Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kentucky suspends Harlan doctor over staff prescriptions

A doctor practicing at Harlan ARH Hospital has been suspended by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure after receiving an anonymous tip he was prescribing diet pills to the nursing staff.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration concluded that Dr. Donald Ramsey, of Knoxville, Tennessee, did not have a Kentucky DEA registration, which meant that he was "illegally prescribing controlled substances in Kentucky."

The suspension came after the board began investigating a complaint in February that Ramsey was prescribing twice the daily recommended dose of a appetite suppressant to hospital employees and their spouses.

The board has filed an emergency order of suspension that prohibits Ramsey from practicing in Kentucky.

Tax forms could pose challenge for

If you got health coverage through President Barack Obama's law this year, you'll need a new form from your insurance exchange before you can file your tax return next spring.

Some tax professionals are worried that federal and state insurance marketplaces won't be able to get those forms out in time.

That could lead to delayed tax refunds for millions of consumers.

The same federal agency that had trouble launching last fall faces the heaviest lift.

The Health and Human Services Department must send out millions of the forms, which are like W-2s for people getting tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums.

The form is called 1095-A, and it's supposed to be delivered by Jan. 31.

New Floyd County Rescue Squad Headquarters Dedicated

Honoring their history...that is the main message at Saturday's dedication ceremony for the Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad Headquarters.

Dozens came together to dedicate the 'Alexander-Goble-Willis Building'...a vision many years in the making.

That sense of pride for all members past and current, comes from why and how the organization was formed...after the 1958 bus crash, which is why the new building aims to honor that history.

A new state of the art headquarters worth 1.5 million dollars. Featuring a museum and a monument, to honor and remember the 27 lives lost...the 27 reasons the squad exists.

A new place to call home and help them better serve their community. More importantly, a place to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made and why the Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad exists.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pike County officials announce new natural gas to synthetic fuels plant

Bringing dozens of high paying jobs to the region, that is the headline of an announcement made today in Louisville.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo alongside Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford called Thursday a proud day and a good day for Eastern Kentucky as they announced the first step to bringing a natural gas to liquid plant to Pike County.

Announcing preliminary approval for up to 18 million dollars in tax incentives to RCC Big Shoal which is a company that converts natural gas to various synthetic oils.

Bill Johnson with RCC Big Shoal says Pike County is a great choice for the company. He said 

“There is a great amount of human resource here, people wanting to work, with good intentions.... plus with the amount of natural gas wells in Eastern Kentucky makes it an ideal location.”

The facility will produce 1,700 barrels a day, creating 30 full time jobs in the first unit making about 34 dollars an hour. This will bring high wage jobs aimed at helping coal miners and their families.

Once completed, officials say the plant will employ more than 50 people.

New public private partnership includes UPike and WKU

The University of Pikeville and Western Kentucky University announced a partnership for some academic programs yesterday.

"We're both entrepreneurial," said Gary Ransdell, WKU president. "We've never seen a deal we didn't like."

"We started talking about how we can partner to meet the challenges that we both have, and the challenges in the west are very similar to the challenges in the east," said James Hurley, the president of the University of Pikeville.

WKU will offer speech language pathology classes, which will lead to classes for a master's degree in communication disorders, according to a release from the University of Pikeville.

WKU will also offer a master of social work to University of Pikeville students, the release noted.

The University of Pikeville will have five spots in its coming optometry school for WKU students.

"This credentialing is going to be very important for improved healthcare in this end of the state," said Ransdell.

One woman killed in Pike County crash

More information is being released regarding a deadly crash in Pike County.

Coal Run Police Chief Jason Ray says the crash involved three vehicles along US 23 near BB&T bank.

He says a truck, Ford Expedition and Dodge Stratus all collided.

A passenger in the Stratus, Erie Damron died.

No charges have been filed but the crash remains under investigation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eastern Kentucky University, Community-Technical College System reach transfer agreement

Kentucky Community and Technical College System has reached an agreement with Eastern Kentucky University to allow seamless transfers for students.
The regional college system says the agreement signed provides a structure for exchanging transfer information between it and Eastern and also identifies students who are likely to consider transferring. The system said in a news release the agreement will also enhance advising services and minimize lost transfer credit.

