Thursday, July 30, 2009


Judge Rules Lawson Statement To Remain Sealed

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate has ruled that a 1983 statement made by road contractor Leonard Lawson during an investigation of his company, Mountain Enterprises, will remain where it has been for the past 26 years. Wingate says it has been sealed for 26 years, and there is no immediate need to release it. He says public interest will not be offended by a slight delay, until, at least, after the upcoming trial.


Proposed Settlement Reached In Jackson County Ten Commandments Case

A proposed settlement involving Ten Commandments displays inside the Jackson County courthouse has been reached between the county and its Judge Executive William Smith and the American Civil Liberties Union and McKee resident Eugene Phillips. Smith had nine framed displays removed last week in order to avoid a costly battle after Phillips sued, claiming a violation of the First Amendment rule against government-sponsored religion. The parties involved have agreed to a judgment of $5,912, in attorneys' fees and court costs, and a permanent injunction against similar displays.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Pikeville Police Nab Suspected Killer

A nationwide manhunt for suspected killer 49 year old David Metzoian of River Rouge, Michigan ended Tuesday when Pikeville Police arrested him on unrelated shoplifting charges. Metzoian is suspected of fatally stabbing 51 year old Wendy Jo Buccini, his girlfriend, whose body was found Monday night inside a back office at the Jefferson Station bar located in a Detroit suburb. Michigan authorities say Metzoian stabbed the victim, set the place on fire and fled.

When police called his cell phone, they were taunted when his response was, "Catch me if you can." They say Metzoian has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for second-degree murder in 1983, drug possession in 1998, drugs and felony firearms in 2000 and credit card fraud in 2004. He was released from prison November 1, 2008.

Pikeville Police Officer Tony Conn, who arrested the suspect after a Wal-Mart employee noticed he and a female companion were attempting to steal Timex watches, says he didn't know until he was off-duty that Metzoian was the subject of a nationwide manhunt and was listed as armed and dangerous.


Pikeville College President Cites Health Problems As Reason For Resignation

After seven months on the job, Pikeville College President Michael Looney, who previously served as provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Schreiner University in Texas, has submitted his resignation. Looney says health issues would prevent him from focusing full time on the needs of the college. During a search for the 18th. president, the school's vice-president for finance and business affairs, Jim Evans, will assume the responsibility as the school's chief executive.


Pike County Firm Employed Worker Killed At Boone County Mine

The contract employee killed at Catenary Coal Company's Samples Mine in Boone County Tuesday has been identified as 28 year old Mark Gray of Belle. The worker, whose truck overturned into a pond, was employed by Hawkeye Construction of Robinson Creek, Kentucky. Since 2001, there have been at least three other deaths at the Samples Mine.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


FEMA Leaves Eastern Kentucky Officials More Optimistic

FEMA has gone, but what they left behind will be long remembered. As the deadline passed Monday for applying for FEMA flood assistance, officials in the five eligible counties say they're more optimistic than they were three months ago. At Johns Creek Elementary and Belfry Middle School, students were unable to complete the year, but Pike County Superintendent Roger Wagner says repairs will be completed in time to open on August 12th. Emergency management director Doug Tackett says roads are open in all areas of the county, and volunteer groups are assisting people who are rebuilding after housing assistance in Pike County amounted to a staggering $5 million. In Breathitt County, 95% of the 300, or so, displaced people are in temporary or new housing.


Prestonsburg Smoking Ban Put On Hold

A final vote on a smoking ban in Prestonsburg was put on hold Monday night when city council members were faced with many new questions involving exemptions and amendments. At the meeting, bingo became a big issue when Paul Edwards, with the Prestonsburg VFW, suggested fewer people would play if smoking became banned, meaning fewer funds for the VFW and other organizations that benefit from bingo revenue. Edwards says the loss would affect help given to veterans and their families. Some disagreed, but many say, if smoking is banned, bingo players will head just a short distance away to a bingo hall just outside city limits.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Former Temporary Governor's Mansion Sold

It served as Kentucky's temporary governor's mansion when John Y. Brown was governor, but, Monday (today), Cave Hill sold for $800,000 . The 17 acre estate was sold to Logan Asset Back Fund, a private lender in Boca Raton, Florida, which held a defaulted $1.3 million mortgage. Bruce Fein, a constutional lawyer in Washington and his wife, Mattie, had purchased the estate from Brown in July 2006 for $1.9 million, but the mansion remained empty. The Feins put it on the market for $2.45 million in December 2006. The house was ordered sold to pay the mortgage.


