Monday, September 30, 2013

Corvette Fans Already Registering for 2014 Caravan

Although the event is still a year away, 1,200 people already are registered for the 2014 Corvette Caravan that will mark the 20th anniversary of the National Corvette Museum.

While some people did not think the museum would last this long, it has paid off some of its loans early, completed a major expansion and now is building the Motorsports Park thanks to generous contributions from supporters.

Motorsports Park will be unveiled at the anniversary event next Labor Day. Museum officials expect car clubs from all 50 states and Canada to converge on Bowling Green for the celebration.

The Motorsports Park will be used by car clubs and for educational training and Corvette racing tests.

More information is available online at

Culvert replacement to close KY 292 at Calf Creek for two weeks beginning Monday, Oct. 7

MARTIN COUNTY --A multiple place arch pipe culvert on KY 292 in Martin County – at the mouth of Calf Creek – is damaged and scheduled for replacement. This will close the road from 1.71 miles north of KY 908 and 3.7 miles south of KY 3, basically at the KY 292 intersection with Calf Creek, for 14 calendar days.

Highway District 12 Section Supervisor Matthew Moore said that work is set to begin Monday, October 7, by Fredrick and May Construction of West Liberty, the low bid contractor at $146,752.17. The project involves replacement of a pipe that is 13.5 feet wide by 8 feet tall. “The current pipe is damaged near the inlet,” Moore explained, “which has compromised both its structural and hydraulic capacity.”
Moore said that the road closure is unavoidable. “It would be impossible to maintain even one lane of traffic while excavating the pipe and replacing it due to the depth of the excavation required.”

This notice, along with variable message boards and other roadway signs, serve to alert motorists to the closure. The contractor will be assessed a penalty for failing to re-open the road within 14 calendar days. Moore apologized for the temporary inconvenience, but said the work needs to be finished before winter sets in so that drainage along KY 292 in this area is improved.

Single Vehicle Accident Kills One Man in Floyd County

A car accident kills one man in Floyd County.

The single vehicle accident happened Friday on Ky. 1428 in the Allen community.

Officials say Brenan McKinney, 29, hit an embankment and his vehicle overturned.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation.

Open Enrollment for Health Coverage Begins Tuesday

Kentucky is set to begin signing up uninsured residents for health coverage through an online marketplace that offers policies with monthly premiums as low as $47.

Enrollment in plans through the online Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange begins Tuesday. An estimated 640,000 uninsured residents are eligible for new coverage through Medicaid or the exchange.

The exchange's open enrollment period runs through the end of the year. Policies go into effect Jan. 1.

Premiums range from less than $50 a month for a healthy single person to more than $700 a month for a family of four.

Gov. Steve Beshear has pressed to implement the federal health care reforms for his state. He points out that Kentucky ranks among the worst in the nation in nearly every measure of health.

2 Plead Not Guilty in contraband Smuggling Scheme

A former Kentucky prison guard and a Tennessee woman have pleaded not guilty to charges that they helped smuggle marijuana, tobacco, cellphones and sexually explicit photographs to inmates.

In indictment accuses Cindy Gates of securing contraband and former guard James Lewis of smuggling it into the Federal Correctional Institution near Ashland.

Inmate Gary Musick is accused of directing Gates and Lewis on what items to procure and directing his fellow inmates to sell the items.

Lewis, of Ironton, pleaded not guilty in federal court last week to charges of accepting bribes as a public official and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Gates, of Newport, Tenn., pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Friday, September 27, 2013

County Jobless Rates Released

Unemployment rates decreased in 97 Kentucky counties between August 2012 and August 2013, while 19 county rates rose and four 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 5.5 percent. It was followed by Scott County, 5.9 percent; Fayette, Oldham and Shelby counties, 6.1 percent each; Carlisle County, 6.2 percent; and Daviess, Franklin, Jessamine and Owen counties, 6.3 percent each.

Harlan County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate — 16.3 percent. It was followed by Leslie and Magoffin counties, 15.7 percent each; Letcher County, 14.9 percent; Fulton County, 14.5 percent; Bell County, 14.1 percent; Knott County, 13.4 percent; Jackson County, 12.9 percent; and McCreary and Wolfe counties, 12.2 percent.

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.

Troopers Investigating Floyd County Robbery

Police are investigating a robbery that happened in Floyd County Wednesday night.

They say a man entered Newman's Shop A Lot in Harold with a big stick demanding cash, and the whole thing was caught on camera.

"At 8:41 p.m. Post 9 Pikeville received 911 calls from Newman's Shop A Lot," said Trooper Shaun Little.

The store was being robbed, but the cameras were rolling.

The folks at Newman's Shop A Lot say it looked like the man was carrying a large piece of wood which he shoved into the clerk's back and pushed her behind the counter.

The man, described as a while male about six feet tall, wearing blue jeans, gloves and a mask, is seen taking money from both registers before running out the door.

No one in the store was injured, and state police are asking anyone with information to contact them at (606) 433-7711.

Coal Jobs News Conference held Yesterday

Several Kentucky Lawmakers, including both US Senators, participated in a coal jobs news conference on Thursday in Washington.

It was in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's recent announcement of new regulations on future coal-fired power plants.

Congressman Hal Rogers says he has slashed the EPA's budget by 46% in an effort to halt what he calls President Obama's "War on Coal"

Letcher County man faces DUI Charge

A Letcher County man faces a DUI charge.

Officials with the Johnson County Sheriff's office say they received a call about a crash along Kentucky 1428.

When they arrived, deputies found a vehicle over the hill and a man sitting on the ground who had slurred speech.

Officials found a gallon jug of vodka near the car and arrested Ricky Mullins.

Treasure Finders in Pike County

Officials from the State Treasury were in Pike County Thursday trying to return unclaimed money to folks in the area.

The State Treasurer says there is nearly $2.5 million of unclaimed property that belongs to folks in Pike County.

He says that could be anything from cash payments from companies to items that have been abandoned.

Volunteers set up a phone bank to let people know they had unclaimed property.

"When they get a call from somebody in their community whose name they recognize or whom they know because they see them in church every Sunday or because their kids go to school together they are more willing to accept that yes we're from the government and yes we really are trying to help," said State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach.

The treasurer says they will be traveling through all 120 counties.

You can check to see if you have unclaimed property by visiting

Body Found Identified as Missing Woman from Johnson County

A body found Wednesday in Knott County has been identified as a missing woman from Johnson County.

The Knott County Coroner says Christina Barnett's body was found along Ky. 80 Wednesday afternoon.

Barnett was last seen September 18 in Hazard.

Family and friends were searching for Barnett Wednesday when they say they found her body -- badly burned and covered by a television.

Kentucky State Police are investigating. No word yet if any foul play was involved.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Deputy Saves Pig

They say that pigs can't fly. But, on Tuesday a pig went flying across Interstate 75 near mile marker 59 in Rockcastle County.

Rockcastle County dispatchers received a call about a pig that was stranded in the median.

"I responded and found the pig there. It appeared to have a broken, left, front leg," says Deputy Sheriff, Matt Bryant, with the Rockcastle County Sheriff's Office.

Bryant cared for the pig until the Corbin rescue group, Justice for Abused Animals arrived. The group then brought Lucky to a sanctuary in Tennessee called the Pig Preserve. It is much different place than where Lucky was likely headed. "It appears that he was in a livestock sale. 
He had a sticker on him that is a common type of sticker used at livestock sales," adds Bryant.

Lucky is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday or Friday.

Bryant admits he was a pork eater but after saving lucky, he may be changing up his diet, "I might for a little while.”

Body Found; Missing Woman’s Family Fearing the Worst

A body found Wednesday along Ky. 80 in Knott County has a Johnson County family fearing the worst about a missing loved one.

Christina Barnett of Johnson County was last seen Wednesday, Sept. 18, in Hazard. Family and friends were searching for her when they found what they believe is Barnett's body – badly burned and covered by a television.

Family and friends had been searching for Barnett for days along Ky. 80.

Troopers and the county coroner have not confirmed the identity of the body or any details in the case. The body will be sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

7 counties in eastern Kentucky begin pilot program to fight asthma

Seven counties in eastern Kentucky have begun enrolling families for a pilot program to fight asthma.

The Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids initiative plans to test assessments that are used to identify and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma. The nonprofit Eastern Kentucky Health Inc. is administering the project in conjunction with local health departments in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Floyd and Pike counties.

Officials want to find 100 families to participate in the study. They want families with children from pre-kindergarten through middle school age who have who have unmanaged asthma that is moderate to severe.

Holly West, the executive director of Eastern Kentucky Health, says the rates of asthma in eastern Kentucky are significantly higher than in the rest of the state.

Feds implement rule changes aimed at helping black lung victims

Changes to federal black lung rules are expected to make it easier for coal miners and their families to obtain benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Program on Wednesday announced a final rule that implements amendments to the 2010 Black Lung Benefits Act.

The amendments sponsored by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd reinstate two provisions that were eliminated in 1981.

After 1982, survivors of a coal miner totally disabled due to black lung had to prove the disease caused the miner's death. One amendment makes that an automatic assumption for those who worked in coal mines for at least 15 years and suffered a totally disabling respiratory impairment.

The other amendment automatically transfers black lung benefits from the late recipient to eligible survivors.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo turns memos over to Kentucky State Police for possible probe

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has turned memos regarding documents shredded by the former head of the Legislative Research Commission over to the Kentucky State Police for a possible investigation.

Stumbo provided the documents to legislative security specialist Rick Devers along with a request for state police to take whatever action is deemed appropriate.

House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover asked for an investigation after former LRC Director Bobby Sherman returned to his office with other LRC staffers on Sunday, two days after he resigned, and shredded documents.

One of the staffers, Deputy Director Robert Jenkins, said the documents that were destroyed were either duplicates or were of a personal nature, including junk mail, mortgage papers and salary comparisons for LRC staff.

Attorney General Jack Conway advises that growing hemp remains violation of federal law

Attorney General Jack Conway is advising Kentucky leaders that industrial hemp farming remains illegal in Kentucky.

Conway issued an advisory letter on Wednesday to Gov. Steve Beshear, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and others to clarify current law related to hemp. The letter deflates hopes of hemp farming proponents who have said they'd like to begin planting next year.

Kentucky lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow farmers to grow the crop if the federal government ever lifts a longstanding ban. Conway said that ban remains firmly in place.

Hemp once thrived in Kentucky but hasn't been produced here since the federal government classified it as a controlled substance decades ago.

Comer insists the crop could be an economic boon for Kentucky.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo leaning toward legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes in Ky.

A leading Kentucky politician is weighing the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Wednesday that research shows marijuana can have a positive impact on health and that he's leaning toward supporting the notion of allowing people to use it medically.

Stumbo said the topic is worth debating.

Legislation to legalize medical marijuana has been introduced in the General Assembly in the past but has never received the support needed to pass.

Stumbo raised the issue after Attorney General Jack Conway released an advisory letter Wednesday informing state leaders that growing industrial hemp remains illegal in Kentucky.

Adventure Tourism: Knott County’s Fall Trail Ride Set

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Knott County Fall Trail Ride, one of the largest trail riding events in Kentucky and the Southeast, is set for Oct. 3-6.

Thousands of riders and horses will descend upon the 43,000-acre Mine Made Paradise Adventure Park located just outside Hindman in Knott County.

There are more than 100 miles of trails at the park, and plenty of group rides are scheduled throughout the event. In addition to the riding and camping, there will be equine vendors, great food and live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.  Musical acts include Logan Hall, Halfway to Hazard and Keith Anderson. 

Admission for the entire event is $20 per person, and children under 12 are admitted free. While the event doesn’t kick off officially until until Thursday, Oct. 3, many people will come early and stay all week. The campground will open at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Eastern Kentucky Counties Begin Initiative to Fight Asthma

Seven counties in eastern Kentucky have begun enrolling families for a pilot program to fight asthma.

The Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids initiative plans to test assessments that are used to identify and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma. The nonprofit Eastern Kentucky Health Inc. is administering the project in conjunction with local health departments in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Floyd and Pike counties.

Officials want to find 100 families to participate in the study. They want families with children from pre-kindergarten through middle school age who have who have unmanaged asthma that is moderate to severe.

Holly West, the executive director of Eastern Kentucky Health, says the rates of asthma in eastern Kentucky are significantly higher than in the rest of the state.

Scholarships Offered to Students Affected by Drug Abuse

Help is on the way for Kentuckians who have overcome drug addiction and are looking to go back to school.

Attorney General Jack Conway has announced a new scholarship program that is also open to people who have been affected by drug abuse.

Students who beat drug addiction and those who have experienced drug abuse in their families are eligible for the scholarship program.

The two scholarships are worth $1,500 each.

"The students who receive them will have excelled in their personal and academic endeavors despite seeing the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse in their own lives," Conway said.

The scholarships are funded by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) and private donations.

The scholarships are named in memory of Michael Donta, 24, of Ashland, and Sarah Shay, 19, of Morehead. Both died from prescription drug abuse.

Tax Committee To Gather Information on Temporary Sales Tax

A legislative committee will hear testimony today on a proposal to allow local governments to let citizens decide on implementing a temporary sales tax to fund specific projects.

The idea being heard by the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government at 10 a.m. EDT is to allow ballot referendums on whether to temporarily impose a sales tax of up to one cent to pay for new parks, sidewalks, roads and buildings.

Some 37 states already allow a temporary sales tax for local government projects.
Committee Chairman Steve Riggs said too often cities don't have the money to pay for special projects.

Legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to allow such a temporary tax was introduced in the General Assembly earlier this year but didn't receive a vote.

EKU student, 24, found dead in dorm room, no foul play suspected

Officials at Eastern Kentucky University are investigating the death of a student on campus.
University spokesman Marc Whitt said the student was found dead in his dorm room.

Whitt said in a news release that 24-year-old Benji Fish was found in his Telford Hall room. Fish was a senior environmental health science major from Prestonsburg.

No foul play is suspected.

University police and the Madison County coroner's office are investigating. A final toxicology report is expected in two weeks.

Tip Leads to $20,000 Worth of Marijuana Plants

An anonymous tip led Johnson County Sheriff's Deputies to find nearly $20,000 worth of marijuana.

They flew over some land near US 460 and found what appeared to be marijuana. When ground crews got on scene, they found several tall plants.

Sheriff Dwayne Price says there were seven plants on the property, about five feet tall, and worth $2000-$4000 each.

Deputies also searched the home on the property and found more marijuana.

No names have been released.

Price says they plan to turn this case over to the Johnson County Grand Jury.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


PIKEVILLE- On Monday, Pike County Judge/Executive Wayne T. Rutherford communicated an “urgent plea” for massive Federal action to U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, who represents Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District and is chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.  The letter was also sent to President Barack Obama and members of the U.S. Congress in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Rutherford wrote to Rogers, “We need your leadership now more than ever to once and for all cut through the bureaucratic walls and governmental red tape to access the massive Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Trust funds that could mean all the difference to those of us here in Central Appalachia.  It is my understanding nearly $2.5 billion has accumulated since 1977.  These monies, gained from a tax on coal mined right here in our native mountains, belong to the people and can be used to help a region that desperately needs it.”

“In essence, the 35 cents per ton for surface-mined coal and 10 cents per ton for deep-mined coal that have gone into this $2.5 billion pot over the last 36 years is the equivalent of a federal coal severance tax.  Like our state coal severance tax, this money should come back to the people and places from which it was taken—not go into a general fund to prop up the federal deficit or for any other purposes.  The bulk of these funds should be returned to the counties of origin based on tonnage.  These funds should have rigid guidelines attached to them allowing the money to be spent only in the eligible coal counties and exclusively for infrastructure and economic development.”

“If they are going to hammer down on our coal industry and our coal jobs, for goodness sakes, don’t recklessly devastate our economy and drive us into poverty without offering any real solutions or assistance to help our region.  It is not responsible public policy to implement radical measures to close down coal mines and coal-fired power plants and then simply just walk away,” Rutherford wrote.  

Rutherford communicated to Congressman Rogers, “I am proud to be a fighter for coal, as I know you are, too, and we will continue to fight the War on Coal together.  But the time for hand-wringing, slogans and bemoaning is over.  Now—and with haste— we must act and invest if we are to reclaim Central Appalachia’s future for our people.  The leadership here has the passion and commitment to save our economy and our tomorrows.  We need understanding, cooperation and a viable plan in order to succeed.”

Groundbreaking held for Pikeville Commons

Pikeville City Officials have talked about a new shopping complex for several years and on yesterday that project took a big step forward.

Several store names were revealed at the groundbreaking ceremony for the project where officials discussed the importance of this project for the region.

Six national brand name stores coming to Eastern Kentucky bringing with them hundreds of jobs, which city officials say are much needed after last week's loss of more than 500 coal mining jobs.

City Manager Donovan Blackburn says, "It is timely and it is unfortunate what is happening to our economy based on what is happening on a national level, but we don't need to lay down and take it. We need to look for ways to diversify our economy."

City officials agree that creating any type of job to fill the void is important, "Many miners are out of work, it is time, anytime you can create jobs it is a good thing. I understand what a coal miner does for this nation and I understand how much they've made and what they are accustom to," explains Blackburn. He adds, "I also understand what salaries a store manager or receiving manager makes. These places are going to need store managers, warehouse managers, receiving managers, and so on. So there are some golden opportunities for good paying positions."

In addition, officials say about 100 construction and development jobs will also come to the area.

The project is bringing more jobs to an area that officials say has become a regional hub for medical care, education, entertainment, and now retail.

Officials say the city commission remains focused and is currently working on several other projects to help better improve their community.

The stores that were announced at the ceremony were Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, Maurices, Ross, Rack Room Shoes, and Ulta. Officials say there are many other stores and restaurants that will be announced soon.

There will also be 200 apartments in the complex.

Construction will begin within seven to ten days. The project will be completed in phases with the first store opening in four to six months. 

Moonshine Still Found in Lawrence County

A moonshine still was found Monday at a home in Louisa.

Police also found plants believed to be left over from growing marijuana. Police served a search warrant after they had some complaints from neighbors.

They say the moonshine still contained some already made product.

No one was home during the search, but police say several people will face charges once the case is presented to the attorney's office.

Whitesburg Taxes Could Be Going Up

Last Thursday officials, educators, nurses and various community members took to the podium sharing their comments regarding the proposed payroll tax for all employees within Whitesburg's city limits.

Council members gathered on Monday evening and passed the 1.5 percent tax.

The vote was not unanimous, however this legislation did pass and is effective as of January first of next year.

City leaders said the local paper will publish more details and every employer will receive a copy.

The city attorney said this tax includes provisions and exemptions everyone needs to know.

Boil Water Advisory in Martin County

There is a boil water advisory in effect for people in Martin County.

The advisory is in effect for customers from the Martin County Water Plant to Coldwater Road and Little Blacklog in Inez.

There was a break in a transmission line which could cause contamination of the water supply.

The advisory will stay in effect until the situation has been fixed and the water has been tested.

Attorney General Conway Announces Scholarships for Students Affected by Prescription Drug Abuse

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, along with the Prosecutors Advisory Council (PAC), the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) and the parents of two young overdose victims, today announced that two $1500 scholarships will be offered this school year to graduating high school students whose lives have been impacted by prescription drug abuse. The Office of the Attorney General and PAC are able to offer these scholarships thanks to the generosity of NADDI and private donations.

"I am grateful for the work my investigators, prosecutors and NADDI are doing to prevent and investigate prescription drug diversion, and I am proud in knowing that the money donated will be used to give a child affected by prescription drug abuse a second chance," General Conway said. "The toll that the scourge of prescription painkiller abuse has taken on Kentucky families is alarming, and I refuse to lose another generation to this addiction. This money will help two young people get a fresh start and a chance at completing their college education."

The scholarships are in memory of 19-year-old Sarah Shay and 24-year-old Michael Donta. Shay, of Morehead, Ky., died of a prescription drug overdose in 2006. Donta, of Ashland, Ky., lost his battle with prescription painkiller abuse in 2010. Sarah and Michael's parents, Dr. Karen Shay and Mike Donta, now travel with General Conway across the state as part of his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative to warn middle and high school students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

"I am humbled and honored that these organizations have chosen to remember my son through this scholarship," Donta said. "Students, who have been affected by the disease of addiction, in whatever form they have faced it, deserve a second chance. This may just be the opportunity they need to make them realize that there is always hope and they can never give up."

The Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships were created this year to help Kentucky students who have excelled in their personal and academic lives despite seeing firsthand the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse. These students have embraced a positive lifestyle and brighter future for themselves and their families.

One "Sarah Shay Memorial Scholarship" and one "Michael Donta Memorial Scholarship" will be awarded each year to a graduating high school female and male, who meet the scholarship criteria, to put toward postsecondary education expenses. In addition to receiving funding from NADDI, the scholarships were made possible through donations from Michael and Sarah's families.

"I have been fighting alongside General Conway to help make sure other parents across the Commonwealth don't have to experience the reality of losing a child to prescription drug overdose," Shay said. "There is a hole in my heart that will never heal, but there's comfort in knowing this scholarship will help a young woman, who may have been in a situation very similar to my daughter's, continue her education."

Completed scholarship applications must be submitted by January 15, 2014. Recipients will be announced by the Office of the Attorney General, in conjunction with PAC and NADDI, in May of 2014.

"NADDI is happy to be a part of this very important effort," said Paula York, president of NADDI of Kentucky. "These scholarships are not only a great way to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, but they will also be instrumental in helping two young adults further their education after high school."

"I am pleased to support a program of this magnitude," said Margaret Daniel, citizen member of PAC. "In my hometown, Eminence, this program could be vital and key to the success of our students who are dealing with difficult issues."

Scholarship applications and eligibility requirements are available at

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ground Has Been Broken for the Pikeville Commons Project

Ground was broken this morning for the Pikeville Commons Project which is expected to bring 400 to 600 jobs to the area.

Construction on the $40 Million project is expected to begin in a few weeks.

Pikeville Commons will offer Residential Units along with several retail outlets.  Those retail outlets include Hobby Lobby, Ross Dress for Less, Rack Room Shoes, Ulta Reality Maunces and Marshalls.

Pikeville City Manger Donovan Blackburn says this project will provide Jobs, Housing and Improved Quality of Life.

Several City and County officials were on hand for the groundbreaking.

Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine Distillery Set To Open

There are many ways for folks to experience the infamous Hatfield and McCoy Feud. Feud enthusiasts will soon have another way to take part in the history with some of the family's 'white lightning.'

The Hatfield and McCoy Feud is a story that tourism officials say folks cannot get enough of.
Tourists will soon have another way to take part in the history, as the Hatfield and McCoy distillery in Williamson is set to open this winter.

Once the distillery is open folks will be able to legally purchase moonshine as well as other Hatfield and McCoy memorabilia, directly from family members who will operate the business as part owners.

They hope to be up and running for the Christmas shopping season. 

Tornado Damaged Business Reopens

One Magoffin County business that was destroyed by the March 2012 tornado reopened its doors last week.

The Subway in Salyersville was badly damaged, and owners spent the past year and a half rebuilding it from the ground up.

They say getting it open was not easy and even had all the tools stolen during the process.

They say business has been booming since the doors opened and they are thankful for the community support.

Code Red in Magoffin County Now Available

An area hit hard by the March 2012 tornado outbreak is now working to improve folks' safety in similar situations.

Magoffin County officials signed up for an automated alert system.

The scars of an EF-3 tornado that struck Magoffin County March 2, 2012, are still visible, and county officials say rebuilding the county also means improving its safety.

They chose a system called CodeRED that sends out an automated phone call to land lines or cell phones during any kind of emergency.

County officials say they may not be able to prevent any damage like what was left behind by the March 2012 tornado, but they say Magoffin County was lucky no lives were lost in that storm and they say with the CodeRED system they can help ensure that stays the case in future severe weather.

Officials say they bought a three year service with CodeRED partially funded by a grant from the rotary club.

Anyone in Magoffin County who wants to sign up for the service can call the Magoffin County Judge Executive's Office.

Family Needs Your Help Finding Loved One

Family members say they are living in a nightmare. Kentucky State Police confirms 34-year-old Christina Barnett of the Sitka Community in Johnson County is missing.

Family members say Christina Barnett has been the "heartbeat" of their family since Barnett's father died in 2009. Her mother, Donna Hale, is suffering from complications from a total hip replacement, so Barnett has been taking care of her.

Family members say on Wednesday night, Barnett was supposed to be back home six hours after telling them she was going to London with a man. But that was the last time they saw her.

Family members say they knew something was wrong the next day when Barnett was not home and had not called anyone to let them know where she was.

Family members say Barnett was last seen wearing a pink dress and cowboy boots. She is 5'6" and weighs 130 lbs. with hazel eyes and blonde hair.

If you have information about Christina Barnett, call Kentucky State Police at the Pikeville Post.

Pikeville Turned Pink

Downtown Pikeville turned pink on Saturday, as hundreds took part in the 5K race and other events held to support those impacted by breast cancer. The area became covered in the color from businesses, to people, and even some furry creatures.

In just three years the event has grown into more than they ever imagined with the entire community getting involved and drawing support from outside of Pike County.

Despite the rainy weather, event organizers say they more than tripled the turnout from last year with more than 1,000 people coming out to participate.

Organizers say they raised more than $22,000, that money will go to the local organization 'Blessed Beyond Measure' as well as the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Troopers Searching for Robber in Pike County

Kentucky State Police are searching for a robber on the run.

Troopers say the robbery happened at the Double Kwik in the Virgie area of Pike County.

They say about 8:15 p.m., Saturday -- a man walked in, demanded money and then fled the scene.

The suspect is described as about 6' tall, wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call KSP at (606) 433-7711 or 1-800-222-5555.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fatal Crash in Belfry

A crash in Pike County Thursday morning leaves three people dead and one recovering.
It happened around 9:30.

"She apparently lost control. She left the northbound lanes of travel. She crossed a level median area here that's on an upgrade then traveled into the southbound lanes," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Bryan Layne.

A white Kia car spun out of control on 119 in Belfry right into oncoming traffic.

"After losing control in the northbound lanes she came across in a broadside manner and made contact with a Toyota Tundra," said Trooper Layne.

Two of the people in the car died at the scene, 25-year-old Teshia Henry of Prestonsburg and 43-year-old Howard Ravin of Salyersville. The third person in the car, 48-year-old Bambi Davis of Salyersville, died at the hospital.

The driver of the truck, Steven Douglas Viars II of West Virginia, was also taken to the hospital but is expected to recover.

Police say a combination of speeding, wet roads and worn tires was likely the cause.

Kentucky State Police are investigating.

Second Daughter Sentenced in Martin County Clerk’s Office Investigation

A second woman, accused of stealing money from the Martin County Clerk's Office, is headed to prison.

Tamberlyn Sue Hairston, 41, was sentenced Thursday to five years behind bars.

She and her sister, Tonya Mills, 47, were charged after auditors found $20,000 in unaccounted funds in the Martin County Clerk's Office in 2012.

The two women are sisters. Their mother, Carol Mills, is the Martin County Clerk.

Carol Mills said that after learning the money was missing she terminated her two daughters for misconduct. Mills said she believed Hairston may have been helping her sister with an overwhelming addiction problem.

Tonya Mills was sentenced earlier this month to five years behind bars. She pleaded guilty in August to an amended charge of abuse of public trust less than $10,000.

Hairston pleaded guilty to one count of abuse of public trust less than $10,000 and four counts of second-degree criminal possession of forged instrument. Hairston was sentenced to five years behind bars, but the sentences will run concurrently for a total of five years.

Hairston's sentence was postponed because her daughter has been diagnosed with a tumor and needed to see a specialist.

The sentencing for both women was held in Johnson County, Kentucky.

McConnell’s Proposed Legislation Blocked in Senate

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called on Congress to pass legislation to ease federal regulations on coal mining, but he didn't get very far.

Senate Majority Henry Reid blocked the act.

It comes just days after one company laid off more than 500 workers.

