Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ex-coal baron readies for trial in deadly mine explosion

(AP) — Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has never shied from a fight and his toughest one is just beginning, as he goes on trial in the worst U.S. mine disaster in 45 years.

Blankenship's trial starts Thursday with jury selection in federal court in West Virginia.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break health and safety requirements in hundreds of violations at Upper Big Branch Mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 miners. He's also charged with lying about Massey's safety practices in financial documents.

He faces up to three decades in prison if convicted.


Blankenship rose from a single-mother Appalachian upbringing to make almost $20 million off coal in one year. He battled unions and fought federal environmental and safety standards, which his mines often broke.

Kentucky State Police Promotes 52 Officers

The Kentucky State Police recognized the promotion of 52 officers throughout the state at a ceremony held today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington. Three lieutenant colonels, four majors, eight captains, 13 lieutenants and 24 sergeants were commissioned.

Pikeville Post 9 promotions include: Capt. Sean P. Welch was promoted to major and transferred from Post 9 (Pikeville) to the Operations Division, East Troop.

Lt. Darren S. Stapleton was promoted to captain and transferred from Post 9 (Pikeville) to Post 7 (Richmond). A resident of Prestonsburg, Stapleton is an 18-year veteran of the agency.

Sgt. Donald J. Shearer was promoted to lieutenant and transferred from Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations East to Post 9 (Pikeville). A resident of Banner, Shearer is a 14-year veteran of the agency.


Tpr. First Class Jerry (Jay) L. Perkins, Jr. was promoted to sergeant and transferred from Post 9 (Pikeville) to Post 12 (Frankfort). A resident of Whitesburg, Perkins is a 14-year veteran of the agency.

Comer runs to replace Whitfield in Kentucky's 1st District

(AP) — Kentucky's Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he'll run for Congress to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield.

Whitfield announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election after spending 20 years representing Kentucky's 1st Congressional District in Washington. The heavily Republican district consists of 35 counties in western Kentucky that includes Comer's hometown.

Comer lost the Republican nomination for governor by just 83 votes in May. But he won the 35 counties in the 1st District with 55 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.


Other Republicans who've shown interest in the seat include Michael Pape, who was Whitfield's district director, and Hickman County Attorney Jason Batts. A spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party said party officials are focused on electing Jack Conway for governor in November.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

August US mine impact inspections result in 193 citations

(AP) — Federal inspectors issued 193 citations and 13 orders at U.S. mine operations in August.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says it conducted the inspections at 14 coal mines and seven other mines.

The special impact inspections were conducted in 12 states, including Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.


The inspections began in 2010 after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 miners.

Kentucky officials agreed to confidential deal

(AP) — A published report says state officials agreed to keep details of a proposed oil spill deal secret, but a judge rejected the idea.

According to reports, the proposed settlement came in the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet's case against Childers Oil Co. The eastern Kentucky business had been cited multiple times for contaminating a section of the Kentucky River when diesel fuel leaked on its property in Whitesburg.

The proposed agreement sought to have Childers pay the state $48,057 and include a confidentiality clause in which the cabinet would seal the settlement, keeping terms secret

The proposal came before Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Sept. 18. He rejected it, citing a missing signature on the proposed agreement. In the same order, he also rejected the request for confidentiality.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Comer greeted at hemp meeting, plans return to private life

(AP) — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said he plans to start a company and return to his native Monroe County once his term ends in December.

Comer spoke Monday at the Hemp Industries Association's annual conference in Lexington. Comer told the group he built his political career around hemp and said Kentucky is now the leading industrial hemp-producing state in the country.

Comer lost the Republican primary for governor in May by 83 votes. Monday, he said he would likely never get over the race but left open the possibility of running for another office near his hometown in the future.


Comer has endorsed Republican Matt Bevin in the governor's race. Bevin faces Democrat Jack Conway in the November general election.

