Thursday, June 9, 2016

New Way To Get News!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

BREAKING: A second person has been charged in connection with a Mingo murder.

Ricky Dean Peterson of Wayne is charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing/resisting and officer and false information to a trooper in connection with the murder, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wayne County Circuit Court.

This is the second arrest in the shooting death of coal executive Ben Hatfield, who was found shot to death Monday in a Mingo County cemetery.

Anthony R. Arriaga, 20, of Gibsanburg, Ohio, who was arrested in Ohio, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death.

West Virginia House kills tobacco tax hike, stymieing budget

(AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates has killed a key tax hike on cigarettes and other tobacco products, stymieing budget negotiations.

The 44-55 vote on Tuesday occurred during the GOP-led Legislature's seventh day of budget session. Each day of session costs $35,000.

The bill would have raised taxes on cigarettes by 45 cents a pack to $1. It would have also increased taxes on other tobacco products.

Many Democrats and some Republicans opposed the legislation.

A similar version previously passed the Senate.

The tax hikes were expected to raise about $76 million annually.

Lawmakers need to cover a $270 million budget gap. Without a budget plan before July 1, the state would go into a government shutdown.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called lawmakers into session May 16.

West Virginia begins allowing concealed guns without permits

(AP) — West Virginia now lets people 21 years old and up carry hidden guns without permits or training.

The law passed by the Republican-led Legislature took effect Tuesday.

In March, lawmakers needed only a simple majority to override Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of the bill.

Tomblin vetoed it over safety concerns from law enforcement officials. He vetoed similar legislation last year.

It was already legal in West Virginia to carry guns openly — in a holster, for instance — without permits.

The law lets people carry concealed guns in public without permits, by wearing a coat for example. People ages 18 through 20 still will need a permit and training with live firing.

West Virginia is one of 10 states that don't require concealed carry permits.

Beshear asks Supreme Court to hear college funding case

(AP) — Kentucky's Democratic attorney general has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to cut college and university budgets without the approval of the state legislature.

A state judge ruled last week that Bevin does have the authority to order public colleges and universities not to spend all of the money the state legislature gave them. Attorney General Andy Beshear is appealing the decision, arguing it gives the governor's office too much power.

The case would normally go to the state Court of Appeals. But Beshear is asking the state Supreme Court to take the case because of its "great and immediate public importance."

A spokeswoman for Bevin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday, May 23, 2016

2 Kentucky groups get federal grants to help poverty areas

(AP) — A group will receive a $250,000 federal grant to help low-income communities develop businesses and create jobs in eastern Kentucky.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the grant last week for the London-based Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation.

The USDA says matching funds are required locally to double the impact of the grant. The grant will support the Leslie County and Perry County fiscal courts and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program.

The agency also announced a $95,000 matching grant to Community Action Kentucky to help five rural utilities operate a database to map and manage assets. The communities are Cumberland, Evarts, Jenkins, Liberty and Lynch.

The USDA says the grants involve persistent poverty areas.

Investigation underway into discovery of body in Mingo County

The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered this morning at a cemetery.

The body was found about 6:30 Monday morning at Mountain View Memory Gardens outside Williamson. The cause of death is not yet known, but reports indicate the victim had a gunshot wound.

The Sheriff’s Department requested that the State Police Crime Scene Team respond and assist with the investigation.

Extras sought for film about FBI informant slain in Kentucky

(AP) — A film about an FBI agent who pleaded guilty in Kentucky to strangling an informant in 1989 is scheduled to begin shooting this week in Lexington.

Extras casting director Taylor Woodell says she is looking for paid extras for the movie "Above Suspicion." Information about becoming an extra is available on the Facebook page TW Casting, and some casting calls are planned for Tuesday.

The movie is about Mark Putnam, who pleaded guilty in June 1990 to first-degree manslaughter in the death of Susan Daniels Smith, a Freeburn, Ky. resident, with whom he was romantically involved. Putnam strangled Smith in a Pikeville Motel. Putnam served 10 years in prison.

The moviemakers are also looking for cars made between 1970 and 1985.

Woodell said filming would be in areas around Lexington and Harlan.

Friday, May 20, 2016


According to the Kentucky State Police Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, due to the prolong closure of U.S. 23, both Northbound and Southbound traffic will be diverted to the Southbound lanes. 

