Saturday, October 24, 2009


Pikeville Medical Center Taking Swine Flu Precautions

Pikeville Medical Center has implemented precautionary measures in an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of patients, visitors and staff as flu activity continues to spread across the region. On October 23rd., PMC began restricting those under the age of 18 and those suffering from flu-like symptoms from visiting patients. Patients experiencing flu-like symptoms who come to the hospital for treatment or tests must obtain a mask from the respiratory hygiene stations at the emergency room, Heart Institute and May Tower entrances. The measures are not intended to keep visitors away from the hospital, but rather the hospital is attempting everything it can to protect everyone involved.


Ky. Social Workers Say Working Environment Unsafe

This past week, while testifying before a Joint Health and Welfare Committee in Frankfort, a group of social workers told state lawmakers,despite recent legislation approved under the Boni Bill of 2007, their working environment remains unsafe. Workers say they're often placed in dangerous conditions, often with little or no security backup. The bill called for $6 million to, among other things, hire more front line staff and increase security, but only $2 million went toward implementing the bill.


Ky. Unemployment Rate Takes Slight Decline

Although labor statistics show a very slight decline in Kentucky's unemployment rate, experts say it's really too early to tell whether the job market is getting worse or actually beginning to turn around. For the first time in almost two years, the unemployment rate dropped in September to 10.9%, down from 11.2% in August. A recent survey estimates Kentucky lost 14,600 jobs last month, the largest month-to-month decline since 1990. In the past year, Kentucky lost 86,400 non-farm jobs. The lower unemployment rate could be attributed to the number of Kentuckians who have dropped out of the labor force. The Bureau of Economic Analysis says Kentucky's personal income growth ranks fifth in the U.S.


Ky. Reaches Settlements With Pharmaceuticals

As part of a $124 million settlement with four pharmaceutical companies, Kentucky is set to receive $1.6 million, with $500,000 going to the state Medicaid program. The settlement stems from allegations that they submitted false claims to Medicaid. While participating in a Medicaid Rebate Program, they agreed to pay quarterly rebates to Medicaid based on money Medicaid paid for their drugs, but it was alleged they underpaid their obligations. Mylan Pharmaceutical Inc. will pay $118 million. UDL Laboratories Inc. and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals will pay $2.6 million, and Ortho McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc. will pay $3.4 million.


Ky. Plans Springtime Energy Star Rebates

Those with high hopes of finding an energy-efficient appliance with a federally funded rebate between $20 and $400 under their Christmas tree may not get that present until early spring. The federal government will not distribute $296 million in federal funds for the program until after November 30th., leaving little time for printing, distributing and beginning to process rebate coupons. Kentucky plans to kick-off a springtime campaign for its estimated $4 million which will provide rebates for purchases of new appliances which comply with federal Energy Star efficiency standards.


Lawmakers And Other Officials Consider Education In Ky.

A lot of the buzz around Kentucky this week focused on education in the state as several officials and lawmakers zeroed in on problems of the past and present along with possibilities for the future. On Monday, Governor Steve Beshear kicked off 10 stops as he held public meetings across the state. Beshear has set up a task force to study how to better educate students for the future. With that underway, other school officials around the state began looking at plans on how to upgrade schools that are below standard in construction and renovation. Another group geared up for the possibility of charter schools. Two bills to authorize charter schools in Kentucky have been filed for the upcoming 2010 General Assembly. And, although the idea of charter schools have long failed to gain traction, the Kentucky Department of Education is studying the pros and cons. Supporters say, without such legislation, Kentucky could lose out on up to $200 million in federal stimulus money aimed at education reform and innovation. Charter schools get taxpayer funding but aren't held to many of the rules and regulations that apply to regular schools.


Mingo County Man Alleges Police Brutality

Micah A. Baisden of Delbarton is claiming that, when police arrested him on October 14th., they used excessive force. A criminal complaint filed in Mingo County Court claims Baisden struck Clinton Baisden Jr., his neighbor and cousin, while Micah Baisden was engaged in an argument with his father, Terry Baisden. After being allowed to stay with Clinton Baisden, Micah allegedly attempted to return to his father's residence and struck Clinton Baisden. Officers say, while escorting Micah Baisden to Delbarton City Hall, Micah struck Deputy B. A. Moore, causing Deputy C. G. Endicott to release his K-9 to apprehend Baisden, who tells a different version of the story. He says the K-9 was released first and, when he attempted to fight the dog off, officers struck him with a Mag-Lite flashlight and struck him a second time while he was at Delbarton City Hall.


Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested

An early morning standoff Saturday led to the arrest of a West Virginia man. Huntington Police responding to a suicide call around 2:00 A.M. in the 1300 block of East Campbell Park Drive didn't realize they would end up running for their lives. Police say, when they approached the front porch of the home, Adam Daniel Perry, who was inside the home, opened fire with a shotgun, sending them back to their cruisers. After barricading himself in for about 45 minutes and shooting at the officers, Perry was arrested and charged with 20 counts of wanton endangerment and 4 felony counts of attempting to murder a police officer.


W. Va. Substance Abuse Costing Millions

According to a newly released report, the direct cost of substance abuse in hospital visits, prescription drugs and other health care expenses are running up a bill for the West Virginia health system which is hovering in the neighborhood of roughly $116 million, and is threatening the possibility of topping $200 million in less than ten years. The Prevention Resource Center Director, Wayne Coombs, says current state spending isn't enough to address the problem, and, in an effort to curb the cost of substance abuse, the state needs to invest money in prevention, recovery and other activities aimed at helping those who are addicted.


W. Va. Hospitals Placing Restrictions On Visitors

In an effort to protect patients and visitors during the flu season, beginning Monday, October 26th., Cabell-Huntington Hospital and Marshall University Medical Center are implementing flu safety restrictions by requiring children under the age of 18 to not come to the hospital unless they are patients seeking medical care or the parent/guardian of a patient. They are also advising children to not accompany other family members who go to doctor appointments, but, if they have no other choice, they're advised to wear a mask. Adult visitors with flu-like symptoms should not visit patients or the hospital campuses unless absolutely necessary, and, in such cases, visitors shold wear a mask.


W. Va. City Reaches Residency Requirement Settlement

It's a policy that's long been debated and sometimes rejected in Huntington. In 1965, Huntington residents added a residency requirement to the City Charter that required city workers to live in Huntington, a policy which has often been challenged. Since 1983, the requirement policy has been taken to court five times, sometimes upheld and sometimes rejected. This week, a proposed court settlement seems to have been reached, stemming from a 2006 case in which a Huntington firefighter and police officer challenged the requirement. The proposed settlement would exempt city employees from the residency requirement until after the settlement is entered as an order, the same settlement agreement which council members voted 6-5 to reject in August. Former Cabell Circuit Judge John Cummings struck the law down in January 2007, saying it violated civil service protections that allow police officers and firefighters to appeal firings.


W. Va. Inmate Says Victim Lied

It's not your usual confession, but inmate Frankie Brewster, a woman from Logan County who is imprisoned for her role in the 2007 kidnapping and torture of Megan Williams, says Williams lied this week when she recanted her story that sentenced six attackers to lengthy prison terms. Williams, who suffers psychological problems, claimed she lied when she told authorities in 2007 that she was beaten, sexually assaulted, forced to eat feces and drink urine, among other things, while being held captive at a trailer in rural Logan County. However, Brewster, who is serving 10 to 25 years and is at the Lakin Correctional Center, is rejecting Williams' new version of events by continuing to confess the torturing did in fact occur and that all who were imprisoned participated. At the time of the trial, all who were accused pleaded guilty.

Friday, October 23, 2009


AT&T Searching For Copper Thieves

AT&T officials say tampering with phone lines used to assist the public in emergency situations is a serious crime. They are taking the matter very seriously as they work with local law enforcement to ensure those responsible for the vandalism of their aerial cables, which has taken place recently in Floyd County, Kentucky, are apprehended and punished. AT&T says, in the past several weeks, nearly 20 thefts have occurred in the county. AT&T offers a $1,000 reward. Anyone with information can call : AT&T Asset Protection at 1-800-807-4205 or KSP at 606-433-7711.


Ky. Senators Considering Expanded Gambling

Two key Kentucky Senate Republicans, Damon Thayer of Georgetown and Senate President David Williams, have announced they will file proposals regarding expanded gambling in the state. Thayer proposes allowing the public to decide whether video lottery terminals should be allowed at horse racetracks, while Williams' plan would ban expansions without a constitutional amendment, which requires public opinion. Democrats and horse industry leaders say a constitutional amendment could not be enacted in time to help the struggling industry.


