Saturday, January 09, 2010


W. Va. Supreme Court Trims Budget

With West Virginia facing a projected $120 million shortfall, Governor Joe Manchin has called for 3.4% cuts in spending. For the second time this fiscal year, the West Virginia Supreme Court has voted to trim an additional $2 million from its budget. That $2 million represents 4% of the court system's discretionary budget and 1.7% of its overall budget of $117.9 million. Most of the reduction will come from its technology budget, which will slow but not stop plans to install a computer network for all the state's courts.


Disbarred Attorney Pleads Guilty

Disbarred Morgantown attorney, 58 year old C. Patrick Carrick, pleaded guilty this past week in Monongalia County Circuit Court to six counts of embezzlement by fiduciary. Carrick was accused of keeping nearly $40,000 from workers compensation claims instead of taking his fee and sending the remainder to clients. He consented to voluntary disbarment in October.


Bond Revoked For Pagan Member

Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Stanley revoked bond for St. Albans resident Stephen J. Bailey, returning him to jail. Bailey, an indicted member of the Pagans Motorcycle Club, allegedly threatened co-defendant Donnie Ray Workman last month. Bailey faces drug and firearms charges in the case against the Pagans. Workman is one of several Pagans who've cut plea deals and agreed to testify concerning Pagan activities. Stanley is due in court Monday to contest allegations, and his attorney, Carl Hostler, says he believes prosecutors are being misled.


W. Va. Sees Harsh Winter

Since the week before Christmas, West Virginia has experienced constantly repeated snowfall, with very few breaks in between. Snowfall totals from this past week alone put about five inches on the ground in Charleston, seven inches in Ripley and six inches in Hamlin. Higher elevations have seen very little melting since December 18th. The highest snowfall total recorded in West Virginia is at the remote McCross reporting unit outside of Rainelle in Greenbrier County where 35 inches of snow were on the ground, as of Friday.


Mingo County Drug Bust

Following several months of investigation, seven Mingo County residents were arrested early Friday morning during raids at two homes in Ragland and Varney. Authorities say deputies recovered Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, weapons and several thousand dollars in cash. The drugs came from pharmacies and doctor offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The seven face a total of 83 felony drug and other charges.


Clarksburg Couple Indicted

If convicted on charges of murder of a child by parent or guardian or custodian, 27-year-old William Echard and 22-year-old Amber Messenger of Clarksburg could spend most of their lives in prison. A Harrison County grand jury indicted them this past week for the murder of their 4-month-old daughter, along with six counts of child abuse resulting in injury, three counts of child neglect resulting in injury and giving false information about a child's injuries. Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer says, last July, the couple shook the infant and threw her against a wooden deck. The baby died of head trauma.


Manchin Proposes Cigarette Tax Increase

West Virginia has the nation's highest adult smoking rate, although it's cigarette tax is among the lowest, at only 55 cents per pack. Speaking at The Associated Press' annual Legislative Lookahead conference Friday, Governor Joe Manchin said he believes a cigarette tax increase could help West Virginia pay for what may be a considerable price tag from federal health care legislation. He estimates the U.S. House version would cost the state $725 million, while the Senate version would increase the state's costs by $150 million. He feels both versions would require expanding Medicaid insurance coverage to 150% of the federal poverty level starting in 2013.


New Guidelines For "Mountaintop Mining"

The Department of Natural Resources has introduced a new set of guidelines to cover the controversial practice of mountaintop mining. The department says the guidelines, called the Fill Placement Optimization Process, will reduce the "number and size" of mining waste dumps and minimize the impact on streams. The new protocol was formed by a study group of state and federal officials, along with environmentalists and members of the mining industry. A member of the study group responsible for the new regulations says they should "significantly reduce the footprint of mining operations." Attorney Tom Fitzgerald says for years mining companies were allowed to "knock 1,000 feet off the top of a mountain," dump the waste into a stream and say they followed federal law.


Midway College To Open Pharmacy School

Midway College plans to open a pharmacy school in Paintsville, Kentucky.
Community and government leaders will make the official announcement Monday morning at Johnson Central High School. It is reported the school will be temporarily housed on the Big Sandy Technical College Campus. First year enrollment is projected at 80...with over 300 scheduled in the senior class after four years. The school will begin accepting applications in January, 2011, with the first classes in the fall of 2011. Midway College, located in Midway, Kentucky projects the creation of 100 jobs.


