Friday, January 31, 2014

Kerosene Heater Starts Fire at Johnson County Business

The quick response of some Johnson County firefighters saved one business yesterday afternoon.

Officials say folks at MCL Excavating in Flat Gap were trying to warm some frozen pipes with a kerosene heater and it caught the floor and a wall on fire.

Four fire departments responded to the scene and were able to put the fire out and save the building.

No one was injured.

It only took the fire departments about two hours to make sure the fire was out.

Minimum Wage Bill Passes House Committee

Kentuckians are one step closer to higher wages.

A bill aimed at raising the minimum wage across the Commonwealth passed a House Committee today.

The measure is a priority for House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg.

He says full-time employees working for the minimum wage make less than the average cost of a used car in the U.S.

Under the bill, the state's minimum wage would gradually increase to $10.10 an hour.

It has not been raised since 2009.

House Votes to Strengthen Accountability Standards at Public Schools

The Kentucky House voted to strengthen accountability standards for Public School Districts.

The measure requires school finance officers to make monthly reports to local school boards and provide an annual report to the state education department.

This would increase training for some school board members.

The bill cleared the House on a 58 to 41 vote Thursday afternoon.

It now moves to the Senate.

Tragedy Hits Western Kentucky Town

Kentucky State Police say a fire that killed 9 people started accidentally with combustible material against an electric baseboard heater in a bedroom.

Trooper Stu Recke said the fact that all the victims were found in a master bedroom could be an indication that they were trying to escape through a window, but investigators aren't sure.

Eight children and their mother died in the fire in Greenville in the western part of the state, while the father and an 11-year-old girl escaped with injuries.

Autopsies on the remains of the family members were started Thursday afternoon.

The father and daughter who survived the fire and are at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee

They have been identified as 36 year-old Chad Watson and 11 year-old Kylie Watson. Hospital officials say the two are critical but stable.

The victims are indentifed as:

Nikki Watson, age 35
Madison Watson, age 15
Kaitlyn Watson, age 14
Morgan Watson, age 13
Emily Watson, age 9
Samuel Watson, age 8
Raegan Watson, age 6
Mark & Nathaniel Watson, 4 year-old twins 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Power Restored in Martin County

Martin County Emergency management officials report the power has been restored to AEP customers in the county.

At one point yesterday, nearly 60 percent of AEP customers in the county were without power.

Two warming centers were activated at the Martin County Courthouse and Warfield City Hall during the outage.

No word on what caused the power to go out.

Propane shortage, higher prices causing problems for suppliers, customers in extreme cold

Supply problems in several states where propane is a crucial heating source have prompted governors and other officials to take action against vendors, investigate claims of price gouging and increase aid to low-income customers.
The propane drain coincides with extreme cold temperatures in several Midwestern and Southern states where residents and business owners are struggling to keep heating tanks filled due to increased costs or supply cut-offs.

Supplies of propane were depleted by a late harvest that increased demand from farmers who needed to dry large amounts of grain before storage.

Kentucky's attorney general was granted an injunction against a major propane supplier that had stopped delivering to commercial customers in several states. And in Missouri, lawmakers are asking the Justice Department to investigate rising prices in that state.

Kentucky House passes bill to strengthen accountability standards for school districts

The Kentucky House has voted to strengthen accountability standards for public school districts in the wake of financial misdeeds among some school officials.
The measure requires school finance officers to make monthly reports to local school boards and provide an annual report to the state Education Department.

It would increase training for some school board members, depending on length of service.

That provision drew objections from a number of lawmakers who praised other parts of the bill. They worried the increased training would add more expenses for school districts.

The bill cleared the House on a 58-41 vote Wednesday and now goes to the Senate.

State Auditor Adam Edelen praised the House action. He said his office has found hundreds of thousands of dollars abused and misspent in school district audits in the past year and a half.

The legislation is House Bill 154.

Ky. Senate Committee Approves ATV Helmet Bill

A Kentucky Senate Committee approved a bill to expand the instances when people can operate all-terrain vehicles without helmets.

Under the measure, the helmet requirement would not apply when ATV riders cross roads with speed limits of 55 mph or less.

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Director Bill Bell says he opposes the bill for safety reasons.
He said Kentucky had 12 ATV-related deaths last year on roadways.

