Thursday, March 13, 2008


Johnson County Man Sentenced To Prison After Pleading Guilty To Manslaughter.

A Johnson County man pleaded guilty to manslaughter stemming from an automobile accident that claimed the life of Cecil Curtis of Van Lear.

Dale Wells Jr, of Van Lear was originally charged with murder after the vehicle he was driving collided with Curtis’ motorcycle.

Wells will spend 13 years in prison. He must serve 11 years before he is eligible for parole.


Williamson Lawyer Loses License.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has revoked the law license of William “ Bill “ Duty. The Mingo County lawyer has practiced law since 1986.

He was found in violation of misappropriating client funds, attempting to charge excessive attorney fees and failure to keep disputed funds separate from his own.

Duty must also pay restitution of $ 2,000 to one of his former clients.


Town of Matewan Attempting To Gain National Park Status.

With many miles of a long journey still ahead of them, the town of Matewan is another step closer to attaining its goal of becoming a National Park.During a council meeting earlier this week, Mayor Sheila Kessler read House Concurrent Resolution No. 7, which recently was passed during the regular legislative session session by the West Virginia House of Delegates and the West Virginia Senate.The resolution was passed in supporting of the town’s effort to obtain National Park Status for the National Historic Landmark District.In October 2007, Congressman Nick Joe Rahall (D-W.Va.) introduced the Battle of Matewan Study Act. This legislation would require the National Park Service to complete a special resource study of the sites and resources in Matewan, focusing on those associated with the battle of Matewan. This study is the first step in determining the feasibility of designating certain historic areas as a National Park. The House of Representatives passed the legislation as part of a larger public lands package, the America’s Historical and Natural Legacy Study Act, in December 2007.
The legislation that contains the Battle of Matewan Study Act has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee.In a letter, dated March 3, 2008, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) notified Paul McAllister Jr., who has been instrumental in pushing for this designation, that he will be contacting Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), who chairs the committee, about the best way to make certain this matter is quickly sent out of his committee and sent to the Senate floor.“If he suggests that I introduce an identical Senate version, I will do that,” said Rockefeller. “Or if he asks me to publicly state my support for the Rahall bill, that is the course I will follow.”Rahall says he is committed to seeing the important process of creating a National Historic Site in the town of Matewan continue.Since 1996 Matewan has been listed as one of only 20 National Historic Landmarks in the state of West Virginia. Being listed as a Historic Landmark is a prerequisite to becoming a National Park.“If Matewan is designated as a National Park, the town will be greatly enriched with federal funding and tourism,” said McAllister.

Information courtesy of Williamson Daily News.


Mingo County Sheriff Department Releases Identity of Body Discovered Wednesday Night

The Mingo County Sheriff Department has released the identity of the person that was found dead Wednesday night in the Dingess area.

The person was identified as Dingess resident Wanda Dingess .

The 56 year-old was discovered lying face down in a pond near her residence by a family member.

Authorities believe that Dingess drowned. However her body has been sent to the medical examiner for an autopsy.

Witnesses told authorities that Dingess went outside at around 11 p.m Tuesday night to walk her dog. Authorities were told the victim was intoxicated when she left the home. Authorities believe that Dingess stumbled down a hill and fell into the pond.


Brewster and Burton Sentenced In High Profile Torture Case.

Two defendants that pleaded guilty in the Megan Williams torture case in Logan County were sentenced Thursday in Logan County Circuit Court.

Frankie Brewster was sentenced to 10 -25 years in prison. She admitted she forced Williams to perform sex acts on her.

Karen Burton was charged with a hate crime. She will serve 14 – 30 years in prison. Burton admitted to using a racial slur while she stabbed the black Kanawha County resident in the leg.

In total seven white residents are accused of playing a role in the week long captivity of Williams which occurred last summer inside a mobile home at Big Creek.

Last month Williams appeared on the Montel Williams show talking about her ordeal.

A spokesperson for Black Lawyers for Justice says everyone should have been charged with a hate crime and that the defendants who have already pleaded guilty should receive stiffer penalties.


Beshear To Pitch Gambling Proposal A Second Time To Lawmakers.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says that he is going to make another plea to lawmakers about passing casino gambling.

Beshear put the hot topic on hold while house members worked on a two year spending plan.

A majority of politicians are currently against legalizing gambling in the commonwealth.

Beshear says gambling is needed so Kentucky can generate over $ 500 million per year.


Drug Roundup In Floyd County

Law enforcement officials set their sights on 11 individuals suspected of trafficking drugs in Floyd County during a roundup conducted by Operation UNITE on Thursday, March 13.

The arrests followed an approximately 4-month undercover investigation, said UNITE Law Enforcement Director Dan Smoot. Detectives purchased a variety of drugs, including OxyContin, Methadone, Hydrocodone (Lortab/Lorcet), and marijuana.

One of the suspects, Virgil Cross, was arrested by the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, March 7, and lodged in the Floyd County Jail.

Officers with UNITE, the Prestonsburg Police Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky Bureau of Investigation joined forces at 8 a.m. Thursday in a coordinated effort to serve arrest warrants on the other individuals – at least one of whom is believed to be in another state.

In addition to roundup, police followed up on 12 drug complaints and received permission to conduct four searches.

At one location officers discovered illegal prescription drugs and cited 27-year-old Bobby L. Hall, of Goebel Branch, Prestonsburg, for three misdemeanor charges -- second-degree possession of a controlled substance, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and prescription drugs not in their original container.

As of 3 p.m. Thursday the following individuals had been arrested as a result of this investigation:

• Jerry R. Allen, age 54, Airport Drive, Hager Hill, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Nancy Brow, age 36, Cliff Drive, Prestonsburg, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and three counts trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Virgil Cross, age 31, Town Branch Road, Prestonsburg, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

• Ronnie Hamilton, age 46, Cliff Drive, Prestonsburg, four counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and four counts trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school.