Legalized Slots A Tough Sell In Legislature

A proposal to legalize slots at Kentucky horse racing tracks is facing long odds in the state legislature. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said that he doesn't expect house lawmakers who passed the measure last year will bother to take it up this year. Opposition to the proposal is strong. Senate President David Williams said it preys on the poorest of Kentucky's residents.
Kentucky has a long tradition of betting on horse races, but attempts to legalize casino-style gambling has been met with rejection.


Crossdresser Robs Bank

Police have arrested a Rockcastle County man and charged him with three recent armed robberies, including a bank robbery in Berea Thursday, in which he dressed up as a woman to disguise himself. Troy Lear, 40, of Brodhead is charged with a robbery at a check cashing store in Danville, a hotel in Richmond and the latest incident. Police say Lear, dressed in a wig, a green woman's overcoat and wearing makeup, produced a handgun and demanded cash. The teller complied, and the suspect left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police say some of the cash was recovered after the robbery, but did not disclose where. Police say Lear was arrested at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Berea, and said he confessed to all three of the crimes.


Swine Flu Update

Kentucky has had its share of swine flu cases, but there's relief in the numbers recently released by the CDC. Swine flu infections continue to drop and only one state - Alabama - is now reporting widespread cases. Four states had widespread cases the previous week. The number has been dropping since late October, when nearly all states had widespread flu reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported there are no signs of seasonal flu right now, only the swine variety. CDC officials noted there is still more flu around than normally seen at this time of year, and illnesses could increase as kids return to school after a weather-related break


Domestic Violence Bill Considered

Under a bill filed this week in the General Assembly in an effort to strengthen Kentucky's domestic violence laws, state law would allow judges to prohibit possession of firearms by the accused while a domestic violence order is in effect. Present federal law prohibits someone who has a protective order against them from having a weapon, but that law doesn't require courts or law enforcement to confiscate a gun or other weapon. Under House Bill 205, Kentucky sheriffs would be required to collect the guns of people with domestic violence orders against them or those under domestic violence orders could transfer firearms to another person prior to the order being issued. The measure is facing opposition from gun-ownership proponents. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, who introduced the Amanda Bill, says he has some concerns about the bill because taking away a gun may violate someone's Second Amendment right to bear arms. Other proposed bills under consideration would allow dating couples to get domestic violence orders, require counseling for people convicted of domestic violence and make the act of strangulation a felony.


Reward Offered By Humane Society

As if the frigid weather wasn't enough of a challenge, someone's cruelty has added to the plight of two dogs in the area. The Humane Society of the United States says it is offering a $2,500 reward to help find who is responsible for injuring two dogs found in Pike County on the same day. In a news release Friday, the Humane Society said the two dogs were found Monday in separate incidents. One dog had been shot in two legs and the other was seriously wounded by an arrow.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Beshear Orders Inmates Removed From Otter Creek

Friday, Governor Steve Beshear ordered that some 400 female inmates be removed from the Otter Creek Correctional Complex in Wheelwright and replaced with male prisoners. The order came some four months after the Kentucky Department of Corrections completed an investigation into the handling of 18 alleged cases of sexual misconduct by prison guards. Beginning by July 1st, the women will be moved to the state-run Western Kentucky Correctional Complex. Beshear said, "There is no place for this kind of behavior in our system." Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown said moving male inmates to Otter Creek could save the state some $2.2 million a year.


Floyd County Gets A New Tool

The world of modern technology is providing a helpful tool to the Floyd County School District. Parents of children in the system have a new way of finding out when school has been cancelled and other important announcements. The Floyd County Board of Education adopted a new communication system for 2010 that sends out a phone call with important messages within minutes. SchoolCast is a system that allows parents and guardians of Floyd County students to be contacted by the school or the district’s central office with messages on home phones, cell phones, or via email. According to information provided by the Floyd County Board of Education, each school will have the capability to utilize the tool as a parent communication system at the individual school level.


KSP Make Gambling Bust

As lawmakers attempt to find a way to legalize expanded gambling, Kentucky State Police say they've busted seven businesses in Knox and Bell Counties, seizing a total of 49 illegal gambling machines and $62,000 in cash during the raids. Police say the businesses involved in Knox County were the Flat Lick BP, Creek Mart at Flat Lick, Spur No. 1 in Barbourville, Williams Stop and Go in Barbourville, Spur No. 2 at Bailey Switch and the Heidrick One Stop. In Bell County, KSP raided the Exxon Friendly Mart in Pineville. Charges are pending while KSP continue to actively work the investigation.


