Friday, November 28, 2014

Indictment handed down in School Bus Theft

A man has been indicted by a grand jury accused of stealing a school bus.

Court officials say 22 year old Joshua Wilson Bentley now faces a theft over $10,000 charge.

Authorities say Bentley allegedly stole a Jenkins Independent School bus on October 10th.

Bentley is currently in the Letcher County Jail.

Supreme Court will hear challenge to EPA rule

The Supreme Court of the United States announced earlier this week that it will hear the appeal by Kentucky and 22 other states of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxins Standard (MATS), which has caused the announced retirement of more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired electric generation in Kentucky alone. In a consolidated appeal, the Supreme Court will consider the following question:

"Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities."

Attorney General Jack Conway joined with Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and 21 other states and additional parties to seek the Supreme Court’s certiorari, or review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upholding MATS, which was entered on April 15, 2014.

The state Attorneys General will file their brief on Jan. 9, 2015, with oral arguments to be scheduled later next year.

Arrest Made in Floyd County Murder

Authorities arrested 29 year old John Maggard of McRoberts and lodged him in the Floyd County Jail on a complicity to Murder charge.

This is in connection to the death of 36 year old Bill Russell Collins of Leburn in Knott County who was found shot to death in a parking lot north of Prestonsburg earlier this month.

According to the arrest warrant, Maggard and co-defendant Floyd Sexton wrestled with Collins before Sexton allegedly shot and killed Collins.

Sexton and a identified woman are still at large.

Christmas Shopping Safety Tips

According to the American Crime Prevention Institute, Black Friday shopping always shows a spike in thefts.

Here is a few tips to make your shopping a little less stressful:

Do not leave anything out in the open in your vehicle, try to put items in your car trunk or cover your items up…this also includes phones or other devices that we often leave in plain sight.

Another tip: watch where you park. Lit areas close to buildings have heavy traffic, making it less likely some will be wandering around looking for open doors.

Also, walk on a mission. Thieves are looking for people who don't have their guard up. Even a quick second lingering can be just the chance they need to snatch a bag and run off.

In addition, if you are going out, putting money or credit cards in a zipped up pocket can be safer than an open purse.

As always, if you do see something, please report it to authorities.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Former Bank President Found Guilty

A jury deliberated about an hour before returning a guilty verdict on a former bank president and CEO on child porn charges.

68 year old Edgar N. Purdom  was convicted on four counts of distribution of matter portraying sexual performance by a minor and one count of possession of matter portraying sex performed by a minor.

When Purdom was arrested in January, he was president and CEO of a Louisa bank.

When he is sentenced on December 30th, Purdom faces three years on each charge.

Check Cashing Scheme

Police are trying to find a man who cashed fake payroll checks at stores in several Kentucky counties.

Police departments in Estill, Floyd and Johnson counties have reported similar situations. In each case, the man cashed a check for $367.54. Police say the suspect also could have cashed checks in several other Kentucky counties.

Floyd County authorities say a man cashed a check for the same amount at Jenny Wily Liquor store in Prestonsburg, a BP gas station off KY RT 321 and several gas stations in Johnson County.

Before cashing checks, police say, cashiers need to verify that the correct operator's number is listed and that the person cashing the check has the correct Identification.

KSP increases patrols during Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving is the most dangerous holiday of the year for motorists, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This includes the four-day holiday driving period surrounding that date when heavy traffic, weather and long-distance road trips combine to create severe travel conditions.

Last year, 10 vehicle crashes across Kentucky claimed the lives of 11 people during the Thanksgiving travel period. One fatal crash involved alcohol and 4 fatalities resulted from not wearing a seat belt.

KSP will participate in the official 2014 Thanksgiving holiday enforcement period that begins today at 6 p.m. (November 26, 2014) and extends through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ky. Senate Republicans nominate leaders

Senate Republicans have nominated a Greensburg business owner to become the second-highest ranking official in the state Senate.

Republicans chose Sen. David Givens to replace retiring Sen. Katie Stine as Senate president pro tem during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. It is the first leadership position for Givens, who lost to Sen. Damon Thayer as majority floor leader two years ago.

Republicans also ousted Sen. Brandon Smith as majority whip, replacing him with Sen. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon. Higdon will resign as chairman of the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.

