Saturday, December 19, 2009


Pike County "Emergency Management Plan" Meeting

At a meeting of the various department heads for Pike County, plans were devised and assignments of food, medical personnel and equipment were made. The meeting was presided over by Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford and lasted for the better part of four hours in the conference room of the Pike County Courthouse.

The strategy meeting was sub-divided into three main subject areas, Electrical Power-Water-Health. Plans involving identification of needs for the various departments dealing with the winter disaster were formulated. The tone in the room resembled a War Room, as indeed it dealt with the assignment of personnel and materials. Governor Steve Beshear talked by phone with several persons attending the meeting. He will make an appearance tomorrow (Sunday) at Pike County Central High School and will then tour the Belfry and Phelps area to see first hand the situation.

National Guard troops will also arrive tomorrow (Sunday) and be assigned to their duties. Trucks will be made available to transport food, medical supplies and crucial equipment to areas most severely affected by the snow storm which dumped an average 5 inches on the region.

Paul Hopkins with the Pike County Health Department announced the establishment of a Special Health Needs Center. It will be housed in the East Kentucky Expo Center on the Second Floor. Persons needing the services offered by the SHNC must first call this number for an initial screening...218-3501.

Doug Tackett, Director of the Pike County Emergency Management Office was kept busy during the strategy session locating food and equipment to meet the needs of the thousands suffering from lack of electrical power, food and equipment. Kersoene and propane heaters, chain saws, and food donated by local businesses, and the transportation needed to get these crucial items to the needy took a top priority.


Winter Storm Leaves Thousands Powerless

Heavy, wet snow that began falling Saturday morning has left half of Pike County’s residents without power.

Nearly 35,000 people were powerless as of midday Saturday, and nearly 10,000 were without water.

“The number of people without water is probably going to grow,” Doug Tackett, Pike County Emergency Management Services director said.

It was first estimated that power would not be restored fully for seven to 10 days, but Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said that time period had to be decreased.
“We are bringing crews in from everywhere we can,” Rutherford said. “We have to cut that time period down. We are in a disaster and we know it will take some time, but we have to move as quickly as possible.”

Pike County officials are coordinating with each other as well as officials from the electric and water companies in an attempt to get power restored as soon as possible.

“We have people from the solid waste department helping the road crews and all volunteer fire departments have been cutting fallen trees since last night,” Tackett said. “We are out buying chainsaws to distribute to people the downed trees removed.”

The county government has instituted an emergency health plan to aid those residents who are in need of their prescription medication, are on dialysis or need oxygen or heat.

“Gov. Beshear will be here tomorrow,” Rutherford said. “The Red Cross has been activated and we are putting together an emergency meal plan.”

There are currently seven shelters open around the county, including Belfry, Phelps, Pike Central, Shelby Valley and East Ridge high schools, Phelps/Freeburn Senior Center and John Creek Elementary School.

County officials are also coordinating with employees from the state’s emergency management office and deputy judge-executive John Doug Hays is coordinating with jailer Rodney Scott in regard to work-release inmates who are available to go out and assist in any way.
(Release from Judge-Executive's Office)


Winter Storm Paralyzes Region

A winter storm swept through Eastern Kentucky and most of West Virginia . Beginning Saturday morning, the storm dropped an average of 5 inches of wet, heavy snow. It's the kind of winter event that causes businesses to close and grocery stores to do booming sales. Currently, approximately 70,ooo customers are without power as snow-laden trees and power lines fell from the weight of the snow.

Pike County alone reported 26,ooo homes and businesses without power. The storm was so over whelming the power companies in the respective states have not made enough progress in restoring service to predict resumption of full service. Crews and additional manpower are working around the clock, even as snow continues to fall in the area. East Kentucky Broadcasting, a group of nine radio stations in eastern Kentucky, was off the air for several hours beginning around 1:30a Saturday morning. Eventually, power was provided by a generator at the stations and they began immediately broadcasting emergency information. In many cases, this was the only contact individuals and families had with the region.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Winter Storm Hits Kentucky