RGA stops running TV ads in Kentucky governor's race

(AP) — The Republican Governor's Association has stopped running TV ads for Matt Bevin in Kentucky with a little more than a month to go until Election Day.

The association has spent $3 million on six ads for Bevin, mostly attacking his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, for supporting the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama. Association spokesman Jon Thompson said the group is evaluating its strategy and could go back on the air before Novembe
r.

The move is a blow for Bevin, who has aired just one TV ad after spending more than $1 million of his own money to win a four-way Republican primary in May. A spokeswoman for Bevin said the campaign plans to start running a second TV ad on Wednesday and is in production for a third.

Kentucky public workers' paychecks to fall

(AP) — Most public employees in Kentucky will see a bit less in their paychecks starting in 2017 when the Internal Revenue Service will begin applying Social Security and Medicare tax to the employees' contributions to their retirement funds.

According to the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, a typical public employee who makes $40,500 per year will see $154.80 more withheld from his or her pay during 2017. That equates to $6.45 less in each of 24 paychecks. Some other employees with the same $40,500 salary could have as much as $11.62 per paycheck reduced, depending on retirement contributions.


Public school teachers are also affected by the change, but to a much smaller extent because teachers do not pay the Social Security tax but only the Medicaid tax.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ex-Massey CEO renews bid to move trial out of southern W.Va.

(AP) — Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is again asking a judge to move his criminal trial out of southern West Virginia.

In a Beckley federal court filing Thursday, Blankenship's attorneys say southern West Virginia has been saturated with negative media coverage about his case.

The filing says he can't get a fair jury and trial in southern West Virginia, and his case should be moved to Martinsburg or northern Maryland.

Previously, Judge Irene Berger moved the case from Beckley to Charleston. Blankenship's trial begins Oct. 1.


Blankenship is charged with violating mine safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where a 2010 explosion killed 29 men.

Judge denies ex-Massey CEO's bid to push back trial date

(AP) — A judge has denied former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's request to delay his Oct. 1 trial start to January.

Judge Irene Berger denied the request in a Beckley federal court filing Thursday.
Defense attorneys had filed a motion to postpone the trial until at least January. They say they received from prosecutors 72,700 pages of records from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. They said it's impossible for them to review the records before Oct. 1.

Prosecutors called it a tactic to seek delay.


Blankenship is charged with violating mine safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where a 2010 explosion killed 29 men. Berger will oversee the trial in Charleston.

Jeb Bush first to file for Kentucky's presidential caucus

(AP) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is the first person to file for Kentucky's presidential caucus.

Bush filed his paperwork on Thursday during a visit to Louisville for a state Republican Party fundraiser. He also paid a $15,000 filing fee.

Kentucky normally has a presidential primary in May. But this year, the Republican Party of Kentucky voted to have a presidential caucus on March 5. That way, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul could run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat at the same time without breaking a state law that bans candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election.


Despite Paul's advantage, other candidates have shown interest in the caucus. Thursday, Republican candidate Marco Rubio told Kentucky Sports Radio he planned to compete in Kentucky.

Kentucky cardiologist pleads not guilty to health care fraud

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — An Ashland cardiologist charged with performing unnecessary cardiac stent procedures on hundreds of patients has pleaded not guilty.

68-year-old Dr. Richard E. Paulus was indicted earlier this month on one count of health care fraud and 26 counts of making false statements relating to health care matters.

On Thursday, Paulus pleaded not guilty on all charges in federal court. A pre-trial and trial is expected to be set for next year. Paulus' attorney, Robert S. Bennett, says he believes the case may take "substantially longer" to litigate.


According to the indictment, Paulus schemed to defraud and obtain money from Medicare, Medicaid and other insurers between 2008 and 2013. During that time, the indictment says Paulus performed more stent procedures than any other cardiologist in Kentucky.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Virginia Mining Accident

A mechanic was injured Tuesday at a surface mine in Dickenson County, Virginia.

