Saturday, January 26, 2008


Former Mingo County Assistant Prosecutor Denied Parole

The Kentucky Parole Board denied former Mingo County attorney and assistant prosecutor early release from prison.

Lafe Ward Jr, will have to wait until 2012 before he can request an early release.

The Williamson resident was convicted last year by a Pike County Grand Jury. Ward was driving under the influence when his car slammed into the vehicle that was being driven by Benita Dixon of Varney, West Virginia. Dixon was killed in the Jan 10th, 2006 accident that occurred on US 119 in South Williamson, Kentucky.

Ward was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He is serving his sentence at the Little Sandy Correctional Center in Sandy Hook.


Higher Tuitions For Kentucky's Community and Technical College Students.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System announced Friday that they are going to hike tuition about $ 4.00 per credit. That means an extra $ 50.00 per semester for each student.

Officials say that the only way colleges get funding is through tuition and state support.

The community and technical college system is expecting less help from the state due to the commonwealth’s financial woes.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Angry Parent Goes To Jail

Patrick Chandler of Laurel County was arrested when he threatened to take a shotgun to the Laurel County Board of Education and kill Superintendent David Young.

Chandler claimed the roads were slick and he only wanted to protect his six-year old daughter. He said after he put his daughter on the bus, he got worried about her safety and only called to complain about school not being called off.

He said he never intended to harm anyone, but, the words just came out wrong.

Superintendent Young and Deputy Superintemdent Greg Smith said the temperatures dropped quickly, and it was too late to call the buses back.

Chandler is out of jail and is scheduled to appear in court February 19, to face a third-degree terroristic threatening charge.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


WV State Supreme Court Erases Favorable Massey Ruling and Orders New Hearing.

The West Virginia State Supreme Court by a unanimous vote wiped out a 3-2 ruling that overturned a $ 76 million judgement against Massey Energy in a contract dispute with Harman Mining.

The decision came down after vacation photos were released showing Massey CEO Don Blankenship and Supreme Court Justice Elliott “ Spike “Maynard . The Mingo County native voted with the majority. He recused himself from Thursday’s ruling.

The WV State Supreme Court will hear the case for a second time on March 12th.

Both men said that they were vacationing separately.

Lawyers for Harman Mining say Justice Larry Starcher should step down as well.

Starcher publicly criticized Blankenship’s role in helping another Justice win a seat on the high court by pouring millions of dollars into an ad campaign.


Senator Jones' Senate Bill 71 Passes Senate.

Senator Ray S. Jones II (D-Pikeville) won a battle as his SB 71 passed the Senate Thursday. The bill would strengthen Kentucky’s DUI law.

The bill would establish a per se DUI offense for driving with a detectable level of an illegal substance or a controlled substance for which the person doesn’t have a valid prescription . However, if the person has a valid prescription and has complied with the dosage and any drug-related restrictions, the proposed amendment would not apply.

SB 71 would also reduce the alcohol concentration from 0.18 to 0.15 for establishing an aggravating circumstance, which allows for imposition of increased penalties for driving under the influence. This provision is needed to prevent Kentucky from losing highway funding from the federal government.

According to the National transportation Safety Administration, drugs other than alcohol are involved in nearly one out of every five motor vehicle driver deaths...alcohol one out of every three.

The bill now goes to the house.


Former Mingo County Assistant Prosecutor and Lawyer Faces Parole Board on Friday

Today is the parole hearing for a former Mingo County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and lawyer.

Dee Ward is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence at the Little Sandy Correctional Facility in Sandy Hook, Kentucky.

Ward was found guilty by a Pike County Circuit Court Jury on Feb 7th of last year.

The Mingo County man was convicted of second degree manslaughter after the car he was operating slammed into and killed the operator of another vehicle driven by 39 year – old Benita Dixon of Varney, West Virginia. The tragic mishap took place on Jan. 10th, 2006 on US 119 in South Williamson , Kentucky


Busy Day For Mingo County Magistrate

Four people were arraigned in Mingo County Magistrate Court by Eugene Crum.