Senate President Robert Stivers was nominated for another term. The Senate president and president pro tem must be voted on by the full Senate. But Republicans will control 26 of the 38 Senate seats, all but ensuring their nominee will win.

Committee to examine Kentucky State Fair

The chairman of the Kentucky State Fair Board has named a committee to evaluate the event, which saw attendance drop by about 100,000 this year to the smallest crowd in 30 years.
The fair is held for 11 days every August and has been in existence for more than a century.
Fair board finance chief Anthony Leachman reported last week that the 2014 fair lost more than $200,000, bringing in $9.3 million with expenses of more than $9.5 million.

Monday, November 24, 2014

WestCare Homeless Shelter Pre-Thanksgiving Meal

A group of Big Sandy Community and Technical College students served a pre-Thanksgiving meal to residents of the WestCare Homeless Shelter on Sunday, November 23.

The C.A.R.E. Club has served residents of the shelter on the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the last 12 years.  The idea came about when Jimmy McCoy, a former human services student, took the idea and worked to bring it to fruition.

McCoy went on to finish his degree from Lindsey Wilson College.  He and his wife, Renee, opened Hope in the Mountains, a comprehensive drug treatment facility for women, in 2008.  Each year, Hope in the Mountains assists the C.A.R.E. Club in preparing and serving the meal.

This year, the Auxier Freewill Baptist Church joined the effort.  Members of the church’s youth group sang Christmas songs and brought gifts for the residents. 

Fundraiser to help support Potter Family

     The Eastern Kentucky Women's Care Collective has started an online fundraiser to help a family in Pike County.

     On November 7th, Cristin Stanley-Potter, wife of Pikeville Firefighter, Nick Potter, gave birth to Cullen three months early. Cullen's twin sister, Genna, died before birth.

     The Women's Care Collective hopes to raise $10,000 for the family.

     Kelli Haywood, one of the founding members of the Eastern Kentucky Women's Care Collective says the organization is happy to give back to someone who has given so much to them.

     Being away from home means missed work, hotel, food and travel expenses as well as on-going childcare needs for their three other children.

     To donate, log on to

Pikeville City Police arrest a man on charges of rape

     Pikeville City Police Officers arrested Mark T. Smith, 33, of Kimper and charged him with rape on Sunday, November 23rd.
     According to a news release, a call came in to the 911 Center around 5:40 A.M., Sunday from the Landmark Inn located on the South Mayo Trail.
     Police went to the motel and arrested Smith without incident.
     He is currently being held at the Pike County Detention Center.
     The investigation is continuing at this time.
     There is no word on whether Smith will face any additional charges.

Drug Arrests


Floyd County Sheriff Deputies arrested six people on drug related charges.

According to a press release,  deputies went to a residence north of Prestonsburg and arrested 49 year old Tammy Pennington, 22 year old Dustin Pennington and 23 year old John Pennington plus a fourth person, 37 year old troy Tackett of Paintsville who was arrested on an outstanding warrant for illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine and persistent felony offender 2nd degree.

Sheriff deputies also charged and arrested two additional persons at the residence, 30 year old Lavanna Tackett and 28 year old Alicia N. Hill for hindering apprehension 2nd degree.



Kentucky highways are about to get a bit more crowded.

According to AAA, the volume of drivers on the roads from Wednesday through Sunday will be the highest since 2007, as Americans feel more comfortable taking road trips.

AAA forecasts more than 46 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home over the Thanksgiving holiday; an increase of more than 4% since last year.

AAA projects that trips will take more than 25% longer than on a normal weekday this Thanksgiving holiday.

Pikeville Police arrest a man on charges of rape

Police officers in Pikeville, KY arrested 33 year old Mark T. Smith of Kimper and charged him with rape on Sunday, November 23rd.
According to a news release a call came in to the 911 center around 5:40 a.m. Sunday from the Landmark Inn located on South Mayo Trail.
Police went to the motel and arrested Smith without incident. 
He is currently being held at the Pike County Detention Center.
The investigation is continuing at this time. 