During this closure all Commercial traffic with over dimensional loads in excess of 12ft wide will be prohibited. The general motoring public are encouraged to use extra caution while passing through the work zone, particularly during rush hour. 

Officers with the Kentucky State Police Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement will increase patrols in the area to ensure the safety of Transportation workers and the general motoring public.

Unemployment rate drops by biggest amount in Kentucky

(AP) — The Labor Department says unemployment rates were significantly lower in five states in April, led by a big drop in Kentucky. Kentucky saw its unemployment rate fall to 5.3 percent, down from 5.6 percent in March.

The other four states were Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas and Vermont.

Four states saw significantly higher jobless rates last month: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Wyoming and Utah. The largest increase was in Pennsylvania, where the rate rose to 5.3 percent from 4.9 percent.

The other 41 states were seen as having stable unemployment rates from March to April.

The national jobless rate was unchanged in April at 5 percent.

Over the past year, 37 states have added an appreciable number of jobs. Two states have lost jobs, and 11 states have seen job levels essentially unchanged.

West Virginia objects to Alpha Natural sale to hedge fund

(AP) — West Virginia's environmental authority has filed an objection to the proposed $500 million sale of Alpha Natural Resources' assets to a hedge fund, arguing that the deal could leave the state holding hundreds of millions in reclamation liabilities.

The Department of Environmental Protection filed the objection this week over concerns that a bankruptcy judge's approval of the proposed sale would tilt the process in favor of the hedge fund and institutional investors by having the coal company's major assets be sold off to Alpha's senior lenders.

The state says West Virginia would be forced to accept costly concessions or risk liquidation.

The DEP says the Bristol, Virginia-based company had an obligation of $237 million, as of last month. It filed for bankruptcy protection in August

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pike County says tourism spending up nearly $6 million

(AP) — Tourism dollars are flowing into Pike County as officials there report an increase of nearly $6 million in visitor spending in 2015.

A release from the county's tourism board says the influx of spending is good news as the region's coal economy continues to slump.

Pike tourism executive director Tony Tackett says marketing efforts have focused on bringing in "group travelers, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts."

Numbers from the state say direct tourism spending in Pike County for 2015 was $69.4 million, an increase of $3.8 million from 2014. Add to that an increase in indirect spending of $2 million over the same time period and the county has seen a boost of about $5.8 million. Indirect spending represents the recirculation of the direct spending dollar in the community.

4 officers who died last year to be honored at ceremony

(AP) — Kentucky will honor four law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year during an annual law enforcement memorial ceremony at the state's Department of Criminal Justice Training.

A statement from the agency says the May 23 event in Richmond will honor the sacrifice of Kentucky State Police troopers Cameron Ponder and Eric Chrisman, Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis and Nicholasville Police Officer Burke Rhoads. Ponder and Ellis were fatally shot while investigating calls. Rhodes and Chrisman died in car crashes.

The ceremony also will recognize five others killed in the line of duty between 1893 and 2013, but whose names were not added to the national memorial until recently.

Gov. Matt Bevin will serve as the keynote speaker.

Mine environmental risk grows with bankruptcies in big coal

(AP) — The growing number of bankruptcies in the coal industry make it increasingly likely taxpayers will get stuck with the huge environmental costs of abandoned mines.

Analysts say it's only a matter of when, where and how many more coal mines will close. Concerns are growing bankrupt coal companies can't meet their cleanup and reclamation obligations.

State and federal regulators for years have allowed coal companies to promise to clean up mines instead of setting aside money to do so. The practice is called self-bonding.

The Associated Press has counted up more than $3.3 billion in coal self-bonding obligations in nine top coal-mining states. That includes $2.3 billion in self-bonding by the three biggest coal companies in Chapter 11: Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy.

KSP Makes Arrests at Party Complaint in Magoffin County

Acting on an anonymous tip, Trooper Zach Haney from Kentucky State Police, Post 09 Pikeville, responded to a residence at Salyersville in Magoffin County in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 19, 2016.

At the scene, Trooper Haney discovered multiple juveniles had been consuming alcohol in the presence of adults.  The adults, Dearl Peters, 41 of Salyersville, Wendell King, 40 of Salyersville, and Leaha Vanhoose, 22 of Paintsville, were arrested at the residence.  Peters, King, and Vanhoose were each charged with 5 counts of Unlawful Transaction with a Minor 3rd Degree, and were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center. 

