Thursday, October 31, 2013

WV Man In Mingo Case Seeks Prison Release Pending Petition

A Delbarton man convicted of selling drugs to a sheriff is seeking his release from prison until a judge hears a petition in his case.

The attorney for George White filed a motion in Mingo County Circuit Court in October. Ronald Rumora asks for White's release from Huttonsville Correctional Center until the yet-unfiled petition is decided. A visiting judge appointed to White's case hasn't ruled on the motion.

Former circuit judge Michael Thornsbury sentenced White in May to up to 15 years in prison.

Thornsbury resigned a month ago and pleaded guilty in a scheme to protect Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations he'd bought drugs from White. Crum was killed in April in an unrelated shooting.

Mingo drug dealer sentenced in federal court

According to information provided by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, a Dingess man who mailed a package that contained more than 1,700 Oxycodone pills was sentenced to four years in federal prison on Tuesday.

Patrick Warren Napier, age 41, previously pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone. On April 29, 2011, investigators with the United States Postal Inspection Service intercepted a package in Peach Creek, in Logan County. The package, which contained 1,789 30-milligram Oxycodone tablets, had been mailed by Napier. The package was intended for his associate, Michael Ray Fortuna. Napier told investigators that he mailed the package containing the Oxycodone and expected to be paid once the pills were sold.

Napier also told investigators that he obtained Oxycodone pills from a source of supply located in Florida beginning in April 2011.

Fortuna, 45, plead guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone. Fortuna faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on November 19th.

Three Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week (Oct. 21 through Oct. 27)

Preliminary statistics* indicate that three people died as the result of injuries sustained in three motor vehicle-related crashes on Kentucky's roadways from Monday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Oct. 27.

Through Oct. 27, preliminary statistics* indicate that 519 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 87 less than reported for this time period in 2012.

As of Oct. 27, Kentucky has had 69 days with zero highway fatalities reported during 2013.

Kentucky Fire Commission offers tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe on Halloween

Children look forward to the fun and excitement of Halloween, but the Kentucky Fire Commission says everyone should remember to celebrate safely.
The commission's advice:

Wear bright, reflective and flame-resistant costumes and add reflective tape to make trick-or-treaters visible to drivers.

Wear non-toxic makeup instead of a mask, but wash it off afterward to avoid skin irritation.

Stay in a group, and carry a cell phone and flashlight.

Don't go inside homes or cars for treats. Responsible adults should accompany young children, while older kids should let someone know where they are going and when they'll return.

Parents should inspect treats for spoilage or tampering.

Be careful with candles near your door and check pathways to make sure they're clear. Also restrain pets from jumping or nipping at trick-or-treaters.

UK students lobbying for concealed weapons on campus

A group of students at the University of Kentucky are pushing to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Students for Concealed Carry set up a table and banners and handed out fliers on campus in protest of the school's ban of guns on campus. Members of the group wore empty holsters to symbolize their efforts.

Kentucky Chapter Director Tyler Waide said the students are aiming to get the legislature to change the laws to prevent public universities from issuing such bans.

University spokesman Jay Blanton says the policy is a blanket one that safeguards the campus.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that students and staff at public universities may keep guns in cars, but may continue to regulate them elsewhere on campus.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Miners and politicians fight for less stringent coal regulations

Hundreds of people from Eastern Kentucky joined with thousands of others from across the country to show their support for the coal industry. The crowd featured a demographic of people from coal producing states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado and Wyoming.

Organizers called it the Rally for American Energy Jobs, but coal was the main topic of discussion.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was passionate in front the microphone, expressing disdain for the Democratic parties stance on coal. He said, “I don't know about you, but it makes my blood boil to see Hollywood liberals plug in their electric car and think they can run their little car without any coal.”

Many people affected by coal layoffs blame Environmental Protection Agency Regulations.

Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell said, “The War is underway. This administration has a War On Coal and that's why you're here today. But we intend to fight back.”

The Rally was held on the West Side of the Capitol.

Lawrence County Schools Back to Drawing Board on Facilities Plan

A plan to build new schools and renovate older schools is moving forward in Lawrence County.

