Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scam Targeting The Elderly

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville Police are warning people of a scam in which someone is approaching mostly elderly people, pretending to know them, and telling them their car broke down and they need money for a tow truck or gas. Police say it is happening in high traffic areas like around Walmart and Lowe's.

U.S. Justice Department Vows To Pursue Hate Crimes

{Washington, D.C.}...Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights division is pledging to continue to pursue hate crimes despite the acquittal of Anthony Ray Jenkins and his cousin, David Jason Jenkins. A federal jury in London found them not guilty of charges that they beat 29 year old Kevin Pennington in April 2011 because he is gay. Both men were convicted of kidnapping in the case. The trial was the first prosecution under a 2009 expansion of federal hate crimes law to include assaults motivated by sexual orientation.

Bust In Floyd County

{Auxier, Kentucky}...Police in Floyd County arrested Bridgette Case and Eric Gibson Thursday on outstanding warrants and plan to charge them on drug charges, including cultivating marijuana, after they found several pot plants in a closet along with several other unidentified drugs at a house in Auxier. Police say the weight of the marijuana will determine what drug charges the two will face. The other drugs are being tested to determine what they are.

Floyd County Man Arrested

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Police in Floyd County have arrested  David Crace. They believe he has broken into at least 30 cars in recent weeks either byusing remotes to unlock the cars or cutting master keys. Crace had a probation/parole meeting Thursday morning, and, when he arrived, he was arrested and taken to the Floyd County Detention Center.

Two Indicted In Letcher County

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Harley Jack Daniels Slone and 81 year old Delbert Mitchell Wright, who owns Wright's Scrap Metal in Isom, both of Letcher County, have been indicted on charges connected to a military grave marker theft. Slone is charged with 12 counts of violating graves and 12 counts of receiving stolen property. Police say Wright purchased the stolen markers by cash and failed to properly register them and purchased them without proof of ownership.

Hazard Marching Band To Compete

{Bowling Green, Kentucky}...The Hazard Band of Gold, with its 27 members, will be among 80 marching bands competing in the semi-finals of the state marching band championship in Bowling Green. The top four bands from each of the five classes will advance to the finals Saturday night at Western Kentucky University.

Chop Shop Case...Jury Reaches Verdict

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Around 3:00 P.M. Wednesday afternoon, a jury in Johnson County began deliberating the case of a family charged with running a "chop shop" out of a wrecker service at their home in Hager Hill between June 2008 and January 2012. Marty Welch, 46, his wife, 43 year old Madaline Welch, and their son, 21 year old Ian Welch, were indicted in March on dozens of charges that included receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery. The Johnson County Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property on January 5th and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and documents. Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the internet and didn't know they might be stolen. Wednesday night, Marty, Madaline and Ian Welch were convicted on most of the charges.

Shopping Center Contracts Finalized

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville officials say contracts have been finalized for Pikeville Commons, a new shopping center that will include 24 new stores, many of which have already been signed to major national retailers. Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn says the businesses include a 55,000 square foot craft store, a 24,000 square foot retailer, a 20,000 square foot apparel store and a 10,000 square foot shoe store. The developer has drawn up plans to put at least 58 apartments above the stores. Pikeville City Commissioner Barry Chaney says the project will mean 600 new jobs. Officials expect to break ground on the project by April and hope to have it completed by next year's holiday shopping season.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hate Crime Case Acquittals

{London, Kentucky}...Wednesday, Anthony Ray Jenkins of Partridge and his cousin, David Jason Jenkins of Cumberland, were convicted on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to a kidnapping in connection with the  April 4, 2011 assault of 29 year old Kevin Pennington of Letcher County. However, they were acquitted of hate-crime charges. During the deliberation Wednesday evening, jurors stopped twice to ask to review the 911 call Pennington made after the attack and a written statement Pennington gave to the park ranger. Sentencing is scheduled for February 21st.

Double Kwik Robbed

{Belfry, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are looking for a man who robbed the Double Kwik in the Belfry community of Pike County about 12:40 A.M. Wednesday morning. Police say a man walked in the business, wearing an orange ski mask, yellow safety glasses and a black Nike jacket, demanded money and fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, traveling south on US 119. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville at (606) 433-7711.

Perry County Arrests

{Bonnyman, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are investigating after 70 year old Alva Combs was found unresponsive on a couch inside his home on Robin Run in the Bonnyman community of Perry County at 6:45 P.M. Tuesday while police investigated an anonymous report of a possible methamphetamine lab. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene. No evidence of a meth lab, contraband or hazardous materials was found inside the house. Police arrested 29 year old Wesley H. Fugate, 35 year old Alva D. Combs and 56 year old John Combs on outstanding warrants.

UPIKE To Feature New York Times Author

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…The University of Pikeville family will again be setting aside special time to focus on our Christian heritage and the inherent religious focus of the campus family during Religious Emphasis Week, November 12-16. This year’s events highlight the “Spirituality of Hospitality: Creating Space for Others.”

A special addition to the week’s activities includes a visit from New York Times bestselling author, William Paul Young. On Thursday, November 8th, at 7:00 P.M., Young, author of “The Shack,” will share about the transformation of shame and the message of the shack.