The awaited winter storm for Kentucky moved in Friday as rain changed over to snow in several areas, placing eastern and southeastern Kentucky under a Winter Storm Warning, with four to eight plus inches of snow possible. Weather created problems for motorists and caused many events to be cancelled. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet readied itself with crews prepared to work around the clock. Pre-treating roads continued Friday in some parts of the state. Kentucky road condition information is available by dialing 511 or visiting online at


Mental Evaluation Ordered For Nunn

On Friday, Fayette County Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine granted the request for a mental evaluation for former state Representative Steve Nunn. Warren Scoville, Nunn's attorney, had requested the evaluation, saying his client's mental and physical health had deteriorated since he's been in jail. Nunn is charged with the September 11th murder of his former fiancee Amanda Ross, and he was recently indicted after pleading not guilty in Hart County to six counts of wanton endangerment. He is also accused of brandishing a firearm when police approached him at a cemetery hours after Ross was gunned down outside her Lexington townhome. Scoville says Nunn is not competent enough to assist in his own defense.


Kentucky Speedway Drops NASCAR Suit

Jerry Carroll, former chairman of the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, announced Friday he will not pursue any further legal action against NASCAR, hoping the move will help pave the way for the race track to get a Cup race as early as 2011. In 2005, the Kentucky Speedway's original partners sued NASCAR after being rejected multiple times for the highest-level race. Last week, an appeals court decided Carroll and Kentucky Speedway had failed to prove their case. New Kentucky Speedway track owner Bruton Smith said last week plans are moving forward to help secure a Cup race in 2011. Burton says he'd ask NASCAR for a date or will purchase a date from another track and move it to Kentucky.


Woman Convicted Of Manslaughter

After more than eight hours of deliberations, a Rowan Circuit Court jury in Morehead entered a guilty verdict Thursday, finding Pam Bartley guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of her husband of 38 years. Carl Bartley was found shot in the head in the garage of the couple's home in Jeffersonville in July 2007. In closing arguments, the defense argued state police had conducted an incomplete investigation by failing to interview people who could have given a more complete picture of what happened, and Katherine Lee, an Irving woman with whom Carl Bartley had a five-year affair, had motive to kill him, saying she was enraged Carl Bartley would not leave his wife for her. But,the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney said it was Pam Bartley who had motive to kill her husband because he was leaving her.


Beshear Prohibits Texting For State Workers

According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction and inattention contributes, nationwide, to 25% of police-responded traffic crashes. According to Kentucky State Police, more than 53,000 crashes occurred in Kentucky last year due to driver distraction, resulting in almost 200 fatalities and more than 15,000 injuries. Wednesday, Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order to prohibit state employees from text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles....exempting agency heads who use text messaging for law enforcement, security or emergencies. Three lawmakers have pre-filed bills that would set various penalties for texting while driving, and Beshear says he would support legislation in the 2010 General Assembly to prohibit everyone from texting while driving.


Rogers Announces Funding

U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers announced Thursday the House of Representatives has approved $3.6 million in federal funding for counter-narcotics activities in Kentucky, while enabling the Kentucky National Guard to continue marijuana eradication and methamphetamine lab destruction efforts in the Commonwealth.He also announced the House of Representatives has approved $4.8 million in federal funding for transportable generators for the Kentucky National Guard, which will enable them to supply portable generators to key facilities and locations in the event of a manmade or natural disaster. In addition, he announced the House of Representatives has approved $1.6 million for the University of Kentucky's (UK) Marty Driesler Cancer Project as part of the 2010 Department of Defense spending bill. The Senate is expected to vote on these legislations soon.


Snow For The Mountain State

As the National Weather Service forecast conditions perfect for significant snowfall in West Virginia this weekend, residents braced themselves Friday for the predicted snowfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches in the Ohio Valley and western lowlands, while folks in central and northern West Virginia anticipated seeing 6 to 10 inches. Forecasters predict the West Virginia mountains could be looking at more than 20-inches of snow this weekend, creating a possibility for the biggest snowstorm in several years. The National Weather Service says since we are in an El Nino year, and, typically those years are marked by fewer snow events, the ones we get are more significant.