• David J. Stephens, age 29, Cliffside Apartments, Prestonsburg, two counts second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at

* * * * *

In 2003, Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-Somerset) worked to create Operation UNITE, a regional anti-drug initiative empowering citizens groups and community leaders in 29 southern and eastern Kentucky counties. UNITE, which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education, seeks to fight the drug epidemic by expanding drug awareness and education programs to keep people from using drugs; coordinating drug treatment and outreach programs for those who are already addicted; and operating regional undercover law enforcement task forces for interdiction and prosecution of those dealing drugs. Rogers has directed $36.6 million in federal funds to the counter-drug initiative over the past five years. For more information contact Karen Engle toll-free at 1-866-678-6483.

Courtesy : Operation UNITE


WV DEP Secretary Stepping Down

After six years with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Cabinet Secretary Stephanie R. Timmermeyer announced today that she is stepping down, effective July 1, 2008.
Timmermeyer joined the DEP in December 2001 as the agency’s director of Air Quality, and she was named cabinet secretary in January 2003 by then-Gov. Bob Wise. She has continued in her role as cabinet secretary throughout Gov. Manchin’s administration. Timmermeyer has the distinction of being the department’s longest-serving secretary.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for me,” she said. “Working with this agency and with this governor has been very rewarding. From the first day I joined the DEP, I have been humbled by the amazing work the employees do to protect the environment. I will miss working with them but it is time for me to move on.”
Manchin said Timmermeyer has been a tremendous asset to his administration and a truly dedicated public servant during all her years as DEP secretary.
“Her success this session in working with the Legislature to overcome an eight-year impasse and ensure that our state’s high-quality streams are protected is just one example of the many positive things that have been accomplished during her tenure on behalf of West Virginia’s environment,” the governor said. “I wish her nothing but the best as she embarks on this new phase of her life, and we will work closely with her during the coming months to make this transition as smooth as possible for the agency and its employees.”
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Kentucky Governor Unveils Plan To Help Farmers Affected By Drought

FRANKFORT, KY – Gov. Steve Beshear today unveiled an $8.15 million initiative to help farmers whose crops were damaged by severe weather conditions last year – the late freeze last spring and extensive drought throughout the summer and fall.
The Kentucky Agricultural Relief Effort (K.A.R.E.) will use Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds to help farmers recover from the devastation caused by the back-to-back weather disasters.
The program was approved by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, chaired by Gov. Beshear, in February.
The program will help farmers make improvements and investments related to water availability and forage to lessen the impact of future weather problems.
“Farming is a challenging way to make a living, and some years it’s more stressful than others, but because of the $8.15 million investment in the K.A.R.E. program, we will be able to reach out to farmers whose crops were devastated,” said Gov. Beshear. “Farmers need help developing alternative water sources that will head off the impacts of future droughts; assistance with renovating and reestablishing pastures and hay fields; along with equipment and facilities that will help improve forage quality.”
In September the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved minor changes to County Model Programs making them more “drought friendly” to producers across the state. It also created a program designed to assist in the promotion of county education programs. In February, the board voted to commit Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds to develop a drought relief program.
On Monday, March 17, the guidelines for K.A.R.E. will be posted on the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy’s website for organizations wishing to administer this program on behalf of farmers. It will utilize infrastructure within the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund’s existing programs.


Paintsville Elementary Math Club Tours Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

Math Kids, the third grade math club from Paintsville Elementary School, toured the Mayo Campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College on Monday, March 3rd. The students toured both the carpentry and electronics departments and listened to presentations on how math is used in both of those career fields. Carpentry instructor Mike Froman explained the use of math in home construction to PES teacher Judy Grim and the Math Kids


Kentucky Department For Public Health Urge Citizens To Help Fight Breast Cancer.

In the rush to beat the tax season deadline, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) urges residents of the Commonwealth not to forget an important option to help fight breast cancer.
A tax check-off option allows taxpayers to designate all or a portion of individual state income tax refunds to the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund. Proceeds are used for grants that go to various nonprofit, government or educational agencies working to prevent and treat breast cancer in Kentucky.
“Though we have made great strides in the fight against breast cancer, there is more to do,” said William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health and DPH commissioner. “By donating a portion of your income tax refund to the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund, you are helping us continue this important work.”
The trust fund was created to support innovative programs across the state aimed at reducing the number of women diagnosed with or who die from breast cancer. Through the trust fund, grants are awarded to existing and proposed programs and services that provide breast cancer education, research, treatment, awareness or outreach activities.
Last year’s grant awardees included King’s Daughter’s Medical Center in Ashland; the University of Kentucky Cancer Program East and the University of Louisville Kentucky Cancer Program West; Hall Family Resource Youth Services Center in Harlan County; the Foundation for Health Inc. in Owensboro; and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland. All awardees focused on breast cancer education, screening or awareness programs targeting women in mainly medically underserved areas.
“I know we rush sometimes to meet the tax season deadline, but I encourage Kentuckians to take a minute to designate a portion of their refund to the trust fund,” said Hacker. “The money supports wonderful programs all across the state.”
Contributions may also be made directly to the state Department for Public Health, Division of Administration and Financial Management, 275 East Main St., HS1GWA, Frankfort, KY 40621.
Another way to donate to the trust fund is by purchasing a Kentucky Breast Cancer License plate; a portion of plate sales goes to the fund. Drivers who purchase the breast cancer specialty plate can make an additional, voluntary donation to the trust fund when plates are purchased at county clerks’ offices. Plate owners can continue to donate each year when plates are renewed.
For more information about the state income tax check-off and how to help support the work of the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund, call DPH at (502) 564-2154.


Murder Trial For Mingo and Pike County Men Postponed In Cabell County.

The murder trial of Charles Ray Blevins , 21, of Williamson and 23 year old Donnie Ray Evans of McCarr has been postponed for a later date in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Both men are charged with first degree murder.

Police say that both men fatally shot 26 year-old Travis Huff of Glenwood.

The shooting took place in February 2007 in Barboursville.


