Friday, May 31, 2013

Officials Map out Safety plan for new trail line

A new line of trails is about to open to the public in Eastern Kentucky, and officials are hitting the path to figure out how they can keep people safe.

The first section of the Dawkins Trail Line in Johnson and Magoffin counties will open in June.

They broke ground on it last year and now it is almost ready.

The Dawkins Trail Line is part of the Kentucky Rails to Trails program, converting abandoned railroad tracks into public trails.

Once opened motor vehicles will not be allowed, but Johnson County officials kicked up some dust Wednesday for a special reason.

They teamed up with Kentucky Park Rangers scoping out the piece of the 36 mile trail that runs through Johnson County.

One main focus was locating potential landing zones for air medical response, and they seemed to have success.

A ribbon cutting for the trail is scheduled for June 15.

The Dawkins Line is 36 miles through Johnson, Magoffin and Breathitt counties.

A Hero Laid To Rest

It was a farewell fit for a fallen hero and a funeral filled with tearful tributes.

A community came together Thursday for an emotional farewell to a murdered police officer. Hundreds took part in a final tribute to Officer Jason Ellis.

To honor to Officer Jason Ellis' service and sacrifice, thousands of American flags and hundreds of citizens lined the city’s streets for miles.

Hundreds of fellow law enforcement officials led the funeral procession and with each passing car it became clear how many lives Ellis' death impacted.

As the funeral procession passed by the bystanders, there was only silence. A quiet reverence to honor a man who served his community with dignity and respect until the day he died.

Thursday would have marked Officer Jason Ellis' seventh anniversary at the Bardstown Police Department.

Reward Grows in Officer’s Death

A Louisville business man has made a substantial donation to the reward fund established for information leading to an arrest in the murder of Officer Jason Ellis.

It was announced at a press conference held Thursday morning at the Bardstown Police Department.

The owner of a lending company out of Louisville, Gus Goldsmith, has donated $50,000 toward the reward fund.

Goldsmith says he did not know Ellis, or his family, but he does know what it’s like to have a family member murdered and not know who is responsible.

Goldsmith’s brother was killed in a robbery 38 years ago, and the killers were never found. Goldsmith feels that if someone had offered a large reward back then, it may have helped them find the killer.

The donation raises the reward for information leading to an arrest in Officer Jason Ellis' murder to over $100,000.

On top of the $50,000, Goldsmith has also donated an additional $10,000 to go toward Ellis’ wife and two sons.

Puppy Mill Busted

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. - Police have charged two people with animal cruelty, after finding what they believe to be an illegal puppy mill at a home in Knox County.

19 dogs and puppies are now under new care, which officials from the animal rescue group Justice for Abused Animals say is far better than the conditions they were once living in.

Police and rescue officials say they took the dogs from their previous owners Curt and Patricia Burko.

Curt and Patricia Burko were both charged with two counts of animal cruelty. Both are lodged in the Knox County Detention Center.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Even minority lawmakers want to avoid having federal judges handle legislative redistricting

House Republicans who would take a shellacking under a redistricting plan proposed by Democrats still insist they don't want federal judges to redraw legislative boundaries in Kentucky.
The Democratic majority in the House has a redistricting proposal ready that could force 11 House Republicans to run against each other next year. And Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has said he plans to call lawmakers to Frankfort for a special legislative session later this year to deal with the issue.

State Rep. Ben Waide of Madisonville is one of the Republicans who would be forced to run against a GOP colleague to keep his seat under the House Democrats' proposal. Yet Waide is among GOP lawmakers who say the Legislature shouldn't relinquish its duty to redraw political boundaries to the court system.

State officials celebrating 25th birthday of college savings plan

State officials are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust.
The state savings plan has helped thousands of Kentuckians pay for college.

The plan allows parents to put money into a variety of investment plans to save for college. Any earnings in the plan are tax free when withdrawals are used for education expenses.

The plan's administrator, David Lawhorn, says there are nearly 14,000 accounts.

Some Kentucky families have been able to use the savings plan to help their children graduate without any debts. A ceremony marking the quarter-century anniversary of the plan is Wednesday in Frankfort.

New Fire Department marks beginning of Martin redevelopment

MARTIN, Ky. -- Since its establishment in 1926 the City of Martin has had nine major floods destroying homes and businesses.

For more than one decade officials have been working to create a redevelopment site that would literally move and protect the city.

