Monday, June 30, 2014

Shoot Hoops Not Drugs free basketball camps conducted by UK Basketball All-Star Jeff Sheppard

The last of Operation UNITE’s regional Shoot Hoops Not Drugs basketball camps this summer will be held the second week of July.
Conducted by former University of Kentucky all-star Jeff Sheppard, the camps are free to any school-aged youth.
Three camps will be conducted over a four-day stretch: Monday, July 7, at Johnson County Middle School, 251 South Mayo Trail in Paintsville; Tuesday, July 8, at Boyd County High School, 14375 Lions Lane, located just north of I-64 on The Purple Heart Highway (Exit 185) in Ashland; and Thursday, July 10, at Harlan County High School, 4000 U.S. 119, located between Harlan and Cumberland, in Baxter.
Each camp – which combines basketball skills instruction with anti-drug and self-esteem messages – begins at 4 p.m. and concludes about 7 p.m.
Participants are asked to arrive 30 minutes early to register. (There is no advance registration.) For safety and comfort while participating, youth are asked not to wear open-toe shoes or sandals.
All participants will receive a free event T-shirt, regulation event basketball, food and water, and be entered into a drawing for two portable basketball goals given away at the conclusion of each camp (must be present to win).
Presented by Ameritox, Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps are fun, interactive and provide a safe, drug-free activity where children have an opportunity to interact with positive role models while learning fundamental basketball skills.
In addition, parents and guardians will have an opportunity to attend a brief UNITE Foundation-sponsored education program on the emerging heroin problem. Information on the signs, symptoms and dangers posed by prescription drugs will also be provided.
Helping make the 2014 Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camps possible are the Cumberland Gap Mountain Spring Water (Middlesboro), UPS Foundation, Walmart (Louisa), Kentucky Army National Guard, Laurel Grocery (London), Flowers Bakery (London), Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Center (Manchester), Farm Credit Mid-America (London), Minuteman Press (London), Tim Short Auto Group (London and Manchester), and WestCare Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery Center (Ashcamp).
This is the eighth season for Shoot Hoops Not Drugs. Through last year, UNITE has conducted 51 regional basketball camps with 6,749 youth participants representing 55 Kentucky counties, 15 other states and two other countries.
For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at

Nine people charged with taking $15 million from investors by fake coal mining company

The FBI says nine people from five states have been charged with taking $15 million from investors in a fake coal mining company in Tennessee.

The FBI says the nine have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.

An indictment says Brian C. Rose established an office for New Century Coal in Johnson City and hired the other eight people to solicit investors in the non-existent company.

Prosecutors say more than 160 investors from around the country were targeted.

The people charged are from Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Indiana and Kentucky.

Six of those charged, including Rose, have pleaded not guilty. Three others have court dates next week.

New bridge connects to Harmon’s Branch, Venters Lane behind Walters Toyota in Pike

A new bridge in Pike County, just off US 23, that connects Airport Road to Venters Lane is now open to traffic.

Robin Justice, Bridge Engineer for Highway District 12, said the new structure offers much safer access to US 23 from Harmon’s Branch and Classic Lanes than using Venters Lane, the road which runs from the bowling alley down the hill to the four lane.

“For years this was the only road into the area,” Justice explained. “Now it is actually just a service road used by delivery vehicles. Residents and the general public are encouraged to use the new bridge off Airport Road just behind Walters Toyota, between Walters Toyota and Classic Lanes.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

Unemployment rates released for May

Unemployment rates fell in more than 100 Kentucky counties between May 2013 and May 2014.

However, several Eastern Kentucky counties recorded the state’s highest unemployment rates.

Jackson County has the highest reate at more than 10%, followed by Magoffin County with more than 15%.

Harlan County was close behind with a little less than 15% and Leslie county with more than 14%.

Letcher, Bell, Knott, Clay and Pike Counties all made the list with higher unemployment rates.

Martin County fiscal court passes budget, avoids government shutdown

The Martin County fiscal court Thursday night approved a balanced budget for the next fiscal year.

Magistrates originally voted against the budget but returned after an executive session and voted three-to-two in favor of the spending plan proposed by Judge/Executive Kelly Callaham.

The budget has drawn criticism because it only funds garbage pickup for the next six months and citizens have enjoyed that free service for many years.

The fiscal court still has six months to figure out a way to continue paying for trash pickup before that cost will be passed on to citizens.