Suspect Accused of Robbing Gilbert Pharmacy Nabbed In McDowell County.

Authorities in McDowell County apprehended a Minnesota man that is accused of robbing the Rite – Aid Pharmacy located at Gilbert.

John Thomas Kinderwater of Brighton, Minnesota is accused of stealing approximately $ 800 in cash from the business Monday evening.

Authorities recovered the money.

Kinderwater is being held in the McDowell County Jail while he faces extradition back to Mingo County.


Portions of Mingo and Logan Counties Had Highest Prices In State On Wednesday

West Virginia’s average of $ 3.37 cents for unleaded gasoline is the fifth highest in the nation only behind California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

The highest prices in the state are at $ 3.49 per gallon that was seen in portions of Mingo and Logan counties.

On the average Wednesday most of us in our listening area was paying 4 3.35 per gallon.

For folks traveling to Charleston this week for the state tournament prices in the Capital City averaged $ 3.43 per gallon

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Two Defendants Involved in Logan County Torture Case Scheduled For Sentencing Thursday.

Frankie Brewster and Karen Burton two defendants that pleaded guilty for there involvement in the Megan Williams torture case are expected to be sentenced Thursday in Logan County Circuit Court.

The case has attracted national media attention.


Body Found In Mingo County.

A body of a woman was found Wednesday night in the Dingess area.

The discovery was made at Mud Fork Mountain which is located near the Mingo / Logan County line.

Authorities are not releasing any further information at this time.

The case is being handled by the West Virginia State Police and the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department.


Floyd County Inmate Attempts To Break Out of Jail.

Billy Joe Hunter is back in the Floyd County Detention Center. But the disappearing act that he tried to attempt while on work release has got him in more hot water.

While the 30 year old was cleaning offices he allegedly took a bond reduction form , filled it out reducing his $ 50,000 bond that was levied on him from previous charges and then he forged the judge’s name to the document.

Oh, by the way he was in jail on theft and forgery charges.

Additional charges have been filed . Hunter’s bond has been increased to $ 100,000


Kentucky 95th District Candidate Quits Race.

Former 95th District Representative Chuck Meade has withdrawn from the May Primary Election. Meade was vying for the democrat nomination against incumbent Greg Stumbo.

Meade was defeated in 2004 by former office holder Brandon Spencer.

Meade was overwhelmingly defeated last month by Stumbo in a special election that was forced due to the resignation of Spencer.

Stumbo has opposition in the fall as he will square off against former Prestonsburg councilman Larry Brown


County Consolidation Plan Advances Out Of Kentucky House Committee

Legislation that could scale down Kentucky's large number of counties and their operational costs by allowing counties to merge passed a House committee today.

Under House Bill 603, sponsored by Rep. Ted Edmonds, D-Beattyville, two or more adjoining counties could voluntarily merge, or "consolidate", if at least 50 percent of the voters in those counties approve the merger by special election. The election, which would be paid for by the state, would be scheduled after one county initiates the consolidation process by petition or through county ordinance.

House Local Government Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Riggs, D-Jeffersontown, said the legislation could help both the counties and the state, which is often asked to fund services in smaller counties that do not have a large enough tax base to cover their costs.

"Consolidating smaller counties would be very beneficial because we expect so many of these small, sparsely populated counties to behave like a larger county in terms of services, but they can't do that," said Riggs. "Since they can't provide for those services their citizens demand, they come to the state looking for more than their fair share."

The state estimates that consolidated counties would save money in the long term under HB 603 by reducing their purchases of goods and services, retaining the option to sell or lease county buildings in the former county seats, eliminating the need for all but one fiscal court, reducing the number of elected officials in the former counties, and consolidation of tax revenue.

Kentucky has 120 counties, the third largest number of counties in the nation behind Texas and Georgia.


Kentucky House Panel Approves More Time To Form Gubernatorial Slates

Panel approves more time to form gubernatorial slates

Candidates for governor would select their running mates after the primary election under a bill which passed the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee today.

Under House Bill 757, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Thompson, D-Owensboro, the gubernatorial candidate would have until the second Tuesday in August after their nomination to designate a running mate. Both candidates for governor and lieutenant. governor would then appear as a slate on the general election ballot.

Thompson said the bill would allow the gubernatorial candidates to be the focus of the primary--much like presidential candidates who select their running mate after the primary season--and give the candidates ample time to choose who their lieutenant governor should be.

Waiting until after the primary to announce a gubernatorial slate concerned House Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, who explained that the change could confuse the voters.

"The reason we created the slate is so....voters would know who the candidates are going in," said Clark. But Thompson said his proposal has advantages.

"I think it gives the gubernatorial candidate more time to make a decision they are comfortable with. Because of the primary, they may feel rushed into making a decision," Thompson said.

The bill now goes to the full House for its consideration.

Courtesy : Kentucky General Assembly


Kentucky State Senate Approves Several Bills

The Senate passed a number of measures today, including legislation to make sure poor veterans get a proper burial, protect crime victims, and make sure emergency contact information is on file for many Kentuckians.

House Bill 227, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Siler, R-Williamsburg, would create an Indigent Veterans' Burial Program, with a trust fund to be run by the state's Department for Military Affairs. The bill does not provide money for the program, but it would be open to contributions from the public as well as further appropriations in the budget.

Slight changes to the bill, which passed by consent, mean it will return to the House for its concurrence.

Senate Bill 62, sponsored by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, would allow victims of domestic violence or sex crimes to use an alternative address under a program run by the Secretary of State. Mail to the alternative address would be forwarded to their real address, but stalkers and others would not be able to learn their real location.

Senate Bill 182, sponsored by Sen. Tom Jensen, R-London, would allow county clerks to ask for emergency contact information when a Kentuckian applies for a new or renewal driver's license. The information would not be listed on the license itself, but would be available to those with access to other driver's license information. Although circuit clerks would be required to ask for the information, Kentuckians could opt out of the database if they chose.

