Saturday, April 03, 2010


PSC Power Rate Hike Meetings

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) will hold public meetings in Ashland, Pikeville and Hazard to receive comments on the request for a rate increase by the Kentucky Power Co. (American Electric Power) “These meetings will allow the PSC to hear directly from the public as it prepares to consider whether the proposed new rates are fair, just and reasonable,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said.
The meetings are scheduled for:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Auditorium, Park Place (former AEP building)
1701 Central Avenue

Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Auditorium, Pikeville High School
120 Championship Drive

Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 5:00 p.m.
Auditorium, Hazard Community and Technical College
One Community College Drive


Floyd County Magistrate Dies

Floyd County District 2 Magistrate Jackie Edford Owens died at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in Lexington about 3:30 p.m. yesterday. The veteran magistrate, who was seeking a sixth term in the upcoming May primary, collapsed late Tuesday night while conducting a mine safety training class. Doctors later determined that he had suffered a cerebral aneurysm and simply fell to the ground while talking to his trainees at the site. He was 56 and has served on the Floyd County Fiscal Court as a representative for his district for nearly two decades.


Beshear Receives Threatening Letter

Kentucky State Police Lt. David Jude acknowledged Friday that Governor Steve Beshear is among more than 30 governors who have received threatening letters from an anti-government group, Guardians of the free Republics, demanding that they resign or be removed. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway called Friday for political leaders to stop trying to "whip people into a frenzy" over the health care reform package. Several Democratic political leaders in Kentucky have received threats since Congress enacted the package. On Thursday, more than 100 protesters, some carrying guns, rallied at the state Capitol in an effort to persuade Conway to join other states in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the federal health care reforms, but Conway says he doesn't want to waste taxpayer dollars on a legal action that would ultimately fail.


Letcher County School To Reopen

Letcher County School Superintendent Anna Craft says Letcher County Central High School is safe for classes to resume Monday following an explosion which injured two maintenance workers. According to the state fire marshal, a leak was found in a propane tank about 20 feet behind the school building in Whitesburg. Propane settled into a 3-foot pit containing a sump pump. Maintenance workers unplugged the pump, creating a spark that ignited the propane.


Wounded Veterans Could Get More Benefits

According to statistics, fewer than 1,000 wounded veterans who could get better benefits have applied for them in the two years since Congress ordered the Pentagon to review disputed disability claims. The Pentagon estimates about 77,000 are eligible to appeal. Advocates want the Congress created Physical Disability Board of Review to do a better job getting the word out. The Board was set up after investigations found inconsistencies in how the military assigns disability ratings which are critical. Veterans rated below 30 percent receive a one-time severance payment and get health care from the VA system, while a rating over 30 percent means a monthly income and military health care.


Manchin Gets Threatening Letter

It has been confirmed that Governor Joe Manchin is among more than 30 governors who have received letters from a group calling itself the "Guardians of the Free Republics." The letters state the group wants to "restore America" by dismantling parts of the government, and governors would be "removed" from office if the group's demands are not met. The letters say the governors will be removed if they do not leave office within three days after receiving the letters. West Virginia State Police, which provides security for the governor, has beefed up security.


Arch Coal Sues EPA

St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. has filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. against the Environmental Protection Agency over the planned veto of a water quality permit issued three years ago for Mingo Logan Coal's Spruce No. 1 mine. The EPA announced the veto plan March 26th, arguing that the mountaintop removal operation would cause irreversible damage to the environment by burying 7 miles of headwater streams and degrading water quality. The permit was issued in 2007 following a lengthy process that included an EPA review. But, EPA now wants to exercise its authority to review the permit further. Arch argues the EPA doesn't have the authority to revoke a Clean Water Act permit once it has been issued.


Boone County Murder Suspect Convicted

Thirty-six year old Matthew Miller has been convicted of first-degree murder. He was arrested on July 4, 2008 after investigators say he went to the Boone County home of Richard Turner and beat him to death with a club. The defense argued that Miller was drunk at the time of the alleged attack and was not capable of delivering the forceful, deadly blows to the victim. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12th.


Officials Warn Of Forest Fire Danger

Officials say record heat and low humidity have put forest fire danger at a high risk in parts of West Virginia. An underground mine fire in Boone County spread over 30 acres of woodlands, making it difficult for forestry fire crews to reach the blaze. The National Weather Service has issued a special fire danger statement warning the dry and warm weather make debris burning risky. Officials say it would be a good idea not to burn, but, if you do, you need to be very careful with it. Burning is prohibited from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. until the end of May.


Manchin Vetoes Gun Related Bills

Governor Joe Manchin has vetoed a bill aimed at creating an annual gun sales tax holiday which would have been set for the first weekend of October. He notified the National Rifle Association of the decision Friday and says they understood. Manchin says it would have cost the state $25,000 a year in lost sales tax and $3 million in lost revenue due to the possible violation of federal statutes. A technical flaw prompted another veto of a bill targeting attempts by undercover investigators to catch gun dealers violating background check laws.


