Saturday, October 10, 2009


Ky. Highway Fatalities To Be Posted

As a reminder to motorists, beginning Tuesday, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety will begin posting highway fatality totals on more than 50 electronic message boards on interstates and parkways. Officials say they hope the reminders will encourage drivers to obey the laws and watch out for the safety of all who use Kentucky roadways. Although the totals will be posted, officials say messages such as road closures and Amber Alerts will take priority.


Kentucky Lt. Governor To Participate In Florida Drug Panel

After being invited by Florida's Broward County Assistant State Attorney Timothy Donnelly, Kentucky Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo will testify by phone before a Florida circuit court grand jury Wednesday about Kentuckians who travel to Florida pain clinics to obtain prescriptions for drugs they transport back to Kentucky to either abuse, misuse or illegally sale within the state. Mongiardo will offer his opinion, both as a doctor and a Lt. Governor, on the effect the prescription drug monitoring system, which was signed into law this summer, has had on the activity between the two states.


Kentucky School Buses Going Green

The Kentucky Department of Education is slated to receive $12.9 million in stimulus funds to help replace some of the more than 9,800 diesel-fueled school buses around the state, with the oldest buses being replaced first and school districts getting funds based on the area's need to replace its existing buses. Officials say there is enough funding provided for each district to receive funds, but some with newer fleets may not request it. It could be spring before any of the 174 districts turn their yellow buses green.


Consensus Forecasting Group To Discuss Kentucky State Budget

On Monday, a team known as the Consensus Forecasting Group will convene in Frankfort to consider preliminary revenue estimates for the current and next two fiscal years. According to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, plunging tax receipts may produce a state budget shortfall of $150 million to $200 million in the current fiscal year. Since last September, Kentucky's revenue from income taxes has fallen nearly 10%, while general fund receipts have fallen by a similar amount, leaving the state government's financial situation weary. A report released Friday shows the total revenue for September at $725.6 million, down from September 2008, when the total stood at $804.6 million for the month.


Army Corps Of Engineers To Hold Public Hearings

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled public hearings for this coming week in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee for the purpose of considering proposals to eliminate or, at least, suspend a streamlined process coal companies have used to obtain permits for mountaintop mining. One proposal would bar issuing permits under the streamlined process, meaning companies would be required to obtain individual permits. The other proposal would merely suspend the streamlined process while the Corps evaluates changes.


Environmental Groups Join Battle Over Chief Logan Park Drilling

In June, Logan County Circuit Judge Roger Perry overturned a denial by the state Department of Environmental Protection which blocked drilling permits for nearly three dozen new natural gas wells sought by Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. which proposed drilling inside Chief Logan State Park. Requests from environmental groups, the Highlands Conservancy, the Friends of Blackwater, the Sierra Club, and former state parks chief Cordie Hudkins and the state Division of Natural Resources to participate in the ongoing court case have been honored, and the deadline for the ruling to be appealed has been extended to October 19th. DEP officials have promised to appeal to the state Supreme Court, and the Division of Natural Resources vows to block the drilling.


Fallen Firefighters Memorial In West Virginia

In observance of Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day, which has been celebrated for the past nine years, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin has ordered all state flags at the Capitol Complex be flown at half-staff Sunday as an opportunity to give thanks to those who risked their lives to protect the lives and properties of others. The West Virginia State Firemen's Association will hold a memorial service at 1:00 P.M.


Public Water Coming For Dingess Residents

Funding is in place, and a public water supply system for residents in Dingess, (Mingo County) West Virginia is a done deal. The $9 million project has been accepting bids for the construction of Phase 1, which are scheduled to be unsealed at an open meeting on October 27th. Three contractors will be chosen for the initial phase, and officials hope to get the project moving by January.


West Virginia AFL-CIO Re-Elect Officers

At the West Virginia AFL-CIO Convention held in Charleston Thursday and Friday, delegates re-elected President Kenneth Perdue and Secretary-Treasurer Larry Mathney, who will each serve for four more years. Along with those, fourteen vice-presidents who will make up the organization's executive board, were elected to serve the organization which has 550 affiliated local unions. Mathney says the organization's goal will be to ensure "all workers in West Virginia have the dignity and respect they deserve. That means good wages, decent pensions, affordable health care and safe working conditions."


Officials Investigating Suspicious Fires In Dunbar, W. Va.

