Friday, June 12, 2009


Pike County Mine Lays Off Workers

Premier Elkhorn Coal Company, a subsidiary of TECO Coal, has laid off about one hundred miners, who will be paid through June 19th., at their PE4 and PE5 mines located in Pike County and along the Pike-Letcher County border. TECO says the economy and depressed coal market have created a drastic cut-back in orders, but, right now, there are no more layoffs planned.


Floods Prompt State Of Emergency In Pike County

In approximately one month, a second state of emergency has been declared for Pike County. The National Weather Service reported that up to three inches of rain fell in some parts of the state on Thursday and early Friday, while heavy rains caused flash flooding in eastern and south central Kentucky. Some residents in the Sidney, Dix Fork and Coon Creek areas were continuing to clean-up from the May 9th. flooding when their homes were flooded once again, causing it to really hit hard for those who were double-hammered. Pike County Emergency Manager Doug Tackett says high waters forced a mobile home off its foundation, and the Millard Fire Department was called out to rescue many stranded people in their area. In Zebulon, about four feet of water blocked at least one resident from his home, while the first floor of Bevins Elementary was flooded, and the Big Creek Fire Department was flooded with at least three feet of water inside.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Groundbreaking For New Public Housing Unit In Elkhorn City

The process of adding additional public housing units within the Pike County Housing Authority began Thursday (today) with a groundbreaking ceremony. On a half-acre site between the old high school and the Elkhorn City Elementary School, a sixteen unit complex will bring to forty the number of housing units in Elkhorn City. David Carmichael with the primary contractor, R. A. Williams Construction Company, told us that a completion date of ten to twelve months was expected. Gay Newsome, executive director of the Pike County Housing Authority, told us funding for the project was provided by HUD under provisions that provide housing for the elderly. Pike County Judge Executive Wayne Rutherford saw this project as a real plus for the county.


Beshear Outlines Special Session Agenda

Governor Steve Beshear has outlined details of proposals which he wants considered when a special legislative session begins Monday. Along with a $1 billion budget shortfall, video lottery terminals at racetracks and a funding mechanism for mega-transportation projects, he also has designed a plan to lure businesses and keep jobs in Kentucky. Among other things, the bill would give legislative approval to use a Hardin County industrial site funded by the state for a proposed advanced battery manfacturing complex Kentucky hopes to secure, an incentive to lure a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race to the Kentucky Speedway and tax cuts for the movie industry. Most of the issues contained in the legislation were approved by the House and Senate in the regular session.


Kentucky Registrry Of Ekection Finance Investigating Prestonsburg Mayor

A complaint filed by Dr. Phillip Simpson to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance alleges Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin violated several campaign finance laws during his 2006 election campaign. The complaint accuses Fannin of failing to pay thousands of dollars of campaign funds to T&K Signs, of which Fannin was a co-owner. Registry officials have ruled that Fannin failed to file complete and accurate reports of his finances, and he allegedly violated other laws by making personal cash payments for campaign materials.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Massey Energy Idles Harlan County Mine

On Monday, Massey Energy idled its Darby Mine No. 1 in Harlan County, laying off 27 workers. The mine opened in September and was operated by Coalgood Energy Company. Massey says the decision was made due to a sluggish economy and the current coal market decline. This Darby mine is not the one involved in a 2006 explosion that killed five miners.


Paintsville Goes Wet...Leaving Mixed Feelings

The city of Paintsville had been dry since 1944, and four wet/dry votes since then had failed, until Tuesday, when voters approved, by a margin of 650 to 594, the sale of alcohol inside city limits. The wet/dry vote was the only measure on the ballot, and unofficial results show 1,244 votes were cast. While some are pleased with the outcome, believing it will increase revenue by attracting more restaurants and other businesses, some are not so pleased. One person says Paintsville will lose its "Mayberry-esque" quality, and opponents hope to get the issue back on the ballot in three years.


Harlan County Mine Foreman Killed

Fifty-eight year old Wilson Rome Meade was pronounced dead in the emergency room of Harlan Applachian Regional Hospital around 8:00 P.M. Tuesday night after being injured in a mining accident just after 7:00 P.M. at the D&C Mining Corporation in Harlan County.MSHA reports that Meade, who was a section foreman, was injured when a chain, holding a load of concrete blocks in a scoop, came loose, letting the blocks roll down a slope, crushing him against a conveyor belt.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


FEMA Approves Aid For Magoffin County

Individuals, households and business owners in Magoffin County who suffered losses from the May storms and flooding are now eligible to apply for disaster assistance. To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. seven days a week, or register online at FEMA says to get the help you qualify for, and register right away.


FEMA Holds Mitigation Community Education Outreach For Flood Victims

As we enter the second month following the May 9th. flooding in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, continues to press the point that people who suffered losses must begin the process of getting financial help by registering at 1-800-FEMA (3362) or online at Public education on the process will take place beginning Wednesday June 10th. and running through June 24th. from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the Lowe's store located at 183 Cassady Blvd. in Pikeville. Through the Mitigation Community Education Outreach, flood victims can talk to FEMA experts about simple, inexpensive techniques to start rebuilding your home and life now and how to reduce future losses from a similar storm.


