Saturday, May 22, 2010


Pipe Bomb In Barboursville

A Cabell County man was killed early Saturday outside a Barboursville bar by a pipe bomb that he made, authorities said. The bomb exploded in the parking lot of Cactus Joe's on U.S. 60 around 2:30 a.m., killing the man. The bomb was apparently intended for the man's ex-wife, the dispatcher said, adding that the couple was from the Barboursville area and had a history of domestic incidents. No other injuries were reported. 20 to 30 residents were evacuated from the area while investigators searched for more bombs. West Virginia State Police said the agency's bomb technicians defused two other bombs that were found. The man's name has not been released.


Three Testify On Mine Safety

On Capitol Hill Friday a Senate subcommittee exploring whether to spend more money on mine safety heard from three key players. Senator Robert Byrd called for the hearing before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, Joe Main, told the subcommittee that money will help, but not solve the problem. Main said it’s the responsibility of mine operators to comply with the mine act. Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship repeated what he’s said since the April 5 explosion at the Raleigh County mine, that Massey’s primary concern is safety. He went on to says MSHA should not be able to investigate the accident behind closed doors. United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts discussed his concern that miners don’t feel they can report safety violations for fear of losing their jobs. And he talked about miners he knew who were concerned about safety problems in Massey Mines. Blankenship and Roberts agree on one thing though: that MSHA should open its investigation of the Upper Big Branch accident to the public.


Cocaine Within Reach Of Children

Five people have been charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, after police found crack cocaine and drugs in a home in the reach of children. 27-year-old Antonio Smith, 20-year-old Ronald Sheffield, 19-year-old Deante Lee, 43-year-old Stephanie Lee and 18-year-old Siera Lee have all been charged for the crime. Smith was also charged with being a person prohibited from possessing a firearm from a prior charge. He also faces an attempted 1st degree murder charge after a shooting on Adams Avenue in Huntington in 2009. Poilce they had been watching the home where Friday's arrests were made for some time, because of drug activity. Police say they also had an eye on Smith, who they were watching because of drug activity, as well. A toddler and a 10-year-old boy were found in the house -- Huntington Police say they are now in the care of a family member. Stephanie Lee is mother to Siera and the 10-year-old boy. Siera is the toddler's mother, according to police.


Over $5M In Disaster Aid For WV

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the assistance includes $3.6 million for temporary housing and home repairs and $1.1 million in low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. President Barack Obama approved a disaster declaration for Greenbrier, Raleigh, Fayette, Kanawha and Mercer counties after severe storms starting March 12 caused flooding and mudslides. As of Friday, FEMA says 1,798 people have registered for state and federal disaster aid.


Vicco Shooting Update

Kentucky State Police began an investigation into a double shooting in the Vicco area of Perry County. The preliminary investigation led police to obtain arrest warrants on Garfield Herald Jr. age 26 of Busy KY, for 2 counts of assault first-degree, in connection with the shooting. On Friday, May 21, 2010, Garfield Herald Jr turned himself in to officers at Post 13 in Hazard. He is currently lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail, charged with the two counts of assault first-degree.


Homeland Security Grants

U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers announced Kentucky is slated to receive $5,211,420 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Performance Grants. These funds assist state and local emergency operations centers – the nerve centers for multi-agency response and preparedness to man-made and natural disasters. Emergency management agencies bring together law enforcement, fire, EMS and public health, to coordinate government resources and maximize preparedness, response and recovery measures.


Click It Or Ticket Checkpoint

Monday, The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and The Kentucky State Police in coordination with Local Law Enforcement will be conducting a Traffic Safety Checkpoint on KY. RT.1384 at the Pike/Floyd County Line. The check point is scheduled to operate from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. This will kick off the Click it or Ticket Campaign that will run from May 24, through June 6.


Accident Kills Perry County Toddler

Kentucky State Police say a 4 year old toddler was pronounced dead at Hazard ARH following a wreck in Perry County. Authorities say the child was a passenger in a SUV driven by his aunt, Felecia Abner, when the vehicle went off North Kentucky 15 in Bonnyman, over an embankment and crashed into a utility pole. The boy died at Hazard ARH, while his brother, who was also in the back seat, was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Abner was not injured.


Floyd County Man Sentenced

Floyd County Police say Robie Lee Miller fatally shot 27 year old John Salisbury twice during an argument on a strip mine in the Hippo community in March 2009. As his murder trial was scheduled to begin in April, Miller, who was originally charged with murder, accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
This week, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Patriotic Kick-Off To Be Held In Prestonsburg

The Patriotic Celebration 2010 Kick-Off, a special event to honor veterans who have died and those currently serving our country, is scheduled to be held at the National Guard Armory in Prestonsburg on Tuesday. During the event, organizers will promote upcoming celebrations, including Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The celebration, sponsored by the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, Prestonsburg Tourism, the Mountain Arts Center and the Prestonsburg Office of Employment and Training, is scheduled to being at 6:00 P.M. and last until 8:00 P.M. and will include free food and entertainment. For more information on the Kick-Off, contact Paul Edwards by calling (606) 886-9428.


Plea Deal Reached In Williamsburg Drug Case

In a plea agreement, Branden Ray Sutton pleaded guilty this week in federal court in London to conspiring to sell pills with former Williamsburg police officer, 32 year old Brad Nighbert. Sutton said Nighbert recruited him to deal drugs around April 2007 while Nighbert supplied him 80-milligram OxyContin pills that he sold for $80 each, with $60 of that going to Nighbert. Sutton alleged that, during the time he sold OxyContin for Nighbert in early 2007, he saw Nighbert sell pills at his residence to Williamsburg police chief Denny Shelley and Officer Bradley A. Boyd, who later left the department in the face of possible administrative sanctions. Sutton said the drug ring brought in a total of 10,000 OxyContin pills. The latest indictment charges Nighbert started selling drugs in December 2005 and that he burglarized a Williamsburg pharmacy in February 2006 before leaving the department. A federal grand jury indicted Nighbert, Sutton and five others in late March on charges of conspiring to sell drugs between December 2005 and May 2007. Those charged face up to 20 years in prison.


