Friday, February 09, 2007


Election Officials Push For Change In Presidential Primaries

The Nation’s Secretaries of State are pushing a proposal which would change the way presidential primaries are held, reforming the system to allow for rotating regional primaries. The proposal was introduced this week as part of an annual meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State. EKB news spoke to Kentucky’s secretary of state Trey Grayson earlier today, who detailed how the proposal would work.
“All of the southern states would hold primaries on the same day, next moth the Midwest, followed by the western and then the eastern, every four years changing the rotation” Grayson stated. “Our goal is, by having it based in the region that that month that candidates spend in the region would allow them to spend more time with voters so that voters would be able to make a more informed choice.”
This isn’t the first time a reform of Presidential primaries has been proposed but according to Grayson, the proposal put forward by the Secretaries of State this year has received a warm reception. Grayson went on to state that after next years primary, people will be ready for a change in the system.
“As people analyze how this primary process works out, then having our solution out there will provide an alternative” Grayson said. “So were excited and we’ve been getting a lot of news coverage with the announcement at our conference.”


Lawmakers Say Spending Will Be Selective

House and Senate leaders said today that lawmakers will likely be selective in spending a $401 million budget surplus that spurred Gov. Ernie Fletcher to propose a broad range of initiatives. House budget chairman Harry Moberly said the governor outlined some good priorities, but said action will likely be limited to matters needing urgent attention before 2008, when lawmakers put together the next two-year state budget. Leaders from both chambers met earlier to discuss their priorities for the current 30-day General Assembly session, including to what extent lawmakers might tinker with the current $18.1 billion budget passed last year.


Driver In Robbery/Fatal Police Chase Pleads Not Guilty

The alleged accomplice in a string of armed robberies that ended with officers fatally shooting a suspect appeared in court this morning for an arraignment on a host of charges stemming from the incident. Misty Damron was the girlfriend of John Michael Keen and the alleged driver for Keen during a rash of armed robberies taking place over two days at the end of December. Damron entered a not guilty plea in Pike County Circuit Court this morning on several charges stemming for the incident, which ended after the pair allegedly lead police on a chase from town mountain road, through Buckley’s Creek onto US 23; where police were able to bring the car to a stop, before Keen flashed an air pistol similar to a .45 caliber gun, which is when officers open fired fatally wounding Keen. Damron had surrendered to police moments the shooting. Damron was charged with Robbery First degree, Fleeing or Evading First degree, Possession of a controlled substance third degree, operating a motor vehicle under the influence and illegal possession of a legend drug. She remains lodged at the Pike County detention center and is scheduled to appear again in court on May 4th.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Senator Jones Porposes Bill Requiring Sex Offenders To Register Screen Names

Convicted sex offenders could be charged with felonies for not registering their Internet screen names and other electronic identities under a bill pending in Kentucky.
The legislation, similar to a bill pending in Congress, is intended to give law enforcement authorities a way to trace the online activity of sex offenders, said state Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville.
Jones, the bill's sponsor, said he wants to address the national problem of online predators targeting children with virtual anonymity.
"Kids have access to the Internet at school, at home, when they go to a friend's home," Jones said Thursday. "We have to try to stop child predators from using the Internet because it is probably the single biggest risk for children."
Under the Kentucky legislation, convicted sex offenders would face one to five years in prison for the first violation, and five to 10 years for a second.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


A Rash Of Fires Has Officials Warning Of the Dangers Of Household Heaters

A rash of structure fires taking place this past week has officials urging citizens to use caution when trying to keep warm during the current cold snap affecting the Big Sandy region.
Local fire departments kept busy throughout the day on Tuesday February 6, battling blazes across Pike and Floyd Counties according to officials who stated that Coal Run, Hurricane Creek, Gulnare, Johns Creek, Prestonsburg, Shelby Valley and Dorton Fire Departments all responded to blazes.
Thankfully no one was killed and there are no reports of serious injuries associated with the fires; however the number of fires around the region combined with the deaths of ten people in a Bardstown house fire on Tuesday, has officials warning the public about the dangers associated with common household heaters, which may have contributed to several of the fires.
“A Couple of the fires were at older homes with older wiring” according to Randy Courtney, President of the Pike County Fire Fighters Association who continued saying that space heaters hooked into the older wiring could cause an “overload” the circuits.”
“You also need to be careful using those space heaters as rats or cats may get to the wires while the heaters are in storage and strip them bare” said Courtney “Just watch your space heaters and your kerosene heaters and make sure that there is plenty of room between them and other objects. Also be extremely careful when refueling a kerosene heater.