The West Virginia Fire Marshall's Office and Dunbar Police are investigating two suspicious fires which broke out Friday night at two separate locations. Just before 8:30 P.M., fire erupted at the Dunbar Towers Residential Complex on Myers Avenue, and, just before 9:00 P.M., guests at the Travelodge Motel were evacuated when fire began at that location.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Pikeville College Announces Multi-Million Dollar Expansion

Friday, Pikeville College President Paul Patton announced a $4.5 million renovation project to turn a campus apartment building into an expansion of the School of Osteopathic Medicine which will include a gross anatomy laboratory and a lecture hall, along with offices and rooms in which to conduct "state of the art" training where hired actors will simulate symptoms and students will examine robotic patients. Medical School Dean, Dr. Boyd R. Buser, says the project would increase the size of the class from approximately 75 students to 125 students within the next few years. The fund raising campaign has received its first major gift of $500,000 from Louisville's James Graham Brown Foundation.


Nunn's Psychological Evaluation Halted

A psychological evaluation of former state Representative 56 year old Steve Nunn has been halted. The evaluation was requested by his attorney, Astrida Lemkins, and prosecutors had not opposed the move. Under an earlier order, Nunn was taken from the Fayette County Jail Tuesday to the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange for a thirty day evaluation in an effort to determine if he were responsible for his actions when he allegedly shot and killed his ex-fiancee, 29 year old Amanda Ross, outside her Lexington home on September 11th. However, on Friday, the evaluation was halted and Nunn was ordered to be returned to the Fayette County Jail after Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson got a judge to agree to vacate the order. Larson says it was too early for the evaluation because a grand jury had not yet returned an indictment.


Marathon And Speedway Counterclaims Dismissed

Under Kentucky's anti-price-gouging statute, the office of Attorney General Jack Conway filed suit in May 2007, against Marathon and Speedway SuperAmerica alleging price gouging in wholesale and retail pricing of gasoline in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Three counterclaims were filed by the companies claiming the law was vauge and violated the separation of powers and due process clauses, but the counterclaims were dismissed earlier this week by a Franklin County Circuit Judge who upheld the constutionality of Kentucky's anti-price-gouging law. Conway is seeking $89 million in damages plus penalties.


Pike County Secures Medical Mass Casulty Trailer

Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett says the need for a mass casulty incident response trailer in the area resulted in a grant from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to purchase the 11x5x5 trailer which contains 30 filled trauma kits, 12 medical restock boxes, 16 roll-a-stretchers, 50 trauma patient packs, 1 triage management kit and 50 backboards. Tackett says he believes the newly acquired trailer is the only such medical trailer in the eastern part of Kentucky, and, with the trailer, emergency personnel can save lots of lives. He says the trailer will enable emergency teams to treat people on the ground where several injuries occur, making it ideal in events such as bus crashes, a building collapse or during a mining accident.


Lexington Veteran Affairs Nurse Indicted For Murder

Thirty-two year old Maria Kelly Whitt of Mount Sterling, a nurse at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Lexington, appeared at a detention hearing Thursday after being indicted for the murder of 90 year old Jesse L. Chain, a patient who died in September 2006. A U.S. Veteran Affairs Special Agent testified at the hearing that Chain died after receiving a lethal 75 mg. dose of morphine, administered just six-and-one-half hours earlier. The agent also testified two other patients in the care of Whitt had died under suspicious circumstances. An 88 year old man with heart problems and a 60 year old man who suffered a massive heart attack died after being given morphine. The detention hearing is scheduled to resume next Wednesday.

At her arraignment on Friday, her attorney entered a not guilty plea, and a December 7th. trial date was set.


MSHA Issues Warnings For Ky. And W. Va. Mines

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration issued clean-up warnings this week to ten mines, half of which are in West Virginia, one in Missouri and the rest in Kentucky, Indiana and Virginia. MSHA says it found potential patterns of violations which could lead to serious injuries and illnesses and gave operators ninety days to come up with corrective plans. MSHA warns...clean up health and safety practices or face stricter enforcement.