City and state officials gathered at the new Martin Fire Department for a moment they say will go down in the history books.

Officials including Congressman Hal Rogers help cut the ribbon in front of a new Martin Fire Station now marked as the first building to be built on the redevelopment site.

The site was leveled off above where Martin currently sits as a place to relocate homes and businesses otherwise in trouble of serious flooding.

Officials say moving the fire station was a great first step for the City of Martin, and they say the next step is to move City Hall and the police department as well.

The building cost $1.2 million.

Construction began in 2011.

Education Director visits Eastern Kentucky

LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. -- Teachers, school officials and Kentucky Education Association members met in Letcher County Wednesday to host the National Education Association Executive Director, John Stocks.

Stocks is visiting the region to get a glimpse of the education system in rural Appalachia, and it took him only a few hours to fully appreciate Eastern Kentucky educators.

Stocks is taking a tour of several rural regions across the country, including Appalachia. Wednesday's stops took him through Letcher County and to Arlie Boggs Elementary School.

The school is the oldest school in Letcher County and officials say this is the exact kind of school they wanted Mr. Stocks to see.

State and school officials also discussed proposed government funding cuts, that they fear could shut down the school.

And Educators hope Stocks will help their voices be heard during times like these.

Stocks will continue his tour today in Knox County at Union College.

Former Pennington Gap police chief sentenced

BIG STONE GAP, Va. Former Pennington Gap Police Chief William Bryan Young will serve nine years in prison for staging the burglary of a town pharmacy and conspiring to sell the haul of prescription painkillers.

U.S. District Judge James P. Jones sentenced Young, 39, of Duffield, Va., to federal prison Tuesday in Western District court in Big Stone Gap, following a plea agreement that also includes $11,571 in restitution and $200 in fines, court records show.

Young had headed the town's Police Department for nearly a year when federal agents arrested him in October following a two-year investigation initially focused on other suspects.

In December, he pleaded guilty to the September burglary of a local Rite Aid and to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, court records show.

Also pleading guilty in December to similar charges were co-defendants Kevin Andrew Young, 35, Chris Miles, 35, and Jimmy Edward Johnson, all of Duffield. They have not yet been sentenced.

Young set up the burglary by telling his police officers to quit working the evening of Sept. 27, 2012, so that he would be the only officer on duty that night and early into the next morning, court documents show.

Woman Dies in Pickup vs. Coal Truck Crash

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. -- A woman died, and four others were injured Wednesday in a crash between a pickup truck and a coal truck on U.S. 23 near the intersection of Ky. 201, Johnson County authorities say.

It appears the woman killed was riding in the bed of the blue Chevrolet pickup truck. Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby said he was called to the scene after reports of a fatality.

The woman who died is identified as 36-year-old Maranda Martin.

A man believed to be riding in the bed of the pickup truck was seriously hurt and flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital. Both the man and Martin were thrown from the pickup truck.

Three other people riding in the cab of the pickup truck were taken to the hospital by ambulance.

The crash was reported just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, closing two lanes of U.S. 23 for several hours.

Investigators say it appears the pickup truck, which was pulling a trailer loaded with wood, had turned south onto U.S. 23 from Ky. 201 when it was struck from behind by the coal truck.

The driver of the coal truck was not hurt.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear releases state, federal income tax returns that show he made $252K in 2012

Gov. Steve Beshear and his wife have released their 2012 state and federal income tax returns showing their total income was just more than $252,000.
That includes the governor's nearly $133,000 salary from the state, plus nearly $56,000 in dividends, more than $37,000 in capital gains and more than $25,000 in Social Security benefits.

Beshear released his income tax returns on Tuesday, as he has done each year since he became governor in 2007.

The Beshears' total income grew by more than $50,000 over 2011.

Volunteers with the Adopt-a-Highway program to be scrubbing roadsides week of June 2

Volunteers will be out in force across Kentucky cleaning up roadsides.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet set the Adopt-a-Highway Summer Scrub Week for June 2 through June 8.

Nearly 750 groups participate in Kentucky's Adopt-a-Highway program, which was established in 1988. Volunteers clean approximately 5,100 miles of roadside annually.

The Adopt-a-Highway program promotes public environmental awareness and supports tourism. State officials say the program also creates a partnership between citizens, community and government; and establishes a sense of pride in the Bluegrass State.

