Friday, March 02, 2007


Local Official Speaks On Weather Preparedness

In preparation of severe weather which always pops up during the spring time, emergency officials are out in full force this month promoting severe weather preparedness month, a declaration for not only the state but the county thanks to Pike County’s Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford’s Declaration yesterday.

Doug Tackett, Director of Pike Counties Emergency Management agency is our guest on this week’s edition of Issues for the New Millennium which airs at 10:30 Sunday Morning on 93.1 WDHR and 103.1 the Mix. Tackett will be speaking on what you need to do to be prepared in the case of severe thunderstorms, heavy winds, flash flooding and natural disasters associated with the transition into spring.


Lawmaker Proposes Amendment To Mine Safety Bill

The sponsor of legislation to toughen mine safety laws in Kentucky filed an amendment on Friday in an effort to get portions of a bill restored, including one that would provide methane detectors to every coal miner. State Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said the bill had been gutted by a legislative committee and needs to be amended to provide needed protections for coal miners. Besides the methane detectors, the amendment would restore language to require coal operators to keep a vehicle near working crews so that injured miners can get to the surface quickly. It also would require certified engineers to design the barriers used to seal off abandoned mine tunnels where methane can built up. Two provisions kept in the bill would require two medics to be on duty at underground mines, and would double the number of annual state inspections from three to six.


Wreck Results In Death Of Elderly Johnson Resident

The Kentucky state police have released information concerning a fatal accident which took place on Wednesday. 80 year old Charles Spears of Hager Hill was pulling onto US 23 south bound at RT 1428 in Johnson County when he pulled into the path of a North Bound Truck. Spears was airlifted to St Mary’s Hospital in Huntington where he was pronounced dead yesterday afternoon. The incident remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Guilty Verdict Reached In Trial Of Williamson Lawyer

A former West Virginia attorney was found guilty of manslaughter yesterday after the jury returned their verdict in the three day trial. Lafe P. Ward Jr. was originally charged with murder in connection to the car crash which killed Benita Dixon of Varney but the jury settled on a charge of second degree manslaughter. Witnesses at the time of the crash say Ward ran a red light and hit Dixon's car, she later died. The prosecution in the case argued that Ward was drunk and had prescription pills in his system. Ward's attorneys admitted he was at fault, but said this was just an accident, not a crime. The jury compromised with the manslaughter verdict, saying it wasn't murder, but that Ward still caused her death. The jury recommended a ten year sentence the maximum penalty for manslaughter. Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Bartley said it's a no win situation for both families. Ward is scheduled to be sentenced march 23rd.


Double Suicide Leaves Community Mourning The Loss Of Mother And Son

The community is mourning the loss of a beloved beautician and her son after an apparent double suicide yesterday in the Cowpen area. According to the Kentucky State Police, they were called to Haynes Village around noon yesterday to investigate the shooting of Lisa Haynes and her son Anthony Newman. Police believe that Newman found his mother dead in the living room shortly after the shot was fired, leading him to turn the 20 gauge shot gun on himself. Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts stated that both died of apparent gun shots to the head. Arraignments for the pair are being handled by J.W. Call and son Funeral home and are incomplete at this time. The incident remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police.


Auditor Releases Report On East KY Expo

State Auditor Crit Luallen released a report today which shows that the Eastern Kentucky Exposition center ran up a nearly $800,000 operating deficit in one year and faces more red ink. The audit, released today found the expo center had a shortfall of $785,846 for the fiscal year ending last June. The deficit was covered by using interest earned on funds appropriated by state lawmakers for the center’s construction. Auditors projected another deficit in the current fiscal year, which the center’s managers plan to cover by using remaining interest from construction funds plus $250,000 in coal severance money appropriated by the Pike County Fiscal Court. While meeting immediate cash-flow problems, those funds are not a recurring revenue source and will not take care of long-term budget needs, the audit said. The audit looked at the finances of the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center Corp., created to develop and operate the expo center. Luallen noted that improvements are being made by the corporation.