Since the budget passed, a possible government shutdown next week has been avoided.

Nicholasville police say six people killed in US 27 crash

A crash on US 27 in Nicholasville has killed six people, and injured four others, according to Nicholasville Police.

Police say the road is closed in both directions, and will remain closed between Edgewood Drive and Shun Pike for several hours.

Police say the driver of a car, which had four passengers, was headed north on US 27, somehow lost control, crossed the median, and hit another car. That car also had five people inside, and was hit head on. Police say one of those cars caught fire.

So far, the coroner had not released the name of any of the victims.

Man arrested for writing bad checks in multiple counties

Police have arrested a man they say wrote bad checks in multiple Kentucky counties.

State police say they received some information today that led them to Bobby Brewer.

He had warrants for his arrest out of Fleming, Clark, and Magoffin Counties.

Last week the Fleming County Sheriff's Office released some surveillance pictures of Brewer.

They say he wrote bad checks to at least three businesses in Fleming County.

Alpha closing mine near Haysi, 121 workers cut

121 people will be out of a job after Alpha Natural Resources closes one of its mines.

Impact study ordered for expressway route in Va.

Federal highway officials have told Virginia to conduct a detailed environmental study of a planned segment of the Coalfields Expressway because the route has changed.
The route of a 26-mile segment from Pound to the highway's intersection with the U.S. Highway 460 connector in Buchanan County was realigned to take advantage of a public-private partnership with coal companies. The coal companies plan to convert previously mined areas into roadbed.
According to reports, the Federal Highways Administration has directed the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct a detailed environmental impact statement for the new route. The federal agency says the route wasn't fully evaluated in the project's original environmental impact statement.
When completed, the expressway will run from Buchanan County to Raleigh County in West Virginia.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kentucky Proud foods will be served to race fans at Kentucky Speedway

Kentucky-grown food will be on the menu at Kentucky Speedway for the auto race on Saturday.

State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says Kentucky Proud foods will be served to fans at Saturday's Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and for the remainder of the racing season at the northern Kentucky track at Sparta.

Comer says the partnership with the speedway brings the Kentucky Proud program to a wider audience.

The food service vendor for the speedway says the chef will use honey from producer Ted Ratliff of Letcher County to serve with country fried chicken and biscuits. The honey will also be an ingredient in a honey mustard sauce and in a cocktail made with Jim Beam bourbon.

The speedway also will serve local Kentucky Proud produce.

Kentucky small business support most improved

The state says a survey of small businesses across the country shows Kentucky has made the most improvement in supporting entrepreneurs.

Gov. Steve Beshear's office said in a news release that surveyed more than 12,000 small businesses across the U.S. asking about the friendliness of states and cities toward small business.

Kentucky scored an A rating in the survey by, in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation. The state scored a B-minus last year, and Beshear's office says that means Kentucky was the most improved state in the survey.

Beshear's office says the Kauffman Foundation also ranks Kentucky fifth for entrepreneurial activity during the last two years and that the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Kentucky ranking first in percentage growth of new business establishments.

Prosecutors focus on vehicular homicide cases

Prosecutors from Kentucky and Tennessee are attending a training event focused on prosecution of vehicular homicide cases.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's office says the training is designed to create a team-building approach between crash reconstruction officers and prosecutors.

Conway says the training will create a better understanding of each other's roles.

Commonwealth's attorneys from Kentucky are joining prosecutors from the Tennessee district attorney's office at the training.

The attorney general's office says Kentucky had a drop in highway fatalities in 2013. It says one in five highway fatalities are in crashes involving alcohol.

The training is funded in part through the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety with grant funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Witness says thief fell through floor of condemned building

Police are piecing together what happened following a break-in complaint at the Renaissance Learning Center in Martin.

Lorraine Martin says she was outside on a break when she heard a crash coming from the condemned Martin High School building next door.

"I thought some of the roof was falling in," she said. "A few seconds later this man just waltzes out the door and he had fallen through the floor."

Martin says the man was in his mid 40s, about 5'7", heavyset, with sandy blonde hair.

Floyd County School District officials say they plan to take steps to make the condemned building more difficult to access in the future.

BBB warns about tech support scam

Officials with the Better Business Bureau Serving Central and Eastern Kentucky are warning about recent scams involving callers pretending to be with Microsoft technical support.

Microsoft's website warns people about tech support phone scams, but BBB officials say they hear stories of scams all the time.