SB 62 and SB 182, which both passed unanimously, now move to the House for its consideration.

Courtesy : Kentucky General Assembly Website


Kentucky House Revenue Appropriations Committee Passes Spending Plan. Cigarette Tax Increase Included

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed a state Executive Branch budget bill today that would rely on an $800 million revenue package to meet the state's education, health services and other needs over the next two years.

"We can't get to the budget--as we currently have it--unless we pass this revenue measure," said committee chairman Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, the sponsor of the budget bill, House Bill 406. The revenue package is part of HB 262, sponsored by Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, which also passed the committee today.

Approximately $470 million of the new revenue would come from restructuring the state's General Fund debt and reducing the state workforce through attrition, according Moberly. The balance, he said, would come from tax changes--including a 25 cent increase in the cigarette tax, an increase in the state tax on other tobacco products and applying the state sales tax to select services like air charters and armored cars.

Several agencies would benefit from the enhanced budget proposal including state universities, which faced 12 percent budget cuts in the next biennium under Gov. Steve Beshear's proposed budget. Approximately $126 million in each year of the biennium would go to universities to restore their base operating budgets, said Moberly.

"If they don't get their base restored, they'll be hard pressed to serve the students they're serving now," he said.

Courtesy : Kentucky General Assembly Website


FEMA To Implement Select Changes To Flood Insurance Ratings Effective May 1

FEMA will announce on May 1 its new policy on flood insurance ratings for certain buildings in the surrounding communities, including Pike County.

Through Community Rating System (CRS) discounts, flood insurance policyholders receive discounts on their annual premiums.

The National Flood Insurance Program’s CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.

These incentive programs enable participating communities to benefit from discounted premium rates to reflect the reduced flood risks.

“This is an incentive that all citizens should take advantage of,” said Pike County Judge/Executive Wayne T. Rutherford. “Our county and the surrounding area has a long history of flooding and the best thing we can do is be prepared.”

Actions the national program recognizes as meeting the three goals of the CRS are reduction in flood loss, facilitation of an accurate insurance rating and promotion of the awareness for flood insurance.

For communities taking advantage of the incentives, insurance rates are discounted in increments of 5 percent. For example, a Class I community would receive a 45 percent premium discount, while, further down the line, a Class 9 community would benefit from a 5 percent discount.

Pike County is considered a Class 9 community and receives the 5 percent discount.

Pike County Floodplain Coordinator Jimmy Kiser received notification earlier this week that the National Flood Insurance Program has found certain issues with the current effectiveness of the CRS.

According to officials, this approach sees everyone benefits from the community’s ratings, even those who own buildings that are at high risk and may not be complaint with the construction criteria.

This was cited as the key reason for the change in the way CRS premium discounts will be applied.

Now, effective May 1, flood insurance policies for buildings that are rated as having the lowest floor one foot or more below the base flood elevation will no longer be eligible for the community’s CRS discount.

Policyholders who may have further questions or who are seeking further information are encouraged to contact Pike County Floodplain Manager Jimmy Kiser at (606) 432-6204.

Courtesy : Office of Pike County Judge Executive


WV Governor Joe Manchin Praises Lawmakers

Gov. Joe Manchin today called the 2008 Regular Session of the West Virginia Legislature a success, particularly noting the significance of the Legislature’s work that eliminated the cumbersome “Tier 2.5 Status” designation for streams. This is a move that will protect some of the state’s most pristine streams, the governor said.
“With leadership from Speaker Thompson and President Tomblin, I think our legislators passed a number of significant measures this session, including some we’ve been wrestling with for a number of years,” Manchin said. “They broke an eight-year deadlock that has held up designating our cleanest streams and natural trout streams for protection under the federal Clean Water Act.”
Manchin was referring to the passage of Senate Bills 456 and 390, which grant the highest level of protection from pollution (Tier 3 status) to the cleanest streams -- those that produce native trout – and that are on public lands such as state and national parks. Under the new provisions, private landowners’ rights are still protected, as such streams that are on their land would receive Tier 2 status, but could become eligible for the additional Tier 3 protection under a nomination process.
Previously, lawmakers had struggled with deciding how many and which streams would be put on the Tier 2.5 protection list.
“The state can now move forward on a process to designate our trout streams for protection, most of which lie within the existing boundaries of public lands,” Manchin said. “This will keep our trout streams clean without too much interference into a private landowner’s rights.”
The governor also lauded the success of bills establishing the “Bucks for Brains” higher education research endowment, providing more money to the School Building Authority, establishing an energy sales tax holiday and giving senior citizens a property tax deferment option.
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Former Letcher County Resident Found Guilty On Drug Charge.

A former Letcher County resident was convicted of drug trafficking after failing to convince a jury that police had arrested the wrong person.
Following a two-day trial before Letcher Circuit Judge Samuel T. Wright III, 31-year-old James Holland was found guilty of second-degree trafficking.
Holland, who now lives on Sama Road in Burnside (Pulaski County), had turned down a plea offer that would have given him probation.
Police arrested Holland on May 22, 2007, for selling Hydrocodone pills to an undercover UNITE detective on September 23, 2005.
During the trial, which began Monday, March 11, Holland¹s attorney argued that someone else had made the sale that police had arrested the wrong person.
Although Holland had changed his appearance, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Kevin R. Mullins presented evidence linking him with the crime.
Mullins showed that the vehicle used at the time of the sale was registered to Holland, that Holland had given the undercover detective directions to his home if he wanted to purchase more pills, and that Holland had stated he was behind on his child support payments which was confirmed through court records.
Jury members recommended Holland receive the maximum 5 years in jail when he is formally sentenced at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 23.