Ky. Prison Officials Assessing Locks

Substandard locks aren't a good idea if you're trying to keep burglars out, but they're a worse idea if prison officials are attempting to keep inmates in. This week, state prison officials released information on an August 21st. fiery riot at the Northpoint Training Center near Danville. The state Department of Corrections says inmates were able to break locks on emergency exit doors at each end of the medium-security prison's dorms, gaining access to the prison yards, which resulted in fires that destroyed six buildings. Now, officials are surveying door locks at other prisons around the state.


Ky. State Court Faces Possible Layoffs

State officials with the Administrative Office of the Courts warned a panel of Kentucky lawmakers this week that, in the next fiscal fiscal year, the agency needs an additional $44 million to avoid further worker cutbacks. AOC Director Laurie Dudgeon told the Legislative Budget Subcommittee that the state's court system, which was budgeted to spend $273 million in the current fiscal year, would have trouble functioning if the extra cash is not available by July 1, 2010. AOC says it needs $72 million more in the second year of the upcoming biennial budget. If additional funding is not appropriated in the next fiscal year, 39% of the agency's non-elected employees could face layoffs.


State Supreme Court Hears Online Gambling Case

Lawyers representing online gambling interests told the Kentucky State Supreme Court Thursday that Kentucky's efforts to seize 141 Internet domain names of online gambling sites showed the intellectual dishonesty of the state and were unconstitutional. Lawyers argued the State Supreme Court should uphold a January Court of Appeals ruling saying the state had no jurisdiction to seize the domain names or block online gambling since state law does not define an Internet domain name as a gambling device subject to state authority. Governor Steve Beshear has pushed to shut down the gambling sites, saying they undermine horse racing and create untaxed competition.


Kentucky Swine Flu Deaths Mount

Health officials in Kentucky say that as the state is continuing to experience widespread swine flu activity, and swine flu deaths continue to mount, two more swine flu deaths in the state have been confirmed, bringing the total to 10. The latest recorded this week include a Knox County woman in her 80s with significant underlying health issues and an inmate in his 40s from the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange who was being treated off-site.


Logan Man Sentenced

As the result of a six-count indictment involving a vandalizing of a storage building owned by Norfolk Southern Railway Company, 21 year old Jerry Jerome McNeely of Omar has received two prison sentences of one to ten years each, to be served concurrently, after pleading guilty to charges of breaking and entering and grand larceny. He was also ordered to make restitution to Norfolk. In return for his guilty pleas, the state agreed to drop four additional charges.


Overweight W. Va. Workers Face Possible Insurance Increase

To encourage overweight West Virginia workers to lose weight, the Public Employees' Insurance Agency is considering imposing higher health insurance premiums on overweight public employees, following a similar plan in North Carolina. The idea came in part from Governor Joe Manchin's interest in finding ways to promote healthier lifestyles and controling health care costs. At his urging, the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board will hold public hearings on proposed 2010-2011 coverage plans, beginning November 9th. at the Civic Center Little Theater in Charleston. The so called "fat tax" is one of three possible plan changes of which the Board will seek public comment.


West Virginia Lung Association Joins Protest

The Public Service Commission is considering whether to allow Allegheny Energy and its partner American Electric Power to build a 765-kilovolt Potomac-Applachian Transmission Highline, a 275 mile line which would run from AEP's John Amos coal-fired plant in Putnam County to a substation near Kempton, Maryland. The American Lung Association of West Virginia has joined others in opposition to the proposed $1.9 billion project, saying construction of the multi-state power line would only serve to continue the nation's reliance on coal-generated electricity. However, the utilities say the line is necessary to ensure the reliability of the mid-Atlantic region's electrical distribution system past 2014. The PSC expects to issue a decision by June 21, 2010.


Prison Inmate Indicted For Murder

The family of Timothy Daft, a man who was found hanged in his cell in August 2005, at the Preston County Jail, is suing the suspected killer, Leonard Wotring, along with fellow inmates and the Preston County Commission. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed, claming Daft was attacked by Wotring and other inmates and that then-Sheriff Ron Crites knew about the attacks but took no action to protect Daft, while concealing the information from his family. Wotring was, at the time of the alleged attack, charged with sexually abusing a toddler. He is currently an inmate at the Mount Olive Correctional Center, where he has been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder.