School Officials Question Possible Future Costs

Governor Steve Beshear has proposed a budget that would require local school districts to pick up the cost for one day of instruction next school year. Statewide, educators say the bill could be difficult for many districts with tight finances. The districts have already planned cutbacks in programs and have warned employees not to count on jobs next year because of budget uncertainties caused by the legislature's failure to approve a budget in its regular session earlier this year. School officials are hoping lawmakers can come up with a solution when the General Assembly attends a special called meeting set to begin Monday.


Attorneys Seek Death Row Execution Delays

Attorneys for Kentucky death row inmates Ralph Stevens Baze and Robert Carl Foley have filed separate letters with Governor Steve Beshear, saying multiple circumstances should prompt a delay in setting execution dates for their clients. Heather McGregor, the public defender in Foley's case says Foley, who's awaiting execution for six murders in eastern Kentucky, has claims of innocence that haven't been litigated, and executing him would deprive him of the right to pursue those claims. Public defenders Dennis Burke and David Barron, who represent Baze, say Kentucky's current economic struggles and several pending legal issues should halt any execution. The attorneys also cited a national shortage of sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs Kentucky uses in a lethal injection. They suggest it would be wise to save thiopental for actual medical procedures, rather than use it for executions. Baze, 54, was convicted in 1992 of killing Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur Briscoe in eastern Kentucky as they tried to serve arrest warrants from Ohio on him. Beshear's office says the requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Attorney General Jack Conway's request for an execution date for Baze and Foley is also under consideration by Beshear.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Massey Energy Miner Dies

Another Massey Energy coal miner has died. Fifty-five year old James Erwin of Delbarton died around 6:00 A.M. Friday morning after being pinned between a shuttle car and the mine wall at Massey Energy subsidiary Spartan Mining Company's Ruby Energy Mine in Mingo County on May 10th. Massey has been criticized by President Barack Obama, federal regulators and lawmakers since the April 5th explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal. Senator Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has challenged Massey CEO Don Blankenship's statements about safety and demanded explanations as to how an American business could practice such disgraceful health and safety policies while simultaneously boasting about its commitment to the safety of workers. At least 31 people have died at West Virginia coal mines this year, and 36 have died nationwide.


West Virginia Legislature Ends Special Session

The West Virginia Legislature has ended its special session, with plans to return June 7th to resume work on education measures. House and Senate leaders had grown increasingly at odds over such topics as in-school oversight teams, teacher evaluations and increased student screenings. Wednesday, the state Senate voted down its version of Manchin's proposed merit pay boosts for educators. The House Education Committee scuttled another agenda item addressing low-performing schools. With lawmakers disagreeing over his education proposals, Governor Joe Manchin is dropping his quest for the next round of federal Race to the Top school grants.


Charleston Woman Sentenced In Idaho

This week, a federal judge in Idaho sentenced 36 year old Vanessa Cattanea of Charleston to 20 months in prison and ordered her to pay more than $1 million in restitution to Medicaid after she was convicted in December on 76 of 84 counts of health care fraud. Investigators say, while Cattanela served as treatment director at Teton Family Services, which operated three clinics in eastern Idaho, she fraudulently billed Medicaid for services not covered by the program. They say she knowingly billed Medicaid for services provided by unlicensed staff away from the clinic, including trips to Yellowstone National Park and Salt Lake City. Her co-defendant in the case, 49 year old Ronald Bret Hamilton, of Pocatello, the owner of Teton, died in March.


DEP Unveils Water Quality Proposal

During a meeting this week in Charleston, West Virginia State Department of Environmental Protection officials unveiled a proposal for a new water quality standard aimed at least in part at protecting state rivers and streams from pollution created by large-scale natural gas drilling. The DEP proposal would set a legal limit for "total dissolved solids," or TDS, of 500 milligrams per liter. It would apply in-stream to waterways statewide, making it more stringent than the existing standard in Pennsylvania, which applies a 500-milligram-per-liter standard only at the intake pipes for public drinking water systems. The DEP also announced plans to propose a weakening of the state's legal limit for iron in trout streams, from 0.5 parts per million to 1.0 parts per million. The proposals will be subject to a 45-day public comment period, and officials hope to submit them for consideration by lawmakers during the 2011 legislative session. They must receive EPA approval before taking effect.


West Virginia Officials Discuss Broadband

West Virginia state officials estimate that high-speed broadband isn't available to about 20 to 30 percent of West Virginians. The state has received more than $130 million in federal economic stimulus money to build a broadband network, while Frontier Communications says it plans to spend $48 million to expand broadband to 85 percent of its customers, if it completes a deal to purchase Verizon's landlines next month. Verizon now offers broadband to 60 percent of its customers statewide. At a meeting of the West Virginia Broadband Council this week, council members acknowledged that it might not make financial sense for telecommunications companies to bring broadband to areas with few customers, but State Commerce Secretary Kelley Goes noted that the Broadband Council was established about a year and a half ago "to take care of areas that had nothing." Goes, who's leading Gov. Joe Manchin's push to have West Virginia wired for high-speed Internet, said "Our mission is to keep focused on what's not being done."


