Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eleven Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week (Jan. 21 through Jan. 27)

 (Frankfort, KY) -- Preliminary statistics* indicate that 11 people died in 11 separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways from Monday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.

Two single-fatality, motor vehicle crashes occurred in Jefferson County. One of the fatalities was not wearing a seat belt.
One single-fatality, motor vehicle crash occurred in each of the following counties: Adair, Christian, Clark, Estill, Laurel, Nelson and Pike. The victims in Christian, Estill, Laurel, Nelson and Pike were not wearing seatbelts. The Pike County crash involved the suspected use of alcohol.

One pedestrian was killed in Hardin County and the suspected use of alcohol was involved. One pedestrian was also killed in Metcalfe County.

Through Jan. 27, preliminary statistics* indicate that 40 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is eight less than reported for this time period in 2012. Of the 32 motor vehicle fatalities, 18 victims were not wearing seat belts. One of the two motorcycle fatalities was not wearing a helmet. Five pedestrians have been killed. One fatality involving an animal drawn vehicle has been reported. A total of nine fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.

More information about Kentucky crashes can be found on the KSP website at http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/tip.htm.

Four arrested in Prestonsburg with meth lab

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. --- Four people in Floyd County are behind bars accused of running a meth lab.

Police say they got a report of a strong odor coming from an apartment in the Green Acres complex in Prestonsburg. When they searched it they say they found Harry McCoy, Douglas Blackburn, Ronald Wicker, and Laura Tackett with meth precursors and several narcotics.

They briefly closed off the apartment to decontaminate it. Police say no nearby apartments are in danger.

All four are being charged with possesion of meth and possession of meth precursors.

Counties looking at budget cuts due to dwindling coal severance money

HAZARD, Ky --- It is no secret that coal production is down in some eastern Kentucky counties, and less production means less coal severance money for counties in the area.

Coal severance money is used to fund anything from county road departments, jails, fire departments and special projects like the Sportsplex in Knott County.

Knott County Deputy Judge Executive Greg Mullins says the county has lost about $1.2 million this year.

Mullins now fears the payroll for people who work at these places may be cut along with other services in the county that people depend on.

In Harlan County, Judge Executive Joe Grieshop says at this time they will not have to make any layoffs.

He says he anticipated the loss in coal severance funding, but the dwindling coal severance is causing them to make adjustments in their budget especially in the road department.

State Representative Fitz Steele has pre-filed legislation that would keep 100 percent of coal severance money in the counties where it was produced, but critics say it is not likely to pass.

Knott County murder case sent to grand jury

HINDMAN, Ky. --- A Knott County murder case is headed to the grand jury.
Jerry Combs, 34, is accused of killing Eric Fugate, 30, after police say the two men got into an argument.

Fugate's family reported him missing on January 17. Police found his body near an old mining road the next day in the Triplett Branch area of Knott County.

Prosecutors yesterday convinced District Judge Dennis Prater there was probable cause to send the case to the grand jury.

Police are waiting on several pieces of evidence to be returned by the state medical examiner, who ruled Fugate died from multiple stab wounds.

Combs is lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Federal charges filed in UVA Wise hoax

ABINGDON, Va. --- A University of Virginia at Wise student accused of falsely reporting a gunman on campus is facing federal charges.

Bryant Alexander Hairston is charged in a criminal complaint with knowingly making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations. Federal authorities filed the complaint Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

The university's police department charged the 20-year-old Martinsville resident last week with falsely summoning law enforcement officials.

Hairston is accused of calling 911 shortly before 9 p.m. on Jan. 23 and reporting that he had seen a gunman on campus. The call prompted university officials to place the school on lockdown.

Oily sheen discovered on Letcher County stream

CROMONA, Ky--- An oily sheen on a stream in Letcher County has nearby residents scratching their heads, but officials with the Kentucky Division of Water say there is no cause for alarm.

