Friday, January 23, 2009


Death Rate From Smoking

A new federal study shows Kentucky and West Virginia have the highest death rates from smoking.

The smoking death rate in Kentucky is about 371 deaths for every 100,000 adults, age 35 and older...nearly 1 1/2 times the national average. West Virginia has 344 deaths per 100,000.

Utah and Hawaii rank the lowest.


Verdict For East Ridge Teacher

It took less than an hour for a jury to find a former Pike County teacher innocent. Testimony wrapped up Thursday in the trial of former East Rudge High School teacher Lincoln Shane Bentley.

He was charged in April of last year with two counts of officiial misconduct.


Island Creek's Marion Branch Mine Shut Down

The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources has ordered Central Appalachia Mining, Kentucky, LLC, to shut down work at its Marion Branch mine at Island Creek. The state says Wednesday, a rolling boulder tumbled 500 feet and crashed into a home, rendering it unlivable.

State officials say work can resume after the Energy and Environment Cabinet approves a plan of acation to ensure work will be conducted safely. Rhino Energy of Lexington owns the mining company.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Kentucky Attorney General Releases Price Gouging Response.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (January 22, 2009) - Attorney General Jack Conway and Gov. Steve Beshear today announced the results of the gas price-gouging investigation that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Ike and the subsequent windstorm in Kentucky. The investigation resulted in settlements totaling $107,500 with eight retail stations in seven different Kentucky communities.
“Many of us were shocked and outraged by the scope of the price increases, and on Sept. 12 we decided they merited a closer look,” said Governor Beshear.
On September 12, even before Hurricane Ike made landfall, the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Governor received dozens of calls from consumers across the Commonwealth reporting that gas prices had spiked up to $4.59 at some retail stations. We later saw prices increase as high as $4.99 in some locations. There were also widespread news reports that stations in the southeastern United States could possibly run out of gasoline if Hurricane Ike damaged refineries along the Gulf Coast. At one point, the Office of the Attorney General received so many consumer calls that phone service was temporality disrupted.
“Working with Gov. Beshear, we were able to act quickly to protect consumers,” General Conway said. “Because of our proactive efforts, retailers were put on notice that price gouging would not be tolerated and would be investigated. In most cases, we saw gas prices stabilize within 24 to 48 hours.”
Gov. Beshear, at the request of General Conway, declared a state of emergency on Sept. 12 and triggered the provision under Kentucky statute that gives the attorney general the authority to investigate claims of price gouging. A gas price complaints hotline and email address were set up to quickly and efficiently process consumer complaints. In the week following the disaster declaration, the Office of the Attorney General received nearly 2,000 phone calls and emails from consumers.
“I encouraged consumers to be our eyes and ears throughout the Commonwealth to help us crack down on any retailers who might be trying to take advantage of Kentucky consumers,” General Conway said. “They responded by providing us with valuable evidence that included digital photos and receipts.”
Investigators reviewed all of the complaints and sent subpoenas to retailers who had multiple complaints. Those subpoenas included requests for wholesale and retail price data. Based on the information obtained from the subpoenas, investigators determined that some retailers had a profit margin during the one-week period after the disaster declaration of up to $1.00 per gallon.
“I fully support the success of Kentucky businesses, but their practices must be fair, particularly when it comes to indispensable products like fuel for our cars,” said Gov. Beshear.
Five of the retail stations were owned by Pilot Travel Centers, LLC. The stores are located in Corbin, Williamsburg, Middlesboro, Franklin and Lone Oak. Pilot has agreed to pay $100,000 as part of the settlement.
Krunal, LLC, which owns the T-Mart in Franklin in Simpson County has agreed to pay $5,000 and Mike and David #2, Inc., which owns the T-Mart in Wingo, will pay $2,500. The fines are not an admission of wrongdoing or guilt. All of the stations have denied any wrongdoing.
The Office of the Attorney General will reimburse itself for investigative costs; however, the majority of the settlement money will be deposited into the General Fund with the hope that the General Assembly will appropriate the restitution for a transportation related purpose to benefit the drivers in the affected communities.


Drugs Found At Floyd County Home

Two people have been arrested after hundreds of prscription pills were discovered at a residence in the Blue River community of Floyd County.

Arrested by officers of Operation Unite, the Attorney General's Office, Prestonsburg Police Department and the Floyd County Sheriff's Office were 32-year old Michael A. Helmstetter and 30-year old April L. Slone.

The search resulted in the recovery of 513 Methadone pills, 71 Oxycodone (Percocet) pills and 105 Hydrocodone (Lorcet) pills. Together, the drugs have a combined street value of $7, 496.


Coal Severance Funds To Expo Center

The East Kentucky Expo Center received $150,000 from coal severance tax funds. The money was appropriated by the Kenucky General Assembly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Fiscal Court To Apply For Grant For River Trail Project.

