Saturday, March 22, 2008


WV Governor Signs Budget Bill. However He Trims Spending By Eight Million Dollars.

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin signed the state’s $ 10.4 billion budget . However the governor used a line item veto to trim next year’s budget by eight million dollars.

A few of the causalities include nearly one million dollars for 4-H camp improvements, $ 250,000 for the Senior Corps volunteer program, slashed $ 125,000 of funding for fairs and festivals.

Manchin sited a weak national economy for the changes in the budget that begins in July.


Longtime Logan County Political Head Passes Away.

Raymond Chafin, the longtime master mind of Logan County politics passed away over the weekend at the age of 91.

Chafin played a vital role in helping John F. Kennedy win the 1960 West Virginia primary. Chafin was active in Logan County politics for over 50 years.


WV Senate Majority Leader On Recent Legislative Session.

With the completion of the regular and first extended special session of the West Virginia Legislature on Sunday evening, March 16, a determination was reached that retired teachers and retired state employees with twenty or more years of service will receive a $600 bonus in July, 2008.
We passed this measure during the extended special session in an attempt to financially assist our retirees. I fought hard for this piece of legislation. I made several remarks on the Senate floor concerning the fact that our retired teachers and state employees have been on fixed incomes for many years, and that they greatly deserve either an income tax break or an increase in their benefits. This $600 stimulus package will cost the state approximately $2.2 million dollars, and should be available on or about July 24, 2008.
The general revenue budget set forth in Senate Bill 150 will total $3,902,732,810. Several agencies were given increases in their budget year including corrections/juvenile services along with regional jail employees, who will receive an across the board $2,000 plus a three percent (3%) raise.
Several changes and additions were implemented into the 08' Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Budget.
The Conferees allowed $100,000 for the Secretary of the DHHR to transfer to the Cancer Coalition, to make up for an anticipated shortfall from the Federal Center for Disease Control funding. There was also a $13,000 increase in the Cancer Registry that will allow for the retention of another employee, thanks to matching federal funds. $1 million was added in the Primary Care Support line, that will enable the agency to continue to offer core medical functioning in health centers located primarily in rural areas of the state.
$110,000 was moved from the Health Right Free Clinics into the Pharmaceutical Advocate line to assist with the development of prescriptions for West Virginia, according to the new central-fill pharmacy proposed by Governor Manchin. The governor also requested a $9 million increase in Behavioral Health funding, with the legislatures agreeing to an $8 million increase.
To bolster the important role that "Teaching Hospitals" play in providing health care, this department received the amount of $1.5 million. These funds are matched federally and are used for Neonatal Intensive Care Units, Pediatric Intensive Care Units and Trauma Centers inside the state’s four (4) teaching facilities.
There was also an increase of $470,000 to the In-Home Family Education Program, that provides parenting education and support to families with young children and has proven in the past to be one of the most efficient tools in preventing child abuse and neglect. It also has been given credit for increasing school readiness and enhances better parenting skills.
Other budget highlights are as follows:
(1). A restoration of the Traffic Account to fifteen (15) million.
Created in 1985, $141.7 million had been appropriated to the account, while $81 million had been drawn from the account - largely due to meeting the shortfalls of the Medicaid program. As of December 31, 2007, the balance in the Traffic Account was $60.7 million.
(2). The budget of the Supreme Court received an increase of $990,000, to compensate for the addition of three (3) new Circuit Judges in the counties of Wayne, Mercer and Pendleton.
(3). The Promise Scholarship funding was approved in the amount of $41,626,000, per the Governor’s request.
(4). Public Education Local Share increased by $9 million following the Governor’s proposal.
(5). Salary enhancements included in the budget bill includes a three percent (3%) raise for public employees, at a cost of $22.7 million. The bill includes a $700 floor.
(6). The Mine Health Safety Training Inspectors received a $3,000 across the board raise, plus a three percent (3%) salary increase.
(7). Conservation Officers received a $2,000 increase, plus a change in their increment pay that will show $400 per year of service. The total cost for these changes was $1.1 million.
(8). State employees also received a $10 annual increment increase.
(9). The new school aid funding has been included in the education bill.
The increased cost for this new formula is $34.5 million over a period of five years. This year’s increase was $6.1 million. Teachers received a $1,600 across the board raise. Service Personnel also received a $700 across the board raise, and Principals will receive a one point increase on their increment pay.
(10). The senior citizen budget seen an increase that will include $500,000 for emergency needs as determined by the Commissioner for the Bureau of Senior Services.
The state received a long overdue shot in the arm with the passing of a bill that will eliminate the $50 fee currently being paid by residents who wish to take the General Educational Development exam (GED), and instead will become the responsibility of the Board of Education.
The estimated annual cost of the program is about $260,000, considering an average of approximately 5,200 West Virginians take the GED test each year. There are about 328,000 individuals living within our state who do not have a high school diploma. Although the $50 fee may not sound like a large amount to some people, being without a high school diploma limits the type of employment one can find, and working for minimum wage can make coming up with $50 a tremendous task. The passing of this legislation will allow the process of obtaining a GED to be a lot simpler, and will not put a financial burden on those who could not afford the fee. I encourage everyone without a diploma to take advantage of this offer, and work toward creating a better way of life for yourselves and your family.
Although I would have liked to have seen certain measures pass during the 2008 Legislative Session that failed to do so, I truly feel it concluded as one of the most productive I have seen. We continue to work toward making this fine state a more productive place in which to reside, allowing for a better way of life for each and every West Virginian.
May God continue to keep his hand upon us, guiding us into a bright and prosperous future!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Pike County Commonwealth's Attorney Seeks Clinic/Pharmacy Records In Billy Reed Case

Billy Reed of Brushy, who is accused of causing the death of 43-year old Ronnie Church of Belfry at a red light on US119 in January, is scheduled for trial on May 19.