Kentucky Department Of Corrections Seeks Tougher Prison Sex Laws

The Kentucky Department of Corrections, the Kentucky State Police and the state of Hawaii are currently investigating sexual abuse allegations by inmates at the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright. Next month, a Floyd County grand jury is expected to hear the case. For years, the Department of Corrections has attempted to push a bill that would increase the penalty from a maximum of 12 months to a maximum of five years, saying they don't believe there is such a thing as consensual sex between guards and inmates. They're pushing for tougher prison sex laws in Kentucky, which is one of just three states that consider sexual contact between guards and inmates a misdemeanor.


Ethics Complaint Reaches Settlement

To settle an ethics complaint that arose while Darrell Brock Jr. served as commissioner of the Governor's Office for Local Development during the administration of former Governor Ernie Fletcher, Brock has paid $1,000. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission had filed one count against Brock, alleging he pressured a supervisor in another state agency to give a merit-system job to a woman, based on her support for Fletcher, even though she had continually interviewed poorly and wasn't the best person for the job.

Several other officials continue to fight charges and have appealed in court to have them dismissed. A hearing against former Transportation Cabinet official Dan Druen is scheduled in August.


Countrywide Mortgage Borrowers Could Be Eligible For Settlement

Attorney General Jack Conway says some Kentucky consumers, who had home loans with Countrywide Mortgage, can begin making claims for a financial settlement. Conway says the settlement will settle allegations of predatory lending practices against Countrywide, and, borrowers whose homes were foreclosed upon within 12 months, are eligible for an average of a little more than $1,500. Those eligible have or will soon receive claim forms in the mail.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Pike County Health Department Unveils New Mobile Health Clinic

Providing health services for the largest county in terms of land is no easy task for the Pike County Health Department. Maybe the department will become even more effective as they now have a new mobile health clinic. The vehicle was made possible by a $250,000 grant. Health care services, ranging from flu shots and pap smears to male cancer screenings, will be provided. Now that the initial public showing has taken place, the health department will soon announce a schedule of appearances in Pike County. If you wish the mobile medical unit to come to your area, you can call 606-437-5500.


Pike County Receives Prestigious Awards At National Ceremony

At the National Association of Counties Award Ceremony held this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, Pike County received prestigious awards for five programs...its Energy Strategy, Veterans Hall of Honor, Human Resource Interagency Coalition, Remote Area Medical Expedition and Jail Farm programs. Pike County Judge Executive Wayne Rutherford says he's proud of Pike County, the only county in Kentucky to receive any awards this year.


Pikeville College Names New Alumni Association President

Kay Hammond was recently named Pikeville College Alumni Association President, an 11,000 member association which consists of graduates and others who have attended Pikeville College. In addition to Pikeville College, the retired high school librarian is currently the director of the Applachian Pregnancy Care Center, director of the Pikeville College Baptist Campus Ministry and an alumna of Morehead State University and Eastern Kentucky University.


Indicted Pike County Deputy Says Sexual Relations Were Consensual

A Pike County grand jury has indicted Deputy Sheriff 52 year old William "Bill" Hatfield of Buskirk after a female accused him of raping her during an April 30th. traffic stop on U.S. 119 in the Meta community. Kentucky State Police arrested him on May 1st. and charged him with first-degree rape. Hatfield admits to having sexual relations with the woman, but he says it was consensual. He has pleaded not guilty.


Pike County Funds Community Centers

According to a release from the Pike County Fiscal Court, funding, from coal severance tax and county funds, is in place for new community centers, at Kimper, Mouthcard and Dorton. District 5 Magistrate Hilman Dotson says the center at Kimper is 90% completed and should open within the next two months. Once open, it will serve as a senior citizens center as well as being available to the community. Ground-breaking is expected to take place soon for the Mouthcard and Dorton centers. Also, slated for the near future, the county plans to construct a picnic area and playground on property at Greasy Creek.


Hazard Hosts Flood Insurance Workshop

Learn more about flood insurance Tuesday, July 28th., when national flood insurance program specialists hold a public meeting at 2:00 P.M. at the Kentucky River Area Development District at 917 Perry Park Road in Hazard. Everyone is invited to attend to learn the facts, the myths and the misconceptions about the program, and obtain useful and accurate information, while having their questions answered.


Former Mine Safety Analyst Admits She Falsified Reports

Fifty year old Betty Sue Whittaker of Perry County, who worked as a state Mine Safety and Licensing analyst in the Hazard district from July 1999 to March 2nd., has been reprimanded and fined $1,500 by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Whittaker admitted to falsifying mine reports and failing to perform other job duties.

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