Friday, June 28, 2013

Pre-trial Conference Continued in Letcher County Sexting Case

A Letcher County man accused of sexting underage girls will be back in court later this year.

A pre-trial conference was scheduled Wednesday for 20 year old Koree Stewart, but was continued until August.

Police say they found photos of nude underage girls on Koree Stewart's phone last December.

He faces several charges, including possession and distribution of matter portraying sexual performance by a minor.

Stewart pleaded not guilty earlier this year.

Letcher County Man Indicted

A Letcher County man is facing theft charges.

A grand jury indicted Johnny Coomer earlier this week on a receiving stolen property charge.

Officials say he knowingly had four stolen calves, which had been taken from Jeremy Goodson.

If convicted, Coomer faces five years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.

Unemployment rates up in 78 Counties

Officials with the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training say unemployment rates have increased in 78 counties between May 2012 and May 2013.

Nine of the top 10 counties with the highest rates are in Eastern Ky.

Magoffin County had the highest at 17.5%. Leslie County came in 3rd at 17%. Harlan County was 4th at 16.3%.

Magoffin County Team Honored

The tornado outbreak of March 2, 2012, devastated thousands of people in Eastern Kentucky, but it also paved the way for stories of inspiration to rise from the rubble.

For high school basketball players in Kentucky, winning a regional championship is a big deal.

But the circumstances surrounding the Magoffin County Lady Hornets when they won the 15th region in 2012 make the title even more memorable.

Now they have even more hardware to show for it. The National Federation of State High School Associations presented the Lady Hornets with the Spirit of Sport award this week in Denver.

The Lady Hornets won the 15th region tournament three days after their home county was ripped apart by the tornado.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Whayne Supply Anniversary

Whayne Supply officials are celebrating 100 years as a company and held an event to commemorate the event in Pikeville on Wednesday.

Company officials have now traveled to all ten locations throughout the state to celebrate the milestone with both current and retired employees. Pikeville was the final stop on their anniversary celebration tour.

President Monty Boyd says, "Even though the coal industry is kind of depressed and down, we still felt it was important to recognize this commemorative year and pay it it right."

County and city officials were on hand for the celebration as well as a representative from Senator Mitch McConnell's office.

Carcinogens Not Detected in Kentucky Public Drinking Water

A new study conducted by the Kentucky Division of Water Safety finds no significant levels of cancer-causing heavy metals in Kentucky's public drinking water supply over a 12-year period.

The same study found no correlation between coal mining and higher occurences of cancer mortality.

The study looked at drinking water data from all of Kentucky's public water systems between 2000 and 2012.

Researchers were making sure cancer-causing metals in the water were below maximum contaminant levels or M.C.L.s, established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"What we found essentially was in the case of the two carcinogens, arsenic and chromium, all of the facilities from all of the samples statewide were below the M.C.L.s," said Dr. Albert Westerman, one of the researchers on the study.

Responding to concerns that coal mining might increase local cancer mortality rates, Westerman says they also compared coal-producing regions to the rest of the Commonwealth.

"What we found there was there was no significant difference between the cancer incidents among any of the regions."

Doctors caution coal dust carries its own health risks, and runoff from mining sites does occasionally enter the water supply, but Division of Water officials say they monitor that, to make sure what comes out of the tap is good to the last drop.

While researchers found water leaving public water supply systems is of high quality, they say issues like off taste or discoloration can occur for some users.

They encourage anyone with water quality concerns to contact their water provider.

Six Arrested Following Drug Investigation In Floyd County

Six Floyd County residents were arrested Tuesday following a drug investigation by Kentucky State Police.

Those arrested were:

-- Monroe Shepherd of Martin was charged with first-degree trafficking a controlled substance and two counts of second-degree trafficking a controlled substance.

-- Lori Stone of Martin was charged with first-degree trafficking a controlled substance and second-degree trafficking a controlled substance.

-- Jennifer Moore of Martin was charged with second-degree trafficking a controlled substance.