Robert J Warren of Williamson was charged with conspiracy, malicious wounding . Bond was originally set at $ 60,000 cash, however it was revoked due to a previous charge.

Dwight Warren of Williamson has numerous charges pending including malicious wounding, two counts of conspiracy, fleeing vehicle and failure to obey traffic signs. A cash bond was set at $ 114,000.

Daniel Kazee of Beauty, Kentucky was charged with intent to deliver, giving false information and possession of a controlled substance. Cash bond was set at $ 102,000

Dallas Maynard of Pilgrim, Kentucky was charged with conspiracy and first degree robbery. A cash bond of $ 50,000 was set on the conspiracy charge. Maynard will be arraigned in circuit court on the robbery offense.

All four defendants remain in the Southwestern Regional Jail.


Seven Arraigned In Mingo County Circuit Court.

Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Mike Thornsbury conducted eight arraignment hearings on Friday.

Teddy Bowles has been charged with two counts of Grand Larceny and one count Destruction of Property. Bond was set for $ 25,000 with home confinement . Defendant remains in Southwestern Regional Jail.

Leann Dent , one count reckless DUI causing death. Bond was set at $ 102,000. Dent will remain on confinement until her March 4th trial.

Elmer Prater, one count Grand Larceny, one count Conspiracy, one count Destruction of Property.. Bond was set at $ 25,000 with home confinement.

Vance Prater, one count Grand Larceny, one count Conspiracy, one count Destruction of Property. He remains lodged in the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Misty Vance, one count burglary, one count conspiracy. Bond was set at $ 25,000. Vance was remanded back to the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Phillip Scott Vance, one count burglary, one count conspiracy. Bond was set at $ 25,000 with home confinement . Vance was remanded back to the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Kevin Williams, one count possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. $ Bond was set at $ 40,000 with home confinement, and also, Williams can participate in the work release program.

Presenting for the state were prosecuting attorneys Michael Sparks and Asst. Prosecutor Diana Weidel.


Operation UNITE Officials Urging Residents to PASS Senate Bill 97

Officials with Operation UNITE are urging residents to contact there legislators to urge them to pass Senate Bill 97 during the Kentucky General Assembly.

The bill that is being co-sponsored by Senator Ray S. Jones II ( D - Pikeville) will allocate $ 450,000 to the eastern Kentucky Drug Taskforce so it can offer services that it provides for the rest of this fiscal year.

Debbie Trusty, Education Director for Operation UNITE ,says that if the bill doesn't pass soon ,at the end of the month they will have to cut there voucher program by two-thirds.

Trusty says that this would effect alot of people because they wouldn't be able to receive drug treatment and also it would effect drug treatment centers such as WESTCARE because UNITE pays for the beds.

UNITE is facing a financial shortfall due to a cut by Congress.

Over the last five years the taskforce has seized over $ 8 million in drugs and they have made 2,490 arrests.


Kentucky Foreclosures Rise

A national survey has ranked Kentucky 7th in mortgage foreclosures based on September data, according to the Kentucky Office of Financial Institutions.

The ranking is based on foreclosures based due to loan nonpayment, not tax nonpayment.


Governor Beshear's Gambling Proposal

Governor Beshear is pushing for a constitutional amendment which would legalize casino gambling at horse tracks, and possibly other locations in the state.

The General Assembly would have to approve it. That decision requires ratification by voters.

Beshear says public viewing of his proposal should be ready by next month.


Visitors Center In Boone County Scheduled To Open By The End of Year.

The Hatfield-McCoy Recreational Authority says that construction of the Trailhead Retail Center / Visitors Center should be completed by the end of the year.

The cost is $ 600,000

The structure is expected to provide tourists with information about the trail system and also sell assessories for riders.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Funeral Services Set For Crash Victims.

Funeral services have been set for two eastern Kentucky women who lost their lives Tuesday morning in a n multi- vehicle accident in Johnson County.

Services for Christa Burchett is Sunday afternoon at 1pm, from the Lawrence County Middle School. The 33 year –old was the Paintsville EMS Director.