The school district wants to build a new 400-student elementary school to replace Louisa West.
School officials also plan on building a new Lawrence County Vocational Technology Center, as well as upgrading security at all school facilities in the county.

The plan also calls for major renovation projects at Blaine and Fallsburg elementary schools.

The board hopes to send the plan to the Kentucky Board of Education for approval as early as Friday. 

Loretta Lynn Being Treated for Exhaustion

Country music legend Loretta Lynn is postponing two shows in Iowa due to exhaustion.

A statement from Lynn's representative on the singer's website says Lynn "started feeling poorly midway through her three week tour" and is taking some time off to be treated for exhaustion.

She said Lynn, who just finished a Canadian tour, is rescheduling both Iowa shows.

Last year, the singer postponed two shows to undergo more physical therapy following total knee replacement surgery.

Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Ky. Her life was chronicled in the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter."

KSP Launches ‘Active Shooter Training Program’ for Schools

Kentucky State Police are launching a statewide training program that aims to maximize security and safety in schools.

"Even though schools are safe, they are one of our most protected zones, and they should be, because they have our most precious commodity and that is our children," says Commissioner Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police.

In response to recent school shootings around the nation and past incidents here in Kentucky, KSP has developed an Active Shooter Training Program. It's designed to teach schools how to respond to incidents involving an active shooter.

The program provides four levels of assistance to schools throughout the state. Those levels include on-site visits, target hardening, lock down drills and hands-on role-playing scenarios. All of those are meant to improve schools' current emergency response plans.

State police say this program is offered to schools free of charge and school officials can choose the level of training that's needed.

Gov. Beshear, Attorney General Conway Warn Consumers of Potential Scams During Health Care Coverage Rollout

Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway are warning consumers to protect themselves from fraud and to be vigilant of scams claiming to be associated with Kentucky's rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

If Kentuckians have any questions or concerns, they should contact the AG's Office of Consumer Protection or staff of the state's health benefit exchange call center.

On Oct. 1, thousands of Kentuckians without health insurance began seeking information and shopping for insurance coverage using kynect, Kentucky's health benefit marketplace created to provide simple, one-stop shopping for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance.

Unfortunately, scammers have seen this as an opportunity to try to collect consumers' personal information or to make false claims.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees kynect, has been notified by consumers of suspicious websites that call consumers after they register information on the sites.

The Attorney General's Office is investigating the websites. On Monday, it sent civil investigative subpoenas and cease and desist orders to the operators of two websites.

"It's appalling to think there are individuals out there who would prey on Kentuckians during this process," Gov. Beshear said. 

"Everyone should be on guard and report any questionable websites or businesses. There is a lot of misinformation on the Affordable Care Act, which is why we have qualified staff who can answer questions and point consumers in the right direction."

Gov. Beshear said kynect is a secure website, and the call center staff is professionally trained.

Attorney General Conway's Office of Consumer Protection is set up to handle questions and concerns by the public involving matters like Kentucky's launch of the Affordable Care Act. The most common trick is scam websites trying to mimic legitimate government websites. is the only website Kentuckians should use to sign up for the exchange, Attorney General Conway said, adding that anything with a ".com" or ".net" address is not a legitimate website for the exchange.

"My office is committed to protecting Kentuckians from these types of crimes," Attorney General Conway said. "If something seems suspicious, do not share your personal information, and if you suspect fraud, report it immediately by calling our Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257."

Attorney General Conway warns Kentuckians to be on guard for attempts by identity thieves to collect personal or financial information by email, phone or mail.

Scammers may additionally try to sell individuals bogus "discount medical plans" or mislead older consumers on Medicare by making false claims that Medicare coverage is affected by the new law, he said.

The Office of Consumer Protection recommends the following tips for consumers:

• Protect your personal information. Only a registered insurance agent, a certified kynector, or contact center customer service representative should ask for your personal information to help you apply. Keep personal and account numbers private to any others who offer assistance. Don't give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to companies or individuals you didn't contact. Never give your information to someone whose identity you question.

• Make sure you're working with a registered insurance agent or certified kynector. Only legitimate insurance agents and assisters, known as "kynectors," are authorized to assist Kentuckians with signing up for health care. A list of approved agents and kynectors maintained by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services can be found online or by calling 1-855-4kynect (459-6328).