The incident occurred at the Paramont #88 Strip, a surface mine located off Route 80 in Dickenson County. The call came into the Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy around 1:45 p.m. and the mechanic had been air lifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center.


The injured mechanic has been released from the hospital. He suffered a fractured rib. 

The name of the mechanic was not released.

Deputies investigate contraband smuggling at prison in Welch

(AP) — McDowell County sheriff's deputies are investigating contraband smuggling at Stevens Correctional Facility.

The sheriff's office says investigators found $12,000 worth of tobacco products, saw blades and other items. The items were found behind a maintenance shed at the prison in Welch and near the West Virginia Division of Highways' offices in Havaco.


The sheriff's office says arrest warrants are expected to be issued soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Kentucky education commissioner chosen

(AP) — The Kentucky Board of Education has voted to hire Stephen L. Pruitt as the state's next education commissioner.

All but one board member was present Wednesday and voted unanimously to offer the position to Pruitt, a Georgia education and currently senior vice president of an independent education reform organization. Board member Samuel Hinkle did not attend the special meeting.

Pruitt was the only remaining candidate for the job after another finalist withdrew this month.

The Education Department said this week the board plans to ratify a contract for the new commissioner at its Oct. 6 meeting. Pruitt is expected to start in the position later in the month.

Pruitt has served at Achieve Inc. since 2010.


Former Commissioner Terry Holliday retired last month. Associate Commissioner Kevin Brown is serving as commissioner in the interim.

Virginia receives $8.8m grant for childhood hunger project

(AP) — Virginia has received an $8.8 million federal grant for a pilot project to reduce childhood hunger.

First lady Dorothy McAuliffe announced the 3-6-5 Project to End Childhood Hunger on Tuesday during a visit to Bristol.

School divisions in Buchanan, Grayson, Lee, Scott, Smith and Tazewell counties, and in the cities of Bristol and Galax, will participate in the project. The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also will support childhood hunger initiatives in Richmond.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office says in a news release that the project will provide children in select schools with three meals a day during the school year, along with food for weekends and school breaks.


The project also will provide low-income households with additional resources to buy food during the summer.

Unemployment rates drop in 36 W.Va. counties in August

(AP) — Unemployment rates dropped in 36 of West Virginia's 55 counties in August.

WorkForce West Virginia says Pendleton County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 4.3 percent, followed by Jefferson County at 4.7 percent.

Unemployment rates rose in 14 counties and were unchanged in five others.

Mingo County's unemployment rate was the highest in the state at 14.6 percent. It was followed by McDowell County at 14.2 percent and Logan County at 12.6 percent.


West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.6 percent in August.

Proposed W.Va. pipeline accepted for pre-application review

(AP) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will review a proposed $2 billion natural gas pipeline in West Virginia before the developer formally submits an application.

The commission notified Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC last week that it accepted the Mountaineer Xpress Project for the pre-filing review process.

Parent companies Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. and Columbia Pipeline Partners LP said Wednesday that an application will be filed with the federal commission in April 2016. If the pipeline is approved, construction would begin in the fall of 2017.


The pipeline would run about 165 miles from Marshall County to Wayne County. The companies say in a news release that the pipeline would give producers in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas new options to transport gas into the interstate market.

Fort Campbell soldiers returning from Afghanistan

(AP) — Hundreds of Fort Campbell soldiers who have been in Afghanistan advising the Afghan National Army are expected back at the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line this week.

Fort Campbell says approximately 250 soldiers from 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are due to return early Friday.


A ceremony with family, friends and fellow soldiers is scheduled.

Kentucky receiving $1 million for unemployment improvements

(AP) — Kentucky is getting $1 million from the federal government to enhance its unemployment insurance program and reduce worker misclassification.

The U.S. Labor Department announced Tuesday that more than $39 million was being awarded to 45 states and territories. The funding is to help prevent and detect improper benefit payments, improve program performance, address outdated information technology and combat employee misclassification as independent contractors.