There is no word on whether Smith will face any additional charges.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blankenship pleads not guilty, released on $5 million bond

Former Massey Energy president and CEO Don Blankenship will face a January trial date in connection with the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in Raleigh County.
As family members of the UBB tragedy looked on Thursday in federal court, Blankenship pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements to investigators. His trial was scheduled for Jan. 26 with a pretrial hearing on Jan. 6.
Blankenship’s bond was set at $5 million. U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort refused to release Blankenship on a personal recognizance bond. The judge limited travel for Blankenship to southern West Virginia, Pike County, Ky., and Washington, D.C. to meet with his attorneys. Blankenship, who faces up to 31 years in prison, also had to surrender his passport.
There were no comments made by federal prosecutors, defense attorneys or family members after the court proceedings. U.S. District Judge Irene Berger enacted a gag order on the case last week.

Federal prosecutors allege Blankenship knew about the myriad of safety problems at the Upper Big Branch mine in the months leading up to the massive explosion in April 2010 that killed 29 miners. The charges allege Blankenship conspired to cover up the problems so the mine could produce more coal and profits. 

Congressman Hal Rogers Responds to President's Immigration Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement on his plan to provide amnesty for illegal immigrants tonight:

“With this new proposal, the President has once again demonstrated his willingness to act unilaterally - against the spirit of our Constitution, against the law of Congress, and against the will of the American people – to make misguided, unwarranted changes to our immigration laws.

“His flagrant disregard for our nation’s laws is not only disappointing but deeply unsettling – I won’t stand for it, and the American people won’t stand for it.

“The President’s proposal simply won’t solve the problems plaguing our nation’s immigration system – in fact, it may make things worse. Granting this kind of unilateral amnesty to illegal immigrants undermines the integrity of our laws, and at its core harms the thousands of people who have patiently waited their turn to immigrate to the United States legally.

“Rather than acting alone to extend this broad-reaching amnesty, the President should work with Congress on legislation that more completely addresses our nation’s broken immigration system, and he should start by turning back the tide of illegal immigration, fully enforcing our laws, and securing our borders – all which are crucial to any successful U.S. immigration policy.

“We have heard the collective outrage of the American people. Congress must fight this executive order tooth and nail through legislative means that will enact real change. ”

Arrests made in McDonalds Robbery

Three people are now facing robbery charges in Floyd County.

According to authorities, the trio allegedly robbed McDonalds in the city of Martin.

Police arrested James Goines, Kyle Gregory Tackett and Jennifer Martin.

Authorities say Goines told them he commetted the robbery to finance his drug addiction. He faces robbery and public intoxications charges.

Martin and Tackett face complicity to commit robbery after they apparently dropped Goines off at the restaurant.

Kentucky's jobless rate falls to 6.2 percent

Kentucky officials say the state's unemployment rate dropped again in October to its lowest rate in more than six years.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training said Thursday that last month's seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 6.2 percent, down from 6.7 percent in September. The statewide jobless rate was 8.2 percent in October 2013.

Officials say last month's decline was the biggest one-month drop in Kentucky's jobless rate since 1976. It surpasses last month's record-breaking drop of 0.4 percent. The state's 0.9 percent decline in the jobless rate since August is the largest reduction measured in a two-month period.

Officials say Kentucky's professional and business services sector added 6,100 jobs in October 2014 from a month earlier. The educational and health services sector gained 2,100 jobs during that same period.

Kentucky State Police kick off 'Cram the Cruiser' food drive

The Kentucky State Police kicked off its fifth annual ‘Cram the Cruiser’ food drive on Thursday. Food collection sites have been established at all 16 posts throughout the state and at the agency’s headquarters location in Frankfort.

KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb said the agency collected more than 124,000 pounds of food during the 2013 campaign.

“We were so pleased with the results, hard work and effort from each of our posts and regions last year,” says Webb. “It is a wonderful opportunity to give back to those in local communities who are struggling financially during the holiday season.”

Webb says the food will be distributed at post level to local shelters, churches or other organizations serving those in need. Suggested donations include canned fruit and vegetables, canned meat, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned soups, chili or spaghetti sauce, brownie and cake mixes, coffee, water, powdered milk and juices.

The campaign extends through Dec. 16, 2014 and is designed to collect non-perishable food items for needy families.

Donations can be dropped off at any KSP post. 

Search continues for fake EMT’s

Johnson County authorities are still searching for a trio of women posing as EMT’s.

Johnson County Sheriff Deputies believe this is a scheme to steal prescription medications.

The women will knock on a door and ask to see medications that the residents take.

Investigators say its not clear whether the women are trying to take the medications or merely scoping out the area to come back later.