West Virginia Indicted Biker Gang President Returns To Jail

Indicted National Pagans Motorcycle Club President, 49 year old David Barbeito of Myersville, Maryland, was released on bond Thursday in Maryland after he posted property to gain his release. He was also ordered to avoid all activities associated with the Pagans, after being indicted in Charleston, West Virginia, along with 54 others, for alleged roles in an organization accused of such crimes as kidnapping, robbery, extortion and conspiracy to commit murder. Authorities say members and associates of the outlaw gang plotted to kill and extort rivals to consolidate the club's power in the eastern U.S. National Vice-President Floyd B. Moore of St. Albans, West Virginia was also among those indicted. On Friday, federal prosecutors were urging a federal magistrate in Charleston to revoke Barbeito's release, claiming no terms of bail could assure the public's safety, and, if allowed to remain free, he posed a threat. The judge agreed, and Barbeito was returned to custody.


W. Va. Coal Slurry Spill Caused By Worn Equipment

It appears that a spill from an impoundment at the Miller's Creek operation of CONSOL Mining in Mingo County Thursday was the result of a worn pipe. Officials say a pipe was being used to pump coal slurry sludge, a byproduct of the mining process, from the preparation plant to the impoundment when the pipe ruptured, causing the sludge to spill into Big Branch Creek. The Mingo County Office of Emergency Services says the spill was small and no animal deaths have been reported, and the company is confident there will be no damage to the water supply around the spill.


W. Va. Leaders Criticize Massey Energy

Senator Jay Rockefeller, Representative Nick J. Rahall and Senator Robert C. Byrd are calling on Massey Energy to help fund a new school to replace Marsh Fork Elementary which is located about 300 feet from a Massey coal silo and nearby a proposed second silo. Rockefeller says protecting children is the most fundamental obligation, and it is only right to expect Massey to help pay for a solution. The Marsh Fork school's location has been the subject of a four year battle, while being debated before state environmental boards and in the courts. The controversy increased in July 2005 after the Department of Environmental Protection approved permits for a new coal silo, although maps showed the silo off the legal mining boundary. This year state Supreme Court Justices ruled the map did not show the accurate permit boundary. Senator Byrd has accused Massey of disregarding human life and safety because of greed. And, a mining expert has said the idea of an impoundment with millions of gallons of slurry above a school is not a good idea. Massey says it has paid millions in taxes which should go toward education. Massey officials say they work every day to ensure safety for their miners and are committed to improve the quality of life for those in the communities. Massey says it has not been asked by the Raleigh County School Board to assist in funding a new school for the Marsh Fork students.


W. Va. National Guard Members File Lawsuit

Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeffrey Kessler has sued a Delaware engineering firm. Two subsidiaries of KBR Inc., Kellogg Brown and Root Services, Inc. and KBR Technical Services, Inc., have been sued by 30 members of the West Virginia National Guard, members of the Moundsville-based 1092nd. Engineer Battalion. The lawsuit states the guardsmen guarded a water plant in Iraq while KBR contractors repaired the facility in 2003. The suit alleges they did so without being told they were being exposed to sodium dichromate, a toxic chemical linked to cancer and other illnesses.


Child Support Diverted To Needy W. Va. Families

West Virginia is among states taking advantage of changes in federal law that is allowing states to divert child support payments to parents on welfare, giving families extra money to care for their children. The child support payments were previously used to reimburse the government for social services, but West Virginia officials say the changes are expected to put $85 million in overdue child support into the hands of about 18,000 families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.


Buffalo Creek Firefighters Facing Arson Charges

Fire officials say arson amongst firefighters in West Virginia is a statewide problem this year, with 40 arrests already made. Six people, including four volunteer firefighters in Logan County, are facing charges of arson after some were taken into custody this week, accused of setting fires to vacant properties and a senior center in the Buffalo Creek area between April and June of this year. Three of the firefighters, Orlando Rogers, Crystal Compton and Steve Waldon turned themselves in Thursday, along with Joseph Browning, who is not a firefighter. Two juveniles, one of which was a firefighter, were charged last month.


W. Va. Domestic Violence Laws For Men

In response to a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit group Men and Women Against Discrimination, this week, a Kanawha County judge ruled West Virginia's domestic violence rules discriminate against men. Kanawha County Judge Jim Stucky ruled the laws governing domestic violence assistance were based on the idea that only men could be the attackers and women the victims, an idea Stucky called unconstutional. He also ruled women abusers were denied access to treatment. His ruling will affect all domestic violence related programs in the state including publicly funded domestic violence shelters.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


KBA Selects Keith Casebolt As Chairman-Elect

At an awards banquet held Wednesday in Bowling Green, during the Kentucky Broadcasting Association's Annual Conference, Keith Casebolt, President and General Manager of East Kentucky Broadcasting, was elected to the chairman-elect position of the organization. Casebolt will assume his duties in January 2010. One of his main responsibilities will be to assist in the planning and organization of the KBA Annual Conference which will be held next October in Pikeville. Following one year in his position as chairman-elect, Casebolt will be elevated to the chairmanship of the organization in 2011. Casebolt, his wife Jamie and two sons, Casey and Cameron, reside in Pikeville.