Guilty Pleas Entered In Robbery Cases

Forty-seven year old Marjorie Mullins of Charleston, James Tincher and 28 year old Mark A. Sexton Jr. of Sissonville pleaded guilty to felonies earlier this week. Mullins admitted that, on January 19th, she robbed the United Bank branch in Big Chimney at gunpoint...getting about $6,000. Tincher, who drove the getaway car, pleaded guilty to bank robbery without a firearm. Four days later, the Fruth Pharmacy on Oakwood Road was robbed of several thousand dollars worth of OxyContin pills while the suspects used a BB gun. Mullins and Sexton pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Shortly after the robbery, police arrested Mullins and Sexton when they abandoned their car on Quarrier Street. Investigators then learned Tincher and Sexton had robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy in Cross Lanes in January 2009. Mullins agreed to cooperate in the cases against Tincher and Sexton. In exchange, Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Fred Giggenbach agreed to recommend concurrent sentences, not to refer the bank robbery to the U.S. Attorney's Office and not to charge Tincher and Sexton with the robbery in Cross Lanes. Mullins faces up to 43 years in prison while Sexton faces up to 23 years in prison when they're both sentenced on July 8th. Tincher faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on July 9th.


"Hard Core Addict" In Custody

Deputies in Lewis County, Kentucky say a hard core addict is now in jail after a burglary spree and a dangerous high speed chase. A rampage that included crushing stolen cars for scrap money to get high. Lewis County Sheriff's deputies say Brandon Shane Fannin, a convicted felon just out of prison, is suspected in a month long burglary spree. He's accused of stealing tools and equipment from country homes and fire houses. On Wednesday, a tip lead deputies to Fannin. Deputies say he was driving a stolen truck and that led to a 60 mile, three county dangerous high speed chase that ended in a road block and gunpoint capture. Deputies say they plan make 4 to 5 more arrests in the burglaries.


Perry County Shooting Being Investigated

Kentucky State Police are investigating after two people were shot in eastern Kentucky. Police say 49-year-old Albert M. Jent and 35-year-old Shawn C. Mobelini, both of Vicco, were shot Thursday morning at Jent's residence in Perry County. Both were transported to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee for treatment. Twenty-six year old Garfield Harold Jr. of Busy surrendered to authorities and has been charged with first degree assault.


Prison Sentence Upheld

A Lexington judge has upheld the prison sentence of a man convicted in the killing of a newlywed. Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael on Thursday denied a claim by convict Michael M. Shepherd that he had ineffective legal counsel at the hearing at which he was sentenced to life in prison. He can be paroled after 25 years. Shepherd was convicted in 2006 in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Megan Liebengood outside her apartment. Shepherd was 16 when Liebengood was murdered. He is now 22.


Unemployment Rate Drops

Kentucky's unemployment rate dropped in April but remained in double digits. The state Office of Employment and Training reported Thursday that the jobless rate in April was 10.6 percent, down from a revised 10.7 percent the month before. Last month's figure is up slightly from April 2009, when the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent. The 10.6 percent rate in April matches the statewide figure in December and is the lowest jobless rate since that time in Kentucky.


Gov. Beshear Expands Agenda

Gov. Steve Beshear has expanded the agenda for the upcoming special legislative session to include unemployment insurance along with an issue important to Kentucky's bourbon industry. The main issue awaiting lawmakers for the session that begins next Monday is passing a 2-year state budget. A House-Senate impasse kept lawmakers from passing a spending plan during their 60-day regular session. Beshear said in a statement Thursday that the special session agenda will include shoring up the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which pays out benefits to jobless Kentuckians. He said another issue will be legislation to expand alcohol sampling licenses to support tourism.


Fen-Phen Lawyer Disbarred

A Kentucky attorney acquitted in criminal court of stealing millions from clients in a diet drug settlement but held liable in civil court has been disbarred. The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday banned Melbourne Mills of Lexington from working as an attorney and ruled that he cannot reapply for his license. Mills was acquitted in 2009 of taking part in a scheme to bilk clients out of the majority of a $200 million settlement over the diet drug fen-phen. Two other attorneys, William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, were convicted, sentenced to prison and disbarred.


Sting Nets Klan Arrests

Three people have been arrested after an FBI sting operation at the Imperial Klan of America compound near Dawson Springs. Bureau agents and Kentucky State Police went to the compound Wednesday morning. The subjects of their investigation were Klan Imperial Wizard Ron Edwards and his girlfriend Christine Gillette. Both were arrested. Edwards, had a variety of Klan tattoos.He was charged with possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance, including hydrocodone and methamphetamine. He was also charged with possession of a firearm. Gillette's charges are unknown at this time. He was taken to the Hopkins County Jail.


Fire In Pikeville

A fire last night in a residential section of Pikeville has left eight people homeless. The fire was worked by the Pikeville Fire Department. It occured at an apartment building. Officials say the two story building on Third Street, caught fire around 8:30 Thursday night. Three people inside escaped unharmed. Firefighters say flames were coming out of the roof when they arrived, but they were able to quickly extinguish the fire. Investigators from the state fire marshal's office will examine the scene on today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


CEO Indicted In Floyd County Drug Case

A grand jury has indicted Michael D. Leman of Louisiana, chief executive officer of a chain of urgent-care clinics, as part of a conspiracy to sell pain pills in Eastern Kentucky. He is charged with conspiring to distribute oxycodone and methadone in the Floyd County area between January 2005 and the fall of 2007. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million


Martin County Man Convicted In Pikeville

Following a day and a half federal jury trial in Pikeville, 45 year old Jimmy Cornett of Tomahawk in Martin County has been convicted after being indicted in January of conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors say that beginning in July 2009, and continuing through August 2009, Cornett and co-defendant, James Perry, conspired to manufacture meth and possessed a loaded .22 caliber rifle that furthered their methamphetamine conspiracy. Cornett faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years when sentenced in September. James Perry entered a guilty plea to the charges last week.