Pair Arrested for Indecent Exposure

WHITESBURG, Ky. -- Two people in Letcher County are facing charges because police say they were walking down the road, drunk and naked.

Kentucky State Police officers say they arrested a man and a juvenile in Dry Fork around 9:45pm Tuesday.

Police say the two were drunk, naked, and gesturing at passing vehicles.

The pair have been charged with indecent exposure. Their identities have not been released by authorities.

Six Die on Ky. Roadways over Memorial Day Holiday Weekend

(Frankfort, KY) -- Preliminary statistics* indicate that six people died in six separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways during the official Memorial Day holiday period, which began at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24 and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 27.

Through May 26, preliminary statistics* indicate that 214 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 78 less than reported for this time period in 2012.

Man from West Virginia missing in Pike County

SOUTH WILLIAMSON, Ky. -- A man from West Virginia is missing after his family members say he last spoke to his wife on Saturday night. He was last seen at the Sweet Dreams Suites Hotel in South Williamson.

Family members say 37-year-old Stephen Daniels, from West Virginia, last spoke to his wife, Christina Daniels, Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. Christina Daniels says he was walking next to a river by his hotel to smoke during the call. They say he works in South Williamson for his construction job, and they still live in West Virginia.

Family members say Stephen Daniels always calls his wife multiple times a day.

Kentucky State Police declared him missing on Sunday. Stephen Daniels and his wife have three sons.

If you have information about Stephen Daniels, you should call the Kentucky State Police at (606) 433-7711.

Kentucky Ranks 8th for most Declared Disasters

Kentucky has declared 56 major disasters since 1953 according to FEMA's website. That's the eighth highest in the country.

Of Kentucky's 56 major disaster declarations, most were due to flooding.

Many will never forget some of the worst natural disasters here in Eastern Kentucky including the '57 flood, the '77 flood, the 2010 flood in Pike County, the blizzard of '93 and of course more recently the March 2nd tornadoes.

While Kentucky ranks 8th overall for major disaster declarations, the Commonwealth ranks 5th for flooding declarations.

Governor Beshear Directs Flags to Half-staff in Honor of Fallen Bardstown Officer

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear has  directed that flags at all state office buildings be displayed at half-staff on Thursday, May 30, 2013, in a mark of respect for Officer Jason Ellis, a fallen Bardstown police officer.

Gov. Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute Thursday, which is the day of Officer Ellis’ funeral and interment.

“We grieve with Officer Ellis’ family and fellow law enforcement officers at this unspeakable loss. Our prayers are with them,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of someone committed to a career of protecting others. And we know his fellow law enforcement officers are working to bring his killer to justice.”

According to Kentucky State Police, the officer, who was in uniform, was shot and killed outside his cruiser early Saturday on the Exit 34 ramp of the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County. State police describe the shooting as an ambush and have appealed to the public for tips and information in the case.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Prestonsburg Community Center Discussed

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. -- Plans are moving forward for a community center in Prestonsburg. City Council members say the next step is picking out and purchasing property to build the new facility.

Council members say they've been discussing a community center for awhile and believe it is something their community wants but more importantly needs.

Tentative plans have been drawn for one of the proposed sites, the old Prestonsburg Elementary property. That property sits next to City Hall and officials say that particular site is already prepared for construction.

Council members say some of the things they hope to include in the community center are a gymnasium, swimming pool, shooting range, weight rooms, a walking track, and party rooms.

Once property is purchased officials say they then will apply for grant money and make more detailed plans for the center. City Council members say another location that was discussed is at the Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

Funeral Held for Kentucky State Police Trooper

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. -- More than 100 law enforcement officials from throughout the state gathered together at Johnson Central Middle School to remember their fellow officer, Trooper Alex Rubado, who lost his battle with cancer last week.

Before becoming a state trooper at Post 9 in Pikeville, Rubado was a member of the Prestonsburg, Paintsville, and Frankfort police departments.

Trooper Rubado was 40-years-old.

Fort Knox draws 400 for Memorial Day observance commemorating soldiers

More than 400 people turned out at Fort Knox to commemorate and honor military troops past and present.
The ceremony Monday at the central Kentucky military post paid tribute to late Pfc. David P. Nash. Nash was a native Kentuckian who grew up in Whitesville and Medal of Honor recipient.

While serving in Vietnam in 1968, Nash rolled onto an exploding grenade, sacrificing himself and saving the lives of three fellow soldiers.