State law allows ATV operators 16 or older to ride without helmets when on private property or some business activities.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Political parties complete recruitment; prepare for crowded election in Kentucky

Kentucky Republicans and Democrats have filled out their slates of candidates for federal and state offices to be contested in this year's election.
Topping the crowded ballot will be the campaign for a U.S. Senate seat, but a key battle will be waged for control of the Kentucky House. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says about 4,000 Kentuckians filed as candidates for local, state and federal offices ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

Democrats hold a 54-46 advantage in the House, but Republicans are preparing to mount a strong challenge for control of the chamber. The GOP is in firm control of the state Senate.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is predicting Democrats will pick up as many as seven seats in November.

Republicans say they're hoping to capitalize on President Barack Obama's unpopularity in the state.

Mayor's office says Ford to announce 'significant' investment at Kentucky Truck Plant

A spokesman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says Ford Motor Co. this week will announce a "significant" investment in the Kentucky Truck Plant that will add new jobs.
Spokesman Chris Poynter declined to say how many jobs were expected and said any further details would have to come from Ford.

A Ford spokesman declined comment. The company announced in an email Tuesday that it would be holding a tour and news conference at the Louisville plant on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Beshear referred comment to Joe Hall, spokesman for the state's Economic Development Cabinet. Hall said department officials would not comment until the Thursday announcement.

Kentucky Baptist Convention airing radio ad opposed to expanded gambling

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is speaking out against expanded gambling in a new radio ad aimed at stirring grassroots opposition to legalizing casinos.
The ad is debuting Wednesday on Christian radio stations.

It features the Baptist Convention's executive director, Paul Chitwood. He says casino operators want to "cash in on the misery" of others. He urges listeners to press their lawmakers to oppose expanded gambling.

Chitwood also makes his case in a video being sent to churches across the state.

The Baptist Convention's campaign comes as expanded gambling supporters are renewing their efforts in this year's General Assembly session.

Lawmakers are considering proposals that would let Kentucky voters decide whether to amend the state's constitution to legalize casinos. Supporters point to the revenue they say casinos would generate for the state.

McConnell: Farm Bill to Promote Hemp Revival

Hemp production may be on the verge of a comeback in Kentucky, where the non-potent cousin of marijuana once thrived.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the final version of the federal Farm Bill will allow limited hemp cultivation in pilot programs in states that permit the production.

Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill last year to allow industrial hemp's reintroduction but only if the federal government lifts its ban.

McConnell says the Farm Bill language he secured will allow state agriculture departments to oversee pilot hemp projects. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has promoted the crop, which can be turned into products ranging from paper to cosmetics.

Hemp was banned decades ago when the government classified it as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Hemp has a negligible content of the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Former Fish and Wildlife Official faces Ethics Charges

The former top official at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has been charged with violating the state's ethics code.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission said Monday that the wildlife agency's former commissioner, Jonathan Gassett, abused his position to have agency employees perform personal work for him.

Gassett, who left the agency last year, faces nine civil charges that could result in up to $45,000 in fines.

He's among four current or former wildlife agency employees who were charged Monday with ethics code violations. Ethics Commission Executive Director John Steffen says the officials used their positions for personal gain in what he calls significant violations of the ethics code.

Hope Wall to be displayed in Magoffin County

The UNITE Hope Wall will be on display in the Magoffin County Judicial Center starting Friday afternoon, January 31, through Friday morning, February 14.

Celebrating a person’s ability to overcome an addiction, the display gives hope to others struggling through a loved one’s substance abuse addiction hope.

“It’s so wonderful to visually see these success stories,” said Judge Kim Childers, of the 36th Judicial Circuit. “I encourage everyone to come out and look at the wall and enjoy these life-changing stories. These pictures represent real individuals and families. It will encourage you.”

Unveiled last August, the Hope Wall demonstrates that addiction has no boundaries; all walks of life are affected. Approximately 150 individuals who are now in recovery and living clean and sober lives are pictured.”

“A majority of people featured on the Hope Wall have received a UNITE Treatment Voucher to help them overcome a substance abuse addiction,” noted Dan Smoot, UNITE president/CEO. “These are people who may have otherwise continued down a destructive path of drugs.”

