazy, and there's no gain for him to take files from the office he held for 12 years. Price says State police are investigating the potential that some drugs and about $3,700 are missing from the evidence room. Frazier says there might be an attempt to discredit Witten to discourage him from running again, but Price says politics has nothing to do with his attempt to find the records.

Escapee In Perry County

(Hazard)  Kentucky State Police from Post 13 in Hazard are investigating an escape that occurred in Knott County shortly after 3:00 P.M. on Wednesday.  The escapee, Stevie Daniel Wynn, 32 years old of Thornton, KY in Letcher County was being transported from a court appearance in Whitesburg, back to the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard, KY.  He was able to climb through a security screen inside the
transport vehicle.  He assaulted and overpowered the jail security officer and escaped in the transport van. 

Troopers are looking for Wynn who is described as a white, male, standing 6'1" tall and weighing 160 lbs.  He has brown hair and blue eyes and a tattoo on his upper left arm. He was last seen wearing an orange jump suit and operating the stolen transport van, a white in color 2010 Dodge Caravan, bearing a Kentucky Official Registration Plate, 4254DD.    If you have any information on the whereabouts of this subject, you are asked to call the Kentucky State Police at 800-222-5555. 

Letcher County Looking Into Cooking Their Trash

(Whitesburg, Ky) - Letcher county officials will decide soon if they are going to embrace a new method of disposing of their trash...by cooking it! The innovative idea is sparking controversy within the county, though. Many residents are concerned that "it won't smell good," but county officials believe cooking their trash could be a more economical and environmentally friendly way to take care of their garbage. Cooking trash is an innovative technology that is only in the early stages of use in the United States. If Letcher County moves forward with this plan, set-up could behin as early as January.

No Pre-Game Prayer

(Bell County, Ky) - Many people across the region are talking about how much different the beginning of an eastern Kentucky high school football game last week. Before anyone takes the field in Bell County, there is usually a pre-game prayer, but not anymore. Bell County schools received a letter from the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" instructing them to stop the pre-game prayer, calling it, "a flagrant violation of the law". School officials sent the letter to Frankfort, and last week, state attorneys confirmed that the school prayer is, in fact, against the law. Bell County schools officials are looking into alternative options, including a moment of silence.

Earthquake Shakes Our Region

(Pikeville, Ky) - A magnitude 5.9 earthquake centered about 30 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia struck at 1:51pm Tuesday, and was felt all across our region. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was actually felt all across the east coast. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and the Capitol were evacuated, as were most buildings in the city of Pikeville. There were no reports of injuries related to the earthquake. Paul Maynard, Public Service Director for the city of Pikeville said that members of the Pikeville Fire Department conducted inspections of the downtown buildings, and didn't find any major structural issues. He did confirm that a few small cracks were discovered in a stairwell of the Pike County Courthouse, but that structural engineers would be looking at them to make sure they didn't compromise the structural integrity of the building. Because of those small cracks found, the Pike County Courthouse was closed for the remainder of the day Tuesday, but reopened Wednesday morning. East Coast earthquakes are far less common than in the west, but tend to be felt over a much broader area. Tuesday's earthquake of a magnitude 5.9 tied the record for the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Virginia. But, to put things into perspective, Tuesday's quake was 60,000 times less powerful than the one that devestated Japan earlier this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Knott County Jurors Award Letcher County Family

  • {Kentucky}...Jurors in Knott County have ruled that natural-gas company Chesapeake Appalachia LLC should pay more than $600,000 for building a transmission line across a family's property without permission. The jury awarded the family $64,490 in compensation and $600,000 to punish Chesapeake Appalachia LLC for its conduct. Chesapeake Appalachia laid an 890-foot-long section of pipeline in 2007 across property near Carr Creek Lake jointly owned by several family members, including brothers Will and Sam Collins of Letcher County. Chesapeake Appalachia is a division of Chesapeake Energy Corp., of Oklahoma City, one of the largest natural-gas companies in the nation. Lexington attorney Joe F. Childers represented the family.

Former Whitley County Sheriff Referred To FBI

  • {Kentucky}...Auditor Crit Luallen said Tuesday she referred former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge to the FBI  because an audit showed problems with unresolved deficits at the sheriff's office in 2009 and 2010. Luallen, who recommended Hodge deposit more than $78,000 into two separate accounts to settle the deficits, has referred Hodge to the FBI 10 times since June 2009. Hodge pleaded guilty in May to using his office to take kickbacks, distribute drugs and pay for personal expenses. He is scheduled for sentencing Thursday in U.S. District Court in London. His plea agreement calls for a 15 1/2-year prison sentence.

West Virginia Inmate Indicted For Kentucky Murder

  • {Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police in Morehead say 36 year old Shane Elkins of Menifee County, an inmate at Mount Olive Correctional Center in West Virginia, has been indicted in the January 22, 1998 death of Michael Dean Bartley in Ezel in Morgan County. Bartley died in his yard after being hit several times in the head.

Coroner Identifies Limb Of Missing Man

  • {Kentucky}...Boone County Coroner Douglas Stith says DNA tests have confirmed that a limb that washed ashore last summer belonged to 37 year old Christopher McAllister of Vevay, Indiana, a missing deckhand from a towboat that sank in the Ohio River. McAllister went missing after the towboat he was on sank March 14, 2010, about 100 to 200 feet off the Kentucky shoreline. The limb washed ashore in Taylorsport in Boone County on July 16, 2010. Aquarius Marine owned the 40-foot towboat Ceredo. Stith says no other remains have been recovered. The cause of death will be listed as accidental drowning.