Police remind you not to let anyone into your home.  EMT’s are not allowed to ask for medications unless they are treating a patient and then they would be in an emergency vehicle.

If you have any information on this case you are asked to contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s office or call 911.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Election Results Thrown Out in Pikeville City Commission Race

A hearing was held yesterday in Pike Circuit Court to determine whether the votes for current Pikeville City Commissioner Eugene Davis were certifiable by the Pike County Board of Elections.

Circuit Court Judge Steven D. Combs ruled that since Eugene Davis withdrew his candidacy prior to the election, his votes for the race should not be counted. Combs added that once a candidate withdraws from a race, there is no legal mechanism for the candidate to change their minds.

Combs announced that due to this, the Board of Elections will not tabulate the votes cast for Eugene Davis and the next highest vote recipient be certified. That was Joshua Huffman.

Blankenship slated for first court appearance today

Former Massey Energy president and CEO Don Blankenship is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate judge today, his first appearance after being named in a four-count federal indictment last week.
Federal prosecutors allege Blankenship, 64, knew about the myriad of safety problems at the Upper Big Branch mine in the months leading up to the massive explosion in April 2010 that killed 29 miners. The charges allege Blankenship conspired to cover up the problems so the profitable mine could produce more coal.
Today’s hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort. Blankenship asked earlier this week for the hearing to be postponed but the request was denied.
The indictment also alleges Blankenship lied about Massey’s safety record in the day’s after the UBB explosion in order to lessen the blow the blast had on Massey stock. He’s charged with securities fraud.
There won’t be any comments about the case outside of the courtroom however. U.S. District Judge Irene Berger placed a gag order on the case late last week.

U.S. 23 Reopened after Explosion

U.S. 23 in Lawrence County has reopened after being shut down due to an explosion at a Kentucky Power substation.

The explosion occurred around 12:30 this morning just outside of Louisa on U.S. 23.

Authorities report no injuries occurred.

According to authorities, a transformer exploded at the substation but the cause is still under investigation.

No power outages have been reported due to the explosion.

No Smoking on State Property

Starting today all of Kentucky's executive branch campuses will go tobacco free.

The executive order goes into effect on today making all executive buildings, nearly 3,000, tobacco free.

The governor’s office says 5,000 executive branch workers have been identified as smokers, and now they will have to go off government property if they want to smoke, dip, chew.

Because the order was an executive action legislative and judicial buildings will still operate under their existing smoking policies. In some parts of the Capital Annex you are allowed to smoke.

There are some exceptions to the ban including state parks, rest stops and the Kentucky Horse Park.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Students Wanting to Help Veterans

Just a few days after celebrating Veterans Day, students and staff at Letcher Middle School want to help the Veterans.

According to school officials, students are writing letters, sharing why they want the chance to deliver baskets on December 15th to the Big Sandy Regional Veterans Transitional Housing Center in Pike County.

Each classroom has a donation box that they are working hard to fill.

December 11th is the last day Letcher Middle School is accepting donations.

Judge will not delay ex-coal exec's first hearing

A federal judge won't delay the first hearing for an ex-coal baron facing charges in the deadliest U.S. coal mine accident in four decades.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort denied Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's request for postponement.

Blankenship is scheduled for a court appearance Thursday afternoon in Beckley.

Blankenship is accused of conspiring to violate safety and health standards at Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia. The 64-year-old Blankenship faces up to 31 years in prison if convicted.

U.S. District Court Judge Irene C. Berger in Beckley has been assigned the case.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

U.S. Fire Administration Offers Tips for Fire Safety During Winter Months

With the winter season approaching, fire safety facts and tips are of utmost importance.
Each year 3,500 Americans are killed and 18,300 are injured due to fires, and people living in rural areas are twice as likely to die or be injured in a fire as those living in the suburbs.
More than 60 percent of West Virginians live in rural areas and the number of fires increases every year between the months of November and April.
The United States Fire Administration has put together a list of steps to help better educate and protect Americans from fires.
The steps are as follows:
·                         Every 12 months your furnace should be inspected at least once. 
·                         Your vents and chimneys should be cleaned yearly. 
·                         Check for creosote build-up. 
·                         Use dry, seasoned wood. 
·                         Use a proper fireplace screen, either metal or tempered glass. 
·                         Use a cover metal container to dispose of ashes. 
·                         Never let young children within 3 feet of the fireplace or wood/pellet stove. 
·                         All portable heaters should have an automatic shut-off.
·                          All portable heaters need to be plugged directly into an outlet. 
·                         Always remember to check the heater before you go to bed. 
·                         Make sure smoke alarms work properly. 