The sheen was found on Bear Branch in the Cromona community. Officials have not yet determined exactly what the substance is, but they believe it is diesel fuel. They say the slick should dissipate before it reaches Whitesburg downstream and should not affect drinking water.

Investigators determined the sheen originated on a property on Austin Road. A contractor has been hired to clean up the site.

Laid off workers get help with mortgage payments

PINEVILLE, Ky. -- Ninety laid off coal miners in Bell and Whitley Counties are getting help with mortgage payments through a state program called the Unemployment Bridge Program, and officials say they can help many more people.

Officials say the program offered through the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center helps people who were laid off or had work hours reduced through no fault of their own and demonstrates a need for assistance.

"We can pay their mortgage if they can bring in the paperwork. A lot of people don't know their eligible because there is not an income guideline, so if the spouse works, that doesn't make you ineligible," said Anna Brock, Housing Counselor at the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency.

The program can help with mortgage payments for 18 months or $30,000, whichever comes first.

Officials say to sign-up to see if you qualify, all you have to do is fill out the paperwork.

To apply for the program, you can visit the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency office in Pineville or you can call toll free (866) 830-7868.

Police make drug arrest after traffic stop

HARLAN, Ky-- Deputies say they found drugs after pulling over an impaired driver in Harlan County.

It happened on U.S. 421 near downtown Harlan.

Joshua Green was arrested and faces a variety of charges.

Deputies say they found several pills believed to be OxyCodone and nearly $250 in cash.

Hatfield, McCoy artifacts now available for public viewing

They have been in the ground for 125 years, but now you have the opportunity to see artifacts from the Hatfield and McCoy feud.

A team from the National Geographic Show "Diggers" found the never before seen items last year, and officials are now hoping people will come from around the world to see them.

"Before this all we had were legends and stories found out through the families. This is the first ever tangible evidence from the feud, so it's tremendous," said Bill Richardson, an extension professor with West Virginia University.

Bullets, a piece of the burnt cabin, and household items now sit in a display case at the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce in Williamson, West Virginia.

Bob Scott who owns the property where the artifacts were found turned them over for public viewing on Monday.

Last year, a team from the show "Diggers" found the items where Randall McCoy's house used to sit. They had an archaeologist come in to look at the items which dated back to the late 1800s.

They hope by putting the artifacts on display it will boost tourism and the economy.

"Feud tourism has had a $20 million impact on eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, and this is going to bring even more people here to look at these artifacts," said Richardson.
The artifacts will stay at the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce through the end of the Summer.

UNITE officials disagree with proposed hemp bill

FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Some state officials say industrial hemp could bring jobs to Eastern Kentucky, but not everyone says it is a good idea.

“In Kentucky, we have a desperate need to create jobs. Our farmers need to have new opportunities. Senate Bill 50 will accomplish both of that,” says Agricultural Commissioner James Comer.

If passed, Senate Bill 50 will create a framework for the use of industrial hemp, for if and when it is passed federally.

Comer is spearheading the legislation, and says there is a lot of support for the proposed bill.

However, some law enforcement officials say it could create more problems, since it looks similar to the marijuana plant.

“Of course, all people are going to be saying [all plants seized] is hemp, and all those will have to be sent to the lab for laboratory purposes, and of course, that's going to be a large financial burden on the state police,” said Dan Smoot

Comer addressed the issue Monday at a Commission meeting by saying most officers can tell the difference between the two plants.

“Most of the sheriffs come from farm backgrounds they know the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana,” says Comer.

Some officials say they were not invited to the meeting.

“I nor my state police counterpart major terry were informed of so basically they had the hemp commission meeting today without law enforcement present,” says Smoot.

The bill is expected to be sent to the Senate Agriculture Committee when the General Assembly resumes its regular session next week.

Work continues on Spicy Mountain

MARTIN COUNTY - January 28, 2013 - Highway District 12 officials report good
progress on Spicy Mountain (KY 40) in Martin County. Crowd Transporters crews are
repairing the break near the Johnson County line. Traffic has been reduced to one
lane since the early morning pavement collapse on January 17.
 