“More than 3,300 people – including 52 Magoffin County residents – have entered a substance abuse treatment program using a UNITE voucher since the initiative began in 2005,” Smoot said. “These individuals have been given an opportunity to reclaim their lives.”

Treatment vouchers for short-term or long-term residential treatment are available to low-income residents of the 32 counties served by UNITE across southern and eastern Kentucky. For more information call UNITE’s Treatment Help-Line at 1-866-908-6483.

Anyone who has been in recovery for at least 18 months is eligible to be featured on the wall. For more information contact the UNITE office at 606-330-1400 or visit<>.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Floyd County has first Female Fire Chief

There is a new chief at Mud Creek Fire Department and she is the first woman to hold the position in Floyd County history.

22-year-old, Stephanie McKinney, is a senior biology and psychology major at the University of Pikeville...while also being a member of the fire department for three years.

With the most training hours last year in the department, she says her work ethic caught others attention...naming her chief.

McKinney says she is also thankful for the outpouring of support from all the other departments in Floyd County.

Governor announces WorkSmart Kentucky initiative

Monday, Governor Steve Beshear announced WorkSmart Kentucky, an initiative to provide employers quality workforce.

Through business specialists, the initiative partners with new and current companies to find workforce resources for employers. Certain qualifying companies in the state will be eligible for recruitment at no cost. This includes flexible grant funding to help in the costs of customized and in-house training needs.

The initiative is a partnership of workforce professionals from the state's Cabinet for Economic Development, Education, and Workforce Development Cabinet, Labor Cabinet and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Flu Deaths Reported in Eastern Kentucky

Two people have died from the flu in the past couple of weeks in eastern Kentucky.

The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department confirms two flu related deaths in the five-county area, which includes Boyd, Carter, Greenup, Lawrence and Elliott counties.

Health officials say both deaths were caused by H1N1. Both victims were between the ages of 30 and 40 and had pre-existing health conditions.

Officials say one was vaccinated. They are still trying to determine if the second victim had r
received a vaccination.

Propane Shortage causes rationing

Some Kentuckians are having a hard time heating their homes because of a propane shortage. More than 130,000 or 8% of Kentucky homes are heated by propane.

The Kentucky Propane Gas Association says there's a shortage because of the high demand for propane, supply interruptions, and the U.S. exporting more propane than is imported.

Many Propane dealers are rationing customers to 150 gallons which is enough propane to heat a home for a month. State officials advise customers to be cautious with their supply, and to consider turning their thermostat down.

The federal government lifted restrictions on propane haulers to allow truckers to drive more hours to reach more people.

Proposed Bill bans those under 18 from purchasing e-cigarettes

The come in various flavors but if a Proposed bill passes, you’ll have to be 18 years of age to buy e-cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration has limited restrictions on the sale of the battery-powered device.

It is up to state and local governments to limit availability to individuals over a certain age.
Shelbyville Representative Brad Montell introduced a bill on Monday.

This bill would add the sale of e-cigarettes to the current law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products, including cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 18.

Montell does not have an exact time table as to when this bill could be approved, however he said he has not run into any resistance thus far.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Coalition of health care, business groups push for changes to Ky.'s medical malpractice system

Kentucky lawmakers are being urged by a coalition of powerful health care and business groups to revamp the state's medical malpractice system.

The new group, called the Care First Kentucky Coalition, is pushing for legislation to create medical review panels. The coalition sees review panels as a deterrent against meritless malpractice lawsuits.

Coalition members include the Kentucky Medical Association and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer said Friday that overhauling the medical malpractice system is a key issue for Senate Republicans in the legislative session.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he would be open to considering review panels for malpractice lawsuits against nursing homes. But Stumbo said the panels' findings should not be admissible at trial.

He said panel members could testify because they would be subject to cross-examination.

Officials urge Ky. residents to prepare for freezing temps, wrap pipes, protect pets

Weather officials are urging residents to prepare for an arctic blast expected to affect most of Kentucky this week.

Temperatures were expected to start dropping Monday, and forecasters predicted some parts of the state could see wind chills down to 15 below over the next three days. They say most of the state should see lows near or slightly below zero till Thursday, when temperatures are expected to be in the low teens.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Jackson says residents should wrap exposed pipes and make sure pets and livestock are cared for.

First Class Stamp Price rises to 40 cents

It's going to cost you a few pennies more to mail a letter.