Recycling Bin Relocated

{Belfry, Kentucky}…To make room for holiday shoppers, the recycling bin at South Williamson Wal-Mart will be relocated to Black Gem Park.

The bin has been in the Wal-Mart parking lot since late November, 2009.

Bobby Mullins, Pike County Solid Waste Commissioner, told Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford the park at Black Gem is an ideal place not only because of location, but also for collection.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Judge-Executive Could Be Headed To Prison

{Hindman, Kentucky}...Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson will report to a federal prison next month unless a judge rules that he can remain free while a federal appeals court considers a request for a new hearing after Thompson was convicted in 2008 on charges of buying votes prior to the November 2006 election.

Perry County Woman To Appear In Court

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Thirty year old Samantha Coots of Vicco, in Perry County, is set to appear next Tuesday for a preliminary hearing after being charged with first-degree assault in the stabbing of her ex-husband and current fiancé, Fred Coots. Police say Samantha Coots and her ex-husband were in an argument on October 15th at a residence in Montgomery Creek when she stabbed him in the abdomen. He was taken to Hazard ARH before being transferred to The University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

Letcher County Getting Clean Water

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...The Letcher Fiscal Court approved a $150,000 project that includes the installation of county water lines in the Shelby Fork and Mill Creek communities. The new water lines will be funded by coal severance money through House Bill 265. Mark Lewis, the general manager of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, says the goal is to try and get water to every resident in the county. The Mill Creek/Shelby Fork project will be placed up for bidding on November 3rd. It should be completed before summer 2013.

Teen Testifies In Hate Crime Case

{London, Kentucky}...Eighteen year old Alex Jenkins testified Tuesday in London after spending a night in jail for refusing Monday to testify against his brother, 20 year old Anthony Ray Jenkins, and cousin, 37 year old David Jason Jenkins. Alex Jenkins told jurors that Jason Jenkins seemed "kind of cocky" about assaulting the gay man and glad that he had done it. Jason Jenkins and Anthony Jenkins are on trial for allegedly assaulting Kevin Pennington, of Letcher County, at Kingdom Come State Park, near Cumberland on April 4, 2011 because Pennington is gay. Alex Jenkins said that after the attack, Anthony and Jason Jenkins first said Pennington had ripped them off in a drug deal. In response to questions from Anthony Jenkins' attorney, Willis Coffey, Alex Jenkins acknowledged that he had told conflicting stories about what Jason and Anthony Jenkins had told him, but he said he was telling the jury the truth. Anthony and David Jenkins could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. Ashley Jenkins, a sister of Anthony Jenkins, and Alexis Jenkins, his wife, pleaded guilty to aiding in the attack, but have not been sentenced.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Teen Refuses To Testify

{London, Kentucky}...U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove had 18 year old Alex Jenkins taken into custody Monday after he refused to testify for the prosecution in a hate crime case against his brother, 22 year old Anthony Jenkins. Anthony Jenkins and his cousin, 37 year old Jason Jenkins, are charged with kidnapping 29 year old Kevin Pennington in April 2011 and assaulting him because Pennington is gay, but defense attorneys have said the attack happened for other reasons. Judge Tatenhove says he will give Alex Jenkins another chance to testify Tuesday.

Chop Shop Trial Begins

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...The trial for Marty and Madeline Welch and their 22 year old son Ian Welch, of Hager Hill, began Monday. The Johnson County family, which is accused of using their wrecker service as a chop shop between June 2008 and January 2012, faces dozens of charges including theft, trafficking stolen vehicles and fraud. In January, police raided their business and seized suspected stolen cars, documents and computers. Marty Welch said he bought car parts on the Internet and didn't know they might be stolen.

Inmates Attempt Escape

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Travis Hall and John Maynard are charged with criminal mischief and one count of second degree attempted escape after they were caught trying to dig their way through the wall of a cell at the Floyd County Detention Center.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Investigation Into Elkhorn City Finances

{Elkhorn City, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police will be in Elkhorn City Monday to begin an investigation into the cause behind the outstanding amount of bills owed by the city. Mayor Mike Taylor recently fired City Clerk Karen Cantrell, whom he says did not inform him of the unpaid bills which amounted to approximately $222, 000, including more than $35, 000 owed to Mountain Water District. Taylor says he doesn't understand why the bills had gone unpaid.

Search Continues For Johnson County Couple

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Crews in Johnson County continued their search this weekend for Larry and Sandra Blanton. This is the second time crews have searched the Paintsville Lake, where dogs from the Blood Hound Search and Rescue from Tennessee led them to as a point of interst. The Blantons have been missing since early September.

May Lodge Celebrates Fiftieth Anniversary

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Jenny Wiley State Resort Park’s May Lodge celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this weekend. Pictures of the Lodge from the 1960s were displayed at the Lodge during the celebration. The Lodge hosted “Buffalo Night” in its dining room, featuring several dishes made from buffalo, as well as fried chicken, catfish and several breads, vegetables and desserts.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Interim-Superintendent Contract Approved

{Hazard, Kentucky}...The Perry County Board of Education has approved a six-month contract for Jonathan Jett, who will officially take the reigns as interim-superintendent for Perry County Schools November 1st. The contract allows for the same health insurance and benefits that Jett currently receives as the district’s maintenance and transportation director, as well as the same vehicle he currently uses for district business. Jett will be reimbursed for any expenses he may incur while acting as interim-superintendent, such as trips for training or functions in Frankfort, and he will be provided with a district computer for home use and cell phone expenses.



