Friday, November 30, 2012

Florida Man Leads Police Chase

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…A Florida man was arrested after leading Kentucky State Police on a chase from Shelbiana to the riverbank near the Pikeville Wal-Mart Thursday night. Troopers say 30 year old Gary Fletcher of Jacksonville was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence and fleeing or evading police. Police say they conducted a traffic stop on Fletcher after they received a call about a possible DUI driver. As they approached the vehicle, troopers say Fletcher accelerated and took off. About eight miles later, when he approached another cruiser, he lost control and crashed into a ditch. Troopers say Fletcher and three passengers jumped out and fled on foot before Fletcher was taken into custody.

Mongiardo Considering Run For Governor

{Frankfort, Kentucky}…Former Lt. Governor and Hazard physician 52 year old Daniel Mongiardo is considering a run for governor in 2015. Mongiardo says, if he decides to run, he'd be looking for a running mate who has a passion for serving people, knowledgeable about the issues and has leadership capabilities. He said those attributes describe current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington. Mongiardo was a state senator from 2001 to 2007 and narrowly lost races for the U.S. Senate against Republican Jim Bunning in the 2004 general election and against Jack Conway in the 2010 Democratic primary. Several other Democrats have been mentioned as possible candidates for governor, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg, Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson, Attorney General Jack Conway, former Auditor Crit Luallen and Auditor Adam Edelen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pikeville Has New Police Chief

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…The Pikeville City Commission has chosen to appoint Detective Phillip Reed as Chief of Police, replacing retiring current Chief James Adkins. Reed has been with the department since 2001. Reed will take over after Friday. The commission also promoted Sgt. Ricky Younce and Sgt. Chris Edmonds as captains.

Husband Of Martin Mayor Arrested

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}…James Robinson, the husband of Martin Mayor Thomasine Robinson, was taken into custody Tuesday after pleading guilty to menacing and terroristic threatening charges. Prosecutors say he threatened to beat Sam Howell's head in during a recanvass of the November 6th election, in which Howell defeated his wife. Steve Owens appeared in court later Tuesday, to represent Robinson, and made an oral motion that Robinson’s guilty plea be set aside, but the motion was denied by District Judge Eric Hall. County Attorney Keith Bartley confirmed that witnesses on the county Board of Elections heard Robinson make threats to Howell before the recanvass began.

"Medi-Man" In Letcher County

{Whitesburg, Kentucky}…The Letcher County Area Technology Center has a brand new "Medi-Man," a human simulator that helps teach students how to diagnose and treat patients. The "Medi-Man," purchased with the Center's latest Perkins Grant, has a heartbeat, can breathe and talk as if it were a real person and comes with software that allows the dummy to be programmed with diseases and illnesses.

Power Generation From Coal To Decline

{Washington, D.C.}…A newly released Government Accountability Office report confirms coal will remain an important energy source, but its share of U.S. power generation will fall. The report lays out the many competitive challenges facing Appalachian coal, including cheap, abundant natural gas and coal from other regions. Industry leaders have said producers may stem their losses with increased exports, but the GAO says that will depend on how competitive U.S. prices are and on the quality of coal available.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Burglary In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…Kentucky State Police are investigating after someone stole about $500 worth of tools at the Deskins Motors location near Green Meadows Country Club in Pike County around 9:40 P.M. Tuesday night. Police are looking for a dark-colored 2007 Dodge 2500 seen near the premises at the time of the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to contact KSP Post 9 at (606) 433-7711. Callers may remain anonymous.

Competency Hearing For Pike County Man

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}…Forty-one year old Christopher Allen Salyers of Pikeville is scheduled to be in Floyd Circuit Court Thursday morning for a competency hearing. Salyers was stopped at a checkpoint July 3rd and gave officers a false name. When questioned further, Salyers allegedly grabbed Prestonsburg Police officer Brian Prater’s arm and sped away, leading police on a high-speed pursuit reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, into Pike County, where he collided with another vehicle. Salyers continued until he crashed near Pikeville High School.

Mines Placed On Notice

{Washington, D.C.}…The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday it has placed four mining operations in three states on notice for repeated violations of health and safety standards. The notices were for Pike Floyd Mining's No. 3 Mine in Pike County, Kentucky, Ten-Mile Coal's No. 4 Mine in Harrison County, West Virginia, Argus Energy WV LLC's Deep Mine No. 8 in Wayne County, West Virginia and the Noranda Alumina Gramercy Facility in St. James Parish, Louisiana. MSHA said that nonproducing mines, D&C Mining in Harlan County, Kentucky and the Hecla Mining's Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho, would be placed on notice once they return to active status. MSHA implemented new screening criteria for mines in 2010 to identify operations that have been subject to closure orders. 

National Endowment Grants Awarded

A Kentucky poet and five Kentucky arts organizations will benefit from nearly $150,000 in grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works funding for federal fiscal year 2013. The Appalshop in Whitesburg will receive $15,000, while the Actors Theatre of Louisville will get $50,000, the Kentucky Opera Association of Louisville will get $12,500, the Lexington Philharmonic will get $16,000, Sarabande Books of Louisvillewill get $30,000 and
Kentucky poet Sarah Gorham, of Prospect, the president and editor of Sarabande Books, has been awarded a $25,000 NEA Literature Fellowship.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Summit Engineering Closing Wise Office

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Summit Engineering Inc. of Pikeville announced Monday it's closing its branch office in Wise, Virginia. Lisa Daniels, a business development representative for the firm, says the closure is the result of "the profound economic effect on the Appalachia region because of the declining coal prices." She said the firm will continue to serve mining clients in the Wise area from its offices in Pikeville, Hazard and Big Rock, Virginia. Daniels says staff members in the Wise office will be reassigned to other locations "as opportunity exists." Summit has over 125 staffers, including engineers, geologists, environmental scientists, hydrologists, architects, even real estate agents.

