Monday, April 30, 2012

MSHA Cites Kentucky Coal Mines

The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued 214 violations during special inspections at nine coal mines in March. Inspectors closed Redhawk Mining's Redhawk No. 1 in Floyd County, Kentucky for 72 hours and issued 40 violations. MSHA says the mine has a history of releasing methane and was on notice about ventilation, but there was insufficient air flow, and water sprayers that control dust weren't working properly. MSHA also issued 38 citations and 16 unwarrantable failure orders at Perry County Coal's E3-1 Mine. Inspectors found 14 accumulations of explosive material, from paper-thin coatings of coal dust to piles of coal 3 feet thick. MSHA says the hazards had clearly existed for some time. MSHA also issued citations and orders to the Brem Coal Co. LLC No. 2 Mine in Pike County.

Floyd County Jury Recommends Two Life Sentences

  • {Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...After nearly six hours of deliberation Monday, a Floyd County jury recommended two life sentences without parole for Berry Hall after convicting him last week on two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Lisa and Alan Tackett. Defense attorney Steve Goble says it's a very serious sentence they gave Hall, but they appreciate jurors finding a non-death verdict. Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner says he didn't care if it was death or life without parole as long as Hall would never get out again. Alan Tackett's family says they're happy Hall did not receive the death penalty because they just wanted him off the streets. The judge will also sentence Hall on four counts of wanton endangerment.

Letcher County Officials Focus On Synthetic Drugs

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...The Letcher County Sheriff's Office is hoping the postal service will help in their effort to stop the in-flow of synthetic drugs and bath salts into their communities. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb says people have started ordering bath salts on the Internet, and it's coming in packages to the post office. Detectives in Letcher County ordered $1,000 worth of bath salts from a company in Texas to try to track the address. Sheriff Webb says postal inspector will confiscate packages and send a letter that says there may be a substance in the package that has been banned by the FDA or DEA.

Knox County Murder Indictment

  • {Barbourville, Kentucky}...Friday, a Knox County grand jury indicted 24 year old Jonathan Taylor, 27 year old Amanda Hoskins, both of Barbourville, and 49 year old William Lester of Flat Lick in connection with the December 20, 2010 robbery and murder of 67 year old Catherine Mills at her Flat Lick home. Taylor and Hoskins were in court when the indictments came down, but police are still looking for Lester. Police say they struck Mills in the head and robbed her. Hoskins was also charged with second-degree persistent felony offense.

Man Charged With Manslaughter

{Morehead, Kentucky}...Sunday, Kentucky State Police troopers arrested 24 year old Zachary A. Wallace near Morehead on a second-degree manslaughter warrant stemming from a motor vehicle accident on April 9, 2011 that resulted in the death of 19 year old Michael Henderson of Morehead. Wallace was indicted by a grand jury on April 20th. The crash occurred as Wallace and Henderson were southbound on Little Perry Road when their pickup truck left the side of the road, struck an access road and became airborne. The truck overturned several times, and Henderson was ejected and hit a fence post. Authorities were not immediately able to determine who was driving the truck. Wallace was taken to the Rowan County Detention Center.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Man Dead...Firefighter Injured In Johnson County

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police say dispatchers received a call early Sunday about a blaze at a home in Paintsville. When fire crews responded, they found 46 year old John W. Meade inside the home. Meade was taken to Paul B Hall Regional Medical Center, where Johnson County Coroner JR. Frisby pronounced him dead. A Paintsville firefighter suffered fire-related injuries and is being treated in the intensive care unit at Cabell-Huntington Hospital in West Virginia. The incident is still under investigation by Kentucky State Police in Pikeville.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pike County Included In Lawsuit

Ashland, Kentucky}...Fourteen counties, including Floyd, Johnson, Letcher, Magoffin and Pike contend in a federal lawsuit that Mortgage Electronic Registration System, a mortgage-recording service and financial institution, has schemed to avoid paying Kentucky counties millions of dollars in fees. The lawsuit, which lists two dozen defendants, including the U.S. government-sponsored lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, was filed April 19th in federal court in Ashland by House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Lexington attorney Sandra Spurgeon. The lawsuit says that, in addition to depriving the counties of money, the conspiracy has shortchanged a fund used to make grants and loans for low-income housing. The lawsuit says that under state law, when one company transfers or sells a mortgage to another, the company receiving the interest has to pay a recording fee at the county clerk's office, and the act of bundling mortgages and selling them as securities, which became common in the 1990s, results in several such transfers, or assignments. The lawsuit alleges shareholders set up the MERS system in the 1990s to avoid paying the required fees to record such assignments among financial institutions, and, while those transactions are recorded in the private MERS system, they were not recorded with county clerks as required by state law, saving its members $77 to $200 million annually nationwide.

The counties involved in the lawsuit are Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Christian, Clark, Floyd, Franklin, Greenup, Johnson, Letcher, Magoffin, Mason, Pike and Warren.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Floyd County Man Arrested

{Garrett, Kentucky}...Fifty-eight year old Gary Coburn, of Garrett, in Floyd County, was arrested Friday and charged with attempted murder, burglary and possession of burglary tools. Last Saturday, police say Coburn forced his way into a home, cornered his wife and threatened to kill her. His wife then shot him in the stomach.

Knott County Mine Accident Victim Identified

{Mousie, Kentucky}...The Knott County Coroner has identified the man killed in a mine accident at the McCoy Elkhorn Coal Mine near Mousie as 61 year old Delmer Miller of Salyersville. Miller was a contract worker removing a belt line when he fell 15 feet off a cat walk. Officials say he suffered a head injury and died on the way to the hospital.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jury Convicts Floyd County Man

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...After several hours of deliberation, Thursday afternoon, a jury in Floyd County convicted 47 year old Berry Hall of murder with mental illness in the shooting deaths of his niece and her husband. Police and prosecutors say Hall had an ongoing dispute with Lisa Tackett and her husband Alan which came to a head in March 2008, when prosecutors say Hall used a rifle to shoot and kill the Tackett's from the upstairs window of his home on Sunflower Lane. Hall will be sentenced Friday morning.

Environmental Groups Can Intervene In Lawsuit

{Louisville, Kentucky}...The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday that environmental groups and citizens may intervene in a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet against Frasure Creek Mining, which operates coal mines in Pike County, and that Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd did not err in allowing them to take part in the suit. In 2010, Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and three private citizens threatened to sue Frasure Creek and ICG Coal for violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants into the Kentucky, Big Sandy and Licking Rivers and their tributaries. The state Energy and Environment Cabinet went to Franklin Circuit Court in December seeking to settle the issue. After the cabinet investigated and found 2,700 violations, it and the coal companies submitted a consent judgment which fined each company more than $300,000. That prompted the environmentalists to ask Shepherd not to approve the settlement and allow them to intervene.