"We want people to understand that the person calling you out of the blue saying they are with Microsoft is not with Microsoft at all, but a con artist trying to get access to your computer and causing you all kinds of headaches," said spokeswoman Heather Clary.

Which is why BBB officials say you need to be careful when a stranger calls.

The Better Business Bureau offers help to protect yourself from these scams.

They recommend you go through your service provider directly if you believe your computer may have been exposed to a virus.

You should also install virus protection to safeguard your computer.

Finally, they advise you to not trust cold calls or give private information over the phone to someone you do not know.

Corvette museum decides to keep sinkhole

A sinkhole that opened up at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, swallowing eight cars, could become a permanent fixture.

Since the sinkhole opened up four months ago it has become a tourist attraction and Wednesday the museum decided to keep it uncovered.

The board had three options on handling the sinkhole. The first was to fill it completely and replace the floor. The second was to keep the sinkhole as is. The third option, which the board chose, was to keep a small portion of the sinkhole open.

The plan would leave an opening approximately 25' by 45' wide, and 30' deep.

The museum's chief financial officer says since they opened the sinkhole up for viewing the museum has seen an increase in admissions and revenue.

The current plan is to leave the sinkhole and eight Corvettes on display "as-is" until the end of August.

The museum is keeping the option open to fill in the rest of the sinkhole should interest in the exhibit decrease in the years to come.

The Corvette museum will celebrate it's 20th anniversary in August. 

Supreme Court limits cellphone searches after arrests

A unanimous Supreme Court says police may not generally search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.

The justices say cellphones are powerful devices unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest.

Chief Justice John Roberts says that because the phones contain so much information, police must get a warrant before looking through them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Child custody dispute results in death

A child custody dispute ended in death late Monday night in Logan County.
Troopers with the West Virginia State Police identified the victim as Matthew Dillon, 30, of Belfry, Ky. They said he was in a fight with Rex Hale at Hale’s house on Cassick Street in Logan at just before midnight Monday.
Hale was taken to a hospital for treatment. No charges have been filed. 

Coordinator chosen for Promise Zone in Kentucky

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. has picked a program coordinator for the Promise Zone program in eight counties in southeastern Kentucky.

Sandi Curd will manage implementation of the Promise Zone strategic plan. She'll also serve as liaison between Promise Zone communities and the KHIC, which is regional administrator for the initiative.

The area of Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley counties were awarded one of five national Promise Zone designations. The regions will be targeted for tax incentives and federal grants aimed at improving the economy and expanding educational opportunities.

Curd is a Corbin resident and has 25 years of experience in health care and agriculture.

More Kentuckians graduating from college despite increased costs

More students in Kentucky are earning degrees and certificates from colleges in the state, according to a preliminary report from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

The number of baccalaureate degrees increased 3.4 percent, research doctorates increased 10.2 percent, and associate degrees increased close to 3 percent, according to the CPE.

Master's degrees decreased, the CPE reported.

The CPE also approved tuition increases for the 2014-15 academic year, ranging from 2.1 percent for the Kentucky Community and Technical College system to 5.1 percent for Eastern Kentucky University.

Police issue alert about home improvement scams

Police have an alert about home improvement scams.

Police say they've been receiving many complaints about these scams. Many of them involve unsolicited contractors who show up at your home, claiming it needs repairs.

Police say you should never agree to have work done on the spot. They also suggest getting at least two written estimates from different contractors. They say you should never pay with cash and don't make a final payment until the job is finished. 

Mosquito-borne illness confirmed in Kentucky

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has received lab results confirming the first case of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, also called CHIKV, in an Anderson County resident who recently traveled to Haiti. Results for nine possible cases in other individuals who recently traveled to the same region are still pending, but are expected to be positive.

The CHIKV illness is routinely found in mosquitoes in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, but is not yet carried by mosquitoes in Kentucky. CHIKV is only transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes, and does not spread person-to-person. The period of time between when an infected mosquito bites a person and when the person develops signs and symptoms of the illness is typically 3-7 days.

With illness onset, the person develops high fever, chills, and joint pain, followed in some by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting 3-4 days. Muscle and joint pain last about one week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, up to several months. CHIKV is usually not fatal. There is no vaccine available to prevent CHIKV infection.

To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, wearing long sleeves and pants, install screens in windows and doors, use repellent, sleep under mosquito nets, stay indoors with air conditioning.