Services for 24 year – old Erica Brown will be held 3 p.m. Friday at the Preston Funeral Home in Paintsville.


Unemployment Rate Rose in Pike

The unemployment rate for the month of December has been released for Kentucky .

According to Workforce Kentucky jobless figures rose in 74 of the commonwealth’s 120 counties.

Most of the counties in our region saw their figures rise.

Pike County’s increased .1% to 5.5 %

Martin rose .4 % to 7.3%

Johnson County up .6% to 6.5 %

Floyd up .7 % to 6.5%

Letcher minus .3 % to 6.8 %

Knott minus .5 % to 6.4 %

Magoffin county’s figures stayed unchanged at 10% which makes it second highest in the state.

Lowest... Fayette and Woodford 3.7 % each


Two Dead In Traffic Accident

The Paintsville EMS Director, Christa Burchett of Lowmansville, and 24-year old Erica Brown of River were killed in an accident that ocurred off U.S. 460, about five miles west of Paintsville.

Burchett was helping Brown, who was pregnant, into an ambulance after Brown's car skidded off the road, injuring her.

A coal truck, owned by M&R Trucking of Salyersville, and driven by 38-year old Leslie Spense, was coming over a hill and braked, slamming into a police cruiser and the two women.

Brown died at the scene...Burchett was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.


Suicide At Otter Creek Correctional

An employee at the Otter Creek Correctional Facility has died of an apparent self-inflicted injury.

The prison is on "lockdown" as the KSP and correctiona officials investigate the incident. The facility in Floyd County houses 656 female prisoners.

The identity of the employee has not been released.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Appalachian Wireless Announces New Tower Location

Appalachian Wireless recently announced service enhancements in Martin County.

The availability of upgraded service is in Inez. The company is now transmitting a CDMA signal to this Martin County community.

The areas of improvements are primarily the City of Inez, portions of Route 40 and 645, Tomahawk and Debord.

This is the second tower brought online in Martin County in the past five months.


What's In A Name?

It may, or, may not be what's in a name that counts. Marymount Medical Center in Laurel County has a new name.

After merging with other hospitals, including Saint Joseph in Lexington, Marymount is now known as Saint Joseph London. Officials completed plans for the merger last week. Their goal is to provide better quality care for patients. Administrators don't expect to lay off any employees.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Prestonsburg Fire Chief Set To Retire

Gary Dotson who has served as the fire chief for the Prestonsburg Fire Department for the last 13 years says that he will retire at the end of February due to health reasons.

Dotson says that he has been diagnosed with an aneurysm in his aorta.


Pike County State Senator Co-Sponsors Bill That Would Provide Funding To Drug Taskforce.

Kentucky State Senator Ray S. Jones ( D – Pikeville ) says he will co-sponsor a piece of legislation that would assist Operation UNITE with additional funding.

Senate Bill 97 would allocate $ 450,000 of coal severance tax money to further fund the eastern Kentucky drug taskforce. The announcement came during a press conference held in London.

Recently the drug taskforce laid off 12 employees.

Congressman Hal Rogers says Congress did not earmark any money for the program for this fiscal year and the government only allocated $ 4.1 million for next year.

State Senators Robert Stivers ( R-Manchester) and Tom Jensen ( R-London), the other co-sponsors of the bill, say they are confident the bill will pass the General Assembly.


Man Found Dead In Ditch

Sunday morning, police in Powell County say they received a call saying there was a dead body in a ditch off the side of the road, less than a mile from Slade...just a few feet from the Mountain Parkway.

When police arrived they found 22-year old Michael Flora of Mount Sterling.

An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine an official cause of death. Police say however, it appears Flora had been shot. They do not know how he got there. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the KSP is investigating.


Proposed Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients

A propsal filed by State Represenative Melvin Henley that would requirewelfare recipients be tested for drugs, and those found positive would lose their benefits is encountering strong opposition in Kentucky.

Though some of the working class, who are sometimes required to take a drug test to obtain or keep a job, believe it to be a good idea, others believe it is the children for whom the welfare is intended that would suffer.