Perry County Man Dies

  • {Avawam, Kentucky}...Herman Feltner, a man injured in a fire at a home on Mudlick Road in the Avawam community of Perry County, died Wednesday night at Vanderbilt Hospital. Police say Feltner went back into the burning home to save his wife, Janet Feltner,  after a kerosene heater exploded more than two months ago. Janet Feltner was also injured but is now out of the hospital.

Former Hindman Settlement School Director Honored

On February 19th, Mike Mullins, the executive director of the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County, died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 63. Mike served on the East Kentucky Leadership Board until his death and was always an advocate for Appalachia. At Thursday night's awards program, Mullins was honored posthumously as this year's East Kentucky Leadership Tony Turner award winner, and a moment of silence was held in his memory.

Defense Rests In Floyd County Murder Case

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Wednesday morning, defense council for Berry Hall announced that they had rested their case. Floyd County Circuit Court Judge Johnny Ray Harris then asked the prosecution if they had any rebuttal evidence to submit, and Commonwealths Attorney Arnold Brent Turner replied “no.” Judge Harris decided to give the jurors a day off, and resume court Thursday to hear the closing arguments of both the prosecution and the defense. Hall is on trial for the 2008 double murder of his niece, Lisa Tackett and her husband, Alan Tackett. The defense has tried to convince the jury that Hall, because of depression and anxiety, was not mentally stable at the time of the shooting. Hall took to the stand in his own defense Monday and told jurors that the blame was that of Dr. Charles Hieronymous who treated him for depression. The prosecution has attempted to prove that despite Hall's depression he was still aware of the criminality of his actions, and he showed intent to kill Lisa and Alan Tackett. Hall is on trial for capital murder, and if found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.

Letcher County Woman Indicted

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Shelia Renae Collins of Whitesburg has been indicted on second degree manslaughter and arrested five months after a crash in Colson. The toxicology reports shows Collins was under the influence when she lost control of her car and went over an embankment and ruptured a natural gas line killing a passenger in her car.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Officials Disagree Over Coal Severance

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pike County Magistrate Chris Harris and State Senator Ray Jones differ on whether the general assembly should allocate coal severance tax funds to Pike County for debt service. Jones says the funds are for economic development work only and Pike County cannot use coal severance monies to pay debt. However, Harris cites several examples of the legislature's past allocations to counties for debt service. Harris says, in the 2008 budget, there is $300,000 budgeted directly to the city of Pikeville for debt service for Bob Amos Park and another $350,000 budgeted directly to the city of Pikeville for debt service for Hambley Field. He also cited $2 million in coal severance funds budgeted directly to the Perry County Fiscal Court to retire debt for road projects, $750,000 budgeted to Mountain Water District for debt service, and $50,000 budgeted for the Child Advocacy Center for debt service in the 2010 state budget.

Doctor Testifies In Floyd County Trial

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Dr. James Walker, a forensic neuro-psychologist from Nashville, who was called to testify in the trial of Berry Hall Tuesday told jurors he believes Hall's actions were influenced by what he diagnosed as major depressive disorder. Walker, who interviewed Hall in December 2009, told jurors Hall’s IQ had been measured in the 70s, and Hall struggles with thinking and reasoning ability. Walker also testified he does not believe Hall ever fabricated or exaggerated the symptoms of mental or physical disorders for a variety of motives, which include seeking lighter criminal punishment.

Otter Creek Closing Worries Town Officials

{Wheelwright, Kentucky}...With the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright set to close by summer, town officials are worried about the effect it will have on the area's economy. Kentucky paid Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America $21 million in fiscal 2010 to operate Otter Creek, along with the Marion Adjustment Center, which has roughly 800 Kentucky inmates and Lee Adjustment Center, which no longer houses Kentucky inmates. The men currently held at Otter Creek are being moved to Northpoint Training Center in Burgin. Elk Horn Coal Company founded the city in 1916 and named it for the company's then-president, Jere H. Wheelwright. As coal production slowed, businesses closed or struggled to stay open. The prison brought nearly 200 jobs when it opened in 1981. CCA paid employees $8.25 an hour, low pay by prison standards but welcome cash for the area. The prison once housed women from Hawaii and Kentucky, but the facility was at the center of a sex scandal that broke in 2009 when female inmates accused prison staff of forcing them to trade sexual favors for privileges. In January 2010, Governor Steve Beshear ordered the women removed, and the state transferred 400 female inmates to Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Fredonia. Hawaii removed 168 female inmates in 2009, sending them to a prison in Arizona.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Re-Captured Inmate To Appear In Court

Stevie Wynn of Thornton, an inmate accused of assaulting a Perry County deputy jailer and stealing his van, will be in court Thursday after being re-arrested in February. Police say Wynn escaped from custody in August 2011 while being transported back to the Letcher County jail in Whitesburg following a court date in Hazard. The van was in the Red Fox community near the Knott and Letcher line when Wynn overpowered a jail officer and escaped with the transport van. He is now charged with assault, wanton endangerment, escape and theft by unlawful taking.

Trial Set In London Attorney's Murder

{London, Kentucky}...Lisa Gilliam's trial date is set for July 23rd in Laurel County. Gilliam is charged in the shooting death of her husband, London attorney Larry Gilliam, who died on January 7, 2011 from a single gunshot wound to his chest. Lisa and Larry Gilliam were the only people in his London law office where Lisa claims her husband shot himself in the chest. Larry Gilliam was pronounced dead an hour after the shooting at Saint Joseph-London Hospital.

Mine Fines Unpaid

  • {Harlan, Kentucky}...According to state records, Ralph Napier, a former operator of Kentucky Darby Mine No.1 in Harlan County, serves as vice president of K & D Mining Inc. and Neco Energy Inc., which run at least two active mines in Harlan. Data from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration shows that the two companies owe at least $637,000 in past-due penalties for about 400 safety violations. Federal records show MSHA has referred Kentucky Darby's delinquent fines to the Treasury Department for collection and has obtained a 20-year lien on the property where five miners were killed in an explosion in 2006. Attorney Tony Oppegard, who represents the spouses of four victims at the Kentucky Darby mine, says the ability of someone connected to Kentucky Darby to stay in the business but not pay large fines related to safety violations shows the weakness of federal laws. Mine Safety and Health Administration chief Joseph Main says his agency plans to look at the connection between the companies.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Letcher County Jail Inmate Dies

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are investigating the death of Letcher County Jail inmate 55 year old Terry Cantrell of Jenkins who died Saturday after being taken to the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Hospital in Whitesburg because he was in and out of consciousness and vomiting. A preliminary investigation shows Cantrell was treated and released from the hospital after complaining of dizziness and stomach pain. An autopsy will be performed in Frankfort.