Manchin Appoints House Delegate

Governor Joe Manchin has appointed Charleston attorney Meshea Poore to the state House of Delegates, filling the vacancy in the 31st district, while replacing Carrie Webster who was recently appointed a circuit judge. In the 2008 Primary Election, Poore almost upset Webster. Poore's appointment will continue through 2010, but she's expected to run for the seat in next year's election.


Public Hearing In Mingo County

Thursday night, the West Virginia Division of Air Quality held a public meeting in Mingo County as more than 500 people attended to hear issues pertaining to a proposed air quality permit for a TransGas project in which developers want to build a multi-billion dollar coal to gas plant near Wharncliffe. Developers say they would use up to three million tons of locally mined coal to make more than 6.5 million barrels of gasoline every year, and the project could create more than 3,000 jobs during construction along with more than 200 permanent jobs. The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority has worked on the project for about four years, and it says all the developers have asked for from the state is a site and the permits. The West Virginia Air Quality Board will likely vote next month, and, if all goes well, construction could begin by next fall with completion in 2013.


EPA To Conduct Study In Nitro

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen several former Kanawha Valley industrial sites, all located in Nitro, for a study on whether they are suitable for solar energy projects. Several of the sites were once occupied by chemical manufacturing companies, and the federal agency says, given the sites’ history and current environmental concerns, their reuse and redevelopment is limited. However, it says the study is a unique opportunity to determine if solar power generation is a viable option for marginal land reuse, and the study’s findings could lead to redevelopment opportunities at other industrial sites, including reclaimed surface mines in central and southern West Virginia. The study on the Nitro sites is expected to be completed by spring.


Mingo Co. Wood-Fired Plant To Double Production

American Clean Energy, the developer of a wood-fired power plant in Mingo County, is expanding the project to more than double the amount of electricity generated. Thursday, President Tom Loehr told the state Economic Development Authority that contracts are being finalized with several wood producers in southern West Virginia. Loehr says, after three years, the plant will generate 60 megawatts and will use about 900,000 tons of wood waste a year, up from the originally proposed 28-megawatt plant using 400,000 tons of wood waste a year. The state Economic Development Authority approved a resolution in October to allow American Clean Energy to issue up to $100 million in tax-free bonds for the plant's construction. A vote on final approval is expected in January.


Rahall Asking For Mining Permits

Recently, U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers suspended federal Clean Water Act permits for a Canonsburg, Pa.-based Consol Energy surface mining operation in Clay County, effective January 23rd. Consol says it will idle the operation and start layoffs February 7th, affecting some 500 employees. In a letter to assistant Army secretary Jo Ellen Darcy on Thursday, Democratic Representative Nick Rahall is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to reissue the federal permits and is also urging the agency to speed up processing of all pending mining permits.


Murder Suspect Extradited

Following the extradition process in Kentucky, 35 year old James Everett Marcum of Crum, has been returned to West Virginia to face a felony first-degree murder charge in Wayne County. Authorities say, on December 9th, Marcum fatally shot 62 year old James Ward at his home on Jennies Creek in Crum.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


KLC Audit Forwarded To Law Enforcement

State Auditor Crit Luallen announced Thursday she has forwarded a report that turned up "excessive and questionable spending" at the Kentucky League of Cities to state and federal law enforcement agencies. Those findings included high pay for executives of an organization that is primarily funded by public money, conflicts of interest in spending, undocumented credit card expenses and gifts from vendors, including admission to a Las Vegas strip club for three League staff members. The audit team of state financial experts found 19 positions in the organization paid more than $100,000 - some far more, thanks to raises over the past seven years.


Miners Take Kids Christmas Shopping

Well, it wasn't Shop With a Cop, but maybe Shop With a Miner, that put smiles on some faces of kids in eastern Kentucky Thursday. Friends of Coal, Coal Mining Our Future and Coal for Kids collectively contributed the $10,000 spent when miners took 100 kids from Perry, Knott, and Leslie county schools to Magic Mart in Hazard to shop for whatever would make their Christmas a merry season. For some, it made the difference in what Santa would leave under their tree.