Courtesy : Operation UNITE


Kentucky Governor Announces Commonwealth's Launch of Partnership For Drug Free America Chapter

Gov. Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky has launched its state chapter of Partnership for a Drug-Free America today, tapping into a national, media-based education campaign to reduce illicit drug use in the Commonwealth.
The Partnership channels the talents and technologies of professionals in the communications industries into memorable and effective messages through print and broadcast ads.
Funding for the chapter was awarded through a federal Community Oriented Policing grant received by the Kentucky State Police, and funds from the Office of Drug Control Policy.
“Kentucky has long recognized the epidemic proportions of substance abuse among youth and adults including tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana,” said Gov. Beshear. "Parents and children are inundated with media messages about drug use among celebrities and major sports figures. The benefits that we receive from the Partnership allow us to counter those negative messages with positive prevention strategies.”
Media outlets across the state are being asked to participate in the Partnership, by running the professionally-produced messages to “un-sell” drugs to Kentucky’s youth. Research has shown if a child hears one anti-drug message a day, they are 38 percent less likely to use drugs. The impact of such messages can be seen in dramatic declines in drug use since the Partnership was formed in 1986: cocaine use in the United States is down by two-thirds, overall drug use is down by one-third, and even the use of Ecstasy, a serious threat just a few years ago, has decreased by 50 percent.
“Launching a Kentucky chapter of Partnership for a Drug-Free America underscores our commitment to combating the scourge of drug use in our communities,” said Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown. “It’s important for parents, teachers, and leaders to tell young people that drugs are bad, but it’s just as important that the truth about drugs finds its way into the important cultural subtexts -- what we learn from conversation, TV, movies, the Internet and popular music. These messages do that.”
Officials point to the changing nature of drug use and threats that are even closer to home, such as abuse of prescription painkillers or methamphetamine, as evidence for the need to use current messages and mediums, such as those offered by the Partnership. They also note that the Partnership works closely with chapter states to help the messages make the most impact.
“Local solutions almost always prove to be most effective. Since its founding, the Partnership has emphasized making a positive contribution to those very same communities,” said Vaughn Ownbey, Regional Director for Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “We accomplish this by being on the ground, working hand-in-hand and providing support and assistance as part of a long-term commitment.”
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting communications professionals, renowned scientists and parents. Best known for its national drug-education campaign, the Partnership’s mission is to reduce illicit drug use in America.

Courtesy : Office of Governor Beshear


KSP Rages War On Drugs

Kentucky State Police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth discovered 23 meth labs, seized more than 2,400 pounds of marijuana, identified 16 drug endangered children and arrested 565 individuals in connection with illegal drug use in a 24-hour period. The one-day blitz was part of a national effort to highlight the effectiveness of concentrated drug enforcement activities.
During “Operation Byrne Blitz,” which took place Wednesday, state police and highway patrol agencies, local police and sheriff’s departments, and drug task forces throughout the country conducted undercover investigations, marijuana eradication efforts and drug interdiction activities. The collaborative effort, named for the federal grant program which funds many of the anti-drug efforts, underscored the impact that cuts to this funding could have on local and statewide drug enforcement.
Statewide, this week's operation resulted in the seizure of 264 grams of methamphetamine; 9.6 kilos of cocaine; 56 grams of crack cocaine; 1 gram of heroin, and more than 2,700 units of prescription drugs. Officers also confiscated 80 firearms and served 28 search warrants.
In addition, during the blitz, KSP officers arrested Clarence Tester in Wolfe County, who was wanted for allegedly shooting his wife twice at a Hardee’s restaurant in Jackson.

Courtesy : Kentucky State Police


Restrictions On Mountaintop Mining Rejected

More restrictions on mountaintip mining have been rejected by Kentucky lawmakers. A proposal to end the practice failed to get enough votes to make it out of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

Some lawmakers said it had been a mainstay of the states' economy since the Industrial Revolution, and, they feared a crackdown might put thousands of miners out of work.

Others say political leaders have turned a blind eye to the environmental devastation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


WV Governor and First Lady Inviting Children To Easter Egg Hunt At Capitol

Gov. Joe Manchin and First Lady Gayle Manchin invite children from across the state to join in the third annual Easter Egg Hunt from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, March 15, on the East Lawn and West Lawn of the State Capitol.

Children between the ages of three and 10 may participate, but, tickets for the event are limited to the first 1,000 children. The free tickets are available by calling (304) 558-3588, and they can be picked up at the State Cultural Center Tour Desk from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the day of the event.

Eggs and prizes will be provided for the kids and refreshments will be provided for all visitors. The Easter Bunny is expected to join in the day’s activities and the event will continue rain or shine.


Kentucky State Senator Puts More Teeth in Child Predator Law.

Senator Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, continues his fight against child predators with a bill that broadens Kentucky's sex offender laws, increases penalties for abusers, and establishes a classification system for offenders.
The legislation will amend current laws to include predatory activity involving the Internet, identification of electronic identities by sex offender registrants, and the use of GPS monitoring. The law also establishes a three-tiered classification for sex offenders that follows the federal Adam Walsh Act that assigns to each registrant a color based on the offense.
"The three-tiered classification will allow parents to discern immediately if an offender is also a child predator," said Senator Jones, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 214 amends or further defines current legislation as follows:
· Amends the unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities by allowing prosecution for the sending of unlawful communications to any individual the person believes is a minor.
· Defines stalking to include electronic activity.
· Amends pornography laws to include live images transmitted over the Internet.
· Amends the sex offender registration law to include whether a person is subject to GPS-based monitoring.
· Amends the sex offender registration law to require a new photo whenever there is a substantial change in appearance.
· Requires the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to verify electronic identity or online membership information at least once every 90 days.
· Provides a searchable database that lists electronic identity of offenders. In addition, offenders will be listed in a three-tiered classification system that will alert the public to the type of offense committed.
· Adds "cyber harassment" to the current harassment and harassing communications statute.
· Requires courts and the parole board to order mandatory GPS monitoring of lifetime registrants for the duration of that person's probation, shock probation or other form of conditional release or parole. The registrant would be responsible for the cost. Tampering with the equipment would be a Class D felony.
· Requires forfeiture of personal property used in connection with or acquired as a result of a violation of listed offenses.
· Requires the study of the implementation of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 in Kentucky.