• Do not pay for help. Insurance agents and kynectors will not solicit money. There is no charge to use kynect services, either online or with the help of an insurance agent or certified kynector. If consumers receive an offer to register for a fee, they should hang up the phone or walk away. Consumers should not give their credit card or banking information to anyone they do not know or did not contact. Consumers should be very suspicious of anyone charging a fee in connection with enrollment.

• Remember that you can only get tax credits through kynect. Kentuckians who purchase insurance through kynect may qualify for tax credits to help cut the cost. No one but kynect can offer these credits, and there is no charge to apply for the credits.

• Beware of phishing scams online. Consumers should be cautious of any email claiming to be connected to the Affordable Care Act, including any emails claiming to be affiliated with kynect and asking for personal information.

• Ask questions. Don't sign anything you don't fully understand, and verify the answers you get with trained kynect representatives.

If people do think their personal information has been compromised, they can visit The Attorney General's website contains information about protecting your personal identity and an identity theft toolkit.

Kynect is a program run by the Kentucky Office of the Health Benefit Exchange within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Federal law requires each state to have an online health insurance marketplace to ensure that all Americans have access to quality healthcare

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Medicare Monthly Premium to stay at $104.90

Medicare says the "Part B" premium most seniors pay for outpatient care will stay the same in 2014, at $104.90 a month.

That's good news for beneficiaries, following a $5-per-month increase this year.

The Part B deductible, the annual amount beneficiaries pay before Medicare outpatient coverage starts, will also remain the same at $147, officials announced Monday. But the hospital care deductible is going up by $32, to $1,216.

Monthly premiums paid by upper-income beneficiaries, those above $85,000 a year, or $170,000 for married couples, will also stay unchanged.

And a reminder: Medicare beneficiaries don't have to worry about the rollout problems with President Barack Obama's coverage for the uninsured.

Medicare is not affected. Its own open enrollment for prescription coverage and Medicare Advantage plans is going smoothly.

A Ton Of Meds Turned in During National Take Back Day

1 ton of medications removed from UNITE drop box locations as part of national Take-Back Day

More than one ton of outdated or unwanted medications was collected by Operation UNITE as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s seventh National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this past weekend.

A total of 2,021.5 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected from permanent drop box locations in 34 southern and eastern Kentucky counties – an increase of 850.3 pounds from the Take-Back Day held this past April.

This total does not include any medications brought to other special locations – such as Kentucky State Police posts – established for the four-hour take-back event.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

That study also found that twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs than the number of those who regularly used cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined.

With the abuse comes a corresponding increase in drug-related deaths.

counties that are available free to citizens during operating hours that vary by location.

Residents are asked to please remove all identifying labels from prescription bottles before bringing them to the drop-off sites.

Lawrence County Main Sentenced on Child Porn Charges

A Lawrence County, Ky man will not go to jail after being formally sentenced on child porn charges.

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office says Thomas Meade, 52, of Blaine, Ky., was sentenced in Lawrence County Circuit Court.

Meade was arrested last December in Lawrence County after being indicted on child porn charges.

Prosecutors say investigators found more than 100 child pornographic images and videos on his computer

In July, he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography and four counts of possession of child pornography.

Meade was sentenced to five years in prison, but his sentence was probated for five years.

Meade is required to register as a sex offender for 20 years and go through a sex offender treatment program.

Million Dollar Powerball Ticket Sold in Paintsville

A $1 million Powerball ticket was sold in Paintsville, Kentucky, but the winner has not come forward.

Kentucky Lottery says that the ticket for Saturday night's drawing matched the five white balls, but not the Powerball.

The ticket was sold at the Paintsville Smart Shop located at 1074 3rd Street.

The winning ticket had the following numbers: 4 6 34 49 56

The winner has 180 days from Saturday's drawing to claim their prize.

Gov. Beshear, Congressman Rogers Announce Citizen-Driven Summit to Envision Goals, Strategies for Eastern Kentucky

In an effort to focus on the future success of southern and eastern Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers today announced that they will host a summit with hundreds of citizens from across the region to share new ideas and recommendations about how to move Kentucky’s Appalachian region forward.  