Shooting In Wayland

(Wayland,Ky.)-On Saturday April 21, 2012 Post 9 Pikeville received a
call of a rape that occured in the Wayland community of Floyd County.
KSP units responded to McDowell ARH and contacted the victim. After
contacting the victim KSP units traveled to the scene where they located
38 year old David Jason Slone of Wayland, Ky. who was injured from a
single gunshot wound. Slone was transported to McDowell ARH for his
injuries and charged with 1 count of Rape 1st degree. While at the scene
KSP units located and charged 40 year old Kathleen Keen of Wayland with
one count of Assault 1st Degree. Keen was transported and lodged in the
Floyd County Detention Center. This incident remains under investigation
by KSP Detective Tony Tackett.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pike County Man Arraigned

{Williamson, West Virginia}...Twenty-five year old Joshua Bly Miller of South Williamson was arraigned Thursday in Mingo County Circuit Court where he entered a not guilty plea to charges of reckless DUI causing death and two counts of DUI causing bodily injury. The indictment says that, on October 13, 2011, Miller was driving in Mingo County under the influence of alcohol and at a high speed when he crashed near the Boarderland, West Virginia exit, lost control and crashed his SUV which then rolled several times before landing on its top, causing the death of 22 year old Adam Ray York of Hardy and injuring 21 year old Zachary V. Smith of Belfry and Paul David Howard Jr. Miller is scheduled for trial on June 12th.

Petition Filed In Floyd Circuit Court

{David, Kentucky}...Attorney General Jack Conway's office filed a petition Thursday in Floyd Circuit Court seeking to force The David School to turn over documents related to Director Daniel Greene’s compensation. The filing alleges that, beginning no later than October 1, 2005 Greene used the school’s funds for his own profit, including paying himself twice for two pay periods without any authority from the Board of Directors. On February 29th, the Attorney General's office issued a Civil Investigatory Demand to the school seeking a number of documents related to money Greene has received from the school. On March 9th, the school sent copies of Greene’s W2s from 2006 to 2011, a copy of a deferred compensation check to Greene dated August 11, 2006, bank statements dated from 2009 to 2011 and a copy of the school’s 2009 tax forms along with a letter from Greene, explaining he would be going to the school the following weekend and would send the remaining materials. On March 22nd, Greene sent an email to the Attorney General's  office, saying, “We have been making copies and will get to your office as soon as possible.” The petition says that no further documents have been sent.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Prestonsburg Fire Chief Recovering

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Prestonsburg Fire Chief Bobby Carpenter is recovering after his home in the Lancer community of Floyd County caught fire Thursday night. Carpenter and his family escaped from the home which suffered severe damage. Carpenter was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released. Friday, Paintsville Fire Chief Bob Dixon and Prestonsburg Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Davis determined the fire started in the attic and was caused by electrical equipment that was incorrectly installed before Carpenter bought the home.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Whitesburg Mine Plans Closing

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Sapphire Coal Co. in Whitesburg plans to close its Advantage Mine and lay off 163 workers by June 16th. Jennifer Guthrie, human resources manager and corporate counsel for Sapphire's parent company, United Coal, declined to discuss the move in detail. Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said the industry is seeing layoffs because of a combination of factors including weaker demand. Bissett says  factors include a warm winter, less use of electricity, lower demand and the federal government's stronger regulation of coal-fired power plants are having a real effect, especially in eastern Kentucky.

Perry County Man Sentenced

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Paul Ison, the grandson of Perry County land developer Roy Campbell, has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. In May, a federal complaint was filed against Ison alleging that authorities found three guns at his home that he was not legally allowed to have due to prior felony charges. Roy Campbell and Campbell's wife Wanda were murdered in November. The case is still unsolved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Terrence Jones Coming To Hillbilly Days

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...University of Kentucky sophomore Terrence Jones will be making appearances at Hillbilly Days in Pikeville on Thursday and Saturday. Jones will sign autographs on Thursday from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and again from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. The NBA-bound Jones will make another appearance at Hillbilly Days on Saturday, with an autograph session starting at 11:00 A.M.

Johnson County Wrecker Service Owner Indicted

  • {Paintsville, Kentucky}...Marty Welch of Welch's Wrecker Service in Johnson County, his wife Madaline and son Ian were recently indicted on multiple theft related charges involving cars. Marty Welch has now been indicted on a charge of insurance fraud after a witness from Grange Insurance Company claimed Welch falsified an insurance claim for a wrecker that was allegedly in a collision.

Magistrate Dotson Recommends Pay Cut

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...At a meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court Tuesday, Magistrate Hilman Dotson made a recommendation that he and other county officials take a pay cut in an effort to offset a projected budget shortfall. While arguing that magistrates should reopen the county's idled swimming pools, he recommended a 10 percent pay reduction. Dotson's idea got little support among other members of the Fiscal Court, with Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford saying a pay cut wouldn't solve the county's financial problems.

Floyd County Murder Trial Continues

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...The Floyd County murder trial involving Berry Hall may come down to a question of sanity. In the courtroom on Wednesday, Berry Hall showed little, if any, emotion after being accused of fatally shooting his niece, Lisa Tackett, and her husband Alan. Prosecutors say, in March 2008, Hall used a rifle to shoot and kill the Tackett's from his upstairs window. Berry Hall's defense team has questioned whether their client was in his right mind during the shootings. In testimony, Hall told detectives he needs medications to control his temper. The trial takes a break until Monday, when the defense will put on its case.

Fourth U Bet Theft Suspect Arrested

{Jackson, Kentucky}...Jackson Police arrested Hiram Noble Tuesday night for his alleged involvement in a scheme to steal $17,000 from U-Bet. U-Bet employee Christina Clemons told police she was car-jacked on her way to take the money from U-Bet to the bank on April 4th, but she later confessed to being part of the scheme. Police say Clemons told them a woman jumped in front of her car, assaulted her and stole the car and the deposit. Authorities determined Jerry “Yad” Hurt, Sharon Hensley and Hiram Noble were also involved. Hurt and Hensley, both Perry County residents, turned themselves in at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard on April 12th.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teen Set For Trial In Letcher County

{Isom, Kentucky}...A jury trial is set in Letcher County for 19 year old Roger Alan Miles. Police say, in September, Miles went into Maggard's Grocery in Isom wearing a bandana over his face, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded cash. When the clerk refused, officers say Miles ran into the woods to escape, but was found a short time later. Miles is charged with first degree robbery.

Monday, April 16, 2012

PMC Joins With Jewish Hospital

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville Medical Center has entered into an affiliation agreement with Jewish Hospital in Louisville for transplant care. The Transplant Center, a joint program with the University of Louisville School of Medicine, is nationally recognized and was responsible for the first minimally invasive kidney donation in Kentucky. The Center is also a member of numerous national transplant networks. Pikeville Medical Center’s Dr. Donna Sanders, a nephrologist, or kidney doctor, says, when she came back home to practice at Pikeville Medical Center, she was surprised to find such a high number of patients with kidney disease. Sanders says PMC is fully prepared to provide all the pre-operative and post-operative care, but Jewish Hospital, with its prestigious reputation, will be available to do the actual transplantation. Pikeville Medical Center's first affiliation was with Cleveland Clinic’s Heart Surgery Program in 2011. Cleveland Clinic has been recognized as the top heart hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report for the last 17 years. More recently, Pikeville Medical Center has become affiliated with Buchanan General Hospital in Grundy, Virginia, and with Mountain Comprehensive Health Care in Whitesburg, Kentucky. These agreements are for PMC to provide cardiac care services to patients of those respective facilities. President and CEO Walter E. May says the affiliations are a result of Pikeville Medical Center’s growth and success.