"As a parent, I am concerned about the child predator that lives next door or down the block, but I am also concerned about the predator that is using the Internet to lure children," said Jones. "More children are communicating via the Internet, and websites such as make it easy for predators to become any identity they want to assume to earn the trust of innocent children."
Senate Bill 214 is Senator Jones' second piece of legislation this session aimed at sex offenders. During the 2007 session, the senator sponsored legislation, which made Kentucky's sex offender laws among the toughest in the nation. With the passage of Senate Bill 65, Kentucky became the first state to require convicted sex offenders to register their online identities.


Eastern Kentucky Man Killed In Mingo County Automobile Accident.

A two vehicle accident that ocurred in Mingo County Tuesday morning has claimed the life of a Johnson County man. The accident happened at the intersection of Route 52 and US 119

According to the West Virginia State Police 45 year-old Mark King of Flat Gap, Kentucky was killed when the car he was driving was attempting to cross onto the southbound lanes of US 119 he pulled out in front of a truck that was traveling northbound. The driver of the truck, Jeff Ratliff of Pikeville, Kentucky, refused medical treatment.

The accident remains under investigation.


Pikeville High Hires New Football Coach.

Pikeville High School announced the hiring of Michael Copley as their new head football coach.

The announcement came today at the school.

Copley has served as the Panthers assistant coach the last three years.

Copley is a graduate of Lawrence County High School.


Pike County Man Fined By Jury For Animal Cruelty.

A Pike County District Court jury found a Millard man guilty of a single count of animal cruelty.

Jimmy M. Lockhart 28 years old was fined $500. The jury didn’t recommend any jail time. He could have received 12 months in jail.

According to court documents Lockhart beat and choked a 10 month old Boxer almost causing death.

The incident happened June 16th 2007.


Two Williamson Residents Plead Guilty In Connection of Robbing Pike County Home.

Two Mingo County residents will each serve five years in prison after they pleaded to taking items from the home of an Aflex couple.

Jeremy Varney and Samantha Sexton, both of Williamson, West Virginia, pleaded guilty in Pike County Circuit Court.

Both were charged with second degree robbery.


Eastern Kentucky State Senator Files Legislation That Would Give Tax Rebates Back To Public Owned Convention Centers

State Senator Ray S. Jones II has filed a bill to allow certain governmental agencies to receive a rebate on sales taxes at government-owned convention centers. These rebates are intended to relieve taxpayers the burden of funding the operation of such facilities.
Under Senate Bill 236, a government entity in a county with a population of less than 100,000 that owns and operates a public facility, such as the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, is entitled to a rebate of up to 100 percent of the Kentucky sales taxes collected from patrons through admission and concession sales. These multipurpose facilities, which seat more than 1,000, should offer public performances and programs relating to art, sports and entertainment. Use of the sales tax rebates are for operation of the facilities.
"This bill's intent is to create a funding source that does not put an additional strain on local taxpayers for the operation of facilities such as the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center," said Senator Jones, D- Pikeville. "This legislation will relieve both local taxpayers and local governments from the burden of supporting the operation of these facilities.
"It also may open the door for the construction of other government-owned convention centers in the Commonwealth," he added. "These centers allow communities to offer cultural and sporting events for their own citizens, as well as attract visitors to their communities.
Tourism is the third largest industry and second largest employer in the state. Tourism generates more than $10.1 billion annually and employees more than 176,000 Kentuckians.
Communities can not only feel the affects of increased tourist dollars, but also realize the benefits in growth and an increased economic base.
"The tourist dollar has a trickle-down affect that spreads to all our businesses and boosts our local economies," Jones added. "Tourism data shows that each new dollar spent turns over seven times in the community. This legislation could be catalyst for economic development."
Qualifying agencies must request rebates from the Department of Revenue.
Senator Jones, who has served in the State Senate since 2001, represents the 31st District, which includes Pike, Martin and Johnson counties. He serves on the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor, Judiciary, and Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations committees.


Governor Steve Beshear Puts Casino "Push" On Hold

Kentucky has a long tradition of wagering at horse tracks, but, as of now, the Constitution forbids casinos. Governor Beshear is pushing a proposed constitutional amendment to allow them, but, he says his proposal is on hold.

The Governor says it will have to wait until the House comes up with an agreement on the state budget. He hopes to revive the casino issue by early next week.

He also says, despite opposition from Democrat House legislators, he is standing by his proposal to boost the state's cigarette tax to $1.00 per pack...making it a seventy cents hike.


Robot May Be In Pikeville Medical Center's Future

After Dr. William Johnson, the Chief Medical Officer at Pikveill Medical Center, traveled to western Kentucky for a firsthand look at a robot that lets doctors treat patients remotely, he says it's "highly likely" the medical center will soon be using the technology.

Currently, there are ten RP-7 remote presence robots in use across Kentucky.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Mingo County Native Announces Resignation As President of Mississippi State University.

Mingo County native Robert H. “ Doc “ Foglesong announced he will resign as president of Mississippi State University.

Foglesong’s resignation will take effect June 30th.

Foglesong was named the university’s 18th president in 2006, following more than 30 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, where he retired as a four-star general.

The Starkville, Mississippi school has an enrollment of over 17,000 students.

Foglesong could not be reached for comment.


Pike Central Student Captures First Place in State Essay Contest. This Story Includes Essay

Tyler Blackburn, a student from Pike County Central High School, captured first place in the Kentucky Secretary of State Voter Slogan and Essay Contest . The award is sponsored by the University of Kentucky Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and Kentucky Education Association.

Blackburn was presented with a plaque and a check for $ 750.00. from Secretary of State Trey Grayson during a ceremony which was held Monday at the school.

The following is the essay which was submitted by Blackburn.

