Saturday, November 28, 2009


Ky. Kicks-Off Christmas Season

The holiday season kicks off at the state Capitol with the lighting of Kentucky's official Christmas tree, a 30-foot-tall Norway Spruce to be lit Monday evening in front of the Capitol. Gov. Steve Beshear and his wife, Jane, will attend the ceremony set to begin at 6:30 P.M. on the Capitol steps. Youth choirs will provide entertainment.The tree was donated by Jackie and Joyce Gritton of Lawrenceburg.


Pikeville Man Facing Charges

While some were waiting for Black Friday sales to begin, officials say one man was preparing to steal what he wanted. Police officials say shortly after 2:00 A.M. Friday morning Stoney Hill Junior of Pikeville robbed the Double Kwik on North Mayo Trail near Pikeville in Pike County. Workers say Hill entered the store and demanded money before leaving on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was taken to the Pike County Detention Center and charged with robbery.


Ky. Wars Against Marijuana

Ed Shemelya, head of marijuana eradication in the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, says teams of forest rangers, state police, federal agents and military troops who scoured the Daniel Boone National Forest this year found only 17,000 plants, a tiny crop compared to the 250,000 plants a year that were eradicated from the forest a decade ago before they began an initiative dubbed "Up In Smoke." Shemelya says a crackdown has pushed growers off the 700,000 acre Daniel Boone National Forest and onto even more rugged terrain where they're just as unwelcome. He says the national forest once led the nation in pot production, but, even with it down, the illegal crop still is thriving on private lands deeper in the mountain range. Shemelya says the forest area is much safer now, but that's not the case on the private land - much of it owned by logging and mining companies - where authorities confiscated nearly $2 billion worth of marijuana this year. Shemelya said eradication teams cut and burned nearly 1 million plants, each with a street value at maturity of about $2,000.


Ky. Film Incentives Pay Off

Kentucky is seeing dividends from a law that provides incentives to attract movie, television and stage show productions. Kentucky Film Office director Todd Cassidy says he negotiated for three years to get the producers of the movie "Secretariat" to film in Kentucky, but they didn't agree until the incentives were passed this year, creating an economic impact between $6 million to $7 million. He says a smaller independent movie will be filming in December and is expected to have a $3.5 million impact. RiverPark Center president Zev Buffman says the incentives helped him get contracts to build two new touring Broadway shows at the performing arts center in Owensboro. He estimates the financial impact will be around $150,000.


Ky. Legislative Retirement To Increase

According to totals from a recently released report for the Kentucky Legislators' Retirement Plan, the retirement plan for legislators is set to increase by more than $3.5 million in the next budget. Because of a benefit enhancement voted into law four years ago, the total for pensions for state lawmakers will increase from $759,158 in the current budget to $4.28 million over the next two years, with almost half of the $4.28 million to be used to pay for a controversial enhancement that applies to fewer than 30 current and retired legislators.


Ky. Enters TVA Agreement

As an effort to support a long-term committment to providing clean and renewable energy sources to the Tennessee Valley, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Commonwealth of Kentucky recently pledged to work together to, over the next decade, ensure a clean, reliable and affordable energy supply. The memorandum of agreement, officially signed by TVA officials and Kentucky's state Energy and Environment Cabinet, committs both agencies to a list of goals for the development and use of energy resources through 2020. Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters says the agreement works hand-in-hand with Kentucky's seven-point strategy for energy efficiency and will help the state work with TVA in bringing about energy and environmental changes that will better serve the public.


New Jobs For West Virginia

During a time when companies are laying off workers and job security is scarce, one company is looking to a brighter future. TeleTech Holdings Inc. is creating up to 100 customer management jobs in Morgantown. Job seekers are urged to apply online at or attend a job fair Wednesday and Thursday at the TeleTech office in the Mountaineer Mall in Morgantown. Positions will be full- and part-time and will include benefits, while wages will be competitive. Candidates should have a high school diploma or equivalent, have strong computer skills and a background in customer management.


W. Va. Holds Table Games Vote

Early voting on a December 5th. referendum to allow table games at the Charles Town Races and Slots will end Monday at the Jefferson County courthouse. Supporters say allowing blackjack, craps and poker at the only West Virginia casino without them is not just about new jobs, but they say it will also protect existing jobs by keeping gamblers closer to home. However, opponents are concerned the notion of easy money may influence young children to become interested in gambling. They also worry it will bring heavy traffic, overcrowded schools and high-rise hotels.