Brittany Ball, an engineer with Highway District 12, said that the road needs to
remain closed to all traffic from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. for a few more days.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rogers Announces $45 Million USDA Loan


PIKEVILLE, KY - Today, U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) announced the
approval of a $45 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture -
Rural Development (USDA-RD) for a much needed expansion project for the
Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) in Pikeville, Kentucky.

"The Pikeville Medical Center is rapidly outgrowing its facilities and this
loan will fast-track the hospital's expansion project," said Rogers. "Our
rural region suffers from some of the highest health disparities in the
nation, but I commend PMC President/C.E.O. Walter May for his vision and
commitment to changing those statistics and diligently working to relieve
our families from healthcare burdens. I also applaud the USDA-Rural
Development office for recognizing the direct impact its funding support
will have in improving medical services for the thousands of families who
rely on healthcare at the Pikeville Medical Center."

The loan will be used to construct two additional floors to the parking
garage and convert the top three floors of the medical office building into
physician exam rooms. In 2010, the medical center was awarded a $44.6
million Community Facility Direct loan to construct a new medical office
building and a parking garage. This additional funding is vital to meet the
hospital's dramatic growth since construction began on the original project.


Pikeville Medical Center is a regional facility, providing health care
services to a rural population of nearly 69,000 in Eastern Kentucky and
portions of Virginia and West Virginia.

Rogers has served Kentucky's 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a
focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and
preserving Appalachia's natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening
to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents

Paying by credit card could get even more expensive

LEXINGTON, KY. --Starting yesterday, paying by credit card could get more expensive. Under the terms of a $7.2 billion settlement reached last summer between credit card companies and merchants, merchants can now impose a surcharge on customers who pay with plastic.

National experts say there's really no way to know how many businesses will add the processing fee to their customers bottom line.

Consumer advocates say folks should never 'check out' when settling up--every business adopting a credit card fee has to have a sign by the register.

If you ever waffle about which card to use, experts say additional charges don't apply to American Express or Debit card users. They also say cash remains king.

National experts say websites that impose credit card fees must post something about those fees on their homepages.

Cause determined in deadly Letcher County house fire

LETCHER COUNTY, Ky --- There's more information Sunday night into what caused a fire that killed a southeastern Kentucky woman.

Virginia Lowe, 73, was killed in the fire Friday night in her Thornton home in Letcher County.

Officials now think a wood or coal burning stove in the back of the house caused the fire.

Family members say Lowe owned the home and lived there with her son and granddaughter.

House forging ahead with redistricting proposals

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Despite a request from Gov. Steve Beshear to put off redistricting until later this year, state House Speaker Greg Stumbo is moving forward with getting proposals on the divisive issue.

Stumbo said after the proposals come in, lawmakers would decide whether to try to tackle redistricting during the 2013 General Assembly, which resumes on Feb. 5 and is set to end March 26.

Beshear said delaying the redistricting issue would allow lawmakers to devote more time to reforming the state's pension program for government retirees and for reforming the state's tax code. He raised the specter of a special legislative session to deal with redistricting.

West Liberty fire officials still investigating Sunday morning fire

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. -- Crews are investigating a fire that destroyed a log cabin Sunday morning.

Fire officials tell us the fire broke out about 11:30 on Highway 364 in West Liberty.

By the time crews arrived to the house, it was fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters believe the fire possibly started in the back of the house near the kitchen.

Investigators haven’t been able to determine the origin of the fire because the scene was still too hot on Sunday afternoon.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Leslie County mining accident kills one

The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing is investigating the death of a Perry County man, Jerry Watts.

Watts died after a mining accident at the Begley mine site of T&T Energy.

The Leslie County coroner says Watts received blunt force trauma that ultimately killed him.

Officials say Watts took that trauma to the head when a jack slipped on a bulldozer blade liner that he was welding.

The mine site has been shut down since the accident, and some say the investigations surrounding it could keep it closed for more than a week.