Beshear Lays Out Plan For Expanded Gambling

Within days of a June 15th. special legislative session, Governor Steve Beshear has laid out a plan detailing his proposal to allow video lottery terminals at approved horse racing tracks across Kentucky.

Under the plan, a significant portion of revenue generated by video lottery terminals would support horse industry interests, including 14.5% being used to enhance thoroughbred, standardbred and quarter horse interests through purse supplements and other incentives. One percent of the revenue would go to the Equine Breed Authority, which would be established to promote non-racing breeds and economic development opportunities for the horse industry. Each track facility would pay a $25,000 initial application fee plus an additional ten year license fee, with five year renewals, which would generate $360 million for the state's General Fund.

Revenues from the terminals would cover tax reductions associated with income tax credits for state property taxes on cars and active duty military pay exemptions from individual income tax. Beginning January 1, 2010, taxpayers would save an estimated $30 million through a non-refundable individual income tax credit equal to 50%, but not over $500 per tax year, of the state property tax paid on registered motor vehicles. Beginning January 1,2011, all active military pay would be exempt from individual income tax, an estimated savings of $18 million for eligible taxpayers. Additional sales tax relief would be provided for purchases related to the breeding, raising, training or transporting of horses. The exemption would not include barns, automobiles or truck and truck-trailer combinations.

The video lottery terminals would be administered and regulated by the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, who, after initial implementation costs, would be allocated up to $2 million annually for the administration and oversight of the terminals. The video lottery terminals would be placed at approved tracks licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, and access to the facilities would be limited to those 21 years of age or older.

Monday, June 08, 2009


President Obama Names Federal Coordinating Officer For Flooded Kentucky

The process of flood recovery continues in the four county area of eastern Kentucky struck by flooding that began on May 9th. We talked with the person appointed by President Barack Obama to oversee the federal response to the tragedy. Kim Cadish, Federal Coordinating Officer, gave his impression of what he saw when visiting Pike County last week. Cadish was impressed with the determination and willingness of the people to work cooperatively in getting recovery work done. Even more than the raw numbers generated by the flooding, Cadish was moved by the spirit shown by the people as eastern Kentucky continues to struggle with the process of recovery.


KSP Investigating Shooting

Kentucky State Police are investigating a shooting which occurred early Sunday morning. Keith Williams was arrested and charged with first-degree assault after 31 year old Andrea Dull walked into Pikeville Medical Center just after midnight with a gunshot wound to the chest. Dull was listed in stable condition. No other details were released.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


FEMA Has Approved Nearly $6 Million In Kentucky

According to figures released from Frankfort, as of Saturday, 2,621 individuals in Kentucky had applied for FEMA assistance, while $6.2 million had been approved, and $5.9 million had been given to residents whose homes were destroyed by the May flooding. Close to $700,000 had been approved to help cover personal losses, medical costs and other expenses not covered by insurance. Buddy Rogers, spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, says there's no way to tell how long the recovery process will take. Federal and state officials visited Magoffin County last week, adding up damages while trying to meet the FEMA threshold for grants and loans.

Don Jacks, FEMA public information officer, says officials are attempting to debunk myths and rumors. "Only uninsured or underinsured property is eligible to be repaired or replaced by FEMA," he said, "and it doesn't necessarily matter if you live in a flood still might qualify for aid."

Pike County Judge Executive Wayne Rutherford announced at a meeting Friday that delays in disbursement of previous disaster funds have pinched some county budgets. He guessed the county was waiting on a large chunk of money from a 2003 flood repair project. Nancy Price, government liaison for the Kentucky Emergency Management Department, says that's a sign counties need to keep track of paperwork and follow-up as projects are finished. She says there's a lot of money from FEMA that never gets claimed or applied for, or it waits in state accounts much longer than it needs to when counties don't follow-up with proper procedure.


West Virginia Man's Trial Preparation Moving Forward

A triple murder, rape and arson trial which has been moved from Carter County to Johnson County appears to be moving forward again. At a status conference Friday, attorneys told Carter County Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips that experts examining DNA, cell phone and arson evidence in the case of Robert Drown had nearly completed their work, and arson experts are scheduled to complete a review of physical evidence Monday and should have a final report to the defense team within a couple of weeks. Drown, a convicted sex offender from Kenova, is charged with the May 2007 murders of 31 year old Jennifer Ison and her daughters, 10 year old Shannah and 3 year old Marissa. Another status conference is set for June 25th.


TVA Chairman Says Coal Will Continue As Part Of Nation's Energy Policy

Fifty-eight year old Robert "Mike" Duncan of Inez, Ky., who is chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, says he expects coal will continue to be a critical component of the nation's energy policy. He says, despite proposals in Washington that would abolish wet coal ash storage and mandate renewable energy as a substitute, he sees no immediate end to a reliance on coal. He says he agrees with shifting the focus to conservation, along with developments in natural gas, nuclear, solar and wind power, but mines in eastern Kentucky and elsewhere will continue to play a vital role. He says the challenge facing the TVA is building public trust.


Superceding Indictment Could Change Bid-Rigging Trial Date

A superceding indictment returned Friday for former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert, road contractor Leonard Lawson and aide Brian Billings could delay a June 23rd. trial date. Prosecutors asked for another arraignment date following the indictment which combines two conspiracy counts and alleged actions, including cash payments for bids involving $130 million in road contracts, along with a coverup scheme.

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