Big Sandy Inmate Gets New Time

The U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Kentucky says 48 year old Steven Michael Reid, an inmate at the Big Sandy Federal Prison, has been sentenced to an additional 15 years. Reid, of Norfolk, Va., pleaded guilty in August to assaulting a corrections officer and possessing a prohibited object. Prosecutors say Reid stabbed the officer in the stomach through an opening of his cell door, using a weapon he had made by rolling up two magazines with a sharp piece of plexiglass, smeared with feces, on the end.


Ky. Focuses On Education

The Kentucky Board of Education, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board have scheduled a rare joint meeting for February 10th in Versailles. The purpose is to officially adopt new common core-content standards for math and English in grades K-12. The standards focus on fewer concepts while stressing deeper learning and understanding. The standards are part of an overall drive to better prepare Kentucky's students for college or careers. Kentucky expects to become the first state in the nation to officially adopt new common core-content standards.

Under a proposal approved Thursday by the state House Education Committee, state officials would have several new options, including school closure, to deal with persistently low-achieving schools. State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says House Bill 176 is essential to Kentucky's application for federal Race to the Top funding, which must be filed by January 19th.


Ky. Governor Assures Heating Assistance

With heavy snows and bitter temperatures plauging the state this winter, those already struggling with everyday bills have added a new stress just trying to keep up with heating costs.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Thursday that families can continue to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. Kentucky has $66.6 million available to help families heat their homes in 2010. Those in need can apply at their local Community Action Agency office.


Fire Kills Letcher County Man

Kentucky State Police responded to a call received at 6:41 P.M. Thursday saying a house was on fire on Tooter Branch Road in the Jeremiah community of Letcher County. After crews contained the flames, the body of 68 year old Lindsey Blair was found inside the home. State police are investigating, but the fire appears to be accidental.


New Mining Guidelines Formed

A study group of state and federal officials, along with environmentalists and members of the mining industry, have developed a new set of guidelines aimed at reducing the amount of waste material coal companies dump into valleys and streams. The Kentucky Department of Natural Resources says the new set of mining procedures, called the Fill Placement Optimization Process, will reduce the "number and size" of mining waste dumps and minimize the impact on streams. Under the guidelines, coal companies would put more excess rock and dirt back on the mined area rather than putting it in nearby hollows.


Lawmakers Continue To Consider Expanded Gambling

As focus continues on proposals to legalize expanded gambling in Kentucky, Senate President David Williams says he believes voters should have a say in the matter. His measure would require a longstanding proposal to legalize slots at horse tracks or any other such proposal to be ratified by voters in a ballot referendum. The state has, for many years, been betting on horse racing, but hasn't been able to agree on whether or how to legalize slots or other casino-style gambling.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he intends to wait at least two weeks before filing legislation to legalize horse-track slots. He says he wants to wait until after Governor Steve Beshear releases his budget proposal on January 19th.


W. Va. Prepares For Winter Storm

Officials with the Parkways Authority in West Virginia were determined to avoid prolonging stranded motorists at the West Virginia Turnpike when snow made roads hazardous as a new winter storm approached. A pre-position plan took effect at 6:00 P.M. Thursday calling for added courtesy patrols equipped with extra gas, tow straps, food and water for motorists and an extra 21 emergency service personnel dispatched to help stranded drivers.

As snow wallops the state again, residents in some West Virginia counties are being urged to stay off the roads over the next couple of days. As another storm crosses the state, those in the affected areas should only travel in case of an emergency.The National Weather Service says some parts of Nicholas, Webster, Pocahontas, Randolph, Preston and Tucker Counties could see up to a foot of snow by this (Saturday) morning. More than a foot fell earlier this week. Other parts of the state could see up to six inches of additional snow.

Around 5:35 P.M. Thursday, several tractor trailers became stalled on Standstone Mountain near the Summers County line, forcing emergency crews to shut down both west bound lanes, creating a ten mile traffic backup.


W. Va. County Tops Diabetes List

Logan County has a dubious distinction. It is listed as the diabetes capital of the U. S., according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. At 14.8%, Logan County has more residents diagnosed with type 2, or, adult-onset diabetes. In diabetes the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin, the hormone cells need to convert sugar into energy. Meanwhile, Logan County must deal with their unwanted position as the diabetes capital of the United States.