The legislation is House Bill 190.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Thornsbury, Smith and Sparks File For Re-Election

Three more incumbents have filed for re-election in Mingo County.

Mike Thornsbury is seeking another eight year term as Circuit Court Judge.

Greg Hootie Smith is asking residents to re-elect him to another six year term on the county commission.

Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks is seeking a second four year term.

The three men so far are running opposed.

The filing period is midnight Jan. 26th.


Chief Justice of West Virginia State Supreme Court Recuses Himself From Case.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice "Spike" Maynard announced late last week that he will recuse himself from a case involving Massey Energy.

Photos were released last week showing the Mingo County native posing in a picture with Massey CEO Don Blankenship while vacationing in Europe in 2006.

Both men contend that they were vacationing separately.

Maynard voted in a 3-2 majority ruling that overturned a $ 76.3 million verdict against Massey in a contract dispute with another mining company.

The high court has been asked to review the decision.

Maynard will be replaced in the case by Hampshire County Circuit Judge Donald Cookman.


WV Senator Jay Rockefeller Announced Re-Election Bid.

West Virgina US Senator, Jay Rockefeller says he wants another six years on Capitol Hill.

Jay Rockefeller announced Friday that he is seeking his fifth term . Rockefeller has been a fixture in West Virginia politics for over three decades.

The mutli-millionaire has served in the senate since 1984. Prior to that he served eight years as governor.


Federal Judge Delays Sentencing Hearing for Two Mingo County Residents

Mingo County residents George Lecco and Valerie Friend , convicted and recommended to die by a federal grand jury, won’t be sentenced until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether lethal injection is constitutional.

Lecco and Friend were found guilty in the gruesome murder of drug informant Carla Collins. Prosecutors say that Lecco ordered Friend to carry out the execution in order to protect his cocaine ring in May of 2005.

Federal prosecutors want the duo put to death in Indiana. West Virginia doesn’t have capital punishment.


32 Floyd County Workers Lose Their Jobs.

Citing receiving less funding from the state and federal governments to help pay bonds for landfills, water districts and the jail, the Floyd County Fiscal Court laid off 32 employees effective Friday morning.

Judge-Executive "Doc" Marshall says that the action was necessary to prevent Floyd County from going into the red.

Marshall plans on lobbying Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers for more funding .

Marshall added that the workers will be asked back to work when it becomes economically feasible.


East Kentucky Broadcasting Vice President Named Chairman of Pike County Relay for Life.

East Kentucky Broadcasting Vice President, Cindy May Johnson has been selected to Co-Chair the 2008 Pike County Relay for Life. The event is held each year to raise money for cancer research.

Thus far 24 teams have already signed up for the 2008 relay.

Serving as Co-Chair will be Thelma Vinson from Pikeville Medical Center.

On-Line Chair : Frank Dawahare, Southeast Telephone

Survivorship Development : Joann Potter and Shirley Coleman from Pikeville Medical Center

Publicity Chair : Carol Casebolt, Pikeville Medical Center

Luminaria Chair : Janet Thompson, Pikeville Medical Center

Ceremonies Chair : Misty Daniels, Pikeville Medical Center

Activities and Entertainment Chair : Jeanne Clark, Interstate Natural Gas

Mission Delivery Chair : Kathy Khoshreza, Leonard Lawson Cancer Center

Logistics Chairs : Johnny Cole , City of Pikeville and Serena Stiltner , City of Pikeville

Advocacy Chairs : Kathy Clark, Pikeville Medical Center and Chrise Taylor, Pikeville Medical Center

Youth Representative : Chris Bartley, Pikeville United Methodist Church

Team Development : Jennifer Brown , Redd, Brown and Williams and Pam Hamilton , Southeast Telephone


Assistant To Pike County Judge Executive Resigns.

In a press release issued late Friday, T.J. Litifik resigned as assistant to Pike County Judge – Executive Wayne T. Rutherford. The Pikeville resident says he would like to pursue other opportunities.

Litifik served as Rutherford’s campaign manager during a successful bid to unseat former Judge Executive Bill Deskins.

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