KSP Investigating Big Sandy Detention Center Allegations

Kentucky State Police are investigating allegations of official mis-conduct at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, including physical and mental mistreatment of inmates to misuse of funds. A Johnson County grand jury has indicted former authority board chairman John Harmon on theft charges, a guard, Doug Muncy, on sexual abuse charges, and administrator Henry "Butch" Williams on bribery charges. Harmon is accused of taking the jail's money and using it for trips and expenses outside of jail business while Muncy faces misdemeanor charges of sexual contact with an inmate, and Williams is accused of accepting a bribe of a truck from an inmate in exchange of transferring his wife to the jail.


Floyd County Doctor Faces DUI

Johnson County Sheriff's Deputies say 76 year old Petronio Zalamea, a Prestonsburg doctor at All Family Healthcare, was under the influence Wednesday night while driving recklessly on U.S. 23 in Johnson County, going into the median and almost striking an 18-wheeler. He was charged with DUI after officers say he failed every sobriety test he was given. Officers are waiting for blood work to determine what he might have been under the influence of. He is due in court next month.


Pikeville City Hall

Pikeville City Hall will be closed on Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day.


Shooting In Perry County

Thursday,Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard received a call in reference to two subjects being shot on Montgomery Creek Road in the Vicco Community of Perry County. Albert M. Jent (aka: Glen) age 49 of Vicco and Shawn C. Mobelini age 35 of Vicco received gunshot wounds as a result of an altercation at the Jent residence. Mr. Jent was transported to the Hazard ARH and air lifted to Holston Valley Medical Center. Ms. Mobelini was air lifted from the scene. The conditions of the injured are not known. No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation is continuing.


Beshear Undecided On Special Session Agenda

Gov. Steve Beshear says he will issue the agenda for the upcoming special session by the end of the week. Beshear said he has not yet decided whether anything other than voting on a two-year budget will be on the agenda. Beshear declined to say what other issue he would like to see the legislature address when it reassembles Monday in Frankfort for the special session. Other items that could be up for discussion are charter schools, the unemployment insurance trust fund and a measure to allow bourbon samples to be handed out at the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Lexington in the fall.


Pikeville Woman Charged With Theft

A western Kentucky prosecutor says a woman charged with theft by deception is suspected of stealing more than $100,000 from stores in Kentucky and elsewhere. Kentucky State Police arrested 44-year-old Linda Music of Pikeville on April 28 in Floyd County on a theft charge from Murray. Commonwealth's Attorney Mark Blankenship said Music went to stores and switched the scanner bar codes, hoping checkout clerks wouldn't notice the lesser prices she was paying for expensive items. The Calloway County charge is for theft above $10,000. Music waived her right to be charged by a grand jury and is expected to be arraigned in Murray next month. A GPS device found in Music's car had bookmarks for Lowe's stores in 14 states.


Woman Dies From Garbage Truck Accident

A 51-year-old woman has died after being hit by a garbage truck as she was ending her work day at the Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management facility. Jefferson Officials identified the woman as Darlene Brown and said an autopsy was scheduled. Louisville police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said police were called to the scene Wednesday and found the woman dead when they arrived. Mitchell says the woman and another employee were apparently riding on the back of the garbage truck. They got off the truck when it pulled into the parking lot, but Mitchell says the driver apparently didn't see Brown walking in front of the truck and hit her.


Lethal Injection Protocol Challenged

A state judge is weighing a challenge to Kentucky's lethal injection protocol as attorneys expect death warrants to be signed in the near future. Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said Wednesday a decision should come soon about whether three death row inmates have properly challenged the state's new execution protocol and possibly on the merits of their attack.


Unusual Vote In Georgetown

A Georgetown City Council candidate's death last month didn't prevent more than 1,000 voters from casting ballots for her. Signs were posted at the polls on Tuesday, stating that Vickie Moore had died and votes for her wouldn't be counted. Moore still received 1,002 votes, putting her name among the 16 top vote getters who would move on to the November general election. Election officials say Antonio Barber Sr. will fill the slot.


Court Of Appeals Decision

A split federal appeals court upheld an injunction Wednesday barring a central Kentucky business owner from using the names "Victor's Secret" and "Victor's Little Secret" on an adult novelty and lingerie shop. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 ruling said that under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act the use of those names by the Elizabethtown business cast an unflattering shadow on the Columbus, Ohio-based chain Victoria's Secret and potentially hurts their business. The ruling leaves in place an injunction issued in 2008, barring Kentucky business owners Victor and Cathy Moseley from using the names at their shop about 45 minutes south of Louisville.


Violent Robbery In Richmond

One man has been arrested and police are looking for two other suspects after a violent robbery at a Madison County clothing store. Police say three men - one armed with an assault rifle - entered JaRu's New Fashion on Red House Road in Richmond around 7 p.m. May 18 and demanded money. During the robbery, one suspect struck an employee in the head with the rifle and another suspect tased the store owner. The suspects left the business with an undisclosed amount of cash. Not long after the robbery, police pulled over a black Pontiac Aztec along I-75 and arrested Tanu Dyer, 35, of Lexington. Police say they believe they know the identity of the other two suspects, but continue to investigate.The stolen cash has not been recovered.


Mongiardo Won't Seek Recount

The Democratic candidate who came up short in Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary has decided not to ask for a recanvass of votes. Unofficial results show Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo lost to Attorney General Jack Conway by 3,542 votes. Mongiardo campaign manager Kim Geveden released a statement saying a recanvass was being requested to assure no errors were made. But Wednesday afternoon, Geveden distributed another statement saying Mongiardo had changed his mind. Mongiardo said he backed away from a recanvass because it would be "extremely unlikely" to change the outcome. He said a recanvass would delay the healing process that needs to take place after the competitive primary race.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Prestonsburg BB&T Bank Evacuated

Prestonsburg Police say the BB&T Bank branch located in the Glynnview Plaza near the Mountain Arts Center was evacuated at 2:00 P.M. Wednesday afternoon after 49 year old Jonathan Hall of David entered the bank several times wearing a dress and claiming to have a gun and dynamite. Police say he first walked into the bank and asked about opening a safety deposit box. When the bank informed him they do not have safety deposit boxes, he left the bank and then entered it a second time asking to open a checking account. Police say Hall was carrying a purse filled with dynamite, but it was not armed and was not able to detonate. Authorities say Hall told them his wife has cancer and he just lost his job. He was arrested and taken to the Pike County Detention Center and FBI officials are investigating.