-- Sheena Slone of Allen was charged with first-degree trafficking a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a minor.

-- Joe Hall of Harold was charged with first-degree trafficking a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking a controlled substance.

-- Sherry McDonald, of McDowell was charged with two counts of first-degree trafficking a controlled substance.

The arrests were part of an ongoing drug investigation by Kentucky State Police.

An Army post with few fighting troops: Downsizing means Fort Knox to lose lone combat brigade

In axing a dozen combat brigades in the face of steep spending cuts and the wind-down of two wars, the Army says it's trying to ease the sting by spreading it around.
But one post stands out on the list of 10 installations targeted in Tuesday's announcement of a major restructuring that has been a long time coming: Kentucky's Fort Knox. In losing the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, the famed post an hour south of Louisville will soon know what it's like to be an Army post without a combat brigade.

The elimination of 3rd Brigade means a 43 percent cut to Fort Knox's active duty force. That's far beyond the level of cuts elsewhere.

Floyd County Mine Cited During MSHA Inspections

ARLINGTON, Va. - A coal mine in Floyd County, Ky. was shut down for more than a week in May following an inspection by federal regulators.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says inspectors issued 23 citations and six unwarrantable failure orders following an inspection of Tram Energy LLC's No. 1 mine on May 8. The alleged violations included mining without required dust controls in place and accumulations of combustible materials.

MSHA said Wednesday that the citations and orders led to the mine's closure from May 21 until May 30.

The citations were among 186 issued to nine coal mines and five metal or nonmetal mines during May's round of special impact inspections.

The inspections began in 2010 after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 men.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coal Truck Crash

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ky. -- A loaded coal trucked crashed and burned after being hit by flying tires from a semi traveling in the opposite direction.

The accident happened on U.S. 23 in Lawrence County, Kentucky, about 8:30 Tuesday morning.

Chief Deputy Mark Wheeler with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office says a flat bed tractor trailer belonging to a company out of Louisa was traveling south when the front dual tires on the drivers side came off and crossed over into the northbound lanes and into the path of the loaded coal truck .

Wheeler says the coal truck ended up going off the road, through the guardrail and then overturning before catching on fire. The driver was able to get out. He was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

No word if the driver of the semi was cited in the accident.

Public Water Project Announced in Pike County

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. -- A $550,000 water project has been approved for residents who live along Bad Fork and Damron Ratliff Road in Pike County, according to a news release from the Office of the Judge/Executive.

About 30 families will benefit from the project, which was approved by the Kentucky Division of Water. The bid for construction was awarded the first week of June, and work is expected to begin in the near future.

“The Lookout Fire Department has hauled potable water to some residents of Bad Fork for years,” Wayne T. Rutherford, Pike County Judge-Executive said in a prepared release. “The county paid for the water and reimbursed the department for their hauling costs. I remember seeing people backing up the creek water so they could wash their clothes. Water is a necessity of life. We are blessed to have this large county 98 percent covered with public water.”

Asphalt rehab projects awarded for counties across the state

FRANKFORT, Ky. More than $54 million in asphalt rehab projects were awarded this month by The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
 The latest round of projects brings this year’s total for asphalt rehabilitation contacts to more than $140 million.
 The asphalt contracts recently awarded are taking place in 59 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
“Improving and maintaining our roadways through asphalt rehabilitation is just one of the ways we work toward providing safe and efficient travel routes throughout the Commonwealth,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “We are pleased so many projects can be awarded that help us accomplish this goal.”
 The contracts awarded span the Commonwealth, from Fulton County in the south west to Greenup County in the north east. They also range in cost from a $6.9 million project to improve KY 80 in Pulaski County to a $96,000 project in Caldwell County to improve North Jefferson Street (KY 293).

Culvert work closes KY 3379 in Floyd County

FLOYD COUNTY –  KY 3379 between mile marker 5 and 6 will be closed Thursday, June 27, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. for culvert replacement work.
Garland Rogers, Minnie Maintenance Superintendent for Highway District 12, said that the pavement will have to be cut to remove the old culvert and install a new one. The site is about a half-mile up in Branham’s Creek, just off KY 979 (Mud Creek/Eula Hall Highway).
All work is weather-dependent. If rained out, the work will be rescheduled.