State Records Center documents stored in 190,000 boxes moved to new Frankfort building

State officials have moved thousands of boxes of state records into a new facility in Frankfort.

The move to the new State Records Center involved about 190,000 cardboard boxes to a new leased building.

The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives says the move began in late April and was expected to take about three months. But instead it took just 38 working days.

The State Records Center provides high-volume, low-cost storage to state government agencies for records with a limited retention period or for permanent records that are still in use. They include court documents, adoptions files, police investigations and corrections records.

The department is also moving about 60,000 boxes of records from another rented facility to the new building.

Kentucky Board of Education decides to keep control of Breathitt County schools

The Kentucky Board of Education has decided to keep control of the Breathitt County school district for up to three more years.
The unanimous decision came after a nine-hour hearing in Frankfort.

Attorneys for state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday argued that continued state management was needed so that students would continue making progress.

Local school board members argued that some of their powers should be restored because they know what's best for students.

State manager Larry Hammond has overseen the district since December 2012. He recommended that it stay under state control.

Board of education member said it appears that local officials have "only a superficial knowledge" of the skills needed to run the district.

Officials continue to assess flood damage in Floyd and Johnson County

Folks continue to clean up from Friday night's flash flooding in Johnson and Floyd counties while officials are trying to determine if they might qualify for federal aid.

Local and state agencies continue assessing damage, In Johnson County officials say about 25 homes received damage, while in Floyd County early estimates show about 100 homes impacted.

Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management Director, Gary McClure says, "Floyd and Johnson Counties received a brunt of the rainfall this time."

That’s why Emergency Management officials are out in those counties surveying the amount of damage that qualifies as public assistance.

James Lewis, with Kentucky Emergency Management explains, "Roads, bridges, highways, and things like that...we are trying to reach the state threshold. We've easily surpassed the threshold for Floyd County which is $137,000. Now our goal is to come up with enough damage to meet the state threshold so the governor can ask for a presidential declaration."

Needing 6 million dollars in this type of damage from Floyd and Johnson combined to qualify for federal aid.

Officials say they are not through all of Floyd County yet and are already well over a couple million dollars.

Once assessments are complete numbers from both counties will be compiled and sent to Frankfort to see if the area qualifies for any federal assistance.

Kentucky Gets $20 Million Gran for Energy Study

Democrats and Republicans gathered Wednesday to celebrate a $20 million federal grant designed to move Kentucky to new forms of energy, a tricky subject in a state dominated by the coal industry.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and U.S.Rep. Andy Barr joined Gov. Steve Beshear and state House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins to announce a federal grant spread out among the state's eight public colleges and universities.

The money will pay for researchers to explore new ways to generate energy from plants and chemicals.

Beshear and Barr said the grant would complement the coal industry, which generates about 90 percent of the state's electricity.

McConnell said the grant shows Kentucky is in a great position to compete for federal research dollars.

Judge Approves Sale of 3 James River Coal Mines

A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of three James River Coal Co. mining complexes to a subsidiary of Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining LLC.

The sale includes the Hampden complex in West Virginia, including the assets of Logan & Kanawha Coal Co. LLC; the Hazard complex in Kentucky, excluding the assets of Laurel Mountain Resources LLC; and the Triad Mining complex in Indiana.

Blackhawk subsidiary JR Acquisition LLC will pay $20 million in cash and assume $32 million in liabilities. The operations employ about 900 workers.

U.S. Bankruptcy Kevin R. Huennekens approved motions enabling James River to sell the mines on Tuesday.

The company plans to complete the sale by the end of the week.

Richmond-based James River filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Truck Fire Causes Evacuations Yesterday in Pike County

Emergency Management officials say a truck carrying oxidizer caught fire at a strip mine in the Stopover community.

The Phelps Fire Department then worked to evacuate around 150 people as a precaution.