The owner of T&T Energy, Tony Hamilton, says "Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Jerry's co-workers and family. This has been devastating for all of us."

The company often contracted Watts for welding work.

He was 52 years old and leaves behind his mother, wife and teenage daughter.

Gov. Beshear Urges Kentuckians to Apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit



LEXINGTON, Ky. - As part of National Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day, Governor Steve Beshear today launched his annual campaign to urge eligible Kentuckians to apply for the tax credit.  The EITC is a refundable federal tax credit for low- and middle-income working individuals and families.
“Nearly half a million low-wage earning Kentucky taxpayers are eligible to receive the EITC and I encourage everyone who is eligible to apply for this credit,” Gov. Beshear said. “Despite being employed, many hardworking Kentuckians and their families face financial struggles and this credit is a valuable resource they can use to help buy food and clothes, pay bills and more.”
In tax year 2011, Kentuckians filed nearly 401,000 EITC claims for a total of more than $905 million in benefits statewide. The average awarded credit was $2,255. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an estimated 15 to 20 percent of eligible workers still do not claim their EITC benefits, mostly due to lack of awareness.
Gov. Beshear announced a list of nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where trained and IRS-certified volunteers will assist Kentuckians with filing their taxes and applying for EITC. To find information about these sites, including addresses, phone numbers and if appointments are required, visit http://assistance.ky.gov/ or www.kaca.org.
For information about tax preparation sites outside the 2-1-1 calling area, taxpayers may call Community Action Kentucky at (800) 456-3452. Eligibility for the EITC is based on income and household composition, as is the amount of the credit. Families who earned up to $50,270 in 2012 could be eligible for EITC. More extensive qualification information is available at http://assistance.ky.gov/.
These partners and coalitions include the IRS, the United Way of Kentucky, Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, Community Action Kentucky, Department of Revenue, AARP Tax Aide, Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Project, Louisville Asset Building Coalition, Green River Asset Building Coalition, Barren River Asset Building Coalition, Eastern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition, Northern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition, Northeast Kentucky Asset Building Coalition and the Purchase Area Asset Building Coalition.
For more information on National ETIC Awareness Day, please visit http://www.eitc.irs.gov/ptoolkit/awarenessday/.

Friday, January 25, 2013

UVA Wise student arrested after 911 call

WISE, Va. -- Police have arrested a UVA Wise student after a 911 call caused the campus to go on lock down Wednesday night.

Bryant Alexander Hairston, a sophomore at UVA Wise, has been charged and arrested with falsely summoning law enforcement officials.

According to Virginia State Police, Hairston called 911 around 9 p.m. Wednesday to report a gunman on campus. When interviewed by special agents with the Virginia State
Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's, he confessed that it was a hoax.

Man arrested for allegedly stealing from Norfolk Southern Railroad

MIDDLESBORO, Ky-- A Bell County man is arrested on charges he stole equipment from Norfolk Southern Railroad.

Middlesboro Police say 24 year old Matthew Hall took a radio from Norfolk Southern and sold it to a pawn shop.

The radio is valued at $700.

Police say Hall admitted to stealing it.

He is charged with receiving stolen property

Letcher sheriff reports string of copper thefts

WHITESBURG, Ky. -- Copper thefts are keeping police in one county busy. Now, officers say the suspects are getting more brazen, and putting themselves in grave danger.

The Letcher County Sheriff says he has been receiving calls for the last few weeks, complaining of people tampering with electrical lines. He says the department is getting close to making some arrests.

The Letcher County Sheriff says the calls started about a month ago, complaints of power lines disappearing.

"What they're stealing off the power line is the ground wire that runs across the bottom that gives the electricity a ground back from the pole," said Sheriff Danny Webb.

The sheriff checked with the power company, and sure enough, they had been experiencing cable thefts in Letcher County since at least late October of last year.

The sheriff says the department has been following a number of leads, and says several arrests should be made soon.