About 100 members of his family attended the service.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pikeville Fire Destroys Several Buildings

A fire engulfed several  buildings Friday afternoon in Pikeville destroying everything in both.

One of those buildings was Second Stage costume shop, and family members of the owner say it was a landmark in Pike County for nearly three decades.

It all started around 3:30 Friday afternoon.

Officials say it was so windy Friday afternoon that it fueled the fire and allowed it to spread very quickly.

No one was injured.

Officials say they do not know what started the fire.

Pikeville Fire Department is investigating.

Firefighters Battle Another Suspicious Fire in Martin County

MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. -- Arson investigators were on the scene of a house fire in Martin County on Saturday morning. Officials say the structure was empty and they say this has become common in the Warfield area.

Officials say the amount of suspicious fires involving abandoned structures is alarming.

Firefighters say when they arrived on scene just after 8 o'clock Saturday morning on Riverfront Road, smoke was seen coming out of the exterior floor vents. Officials say they contacted the Kermit Volunteer Fire Department to assist and the fire was eventually located underneath the floor boards.

Fire officials say this is the second time they've responded to this particular structure and they say both of those fires are suspicious.

The fire is under investigation by Kentucky State Police Post 9.

Officials encourage anyone with information to contact Kentucky State Police or the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

One Dead in Pike County Crash

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. -- A crash in Pike County killed one person, and temporarily shut down a busy highway on Sunday.

U.S 23 in Coal Run was reopened completely at 10:30 Sunday evening.

Little information is being released, but we are told at least one person is dead.

Officials say it involved a motorcycle. Kentucky State Police is investigating.

Bikers Honor Slain Sheriff

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. – More than 100 bikers from around the region rode into Mingo County this weekend to take part in the “Poker Run” memorial ride in honor of Sheriff Eugene Crum.

Crum was murdered in early April while eating lunch in his car.

The ride began in Williamson and went past the spot where Crum was killed, then out into Mingo County past his grave.

During his 93 days in office, Crum’s department managed more than 50 drug convictions.

Rosie Crum, Eugene’s widow who was named sheriff after his murder, came to the Poker Run.

The ride was originally scheduled for early May as part of Rally in the Valley, but it was delayed because of rain.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pike County Budget Reached

The Pike County Fiscal Court met in special session today to continue to work on reaching a budget.

After a lengthy closed executive session, Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford announced that a budget had been reached.

A first reading of the budget was held.  The total budget for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 came to $38,077,385.00.  A second reading will be held at the next Fiscal Court meeting. 

Here’s the breakdown of total budgeted appropriations:

Total General Fund:         10,631,747.00
Total Road Fund:               8,501,690.00
Total Jail Fund:                  4,875,390.00
Total L.G.E.A. Fund:         5,512,727.00
Total Federal Grand Fund:              0.00
Total Forestry Fund:               29,128.00
Total Solid Waste Fund:     6,458,076.00
Total LGEDF Fund:               539,787.00
Total Maint Garage Fund:   1,528,840.00

Freedom Riders Raise the Flag

In remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Freedom Riders today dedicated a flag pole and raised the American Flag during a ceremony at Myers Towers in Pikeville.

Several residents along with veterans attended the ceremony this morning at 11:30.

Another Scam in the area

are being threatened with jail time for debts they do not even owe.

Officials in Johnson County say several people are getting phone calls from fake debt collectors saying if they do not pay up in so many hours they will be arrested.

But officials say you cannot be arrested for owing money.

Officials say the best thing to do is use common sense. If you get a phone call that seems suspicious, hang it up before you lose any money or your identity gets stolen.

Officials say if you get one of these calls report it to authorities right away and never give out personal information.

Kentucky State Police Announce Top Officers

 (FRANKFORT, Ky.)--- The Kentucky State Police announced the 2012 Trooper of the Year, Detective of the Year, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer of the Year and other awards for acts of bravery, life-saving, professionalism and dedication to duty today at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.

Manchester-resident Tpr. Charles J. Senters was named 2012 Trooper of the Year. An eight-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police, he is assigned to KSP Post 11 in London.

During 2012, Tpr. Senters issued 1,322 citations. He arrested 26 individuals for driving under the influence, investigated 47 motor vehicle crashes, responded to 433 complaints, opened 62 criminal investigations and made 180 criminal arrests.