Huntington Freezing Spending

It appears there's more freezing in West Virginia than what's being blamed on the weather. Huntington Mayor Kim Wolfe has instituted a spending freeze on all city departments for the remainder of this fiscal year which ends June 30th. Collections for the city's primary sources of revenue are running slightly behind projected estimates, but is not the main reason behind the freeze. Brandi Jacobs-Jones, director of administration and finance, says it's something historically done every March. In light of the national recession and Governor Manchin's decision to cut state spending by 3.4%, Jones says implementing it a few months ahead of schedule is a way of trying to be good stewards of the public's money.


Governor Denies Retaliation Claims

Governor Joe Manchin says a northern panhandle health care provider is making "frivolous and baseless" claims. Wheeling-based Northwood Health Systems has notified West Virginia of plans to file a lawsuit in federal court against Governor Manchin and other state officials. Northwood alleges Manchin vowed to "come out swinging" against the company when it began speaking out in favor of a bill in last year's legislative session that would have increased money for behavioral health care. Although the bill passed both the House and Senate, it was vetoed by the governor.

Northwood says it has proof of retaliation. The company says, in 2007 and 2008, it only had five citations from the state. That number grew to 175 in the last nine months. Northwood is appealing a license rejection. The organization has 450 workers who are currently being allowed to continue operations.


Union Rally Planned

A proposed $8.6 million deal has First District Congressman Alan Mollohan saying, "If we're going to move forward in West Virginia, we can't be shackled by a transaction that puts the smaller company in such debt that the only thing it can do is pay for debt."

The West Virginia Public Service Commission is scheduled to begin conducting an evidentiary hearing Tuesday on the proposed sale of Verizon's wire line business. The hearing begins with a public comment period. The public is encouraged to attend, if they wish to make a statement.

The Communications Workers of America union is urging people opposed to Frontier Communications plan to buy the business to attend a rally which begins at 2:00 P.M. Sunday inside the Culture Center in Charleston. The Public Service Commission's staff and Consumer Advocate Division has recommended rejecting the proposal. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission and three other states have supported it.


Huntington House Fire Becomes Deadly

Investigators in Huntington say, Thursday night, around 10:16 P.M., a home in the 4500 block of Waverly Road on Huntington's west end became the scene a deadly fire. Officials say the body of 94-year-old Mary Venturino, was discovered on the kitchen floor surrounded by blood. Firefighters say the fire started in a back bedroom and spread to other rooms in the one-story home. Investigators believe Venturino fell and hit her head while attempting to escape.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Regulators Seek Fines

Federal regulators say it's time the operators of Double A Mining Inc., B. King Coal and King Brothers Coal, all of Knott County, pay more than $600,000 in unpaid health and safety fines. Regulators have filed a lawsuit against Double A, King Brothers Coal, B. King Coal, Kermit and Alice Hall and Larry and Barry King, alleging all were involved in operating the No. 4 mine. The mine was shut down last year because of unpaid fines ... the first time in the nation.


Kentucky Men Indicted

Two Jackson County men, 39 year old Roland Keith Ramey and 40 year old Curtis Lee Jackson, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Lexington Thursday (today). The indictment alleges, between November 2008 and March 2009, Ramey made counterfeit Federal Reserve notes in varying denominations which the men passed as real. If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison.

A federal grand jury in Lexington has indicted 60 year old Phillip Cavins of Johnson County for possession and distribution of child pornography and being a felon in possession of firearms. If convicted, he faces 15 to 40 years in prison on the child pornography distribution charge, 10 to 20 years on the pornography possession charge, and up to 10 years for the firearms charge.


Ky. Lawmakers Hear Amanda Bill

Speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, Diana Ross, the mother of slain 29 year old Amanda Ross, called Thursday for passage of a bill that would allow judges to order people named in domestic violence orders to wear ankle monitors. Ross says the Amanda Bill is needed because existing state laws and the court system failed to protect her daughter who was fatally shot last September 11th. Committee members unanimously approved the measure, putting it on the fast track for a floor vote tentatively planned for Tuesday.