The Pike County Fiscal Court voted Tuesday to pursue funding for the Hatfield McCoy River Trail Project. The proposed trail would run from the Virginia line to the Pike-Martin County line.
The county would have to count for fifty percent enable to get the grant. However, money has been appropriated for the project.


Future Of Lexington's Shriner Hospital Up In Air.

The Pike County Fiscal Court along with the Pike County Health Department has sent a letter of resolution to the board of director's of the Shriners' Hospital in Lexington urging board members to keep the orthopedicfacility open.

Last month the board hired a consulting firm to explore options including consolidating with the Cincinnati hospital or possibly forming a partnership with the UK Hospital.

Thirty-three percent (224) of children in eastern Kentucky that depend on the facility for care comes from Pike County. 224 from Floyd, 107 in Letcher, 79 Knott County, 73 Mingo, WV, 45 Lawrence and 35 from Martin .

A hospital spokesperson didn't contact EKB for comment.

Last month The Herald Leader reported that the problem evolves around the stock market.

Eight-eight percent of the system's operating revenue came from investments in 2007.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Text From WV Gov Joe Manchin's Inaugural Address

Four years ago, I stood before you with a promise.
A promise that West Virginia would no longer stand still while the rest of the world raced by.
A promise that we would do away with the old divisions and begin a new kind of politics-with Democrats, Republicans and Independents, members of the Mountain Party and members of no party-all of us working together to build a New West Virginia.
A promise that our best days were still ahead of us, our greatest strengths still within us, and that, together, we could overcome any challenges we face to create a bright future for our children and grandchildren.
Four years later, I am honored and humbled to stand here once again as your governor.
We still have a long journey ahead of us, but we have already traveled a great distance.
And none of it would have been possible without you, the people of West Virginia. As I’ve always said, I believe in you more than you believe in yourselves.
I want to thank the thousands of state employees who get up every morning, eager to work hard to make life better for all of us in West Virginia. Thank you for your dedication and your service.
I want to thank all the public servants who serve our state with honor and pride, including our two distinguished U.S. Senators, Senator Robert C. Byrd and Senator Jay Rockefeller; our representatives in Washington, Congressman Nick Rahall, Congressman Alan Mollohan, and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito; the justices of our Supreme Court; members of our Board of Public Works; and all our legislators, especially President of the State Senate Earl Ray Tomblin and Speaker of the House of Delegates Rick Thompson.
I’d also like to take a moment to remember a dear friend we lost last year. Governor Cecil H. Underwood dedicated his life to serving the people of West Virginia. He led with fairness, courage, and deep pride in his home state. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
On a personal note, I wouldn’t be here today without my tremendous staff and campaign volunteers. I am so grateful for your belief in me and your continued commitment to building a better West Virginia.
And I don’t know where I’d be without my family. I am so blessed to have their love and their support. I want to thank my wonderful mother, Mary Manchin, my brothers and sisters, Janet, John, Paula and Rocky, my children Heather, Joseph and Brooke and my six wonderful grandchildren, Joey, Kelsey, Sophie, Chloe, Madeline and Jack. And thank you to my incredible wife, the love of my life, my partner in everything, Gayle Manchin, who has served West Virginia with pride and grace as your First Lady.
Today - as we celebrate the 80th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and on the eve of the inauguration of our next president, Barack Obama - we are reminded that this is a country where the future is wide open- where anything is possible. And we are also reminded of our debt to those who came before us.
Three years ago today, two men died in the fire at the Aracoma Alma Mine. Just three weeks before that, 12 men died in the explosions at the Sago Mine. None of us will ever forget that terrible time. We mourned together, and then we stood, united together, and vowed to honor their memory by doing everything we could to eliminate mining deaths in every corner of our state. Today, we have made progress, but we still have more to do-and we will not rest until we meet this sacred responsibility to our neighbors and fellow West Virginians… and, most importantly, to the memory of those we lost.
I learned recently that the word “inauguration” comes from the Latin word “augur,” meaning “omen.” Apparently, before they installed their new leaders, the Romans would wait for good omens to appear. Only then would they venture into a new era.
Today, in West Virginia, we see good omens all around us. Signs of progress, signs of strength, and signs of new beginnings. In the four years since I became your governor, an economic transformation has begun in West Virginia. We’ve created 23,000 new jobs and experienced the lowest unemployment in our history. Last summer, we led the nation in economic growth. Businesses have invested billions here in West Virginia. We’ve cut taxes on families, reformed government, strengthened our schools and health care, and improved services to all of our veterans and seniors.
It’s true that there are new obstacles on the horizon. Our nation is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We can see the effects everywhere-in grim balance sheets and falling home values, in our parents’ shrinking retirement accounts and in the rising costs of… just about everything. And our economists tell us it may get worse before it gets better.