Fire officials then let the fire burn it self out and were able to reopen the area around 4 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

Pike County Emergency Management officials say several agencies are now looking into the cause of the fire.

Morgan County leader pleads guilty to kickbacks

Morgan County Judge Executive Tim Conley pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a charge of mail fraud.

Conley admitted to his role in a kickback scheme with a Salyersville construction company between 2009 and 2013.

He fought back tears in the wake of a deadly tornado that ravaged Morgan County in 2012.

He broke down again in federal court Tuesday, as he admitted to taking more than $100,000 in illegal kickbacks from a bridge contractor.

Conley is set to be sentenced December 2nd.

He could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Funeral Arrangements made for 3 killed in Martin County fire

The funeral arrangements for three people who were murdered in Martin County have been announced.

Tina Goble, Cainie Johnson Junior and eight year old Trinity Maynard died earlier this month.

Visitation for the victims will be held Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The funeral will be Friday at 11. All services will be held at Phelps and Sons Funeral Home in Inez.

A grand jury has indicted Jack Smith and Amanda Bowen in connection to the triple murder.

Man arrested in Pikeville wanted for sex crimes

Sheriff's Deputies in Pike County caught a Whitley County man wanted for sex crimes.

Deputies found Teague Webb in Pikeville.

Earlier this month, a Whitley County grand jury indicted Webb on rape, sodomy, and two counts of incest and being a persistent felony offender.

Wednesday marks eighth anniversary of Comair flight 5191 crash

Today marks one of the saddest anniversaries in Kentucky history. On August 27, 2006, Comair flight 5191 crashed at the Blue Grass Airport killing 49 people after taking off from the wrong runway.

As with the crash's past two anniversaries, a public memorial or tribute isn't planned to mark the anniversary.

Most of the passengers onboard the Atlanta-bound flight were from central Kentucky. Ranging in age from 16 to 72 years old, the passengers included a University of Kentucky dean and a couple married the day before.

Eleven months later, the NTSB determined the probable cause was "the pilots' failure to use available cues and aids to identify the airplane's location and to cross-check and verify that the airplane was on the correct runway before takeoff."

Those who died on Comair Flight 5191:

Rebecca Adams, Harrodsburg
Lyle Anderson, Ottawa, Ont.
Christina Anderson, Inglewood, Ont.
Arnold Andrews, Tampa, Fla.
Anne Marie Bailey, Vancouver, B.C.
Bobbie and Jesse Benton, Stanford
Carole Bizzack, Lexington
George Brunacini, Georgetown
Brian Byrd, Richmond
Jeffrey Clay, Burlington
Homer and Diane Combs, Lexington
Fenton Dawson, Lexington
Thomas Fahey, Leawood, Kan.
Mike Finley, London
Clarence Wayne Fortney II, Lexington
Wade Bartley Frederick, Danville
Hollie Gilbert, Somerset
Erik Harris, Lexington
Kelly Heyer, Cincinnati area
Jonathan and Scarlett Parsley Hooker, London
Priscilla Johnson, Lexington
Tetsuya and Nahoko Kono, Lexington
Charles Lykins, Naples, Fla.
Dan Mallory, Bourbon County
Steve McElravy, Hagerstown, Md.
Lynda McKee, Richmond
Bobby Meaux, Harrodsburg
Leslie and Kaye Morris, Lexington
Cecile Moscoe, Richmond
Judy Ann Rains, Richmond
Michael Ryan, Lexington
Mary Jane Silas, Columbus, Miss.
Pat Smith, Lexington
Rebecca Adams, Harrodsburg
Tim Snoddy, Lexington
Marcie Thomason, Washington, D.C.
Greg Threet, Lexington
Randy Towles, Watertown, N.Y.
Larry Turner, Lexington
Victoria Washington, Richmond
Jeff Williams, Lexington
Paige Winters, Leawood, Kan.
Bryan Woodward, Lafayette, La.
JoAnn Wright, Cincinnati

Kentucky man charged with threatening congressman

A Richmond man has been charged with threatening U.S. Rep. Andy Barr and officials say he also spoke of wanting to kill former Congressman Ben Chandler.