In addition to his traffic enforcement efforts, Tpr. Senters also solved a 44-year-old cold case resulting in a murder indictment. In another case, he was able to arrest two individuals for a robbery and violent murder within six days. Through numerous search warrants, interviews and evidentiary items, he was able to build a case in a drug- related missing person investigation which resulted in three federal murder indictment warrants.

Senters is a 1997 graduate of Clay Co. High School and a 2004 graduate of Somerset Community College. He is the son of the late Charles E. Senters and Pamela Y. Whitehead of Manchester.

Pikeville-resident Det. Jimmy D. Anderson was named 2012 Detective of the Year. An eight-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police, he is assigned to KSP Post 9 in Pikeville.

During 2012, Det. Anderson had an impressive list of accomplishments including a murder charge stemming from a collision where a local law enforcement officer was fatally injured; the arrest of multiple subjects in a $35,000 forgery case; a murder charge relating to an out-of-state missing person; the recovery of more than $1.5 million in stolen equipment; the location of the body of a missing female and the arrest of her husband and a pending murder indictment in a 16-year old cold case.

A 1983 graduate of Johns Creek High School, Anderson is the son of the late Billy Anderson and Helen Anderson of Pikeville.

London-resident Officer Michael R. Hamblin was named the 2012 Jason Cammack Officer of the Year for the KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. A six year veteran of the division, Hamblin is assigned to CVE Region 4 based in London.

Officer Hamblin maintained a high level of activity in 2012 with a total of 2,400 citations and 222 arrests including 131 DUI arrests. He opened 16 criminal cases and investigated 25 collisions. He performed 673 safety inspections that removed 95 drivers and 115 vehicles from the roadway. These numbers gave him a 26.9 percent vehicle-out-of-service rate and a 14.1 percent driver-out-of-service rate, which are both well above the national average.

A graduate of South Laurel Co. High School, Hamblin is the son of Roy and Lola Hamblin of London.

The KSP Citation for Bravery, an honor bestowed on officers of the agency who perform acts of bravery, without regard for personal risk, of clear and obvious peril and clearly above and beyond the call or risk of ordinary duty, was presented to:

Lt. Brenton Ford, Post 2, Madisonville
Sr. Tpr. Timothy Sales, Post 2, Madisonville
Sr. Tpr Emilio Soto, Post 5, Campbellsburg
Lt. Thomas W. Lilley, Post 6, Dry Ridge
Sr. Tpr. Jesse A. Armstrong, Post 7, Richmond

The Lifesaving Medal, awarded to officers who perform life-saving acts under extraordinary circumstances, was presented to:

Tpr. Jonathan D. Moore, Post 8, Morehead
Sr. Tpr. Scott Bunch, Post 11, London
Sr. Tpr. Edward S. Jones, Post 11, London
Sr. Tpr. Leslie T. Moses, Post 11, London

The Citation for Meritorious Service with “V” Device for Valor, bestowed on officers of the agency who distinguish themselves by an act of courage performed under more than ordinary circumstances, was presented to:

Sgt. Aaron D. Beighle, Post 6, Dry Ridge
Det. Christopher L. Jaskowiak, Post 6, Dry Ridge
Tpr. First Class McTavish L. McDonald, Post 6, Dry Ridge
Sr. Tpr. Steven A. Robb, Post 6, Dry Ridge
Sgt. Erik S. Kouns, Post 14, Ashland
Tpr. Joseph A. Vorbeck, III, Post 14, Ashland

The Guthrie Crowe Award, named after the first Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police and bestowed upon officers of the agency who sustain a severe wound or injury in the performance of duty, was presented to

Sr. Tpr. Jimmy L. Halcomb, Jr., Post 10, Harlan

Eighteen troopers were named Trooper of the Year at the post, branch or division level. They include:

Sr. Tpr. Eric D. Fields, Post 1, Mayfield
Tpr. Jonathan C. McGehee, Post 2, Madisonville
Sr. Tpr. Gregory L. Dukes, Post 3, Bowling Green
Tpr. Jerry L. Clanton, Post 4, Elizabethtown
Sr. Tpr. Joshua D. Noble, Post 5, Campbellsburg
Sr. Tpr. Jeremy C. Moore, Post 6, Dry Ridge
Sr. Tpr. James Glen Reed, Post 7, Richmond
Tpr. William Brent Sparks, Post 8, Morehead
Tpr. Adam L. Hensley, Post 9, Pikeville
Sr. Tpr. Danny E. Caudill, Post 10, Harlan
Sr. Tpr. Charles Jeffery Senters, Post 11, London
Tpr. First Class Ronald L. Turley, Post 12, Frankfort
Sr. Tpr. Charles J. King, Post 13, Hazard
Tpr. Devan L. Cleaver, Post 14, Ashland
Sr. Tpr. Bryan K. Shepard, Post 15, Columbia
Tpr. James T. Gaither, Post 16, Henderson
Sr. Tpr. Toby E. Young, Special Operations Branch
Tpr. First Class Jason D. Young, Driver Testing Branch