After being indicted on murder charges in February, Reed admitted he had been to a methadone clinic. The Pike County Commonwealth's Attorney is issuing subpoenas for pharmacy records from several clinics and drug stores.

A Kentucky State Trooper testified in January that Reed appeared to be drunk at the scene and failed field sobriety tests.


Prestonsburg Shooting Leaves Two Dead

Apparently, an ongoing dispute between neighbors turned deadly Thursday evening. Dead of gunshot wounds are 47-year old Alan Keith Tackett and his wife, 30-year old Lisa Lynn Tackett.

Arrested at the home of the victims was 45-year old Berry Hall. The shooting took place on Sunflower Lane in Prestonsburg. Hall is now lodged in the Floyd County Detention Center, charged with two counts of murder.

The incident remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police.


Sentencing Delayed For Two Pike Teens.

A Pike County Circuit Court Judge has postponed formal sentencing for Michael Damron and Jacob Ratliff. Both men pleaded guilty to several charges stemming from the teens shooting and killing several horses last year.

The court has set a sentencing date for April 4th. The two men struck a deal with the Commonwealth that they must pay $ 25,000 each in restitution by the sentencing date in exchange for a six month jail term and four and a half years probation.

Ratliff has met the payment , however, Damron has not.

The Commonwealth stated that the two teens have violated the terms of the deal and they want the plea withdrawn.

However, the judge decided to give the teens two extra weeks to come up with the rest of the payment.

Both Ratliff and Damron have served two months in jail.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Kentucky Congressman Announces Assistance For Farmers Affected By Drought.

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration is still making loans for small businesses and farmers that suffered substantial economic injury due to drought conditions that started late last Spring and continue.
Businesses that meet SBA criteria can apply for low-interest loans of up to $1.5 million to cover expenses. Eligible counties are Lawrence, Martin and Pike. The deadline to apply is April 9, 2008.
“I urge any business that has suffered economic hardship to apply for this assistance,” said Rogers. “The SBA will work with businesses and farmers in this region to assist them through this difficult time.”


Kentucky State Auditor Releases Audit For Martin County

State Auditor Crit Luallen today released the 2006 fiscal year audit of the office of Martin County Sheriff Garmon Preece, which requests the sheriff to personally reimburse a $3,126 deficit and to gain better control of office recordkeeping.
The audit has been referred to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office for further review.
The deficit is a result of disallowed expenditures from the sheriff for the following items: $1,047 in anti-drug education materials not purchased with DARE funds; $474 in bank late fees, finance charges and penalties; $604 in children’s badges; $295 for tee shirts; $165 for advertising in the local high school yearbook and $130 for conference fees for spouses.
At the same time, auditors found $411 in expenditures with no supporting documentation to determine if the payments made were reasonable and necessary expenditures of the office.
As part of its annual audit, the Kentucky State Auditor’s Office must comment on any non-compliance by a sheriff in regards to laws, regulations, contracts and grants, along with material weaknesses involving the financial operations and reporting of each office.
One of the areas of concern found by auditors in Martin County dealt with the sheriff’s lack of oversight with $31,513 of fuel credit card purchases, leaving auditors uncertain if all of the fuel purchased was appropriately used.
Auditors found that the sheriff did not review the credit card statements, maintain vendor receipts or reconcile the amounts on the monthly billing statements of his office’s 10 fuel credit cards. Additionally, deputies shared fuel card “PIN” numbers, and the office bookkeeper, who is the sheriff’s daughter, used a fuel card to purchase fuel for her own personal vehicle, as well as other vehicles belonging to the sheriff’s office, according to the audit.
Auditors cautioned the sheriff to ensure the fuel credit cards are used to purchase fuel for official vehicles only and that any time official travel is done in a personal vehicle a request for mileage reimbursement should be completed.
Other findings from the audit include:
· The sheriff did not maintain complete and accurate financial reports and did not prepare an accurate and complete financial statement. The sheriff’s office did not properly maintain receipts and disbursements ledgers or were they reconciled monthly to the bank records. Receipts were misstated by $27,285 and disbursements were misstated by $6,245 on the fourth quarter report submitted to the Governor’s Office for Local Development.
· The sheriff did not maintain adequate timesheets for all employees. The sheriff’s office employees did not properly maintain timesheets. The timesheets were not maintained daily and the reports were not maintained in an organized manner. The sheriff provided timesheets; however, employees did not sign all timesheets and the sheriff did not approve all timesheets.
· The sheriff did not reimburse his 2005 official bank account $381 for disallowed expenditures for credit card charges. In calendar year 2005, $381 of credit card charges was disallowed for the lack of supporting documentation. The sheriff was directed to deposit personal funds to reimburse the 2005 fee account for these disallowed expenditures. As of Jan. 24, 2008, the sheriff had not reimbursed the 2005 fee account for these disallowed expenditures.
· The sheriff did not request salary reimbursements from Unlawful Narcotics Investigations Treatment and Education (UNITE) Grant in a timely manner. The sheriff did not request reimbursement for payroll for the Unlawful Narcotics Investigations Treatment and Education (UNITE) officer on a timely basis.
· Sheriff’s office lacks adequate segregation of duties. The sheriff’s office has a lack of proper segregation of duties due to the fact that the bookkeeper posts all items to the receipts and disbursements ledger, prepares and signs all checks, prepares monthly bank reconciliations and the financial statements. Good internal controls dictate that the same employee should not handle, record, and process financial information.