Man accused in Mingo County sheriff death indicted on illegal firearms charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Delbarton man accused of first-degree murder in the April shooting death of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum also has been indicted on illegal firearms charges.
According to a release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin’s office, a federal grand jury indicted Tennis Maynard, 37, with possession of a firearm by an individual who had been committed to a mental institution and making a false statement in acquisition of a firearm.
The 10-count indictment alleges Maynard made a false statement on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form on five separate occasions.
The indictment also alleges that Maynard possessed a firearm on five separate occasions, the release stated. At all those occasions, he had previously been committed to a mental institution.
Maynard faces up to 75 years in prison if convicted on the gun charges.
He pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and felony fleeing a police officer during his May 16  arraignment. An Oct. 21 trial date was set for his murder trial.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Race Fans Can Get Traffic Updates on Social Media

Fans headed to Kentucky Speedway this week can check social media and radio for traffic updates.

The speedway at Sparta, Kentucky State Police and the Transportation Cabinet will update motorists on traffic and parking conditions.

Meanwhile, state police are advising commercial vehicles to avoid the Gallatin County area on Friday and Saturday.

The speedway holds 107,000 spectators.

Fans can follow @kystatepolice and @KySpeedway on Twitter to get updates.

They can also join the "Kentucky State Police" and "Kentucky Speedway" Facebook communities.

Roadside message boards will give updates.

Racing starts Thursday with the Camping World Truck Series event, followed the next day by the Nationwide Series race.

The Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400" is set for Saturday.

Man hit, killed by a vehicle in Pike Co. Arrest Made

MOUTHCARD, Ky. -- Donald Castor was weed eating along US 460 in Pike County, when police say a car ran off the road, hit and killed him. Now one man faces DUI and manslaughter charges.

Police arrested 48-year-old William Damron and charged him with DUI and second degree manslaughter.

Those who saw and heard the accident say Damron lost control of his vehicle around a curve and went up onto the bank where Castor was working.

On Monday, Damron made his initial appearance in court and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Eighteen Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week (June 17 through June 23)

 (Frankfort, KY) -- Preliminary statistics* indicate that 18 people died in 16 separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways from Monday, June 17 through Sunday, June 23, 2013.

One double-fatality motor vehicle crash occurred in Letcher County. Both victims were not wearing seat belts and the crash involved the suspected use of alcohol.

Two pedestrians were killed: one in Jefferson County and one in Pike County. The fatality in Jefferson County involved the suspected use of alcohol.

Through June 23, preliminary statistics* indicate that 294 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 69 less than reported for this time period in 2012.

As of June 23, Kentucky has had 40 days with zero highway fatalities reported during 2013.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Driver Charged in Pike County Man’s Death

PIKE COUNTY, KY. -- A driver faces manslaughter and DUI charges after Kentucky State Police say he hit and killed a man who was mowing grass at his residence.

Troopers arrested William Damron, 48, of Lick Creek, Kentucky, following the accident along U.S. 460 at Mouthcard Saturday afternoon.

Pike County Deputy Coroner Zeb Hampton says Donald Castor, 35, of Mouthcard, was mowing 15 to 20 feet from the highway when he was hit and killed.

Investigators says Damron’s car dropped off the shoulder, ran over Castor, and then went back on the highway before coming to a stop some 500 feet down the road.

Besides the manslaughter and DUI charges, Damron is also charged with not having insurance and having an expired registration.

Damron was arraigned in Pike County District Court Monday morning. His bond was set at $500,000 cash.

He is expected back in court later this month.

He is being held in Pike County Detention Center.

Driver Agrees to Plea Deal in Deadly Floyd County Crash

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. -- A man charged with two counts of murder in connection with a fatal traffic accident has pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

James Slone, 33, of Melvin, Kentucky, entered the plea in Floyd County Circuit Court.