Nineteen troopers were named Detective of the Year at the post, branch or division level. They include:

Det. Brett S. Miller, Post 1, Mayfield
Det. Daniel P. Morck, Post 2, Madisonville
Det. Erik C. Salman, Post 3, Bowling Green
Det. Ryan T. Johnson, Post 4, Elizabethtown
Det. Kurt B. Buhts, Post 5, Campbellsburg
Det. Gerald A. Fieger, Jr., Post 6, Dry Ridge
Det. Monte H. Owens, Post 7, Richmond
Det. Christopher S. Fearin, Post 8, Morehead
Det. Jimmy D. Anderson, Post 9, Pikeville
Det. Keith A. Saylor, Post 10, Harlan
Det. Don C. Sivils, Post 11, London
Det. David Brennan, Post 12, Frankfort
Det. Christopher G. Collins, Post 13, Hazard
Det. Benjamin C. Cramer, Post 14, Ashland
Det. Bramlett J. Burton, Post 15, Columbia
Det. Timothy Allen Payne, Post 16, Henderson
Det. Brandon B. Curlis, East Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations
Det. George L. Atwood, West Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations
Det. Christopher L. Frazier, Electronic Crime Branch

Seven Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers were named Officer of the Year at the region level, including:

CVE Officer Harold E. Mosley, II, Region 1, Henderson
CVE Officer Jeremy T. Duvall, Region 2, Louisville
CVE Officer Brian C. Gilliam, Region 3, Georgetown
CVE Officer Michael R. Hamblin, Region 4, London
CVE Officer Jerry C. Hudson, Region 5, Morehead
CVE Officer Tony L. Brashear, Region 6, Pikeville
CVE Officer Bobby R. Allen, Jr., Programs Branch, Frankfort

The 2012 KSP Safe Driving Awards, which recognize the KSP post and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement region with the highest average number of safe driving miles between assessable accidents, were presented to KSP Post 4 in Elizabethtown and CVE Region 2 in Louisville. Post 4 had a record of 1 million, 410,702 miles with no assessable collisions. Region 2 had a record of 776,002 miles with no assessable collisions.

The KSP Citation for Meritorious Achievement, the agency’s highest civilian award bestowed upon individuals who performed an extraordinary act of service or heroism in direct support of an officer of the agency engaged in the official performance of duty, was presented to:

Deputy Steve Madden, Webster Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
Deputy Dean Murray, Henry Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
Deputy Kevin Berry, Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Dept. (now with the Laurel Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)
Sheriff Charles Rechtin, Bracken Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
Deputy Herb Rumford, Bracken Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
Ervin Sorrell, Glasgow, Ky.
David Kemper, Upton, Ky.

3 days, 4 jail inmate escapes in eastern Ky., all still on loose

Eastern Kentucky authorities are plagued with a series of jail inmate escapes this week.
Getson Roberts remained on the loose escaping from the Clay County Detention Center.

Brandon Damron slipped away on work release while an inmate at the Pike County Detention Center.
 Ricky Hendrix found an unlocked door at the Leslie County Detention center and used it to get away.
 William Feltner jumped from a moving inmate transfer van on the way to the Kentucky River Regional Jail.
Residents with information regarding these escapees should contact their local authorities.

Firefighters in Ky. town devastated by tornado last year collecting goods for Oklahoma victims

Firefighters in a Kentucky town that is still rebuilding after being devastated by tornadoes last year are collecting goods to send to tornado victims in Oklahoma.
West Liberty Assistant Fire Chief James Phipps said that officials there wanted to help in some way because "we know what they are going through."

Much of the small city's downtown was wiped out when a twister hit on March 2, 2012.

The deadly tornado that struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday also caused much devastation and damaged or destroyed as 13,000 homes.