Drug Bust In Pike County

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...After about a year of investigation, law enforcement offers spread out across Pike County Tuesday in an effort to arrest 15 individuals suspected of drug trafficking. Keith Napier, Big Sandy Task Force Manager for Operation UNITE says officers were able to purchase a variety of drugs, primarily Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and cocaine. Napier says some of the suspects had learned about the operation and fled to West Virginia.

Those arrested Tuesday are Ricky D. Johnson, Sr., 64, Dorton Jenkins Highway, Michael A. Martin, 27, Aflex, Jody Scott, 41, Little Hackneys Creek, Mouthcard, and Dennis R. Stiltner, 48, Big Hackney Road, Mouthcard. Jonna Kristina Slone, 32, South Levisa Road, was arrested in court November 14th.

Coal Company Resuming Mining

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Two permitted Pike County mines have received new orders for coal. On November 6th, Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford received word that a coal company with operations in Pike County was going to resume mining and rehire around 150 Pike County coal miners. Southern Coal, owned by Jim and Jay Justice, has entered into a multi-year agreement with American Electric Power. Roanoke, Virginia-based Southern Coal will employ over 1,700 people directly, and produce 9 million tons of coal in 2013 from mines in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama. Jim Justice owns The Greenbrier Resort.

Martin County Audit Going To State Police

{Frankfort, Kentucky}...State Auditor Adam Edelen says he will submit findings from an audit of the Martin County Clerk's office to the Kentucky State Police for further review after his staff found that the clerk's office had paid more than $5,500 for office repairs and other jobs but had no evidence to show any work was performed, and they also found cash receipts totaling $16,576 that weren't deposited in the bank between January 1st and August 31st. County Clerk Carol Sue Mills says she terminated two employees for misconduct. They are her two daughters, Chief Deputy Clerk Tonya Delong and supervisor Tammy Hairston.

Agriculture Commissioner Tours Eastern Kentucky

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer was in Eastern Kentucky Tuesday, making stops in Letcher and Knott counties, while talking about new ways to boost Kentucky agriculture, including growing industrial hemp. Comer also said he would like to see Kentucky become less dependent on places like California and Florida for fruits and produce. His state-wide tour wraps up next month in Martin County.

Fatal Accident In Knott County

{Lackey, Kentucky}...At approximately 4:20 P.M. Monday, Kentucky State Police in Hazard received a call of a two vehicle collision on Hwy 550 in the Lackey community of Knott County. Police say a pickup truck operated by 89 year old Nero Patton of Mousie crossed the center line and struck a vehicle operated by James Smith. Patton was not wearing a safety belt and was ejected from his vehicle. Patton was pronounced dead at the scene, while Smith was air lifted to St. Marys Medical Center in Huntington West Virginia, where he was reported to be in fair condition. The investigation is continuing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Armed Robbery In Pike County

{Meta, Kentucky}…KSP Post 9 in Pikeville responded to an armed robbery at the Meta Double Qwik in the Meta community of Pike County around 6:38 P.M. Friday. Police say an unidentified male had entered the business, brandished a weapon and demanded money from the clerk before fleeing on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash and jumping into the back of a dark colored pick up which was traveling East on Ky 194. The suspect was described as 6' tall, approximately 180 pounds, brown eyes, wearing blue jeans, brown jacket and a mask that covered his face. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Jimmy Anderson. Anyone with information is asked to contact Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555 or (606) 433-7711.

Stumbo Pushing UPike As State School

{Frankfort, Kentucky}…House Speaker Greg Stumbo D-Prestonsburg, said Monday he would not support increased funding for higher education in Kentucky until there is a resolution for improved access to higher education for students in eastern Kentucky. Stumbo says the best option, in his opinion, is making UPike a four-year state school. Nearly a year ago, UPike President and former Governor Paul Patton pushed the idea of making UPike a public school, financed with the proceeds of coal severance taxes. The idea met opposition in the General Assembly, and Patton agreed to a compromise that would use the money for scholarships to increase college attainment in the region, but it failed in the Republican-led Senate. Governor Steve Beshear authorized spending $2,050,000 in the fiscal year that began July 1st and $2,250,000 the following year in coal severance tax receipts on a pilot scholarship program for students in nine eastern Kentucky counties.

Grant To Help Tornado Victims

{Frankfort, Kentucky}…Governor Steve Beshear has announced Kentucky has received a $1.6 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide long-term recovery assistance to residents of the Kentucky counties hit hardest by the March tornadoes. The grant will provide long-term recovery disaster case management services to residents of Grant, Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Morgan and Wolfe counties. Services will be available for 18 months. The Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living, housed within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, will administer the grant. The department will work with Kentucky Emergency Management and the Big Sandy Area Development District as the grant proceeds. For more information, contact the Department for Aging and Independent Living at 502-564-6930.