Investigators say Slone was driving east on Kentucky 122 in June 2011 when he crossed the center line, colliding with a truck driven by Jeffrey Hamilton, 36, of McDowell, Kentucky.

Hamilton and Karen Mitchell, 43, of Hi Hat, both died at the scene. Mitchell was a passenger in Slone's truck.

Commonwealth Attorney Brent Turner said Slone pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and two counts of assault.

Turner says Slone will receive 20 years on the manslaughter counts and 12 years each on the assault counts. The sentences will be served concurrently.

He will be formally sentenced on September 5.

Contract Awarded for Coalfields Expressway connector

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to award a contract in July for the second phase of a highway that will link the Coalfields Expressway to Kentucky.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says in a news release that the department received authorization on Friday from the Commonwealth Transportation Board to award the $108 million design-build contract to Rapoca Energy.

Rapoca Energy will prepare a road bed to rough grade for a 6-mile section of the U.S. Route 460 Connector in Buchanan County. The first segment is under construction.

Transportation department spokeswoman Michelle Earl says that another contract will be awarded later to a company to pave the connector.

When completed, the four-lane Coalfields Expressway will run from Buchanan County to Raleigh County, W.Va.

Warren Thomas Prater Memorial Motorcycle Ride held in Pike County

More than 100 motorcycles participated in this year's 'Warren Thomas Prater Memorial Ride' in Pike County yesterday.

This was the sixth year for the memorial ride. After the ride, participants enjoyed a cookout, door prizes, and live music.

Dottie Prater explained the event saying,  "This is in conjunction with TECO Coal and their relay for life and for the last six years they've done it in memory of my son, Warren Thomas Prater, whom we lost to cancer in 2008."

Organizers say they had participants from surrounding counties as well as from West Virginia and Virginia.

All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

Man Hit, Killed in Pike County

A man is dead after being hit by a vehicle on US 460 in Pike County.

The Pike County deputy coroner says 35-year-old Donald Brent Castor, of Mouthcard, was weed-eating near the highway Saturday around 4 in the afternoon when a vehicle hit him.

The deputy coroner says Castor was working 15 to 20 feet away from the highway when he was hit. State police is handling the investigation.

2 killed, 1 injured when truck goes over 60-foot embankment in Letcher Co.

Authorities say two people were killed and another injured when their truck went over a 60-foot embankment in Letcher County.
The accident occurred around 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Officials didn't provide details about what may have led to the accident, but they did say the vehicle came to rest in a creek.

The names of the vicitms have not been released.

A third person in the vehicle was transported to a local hospital. That person's condition is unknown.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Woman enters guilty plea in Johnson County murder case

Paintsville Ky. --
Amanda Fannin pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in a Johnson County murder case this morning.

Fannin's boyfriend Willie Blanton pleaded guilty last week to murdering his parents Larry and Sandara Blanton.

Fannin admitted she helped Willie cover up the murders but denies any involvement in the actual murders.

Prosecutors recommended a three year sentence for Fannin. She will be formally sentence on July 19th.

A judge sentenced Willie Blanton to two life sentences without the possibility of parole on Monday.

Fannin also pleaded guilty to flagrant non-support and promoting contraband. Those charges are not connected to the murder case.

Kentucky Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested in West Virginia

LOUISA, Ky. -- Kentucky State Police say the man who robbed a Louisa, Ky. bank last week has been arrested in Charleston W.Va.

Troopers say James Stepp, 33, of Louisa, robbed the Inez Deposit Bank.

The robbery happened last Friday about 3 p.m. The bank is located in the 200 block of East Main Street.

No details of the arrest have been released at this time.

They say Stepp entered the bank and demanded cash from a teller. After getting an undisclosed amount of money, he took off through a back door, running down Lock Avenue towards Madison Street.

Troopers say that Stepp did not show a weapon during the robbery.

Charleston Police arrested Stepp Thursday. He is being charged with 2nd degree robbery.