Floyd County Man Appointed To State Committee

{Frankfort, Kentucky}...Governor Steve Beshear has appointed Brandon Akers, of Prestonsburg, president of Alliance Corporation, along with eight others, to serve on the state’s High Performance Buildings Advisory Committee. Akers will represent Associated General Contractors of Kentucky while on the board. The committee, which was formed by the legislature in 2010, is charged with the task of making recommendations about building standards in an effort to promote energy efficiency. All nine of those appointed will serve two-year terms, expiring August 22, 2014.

Other members of the board are Michael Jacobs, of Lexington, architect at Omni Architects, Jeffrey S. Moneypenny, of Louisville, architect at Luckett & Farley Architects, Engineers and Construction Managers Inc., Cheryl Creech Kersey, of Louisville, a self-employed architect, Betty C. Whittaker, of Frankfort, executive director of the Kentucky Manufactured Housing Institute, Michael Speaks, of Lexington, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design, Robert Bauer, of Frankfort, executive director of the Kentucky Forest Industries Association, Chris Tyler, of Lexington, HVAC sales engineer at Thermal Equipment Sales, and Christopher J. Black, of Paducah, general contractor at Ray Black & Son, representing the West Kentucky Construction Association.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Global Company Locating In Martin County

{Inez, Kentucky}...Governor Steve Beshear was in Martin County Friday morning, where he joined Martin County Judge Executive Kelly Callaham and other officials in welcoming The David Brown Group to the area. The David Brown group is a company based in England that manufactures gearing, and they are now targeting the mining industry. The company manufactures gear products for industries like mining, and Martin County has  more than 400 mine sites within a 100 mile radius. This is the first service center David Brown has  in the country.

Woman Pleads Not Guilty To Animal Cruelty

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Vanessa Howard of Floyd County pleaded not guilty Friday morning after being charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty after animal control officers found nine dead several malnourished animals on her property. Officials say Howard had several properties in Floyd County where alleged animal abuse was going on, and there are other properties in other counties that need to be investigated. The rescued animals are now at the Floyd County Animal Shelter. The dead animals were sent to UK for testing.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Environmental Groups File Lawsuits

The Sierra Club, along with other environmental groups in Kentucky and West Virginia, have filed federal lawsuits attempting to block permits for two mountaintop mines, alleging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not consider potential health problems when it issued the permits. The suits seek to block federal permits required under the Clean Water Act for Leeco Inc. Stacy Branch operation along the Knott-Perry County line in eastern Kentucky and Raven Crest Contracting's Boone North No. 5 Surface Mine near Peytona in Boone County, West Virginia. The permits were issued by the Corps of Engineers in July and August. The groups say the permits would allow the mining companies to destroy miles of streams by dumping earth and rock removed from the mining sites.

New Athletic Complex In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Work is underway to build a new athletic complex that will include new baseball and soccer facilities at Pike County Central High School. Pike County Superintendent Roger Wagner and other school officials say it is a nearly one million dollar project that was greatly needed. The complex is scheduled to be finished before the spring semester.

Case Goes To Grand Jury

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...Police in Letcher County say 50 year old Patsy Cook died of an overdose in July, but they believe her body was moved before police were called. Police responded to Ran Day Hollow to investigate, but they found out it was not where Cook died. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb says her daughter had told a family member that her mother hadn't passed away in Cowan but in Colson and that these guys had moved her body from that house to another house. Jimmy Dean Branson is on house arrest for moving Cook's body to her sister's home. Police say Cook’s body was found at Branson's home around 10:00 A.M., but 911 wasn't called until 1:30 P.M. The case was presented to the Grand Jury in Whitesburg Thursday.

Johnson County Couple Indicted

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...A Johnson County grand jury indicted William Blanton, the son of missing Larry and Sandara Blanton, and his girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, on several charges Wednesday. Charges include criminal possession of a forged instrument, persistent felony offender and fraudulent use of a food stamp card. Police say Blanton and Fannin have been writing checks on Larry and Sandara's bank account and repeatedly using their food stamp card since they went missing in early September.

Hate Crime Trial Continues

{London, Kentucky}...Kevin Pennington of Letcher County testified Thursday in federal court in London that he lied when he initially told the FBI he got into a pickup truck with his attackers to buy pop and cigarettes, but he actually expected to buy drugs. He said Anthony Jenkins and his cousin, Jason Jenkins, yelled slurs about his sexual orientation as they punched and kicked him at Kingdom Come State Park in April 2011. Alexis Jenkins, the wife of Anthony Jenkins, testified that Pennington sounded like he was in pain when he begged the attackers to stop. Witnesses have said Pennington escaped into the woods while Anthony and Jason Jenkins looked for a tire iron. Alexis Jenkins said Anthony and Jason Jenkins showed no shame when telling a family member how they had beaten Pennington. She also testified Pennington's sexual orientation was the motivation behind the plan to attack Pennington.