West Virginia Lottery Warns Retailer

The West Virginia state Lottery Commission has sent a letter to the owner of One More Arcade, a video lottery retailer located on Washington Avenue in Huntington, warning that it will suspend his limited video lottery license if credit extension continues there. The commission voted this week to fine the retailer $1,000 for a previous incident in which the Lottery says a female customer wrote checks to the business and then gave back her winnings to cover the checks. Credit extension when it comes to video lottery is against state law.


Man Pleads Guilty To State Auditor Scam

Twenty year old Collins Masese from Kenya has pleaded guilty in U.S. District in Charleston to participating in an international scam investigators say duped West Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts and Kansas out of more than $3 million. Masese was among five Kenyan nationals indicted last year after being accused of tricking officials, including West Virginia’s state auditor, into rerouting payments due legitimate government contractors. Masese has admitted to conspiring to commit money laundering, while helping set up a dummy bank account in Minneapolis to launder the proceeds. He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced August 19th.

Friday, April 02, 2010


W. Va. Budget In The Red

With just three months left in its budget year, West Virginia state government is more than $33 million in the red. March general tax revenues tumbled, while the state collected $293 million, but had expected $352 million. The $58 million difference more than wiped out a slight excess balance, leaving the Manchin administration expecting to miss its original $3.7 billion estimate by as much as $120 million. General revenue relies heavily on personal income and sales taxes, both of which were down nearly $36 million for the year. Income tax refunds nearly doubled from the previous year. Severance taxes, mostly on coal, were $6 million above the estimate for March... up $85 million for the year.


Manchin Vetoes Disabilities Bills

Governor Joe Manchin has vetoed two bills involving people with disabilities. The governor says missing language prompted him to disapprove a bill aimed at replacing references to "mentally retarded'' in state law with "intellectually disabled." Manchin detailed legal and privacy concerns when vetoing a bill that would have allowed the hospitalization of minors without their consent, saying it conflicted with federal law protecting addiction and treatment records of minors. Manchin says he supported that bill's intent and has called on lawmakers to try again.


Hurricane Man Sentenced

Twenty-three year old Roland Leonard Tate II has been sentenced to 2 to 10 years in prison on a charge of malicious assault and one to five years on a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, to be served concurrently. He was given 197 days credit for time served and ordered to pay $3,400, in medical expenses and lost wages, to the victim, 24 year old Corey Smart who was beaten, robbed and left on the side of Cow Creek Road in Hurricane.


Rutherford Wants Equal Treatment For Pike County

Just days after President Barack Obama declared 15 counties in West Virginia a federal disaster as a result of the December 2009 snowstorm, Pike County officials have requested the same be done for eastern Kentucky. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford sent a letter to Kentucky’s Senators and Congressmen, as well as Gov. Beshear – who toured Pike and Letcher Counties following the storm – asking their assistance in getting the same declaration for Pike and all eastern Kentucky counties who suffered through the storm. “What is fair for West Virginia is fair for us,” Rutherford stated in the letter. “The federal government should treat us the same as it does West Virginia. Their snow was the snow we got. Theirs was no deeper, no heavier and no more damaging than ours; it was the same snow. We need assistance just as they do.” The federal government cited the causes for the disaster declaration as thousands of power outages and immense snow removal costs along with coordinated public safety measures. All of which are true for Pike and other eastern Kentucky counties as well. A copy of the letter was also sent to Gen. John W. Heltzel of Kentucky Emergency Management.


Man Sentenced After Multi-State Car Theft

Forty-two year old Dennis Marcum Jr. has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for his role in a multistate vehicle theft operation in which vehicles, with a value exceeding $250,000, were stolen from sites in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Marcum Jr. pleaded guilty in October to a federal information charging him with conspiring to transport and sell stolen vehicles from at least 2007 to August 2008. He admitted altering vehicle identification numbers.


Double Fatal Shootings

Fayette County Sheriff's Deputies say, around 5:00 P.M. Thursday evening, Gary Cole shot Rebecca Crawford in the head outside Sherrie's Bar on Route 60 in Hico. Crawford was flown to Charleston Area Medical Center where she later died. Following a brief chase, Deputies say Cole turned the gun on himself and shot himself in the chest and later died from his injuries.


New EPA Rules Not Well Accepted

After a year of seeking clarity from the Obama administration on how to obtain mining permits, state and coal industry leaders got answers Thursday, but not the ones they had hoped for. Instead, the EPA issued guidance for coal companies including benchmarks calling for much tighter water quality standards. Coal officials say the new mandates are nearly impossible for surface mines to meet and will be difficult for underground mines as well. One of the major changes involves the allowed level of salt, but officials say the level of conductivity is not only influenced by coal mining. Coal officials are accusing the EPA of effectively making law, without going through the proper process, leaving coal companies no legal recourse to appeal. They say they reserve the right for a comment period and are not going to sit back and basically try to attain something that's unattainable.