Trial Date Set for Couple Charged in Toddler Death

A Floyd County husband and wife charged in the death of a toddler will go on trial later this year.

Gladys and Jason Dickerson's trial is set for August 26th. Prosecutors say the couple abused two year old Watson Adkins.

The toddler died in September 2011, after police found him unresponsive at the couple's home in Prestonsburg. Both pleaded not guilty in the case.

Floyd County Man Sentenced

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. -- One Floyd County man will spend five years behind bars.

Eddie Clay pleaded guilty last year to sodomy and sexual abuse charges.

Clay and his wife Rhonda Clay allegedly forced a child to perform sexual acts on him.

Rhonda clay also pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Deputy Layoffs in Johnson County

Several times each year Johnson County deputies hit the streets to arrest dozens of people on drug charges, but soon those roundups may come to an end.

Budget crunches could cause the sheriff's office to layoff half of its force.
For the second time this year Johnson County deputies set out with more than one dozen warrants for drug trafficking charges.

Thursday they arrested 14 on charges related to prescription pills.

But recently budget problems have hit the area causing a domino effect.

Budget crunches are forcing the Paintsville School District to stop paying the sheriff's office $80,000 to collect taxes, and they will pay the city half as much.

The sheriff says losing that $80,000 may mean they have to pull four of their deputies off the streets, making things like drug roundups nearly impossible and slowing down response times.

The sheriff says they will not feel this budget loss until after October.

They plan to ask the county judge executive for help in the meantime.

Governor Call Special Session

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Steve Beshear has issued a call for a special legislative session to begin on Aug. 19 to deal with legislative and judicial redistricting.

He took the action on Thursday.

Each decade, lawmakers are required to draw new district boundaries to account for population changes recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kentucky had major population shifts between 2000 and 2010, requiring changes in boundary lines to comply with the federal and state "one person, one vote" mandate.

The Kentucky Supreme Court struck down lawmakers' initial plan last year, finding the proposed districts unconstitutional because they weren't balanced by population.

Since then, two federal lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Kentucky residents who claim inaction by lawmakers has left them without adequate representation in the state Legislature.

Kentucky’s Jobless Numbers

Kentucky's jobless rate was up in May.

Around 8.1 percent of Kentuckians were out of work in May - an increase of .2 percent from the previous month, according to statistics released Thursday by the state Office of Employment and Training.

Last month's jobless rate was down point-two percent from May 2012.

Unemployment numbers for each county will be released Thursday, June 27.

Operation Summer Surprise Underway in Johnson County

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. -- “Operation Summer Surprise” was not really a pleasant surprise for a dozen people in Johnson County, Ky. Thursday morning.

They were part of a drug roundup conducted by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Dwayne Price says 17 separate indictments were issued by a recent Johnson County Grand Jury following several lengthy investigations.
Price say charges include trafficking of a controlled substance,
possession of a controlled substance, manufacturing of
meth, trafficking within 1000 yards of a school, controlled substance endangerment of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs/alcohol, and being a persistent felony offender.

Price says while overdose deaths have declined in Johnson County in the past 2 years, even one death from overdose is unacceptable, because ultimately it’s preventable.

Price says those arrested were: Dawn R. Ramey, Melinda Hall, Deborah Hall, Phillip Mayhan, Cheskla “Chat” Burchett, Gary Castle, Paul David May, Jonathan Fairchild, Betty Preston, Donney Greathouse, Matthew Cook, Jennifer Blevins, and Paul Michael May.

All were taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

As of Thursday afternoon, Price says deputies were still looking for Greg Lyons, Steve Preston, and Jerry Morman.

If you have information as to the whereabouts of these individuals, please call the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 606-789-3411.