Foundation Halts Pre-Game Prayer

  • {Kentucky}...A letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in early August has led to Bell County schools stopping pre-game prayer. The letter instructs the school district to stop what they call a “flagrant violation of the law,” referring to a prayer before the football game. The letter cites a number of Supreme Court cases where school-sponsored and even student-led prayers have been found to be unconstitutional. Last week, state officials confirmed the school’s prayer is against the law. Those with the school district are looking into other alternatives, such as a moment of silence to be held before games.

Perry County Fatality

(Hazard) - Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard assisted the Perry County Sheriffs Department with a fatal incident on highway 15 in the Bonnyman Community of Perry County. 1 person was pronounced deceased in the accident. 2 patients were flown to UK Medical Center, and 1 patient flown to the Holston Valley Medical Center. Trooper Brandon Thomas is assisting Deputy Morgan with the reconstruction. Deputy Kyle Morgan with the Perry County Sheriffs Dept is investigating the accident.

Former Golden Years Administrator Seeks Appeal

{Kentucky}......At the request of Attorney General Jack Conway's office, Letcher Circuit Judge Samuel Wright ordered in June that a receiver be appointed to oversee day-to-day operations of Golden Years Rest Home. The order also barred former administrator James Tackett or any board members of Golden Years from interfering with the home. Linda Bell, who was appointed receiver of the home on the recommendation of Conway's office, told Wright during an August 12th hearing that the home's debts exceeded its income and recommended that a Paintsville for-profit corporation headed by William Shackleford take over operations of Golden Years on a 12-month lease. Friday, Tackett's attorney, James Asher of Whitesburg, filed a motion with the court of appeals asking it to issue a temporary order "directing the circuit court to cease the liquidation and involuntary dissolution of Golden Years and to prohibit the actions by the receiver" pending a court of appeals hearing.

University Of Pikeville Focused On Nursing

  • {Kentucky}...University of Pikeville nursing instructors say local health care officials told them they needed more nurses with four year degrees. So, the University is starting a new program to help. Mary Simpson, Chair of the University of Pikeville Division of Nursing, says there's a local and nationwide need for nurses to be educated at the baccalaureate or the four year degree. University of Pikeville's new "RN to BSN" program is designed to take nurses with two year degrees and graduate them to bachelor of science degrees. Ten students are enrolled in the first semester, and directors expect it to increase each year. Because the students all have full-time nursing jobs, the program meets mostly online and on Saturday's. Students should finish the program in one year.

Meth Bust In Whitley County

  • {Kentucky}...Twenty-nine year old Wendell Canada, 27 year old Jessica Canada, 31 year old Harrison Sulfridge, all of Williamsburg, and 25 year old Bobbie Rudder of East Bernstadt were arrested and charged with making meth and first degree wanton endangerment Monday morning after police in Whitley County discovered a one step meth lab in a home on Letha Petrey Road in Williamsburg. Children, ages 5 and 7, required decontamination. Police say Wendell and Jessica Canada's children were inside while the meth was being cooked.

Hardin County Police Arrest Woman On Bigamy Charge

  • {Kentucky}...Police in Hardin County have arrested Angela K. Christensen on a bigamy charge, saying she was married last month even though she was already married to two other men. Kentucky State Police say Vine Grove police arrested Christensen after a state police investigation showed Christensen married Christopher Lee Ferguson on July 10th in Hardin County while she was also married to Natale Romanczak of Texas and Brian Soarling of New York. Police say there's no evidence Christensen divorced Romanczak or Soarling or that she had reason to believe she was divorced. Christensen was also married to Jerry D. Jackson of Pasadena, Texas, who was reported deceased as of March 7th.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pet Store Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

{Kentucky}...Tammy Rummell, the owner of Purrfect Pets in Middlesboro and London, will be in court September 8th to face 57 counts of cruelty to animals charges. Purrfect Pets in Middlesboro was closed earlier in the summer after authorities found a variety of animals in the store without air conditioning and water. Animal control officials determined the shop was without electricity for more than a week.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Runners "Paint Pikeville Pink"

  • {Kentucky}...More than one-hundred people participated in the first annual Paint Pikeville Pink 5K in downtown Pikeville Saturday morning in an effort to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. Kelli Thompson, breast cancer survivor and an event organizer, says it was overwhelming and so heart touching to see so many people come out to support other survivors. Organizers say the event didn't cost them a dime because everything was donated by the community. Sandra May, an event organizer, says everybody knows someone who has suffered from breast cancer, and it truly showed with all the support they had from Pikeville. Participants received awards and raffle prizes after the race. All proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation.

Indictments Unsealed In Ashland Chop Shop Case

{Kentucky}...Boyd County Sheriff Terry Keelin says officers found a chop shop while investigating an Ashland shooting in 2007. Federal prosecutors said in a statement Friday that the shop was at the center of a multi-state ring that profited about $2.5 million, but the FBI, which had been investigating the theft of motorcycles, couldn't find the chop shop. Eight defendants have been indicted for money laundering and other charges for their alleged involvement in the ring that operated from 2000 to 2008. They each face a maximum sentence of 20 years. The indictments were unsealed last week.