Leslie County Murder Trial Underway

{Hyden, Kentucky}…A Leslie County murder trial got underway Monday for Charles Dwight Watts. Prosecutors say, on April 18, 2009, Watts fatally shot and robbed 66 year old Kelly Johnson, and, three days later, murdered 21 year old Chad Muncy.

Laurel County Mother Granted Shock Probation

{London, Kentucky}…A Laurel County Judge granted Rachel Smallwood shock probation Monday morning. Police arrested Smallwood and her husband, Robert, in May for leaving their 8-month-old in a car for 20 minutes while they got a haircut. The judged sentenced the couple in September to one year in prison. Smallwood was locked up two months ago.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Appalachian Wireless…Phones For Penny

{Ivel, Kentucky}…Appalachian Wireless Director of Marketing Danny VanHoose says dozens of people were lined up on Black Friday for their chance to buy a phone for only a penny. From 7:00 A.M. until noon, they sold every phone, except the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Officials say the penny sale ended at noon, but they are still offering no activation fees for the rest of the month.

Businesses Gear Up For Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are behind us, so now, we’re ready for Cyber Monday, coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed a spike in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving. This year's Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row. According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up from $1.25 billion last year on Cyber Monday., which is starting its Cyber Monday deals at midnight on Monday, is offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TV that's usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears is offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart is offering 75 percent off diamond earrings and $60 off a 12-in-1 multigame table on sale for $89.99. 

Campers Excited Over Black Friday Cars

{Paintsville, Kentucky}…Customers braved the bitter cold as they camped out overnight Thursday at Hutch Chevrolet in Paintsville where they had five cars for sale for $5 each on Black Friday. Melissa Belcher-Welch and Edward Sparks say they began camping out about 6:30 P.M., and although their feet felt like ice cubes, it was worth it. Matthew Wike says it made his Black Friday birthday even more special, and it is the best birthday present he has had.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

ATV Trail Discussed

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…During a recent meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said officials are in negotiations with two land companies in an effort to establish an approximate 17 mile trail for all-terrain vehicles on  3,000 acres of property in Magisterial Districts 3 and 5. Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hays said the loop trail would just be a starting point and that officials could still explore options for other trails. District 5 Magistrate Hillman Dotson and District 6 Magistrate Chris Harris raised objections. Dotson and Harris said, although they’re not opposed to the idea, more needs to be considered.

Martin Mayor Seeking Recount

{Martin, Kentucky}…Martin Mayor Thomasine Robinson is seeking a recount of the recent city of Martin mayoral race in which she lost to challenger Sam Howell by a margin of three votes. The initial margin was five votes, but a recanvass showed Robinson picked up two previously uncounted absentee ballots, which brought the total to 161 for Howell to 158 for Robinson. According to a complaint filed in Floyd County Circuit Court, at least 19 persons, and probably more, who did not reside in Martin city limits were allowed to vote the city election at the Martin and/or John Possum precincts. Robinson says Howell used voter intimidation when he allegedly promised political favors to both a Martin city police officer and tenants of a federal housing project.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grant For New Airline Service

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...Pikeville’s elected officials, along with the Pikeville-Pike County Airport Board and the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce have been spearheading efforts to develop scheduled passenger airline service at the Pikeville field for more than two years. A pledge of a $1 million multi-county coal severance tax grant was recently made to the city of Pikeville to support the development of new airline service at the airport. The proceeds of the grant will be matched with a $750,000 federal grant that the city of Pikeville received last year. So far, two airlines have expressed interest in serving the Pikeville-Pike County Airport. The grant will be awarded once an airline is selected.

Williams' Name Taken Off Complex

{Corbin, Kentucky}...Corbin leaders have taken former Senate President David Williams' name off The David L. Williams Southeastern Kentucky Ag & Expo Complex. Officials say Williams didn't do enough to protect the city in a dispute over revenue from an occupational tax. Williams says he’s OK with the decision to remove his name because he had discouraged Corbin leaders from putting his name on the building to start with. The 5,000-seat concert hall is known as The Corbin Arena.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Harris Questions City Purchase

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...During this week’s meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, Magistrate Chris Harris questioned Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford about the price the city paid for property at Marion Branch when it was purchased from the Pikeville-Pike County Airport Board. Harris suggested an investigation might be needed. However, Pikeville City Manager Donavon Blackburn said Wednesday that Harris’ charge that the city didn’t pay full price for the property is 100 percent false. Pikeville-Pike County Airport Board Chairman Bill Hickman says the property was initially appraised for $3 million, but a second appraisal was needed because it was not done by a certified appraiser, and the FAA rejected it. Hickman says a certified appraiser from Paintsville was brought in, then an appraiser from Ashland was used due to the FAA requiring a review. Hickman says deductions were required by the FAA because the city is a sponsor of the airport.

Homeless Celebrate Thanksgiving

{Pikeville, Kentucky}...This Thanksgiving, there was plenty enough food, laughter, love and thankfulness at the Westcare Homeless Shelter in Pikeville. Residents say they’re thankful for the food that was donated, but, most of all, they’re grateful for their family of friends they’ve found at the shelter.

