Friday, January 09, 2009


Mining Deaths Lowest On Record

According to data released by federal regultors, the number of miners killed on the job in the United States fell to 51 in 2008. MSHA says the 51 deaths are the lowest number since the federal government began keeping records in 1910. The previous low was 55 in 2004.

Coal mines accounted for 29 deaths, down from 34 in 2004. Copper, stone and other types of mines totaled 22, down from 33 in 2007.

Safety laws and enforcement were among factors in the decline.


Pike County Inmate Escapes

The Kentucky State Police are searching for 30-year old Michael Farley of Lovely, KY. He walked out of the Pike County Detention Center on Wednesday.

Pfficials say he left after forging another prisoner's name on a bond release form. Farley is described as being 6'1", weighing 315 lbs., black hair, a beard and moustache.

He was last seen wearing a grey sweatshirt and blue pajama bottoms. He had been arrested on theft charges.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Majority Of Kentucky Voters Support Cigarette Tax Increase.

Kentucky voters strongly support a substantial increase in the state cigarette tax, with 69 percent saying they would back a $1 increase, according to a new poll released today by a coalition of Kentucky health leaders.
The $1 cigarette tax increase is 30 cents more than the 70 cents proposed by Governor Beshear to help solve the state budget crisis, and would allow Kentucky to take a major step toward reducing its highest-in-the-nation smoking rate. Health leaders are calling on legislators to listen to Kentuckians and approve a substantial increase to the state’s 30-cent per pack cigarette tax, both to reduce smoking among kids and to generate critical new revenue.
"The cigarette tax is a proven strategy to protect thousands of Kentucky kids from tobacco addiction while, at the same time, helping the state address budget concerns," said Paul Kiser, Director of the state tobacco control coalition, Kentucky ACTION. "The Legislature should listen to the people of Kentucky and act quickly to increase the cigarette tax to at least $1 a pack."
Governor Beshear previously announced his plans to propose a 70-cent cigarette tax increase this year to help alleviate the state’s budget shortfall – an increase level that voters support by a more than two-to-one margin (68 percent to 30 percent), according to the poll results. But a $1 cigarette tax increase generated near identical support (69 percent), showing Beshear and other state leaders that voters are ready for a significant increase in the tax to raise much-needed revenue and reduce state smoking rates.
Support for a significant tobacco tax increase is evident among virtually every political and demographic subgroup of voters in the Bluegrass State, as majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, men and women, young and old, and residents of all parts of the state support the tax. "The cigarette tax is clearly not a partisan issue," said pollster Glen Bolger of the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.
The survey of 500 registered Kentucky voters was released by a coalition of health groups led by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kentucky ACTION and Kentucky Voices for Health. In announcing its results, the group declared a cigarette tax increase a "trifecta" win for Kentucky.
"A $1 increase in the state’s cigarette excise tax is a win for public health because it will reduce smoking, particularly among kids; it’s a win for the state’s fiscal health because it will raise more than $275 million in new annual revenues for the state, and it’s and a win for politicians who support it because of overwhelming voter support," said Mike Kuntz, Senior Director of Advocacy, American Lung Association of the Midland States.