Of Kentucky's total, half is for program integrity and performance improvement and half is to identify cases of worker misclassification.


The agency says worker misclassification causes losses to state unemployment insurance funds and denies workers access to benefits and protections they're entitled to receive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Father of slain trooper asks Kentucky to upgrade patrol cars

(AP) — The father of a slain Kentucky State trooper has urged state lawmakers to retrofit the fleet of patrol cars with bullet resistant glass.

Cameron Ponder was shot and killed in his patrol car last week following a high speed chase in western Kentucky. The shooter, Joseph Johnson-Shanks, was later shot and killed after officials said he raised his weapon at another state trooper and ignored orders to lower it.

Joe Ponder, Cameron Ponder's father, told reporters Tuesday he believed his son would still be alive had his patrol car been outfitted with bullet resistant glass. 

Kentucky Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo pledged to find money in the upcoming budget to retrofit all of the Kentucky State Police's 600 front line patrol cars.


Stumbo said he hoped the program could also be extended to other law enforcement agencies.

Grimes to announce online voter registration system

(AP) — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will make an announcement about the state's electronic voter registration system on Tuesday.

A legislative panel approved a new state regulation earlier this year allowing Kentuckians to register to vote online. Kentucky already allows people living overseas, including those serving in the military, to register to vote online.


The National Conference of State Legislatures says 23 states allow voters to register to vote online while another five plus the District of Columbia have not yet implemented their systems. The State Board of Elections says it will cost about $45,000 to implement the electronic voter registration system, with the money coming from the federal Help America Vote Fund.

Bankrupt Patriot Coal proceeds with sale to Blackhawk Mining

(AP) — Bankrupt Patriot Coal says it is proceeding with a partial sale to Blackhawk Mining LLC after an auction.

In a news release Tuesday, Patriot says Lexington, Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining won an auction Monday for a substantial amount of Patriot's assets.

The transaction and Patriot's reorganization plan both still need approval in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia. Scott Depot, West Virginia-based Patriot will seek the sale's approval at an Oct. 5 bankruptcy hearing.

Patriot says Coronado Coal LLC participated in the auction and was designated the backup bidder.

Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia environmental officials have expressed concerns about mine pollution cleanup in Patriot's plan.


The Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund is looking to acquire Patriot's other mines and mining permits for purposes of water quality improvement and reclamation.

Coal operator sues union, alleges breach of contract

(AP) — Two Murray Energy subsidiaries have filed a lawsuit against the United Mine Workers of America alleging breach of contract.

The lawsuit says union workers have refused to report allegedly unsafe working conditions to management. The lawsuit also says union workers have refused to make a sincere effort to resolve any such issues with management.

Murray Energy American and Consolidation Coal Co., along with five mines, filed the federal lawsuit last week.

Union spokesman Phil Smith tells the newspaper that the lawsuit is without merit.
Under the mines' previous owner, the lawsuit says the union customarily brought health and safety concerns to management before filing a complaint.


Murray Energy acquired the mines from CONSOL Energy in December 2013.

Alpha Natural Resources to close 3 mines in Dickenson County

(AP) — Alpha Natural Resources says it will close three underground coal mines in Dickenson County in November.

The Bristol-based coal operator says the closures of deep mines 44, 37 and 25 will affect 96 employees.

Alpha says it also will reduce operations at deep mines 41 and 26 in Dickenson County.

Alpha subsidiary Paramount Coal Company operates all five mines.

Alpha announced the cuts on Monday. The company attributed the decision to the supply of coal exceeding demand.


Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 3.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

BOIL WATER ADVISORY

A BOIL WATER ADVISORY IS BEING ISSUED TO PROTECT MOUNTAIN
WATER DISTRICT CUSTOMERS AGAINST POTENTIAL BACTERIA
CONTAMINATION DUE TO A LINE RELOCATION IN THE FOLLOWING AREA.  WATER USED FOR DRINKING OR COOKING PURPOSES SHOULD BE BOILED AT A ROLLING BOIL FOR AT LEAST THREE MINUTES.  THE AFFECTED AREA IS:

·        FROM THE INTERSECTION OF ROUTE 632 AND ROUTE 194, CONTINUING RIGHT HANDED ALONG ROUTE 194 E TO 37211 HIGHWAY 194 E, INCLUDING MAREDA BRANCH, BONES BRANCH, SHADES BRANCH, RAILROAD STREET AND ALL OTHER SIDE HOLLOWS.



THIS NOTICE IS IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

W.Va. awarded nearly $10 million for health centers

(AP) — West Virginia has been awarded nearly $10 million in federal funding to support the state's community health centers.

The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the funding is to support West Virginia community health centers providing primary and preventative care services.


The award includes nearly $7 million to increase access to health care services such as medical, oral, behavioral, pharmacy, vision care and substance abuse care and treatment. Another $3 million is being awarded under the Health Infrastructure Investment Program to renovate or construct new facilities to help health centers meet community needs.

Kentucky considering roadside driver drug tests

(AP) — State officials are evaluating a roadside drug test that could help police counter the growing number of drivers who are high behind the wheel.

The state Office of Highway Safety is partnering with authorities in Louisville, Paducah and Madison County to test portable kits that police officers could eventually carry into the field to test drivers for controlled substances.

If the tests prove reliable, lawmakers say they will consider legislation next year to expand their use.

Louisville defense attorney Larry Forman says the tests could lead to invasive searches or give officers false pretense for arrests.


According to Kentucky State Police, authorities suspected that drugs were a factor in nearly 1,600 traffic collisions across the state last year, resulting in 939 injuries and 214 deaths.

Disability beneficiaries to have eligibility Re-determined

(AP) — The Social Security Administration is evaluating whether a Floyd County attorney's former clients should keep their disability payments.

Starting Thursday, as many as 1,787 people who receive federal disability benefits will be required to participate in hearings to re-determine their eligibility.

The individuals were represented by attorney Eric Conn. Congressional investigators believe Conn used fraudulent information to help secure the benefits.

Conn has denied the allegations and hasn't been charged.

Attorneys for the hundreds of people who had their benefits temporarily suspended earlier this year have sued the SSA, asking a federal judge to stop the hearings. There's no timetable for the judge's decision.


Attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who heads the legal team representing the beneficiaries, encourages anyone required to attend a redetermination hearing to seek legal representation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

SCHEDULED OUTAGE AND BOIL WATER ADVISORY

A SCHEDULED WATER OUTAGE HAS BEEN PLANNED FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2015 FROM  8:00 AM TO APPROXIMATELY 4:30 PM FOR THE FOLLOWING AREA DUE TO THE PHELPS ATHLETIC COMPLEX LINE RELOCATION.

A BOIL WATER ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED TO PROTECT MOUNTAIN WATER DISTRICT CUSTOMERS AGAINST POTENTIAL BACTERIA CONTAMINATION ONCE THE WATER SERVICE IS RESTORED ON SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2015.  WATER USED FOR DRINKING OR COOKING PURPOSES SHOULD BE BOILED AT A ROLLING BOIL FOR AT LEAST THREE MINUTES.  THE AFFECTED AREA IS:


               
  • FROM THE INTERSECTION OF ROUTE 632 AND ROUTE 194, CONTINUING RIGHT HANDED ALONG ROUTE 194 E TO 37211 HIGHWAY 194 E, INCLUDING MAREDA BRANCH, BONES BRANCH, SHADES BRANCH, RAILROAD STREET AND ALL OTHER SIDE HOLLOWS.