Grant Helps Animal Shelter

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Ninety-five percent of the animals at the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter in Hazard were euthanized last year, but that has dropped to 73 percent. The shelter is using grant money  from the Carroll Petrie Foundation to help save their lives. The goal is to save more than 16,000 dogs nationwide, and one million dollars was given out to 50 animal shelters across the country.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Financial Help For Elkhorn City

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...The Pike County Fiscal Court voted this week to approve the use of coal severance funds to help Elkhorn City pay bills it owes. State officials have agreed to allow the city to use $250,000 in coal severance funds to help the city avoid filing bankruptcy. Elkhorn City Mayor Mike Taylor says the city will pay what it owes.

Beating Victim Testifies

{London, Kentucky}...Kevin Pennington of Partridge testified in a London court Wednesday, saying he didn't understand why Anthony Ray Jenkins and David Jason Jenkins kidnapped him and took him to Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan County on April 4, 2011 to try to kill him. Pennington testified that the Jenkinses shouted obscenities and anti-gay slurs as they beat and stomped on his body and that he leapt off the side of a mountain and dropped 20 feet to a ledge to escape his attackers. The Jenkinses, who are charged with kidnapping, assault and committing a hate crime, have pleaded not guilty. Government attorneys say this is the first prosecution in the nation charging a violation of the sexual orientation section of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was passed in 2009.

Arrests In Perry County

{Hazard, Kentucky}...After an eighteen month joint investigation between Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Kentucky State Police, 64 year old June Ison and 40 year old Brian Baker, both of Hazard, were arrested Wednesday on federal weapons charges. The case unsealed Wednesday against Paul Michael Ison, Sr., Mildred C. Ison, aka June Ison, and Brian Keith Baker alleges the three, along with Paul Michael Ison, Jr., committed offenses related to the sale and possession of several firearms. According to an indictment unsealed this week, between May 2009 and June 7, 2011, the defendants conspired to acquire firearms from licensed dealers while knowingly making “false, fictitious oral and written statements” in violation of federal law. Paul Ison, Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to unlawfully possessing firearms and was sentenced in April to 41 months in prison.

Homeowners Receive Buyouts

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...On October 10th, the first two floodplain easement purchases for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program closed in Pike County. In May 2009, strong storms caused severe flooding in Pike County which prompted the NRCS to consider the EWPP-FPE program that offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore and enhance lands subject to serious recurring flooding problems. Applications were taken in April 2010. The first to close were Jeanette Elswick of Meta, and James D. (Doug) and Dalena Taylor of Sidney. Presently, there are 19 accepted offers totaling $1.6 million in Pike County. In addition to this funding, NRCS will provide Pike County reimbursement for the surveys, appraisals, and closing services as well as funding for restoring the properties. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says,  since Pike County is prone to disaster, and has a lack of available level land, getting people out of the floodplain is something he feels very strongly about.

Drug Bust In Perry County

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Tuesday night, Hazard Police conducted a raid inside a room at America’s Best Value Inn on Morton Blvd., where they seized 25 and one-half 30 mg Oxycodone tablets and approximately one gram of suspected cocaine. Police arrested 38 year old Johnny Clark of Viper and charged him with two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, though other charges could be added.

Trial Set In Floyd County Toddler's Death

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Gladys Dickerson and Jason Dickerson, a Floyd County husband and wife charged in the death of two year old Watson Adkins, will go to trial February 4th. Adkins died in September 2011 after he was found unresponsive at the couple's home in Prestonsburg. The Dickersons are accused of abusing the toddler. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Funding Approved For Pike County Highways

{Phelps, Kentucky}...One million dollars has been approved to fund a project to make Route 194 and Route 632, two state routes leading to Phelps, safer. The money was originally allocated for the Interstate 66 project. County and state officials will be meeting later this week to decide when work can begin. Officials say the roads are too narrow and curvy.

Perry County Man Pleads Not Guilty

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Adrian Banks, 44, of Allais, in Perry County, pleaded not guilty Tuesday during a telephone arraignment. Defense attorney Brent Flowers entered his appearance on behalf of Banks. Banks was indicted on a charge of murder in the death of Jerry Combs, who was found with multiple stab wounds inside his home on Walker Branch Road. A status conference has been scheduled for November 20th.

Former Sheriff Gets Probation

Former Breathitt County Sheriff John L. Turner has been sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty earlier this year to vote buying charges, admitting to being involved in a scheme with several other people to buy votes in April and May of 2010. Former Superintendent Arch Turner is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Johnson County School Named Blue Ribbon

Since the program’s revamping in 2003, 40 Kentucky public schools have been named Blue Ribbon Schools. Monday, Porter Elementary in Hagerhill, Trapp Elementary in Clark County and Rosa Parks Elementary in Lexington were named Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. These are schools among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests.

Six private schools in the state were also on the list, including Rock Creek Elementary in Louisville, Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, St. Henry High in Erlanger, Saint James Catholic Regional School in Elizabethtown and Seton Catholic School in Lexington.

Representatives from each school will attend a recognition ceremony November 12-13 in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hate Crime Trial Underway

{London, Kentucky}...Jury selection wrapped up Tuesday in federal court in London in the case against 20 year old Anthony Ray Jenkins of Partridge and his cousin, 37 year old David Jason Jenkins of Cumberland, two eastern Kentucky men charged with a hate crime. Prosecutors say the two men kidnapped and assaulted Kevin Pennington of Letcher County at Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan County on April 4, 2011 because he's gay. They have pleaded not guilty. U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove rejected a challenge to a federal hate crimes law Monday, saying the law is constitutional because Congress wrote the statute in such a way as to ensure federal authorities would have the ability to prosecute people for attacks based on sexual orientation. Opening arguments and testimony are set to start Wednesday.