Pike County Reports Its First Positive H1N1 Case

It's now official...Pike County has its first positive case of H1N1 swine flu. A pregnant Pike County resident is the first and only confirmed H1N1 case in the county. During a routine prenatal visit, the woman displayed flu-like symptoms. A subsequent test in the state lab proved to be positive for H1N1. Neither the identity nor the woman's location in the county has been announced.


Pike County Burglary Suspect Arrested In Letcher County

The Pike County Sheriff's office has announced the arrest of 28 year old Nicky Joe Bartley of Pikeville on a burglary charge. The alleged offense took place in early September and occurred at the Regina Auto Sales. Bartley was implicated in the theft by a witness who lives near the business. He was located in the Letcher County Jail on another charge and returned to Pike County.


Kentucky's Energy Future Discussed

More than one hundred people gathered Wednesday at the Expo Center in Pikeville as lawmakers, coal representatives and others gathered to discuss the energy future for Kentucky. The Legislative Energy Committee discussed everything from mountaintop removal mining to cap and trade and how to use Kentucky's energy resources to develop the state's future economy. Former Governor Paul Patton voiced his opinion, along with Senator Ray Jones and Representative Keith Hall and others who feel the coal industry is under attack in Washington, D.C. Leaders also looked at energy sources, such as EQT's natural gas plans and Argesti Biofuels plans to build an ethanol plant. Argesti asked lawmakers for $8 million to help build the $200 million plant.


Pikeville Businessman Gains Award

One of the highest honors is to be recognized for significant accomplishments in your career field. Wednesday, a Pikeville business, represented by the president and owner, was the recipient of the Entrepreneurship Award presented by the Center for Rural Development. Charlie Pinson was publicly recognized at a Hometown Event, celebrating his accomplishments as an entrepreneur in southern and eastern Kentucky.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Rawl Man Faces Numerous Charges

Bond was set earlier this week at $32,500 for 32 year old Dallas Anderson of Rawl, who faces numerous charges including child neglect, breaking and entering, grand larceny, receiving stolen goods and obstructing an officer. Police say he almost struck two small children while attempting to avoid a traffic stop in the area of Puritan Mines in Delbarton on October 4th., while fleeing with two female children, ages 11 and 13 years, inside his vehicle. Authorities say, in May, he broke into a storage trailer and stole a washer and dryer valued at $700, a boat and other items valued at $1,835. At his residence, a stolen ATV was found.


Mingo County Men Plead Guilty To Drug Charges

Two Mingo County men, 80 year old Kenneth Raymond Brewer of Kermit and 62 year old Chester Woods of Williamson, avoided trials Tuesday by entering guilty pleas to drug related charges. Brewer, who will be sentenced November 9th., will be confined to a state correctional facility for a term of not less than one year nor more than three years and forfeit $30,000. Woods, who pleaded to a lesser included offense, was sentenced to serve a definite term of 12 months and was required to authorize the state to directly apply $946 in seized money to his home confinement arrearages.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Mingo County Woman Attacked In Her Home

Landon Baisden III has been charged with kidnapping and malicious wounding after Arizona Murphy alleges, on Monday, he attacked her and held her captive at her home in Dingess of Mingo County. Murphy claims Baisden choked her until blood filled the white of one of her eyes, and, when she attempted to escape, he chased her into the yard, dragged her back into her house and beat her before he fell asleep, allowing her to escape.


Body Of Census Worker Released

The body of U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was released Monday to the Cremation Society of Kentucky after being discovered September 12th. at a Clay County cemetery with a rope around his neck and his hands and feet duct-taped. The cause of his death has been ruled asphyxiation , but investigators have not ruled if it was a homicide, accident or suicide.


Former Jackson Pastor Indicted

A federal grand jury has indicted 44 year old John Edward Smith, former pastor of a Breathitt County Baptist Church in Jackson. Kentucky State Police say, in June, they arrested Smith at a used car lot where he planned to meet a 13 year old girl for the purpose of engaging in sex. A Clark County jury also indicted Smith, alleging he used electronic means to attempt to engage in a sexual act with a minor.