UPDATE: Investigators Say Fatal Knott Fire May Have Started In Living Room

Investigators say that a Knott county boy who died after fire broke out in his family’s mobile home was home alone sleeping. 12 year old Cory Johnson, a seventh-grader at Carr Creek Elementary School, was home alone Tuesday in the Mallie community of Knott County according to State Police. The boy was sleeping in his bedroom after his parents had gone to work since Knott County schools were closed yesterday according to Coroner Jeff Blair. Investigators are looking at a coal-burning heater in the living room and an electric stove as possible ignition sources. The residence was on Kentucky 899, about two miles from a shopping center where Cory's mother works at a Dairy Queen.


Road Crews Battle Region's First Winter Blast

Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon as the snow began to fall crews with the States Transportation cabinet, highway district 12 set out to clear a path for motorists and ensure that roads were as safe as possible during the regions first significant winter blast this year.

Sara George, Information Officer for Highway district 12 who has been monitoring crew’s progress throughout the night spoke with EKB news this morning and had some cautionary words for listeners.

“We are all about safety here at district 12 and we would like to recommend that people stay at home until mid-morning if at all possible to give our snow plow operators the room and time to finish their work;” said George who continued “obviously the fewer vehicles we encounter on a road the faster we can get that road cleared and safe. Our crews have worked all night first clearing roads and (this morning) clearing icy spots.”

Lawrence County suffered the brunt of the season's first major snowfall,with up to five inches reported in numerous places throughout thecounty. At 4:30 Wednesday morning snowfall had stopped. Snowfighterswere still plowing and salting partly covered "A" routes while "B" and"C" routes were still completely covered. It is expected that all routeswill be treated and/or plowed by daylight. The only county reporting precipitation in the early hours was Letcher,where the temperature had risen to 48 degrees by 1:45 a.m. and plummetedto 33 degrees an hour and a half later. While contending with wetpavement and slush on all roads, Letcher County crews watched as snowbegan to fall again on Pine Mountain.

Also at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, no precipitation was reported in thedistrict's other five counties. Snowfighters in Johnson County wereplowing and salting all routes. The Allen crew in Floyd County wasplowing and salting "A" routes but expected to treat completely covered"B" and "C" routes before daylight. The Minnie crew in Floyd County wasplowing and salting "A" and "B" routes with plans to move to "C" routesbefore early daylight hours. Martin County was still working only "A" routes, but expected to have"B" and "C" routes covered before 8 a.m.

Temperatures were unusual in Knott County as well as Letcher. In a30-minute period between 1:45 and 2:15 a.m. the mercury fell from 32degrees to 22. Pavement was slushy on all roads because of the warming temperature, but crews were preparing to treat ice on most routes bydaylight. In Pike County, the Shelby Garage was monitoring "A" routes, which had already been treated, while plowing and salting "B" and "C" routes.

The Canada and Phelps garages, both in Pike County, were plowing and salting all routes. The Shelby Garage reported an icy mix of precipitation thatbegan around 3 a.m. "The lowest temperatures on any given night are usually recorded in the7-7:30 a.m. range," explained Hugh Sammons, Engineer on Duty at theDistrict Office until midnight Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. "Whatthat means is that we are still facing the probability that wet and slushy pavement will turn to icy roads right around daylight."

Tarnell Patton, point man at the District Office from midnight until 8a.m. Wednesday, said that all trucks are either on the road plowing andsalting or are monitoring cold spots and bridge decks for ice build up."There are 2,061.4 two-lane miles for snow and ice in our seven-countydistrict," Patton explained. "By daylight today, each of those milesshould have been treated or plowed at least once during the night. Crewswill return to each road over and over until the roads are clear andthis weather event is over."

Patton said that each maintenance garage has two crews which alternateshifts. "The overnight shift ends at 8 a.m.," he explained. "Then the'A' crew comes back out. Shifts will rotate until all roads are asclear, whether it takes until daylight, all morning, the entire dayWednesday, or even longer. This has been an unusual weather event.
The snowfall moved through the region very quickly and then temperaturesactually rose in the middle of the night in a couple of counties, onlyto drop again in a very short amount of time. The rise in the mercurywas enough to melt the snow, though, and the drop was enough to turn themelted snow to ice, a little strange to have such fluctuations over avery short period of time."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Crews Prepare For Expected Snowfall