Fatal Shooting In Letcher County

{Gordon, Kentucky}...Police say 37 year old Wayne Duff II of Cumberland was fatally shot around 11:15 P.M. Wednesday night while apparently trying to break into a house in the Gordon community of Letcher County. Kentucky State Police say James Brown, who was at the house, confronted Duff and the two got into an argument. Duff made threatening remarks and started toward Brown, and Brown shot Duff in the chest. Duff was pronounced dead at the scene. Police plan to present the case to a grand jury.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Burglary In Johnson County

James Williams says someone broke into his Johnson County home Tuesday afternoon and stole more than $20,000 worth of items. Anyone with information should contact the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

Judge Rules Jurors Can Be Interviewed

{London, Kentucky}…U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove has declined to strike down a rule against contacting jurors after criminal trials in federal court, but he has given permission for the Lexington Herald-Leader to interview jurors who heard the case against Jason and Anthony Jenkins, two cousins charged in the kidnapping and assault of a gay man in Harlan County. Jason and Anthony Jenkins were charged with attacking Kevin Pennington in April 2011 because of his sexual orientation. After six days of testimony and arguments in federal court in London, on October 24th, , jurors convicted the cousins on kidnapping and conspiracy charges but acquitted them on the charge of committing a hate crime. Van Tatenhove says he will contact jurors to see if they are willing to talk to the newspaper.

Man Charged With Child Pornography

{Greenup, Kentucky}…Seventy-one year old James Raasch of Flatwoods was in Greenup County District Court for a scheduled hearing Wednesday morning, where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing after being charged with 1,000 counts of child pornography. The case will now proceed to a grand jury. Raasch was returned to Greenup County last week after being arrested last month in Clearwater, Florida., where he had recently been living. Following his arraignment last Friday his bond was set at $500,000. Raasch remains in the Greenup County Detention Center.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Death Row Inmate…Possible Simpson Killer

A documentary about Florida death row inmate Glen Rogers says the convicted killer might have been involved in the June 1994 murders of O.J. Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Rogers, who was convicted by a Florida jury in 1997 for killing a woman, was also convicted of murder in California and is a suspect in homicides in several other states, including Kentucky. Rogers’ family says he met Nicole Simpson in 1994 when he was living in Los Angeles, California. Rogers was captured in November 1995 and received death sentences in California and Florida. Years later, Glen provided a detailed account of the Goldman-Brown Simpson slayings to criminal profiler Anthony Meoli, who says he received a painting by Rogers of the murder weapon used in the slayings, possibly linking him to the murders of Simpson and Goldman. The Investigation Discovery show, "My Brother the Serial Killer," will be broadcast Wednesday at 9:00 P.M. E/P. 

Thanksgiving Weekend

AAA estimates nearly 44-million motorists will be traveling more than 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving weekend. Kentucky State Police want to remind motorists they will be out in full force in an effort to make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible. They say buckle up, obey the rules of the road, don’t drink while driving and enjoy the holiday.

Paul Not Ruling Out Presidential Run

{Frankfort, Kentucky}…U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the tea party darling from Bowling Green who was elected to the Senate from Kentucky in 2010, has told ABC News that, although he's not ready yet to make the decision, he's interested in running for president in 2016. Paul, the son of Texas Republican Ron Paul who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination this year, is one of several people being touted as early presidential contenders in four years.

Thousands Presented To Organizations

{Hazard, Kentucky}…Chad Warrix, formerly of Halfway to Hazard, was at City Hall in Hazard Monday to present $10,000 checks each to the Buckhorn Children’s Center, the Community Foundation of Appalachian Kentucky in Chavies, the Kentucky State Police’s Trooper Island, and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Several organizations were officially named the benefactors of this year’s Crockettsville Charity Concert and Trail Ride. Warrix and David Tolliver, also formerly of Halfway to Hazard, were the force behind the first charity concert and trail ride in 2008. The first four concerts raised money exclusively for Buckhorn Children’s Center, where to date more than half a million dollars have been raised as a direct result of the concert and trail ride over the past five years.

Knox County Murder Case Goes To Grand Jury

{Barbourville, Kentucky}…The Knox County murder case involving 26 year old Jonathan Ryan Foley has been sent to a grand jury. John Chris Mills, 42, and James Wyatt, 33, both of Bimble, and George Marcum, 52, of Trosper, are each facing murder charges. All three suspects remain at the Knox County Jail. Foley went missing after a trip to a local store November 6th. His body was recovered off Ed Matlock Place Road in the Trosper community. Police testified that no one is owning up to the actual killing of Foley, but they believe all three are responsible. police said that Foley apparently went to George Marcum's house where several of the suspects accused him of being a police informant.

Murder Case Headed To Grand Jury

{Barbourville, Kentucky}…A caretaker for an elderly Kentucky man has been charged with murdering him. Charlene “Sue” King is accused of fatally shooting 75 year old Earl Carter inside his home on J. Goodin Branch Road in Barbourville last week, and now, the case is headed to a grand jury. Police say King called 911 shortly after the shooting and said Carter was trying to rape her. When crews arrived, they found Carter was already dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Monday, November 19, 2012

KY Teens To Dance In Macy's Parade

Three southern Kentucky teenagers, 17 year old Chenoah Lessenberry, 16 year old Marisa Moore and 16 year old Victoria Watson, are set to dance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The dancers will spend a week in the city with Spirit of America and their teacher, Adrienne Snyder and two other chaperones. Snyder runs Ms. Adrienne's Dance Studio in Glasgow. Snyder says this is the first year the studio has sent dancers to the parade, despite receiving invitations in prior years.