Throughput the years, election coverage by the media has adapted to popular forms of the day. Candidates, political parties, and local organizations all use media to gain public support. The more popular the media, the more people receive the information. In present time, the most popular media source is the internet. The internet will be taken full advantage of in the up coming ’08 election. Can the public be sure the information they receive from the most unregulated source is accurate, fair and unbiased ? Of course not.

Should Congress pass legislation to monitor and criminalize such information? No, this type of censorship would infringe on the 1st amendment freedoms. People have every right to post their views, so long as it is not considered liable or slander. True there is info online that is intentionally incorrect to sway your ideas. Most credible websites try to protect the online community from such users. Congress should not spend resources on such plans that would require constant web monitoring and, due to the massive amount of incorrect information, constant legal battles. Credible websites and blogs do this themselves.

Websites such as You Tube and Wikipedia have policies that prohibit false , super biased, and criminal content. These websites have editors and administrators that actively police the sites. The administrators ban users and delete posts they find inappropriate. Many of these administrators are just members of the community with increased status and renown who do this work for free. You Tube and Wikipedia are publicly edited as well. On Wikipedia a person can just change incorrect or bias data so long as they don’t vandalize the page. You Tube allows the community to flag posts and videos they find inappropriate to be reviewed by administrators. Sadly not all sites have such filtering , but the majority of credible sites do.

Not only would criminalizing false information be financially unwise, but it would also discourage young voters. Much of today’s youth use the internet just because it is uncensored and unregulated. Lots of young people of voting age use the internet every day. For example many 18 year olds visit You Tube a site that has online coverage of the ‘ 08 candidate debates, constantly. If the typical 18 year old user learned that the government was filtering the website, the user would feel alienated from the site, as if they were viewing only what the government wanted them to. They would react by not viewing that type of information anymore.

However , if congress must act, they should do so by passing something that does not affect online content . Congress would probably be better creating a temporary committee to review popular sites. The committee could then compile a list of acceptable sites that have accurate content. Then make this list available to public access via the internet or other media. This would save resources and prevent alienation of the online community.


Kentucky State Police Post 9 Announce New Supervisors

Kentucky State Police Post 9-Pikeville would like to introduce the newest supervisors. With transfers and promotions Post 9 is under new supervision.
February 16, 2008 the Commissioner Rodney Brewer made numerous promotions and transfers across the Commonwealth, several of the those changes directly affected Post 9.

Detective Donnie Shearer, a 7 year veteran, was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Post 14-Ashland. Shearer is a native of Louisville, Ky and currently resides in Floyd County. He was previously assigned as a Trooper in Mayfield and Pikeville and most recently as a Detective for Post 9.

Sergeant Todd Kidd , a 10 year veteran, was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to Human Resources as Commander of Recruiting. Kidd is a native of Pike County. He has been previously assigned as a Trooper at Post 09 (1998-2003), promoted to Sgt in 2003 and assigned to Post 04-Elizabethtown as a Squad Sergeant, transferred to Post 8-Morehead in 2004 as a Squad Sergeant, served as Squad Sergeant at Post 09 2004-2008.

Sergeant Anthony Taulbee, a 9 year veteran, was transferred from Post 10-Harlan to Post 9-Pikeville. Taulbee is a native of Salyersville and currently lives in Pike County with his wife Melanie and his son, Brayden. Taulbee has worked at Post 9 Pikeville as a Trooper and Detective before he was promoted and transferred to Post 10-Harlan.

Lieutenant Sean Welch, a 13 year veteran, was transferred from Post 14-Ashland to Post 9-Pikeville on March 1, 2008. Welch is a native of Towanda, PA. He currently lives in Magoffin county with his wife, April. Welch has worked at the Pikeville Post as a Trooper and Detective before being promoted to Sgt. He has also been assigned to the Kentucky State Police Academy and the Special Response Team


RAM Volunteers Needed.

Pike County officials played host to RAM founder Stan Brock last summer, and the seeds planted during that visit will soon bear fruit, but volunteers will be the key to success, said Carol Napier, Pike County Commissioner of Social Services.

“In order to make this medical expedition a success, we desperately need dentists, optometrists, doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses to step up to the plate by volunteering a few hours of their time to help those who are in desperate need of their services,” Napier said.

Brock, a former co-star of the television series Wild Kingdom and founder of the medical program RAM (Remote Area Medical) visited officials in August of last year. During his visit, Brock toured the area, as well as speaking before the Pike County Kiwanis Club about the benefits for RAM operations in Pike County and the rest of the region.

But the first thing needed for the two-day expedition, planned for June 28 and 29 at Pike County Central High School, are volunteers, according to Napier.

RAM is a program Brock helped found and develop in 1985 after spending time in the Amazon rain forest where the former television host spent 15 years living with the Wapishana Indians.


Kentucky Highway Fatality Report

Preliminary statistics* indicate that fourteen people died in twelve separate crashes on Kentucky’s roadways from Monday, March 3 through Sunday, March 9, 2008.

Twelve of the fatalities were traveling in motor vehicles and six of those victims were not wearing seat belts. One of the motor vehicle fatalities was a result of the suspected use of alcohol. One fatality involved a pedestrian and one involved a motorcycle.

Single fatality crashes occurred in Adair, Bullitt, Clay, Fayette, Livingston, Logan, Meade, Muhlenberg and Rowan counties. The motorcycle fatality occurred in Boone county and the pedestrian fatality occurred in Graves’s county.

A triple fatality crash occurred on I-65 at the 74 mile marker in Hart county involving a tractor trailer and a minivan. The minivan slid on the rain slick roadway and crossed the median entering the southbound lane where it struck the tractor trailer. The driver of the minivan and both passengers were killed. The driver of the tractor trailer did not sustain any injuries.

Through March 9, preliminary statistics* indicate that 131 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2008. That is eight more than reported for this time period in 2007. Of the 111 motor vehicle fatalities, 75 victims were not wearing seat belts. There have been 7 motorcycle fatalities and 3 of those were not wearing helmets. A total of 26 fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol. Thirteen fatalities have been pedestrians.