Kentucky Attorney General Indicts Nebraska Woman For Internet Scam.

Attorney General Jack Conway announced today the indictment of Erica L. McGinn, formerly of North Bend, Nebraska, in connection with her failure to deliver a Lexus automobile sold for more than $30,000 to a Prospect, Ky. man on Ebay in January 2008.

Investigators charged McGinn with one count each of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property over $300 and Unlawful Access to a Computer Network in the First Degree. The theft charge is a Class D Felony and the unlawful access charge is a C Felony. If convicted, McGinn could face up to 10 years in prison.

“The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it’s also a tool for crime,” General Conway said. “I appreciate the multi-jurisdictional effort that was involved in this arrest, and those who are trying to scam Kentuckians online should know that the Office of the Attorney General will investigate and prosecute these crimes.”

The Lexus vehicle was listed for sale on the Internet auction web site Ebay. McGinn allegedly sold the Lexus to the victim, who wired the purchase price to complete the transaction. When the victim arrived in Omaha to meet McGinn and obtain the Lexus, McGinn did not meet him at the airport as promised, and he was unable to locate the defendant at the address provided. In fact, she never owned a Lexus.

The Attorney General’s Office utilized telephone and bank records while working with the Council Bluffs, Iowa Police Department and Ebay to locate McGinn in Jacksonville, NC. McGinn was subsequently arrested in North Carolina on an outstanding auto-theft charge in Iowa. The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection and will be prosecuted by Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel’s office.

Tips for Purchasing Items Through Internet Auctions

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following advice about paying for items purchased through an Internet auction:

· Don’t pay for items by wire transfer!
Wire transfers can be useful when you want to send funds to someone you know or trust, but they are not appropriate when you are doing business with a stranger. If you wire money to buy an item from an Internet auction site, either through a money transmitter or directly to someone’s bank account, and something goes wrong, it is very likely that you will lose your payment and have no recourse.
Be suspicious of sellers who insist on cash wire transfers as the only form of payment they will accept. Ask to use another method of payment. If the seller insists on a cash wire transfer, it’s wise to call off the transaction. The seller’s insistence on a wire transfer is a signal that you will probably lose your money and never receive your item. In fact, to protect buyers and sellers, some auction sites now prohibit the use of wire transfers. Most cash wire transfer companies also warn consumers not to use their services to buy merchandise from sellers they don’t know personally.
· Successful bidders have many payment options to choose from when using Internet auction sites. Credit cards and online payment services (they often accept credit card payments) are safest. Other options include debit cards, personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or escrow services. Some sellers limit the types of payment they accept. Most reputable sellers will post that information on their auction listings.
· As a rule, credit cards offer buyers the best protection. Online payment services offer some protections; look for them in the terms and conditions section of their websites. High volume sellers often accept credit cards directly, but don’t count on many small-scale sellers to send an item until they’ve received your cashier’s check or money order.


Tree Falls On Car. Man Escapes Injury.

The Mingo County Sheriff's Department says that a man cheated death Thursday afternoon when a tree fell on his car while he was driving on Route 8 at Beech Creek.

Ernie Lee Kennedy escaped with minor injuries.

Authorities told us a large limb came through the windshield and barely missed him.

Kennedy is a 36 year-old Matewan resident


Kentucky State Police Release Name of Island Creek Fire Victim.

The Kentucky State Police released the identity of the person that died in a house fire last month at Island Creek.

The victim was Mark Irick.

Foul play was not involved.

Three people have died in house fires within the past five weeks in Pike County.


Kentucky Bill Could Regulate Milk Prices

Kentucky House Bill 623 has passed by a vote of 90-5 to create a state diry commission and possibly regulate milk prices in the Commonwealth.

The legislation would protect dairy farmers while stabalizing milk prices for consumers. The bill is sponsored by Mitchel Denham, Jr., who says one reason milk prices are on the rise is because so much is imported from other states.


Carter County Student Captures Kentucky Spelling Bee.

Joshua Caplinger a seventh grade student at West Carter located in Carter County captured the Kentucky Spelling Bee.

The 12 year –old clinched the title when he spelled the word "eucrasia" which means a normal state of health.

Joshua will represent Kentucky in the national spelling bee which will be held in May in Washington , D.C.


WV Super Delegate Endorses Clinton.

Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton has received an endorsement from a West Virginia Super Delegate.

Clinton says that WV Democratic National Committeewoman Pat Maroney endorsed her.