Paving begins Friday on US 460 in Pike County

PIKE COUNTY – Weather permitting, paving begins today, Friday, June 21, on US 460 from mile point 0.0 (near Food City at Shelbiana) to mile point 5.096, the intersection with KY 1441 at Millard in Pike County.
Joe Stanley, Engineering Technologist with Highway District 12, said that the contractor plans to work on Saturday. If the weather cooperates, the project should be finished by the middle of next week.
Long delays for motorists are possible. Stanley said people should allow additional travel time through this area. If rain or high winds delay the work, he said that paving will resume as soon as weather permits.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Conviction on adopted sister's death overturned, Ky high court finds teen's confession coerced

The conviction and 50-year prison sentence of a Kentucky teenager has been overturned after the Kentucky Supreme Court concluded his confession was coerced.
The high court on Thursday ordered a new trial for 19-year-old Garrett Thomas Dye. Dye was convicted in 2011 of beating his adopted sister, 9-year-old Amy Dye, to death.

Justice Will T. Scott concluded that police improperly told Dye, then 17, that if he didn't confess, a jury would convict him and hand down a death sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that anyone under 18 is ineligible for execution.

The case drew the attention of state lawmakers. Records were released showing that social workers either ignored or dismissed allegations of abuse and neglect against the child.

Morgan County Man accused of exposing himself

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. --One Morgan County man faces charges. After police say he exposed himself to a neighbor.

Deputies charged Joshua Benton with indecent exposure. Benton's neighbor told police he exposed himself and did some other things while she was working in her flower garden.

The woman was not physically harmed.

Family searching for Missing Man

Family and friends are searching for a man in Pike County who has been missing for one week.

Family members tell us Jimmy Kelly was last seen June 12 near Shelby Gap.
His car was found yesterday with no sign of him nearby.

They are searching the mountain with four wheelers looking for any trace of him.

He is about 6'2" and 230 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

If you have any information you are asked to call Kentucky State Police.

Teams from across the nation compete in Mine Safety competition

They put their lives on the line in order to save others.

Rescue teams from across the nation are in Perry County competing for the first place title at the Kentucky River Mine Rescue Contest.

It may look like a bunch of cones and rope to the untrained eye, but to members of more than 20 rescue teams, it is a disaster.
Mine rescue competitions like this one at Hazard High School help teams prepare for the situations they could encounter in the event of an actual disaster.

Rescue teams have to be prepared to encounter a number of problems inside a mine, like explosions from coal dust, methane and fires.

The three day competition continues  today.

Last year’s competition was held in Pikeville.

Pike County Budget Cuts affect Volunteer Fire Departments

After months of debate the Pike County Fiscal Court approved a budget plan.

The county was facing a more than $3 million deficit, and the new plan includes big cuts to some volunteer fire departments.

They have been working for months trying to cut nearly 3.3 million dollars from the budget.

"Believe it or not we held 20 meetings in regard to the budget since January realizing that it's going to be a tough thing to do," said Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford.

On Tuesday the Pike County Fiscal Court finally made a decision.

Eight county employees from various offices were laid off, but the cuts did not stop there.

Some of those most affected by the new budget plan could be the volunteer fire departments.

Some of them could lose several thousand dollars per year.

Each volunteer fire department will lose 500 dollars per ISO rating meaning some of them could lose up to $10,000.

Fire departments have come up with an idea to supplement the loss by adding a subscription fee to property taxes.

The Fiscal Court will have to approve the move.

The Pike County Firefighters Association has a committee to research the subscription fees and help educate the public about them.

They do not expect them to be any more than $55 per year.

Alcohol Sales Could Go to Vote in Louisa

LOUISA, Ky. --Wet-dry votes across the region have stirred a debate focused on morals and money.

Grayson and parts of Ashland voted to either allow or expand alcohol sales. But in Greenup County, they voted against it and it remains a dry county.

Now, Louisa could become the next local town to take the issue to ballot.

Supporters are collecting signatures on petitions located at several locations and some folks are also taking the petitions door to door.

They need several hundred signatures in order to hold a special election on the issue.