Men's clinic reopens in Pikeville

A health clinic just for men is back open in Pikeville.

The men's clinic at The Pike County Health Department provides general health services like physicals, but it's primary function is to treat sexually transmitted diseases and educate men about STD's.

Originally opened in 2000 but forced to close after losing funding in 2012...doctors say growing needs are why they reopened.

The clinic is open every Monday from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Fundraiser held for 'Heroes Challenge' event

Folks who ate at Bank 253 in Pikeville on Tuesday helped out a good cause.

Ten percent of proceeds goes to the Heroes Challenge event.

The event being held on August 2nd in Pikeville will put participants through about a 4-mile first responder themed obstacle course.

Kentucky State Police CVE Officer Jamie Fields says, "They provide financial support for in the event of the loss of a loved one...a line of duty death of fire, ems, or police."

The event is already attracting participants from Lexington, Louisville, and out of the state.

Organizers say the event is also spectator and family friendly, with things like an emergency vehicle show and fire helmet contest planned.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Traffic Alert for TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014

Work to fix an embankment failure on KY 3419, Calloway Mountain, starts this morning at 7 o’clock. The road will essentially be closed to traffic all day, weather permitting, as the contractor intends to work until about 5 p.m. Stevie Slone, D-12 Superintendent at Phelps Maintenance, said the road will be closed tomorrow as well. “Depending on the weather,” he said, “we expect the drilling to take about two days.”

The exact site is on the Phelps side of Calloway, between mile point 7.05 and 7.8, almost to the top of the mountain. “We want to get this fixed to make the road safer,” Slone said. “We know it will cause some inconvenience, and we apologize for that, but the equipment we use takes up more than one lane of the roadway, so it isn’t safe to let traffic through when the equipment is running.”

Floyd County jury finds Jason Dickerson guilty of murder and criminal abuse

Jurors reached a verdict yesterday in the trial of Jason Dickerson.

Prosecutors say Dickerson and his wife Gladys are responsible for the 2011 death of their two-year-old nephew Watson Adkins.

Family members fought back tears Monday as Judge Johnny Harris read the jury's verdict, finding Jason Dickerson guilty of murder and four counts of criminal abuse.

Prosecutors maintained throughout the case Dickerson's nephew Watson Adkins died from internal injuries caused by repeated beatings.

The jury recommended a life sentence for the murder of Watson Adkins, as well as a total of 40 years for four counts of criminal abuse.

Jason Dickerson will be formally sentenced July 31st.

Gladys Dickerson will go on trial at a later date.

Attorney general issues alert about IRS phone scam

The Kentucky Attorney General is warning about a phone scam. The Attorney General's office says the callers claim be associated with the IRS. The scammers tells the victim they owe money and they must take care of the time sensitive matter or the IRS will take legal action. The calls come from 415 or 202 area codes. Officials say you should not give the callers any personal information. 

Air bag recall spreads to more automakers

A recall of defective air bags is spreading to more manufacturers.

BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota will all recall cars at the U.S. government's request because their air bag inflators could rupture. If that happens, the air bags might not work properly in a crash, and shards from the ruptured system could fly out and cause injury.

In each case, the air bags are made by Japanese supplier Takata.

The government opened an investigation this month after getting six reports of air bags rupturing. It estimates 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. could be affected.

The recalls are limited to states and territories that have hot, humid weather for long periods of time. The government says data suggests vehicles in those areas are most at risk.

Experts: Kentucky's revenue shortfall raises risk

Some experts are warning that a recently announced shortfall in revenues raises the risk that spending cuts will be needed to balance the 2014-2016 state budget.

Kentucky Center on Economic Policy Director Jason Bailey said that a shortfall in one year "has a kind of a domino effect on the next years." He says revenue would have to increase more than expected and that's unlikely to happen.

Gov. Steven Beshear's administration announced this month that a significant shortfall is expected when the fiscal year ends June 30.

Budget Director Jane Driskell says Beshear has several sources of funding that he could use to balance this year's budget without making cuts. She says the bigger concern is that revenues must increase more than expected for the budget to balance next year. 

Firefighters respond to house fire in Paintsville

Firefighters responded to a house fire in Paintsville.

Dispatchers say the fire started a little after 8 p.m. last night at a home on Boyd Branch Road.

Authorities report that no one was inside at the time of the fire and no one was hurt.

They say four fire departments responded to the scene.

Floyd County library gets face lift

If you visit the Floyd County Library soon, you will notice things look a little different.