Arrest In Perry County

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Authorities with Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Kentucky State Police served a federal search warrant at the home of 83 year old Paul Ison of Hazard Tuesday and arrested him. More than 30 firearms were removed from Ison’s home in November 2011. His son, 38 year old Paul Michael Ison, was convicted earlier this year on federal weapons charges.


UL Coming To Pikeville

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...University of Louisville officials and President James Ramsey will visit students at Pikeville High School, 120 Championship Drive, October 22nd as part of the statewide Presidential Outreach tour. The group will arrive at the school at 1:00 P.M. There are currently 45 students from Pike County attending the University of Louisville. For more information, contact Mark Hebert at 502-553-1977 or mark.hebert@louisville.edu. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Jenny Wiley Theatre Phase Approved

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...The city approved the first phase of construction on the new Jenny Wiley Theatre in Pikeville Monday. City Manager Donovan Blackburn says the building committee awarded the demolition phase to Tom Wright Excavating. Demolition will begin Monday, October 22nd, and a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for October 30th. 

Cabinet Violates Open Records Law

{Frankfort, Kentucky}...Assistant Attorney General Amye Bensenhaver says the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services violated the state open records law by not releasing records containing information about the death of 2 year old Watson Adkins to The Mountain Citizen, a weekly newspaper in Inez. Adkins was found unresponsive at the Prestonsburg home of his aunt and uncle, Gladys and Jason Dickerson, on September 29, 2011 after he had been removed from his mother's home by state social workers earlier in the year. Court records allege Watson was beaten repeatedly in July, August and September. Gladys and Jason Dickerson were charged with murder, and a trial is pending. The agency provided the newspaper with documents that had information redacted, but Bensenhaver cited recent court rulings from Franklin County circuit court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals that said information about cases involving deaths or serious injuries of children the agency has placed in foster care should be fully disclosed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Search Continues For Johnson County Couple

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Police in Johnson County continued their search this weekend for Larry and Sandra Blanton of Oil Springs. Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price says he's been in law enforcement about 30 years, and this is probably the biggest search he's been a part of. Price says two boats and a dive team were at Paintsville Lake for about six hours Sunday looking for the Blantons who disappeared without a trace during the first week of September. Their son, William Blanton and his girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, have been named as persons of interest in the case.

Peak Season For Deer

{Frankfort, Kentucky}...Kentucky officials are warning motorists to watch for deer as October is the beginning of a three-month period that is the peak season for deer on the roadways. The Kentucky Farm Bureau says almost half of all collisions with deer in the state happen in October, November and December. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says  it is white-tailed deer mating season, which means the animals are more likely to cross roads as bucks chase does. Officials say deer are most often seen either early in the morning or late at night.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"United For Coal" Draws Thousands

Thousands of miners and mining industry supporters lined up along highways in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky Saturday, sporting fluorescent yellow "United for Coal" t-shirts, to show their support for an embattled industry that has become an issue not only in the presidential election but also in local and statewide races. Many who gathered voiced their beliefs that politicians and environmentalists are to blame for thousands of recent coal miner layoffs that have left families struggling to pay their bills and a drop in coal severance taxes. Between January and June, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia lost a combined 3,000 coal jobs, not including contractors. Mine Safety and Health Administration officials say Kentucky lost 1,672 jobs in the first six months of the year, while West Virginia lost 1,167 and Virginia lost 145. Kendall Wright, who flew over the event to help photographers and videographers get a look at the crowds, estimated that about 5,000 people turned out in the area around Pikeville and toward the West Virginia line. Jesse Salyer, one of the event organizers, says more than 500 people turned out for a rally in Pikeville, and he hopes the nation's leaders saw the size of the demonstration.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Letcher County Woman Denied New Trial

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}...A Letcher County woman has been denied a new trial after being convicted of murder and sentenced to  life in prison. In April 2005, Kathy Walters Williams was found guilty in the murder of Forrester Caudill.  Williams was in court Friday when Attorney Joshua McWilliams, with the Post Conviction Branch, argued there were other witnesses that could have been called, the defense of extreme emotional disturbance was not explored, and there was cumulative error throughout her trial. Williams' son, Phillip Muniz,  took the stand, where he testified he was never asked to testify at the trial. Letcher County Circuit Judge Sam Wright denied the request.

Pike County Man Found Not Guilty

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...A Pike County jury has acquitted 42 year old Kerby Holbrooks of Elkhorn City in the 2011 death of 47 year old Brett Holbrooks. The charges were dismissed with prejudice. Police say the Holbrooks argued last August over some missing money, and after a physical altercation, Brett Holbrooks lost consciousness and was hospitalized. He died three months later.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Woman Pleads Not Guilty To Embezzlement

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Lana Dean, 66, of Hazard, pleaded not guilty Thursday to  one count of abuse of the public trust over $100,000. Dean is accused of stealing nearly $600,000 in tax money while employed as a bookkeeper at the Perry County Sheriff’s Office from 2002 to 2006. A state audit released in 2008 revealed the missing money. Dean is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on June 26, 2013, though there will likely be motions filed in the case before that date. A trial date was set for August 12, 2013, so that the evidence in the case, which includes various documents, could be collected and analyzed by both the defense and the prosecution.