Officials say if you see downed cables or anyone tampering with power lines, you should report that activity immediately.

Kentucky is third most medicated state in U.S.


FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway spoke about the commonwealth's problems with prescription drugs.

The Attorney General says Kentucky is the third most medicated state in the nation and sees more people die from prescription overdoses than car wrecks.

Conway says that medication abuse has troubled many throughout the bluegrass.

"It’s an issue that's touched almost every family in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It's touched mine. I've seen it first hand and you all have seen it first hand in your jobs and in what you're trying to do," Conway said.

Conway says three people die every day in Kentucky due to prescription pill overdoses.

Magoffin Co. School Board suing state for new school

MAGOFFIN COUNTY, Ky. -- Nearly 11 months after a tornado destroyed a Magoffin County middle school school board officials say they are tired of fighting with the state to get it replaced.

They say the state is not offering them enough money for a suitable replacement, and Thursday they filed a multi-million dollar suit against the Kentucky School Board's insurance trust.

Magoffin County school officials say 11 months is too long for the middle school to sit ripped apart and completely unusable.

Knott County officials propose budget plans

KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. -- Knott County is facing a more than $900,000 deficit, and Thursday night, officials came together to discuss their options.

With a deadline looming, a committee discussed how to balance Knott County's budget, before the state takes action.

Thursday night's discussion led to three possible budget plans that will be presented to the fiscal court for approval.

The first is a combination of budgetary cuts, layoffs and a revenue plan that will make up the 9-hundred thousand dollar deficit, as well as provide additional revenue through an occupational tax.

The second is the same combination of cuts and layoffs but without a revenue plan.

The third is a total shutdown of county government, which will leave only state mandated offices up and running.

The budget committee is expected to meet again today to possibly vote on a final budget plan.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Drugs go up in flames in Floyd County

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. --- Thousands of dollars worth of drugs went up in flames Wednesday in Floyd County.

The sheriff's office burned marijuana and thousands of prescription pills.

The sheriff says the drugs are from nearly 65 cases that were recently closed, and most of them were confiscated within the past year.

"We're still continuing doing it and still making buys. We're going to keep fighting this problem that we have. It's a very bad problem, and we're going to continue fighting it," said Sheriff John K. Blackburn.

The sheriff says all the drugs were worth nearly $150,00

Man scamming Johnson Co. businesses

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. --- Police in Johnson County are looking for a man accused of scamming several stores out of hundreds of dollars.

Employees at a few convenience stores told police the man is stealing, but they say he is using a unique tactic.

"He's paying for the items, but then essentially he's trying to get the money back and more," said Deputy Terry Tussey. He says the man is trying to confuse the employees to get the money.

Deputies say the man has hit at least three stores in Johnson County, but they are still looking for him.

Officers say the man has gotten away with nearly $400 total from three stores and are not sure where his next target might be.

Police say the suspect is a black man believed to be about 5'11" and weighing around 170 pounds. He was last seen driving a red Kia Soul.

Anyone with information should call the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

New organ donor emblem on KY driver's licenses aimed at increasing awareness

LEXINGTON, KY -- Kentucky is making a push to increase organ donations across the state by introducing a symbol printed directly onto organ donors' driver's licenses.

They have also created a statewide database of donors.

The program was introduced today at the Department of Motor Vehicles on Lexington's Regency Road. Officials were joined by those whose lives have been affected by organ donation -- either because the life-saving donation was available, because they're still hoping and waiting, or because it didn't come in time for their loved one.

Every day, 18 people on waiting lists die before finding a match. In Kentucky, only 35% of the population is registered to donate their organs.

If you would like to register as an organ donor, or check your registration status, you can do so at your local DMV, or online at DonateLifeKY.org

State trooper killed in off-duty accident remembered

CLARK COUNTY, Ky. --- Police officers across the state are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Police say Trooper Anson "Blake" Tribby, 25, crashed his pickup into a tow truck on I-64 in Clark County.