House Approves Bill Aimed At Helping College Students

On a vote of 100-0, the Kentucky General Assembly has passed House Bill 160 that would make it easier for community college students to transfer course credits to four-year public universities. The bill also encourages four-year universities to limit bachelor's degrees to 120 hours and associate degrees to 60 hours, while aimed at helping students complete school in four years.


Governor Beshear In Favorable Position For Final Budget Bill

April 1 was the last day for the General Assembly had to pass a budget in time to override any vetoes Gov. Steve Beshear may make, but legislators failed to do it. That means if a budget is passed this session, Beshear has the final say on what gets signed into law. After an ambitious session agenda, the biggest issue is yet to be resolved. Money is the key issue facing lawmakers. The questions are where it comes from and how to spend it. With only two legislative days left, the House and Senate have yet to compromise on the budget.April 1, Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) sent the House a proposal. Williams was unavailable for comment, but Stumbo calls it progress, not a compromise. Both chambers will appoint a new committee to continue working on a compromise. A free conference committee could get to work at any point with those negotiations possibly running through mid-April.


Charter Schools Bill Narrowly Clears Senate

The Senate narrowly approved an education bill this week that includes a provision to allow charter schools in Kentucky, hopefully increasing the state's chances for federal grant money through the Race to the Top program. Senate Democrats were unhappy that lawmakers had no time to discuss or study the bill before voting, resulting in it nearly failing on the Senate floor until Senator Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, changed his vote to a "yes" at the last second. House Bill 109 left Democratic leaders in the House echoing the same concerns.


Pike County Woman Suffers Burns In Home Fire

A fire of undetermined origin has sent a Forest Hills woman to the Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport. Brenda Henry was then transported to a burn unit in Augusta, Georgia, where she was being treated for burns to 90% of her body. Belfry Volunteer Fire Chief Nee Jackson said the fire, which destroyed her home on Wednesday, is now being investigated by the Kentucky Fire Marshall's Office. A preliminary investigation has determined Henry was the only person in the home at the time of the fire.


River Rats Set Beginning Of Service

Hillbilly Days will bring more than the usual mix of food, fun and frivolity. This year it will mark the beginning of a venture called "Adventure Tourism" to Pikeville. The Hatfield-McCoy River Rats made the announcement and held a ribbon cutting at their new headquarters on Bob Amos Drive. The business will open for business on April 15...the first official day of the Hillbilly Days Festival. Kayaking, canoeing, tubing and paddleboats are some of the equipment and activities the company will offer...a lot of which will take place on the Pikeville "Pond". Bikes and rental sports equipment will also be available. Adventure Tourism, taking advantage of the natural beauty of our area.


Letcher County Considers School Closure

The Letcher (letch-er) County school district is considering whether to reduce staff levels or even close Arlie Boggs Elementary School following this year's graduation. The school, which is about 40 years old and has 135 students, is outdated enough that many parents send their children to the new Cumberland Elementary in Harlan County or to J.W. Adams in Pound, Va. The gym is too small to host sporting events, and access for students with disabilities has been a problem. On March 22nd, district officials met with staffers the possibility of closing the school, leaving some parents angry and some just curious. The parents' committee is working to persuade local parents to keep their students in Letcher County, and Superintendent Anna Craft says there has not yet been a decision made.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Nighbert Son Indicted

Thirty-two year old Kenneth Nighbert, the son of former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert and also a former Williamsburg police officer, along with 30 year old Larry Harville, have been charged with conspiracy after allegedly burglarized a Whitley County pharmacy in February 2006, stealing $500 worth of drugs. They have been indicted, along with others, for conspiring to distribute Oxycodone in Whitley County from December 2005 to May 2007. In April 2006, Nighbert crashed his cruiser into a woman's car while on duty and tested positive for Oxycodone and cocaine... later resigning. In May 2007, Nighbert was arrested for trafficking in controlled substances after Laurel County sheriff's deputies found him with $32,000 in cash and Oxycontin pills, resulting in a five year prison sentence. If convicted, they could face a maximum of 20 years in prison, while Nighbert faces a potential mandatory five-year sentence for the firearms charge.


EPA Tightens Permit Standards

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has announced a policy calling for tighter water quality standards for surface mining. The benchmarks are hoped to clarify the water permitting process for mountaintop removal mining. Thursday, the agency released two reports that discuss the damage to watersheds by burying streams with mine wastes which increases salt levels in waterways downstream, hurting fish and other aquatic life. The new policy is designed to protect 95 percent of aquatic life and streams in the region. Jackson says the stronger standards are not meant to end coal mining, but to end coal mining pollution. Officials say "no or very few valley fills" would be approved under the new restrictions...drawing harsh criticism from the mining industry, cautious comments from coalfield politicians, and praise from environmental groups and water quality scientists.