Pike County Fiscal Court To Hear Proposal

  • {Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pike County officials have estimated the county's potential budget shortfall could be as much as $3 million. Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says a plan to lease the operation of Mountain Pub Links, Pike County’s publicly-funded golf course, to businessman Jim Patton’s Eagle Environmental Management Group may help keep the golf course open during the county’s financial hardships. The proposed lease agreement, at a cost of $1 per year, would alleviate the financial obligation of the county to the golf course and saddle it upon EEMG, which would assume the responsibilities of operation of the course including payroll, purchases, lease payment and others. The University of Pikeville, whose men’s and women’s golf teams play at the course, is also a partner in the proposed plan. Rutherford will present the lease proposal to the Pike County Fiscal Court for a vote and possible adoption at a meeting set to be held at 10:00 A.M. April 17th. A work session will be held at 9:00 A.M. prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

Double Murder Trial Begins In Floyd County

  • {Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...A Floyd County trial is underway for Berry Hall, a man charged with double murder in the March 2008 shooting deaths of his neice, 30 year old Lisa Tackett and her husband, 47 year old Alan Tackett. Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner says the relationship between the two families deteriorated, but defense attorney Steve Goble says Berry Hall's IQ is somewhere in the seventies which puts him at borderline intellectual functioning range, and it's not a question of who did it, but why, and if Hall was in his right mind when the shooting occurred. Defense attorneys say Hall was mentally ill at the time because he was in a deep depression after being out of work for a long period of time. Family members say it all began over a property dispute and ended with Berry Hall killing his niece and her husband. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty against Hall. The trial will continue Tuesday.

Pikeville Set To Ring Out With Hillbillies

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Once again, it's time for the trees and flowers to bloom and the birds to sing, but even more will begin as hillbillies empty the hollows to flood the streets of downtown Pikeville. Beginning Thursday, April 19th, and running through Saturday, April 21st, hillbillies from near and far will gather for the 36th annual Hillbilly Days Festival. Jessie Bowling, vice chairman of the Hillbilly Days Committee, says the event is expected to draw 150,000 people, as maw and pa hitch up the old wagon, load up the young ones, and maybe a hound dog or two, and hit the streets for a frolicking good time. Pikeville will ring out as a welcoming ceremony will be held from 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. in the city park, with music beginning there at noon, and the annual Hillbilly Square Dance beginning at 8:30 P.M. and lasting until 1100 P.M. Thursday. Music will also be provided at the Courthouse Square, from the Pepsi stage on Hambley Boulevard near the police statiion and from the Billy Johnson law firm stage on the plaza fronting the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center. Carnival lovers will find the carnival set up at the riverfill, while arts, crafts and food will be found at vendor sites at the city park, along Main Street and Hambley Boulevard and on the first floor of the municipal parking building at the corner of Hambley Boulevard and Huffman Avenue. A trolly service will be provided on a new route that circles the downtown area by way of Bypass Road, and a shuttle van service will be provided from all the motels to downtown. Parking around the city, but outside the festival area, will be on a first come, first serve basis. So hitch up the old wagon, load up the family and grab that white lightning, because downtown Pikeville is the place to be Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pike County Man Indicted

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...A Pike County Grand Jury has indicted 19 year old Derek Nunemaker of Marrowbone on two counts of second-degree rape. Nunemaker allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a person less than 14 years of age on March 3rd and again on March 4th. Second-degree rape is a class C felony punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Floyd County Bank Robbed

{Martin, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police say two men robbed the First Commonwealth Bank branch in Martin, in Floyd County, around 9:00 A.M. Friday morning. Nattie Triplett, of Garrett, had just finished conducting her business at the bank and was leaving, when she saw the two men across the street, "acting fidgety." She said she saw them suddenly run into the bank and noticed a flurry of activity inside, at which time she suspected a robbery was taking place, so she called 911.

U-Bet Suspects Surrender

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Hazard Police say Jerry "Yad" Hurt and Sharon Hensley surrendered Friday after being accused of their involvement in a stagged carjacking in which $17,000 was stolen from an employee of U-Bet. U-Bet employee Christianna Clemons, who was involved in the scheme, is currently at Hazard ARH and will be arrested once she is released. Police are still searching for Hiram Noble.

Otter Creek Correctional Center Closing

{Wheelwright, Kentucky}...Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright will be shutting its doors at the end of June, leaving more than 170 people jobless. Officials say with capacity being added at other facilities in Kentucky, the state did not feel the need to continue using Otter Creek and did not renew its contract with the Corrections Corporation of America. Otter Creek houses more than 650 inmates. CCA officials say they are trying to market the facility to other potential government users.

Knox County Teen Killed

{Barbourville, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police say 14 year old Shane Curtis Smith of Gray died Thursday night when he was hit while trying to run across U.S. 25-E about two miles north of Barbourville. Troopers say the youth was struck by one car, thrown into the emergency lane by the impact and then hit again by a second driver who swerved to avoid the first collision. The Knox County coroner pronounced Smith dead at the scene.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

UBet Employee Admits Role In Staged Carjacking

  • {Hazard, Kentucky}...Police in Hazard are searching for three people involved in a robbery which also included UBet employee, Christianna Clemons. Clemons, who told police she was robbed and assaulted when driving to make a 17 thousand dollar deposit after work, was part of the plan. Police say Clemons admitted to playing the victim in a staged carjacking. Clemons will be arrested once she is released from the Hazard ARH. Police are still searching for Hiram Noble of Clayhole, Jerry "Yad" Hurt of Lower Second Creek and Sharon Hensley of Hazard. Police say that they believe the three others involved are driving a red Dodge Dakota and could be in the Upper Second Creek area of Perry County.

Forest Fire Suspected Arson

  • {Hindman, Kentucky}...Forestry officials say they believe an arsonist is to blame for a wildfire in eastern Kentucky. A forest fire that began Monday in Knott County has scorched hundreds of acres, charring timber and killing wildlife. Officials say they think someone set the blaze after a red flag warning was issued. Forest Ranger Robbie Morgan said the warning was issued to make the public aware of the fire danger, "but some people may take that information a little too far."

Two Indicted For Hate-Crime

{London, Kentucky}...A federal grand jury in London indicted David Jason Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland, and his cousin Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, of Partridge, on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping and committing an act of violence based on the victim's sexual orientation. The victim, Kevin Pennington, of Letcher County, told authorities the two men took him to a secluded spot in Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland in April 2011 and beat him. Anthony Jenkins' wife, Alexis, and sister, Mable, allegedly cheered on the attack. The grand jury indicted the two men on a charge of violating a hate-crime law that was expanded in 2009 to cover assaults motivated by bias against gays, lesbians and transgender people. Prosecutors say it's the first time in the nation the federal law has been used in a case alleging bias against a gay victim.