Well-Known Hazard Buisnesswoman Dies

{Kentucky}...Linda Sparkman, 55, the lead designer and part-owner of Silk Purse Furniture and Interiors in Hazard for 21 years, died Saturday after a long battle with breast cancer. Well-known for her custom window treatments, she had clients throughout eastern and central Kentucky but was often hired to do business and vacation properties in Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. Sparkman, a member of the American Society of Interior Design, did commercial projects including work for the University of Pittsburgh, Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky. She was the daughter of Gerri and Denver Campbell, who owned the Denver Campbell's Market in Hazard. Visitation will be at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday at New Home Church in Gorman Hollow. Services will be at 2:30 P.M. Tuesday at the church.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vanhoose To Assistant Supervisor District 11

(Prestonsburg)  Kentucky Department of Corrections Director of Probation & Parole Tim Carman today announced the promotion of John Trenton VanHoose to assistant supervisor of District 11 in Prestonsburg. District 11 covers 10 counties including Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Perry and Pike. VanHoose will assume his new duties on Sept. 1.
“Trent has demonstrated decisiveness and direction during his time in this division,” said Carman. “I am glad to have this opportunity to promote a person with solid character and a level of insight that Trent has shown both personally and professionally.”
VanHoose began his career with the Department of Corrections as a probation and parole officer in 2007. Since that time he has supervised clients in numerous counties, served as the firearms instructor for District 11 and served as the District 11 liaison for the department’s new risk/needs assessment tool, the Level of Services/Case Management Inventory (LSCMI). In 2010 VanHoose received a commissioner’s coin for superior performance. VanHoose is a graduate of Alice Lloyd College where he earned a degree in secondary education in history and German. While attending college he also played four years of varsity baseball.

Fraley Mountain Music Gatherin'

(Olive Hill)  Carter Caves State Resort Park will host the annual Fraley Mountain Music Gatherin’ for the 41st year from Sept. 7-10.
 The festival that began as a family reunion honors old-time music and eastern Kentucky traditions as well as master fiddler J.P. Fraley, who died earlier this year. Musicians will be jamming in parking lots and sharing music around the campfires of Carter Caves State Resort Park. Musical instruments such as dulcimer, fiddle and guitar are used to tell stories about life long ago in the eastern Kentucky foothills. On Wednesday, Sept. 7, there will be a free “Jamming in the Round” get-together in the campground starting at 8 p.m. On Thursday, Sept. 8, starting at 7 p.m., enjoy an open stage concert in the park’s amphitheater.  At 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, the amphitheater will come to life with an open stage, a banjo gathering and a dulcimer gathering.  Friday’s activities will be capped with a 7 p.m. concert in the amphitheater. There will also be a dedication ceremony at the beginning of the concert to honor the late J.P. and Annadeene Fraley. Starting Saturday morning, Sept. 10, the amphitheater will resound with sessions devoted to ballads, storytelling, and Carter Family songs, and conclude with a fiddle gathering and guitar gathering. Saturday night’s concert in the amphitheater begins at 7 p.m. Paid admission is required for concerts and jam sessions Friday afternoon through Saturday night. Fees range from $4 to $10. A festival pass for all programs costs $25 per person. The Friends of Carter Caves will be providing refreshments during the event.
 Carter Caves State Resort Park features a lodge, vacation cottages, RV campsites and primitive campsites. The lodge restaurant offers a variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. There’s also hiking, golf, mini-golf, fishing, horseback riding and swimming. The park is located in northeastern Kentucky, 4 miles off Interstate 64 between Grayson and Olive Hill (exit 161).

 

Rogers Response To EPA Unannounced Visit

(Somerset)  U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05)
issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) unannounced tour of Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The regional
administrator, Gwen Keyes Fleming and EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson’s senior
advisor for environmental justice, Lisa Garcia, along with staff members from the
Region 4 office reportedly made stops in Manchester, Vicco, Whitesburg and Lynch.

"I'm thrilled EPA is suddenly taking an interest in southern and eastern Kentucky.
I'm hopeful this means my many congressional requests for answers, Congress'
repeated calls for restraint, the petitions of coal miners to stop the attacks, and
pleas from mining families to end the permit moratorium will be addressed.
Unfortunately, this looks like a blatantly political listening tour from people they
only want to hear from. I invite them to stay a little longer, now that we know
they’re in town, so they can talk with water quality experts on how our region's
water is improving and tour the reclaimed surface mines that are now home to wild
turkey, deer and elk. They could also visit the hospitals, shopping centers and
other economic development projects that are now sitting on flat land. Before they
leave, I know several thousand coal miners that have been waiting for a chance to
chat with them about their livelihoods, their families’ well-being and the
job-killing regulations of this Administration.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

EPA Officials Visit Eastern Kentucky

  • {Kentucky}...Officials with the federal Environmental Protection Agency attended a community meeting Thursday in Whitesburg where residents described problems with coal dust, mountaintop removal blasting and regulation enforcement. EPA Region Four administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming said the agency believes the area may qualify for "extra environmental justice consideration." Environmental justice is the belief that groups such as the poor and minorities should not be disproportionately affected by pollution. EPA officials were in Lynch Friday. Lynch Mayor Taylor Hall says he's opposed to strip mining within a quarter mile of the city. Friday morning, Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator of the EPA's fourth region, listened to concerned residents, former residents, and current leaders who say they want to make sure waters are protected, and so they are trying to limit the level of pollution that occurs. At issue, are two permits for surface mines near the city of Lynch. Federal officials said they are not against coal, but they want the history of the area to be preserved and other opportunities to be created.