Flags at KSP Post 8 in Morehead where Trooper Tribby was a 2.5 year veteran...were flying at half-staff Wednesday in memory of the Mason County native.

The crash happened in the eastbound lanes around 7 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after another crash involving a car that was on fire in the westbound lanes.

Police say Tribby was off duty at the time, and was in his personal vehicle, a 1999 Toyota pickup truck. Kentucky State Police say he ran into a flatbed wrecker operated by John Masterson, age 54, of Winchester, KY.

Trooper Tribby was pronounced dead at the scene by the Clark County Coroner. Masterson was not seriously injured.

The crash remains under investigation. State Police say that Tribby came from a law enforcement family. His father had recently retired as a detective from the Commonwealth Attorney's Office in his native Mason County.

Survey: Ky. horse industry worth billions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The first statewide survey of Kentucky's horse industry in more than 30 years estimates the value of horses and equine-related assets at more than $20 billion.

The Kentucky Equine Survey found that the Bluegrass state was home to 242,400 horses in 2011, with thoroughbreds the winner among breeds.

The horses bred for racing were the most prevalent breed in the state at 54,000. Quarter horses numbered 42,000, followed by Tennessee walking horses and saddlebreds.

The survey estimates the value of horses and horse-related assets at $23.4 billion.

The last comprehensive snapshot of Kentucky's horse industry was done in 1977.

The results are the first phase of a survey conducted by the Kentucky field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, with help from the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Horse Council.

Incentives offered to help reopen Kentucky Kingdom

LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- Investors seeking to reopen Kentucky Kingdom are being offered financial incentives of up to $300,000 annually.

The Courier-Journal reports the offer from Metro Louisville officials and the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau came as Gov. Steve Beshear endorsed a lease deal Tuesday night with potential park operators.

The actions come as the Kentucky State Fair Board prepares to vote Thursday on the proposed lease with Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co., which is led by businessman Ed Hart.

The park, which is owned by the fair board, has been closed since 2009 when Six Flags walked away from its lease during a bankruptcy reorganization.

Investigation into Harlan Co. Sheriff's Office missing money

HARLAN, Ky. --- A Kentucky State Police investigation is underway following allegations of missing money at the Harlan County Sheriff's Department.

A state audit shows $37,668 is missing from the drug fund.

The state audit says the money is unaccounted for in the account used for drug buys in cases.

The state audit report says from January 2007 to June 2012, $194,500 was taken from the account, but only $156,830 was advanced to detectives for drug buys.

"As of today, a formal written letter was brought from the Sheriff's Office requesting Kentucky State Police to investigate this incident and at this time, the investigation is just now getting started," said Trooper Shane Jacobs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

State trooper killed in crash on I-64 in Clark County

CLARK COUNTY, Ky. --- Interstate 64 east of Winchester, was the scene of a crash that killed a Kentucky State Police trooper.

The crash happened in the eastbound lanes just after 7 p.m. Tuesday at mile marker 99.

Trooper Anson Tribby, 25, of Maysville, was killed in the crash.

At this point, police haven't released many details about what led up to the crash, other than it happened shortly after another crash involving a car that was on fire in the westbound lanes.

Police say Tribby was off duty at the time, and was in his personal vehicle.

Tribby was a 2 1/2 year veteran.

Bryan Durman Act to change Senate Bill 15, toughening sentences

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- They say all too often the punishments don't fit the crimes!

Now some prosecutors and lawmakers are supporting an act that would strengthen sentences for people convicted of crimes currently not considered violent.

It's named in honor of Lexington Police Officer Bryan Durman who was killed in the line of duty in 2010.

Officer Durman's death is generating a revision to Senate Bill 15.

Officer Durman was killed by a hit and run driver, Glenn Doneghy, who was convicted of second degree manslaughter. Doneghy received a 20-year prison sentence.

But under Kentucky law, that charge is considered nonviolent.

If this act were already in effect, then Doneghy would have to serve 17 years instead of just four years before being eligible for parole.