Coal Severance Funds At Work In Pike County

(Frankfort)  More than $15.2 million in coal severance money
will flow into Pike County under the state budget plan approved Friday by
the Kentucky General Assembly, said Senator Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville,
Rep. Hubie Collins, D-Wittensville, Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, and
Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps.  “These projects target improvements that will impact our
district by helping as many people as possible,” said Senator Jones. “These
projects represent funding from single county coal severance.”

The spending earmarks $7,567,692 for water and sewer projects.

“Providing clean and safe drinking water to Eastern Kentucky has alwaysbeen one of my top priorities,” Senator Jones said.  “People in other partsof the state take clean drinking water for granted and I will work for improvements to the water and sewer infrastructure in Pike County until the residents can take it for granted as well.”

Funds allocated for public safety through the Pike County Fiscal Court
included $1.35 million for fire departments, $350,000 for emergency
management, $70,000 for Shelby Creek Valley Rescue Squad, $200,000 for the
sheriff’s department, $150,000 for the detention center surveillance
system, and $50,000 to the Pike County Health Department for a Remote Area
Medical Program (RAM). The City of Pikeville received $400,000 for the fire
department for a new station.

Rep. Hall said.  “We have consistently supported our fire departments, our
senior citizen centers, and programs for our children, all of which
continue to enhance our quality of life in Pike County.  We feel this is a
great investment of funds for all the citizens of Pike County.”

The budget also includes additional infrastructure improvements totaling
$1.4 million. These include $400,000 for Coal Run Village for
infrastructure, $500,000 to the City of Elkhorn for infrastructure and
$500,000 for Pikeville for projects, infrastructure and equipment. Other
funds to the City of Pikeville includes $200,000 for upgrades and
improvements at the Airport Board Terminal; $100,000 toward a matching
grant; $100,000 for a bridge replacement on Walters Road, and $30,000 for
Judi’s Place (payoff facility). Allocations for the Pike County Board of
Education totaled $400,000 for the McCoy Center (structural repairs and
equipment), New Phelps Elementary (equipment) and the Kimper facility
(project completion).  An additional $100,000 went to the Pike County
Fiscal Court for completion of the Kimper Intergenerational Center.  The
Breaks Interstate Park will also receive $500,000 for the creation of a new
water park which will enhance the park’s successful efforts to attract more
visitors and economic opportunity to Pike County.

Pike also is receiving $300,000 for the East Kentucky Expo Center. “This
facility is important to the young people and to the entire community,”
said Rep. Collins. “It does a tremendous job promoting economic development
and tourism in our area.”

Funds allocated to Pike County for recreation, community centers, senior
and for the family resource centers included: $500,000 for the Breaks
Interstate Park, $50,000 each for the Blackberry, Long Fork and Mouthcard
community centers, and $10,000 for Joe’s Creek Community Center; $250,000
for  the Pike County Senior Citizens Center, and $50,000 each the Shelby
Valley, Elkhorn, Marrowbone and Phelps centers.

Mountain Pub Links received $250,000; Stone Heritage, $50,000; Unite Pike,
$100,000; Kentucky HOPE, $175,000; Pike County HOPE, $100,000, and PRIDE,
$15,000. ****

The fiscal court also received $200,000 for the family resource centers.****

The Pike County Fiscal Court received $100,000 for vehicle acquisition and
$70,000 for colon cancer screening program

Additional funds awarded to the City of Elkhorn totaled $300,000 for the
city’s infrastructure, ACT Inc., the City Housing Authority (facility
repair and rehab), and the Heritage Council for Whitewater Park (design and

“Coal severance tax revenue raises the standard of living and quality of
life in Kentucky’s coal producing counties,” said Rep. Combs.  “It was a
pleasure working with my legislative colleagues and while money is tight
and many requests were made for funding, I believe we crafted a very good
coal severance allocation plan.”  Sen. Jones, Rep. Hall and Rep. Collins
agreed with Rep. Combs.

                The coal severance tax is 5 percent levied on every ton of
coal mined in Kentucky.  Senate and House legislators work hand-in-hand
with local county officials to target projects for the coal severance

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Woman Found In Burned Floyd County Trailer

  • {Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...A woman was found dead after her trailer caught fire about 11:20 P.M. Tuesday night at the Hyden Trailer Court along Kentucky 321 between Auxier and Prestonsburg in Floyd County. The trailer was the home of 62 year old Inis Crace and 73 year old Jackie Eugene Hall. KSP have not been able to locate Hall. Neighbors reported hearing two loud bangs Tuesday evening before the fire began. Prestonsburg Fire Chief Bobby Carpenter says the fire appeared to have started at the front of the trailer, near the door, and the body was found near the bathroom. Investigators say the living room area had heavy fire damage. Two vehicles parked next to trailer also caught fire. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries as they were putting water on the cars, and a steam flash from the hot tires burned them. Both were treated and released from Highlands Regional Medical Center.

Knott County Double Kwik Robbed

{Hindman, Kentucky}...State police were notified at 1:10 A.M. Wednesday morning that someone had robbed the Double Kwik convenience store on Ky. 80 at Hindman. The robber brandished a pistol and stole money and cigarettes before leaving in a car. Police later stopped the car and arrested 18 year old Jesse James Combs of Fisty, charging him with facilitation to commit first degree robbery and receiving stolen property. The person suspected of robbing the store is thought to have fled the car just before the traffic stop.

Former Miners File Lawsuit

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...St. Louis attorney Zane T. Cagle recently filed two multimillion-dollar compaints in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, on behalf of Ricky Sturgill and his wife, Ruby, and Chuck Bentley and his wife, Connie. Ricky Sturgill and Chuck Bentley, two former coal miners who say they contracted black lung after being given faulty respirators, are suing Mine Safety Appliances and American Optical Corporation, while the Sturgills are also suing 3M Company. Sturgill, who worked as a miner for Cumberland Coal Company from 1977 to 2002, and during his employment used respirators manufactured by 3M, Mine Safety Appliances and American Optical Corporation, has since developed black lung and alleges the companies knew or should have known their products did not offer adequate protection from coal dust. Bentley, who was employed as a miner from 1975 to 2008 and during that time used respirators manufactured by American Optical and Mine Safety Appliances, also contracted black lung. Each man is seeking compensatory damages of more than $75,000 and punitive damages of more than $20 million from each company.