Pineville Unveils Kentucky’s First Pure Air Hospital

{Kentucky}...Friday, Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo, Pineville Mayor Sherwin Rader, along with representatives from Pineville Community Hospital and Purgenix Incorporated, unveiled Kentucky’s first pure air hospital. Pineville Community Hospital has installed a patented pure air system that kills or deactivates infectious pathogens in the air and on interior surfaces creating cleaner air quality. The technology was created by Purgenix Inc., and is being installed in healthcare, hospitality, and education industries.

Paul Speaks To Cumberland Valley Area Development District

  • {Kentucky}...During a 20 minute speech before the Cumberland Valley Area Development District in London Wednesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul told a crowd of community and business leaders that government needs to get out of the way to help the marketplace. Paul says the government has gotten itself into trouble by bailing out businesses that fail, and  that’s not the government’s role. He says while President Obama is talking about creating jobs, the best thing would be to help existing businesses by relaxing government regulation.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Manalapan Idles Bell And Harlan County Mines

{Kentucky}...Dozens of Bell and Harlan County miners were told Wednesday afternoon they have no jobs, after Pineville-based Manalapan Mining Company idled its mines. Many of the underground miners who lost their jobs say the company was unable to get new permits to mine from the government.

Man Sentenced In Eastern Kentucky Drug Ring

{Kentucky}...The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky announced Thursday that Jay Shephard, 46, who owned residences in Dayton, Ohio and Detroit, Mich., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning late Wednesday for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering. Shephard was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for leading a drug conspiracy that distributed at least 40,000 prescription pills in Eastern Kentucky. According to evidence at a trial last November, Shephard directed others to distribute thousands of 80-mg Oxycodone pills in Perry, Fayette, Breathitt and Scott counties from May 2006 to May 2009. Shephard also forfeited five properties in Dayton, $83,000 in proceeds from the conspiracy and was ordered to pay a $225,000 judgment. Shephard was the last of 21 people involved in the drug ring to be convicted.

No Charges Filed In Harlan County Case

{Kentucky}...No charges will be filed after a child pulled the pin on a Vietnam War-era grenade on August 1st in the Lynch area of Harlan County, sending about 20 people to hospitals. The grenade was found in an outbuilding by two men who were cleaning it up after a friend died, and the widow told them they could keep anything that interested them. Three children found it on a shelf in the home where they were playing and one of them pulled the pin.

Water Donated to Couple With Burning Well

(Pike County, Ky) - Word is definitely getting out about the methane-filled water well in Pike County that has been burning continuously since the first of May. Thursday, a tractor trailer load of 30,000 bottles of drinking water was delivered to Calvin and Denise Howard on Big Branch Road. The donation was organized by Appalachian Voices and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Even though these environmental groups are not known to be friends of coal producing counties, Denise Howard says she is thankful for their help. Howard explained that representatives from these groups have told her that they are NOT against coal mining. In fact, she says they told her they are only against the negative effects from mining on the residents. The Howards say they began feeling what they believe are explosions from underground mines in January. Then, on May first, their well housing exploded and has been burning continuously since. The Howards are suing Excel Mining, and want them to fix the problem as soon as possible. The lawsuit also asks the mining company to relocate the couple until the case is settled due to the potentially dangerous situation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Corbin Man Arrested

{Kentucky}...Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 48 year old Danny Peace Tuesday at his home on Leona Wyatt Road in Corbin after serving a search warrant at the home and finding explosive devices, several firearms and evidence of meth making. Peace is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, possession of equipment used to manufacture meth and posession of explosive devices.

Elk Tours At Two State Parks

(Prestonsburg)  Two Kentucky State Parks in Eastern Kentucky will offer guests a unique wildlife viewing opportunity this fall and winter - elk tours. Visitors to Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake can choose a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and arise early to enjoy one of these unique tours. Participants should bring their cameras - there should be great photography opportunities. The largest elk herds are located on privately owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the
greatest number of elk. The return of elk to the region is considered to be one of Kentucky's biggest wildlife management success stories. The animals, after being gone from the state for 150 years, were returned in 1997. They now number around 10,000. Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg Fall 2011 dates: Sept. 17 (Elk Night Dinner), 18, Sept. 23-24 (Under the Stars with the Elk Campout), 25; Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30; Nov. 5, 19, 26; and Dec. 3. Winter 2012 dates: Jan. 14, 21, 28 (Buffalo Night Dinner), 29; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 3, 10.Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is sponsoring elk tours at a cost of $25/person or $15/children 12 and under.  This fee includes your transportation via van to the viewing sites and a continental breakfast. The park also offers packages that include lodging.  Because these tours fill up quickly, registration is suggested. Special group and business tours are also available. The Sept. 23-24 trip will feature a campout that costs $50 a person and includes meals. Call 1-800-325-0142 for information and reservations.