Phipps says Moore residents should hold onto hope. He says the recovery will take time, but with help from others, it will happen.

Phipps says the fire department is accepting donations until 5 a.m. Saturday.

County jobless rates released for April 2012 to April 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 23, 2013) – Unemployment rates decreased in 49 Kentucky counties between April 2012 and April 2013, while 63 county rates rose and eight stayed the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. 

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5.4 percent. It was followed by Oldham County, 5.6 percent; Fayette County, 5.9 percent; Ohio and Shelby counties, 6 percent each; Daviess and Scott counties, 6.1 percent each; Franklin and Hancock counties, 6.2 percent each; and Boone, Henderson, Madison and Spencer counties, 6.3 percent.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate — 16.9 percent. It was followed by Leslie County, 15.8 percent; Fulton County, 15.6 percent; Harlan County, 15.5 percent; Letcher County, 15.3 percent; Bell County, 14.2 percent; Knott County, 14.1 percent; Jackson County, 13.3 percent; Menifee County, 13.1 percent; and McCreary and Perry counties, 12.7 percent each.

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks. The statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted because of the small sample size for each county. The data should only be compared to the same month in previous years.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pikeville Medical Center Joins Mayo Clinic Care Network

Officials from Mayo Clinic and Pikeville Medical Center announced this afternoon that PMC is the latest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. 

According to officials with both facilities, this networking will allow health care providers at PMC access to Mayo Clinic resources regarding questions of diagnosis, therapy or care management.

The Mayo Clinic Care Network launched in 2011 and has member organizations based in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

The Mayo Clinic Care Network represents non-ownership relationships.  With Mayo Clinic, members of the network share a commitment to improve the quality and delivery of health care.

PMC provides high-quality compassionate care to a region of more than 420,000 people in 15 counties and the states of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Six Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week (May 13 through May 19)

 (Frankfort, KY) -- Preliminary statistics* indicate that six people died in five separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways from Monday, May 13 through Sunday, May 19, 2013.

Through May 19, preliminary statistics* indicate that 196 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 72 less than reported for this time period in 2012. As of May 19, Kentucky has had 37 days with zero highway fatalities reported during 2013.

Walmart Employee Arrested for Stealing

WHITEBURG, Ky -- A Letcher County man was arrested Wednesday night, and charged with theft by unlawful taking.

Whitesburg police say Lenville Hendrix, 22, stole laptops, speakers and 20 iPads valued at $300 a piece from the Walmart in Whitesburg.

Officers say Hendrix was an employee at the Walmart.

Authorities say Hendrix told police he was stealing to support his addiction to suboxone.

Hendrix was arrested in Neon. He is at the Letcher County Jail.

Expanding Medicaid program will worsen doctor shortage in Kentucky

The planned expansion of Kentucky's Medicaid program coupled with a push to help the uninsured obtain health coverage will worsen the state's shortage of physicians.
That's the conclusion of Deloitte Consulting, a technology firm that's helping to set up the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced earlier this month that he will expand the state's Medicaid program to cover an additional 300,000 people, most of them the working poor who don't now have insurance coverage. In addition, Beshear has ordered the creation of the health benefit exchange to help more than 300,000 others get insurance coverage.

The influx of more than 600,000 new patients could strain medical providers in the state, which already needs an additional 3,790 primary care physicians and specialists.

Number of coal jobs in Kentucky at lowest point since 1950

A state report shows the number of coal jobs in Kentucky has dwindled to its lowest point since 1950.
The data comes from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in reporting that the 13,109 people worked in the coal industry during the first quarter of 2013. That is the least amount of workers since state officials began keeping records in 1950.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett says the numbers aren't surprising but called them "very concerning."

Employment at Kentucky coal mines has decreased by almost 5,700 workers in eastern Kentucky over the last 18 months and production has fallen by 42 percent.

In contrast, coal production in Western Kentucky was up in the first quarter of 2013.

Johnson County Residents Sign Up For Severe Weather Notifications

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. -- Johnson County residents now have a new tool to help them combat severe weather. There are two simple words to remember: CODE RED.

The automated alert system, allows the staff with 911 and the Emergency Management office to warn people about a severe weather threat.

The system is already in place, with close to 8,000 people who've signed up.

There is a push to sign up many more of the more than 20,000 residents in the county as soon as possible.

Residents have three options when they register,  they can sign up if there are warnings for tornadoes, flash floods and thunderstorms.