Prestonsburg Considers Annexation

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...The city of Prestonsburg appears to be on the verge of expanding, as city leaders discussed a plan to annex new areas. During Monday night’s city council meeting, Mayor Jerry Fannin asked the council for permission to approach local engineering firms to get quotes on work needed to finalize the annexation. He said the city has already finished with preliminary work on the proposal, but it is required to have an engineer finish the last portion of the work. Fannin said the areas under consideration for annexation include property along Route 321 north of town, near the entrance to Stonecrest, as well as a couple of spots in Lancer. Council members asked Fannin to obtain quotes on the work and bring them back to a future meeting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Former Alumni Association President Dies

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Gary Thrash, who was involved with the University of Pikeville for six decades, died at Pikeville Medical Center at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. Thrash graduated from Pikeville College in 1971 and served the school in many capacities, including as former president of the alumni association. He also initiated and helped fund the Athletics Hall of Fame. Thrash was a physical therapist who lived in Prestonsburg.

Hardin County Woman To Be Arraigned

{Elizabethtown, Kentucky}...Arraignment has been set for April 24th for 28 year old Ashley N. Chapman, a Hardin County woman indicted last month after being accused of fatally injuring a 2 year old girl she was baby-sitting. Chapman faces a murder charge in the death of Layla M. Johnson at Chapman's home in Vine Grove. Chapman has been in custody since her January 26th arrest when she originally was charged with first-degree criminal abuse. The murder charge came four days later when the child died from her injuries at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville. Chapman has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. The arrest warrant indicates the toddler suffered loss of consciousness, extensive bruising, bleeding in the brain and a bite mark.

Knott County Rejects Sale Of Alcohol

{Hindman, Kentucky}...Tuesday, voters in Knott County rejected the sale of alcohol by a vote of 2,379 to 1,590. If passed, the measure would have allowed the sale of alcohol by the drink and packaged alcohol sales. Those in favor of sales said this was the only way to bring their community financially forward.

Floyd County Business In New Building

{Ivel, Kentucky}...A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday at Freedom Ford Freedom Honda in the Ivel community of Floyd County. Thirty-six people have already been employed, and the company is looking to hire more technicians and sales associates. The building has been under construction for the last eight months.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Man Charged In Post Office Robbery

  • {Pineville, Kentucky}...About a month ago, Jimmy Acelinger allegedly jumped over the counter at the Harlan Post Office and took 850 dollars in cash and fled the scene. Saturday, Acelinger was taken into custody by state police during a traffic stop in Bell County. He was then taken to Pineville Community Hospital because he allegedly took an unknown amount of pills. He has since been taken to the Harlan County Detention Center where he is being held on a 10,000 dollar cash bond.

Wet-Dry Vote In Knott County

{Hindman,  Kentucky}...A wet-dry vote is set for Tuesday in Knott County. If passed, the measure would allow the sale of alcohol by the drink and packaged alcohol sales. Some say the sale of alcohol would simply fuel the fire of addiction that has plagued eastern Kentuckians for years, but others say alcohol sales are far from being the worst of Knott County's problems.

Hazard Police Searching For Carjackers

  • {Hazard, Kentucky}...Police in Hazard say Christianna Clemons was taking money to a bank from UBet, where she's employed, on April 4th when a woman jumped out in front of her car and told her to stop near Reno's Roadhouse. Police say the suspect assaulted Clemons and forced her from her car, then she and two men stole Clemons' car and more than $17,000. The woman is described as having a stocky build with shoulder length dark hair, and one of the men is said to be around five feet six inches tall, possibly Hispanic, with dark wavy hair. Witnesses say they saw the carjackers standing on the hill, but none of them were stopped.

Johnson County Deputies/Paintsville Police Team Up

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Paintsville Police Officer Jerry Wiley says at least 60% of the people he deals with have a drug problem. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office and Paintsville Police Department have teamed up to fight the problem. They say the partnership has really helped lower the number of complaints they are receiving. They have started a program in schools to help educate students about drugs.

Breathitt County Woman To Be Sentenced

{London, Kentucky}...Forty-seven year old Judy McIntosh of Breathitt County faces at least 20 years in prison after pleading guilty March 28th to distributing Oxycodone that resulted in a death. According to the plea agreement, a woman received Oxycodone pills from McIntosh. She consumed the pills and later died at McIntosh's home. McIntosh also pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute Oxycodone in Lee and Breathitt counties between August 2010 and June 2011. McIntosh will be sentenced July 25th in U.S. District Court in London. U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey says prosecutors will use every tool at their disposal to punish those who illegally distribute prescription drugs. Prosecutors say the guilty plea marks the first prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office charging someone in the eastern half of Kentucky with causing a death by distributing prescription drugs.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Letcher County To Hold Wet/Dry Election

{Whitesburg,  Kentucky}...Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward has signed an executive order setting a date for a local option election to be held in Whitesburg this summer. On June 26th, voters in Whitesburg will vote on whether alcohol sales should be expanded inside city limits. Whitesburg resident Mark Kidd, who organized the petition drive, delivered the petition containing 147 signatures on March 12th. Only about 70 signatures, representing 25 percent of those who voted in Whitesburg on November 8th, were needed for the petition. If voters approve the new referendum it would be up to the Whitesburg City Council and Mayor James W. Craft to determine the regulations governing the sale of alcohol in the city.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Johnson County Family Pleads Not Guilty

  • {Paintsville, Kentucky}...At a Johnson County Circuit Court arraignment Friday, Marty Welch, his wife Madeline Welch and, earlier in the morning, their 21 year old son Ian Welch, all pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges including theft, trafficking stolen vehicles, fraud and forgery. Investigators say the family, who ran a wrecker service out of their home in Hager Hill, were found with stolen cars and parts when police went there in January. Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the Internet and didn't know they might be stolen, but police say the Welches altered the vehicle identification numbers. In the January raid on the Welch home, police seized some suspected stolen cars, documents and computers.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Man Postpones Mount Everest Climb

{Jackson, Kentucky}...Breathitt County businessman Martin Douthitt, who will turn 67 in August, is dropping plans to climb Mount Everest this year. He will have knee-replacement surgery instead. Douthitt says he hopes to tackle the world's tallest peak next year if the surgery is a success. Douthitt, who  took up mountaineering in the late 1990s, says he knows that getting back into top physical condition will be tough and that he could be running out of chances to reach the summit of Everest. This is the third straight year he's had to cancel the climb because of knee-related problems. He has climbed six of the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of Earth's seven continents, leaving only Everest to conquer. But he has had repeated setbacks since his last major climb, which took him to the summit of Alaska's Mount McKinley, or Denali, in 2009. Last year, he didn't feel fit enough to try for the summit, but he did climb to Everest's base camp at 17,000 feet. Surgery is planned for mid-May at the University of Kentucky.

Rebuilding Of West Liberty

{West Liberty, Kentucky}...The Appalachian Regional Commission will appropriate $100,000 to hire an architect to do design work for the rebuilding of West Liberty after it was heavily damaged by a tornado last month. Governor Steve Beshear says the funding will help ensure that West Liberty has a strategic reconstruction plan that would ensure additional state and federal funding is used in the most effective ways. The goal is to preserve the town's architecture while also encouraging innovative and energy-efficient designs for new structures.