Clinton now holds a 3-2 Super Delegate lead in West Virginia.
Five WV Super Delegates remain uncommitted


Logan County Man Accused Of Arson.

A Logan County man has been arrested and charged with four felony counts of arson.

George Slaton of Monaville is accused of setting a series of fires near Omar that destroyed approximately 150 acres of property, including $ 150,000 woth of timber.

If convicted the 43 year-old faces up to 20 years in prison.


Paving Of Matewan Connector Scheduled For Spring.

The Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreational Authority said the Matewan connector to the Hatfield McCoy Trail will be paved this spring. The board approved the project.

Matewan officials says the project will eliminate mud and rocks that are brought onto the road by ATV’s in wet weather and eliminate dust in dry weather.


Missing Remains Identified

Two weeks ago ATV riders discovered human bones while riding along a trail in the Pike County community of Beaver.

Authorities say the remains have been identified as Tennessee resident Robert Wayne Chadwell.

The 41 year-old disappeared Labor Day weekend 2002. Family members say they never saw or heard from him after he left Nashville.
The Kentucky State Police are now trying to figure out how his remains got there.

If you have any information on this case you are urged to contact the KSP.


Students And Teachers At One Eastern Kentucky School Rushed To Hospital After Getting Sick.

Emergency officials were summoned to Blaine Elementary Wednesday afternoon . Around 20 fifth grade students and two teachers were taken to a hospital after they became ill.

School officials said they were suffering from allergy type symptoms such as a rash and upset stomach..

Lawrence County officials said that everyone is ok. The cause of the illnesses is unknown.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Eastern Kentucky State Senator Honors Floyd County Rescue Squad

The Kentucky State Senate today adopted Senator Johnny Ray Turner's resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Floyd County Emergency Rescue Squad.
The Floyd County Emergency Rescue Squad was formed on April 27, 1958, in the wake of the horrific school bus crash that claimed the lives of 26 children and the bus driver. Local residents took the initiative to create emergency response capabilities in the community so that such an incident in the future would not result in such a tragic loss of life. Among the 13 Floyd Countains who took the lead in creating the squad was James Goble, who lost all three of his children in the bus crash.
The Prestonsburg School Bus Crash of 1958 is still one of the deadliest school bus crashes in United States history. Only the Carrollton Bus Crash of 1988 equals the accident. The National Safety Council calls the 1958 incident, the worst highway accident involving children in the nation's history.
"It has been 50 years since the school bus crash in Floyd County that left family members and friends with unanswered questions and it has been 50 years since the establishment of the Floyd County Emergency Rescue Squad," Senator Turner said. "I want to thank Captain Tim Cooley and the rescue squad for its 50 years of devoted service to the people of Floyd County and the Commonwealth."
The Senator said the establishment of the emergency and rescue squad was one great thing to rise from the tragedy.
Today, the rescue squad's 32 members participate in drills, keep up their own equipment and raising their own funds to maintain an emergency response operating posture in Prestonsburg and surrounding areas.
Senator Turner said the Floyd County Emergency Rescue Squad has continued for 50 years on volunteer and community support, operating on limited resources but unlimited enthusiasm for helping friends, neighbors and visitors.
The rescue squad was presented with a national emergency response award December 17, 2007, at the National Congress for Secure Communities in Washington, D.C. The all-volunteer squad was among the elite few recognized for its efforts and was joined by squads that had dealt with such disasters as Hurricane Katrina and the Minneapolis interstate bridge collapse, putting the group from Kentucky in esteemed company.
"As captain of this unique organization, I continually ask myself if I am even worthy of such a responsibility. To serve the county of Floyd as well as surrounding counties for the last 50 years on nothing more than community support, is a feat in itself," said Timothy Cooley, captain of the rescue squad. "For this rescue squad, being the first in the Commonwealth, to have the specialty training that it has been able to obtain as well as to operate on such thin financial resources and, at the same time, gain national award status, has earned rightful recognition from our wonderful state and its political leaders.
"Senator Turner as well as others understand the battle that the Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad has endured for over 50 years," the captain added. "For this reason, they should be proud and they are certainly willing to show it."
The Kentucky State Senate adjourned today, the 49th legislative day, in honor of the Floyd County Emergency Rescue Squad.


Pike County Offices To Close Early For Good Friday

Pike County government offices will close at 12 noon Friday, March 21, 2008, in observance of Good Friday.

The Judge/Executive’s Office, the County Clerk’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office will all be closed for business at that time.

All offices will resume business the following Monday at the regularly scheduled hours.


Mine Safety Bill Passes Kentucky Senate

After a series of accidents killed 16 miners in Kentucky in 2006, lawmakers have put a high priority on mine safety bills.

Tuesday, a measure passed by a 37-9 vote in the Senate that requires coal companies to post GPS coordinates at mine sites so medical holicopters can be given precise directions in emergencies.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


911 Call Leads To Arrest For Chattaroy Man.

Mingo County Sheriff Deputies got a little more than they bargained for when they answered a 911 call from a female. The call was made from the residence of Chattaroy resident Shawn Hicks.

When deputies arrived on scene they knocked on the door and were told to enter the home.

When they entered they found substances believed to be crack cocaine and marijuana. They also discovered a large number of baggies and digital scales.

30 year-old Hicks was taken into custody and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Magistrate Eugene Crum set bond at $ 41,000. If Hicks posts bail he will serve home confinement.