Fire Chief's Absence Causing Problems

A volunteer fire department that provides fire protection and ambulance service to part of Kenton County is in turmoil with most members threatening to quit. A Ryland Heights Community Volunteer Fire Department officer told The Kentucky Enquirer 13 of the 19 volunteers have said they will leave if the fire chief doesn't resign or face impeachment. Firefighter/EMT Stacey Rust said Chief Jim Crouch neglected his duties by being absent from the department for much of the winter. Crouch told the newspaper by telephone that assistant chiefs have been running the department and were in communication with him in Florida. Rust said the volunteers took their complaint to the fire department's board of trustees on March 12. The district covers the cities of Ryland Heights and Fairview and some of the unincorporated area of Kenton County.


Man Killed In Traffic Crash

Police in Berea say a young man who died in a traffic crash was thrown from his car and then struck by another vehicle. WKYT-TV in Lexington reported 22-year-old Josh Knuckles was on his way to work in Richmond Wednesday morning when his car crossed into the oncoming lane of Highway 1016 and hit an oncoming truck. Investigators said the impact threw Knuckles from his car and he was hit by a third vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The other drivers weren't seriously injured.


Carbon Offset Benefits

For those who are interested in purchasing carbon offsets, a new Web site offers the chance to have the money benefit landowners in central Appalachia. The site is sponsored by the Appalachian Carbon Partnership, which is made up of groups from Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia. Carbon offsets are purchased by those who want to balance out their carbon footprint. The money goes to family forest owners who are practicing sustainable forest management, allowing more carbon to be stored in their forests. The site features a tool that visitors can use to estimate their carbon footprint. Visit


Pell Grants For Kentucky

The White House says the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act is expected to provide more than $480 million to Kentucky by academic year 2020-2021 in additional benefits for higher education. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law Tuesday at Northern Virginia Community College near Washington. In a news release, the White House says federal Department of Education officials estimate Kentucky's students will receive an additional $480 million in Pell Grants due to the changes in the new law. There is also $9.4 million for historically black and minority-serving colleges in Kentucky over the next decade. Another $10 million is coming to help attract low-income students and help them manage college loan debt.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


State Budget In Limbo

Kentucky Senate President David Williams says it appears budget negotiations have broken down and lawmakers won't vote on a budget proposal Friday, as earlier planned. However, if the legislature fails to pass a budget by Friday, they won't be able to consider overriding any possible budget vetos by Governor Steve Beshear. The main sticking point on the two-year state budget is the House's proposal for about $1 billion in debt-financed projects to build new schools and sewer and water lines.


Perry County Man Arrested

Thirty-six year old James E. North of Krypton (Perry County) was arrested by the Hazard Police and Kentucky State Police on March 30th after he allegedly threatened employees at the Hazard Clinic. Police say an employee with the clinic called North to request information about prescriptions he received from Dr. Mitchell Wicker. Upon this request, North allegedly commented on what would happen if he had to come to the clinic. North was taken into custody by the Kentucky State Police, charged with third-degree terroristic threatening and placed on a $75,000 bond.


Kentucky Woman Sentenced

Thirty-five year old Misty Dawn Evans of Ashland, Ky. was sentenced to 13-months in prison and ordered to pay more than $28,000 in restitution while appearing in U.S. District Court in Huntington earlier this week after pleading guilty last September to computer intrusion and causing damage to a protected computer. Prosecutors say, while working as network administrator, she illegally accessed Mattress Warehouse's computer servers and deleted employees' user accounts, preventing employees in four states from communicating and conducting business from about 3:30 P.M. April 9, 2008through 6:30 A.M. April 10, 2008.


Mining Company Cited

State officials say hazardous conditions inside the Abner Branch Rider underground mine in Leslie County contributed to the collapse which resulted in the January 22nd death of 29 year old Travis G. Brock who was killed by falling rocks. Earlier this month, the state Office of Mine Safety and Licensing issued three citations to the mine's owner, Bledsoe Coal after determining Bledsoe did not comply with a roof control plan and that a hazardous condition existed. The third citation was unrelated to Brock's death. An attorney for Brock's widow, says the family is considering a civil suit against Bledsoe Coal, a subsidiary of Richmond, Va.-based James River Coal.


Powell County Mother Faces Murder Charge

An indictment was handed down this week in Powell County charging Jessica Ellen Charles with murder in the death of her 22-month old daughter, Danika, which occurred on February 19th. Charles told police investigators she found the child unresponsive at their home. Autopsy results show Danika died from blunt force trauma to the head, chest, abdomen, legs and arms.


Laurel County Doctor Sued

Earlier this month, an emergency order of restriction was placed on Laurel County Doctor Jackie Maxey after six former female patients filed a lawsuit seeking punitive damages. The women claim Maxey performed unnecessary pelvic exams, made sexual remarks and asked them sexually explicit questions. The lawsuit accuses Maxey of intentional infliction of emotional distress and medical malpractice.