Driver Hospitalized After Accident In Morehead

{Morehead, Kentucky}...Around 7:00 P.M. Wednesday, Kentucky State Police in Morehead were notified about an injury accident on McBrayer Road. Police say Arnold W. Mabry was extremely intoxicated while operating a pickup truck eastbound when he lost control of the vehicle, exiting the right side of the roadway, striking a tree, before coming to a final rest. Mabry was extricated from the vehicle by the Farmers Volunteer Fire Department and transported to St. Claire Regional Hospital.

FEMA Deadline Approaching In Kentucky

The deadline for applying for federal assistance to help with recovery from the Feb. 29-March 3 storms is approaching in Kentucky. The deadline to apply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency is May 7th. FEMA can offer help to homeowners and renters including grants for temporary housing, home repairs and other related expenses not covered by insurance. Businesses, homeowners, renters and nonprofit organizations that need help also have until May 7th to apply for low-interest disaster loans through the federal Small Business Administration. Those who need assistance can register online at or on a tablet or smartphone at Help also is available by calling 800-462-7585. More information is available at


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Floyd County Murder Trial Begins

  • {Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Jury selection got under way Monday in Floyd County Circuit Court in the trial for 49 year old Berry Hall who is charged with the March 2008 murders of 30 year old Lisa Tackett and her husband, 47 year old Alan Tackett. Testimony is expected to begin next week. The shootings happened outside the Tackett’s home on Sunflower Lane in Prestonsburg. Police say Hall was Lisa's uncle, and there had been an ongoing dispute between Hall and the couple. Hall lived next door to the couple. Floyd County Sheriff John K. Blackburn said Hall had gone upstairs in his home, took a .30-06, and from his window, first shot Lisa Tackett while she was in her yard, then proceeded to shoot Alan Tackett as he stood on his front porch. Hall faces two counts of murder and four counts of wanton endangerment.

Floyd County Men Charged With Burglary

  • {Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Three Floyd County men have been arrested and charged with various acts of burglary. According to court records, Chad W. Manuel, 26, of Eastern, Bill D. Barnett, 34, of Martin, and James B. Bailey Jr., 41, of Dana, were arrested on March 24th. Police say Manuel admitted to going through a window and stealing guns, a guitar and computer from a home then taking the items to Lexington and selling them at Dan's Discount and Pawn. Barnett was arrested after a witness reported seeing him exit a residence through a front window with “what appeared to be money.” When KSP units attempted to serve a warrant on Barnett, he reportedly fled the scene on foot and was apprehended a short time later. James B. Bailey Jr. was arrested after a witness alleged Bailey caused over $1,000 in damages to his garage door while trying to gain entry to his home.

Perry County Man Indicted

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Police say they found meth, evidence of making meth, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia last year at the home of 53 year old Darrell Walker of Leatherwood in Perry County. Walker was alleged to have been making meth in a home near the Blue Goose Liquor Store in Cornettsville. Walker was indicted Friday on several drug charges, and his bail is set at $50,000.

PSC Holding Public Meetings

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...During a public meeting at the Pikeville High School auditorium Wednesday evening, Kentucky Power Company customers were given a chance to tell the state Public Service Commission what they think about a proposed rate hike. Kentucky Power, a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, is requesting permission from the PSC to place an environmental surcharge on customers to pay for construction of a $940 million “scrubber” system to control air emissions from an 800-megawatt generating unit at the company’s Big Sandy power plant located near Louisa. A meeting will be held at the Letcher County Central High School auditorium in Whitesburg Thursday, April 5th, at 12:30 P.M. Public comments will be heard beginning at 1:30 P.M. A public meeting is set for 5:30 P.M. at the Perry County Central High School auditorium on Thursday.

State Of Emergency In Letcher County

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Over 3 inches of rain fell in about an hour across Letcher County just after 3:00 P.M. Tuesday afternoon causing flash flooding that washed out many roads and left lots of debris to clean up. The hardest hit areas were Little Colley, especially near Low Gap Branch, Colson, Smoot Creek and Sandlick. Other areas affected included Dry Fork, Camp Branch, Beaver Dam, Crafts Colley, Gordon and Turkey Creek. Judge Executive Jim Ward declared a local state of emergency due to numerous road closures from flooding, mudslides, bridge and culvert damage resulting from the heavy rains.

Man Indicted On Attempted Murder

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Bill Collins of the Litt Carr community in Knott County has been indicted in Perry County on an attempted murder charge after police say he tried to shoot his ex-girlfriend in the Hazard Village Shopping Center parking lot on February 9th. Police say six shots were fired from a revolver. He also faces charges from Knott County including illegal use of a motor vehicle and theft by unlawful taking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Paul Tours Tornado-Damaged Eastern Kentucky

  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he's amazed by the pace of the cleanup a month after a deadly tornado ravaged parts of eastern Kentucky, killing at least 28 people in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Paul made a series of stops in the region Tuesday, beginning with a visit to East Bernstadt, before traveling to Salyersville and West Liberty. Senator  Paul said, "We can't stop the force of Mother Nature, but it's amazing to see people pull together and repair their communities." People reached out from across the state, nation and world in the aftermath of the tornadoes. Even representatives of the Taiwan government came to Kentucky to deliver a $30,000 check to help with relief efforts. U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, who represents the hardest hit areas, said the tornadoes that hit on March 2nd were "absolutely devastating," worse than any he had seen before. Rogers, like Paul and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, have closely monitored the recovery. McConnell is scheduled to tour the region on Saturday.

PMC Plans Property Acquisition/Expansion

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville Medical Center, the nation’s only repeat winner of National Hospital of the Year,  has announced plans to purchase property on the South Mayo Trail in Pikeville which includes the Landmark Inn and the building known as the Mark II. Although PMC is undergoing a 130 million dollar expansion, adding an 11-story medical office building and a 9-story parking garage, President and CEO Walter E. May says the acquisition was necessary as the hospital is out-pacing expectations for growth and patient increases. “Even with the new Medical Office Building and parking garage set to open next year, our hospital is growing so fast it can be difficult to keep up,” said May. “We’re adding physicians and specialties very quickly, and it is in the best interest of our patients to ensure we have adequate space available when we need it.” The Landmark Inn will continue to operate as a hotel and restaurant under the leadership of owners Webby and Debbie Huffman, who say they have always believed in the vision for Pikeville Medical Center to grow and they are supportive of PMC and realize how valuable the property will be to the hospital. Pikeville Medical Center, affiliated with Cleveland Clinic Heart Surgery, offers more than 300 services ranging from cardiac and cancer care to orthopedic and neurosurgery programs. PMC has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky for five years. Modern Healthcare ranked PMC the #1 Best Place to Work in Kentucky and 5th in the nation. Pikeville Medical Center’s mission is to provide quality regional health care in a Christian environment.