Perry County Man Arraigned

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Thursday, 31 year old Stephon Slone of Scuddy was arraigned in Perry Circuit Court on one count of first-degree rape. He pleaded not guilty. He was indicted October 5th for raping an underage girl by forcing her to engage in sexual intercourse on February 2, 2011. A pretrial conference is set for February 27th, and a trial is set for April 8th. Slone faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Pike County Man Gets Probation

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Timothy Pryor was sentenced to five years probation Wednesday. Pryor was charged with first degree arson after police say he set fire to his neighbor's home in Virgie earlier this year, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of third degree arson.

McConnell Visits Floyd County

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Senator Mitch McConnell was at the Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center in Prestonsburg Wednesday, where he spoke at the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon. McConnell told chamber members from Floyd, Johnson and Letcher Counties that he is trying to keep the focus in Washington on the economy and the coal industry. McConnell also visited Highlands Regional Medical Center to discuss health care reform. McConnell spoke of changes needed in Washington, D.C., including the need to repeal and replace Obamacare, taxes and things needed to promote jobs and the economy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jenny Wiley Festival Underway

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...The Jenny Wiley Festival got underway Wednesday afternoon in Prestonsburg. The carnival opens at noon Thursday. At 6:00 P.M. Thursday, a candlelight vigil will be held to raise awareness of domestic violence. At 7:00 P.M.,  a “Gospel under the Stars” concert will feature Marlena Vanhoose, the Blanton Sisters, Redeemed, Ron Ramey and the Eastridge Boys, featuring David Taylor and Richie Rose.

Friday, the Rotary Club will hold its annual pancake breakfast at First Baptist Church Irene Cole Memorial, from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. The “Bluegrass Extravaganza,” featuring Ralph Stanley II, the Moron Brothers and Five Miles from Nowhere, takes place Friday evening.

Saturday, there will be a car and bike show at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Registration begins at 8:00 A.M. with the show starting at 9:00 A.M. There will be entertainment on the downtown stage from noon until 2:00 P.M. Lineup for the parade will begin at 1:30 P.M., and the parade will begin at 3:00 P.M. Music will continue on the downtown stage following the parade. At 8:30 P.M., Nashville recording artist Trent Tomlinson will take the stage.

Shooting In Knott County

{Mousie, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are continuing to investigate after a man was shot around 10:00 P.M. Tuesday night in the Mousie community of Knott County. Police say 28 year old Hillard Smith shot 24 year old Travis Scott after he caught Scott on his property just off Highway-550. Smith was lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Perry County charged with assault.

Breathitt Schools Lose State Funding

{Jackson, Kentucky}...The Breathitt County school district has lost more than $190,000 in state funding after an audit found former superintendent Arch Turner ran the district without proper oversight from the Breathitt County school board. Auditor Adam Edelen released an audit Wednesday showing Turner took 10 instructional days out of the 2011-12 school calendar, while district teachers were paid more than $525,000 for days not actually worked and that the district spent more than $35,000 from a fund intended for students on hotel rooms and tickets to the boys' state basketball tournament for Turner, some board members and others. The audit also found that Turner gave some school district employees bonuses or additional pay totaling $195,000 without the school board's approval. Turner pleaded guilty in July to vote buying votes in an attempt to control the outcome of local primary elections in May 2010. Turner, who resigned from the district in May, is scheduled to be sentenced this month.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Son Of Missing Couple Arrested

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...Police in Johnson County have arrested 29 year old William "Willie" Blanton, the son of Larry and Sandara Blanton, who have been missing since September 5th. Police say William Blanton went to the Value-Med Pharmacy in Paintsville Monday afternoon trying to get prescriptions filled for Larry Blanton and his girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, who was in jail on drug related charges. Police knew Larry Blanton had a prescription to be filled October 5th, so they contacted the pharmacy and asked them to call if Blanton came in. Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price says, when Blanton was confronted, he claimed he was at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for his girlfriend. William Blanton is charged with illegally trying to obtain narocotics without permission. Sheriff Price says both Blanton and Fannin are persons of interest in the sudden disappearance of Blanton's parents.

Arraignment Set In Perry County Murder

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Adrian Banks is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday after being indicted in the death of Jerry Combs. Police say, on August 4th, Combs was killed in his home on Walker Branch Road in the Allais community of Perry County. Kentucky State Police took Banks into custody Tuesday after he was released from a hospital after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Jackson County Fiscal Court Seeks Investigation

{McKee, Kentucky}...Jackson County Judge-Executive William Smith is asking for an investigation into Sheriff Denny Peyman's office, saying it owes the county fiscal court more than $278,000. Smith says the court has had to cover the sheriff's payroll since he took office in January 2011. In August, an auditor recommended someone investigate the situation, and, since then, deputies haven't been paid. Sheriff Peyman disputes the claim and says there's been no wrongdoing in his office.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Senator McConnell To Be In Prestonsburg

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...At 11:30 A.M. Wednesday, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be in Prestonsburg to speak before an assembly of the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce and Letcher County Chamber of Commerce. The event will take place at the Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center at the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Robert Steurer, communications director in McConnell’s Washington office, says McConnell will be making a pitch for changes he believes are necessary in Washington, including the need to repeal and replace Obamacare, taxes, jobs, the economy and the 2012 elections. At 2:00 P.M., McConnell will speak to employees of Highlands Regional Medical Center in the hospital’s Meeting Rooms A and B in the Medical Office Building. That event is open to the public.