EcoPower Generation To Build Wood-Burning Power Plant

EcoPower Generation Hazard has been given a go-ahead from Frankfort to begin construction of a newly proposed 50 mega watt generating wood-burning power plant that will be built on a 125 acre site in the Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park in northern Perry County. Officials say construction of the plant that will use biomass fuel to generate electricity, could begin the end of this year and be finished as soon as 2012. Construction will employ about 200 part time workers, while day to day operations will bring another 40 full time jobs. Officials say 13 counties in eastern Kentucky will be the main source of wood by-products, as they anticipate buying logs only from certified master loggers. The plant is expected to operate for a minimum of 30 years, and will be the first of its kind in Kentucky.


Kentucky Residents File Oil Spill Lawsuit

Two Kentucky residents, Larry O'Bryan and Stephen E. Ernst, who own property along the Gulf Coast filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville against eight companies, including BP PLC. O'Bryan and Ernst, listed in the suit as owning rental property along the coast, are seeking class-action status,
claiming the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill has devalued their property. A Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank after an explosion on April 20th, and more than 100 suits have been filed. BP America chairman and president Lamar McKay told a Senate committee this week that the company had paid out $15 million in claims through Tuesday.


Election-Fraud Hotline Receives Fewer Calls

According to Attorney General Jack Conway's office, the state election-fraud hotline received far fewer calls during Tuesday's primary election than during the last election. Between 6:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. Tuesday there were 116 calls from 43 counties, down from 350 in the 2006 primary. There were 24 calls to the hotline in the 2007 primary and 63 in the May 2008 election. The number typically goes up in years with races for judge-executive, sheriff and other local offices, partly because many more candidates are seeking office. In Perry County, Hazard businessman Pearl Combs Jr., 57, was arrested on a charge of vote buying.


Transporting Stolen Cigarettes

Federal prosecutors in northern Mississippi say a Florida man has pleaded guilty to money laundering and transporting stolen cigarettes as part of a multistate contraband operation. Court documents show 38-year-old Mitchell Sivina of Doral, Fla., has cooperated with investigators. Authorities say about $2 million worth of cigarettes were stolen in 2006 from a truck stop parking lot in Walton, Ky. They say the cigarettes were taken to Florida before going to a Mississippi warehouse. Prosecutors say some of the stolen cigarettes went back to Kentucky and others were intercepted on the way to Indiana. Records show Sivina remains free on $15,000 bond. He waived indictment before pleading guilty Monday in U.S. District court in Oxford, Miss.


Alledged Vote Buying In Perry County

Police in Hazard say a businessman has been charged with one count of vote fraud.
Hazard Deputy Police Chief Joseph Engle says 57-year-old Pearl Combs Jr. was arrested Tuesday after a voter told authorities he was paid $20 to vote for certain candidates. Engle says Combs is lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail pending an ongoing investigation. Police found evidence of voter fraud as well as illegal gambling. He said the investigation is ongoing and further charges are pending.


Tobacco Farmers Losing Contracts

Cigarette makers are cutting contracts with tobacco farmers as smoking continues to decline in the U.S. University of Kentucky economist Will Snell says the nation's top producer of burley tobacco, could lose a fourth of its contracts this year. Many contracts also have been lost in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The cutbacks mean farmers who've lost contracts might not be able to pay mortgages and rural communities could lose jobs and income as farmers have less money to spend. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. spokesman David Howard says it's just doing what any business would do to keep supply in line with demand.


Documentaries On Coal

A one-night film festival tonight will present two documentaries about mountaintop removal coal mining. "Coal Country" and "Deep Down" will be shown at the Belcourt Theater in Williamsburg, followed by a round-table discussion featuring country music singer Kathy Mattea and author Silas House. The event, called "movies save mountains," is sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Activists Terry Ratliff and Judy Bonds, who appear in the documentaries, also are to participate in the round-table discussion.


US Senate Paul, Mongiardo Take Pike County

( R ) Rand Paul 1,150

( R ) Trey Grayson 893

( D ) Dan Mongiardo 7,131

( D ) Jack Conway 3,665



Pike County Magistates Win

District 1

Jeff Anderson 1,333

Darrell Pugh 878


Disctrict 2

Chick Johnson 1,276 ( Johnson has fall opposition )

Johnny Tackett 1,066


District 3

Leo Murphy 1,069

J. C. Chaney 785

Rodney Keene 295

Harold Justice 236


District 4

( R ) Incumbent Kenneth Robinson ran unopposed.. Robinson will face ( D ) James Ratliff in the fall. Ratliff 598 , Bobby Ray Hamilton 458 , Jerry Wakeland 265, Jackie Justice 209 , Timothy Thacker 126.


Discrict 5

Hileman Dotson 1,387

James Smith 507

Bo Daniels 201

Ballard Wolford 130

Robert Combs 70


District 6

Chris Harris 1,464

Gary Thacker 1,058



Rodney Scott Wins Re- Election

Rodney Scott won re- election for Jailer

Scott 10,742

Terry Cavins 2,293


Hall, Damron Take Pike County

93rd House

W. Keith Hall 5,667

Donna Damron 1,938

Danny Varney 575

Hall has fall opposition

Leslie Combs 2,737

Kojak Mullins 2,014

Combs has fall opposition


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Rutherford Wins Re- Election

Wayne T. Rutherford 7,904

Bill Deskins 4,548

Scott Sykes 916


Charles Fuzzy Kessee Wins 10th Term

Charles Fuzzy Kessee 10,558

William Julio Robinette 2,597

Charles Fuzzy Kessee captured 10th term .