Wintry Weather Increases Purchases

The lingering and severe winter weather has caused supermarkets and hardware stores to become packed with customers looking for basic necessities including bread, milk, and canned foods. Shoppers were looking for items at the Food City's two locations, at the two Sav-A-Lot markets, at Lowe's and Walmart, as well as other retailers in the area. Aside from supermarkets, hardware stores saw a heavy load of customers. The kids were anticipating school being cancelled in Eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. With a forecast of continuing snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures, people will be looking for shovels, salt and any item that will help them to weather the weather.


Rutherford Calls For Electing PSC Members

Apparently upset at the announcement by American Electric Power of their intent to seek a substantial rate increase, Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford has voiced his concern. Rutherford has taken the position that PSC members should go before the public and be chosen by ballot for their position. Currently, Commission members are appointed. The Judge said the current means of staffing the Commission makes it less responsive to the public.


Homeless Shelter At Full Capacity

When you think of homeless people, it's possible you think of Washington, DC, or maybe Chicago. You can save the mental traveling…think of Pikeville. There's a homeless shelter in the county seat of Pike County. And, it's at full capacity. The weather appears to be the main motivation…it's brutal and extremely dangerous. Pike County Health Department officials are advising that one hour should be the maximum time to be outside in the current sub-freezing temperatures. Hypothermia is a killing condition, and the body can tolerate it for only a short time. If you are homeless, no one will be turned away from the Westcare Homeless Shelter. Here's the number…432-9442.


Thoroughbred Wagering Declines...Slots Wait

As Kentucky lawmakers consider expanded gambling, thoroughbred racing officials are reporting the horse industry took a huge financial hit in 2009, with wagering falling almost 10%. Last year, wagering on U.S. races fell $1.3 billion. That figure puts it at about $12.3 billion, the lowest level since 1996.

Thursday, House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced he likely won’t file a bill that would allow expanded gambling at racetracks until after Governor Steve Beshear delivers his budget proposal on January 19th. Stumbo says he will wait to see if possible revenue from video lottery terminals at tracks is part of his proposal to plug a potential $1.5 billion shortfall over the next two years.


Winter Snow Continues To Cause Problems

Old Man Winter paid a return visit to Kentucky early Thursday morning as Louisville began experiencing steady snowfall. The Kentucky Department of Highways reported traffic accidents and weather related difficulties. Frigid air is moving in behind the snow and it will drop weekend low temperatures to the single digits and low teens statewide. Weather conditions prompted flight cancellations at the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington. State highway crews were mobilized Thursday morning as they began treating roads in the western half of the state. The remainder of crews were on standby, awaiting the storm. Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says crews are prepared to work around the clock throughout this storm.


WV County Tops Diabetes List

Logan County has a dubious distinction. It is listed as the diabetes capital of the U.S., according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. At 14.8%, Logan County has more residents diagnosed with type 2, or, adult-onset diabetes. In diabetes the pancreas is unable to produce sufficent insulin, the hormone cells need to convert sugar into energy. Meanwhile, Logan County must deal with their unwanted position as the diabetes capital of the United States.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Beshear Delivers State Of The Commonwealth Addressess

Appearing before the General Assembly Wednesday, Governor Steve Beshear told a joint session his administration has made government work again for the people. Beshear took credit for a list of relatively small job expansions in the state over the past year, while laying blame for all jobs lost on “a national recession born of reckless spending in Washington and corrupt practices on Wall Street." He did not give specifics on how he will rectify a potential $1.5 billion shortfall over the next two years, but he did say we are facing a huge deficit that will require painful decisions about where to spend money.


Perry County Pumping Water

Perry County officials say they have found and repaired a water main leak that caused a local state of emergency and threatened to cut off water service to the entire county outside Hazard city limits. A leak was determined early Wednesday in one of the main water lines. The county is pumping water back into the system, but it may take several days before officials are sure the crisis has passed, especially with the snowy weather forecast for later this week followed by possibly below-zero temperatures. In response to water shortages facing the cities of Buckhorn, Hazard and Vicco, Governor Steve Beshear Wednesday issued an emergency declaration that will make state resources immediately available to assist local officials in dealing with numerous breaks in water line systems throughout Perry County.


Christmas Shopper Wins Powerball

The saying it's better to give than to receive has been around for years. Thirty-nine year old Rob Anderson and his wife, Tuesday, of Georgetown can tell you a story about how a Christmas Eve trip to Walmart for Rob ended up with the couple winning the largest Powerball jackpot in Kentucky history. Rob Anderson says, on his way to the store, he stopped at the Pro Travel Marathon on Success Drive for lottery tickets to give as stocking stuffers. The clerk mistakenly printed one ticket with three lines of numbers for $3. Anderson decided to keep that ticket and get three more ... ending up with a $128.6 million ticket.