·                         Make sure carbon monoxide alarms work properly.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cross Drain Installation in Letcher County

        KY1469 near Long Fork in Letcher County will close at 8 A-M on Saturday, November 22nd, for installation of a new cross drain to improve the drainage between mile points 0 and 1. 

The road will be closed to all traffic, however, local traffic will be able to access the road on either side of the work zone but traffic will not be able to go through the work area.

Weather permitting, the road will re-open about 4 P-M the same day.

Police Chief Cited

The Whitesburg Police Chief was cited during the weekend for DUI. 

According to authorities, Chief Tyrone Fields was cited just after midnight Sunday in Hazard.

Fields was taken to Hazard ARH due to his intoxication level.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Burglary Arrests in Martin County

Two Martin County residents are now face burglary charges, accused of stealing clothes from a family.

Authorities say Frankie Maynard and Michelle Boyce broke into a home on Old Route 3 in the Milo Community Wednesday night.

They wrote in an arrest citation that Maynard and Boyce stole three bags of clothes and a grill.

All items were returned to the family.

Republicans choose Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been chosen by fellow Republicans to become Senate majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January.

A Senate GOP official says McConnell was elected by acclamation today at a closed-door meeting of the rank and file.

As majority leader, McConnell will set the Senate's agenda. Along with House Speaker John Boehner, he will decide what legislation is sent to the White House in the final two years of President Barack Obama's term.

The 72-year-old McConnell was elected to a sixth Senate term last week in elections in which Republicans gained a majority for the first time in eight years.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Veterans Luncheon

A Veterans appreciation luncheon was held yesterday in Prestonsburg.

Appalachian Hospice Care hosted the event.

Organizers say there are more than 8,000 veterans in the five county service area they cover.

Luallen becomes Ky.'s 56th lieutenant governor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -Crit Luallen is Kentucky's 56th lieutenant governor after a private swearing-in ceremony at the home of a retired Kentucky chief justice.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear chose Luallen to replace outgoing Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, who resigned to take a job as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama at the White House.

The former Democratic state auditor who has twice declined runs for higher office, Luallen has worked for six governors with positions including budget director and secretary of the finance and tourism cabinets.

Luallen will have a public swearing-in ceremony at 2:30 p.m. EST Friday in the Kentucky Capitol. But Abramson's resignation was effective at 5 p.m. Thursday, so officials had a private swearing-in ceremony at that time to ensure there are no gaps in the office.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Floyd County Man Faces Prison Time

A Harold man faces 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a child.

Floyd County court officials say 58 year old Harvey Robinson pleaded guilty to four counts of first degree sexual abuse.

Harvey admits to sexually abusing his neighbor's eight-year-old daughter.

Sentencing is set for February 6th.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kentucky tax collections rebound in October

Kentucky's tax collections rebounded in October after a slow start to the fiscal year that has left state officials worried.

The State Budget Office report Monday forecast a $135 million revenue shortfall when the fiscal year ends next June. But The Courier-Journal said that was softened somewhat by the October receipts.

State officials collected $33.2 million more in October than they did in the same month a year ago, a 4.6 percent increase.

That increase is more than the growth of the first three months of the fiscal year combined.
The state saw big increases in its two largest sources of revenue. Individual income tax collections jumped 4.8 percent while sales tax collections rose 6.3 percent. Year to date, property and corporate income taxes have both declined from last year's levels.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said the state's low collections are cause for concern. But he called October's numbers encouraging and said there is no reason at this point to panic.

Former mine inspector faces state ethics charges

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A former state mine inspector indicted for taking bribes from a state lawmaker is now facing charges from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

The commission charged Kelly Shortridge with four counts of violating state ethics laws for his part in a scheme with Democratic state Rep. W. Keith Hall. A federal grand jury has indicted Hall for paying Shortridge more than $46,000 to ignore safety violations at some mines Hall owned. Shortridge is accused of trying to extort more money from Hall and for lying to federal agents.

Both Hall and Shortridge have pleaded not guilty in federal court. The ethics commission unveiled a formal complaint against Hall that could lead to a civil penalty after a formal hearing.