Culvert work closes KY 3392 in Lawrence County

LAWRENCE COUNTY –– KY 3392 in Lawrence County, at the 2.2 mile marker, will be closed Thursday, June 20, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. so that Highway District 12’s maintenance crew can replace a drain tile that runs underneath the pavement.
Todd Moran, Lawrence County Superintendent, said the crew worked Wednesday at the site, attempting to repair the culvert so that they would have to close the road. “It’s too deteriorated,” he said. “We need to replace it so that the drainage on the road is as good as it can be. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. It’s only part of one day, so hopefully people will understand and be patient.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Eighteen Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week (June 10 through June 16)

 (Frankfort, KY) -- Preliminary statistics* indicate that 18 people died in 17 separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways from Monday, June 10 through Sunday, June 16, 2013.

One double-fatality motor vehicle crash occurred in Pike County. Both victims were not wearing seat belts and the crash involved the suspected use of alcohol.

Through June 16, preliminary statistics* indicate that 271 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 73 less than reported for this time period in 2012.

As of June 9, Kentucky has had 40 days with zero highway fatalities reported during 2013.

Report on public water systems in Kentucky shows drop in health-based violations

A review of public water systems in Kentucky shows a drop in health-based violations.
The annual report was prepared by the Kentucky Division of Water. It shows health-based violations dropped from 96 in 2011 to 48 in 2012.

Julie Roney, coordinator of the division's Drinking Water Program, says the majority of violations last year involved administrative infractions rather than problems with water treatment. Roney says the division is serious about requiring public water systems to submit timely and accurate monitoring reports.

The number of administrative violations increased from 228 in 2011 to 398 in 2012.

Administrative violations include reporting incorrect data and omitting information.

The report is required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. It lists Kentucky's 454 public water systems and any violations imposed in the prior year.

Kentucky National Guard to celebrate 221 years of service

The Kentucky National Guard is getting ready to celebrate more than two centuries of service to the commonwealth and the nation.
The celebration is set for next Monday at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort.

The event will recognize the Kentucky Guard's contributions over the past 221 years.

The Kentucky Militia, the forerunner of the Kentucky National Guard, was formed on June 24, 1792, by Gov. Isaac Shelby.

Career Craze Camp Teaches Teens About Coal

HAZARD, Ky. - -
Students ages twelve to fifteen are taking time out of their summer vacation to learn more about coal at Hazard Community and Technical College.

The Career Craze Camp began Monday with rock truck driving simulations. Instructors at the technical campus say this program is free and their goal is to educate students on the history, development, uses, and environmental concerns of our coal industry.

The camp continues throughout the week and includes tours of a coal museum and one mine.

Budget Cuts hits Johnson County Sheriff’s Department

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. -- Budget cuts are causing a domino effect in Johnson County, Ky. And they may lead to half the county's patrol deputies being laid off.

It started with the Paintsville City School District. Because of a 3 percent cut in state funding -- and fewer federal dollars coming in -- the district had to find a way to tighten its belt.

One way of doing so was to pay less to the agency which collects its property taxes. The Sheriff's Office has long collected those taxes with a 4 percent commission. So the superintendent went to the city to see if it could do it for less.

The city of Paintsville will now collect those taxes at a 2 percent rate, saving the district $40,000 a year.

That is going to have a huge impact on the Sheriff's Office. The sheriff said it means he will have to lay off half his road deputies.

Sheriff Dwayne Price said the layoffs will be felt by just about everyone.

He says it will take longer to answer calls, and get you the help you need if you're in trouble.

Price says he just found out he'd be losing $80,000 from his budget last week, when Paintsville City Schools chose the city to collect its property taxes over the Sheriff's Office.

He says he would've liked the opportunity to do the job for the same price as the city.

The Sheriff says at this point, the department plans to talk to the county judge executive to see if there is anything the courts can do to help with funding.

Urban Outfitters Halts Line of Prescription Products after Plea from Attorneys General

National retailer Urban Outfitters is halting sales of a line of products that mimic prescription pill bottles and prescription pads following a plea from Attorney General Jack Conway and 23 of his colleagues. In a recent statement to the media, Urban Outfitters announced it would discontinue its "Prescription Line" of products due to its "misinterpretation."