We acknowledge these difficult facts; it would be foolish to deny them. But we are not discouraged by them. Four years ago, we set out on a long-term course for prosperity and growth. That journey may be rocky, but we’re still on the right path.
And we can take confidence in our financial position. It is sound. Because of our fiscal discipline over the last four years, we are entering this period of uncertainty on more solid footing than many other states. Ten years ago, our unemployment rate was the highest in the country. Today, it is consistently better than the national average. And after three straight years of surpluses, our budget outlook is still strong.
We enter this New Year with a clear view of the challenges ahead, a shared vision for our future, and confidence in the advantages we have earned, through our hard work and our sound planning.
Now, let us commit to continuing on the course we set four years ago. Let us commit to building a new West Virginia.
It is not enough to simply call something “new.” We all know that. The river which cuts across half of our great state is the second-oldest river in the world… and we still call it the New River.
A new West Virginia requires a renewed commitment.
So let us commit to creating and protecting more jobs, by attracting new employers to invest in West Virginia, helping our homegrown companies expand, and boosting our entrepreneurs.
Let us commit to seeking affordable, high-quality health care for every working West Virginian. This will make our workers more productive and our companies more competitive. But even more importantly, it will give hundreds of thousands of our neighbors better lives.
Let us commit to strengthening our education system. The jobs of the future will go not to the places with the richest land or most abundant resources, but the places with the richest minds. The only way our children will be able to compete and thrive in this global economy is if we give them a world-class education.
And let us commit to investing in the energy of the future. West Virginians know energy better than almost anyone. This has been our expertise for generations, and we can’t let it go now. That means finding more efficient sources of energy. It means using natural gas, and renewable alternatives like wind, solar, hydro and biofuels.
And it means coal - coal that’s safer than nuclear energy, cheaper than solar power and, unlike most of our oil, which comes from the Middle East, coal comes from right here in West Virginia.
We have the opportunity to use coal, through a much cleaner process, to help our nation become more secure through energy independence. And West Virginia has the researchers with the knowledge to make it happen. Because, our greatest resource isn’t in our land, it’s in our people.
If we tap that resource, the progress we have made will be just the beginning.
As your governor, I've had the chance to talk to people from every corner of the world about our state - the beauty of our mountains, the pride of our people, the strength of our ties to the land, to our history and, most importantly, to each other.
As a salesperson, I have the greatest job in the world – because I have the best product to sell: the State of West Virginia and our people.
We have reason to be proud of our past. West Virginia has an extraordinary story. And it still has lessons for us now, as we look forward to the years to come.
West Virginia has played a major role in making America strong. The coal that our ancestors mined far beneath these mountains fueled the Industrial Revolution. It stoked the steel factories that rose up all over America. The railroads that crisscrossed the nation… the Navy ships that flew our colors during the world wars… they were all powered by West Virginia coal.
And when it came time to go to war, it wasn’t just West Virginia coal powering the armies of Democracy… it was West Virginians themselves – serving and sacrificing in far greater percentages than many other states.
We made America strong… and we kept America strong.
We did it before. We can do it again.
As I look into the future, I do see a New West Virginia. One that is, once again, a hub of global industry and trade.
I see a New West Virginia that once again draws people from around the world, not only for its natural beauty and strong communities, but also for its high-tech jobs, first-class schools and compassionate services.
I see a New West Virginia that once again leads an energy revolution that will keep this nation safe and bring unprecedented prosperity to our state and our country.
If we want to live and work and raise our families in a New West Virginia, then we must build it together.
That is the task we took up four years ago, and it is the task we rededicate ourselves to today.
With hard workers, strong families, strong communities, and the right investment – while others hunker down in the face of this economic storm… we’ll be prepared to take it head on.
And if we do that, we won’t just be the envy of America… we’ll be a model for the entire world.
So once again West Virginians, let’s do what we do best. Let’s roll up our sleeves and let’s get to work!
Thank you, God bless you, may God save the Great State of West Virginia, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.


Logan County Schools Announce Scholarsip Recipients

The Logan County School System has announced the 2009 McKelvey Scholarship award winners. Each student will receive up to $ 3,000 per year to attend a four year institution in West Virginia.

Scholarship winners:

Logan High : Autumn Grove, Sarah Gibson, Chistopher Evans, Tiffany Workman and Kaci Copley.

Chapmanville High : Brittney Vance.

Rachel Booth from Man High.


Mingo County School Bond Levy Passes.

The Mingo County school bond levy passes by a overwhelming margin as seventy five percent of voters approved the five year levy which is expected to generate over thirty eight million dollars . The money is used for extracirricular activities, teachers supplements and textbooks.

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