Armed Robbery In Floyd County

{Stanville, Kentucky}…Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville says, at 9:04 P.M. Thursday, November 15th, they received a call of a armed robbery at the Dollar General Store in the Stanville community of Floyd County. Police say an unidentified subject entered the business, brandished a weapon and demaned money before fleeing on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. There were no injuries. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Kevin Newsome.

Knox County Man Indicted

{Gray, Kentucky}…Arnold Wayne Bingham of Knox County was indicted last week. A special agent from the office of inspector general says an investigation started in February when postal officials started receiving complaints from veterans in Knox County who never received their parcels from the Veteran's Administration at the post office in Gray. After an investigation, Bingham was indicted for allegedly stealing DVDs from Netflix and Blockbuster and drug parcels from the Department of Veterans Affairs. An arraignment is set for December 3rd in federal court in London.

Magoffin County School Awarded Grant

{Salyersville, Kentucky}…Herald Whitaker Middle School in Magoffin County has been awarded a $20,000 grant from Dollar General to help restock and rebuild the library following the March 2nd tornadoes. The middle school is boarded up and basically condemned. School officials say they have been told it is nearly a 75% loss.

Officials Hope To Create National Park

The Middle Creek National Battlefield in Floyd County is currently under the operation of the Middle Creek National Battlefield Foundation, but officials are hoping to change that by making it a national park. Officials say it could take a few years, but founder and President Frank Fitzpatrick says, once completed, tourism would increase in the region, and the area would experience an increase in jobs and economic development.

Appeals Court To Consider Convicted Officials

{Cincinnati, Ohio}…On January 25th, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear the case of former Clay County Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle, former Clay County School Superintendent Douglas C. Adams and former County Clerk Freddy Thompson. The men were part of a group of eight officials convicted in March of multiple charges, including racketeering, money laundering and voter fraud stemming from the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections. Maricle is serving more than 26 years in federal prison. Adams is serving a 293-month sentence, and one-time county clerk Freddy Thompson is serving a 150-month sentence.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Santa Train Makes Annual Run

{Shelbiana, Kentucky}…Families lined up in Shelbiana as early as 5:30 Saturday morning as the Santa Train began its 14 stop trip through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee to give out nearly 15 tons of gifts for children and families. This was the 70th annual ride through the Appalachian Mountains as the Santa Train headed for its final destination in Kingsport, Tennessee, where country husband and wife duo Thompson Square performed and officials held a parade. The event was sponsored by CSX, Food City, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and Dignity U Wear.

“Fire in the Mountains” Prayer Rallies Held

Citizens from across southern and eastern Kentucky joined together for an hour of prayer during “Fire in the Mountains” events Sunday. Prayer rallies were held simultaneously at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Somerset Christian School in Somerset and at the Old Corbin Civic Center in Corbin. The rallies were for people of all faiths who are concerned about drug abuse, addiction and recovery.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Deputy Judge- Executive Rejects ASPCA Offer

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…During a work session Friday, Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hayes announced the Pike County Animal Shelter will likely remain under the control of the Pike County Fiscal Court. Hayes says he had considered an offer from the Appalachian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to operate the facility, but he had decided to reject the offer. ASPCA President Cindy May Johnson says she was surprised and disappointed with the decision, and her group had made the offer because the Court had asked for help. Johnson made the point that the contract offer submitted to the Fiscal Court was only a working document, incomplete, with the details that would be developed after negotiations with the Court. Discussion focused on the ASPCA goal to make the shelter a “no-kill” or “low-kill” shelter. Hayes reported that approximately 80 dogs and 80 cats were euthanized at the shelter in October. Johnson countered that claim, saying it’s a “dirty little secret” that hundreds of healthy dogs and cats are killed and placed in the landfill. Johnson said, when it comes to other things, Pike County is the most progressive county in the state, but animal control and protection in the county is an embarrassment.

Pike County Escapees Sentenced

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…Twenty-three year old Chadrick Gibson of Island Creek and 23 year old Patrick Adkins of Kimper were sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to escaping from the Pike County Detention Center in September. Adkins was sentenced to two years, while Gibson was sentenced to five years. Gibson was also sentenced on two separate charges of receiving stolen property. For those charges he was sentenced to five years each, making his total sentence 15 years in prison.

Christmas Display Memorializing Cancer

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}…One Christmas display, the only one already lit up, at Archer Park this year is a new display memorializing both those who have survived and those who have been victims of cancer. The memorial holds special meaning for Archer Park manager Richie Schoolcraft, whose mother, Betsy Schoolcraft, died of cancer October 8th. Schoolcraft says people can make their own ornaments in memory of someone, or for someone who is a survivor, and hang them on the display. Other Christmas displays will come alive next week, and all will remain lit until January 1st.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Magoffin County Drug Bust

{Salyersville, Kentucky}...Friday, law enforcement officials from Operation UNITE, the Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office and Salyersville Police Department participated in a roundup aimed at arresting 25  suspected drug dealers. Most of the cases involved the sale of Oxycodone pills that have been brought into Kentucky from out of state.