Any Johnson County resident who'd like to learn more, can contact the Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management Office at 606-789-2260.

Body Found in City Park in Pikeville; No Foul Play

PIKEVILLE, Ky. -- Investigators say foul play is not suspected in the death of man whose body was found in City Park in Pikeville.

Pikeville Police received a call about 1 a.m. Wednesday concerning the body.
Police say the victim is a Hispanic man. His body has been sent to Frankfort for an autopsy and identification.

Investigators also say they are following up on leads and the case remains an active death investigation.

Governor Beshear Directs Flags to Half-staff in Honor of Victims of Oklahoma Tornadoes

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset Friday, May 24, as a mark of respect for victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes.

Gov. Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pike Fiscal Court faces Budget deadline

During a Pike County Fiscal Court meeting yesterday, no budget was presented to the members however following an executive session, Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said progress is being made.

A Special Called meeting of the Fiscal Court has been scheduled for this Friday morning at 9 AM.  It is expected a budget could be agreed upon during that meeting.

Richie Farmer’s sister resigns state position

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's sister has resigned as assistant executive director of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Rhonda Monroe had been placed on paid leave on March 19, a day after she and Farmer were charged by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission with filing false documents that allowed Farmer to claim excess expenses from his 2007 re-election campaign fund.

According to officials, Monroe resigned effective May 16.

Monroe did not give a reason in the letter for her resignation.

The registry's executive director, Sarah Jackson, responded with a letter accepting Monroe's resignation due to a pending investigation into alleged misconduct.

Morgan County Judge Executive offers support to Oklahoma tornado victims

WEST LIBERTY - Perhaps nobody can understand more what the Oklahoma tornado victims are going through than those who were affected by the March 2, 2012, tornado outbreak in Kentucky.

One of the hardest-hit areas that day was Morgan County.

The EF3 tornado killed seven people there and caused $250 million in damages.

Morgan County Judge Executive Tim Conley said the images of devastation from Oklahoma are haunting.

Conley and other elected officials in Morgan County plan to issue a proclamation to offer support to the Oklahoma tornado victims.

That proclamation will be mailed to the mayor of Moore, where most of the damage is centered.

Attorney General Conway Shares Information on Charitable Giving

Attorney General Jack Conway today issued a warning to Kentuckians who may be interested in donating to assist storm victims in Oklahoma.

“Please make sure that you donate to a reputable relief agency – like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army or efforts organized through your place of worship,’ said General Conway.  “Many times scammers are lurking in the shadows trying to capitalize on the generosity of others during times of tragedy.”

Monday’s tornado in Moore, Okla. appears to be one of the worst storms on record in the United States.  Many of the victims are school children who were huddled inside an elementary school.

Tips for Wise Giving from General Conway
• If you are contributing over the Internet, make sure that the website you are visiting belongs to a legitimate, established, and registered charity, and that the website and the charity match. Also, you should make sure the site is secure and will offer protection for your credit card number.

• Check to see if the charity is registered and filing with the Office of the Attorney General.  Registration and filing information can be obtained online in Kentucky by visiting and

• Know your charity. Take the time to verify the address, phone number, contact information, and review the website and written material, when possible. Consider a charity's history, purpose, track record, percentage of donations that goes to those in need and reputation.  Never give to a charity you know nothing about. If you have any doubts, well-established charities with experience in disaster relief or organizations established with support from government agencies are generally a good choice.

• Check out websites such as and, where you will find additional information to help you understand a large number of charities. Examine your options. Do not feel compelled to give to the first charity you come across. There are a number of established organizations already responding to the diverse needs created by the tragedy; in time, there may also be legitimate, smaller charities that will emerge to focus on specific populations and communities.

• Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion. A legitimate charity will tell you how it's using your money to address this horrific disaster.

• Ask lots of questions. How much of the money goes to the charity and how much to a professional fundraiser? Ask who employs the telephone solicitor, if your contribution is tax deductible and what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions that might remain after the victims' needs are addressed.

• Beware of professional fundraisers who try to make their solicitations sound like they are coming directly from the charity itself or volunteers.

• Do not pay by cash. Pay by check, and make it out to the charity (use its full name - don't use initials), not the fundraiser. Never give your credit card number to a fundraiser over the telephone. If the fundraiser directly approaches you, ask to see identification.  It is best to mail your check directly to the charity.