Perry County Chooses Interim Superintendent

{Hazard, Kentucky}...During a special called meeting Monday, the Perry County Board of Education interviewed two candidates, Jonathan Jett, the district’s current maintenance and transportation director, and former Perry Central High School principal Estill Neace, in its search to fill the position as interim Perry County Schools Superintendent. The board voted 4-1 in favor of Jett, who will replace current Superintendent John Paul Amis on November 1st. Jett will serve in an interim capacity for six months, though if a full time superintendent hasn’t been hired by May 1st, his contract can be extended up to three additional months.

Man Indicted On Child Pornography Charges

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Twenty-three year old Craig A. Bailey was arrested May 16th at his residence in Krypton, in Perry County, as part of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children investigation. Bailey, who was originally charged with distributing child pornography, was indicted Friday on six counts of distribution of matter portraying a sexual performance of a minor, and 17 additional counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performance by a minor, both Class D felonies punishable by a maximum of five years in prison for each count. Prosecutors say, between January and March, Bailey downloaded six images portraying minors engaging in sexual acts, with the intent to sell or distribute the images. The indictment alleges that on May 16th he was in possession of a total of 17 computer files. An arraignment is set for November 8th.

Floyd County Sheriff’s Office Has New Cruiser

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}...Thanks to coal severance tax money, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office has a new four-wheel-drive, 2013 Ford Police Interceptor. Sheriff John K Blackburn says the Interceptor would primarily be used to transport prisoners. Blackburn says anytime someone is convicted of a felony, the sheriff’s department is required to transport him or her to prisons in La Grange, for men, or Peewee Valley, for women, and the sheriff’s office is kept busy with picking up Floyd County fugitives who have fled out of state.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Training Exercise Held In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett says volunteer fire departments and search and rescue teams from Pike and surrounding counties joined in a simulated training exercise early Saturday in preparation of a plane crash. Two command posts ran the exercise as if it were a real disaster. The mock search and rescue took nearly three months of planning and lasted all day.

Burned Car, Remains Found

{Jackson, Kentucky}...Police are continuing to investigate after a burned car, containing the remains of two people, was found Saturday off Highway 1098 in the South Fork Creek area of Breathitt County. The car was traced to Sheryl Lessor of Michigan. The car was taken to the Frankfort for further examination.

ICG Reaches Proposed Agreement

Friday, government regulators, environmental groups and International Coal Group announced they have reached a proposed agreement under which ICG would pay $335,000 to the PRIDE environmental initiative to help stop Kentucky residents from piping sewage directly into streams and $240,000 to the Department for Natural Resources to pay for a water study. In 2010, North Carolina-based Appalachian Voices, New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and Kentucky Riverkeepers filed an intent to sue against ICG Hazard and Frasure Creek Mining, alleging the companies falsified water quality reports that were submitted to the state, and the groups said they found more than 2,700 violations that would have totaled tens of millions of dollars in fines. The state levied penalties in the case, but the citizens groups objected and filed a motion to intervene. Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd still has to approve the agreement. This settlement will not affect any ongoing litigation against Frasure Creek Mining.

Former Sheriff’s Office Employee Indicted

{Hazard, Kentucky}...An indictment was returned Friday against 66 year old Lana Dean of Hazard, a former employee of the Perry County Sheriff’s Office. A state audit released in 2008 revealed that well over $500,000 had been discovered missing from the tax accounts of the sheriff’s office from 2002 to 2006. The indictment alleges that Dean had stolen approximately $590,000 in franchise tax collections and appropriated the money for her own personal use. Dean is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison on one count of abuse of the public trust over $100,000.

Elkhorn City Budget/Bills Problems

(Elkhorn City)  As Elkhorn City struggles with mounting budget problems, Mayor Mike Taylor says the next meeting of the Elkhorn City Commission to be held Tuesday evening will be faced with seeking answers from various department heads.  In particular, an unpaid bill owed to the Mountain Water District will be examined as to why it hasn't been paid in a timely fashion.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Miners Unite For Multi-State Event

Thousands of miners have been laid off this year across Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, many with little hope of getting their jobs back. In an effort to show their solidarity, crowds wearing miners' stripes and fluorescent "United for Coal" T-shirts will line up Saturday, October 13th along U.S. Highway 23 from Big Stone Gap, Virginia, through Paintsville, Kentucky, and toward Chillicothe, Ohio. They will stretch north on U.S. 119 from Pikeville, Kentucky toward Williamson, West Virginia. Some call the multi-state event "Hands Across Coal Country," but, in Virginia, it's a "Prayer Chain." However, everyone hopes it will be heard in Washington, D.C., and beyond. The idea started with Allen Gibson, a 60 year old disabled surface miner from Elkhorn City, Kentucky, who says state and federal governments have failed the coalfields. Pikeville tourism director Jesse Bowling says says his town of 6,900 is hosting a free concert for the miners and preparing for a crowd of as many as 50,000.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fatal ATV Accidents In Pike County

Pike County Deputy Coroner Russell Roberts says 40 year old Clay Maynard of Kimper died in an ATV accident on Brent Branch Road near Meta around 6:30 P.M. Thursday night. Investigators say Maynard lost control, went off the road, overturned in a creek and was ejected. Kentucky State Police say 41 year old Matthew Wallace of Elkhorn City was traveling south on Marrowbone Creek Road Thursday when he went off the road, and hit a tree, killing him.