That is because the library in Prestonsburg just finished a year-long renovation. The project, which was funded entirely by the library, moved several collections around.

The library also now features local art throughout the building.

Lawrence County Schools sending off outgoing Superintendent in Style

On Monday, teachers, students and school board members sent off the outgoing Lawrence County Schools superintendent in style.

Superintendent Mike Armstrong, who spent nearly five years in the post, will be taking a new job as the executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association.

The district presented Armstrong with a plaque and a watch to commemorate his time working in eastern Kentucky.

His last day on the job is Friday.

Armstrong's replacement hasn't been found yet.

Monday, June 23, 2014

8 arrested at coal company headquarters in Va.

Eight people protesting mountaintop removal coal mining were arrested outside Alpha Natural Resources headquarters in Bristol, Virginia.

Mountain Justice, an environmental organization, says the activists also were protesting the opening of new mines on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia.

Police say one of the protesters tied himself to a flagpole and flew a banner saying "Save Coal River Mountain." Demonstrators also chained the building's doors on the outside Friday morning.

Media outlets report that charges against the protesters include trespassing, obstructing free passage, disorderly conduct and violation of fire codes. A Monday court date was set.

Alpha spokesman Steve Hawkins says the activists are members of a West Virginia-based group that's protesting a broader issue that does not relate to the local community.

United Way chapter cuts funding to some groups

United Way of the Bluegrass in central Kentucky is responding to a drop in donations by decreasing funding to some organizations it supports.

Bill Farmer, president of the United Way chapter, says donations were down about 15 percent - about $800,000 less than last year. He says the yearlong giving campaign that just concluded generated about $4 million.

The United Way chapter finished 2011 with revenue of $5.3 million and 2012 with $4.9 million.
Farmer attributes the revenue decrease to a "soft economy" and competition for charitable giving.

He says most of the 80 central Kentucky agencies that receive United Way funding saw a decrease in funding, some of up to $50,000.

The organizations were notified recently of their funding levels for the coming fiscal year.

Martin County officials discussing dropping free garbage service due to budget issues

Dumping a free county wide service? That is the idea in Martin County.

A budget deficit has county leaders looking for ways to trim the fat. On the chopping block, free garbage pickup.

For decades folks in Martin County have been using garbage transfer stations provided by the county.

Judge Executive Kelly Callaham says, "We have three of them throughout the county and people bring their garbage and dump in our containers and we take it to a landfill."

Free to the garbage dumper but costing the county more than half a million dollars each year

Callaham says, "For the last 21 years we've paid for that through our coal severance monies."

However, this year that budget is off by about $800,000.

Without any changes to the service he says they'll be force to cut non-mandated programs like senior citizen centers, community centers, and more.

Officials are discussing whether to franchise out and have mandatory pick up or find a way to pay for the drop off service.

This issue will be discussed at the next fiscal court meeting which is at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Johnson County firefighter who died in car crash laid to rest

A Johnson County firefighter who died in a car crash was laid to rest Sunday.

Jason Blair, 24, died Thursday in a crash on the Mountain Parkway in Magoffin County. He was a volunteer firefighter with the W.R. Castle Fire Department for more than seven years.

Folks gathered at the Johnson County Middle School gymnasium to pay their final respects.

Nearly 30 fire trucks and EMS vehicles from different counties lined up along the highway in Paintsville as a tribute to Blair. His body was transported through the tribute atop W.R. Castle fire engine number one.

Firefighters plan to retire Blair's number 321.

Escaped inmate caught in Wise County

An inmate, who deputies say escaped from a Southwest Virginia Jail, is back behind bars.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Change of command is Friday for 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell

The commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell is turning over command on Friday.
Maj. Gen. James C. McConville will relinquish command of the 101st to Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky during a ceremony at the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line.

McConville has led the 101st since August 2011 and has been nominated Army deputy chief of staff in Washington.

Volesky has been chief of public affairs in the secretary of the Army's office since 2012. He was previously deputy commanding general for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

Kentucky coping with black lung backlog

Kentucky has a backlog of more than 1,000 coal miners who have filed workers compensation claims because of black lung disease.

Department of Workers' Claims Commissioner Dwight Lovan told lawmakers Thursday that as more coal miners lose their jobs more of them are filing black lung claims. The department has had more than 300 claims filed so far this year, and none of them have been processed.