The FBI released an affidavit on Tuesday saying 40-year-old Russell Little repeatedly phoned Barr's Lexington office over a five-month span and made "both explicit and direct" threats.

Barr, a Republican, defeated Chandler, a Democrat, in 2013 for the central Kentucky seat.

FBI agent Michael Van Aelstyn wrote that Little also called Barr's office on Aug. 4 and "used a variety of curse words" to express his anger with Barr and Chandler.

Kentucky State Police arrested Little later that day and seized a loaded .38 caliber pistol from the front passenger seat of his car.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Former lawmaker given role in governor's office

Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed a former state lawmaker to be director of his office's legislative services.

Beshear says his choice, Roger Thomas, has experience and knowledge of the legislative process that's "second to none." He says Thomas' understanding of the General Assembly will be vital to achieve a successful legislative session next year.

Beshear's office says Thomas will retain his position as executive director of the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy. In that role, Thomas serves as CEO of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board and executive director of the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation.

Thomas was as the state representative for the 21st District from 1996 to 2004.

Arraignment dates set for two accused of Martin County triple murder

According to Court officials, Amanda Bowen will be in court September 4th.

She and Jack Smith face murder, robbery, and tampering with evidence charges.

Police say they robbed Tina Goble of medication and jewelry before shooting and stabbing her along with Cainie Johnson, Jr. and eight year old Trinity Maynard more than a week ago.

Smith is also scheduled for arraignment on the fourth.

Three people face drug charges in Johnson County

Three people are facing charges following a safety checkpoint that led to the discovery of black tar heroin.

Deputies say the driver of the car, Elija Jones, admitted to being under the influence and allowed them to search the car.

Upon the search, they found crystal meth and black tar heroin along with syringes.

Jones faces 11 charges including trafficking meth and possession of heroin.

Jones' passengers, Lindsey McIntire and Nathan Ross, face possession of drug paraphernalia charges.

Letcher County man shot following argument

A Letcher County man remains in the hospital following a shooting.

Police say David Fugate, Junior was shot by his father.

Troopers say Fugate got into an argument with his mother and assaulted her and another woman.

According to authorities, he then apparently approached his father in a threatening manner and was shot.

Fugate was flown to Holston Valley Medical Center with what are being described as non-life threatening injuries.

No charges have been filed.

Cleanup continues in Floyd County after Friday's flood

The cleanup continues for many in the Big Sandy Region after Friday night's flooding.

Areas around Prestonsburg received several inches of rain in about an hour ... leading to many streets and homes being damaged.

Now, most of the water is gone and folks are dealing with lots of mud and debris left behind.

Many communities around the downtown Prestonsburg area hit hard, including Mays Branch.

Another area hit hard was Mays Village, which is just down the road from Prestonsburg in the Allen community.

Representatives from The Red Cross were out in the hard hit areas, as well as local officials who say they are still assessing the damage.

They hope to know in a few days if they will ask for federal help with the clean up process.

UPike Students Begin New Academic Year

Monday marked the first day of classes for undergraduate students at the University of Pikeville.

UPike officials say they are thrilled to have everyone back on campus and get the year underway....their fifth straight year with record enrollment numbers.

UPike President Dr. James Hurley says he has already heard folks in the community saying they are also happy to have the students back on campus.

President Hurley also confirmed that Einstein Brothers Bagels, POD Market, and Chick-Fil-A are all coming to Pikeville and will be located in UPike's new health education building, which is set to open in 2016.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Weekend is over but not the Cleanup

While the waters fell Friday night, the damage they leave behind leaves a long cleaning process for many.

The storms also kept emergency response officials busy.

Gary McClure, director of Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management spent much of Saturday and Sunday surveying the damage.

"In this damage assessment process that, you know, we're in, this information on the local level is being compiled and of course we're working with state emergency management," said McClure.

Arrest made in Pikeville ATV theft case from July

Police made an arrest in an ATV theft case from July.

Police say Donnie Saunders was arrested Thursday around 1 p.m.