The summit, titled “S.O.A.R.: Shaping Our Appalachian Region”, will be held on Monday, Dec. 9 at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. 

Eastern Kentucky is a brilliant, storied region that enriches the fabric of our Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Yet for several decades, the region has seen a decline in growth and development, hampered by a lack of infrastructure and other resources that communities need to grow and thrive.  We know that government alone cannot solve these issues, and that is why Congressman Rogers and I are launching this summit – we believe that to make real progress in Eastern Kentucky, we need the input, collaboration and involvement from the people who live and work hard there every day.” 

“We are in uncharted waters in southern and eastern Kentucky, where the future of coal faces new regulatory challenges and economic uncertainty is daunting for our small communities,” said Congressman Rogers. “But time and again, the people of our region have proven to be resilient. Over the years, we’ve expanded infrastructure and vital resources to the most rural parts of the Commonwealth, we’ve united in the fight against the prescription drug abuse epidemic, and we’ve partnered across county lines to clean up our hillsides and streams. I am confident that together, we will rise above these new challenges we face. We will overcome!”

The nation’s recent recession and economic restructuring have hit the Appalachian region especially hard.  While overall rural manufacturing and job growth have improved, the region’s number-one industry continues to decline.  In less than two years, more than 6,000 coal miners have been laid off or furloughed in Eastern Kentucky alone, resulting in unbearable economic hardships in many communities. 

“There is an urgent need for change and a new way of thinking about the issues in Appalachia,” said Gov. Beshear.  “We must work together to attack our regional obstacles from many angles – by emphasizing public, private and philanthropic partnerships to address and implement improvements in education, health, work-readiness, infrastructure and more.  Most critical, these solutions must be driven and championed by the individuals who call Appalachia home, because it is their enthusiasm and support that will carry these visions to reality.”

Eastern Kentucky is my home; the people here are family,” said Senate President Robert Stivers. “Re-energizing the economy in Eastern Kentucky is going to require thinking ‘outside the box.’ I believe this is a tremendous step in that direction.”

“Those of us fortunate enough to call Eastern Kentucky home are deeply committed to seeing it thrive in the future, which is why I believe this summit will prove to be a welcome guide for the direction our region needs to take,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo.  “I want to thank Governor Beshear and Congressman Rogers for their support, and call on others throughout the state to join with us in this effort.  I cannot think of a more pressing issue affecting the Commonwealth.”

The Governor and Congressman have secured the assistance of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), a national policy institute dedicated to fostering public dialogue and solutions to the challenges facing rural regions and communities. RUPRI has coordinated similar regional efforts across the nation and globe, and will help facilitate discussions at the SOAR summit.  RUPRI facilitators support the summit’s goal of gathering the many disparate voices of Appalachia and merging their ideas into a cohesive strategy for the region’s success.

“Economic growth is the overriding global imperative of all nations, and the key to success is to unlock the unique potential of regions, through collaboration, asset-based development, innovation, and ultimately wealth creation. RUPRI is honored to be working to advance that agenda in this region,” said RUPRI President and CEO Chuck Fluharty.  

The SOAR Summit will host hundreds of attendees from across southern and eastern Kentucky with varied occupational backgrounds and interests– including individuals representing education, business, nonprofits, arts, finance, tourism, local government and more.  The summit is open to any Kentuckian with an interest in the strength and future of Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Interested individuals are invited to attend the SOAR Summit by registering at
A SOAR planning committee of approximately 40 members will meet in advance of the summit to suggest discussion topics and possible goals. 

“The leadership and participation of southern and eastern Kentucky families and citizens is critical, not only to supporting the summit, but also to ensure the summit’s long-term impact in the region,” said Congressman Rogers.  “The summit is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long-term initiative to bring new opportunities and renewed prosperity to the people of this region, and the Governor and I pledge to be part of the work.”

Other national and regional agencies supporting the SOAR effort include the USDA Rural Development and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Kentucky State Parks Hosting Thanksgiving Buffet

Kentucky State Park restaurants are preparing for one of the busiest days of the year – Thanksgiving Day.

The Thanksgiving Day buffet will be served Nov. 28, 2013, at all 17 resort park restaurants, a tradition for the parks and many families across Kentucky.