Knott Residents Recieve Good News

Knott County residents got some welcome news yesterday after days of water shortages throughout the county. Several county departments have been working for days to restore water to residents after a combination of problems left wells in several parts of the county dry. Yesterday officials said things are looking much better for the counties residents. County officials say drinking water was being distributed throughout the Knott county yesterday afternoon after the water was donated by the Winchester Dairy Farms and delivered by the Appalachian Christian Project. They say there will be mobile water stations set up at Carr Creek Volunteer Fire Department, the American Legion Building in Hindman, and the Carrie Community Center. Officials say a BOIL WATER ADVISORY is in effect until further notice for all tap water.


Proposal Calls For Candidates To File More Reports

Political candidates would file additional campaign finance reports before Election Day, under a proposal that cleared a House elections committee on Tuesday.
All candidates would have to file reports showing their campaign donors 60 days before the general election under the proposal. Candidates for statewide office would also have to file a 60-day pre-election financial report in primary elections.
Currently, candidates are required to file reports about one month and two weeks before the election.
Secretary of State Trey Grayson endorsed the proposal, which would also require candidates who raise more than $25,000 to file their reports electronically.


Round-Up Targets Internet Pharmacy Traffic

Twelve Letcher County residents accused of using phony medical records to obtain thousands of prescription pills through Internet pharmacies were sought Tuesday by Operation UNITE’s special Diversion Unit. Steve Whalen, postal inspector for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Lexington said roughly one of every two overnight packages delivered in Whitesburg are these pill mailings from out-of-state pharmacies. UNITE Law Enforcement Director Dan Smoot noted that with every delivery from an Internet pharmacy containing an average of 120 Hydrocodone pills. All of the pills shipped to suspects wanted in Tuesday's roundup came from United Prescription Services in Tampa, Florida. The pharmacy is registered in the state through the KASPER (Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting) system, police said, noting the pharmacy was cooperating with the investigation. According to UNITE’s Diversion Unit, the investigation began about one month ago when a doctor from Whitesburg ARH Hospital called to say he had received a falsified report. Although the doctor's name on the report was authentic, the person had not been seen as a patient.
An investigation “opened the door” to numerous other incidents where falsified documents ­ including forged MRI exam reports -- and forged prescriptions were being used to justify internet purchases of controlled medications. UNITE enlisted the help of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to track down shipments. Assisting UNITE Diversion detectives with the round-up were the Whitesburg Police Department, Fleming-Neon Police Department, Letcher County Sheriff’s Office, and Kentucky State Police. As of 2 p.m. Tuesday five of the 12 people sought had been arrested.


Anderson Era Comes To An End

Officials at Pikeville Medical Center have confirmed the departure of one of the hospitals most beloved CEOs Joanne Anderson. Anderson, who has served as PMC’s Chief Executive Officer since 2001, tendered her resignation to the hospital’s board of directors last week and plans to move to North Carolina with her husband, Terry, who has accepted a job in the Raleigh/Durham area. Walter E. May, who served as CEO from 1998-2001, will assume the role of President and CEO effective April 30 at the board’s request. The Board of Directors has also approved dedicating the sidewalk from the employee parking area to the hospital in Anderson’s honor as it was her idea to build the sidewalk for the safety of those walking to the hospital. President May stated in a press release that “Joann will be missed by all of us, but we have a strong team of dedicated professionals” May followed up by saying “We will continue to meet our mission of providing quality healthcare in a Christian environment.” Anderson was instrumental in several of the hospitals most recent expansions including the design of May Tower, the purchase of a stand up MRI unit, the recruitment of many high profile physicians and the 64 slice CT scanner unit. Anderson also made a name for herself through her involvement with PMC’s convey and fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina, a feet which raised more than $240,000 as well as her 12 non stop hours of walking to raise money and awareness of Pike County’s Relay for Life event.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Senator Jones Recieves Legislative Award

Sen. Ray S. Jones II (D-Pikeville) was honored by the Kentucky County Attorneys Association, Inc. at the association’s first-ever Legislative Excellence Awards in Lexington last week. Pike County Attorney Keith Hall presented the prestigious Legislative Excellence Award to Sen. Jones, citing the legislator’s work to promote community, safety, and justice throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Jones represents the 31st District, covering Martin, Pike and Johnson counties. Sen. Jones is one of only three legislators to receive the Legislative Excellence Award this year.