Kentucky Coal Association President Attends EPA Meeting

While attending a public hearing Tuesday at the Charleston Civic Center, Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said the entire coal industry is watching EPA's actions on the mountaintop removal permit for Arch Coal Inc.'s Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County. Bissett says the industry knows what happens in West Virginia can happen in Kentucky. He says Kentucky doesn't want the EPA revoking its permits.


Detention Center Administrator Arrested

Kentucky State Police say 54 year old Henry Clayton "Butch" William from Oil Springs, the administrator of the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Johnson County has been arrested for bribing a public servant. Investigators say Williams is accused of accepting bribes from inmates for personal gain. Williams was taken to the Floyd County Detention Center and placed under a ten thousand dollars cash bond. The case is being investigated by Detective Ben Cramer of the Kentucky State Police Post 09 Pikeville, KY. The investigation is ongoing at this time.


One Elk Raffle Tag Remains

While the official elk lottery has closed for 2010, hunters get one more shot at having their name drawn. One bull elk tag remains to be drawn for fall elk hunting. Through a raffle sponsored by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation, proceeds from the specially commissioned tag will fund scholarships and needed improvements to conservation camps across Kentucky. This last elk tag will be drawn Saturday, June 12.


Drug Treatment Center Director Arrested

The director of a drug treatment facility in western Kentucky is facing drug charges.
Police have charged Bridget Clark with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance through false statements or forgery. Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force Director Cheyenne Albro says Clark visited more than one doctor asking for prescriptions for the pain killer hydrocodone. Clark is the director of the Set Free Mission Bible Training Center in Greenville. Becky Hogan, who runs a mission in Tennessee and oversees the Kentucky facility, said she believes the arrest is a form of harassment against the Greenville center.Hogan says there's no reason to believe the charges and Clark will remain in her position.


Former Lynch City Clerk Sentenced

A former city clerk in eastern Kentucky who was accused of stealing more than $137,000 has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Judge Russell Alred handed down the sentence Monday for 34-year-old Kellie Maggard. Maggard turned herself in to police in October after she was indicted. State police said Maggard took money in the form of checks and cash from the city of Lynch.


Highway Fatality Report

Preliminary statistics indicate that four people died in four separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, May 10through Sunday, May 16, 2010. Three of the crashes involved motor vehicles and one victim was not wearing a seat belt. Single-fatality crashes occurred in Bourbon,Letcher and Madison counties. The suspected use of alcohol was a factorin the Letcher County crash. One fatal motorcycle-involved crash occurred in Simpson County. The victim was wearing a helmet. Through May 16 preliminary statistics* indicate that 228 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2010. This is 66 less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2009. There were 192 motor vehicle fatalities and 100 of those victims were not wearing seat belts. Thirty-two of those crashes involved a commercial motor vehicle. Twenty-one fatal crashes involved a pedestrian and 1 involved a scooter. Eleven crashes involved a motorcycle and four of those victims were not wearing helmets. Two crashes involved an ATV and one victim was not wearing a helmet. A total of 49 fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.


"America's Most Wanted" Fugitive Nabbed In KY

Fugitive featured on America's Most Wanted television show has been arrested in Kentucky. Phillip Ed Harrison was wanted in connection with a fatal shooting in Hobbs, M.M. in September. He had outstanding charges of second-degree murder, aggravated battery, felon in possession of a firearm, and assault with intent to commit a felony, according to a news release from Danville police. Police said they didn't know how long Harrison had been in Danville but that he was leasing and working at the Pleasurable Pain Tattoo Shop . He also leased a building next door, at 200 Finn Hill Drive, where he lived. Sgt. Patrick McQueen said police received several tips after America's Most Wanted featured Harrison Saturday. At least one of the tipsters had received a tattoo from Harrison, police said. According to the America's Most Wanted website, the warrants on Harrison stemmed from a fight involving several people at his tattoo shop in New Mexico. Harrison is accused of shooting a man named Orlando Martinez in the head during the altercation.


Rove To Speak At Private School

A small, private Christian school in western Kentucky is getting some fundraising power from political strategist Karl Rove. Rove, a top adviser to former President George W. Bush, is scheduled to speak Thursday at a $100-a-plate dinner to benefit Foundation Christian Academy in Bowling Green. Rove is on tour promoting his new book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life in the Conservative Fight"..Chris Young, a Foundation Christian Academy board member, says Rove will discuss the challenges facing the United States as well as education. Foundation Christian Academy has 137 students in pre-K through eighth grade.


Red Bird Mission School Closing

The school run by the Red Bird Mission in eastern Kentucky is being forced to close due to a lack of funds. A school board member said donations have faltered and the mission had been taking money from an endowment to keep the school open at a cost of about $2 million per year. Two months ago, the board announced the elementary school would be shut down for next year, but had planned to keep the high school open. The schools have about 200 students. The school announced it is suspending operations, but would reopen in August if enough funds were found. The mission is run by the United Methodist Church and includes a medical clinic and an Appalachian crafts marketing program.


Helicopter Crash In Western KY

A pilot says a gust of wind caused him to lose control of a helicopter that crashed in western Kentucky just after taking off at the Hopkinsville airport. A police report says the two-man aircraft belonged to the pilot, 34-year-old Matthew Healy, who is stationed at Fort Campbell. The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft and he was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Police say investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were expected at the site this week.


Bomb Threat In Frankfort

Frankfort police have given an all clear after several buildings were evacuated, including a day care center, due to a bomb threat. The State-Journal newspaper reports the bomb threat was called in about 9 a.m. EDT to police dispatch. Major Fred Deaton says the Southern Preschool and Childcare Center, City Hall, the Public Safety Facility and Southern Apartments were among the buildings evacuated in Frankfort. Deaton says students at a nearby elementary school and middle school were kept inside. Police are investigating the threat.