Pike County Road Repairs

(Pike County)  Upper Coon Creek Road, KY 3418, will be closed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. all next week, August 22-26. Rodney Branham explained that a crew will be drilling to repair embankment failures that occurred during the flood in July 2010. The exact site of the work is between mile points 9.145 and 9.357, before the hill that leads to Ridgeline Road. Work on the road will not start until 9 o'Jclock each morning, and  will stop  at 3 o'clock each afternoon.  Branham said that the drilling equipment takes up more than one lane. It takes 20-30 minutes to set up the equipment and the same amount of time to break it down and move it.  The road will re-open each evening when that day's work is finished and close the next morning when work resumes.


Stumbo Calls For Better Policing Of Doctors

  • {Kentucky}...House Speaker Greg Stumbo has called on the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure to do a much better job of policing doctors who over-prescribe pain medication. Stumbo says, in 2003, he and other legislators were told by KBML that it would be able to identify those doctors who are abusing their power to prescribe controlled substances and then act to stop this from happening. Stumbo said, to date, he has seen no proof that has taken place, while the problem gets worse and more people die from prescription drug overdoses now than in car accidents.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pillersdorf Representing Pike County Couple

{Kentucky}...Attorney Ned Pillersdorf has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Calvin and Denise Howard, a Big Branch Road couple in Pike County, asking Excel Mining coal company to pay to relocate them as soon as possible because they don't have the means to relocate themselves. The Howards allege the company has left their wells with unsuitable drinking water and caused them to explode into flames. The lawsuit calls for action to be taken to fix the wells by the end of this month. Pillersdorf is waiting on a report from an expert to see if an injunction will be filed to move the Howards out immediately. He says it will then be up to the circuit judge to order the coal company to relocate the family. Pillersdorf says he has retained the resources of national mining expert Jack Spadaro who indicated the couple needs to move out.

Pike County Teen Died From Drowning

{Kentucky}...The state medical examiner has officially ruled 19 year old Justin Cole, a teenager found dead near the bridge at Pool Point in the Elkhorn City area of Pike County in July, died from drowning. Friends told police he went under the water at Ratliff Hole and never came back up. Cole's body was found three days later.

Trial Continues For Perry County Man

{Kentucky}...Testimony continued in the trial of Tracy Lynn Napier, a Perry County man charged with attempted murder. Napier was indicted in October. Police say, last September, Napier shot Carl Holbrook several times near the Bonnyman community in Perry County. Holbrook was airlifted to a West Virginia hospital where he recovered from his injuries. Testimony will resume next Monday.

Harlan County Case Sent To Grand Jury

{Kentucky}...The case of Marcos Lopez and Gustabo Salinas, two men who allegedly kidnapped and raped a Harlan County teen, has been sent to a grand jury. Lopez and Salinas were charged with the crime two weeks ago. A juvenile, who was also charged, was later released from the Harlan County Detention Center. A date for the hearing has not been set.

Knott County Trail Ride in Jeopardy

(Hindman, Ky) - Budget problems continue in Knott County, and there is still no solution on the horizon. The fiscal court is looking for new sources of revenue after losing $1.5 million in coal and natural gas funds. Knott County has recently laid off dozens of employees and shut down many services. Plus, they are looking into the option of imposing an occupational tax. The situation is so dire, in fact, that Knott County Judge Execuive Randy Thompson says at this point he's not sure the county can afford to put on the annual Knott County Trail Ride which in recent years has become one of the top tourism events in Kentucky.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Manhunt Underway In Johnson County

  • {Kentucky}...A manhunt is underway in Johnson County for Daniel Bell, of Paintsville, a man who escaped from a halfway house in Louisville about a month ago, just a few weeks before his sentence was to end. Bell was spotted Friday at a shop on Highway 321, but he fled into the woods. Paintsville Police say Bell was serving time on robbery charges.

Former Marine Retrieves Half-Brother Of Pikeville Man

  • {Kentucky}...Twenty-three year old Dakota Meyer, a former Marine who attended public school in Kentucky, and his family will attend a ceremony with President Barack Obama where Meyer will receive the Medal of Honor at the White House on September 15th. Meyer is the third living recipient, and first Marine, to be given the award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Meyer is a graduate of Green County High School who enlisted in the Marines in 2006, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He now lives in Austin, Texas. Meyer is receiving the Medal of Honor for braving enemy fire to find and retrieve the bodies of three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman in Afghanistan in 2009. Chase Goodman of Pikeville, who is the half-brother of one of the deceased Marines, says Meyer is a true hero.

Coal Miner's Appreciation Week

  • {Kentucky}...Monday, kicked off Coal Miner's Appreciation Week in Kentucky. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says 95 percent of electricity comes from coal in Kentucky, and it supplies 50 percent of the country. State Representative Rick Nelson sponsored the bill that was passed and signed into law, designating the third week of August as a week to appreciate coal miners. Coal Miners' Appreciation Week continues through Saturday.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pikeville Area Gasoline Prices

  • (Pikeville)  The price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Pikevill area ranged from $3.58 to $3.63, for an average of $3.60.