West Virginia City Facing Lawsuit

Kevin Shannon of Ashland, Kentucky is suing Kenova, West Virginia, two Kenova Police Department officers, M. P. Clark and B. Willis, and the owner and an employee of Miss Daisy's Carryout, formerly known as the Midget Carryout, located at Oak Street and 21st. Street. Authorities say, in the early morning hours of August 12th., someone entered the business and robbed it at gunpoint, leading to the arrest of Shannon, who was later deemed innocent in Wayne County Magistrate Court which found the case was based upon insufficient evidence. The lawsuit claims the arrest was based upon a description and identification provided by an employee and the carryout owner failed to properly train and supervise the employee. The lawsuit blames the city for officers' alleged negligent and intentional actions. It also claims the city failed to train the officers in regard to providing exculpatory evidence to prosecutors. The suit is seeking awards to cover punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs associated with Shannon's six days detainment in the Western Regional Jail.


Problem Gamblers Get Online Help

With plans to begin December 7th., the Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia has set up a new and free online chat service at with counselors to offer online help to problem gamblers. Since the network's telephone helpline, 1-800-Gambler, launched in 2000, it has received about 530 calls from people age 25 and under and more than 3,700 from people ages 36 to 55. Studies show young people are more likely to develop gambling problems but less likely than adults to seek help. The service will provide counselors who will refer people to services such as local outpatient treatment, credit counseling and Gamblers Anonymous meetings, while gauging a caller's problem-gambling symptoms.


W. Va. Group Not Pleased By Forest Plans

West Virginia state plans to timber a section of Coopers Rock State Forest near Scotts Run in Morgantown, but members of Coopers Rock Foundation say they're not pleased with the idea. The group, which promotes recreation and wildlife protection, says it's concerned about the forest trails and the flat-spired three-toothed snail, which is only found in the Cheat River Gorge. However, state forestry officials say the project is designed to improve wildlife habitat by developing a savannah to attract wildlife and reduce some of the shade on the forest floor, improving conditions for the oak trees to regenerate.


U.S. Military Holiday Mailing Deadline Nears

There are thousands of American military troops and civilians stationed worldwide, and, for many, a Christmas message, card or package from home will make their holiday complete. To ensure those holiday cards and packages for international and military APO/FPO addresses are delivered by December 25th., the U.S. Postal Service is recommending mail be sent no later than military mailing deadlines. The Postal Service offers a discount on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate box, which is free at any post office or can be ordered online at The Postal Store, while postage, labels and customs forms can be printed online using Click-N-Ship.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Early Prison Release Upheld

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled this week the state Department of Corrections acted properly when releasing prisoners under controversial parole -credit rules approved in 2008. Opponents argued giving prisoners time off current sentences based on time spent on parole before new rules were adopted amounted to an inappropriate retroactive application of the rules. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, in order to save money, legislators intended rules be applied retroactively. Justices ruled injunction barring use of the rules cannot be enforced.


KY. Department of Justice Plans Cuts

J. Michael Brown, the Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, says, in order to make up a 6% cut asked by Governor Steve Beshear, he will have to cut about $5.9 million from his budget. Unfortunately, Brown says most of that cut will likely come from the Department of Juvenile Justice, while KSP, housing of adult inmates and reimbursement to county jails are exempt. He says the majority of the cuts will have to come from corrections administration, juvenile justice and justice administration, three areas which have a total budget of $96.9 million. Brown has until November 30th to present his plan to the Governor's office.


Morehead Murder Trial Set

Pamela Bartley is scheduled to go to trail December 7th. in Morehead, after her murder trial failed to seat jurors in Mount Sterling in July. Bartley is charged with the 2007 shooting death of her husband, Carl Bartley, who was found dead in the garage of his Jeffersonville home. Monday , the prosecution dropped its opposition to a suppression hearing sought to suppress evidence obtained in KSP searches of the Bartley home and Pamela Bartley's car. Special Judge Janet Coleman denied a motion to allow results of a polygraph test administered to a woman with whom Carl Bartley was allegedly having an affair.


KY. Nursing Homes Defend Themselves

According to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office which provides oversight of federal agencies for Congress, ten nursing homes in KY. are among the most poorly performing in the U.S. Only 15 states have more poorly performing nursing homes.Records show some of the homes named have also been cited by state inspectors for creating substantial risk of death or serious physical harm to residents.Three of the homes are on both the GAO list and a list compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Officials with the Kentucky nursing homes are defending their facilities, saying they fared much better on recent inspections by state and federal officials than reflected in the report.