Judge Cancels Hearing In Perry County Case

Perry County District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens has canceled a hearing on John Charles Combs' motion to be moved to Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center for a mental evaluation after being charged in the December 8th murder of Dr. Dennis Sandlin. Stephens cited Kentucky statutes that say only trial judges have the ability to rule on mental competency. Since Combs is charged with a felony, Stephens would not be his trial judge. Combs' attorney, Michael Eubanks of Richmond, says he thinks Combs will be evaluated on the question of his competency to help in his defense and on his state of mind the day of the shooting. Eubanks says he will re-file at the circuit court level. In addition, Combs is charged with assaulting two guards at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard this week.


Letcher County Miner Killed

A mining accident in Letcher County leaves one man dead.
It happened at a mine off Highway 931 just outside Whitesburg late Wednesday night.

34 year old Phillip Newton, worked for Sandlick Two mine, operated by Sapphire Coal Company.
Officials say a roof fall caused Newton to be trapped under a large rock.
"It's just a freak accident, just one of those things, you know, something sad happening here around Christmas to the family." Said Letcher County coroner Wallace Bolling.
Bolling says once emergency crews arrived they tried to free Newton but were unsuccessful.
Newton was taken to Everidge Funeral Home in Whitesburg.


Coal Run Village Fires

Two restaurants in Coal Run Village were the sites of fires yesterday. The fires appeared to be unrelated. Reno's and Shoney's were reported on fire about an hour apart between 5pm and 6pm. The Coal Run Volunteer Fire Department reported no injuries, but, each restaurant received extensive damage. An investigation continues as to the cause of the fires.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Magoffin Commonwealth's Attorney Responds

The Magoffin County Commonwealth's Attorney has responded to concerns raised by Operation UNITE and official Dan Smoot regarding Magoffin County school teacher Darrell Patrick who was arrested in October. UNITE officials maintain, if an indictment is not returned within 60-days, the district court charges will be dropped, but the Commonwealth's Attorney maintains there is no 60 day rule or limitation to present felony cases to the grand jury. He says that is a district court rule that applies only to proceedings in that court, and, in fact, in felony cases there is no statute of limitations. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for Magoffin County says, generally, UNITE detectives by-pass district court altogether and come directly to the grand jury. The attorney says Patrick's case will be presented to the grand jury in January, and his case will be handled in the same manner as all other drug trafficking cases, and the law will be enforced and justice carried out.


Corbin Dentist Indicted

A Whitley County grand jury has indicted a Corbin dentist, accusing Ronald Hungerbuhler of seven felony counts of devising or engaging in a scheme to defraud the Kentucky Medicaid Program by submitting fraudulent claims valued at $300 or more. He is accused of billing for oral exams at Christian Health Care Nursing Home in Corbin which were not performed. Arraignment is set for January 4th, and, if convicted, Hungerbuhler could face one to five years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 for each count.


Perry County Clerk Audited

Two audits of Perry County Clerk Haven King’s office have been forwarded to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office for review, noting more than $27,000 in disallowed expenses in 2007 and 2008.State auditor Crit Luallen released the audits of the clerk’s office on Tuesday, audits that found funds from the clerk’s official fee account spent on several disallowed expenses, including personally imprinted items and duplicate employee payments. Auditors found more than $17,000 in misappropriated funds during the calendar year 2008 alone.Included in the 2008 audit was a finding of $6,189 expended for the charities Help a Veteran Everyday and Hope for Tomorrow, both programs set up to aid veterans in Kentucky or Eastern Kentucky.


Harold Man Arrested

Police say 42-year old Eric Allen was arrested Monday on burglary charges after police found him hiding near his home on the left fork of Toler Creek. Family members gave authorities conflicting accounts of Allen's whereabouts. Unable to locate Allen, police turned their efforts to an outbuilding on the property. Allen was arrested on numerous charges, including failure to pay child support.

The initial criminal complaint was filed by Jason Allen concerning a possible breaking and entering which alllegedly occured in January. Eric Allen was taken to the Floyd County Detention Center. He was arraingned and is being held on $25,000 cash bond.