As of 2:00 P.M., police had arrested 12 of the suspects.

Those charged and taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center are:

Dudley Allen, 27, Puncheon Creek Road, Royalton, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Gary N. Arnett, 40, Royalton Road, Salyersville, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Ruby Grigsby, 45, Jim Arnett Road, Salyersville, two counts trafficking in marijuana less than eight ounces.

William D. Howard, 40, Short Fork Road, Salyersville, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

William C. Hylton, 28, Old Burning Fork Road, Salyersville, one count first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Stephanie L. Keeton, 24, Route 379, Salyersville, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Tony R. Keeton, 38, Old Burning Fork Road, Salyersville, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Virgil Miller, 39, Oakley Road, Royalton, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Terry Paul Patrick, 51, Middle Fork Road, Salyersville, four counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Mikel Porter, 56, Porter Lane, Salyersville, cultivating marijuana less than five plants.

Nicole G. Risner, 40, Salyersville, five counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Robbie D. Sparks, 32, Route 378, Salyersville, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

West Liberty Residents Honored

{West Liberty, Kentucky}...During a ceremony organized by Kentucky State Police Friday, residents of West Liberty were honored for their efforts during and after the March 2nd tornadoes. The largest recorded coffee tree in the area was near the old court house and was destroyed in the tornadoes. Now, a new tree was planted in memory of what was lost but also as a sign of hope for the future. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rutherford Seeks Earthquake Exercise

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford is calling on state officials to provide an earthquake exercise in eastern Kentucky after Saturday’s 4.3-magnitude earthquake. Rutherford says he asked for a similar measure from the Director of Kentucky Emergency Management General last year after tremors from a 5.9 quake were felt in Pikeville, but he never received a response.  

Tennessee Leads Big Blue Crush

Heading into the last day of Big Blue Crush, Tennessee has pulled ahead by 13 donations, leading Kentucky 2,370 to 2,357. Martha Osborne, Executive Director of Marketing and Recruitment for Kentucky Blood Center says to beat Tennessee this year we need crowds of donors on Friday.

Man Found Not Guilty

{Hyden, Kentucky}…After several hours of deliberation Thursday, a Leslie County jury found Harold Pennington not guilty in the October 2010 murder of Norman Adams. Police say Norman Adams was beaten to death, and his body was thrown down a hill to make it look like an ATV accident. Prosecutors had claimed Pennington, Ricky Turner, Lonnie Callahan, Lonnie Ray Callahan and Millard Miniard had killed him. Ricky Turner, Lonnie Callahan, Lonnie Ray Callahan, and Millard Miniard will all go on trial at a later date.

Prestonsburg Officials Considering Annexation

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}…Prestonsburg officials are considering an annexation of property extending from the entrance to Stonecrest Golf Course to the Johnson County line, but not including Auxier. Councilman Don Willis says residents and businesses would benefit from different services, and that would outweigh any downsides. Councilman B.D. Nunnery says there's a small increase in taxes, but that is more than offset by the savings that you would receive including savings on your utilities and insurance rates. A town hall meeting is scheduled for January 28th to give people a chance to share their opinions.

Three Plead Not Guilty

{Barbourville, Kentucky}…Jonathan Ryan Foley's body was found Sunday in Knox County. He'd been missing since November 6th. George Marcum, James Wyatt and Chris Mills pleaded not guilty Thursday after being charged with Foley’s murder. Police say Foley was killed at Marcum's house and Marcum told them he helped move the body. They say Wyatt helped them find the body. According to arrest citations, Mills told police he moved Foley's truck and assisted in disposing of his body.

Judge Executive’s Daughter Faces Drug Charge

{McKee, Kentucky}…Thirty year old, Amanda Smith, the daughter of Jackson County Judge Executive William Smith, has been charged with manufacturing meth, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. Judge Executive Smith plans to work with drug fighting agencies and to offer programs to educate the public about the impact these drugs have on people.

Illegal Gambling Machines Destroyed

{Lily, Kentucky}…Thursday, Laurel County Sheriff's Deputies took dozens of illegal gambling machines to the landfill in Lily, and, in minutes, crushed them all. On June 12th, the Sheriff's Office confiscated machines from a business on U.S. 25. On August 8th, deputies confiscated machines at a business on KY 1006. Five people were arrested in the two unrelated investigations. Sheriff John Root says deputies recovered around $12,000 from the machines, and the money will go towards equipment at the Sheriff's Department.

U.S. Postal Service Reports Annual Loss

{Washington, D.C.}…Thursday, the U.S. Postal Service reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion and forecast more red ink in 2013. The financial losses for the fiscal year ending September 30th were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the agency is operating with little cash on hand. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, calling the situation "our own postal fiscal cliff," said, "It's critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn this year to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health."  

Much of the red ink in 2012 was due to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses. Without that and other related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion, lower than the previous year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Big Blue Crush Is On

The 25th annual Big Blue Crush, which pits Kentucky fans against Tennessee fans, runs through Friday and helps to ensure an adequate blood supply for the holidays. KBC has donor centers in Lexington, Pikeville and Somerset, and the city leaders in all three communities have proclaimed November 12-16 as Big Blue Crush Week. KBC donor centers are open 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. all week.