THIS NOTICE IS IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

BOIL WATER ADVISORY LIFTED

MOUNTAIN WATER DISTRICT HAS LIFTED THE BOIL WATER ADVISORY IN THE FOLLOWING AREA:

  • FROM HOUSE #3318 POORBOTTOM ROAD TO HOUSE #4800 POORBOTTOM ROAD IN THE MARROWBONE AREA
               
MOUNTAIN WATER DISTRICT APOLOGIZES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE TO ITS CUSTOMERS.


Mine rescue teams from around US competing in Kentucky

(AP) — Mine rescue teams from 12 states are in Kentucky for a competition that helps train first responders in deadly situations underground.

The National Coal Mine Rescue competition is being held in Lexington this week. The event includes individual and team competitions in first aid and mine rescue and ends with a banquet on Thursday.

The event is sponsored by the National Mining Association and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. There will also be exhibits from companies and suppliers of coal-mining equipment and services.

The banquet will feature remarks by National Mining Association CEO Hal Quinn and U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joseph Main.


The events begin each day at 7 a.m. at the Lexington Convention Center.

Motorist stopped to assist slain police trooper in Kentucky

(AP) — A police scanner recording indicates that a motorist stopped to help a Kentucky State Police trooper who was shot during a high-speed chase.

On the recording, wounded Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder is heard telling the dispatcher he had been shot and was passing out.

Soon, the motorist comes on the scanner traffic and tells the dispatcher he heard gunshots and the trooper wasn't breathing well.

Ponder was shot Sunday night while pursuing a man who fled from a traffic stop along a rural stretch of I-24 near Eddyville.

Ponder died at a hospital. The suspect was shot and killed during a confrontation with police Monday following a manhunt.


Trooper Jay Thomas said Wednesday the scanner recording was authentic. Thomas said two people stopped to assist Ponder but didn't identify them.

Prosecutors oppose ex-Massey CEO's motion to delay trial

(AP) — Federal prosecutors are opposing another push by former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to delay his Oct. 1 trial start.

In Beckley federal court Tuesday, prosecutors wrote that Blankenship wants to postpone the trial to review "largely irrelevant documents" that he requested.

Defense attorneys filed a motion Friday to postpone the trial until at least January. They say they received from prosecutors 72,700 pages of records from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. They say it's impossible for them to review the records before Oct. 1.

Prosecutors called it a tactic to seek delay.


Blankenship is charged with violating mine safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where a 2010 explosion killed 29 men. Judge Irene Berger will oversee the trial in Charleston.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

W.Va. jobless rate rises slightly in August to 7.6 percent

(AP) — West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly in August to 7.6 percent.

August's rate was one-tenth of a percentage point higher than July's rate. Workforce West Virginia says 59,800 state residents were unemployed, an increase of 700 from July.

Employment rose by 1,000 in the service-providing sector and fell 300 in the goods-producing sector.

Among the increases were 900 in educational and health services, 700 in trade, transportation and utilities, and 300 in construction.

Employment fell by 600 in manufacturing and 300 each in professional and business services, and in leisure and hospitality.


The national unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 5.1 percent.

BOIL WATER ADVISORY

A BOIL WATER ADVISORY IS BEING ISSUED TO PROTECT MOUNTAIN
WATER DISTRICT CUSTOMERS AGAINST POTENTIAL BACTERIA
CONTAMINATION DUE TO A MAIN WATER LINE BREAK IN THE FOLLOWING AREA.  WATER USED FOR DRINKING OR COOKING PURPOSES SHOULD BE BOILED AT A ROLLING BOIL FOR AT LEAST THREE MINUTES.  THE AFFECTED AREA IS:

  • FROM HOUSE #3318 POORBOTTOM ROAD TO HOUSE #4800 POORBOTTOM ROAD IN THE MARROWBONE AREA

THIS NOTICE IS IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

KSP Investigates Convenience Store Robbery in Floyd County

(Prestonsburg, KY) – In the evening hours of Sunday, September 13, 2015, Post 9 Pikeville received a 911 call of a robbery at the Parkway Convenience Store in Floyd County.  Troopers responded to the scene and determined that four unidentified subjects entered the business demanding money.  While at gunpoint, employees of the business retrieved an undisclosed amount of money.  After receiving the money, the four individuals fled the scene on foot.