“The food and atmosphere are great at Kentucky State Parks on Thanksgiving, and all of our parks provide a relaxing place for this family holiday,” Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker said. “We’re glad to host this great family tradition.”

The buffet will include soups, cheeses and salads for starters. Entrees include turkey and dressing, baked ham, carved roast beef and fried chicken. Vegetables include old fashioned candied yams, country-style green beans and mashed potatoes with giblet gravy. There will be a variety of desserts, including pecan pie and pumpkin pie.

The cost for the buffet will be $18.49 plus tax (drink included) for adults; $8.49 for children ages 6-12; and children 5 and under are free.

The buffet will operate from noon to 8 p.m. For more information about state parks and other park events, including discounts and special offers on lodge rooms and cottages, visit (A reduced buffet will be offered at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Manchin says hydrocodone change significant

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said Friday the rescheduling of hydrocodone combination drugs will help shut the door on prescription drug abuse.
Manchin is hailing the decision by the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to make hydrocodone painkillers, like Vicodin and Lortab, Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III.
Sen. Manchin told reporters during a conference call Friday the change will reduce the number of prescriptions doctors can write in many cases. Currently doctors can write 6-month prescriptions for the painkillers, the change will reduce that to only a 30-day prescription or up to 90-days for those with chronic pain.
Manchin said it will force doctors to communicate more with patients.
“They’re going to have to be more involved and if a person calls back and says ‘Hey Doc, I need you to give me another 30-day prescription,’ and he says, “Wait a minute I gave you 30 days, I gave you 90 pills, that should have more than cured you or taken care of your pain. You have something else wrong, you better get back in here.’ That’s what they (doctors) should be doing. Do your job,” Manchin said.
Under Schedule III doctors have been able to write 6-month prescriptions, which could be up to 500 pills. Sen. Manchin said that invites addiction and abuse.
“You’re addicted by then if you’re using them. If not, you’re selling them or if not, the grand kids are grabbing them and experimenting with them,” Manchin said. “Something is going wrong because we’ve had an explosion that basically has to have some control to it.”
Manchin first began pushing for the rescheduling back in Jan. He said the drug lobby was strong but finally he was told of the change this week. He said the change should also help police identify the abusers, both doctors and patients.
“So we can go after some first-class prosecutions, those people who are abusing it,” he said.
Manchin said HHS is expected to pass along the recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which will immediately begin the reclassification process.

Heroin cases highlight latest Pike drug roundup

Heroin is slowly becoming a trendy drug among Pike County dealers.

“It’s cheaper and it’s becoming easier to get than prescription drugs such as OxyContin,” said Keith Napier, Operation UNITE’s Big Sandy Task Force manager. “We’ve been noticing this trend for several months.”

On Friday, UNITE detectives were joined by other law enforcement agencies to serve drug trafficking warrants on 27 individuals – about a quarter of which involved heroin sales.

Most of the other cases during the 10-month investigation involved Oxycodone, cocaine or marijuana.

Assisting with the roundup were officers from the Pikeville, Coal Run and Elkhorn City police departments, Kentucky State Police, and Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

During the roundup, police seized small quantities of Suboxone and mariuana from several residences.

Easy access to interstate highways seems to play a factor in where heroin – which is brought in from out-of-state – is turning up on the streets.

Heroin has been an epidemic problem in Northern Kentucky – and most recently Fayette County – but is slowly making its way into rural portions of Kentucky.

Along with the increase in heroin sales comes an increase in heroin-related overdose deaths.

“That’s something we desperately want to prevent in this region,” Napier said.

Police are continuing to seek out those who could not be located on Friday.

Those arrested as of 1:30 p.m. and lodged in the Pike County Detention Center were:

• Kristen Campbell, 22, Stone Coal Road, Pikeville, five counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Paula Childress, 32, Kentucky Avenue, Pikeville, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Sandy Ford, 29, Kentucky Avenue, Pikeville, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Anthony Hall, 29, Ratliffs Creek Road, Pikeville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Richard Hodges, 40, Pikeville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Julie Rawson, 43, Stone Coal Road, Pikeville, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and persistent felony offender.