The cost of a first-class postage stamp is now 49 cents - 3 cents more than before.
Regulators approved the price hike in December, and it went into effect on Sunday.

Many people won't feel the increase right away: Forever stamps are good for first-class postage at whatever the future rate.

The last increase for stamps was a year ago, when the cost of sending a letter rose by a penny to 46 cents.

The Postal Service lost $5 billion last year and has been trying to get Congress to let it end Saturday delivery and reduce payments on retiree health benefits.

Corrections Officers group lobbies for pay hike

A group of current and retired corrections officers are planning to lobby state lawmakers during the current legislative session for a pay raise.

Officers from the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville and the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex met last week to discuss the campaign, which will include letters and phone calls.

Larry Bland, who is president of the Lake Barkley Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the effort is necessary to retain staff and ensure the workforce is highly trained and competent.

He says Kentucky ranks 49th in the nation in median hourly wages for correctional officers

Turtleman facing scrutiny over animal welfare

Kentucky’s Turtleman is facing federal scrutiny after a magazine report claimed animals were harmed while filming his reality TV show on Animal Planet.

"Call of the Wildman" features Ernie "Turtleman" Brown removing nuisance animals with his bare hands.

An article published at, claims the show stages fake rescue situations that sometimes harm animals. It also claims a baby raccoon and several bats died after being used on the show.

The U.S. Agriculture Department, which enforces the Animal Welfare Act, is reviewing the situation.

A spokeswoman for Animal Planet said in a statement that the safety of the animals is the channel's top priority. She also said the show's producers have hired a federally licensed wildlife handler to be on the set at all times

Smoke Detector credited for saving a Pike County family

Last year after several fire related deaths, fire officials in Pike County were on a mission to make sure every home had working smoke detectors. Officials say one of those detectors handed out has already saved lives.

A fire broke out in the home of Mark Wolford early Saturday morning. His home equipped with working smoke detectors handed out as part of an effort last year by the Pike County Firefighters Association to save lives and property.

The alarm woke the family up, allowing them time to get out of the house and call 911.
Fire officials say this is a perfect example as to just how important working smoke detectors are.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Primary Election Filing Deadline is Tuesday

People interested in running for public office have a few more days to file paperwork to be placed on the May 20 primary election ballot in Kentucky.

The secretary of state's office says almost 4,000 candidates have already filed for more than 300 offices on this year's ballot. The deadline is 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Candidates who are required to file with the secretary of state's office are those running for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator, state representative, Supreme Court justice, Court of Appeals judge and circuit and district judge. Candidates for city and county office file with the county clerk in the county of service.

Proposal would change timing for Kentucky elections

A proposed ballot measure to switch elections for Kentucky governor and other statewide constitutional offices to even-numbered years has cleared the state Senate.

Republican Sen. Christian McDaniel of Taylor Mill said the goal is to raise voter turnout and reduce election-related costs by consolidating more elections.

But Democratic Sen. Ray Jones II of Pikeville said Republicans want the change to improve the GOP's chances of winning constitutional offices.

The proposed constitutional amendment cleared the GOP-run Senate on a 25-12 vote Wednesday.

Currently, elections for governor and other constitutional offices are held in odd-numbered years. The next election for those jobs is set for 2015.

The proposed ballot measure would shift those elections to even-numbered years every four years, beginning in 2016. The proposal now goes to the House.

Plans Revealed regarding Upgrade of U.S. 460 in Magoffin County

Big changes could soon be coming to one stretch of road in Magoffin County.

Transportation officials want to upgrade U.S. 460 in Salyersville from the Mountain Parkway to the intersection of Kentucky 114.

The proposal calls for 460 to be widened from two lanes to four.

People got the chance to look over the proposed changes at a public meeting Thursday night at Magoffin County High School.

Some folks who live near 460 expressed concerns that widening the road would change the routes they take to and from their homes.

Construction cannot begin until the General Assembly approves the Transportation Cabinet's six-year highway plan.

For information on submitting questions and comments on the plan, call (606)-666-8841.

Ky. Power Urges Customers to Double Check you Bill

The bitter cold means many folks will be turning up the heat, which could mean more money out of your pocket to pay the electric bill.

Representatives from the power company said a hike of roughly 5% went into effect on January 1st.