McConnell's proposed legislation that he dubbed the "Saving Coal Jobs Act" aims to streamline the permitting process for new mines.

"The EPA's actions ignore thousands of people in my home state of Kentucky who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods," said McConnell, "Kentucky's own Jimmy Rose, a veteran and former coal miner, said it best with a title to his song 'Coal Keeps the Lights On.'"

The act would also bock any new EPA carbon pollution mandates on coal-fired power plants.
Opponents of the act say it is all an issue of supply and demand.

"They've got all kinds of permits sitting there that they're not mining with. Why? It's not because of the law," said Kentuckians for the Commonwealth member Ricky Handshoe,"No, it's because they don't need coal right now."

Handshoe is one advocate for stricter EPA regulations who says easing those regulations would only do more damage.

"Let me show him children and neighborhoods that when the mining goes back out will be left with poisonous water and floods forever," he said.

McConnell claims coal jobs have decreased in Kentucky from nearly 19,000 in the year President Obama took office to 13,000 in September.

Whitesburg Mayor Says Proposed Payroll Tax Could Help City Grow

Whitesburg's Mayor James Wiley Craft said dwindling revenue is to blame for their city's proposed payroll tax.

Craft said a 1.5 percent payroll tax for all employees within city limits is necessary.

"We'll be able to move the city forward and do the kinds of things that Pikeville has done or Hazard has done," said Craft. "Without revenue we cannot do that."

Craft estimated this tax could bring in nearly $200,000 per year.

He also said the ordinance would not impact retirement benefits.

"We will only be taxing those people who have a job," Craft said. "Not those who are laid off or on retirement."

Mayor Craft said the council could meet again as soon as Monday for a second reading on the ordinance.

Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested, Facing Drug Charges

He was hired to protect people but a Pike County Sheriff's Deputy and dispatcher is behind bars.

An undercover purchase of Oxycodone by Operation UNITE officials in the Marrowbone community on Wednesday, led to the arrest of a sheriff's deputy on Thursday.

Officials say an undercover officer working with a confidential witness made the purchase from Bradley Childers...Childers was with off-duty sheriff's deputy Matthew Blanton.

Operation UNITE Director of Law Enforcement Paul Hays says, "For some reason at that time, Brad Childers, became suspicious and used resources through their law enforcement entity to obtain information that led him to identify our undercover officer."

UNITE officials say threatening phone calls were then made to their witness.

"We take these investigations very seriously, especially if puts our officers or witnesses in undue jeopardy," says Hays.

On Thursday, Childers was arrested and gave officials information that led to the arrest of Blanton.

Hays says, "We do not overlook the fact if one of our own is involved in illegal activity and we take the appropriate action. We are pleased about that part, but it is unfortunate an officer would do something like trafficking a controlled substance. That's very bad blemish on all law enforcement."

Both Childers and Blanton face first degree trafficking of a controlled substance.

Blanton has been relieved of all duties as a sheriff's deputy.

The sheriff's office referred all questions to UNITE officials who say the office cooperated fully with the investigation.

"Obviously the officer involved in this drug activity is going to have to deal with this but the sheriff's office worked closely with us and made sure the investigation was not hindered by their office, and we thank them for that," explains Hays. 

Arson Now Suspected in Fire Department Blaze

Kentucky State Police are now investigating the fire at the Blaine Volunteer Fire Department as arson.

"Our investigation has concluded there were items missing in the fire department." says Trooper Michael Murriell. "At this point it's too early to tell if one was done to cover up or conceal the other, but we do know there was a theft and the fire took place after the theft."

Fire heavily damaged the department on September 12, 2013, in the early morning hours. The chief, Butch Smith, was called in because an alleged water leak.

"It's devastating. When I got there, I couldn't even open the doors, they were too hot," says Smith. "But we've got it covered."

Three trucks were lost in the fire. The department does have the promise of mutual aid from several neighboring departments. There is also a call out for other departments, from around the region, to donate unused supplies.

"I want them (residents) to know they're covered, that we do have a truck, we do have a rescue, we are doing EMS runs." says If there is a structure fire we've got this truck and we'll have mutual aid."

KSP is urging anyone with information about the fire to give the agency a call.