They say Saunders stole an ATV from a home in the Hurricane Creek Community of Pikeville.
Surveillance video captured the theft.

Saunders was charged with theft by unlawful taking.

Lower jobless rates reported in 108 Ky. counties

State officials say last month's jobless rates in 108 Kentucky counties were lower than in July 2013.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training says unemployment rates rose in 10 counties and stayed the same in two.

It says Boone County in northern Kentucky had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 5.8 percent.

Caldwell County was next at 6 percent and Shelby and Woodford counties were at 6.1 percent each. The jobless rate was 6.2 percent in Daviess, Kenton, Oldham and Owen counties. The rate was 6.3 percent in Campbell and Simpson counties.

Magoffin County in eastern Kentucky had the state's highest unemployment rate at 15.4 percent.

It was followed by Jackson County at 14.6 percent, Harlan County at 14.4 percent, Leslie County at 13.3 percent and Letcher County at 13.2 percent.

Fish and Wildlife issues boat safety reminders

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has some advice for people taking their boats out in coming weeks, during summer's last days.

Boating Education Coordinator Zac Campbell says more and more non-motorized boats such as kayaks and canoes are out on the water. Campbell says the low profile of such boats makes them harder for motor boat operators to see. And he says they aren't as easy to maneuver to avoid danger.

Campbell advises wearing a lifejacket while on the water and bringing a flotation device in case of trouble.

Boat operators are also warned to watch out for boater's fatigue, which is caused by a combination of sun, dehydration and movement of the boat. Campbell says adding alcohol to the mix makes for a potentially dangerous situation.

Kentucky, Tennessee receive training funds

Kentucky and Tennessee are receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration's health and safety training grants.

The agency announced it is allocating $8.3 million for 46 states and the Navajo Nation in fiscal year 2014. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is to receive $627,659, the largest award in the program, while $139,864 will go to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

MSHA said in a news release that each recipient designs the plan to fit the needs of mines and miners within that location.

Fire School helps train firefighters

Firefighters from across Kentucky had a chance to get hands-on and classroom training this weekend at the Mountain Firefighters Association Fire School at Hazard Community and Technical College.

Training included how to perform a rescue from a building, how to use ropes to rescue people, and proper handling and aiming of a fire hose.

The Kentucky Fire Commission also organized the training.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Southwest Virginia man killed in mine accident

A Buchanan County, Virginia man is dead, following a mine accident Wednesday afternoon.

It happened at Consol's Buchanan Mine Number One.

Officials say 41 year old Michael Justice was troubleshooting on a roof bolt machine when the accident happened.

Federal and state authorities are investigating the accident.

ATVs and motorcycle stolen from Johnson County dealership

Thieves in Johnson County recently hit a local power sport dealership...stealing two atv's and a motorcycle.

Folks with M & M Powersports say the units stolen were not even new, but there for repairs.

One ATV was recovered in the Flat Gap area, where officials say it had been traded.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office does have a person of interest in the case. Anyone with information about the other two stolen items can contact the sheriff's office at (606) 789-3411.

Open registration underway at University of Pikeville

By: Hillary Thornton Email

Open registration is underway at the University of Pikeville.

UPike officials say they are excited to get this school year started, with their fifth straight year of record enrollment numbers.

There are new opportunities at the school, including the addition of an arts administration degree with emphases in art, music/piano, or music/voice.

Students are able to choose from 27 majors and nine pre-professional programs. Along with the undergraduate programs, the Coleman College of Business offers an MBA and a master's degree in sport management.

Open registration for this fall semester is taking place on the 4th floor of the Armington Learning Center, Friday beginning at 8 a.m.

Classes begin Monday, August 25th. For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at (606) 218-5251.

Law License Suspended in Three States for Mark Bramble

A third state has suspended the law license for West Virginia attorney Mark Bramble.

Bramble was arrested after a standoff in August 2013 on Cornwall Lane in Charleston. He was accused of firing shots at police and was charged with attempted murder.

Last month, the charges against him were dropped after three doctors determined that he was mentally non-responsible for this actions, thanks to a continual overdose of a prescription sleep aid.