The incident remains under investigation with the possibility of additional charges pending.  

Hatton looks to expand beyond Letcher

The race to fill Leslie Combs’ seat in the state House of Representatives will be decided in November, and on the Democratic side, a relative newcomer to politics pulled out the win in last night’s primary election. EKB News Reporter Chris Anderson sat down with Assistant Letcher County Attorney Angie Hatton to talk about what she brings to the race, not only in her home of Letcher County, but also in Pike County, where she’s not as well known. He has this report.



Workshop promotes agricultural opportunities in Eastern Kentucky

As Eastern Kentucky continues to look for ways to diversify its economy, one alternative often mentioned is agriculture. Today, local farmers and others took part in a workshop to explore opportunities available in ag fields. EKB News Reporter Shelby Steele has details.



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pikeville Police host cookout for officers

Today, police officers and law enforcement officials from various agencies gathered for an annual cookout, hosted by the Pikeville Police Department. This is one of many events happening around the region during National Police Officers Memorial Week. As Pikeville Police Chief Phillip Reed explains, this is an opportunity for different agencies to come together, share stories, and strengthen relationships.

Chief Reed says today’s event, as well as Friday’s law enforcement memorial ceremony, are funded by donations from the community. The public is invited to attend the special ceremony, which Reed says allows everyone to see a softer side of law enforcement.

Between 100 and 150 officers attended today’s cookout.

Judge rules Bevin can cut college, university budgets

(AP) — A Kentucky judge has ruled Republican Gov. Matt Bevin can cut the budgets of public colleges and universities without the approval of the state legislature.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate says two state laws allow Bevin to reduce allotments for public colleges and universities. Wingate ruled while the governor's powers are usually confined to the state constitution, the legislature can give the governor additional powers by passing laws. He said Bevin's cuts of nearly $18 million to colleges and universities this year are not improper.

Bevin proposed the cuts in January. The state legislature did not approve them. Bevin ordered the cuts anyway. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued him.

Wingate ordered Bevin to leave the $18 million alone until the case has been resolved.

West Virginia lawmakers ask governor for more budget options

(AP) — Republican legislative leaders are asking Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for more options during the ongoing budget session.

In a letter Tuesday, Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead named other options to close a $270 million gap.

Among them are $10 million from an infrastructure fund; eliminating the secretary of the arts and education, worth $852,000; and $16 million in greyhound subsidies.

They want to revive bills introduced by Tomblin this year that would change the school aid formula, worth $15 million, and take $9 million in casino funding. Lawmakers previously killed the bills.

Tomblin has proposed tax increases on tobacco and e-cigarettes, cellphone and landline use, and sales.

Tomblin's response letter says he's willing to discuss new items if lawmakers outline their alternative budget plan.

Tomblin called them into session Monday.

Weather prompts advisory for West Virginia beekeepers

(AP) — West Virginia beekeepers are being advised to keep an eye on honeybee colonies because of unfavorable weather conditions.

A news release from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture said the weather is causing a delay in honey flow, meaning many colonies have exhausted their food supplies.

The release advises feeding colonies that are light on honey until the honey flow returns. Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick says feed the bees if necessary to prevent unnecessary colony losses.

State Apiarist Wade Stiltner say beekeepers also should remove surplus supers so bees won't store the artificial feed.

Ex-police officer pleads guilty to sexually assaulting teen

(AP) — A former Delbarton police officer has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl while he was still on the force.

27-year-old Jonathan New could face up to five years in prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday to one count of third-degree sexual assault.

State police say three people had come forward, accusing New of sexual assault.
Authorities say New had sexual relations with the 15-year-old in November and December.

According to the reports, Delbarton Police Chief Earl Spence says he was made aware of the allegations in February, at which time he suspended New and then fired him a week later.

Authorities say charges connected to the cases of the other two alleged victims will be dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Proposals sought to attract jobs, industry to Appalachia

(AP) — Kentucky officials are seeking proposals from local leaders for projects that will attract new industry and more jobs to Appalachia.

A statement says the Cabinet of Economic Development and the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands are collaborating in the pilot program that seeks to boost the economy in eastern Kentucky. The release says up to $30 million in federal grant money is available for the program.