"That was a result of our Mitchell Transfer case which allowed us to transfer generating assets from Ohio Power to Kentucky Power to replace what is going to be lost when unit two at our Big Sandy facility is closed," said Kentucky Power Company Communications Manager Ronn Robinson.

Kentucky Power is seeking approval to convert the other unit to burn natural gas instead of coal.

Power officials ask everyone to review their bill closely.

AEP officials said if anyone has a concern about their power bill they are encouraged to call the Kentucky Power Customer Solutions Center at 1-800-572-1113.

Traffic Light replacement set for next week in Pike County

Next week you will need to pay close attention through one Pike County City.

Officials say they plan to replace traffic lights along U.S. 23 through Coal Run Village.

The project begins Monday, January 27th and runs through Friday.

Work will begin at 8 a.m. and not end until 6 p.m.

While no intersection will be completely blocked, officials still urge drivers to pay close attention to signs posted with lane closures.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sheriff’s Office Coping with Layoffs

Budget cuts hit one county sheriff's office recently forcing it to lay off two deputies.

Now the Johnson County Sheriff's Office is struggling to balance the work load.

Budget cuts forced the office to lay off two of its deputies and one office clerk leaving just a handful to pick up the slack.

Sheriff Dwayne Price says losing that man power means there is only one deputy patrolling per shift which hurts several things including response times.

The department also prides itself in fighting a war on drugs, complete with several drug roundups throughout each year.

The sheriff says those could also be in jeopardy.

The sheriff says there is a possibility more layoffs will come later this year, but he is hopeful they can find a way around it.

Flu Continues to Spread Across Kentucky

State health officials say the flu continues to spread around Kentucky.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services confirms 168 flu cases so far this season. That's up from 40 last week.

Kentucky's flu activity is considered widespread. Cases have been reported in all parts of the state.

Hospitals across the region say they've seen many flu cases in their emergency room this week.

Gov. Calling for $7 Billion in Improvements in Road Plan

On Wednesday, Governor Steve Beshear sent to the Kentucky General Assembly a 2014-2020 Recommended Highway Plan that, if enacted, would provide nearly $7 billion of state and federal funding for transportation improvements across the Commonwealth.

Proposed projects include widening and extending the Mountain Parkway for economic development in Eastern Kentucky, completion of the six-laning of Interstate 65 and continuation of the Downtown Crossing bridge and interchange project on the Ohio River in Louisville.

The proposed plan also would provide for badly needed new bridges across Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, funding to facilitate the Brent Spence Bridge project in Northern Kentucky and continuation of long-awaited projects to complete the I-69 Corridor in Western Kentucky.

“Our transportation system carries the life blood of our Commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “Our commerce, economic development, education, community growth – our very quality of life – all depend on a transportation infrastructure that is as modern and safe as we can make it. Our Recommended Highway Plan represents a critical investment in that infrastructure.”

The Recommended Highway Plan honors commitments made in the 2012 Highway Plan while providing a way to accommodate some major, new initiatives, such as four-laning and extending the Mountain Parkway from Campton to Prestonsburg and setting aside funding to facilitate the Brent Spence Bridge project in Northern Kentucky. For both of those projects, the plan recommends toll revenue bond funding, as is being used in Louisville for the Downtown Crossing.

Notable provisions include:

Mountain Parkway – Widening and extension from Campton to Prestonsburg
Already identified as one of Gov. Beshear’s highest priorities, the Mountain Parkway, which now reaches from Winchester to Salyersville, would be widened to four lanes in its entirety and extended eastward to Prestonsburg by 2020. It is a $753.6 million project, for which $595.6 million of conventional funding is provided in the Recommended Highway Plan. The remainder – $158 million – would come from sale of toll revenue bonds.

Ky. Senate votes to Update Informed Consent Law

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill to require any woman seeking an abortion to have a "face-to-face" meeting with a medical professional before the procedure.

The measure seeks to update the state's informed consent law. It requires women to receive counseling and then wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion.

The bill passed the Senate on a 33-5 vote Wednesday and now goes to the House.

Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, the bill's lead sponsor, says abortion providers have "found a way around" the law's intent by providing the information through recorded telephone messages.

Gregory, R-Monticello, says in-person meetings would ensure women are fully informed before making a potential "life-ending decision."

Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, says the bill is intended to cause a "guilt trip" for women seeking abortions.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gov. Beshear Calls for Education Investments, Cuts in Budget Address

Governor Steve Beshear laid out his proposal for the 2014-2016 budget Tuesday during a joint session of the Kentucky House and Senate.

While he says creating jobs remains his priority, Beshear says moderate growth in state revenue is not projected to keep pace with expenses, prompting difficult decision-making.

The governor says his spending plan makes important investments in some areas, while inflicting painful cuts in others.

In his budget address Tuesday ... Governor Beshear echoed the promise he made in his State of the Commonwealth address two weeks ago ... That he would reinvest in education ... Even if it means harmful cuts in other programs.

The governor's plan calls for a $189 million biennial investment in SEEK, the Commonwealth's main formula for classroom funding. The budget also marks $95 million for textbooks, school safety and other K-12 services over the same two-year period.

"Our schools have stretched every dollar they have as far as they can, and it is time to again fund our classrooms like we should," Beshear said.

The investment comes at a cost. Beshear recommended nearly $97 million in cuts over the biennium, with reductions to several state agencies of five percent for the first year. Funding for state police and universities would be cut by 2.5 percent.

"I am deeply disturbed ... by the damage these reductions will do," he said.

The governor's plan recommends more than $750 million for the planned expansion of the Mountain Parkway and $60 million in bonds to create a statewide broadband network, with priority given to Eastern Kentucky.

"Ladies and gentlemen, momentum is building, and with this budget we can hit the throttle and accelerate to a breakneck speed for Eastern Kentucky."

Other spending priorities include fully funding the actuarially recommended contribution to the Kentucky Retirement System.

Beshear called on bipartisan support to see his budget passed.

The governor's spending plan assumes no new sources of revenue, but he says tax reforms or expanded casino gaming could soften the blow of some of the cuts.

Ky. Retail Food Prices up Slightly at end of 2013

A new survey shows that average retail food prices rose slightly in the last three months of 2013 in supermarkets across Kentucky.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau says the year ended with the highest prices in the decades-long history of its Marketbasket Survey.

According to the latest survey, the total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $120.08. Those results were 93 cents higher than the same list of items reported in the third quarter of 2013, which was the previous record high for food prices.

The latest survey reflects a 3.9 percent increase over the average price reported in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Five years ago, the average cost of the same 40 surveyed grocery items was $111.63, or 7.6 percent less than what those items cost on average today.

Dog Rescued From Suspected Puppy Mill in Pulaski County

The ASPCA helped the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office and the Pulaski County Attorney's office rescue dogs from a puppy mill on Tuesday. The dogs were taken from Dream Catcher Kennels in Nancy.

The dogs range from Chihuahuas to bloodhounds. The ASPCA the animals were found living filthy and deplorable conditions. We're told many have untreated medical issues and were found living with little or no shelter in below freezing temperatures.

The owner and operator of Dream Catcher Kennels, Dennis Bradley, will appear in Pulaski District Court on January 22. The ASPCA says he's expected to enter a guilty plea to animal cruelty charges. The organization says he was charged earlier this year after local authorities received numerous complaints about the conditions of the kennel. He is expected to receive six months in jail that will be probated for 24 months. He will not be allowed to operate a kennel or breeding operation during that time.

Group Formed to Connect Pike County

A new committee has been established to determine the most effective path to connect Pike County to the world by way of high speed internet access.

Business and community leaders throughout Pike County have been named to the Connect Pike County Committee to explore the county’s options and discuss the potential benefits offered to the community once connected to the latest high speed internet technology.

The committee, in addition to an advisory panel, consisting of IT personnel and individuals familiar with the technology, will be responsible for planning the necessary steps to properly implement the service throughout the county. 

Fiber optic, high speed internet is faster than a DSL connection and widely considered a necessity for many businesses interested in relocating to a community.

The committee will examine existing coverage areas and discuss the most effective way to hotwire the county.

Committee members

 Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford recently selected members of the “Connect Pike County” committee.