Residents Looking For Extended Benefits

Not having a job is bad enough…but, not getting the only cash you have coming into your life can be devastating. West Virginia residents…about 1400 are waiting on unemployment benefit checks. They are going to have to wait a little longer. Mike Moore with Workforce West Virginia says the benefits should be paid out within the next several weeks. The old standby reason for the delay is used again…it’s a computer problem.


Wintry Weather Continues

As a blend of sun and clouds moved out Wednesday evening, folks in Kentucky were anticipating snow that was predicted to move into the state later in the night. A fast moving storm was forecast to sweep into the Commonwealth early Thursday morning with the potential to dump 2-6 inches...with the heaviest amounts near the Ohio border and diminishing levels as it approaches the Tennessee border. The possibility of continuing snowfall exists as the weekend nears. The snow is forecast to have a dry, fluffy consistency and the possibility of it adhering to surfaces is slight.


Kentucky League of Cities Charge Questioned

The Kentucky League of Cities' executive board will consider later this month a charge that showed up from an adult entertainment lounge in Nevada on the credit card of the organization's insurance chief. An internal review hasn't been able to determine whether the charge was inappropriate. William Hamilton, Head of Insurance Services, said he couldn't remember the night in question, and the receipt had no detailed information. Hamilton and his wife were in Reno, Nev., in December 2006 for a conference. The state auditor's office says Hamilton charged $76 at the Sapphire Lounge. A Lexington newspaper said the lounge serves food and has an "adult burlesque show."
The Executive Board will now look into the matter to determine if the charge was legitimate and under what circumstance it was honored.


General Assembly Convenes

Gambling, budget woes and domestic violence have taken center stage as Kentucky lawmakers met in Frankfort Wednesday for the General Assembly. House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) favors a bill to allow slot machines at racetracks that he believes would raise more than $400 million to build schools and provide a tax break for the poor, but Senate President David Williams quickly called Stumbo's plan unconstitutional.

Another form of expanded gambling offered by Attorney General Jack Conway is getting support from Senator Damon Thayer. The idea, known as Instant Racing, an electronic game in which people wager on randomly selected old horse races. Thayer, R-Georgetown, says, if Governor Beshear and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approve, games could be installed and ready to operate at Kentucky racetracks in a matter of weeks.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Beshear Campaign Funds Top $1 Million

Governor Steve Beshear, who announced last year that he would seek re-election with Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson as his running mate in 2011, filed documents Tuesday showing he has raised more than $1 million for his re-election campaign. Documents filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance show Beshear had raised more than $542,000 between October 1st and December 31st, and, when added to money he banked in September, it brought his fundraising total to $1,002,675. He has spent $218,571, leaving $784,103 in the bank.


Perry County Getting Help With Water

Buckhorn residents in Perry County have been without water for a week or more as the city has had spotty water service since a storm on December 19th damaged a key waterline. Buckhorn buys its water from the Hazard municipal system which shut off supply to Vicco and Buckhorn Monday in an effort to find the source of a major leak that has depleted storage tanks across the system. Ten National Guard members were on their way to Buckhorn Tuesday with a mobile water-purification unit, while state emergency officials were surveying damage and providing drinking-water distribution. Lexington's private water supplier, Kentucky American Water, will arrive Wednesday with more sophisticated equipment to detect leaks in the system.


Audit Of Mountain Water District Announced

It appears the audit announced by State Auditor Crit Luallen in December will now become a reality. The audit of the Pike County Mountain Water District is tentatively scheduled sometime during this month. The audit was inititated by the Pike County Fiscal Court. Luallen has advised the Chair of the Water District, Rhonda James, that the operation of the District has caused public concern, to the point an audit is warranted.


Police Seeking Unknown Credit Card Thief

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a man caught on camera using two different stolen credit cards. The transactions took place at the Nitro on December 31, another on January 2. A police report from the Nitro Police Department said the first stolen card was taken from a vehicle parked at the La Roca Mexican Restaurant and used to purchase a DVD player and a 200-minute phone card. Another credit card was stolen from a vehicle in a Kroger parking lot and used to purchase another phone card and a television set. The man was seen leaving Walmart in a small black, or, dark colored, four-door vehicle. If you have any information, call the Nitro Police Department at 304-755-0777.