His law license was suspended in West Virginia in August 2013. It remains suspended at this time, according to a court spokesperson. Last month, his license was suspended in Ohio.

Thursday, his license was suspended in Kentucky.

Fair Board Members Plead Guilty

Two members of the Martin County Fair Board have pleaded guilty to misappropriating more than $90,000 in funds from the organization.

Robin Denise Spence, 47, and Charles Spence, 59, both of Tomahawk, pleaded guilty to all the charges against them during a hearing in Martin County Circuit Court Thursday morning.

Each was charged with one count diversion of charitable gaming funds for financial benefit over $300/complicity.

Robin Spence was also charged with seven counts of diversion of charitable gaming funds for financial benefit over $300, and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $10,000, according to court documents.

As part of their plea agreements, prosecutors recommended a 20-year sentence for Robin and a 5-year sentence for Charles. The pair is also required to pay $91,000 in restitution to the Division of Charitable Gaming. $30,000 of that restitution must be paid before final sentencing next month.

The couple was indicted on the charges back in March. Investigators say the missing money came from bingo pull tab sales and other charitable events between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Indictments handed down in Martin County Triple Murder

41 year old Jack D. Smith and 26 year old Amanda Bowen, who were both arrested in connection to a fire that killed 8-year-old Trinity Maynard, 42-year-old Tina Goble, and 47-year-old Cainie Johnson in Martin County, KY, were indicted Thursday, August 21.
According to the Circuit Court Clerk's Office of Inez, Kentucky, Smith and Bowen were indicted on three counts of murder/complicity, three counts of robbery/complicity, and tampering with physical evidence/complicity.
Smith was also indicted on one count of arson, while Bowen was also indicted for being a persistent felon.

The Circuit Court Clerk's Office of Inez, Kentucky says a preliminary hearing for both Smith and Bowen will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 26, at the Martin County Courthouse, in front of Judge John Kevin Holbrook.

Deputies searching for two suspected steak thieves

Officers with the Johnson County Sheriff's Department say the suspects in a string of grocery store and meat thefts have been identified.
Management with Food City in Paintsville has video of the two women taking a large amount of meat and hiding it on Saturday, August 16.
Authorities say the women can also be seen taking other items from the store.
The women are also connected to thefts at Prestonsburg Food City, as well as Food City Wine and Spirits in Pikeville.
Deputies are now obtaining warrants and will make arrests soon. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Investigation underway after women caught on camera stealing meat from various grocery stores

Police say a pair of thieves hit multiple Food City stores in a matter of weeks. The item they were looking for ... meat.

Sheriff's deputies in Johnson County need your help finding these women. They say the duo stole meat worth hundreds of dollars throughout the Big Sandy Region.

The two women were first seen in the Prestonsburg Food City on July 15th.

The most recent happening Saturday in Paintsville, Food City alerted local officials.

Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price says the women are well organized.

Sheriff Price asks anyone with information about these two women to contact his office at (606) 789-3411. 

CEO of bankrupt oil company sentenced to 33 months in prison, scammed investors

The CEO of a bankrupt southern Kentucky oil company has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for scamming investors into giving him money for three oil partnerships in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Young Oil Corp. executive Anthony L. Young of Knob Lick pleaded guilty in March to defrauding investors in both states.

Young acknowledged that from November 2007 through December 2008, he fraudulently solicited investments through his company and took the majority of the money for personal and other uses.

Young also pleaded guilty to failing to file income taxes in 2005 and 2006 and having someone make a false statement on a federal form to purchase a pistol for him in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell sentenced Young in Louisville.

Students sought for Kentucky Education Department advisory council

The Kentucky Department of Education is looking for six students to serve on an advisory council to provide feedback to Education Commissioner Terry Holliday this school year.
The Next-Generation Student Council is open to public school students in grades 10 to 12. The students will meet with Holliday and Education Department staff four times during the year to discuss the impact of state-level decisions on students statewide.

Applications must be received or postmarked by 4:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 29.

A department committee will score answers contained in the applications, and appointments will be decided by the applicants' success in communicating ideas and goals.