• Arlis Silcox, 26, Ashcamp Road, Elkhorn City, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Kendall Webb, 52, Brush Road, Varney, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

Open House Held at Betsy Layne Fire Department

The Betsy Layne Fire Department held its annual open house on Saturday in Floyd County.

Firefighters welcomed in the community to look around the station, check out the trucks and also use a hose off one of the rigs.

Fire officials also discussed fire safety and prevention tips with their community.

Firefighters also took folks through the Pike County Fire Safety Trailer.

Joint Conference Scheduled for Today in Hazard

US Representative Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear will in Hazard Monday.

They will be announcing plans to revive the area in light of recent coal mining layoffs.

The joint conference is scheduled for 10am at the Hazard Community and Technical College.

Former Martin Mayor’s Step-son arrested for threatening witnesses in a Federal Investigation

New developments in the federal case against the former mayor of Martin, as her step-son was arrested when officials say he threatened witnesses in the investigation.

James "Stevie" Robinson is now in jail after a FBI agent and an agent from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office arrested him late Friday afternoon in Floyd County.

Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley says, "He is charged with retaliation against a witness in the federal investigation that's been ongoing in Martin for the past year. He is also charged with wanton endangerment for his efforts to attempt to bring harm to a witness in that same investigation."

As officials conducted their investigation that led to the federal indictment of former mayor, Thomasine Robinson, and 3 others including her daughter ... they found serious threats were being made to witnesses.

Stevie Robinson's father, James Robinson, was arrested and charged last November with menacing and terroristic threatening after he made threats to current Martin mayor, Sam Howell, after Howell defeated Robinson's wife, Thomasine, in last year's election.

Stevie Robinson is currently in the Floyd County Detention Center, being held on a $500,000 cash bond. He is already on probation and parole for being convicted of a federal crime in another state. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Promoting New Bill in Eastern Kentucky

Senator Rand Paul made some stops in Eastern Kentucky Thursday discussing his new bill.

Senator Paul says he plans to introduce Economic Freedom Zones" in the new bill.

He says his plan is to reduce taxes in communities that are economically distressed and facing high unemployment levels.

"I think in Louisa it would bring $5 million a year, or actually not bring it would leave it here in town, and the community I think would prosper by sending less money to Washington and keeping more money at home," said Senator Paul.

He also discussed his belief on limiting government spending and the areas he believes cuts should be made.

Medicaid Managed Care System Running Smoothly According to Governor

Gov. Steve Beshear says the Medicaid managed-care system is running smoothly, with payments being processed quickly and fewer complaints.

Beshear said Thursday that managed care, now in its second year statewide, is saving tax dollars while also helping to improve the health of Medicaid recipients by emphasizing prevention and wellness.

Kentucky moved 560,000 Medicaid recipients into the managed care program in 2011 in a cost-saving move at a time when the Medicaid budget was facing a $142 million shortfall.

Beshear said the only other option to balance the Medicaid budget at the time was to impose 30 percent across-the-board rate cuts to doctors, hospitals and other medical providers, which he didn't want to do.

The managed care program, Beshear said, has resulted in meaningful health management for Medicaid recipients.

Paintsville Police Investigating Purse Thefts

Paintsville Police are investigating a string of purse thefts.

They say they believe the thief is targeting women dropping off their children at day care.
Police say a purse was stolen from a car parked at a daycare on Depot Road in Paintsville Tuesday morning.

Authorities say right around the corner from where the incident happened Tuesday, there is another daycare center, where four other incidents have been reported.

Police believe someone is watching the parking lots, and waiting for the women to take the kids inside.

Police say it only takes a matter of seconds for thieves to take a purse. Officers suggest using caution, no matter how long you are away from your car.

Police say they do have a person of interest, but are continuing to investigate.

If you have any information, or have surveillance cameras in the area that may have caught the thefts, call Paintsville Police at 606-789-4221.

Arrest Made in Johnson County Woman’s Death

A suspect in the murder of Christina Barnett is now behind bars.

Kentucky State Police arrested Gary Ward, 37, of Meally at his home on Thursday night. He is accused of killing Barnett, 34, of Sitka, last month.

Barnett was reported missing on September 19; her body was found by family members on September 25.