Hall represented Pike County for 14 years before being defeated in the May primary.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Operation Finish Strong Kentucky

Kentucky State Police say for the first time in more than sixty years, Kentucky is on pace to finish the year with fewer than 600 crash fatalities.

Troopers statewide have started a new safety campaign, called #FinishStrongKY, to prevent deadly crashes. They are adding extra patrols in areas that have a high crash rate and have had deadly crashes.

Police say as of November 9th, 548 people have died in crashes in Kentucky this year. While they say one is too many, the number is much lower than years past. Troopers say the last time Kentucky had fewer than 600 traffic deaths was 1949! Their goal is to not have anymore fatalities this year.

Troopers say in addition to checking for speeding, seat belts, and driving under the influence, they are also watching for texting and other distracted driving that causes crashes.

Police say as part of the campaign, they will also conduct safety checkpoints all throughout Kentucky for the rest of the year.

Gambling machines, drugs and cash seized from Inez, Kentucky pawn shop

Kentucky State Police (KSP) troopers from Post 9 in Pikeville executed a search warrant at the Inez Pawn Shop in Inez, Kentucky on Tuesday, November 11th.

KSP troopers say the business was under investigation for illegal drug activity, according to a news release issued by their agency.

Troopers seized gambling machines, an undisclosed amount of cash and drugs from inside the business.

Troopers have not said whether have arrested anyone in connection with the investigation.

The Kentucky State Police Post 9 Street Level/Criminal Interdiction Team says they are continuing their investigation at this time, according to the same news release.

KSP Post 9, Pikeville troopers are also asking that anyone with information pertaining to the illegal sale of drugs to call 1-800-222-5555 or (606) 433-7711.

State BOE could return local control to Mingo County Wednesday

The state Board of Education will hold its regular monthly meeting Wednesday at Mingo Central High School and the board could take the opportunity to return the Mingo County school system to local control.

The state seized control of the system in 2005 citing a number of problems including facilities. 

Since then several high schools have been closed and Mingo Central was constructed.

The state Department of Education’s Office of Performance Audits gave the Mingo County system some passing grades in an evaluation last year and did another review last month. The state BOE could consider a recommendation Wednesday.

The board’s regular meeting begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Beginning at 9 a.m. board members will tour Mingo Central’s Career Technical Education wing.

EKB NEWS will have a reporter at the meeting and will bring updates as they occur.

Layoffs possible at Mingo coal operations

A southern West Virginia coal operator has announced possible layoffs at its operations in Mingo County.
Hendricks Coal issued a WARN notice recently that said 90 workers at three mines and a prep plant could be laid off next month.

Thirty-six coal miners lost their jobs Monday at a Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary in McDowell County

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2 Vehicle Accident Leaving One Injured

An accident caused by a driver who left the scene resulted in the damage of two vehicles and one injured.
Jamie Brock, of Chattaroy, was driving in the southbound lane of U.S. 119 when a vehicle reportedly pulled onto the median from Aflex Road and failed to yield oncoming traffic.

To keep from striking the unidentified driver, Brock slammed on her brakes and was hit from behind by Joshua May, of Huddy, Ky.

Brock did not suffer any injuries during the collision. However, May was transported from the scene and was taken to the Tug Valley Appalachian Regional Hospital for evaluation and treatment.

No citations were issued to either driver and attempts have been unsuccessful in obtaining the name of the driver or license number of the person who fled the scene.

Structure Fire in Forest Hills, Ky.

The Belfry Volunteer Fire Department responded to a structure fire at a home in Forest Hills, Kentucky.
A working smoke alarm is attributed to a home owner escaping injury after a fire ignited within his home late Friday evening.

The Belfry Volunteer Fire Department Chief Nee Jackson says his department was called out  around 11 p.m. Friday evening, to reports of a structure fire at home in Forest Hills. Upon arrival, the home was found to be completely engulfed in flames.

One person was said to have been asleep inside the residence when he was awaken by the sound of the smoke alarm going off. He called 911 while exiting the home. The fire department responded with three fire trucks and 12 firefighters and were on scene for about three hours fighting the blaze.
Chief Jackson told the Williamson Daily News that this is not the first time the male resident’s life has been spared by smoke detectors, remarking that he had lost a home a few years ago to fire.

Kynect adds phone app and store

State leaders have announced some improvements as they get ready for the second year of Kentucky's Health Exchange.