Water Treatment and Sanitary Sewer Projects

U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers will join PRIDE, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local officials this week to announce progress for water treatment and sanitary sewer projects in Pike, Magoffin and McCreary Counties. On Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Project Partnership Agreement Signings for
wastewater treatment expansions will take place in Pikeville and Salyersville.

11:00 A.M. City of Pikeville Project Partnership Agreement Signing at the Pikeville City Hall, 2nd Floor, Commissioner Room. Mayor Frank Justice II, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Peterson and PRIDE
officials will participate in the signing to kick-off the $16 million project designed to increase the city's total wastewater capacity to four million gallons per day.

2:00 P.M. City of Salyersville Project Partnership Agreement Signing at the Salyersville Community Center. Mayor James Sheppard, Colonel Peterson and PRIDE officials will participate in the signing to kickoff a major upgrade to the water treatment facility in Salyersville to remedy a number of recorded deficiencies by the Kentucky Division of Water.

On Thursday, April 5, 2012 a ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the completion of the $1.2 million Williamsburg Street Sanitary Sewer Project in McCreary County.

11:00 A.M. A Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will take place at the McCreary County Park in Whitley City. McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens, Colonel Peterson, Congressman Rogers and PRIDE officials will participate. Approximately 145 households now have a reliable source of sanitary sewer. It eliminated 50 failing septic systems and 30 straight pipes.

Judge Rutherford Responds to Severance Tax Allocation

I was blessed to be the first person to appear before a joint committee of the Kentucky General Assembly to propose a severance tax on coal for economic development in the coal producing counties.  As I have always said, “I have never seen a project funded by severance tax legislation for Pike County that wasn’t needed and in 99% of the time fully justified.”  The miners and coal operators mine the coal and it should be spent in a manner that honors them and leads to a better quality of life for their families.  I have reviewed the changes made to the severance tax allocation in light of the Senate action on House Bill 265.  These changes were made with due consideration and understanding by Senator Jones and, as he has stated, with the understanding and in full cooperation with Representative Hall and Representative Combs. 

The issue of severance tax allocation is now behind us for two more years.  I and others will continue to diligently work to get 100% of our coal severance tax returned to the county of production and not the 12% received under current law.

The work of our Pike County Legislators is of utmost importance to our future and quality of life in Pike County.  Therefore, each of them can expect the full cooperation and support of my administration.  And yes, we will all work together for a better Pike County.  Our Legislators had tough decisions to make with regard to severance tax allocation in light of the demand for such allocations by many worthy projects and in light of the declining severance tax revenue.  In doing so I am confident that each of our Legislators made these tough decisions based upon what they felt was best for Pike County and its people.

Big Blue Goes All The Way

  • {New Orleans, Louisiana}...If you bleed blue, you have something to shout about. The University of Kentucky Wildcats won their 8th National College Basketball Championship Monday night and coach John Calipari’s first with a 67-59 win over Kansas in the Superdome in New Orleans. UK officials said Monday the men's basketball team will be arriving back at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington at 3:00 P.M. Tuesday on a charter flight from New Orleans. University of Kentucky Wildcat Terrence Jones says he could have left for the NBA last year but was more interested in winning a NCAA title. He and the rest of the Wildcats got their chance Monday when they faced the Kansas Jayhawks for the national championship. "This is not about me," Calipari told a national television audience upon accepting the championship trophy with his team in the Superdome. "This is about these 13 players. This is about the Big Blue Nation. I don't know of any team that has sacrificed for each other like this team, and they deserve this moment. They really do." Anthony Davis, who became only the fourth freshman voted the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, proved scoring was incidental to championship play. He didn’t make a basket until only 5:12 remained.  Davis has won the Naismith Trophy for men's college player of the year. Davis is the first player from Kentucky to win the award and the second freshman, joining Texas' Kevin Durant in 2007. Monday night's game was the second time this season Kentucky and Kansas met. In November they were part of a doubleheader in Madison Square Garden. The governors of Kentucky and Kansas were so confident of victories in Monday night's NCAA tournament final enough that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear bet a Kentucky country ham that the University of Kentucky Wildcats would win, while Kansas Governor Sam Brownback put up his state's famed beef for a Jayhawk victory. The winnings will be donated to a food bank.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ARC Grants Awarded

During a ceremony held Friday, Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development, awarded a total of $87,150 in federal grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission to ten southern and eastern Kentucky communities and organizations to advance strategic planning efforts in the region. U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers was a special guest at the event.

Grant funding amounts—and planned projects in each community—are as follows:

• Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky (Knott County)—$9,350 to document and establish a historic district in Hindman.
• Big Sandy Area Development District (Floyd County)—$8,000 to hire a consultant to design and plan consistent signage for the “water trail,” which runs from the Pike/Floyd County line to the Johnson/Lawrence County line.
• City of Wayland (Floyd County)—$5,000 to develop a city website that will serve a dual role as a resource for residents and a means to promote the City of Wayland’s community assets.
• Letcher County Tourism and Convention Commission—$10,000 to develop an architectural rendering of a cultural center with rotating exhibit space.
• Magoffin County Community Foundation—$10,000 to hire a consultant to pursue short- and long-term outcomes related to Appalachian Rural Development Philanthropy Initiative (ARDPI) goals and raise money and community enthusiasm for the Magoffin County Community Foundation.
• Owsley County Historical Society—$10,000 to hire a consultant to help members of the Owsley County Historical Society implement goals outlined in strategic and interpretive plans, and train members on how to present the information to citizens.
• Russell County Chamber of Commerce—$10,000 to create a website to meet the needs of the Russell County Chamber of Commerce and Russell County Tourist Commission.
• Menifee County Community Development Group—$4,800 to develop a strategic plan for Menifee County.
• Brodhead Alliance Committee (Rockcastle County)—$10,000 to hire a consultant to facilitate the development of a strategic plan for the City of Brodhead.
• City of Jenkins (Letcher County)—$10,000 to develop a strategic plan for the City of Jenkins that will address the economic and social fabric of Jenkins.

Mega Millions Winners Announced

The Mega Millions winners - at least three of them - stayed out of sight, while the losers, who could number 100 million, had plenty to say Saturday about losing out on the world's largest-ever lottery jackpot and their dashed dreams of colossal wealth. Lottery officials in Illinois, Maryland and Kansas proudly proclaimed they sold winning tickets in the $640 million world record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot. The winners will earn $213 million before taxes.

The Kentucky Lottery has announced that, although no one took the record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot, there were four lucky winners sold in the state, worth $250,000 each. They match five of the white ball numbers (2 – 4 – 23 – 38 – 46) and not the Mega Ball number (23).

 Kentucky winning tickets were sold:

Crossroad No. 773 on Scottsville road in Bowling Green
Fast Max Convenience Store on Alexandria Pike in Cold Springs
The Grocery Bag on Taylor Mill Road in Taylor Mill
Virgie Double Quick on Highway 610W in Virgie

All told, Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes.