Saturday, June 30, 2012

Power Outages In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...About 10,000 people in eastern Kentucky were without power after a storm blew through the region Friday night. Pike County spokesman Brandon Roberts said on Saturday that the overnight storm had complicated efforts to offer cooling stations in the area where the forecast high for the day was 102 degrees. Cooling stations were planned at the Mouthcard and Phelps Community Centers, but Robert said those facilities were without power. Roberts said most of the Sidney Canada area was without power Saturday morning and once it was restored, the Pike County Government would take a large generator to Feds Creek to supply power to the center.

Fatal Storm Hits Eastern U.S.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission listed 63,481 power outages from Friday afternoon through midday Saturday. Millions across the mid-Atlantic region sweltered Saturday in the aftermath of violent storms that pummeled the eastern U.S. with high winds and downed trees, killing at least 13 people and leaving 3 million without power. At least six of the dead were killed in Virginia, including a 90 year old woman asleep in bed when a tree slammed into her home. Two young cousins in New Jersey were killed when a tree fell on their tent while camping. Two were killed in Maryland, one in Ohio, one in Kentucky and one in Washington. Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr. says 30 year old Michael Martin of Montgomery County died at about 7:00 P.M. Friday after a tree fell on him after he tried to clear a limb downed by heavy winds.

Emergencies were declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia.

In West Virginia, 232 Amtrak passengers spent Friday night near Prince on a train that was blocked on both sides by trees that fell on the tracks, and they were waiting for buses to pick them up Saturday.

Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says the storm that whipped through the region Friday night was called a derecho (duh-RAY'-choh), a straight line wind storm that sweeps over a large area at high speed. It can produce tornado-like damage. The storm, which can pack wind gusts of up to 90 mph, began in the Midwest, passed over the Appalachian Mountains and then drew new strength from a high pressure system as it hit the southeastern U.S.

State Parks' Fourth Of July Events

Fourth of July events are gearing up at several state parks in Kentucky. Among those parks are the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg, the Levi Jackson State Park in London and the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park in Buckhorn.

 These events include:

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg

Join the park on Friday, July 6th, for a picnic on the patio, 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. The menu includes pork, hamburger or two hot dogs, plus baked beans and coleslaw for $7 a person (does not include drink). Cash bar available. Music from Tim Michaels starts at 7:00 P.M. The dinner buffet in the dining room will also be served 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Call 1-800-325-0142.

Levi Jackson State Park, London

Guests are invited to take part July 7th in a charitable event co-sponsored by the park and C.A.R.S. (Children Are Really Special). The Drive & Dive In Cruise will be 5:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. The park invites all classics - street  rods, pro street, muscle cars, late model Camaros, Challengers, Corvettes, classic trucks, rat rods, modified and import vehicles!  Bikes are also welcome! Come and enjoy this free event! Returning for the annual Drive & Dive In Cruise will be the Medley Boys. Enjoy the evening with live music, food, inflatable bounces for the kids, Levi Jackson pool will be open free to the C.A.R.S. spectators. Call 606-330-2130.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn

The park will set up a tent and sell hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks and other items from 3:00 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. near the beach. Games will be available from 2:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. and Michael Dwayne will play music for the audience from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. near the beach house. A spectacular show of fireworks will take place over the lake at dark. The park will also offer a special buffet July 4th, from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Entrees will include barbecued ribs, fried chicken, fried catfish and pot roast. There will be a variety of vegetables, a salad bar and a dessert bar. Adults may eat for $12.99 (plus beverage, tax and gratuity). Children 5 and under eat free. Fireworks are sponsored by Hazard/Perry County Tourism and the city of Buckhorn. Call 1-800-325-0058.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Accident Kills Knott County Teenager

{Garner, Kentucky}...A Knott County teenager has been killed in a motorcycle wreck. State police say 18 year old Cody Bentley was operating his motorcycle on Highway 550 in the Garner community of Knott County Friday when he crossed the centerline and hit an SUV. Troopers are still investigating what caused the crash.

Pike County Offering Cool Down

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pike County officials are taking precautions to keep people safe as temperatures soar to more than 100 degrees. They are opening cooling centers throughout the county including one at the fire training station in downtown Pikeville. Public Safety Director Paul Maynard says the centers are open for residents, construction workers or anyone wanting to take a break from the heat. Cold drinks and snacks are available.

The Fire Training Station will be open from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. through Sunday.

Cooling stations throughout the county (open from 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.):

Pikeville Senior Citizens Center
Joes Creek Community Center
Shelby Valley Senior Citizens Center
Long Fork Park
Dorton Park
Elkhorn City Senior Citizens Center
Mouthcard Community Center
Marrowbone Senior Citizens Center
Greasy Creek Community Center
Phelps Senior Citizens Center
Kimper Community Center
Blackberry Senior Citizens Center
Bent Branch Community Center (Open Fork Park)
Belfry Senior Citizens Center

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Job Fair Draws Hundreds

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Hundreds of people turned out at Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Paintsville Thursday to meet with about 20 different employers. Officials say more than 75 people came to the job fair within the first hour of it being open and most of them were laid-off coal miners.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murder

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Thirty-nine year old Everett Paul Norman of Belcher pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday. Police say, on June 13, 2012, Norman shot and killed 30 year old Jesse Church of Harold at a home on Pond Creek Road in the Draffin community of Pike County. Norman's bond is set at $500,000 cash. A bond hearing is set for Monday.

Man Pleads Not Guilty In Lowe's Shooting

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Barry Cates pleaded not guilty Wednesday after police say he fired a gun inside the Lowe's home-improvement store in Pikeville. Police say Cates told them he was having problems with a co-worker and went to Lowe's with the intent to shoot the employee and to then either take his own life or have police shoot him. Cates will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on September 21st.

Pike County Escapee Gets Another Year

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Nacoma Harmon, a Pike County Detention Center inmate, got into a car while on work release last October, but he was found about a week later at his home in the Kimper community. His wife, Kaitlyn Charles Harmon, the alleged driver of the car he escaped in, was also charged in the case. Officers say recorded phone calls at the jail prove they planned the escape. Harmon has been sentenced to another year behind bars.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

D&C Mining Corp. Ordered To Pay Fines

{London, Kentucky}...Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ordered D&C Mining Corp. of Harlan to pay $1.67 million after the company failed to answer allegations that it owed fines on 1,244 citations. The Mine Safety and Health Administration sued D&C Mining in U.S. District Court in London, Kentucky in March, alleging that it accumulated the 1,200 citations between January 24, 2006, and February 8, 2012, and had only paid $1.1 million of the $2.7 million initially owed. The company did not file a legal response to the lawsuit within 20 days of being served as required by federal court rules.

Hatfield and McCoy Fued Could Bring Peace

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Last year, the City of Pikeville split from the county tourism organization, and formed its own tourism agency. Recent increased interest in the Hatfield and McCoy sites has created a boost in tourism in the area and could result in the two agencies working together to capitalize on the sites. Donovan Blackburn, Chairman of the City Tourism Commission, says the Pike County Tourism and Convention Bureau and the Pikeville City tourism are in a discussion about working together. Blackburn says the city hasn’t yet made a partnership but he hopes to meet with Judi Patton, Chairperson of Pike County, to see how they can work together to share resources. Reed Potter, a Pike County Tourism board member, says the city placed a new gazebo at the Dils Cemetery, where Randolph McCoy is bured, installed caution lights at the Dils Cemetery and painted crosswalk lines on the road there. Potter says the city has placed a new marker to identify the newly discovered graves of Basil Hatfield and his wife Martha. According to Potter, markers have also been placed on Hambley Boulevard to show directions to Perry Cline’s grave.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mine Fatality In Pike County

{Kimper, Kentucky}...The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing says a collapse at McCoy Elkhorn Coal Corp.'s No. 23 mine in Pike County around 11:40 A.M. Monday claimed the life of 33 year old Farley Sargent. Officials say Sargent was laying track underground when a portion of the wall fell into the corridor. The incident is known as a rib roll. The mine is owned by the James River Coal Company of Richmond, Virginia. This is the second mining-related death in Kentucky this year. The first occurred when a mine foreman was killed in Harlan County in March.

Pike County Commercial Airline Service Tabled

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...At the Pike County Fiscal Court meeting Monday, plans for commercial airline service in Pike County was tabled. The Pike County Airport Board wants to use multi-county coal severance funds to further the project, but some county government officials say more time is needed to decide if that is the best option. Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says the question is where the funding comes from. Another meeting will be held next week. The plan is expected to be presented to the Knott County Fiscal Court Tuesday.

Trial For Pike County Man Underway

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...The trial for Harold G. Belcher of Pike County started Monday. Belcher was arrested last year after police say he had a fake Sheriff's Deputy ID card and a fake badge. Police say Belcher used the fake I.D. at a store in Lexington in an attempt to buy police equipment. The store tipped off the sheriff's department, and deputies were waiting for Belcher when he got back to Pike County.

Fatal Shootout In Breathitt County

{Jackson, Kentucky}...Five people were injured and one killed during a shooting on Highway 30 West near Jackson in Breathitt County about 8:00 P.M. Sunday night. Kentucky State Police say someone called 911 saying someone was firing shots at their car as it passed by a house. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, police say 59 year old Danny Johnson opened fire from his house, shooting two people in a vehicle and wounding three law enforcement officers before being fatally shot. Breathitt County Sheriff Ray Clemons says it "was like Vietnam for a few minutes" as the gunman fired rapidly and repeatedly at authorities taking cover behind squad cars. Sheriff Clemons says Trooper Joey King was struck in the face with buckshot, while Deputy Marvin Reed was hit with buckshot in the shoulder, and Deputy Steve McIntosh was struck with buckshot in the arm and upper chest.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fiscal Court To Discuss Airport Measure

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Brandon Roberts, public information officer for Pike County, says Pike County Fiscal Court officials could vote Monday on a measure asking that $1 million in multicounty coal severance be directed to obtaining commercial air service at the Pikeville-Pike County Airport. Luke Schmidt, a consultant hired by the Pikeville-Pike County Airport Commission, City of Pikeville and Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, says the $1 million is just one part of the expected funding package, and it requires at least three of the affected counties to agree to the allocation. Schmidt says two airline carriers, which meet the project goals, are interested in serving Pikeville, but starting a new service or adding to an existing service is an expensive proposition. In order to fulfill that need, Schmidt says the airport has obtained a $750,000 federal grant, and expects to begin a “travel bank” when the project is further along. In the travel bank plan, local businesses and organizations will invest an amount of money into the bank, which will be returned to them when they buy tickets with the airline. If a company invests $5,000 in the travel bank, then the first $5,000 they spend on airline tickets with the carrier over two years will be refunded.

Body Found In Letcher County

{Eolia, Kentucky}...A murder investigation is underway in Letcher County. Two people have been charged with murder after authorities in Letcher County discovered a charred body inside a burned truck Saturday night. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb says an anonymous tip led police to Frank's Creek Road in Eolia off Kentucky 806 where the burned body and truck were found. Authorities believe the body is that of 34 year old Drad Fleming. Stephanie Jones, Fleming's wife, and James Maggard were taken to the Letcher County Jail on murder charges. Authorities are continuing to investigate. The body's remains have been sent to Frankfort for an autopsy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Letcher County Man Missing

{Kona, Kentucky}...Officials say 34 year old Drad Fleming of Kona, in Letcher County, was last seen at his Uncle Chan's visitation at the Neon Church of Christ Wednesday, but, when he didn't show up for the funeral, the family knew something was wrong. Officials with the Letcher County Sheriff's Department have organized searches both on the ground and in the air. Letcher County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Brian Damron says Fleming has been added to the national missing persons database, and the search has extended into surrounding counties and Virginia.

Pike County Murder Investigation Continues

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Thirty-nine year old Everett Paul Norman of Pond Creek Road in Belcher was indicted this past week on murder in the June 13th shooting death of  30 year old Jesse W. Church of Harold. Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley said Friday that Kentucky State Police are continuing the investigation into the shooting, which occurred after Norman and Church had been partying with friends the day before. Witnesses at the party told police they didn't recall any conflict between Norman and Church. Bartley said Church was at the party with his girlfriend, Kayla Wolford, before the two left the party and eventually parted ways. Church was shot at close range in the upper chest region with a shotgun. An autopsy indicates Church died from a gunshot wound.

Knott County Honors Fallen Deputy Sheriff

A highway in Knott County has been renamed in honor of 29 year old Bristol Taylor, a chief deputy sheriff who died in the line of duty. Taylor died nearly 40 years ago after being shot four times. A portion of Highway 1393 was renamed the Deputy Bristol Taylor Memorial Highway. The highway name change was initiated by State Representative John Short and was then approved by the Kentucky General Assembly.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Arch Coal Laying Off Miners

Citing weakness in the thermal coal market, on Thursday, Arch Coal announced it will lay off workers in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett says Arch Coal will lay off nearly 600 miners in eastern Kentucky. Another 150 miners at a mine in West Virginia will be laid off. Arch's actions will mean a total job loss of 750 full-time positions, with about 79 percent of the jobs in Kentucky, 19 percent in West Virginia, and the rest in Virginia. Arch's East Kentucky complex, in Pike and Martin counties, will be closed, as will the Knott County/Raven complex. Both employ hundreds. Smaller operations, such as a mine near Hazard in Perry County that employs 50, also will be closed. Arch will idle, at least temporarily, Hazard's Flint Ridge complex, which employs 150. The cutbacks will reduce Arch's thermal coal production by more than 3 million tons annually. This is the second major work force reduction for Arch in Kentucky this month. On June 8th, Arch announced it would eliminate 436 jobs in Kentucky but give 286 of those workers the opportunity to relocate to positions in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, for a net loss of 150 jobs. The mine locations affected by the announced closings are the East Kentucky, Eastern and Knott County complexes. Chief Executive John Eaves Eaves says current market pressures and a challenging regulatory environment have pushed coal consumption in the United States to a 20 year low.

Pedestrian Killed In Pike County

{Millard, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police say John Long of Millard was killed Wednesday afternoon when the driver of truck lost control and hit him along U.S 460 in the Millard area of Pike County. Long was transported to Pikeville Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pike County Working On Hatfield, McCoy Cemetery

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pike County officials have found a cemetery linked to the Hatfield and McCoy feud, and now they are working to clear a direct path to it in hopes it will boost tourism. Buried in the cemetery are Frank Philips, who was another foe of the Hatfields, and his wife Nancy, who was born a McCoy, married a Hatfield, and then married Frank. Pike County Magistrate Hillman Dotson says, since the Hatfields and McCoys gained national attention through the recent History Channel documentary, numerous people have been coming to the area. Dotson hopes a road to the  cemetery is finished enough that you can drive up to it within five to seven days and hopes the whole project is finished within the next month. Dotson is hoping the cemetery will be included on the historical registers.

Leslie, Breathitt, Perry Counties Working On Scholarships

Recently Governor Steve Beshear signed the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Scholarship resolution which will provide scholarships to students in nine Kentucky coal counties, but it did not include Leslie, Breathitt and Perry Counties. Now, those counties are drawing up their own resolutions. The three counties are currently passing resolutions that will provide up to $2 million in scholarships for students in their counties. Even though this new scholarship program would not directly benefit UPike, UPike Vice-President Chris Hurley says he's certainly not against any student having the opportunity to use coal severance money to support their education. Perry County passed its resolution Tuesday, and once Leslie and Breathitt do the same, it will be sent to Governor Steve Beshear for consideration.

Motorcycle Accident Victim Identified

{Jackson, Kentucky}...The woman who has been in critical condition at the UK Medical Center since she fell off a motorcycle last Thursday on Highway 30 in Jackson County has been identified as Patty Butcher of London. Georgia Campbell was watching the news Tuesday evening when she heard the description of the unidentified woman and  had a feeling it was her daughter. Police are still searching for the driver of the motorcycle, who left the scene when EMS personnel arrived.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pike County Man Arrested

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...William Johnny Slone, 52, of Mouthcard, was arrested Monday, just days after he was indicted by a Pike County grand jury on a murder charge in the death of Jonathan Leon “Big John” Looney, 40, of Maxie, Virginia. Looney's badly decomposed body was found in a garage at Slone’s residence last year. Kentucky State Police Det. Jimmy Anderson says Slone killed Looney with a single gunshot to the head. Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley says Looney was living at the residence with Slone's daughter. Slone was set to be arraigned before Pike Circuit Judge Eddie Coleman on Wednesday. He is also due back in court on July 13th in relation to two drug trafficking indictments.

Beshear Signs Bills

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...At a ceremonial signing at the Pikeville-Pike County Airport Tuesday, Governor Steve Beshear signed a pair of bills, one aimed at cracking down on those who use drugs in coal mines. House Bill 385, which was co-sponsored by Kentucky state Representative Jim Gooch, aims to ban coal miners from being allowed to continue to work if they have three on-the-job drug offenses. The other, House Bill 411, establishes a “Coal Truck Drivers Appreciation Day” during the annual “Coal Miners Appreciation Week,” observed the third week of August each year. “Coal Truck Driver Appreciation Day” will be the Monday of the fourth week in August. Both bills were signed into law by Beshear in April.

Beshear...2012 Person Of The Year

{Corbin, Kentucky}...Governor Steve Beshear made a stop in Corbin Tuesday where dozens of county and city officials attended an event in which Southern Business and Development honored Beshear with "the 2012 person of the year" award for his leadership as governor. The mayor of Corbin says Governor Beshear was titled the "person of the year" because he not only wears his title, he works for it. Beshear's speech covered everything from education to improving Kentucky's economy. Beshear said he hopes Republicans and Democrats will work together to write the future for Kentucky.

Letcher County Miner Reinstated

Administrative Law Judge Margaret A. Miller has ordered a Kentucky miner reinstated to his job and a coal company to pay a $30,000 fine for discriminating against a whistleblower. Judge Miller concluded last week that Cumberland River Coal Company improperly fired 52 year old Charles Scott Howard of Letcher County in May 2011 after he was injured on the job 10 months earlier. Howard challenged the dismissal, saying Cumberland River Coal and its parent company, Arch Coal, dismissed him because he publicized safety issues in the mines. Cumberland Coal and Arch Coal denied that allegation. Howard's whistleblowing activities started in March 2007, when he testified before a Congressional committee about mine safety issues. In April 2007, Howard made a video of leaking mine seals, which drew the attention of Cumberland River Coal and Arch executives. Howard sued Cumberland River Coal in May 2011 over safety issues, not long before he was fired. U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar dismissed the suit in December, saying Howard waited too long to file.

Black Lung Cases Increasing


Officials say the number of black lung cases is increasing in our region, and it is even effecting surface miners, most of whom say they have never worked underground. The Centers for Disease Control reports two percent of the surface miners tested have the disease. Officials say 46 of 2,257 surface miners had black lung with twelve having the most severe form. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is offering free black lung screenings in Eastern Kentucky in hopes of saving lives. NIOSH is providing free, confidential screenings this summer. The first was Monday in Pineville. The screening includes a work history questionnaire, a chest x-ray, and a spirometry test. Blood pressure screening is also offered. The process takes about 25 minutes. No individual information, including the names of those participating, is made public or given to coal companies.

NIOSH screenings in Eastern Kentucky:
All times are 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.
June 19th and 20th, Tri-City Medical Center in Cumberland
June 21st, Walmart in Harlan
June 22nd, Senior Center at the Old Beech Fork Elementary School in Helton
June 25th, Whitaker Athletic Center in Jeff/Viper
June 26th and 27th, Grady Nutt Athletic Center at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes
June 28th and 29th, Walmart in Hazard
July 9th, McCoy Elkhorn Mine Number 15 in Meta
July 10th, 11th, and 12th, Pikeville Mine Rescue Contest at the Bob Amos Park in Pikeville
July 13th, Sidney HR Office for Alpha in Sidney
July 16th, Walmart in Pikeville
July 17th, Walmart in Prestonsburg
July 18th, Redhawk Mining Office in Printer
July 19th and 20th, Roy F. Collier Community Center in Inez
Miners can call 1-888-480-4042 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also accepted.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pike County Man Wins Singing Competition

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Every seat at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg was full over the weekend during the final singing competition in the Country Music Highway Road to Fame contest. Logan Hall of Virgie was chosen as the winner of the contest Saturday after the final competition. Hall was a top three finalist from the Pikeville region of the competition who first had to survive an audition against 70 other hopefuls, then two more rounds of eliminations before winning Saturday. Hall will get to write and record a song with Tom T. Hall. Hall won a Gibson Epiphone “Hummingbird” guitar and will receive $25,000 in scholarship from PCG Nashville to help promote and expand his musical career.

Woman Charged With Murder

{Amburgey, Kentucky}...Kayla Sparkman, 25, of Litt Carr, has been charged with murder after her estranged husband, 27 year old Jonathon Sparkman of Topmost was found stabbed to death at a home in the Amburgey community of Knott County about midnight Saturday. State police and Knott County Sheriff's Deputies found Sparkman suffering from multiple stab wounds in a home on Perkins Madden Road after they were called to the scene at 11:58 P.M. on a report of fighting. Sparkman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hate Crime Trial Delayed

{London, Kentucky}...The trial of 20 year old Anthony Ray Jenkins of Partridge and 37 year old Jason David Jenkins of Cumberland was scheduled to start Monday in federal court in London, but U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove delayed it indefinitely. The two men are charged with kidnapping, assault and violating the hate crime law. Prosecutors say the two cousins severely beat Kevin Pennington of Letcher County during a late-night attack in April 2011 at Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland because he was gay. Federal prosecutors say this is the first federal case charging a violation of a hate crime law passed in 2009. Anthony Jenkins' wife, Alexis Jenkins, and sister, Mable Jenkins, have pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in August.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bank Robbery Suspect Could Face Life In Prison

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...A Pike County grand jury recently indicted 25 year old Jessie James Keathley and 20 year old Toni Bishop, both of Grethel, of first-degree robbery and theft in relation to the  May 14th robbery at the U.S. Bank in Virgie. Keathley was also indicted on an additional charge of being a persistent felony offender in the first degree, a charge which could land him in prison for the rest of his life if convicted. Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley says his office has filed a motion to revoke Keathley’s probation for one of his previous convictions. Bartley said if Keathley and Bishop are found guilty of the robbery charges, they could face between 10 and 20 years in prison on that charge alone. A pretrial hearing has been set for August.

Pike County Animal Shelter Making Changes

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hays said Friday that Pike County Fiscal Court officials have approved the hiring of long-time Pike County Animal Shelter employee Lori Goff as the shelter’s new temporary director, replacing former shelter Director Kristen Handshoe, who was transfered to another position at the shelter. Hays said Friday the hiring of Goff as the shelter’s new director is one of several changes being made. Hays said the changing of directors has little to do with complaints about Handshoe’s performance at the shelter, but those complaints were a factor in the decision. The Coal Run City Commission voted Thursday to donate money to the shelter.

Fatal Accident In Letcher County

Police say 29 year old Timothy Sexton was traveling southbound along Highway 7 in Letcher County Saturday when his vehicle veered off the road and overturned into a ditch. Sexton's passenger, 28 year old Shannoka Adams, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle. Adams was transported to the Whitesburg ARH Hospital where she was pronounced dead, and Sexton was transported to Whitesburg ARH and later flown to a Tennessee trauma center.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Floyd County Man Sentenced

{London, Kentucky}...During a hearing in U.S. Distinct Court in London Thursday, 55 year old James Marsillett, II of Floyd County was sentenced to 20 years in prison for operating a continuing criminal enterprise. An October 2009 drug roundup resulted in the arrest of more than 500 people. Prosecutors say Marsillett faced the most serious charges. Marsillett had earlier admitted that, from 2007 to 2009, he funded monthly trips for numerous co-defendants to see Dr. Michael Shook who worked at Lauderhill Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and prescribed large quantities of Methadone and Oxycodone. The patients Marsillett sent to Shook paid approximately $2,000 for an MRI, a doctor’s visit and the prescription and gave Marsillett half the pills they obtained which he then sold in eastern Kentucky. Court documents shoe that, in 2006 and 2007, Marsillett traveled with others to Urgent Care pain clinics in Cincinnati and Philadelphia to obtain Methadone pills for distribution in eastern Kentucky. Marsillett will have to serve 85 percent of his prison sentence. All of the 36 defendants who faced federal charges have been convicted. Dr. Shook was sentenced to four years in federal prison last year for unlawfully dispensing Oxycodone.

Man Coming Up For Parole

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}... Samuel Collier has served nearly two years of a 10 year sentence after being convicted of manslaughter in the October 7, 2010 shooting death of 48 year old Mark Sturgill in Letcher County. Sturgill was walking his dog when Collier fired shots leaving both Sturgill and his dog Jake dead. A victim hearing will be held with the parole board July 16th. Collier is up for parole in September. Sturgill's wife, Melissa Sturgill, is petitioning Samuel "Todd" Collier's parole in more ways than one. With a couple hundred signatures and nearly 200 likes on Facebook, Melissa believes she is well on her way to insuring justice is served for her husband.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lowe’s Shooting Heads To Grand Jury

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...During a preliminary hearing Thursday in Pike District Court, Judge Darrel Mullins ordered the case against Barry Cates Jr. of Floyd County bound over to a grand jury. Police say, on June 7th, Cates, an employee at  the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Pikeville, went to the store around 6:40 A.M. to shoot co-worker Ronald Burke. Although Burke was not at work, police say Cates fired the gun at least twice inside the store. Cates has beeen charged with first degree wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Pike County Inmates Face Drug Charge

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Shawna D. Carter, 37, of Owl Branch Road, Jenkins, and Angela Dawn Little, 33, of Joy Street, Virgie, were charged Wednesday evening after jail personnel found the two women with drugs in a cell they shared at the Pike County Detention Center. Jail officials say Carter admitted to jail personnel that she had smuggled a  pill bottle into the jail in her bra and had taken two clonozepam. As jail personnel searched other inmates in the cell, they found Little also had eight pills in her bra.

Floyd County Man Charged In Fatal Accident

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Murder was not among the charges filed filed last week in Floyd County District Court against 22 year old James E. Mace, the driver of a vehicle involved in a car crash that resulted in the death of 63 year old Brenda Montgomery of Jackson. Mace crashed into Montgomery and her passenger, Elsie Oakley, on May 15th. Montgomery was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead by Floyd County Coroner Greg Nelson. Police say, at the time of the accident, Mace was fleeing from sheriff’s deputies who had spotted him and his passenger, Jonathan Crider, melting down copper at an old strip mine. Charges filed against Mace include two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, receiving stolen property, first-degree fleeing or evading police, criminal trespassing, and tampering with physical evidence. Mace is currently being held in the Floyd County Detention Center. His bond was initially set at $1 million, but has been reduced to $100,000.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fatal Shooting In Pike County

{Draffin, Kentucky}...Wednesday, Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville received a call of a shooting on Pond Creek Road in the Draffin community of Pike County. Police arrested 39 year old Everett Paul Norman of Belcher and charged him with murder. Jesse W. Church, 30, of Harold, was pronounced dead at the scene by Pike County Deputy Coroner Denver Bailey. Norman is being held in the Pike County Detention Center. The incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Jason Merlo.

Former Letcher County Referee Sentenced

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Former Letcher County basketball referee 61 year old Tommy Hutton has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on one count of drug trafficking and five years for possession. Hutton will be eligible for parole in three years. Lt. Brian Damron of the Letcher County Sheriff’s Office said Hutton claimed he was selling barbecue sauce. Commonwealth's Attorney Edison Banks says Hutton testified that he got the pills from former teacher and coach J.J. Wright of Fleming-Neon.

Man Charged With Marijuana Cultivation

{Flatlick, Kentucky}...Forty-two year old James Denver Cox has been arrested and charged with felony cultivating marijuana after Knox County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Hensley found 92 marijuana plants growing at his home on Radford Road in Flatlick. Deputy Hensley says Cox admitted they were his, but Hensley says he does not believe Cox planned to only use them himself.

Floyd County Man Charged With Robbery

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Charles Hall was arrested at the Alpike Motel in Floyd County in connection with a recent robbery at Patel's Quick Mart in Prestonsburg. Surveillance video shows Hall and another person entered the building, pulled a gun, and demanded cash from the register.

Former Hazard Police Chief Dies

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Former Hazard Police Chief Rod Maggard has died after a more than two year battle with colo-rectal cancer. Maggard was born in Harlan County, was in the Air Force and served in Vietnam and became a state police trooper stationed in Hazard in 1967. He was chief when President Bill Clinton came to town in 1999, and he later testified before Congress about the drug problem in eastern Kentucky. Maggard left the Hazard Police Department and became the first director of the new Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center in 2002. He was diagnosed with cancer just as he was beginning a campaign for sheriff in early 2010.

Man Arrested In Magoffin County Shooting

Gary Fletcher was arrested and lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center Tuesday after Magoffin County Sheriff Carson Montgomery says he shot his girlfriend, Mary Risner, in the hip during a domestic dispute in May. Police searched for Fletcher for a month before finding him living in a barn in Montgomery County.

Fatal Shooting In Knott County

{Pinetop, Kentucky}...KSP say 43 year old Donnie Gibson of Pinetop, in Knott County, went to his daughter's home on Spring Branch Road around 5:58 A.M. Wednesday morning and started an altercation with her boyfriend, 25 year old Dillon Cornett. Gibson's daughter says her dad kicked Cornett in the face with his steel toe boot and then lunged at him before Cornett got a gun and fatally shot Gibson. Coroner William Jeff Blair says there had been an ongoing disagreement between the two men over the last couple of days, but he did not know the nature of the disagreement.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Melton Convicted Of Reckless Homicide

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Tuesday afternoon, a Perry County jury convicted 43 year old Sarah Melton of reckless homicide and assault under extreme emotional disturbance, and recommended she serve a total of six years in prison. Melton was facing charges of murder and attempted murder for shooting her brother, Bill Couch, and killing his girlfriend, Cindy Caudill, in the Brownsfork community on the evening of June 28, 2011. Melton took the stand in her own defense on June 6th, testifying Couch punched her several times after she arrived at a friend’s residence on the day of the shooting, and later Couch and Caudill both assaulted her before a bystander pulled Couch away. Melton said, not long after they all left the residence, Couch made a threat against her and her children, and that’s when she snapped and pulled the trigger. Melton testified that she wasn’t trying to shoot her bother or Caudill, but to shoot the four wheeler and disable it so she could get home to her children before they were harmed.

Pike County Woman Arrested

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Sherletta M. Ousley, 48, of Flat Gap, was arrested after police say they found marijuana plants in her vehicle during a traffic stop. Kentucky State Police Trooper J. Giles, says, when Ousley was stopped along U.S. 23 Saturday, she appeared extremely intoxicated. A search of her vehicle resulted in the discovery of two bowls of marijuana plants in the trunk of the car, one with approximately 30 plants, and the other bowl had approximately 35 plants. Ousley also allegedly had 31 prescription pills in her purse, along with two marijuana joints, a bag of marijuana and rolling papers.

Floyd County Man To Be Arraigned

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Randall Charles Dotson Jr., 38, of Banner, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Floyd Circuit Court on charges of first-degree assault, two counts of fourth-degree assault, seven counts of first-degree unlawful imprisonment, seven counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, and seven counts of terroristic threatening. Dotson was arrested in January after he allegedly assaulted his wife, son and brother-in-law, while holding his family against their will at gunpoint. Dotson’s son shot his father after getting the firearm away from him.

Indictments In Staged UBet Robbery

Hazard, Kentucky}...Christianne Clemons, 27, and 40 year old Hiram Noble, both of Breathitt County, along with Perry County residents Jerry “Yad” Hurt, 50, and Sharon Hensley, 33, were indicted last week after being accused of staging an assault and robbery as part of a $17,000 theft from UBet in Hazard. Clemons, a former employee of UBet, reported to police in April that she had been assaulted and robbed of her car and the money as she was transporting a deposit from the business to a local bank. A few days later, police in Hazard determined that the robbery was actually staged, and that Clemons had taken part in it. They are scheduled for arraignment in Perry Circuit Court on July 5th.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hurley Has Plans For UPike

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...James Hurley, who will become president at the University of Pikeville on July 1, 2013, says the university must take five important steps to make the institution a leader in Central Appalachia over the next six years. Those steps include continuing to implement a surplus budget, strengthening the school's endowment and financial viability, focusing on recruiting and retaining students, improving the campus experience for students and aiming for education excellence. Hurley will become the first alumnus of the school to serve as its president. Current UPike President former Governor Paul Patton plans to serve as chancellor at the school.

Perry County Murder Trial Continues

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Monday morning, the prosecution in the Perry County murder trial of Sarah Melton called Dr. Richard Johnson, Melton's psychologist while she was at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center, to the stand. Prosecutors were attempting to combat the defense's claim that Melton's mental issues caused her not to have control of her actions the day she shot and killed Cindy Caudill and injured her brother, Bill Couch.  Dr. Johnson testified that he did not see her as fitting the criteria of being legally insane. Johnson’s conclusion about Melton was the opposite of another psychologist called by the defense last week. The jury is expected to begin deliberating Tuesday after both sides give their closing arguments.

Magoffin County Trial

{Salyersville, Kentucky}...The trial of Chester Allen, a Magoffin County man charged with sexual abuse and sodomy, will continue Tuesday in Knott County. In 2009, Allen was on trial in Magoffin County when state police say his son, Jarred Allen, threatened three jurors while they were leaving the Magoffin County Courthouse, and his mother, then 63 year old Gladys Allen, was accused of threatening Commonwealth's Attorney Graham Martin. Both pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2009. Court officials say a jury could get Allen's case as early as Tuesday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

RAM Event Held In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Hundreds of people filled Pike County Central High School Saturday and Sunday for the Remote Area Medical event which offered free medical, dental and vision care. Services ranged from a simple teeth cleaning to minor oral surgery. Some patients received eye exams and a free pair of glasses.

Rowan County Man Charged With Internet Related Crimes

{Morehead, Kentucky}...Larry Flannery, 43, of Morehead was arrested on charges related to child pornography last Tuesday after Kentucky State Police served a search warrant at his home on June 5th and seized equipment used to distribute child pornography. Flannery is charged with possession of matter portraying the sexual performance by a minor.

Rowan County Man Drowns

{Morehead, Kentucky}...Late Saturday, Kentucky State Police Post 8 in Morehead received a complaint of a missing person. Police say 53 year old Michael Padula of Morehead went fishing in the North Fork of Triplett Creek near the Cranston community and did not return home. Padula's vehicle and dog were later found off Old Sportsman Road, near a local fishing access. Padula's body was found around 5:00 A.M. Sunday morning by KSP and a Rowan County Search and Rescue team. Authorities say Padula appeared to have been fishing and accidentally drowned. The incident remains under investigation. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pike County Man Indicted

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...A Pike County grand jury has indicted 52 year old William Johnny Slone of Mouthcard on a charge of murder. Kentucky State Police say the decomposing body of 40 year old Jonathan Leon "Big John" Looney of Maxie, Virginia was found in a garage at Slone's home in October. Looney was reported missing to the Buchanan County Virginia Sheriffs Department on September 22, 2011. Slone has also been indicted on drug related charges. A court date has not yet been set.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Letcher County Inmate Loses Appeal

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Letcher County Jail inmate Stephen Campbell has lost his most recent appeal after being convicted of beating another inmate. Campbell was convicted of complicity to commit assault and attempted sodomy in 2006. David Lucas, Michael Fugate, and Robert Fields were all also convicted on the same charges. Court documents indicate the four beat fellow inmate Coy McClain, tore off his clothes, and, at one point, one of the men threatened to force McClain to have sex.

Perry County Murder Trial Continues

{Hazard, Kentucky}...The trial for Sarah Melton, a Perry County woman accused of injuring her brother, Bill Couch, and killing her brother's girlfriend, Cindy Caudill, continued Friday. William Deming, the brother of Melton and Couch, Ronnie Lawson and Kenneth Brown, a retired Deputy Police Chief, were the first three witnesses called to the stand. Each testified that Bill Couch is a very violent, very aggressive person. These statements support the defense's argument that Melton was threatened by Couch at the time of the shooting. Dr. James Walker, a neuropsychologist, testified that he believes Melton was afraid Couch was going to burn her trailer down or shoot her trailer or harm her children, and because of her mania and post traumatic stress disorder, Melton lacked substantial capacity to control her actions the day of the shooting. Walker said the history of manic episodes described by neighbors and her psychotherapist were enough to diagnose Melton with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. Walker told the jury about the alleged physical and sexual abuse Melton underwent beginning at age 12, when she first sought psychiatric treatment.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lowe's Employee Arrested

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville Police say about 6:45 A.M. Thursday morning, they received a call that a man was inside Lowe's on Cassidy Boulevard in Pikeville with a gun, and shots had been fired. Barry Cates, Jr., 51, of Ivel, an employee at the store, was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment. He was later charged with possession of firearm by a convicted felon. Police say Cates had fired two rounds from a .22 caliber handgun. They say Cates and another employee had an ongoing dispute, and Cates had gone to the store to apparently shoot the man, who was not at work. Det. Phillip Reed, of the Pikeville Police Department says Cates admitted he intended on shooting another employee and to then shoot him self. Police aren’t sure why Cates still fired the gun and what he was aiming at. Cates spent seven years in prison for writing a threatening letter to President Reagan in 1982. He is being held at the Pike County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond.

EPA Holds Hearing In Pikeville

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Coal supporters gathered outside the Expo Center in Pikeville Thursday to urge EPA officials to approve 36 mining permits. Danielle Smoot told the crowd that, “Time and time again the EPA has tried to bypass Congress and weaken state authority and they make no secret of this administration's intentions to shut down Kentucky coal.” Those in favor of the EPA's regulations argued that the goal isn't to shut down coal mining entirely. Matt Watson, with Applachian Voices, said, “70,000 acres have been strip mined here over 5,6,7 decades. If that were good for the economy the streets ought to be paved with gold. Right?” Those in favor of mining said they don't want handouts. They just want to be able to work.

EPA Files Lawsuit

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says coal companies owned by a massive India conglomerate ran illegal surface mines in eastern Kentucky that polluted waterways. The EPA filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Pikeville federal court alleging that mountaintop removal mines in three counties dumped pollutants into tributaries of the Levisa Fork River in 2005 and 2007. The mines were run by Trinity Coal Corporation and its subsidiaries, all based in Scott Depot, West Virginia. Trinity has been owned since 2010 by Mumbai-based Essar Group, which owns coal reserves around the world. Its Essar Minerals is named as a defendant in the suit. The suit says Trinity's companies began mining operations on a 682 acre site in Pike County in December 2005 without a Clean Water Act permit. Two years later, it began operations on a 768 acre site along the Magoffin and Floyd County line without the permit. The companies named in the suit along with Essar Minerals and Trinity were Frasure Creek Mining, Bear Fork Resources, Falcon Resources and Prater Branch Resources. Essar Minerals completed a $600 million purchase of Trinity in March 2010 to secure a supply of metallurgical coal for its international steel business. Frasure Creek was fined $310,000 by the state of Kentucky in 2010 for filing faulty water quality reports. Environmental groups intervened in court, arguing that Frasure Creek's fines were too low. The case is in mediation.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

UPike Holding Forums

The University of Pikeville is holding forums to discuss the new coal severance tax scholarships.
  Thursday, June 7th:

9:00 A.M. Southeast Community and Technical College, Whitesburg Campus, Caudill Hall Lobby
11:00 A.M. Southeast Community and Technical College, Cumberland Campus, Newman Hall Lobby
2:00 P.M. Southeast Community and Technical College, Middlesboro Campus, Middlesboro Grill

Friday, June 8th:

9:00 A.M. Big Sandy Comm. and Technical College, Prestonsburg Campus, Student Center Grill
10:30 A.M. Magoffin County High School Library, Salyersville
Noon Big Sandy Comm. and Technical College, Mayo Campus, Paintsville Admin. Building. Room 109
2:00 P.M.  Martin County Board of Education Board Room, Martin County Business Center
4:00 P.M. Hazard Community and Technical College, Knott County Branch, Hindman Opportunity Center

Man Charged With Posing As Federal Officer

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Thirty-seven year old Jason Tyler Skeens of Foxcroft Lane in Pikeville has been charged with posing as a federal law enforcement officer after he allegedly told police he was a federal law enforcement officer early Sunday morning after a vehicle crash in Pikeville. Pikeville Police Officer Josh Lawson says Skeens was operating his vehicle in the northbound lane of U.S. 23 when he lost control and overturned the vehicle, striking the former Days Inn Motel. According to court documents,
Skeens told Lawson he was returning from a wine party at his residence. Skeens allegedly had two pistols, one attached to his ankle. Skeens is a federal mine inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Skeens is charged with DUI, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, impersonating a peace officer and traffic charges.

Man Sentenced For Manslaughter

{Versailles, Kentucky}...Alexander Muniz, who fatally shot 18 year old James Crowe of Prestonsburg in the parking lot of a Versailles apartment complex in April 2011, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May of this year. Muniz remained silent in court Wednesday when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Elderly Pike County Man Sentenced

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Seventy-nine year old Donnie “D.K.” Kinder of Mouthcard was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in March to a charge of conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone pills as part of a Michigan to Kentucky pill pipeline. Investigators say Kinder sold between 4,000 and 4,500 Oxycodone pills each month in Pike County for more than a year. U.S. District Judge Amul said Kinder had two previous convictions on Oxycodone trafficking charges in state court, and the amount he admitted to selling shows it wasn't a small operation.

Accused Murderer Takes Stand

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Wednesday afternoon, Sarah Melton took the stand in her Perry County murder trial. Melton claimed her brother, Bill Couch, has a history of domestic violence and his threats caused her to fear for her and her children's lives. Melton said her actions on June 28, 2011 were all in self defense. She is charged with the murder of Cindy Caudill and the attempted murder of her brother Bill Couch. The trial ended early Wednesday due to evidence issues. It is expected to resume Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pike County RAM Clinic Set

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...The fifth annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic will be held at Pike County Central High School in Pikeville Saturday June 9th and Sunday June 10th. More than 450 volunteers have signed up to offer general medical and dental services, and eyecare free of charge to anyone who cannot afford regular medical services. Numbers will be given out starting at midnight Friday night, and doors will open at 6:00 A.M. Saturday.

Mine Layoffs In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Central Appalachian Mining (CAM) in Pikeville laid off 193 people Monday. Officials with CAM's parent company, Rhino Resource Partners, say the layoffs are temporary, but they're unsure when those workers will return. Officials say many factors played a role, including the mild winter and warm spring which created a smaller demand for coal. Rhino Resources General Counsel Joe Miller says the company mines coal to sell it to utilities and fuel producers.

Perry County Murder Trial Continues

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Sarah Melton is on trial in Perry County for the murder of Cindy Caudill and attempted murder of her brother, Bill Couch. The prosecution called several witnesses to the stand Tuesday. Kenneth Couch testified that Sarah Melton, Bill Couch, and Cindy Caudill were all at his house the afternoon of the shooting when an altercation occurred between the three, and Bill Couch and Cindy Caudill left on a 4 wheeler followed a few minutes later by Melton who said, "I am going to leave. I am going to go do both of them." According to another witness, Melton was seen driving down the road towards Couch and Caudill when she stopped her vehicle and fired her shotgun, killing Caudill and injuring Couch. Bill Couch testified, saying he was shot in the back and in the back of the head, leaving him with numerous head and brain problems, including memory loss about the day he was shot.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Trial Set For Magoffin County Man

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...A trial is set to start on July 9th at the federal courthouse in Pikeville for 75 year old Howard Harlow Back of Salyersville, in Magoffin County, after he was indicted in May on federal drug charges. Back was arrested in Magoffin in March. Prosecutors say Back conspired with others to distribute OxyCodone pills in Magoffin County between December 2009 and February 2012. If convicted, Back faces up to 20 years in prison, a$1,000,000 fine and at least three years supervised release.

Perry County Murder Trial Underway

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Trial got underway Monday in Perry Circuit Court for 42 year old Sarah Melton of Brownsfork. Melton is facing charges of murder and attempted murder. Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed addressed the jury in opening statements, painting Melton as a murderer who used a shotgun to shoot her brother, William Couch, and his girlfriend, Cindy Caudill, in the afternoon of June 28, 2011. Couch survived the incident, but an autopsy indicated Caudill died as her spine was severed. Defense attorney Gerald Teaster used his opening statement not to deny that Melton had shot Caudill and Couch but to question what was going through Melton’s mind, including Couch’s violent past, a physical altercation on the day of the shooting in which Teaster claims Melton was assaulted by Couch, and mental issues Melton suffered stemming from her abuse as a young girl. Reed called several witnesses to the stand, including two who testified they saw Melton threaten Caudill before Melton and Couch got into a heated verbal argument. Just moments later, Caudill and Couch were shot. The trial will continue Tuesday.

Perry County Woman Missing

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Search and rescue crews in Perry County are attempting to locate 50 year old Emma Fields after she disappeared from the Hazard Appalachian Regional Hospital Emergency Room Sunday. Family members say they are worried about her physical and mental health. Family say they were told she was last seen at Crawford Mountain Road, but Avawam Fire Chief Leonard Toler says the area has been thouroughly searched, with no luck. Fields was last seen wearing a red and white shirt with pink pajama pants and no shoes. She is around 5’1’’ weighing 110 pounds.

Knox County Man Sentenced

{Pineville, Kentucky}...Timmy Lee Jackson of Dewitt, in Knox County, will spend 50 years in prison after being convicted by a Bell County jury on two counts of rape, five counts of sodomy and one count of sexual abuse. Jackson was arrested by Pineville Police after being accused of committing crimes against a juvenile under the age of 12.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

“Rally for Appalachian Coal”

{Abingdon, Virginia]...Officials from Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee told those in attendance at Saturday’s “Rally for Appalachian Coal” in Abingdon, Virginia that there is a war on coal. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne Rutherford said coal is in trouble and America needs to wake up and understand what coal means to America. Rutherford said President Barack Obama’s administration and the U.S. EPA needs to get off of coal’s back, and most Americans outside of the coalfields need educated on the importance of coal to the country. Kentucky House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins said, “Who elected the EPA? What right do they have to wage this war against coal? We will stand up for coal and against anyone trying to take our jobs. We will remember come November.” West Virginia state Senator Art Kirkendoll (D-Logan), said, “The United States Department of Environmental Protection has declared war and we must stand up and send a message that we will not let them take our jobs, harm our families and communities and try to destroy our way of life.” Kirkendoll called the EPA “The Employment Prevention Agency” because of its recent actions in denying, delaying and revoking coal mining permits.

Floyd County Teacher Arrested

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Michelle Hall, 37, a Special Education teacher at South Floyd Middle School, was arrested  in Prestonsburg Friday evening and charged with public intoxication of a controlled substance, first degree possession of a controlled substance, prescription drug not in its original container, possession of drug paraphernalia, and first degree promoting contraband. Prestonsburg Police say Hall was arrested at the Prestonsburg Pizza Hut after she entered the business clearly under the influence. Police say that after Hall was transported to the Floyd County Detention Center, she was searched, and during that search, more pills were found.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chamber Of Commerce President/CEO Resigning

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Brad N. Hall, Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, will be resigning from his position June 11th to start a new career at American Electric Power- Kentucky Power as Manager of External Affairs. Hall was hired as the President/CEO of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce in April, 2007 and throughout his time at the organization, the Chamber experienced great growth and began servicing seven other counties besides Pike, forming the Southeast Kentucky Chamber in May, 2011. The Chamber now has 552 members. Current Vice President Jared Arnett will be assuming Hall's position.

Floyd County Couple To Get Competency Hearing

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...A competency hearing for Eddie and Rhonda Clay, a Floyd County couple charged with sodomy and sexual abuse, will be re-scheduled. Police say Eddie Clay of Cow Creek had sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 12, and Rhonda Clay aided in forcing the child to perform sexual acts on Eddie Clay. The incidents alleged occurred from June 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009. The Clays were indicted on  August 18th.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pike County Residents File Lawsuit

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Residents of Harless Creek in Pike County settled a lawsuit with Cambrian Coal Corp. in March and AEP Kentucky Coal in 2011 after claiming rainwater runoff turned the creek into a raging river, flooding homes and carrying away cars on July 17, 2010. They say state officials helped cause the problem by not enforcing mining laws. In a suit filed Thursday in Pikeville, 92 plaintiffs say the state did not enforce reclamation rules at the mine sites and allowed Cambrian to mine on an expired permit for 18 months. Attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who filed the lawsuit, said, "If state officials had done their job and insisted the coal company first of all not mine without a permit - and probably more importantly - reclaim in a timely manner, this catastrophe may not have occurred." The suit names the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Robert Gregory Stapleton, a former state mine inspector. The lawsuit says Stapleton continued to conduct monthly mine inspections from January 2009 to July 2010 but did not cite the mine for having an expired permit. Dick Brown, a spokesman for Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet, said Friday that the land on Cambrian's mine permit, about 40 acres, has since been reclaimed.