Ward is charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence, and abuse of a corpse. He was taken to the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard where he is currently being held.

Food Benefits Set to Decrease Nov. 1 with Expiration of Stimulus Funding -- ARRA support of federal program ending

FRANKFORT, Ky.– The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is notifying recipients of funding from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – that they will see their benefits decrease beginning Nov. 1.

The change is because increased benefits provided to SNAP by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009 are set to expire. Congress has not voted to extend this stimulus funding.

CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) administers the Kentucky food benefits program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), in every county.

DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said the temporary stimulus funding helped thousands of Kentuckians through a worthy program.   

In 2009, stimulus funding boosted every participating household’s benefits by 13.6 percent – a two-person household would have received $44 more each month.

“The additional funding made a significant impact on our customers’ access to nutritious foods,” James said. “Though we are disappointed this extra funding is lapsing, we will still provide benefits to eligible customers and connect them with other community resources that can help feed their family healthful meals on a lower budget.”

The long-term change in benefits, after the stimulus funding expires, will depend on household size, income and expenses. A household of two who currently receives $367 a month will likely see a decrease in benefits by $20 a month to $347 per month.

James said customers can access their specific benefits changes and receive alerts by logging on to the state’s SNAP customer service website:

Customers cannot appeal the change in benefits because the decrease is a result of a change in federal law.

Some households may see a change in their SNAP benefits this October. To reflect changes in the federal cost of living adjustment, benefits may increase or even decrease slightly then. 

Don’t be tricked into ‘buzzed’ driving this Halloween

This Halloween, don’t be tricked into thinking you are “OK to drive” if you celebrate with alcohol. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) reminds all partygoers: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. If you feel “buzzed,” you should not be behind the wheel.

“The risks are not worth it, and the consequences are too serious,” KOHS Executive Director Bill Bell said. “A sober and safe ride after the party is the best treat you can give yourself and everyone else on the road this Halloween.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011, when Halloween fell on a Monday, 44 percent of the nation’s fatalities during the Halloween weekend occurred in a crash involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Thirty-eight percent of fatalities on Halloween night occurred in a crash involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
Young men are particularly at risk of being involved in a traffic crash as a result of “buzzed” or drunk driving. Males ages 21-34 comprised almost half of all drunk drivers who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide during the 2011 Halloween period.
 KOHS recommends these simple tips for a safe Halloween:   

·         Before the Halloween festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
·         Always designate a sober driver.
·         If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
·         Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.  Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
·         If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
·         If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

KYTC proposes to close, dismantle bridge

Engineers at Highway District 12 are considering the permanent closure of a bridge crossing on KY 1100 in Floyd County, near the Johnson County line, and remove the structure. There are no plans to replace the crossing.

 Chris James, head of the district’s design section, said there are alternate routes on both sides of the bridge, which spans Little Paint Creek. “Before a final decision is made, James said, “we want to hear from people who live in the area and travel this way to see if there might be concerns that we are not aware of.”

The bridge is on KY 1100 at East Point, very close to the Johnson County line. Closing the bridge would bifurcate the road. In other words, the road would dead end on either side of what are now the ends of the bridge. “School buses turn before they get to the bridge,” James said, “so the bridge has very little traffic.”

In the 1920s and 1930s KY 1100 was the main road through the area, a precursor to US 23. The bridge was built in 1927. In the 1960s what is now KY 321 served as US 23, which was upgraded to a four-lane highway with a new alignment in the 1990s. Although the road once served as a vital part of the county’s highway system, other roads now serve the needs of the vast majority of vehicles that travel through Floyd County into neighboring Johnson. “What once was the main road is now rarely used,” James pointed out. “If there are compelling reasons to replace this bridge, people need to contact us now and let us know what they believe those reasons are.”

James can be contacted at Highway District 12 via email at or by phone at 606-433-7791. Comments will be considered until Friday, November 15.

Johnson County Organization Gives Coats Away

The change in the weather has brought chilly temperatures to the region.

That is why one organization wants to make sure families in Johnson County have coats.

Yesterday, the Johnson Central Youth Services Center held a coat and clothing giveaway.

Families of students at Johnson County Schools could come and take whatever they needed.