The group will explore how fiber optic, high speed internet can benefit the county. Members include:

•Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford

•Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn

•University of Pikeville President James Hurley

•Pike County Schools Superintendent David Lester

•Pikeville Independent Schools Superintendent Jerry Green

•Pikeville Medical Center President/CEO Walter May

•Community Trust Bank President/CEO Jean Hale

•AT&T representative Earl Thacker

•Gearheart Communications General Manager Paul Gearheart

•EQT Director of Operations Maverick Bentley

•AEP Manager of Customer and Distribution Services Robert Shurtleff

•Pike County Director of Energy and Community Development Charles Carlton

•Big Sandy Area Development Director Sandy Runyon

•Pike TV representative Al Greenfield


•Bruce Walters II

•Charles Baird

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gov. Beshear to Present Priorities in Budget Speech

Gov. Steve Beshear is set to deliver his budget proposal to a joint session of the Kentucky House and Senate. It marks the starting point for months of haggling over a larger pool of state revenues still not expected to meet funding demands.

Leading up to his Tuesday night speech, the governor warned lawmakers face a "tough budget situation," despite the projected upswing in revenue flowing into Kentucky's General Fund in the next two years.

Beshear says the extra revenue will be consumed by big-ticket spending obligations, including shoring up the government pension system.

The governor has said he's willing to propose cuts in parts of state government to free up money for education.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer predicts lawmakers will say "no" to most requests for additional funding.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Remembered in Pikeville

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech inspired change in a country deeply divided. Yesterday, dozens gathered in Pikeville to reflect on what his legacy means to them.

They marched through downtown and they listened to several speakers

Pastor Gene Layne, Jr. Says, "It is a people's holiday, for everyone, not just blacks, for everyone to enjoy freedom, equality, and justice." He adds, "The message Dr. King spoke was the same message that Jesus taught, that all mankind are created equal."

This was the first year for this event and organizers say they are already looking forward to making it bigger and better next year.

KSP Poster Contest Targets Missing Children

The Kentucky State Police (KSP) is calling all fifth grade students to compete in the National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest sponsored by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC. KSP will select one nominee from Kentucky to participate in the national level competition. The Kentucky nominee will receive an Award of Excellence from KSP and their poster will be prominently displayed at the Kentucky State Fair in KSP's Safety Town Exhibit.

Using the theme "Bringing Our Missing Children Home," the contest highlights America's united goal to bring missing children home safety. It provides teachers and parents with tools to educate children about safety and the prevention of child abductions.

The winner of the national contest will be determined in late April and will receive a U.S. Savings Bond and a free trip to Washington, DC to participate in the National Missing Children's Day ceremony, to be held on or around May 21, 2014. The ceremony will be a time to recognize people who work to bring missing children home safety and remember the children who remain missing.

Kentucky fifth graders can enter the contest by submitting their posters to KSP Headquarters. KSP must receive entries by February 18, 2014 for consideration. A judging panel will choose a state winner and their entry will be forwarded to DOJ where the national winner will be selected.

Kentucky entries and completed applications should be mailed to:
Kentucky State Police Headquarters
c/o Public Affairs Branch
919 Versailles Road
Frankfort, KY 40601

The winner of Kentucky's 2013 contest was Cooper Terry from H.W. Wilkey Elementary School in Leitchfield.

Drug Bust results in Four Arrests

Four people have been arrested after a drug bust in Boyd County.

Upon searching the house, Boyd County Deputies found approximately 23 grams of heroin, large amounts of cash, Amphetamine, Suboxone, Hypodermic Syringes and digital scales.

Deputies also found a 20 month old child in the house surrounded by numerous syringes and narcotics. The child was taken from the house and released to other family members.

Brandon Scott, 30 of Westwood, Tara Payne, 24, Stefan Payne, 23, and Trae Damron, 20, all of Catlettsburg, have been arrested and are being held in the Boyd County Detention Center.

Ky. Bill would let Monkeys help Paralyzed People

Kentucky legislators may soon debate whether to allow service monkeys to assist paralyzed adults with simple household tasks.

Sen. John Schickel says his bill comes at the request of a family in his northern Kentucky district. The family wants to use a service monkey to assist their daughter, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident.

The bill's critics include Sarah Baeckler Davis, executive director of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. She says monkeys are wild animals that don't belong in homes.

Since 1979, the group Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers has trained capuchin monkeys to help paralyzed adults with simple tasks, such as picking up dropped items or flipping on light switches.

The group's executive director, Megan Talbert, says the monkeys are "safe and wonderful" companions.

The legislation is Senate Bill 80.