Law Firm Pays Penalty

  • (Prestonsburg)  An eastern Kentucky law firm has agreed to pay a more than seven thousand dollar penalty to the Social Security Administration. Kirk Law Firm was investigated by the SSA Office of Inspector General after signs were put up at offices in Prestonsburg and Inez that read, “Social Security Sign Up Office.”
The OIG says the signs were confusing and misleading. John Kirk says there was no attempt to mislead anyone with the signs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

School System Officials Indicted In Breathitt County

(Kentucky)   Several Breathitt County school system officials have been indicted for failing to report sexual abuse by another employee.
Indictments were handed down against Breathitt County School superintendent Arch Turner, along with an assistant superintendent, a principal and another administrator for failing to report neglect or abuse of a student, a misdemeanor.
The indictment reportedly stems from an incident involving non-school employee who was indicted on charges including rape and sodomy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Whitley County Teacher Undergoes Successful Surgery

{Kentucky}...Whitley County High School teacher and state lawmaker Dewayne Bunch underwent successful surgery Thursday after being seriously injured in April. Bunch continues to recover at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta after suffering a brain injury when he took a punch while trying to break up a fight  fell and hit his head on the cafeteria floor. The two teens face assault charges for the incident.

    Immigration Officials Raid Harlan Restaurant

    • {Kentucky}...Federal immigration officials raided El Charrito restaurant in Harlan Wednesday, detaining 13 people as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal immigration in the area. Lynch Police Chief Mike Nunley says the raid follows the arrest of three Mexican nationals in Harlan on charges of first-degree rape and first-degree unlawful imprisonment involving a 13 year old girl. Two of the men worked at the restaurant. El Charrito co-owner Francisco Roman says the restaurant closed because it had no employees after the raid.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    ARH To Purchase Mary Breckenridge Hospital

    • {Kentucky}...Officials with the Appalachian Regional Healthcare system say they have signed an agreement to purchase Mary Breckenridge Hospital in Leslie County, along with its clinics and the home health agency. The purchase is expected to close at the end of this month, and ARH will take over operations on September 1st.

    $1.7-Million Malpractice Award Against Floyd County Doctor

    • {Kentucky}...Dr. Milot Faria must cough up nearly $1.7 million, following a decision by a Floyd County jury in a two-year-long malpractice suit.  According to Michael Liska, attorney for the plaintiff, Marketta Meade, of Prestonsburg, sought out Dr. Faria for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) in May 2009. Court documents state that, during the surgery, Meade suffered a “surgical transection of the common bile duct, a potentially fatal injury.” Liska says Faria cut the wrong structure. The plaintiff alleges Dr. Faria’s negligence was compounded from “the failure to recognize the surgical injury” or “to diagnose the potentially fatal medical condition caused by the free flow of bile into the abdomen.” Meade was forced to undergo additional surgeries to repair the damage. The jury ruled in favor of Meade, and awarded her $1,678,402.91, plus expenses.

    Commercial Air a Step Closer in Pike County

    (Pikeville, Ky) - Another step has been taken towards getting a commercial airline service in Pike County. The city of Pikeville and the Pikeville-Pike County airport board have been actively pursuing the project for several years, and officials say they are closer now than ever before to seeing their dream come true. City Manager Donovan Blackburn acknowledged they have received a commitment letter from an airline service that said if the city can acquire the funding, the airline would pursue providing commercial air service to Pikeville. The city of Pikeville has applied for a federal small community air service development grant. Jarrod Arnett, Vice President of Operations for the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said that having the commitment letter from the airline certainly helps in consideration for the grant, but they also need support from individuals and business across eastern Kentucky. The Southeast Kentucky Chamber leaders are asking people to send letters to Washington in support of Pikeville receiving the grant. In fact, you can get a copy of a letter to send from the Chamber's website (www.sekchamber.com). Right now, the proposal from the airline is for two flights a day out of Pikeville on a 20 passenger plane to a city hub.

    Pike County Detention Center Escapee Caught

    • {Kentucky}...On Wednesday August 10, 2011 at approximately 8:30 P.M., Officer Kevin Belcher of the Kentucky State Police CVE Division was on patrol in Floyd County when he conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle and learned that the passenger, 45 year old Israel Timothy Boyd, had a warrant for his arrest. Boyd had escaped from the Pike County Detention Center's work release program in 2006. Boyd was arrested on a charge of second-degree escape. He was lodged in the Floyd County Detention Center. 

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Pike County Opens Home For Recovering Addicts

    {Kentucky}...Tuesday evening, WestCare held a grand opening for the "Sober Living" house, a new second chance home for recovering drug and alcohol addicts, in the former domestic violence shelter in Pikeville. The home is designed to help men who are recovering addicts transition back to society after jail and rehab. Cathy Coleman, the coordinator for WestCare, says the home gives them an opportunity to continue to work on recovery and maintain sobriety, while becoming responsible adults. The men in the program are required to have jobs and pay rent. Directors say there is already a waiting list to get in.

    Drug Bust In Perry County

    {Kentucky}...Ten of 14 people sought by Operation UNITE in a Perry County drug roundup were in jail early Wednesday afternoon following a 10-month undercover investigation into the illegal sale of drugs, mostly OxyContin, Oxycodone and Methadone. About a dozen law enforcement officers from the Hazard Police Department, Perry County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police joined UNITE detectives. Keith Napier, UNITE task force manager, says some of the drugs being sold in Perry County were brought from far northern Indiana.

    Letcher County Preliminary Hearing Not Set

    {Kentucky}...A new preliminary hearing has not been set for 37 year old Michael Hobson, a Letcher County man charged with sexually abusing a female under the age of 12 between March 2006 and December 2010. Hobson was arrested and indicted in May of this year. He is being held at the Letcher County Jail.

    Bell County Trial Continued

    {Kentucky}...The trial for Deborah Partin, Candy Maiden, Jeremiah Evans and Brian Hatfield, four people accused of fatal beating of 91 year old William Taylor of Frakes, in Bell County, has been continued to January 10th. Partin, Maiden, Evans and Hatfield all pleaded not guilty in April. Taylor was robbed and beaten in 2008 and later died at the hospital.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Highway Fatality In Breathitt County

    {Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police in Hazard received a report of a single vehicle accident on Hwy. 52 in the Athol community of Breathitt County. Preliminary investigation indicates that the operator, 79 year old Beverly Dean Samples of Beattyville had lost control of his vehicle and overturned. Mr. Samples was not wearing his safety belt and was partially ejected from the vehicle. Mr. Samples was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Breathitt County Coroners Office. The passenger, Gladys Samples, was wearing a safety belt and was transported to the Kentucky River Medical Center for treatment. The investigation is continuing by Sgt. Ken Duff. 

    KSP Citizens' Police Academy

    {Kentucky}...The Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard is now accepting applications for the Citizen's Police Academy. This learning opportunity will provide those in the class with an in depth look at the multiple aspects of the Kentucky State Police, as well as, an opportunity to interact with the Troopers that work in their communities. The 11 week academy will begin on September 27th, 2011. The classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. at the Kentucky State Police Post in Hazard. The academy is set to conclude on December 6, 2011. Anyone 18 years of age, or older, living within the Kentucky State Police Post 13 District is welcome to apply.

    Pike And Floyd Counties On Court Of Appeals Docket

    {Kentucky}...The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear cases on appeal from Fayette, Floyd, Madison and Pike counties when it convenes Wednesday and Thursday, August 10th-11th, in Frankfort. Proceedings will begin at 10 A.M. EDT each day in the Court of Appeals Courtroom at 360 Democrat Drive. Proceedings are open to the public.

    A three-judge panel comprised of Court of Appeals Judges Denise G. Clayton, Michelle M. Keller and Joy A. Moore will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a civil case on appeal from Floyd County and a criminal case on appeal from Pike County. A three-judge panel comprised of Court of Appeals Judges Glenn E. Acree and Thomas B. Wine and Senior Judge Joseph E. Lambert will hear oral arguments Thursday in a civil case on appeal from Fayette County and a criminal case from Madison County.

    Fort Campbell Soldier Faces Court-Martial

    {Kentucky}...The military said in a statement Tuesday that an investigating officer has recommended that charges of premeditated murder be referred to a court-martial for Sgt. Brent Burke, a Fort Campbell military policeman accused in the 2007 slayings of his estranged wife and her former mother-in-law in. Burke's estranged wife, Tracy Burke, and Karen Comer were found shot to death in Comer's home in Rineyville area of in Hardin County in September 2007. A civilian judge dismissed the charges against Burke after a prosecutor cited evidence problems with the case, and the military filed charges against him less than two weeks later. Kentucky civilian prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to convict him in criminal court. No trial date has been set.

    Two Drug Busts in Pikeville

    (Pikeville, Ky) - Two different traffic stops inside a week led to two seperate drug busts, netting two different types of drugs. In the first traffic stop a few days ago, in the vehicle of Kathleen Sneed, Pikeville police officers found the drug "black tar heroin," which is a drug not commonly seen in eastern Kentucky. Then, in another traffic stop officers found more than 100 oxycodone pills, 50 Xanax pills and cash in Lorenzo Huffman Jr.'s vehicle. Huffman, who officers believe was selling the pills, is facing several possession and trafficking charges.

    Progress at U Pike

    (Pikeville, Ky) - As summer is winding down, students at the University of Pikeville are gearing up for the fall semester, which starts on Monday, August 22. And, progress is being made on the construction of the new Coal Building next to the famous "99 steps" just off of Hambley Boulevard. According to University president Paul Patton, the new building will house the medical school as well as a campus-wide cafeteria. But, Patton stressed that the building will actually affect the entire university once it is complete by providing extra space for laboratories and classrooms currently utilized by the medical school in other buildings on campus. In addition, Patton said that with the larger facility for the medical school, they will be able to expand the class size from its current size of 75 to up to 130, nearly doubling the amount of medical students in each new class. Construction is scheduled for completion on April 1, 2012, and will house the medical school when the fall semester begins next year.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Hardin County Cities To Vote On Alcohol Sales

    • {Kentucky}...Voters in the Hardin County cities of Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove have just less than two months to decide whether they want expanded alcohol sales. Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry set elections for October 4th. A campaign by Yes for Economic Success secured the required number of signatures to put expanded alcohol sales on the ballot. YES needed to obtain 1,990 signatures in Elizabethtown, 1,182 in Radcliff and 468 in Vine Grove. Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb says all three cities went beyond the amount of signatures needed.

    Gas Prices In Pikeville

    Comparing gas prices in the Pikeville area with a sampling base of nine, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded
    gasoline is $3.73.  The national average is $3.56...the Kentucky average is $3.65

    Jackson County Attempted Murder Trial Moved

    {Kentucky}...The case of  Hazel Jackson and Dennis Rumberger, a Jackson County grandmother and her boyfriend accused of starving a child, was set to  take place in Jackson County Monday, but, due to an indictment handed down last week, it has been moved to circuit court. The case will resume next month. The couple faces attempted murder charges after allegations they locked Jackson’s 5 year old grandson in his room for months with limited food and water. The boy’s mother has also been charged with criminal abuse.

    Wayne County Case Bound Over To Grand Jury

    {Kentucky}...Wayne County District Judge Mike Lawson has ruled that there was probable cause to suspect that Kayla Lord, 20, and Jared D. Futrell, 18, fatally beat Lord's son, Staten Stephenson, who died July 26th after being disconnected from life support at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Court records list the boy's age as 18 months, although there was testimony Monday that he was 17 months old. Futrell was living with Lord but was not the boy's father. Staten, who was injured July 16th, had a fractured skull, a perforated stomach and bruises elsewhere on his body. Lawson bound the case over to a grand jury to consider whether to indict the two.

    Inmate Says Voices Told Him To Run

    {Kentucky}...James Fields, a Whitley County man charged with attempted murder, was in court Monday to face charges when he ran from a deputy leading him from court and jumped in the Cumberland River. Fields got down river about 75 yards before he was recaptured. He is in jail after being accused of attacking his brother and sister-in-law with a machete, but he claims he tried to put an end to an argument between the two and everything has been blown out of proportion. Fields says voices in his head told him to run and jump in the river.

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Teen Dies After Morgan County Fall

    • {Kentucky}...A group of six or seven boys were in a rural area in Morgan County around 5:00 A.M. Saturday morning where 14 year old Zachary Munster of Owingsville, in Bath County, and a 19 year old boy had climbed up more than 100 feet on a  television tower and it snapped, causing them to fall. The two were taken to a local hospital. Munster was transferred to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:21 A.M.

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    KSP Arrest Hardin County Deputy Jailer

    • {Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police have arrested Hardin County deputy jailer 32 year old Shadrick A. Blackmon, of Radcliff, on a charge of bribery of a public servant for allegedly taking cash bribes. Police said they were alerted by Hardin County Jailer Danny Allen who was concerned that one of his deputies had solicited cash or sexual favors to get an inmate out of jail. Blackmon had been employed at the jail for less than a year.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    UPIKE Bears Ready To Roar

    • {Kentucky}...As school prepares to get underway, around 175 University of Pikeville football players gathered for a fun day at the gym Wednesday. The first football team to wear the University of Pikeville name will be the largest by numbers in school history. Another 20-some redshirts who will report later in the month will bring an expected team of 192 Bears when the season begins.

    Knox County Meth Bust

    • {Kentucky}...Seven people were arrested after authorities found four meth labs inside a Barbourville home located next to Barbourville Nursing Home and two blocks away from Barbourville Elementary and High Schools. Police arrested Tina Merida and Ben Strong, both 33, along with Kenjeant Smith, 25, Heather Warren, 26, Dale Smith, 38, Joe Ore, 39 and Brandy Sizemore, 21. They were charged with manufacturing and conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine.

    Pike County Shooting Sent To Grand Jury

    • {Kentucky}...Billy Marcum Jr. a man accused of shooting a man believed to be named Eddie Smith on Sunday near Belfry, in Pike County, appeared in court Thursday on assault charges. During the preliminary hearing, KSP Detective Kevin Newsome testified Marcum told police he did not know the man he shot, referring to him as "creepy." But, Marcum claims he was the one who was attacked. Marcum told police the man parked his car across from his house, and he fired a warning shot and told the man to not park on his property. Newsome said Marcum stated the subject got outside the car and began hollering, cursing, spitting on him,  pushing him and  then hit his face and ear with a forearm. At that point, Marcum's glasses were knocked off, and Marcum pulled his gun and shot the unarmed man in the abdomen. The victim believed to be named Eddie Smith is in Cabell-Huntington Hospital and is expected to survive. The case was sent to the grand jury.

    Jackson County Inmate Dies

    • {Kentucky}...Jackson County inmate Denny R. Durham, who jumped from a van while it was moving on Tuesday afternoon, died at the University of Kentucky Hospital about 7:13 P.M. Wednesday. Durham had been taken to Jackson Circuit Court for a hearing at which he learned his diversion on drug charges would be revoked because he failed to comply with its requirements, and he was being transported back to jail when he attempted to escape. Kentucky State Police say another inmate opened the rear door of the van, and Durham, who was handcuffed, was able to bail out, but the inmate who opened the door did not jump. Police say the men were handcuffed in front of their bodies but were not shackled to objects or to other inmates. The van's driver, a Jackson County court security officer, told state police the van was moving about 35 miles per hour when the inmate reached out an open window and opened the door from the outside. The van could not be opened from the inside. State police Sgt. Dustin Hon says the trooper investigating the case will present it to a Jackson County Grand jury.

    Fire Destroys Pike County Business

    • {Kentucky}...The state fire marshal is attempting to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed the Clean Cut Tree Service on U.S. 23 in Coal Run Village in Pike County Thursday morning. Officials say the fire started around 3:00 A.M., and firefighters fought the blaze for five hours.

    Knott County Fiscal Court Votes For Layoffs

    • {Kentucky}...Knott County has lost about $1.3 million in coal and natural gas tax revenues. As a result, budget problems have led to county employees being laid off again. County employees received letters about the layoffs a few weeks ago, but the fiscal court voted Monday to keep the employees. The Fiscal Court voted Thursday to cut expenses by shutting down most county services and laying off dozens of employees. Knott County Judge Executive Randy Thompson says a one percent occupational tax would bring in $1.5 million in revenue and allow the county to stay open, while providing additional funding. The layoffs will be effective Friday.