Truck In I-65 Accident Had Poor Rating

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Hester Inc., the Alabama trucking company involved in a fatal crash that killed 11 people was given a poor safety rating of 88.4 in February. The agency uses a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the worst score and any score of 75 or more being considered "deficient." The rating is based on roadside inspections and moving violations. Kentucky State Police say the driver of the tractor-trailer, 45 year old Kenneth Laymon of Alabama crossed the median of Interstate 65 near Munfordville on March 26th, slamming into a van and killing 10 people and himself.


Coroner Says 15-Year Old Froze To Death

A coroner says a teenager found dead outside a northern Kentucky apartment building froze to death. Boone County Coroner Doug Stith said Monday that alcohol intoxication contributed to the death of 15-year-old Karen Kappelman, whose body was found in the snow in February. Stith listed her cause of death as hypothermia due to exposure. A neighbor saw Kappelman's partly clothed body lying on a hill near her building off Kentucky 338 in Walton and called sheriff's deputies.


Unemployment Up In Kentucky

Annual unemployment figures show jobless rates were higher in all 120 Kentucky counties for 2009. In addition, the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training
reported Tuesday that 95 counties had a jobless rate at or above 10
percent last year. That compares with just seven counties that recorded
double-digit unemployment rates in 2008. The county with the lowest unemployment rate overall last year was Fayette with 7.8 percent. It was followed by nearby Woodford County at 8.2 percent.


Beshear Urges Negotiators To Avoid Harming Education

FRANKFORT, KY (AP) - As lawmakers continue to negotiate Kentucky's next 2-year budget plan, Gov. Steve Beshear is urging legislative budget negotiators to avoid approving a state spending plan that damages education. Beshear told reporters Tuesday that he hasn't "drawn any lines in the sand" that would cause him to veto all or part of budget being crafted by House and Senate conferees. But the governor urged House and Senate leaders not to pass a spending plan that causes education to take a big step backward. Brian Wilkerson, a spokesman for House Speaker Greg Stumbo, says negotiators exchanged proposals Tuesday. The General Assembly skipped meeting to give negotiators more bargaining time


State Could Benefit Financially From World Equestrian Games

A new study says Kentucky's economic benefit from the World Equestrian Games later this year is likely to be higher than previously expected. Game organizers say the study shows Kentucky will realize a $167 million economic boost from the games, which are being held for the first time in the United States at Lexington's Kentucky Horse Park. Previous projections were at the $150 million level. The games are scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 10. As many as 60 countries will compete in eight equestrian sports for world champion titles.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Thousands Attend Funeral

Tuesday afternoon, at least 3,000 people attended the funeral of nine Cumberland County Mennonites killed last Friday in a crash with a tractor-trailer. The funeral was held inside the former Carhartt warehouse,the only place big enough to hold the crowd. Eight wooden coffins, handmade by those who knew the victims, were lined up across the front as an infant who died in the crash lay in a casket with his mother.


Explosion At Letcher County School

Officials evacuated students from Letcher County Central High School Tuesday morning following an explosion which occurred while two maintenance men were working on propane tanks. The workers are receiving treatment at the University of Cincinnati Hospital after receiving serious burns.


Truck Driver Faces Reckless Homicide In Pike County

Forty-four year old Arthur Davis of Blackwood, S.C. remains lodged in the Pike County Detention Center on $2 million cash bond after being charged with two counts of reckless homicide. Davis, who was hauling a load of equipment, told Kentucky State Police that, as his truck came down a hill on U.S. 460 toward the intersection with Ky. 1499 around 8:30 A.M. Monday morning, he tried to turn left to avoid hitting some buildings, but he could not stop the truck. The accident resulted in the death of 20 year old Paul Williamson of Harold and 32 year old Kevin D. Jones of Dorton.


Tennessee Man Charged With Kentucky Murder

Kentucky State Police say 30 year old Leland Curtis Stephens of Huntsville, Tennessee, was charged Tuesday with murder, tampering with physical evidence, second-degree arson and abuse of a corpse in relation to the 2005 murder of 56 year old Kenneth Wilson who was found dead in his home in the Woolum community of Knox County. An autopsy revealed Wilson's death was the result of a homicide. Investigators say his home had been burned in an effort to conceal the crime.


Holliday Considers Race To The Top Application

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has listed six ways Kentucky could improve its federal Race To The Top application. Holliday says the state could pick up 10 points by working on teacher evaluation, and passing legislation providing for charter schools could help add 32 points. Both have been strongly supported by the Republican Senate Majority but were omitted because of opposition from teachers' unions. Governor Steve Beshear says he has mixed feelings about charter schools, saying some have done well in some places but haven't performed as hoped in others. Beshear says he will sit down with Holliday to discuss Kentucky's application while looking for ways to strengthen it. The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday it was giving grants to Delaware and Tennessee, leaving Kentucky to hope for better luck in the second round this summer.