Mountain Gas Customers Get A Break

The saying is, "what goes up, must come down." And, as the economy is, it will be a pleasant sight when Mountaineer Gas customers see their natural gas bills drop by 31% next month. Mountaineer says a decrease in natural gas prices over the past year has allowed them to make a decrease in rates which will reduce the overall cost for the state by almost $100 million. The 31% reduction kicks in November 1st. and could mean a savings of more than $26 a month for the average Mountaineer customer.


West Virginia Senators Nominate Democratic Chairman

Earlier this week, U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller recommended West Virginia Democratic Chairman 56 year old Nick Casey to fill a vacancy on the state's federal bench in the northern district which would replace the late U.S. District Judge Craig Broadwater who died in 2006. Casey is a partner with the Charleston law firm Lewis Glasser Casey and Rollins. In nominating him, Senators Byrd and Rockefeller called Casey a distinguished attorney and "a tireless advocate for many social and civic causes." Casey has served as the state's Democratic Party Chairman since June 2004, after serving as Governor Joe Manchin's campaign secretary. Not everyone was as enthusiastic about the nomination. Some Republicans are criticizing Byrd and Rockefeller for recommending Casey, saying he's too partisan to be objective, and, that upon hearing of the move, they checked calendars to see if it was April Fool's Day. Some called on the senators to find another nominee " instead of engaging in political paybacks and rewarding a partisan hack."

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hazard Death Ruled Suicide

The state Medical Examiner has ruled 30 year old Dustin Stewart Duff of Hazard died of a single gunshot to the head, the result of suicide. Duff's body was found Tuesday in the parking lot of the Lakeside Golf Course.


Studies Suggest Importance of Extinguishing Secondhand Smoke

One year after smoking bans, communities in North America and Europe had 17% fewer heart attacks compared to communities without smoking restrictions, according to analysis reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

After the initial 17% drop, the risk of heart attack dropped even further in subsequent years. Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work have a 25% higher risk of heart disease and a 20% higher risk of lung cancer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Pikeville Police Set Up COPTIP

Pikeville 911 Public Safety Director Paul Maynard says a newly set up text tip line, known as COPTIP, at the Pikeville City Police Department may be what is needed to help solve crimes. Police say all anonymous tips received will be investigated. Officials say the public can report information on crime investigations through a system that does not record or show your phone number, and you won't even have to talk to an officer. They're hoping the public will come forward with information that might help with crime investigations.

To report a tip, text COPTIP and your tip to 847411 or TIP411.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Beshear Focuses On Kentucky Education

On Monday, Governor Steve Beshear announced an initiative to re-energize education in Kentucky. Implementing a Transforming Education in Kentucky Task Force, he began ten stops in the state to get ideas on how to better students for the future, preparing them for the 21st. century. Beshear visited Pikeville Tuesday (today) and spoke before an eager crowd of parents, educators and local and state officials. Several interested educational instructors and others were given an opportunity to respond and question the purpose and plans for the project, while showing their support for the idea and making suggestions for educating the children of tomorrow. Beshear says it is time to educate students and get them ready to compete in the future with the changing economic and job related issues. He says education must be a priority now in order to get an edge on the generation to come. The goal of the task force is to complete an assessment on educational needs by the end of 2010, allowing those assessments to be considered during the legislative session in 2011.


Ky. Fourth Graders Improve In Math

Citing national scores, the state Department of Education says Kentucky's fourth graders showed significant gains in mathematics on the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress test, making Kentucky one of eight states or jurisdictions to record such gains from 2007 to 2009, meaning they reached the national average. Kentucky's eighth graders scored just under the national average. The test, sometimes called the "Nation's Report Card," assesses students in reading, math and science.