Beshear Seeks Extended Unemployment

Kentucky is facing 11.2% unemployment. Governor Steve Beshear is asking senators and representatives to back any measure that will provide a temporary extension of unemployment benefits. Last month, Congress approved an extension of unemployment benefits that would result in Kentuckians receiving 20 more weeks of benefits, but the legislation expires December 31st.


Beshear Calls For Cap On Payday Lenders

Kentucky now has 743 payday lenders, and, earlier this year, the General Assembly approved a moratorium to prevent new payday lenders from opening in the state. Tuesday, Governor Steve Beshear called on lawmakers to put a cap on the amount of interest payday lenders can charge customers, while calling for a limit of 36% instead of the interest charges that now exceed 400% annually in some instances. The Community Financial Services Association of America says a cap will drive lenders out of business.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Shop With A Cop

Every year, the Shop With a Cop program benefits children who may not have a visit from Santa Claus or the money to buy presents for mom and dad or their siblings. To some families it means the difference that spreads Christmas cheer. More than 80 underprivileged students from Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin and Magoffin counties were thrilled Tuesday when officers of Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville took them shopping at the Pikeville Wal-Mart, while each child had $100 to spend on whatever would make their Christmas season merry. Following the shopping spree, the kids were taken to McDonald’s for lunch. KSP officers say smiles from the needy children make all they have done worth the effort.


Swine Flu Syringes Recalled

Government health officials announced Tuesday 800,000 pre-filled swine flu syringes that were for young children, ages 6 months to nearly 3 years have been recalled. The shots, made by Sanofi Pasteur, were distributed across the country last month, but health officials say the vaccine doses lost some strength. Officials emphasized parents don't need to do anything or to worry if their child got one, or even two, of the recalled shots, while saying the vaccine is safe and effective.


Attorneys Seek Mental Evaluation

Defense attorneys for 46 year old John Carles Combs of Redfox (Knott Co.) are seeking a psychiatric evaluation to determine his competency to stand trial after being charged with murder in the December 8th fatal shooting of 57 year old Dr. Dennis Sandlin who was shot in the head at Leatherwood/Blackey Medical Clinic in Cornettsville in Perry County. Tuesday, the defense waived the preliminary hearing, sending the case to the grand jury.


Pike County Coal Truck Driver Killed

The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing is continuing to investigate a deadly coal truck accident which occurred Saturday in Pike County. Officials say 52 year old Stevie Johnson of Virgie was pronounced dead at Pikeville Medical Center after losing control of his loaded 10-wheel coal truck and becoming ejected. Johnson was working at a mine owned by Premier Elkhorn Coal Company and located in Virgie.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Thieves Hit Floyd County Businesses

Police and phone crews were kept busy this weekend as thieves cut phone lines and broke into J & J Liquors in Betsy Layne, the Tanning Salon and attempted to go through the ceiling to get into the Betsy Layne Pharmacy after cutting the pharmacy's alarm wires at 4:00 A.M. Sunday morning. Workers at J and J Liquors say, when they came to work, they discovered the front door was smashed, and all the cigarettes, lighters and cash were gone.


Board Explores Expanded Gambling

After discussing a variety of legislative options Monday (today), the board of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a horse industry lobbying group, vowed to continue its fight for expanded gambling. Board members explored several alternatives, including amending the state’s lottery law to permit local-option referendum on allowing video lottery terminals, or slot machines, in counties where there are racetracks to redoubling its efforts at membership and voter registration, but they did not discuss pursuing a compromise on a proposed constitutional amendment filed by Sen. Damon Thayer, (R-Georgetown) which would require a statewide vote as well as local ones, and tracks to compete with other bidders for the casinos. Former Governor Brereton Jones, chairman of KEEP, says they're going to save the horse industry and fight until it’s done, but Thayer says he doesn’t see Jones’ proposal going anywhere. “I don’t think it’s constitutional to have casino-style gambling unless the constitution is amended,” he said.