U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, who worked to secure the funding, said the program would help Kentucky's struggling Appalachian communities as they try to rebound from a slump in the coal industry.

Erik Dunnigan, who is acting Secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development, says local leaders are encouraged to seek options that have the potential to provide "dynamic growth and jobs."

Election fraud hotline receives 76 calls

Following yesterday’s primary, the Kentucky attorney general’s office has reported the number of calls it received on its election fraud hotline. Throughout the day, the number received 76 calls from 31 counties. That’s more than the combined number of calls received both of last year’s elections, but far less than the number received in either of 2014’s local races. Several calls originated in Eastern Kentucky, including four calls of vote buying or selling in Breathitt County and a report of electioneering within 100 feet of the polls in Floyd County. There were also questions about procedural issues originating from Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson and Pike counties. By law, the attorney general’s office does not provide any information regarding specific complaints or potential investigations resulting from them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

KSP Post 09 Honoring Fallen Troopers

In commemoration of National Police Officers Memorial Week, the Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville will honor fallen Troopers on Wednesday May 18th and Thursday May 19, 2016.  KSP Post 9 will do a wreath presentation at the burial site of each fallen Trooper. Friends, family and co-workers of the fallen Troopers are welcome to attend.

Trooper Jerome S. Clifton, age 30, was fatally shot Oct. 1, 1980, while attempting to arrest a shooting suspect in a domestic disturbance incident in Pike County. Trooper Clifton was assigned to Post 9 Pikeville and was a nine-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police. He was survived by his wife and two daughters. He is buried at Davidson Memorial Gardens in Ivel in Floyd County, Ky. In honor of his service and sacrifice, the US 23 railroad bridge between Allen and Dwale has been designated the Trooper Jerome "Butch" Clifton Memorial Bridge.

Trooper Johnny Adkins Post 9, Pikeville, died as a result of injury suffered on November 19, 1995, while attempting to arrest a suspect in Martin County. He is buried at Saltwell Cemetery in Inez, Ky. (November 24, 1995)

Trooper Jonathan Leonard, age 28, was involved in a two vehicle crash on US 119, in the community of Sidney in Pike County. Trooper Leonard was assigned to Post 9 Pikeville and had served with the Kentucky State Police for three years. In honor of his service and sacrifice, KY 468 in Pike County was named the "Trooper Jonathan K. Leonard Highway" in June of 2008. This was by fiscal court resolution. (December 19, 2006)

Kentucky State Police will also be presenting wreaths at the grave sites of Sgt. Larry Prater final resting place Davidson Memorial Gardens, Ivel, KY. Detective Joey Howard final resting place Howard Family Cemetery in Knott County, KY. Tpr. Larry Preston final resting place Highland Memorial Park, Staffordsville, KY. Tpr. Rick Conn final resting place Davidson Memorial Gardens Ivel, KY.  Tpr. Alex Rubado Final resting place Highland Memorial Park, Staffordsville, Ky.

US 23 slide still active; traffic reduced to two lanes; wide loads prohibited; work may take several months

Traffic is down to two 12-foot lanes, using the southbound lanes of US 23 at Ivel in Floyd County following a slide that started Wednesday evening, May 11. Wide loads are now prohibited in the area.

Highway District 12 Chief District Engineer Mary Westfall-Holbrook said the slide area is within sight of the 7.0 mile marker of the northbound lanes between Davidson Memorial Gardens and the Ivel Post Office.

“The hillside is not stable,” she said, “even though we have cleaned the pavement. You can see and hear the rock and earth moving up on the hill. We cannot put traffic on the northbound lanes while there is still any danger that more material could come down.”

Westfall-Holbrook estimated it could take two months to correct the situation. In the meantime, any wide loads – vehicles that have to have a permit from the Division of Motor Carriers – need to go around the area. There is no marked detour. “They may have to go as far as Hazard in one direction or as far as Charleston in the other direction,” she said. “They will have to figure that out themselves.”

She said the team at District 12 and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recognizes that this will be a significant inconvenience for what could be a prolonged period of time, but pointed out that District 12’s job is to protect the traveling public, even if that means temporary inconvenience for some drivers.