Open enrollment for Kynect begins Saturday.

Kentuckians can use the online service to shop for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, or sign up for Medicaid.

This year, the state has added a mobile phone app for Kynect available for Apple and Android devices.

And Kynect will have a store in Lexington's Fayette Mall, during open enrollment.

Governor Beshear says these additions will help Kentuckians choose the right insurance.
"I'm hopeful that as we advertise more and get the message out about how important this is, and how little it will cost you. That they will see the need for it, before they hit something catastrophic that will wipe them out financially," said Beshear.

Open enrollment continues until February 15th.

Early Veterans Day Ceremony

Today may be Veterans Day but Pike County Government officials honored Veterans yesterday during a ceremony at the Pike County Courthouse.

Many of the Vets who attended yesterday’s event served in the Vietnam War.

There are many other ceremonies scheduled to take place today across the region.

Veterans Honored

State Parks across the bluegrass are giving Veterans special discounts today in honor of Veterans Day.

Locally, at Jenny Wiley State Park, Veterans can get a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of a meal and they will also have drawings for state park gift cards.

Other businesses across Eastern Kentucky are also offering special discounts for Veterans.

McDonald's recalls Happy Meal toy for choking risk

McDonald's is recalling a Hello Kitty-themed whistle given to children in Happy Meals, citing a chance they could choke on some of its parts.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Monday that two children have reportedly coughed out pieces of the whistle that they had sucked into their mouths, including one child who received medical attention.

The safety agency said that parts of the three-inch tall "Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop" whistle can detach and be inhaled, posing a risk to small children.

McDonald's handed out about 2.3 million of these whistles in the U.S. and 200,000 in Canada from October through November in Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals.

Consumers should return the whistle to any McDonald's for a free replacement toy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Belfry Big Sandy Idol Winners

        Big Sandy Community and Technical College held its Big Sandy Idol competition at Belfry High School on Friday.

          Fifteen students participated for spots for the annual Big Sandy Idol regional completion. Payton Trout was crowned the winner and Cydney McCoy finished as runner up. Both will advance to the regional competition and have a chance to earn a spot on the Big Sandy Singers, an album recording and other prizes.

          Big Sandy Idol will visit Pikeville High School on Friday, November 21st.

           The Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition will be held in March at the Mountain Arts Center.

History Making Day

This Wednesday, the SPCA is going to try to make history at the Pike County animal shelter.

They are going to try to empty the shelter of all animals with a veterinarian there, spaying and neutering everything and only charging five dollars for adoption fees!

That’s this Wednesday, All Day. 

McConnell, GOP make gains in Kentucky coal country

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell made huge gains in eastern Kentucky's coal country on Election Day.

The incoming Senate majority leader won the region by 64,000 votes. In 2008, McConnell won eastern Kentucky by about 8,000 votes.

McConnell campaigned heavily on coal issues and used them to connect his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes with President Barack Obama. Eastern Kentucky leaders blamed the results on the declining coal industry coupled with Obama's unpopularity.

While McConnell won 110 of 120 counties in his landslide victory, Republicans were unable to wrest control of the state House of Representatives from Democrats. Republicans already control the state Senate but have not had a majority in the lower chamber since 1920.

Kentucky probing potentially faulty guardrails

State officials are planning an evaluation of potentially faulty guardrail heads on Kentucky roads and highways.

Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock told lawmakers during a committee meeting last week that he believes hundreds of ET-Plus guardrail component are in use. An exact number isn't yet known.

A local station reports that the state recently banned the product, made by Trinity Highway Products of Dallas.

Federal officials have ordered a new round of tests into the guardrail heads, while other states like Virginia are planning to remove the rails.

Critics say that when vehicles strike the guardrail ends, the guardrails don't crumple as they should, but instead become a danger to motorists.

Trinity stopped shipments of the guardrails after a Texas jury ordered it to pay at least $175 million for misleading regulators.

As coal jobs vanish, miners search for new careers

As the number of Appalachian coal jobs plummets, former miners are looking to federal programs to help them launch new careers.

These ex-miners are taking free classes and learning skills to become HVAC repairmen, mechanics and licensed truck drivers.

The programs have well intentions but can help only a fraction of the thousands of workers who have been laid off in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. And one of the common complaints among the ex-miners is that the new jobs don't pay as well as coal mining.