KY. Court Of Appeals Says Ethics Commission Not Affected By Gubernatorial Pardon

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled governor's pardons apply only to criminal cases. The ruling allows the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to pursue its case against Basil Turbyfill, the former director of the Governor's Office of Personnel and Efficency, who challenged the authority of the Commission after being pardoned by former Governor Ernie Fletcher. The court ruled the pardon doesn't apply to the ethics investigation.


Census Worker Killed Himself

Authorities announced Tuesday they have concluded U.S. Census worker, 51 year old Bill Sparkman, of London, killed himself but intended to make his death look like a homicide to preserve payments under two life insurance policies. Sparkman was found dead Sept. 12th. at a cemetery in Clay County where he was tied to a tree with a rope around his neck. Tests indicated the letters FED on his chest were written from bottom to top,indicating he wrote them himself. Tests also revealed there was no DNA other than Sparkman's on the rag in his mouth or another found near his body.


Kentucky Death Penalty Ruling Under Review

Death penalty opponents in Kentucky say actions taken this week surrounding the state's use of lethal injection show major flaws in the Justice System. The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued a 4-3 ruling saying the state acted improperly by not posting public notices and holding hearings before deciding on a three-drug lethal injection protocol.

The decision comes just days after Attorney General Jack Conway requested execution dates be set for three condemned inmates while the case was being considered by the Supreme Court. Governor Beshear hadn't acted on the execution date requests when the ruling came down and is now reviewing the decision.


West Virginia State Workers Get Christmas Time

As an early Christmas gift, Governor Joe Manchin told state workers this week that they will receive an additional half-day off on Christmas Eve. With the half-day added to the half-day already on the state calendar, state workers can enjoy the entire day off. The declaration does not create a legal holiday, but the additional time won't be charged to state workers' annual leave.


Man Found Competent In West Virginia Murder

After being found competent to stand trial, 37 year old Donald B. Surber Jr. of Winchester, Virginia is scheduled to stand trial in Berkeley County Circuit Court on February 9th. Surber is accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Katherine Nicole Sharp, during a 26 hour standoff with West Virginia Police while Surber was holding Sharp captive inside her home near Hedgesville in June. Surber is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and attempted escape, along with other charges.


Logan County Deadly Shooting Investigated

Logan County officials are continuing to investigate a deadly double shooting which occurred Wednesday night in a home along Bowling Alley in Chapmanville. Police say they believe Otis Bowling shot his wife, Emmy Bowling, before turning the gun on himself. Otis Bowling was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Emmy Bowling was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center where she died Thursday morning.


Mingo County Man Facing False Report Charge

Earlier this week, Williamson Police arrested Frankie Fields of Chattaroy (Mingo County) and charged him with falsely reporting an emergency. Authorities say, on November 24th., he supplied them with a written statement claiming a two year old child was abducted from a residence in Williamson, but, when officers discovered the child had gone to stay with an aunt and uncle earlier that day, Fields admitted to falsely filing the report.


West Virginia Fundraiser Underway

United Way of the River Cities is a nonprofit organization that supports programs and strategies that address health and wellness, learning and earning, families and children and basic needs/unforseen hardships in the Tri State. So far, United Way's annual campaign has raised at least $252,000, or 18%, of its $1.4 million goal it hopes to raise before December 31st. Donations are still being accepted by calling 304-523-8929 or filling out an online pledge form at


Enormous Egg Found In West Virginia Woods

Folks in Clendinin are puzzled by the discovery of an egg weighing 4.5 pounds and about 18 inches in diameter. While hunting this week, Sherman Farley found the mystery egg about three miles from the Benedict Haid Farm, but the owner, Bill Pepper, who suspects it may be an ostrich egg, says none of his seven ostriches have been missing. State naturalist Jim Phillips says there's no animal native to West Virginia that lays eggs that big, and, while Farley would like to crack the mystery, he says he plans to keep it as a souvenir.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Lost Evidence Plagues Old Kentucky Cases

Until recent years, Kentucky, along with other states, lacked strict rules about the handling and storing of evidence after trials, leading to missing, lost or destroyed material. The Innocence Project, a New York-based national organization that seeks to free those wrongly convicted, says group efforts at reinvestigating old cases were hampered by lost evidence. But, Boone County Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Tally Smith says lost evidence isn't the problem it appears to be, since other evidence points to guilt for the person in prison. Kentucky Innocence Project Director Ted Shouse says evidence issues have emerged in at least six capital cases in Kentucky, along with potentially hundreds of other prosecutions, including rapes and robberies. In the last decade, most states' evidence preservation laws have been enacted or amended. The laws generally fall into three areas :

A requirement that all evidence be preserved from collection until the end of all appeals, used by states including Kentucky and Texas.