With three to six inches of snow expected to accumulate over night, crews with the states transportation cabinet have been preparing, getting ready to take to the roads of Highway district 12. EKB News visited the war room of the department of highways earlier this afternoon and spoke with Darold Slone operations branch manager for district 12 who told us about what crews have been doing to prepare for the expected snowfall.
“Beginning yesterday, continuing through this morning we went through all our equipment; checked to see if we needed to make any repairs, we gathered all of our supplies from our garages and we notified all of our crews about their assignments and when to be available for work.”
Slone then detailed what motorists who are experiencing the start of this expected snow fall can do in order to ensure their safety while traveling on the roadways.
“Be aware of vehicles around you, leave extra space for stopping, if you don’t have to be out don’t be out.” Slone said before making an exception for those who must travel this evening. “But if you have to be out, bring a blanket with you, notify someone when you leave and when you reach your destination and just be careful and alert.”
State highway workers are on call 24/7 during severe weather events and have already begun to take to the roads to clear a path through the snow that has already fallen. According to officials with the transportation cabinet, their number one goal is to make roads as safe as possible for every motorist.


Fire Results In Death Of Knott County Boy

A 12-year-old Knott County boy was burned to death this morning in a mobile-home fire according to the Kentucky State Police. The victim, Cody Johnson, a student at Carr Creek Elementary School, was inside the mobile home on Ky. 899, less than a mile from the Mallie post office, when the fire was reported at 7:11 a.m. according Det. Dean Craft at the Hazard state police post

Monday, February 05, 2007


Police Bust Marijuana Growing Operation

A Domestic disturbance call yesterday ended with police busting a marijuana growing operation in the Mcandrews area of Pike County. According to the Kentucky State Police, they responded to the home of Silas and Amanda Muncy shortly after the 2 o’clock hour yesterday, after a domestic disturbance was reported to dispatchers with post 9. Once officers entered the home, they detected a strong sent according to the arrest citation. Once consent was given to search the residence, officers uncovered a room which was sealed off; inside they allegedly found all the necessary items to grow marijuana in operation including a heater, fans and lights. The citation goes onto to state that numerous plants were also discovered during the search. Officers apprehended 37 year old Silas and 31 year old Amanda Muncy, charging both with cultivation of marijuana more than 5 plants and possession of marijuana. Both were lodged at the Pike County Detention Center and were arraigned this afternoon in front of Pike County District Judge Darrell Mullins.


Former Funeral Director Enters Not Guilty Plea

A Former Pike County Funeral Home director was appeared in Pike County District Court this afternoon for an arraignment on 20 separate criminal charges. 53 year old Richard Justice was taken into custody on Friday afternoon on and charged with 19 felonies and one misdemeanor ranging from insurance fraud, theft, violations of the Kentucky Funeral Trust Act, and acting as a funeral director without a license. The Insurance Fraud Investigation division of the Kentucky Office of Insurance (KOI) began investigating Justice in October 2006 following a consumer complaint. An elderly woman alleged Justice had collected funds for a prepaid burial arrangement but did not send the money to an insurance company or place it in a trust, as is required by law. As a result of the initial complaint, the KOI investigation uncovered 11 additional victims with similar issues. KOI estimates that Justice pocketed at least $80,000 from senior citizens as part of the scheme. Justice faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 on each count or both. A not guilty plea was entered this afternoon and he remains lodged in the Pike County Detention Center on a $2 million full cash bond.


Weather Contributes To Two KY Deaths

Weather contributed to at least two deaths over the weekend in what forecasters said was the coldest snap yet this year. The temperatures early this morning were still below normal around the state according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Jarvis. Morning lows were in the single digits around much of the state, though some places reported temperatures in the teens. The cold weather contributed to the death of an eastern Kentucky man who wandered away from his home on Sunday in Menifee County. According to State Police 84 year old Condor Stotridge, who suffered from dementia, died from hypothermia after leaving his home before 3:30 a.m. when the temperatures were in the teens. The weather also contributed to the death of a central Kentucky man who drowned Saturday when the car he was driving slid off an icy road in Mercer County and flipped upside down into the Salt River. 40 year old Henry M. Lanham of Lebanon was pronounced dead shortly after the crash. The Mercer County Sheriff said a passenger in the car, 30-year-old William Thomas of Lebanon, was able to kick a window out and free himself but was unable to help his friend. The colder-than-normal weather was expected to continue. Jarvis said a weather system headed toward Kentucky was expected to bring between 2-4 inches of snow to much of the state on Tuesday and that temperatures could reach zero.

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