Fire Victim Identified In Carter County

Richard Hopkins of Olive Hill has been identified as the victim of a fire that occured in December near Olive Hill. Hopkins, 52, was found dead in a structure on State Highwas 2078 in Carter County. An investigation following the discovery of the body led authorities to arrest Robert Limings, 47, of Blaine, Kentucky. He is being held on second degree burglary and tampering charges in the Carter County Detention Center. Additional charges will likely be entered against him.


Accident Kills Irvine Man

Kentucky State Police report that, just before 9:20 P.M. Monday night, 38 year old David Thompson of Richmond was traveling east on Ky. 52 in Madison County followed by 57 year old Joe R. Carr of Irvine. Thompson lost control of his car, left the roadway and returned facing the opposite direction, striking Carr's vehicle head on and causing both vehicles to overturn several times. Carr was ejected from his vehicle, resulting in his death. Police say neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be a factor.


ProTravel Owner Gets Check

Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Lottery officials presented an $88,000 check to Jack Zakir, who owns the ProTravel Marathon in Georgetown. Although the owner of the largest winning Powerball ticket in the Kentucky Lottery history has still not come forward, the ticket was sold December 26th at the ProTravel Marathon.


Road Fatalities Down

Preliminary statistics indicate that five people died in five separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Thursday, December 31st through Sunday, January 3rd, meaning the number of those killed on Kentucky roads during New Year's weekend rose by one over the previous year. According to Kentucky State Police, during 2009, 771 people lost their lives on Kentucky roadways, 55 fewer fatalities than reported in 2008. There were 628 motor vehicle fatalities, 80 involving motorcycles, 17 involving all-terrain vehicles, 73 involving a commercial motor vehicle, five bicyclists and 40 pedestrians...only 160 involved the suspected use of alcohol.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Ky. General Assembly To Meet

Beginning at noon Tuesday, Kentucky legislators will meet to begin a 60-day session in which they will consider issues including the state budget and expanded gambling. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will file the slots-at-tracks bill which passed the House last year but was killed by the Senate budget committee. Stumbo says, unless the Senate assures it would go along with the gambling bill, there's no need for a useless gesture in the House. Much of this year's session will focus on the two-year budget in which Governor Beshear expects a budget shortfall of more than $1.4 billion, but David Williams (R-Burkesville) puts it more at $900 million. Beshear is expected to deliver his budget plan to the legislature on January 19th. Legislators will work on it until the end of the session.


Rowan County Grand Jury Indicts Menifee Co. Man

A Rowan County Grand Jury has indicted 30 year old Brian Robinette of Wellington (Menifee County) on two counts of second-degree manslaughter, and one count of first degree wanton endangerment. Authorities say Robinette is responsible for an August 7, 2009 traffic accident on Ky. 1274 near Cave Run Lake, which resulted in the deaths of the two motorcyclists, 64 year old Bruce Miller and 62 year old William Walker, both of Grayson.


Beshear Balances State Budget

During a Monday afternoon press conference, Governor Steve Beshear outlined a plan for dealing with Kentucky's projected $108 million shortfall. Beshear says, while most government agencies will face 3% cuts, he was able to avoid slashing funding for education, economic development, health care and public safety. To cover prior cuts, Beshear says he plans to return $30 million to $40 million in excess education funds to the state’s school districts. This is the second time since the fiscal year began in July that he has had to make reductions to this year’s budget, but Beshear says the plan does not include furloughs or lay offs of state workers.


Husband/Wife Arrested On Theft Charges

A husband and wife appeared in court in Louisville Thursday morning to answer to charges that they were involved in dozens of robberies throughout the city during December. According to court documents, 34-year-old Kyle Volp and his wife, 35-year-old Loretta Prater acted as a team.
Prater - who goes by several last names, including Robinson as well as her married name - was arraigned in connection with a dozen robberies. Volp was arraigned in connection with 15 robberies, including gas stations, markets, and hotels. Police say Volp would tell employees of the stores he allegedly robbed that he was armed with a gun, then demand cash.
Prater and Volp are being held on $100,000 bond and have been ordered not to contact each other. Public defenders have been appointed for each of them.