Deputy Kenny Stewart had to be led from the home after he was overcome by fumes coming from a spoon in which the defendant was heating a substance.

The substance was later determined to be ammonia. Stewart told the Williamson Daily News that other than hurting at times when he breathes, he is fine.

Side note: Williamson Daily News Staff Writer Tony Christian contributed to this story.


Pike County Fiscal Court Agrees To Accept Solid Waste From Letcher County.

Pike County will receive extra revenue . The fiscal court approved a measure that would allow Letcher County to haul their solid waste to the landfill located at Johns Creek.

Pike County will charge Letcher County$ 29.00 per ton. Letcher County will haul in 60 tons of garbage per day. That means an extra $ 417,000 yearly for the county.
Letcher County presently hauls their trash to a landfill in London


Pike County Grand Jury Hands Down Indictments

Twenty –two people were recently indicted by a Pike County Circuit Court Grand Jury.

An indictment is merely an accusation.

William Cody West of Pikeville : theft by deception ( Class D Felony)
Stanley Osbourne, 64, of Virgie : receiving stolen property ( Class D Felony two counts).
Daniel W. Conrad Jr, 30 , of Big Rock, VA : receiving stolen property ( Class D Felony )
Keith R. Baker, 20, of Pikeville

Count 1 : operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants ( misdemeanor)

Count 2 : Assault in third degree ( Class D Felony – two counts)

Corina Hurley, 24, of Feds Creek : criminal possession of forged prescription ( Class D Felony)

Donnie R McClanahan, 20, of Pikeville
Shawn Maynard, 22, of Pikeville

Count 1: second degree burglary ( Class C Felony )

Count 2: Two counts of theft by unlawful taking ( Class D Felony)

Michael Davis , 21, of Pikeville

Brian Thacker of Meta

Both charged with fraudulent use of credit card ( Class C Felony )

Matthew Lynch, 23, of Pikeville

Count 1: First degree possession of controlled substance oxycodone ( Class D Felony )

Count 2 : prescription drug not in proper container. ( Class B Misdemeanor )

Michael D. Wilcox, 38, of Mayking , Theft of controlled substance ( Class D Felony )

Lorenzo Yascone, 45, of Regina

Count 1 : Third degree burglary ( Class D Felony )

Count 2 : Theft by unlawful taking ( Class D Felony)

Freda Davis, 26, of Williamson

Count 1 : Theft by unlawful taking ( Class A Misdemeanor )

Count 2 : Prescription drug not in proper container ( Class B Misdemeanor )

Count 3 : Third degree possession of controlled substance ( Class A misdemeanor )

Count 4 : Tampering with physical evidence ( Class D Felony )

Count 5 : Resisting arrest ( Class A Misdemeanor )

Charles Edward Canterbury, 22, of Pecks Mill, WV : robbery first degree ( Class B Felony )
Canterbury is accused of committing a theft at Dawahares located in South Williamson. The defendant also allegedly used a weapon and threatened physical harm when committing the crime

Canterbury just completed jail time in Mingo County, WV on an unrelated matter.

Mark A. Damron, 37, of Pikeville

Count 1: Fleeing or invading police, first degree ( Class C Felony )

Count 2: First degree wanton endangerment ( Class D Felony)

Count 3 : Persistent Felony Offender, Second Degree ( Class C Felony )

Susan R. Akers, 28, of Harold

Count 1 : theft by unlawful taking ( Class A Misdemeanor )

Count 2 : First Degree possession of controlled substance ( Class D Felony )

Count 3 : Possession of drug paraphernalia ( Class A Misdemeanor )

Rhonda M. Taylor, 22, of Elkhorn City : Six counts to attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud ( Class D Felony )

Joshua Bolden, 25, of Virgie

Allen Younce, 46, of Virgie

George Younce , 40, of Virgie

All three charged with theft by unlawful taking ( Class D Felony ) and Criminal Trespass second degree ( Class B Misdemeanor ).

Tammy Case, 39, of Pikeville

Count 1 : Possession of controlled substance second degree ( Class A Misdemeanor )

Count 2 : Second degree criminal possession of forged instrument ( Class D Felony )

Count 3 : Theft by Unlawful Taking ( Class A Misdemeanor )

Ronald Pope, 26, of Varney, WV : Theft by unlawful taking ( Class D Felony )


Senator Jones' Dam Safety Bill Clears Kentucky Senate.