A requirement that evidence be preserved once a petition to test it has been filed.

And laws allowing post-conviction DNA testing.


Black Friday Shoppers Rise Early

As most were stuffing themselves with turkey, retailers were preparing to get ready for wall-to-wall shoppers while stores across Kentucky and the rest of America braced for the biggest shopping day of the year. Last minute preparations were on the minds of those getting ready for big deals meant to reel in purchases on what store owners call their "make it or break it day." While wanting to push sales, safety and efficiency also remained on the minds of employers and employees who knew many would roll out of bed before the turkey..uh, or rooster...crowed. Before dawn Friday morning, shoppers will be out to snag the biggest deal of the year, hoping to either out-do Santa, or, maybe just fill up a stocking, but it's for sure the early bird will be up to capture more than the everyday worm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Beshear Chosen Chairman Of South Growth Policies Board

Following notable politicians like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, KY. Governor Steve Beshear has been chosen as the newest chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a think tank which focuses on growing the automotive industry in the South. Beshear, the board's 40th chairman, succeeds Miss Governor Haley Barbour. The board will hold next years conference June 6th to 8th in Lexington.


KSP Step Up Thanksgiving Holiday Patrol

Thanksgiving driving can be dangerous. So, if you see blue lights during the holiday season, which officially began at 6:00 P.M. Wednesday and extends through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, don't mistake it for a markdown on prices. KSP posts have stepped-up road patrols in an effort to ensure holiday travel is kept as safe as possible. Troopers are out in full force looking for unsafe driving practices, including violations of safety belts, aggressive and distracted drivers. Officials say, last year 14 died in KY. crashes over Thanksgiving weekend, and that's 14 too many.


Pikeville Medical Center...National Hospital of the Year

Pikeville Medical Center has been named the National Hospital of the Year by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. Pikeville Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Walter E. May said, "We have positioned ourselves as one of the premier hospitals in the nation. We will celebrate our anniversary in December and we have only just begun".

To earn the honor, Pikeville Medical Center competed against more than 400 hospitals, including The Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins Hospital, Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic, Duke University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Alleged Pike County Pharmacy Robbers Plead Not Guilty

Tiffany Hannah, Justin Honaker and Jeremy Akers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of robbery after being accused of robbing the Care More Pharmacy in Dorton. Police say they stole more than 7,000 prescription pills at knifepoint. Their bonds were set at $50,000 full cash each, and the case was sent to the grand jury.


Four Indictments In Chop Shop Investigation

Federal indictments have been returned in U.S. District Court in London against four suspects accused of conspiracy to own, operate, maintain and control a chop shop.
H.C. McDarries, 73, of Corbin
Sam Gilbert, 73, of Corbin
Ricky Lee McDarries,50, of Big Stone Gap, Va.
Larry Neal, 50, of Tazwell, Tenn.
were all arrested and charged as the result of a year long investigation into the theft of semi trucks and trailers from KY. and Tenn., valued at more than $600,000


Shooting In Knox County Leaves Girl Dead

Police say a 12 year old boy fatally shot his 9 year old sister around 2:00 P.M. Tuesday (today) at a home in Knox County. Authorities say the father was cooking while the boy was cleaning a 12-gauge shotgun which they believe accidentally shot the girl in the neck. The girl was taken to Knox General Hospital where she died. KSP has not officially released the name, but, according to a funeral home in Barbourville, the girl is Ambria Dunn.


Perry County Mining Accident Results In Death

State officials have confirmed 37 year old Leslie D. Trent of Hazard died at the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville following a crane accident while he was working at a mining site owned by Perry County Coal Corp. Monday afternoon. A spokesman with the Energy and Environment Cabinet says the coal company had hired New York-based Frontier-Kemper Constructors to bore two holes for miner access, and, while Trent and another worker were changing equipment on a crane, the crane arm fell several feet, landing on them. The other worker was transported to University of Kentucky Hospital after suffering a severe cut on the head.