A 2010 Kentucky Supreme Court ruling resulted in the cases being evaluated by a doctor at the University of Louisville or the University of Kentucky. But Lovan said the increase in claims has caused delays. Lovan said he hopes to contract with two private health clinics to speed up the evaluation process.

Lovan said the department could have 500 new claims this year.

Kentucky's unemployment rate holds steady at 7.7 percent in May

Kentucky's seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate remained at 7.7 percent from April 2014 to May 2014, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary May 2014 jobless rate was .6 percentage points below the 8.3 percent rate recorded for the state in May 2013.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 6.3 percent in May 2014, unchanged from the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Firefighter Killed in Mountain Parkway Crash

A 24-year-old man has been killed in a single vehicle crash on the Mountain Parkway in Magoffin County.

Kentucky State Police say Jason Blair, of Nippa, Ky. was killed when his vehicle went off the highway and overturned.

Blair died at the scene.

Blair was a firefighter for W.R. Castle Fire and Rescue.  Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced by Phelps and Son Funeral Home in Paintsville.

Five people arrested in drug roundup in Johnson County, KY

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office in KY began their "Operation June Bug" drug roundup yesterday morning.
According to Sheriff Dwayne Price, they were looking for 10 people, most of which were repeat offenders, but were only able to locate and arrest five of them.
The five that were arrested include:
Heather F. Stambaugh
James Douglas Daniels
Elizabeth G. Skeens
Bobby E. Estep
Dwayne C. Salyer
Sheriff Price says all of their charges are drug related, and that the names of the other five will be released Friday, June 20, giving them an opportunity to turn themselves in before police ask for community assistance in locating them.
According to Sheriff Price this is one of many roundups in the past three years.  Future roundups are scheduled.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Former Garrett fire chief set to enter plea

Former Garrett Volunteer Fire Department Chief Terry Triplett will enter a plea later this month.

Monday, the Floyd County Sheriff's Department arrested Triplett.

In 2013, a grand jury indicted him on embezzlement charges.

A state auditor's report in 2012 found $123,000 dollars in questionable spending that was traced back to Triplett.

An arraignment is set for June 30th.

Cannabis supporters push for medical marijuana

Cannabis supporters, buoyed by a series of small victories in Kentucky over the past two years, hope to use their momentum to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Wednesday state lawmakers held their second public hearing this year on the issue, taking testimony from a quadriplegic who said marijuana eases his pain and treats his glaucoma.

State lawmakers have already legalized industrial hemp farming and the use of hemp oil for medical treatment. State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said lawmakers embraced the use of hemp for its economic opportunities as well as its medical benefits. Comer said he sees hemp as a new opportunity for family farmers.

State lawmakers are planning at least two more public hearings on the medical marijuana issue this year before the legislature reconvenes in January.

New teacher evaluations going statewide

Educators from across Kentucky are learning about the new way they will be evaluated beginning in the fall.

Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, spoke about the upcoming changes, saying they will establish standards of practice.

The pilot program will be rolled out across the state in the upcoming school year. The system makes evaluations consistent in all districts, allows for peer observation and for student feedback.

In the past, different school districts have used different means of evaluating educators.

State proposes new office building in Frankfort

The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet is asking developers to bid on a proposed 334,000-square-foot office building in the state capitol.

State officials want the developer to pay for the building up front and lease it back to state government for several years until the state can purchase it.

The state wants the building on some state-owned property off of Sower Boulevard near the Public Service Commission. But officials said they will consider other sites.

Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner said state officials don't know how they would use the building. She said the state is always looking for the most efficient ways to house state employees.

The deadline to bid on the project is 10:30 a.m. on June 27.

Report ranks Kentucky among worst for teen driving deaths

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens. A report from the website, WalletHub, says Kentucky is ranked 49th out 50 states in the teen deaths category per licensed drivers.

The report also ranks the best and worst states overall for teen drivers. It takes into account rate of teen violations, the number of teen drivers, miles traveled per capita, state laws, cost of car repairs, and insurance.

Kentucky ranks 15th overall for teen drivers in that category, according to those criteria. 

However, State Police Trooper Paul Blanton says the number of teen deaths in Kentucky has decreased from 2012 to 2013, from 58 to 40 deaths.

Trooper Blanton says if teens continue to wear their seat belts and keep their phones away, fatalities will continue to decrease.

WalletHub ranks New York as the best state for teen drivers and South Dakota as the worst.