In October 2000, a retention pond at an Inez coal-preparation plant gave way, releasing approximately 306 million gallons of coal waste into the streams.
A State of Emergency was declared for 10 counties in northeast Kentucky, where the coal slurry impacted more than 75 miles of streams in Kentucky and West Virginia, reaching as far as the Ohio River.
With that disaster in mind, State Senator Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, is seeking legislation requiring emergency action plans for high hazard dams in Kentucky.
Senate Joint Resolution 72, passed today by the State Senate, directs the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to establish regulations requiring development, approval, and implementation of Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for all high hazard potential impoundments.
The regulations under Senate Joint Resolution 72:
· Shall take into account the characteristics of the impounded material in establishing requirements for breach analysis and inundation mapping;
· Shall provide a reasonable period for development and submission of EAPs by the owners of the impoundments.
· May include tiered filing deadlines consistent with the construction, age or volume of material impounded by the high hazard potential impounding structures and the resources available to the agency for program development and implementation.
· Shall allow use of geographic information system and aerial mapping data for preparation of inundation maps and breach analyses.
· Shall maintain consistency with regulations that might be required by either the federal Office of Surface Mining or the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Emergency action plans would describe the structural integrity of the dam, and provide measures for emergency evacuation of those located below the dam in the event of a breach. The cost of developing the EAP would be borne by the dam owner.
"The Martin County environmental disaster left people without clean water, closed schools, killed fish and other aquatic life, and destroyed roads and bridges," said Senator Jones, who represents Pike County, the largest coal-producing county in the state. "The cleanup alone cost millions of dollars. Another disaster the magnitude of this 2000 spill would still be crippling to the communities it impacts and, unfortunately, if there were to be a loss of human life, the effects would be devastating."
The most recent report of the Federal Management Agency, made to Congress under the National Dam Safety Program Act, shows that only a fraction of the state-regulated high hazard dams in Kentucky has developed EAPs. The Mine Safety and Health Administration for coalmine waste impoundments has been recommending the development of EAPs since 1994.
These hazard potential impoundments, or dams, are found throughout Kentucky. A dam is a man-made impoundment 25 feet high or any structure that impounds at least 50 acres or any impoundment that endangers life downstream from the structure. Most dams are earthen. The kind of impoundment contemplated by the resolution are dams for agricultural and drinking water under KRS 151 and impoundments for coal and non-coal mining operations under KRS 350.
There are 177 dams ranked as high hazard dams under the jurisdiction of the Department for Environmental Protection. There are 18 high hazard dams under the jurisdiction of the Department for Natural Resources. In Kentucky, there are 21 state-owned dams; 55 are locally owned; 24 are owned by conservation districts, and the balance is privately owned. Utilities, farmers, subdivisions, companies and some citizens normally own privately-owned dams.
"Eighty-three percent of high hazardous dams do not have an EAP. The plans are not required by the state; nor are they required by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)," said Jones.
"Development of these plans is designed for the protection of lives and property and it should not continue to be delayed," he added. "Having a plan in the event of an emergency is in the best interests of the owners of these potentially hazardous dams and, it goes without saying, it is in the best interests of the communities."
Jones' legislation dictates that EAPs follow the Federal Emergency Management Agency's "Emergency Action Planning Guidelines for Dams" with approval from the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.


Kentucky PSC Approves Sale of Auxier Water Company.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the city of Prestonsburg’s purchase of the Auxier Water Co., Inc., which serves about 1,100 customers in Floyd and Johnson counties. In an order issued March 14, the PSC ruled that Prestonsburg has the financial, technical and managerial ability to serve Auxier’s customers. The PSC determined that the sale is in the public interest only if two conditions are placed on the transaction:* That the Prestonsburg Utilities Commission charges Auxier’s customers its out-of-city rate, which is lower than their current rate.* That Auxier refunds to customers, with accrued interest, any deposits it is holding. The refunds may be as a check or as a credit on the final bill. Prestonsburg is paying $2.65 million for Auxier and is financing the purchase with a 20-year low-interest loan from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. The transaction will not change the water supplied to Auxier’s customers. Auxier, which has a service territory adjacent to Prestonsburg’s, is a water distribution system only; it purchases its treated water from Prestonsburg. Once the transaction is completed, Auxier will no longer fall within the PSC’s jurisdiction. Prestonsburg may ask former Auxier customers for a deposit in order to continue service. The order and related case files are available on the PSC Web site, The case number is 2007-00488. The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Department of Public Protection in the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has approximately 110 employees.

Courtesy: Kentucky PSC


Two Year Old Dies In Pike County House Fire.

A toddler died in a house fire Tuesday morning at Kimper.

According to the Kentucky State Police the victim was 23 month-old Patrick Pinion. His body was found in his bedroom by authorities after the fire was extinguished.

The mother, 24 year-old Phoebe Leedy and her four year-old son were able to escape without injury.

The cause of the blaze remains unknown at this time.


Pike County Fiscal Court Provides Funding For East Kentucky Fair.

As with any festival, it often takes time to establish a tradition.

But Sandy Runyon, Director of the Big Sandy Area Development District in Prestonsburg, says the generosity and help in planning from local counties and cities could prove to be a make or break issue for the continued existence of the East Kentucky Fair.

“The Big Sandy ADD is committed this year as a coordinator for the fair,” Runyon told Pike County Fiscal Court members Tuesday. “The support we receive this year will determine if the fair can ever become self-sufficient and move on.”

Runyon then asked the court if, as in years past, there was still support that could be expected from Pike’s governing body.

In answer to Runyon, Pike court members wasted no time Tuesday in approving $5,000 toward the funding of the fair, which will be the fourth annual this year and is scheduled to be held from July 31 through Aug. 2.

Attendance and interest, along with budgetary concerns, have seen the past three fairs struggle.


Kentucky House Passes 80 Pike County Coal Severence Projects. Measure Goes To Senate.

Pike County Judge/Executive Wayne T. Rutherford recently learned that the Kentucky House of Representatives have voted to approve the county’s wish list for coal severance projects.