“We located what we believe to be the source of the water,” she said, “which is off state right of way on private property. That means we have to get our right of way people involved before we can do any excavation to see what needs to be done to fix the problem. We are not talking a short-term fix here,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the two 12-foot southbound lanes are carrying two-way traffic on the busiest stretch of highway in Eastern Kentucky. “The speed limit is 55,” Westfall-Holbrook said, “but people are not slowing down, despite the radar trailers, the variable message boards, and the cones that direct northbound traffic into the southbound lane. If people do not slow down, they are risking their lives and property and the lives and property of others.”

She said that vehicles are hitting cones and ignoring the reduced speed warnings. “If they don’t slow down, someone is going to get hurt,” she warned.

She praised the law enforcement agencies who are assisting with traffic control: City of Prestonsburg Police Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky State Police, and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement. She also praised the work of the Allen and Betsy Layne Volunteer Fire Departments. “They came out Wednesday night and stay with us, directing traffic and generally helping our crews make the area safe enough to re-open two of the four lanes.”

Updates on the situation will be made as soon as additional information is available. Once excavation begins to tackle a permanent fix for the problem, it is possible that the entire roadway at that site may have to be shut down for a period of time. Sara George, Information Officer for the district, said people can look to the media for updated information, check on KYTC District 12’s Facebook page (, or follow KYTC District 12 on Twitter (@KYTCDistrict12).

(Photos courtesy Paul Funk)

GOP group buys $500k in attack ads in West Virginia Gov. race

(AP) — A Republican group has bought $500,000 in TV attack ads against West Virginia Democratic candidate for governor Jim Justice.

The Republican Governors Association announced the ad Tuesday, putting its investment in the race at more than $1 million.

It's the first round of attacks against the billionaire businessman on TV by Republicans.

The group bought $555,200 in ads supporting Republican Bill Cole before the May 10 primary. Cole, the state Senate president, was unopposed in his gubernatorial primary.
The new ad mentions issues with layoff notices and workers' compensation payments at some of Justice's coal mines.

The Justice campaign responded that special interests are trying to prop up Cole's losing campaign.

Justice's campaign called him one of the good coal operators, pointing at his United Mine Workers of America endorsement.

Monday, May 16, 2016

House GOP unveils $622M measure to combat Zika virus

(AP) — House Republicans have unveiled a $622 million measure to battle the Zika virus, offering President Barack Obama just one-third of the money he requested almost three months ago.

The measure by Kentucky Republican Harold Rogers is scheduled for a vote later this week.

The legislation provides funding for developing a vaccine, controlling the mosquitoes that spread Zika, tests to detect the virus, and international mosquito control. Zika can cause severe birth defects.

The bill is financed by cuts to unspent funding passed in 2014 to battle Ebola as well as leftover funding at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on several competing Zika proposals on Tuesday, with a $1.1 billion bipartisan plan likely to get a green light in a procedural vote.

Morehead State President Wayne Andrews to retire

(AP) — Morehead State University President Wayne D. Andrews has announced his retirement.

The university said in a statement Friday that Andrews plans to retire June 30.

Board of Regents chairman Paul Goodpaster says the university will embark on a national search for its next president.

Andrews was selected as Morehead's president in January 2005.

KSP Post 09 Presents Art Award

On Tuesday May 10, 2016, Troopers from Post 09 Pikeville awarded a Magoffin County High School student for her artistic talent.  Madison Ward, a sophomore at Magoffin County High School won an art contest hosted by KSP Post 09.  Students were asked to portray an image that was representative of Magoffin County.
“After reviewing all the entries, picking a winner was a difficult decision.  There are a lot of talented students at Magoffin County High School. It was interesting to see how each student chose to represent Magoffin County, “said KSP Post 09 Operations Lieutenant, Jennifer Sandlin. “Post 09 also appreciates the teachers and students at Magoffin County High School for participating. "

Madison’s winning artwork will be framed and displayed in the hallway at Post 09.  Post 9 services Pike, Floyd, Martin, Magoffin and Johnson Counties. Art contests in each county will be held and one entry from each county will be picked to be displayed at Post 9.

Lt. Sandlin, Madison Ward, and Tpr. Mounts 

West Virginia lawmakers resume work on long-delayed budget

(AP) — West Virginia lawmakers have returned to negotiate a long-delayed 2017 budget hampered by the coal industry's downfall and low natural gas prices.