Authorities Release The Identity of Person That Died In Millard House Fire.

Kentucky State Police spokesperson Trooper Scott Hopkins told EKB that the person who died in a house fire on Feb 28th at Millard has been identified.

The victim is 48 year-old Harold Chaney.

Hopkins says that no foul play was involved.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


WV Regular Session of the Legislature Complete. However Lawmakers Are Working Overtime.

The 60 day regular session of the West Virginia Legislature in now complete.

In total, 243 bills were approved by lawmakers awaiting the approval of Gov Joe Manchin.

Lawmakers will continue to work this week during a special session to finalize the budget.

Both the House and Senate versions of the budget call for spending slightly less than the $ 3.9 billion figure proposed by the governor.

Teachers were given a $ 1,600 raise. Pay increases are also on the list for state troopers, state workers and even lawmakers.


WV Gov Joe Manchin Considering Bill That Would Require Contractors To Test Employees.

Governor Joe Manchin will consider signing a bill into law that would require drug free workplaces for all state construction projects.

Contractors and subcontractors that are awarded state contracts would have to test all employees for drugs and alcohol.


WV Legislature Passes Bill That Would make Community colleges Independent

A bill that would make the state’s 10 community and technical colleges independent of four year institutions has been passed by lawmakers and will go the desk of Governor Manchin for consideration.

Supporters of the bill say the bill would give more money to the community colleges , and boost enrollment.


WV Lawmakers Pass Bill That Would Stiffen DUI Law.

Lawmakers in Charleston passed and will send a bill to Governor Joe Manchin that would require first time DUI offenders with blood alcohol levels of .15 or above to have interlock systems on there vehicles.

West Virginia’s legal blood alcohol limit is .08 percent.

The interlock system would require drivers to blow into a device that measures there blood alcohol content before there vehicles would start.


Floyd County Woman To Serve Five Years.

A Floyd County Circuit Court Judge sentenced Melissa Conn to five years in prison and five years of probation after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Conn had several different drugs in her system when she crossed the center line on Route 1428 and hit a car head on that resulted in the death of Lorenne Griffith.

The accident took place in October 2006.


Student Arrested and Charged With Calling In Bomb Threat Into Pike County School.

A Belfry High School student was arrested late last week and charged with terroristic threatening .

An 18 year-old male student from Huddy is accused of calling in a bomb threat . Authorities say that the student used a computer from inside of the school to call the front office to make the threat.

The incident took place last month.


Several Floyd County Residents File Lawsuit Citing Coal Dust Has Affected There Health and Residences.

Seventy – one residents of Allen, Banner and Dana have filed a lawsuit against Frasure Creek Mining LLC and Grizzly Processing LLC.

Residents say that coal dust from the plant has hampered there quality of life. They say that the coal dust has effected their health and also caused damage to their homes.

The residents are seeking compensatory damages for the loss of value of their homes, the loss of use of the residences, costs of repair, medical expense, and suffering damages.

In 2007 the defendants in the suit were reported to be out of compliance on two different occasions by the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet Division for Air Quality.


Canterbury Waives Extradition To Pike County.

A Logan County man that is accused of shoplifting pocketbooks out of the Dawahares Department Store in South Williamson will finally be coming to Pike County to answer charges.

Charles Canterbury of Pecks Mill waived extradition to Pike County Friday in Mingo County Circuit Court. Canterbury has been serving time in the Southwestern Regional Jail for crimes that he committed in Mingo County


Kermit Woman Responsible For Death of Passenger Sentenced

A Kermit woman that entered a guilty plea admitting that she was responsible for the death of a passenger that was riding with her while she was intoxicated will serve one year in jail and must pay a fine of $ 1,000.

21 year-old Leann Dent pleaded guilty to DUI causing death. Dent was involved in a single vehicle accident in December 2006 at Jennies Creek. Passenger Samuel Sammons lost his life in the accident.


Forgery Charge Lands Lenore Man In Prison.

28 year-old Kevin R. Johnson of Lenore will serve one to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit forgery. Johnson pleaded guilty on Feb 8th. He was also fined $ 500 by Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Mike Thornsbury.


Mingo County Man To Serve Time In Prison On Drug Charges.

A Williamson man was sentenced to serve 2-30 years in prison by Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Mike Thornsbury. Anthony Woods, 28, was charged with several counts of distributing cocaine. He was given credit for 116 days served.


Renewal of Mingo County School Excess Levy To Be Voted On In November.

When registered voters go the polls and vote in November residents will decide if they would like to renew an excess levy for fiscal years 2010-2014.

The current levy expires in June of 2009.

The levy generates approximately $ 5.8 million annually and is used to purchase text books , school supplies, school repairs and financial support for school bands and choirs.


Operation UNITE Makes Drug Arrest In Magoffin County.

SAYLERSVILLE A Magoffin County resident who had been receiving prescription pills through the mail and reselling them locally was arrested Wednesday, March 5.
Jason Slusher, 26, of Salyersville, was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second offense, and lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.
The arrest came following a two-month joint investigation between detectives from Operation UNITE, the Magoffin County Sheriff¹s Office, and the U.S.
Postal Service.
The investigation was initiated after Sheriff Bob Jordan received a tip that Slusher was receiving weekly packages containing controlled narcotics. UNITE detectives were asked to help with the case.
UNITE Law Enforcement Director Dan Smoot said Slusher¹s mother and her boyfriend had been sending the drugs from Albion, Michigan, for at least the last six to eight weeks.
Earlier this week, a special agent with the U.S. Post Office in Salyersville intercepted one of the U.S. Express mail packages and obtained a federal search warrant. Inside the package they discovered 40 OxyContin 80mg tablets.
Police were on hand when Slusher came and signed for the package at 11 a.m.
on Wednesday. He was immediately taken into custody.
According to Smoot, Slusher was delivering the packages to another person in Magoffin County to be sold.
Possible charges against Slusher¹s mother and boyfriend are pending further investigation.

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