Governors Second In Command Bucks Boss; Backs Opposition

The governor's second in command jumped ship on Monday and endorsed an opponent in the May 22 primary election. Lt. Gov. Steve Pence threw his support to former Congresswoman Anne Northup, a Louisville Republican who entered the governor's race saying the incumbent's legal turmoil has rendered him politically vulnerable to Democrats. Pence, who had already refused to run for re-election with Gov. Ernie Fletcher, had publicly questioned whether the first Republican governor elected in Kentucky in more than 30 years could win re-election in the wake of a grand jury investigation into the administration's hiring practices.
Fletcher drew two Republican opponents, Northup and Paducah businessman Billy Harper. Both said the first-term governor has been damaged beyond political repair and would be a weak candidate to put up against Democrats in the November election. Seven Democrats, all critical of Fletcher, are also vying for the top job in Kentucky, one of three states that will elect a governor in 2007.


Floyd Couple Pleads Guilty To Gambling Charges

The operators of a local bingo hall have entered a plea to illegal gambling charges in Floyd County District Court. The state Office of Charitable Gaming cited Richard and Darlene Hamilton after two investigators observed the selling of pull tabs and an unlicensed bingo game in progress on Jan. 6 at a local bingo hall, said Tony Royalty, the office’s executive director. In district court, Richard Hamilton was fined $250 and received a 45-day probated sentence and his wife received the same probated sentence after pleading guilty to gaming without a charitable license, and promoting gambling in the second degree. Both charges are Class A misdemeanors. The office of Charitable Gambling is continuing to investigate financial transactions in connection with the gaming operation.


Opening Arguments Underway In Ward Murder Trial

Opening Arguments are underway this afternoon in the trial of a Williamson Lawyer charged with murder in connection to the death of a Varney woman last year. 46 year old Lafe P. Ward JR. was allegedly traveling northbound on U.S. 119 in January of last year when he hit a vehicle driven by 39 year old Benita Dixon of Varney, W.Va. according to the Kentucky State Police. Dixon, who was pulling out of the South Williamson Wal-Mart parking lot where she was employed, was flown to St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington, W.Va. and pronounced dead. Her passenger, co-worker 34 year old Lisa Bryant of Belfry, was treated at a local hospital and released. Prosecutors argue that Ward was intoxicated at the time of the accident, which saw him run a red light before crashing into Dixon. Jury selection in the trial began this morning with opening arguments continuing through the afternoon. Judge Eddy Coleman’s office expects the trial to last through the week and EKB news will once again take you inside the courtroom with updates all the way until the trials conclusion.


Body Of Missing Alabama Teenager Recovered

Authorities have located the body of a missing Alabama teenager who was last seen eight weeks ago walking between the Pikeville Super 8 and the Pikeville Days Inn. Crews found his body in the Big Sandy River late Sunday afternoon near a bridge just south of the Super 8 motel. Authorities say the body of 19 year old Matthew Dobbs was found up against some brush in the water near the Pauley Walking Bridge and say it appears his body floated down stream. Crews report Dobbs had on the same clothes his family said he was wearing the night he disappeared. Searchers say they felt like Sunday was their last chance to find him because after searching for 8 weeks with no luck, they asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the water level this weekend. They lowered the water two feet at Fishtrap and Flannagan Lakes reducing the water level on the Big Sandy River. Officials say they're waiting for an autopsy later this week to determine the cause of death, which will determine if foul play is suspected.


Lodge Sustains Minimum Damage During Weekend Fire

The lodge at the Jenny Wiley State Park was back open yesterday afternoon a following a fire Saturday night. A room next to the front desk caught on fire and was put out before it spread any further. Officials believe it started with a coffee maker. The building suffered smoke and water damage, but employees spent all night cleaning up and were back open Sunday afternoon. The employees are also compensating everyone who was evacuated from the restaurant Saturday night. Firemen say the sprinkler system saved the building from any further damage.


Police Ask For Your Help In Locating Missing Martin County Woman

The Kentucky State Police is asking for your assistance in the investigation of a missing Martin County woman. 36 year old, Katherine Farnham was last seen at her residence on Lower Carter Branch in the Coldwater area of Martin County on February 23, 2007. Anyone with information should contact Kentucky State Police Trooper Austin at the Pikeville Post, 606-433-7711. To see a file photo of Farnham you can visit our website at click on the news link.

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