Coaching Change At UK

Rich Brooks has resigned from his position as head football coach at the University of Kentucky. After Kentucky's Music City Bowl loss, Brooks announced he was 80% sure he would not be returning as UK's head coach in 2010. One week later, he made the decision final. His retirement ended a seven-year stint at Kentucky in which he led them to an unprecedented four straight bowl games. Brooks finished with a career record 130-156-4 in 25 seasons as a head coach, including a 39-47 record at Kentucky. Brooks leaves UK as the fourth-winningest coach in school history behind Bear Bryant, Fran Curci and and Jerry Claiborne.


Ky. Ranks High In Animal Abuse

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Kentucky is listed as one of the five top states in the country as an animal abuser. Again this past year, the state was ranked the single worst in the nation for animal protection laws, where animal abusers get off easy although the animal advocacy group makes note of two improvements Kentucky has made over the last year in Estill and Robertson counties. The survey is based on a detailed comparative analysis of more than 3,800 pages of statutes tracking fourteen distinct categories of provisions.


Kentucky Native Found Dead

Police in Missouri say Chester Harvey, his wife, Angela Harvey, and stepson, Chad Harvey were arrested last Thursday and have all been charged with the first degree murder of Kentucky native 20 year old James McNeely, originally of Martin County, who was found dead in the trailer of a semi truck belonging to Chester Harvey. McNeely was found on a mattress with his hands and feet bound by duct tape after authorities say he was tortured and suffocated. Investigators say, on December 17th, McNeely was held at gunpoint in the basement of the Harvey's home in Laddonia, Missouri where he was beaten and suffocated by a black trash bag placed around his face until he died. Chester Harvey and his 19 year old son, Chad Harvey, are also charged with kidnapping and abandonment of a corpse, and three other men are charged with kidnapping.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Kentucky General Assembly Gearing-Up

Kentucky lawmakers are gearing up to convene Tuesday for the 2010 General Assembly. As they tackle a $1.5 billion shortfall predicted over the next two years, they will be overshadowed by a looming financial crisis and a continuing push to legalize casino-style gambling. Governor Steve Beshear is calling for bipartisan cooperation to find solutions to the financial woes and says he's open to all suggestions, except a broad tax increase that he fears might drive the state further into recession.


Frigid Weather Hits Kentucky

It was the coldest night of the season Saturday night as lows dropped into the single digits across the state. Lexington hit a low of 6 degrees, but with the winds, it felt like it was below zero for much of the night. Kentucky was not alone when it came to the cold, while places in Minnesota dropped to 35 degrees below zero for the second night in a row.
Highs returned to near 20 degrees Sunday with a mix of sunshine and clouds, and another frigid night saw lows plummet to near ten degrees with partly cloudy skies continuing throughout the night. On Sunday, forecasters predicted a weeklong stretch of frigid weather and a snowstorm for both Kentucky and Tennessee, saying a snowstorm is likely to arrive Wednesday night into Thursday, affecting most of Kentucky and Tennessee, with anywhere from 1 to 4 inches accumulation expected.


Uncle Charged With Killing Niece

Kentucky State Police say David Ratliff shot and killed his niece, Rachel Ratliff, in the community of Regina early Saturday morning. A call to the KSP in Pikeville alerted them to an ongoing disturbance, and troopers immediately left for Frankie Fork Road in Regina. However, they were too late. Witnesses say David Ratliff shot Rachel Ratliff in the face, killing her almost instantly. When police arrived on the scene, David Ratliff was exiting through the back door, and, although he possessed a gun, officers arrested him without incident.
According to Mike Goble of the KSP, they secured the area and evacuated any and all people in the residence. Goble says it is likely alcohol was involved, but there are still a lot of details to sort out. One neighbor says that although she could hear the two scream at each other on occasion, she never expected something like this to happen.
David Ratliff is currently in custody at the Pike County Detention Center and is scheduled for arraignment Monday.


Driving Laws Being Considered By Legislature

Half a dozen bills prefiled in the Kentucky Legislature deal with driving. Either detailing things you shouldn’t do..or should do….when behind the wheel.
A new state law being considered would address the practice of texting. There’s at least three bills seeking an outright ban on texting for drivers. Another bill would ban people under 18 from using any kind of personal communication device while driving. Kentucky lawmakers will also consider a law requiring headlights when driving in rain or snow…..and there’s several bills aimed at cracking down on DUI offenses, such as requiring an ignition interlock device for first time offenders.

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