Kentucky participating in national effort to reduce impaired-driving fatalities

Law enforcement agencies around Kentucky are participating in a national effort to reduce impaired-driving fatalities.
The campaign started last week and runs through Labor Day. It's called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

Kentucky State Police say the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 51 minutes across the U.S. Police say campaigns like the one going on now can reduce such fatalities by up to 20 percent.

Kentucky recorded more than 5,500 alcohol-related crashes last year, resulting in 138 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and Mobile Life Solutions last year came up with a free app to help fight drinking and driving. The app is called "Driver Sober Kentucky" and is available at

Second Person Charged in Martin County Triple Murder

A second arrest has been made in connection with the murder of three people found in a burned out home in Martin County, Kentucky.

Police said the victims, including a little girl, just 8 years old, were stabbed and shot.

As investigators continue to work at the charred home on Upper James Lane, new details are emerging from court documents about what may have happened before the fire.

Amanda Bowen and Jack Smith are both charged with triple murder in the case, along with robbery and tampering with evidence.

According to court documents, the pair shot and stabbed Tina Goble, Cannie Johnson, Jr., and Trinity Maynard, 8.

Investigators also said the two stole medication and jewelry from the home.

State Police said Bowen and Smith tried to hide bloody clothing, knives and stolen items in a bag.

Amanda Bowen and Jack Smith are being held on a $5 million cash bond. Both are set to be in court in Martin County next week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New federal mining rule survives court challenge

New federal rules that labor officials say could save lives at dangerous mining sites have survived a court challenge from mining industry groups.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit brought by the National Mining Association and other groups.

The new rules, approved in January, allow federal labor officials to designate a mine as a repeat violator of safety rules without a prior warning. It also allows regulators to impose the pattern of violations designation before mine operators are finished appealing the violations, which could hold up enforcement for months or years.

The appeals court's opinion said it did not have jurisdiction to rule in the case.

The National Mining Association had argued that the new rules can be costly for operators.

Billionaire to pay $1.5M fine for Kentucky mines

West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice has reached a $1.5 million settlement with Kentucky officials over dozens of reclamation violations at several of his coal mines in eastern Kentucky.

The agreement between Justice and the state's Department for Natural Resources is a reduction from the $4.5 million in outstanding penalties he owed for the violations. Kentucky officials said the violations stemmed from the lack of post-mining restoration work required by law at Justice mines in eight counties.

Justice, who is worth about $1.6 billion according to, has idled several mines in eastern Kentucky and said his Appalachian mines are struggling to stay open due to poor market conditions.

The agreement also requires Justice to post millions in bond and complete the reclamation work by September 2015.

Recaro recalls over 39,000 child safety seats

Recaro is recalling more than 39,000 child safety seats because they can let a child's head move too far in a crash.

The recall covers ProSport model 385 seats made from June 16, 2010, to Jan. 31, 2013. The problem happens when the seats are installed with the lower latch anchors and without the top tether.

Recaro will notify owners and provide set of new instructions telling owners not to use the lower latch system with a child weighing 40 or more pounds. The company also will send a new instruction label for the seat.

The problem was discovered in testing by Recaro. The company says in documents sent to U.S. safety regulators that it cannot determine if the problem caused any injuries.

Preliminary Hearing for Triple Murder Suspect Postponed

Tuesday morning, court officials postponed a preliminary hearing for Jack Smith.

Police say Smith murdered Tina Goble, Cainie Johnson, Jr., and eight year old Trinity Maynard Saturday at a home near Inez.

The family members were found dead inside the home following a fire.

Investigators plan to outline their case next Tuesday.

Smith pleaded not guilty, Monday.

Three Martin County fire victims remembered

Dozens of people gathered last night in Martin County to remember three people who died in a house fire.

Tina Goble, 42, Cainie Johnson, 47, and Trinity Maynard, eight, died in the fire Saturday morning on Upper James Lane in Inez.

The three were honored Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil in downtown Inez.

Funeral arrangements for the three victims had not been completed as of Tuesday night.