Fatal Shooting In Floyd County

{Martin, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police are investigating a fatal shooting in Floyd County. Willis Martin Sparks was pronounced dead from gunshot injuries after being taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Martin. Police say Sparks was involved in an altercation with William David Gregory on Henry’s Branch Road in the Langley community just before 11:00 P.M. Thursday night. Officials say Gregory shot Sparks in the leg and torso then drove him to the hospital.                                  

Mother Sentenced In Son's Death

{Paintsville, Kentucky}...During a hearing Friday, Heather Stambaugh, 35, of Hager Hill, in Johnson County, was sentenced to one year in jail, with credit for time served, leaving her to serve 65 more days, after she pleaded guilty last month to reckless homicide in the death of her infant son. Police say five-month-old Draven died from an overdose of Benadryl and Soma in November 2010. Stambaugh was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter. In January, Stambaugh's 65 year old mother, Alice, was found guilty of complicity to manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison.

Train Injures Floyd County Woman

{Auxier, Kentucky}...Police say Vanessa Butcher was driving her ATV with a 12 year old passenger on the back just before 8:00 P.M. Wednesday night when the four wheeler apparently stalled out on a train tracks crossing at Auxier Road. Butcher was attempting to free the ATV when Butcher was struck by a train, injuring her left arm and left leg. Butcher was flown to Cabell-Huntington. The child, who jumped off the ATV before the train hit, was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center and released without injuries.

Fatal Fire In Letcher County

{Jenkins, Kentucky}...Kentucky State Police say 58 year old Dennis Wayne Profitt of Jenkins, in Letcher County, died in an apartment fire that broke out just before 4:00 A.M. Thursday at the Mountain Breeze apartment complex. Profitt's body was found nside the apartment on a couch in the living room. Firefighters from Jenkins and Neon responded to the scene, but the two-story apartment building was destroyed, and two adjacent buildings were damaged. The body was sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort.

Thompson Square To Board Santa Train

Shawna Thompson and her husband, Keifer Thompson, the country music duo known as Thompson Square, will be on board the 70th annual Santa Train as it delivers tons of gifts to thousands of children in Appalachia. The Santa Train, sponsored by CSX, Dignity U Wear, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, starts in Pike County, Kentucky and makes 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee on November 17th, making its last stop in Kingsport. Thompson Square, which won Vocal Duo of the Year from the Academy of Country Music in April and recently was nominated by the Country Music Association for Vocal Duo of the Year and New Artist of the Year, made  their first trip on the Santa Train last year.

Mother To Be Arraigned On Abandonment

{London, Kentucky}...Joyce Ann Blanton, 35, of London, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning on charges of abandonment of a minor and public intoxication after being arrested Wednesday night. Deputies went to Blanton's residence around 9:00 P.M. after receiving a complaint to check on some children. When deputies arrived, they found the children had been two residences away since 3:45 P.M., but they did not know where the mother was.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pike County Man Charged With Assault

{Kimper, Kentucky}...Fifty-three year old Teddy Anderson of Kimper was arrested early Monday morning and charged with second-degree assault. Police say that, on September 4th, he assaulted his wife with a drill, striking her in the head several times, sending her to Pikeville Medical Center. 

License Of Former Pikeville Doctor Revoked

{Lexington, Kentucky}...A Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure panel has revoked the license of Lexington physician William W. Willis, whose address was in Lexington but he had previously had a pain management practice in Pikeville. Willis' license had been restricted since August. In March 2011, the board opened an investigation into Willis' practices after it received information from Pike Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Bartley who said Willis was inappropriately prescribing controlled substances to a patient who had been charged with a third offense of driving under the influence of substances. Willis is an osteopath whose specialty is family medicine.

Woman Sentenced In Drug Death

{London, Kentucky}...Forty-eight year old Judy McIntosh of Jackson has been sentenced to more than 27 years in prison after she pleaded guilty in March to distribution of Oxycodone resulting in death and to conspiring with others to distribute Oxycodone in Lee and Breathitt counties in 2010 and 2011. U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove sentenced McIntosh on Wednesday to 327 months. Prosecutors say that, on October 2, 2010, McIntosh supplied Oxycodone pills to a 19 year old woman who took the pills and later died at McIntosh's home. Prosecutors say it's the first sentence in the 67-county district for a defendant who caused a death by distributing prescription medication.

Perry County Business Robbed

{Hazard, Kentucky}...Police say, late Monday night, someone pried the door open at the Hardee's on Highway 15 in Hazard, broke into the safe AND got away with an undetermined amount of cash. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Hazard Police Department at 606-436-2222, or leave a tip online at www.hazardpd.org. All tips can be made anonymously.