Students Protest In Frankfort

More than 50 high school students angry over the firing of a popular social studies teacher protested on the steps of the state Capitol. Students from Western Hills High School said they headed to the Capitol after the doors of their school were locked Friday during their protest. Students told The State Journal of Frankfort that they hoped to bring change to the whole county by taking their protest to the Capitol. But administrators said the students would face disciplinary action, including possible suspension, because the protest meant they missed a school day.
Students were protesting the Thursday firing of teacher Aimee Graham, who was one of 56 to receive a pink slip across the district.


VA Scheme Defendants Sentenced

A Kentucky man and a West Virginia man have been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for their roles in a scheme to file fraudulent military disability claims.
Federal prosecutors say 39-year-old Thomas Darrell Bryant of LeRoy, WV, and 62-year-old Joe Davis Snooks Jr. of Roundhill, KY were sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Louisville. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman also sentenced the two men to three years' supervised release after they are released. Bryant is also to pay $191,853.67 in restitution and Snooks was ordered to make restitution of $141,732.
Ten others were previously sentenced in the case in which officials say a former Veterans Administration employee and others conspired to steal nearly $2 million in disability claims. Two other men who pleaded guilty are scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Road Plan Could Be Problem In Special Session

During this year’s regular session, the Kentucky House and Senate failed to agree on a state budget and a road plan by the time they adjourned on April 15th. Governor Steve Beshear has offered a budget compromise that House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams each say they believe they could support. However, Stumbo says he isn’t as sure about legislation authorizing the state's road construction plans. Beshear says the session agenda will include the state's two-year road construction plan, a road construction plan for the ensuing four years, the Transportation Cabinet’s operating budget, and a non-controversial revenue bill. Stumbo says there could be a problem reaching an agreement on the measure outlining the construction plan in the four out years. He said he disagreed during the session with the Senate's move to add what he said was about $2 billion in road projects to the resolution listing construction projects in fiscal years 2013-16. Stumbo, Williams and Beshear have each said they want an agreement before the session begins so it will last only five days... the minimum it takes for a bill to complete the legislative process. A special session costs taxpayers about $63,000 per day.


KY Energy Appliance Rebate Continues

Initially, there were plenty of customers seeking a rebate when the federally funded Kentucky Energy Appliance Rebate Program launched April 22nd. As of Monday, about $307,000 wasn’t committed of the $4 million made available. With only 92 percent of funds claimed, the program will continue until all the money is actually distributed. The Ky. Dept. for Energy Development & Independence says customers may have reserved a credit but didn’t actually buy an appliance. Some of those funds will go back in the pool. So far, 28,000 discounts have been issued, including $100 for washers, $50 for refrigerators, and similar rebates for 12 other appliances. Clothes washers lead the way as consumers tap the last money available.


Former University Of Louisville Dean Sentenced

Robert David Felner of Prospect, a former education dean at the University of Louisville has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $2.2 million for stealing money from two universities and committing tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson ordered Felner to pay $510,000 in restitution to the University of Louisville, $1.6 million to the University of Rhode Island and $88,000 to an addiction center in Illinois. Felner has already paid the federal clerk of court more than $200,000, which will go toward restitution. Federal officials also seized another $450,000 during the investigation of Felner. Felner was director of the School of Education at The University of Rhode Island from 1996 to 2003 before taking the position at the University of Louisville.


Floyd County Company Gets Appeal

By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled U.S. District Judge David Bunning erred in ruling for the Internal Revenue Service in a tax dispute with Worldwide Equipment Inc., of Prestonburg, a Floyd County company. Worldwide sued the federal government in 2004, challenging a $119,302 tax levied on a type of truck it sold. The IRS countersued, saying Worldwide owed $1.1 million for failing to pay taxes on multiple trucks sold from 1999-2003. The ruling has reinstated a challenge on how the federal government taxes trucks used to haul coal from mines to loading areas. Being questioned is whether the trucks were designed primarily for off-road use, which would exempt them from the tax, or designed for use on state and federal highways, in which case the tax would apply. Judge Helene White noted for the majority opinion that Worldwide sold 98 coal haulers between 1998 and 2004, with highway use accounting for about five percent of the trucks' time on the road. Senior Judge Gilbert Merritt dissented, saying the trucks almost always must use the Interstate and other public roads because of the lack of a tipple station at most Kentucky mines.


KSP Troopers Say "Click-It-Or-Ticket "

Kentucky State Police are kicking-up their "Click-It-Or-Ticket" campaign. While gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Frankfort Monday, Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Transportation officials announced police will be out in full force through June 6th to aggressively issue tickets to those not wearing seat belts. Statistics show, if seat belts are worn, they reduce the risk of dying in an accident by 45 percent. KSP Troopers are asking the public to please, buckle up.


IRS Tax Relief In Declared Disaster Areas

Victims of severe storms, flooding, mudslides and tornadoes beginning May 1 in Kentucky may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service. President Barack Obama has declared Casey, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Metcalfe, Rockcastle, Rowan and Woodford counties federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance. As a result, the IRS is postponing until June 30 certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. IRS computer systems automatically identify taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and apply automatic filing and payment relief. Affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to request tax relief.


Two Women Arrested On Drug Charges

Cocaine is found in Somerset and arrests are made. Thirty-seven year old Dorothy Curtis and 23-year old Amy M. Crabtree, both of Somerset, were arrested and charged with trafficking of a controlled substance. Along with the cocaine they found in the home, officials discovered a large amount of cash. Both women were taken to the Pulaski County Detention Center.