“We’re pleased and we’re working to get even more of the fiscal court’s projects approved,” Rutherford said shortly after learning the news from Frankfort. “We’re all eager to use our coal severance money as a basis and move the county forward.”

The House voted March 14 to approve 80 projects for Pike County, totaling approximately $11.8 million in coal severance money. The returned money will cover projects from fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009, and 2009-2010.

The projects must still pass the State Senate before they are considered final. Rutherford says he looks forward to working closely with Pike County’s State Senator Ray Jones in the coming weeks.

“We’re happy to extend thanks to Representatives Leslie Combs and W. Keith Hall for all they have done in helping Pike County get our fair share of coal severance money,” Rutherford added. “And we look forward to working with Senator Jones before it goes back to the Senate.”


Inmate Escapes With Only Four Months To Serve

Officals say a Letcher County Detention Center inmate, who had only four months of jail time left to serve, escaped while on garbage detail.

Jamie Marcum was serving time for DUI and driving without a license.

Officials are asking anyone with information to call the Jenkins Police Department, or, the Letcher County Jail.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Shelbiana Resident Admits To Selling Hydrocodone

A Shelbiana woman will serve up to six years in prison after she pleaded guilty to two counts of selling hydrocodone.

56 year – old Rhonda Sykes appeared Monday in Pike County Circuit Court.


Eastern Kentucky Man Admits To Selling Oxycodone.

Mark Ramey of Steele, KY pleaded guilty Monday in Pike County Circuit Court to a single count of selling oxycodone. The 33 year-old took a blind plea which means he admitted to the charge without working on a plea deal from the commonwealth.

Ramey faces up to five years in prison.


Tractor Trailor / Coal truck Collide On Route 80

Kentucky Route 80 near the Perry- Knott County line was shut down for a brief time Monday afternoon when a loaded coal truck was hit from behind by a tractor trailer. Both vehicles received heavy damage. Coal spilled onto the highway. No one was seriously injured.


Presidential Candidates To Appear In West Virginia This Week.

With West Virginia’s primary election seven weeks away, the state will play host to both Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton this week.

Clinton will appear Wednesday at Capital High School in Charleston around 1:00 p.m, before heading to Huntington.

Thursday, Obama will make a stop in Charleston to speak at UC. Obama then will travel south to Beckley.


Pike County Officials Invite Presidential Candidate To Speak

With primary elections on the horizon in Kentucky and neighboring West Virginia, Pike County Judge/Executive Wayne T. Rutherford sent a formal invitation this week to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Rutherford invited Clinton, who is attempting to gain momentum from primary victories in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio, to speak during the Kentucky/ West Virginia Coalfields Rally to be held at the East Kentucky Expo Center. No exact dates for that rally have yet been set.

“The southern coalfields are democratic,” Rutherford said. “With primaries in both Kentucky and West Virginia coming up, it seems appropriate to invite Senator Clinton to speak here since we are 20 minutes from the West Virginia line.”

Rutherford said the event, if Clinton’s campaign accepts the offer, would also give local leaders a chance to highlight the many positive attributes Pike County offers the rest of the nation.

“It’s an opportunity also to showcase our great energy resources here in Pike County,” continued Rutherford. “We are Kentucky’s top coal provider, producing as much tonnage as some states who call themselves coal producers. We are home to more than 5,000 natural gas wells – as much as a county in Oklahoma or Texas – and we are the top county in the commonwealth coal production.”

Rutherford added that in addition to the fact that primaries were coming up, it was also a viable venue for Clinton to campaign because Pike County was the perfect example of “rural America,” a blue-collar section of the nation that has served the former First Lady well for voter loyalty.

Kentucky’s primary election will be held on May 20. West Virginia is set for May 13.

And the invitation has local Democratic leaders, as well as city leaders buzzing about the possibility, as well.

“Having just been informed that we may have the opportunity to have Hillary Clinton visit our county, I’ll say that I’m delighted to think we could get someone of that stature to come to Pike County,” said Clayton Little, Chairman of the Pike County Democratic Party.

Lorraine Lowe, President of the Pike County Democratic Woman’s Club, the largest club of its kind in the state with well over 400 members, also expressed a great deal of excitement about the possible stop in Pikeville.

“As a women in politics, I would be very excited to have a female presidential candidate visit Pike County,” Lowe said.

Clinton supporter Jerry Lundergan, former chair of the State Democratic Party and, prior to that, a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, has offered his full support in seeing plans to bring Senator Clinton to Pikeville result in success.

“We’re going to work with you to bring Hillary Clinton to the East Kentucky Expo Center for the Kentucky/ West Virginia Coalfields Rally,” Lundergan told Rutherford this week.

Steve St. John, Director of the East Kentucky Expo Center, has spoken with Judge Rutherford about early stage arrangements and feels encouraged on a couple levels to possibly play host to the former First Lady.

“I think this would be great exposure for the facility, not to mention the economic impact it would most likely bring,” St. John said.

Clinton’s campaign notified Pike County organizers late last week, thanking them for the invitation and saying a response could be expected in approximately two weeks.