Jones' Drugged DUI Bill Goes To Senate Floor For Vote

FRANKFORT - The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved Senator Ray S.
Jones' bill that strengthens Kentucky's DUI (Driving Under the
Influence) laws.
With this bill, Senator Jones continues his fight to curb the rising drug problem in Eastern Kentucky into a third legislative session.
Senate Bill 5 would establish a per se DUI offense for driving with a detectable level of an illegal substance or a controlled substance for which the person does not have a valid prescription. However, if the person has a valid prescription and has complied with the dosage and any drug-related restrictions, the proposed amendment would not apply.
"The number of arrests for driving under the influence of a controlled substance are rapidly increasing, and may soon surpass alcohol-related DUIs," said Senator Jones, who filed the same bill during the 2007 and
2008 legislative sessions. Both bills passed the Senate, but failed to pass the House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 5 would also reduce the alcohol concentration from 0.18 to
0.15 for establishing an aggravating circumstance which allows for imposition of increased penalties for driving under the influence. This provision is needed to prevent Kentucky from losing federal highway funds.
According to the National Transportation Safety Administration, drugs other than alcohol are involved in nearly one out of every five motor vehicle driver deaths. Alcohol is involved in more than one out of every three.
"These statistics cannot be ignored because this is not just a Kentucky problem. This is a national problem," said Senator Jones, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "To aid in getting drugged drivers off the highways, we need to make sure our law enforcement officers have at their disposal every available tool to use for the protection of the citizens of Kentucky."
This legislation, which has been long sought after by the Kentucky County Attorney’s Association, is aimed at getting drugged drivers off the highways and into the court system where they will be ordered to receive the treatment they need for their addiction.
"Currently, our DUI laws make it illegal to drive with any drug, including prescription medications, in your system that impairs the ability to operate a motor vehicle," said Senator Jones. "Unfortunately, this law, as it is currently written, is very difficult to enforce, and as a result, many drugged drivers are able to avoid prosecution. If we can get drugged drivers off our highways, and into treatment programs, we can take a big step in the right direction."
Senator Jones said this proposed legislation would close the loophole, which allows drugged drivers to avoid conviction. Under current law, there is a per se DUI offense for driving with a blood alcohol level greater than .08, but there is no per se or quantitative standards for impairment levels for a controlled substance.
The Kentucky County Attorneys Association, Inc. (KCAA) has endorsed Senator Jones' drugged driving bill for the past two years and is expected to take similar action this year. For his dedication to such legislation as the drugged driving bill, KCAA awarded Senator Jones the first-ever Legislative Excellence Award in 2007.
Senate Bill 5 now moves to the State Senate Floor for a vote. If Senate Bill 5 gains approval in the State Senate, it will move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Senator Jones represents the 31st district, which includes Pike, Martin and Johnson counties.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Floyd County Boy Dies

Prestonsburg police report 8 year old Seth Lafferty died at Cabell-Huntington Hospital late Tuesday night after being involved in a multi-vehicle accident on U. S. 23 in Prestonsburg.

Police say his mom, Crystal Jarvis, had picked up Lafferty and his brother, Curtis Leslie, from Allen Elementary School where he was a third- grader. Jarvis was driving on U. S. 23 when a mini-van driven by Hiram Carroll turned from Town Branch Road into the path of her vehicle. Investigators say Lafferty, who was in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt, slammed into the windshield. Jarvis, Leslie and Carroll remain hospitalized.


Martin County Man Sentenced.

A Martin County , Kentucky man was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this week in Mingo County Circuit Court. Daniel Arnold Kazee, 32, of Beauty pleaded guilty to a gun possession charge. The violation occurred in Jan of 2008.

Kazee was convicted of a drug charge in Martin County back in 2006.


Minor Flooding In Mingo County.

Heavy rains caused problems for residents in portions of Mingo County Wednesday morning. Authorities told us water blocked the roads for several hours at Goodman Hollow, Marrowbone and areas near Delbarton. A Mingo County school bus was stranded in high water at Twelve Pole Creek in Dingess. No students were on board. The area received several inches of rain in a 24 hour period.


Kentucky And West Virginia Among States To Reach Settlement With Santa Fe Tobacco Company.

Attorney General Jack Conway announced today that his office, along with 41 other states, has reached a settlement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company after the company violated the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement by distributing decorative tin signs to consumers that featured its “Natural American Spirit” cigarettes brand name.

Distribution of merchandise bearing the brand name of cigarette companies violates the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), the historic settlement between state attorneys general and tobacco manufacturers. According to the settlement announced today, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company agrees not to distribute the following types of brand name merchandise in the future: decorative tin signs; toys; games; fashion accessories; CDs; DVDs; video games; clothing; athletic equipment; outdoor gear; luggage; stationery items; house wares; and paintings or plaques intended for the home. In addition, Santa Fe agrees to pay a penalty of $250 for every future violation of the agreement.