Two bodies found in Leslie County home

THOUSANDSTICKS, Ky. --- There are lots of unanswered questions after a man and woman were found dead in Leslie County. The bodies were discovered after a welfare check by police at a home in the Thousandsticks community.

State police confirm two people, Steven Wells and April Sizemore, were found dead inside their home on Upper Bull Creek Road in Thousandsticks. Leslie County Sheriff's

Deputies went to the home around 5 p.m. Tuesday evening.

"Upon their arrival, they made entry. There was two subjects that was located deceased. Our detectives now got an active open case for death investigation," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Randall Coots.

Police say the circumstances surrounding the two deaths remain unclear. Investigators did say a gun was found inside the house. Police say the families have been notified.

The causes of death have not been determined. Both bodies will be sent to Frankfort Wednesday for an autopsy.

Initiative to get smoke detectors in Pike County homes

 
PIKEVILLE
– The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet’s Division of Fire Protection today announced a partnership with the Kidde Co. and the Pike County Firefighters Association to install 250 smoke detectors in homes throughout Pike County. A fire that killed four children, their father and seriously injured their mother earlier this month brought attention to the dangers of living in a house without a smoke alarm.
 
A press conference at the Pikeville Fire Department Training Center detailed plans for the initiative and many people spoke about the program’s importance.
 
“Your job is the same as mine,” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford told those in attendance, most of whom were firefighters. “We have to keep the citizens of Pike County safe, and that is why we are here today.”
 
The Kidde Co., located in Mebane, N.C., is a manufacturer of fire safety products including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers and has donated the smoke detectors.
 
Nearly 250 smoke detectors were donated by the Kiddie Co. In order to receive a free smoke detector, contact your local fire department in any way – phone calls, e-mail, facebook – and request a detector. Your name will then be added to a list, that list will be taken to firefighters association president Randy Courtney and disbursed through local fire departments. 
 
Doug Tackett, Pike County Emergency Services Director, who is also the county’s fire department coordinator, said the free smoke detectors are another step toward safety and education.
 
“We know fires are going to happen,” Tackett said. “What we are trying to do with the fire safety trailer, going into schools and now the smoke detectors is to try and educate people and take preventative measures so in the event of a fire, the likelihood of a casualty or casualties will be drastically minimized.”
 
Taken the safety a step further, a member of your local fire department will install the smoke detector for those who receive one, to ensure proper location and installation.

Recycling is extending life of Pike County landfill

JOHNS CREEK – Diverting waste from landfills can extend its like dramatically. In 2012, Pike County’s landfill got a little bit younger.

Over 450 tons of recyclable material was diverted from Pike County’s landfill last year as a direct result of residents’ increased awareness to recycle.

“We are lucky to have a landfill here in Pike County,” Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “As more and more of our residents start to recycle, the size of our landfill can stay the same size for many more years and be used for many more years.”

Rutherford is referring to policies in regard to diversion of recyclable materials that, when successful, cause a landfill to grow minimally or stay the same size. An example of successful diversion would be if the number of landfills in the United States, which is 3,000, was reduced or stayed the same.

Secretary of State Grimes Selected to Give Keynote Address at National Voting Summit

On January 24, 2013, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will present a featured keynote address regarding military voting at the Overseas Vote Foundation and United States Vote Foundation’s 7th Annual Summit at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
“The Voting Summit is a great opportunity to share ideas and experiences related to military and overseas voting,” said Grimes. “Increasing our collective understanding of the challenges facing voters stationed or living abroad and the solutions available will help us to ensure that those who risk their lives on the battlefield have their voices heard at the ballot box.”
Grimes was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Summit to share her firsthand impressions of the specific problems facing military voters. Since taking office, Grimes has worked extensively with Kentucky’s military, including those stationed at Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell, to educate them on voting processes and ensure equal access to the polls. In September 2012, Grimes traveled to Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain with other secretaries of state selected by the United States Department of Defense to evaluate the status of military and overseas voting. While in the Middle East, Grimes met with military members in the field, thanked them personally for their service and discussed with them their experiences voting while on active duty.
The Summit brings together election stakeholders from all arenas, including federal and state election officials, corporations, technologists, academics, congressional staffers and other non-governmental organizations and overseas American organizations. The 2013 Summit will include discussions of post-2012 election research and address challenges to improving the franchise for uniformed service and overseas voters, as well as domestic absentee voters.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Staying Safe with Space Heaters

Pikeville, KY--- Staying warm -- for millions of Americans, that includes using extra space heaters in the dead of winter.