The Republican-led Legislature reconvened Monday, per Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's call.

Tomblin has proposed options of tax increases on sales, tobacco, e-cigarettes and cellphone and landline use.

Tomblin suggested using $29 million from the Rainy Day Fund and millions from other funds to backfill the 2016 budget. He requested authority to furlough state employees in fiscal emergencies.

The 2017 fiscal year starts July 1. A $270 million budget gap remains.

The Senate previously passed tobacco and sales tax hikes. The House didn't. The cellphone and landline tax went unconsidered.

The sales tax increase could be at most 1 percent.

House Speaker Tim Armstead says it's disappointing Tomblin placed the burden on taxpayers.

Friday, May 13, 2016

U.S. 23 Partially Reopened

The southbound lane of U.S. 23 near the rock slide is now open, allowing both north and southbound traffic to pass using the southbound lane.  Highway Department crews remain at the location and are working to clear all debris, and ensure the roadway is safe to travel.  Motorists can still expect delays in the area, and are encouraged to use caution when traveling this section of U.S .23. 

West Virginia governor appoints Hopkins as state auditor

(AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed Lisa Hopkins as state auditor.
The Democratic governor announced the appointment Friday.

Hopkins has worked for the auditor's office since 1999 and has served as general counsel and deputy commissioner of securities since 2001.

She has a bachelor's degree from Barnard College at Columbia University and a law degree from Boston University.

She replaces longtime Auditor Glen Gainer.

The 56-year-old Gainer announced in December that he wouldn't seek re-election this year. He later announced that he'd resign May 14 for a job with the National White Collar Crime Center.

He first won the four-year auditor job in 1992. His father served as state auditor from 1976 to 1992.

Democrat Mary Ann Claytor faces Republican JB McCuskey in the November election for the auditor job.

Blankenship Reports to Prison

A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons says former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has reported to a California prison to begin his one-year sentence.

Spokesman Justin Long says Blankenship is in custody Thursday at a federal facility in Taft, California.

According to the Bureau of Prisons' website, the facility is operated by a private corporation.

Thursday was the deadline for Blankenship to report. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday denied a motion by his attorneys requesting that Blankenship remain free while he appeals his conviction.

Blankenship was sentenced April 6 to a year in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Kentucky starts online license plate renewal service

(AP) — Kentucky transportation officials have started an online service for people to renew their license plates.

People can access the renewal application from any device. It can be used for people renewing standard, specialty and personalized Kentucky license plates.

John-Mark Hack, commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation, says it provides more convenience for motorists and enhances the department's efficiency.

Motorists wanting to renew their license plates online need to enter their vehicle title number and license plate number associated with the plate along with payment information. After online renewal completion, registration credentials are mailed to the motorist.

Most Kentucky counties are participating in the online renewal system, although a small number have yet to adopt it.

Officials say the application was built at no cost for the Transportation Cabinet.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Former President Clinton visits Prestonsburg Thursday

Former President Bill Clinton will be returning to Kentucky on Thursday to campaign for his wife, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and one of his stops will bring him to Eastern Kentucky.
After stops in Owensboro and Frankfort, Bill Clinton will hold a get-out-the-vote rally at Prestonsburg Elementary tomorrow night. He will appear at 7:45 p.m.
The event is open to the public. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m.
Those planning to attend the rally are asked to RSVP at the following link,

Clinton campaigns in Lexington

While voters were casting their ballots in West Virginia yesterday, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton was barnstorming the Bluegrass State in a late push to pump up her vote totals in next week’s Kentucky primary. Clinton was in Lexington yesterday afternoon. She hosted an invitation-only event in Lexington with young working parents. During that event, she announced her support for a plan to cap child care fees at no more than 10 percent of a family’s income.

Clinton said child care rates have soared over the past decade and it is now more expensive to take an infant to daycare than to send a student to college. The plan was the key plank in a series of initiatives targeting young parents.