Weekly Column From WV Governor Joe Manchin

We’ve all been welcomed into a home or place of business and, based on the cleanliness of the surroundings, formed an opinion about the owner. The same principle can be applied when we think of tourists entering our state the first time. If you are fortunate enough to call West Virginia home, I hope you have gained the passion for a cleaner state.
Spring is here, giving us all a time to re-dedicate personal and group efforts toward cleaning up our communities. For those of you who already keep your respective communities pristine as second nature – I say thank you. To those who lag behind or forgo your responsibility to pick up after yourselves; or others who randomly break the law by dropping litter when no one is looking, now is the time to change your habits.
As governor, I spend a great deal of time crisscrossing this beautiful state, giving me a chance to get an accurate picture of which counties and communities really take pride in their surroundings. What I’ve seen has been very commendable for the most part, while at times it has made me wonder if some people understand the importance of a first impression. I often tell people that nobody will pay to see or invest in a garbage dump.
That is why back in 2005, I brought back the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) that was originated by my uncle, A. James Manchin, because of the adoration he shared for the beauty of West Virginia. One of the main objectives of REAP has been to make sure that the visual impression people have our state is favorable and appealing. Since its reappearance, REAP has made considerable progress to clear blighted lands and waterways of debris and also to encourage more people to take recycling and community clean-up more seriously.
Community clean-up efforts have been vital to sustaining the beauty of our homes and the places where we travel and vacation throughout the Mountain State. REAP and all of its umbrella programs have conducted nearly 3,700 cleanup projects that have removed an estimated 111,000 tons of trash, including 22,000 tons of steel, nearly 50,000 appliances and more than 400,000 tires with over 30,000 volunteers providing the necessary manpower. To keep the clean-up effort going, this week Jackson County residents will be able to dispose of old tires by bringing them to the Jackson County Solid Waste Authority Office and Recycling Center located on W.Va. Route 33.
So, I thank the many individuals who lead by example – continuing to make a conscious effort to keep our state free from debris and show others what it means to take pride in this great state. I intend to help keep our state one of the nation’s most beautiful places, but to accomplish this will take a collective effort. Let us all sow a seed of accountability and keep West Virginia litter-free. To get information on how to become involved with the REAP initiative, call 304-926-0499 or toll-free 800-322-5530.


Weekly Column From Kentucky Senator Ray S. Jones II

For the past two legislative sessions, the General Assembly has sought ways to deal with the Kentucky Retirement Systems' seriously under funded pension plan. This week, we passed the Senate Committee Substitute to House Bill 600 that makes a firm commitment to preserve the retirement plan for all current and retired employees. This does not make any changes to the current employees' plan. However, in order to protect those already in the system, all concerned agree -- there has to be changes in future employee benefits.

If no action is taken to reform our retirement systems within the decade, the retirement systems could be flat broke. This would create an enormous debt that state government could not overcome, thus creating an inability for the state to honor our obligations to Kentucky retirement fund members.

House Bill 600, as amended by the Senate, will now go back to the House of Representatives for their consideration. I will work in a bipartisan way to further improve this bill, which I suspect will end up in a conference committee where it will gain its final draft. I will keep you updated on our progress.

Besides the pension plan, we also addressed a host of other issues this week, including the safety of children. Senate Bill 120 would require children under the age of 7 and shorter than 50 inches to use a booster seat when riding in a car, or the driver would face a $30 fine. In lieu of paying a fine, violators could show proof they bought a booster seat. Our goal is not to punish parents. We just want to make sure all children are safe when out on our roads.

We also want children to feel safe at school. For many years, we have worked to make sure all school districts take adequate steps to prevent bullying in our schools. We were pleased that House Bill 91 passed the Senate and look forward to seeing the bill get stronger as it goes back to the House for further consideration.

We also want to protect innocent animals, and we took a step in that direction with Senate Bill 58. This bill would upgrade the punishment for torturing a dog or cat to a felony. Currently, the first offense is a misdemeanor, but research shows light punishment has not been effective against people who would treat our faithful companions so ruthlessly.

Senate Bill 182 would allow Kentuckians to list their emergency contact information when they renew their driver's license. The information would not be printed on the license, but it would be available to officials, including law enforcement, in case of an emergency such as a traffic accident.

Finally, in our ongoing efforts to show veterans our respect, we approved House Bill 227 to create a fund to pay for the burial of veterans whose families cannot afford a decent service. These brave men and women sacrificed a great deal for our freedom and human rights, and this is a small but important way to show that every last one of them are appreciated, right until the end.


Kentucky Highway Fatality Report

Preliminary statistics* indicate that eight people died in eight separate crashes on Kentucky’s roadways from Monday, March 10 through Sunday, March 16, 2008.

Six of the fatalities were traveling in motor vehicles and three of those victims were not wearing seat belts. Four of the motor vehicle fatalities were a result of the suspected use of alcohol. One fatality involved a pedestrian and one involved a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet.

Single fatality crashes occurred in Barren, Knox, Leslie, Madison, McCracken and Ohio counties. The motorcycle fatality occurred in Hopkins county and the pedestrian fatality occurred in Jefferson county.

Through March 16, preliminary statistics* indicate that 140 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2008. That is four more than reported for this time period in 2007. Of the 118 motor vehicle fatalities, 79 victims were not wearing seat belts. There have been 8 motorcycle fatalities and 4 of those were not wearing helmets. A total of 30 fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol. Fourteen fatalities have been pedestrians

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?