The CPSC estimates more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in 300 deaths and roughly 6,000 injuries.

When buying and installing a small space heater, the CPSC recommends following these guidelines:
§                       Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label.
§                       Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
§                       Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
§                       Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
§                       For liquid-fueled heaters, use only the approved fuel. Never use gasoline. Follow the manufacturer's fueling instructions. Never fill a heater that is still hot. Do not overfill the heater -- you must allow for the expansion of the liquid. Only use approved containers clearly marked for that particular fuel and store them outdoors.
§                       Have vented space heaters professionally inspected every year. If the heater is not vented properly, not vented at all -- or if the vent is blocked, separated, rusted, or corroded -- dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can enter the home, causing sickness and death. CO also can be produced if the heater is not properly set up and adjusted for the type of gas used and the altitude at which it is installed.
Also, be sure to place smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Guard against carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings, as well, by installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

Senate leader looks for "fresh start"


WASHINGTON -- The Senate's top Republican says President Barack Obama's second term represents "a fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day."

Mitch McConnell's statement followed the public swearing-in of Obama for a second term, and an 18-minute inaugural address in which Obama urged Congress to find common ground over the next four years.

During the address, Obama previewed an ambitious second-term agenda. He said in an era of looming budget cuts, the nation has a commitment to costly programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden earlier were sworn in, as part of a public ceremony that followed their private oath-taking yesterday -- the day the Constitution says the second term begins.

The crowd that extended across the National Mall didn't rival the record-breaking gathering of four years ago, but still numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

Woman found dead outside her Breathitt County home

JACKSON, Ky. --- Police are investigating the death of a Breathitt County woman whose body was found outside her Jackson home Sunday.

Details are sketchy, but the Breathitt County coroner has identified the woman as 57-year-old Charlotte Neace Barnett. Police have not determined a cause of death, but it is believed Barnett had been missing for some time.

Barnett's body was found behind her residence off of Elk Ridge Road in Jackson. Police are not sure what caused Barnett's death, but they say foul play is not suspected.

The coroner said he was expecting to hear preliminary findings from the state medical examiner soon, but a full report may take three to four weeks.

Officials hope air quality study brings changes

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. --- Results of an air quality study in Floyd County were released last week. The study focused on air inside of workplaces and what secondhand smoke does to the overall quality.

Officials say the effects of secondhand smoke were evident after a report released in 2006. Jean Rosenberg with Breathe Easy Floyd County explains, "The surgeon general of the United States declared there is no safe level of secondhand smoke."

Officials with Breathe Easy Floyd County used that information to successfully implement a smoke-free work place ordinance in Prestonsburg. Rosenberg adds, "In 2009 we passed a comprehensive workplace ordinance...we always expected to expand that into all of Floyd County."

Researchers from the University of Kentucky completed a study comparing the air quality of workplaces under the ordinance with workplaces outside the city limits. Rosenberg says, "It is a dramatic thing to finally scientifically measure air quality in workplaces."

Officials say the results of this study show the smoke-free laws in Prestonsburg were effective in improving air quality and they hope this will help them move forward in getting smoke-free laws in place throughout Floyd County.

Rosenberg says, "If you are a worker, you're much safer if you work in the city limits under the comprehensive ordinance."

Officials hope all of Floyd County can eventually breathe easy. They encourage anyone concerned about air quality and secondhand smoke to contact your local magistrate.