Teachers Interview To Keep Jobs

Hundreds of teachers at the lowest-performing schools in Jefferson County are interviewing to keep their jobs. As many as 300 were going through the interview process expected to wrap up and should find out next week whether they'll keep their current positions. The interviews are one of the first steps the district must take to comply with state audits of six low-performing schools. Jefferson County Superintendent Sheldon Berman says the schools will get new principals and replace half the teachers.


Fatal Fire In Rowan County

Kentucky State Police are investigating a fatal fire in eastern Kentucky. Neighbors heading to church on Sunday morning in Rowan County saw the smoking remains of a mobile home near the Haldeman community. Police said a woman died in the fire and her remains were taken to Frankfort for positive identification.


Girl's Body Found In Lake

Officials said Monday that the drowning death of Linda Peachey, a six-year-old Amish girl, in Fleming County has been ruled accidental. Peachey went missing from her home Saturday afternoon, and family and friends worried she may have been abducted. Following an intense 22-hour search by more than 100 people and rescuers from 18 different agencies, the search ended just before 9:00 A.M. Sunday morning, when a dive team recovered the body in a pay lake near her home.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Attorneys General Issue Letter To Topix

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, along with attorneys general from 21 states and territories, have issued a signed written letter to Chris Tolles, the CEO of, advising Topix to change its policy on forcing customers to pay for priority review, as well as decrease the time it takes to remove abusive comments. Topix is a news and discussion Web site which allows users to publish comments on online news stories from across the country. According to the letter, many abusive posts concern minors. The letter criticizes a $19.99 fee consumers pay for "priority review" of inappropriate comments, meaning the comments might be removed from the site faster. Officials say the flagging option, which means viewers can "flag" comments, or report them as abusive, for free, is ineffective. The letter also says Topix has acknowledged that posts are not even placed into the queue for removal unless users from three separate IP addresses flag a post.


Environmentalists Challenge Pike County Mine Permit

Two environmental groups are challenging a permit issued last month to Cambrian Coal Corporation for a proposed 792-acre surface mine near Elkhorn City in Pike County. The Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth argue the state failed to properly assess the mining operation's potential impact on nearby streams, and the coal company didn't design the mining and reclamation plan to properly limit the impact of valley fills. The environmentalists claim runoff from the mine would cause water-quality violations in several watersheds, or worsen problems that already exist.


Shoplifting Turns To Drug Charge

Morehead Police arrested 25 year old Charles Henderson of Olive Hill and charged him with two counts possession of a controlled substance, theft by unlawful taking (shoplifting), and prescription not in an original container. According to police, they responded to a shoplifting complaint at Wal-Mart after store officials said that Henderson was observed taking items and attempting to leave the store without paying for them. Police approached Henderson and upon search they found in his right front pocket a plastic bag hidden in a cigarette pack that had two and a half green pills that were identified as oxycodone 15 milligrams and two blue pills that were identified as oxycodone 30 milligrams.


Minnie Library Nears One Year Anniversary

Recently, dozens of Floyd County residents, library workers and local officials gathered at the library at Minnie for a formal dedication, marking this July being a one year anniversary since it became a reality. The library, a branch of the Floyd County Library in Prestonsburg, is the result of efforts by leaders, including state House Speaker Greg Stumbo, state Senator Johnny Ray Turner and Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley. They credit Homer Hall as the true catalyst for the project.Greg Stumbo referred to his and Turner’s efforts in Frankfort to get funding for the project as just the end result of numerous people involved in the idea in the first place.


Budget Special Session

Governor Steve Beshear has proposed a plan to help lawmakers end a stalemate that threatens to shut down many critical areas of Kentucky state government. He is calling the General Assembly into a special session on May 24th to pass a state budget. The Governor said an austere budget is better than no budget at all. The two primary areas of difference between the House and Senate are:
•The levels of education funding; and
•The levels of debt.
The Governor’s proposal relies on no new taxes; maintains certain spending priorities rather than making across-the-board cuts; maintains school instructional days; and authorizes bonds for a limited number of projects to honor prior commitments, address critical needs and create jobs. It is a biennial budget; continues the administration’s efforts to shrink the size of state government; reduces the structural imbalance; and provides a carry-forward in the second year to mitigate deeper cuts. Gov. Beshear noted that his proposal includes all projects the House and Senate budgets had in common during negotiations and offers the lowest amount of General Fund-supported bonds in a biennial budget since 1996.


Senior Housing In Elkhorn City

The Pike County Senior Housing complex at Elkhorn City is now accepting applications for tenants, and will be ready for move-in on June 1st.


Mother Charged In Infant Death

Kentucky State Police in Frankfort say 30-year-old Amy Covyeow-Dorner of Taylorsville was under the influence of illegal substances when she left her 3-month-old infant on a living room chair to sleep on Friday night. He was not breathing when police arrived Saturday morning. An autopsy will be conducted in Louisville. Covyeow-Dorner was charged with reckless homicide and three counts of wanton endangerment because there were three other children in her care at the time of the baby's death.


Presbyterian Church Makes Cuts

The Presbyterian Church eliminated 49 more jobs at its Louisville headquarters. The church announced cuts on Friday that included a combination of layoffs, voluntary severance and attrition. The council's governing board approved an $82 million budget for 2011 and $80 million for 2012, down from this year's budget of $93.8 million. The denomination has been coping with losses in membership, congregations, contributions and investment returns.


Court Of Appeals Chief Steps Down

While entering her third year of of a second term, Judge Sara Walter Combs stepped down as chief judge last week, bringing an immediate change in administration at the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Combs said she wants to spend less time running the court and more time on what she calls "the essential work" of the appellate court. Combs said she also wants to spend more time associating with people in her district and helping preserve the memory of her late husband, the former Governor Bert Combs. Judge Laurance B. VanMeter is now the acting chief judge of the court, which will elect a new chief judge in June.

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