Mingo County election results

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 1074 votes for HILLARY CLINTON
  • 35 votes for ROQUE ROCKY DE LA FUENTE
  • 1187 votes for PAUL T. FARRELL JR.
  • 177 votes for KEITH JUDD
  • 120 votes for MARTIN J. O'MALLEY
  • 2425 votes for BERNIE SANDERS

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 7 votes for JEB BUSH
  • 14 votes for BEN CARSON
  • 1 votes for CHRIS CHRISTIE
  • 56 votes for TED CRUZ
  • 2 votes for CARLY FIORINA
  • 0 votes for DAVID E. HALL
  • 8 votes for MIKE HUCKABEE
  • 22 votes for JOHN R. KASICH
  • 6 votes for RAND PAUL
  • 14 votes for MARCO RUBIO
  • 1161 votes for DONALD J. TRUMP

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 1594 votes for BOOTH GOODWIN
  • 4150 votes for JIM JUSTICE
  • 604 votes for JEFF KESSLER

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 4445 votes for NATALIE TENNANT
  • 1155 votes for PATSY TRECOST

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 587 votes for BARRY HOLSTEIN
  • 323 votes for MAC WARNER

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 2760 votes for MARY ANN CLAYTOR
  • 910 votes for JASON PIZATELLA
  • 658 votes for ROBIN RIGHTER

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 257 votes for LARRY W. FAIRCLOTH
  • 617 votes for ANN URLING

# of precincts reporting (out of 38): 38

  • 967 votes for BRENT BENJAMIN
  • 190 votes for WAYNE KING
  • 2037 votes for DARRELL V. MCGRAW JR.
  • 1885 votes for BETH WALKER
  • 1169 votes for WILLIAM R. "BILL" WOOTON

# of precincts reporting (out of 27): 27

  • 2733 votes for BRANDON T. BARKER
  • 875 votes for ROCKWELL "ROCKY" SEAY

# of precincts reporting (out of 11): 11

  • 598 votes for ART KIRKENDOLL
  • 1303 votes for RICHARD N. OJEDA II

# of precincts reporting (out of 11): 11

  • 275 votes for JORDAN RAY BRIDGES
  • 33 votes for GARY JOHNGRASS

# of precincts reporting (out of 22): 22

  • 1769 votes for RONNIE L. BLANKENSHIP
  • 2367 votes for JUSTIN J. MARCUM

# of precincts reporting (out of 16): 16

  • 1285 votes for PHYLLIS RIFFE WHITE

# of precincts reporting (out of 16): 16

  • 423 votes for MARK DEAN
  • 54 votes for ROGER STACY

A coal miner's take on the presidential race

Last week, Mingo County miner had two brushes with the 2016 presidential campaign. At the beginning of the week, he was invited to attend a roundtable in Williamson with Hillary Clinton to discuss his concerns about the coal industry. By the end of the week, he accompanied other coal miners in attending presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s rally in Charleston. EKB News Reporter Shelby Steele sat down with him, to get his perspective on this year’s race.

Mother charged with drugs, child endangerment

Julie J. Jones
A Johnson County mother is in jail, after deputies allegedly found drugs and drug paraphernalia scattered in the home she shares with her two children. Sheriff’s deputies accompanied a social worker to the Hager Hill residence of 33-year-old Julie J. Jones for a welfare check. At the home, they reportedly found meth smoking devices, marijuana pipes, syringes, homemade drug cookers and various other drug paraphernalia. Jones was arrested and charged with possession of meth, possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of child endangerment. She remains jailed tonight in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kentucky State Police/Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Region 6 Welcomes Three New Officers

Kentucky State Police/Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Region 6, Pikeville, welcomes three new officers to the Region 6 family. On Monday, May 9, 2016, Officer Jordon Blankenship, Officer Dwight Isaac Jr and Officer Bradley J. Calhoun began their assignment in Region 6 Pikeville.

Officer Jordan Blankenship, a Pikeville resident, was commissioned as a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer I and assigned to Region 1, Henderson in 2011. Officer Blankenship was recently transferred to Region 6, Pikeville effective April 01, 2016. Officer Blankenship is a 2003 graduate from Shelby Valley High School and a 2008 graduate of Morehead State University

Officer Dwight Isaac, Jr, a Vicco resident, was commissioned as a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer and assigned to Region 6, Pikeville. Officer Isaac is a 2008 graduate of Knott County Central High School and a 2011 graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio.

Officer Bradley J. Calhoun, a Kite resident, was commissioned as a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer and assigned to Region 6, Pikeville. Officer Calhoun is a 2011 graduate of Knott County Central High School and 2015 graduate of Hazard Community and Technical College.