Pike County Shoplifting Sees Decline

Pike County District Judge Kelsey Friend says, if you insist on shoplifting in Pike County businesses and end up in his courtroom, in addition to jail time and fines, you're probably going to wind up humilated. As part of the sentence, Friend says, you'll be required to stand in front of the Pike County Courthouse holding a sign explaining what you did, a move he says has drastically curbed shoplifting. Only first time offenders are ordered to wear the signs, and, if they refuse, $300 is added to their fine. So far, Friend says it's really cut his case load.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Clay County Accident Results In Murder Charge

Forty year old Lanny Sizemore of Manchester has been charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and murder. KSP officials say, while he was driving northbound on U.S. 421 in Clay County Sunday night, his vehicle crossed the center line, striking a vehicle driven by 35 year old Ellen Fletcher of Pineville, ejecting her from her vehicle. Fletcher was transported to Manchester Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.


Sentencing Set For Cincinnati Doctor Involved In Eastern KY Drug Ring

March 17th has been set as the sentencing date for Lloyd Stanley Naramore, a Cincinnati doctor who pleaded guilty Monday (today) to a charge of conspiring to distribute Methadone. Naramore appeared in federal court in London, following a July 2008 indictment after being accused of involment in a multi-state pill trafficking ring which distributed hundreds of thousands of pills across eastern KY. Timothy Wayne Hall of Floyd County was sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting to being the ring leader of a criminal enterprise.


Attorney General Seeking Execution Dates For Death Row Inmates

Attorney General Jack Conway is urging Governor Steve Beshear to set execution dates for death row inmates Ralph Baze Jr., Robert C. Foley and Gregory L. Wilson. Conway says each has exhausted their " matter of right " appeals in state and federal courts, and there are no remaining legal impediments to the finality of these death sentences. Conway says it's time the families of their victims have closure.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Changes In Persistent Felony Offender Laws Considered

For years, a U.K. law professor has argued the state has stiffened penalties for non-violent crimes to the point of overcrowding jails and prisons, even though lawmakers made it easier to qualify for parole. Representative Johnny Bell (D Glasgow) favors easing or outright elimination of KY's persistent felony 2 law which enhances sentences for repeat non-violent offenders. Bell, a defense attorney who also serves on a judiciary subcommittee is looking at possible changes in the penal code. He says the $19,000 a year cost to house one drug offender could provide rehabilitation for multiple offenders, thereby saving the state lots of money. Attorney General Jack Conway says his office is reviewing recommendations but has concerns about changes to PFO laws, while many prosecutors vigorously defend the PFO laws.


Fire Destroys Apartment Building At Morehead State University

Around noon Friday, fire destroyed the Layne Building at Morehead State University, leaving 13 students without a home, while 5 of those students lost everything. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the Red Cross and several campus organizations stepped up to help out and offer support.


IRS Seeking Taxpayers Due Refunds

In just a few months, taxpayers will begin filing forms, while some will be awaiting refunds. But, IRS officials say, every now and then, some refunds mailed in the form of a check are returned as undeliverable. Recently, the IRS announced it was seeking 921 Kentuckians who were owed more than $838,000 in refunds after failing delivery due to mailing address errors. Some of those recipients are still being sought. The IRS wants to remind taxpayers to update mailing information through their website at


Magoffin County Natural Gas Consultant Pleads Guilty

Peter Grimes, a former employee for Energy Management and Services Company, has pleaded guilty to forging and delivering a state air quality permit to the owner of Newpoint Midstream, a natural gas plant in Magoffin County. The state recommended Grimes be sentenced to three years, with possible pre-trial diversion, and restitution of $5,000 to the plant. It was also recommended that Grimes not work for anyone seeking state permits or operating natural gas processing facilities nor hold himself out to be a licensed engineer for a period of five years.


Jury Recommends Thirty Years For Hazard Man

Twenty-three year old Jared Fields of Hazard will be formally sentenced January 7th. after being convicted on one count of kidnapping, two counts of rape, two counts of sodomy, and two counts of sexual abuse. Fields was convicted on charges that he and others held a male juvenile at knifepoint while receiving and performing sexual acts. A Perry County jury recommended a 30 year prison sentence.
Phillip Riddle, another subject charged in the case, tentatively accepted an unofficial plea deal agreeing to plead guilty and provide truthful testimony against two others, in exchange for a 15 year prison sentence.

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