Attorney General Conway and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine led efforts to contact Urban Outfitters to urge the retailer, popular with teens, to stop selling products, including pint glasses, shot glasses and flasks, made to look like prescription pill bottles.

"Urban Outfitters is doing the right thing by removing these tasteless products that make light of an epidemic that kills thousands of people each month in the United States," said General Conway, who co-chairs the Substance Abuse Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). "I hope Urban Outfitters will continue to support our efforts to educate the public, and teens in particular, about the deadly consequences of prescription drug abuse."

In a letter dated May 22, 2013, the Attorneys General outlined their concerns and urged Urban Outfitters to cease sales of its "Prescription Line" of products. Link to letter: .

The request was echoed by a growing number of public officials, concerned citizens and organizations on the frontline in the battle against prescription drug abuse, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy and The Partnership at

Prescription drugs are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. A new national survey by The Partnership at finds one in four teens reports having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. Of those kids who admitted to the abuse, one in five, or 20 percent, did so before age 14.

Additionally, the survey finds more than a quarter of teens mistakenly believe that prescription drug abuse is safer than using street drugs.
FDA Reviewing Request from Attorneys General for Black Box Warning on Opioid Analgesics

In May, General Conway was among 43 Attorneys General to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to place a black box warning on opioid analgesics to indicate the risk of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). In response, the FDA confirmed in a June 7 letter that it will consider labeling modifications in light of this "important public health issue."

NAS is caused when infants who have been exposed to opioids through their mother's pre-natal use suddenly lose their opioid drug supply at birth. In Kentucky alone, instances of NAS have risen 2500 percent over the past decade.

"Babies who are born dependent on powerful painkillers can face a lifetime of challenges, both physically and mentally," General Conway said. "We must do everything in our power to educate patients and practitioners about NAS so that we can stop this alarming trend."

Raise a Glass (of Milk), Toast Dairy Month

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear recognized the official beverage of Kentucky by proclaiming June 2013 Dairy Month in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Gov. Beshear signed a proclamation in recognition of the importance of Kentucky’s dairy industry to the Commonwealth.

“I urge all Kentuckians to support Kentucky’s dairy industry, and to salute Kentucky’s dairy farmers and processors for their contributions to Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund has helped the re-growth of Kentucky’s dairy industry with more than $13 million in grants and loans related to the dairy industry.”

Dairy farming is a family tradition; one that has been a way of life for many generations. Kentucky dairy farmers and processors are proud to provide consumers and their families with safe, wholesome dairy foods. They take pride in producing a nutritious product for their neighbors and communities.

More than 130 million gallons of milk are produced on Kentucky farms. In 2012, cash receipts from the sale of milk were nearly $215 million, making a vital contribution to the economy of Kentucky. Kentucky also boasts several dairy processing facilities that produce a variety of dairy products, including gourmet cheeses, yogurts, cottage cheese, bottled milk, salad dressings and ice cream. The economic impact of Kentucky’s dairy industry is more than $767 million.

During this month, the Kentucky Dairy Development Council (KDDC), Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA), the Dairy Processors Association of Kentucky (DPAK) and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) have been celebrating dairy month with special events being held across the state.

The theme for this year is “Dairy Packs Power!” Dairy foods offer nine essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium, which play key roles in building strong bones and teeth. Milk, cheese and yogurt “Pack Power” with protein and are a healthy part of a balanced, nutritious diet.

Take time to celebrate June Dairy Month by enjoying the many dairy products available locally, including an ice cold glass of milk – the official beverage of Kentucky.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Johnson County schools win big at International Competition

Some Johnson County schools are celebrating a big win.

The Future Problem Solving team at Johnson Central High School took home first place at the international competition.

They competed against teams from 40 states and 13 other countries.

This is the fifth time the high school team has won the competition.

The Johnson County Middle School team also placed.
Paintsville Independent Schools' team also placed fourth at the competition.