Region 6, Pikeville is eager to introduce these new officers to the communities they will serve.

Jordan Blankenship

Dwight Isaac

Bradley J. Calhoun

Bears woke up hungry: Officials advise securing food, scraps

(AP) — Kentucky officials say black bears are wandering around again after a winter in their dens and are looking for food.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says hungry black bears are roaming the mountains of southeastern Kentucky but may wander farther.

The agency says people can resolve most issues with bears by removing or securing sources of food such as garbage, food scraps, pet food and bird feeders. Residents in bear areas should wait until the morning of pickup before putting garbage out.

Fish and Wildlife bear program biologist John Hast says even in May, natural foods are still sparse and bears are looking for something to eat. Feeding bears is against Kentucky law.

Hast says bears that have been fed by humans lose their fear of people and may have to be captured and destroyed.

West Virginia heads to the primary election polls Tuesday

(AP) — West Virginians are casting ballots in a primary election with presidential contests, a Democratic showdown for governor and a winner-take-all state Supreme Court race.

Election Day polls opened Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Ten days of early voting produced record turnout.

Independent voters — those not registered with the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Mountain Party — can pick their ballot.

Donald Trump leads the Republican ballot as the presumptive nominee.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders top the Democratic ballot.

Jim Justice, Booth Goodwin and Jeff Kessler are fighting for the Democratic bid for governor. Republican Bill Cole has no primary opponent.

The Supreme Court race includes incumbent Justice Brent Benjamin, Darrell McGraw, Bill Wooton, Beth Walker and Wayne King. The race is decided without a runoff.

Beshear transfers $4.5 million to Kentucky State Police

(AP) — Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has transferred $4.5 million from his office to the Kentucky State Police to help eliminate the backlog in rape kit testing.

The state legislature approved the transfer last month. The money comes from the settlement of a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for misleading consumers about the antipsychotics drug Risperdal. Former Attorney General Jack Conway announced that settlement last year.

Kentucky has more than 3,000 untested rape kits, according to an audit last year by former state Auditor Adam Edelen.

Rape Kits contain physical evidence from victims collected in the hours after a sexual assault. Testing the kits can identify DNA and other evidence that can help authorities identify and prosecute suspects.

Kentucky tax collections set all-time record in April

(AP) — State officials collected more than $1 billion in taxes last month, setting a record high.

State Budget Director John Chilton announced Tuesday that the state collected $1.077 billion in income and sales taxes in April, up from the $1.023 billion collected in April 2015. Chilton attributed some of that increase to a delay in issuing tax refunds.

So far this year, Kentucky's tax revenue has increased 5 percent compared to the previous year. State economists had predicted revenue would increase 3.2 percent for the budget year that ends June 30.

State officials also collected $130.4 million in gas taxes, a 13.3 percent increase from April 2015. Year to date, revenue for the road fund has dropped 3.8 percent, in line with the estimate.

Man taken into custody after vets center disturbance

A man was taken into custody following a scary situation at a veterans center in Pike County this morning. Police responded to a report of gunshots at the Veterans Transitional Center at Robinson Creek. When they arrived, they found that a resident at the facility had allegedly caused damage to his room and may have fired a gun after locking himself inside. No one was injured in the incident, but the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and Kentucky State Police responded to the scene.

The incident resulted in Shelby Valley High School and Valley Elementary School, which are both adjacent to the center, being placed on lock-down while police investigated. After the resident who caused the disturbance was taken from the scene by Transtar Ambulance Service, the schools were released from lock-down. The name of the resident who was taken into custody has not been released.

Paroled drug offender charged again

Laura Muncy
Police responding to reports of drug activity in Pike County seized marijuana and drug paraphernalia late last week. Officials with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office say, the department, along with officers with Kentucky Probation and Parole, executed a search of the residence of 31-year-old Laura Muncy, of Huddy on Friday. Pike County Sheriff Rodney Scott said with the assistance of a drug dog, officers found a quantity of marijuana and other items.

Muncy, who was on probation for a 2015 drug case, was charged with trafficking in marijuana, less than 8 ounces, and second-degree possession of a controlled substance. She remains lodged in the Pike County Detention Center, and is being held on a $5,000, or 10 percent bond.