Scoville Seeks Mental Evaluation

Attorney Warren Scoville filed a motion Monday (today) in Fayette Circuit Court seeking a mental evaluation for former state Representative 57 year old Steve Nunn. Scoville says, due to the conditions of Nunn's incarceration, "his physical and mental health have deteriorated to a point that he is unable at this time to assist in the preparation of his defense." Scoville says the evaluation is not for the formal determination of whether Nunn lacked mental capacity when his former fiancée, 29 year old Amanda Ross was killed on September 11th. But, however, he says "that motion may come at a at a later time, if warranted." The motion requests Nunn receive the competency evaluation at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange, and Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson says he's not opposing such an evaluation.


Holiday Season Postal Service Deadline Near

While it seems easy for Santa to deliver millions of packages in just one night every year, postal workers say they are hustling to try to keep up the pace. U.S. Postal workers say the busiest two weeks of the year are heating up as the dealine nears to get those cards, letters and packages in the mail in time for Christmas. Monday marked the beginning of the mailing rush, but officials say every year there are several people who wait until the last minute to mail their gifts. Although packages can be sent through priority mail until December 23rd and can be sent by express mail until December 24th, with both promising to get packages to their destinations by Christmas, postal workers say, if you plan on sending out Christmas cards or other items, you should get them in the mail by Monday.


Ky. Company Buying W. Va. Business

A Kentucky-based company is set to acquire a longtime West Virginia business. Officials at Walker Machinery in Belle, West Virginia announced Monday (today) that, after 59 years, the Walker family has decided to sell the mine equipment business to Boyd Company, LLC of Louisville, Kentucky, the holding company of Whayne Supply Company, the Caterpillar dealer in southern Indiana and Kentucky. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year, but Boyd says it plans to operate Walker as it is, while keeping its name, and its headquarters will remain in Belle.


Laurel Co. Teen Killed In Accident

Seventeen year old Carmen Howell was pronounced dead at the scene of a single vehicle accident which occurred on Ky. 490 in Laurel County around 2:00 P.M. Sunday. Officials say slick roads could have caused her car to slide 28 feet off the road and hit a tree. The victim was a senior at North Laurel High School.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Educational Initiative Funding Announced

U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers has announced the U.S. House of Representatives has approved federal funding of $500,000 for southern and eastern Kentucky's educational initiative "Forward in the Fifth." Rogers says the program gives our children the opportunity to excel at skills that are necessary for future success, and reading can mean the difference between a good paying job, graduating from college, or having the confidence to pursue your goals.


PMC Announces New Flu Center Hours

Pikeville Medical Center president and Chief Executive Officer Walter E. May says the Regional Flu Center has been a tremendous success, but they are seeing a slowdown in the spread of the virus in our region, but, if the virus escalates, the Regional Flu Center will continue to stand ready to meet any challenges that may arise. Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has announced new hours for its Regional Flu Center. Effective Saturday, December 12th, the
center will be open seven days a week from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.


House Approves Drug Funds

U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers has announced the United States House of Representatives has approved $13.45 million to fight drug abuse throughout the country. Locally, the funding will support the ongoing efforts of Operation UNITE. The Senate is expected to vote on this final, comprehensive spending legislation later this year. Rogers says the epidemic of drug abuse has impacted every community and nearly every family in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, and this funding allows us to continue to fight for an addict to get help, a young person to never start, and drug pushers to get out.


Ashland Park Display Vandalized

Ashland Police officials say, Saturday morning, park workers at the Winter Wonderland of Lights display in Central Park found vandalism had caused an estimated $8,000 to $10,000 in damage to four light displays.


Report Shows Ky. Child Abuse Deaths

A report issued by the Every Child Matters Education Fund, a Washington child-advocacy group, reveals, during the past decade, nearly 270 Kentucky children died of abuse or neglect, more than half of which state officials already knew or suspected problems, but, in some, child-protection officials, day-care workers, and parents, friends and relatives missed signs of abuse. The report found that during one 12-month period in 2007, 41 children died, the highest rate of any state. Social workers say they don't have time to fully investigate cases or to follow up with families nor money to provide in-home assistance, drug testing and treatment some families need. Since 2008, the state has cut $51 million from programs such as child protection. Child-abuse experts say the true picture may be even worse because as many as half of the deaths may be classified as accidental or from natural causes.

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