Attorney Says Ten Commandments Are Legal

Following a ten year dispute involving courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments, an attorney for McCreary and Pulaski counties in Kentucky told a panel of the 6th. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati Tuesday (today) that the displays are legal. A 2005 Supreme Court decision said the displays in the two counties had a predominantly religious purpose, but the high court also ruled religious materials are allowed as part of an educational or historical display. The attorney told the Court of Appeals the displays focus on the foundations of American law and government, while including the Declaration of Independence, Star Spangled Banner and Bill of Rights, therefore satisfying the court's requirements. However, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union say the goal of the displays is to promote religion and changes were made only to improve their chances in court.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Coal Truck Drivers Consider Natural Gas Trucks

Dozens of coal truck operators met with natural gas representatives in Pikeville Monday (today) to discuss the possibility of switching from diesel to natural gas. Developers say, although there are still hurdles, natural gas could one day fuel coal trucks in eastern Kentucky, making it cheaper and better for the environment. A representative from California told those in attendance that natural gas trucks are common on the West Coast. Local officials say an abundance of natural gas in the region leaves the idea sounding good. Distributors say further testing, certifications and verifications need to be done before natural gas trucks can be mass produced. More meetings are planned for the future.


Death Penalty Remains Option In Mingo County Murder

A federal judge has ruled the death penalty will remain an option in the Mingo County murder re-trial of George Lecco. He was convicted in 2007 for the slaying of federal drug informant 33 year old Carla Collins. Lecco is accused of ordering the 2005 murder of Collins to protect his cocaine ring. His trial date has not yet been set.


Convicted Cocaine Supplier Gets Life

A convicted cocaine drug ring supplier for multiple convicted drug dealers in Mingo County and nearby parts of Kentucky will be spending life in prison. Arnoldo Avitia Gamboa of Mexico has been sentenced in federal court following a jury conviction in June. Gamboa had three previous drug convictions and one for illegally re-entering the country following deportation.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Martin County Deputies Conduct Drug Bust

The Martin County Sheriff's Department arrested seven people Friday night on drug related charges. Deputies arrested 34 year old Christopher Mollett of Tutor Key, 25 year old Amanda Hall of Inez and 53 year old Orville Waller of Paintsville, along with 29 year old Darrell Mills, 41 year old Lindsey Cornette, 34 year old Angela Cornette and 28 year old Jason Mollett, all of Tomahawk.


KSP Bust Meth Labs

Kentucky State Police say the manufacturing of methamphetamine led to Saturday night's arrest of 26 year old Brian Bernardo, 25 year old Stacie Bernardo, both of London, and 24 year old Melissa Mink of Corbin. When officers, acting on a tip, went to a home on U.S. 25 South in Laurel County around 11:00 P.M. Saturday night, they found all three suspects inside a camper, along with two active meth labs, 4 to 5 grams of the drug, marijuana and prescription medication. All three were charged with manufacturing meth and possession.


Report Places Ky. Low On Protecting Childrens' Rights

A report written by two leading child advocacy groups, First Star in Washington D.C. and the Children's Advocacy Institute of the University of San Diego School of Law, which was released late last week gave Kentucky a failing D grade when it comes to protecting the legal rights of abused kids. As Kentucky was one of 8 states to earn a D, the report attributed the score, in part, to lack of a requirement that attorneys be trained before they are appointed to represent children in court and failure to require that representation continue through appeals. For decades, child advocates have pushed for changes, and, while Kentucky does provide voluntary training for court-appointed attorneys, it is not mandatory, and there are no checks on the competency of court-appointed attorneys. Child advocates met in Washington last week to discuss changes in the way the state handles legal representation for children and parents accused of neglect or abuse. They're seeking pay raises for for those interested in the training and a change in state laws to improve the legal system for children.


Community Colleges Fighting Budget Cuts

As state government braces for the possibility of deep budget cuts, Kentucky's community college system is attempting to ready itself for opposition to those potential cuts. Kentucky Community & Technical College System President Michael McCall says, while the state unemployment rate averages around 11% and more people are turning to community colleges for retraining, he is seeking support to hold the system's base funding at $215 million. McCall also says, while his legislative agenda for next year includes $481 million for capital projects, he plans to visit all the system's 16 colleges before January.


Medicare Allows Senior Mailings

Controversy over a ban on mailings to senior citizens involving health care sparked severe criticism from Republicans who were calling it a "gag order" and GOP Senators who threatened to block Obama's health nominees unless it was withdrawn saw some action last week. Friday, the Obama administration backed away from a ban previously issued to insurance companies, including Humana, who had sent mailings to seniors warning of Medicare cuts if the healthcare overhaul is approved. Although Medicare denied a "gag order" was ever issued and alleged they were only protecting seniors from nuisance mailings and abusive marketing, memos were sent to health plans in which Medicare says insurance companies may lobby seniors provided they first obtain permission from beneficiaries and if no federal funds or data are used.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?