Militia Group Had Planned Kentucky Meeting

Investigators say militia members of a Michigan group arrested in a major FBI raid this week had planned to attend a summit meeting in Kentucky last month to conspire on how to kill police officers as they prepared to battle with the Antichrist. An indictment says the group, headed by David Brian Stone, planned to meet to organize a cooperation between various militias. The FBI says it has reason to believe the group conspired to meet with someone in Kentucky capable of making bombs, but the weather prevented the meeting.


KACO & KLC Open Meetings Bill

The Kentucky Senate has given final passage to a bill that would apply the open records and open meetings laws to two groups representing locally elected officials. Senators voted 37-0 Monday to pass the bill, which now goes to Gov. Steve Beshear. The provisions are aimed at the Kentucky Association of Counties and Kentucky League of Cities. The bill was spurred by government audits last year that uncovered questionable spending by both organizations, including payments to strip clubs. Under the bill, both organizations would have to post all their expenditures on a public Web site. It also would require annual audits of both groups.


Preacher's Wife Cleared Of Murder

A jury in central Kentucky has cleared a preacher's wife of a murder charge in the 2005 shooting death of her brother-in-law.The Advocate-Messenger in Danville reports that Gina Lee of Liberty was convicted of burglary for entering the trailer where George Green died of a gunshot wound. The jury recommended Lee, the wife of a Methodist preacher, serve seven years in prison on the burglary conviction. Lee testified at trial that she and her father, Ronnie Evans, confronted Green at the trailer and Evans and Green scuffled and wrestled over Green's gun. Lee says she tried to knock the gun away and it fired, but she says she did not know it had hit Green. Evans faces an upcoming trial on a manslaughter charge. Lee is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10.


Burial Of Multiple Victim Wreck

About 500 people attended a funeral in south-central Kentucky for a woman killed with 10 others in a crash on Interstate 65. A cousin says several family members of 22-year-old Ashlie Kramer helped bury her after the funeral in Franklin. Michael Overholt says as well as being Kramer's cousin, he had also taught her in school for one year and remembers her as a cheerful person. Kramer was killed early Friday. A funeral for nine other victims was planned for Tuesday near Burkesville.


Charges Pending After Ambulance Overturns

Lexington police say charges are pending after a car struck an ambulance, causing the emergency vehicle to overturn. A news release early Tuesday stated the ambulance was bringing a patient from Morgan County to a Lexington hospital and the lights and siren were operating when the car struck it at a city intersection. The patient and the emergency medical technician who was attending her were taken to the University of Kentucky Hospital. A child in the car was also taken there as a precaution. There is no suspicion of drugs or alcohol.


Attempt To Curb Teen Suicides

The Kentucky Senate has given final passage to a bill aimed at trying to reduce teenage suicides by helping teachers and school staff detect the warning signs. The bill would require a minimum of two hours of suicide training each year by high school and middle school principals, guidance counselors and teachers. The training could be accomplished through a self-study review of suicide prevention materials.
The measure cleared the Senate on a 37-0 vote Monday. It now goes to Gov. Steve Beshear.


Coal Subsidence Limit Increased

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would allow the Kentucky Department of Insurance to pay homeowners up to $300,000 for damage resulting from geologic shifts triggered by mining. The current limit allowed to be paid to homeowners from the Kentucky Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund is $100,000. Democratic state Sen. Jerry Rhoads of Madisonville worked the change into a House bill that received final passage on Monday. That bill requires additional training for people who do blasting at coal mines. Democratic state Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence said he was pleased the mine subsidence language was attached to the bill and that it received final passage. A spokeswoman for Gov. Steve Beshear was checking Monday afternoon to see if he intends to sign the legislation into law.

Monday, March 29, 2010


PRIDE Gears Up For Spring Cleanup

The local nonprofit organization PRIDE has a great desire to keep Pike County beautiful...not only for its residents but also for those who may just be passing through or may be visiting. Monday, in Pikeville, the group gathered to make plans to gear up for the annual PRIDE Spring Cleanup. Members and volunteers discussed soon upcoming events to help rid the mountains and waterways of clutter which steals from our environment. PRIDE needs volunteers to help with projects to restore the natural beauty in eastern Kentucky. Now is your time to donate something back while taking pride in your community.


Accident Kills Pike County Workers

Kentucky State Police report 32 year old Kevin D. Jones of Dorton and 20 year old Paul Williamson of Harold were killed as the result of an accident around 8:30 A.M. Monday morning in the Mouthcard area of Pike County. Police say they were struck by an 18-wheeler while placing work signs along the road to warn motorists of tree trimming at the intersection of 460 and Highway 1499. The truck driver, 44 year old Arthur Davis of Blackwood South Carolina, was arrested and charged with not having a valid operator's license, failing to have a commercial operator's license, not properly logging his work hours and having a radar detector in a commercial vehicle. Davis told police that, as he came down a hill on U.S. 460 toward an intersection, he attempted to turn left to avoid hitting an auto-parts store and other buildings that were straight ahead, but lost control and ran off the road, hitting the workers.