The Johnson Central Youth Services Center conducts a giveaway every nine weeks.

Homicide Investigation Underway in Prestonsburg

A 52-year-old man has been found dead in his residence and investigators say it appears to be a homicide.

Kentucky State Police say the victim is Timothy Austin of Prestonsburg.

Coroner Greg Nelson says he was called to the residence on Hibiscus Drive just after noon on Tuesday.

State Police and Nelson can’t say at this time how or when Austin died.

Autopsy results are pending.

They have also released no other information on the case.

Kentucky Selected for Pilot Program to Better Train Teachers

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today announced that Kentucky has been named as one of seven states to participate in a two-year pilot program to train future teachers.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) created the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP) to help states ensure all new teachers are ready on the first day of their careers to prepare their students for college, work and life.

The network will use successful practices used in several states to influence policies affecting teacher preparation and licensing. These policies may also influence training for school administrators, such as principals.

Kentucky has long been a leader in education reform, thanks in large part to our enthusiastic and adaptive workforce of dedicated educators,” Gov. Beshear said. “Students learn best from well-prepared and well-trained teachers. The work of this pilot project supports our commitment to Kentucky’s children to provide them with a world-class education and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed today and as our workforce of tomorrow.”

Over the next two years, the NTEP states will work with educators, training programs, colleges and universities, and school districts to improve the way states prepare the teacher workforce.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday served on the CCSSO Task Force on Educator Preparation and Entry into the Profession, which developed a report and 10 recommendations.

“If we want to ensure our students receive a world-class education and graduate college/career-ready, we cannot ignore the importance of teacher preparation,” said Commissioner Holliday. “With the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards in English, mathematics and science, we’re expecting more of our students and teachers, so it is imperative we prepare our teachers to model and develop in students the knowledge and skills to think critically and creatively, solve real world problems, collaborate, and take ownership of their own learning.”

Kentucky and the six other states – Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Washington – are joined by 17 national organizations committed to support the states’ efforts to accelerate change in educator preparation and entry into the profession.

“It is no surprise that Kentucky was selected to participate in this pilot,” said Education Professional Standards Board Executive Director Robert Brown. “The objectives of the recommendations established by the CCSSO help guide transformations currently underway in Kentucky, as well as building upon recent initiatives to improve every aspect of educator preparation in the Commonwealth.”

CCSSO released “Our Responsibility, Our Promise –Transforming Educator Preparation and Entry into the Profession” in December 2012. The report was developed collaboratively by state education chiefs and representatives of the National Governor’s Association and the National Association of State Boards of Education to identify key areas they can change to ensure every teacher and principal is ready on day one to help all students meet raised expectations.

“States across the nation have raised expectations for students and that means that we have a responsibility to ensure that educators are prepared to help all students graduate ready for careers, college and lifelong learning,” said Chris Minnich, CCSSO executive director. “These seven states are among those on the leading edge of making substantive changes in the policy and practice of educator preparation. These states aren’t taking a piecemeal approach; rather they are creating a coherent system by addressing three key policy areas that shape this work.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EPA ready to listen, but not here

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ready to start listening to what Americans have to say about President Obama’s proposed Climate Action Plan. However, some don’t think they’ll be hearing from the right people.
The agency will start its series of 11 listening sessions across the country Wednesday. They are set to be held in New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
“I think it’s a clear and deliberate decision to stay away from the individual locations where people will come out and express concern,” said Chris Hamilton, Senior Vice-President of the West Virginia Coal Association. “Where they’ll really talk about the financial and technical impacts it will have to coal fired utilities.”
At the heart of the most recently unveiled EPA regulations are strict parameters on future construction for coal fired power plants. The emission control requirements are steep. So steep, according to Hamilton, they will all but end the use of coal for electric power generation.
“It all but guarantees there will never be another coal fired power plant constructed in the United States,” Hamilton said.

So if the EPA won’t come to them, Hamilton said a delegation of elected officials from West Virginia will go the EPA. They plan to attend at least one of the listening sessions to make their case for the economic hardships the regulations will be on states like West Virginia. Hamilton added the Congressional representatives from coal states have a resolution moving which would require the EPA to hold listening sessions in the heart of coal country, something the Administration so far has resisted.