The initial investigation at the scene indicates that all four subjects were wearing dark clothing and masks.
   
The Kentucky State Police is asking the public for any information relating to this case. The Kentucky State Police Post 09 can be contacted at (606) 433-7711.  Callers can remain anonymous.


This incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Christopher Phillips. 

Favor for new roads cash grows, W.Va. budget lawmaker says

(AP) — A top Republican lawmaker says momentum is growing to raise more money to fix and build roads.

In comment to reporters Monday, state Senate Finance Chairman Mike Hall said he thinks citizens want action on roads and aren't naive enough to think it's possible without money.

He said increasing DMV fees is possible, but a gas tax hike is likely off the table.
In an election year, Hall said officials could argue higher taxes or fees would improve driving safety and spare drivers car repair costs.

A state report says driving on rough roads costs motorists $333 a year per driver. West Virginia's traffic fatality rate is the second-highest in the nation.


The GOP-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin are meeting about road funding.

Outcry prompts suspension of Williamson water rate hike

(AP) — State regulators have suspended a nearly 50 percent rate increase for Williamson's water customers and ordered a review.

The Public Service Commission ordered the suspension and review last week after it received a petition opposing the increase signed by more than 900 Williamson residents and water customers.

The petition says the rate increase will place an undue burden on customers.

The city adopted an ordinance raising the rates in August in an effort to cover a $1.2 million debt owed to Veolia Water. The private company manages the city's water and sewer system.


The PSC suspended the rates until Jan. 29, 2016, and appointed an administrative law judge to review them.

Officials to seek funds to beef up Kentucky social services

(AP) — Kentucky's commissioner of social services has announced that her agency will seek millions of dollars to address problems affecting social workers that they she acknowledges have been overworked and underpaid.

Teresa James announced Monday that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services plans to present a substantial request for funds to the Kentucky General Assembly when it meets in 2016 to begin drafting the state's next two-year budget. James says she wants to hire more workers, boost salaries and improve working conditions.

James' agency, the Department for Community Based Services, has undergone about $50 million in budget cuts since 2009.


Child advocates have long argued the state's social service system needs more money and more workers to better manage increasingly complex child abuse and neglect cases.

Mine safety agency gets injunction against coal operator

(AP) — A judge has granted an injunction that bars an eastern Kentucky coal mine operator from interfering with federal safety inspectors.

The injunction was issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration sought the order after an Aug. 17 incident at a Floyd County mine in which inspectors said operator Jeremy Bryant screamed at them and backed one of them against a wall while discussing a citation.


Bryant's attorney, Billy R. Shelton, said in a court document that his client disagreed with the allegations, but did not object to the request for an injunction.

Johnson sheriff makes drug arrest



Saturday night, deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office responded to the Turner Branch Hill Trailer court in Wittensville in reference to a drug Investigation. 54-year-old Woody Estep was arrested, after a search of the home uncovered a white powder substance believed to be meth, prescription pain pills, several other types of pills, and a large amount of cash and sandwich bags inside the residence and on Estep's person. Estep was charged with drug trafficking and possession, prescription not in original container, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Kinzer injured in race crash


Prominent local businessman and well-known drag racer Willard Kinzer remains in a Rockingham, North Carolina, hospital, recovering from a serious crash last week. The 87-year-old Kinzer was scheduled to race this past weekend at Rockingham Dragway's "Dragstock 8," but lost control of his car as it crossed the finish line and hit a retaining wall during a test run Thursday. Track officials say he was unconscious during most of the extraction and as he was transported to the hospital. According to a member of his race team, Kinzer sustained no serious injuries and he is expected to make a full recovery. They are hopeful he will be released from the hospital later this week.