Lawmakers Struggle With State Budget

In an effort to come up with a solution for the state budget, House and Senate leaders have agreed to push the 58th day of the 60-day legislative session from Tuesday to Wednesday, allowing leaders time to focus exclusively on the budget during closed-door meetings on Tuesday. If an agreement is reached by Wednesday, lawmakers may return Friday to approve a more than $17 billion two-year budget. The legislature had two remaining days in April to override any potential veto by Governor Steve Beshear, but if the legislature moves one of those days in April to Friday, it will only have one day to override vetoes.


DUI Law Briefly Approved

While thinking they were dealing with another subject, the Kentucky House on Monday briefly toughened the state’s drunken driving law. Minutes later, a lawmaker filed a motion for reconsideration, sending the bill back to the House for possible future action. House Bill 265, as amended by the Senate, would prohibit possession or trafficking in “synthetic cannabinoids” — man-made drugs with high levels of THC, which gives marijuana its natural potency. However, the Senate added a section changing portions of the DUI law in which anyone with detectable levels of more than a dozen different types of drugs in their blood would be presumed guilty of DUI, unless they had a valid prescription. The bill drops the legal alcohol level from 0.18 to 0.15.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Competency Hearing Set For Nunn

The competency hearing for former Kentucky state Representative Steve Nunn is scheduled for April 5th. Nunn is charged in the shooting death of his former fiancee, 29 year old Amanda Ross, who was found shot to death outside her Lexington townhome on September 11, 2009. Fayette County Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine says the hearing will be open to the public and Nunn will join by phone. Nunn's attorney, Warren Scoville, says a doctor has evaluated Nunn, but he declined to divulge the results. Nunn has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.


State Budget Talks Stall

Following less than four hours of negotiations in the fifth day of budget bargaining, Kentucky House and Senate leaders concluded budget talks Sunday evening still failing to reach an agreement on the state's two-year budget. A House proposal to borrow money to pay for school, water, sewer and road projects appears to be the major sticking point between the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled idea rejected by the Senate. The General Assembly has only four official working days remaining in the 60-day session, and lawmakers are currently scheduled to recess for the veto period on Tuesday and return on April 12th and 13th to finish their work for the year. Their ultimate deadline isn’t until midnight on April 15th, when the Kentucky Constitution requires lawmakers to adjourn. But, in order to override any vetoes Governor Steve Beshear might make, lawmakers must approve a final budget by Friday.


Fire Claims West Liberty Man

Forty-five year old Donald Conley was pronounced dead at the scene Saturday morning after his home on Devil's Fork Road in West Liberty became engulfed in flames. Kentucky State Police say no foul play is suspected.


Rewards For Reporting Illegal Hunts

With the start of spring gobbler season approaching, the West Virginia chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is offering rewards of up to $200 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who illegally kill or possess wild turkeys. Gobbler season runs from April 26 through May 22. The one-day youth spring turkey season will be held April 24. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Chief Curtis I. Taylor said it is illegal to poach wild turkey, willfully destroy their nests or eggs, or kill them using bait. Reports should be directed to the local conservation officer or the local DNR district office. Informants' identities remain confidential.


Pot Growing Operation Found

Responding to a shots fired call in Holden (Logan County) around 4:30 P.M. Saturday afternoon, West Virginia State Police say, when they arrived at the home of 27 year old Thomas Boutwell, they discovered an indoor pot growing operation system with lights and Miracle Grow. Boutwell is charged with cultivating marijuana, along with gun related charges.


Senate Puts Restrictions On Nude Dancing

The Kentucky Senate passed a bill Friday to put restrictions on nude dancing operations that would keep the dancers a specified distance away from patrons. The measure would require that the dancers be at least 6 feet away from patrons, and that the dancers perform on an elevated platform. The provisions were attached by a Senate committee to a House-passed bill that dealt with the state's theft by deception law. The revised bill passed the full Senate later in the day. The bill now returns to the House, which will consider the changes made by the Senate.


Two Die In Pike County Crash

A quick turn into the path of another car, turned into a deadly accident in Pike County. State Police in Kentucky say Justin Vanover, 18, of Virgie and Douglas Hall, 53, of Pine Top, Ky. were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at Robinson Creek. It happened Saturday afternoon on Route 122 around 4:30 p.m..
State Police say that Hall had no time to react to avoid the crash.


Funeral Arrangements For Crash Victims

Funeral arrangements are set for nine of the eleven victims who were killed Friday in an early morning crash on I-65 near Munfordville. The funeral will include John and Sadie Esh, along with their children: Rachel, Anna, and Rose Esh; John and Sadie's son Leroy and his wife Naomi, and the couple's 2-month old baby Jaylen. Rachel Esh's fiance', 22 year old Joel Gingrich will also be laid to rest. Services are scheduled to take place Tuesday morning at a warehouse near the Esh's Cumberland County home. Visitation will take place this evening at the same location.