The MSA, which was reached in 1998, required tobacco companies to pay more than $200 billion to 52 states and territories, and imposed significant marketing and advertising restrictions on the participating tobacco manufacturers. Since the MSA was signed, American consumption of cigarettes has declined by over 100 billion cigarettes, based on data from the American Lung Association. According to the Centers for Disease Control, however, tobacco-related disease continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and results in more than $190 billion in medical expenses each year.

The states comprising the coalition include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.


State Senator Johnny Ray Turner Assigned To Committees.

FRANKFORT - Senator Johnny Ray Turner, D-Drift, said today that the Senate committees he will be serving on for the next two years will enable him to advocate for the 29th district.
Senator Turner has been assigned to the Natural Resources and Energy Committee and will continue to serve on the Senate’s Committee on Committees; State and Local Government; Education, and Rules committees.
“These committees handle bills and investigate issues that are very important to our area and give me the opportunity to weigh in on issues that are significant to my district,” said Senator Turner, who represents Breathitt, Floyd, Knott and Letcher counties. “I look forward to serving on all of my committees and value the impact I can make through work on individual committees such as Education and Natural Resources and Energy where I can be a strong voice for education and the coal industry."
Senator Turner, who also serves as Senate Minority Caucus Chair, said he will continue to work for the people of his district.
“Through my work in Frankfort, I will be a proponent for any legislation that is in the best interests of my district and all of Kentucky,” he said. “I am ready to hit the ground running this session.”
The Senate committee appointments were announced during the organizational meeting of the 2009 Legislative Session, which convened Jan. 6 and runs through Friday in Frankfort. The legislature will reconvene Feb. 3.
“This is a short session, but it could include some very important legislation. I encourage the citizens of my district to keep in touch with me. Their input will be important as I make decisions that could influence new laws,” said Senator Turner.


Local Kentucky State Senator Assigned To Natural Resources And Energy Committee.

FRANKFORT - Senator Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, said that the Senate committees he will be serving on for the next two years will enable him to advocate for the 31st district and he is especially pleased with a new assignment that will let him be a voice for Eastern Kentucky.
Senator Jones, who was a member of the legislative working group that wrote Kentucky’s 2007 Energy Independence legislation, was named to the Natural Resources and Energy Committee during today’s organization meeting of the 2009 Legislative Session. He was also reappointed to the Judiciary, and the Economic Development, Tourism and Labor committees.
“These committees handle bills and investigate issues that are very important to our area and will give me the opportunity to weigh in on issues that are very important to my district. I am especially pleased to be named to the Natural Resources and Energy Committee because of the impact it could have on Eastern Kentucky,” said Senator Jones, who represents Johnson, Martin and Pike counties. “As a representative of the leading coal region, it is important that I have a voice in legislation that affects the coal industry.”
Jones encourages his constituents to keep in contact.
“This is a short session, but it could include some very important legislation. I want the citizens of my district to keep in touch with me. Their input will be important as I make decisions that could influence new laws,” said Senator Jones.


Few Roads Blocked In Flood Prone Areas In Mingo County

According to Mingo County 911 the heavy rainfall is causing problems in a few low lying areas.

Highwater has been reported in the road in front of the Jay Michael Mart on U.S. 52 at Varney, Goodman Hollow, Twelve Pole Creek and Marrowbone.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


State Senator Johnny Ray Turner Re-Elected As Caucus Chair

FRANKFORT – Senator Johnny Ray Turner, D-Drift, was re-elected today to his third term as Senate Caucus Chair by the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Senator Turner thanked his colleagues for their support and said he looks forward to the 2009 Legislative Session. "We have a lot of work to do in the months ahead," he said. "We will be looking at important issues including education, economic development and health care as well as addressing the $456 million budget shortfall. With the state and nation in the midst of a recession, it is important that we focus on the financial stability of the Commonwealth and finding the necessary revenue to provide services essential to our citizens. ”
Senator Turner, who represents Breathitt, Knott, Floyd and Letcher counties, has been a member of the State Senate since 2001. He was first elected as Caucus Chair in 2003.
An educator for 28 years, Senator Turner taught and coached in Floyd, Johnson and Magoffin counties. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Morehead State University.