Kentucky Blood Center donors have claimed the Crush trophy the past two years, but Medic Regional Blood Center in Knoxville leads the competition 12 to 11 with 1 tie. Last year more than 3,200 Kentucky donors gave blood. This year, KBC officials hope to see 3,500. As of Wednesday afternoon, Kentucky led the Vols by a slim 22-point margin, 1,698 to 1,676.

Donors will receive a black, commemorative Big Blue Crush T-shirt, a coupon for a free McDonald's McCafe' beverage, a Bleed Blue wristband and a chance to win daily prizes.

"Cram the Cruiser" Food Drive

{Frankfort, Kentucky}…Kentucky State Police are again hoping to fill up their cruisers with food for needy families. Kentucky State Police posts are collecting donations for their annual "Cram the Cruiser" food drive, which runs through December 14th. KSP Post 9 Trooper Shaun Little says people are invited to bring non-perishable foods to any state police post. During last year's drive, they collected more than 25 tons of food.

Hearing On Deadly Meningitis Outbreak

{Washington, D.C.}…Former southern Kentucky Judge Eddie Lovelace's widow, Joyce Lovelace, testified Wednesday in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee during the first hearing to examine the meningitis outbreak that has sickened about 440 people and caused 32 deaths across the U.S. The outbreak has been tied to the New England Compounding Center, which distributed pain steroids that later tested positive for contamination. Health officials say as many as 14,000 people received the steroid shots, mostly for back pain. Republicans lawmakers focused on New England’s history of troubles, questioning why regulators at the FDA and the Massachusetts board of pharmacy did not take action against the pharmacy years earlier. A timeline assembled by the Republican staff shows that the FDA inspected NECC three times since 2002 for sterility issues. The Massachusetts board of pharmacy investigated at least 12 separate complaints involving the pharmacy, dating back to its founding. The Senate will hold its own investigative hearing Thursday.

Animal Cruelty Arrest

Deputies in Laurel County arrested 36 year old Rodney Gray Wednesday after they found a dog with no food or shelter on his property. Deputies say the ribs and back of the dog were visible. Gray is charged with animal cruelty.

McConnell Re-elected Republican Senate Leader

{Washington, D.C.}…U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell was unanimously re-elected Wednesday to serve as Republican Leader for the 113th Congress, making him only the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the U.S. Senate.  The other Senator from Kentucky to serve as his party’s leader was Alben Barkley. Senator McConnell was nominated by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), who each spoke on his behalf. This is the fourth time Senator McConnell was elected to serve as Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate.

Murder Trial In Leslie County

Five men are on trial for allegedly killing a Leslie County man. Police say Norman Adams was beaten to death in October of 2010, and Harold Pennington, Ricky Turner, Lonnie Callahan, Lonnie Ray Callahan and Millard Miniard threw his body down a hill to make it look like an ATV accident.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Santa Train Ready For Annual Run

{Shelbiana, Kentucky}…Country music husband-and-wife duo Thompson Square will be the special guests during the 70th annual run of the Santa Train. Volunteers loaded 15 tons of toys, food and other gifts onto the Santa Train Wednesday for its 110-mile run, which begins at 6:30 A.M. Saturday from Shelbiana, Kentucky and then goes through southwestern Virginia, and on to Kingsport, Tennessee. There will be 14 stops along the trip at which the gifts will be distributed. Called the world's longest Santa parade, the run this year is sponsored by CSX Transportation, Food City, the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and Dignity U Wear.

Standoff In Breathitt County

{Jackson, Kentucky}…Jonathan Hays is charged with four counts of wanton endangerment and one count of menacing following a nine-hour standoff with police in Breathitt County around 4:45 A.M. Tuesday morning. Police responded to the residence on a call of two men arguing. No one answered the door, but, as they were driving away, they heard shots being fired.

Man Charged With Assault

State Police arrested 28 year old Michael Golden of McKee and charged him with second degree assault and evidence tampering after he allegedly attacked 58 year old Dennis King in Jackson County Tuesday morning. King was later taken to the UK Medical Center.

Manslaughter Trial Postponed

Frances Garland and Kayla Pennington were expected to go on trial this week on charges of manslaughter, but the trial has been postponed. The pair was indicted in 2010 after 17 month old Andrew Hutchinson, a child they were caring for, ran out onto a Wolfe County highway and was hit by a car.

Caregiver Charged With Murder

{Barbourville, Kentucky}…Kentucky State Police have charged 49 year old Charlene Sue King of Barbourville with murder. Police say a preliminary investigation found that 75 year old Earl Carter of Barbourville died after he suffered multiple gunshot wounds. King, who was the victim's caregiver, has been lodged in the Knox County Detention Center.  

Man Dies From Accident

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…Monday, 43 year old Juan Ortiz of Frederick County, Maryland died at Pikeville Medical Center after being struck by a vehicle driven by Jamie Young of Virgie on November 8th. Police say Ortiz had parked his United Van Lines truck in the K-Mart parking lot on U.S. 23 in the Coal Run community of Pike County and crossed the northbound and southbound lanes of the highway. Ortiz was struck while returning to his vehicle. 