Motorcycle Fatality

A motorcycle crash on Highway 524 in Oldham County Saturday night claimed the life of a Pendleton, Kentucky woman. Oldham County police say 43-year old Janette Weeks was a passenger on a motorcycle when the driver lost control and crashed on Highway 524 shortly after 7-pm. She died from injuries she suffered in the crash according to the Oldham County Coroner's office. The driver of the motorcycle, 46-year old Edward Scott Weeks, had minor injuries


Thirteen Indicted By Pike County Grand Jury

Two of 13 persons named in indictments just returned by the March Grand Jury serving Pike Circuit Court are being charged as persistent felony offenders because of prior convictions.

They are identified as Patrick Hatfield, 45, of Pikeville, and Pete Hackney, 47, of Belfry, Ky.

– Hatfield was indicted on a charge of trafficking in marijuana, over eight ounces, on Aug. 22, 2009. The indictment claims he sold or possessed with intent to sell, dispense or transfer, a quantity of marijuana.

The defendant is now being charged with the offense of persistent felony offender because of four convictions in Madison County from 1983 to 2002 and one conviction in Fayette County in 1984. The charges included trafficking in controlled substances, escape, possession of a controlled substance and burglary.

#– Hackney was charged with one count of trafficking in a controlled substance, third degree (soma, Carisoprodol), and three counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, first degree (oxycodone), during the period Feb. 27 and March 3, 2010.

Because of previous convictions in Pike Circuit Court, Hackney is now being charged with the offense of persistent felony offender, second degree. Both convictions were for second degree trafficking in a controlled substance. One count involved TICS within 1,000 yards of a school.

• Other persons indicted and the specified charges were identified by Commonwealth Attorney Rick L. Bartley’s office as follows:

– Willis Bentley, 29, of Elkhorn City, Ky.; Burglary, first degree, when he unlawfully entered or remained in the dwelling of William Coleman with intent to commit a crime therein, and while armed with a deadly weapon. Second charge was theft by unlawful taking of weapons valued at $500 or more and belonging to William Coleman.

#– Andrea Sparks, 23, of Elkhorn City, Ky.; Theft by unlawful taking March 6, 2010, by unlawfully taking control of merchandise valued at $500 or more and belonging to J.C. Penney.

– Martin D. Chafin, 26, of Pikeville, Ky.; Five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, second degree, on or about Nov. 20, 2009; and Theft by unlawful taking or exercising control of checks valued at $500 or less and belonging to Zeb Hampton. Three of the checks ranging in amounts from $164.95 to $259.45 had the forged name of Hampo Co. LLC or Zeb Hampton. Four alleged forgeries were dated in November of December 2009.

– Darrel Douglas Gooslin, 38. of Pikeville, Ky.; charges include – Operating a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration of or above .08 or while under the influence of alcohol (fourth offense); possession of drug paraphernalia; two counts of possession of controlled substance, second and third degrees; illegal possession of a legend drug; operating a motor vehicle without an operator’s license, and failure to maintain or have in force motor vehicle insurance.

#– Michael T. McKinney, 19, of McDowell, Ky., and Johnathon McPeek, 23, of Pikeville, Ky.; jointly indicted on three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, second degree, and with the offense of tampering with physical evidence on Feb. 2, 2010.

McPeek is separately charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, second degree.

All of the counts of criminal possession involved a debit/credit card belonging to Teresa Barker.

– Carl S. Tackett, 33, of Jacksonville, Fla.; Charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, first degree (oxycodone) and third degree (alprazolam); and possessing prescription drugs not in proper container.

– Richard R. Young, 35, of Kimper, Ky.; charged with possession of a controlled substance, first degree (oxycontin), on May 27, 2009.

– Grover McCown Jr., 45, of Pikeville, Ky.; two counts of trafficking in controlled substances, one first degree (oxycontin) and the other second degree (lorcet), on Dec. 9, 2008.

– Jackie Newcomb, 52, and Teddy Tackett, 49, both of Pikeville; jointly indicted on three counts of trafficking in Schedule II controlled substance on Sept. 25, 2008.

• Grand Jury witnesses were from Kentucky State Police, Pike County Sheriff’s Department, Pikeville Police Department and the Coal Run Police Department.

(An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)


ARH & Union Have New Contract

Three hundred union members will work under a new contract at the South Williamson Appalachian Regional Healthcare facility that was ratified this week. Members of the United Steelworkers have ratified a new three-year contract with the nonprofit health system. The vote at the South Williamson hospital was the closest in the system with the contract passing by the narrow margin of 105 to 101. The contract covers more than 2,300 union workers in a variety of occupations, including clerical, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, nursing, laboratory, respiratory, and radiology. The contract is effective April 1. Appalachian Regional Healthcare operates nine hospitals in West Virginia and Kentucky. The health system also operates physician practices, home health agencies, HomeCare Stores and retail pharmacies.

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