Letcher County Man Involved In Accident Was Found Shot

The Kentucky State Police informed us that a Letcher County man is a patient at the UK Medical Center after being in a car accident after being shot in the chest Monday night.

The victim 42 year-old William Benjamin Mullins of Jenkins was shot in chest after being in a dispute with the alleged shooter 64 year-old Denton Houston also of Jenkins. The shooting occurred at Shelby Gap of Pike County.
Houston is being held in the Pike County Detention Center on a $ 10,000 full cash bond.


WV Continues To See Surplus

West Virginia continues to run in the black through the first six months of fiscal year 2009. According to officials the Mountain State has a current surplus of nearly $ 75 million. Officials say the reason for the good numbers is because of the severance money in the energy market and strong collections in personal income tax. For the year the general revenue is currently $ 370 million, that is $ 2.4 million more than expected. Officials warn that the surplus cound dwindle due to declining coal prices.


New West Virginia Drug Courts Scheduled

Five new Drug Courts are scheduled to open early this year, serving Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Kanawha, Cabell and Preston Counties. The courts will handle nonviolent offenders by placing them in a structured environment to give them an opportunity to change their lives.

Drug Courts typically require nonviolent offenders to undergo treatment and be supervised for at least a year.


Floyd County School Faces Shaky Future

Mountain Christian Academy in Floyd County is in danger of closing. The Academy is losing funding from the Christian Appalachian Project.

In need of more than $100,000 to support education for 80 students from preschool to eighth grade, officials say they're facing a shaky future for the next school year.

Administrators have raised lunch prices by 50-cents and say they may be forced to cut the lunch program altogether. They say they may have to reduce salaries, or, do away with staff insurance. The school is applying for grants and attempting to increase enrollment.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Four People Die On Kentucky Roadways During Holiday Period

FRANKFORT, KY) – Preliminary statistics* indicate that four people died in four separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways during the News Year's holiday period from 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. This is three less fatalities than during the 2007-2008 New Year's holiday period when seven people lost their lives in six crashes.


Three Veteran School Board Members To Be Sworn In

The Pike County Board of Education will meet Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. The BOE will elect a chairman and vice chairman of the board and also establish when they will conduct there meetings in 2009.

Board members J.C. Chaney, Frank McGuire and Earl Thacker will be administered the oath at 5:30 p.m.


December Crackdown Results From Kentucky State Police In Post 9

Law enforcement officials out of Post 9 in Pikeville increased patrol from Dec 13 to Dec 31st. Troopers were out for 4,948 hours. They operated 24 checkpoints.

The following is a breakdown of citations and arrests:

Speeding 215
No insurance 138
DUI 139
Seatbelt 131
Reckless driving 14
Suspended license 41
Drug Arrests 23
Child Restraints 3
Fugitives 1
Stolen Vehicles Recovered 1
Felony Arrests 28

In total 1,655 contacts were made.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Pike County Couple Attacked In Home

KSP are searching for two white males who allegedly attacked Ricky Hopkins and his wife, Angela Hopkins, while inside their home on Dry Fork of Shelbianna.

Ricky Hopkins told police two men showed up at his home just after midnight Sunday morning and asked to use the phone. When he turned to get the phone, the men entered the home and attacked him, demanding drugs and money.

When his wife heard the assault, she entered the living room and was duct-taped to a chair and cut on the neck with a knife. The men stole electronics and money before leaving on foot. The Hopkinses were treated and released at Pikeville Medical Center. One suspect is described as 6ft. tall, weighing 200 lbs, mid-to-late 20s with a light-colored moustache and goatee. The other is described as being 5ft. 10in. and slender.

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