Suddenlink Prices To Increase

{Pikeville, Kentucky}…Suddenlink Director of Government Relation Michael Keleman sent a letter to Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford on November 1st notifying Rutherford that Suddenlink plans to increase customers’ rates effective the December 2nd billing cycle. In Keleman’s letter, he stated the increase is geared toward “improvements” and cited an 8.5 percent yearly increase in the cost of basic cable networks and broadcast TV stations. Keleman wrote Suddenlink is absorbing a portion of these costs increases and passing along a portion to customers. Rutherford wrote a strong letter to Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent opposing the rate increase. Rutherford stated in his letter that the current buyout of Cequel Communications, which operates as Suddenlink, is the real reason for the increase.

The following items are subject to the rate increase:

 expanded basic service will increase $3.50 per month;

 HBO/Cinemax will increase $1.50 per month;

 Showtime and Starz will each increase $1 per month;

  monthly modem rental will increase to $5;

  certain bundles without a guaranteed rate will increase by $5;

  Internet prices in certain promotional packages will
  increase by $3;

  monthly broadcast station surcharges will increase by
  $2.33; and

  taxes, fees and other surcharges will be adjusted

Former Breathitt County Superintendent Sentenced

{Lexington, Kentucky}…U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell in Lexington sentenced former Breathitt County School Superintendent 66 year old Arch Turner Tuesday to two years in federal prison and levied a $250,000 fine for leading a vote-buying conspiracy during the 2010 primary elections. Caldwell ordered the money paid immediately, noting that Turner made $150,000 a year as school superintendent and $75,000 annually for years before being elected as an administrator in the school system. Turner was Breathitt County School Superintendent from 2005 until his retirement this year. In July, Turner admitted distributing money to others to buy votes for candidates. His plea agreement said he also accepted money from another person to be used to purchase votes. Eleven others were convicted or pleaded guilty in related cases.

Monday, November 12, 2012

“Fire In The Mountains”

In 2003, Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-Somerset) worked to create Operation UNITE, a regional anti-drug initiative empowering citizens groups and community leaders in southern and eastern Kentucky counties. At 3:00 P.M. Sunday, November 18th, citizens will join together for an hour of prayer at three locations. These free regional “Fire in the Mountains” events are for people of all faiths who are concerned about drug abuse, addiction and recovery.
Prayer rallies will be held simultaneously at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Somerset Christian School in Somerset, and at the Old Corbin Civic Center
in Corbin.

Fatal Accident In Floyd County

 {Melvin, Kentucky}…On Sunday, Post 9 Pikeville received a call of a single vehicle accident on Ky 122 in the Melvin community of Floyd County. Police say 50 year old Clifford Hall of Melvin was traveling West on Ky 122 when the vehicle he was operating exited the roadway and overturned into a creek. Hall was pronounced dead at the scene by Floyd County Coroner Greg Nelson. The accident remains under investigation by KSP Trooper John Dixon. 

Three Charged In Knox County Murder

{Trosper, Kentucky}…Forty-two year old John C. Mills, 52 year old George Marcum and 33 year old James Wyatt have been charged with murder in the death of Jonathan Foley, who would have turned 27 last Friday, two days after he was killed. Barbourville Police say Foley’s body was found over an embankment beside a gravel road in the community of Trosper late Sunday. Police began investigating a report Nov. 7 that Foley was missing. They learned that Foley had been killed that day. Steve Owens, a detective with the Barbourville Police Department, says Foley had been in the Kentucky National Guard and had been deployed to Iraq, but he didn't think Foley was still in the service.

Body Found In Floyd County

{McDowell, Kentucky}…Kentucky State Police in Floyd County are investigating after the body of 38 year old Matthew Wayne Wright was found floating in a creek near a railroad bridge in Frasure's Creek in McDowell Sunday afternoon. Police believe he was walking across the abandoned bridge when he fell. The body has been sent to Frankfort for an autopsy.

Floyd County Trails Open

{Prestonsburg, Kentucky}…Two years ago the German Bridge Campground in Floyd County was about to be shut down, but, since then, officials have pushed to keep the campground open. The Big Sandy Trail Riders Club recently got 10.7 miles of trails around Dewey  Lake approved. Big Sandy Trail Riders Club President Denzil Allen says little construction is needed on existing roads people used before the dam was put in. All trails are open and ready to use. The new trail lines connect to the existing 25 miles of trails in the area and form a loop around Dewey Lake.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Man Faces Explosives And Drug Charges

{Dorton, Kentucky}…Forty-eight year old Anthony Barron of Dorton was arrested early last week after drug related items and  bomb making materials and finished explosives were found at his residence after police received complaints that he was setting off explosives near other residencies. Barron was convicted on explosive charges in 2005 and drug trafficking in 2004.

Lawmakers Focus On Retirement Systems

{Frankfort, Kentucky}…Kentucky lawmakers are debating whether to borrow nearly $1 billion to plug a hole in the Kentucky Retirement Systems. The money would come from "pension obligation bonds" sold to the public, with the proceeds invested financially at KRS. At present, KRS is $12.3 billion short of what it expects to need in coming years to honor its pension obligations to state and local government retirees. State Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, co-chairman of a legislative task force studying the state pension system, says, "It's the principle of taking on debt to pay more debt." Thayer's task force is now discussing whether to issue $780 million in pension bonds for KRS, the other major pension fund, an idea put on the table last month by consultants from the Pew Center on the States. In 2010, the state was ordered to begin issuing $888 million in 10-year pension obligation bonds to assist the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System, which covers more than 110,000 active and retired schoolteachers.