London Woman's Case Headed To Grand Jury

The wanton endangerment case against 40 year old Lisa L. Johnson of London is headed to an October 16th. grand jury. Johnson reportedly police she rear-ended a Laurel County school bus loaded with 53 students near KY 30 and the Hal Rogers Parkway on September 22nd. after using meth. She faces 54 counts of wanton endangerment among drug related and other charges.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Beshear Collects Nearly Half-A-Million For Campaign

According to a recent report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election, Governor Steve Beshear has collected nearly half-a million dollars for his re-election campaign. In just more than two months, Beshear has pulled in $460,390 and spent just more than $61,000. His campaign says the money was collected from more than 560 people, while tapping several top-ranking government bureaucrats.


Johnson County Triple Murder Trial Set

A Carter County judge has scheduled a triple-murder trial for Robert Drown Jr. for May 10,2010 which is still to take place in Johnson County. Drown is charged with rape, arson and murder in relation to the May 2007 deaths of Jennifer Ison and her daughters, Shannah and Marissa.


Prestonsburg Mayor Fined For Violation of Election Laws

In an agreement made with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin will pay a $5,000 fine after a decision made this past summer by registry board members that he violated five campaign finance laws while running for re-election in 2006. The ruling stated Fannin violated the law when he accepted in-kind contributions in the form of bumper stickers from T&K Signs, failed to report various disbursements, one totaling $5,618, and submitting false statements in relation to the campaign and its finances.


Guilty Pleas In Eastern Ky. Drug Conspiracy

Forty-eight year old Brad Begley and his wife, 42 year old Paula Begley, both of Clay City, and 36 year old Danny McClain of Irvine all pleaded guilty Monday (today) to conspiring with a former doctor, Milton Brindley, to illegally distribute prescription drugs in eastern Kentucky. The Begleys also admitted to recruiting patients as a part of the conspiracy.


Ky. Health Officials Set Up Toll-Free H1N1 Hotline

Monday (today), the Kentucky Department of Health confirmed two additional swine flu deaths, bringing the state's total to four.

To answer questions related to the H1N1 virus and the seasonal flu, the department has launched a new toll-free hotline, which will be active at least through the end of December, staffed by nurses and administered by Kosair Children's Hospital.

The toll-free number will operate from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. daily at:
Information can also be accessed at: or you can follow KyHealthAlerts on Twitter.


Court Date Set In Gillispie DUI Case

At a hearing Monday (today) in Anderson County, a final preliminary hearing for November 2nd. and a trial date for February 10th. were set for former University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie. He was arrested on August 27th., while driving in Lawrenceburg, and charged with DUI, but he has since checked himself in at a rehab center in Houston. William Patrick, who represents Gillispie, says Gillispie is considering a recently offered plea agreement. A decision on whether to accept the deal could be reached by the November hearing.


Illness Shuts Down Corbin Independent School System

Due to illness and decreased attendance, the Corbin Independent school system will remain closed this week. While fall break is set for next week, students are scheduled to return to class October 19th. Monday (today), a 16% absence of teachers and a 12% absence of students prompted officials to make the move as a precaution.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Suspects Arrested Following Economy Drug Robbery

Nineteen year old Joseph L. Hicks of Williams, Ky., 22 year old Brittany L. Cassady of Inez and 38 year old Michael Sincel from Dana were arrested Friday after authorities say they broke into Economy Drug located on Town Mountain Road in Pikeville and stole prescription drugs. Police responding to the break-in discovered broken glass at the front door of the pharmacy and then located the suspects in the parking lot of a nearby pharmacy where they were removing masks and hoods. Officers recovered thirty bottles of stolen drugs, transported the suspects to the Pike County Detention Center and charged them with burglary third-degree, theft of a drug over $500 and criminal mischief first-degree.


Domestic Violence Database Considered

Although Kentucky State Police are mandated by law to retain a detailed database of all auto collisions in the state, they have never been ordered to collect systematic information pertaining to domestic violence. Advocates and experts feel such a practice would help lawmakers craft better public policy which may help save lives. They say it would help officials understand who is most at risk. Leaders in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly, Senate President David Williams and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, say they are interested in considering such legislation.

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