Saturday, June 19, 2010


Charleston Leads The Nation In Smoking

A national study says Charleston has the nation's highest proportion of smokers. Huntington ranks third. Healthways, a well-being company based in Tennessee, says its list is based on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says one of the reasons Charleston's smoking rate is so high is that West Virginia does not fund tobacco-cessation programs at the level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chuck Hamsher, director of public advocacy for the American Heart Association in West Virginia, says the CDC recommends West Virginia spend about $27 million annually on tobacco-cessation programs. The state allocates about $6 million.


Kenova City Clerk Pleads Guilty To Fraud

Former Kenova City Clerk Stacey Deerfield has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor fraud charge following allegations that she mismanaged the city's money. According to a court document, the plea involves a $668 charge on a city credit card. Mayor Ric Griffith said the credit card in Deerfield's possession was unauthorized by city council. The credit card was used at Walmart for personal hygiene items, a Mia Hamm soccer shirt and a Stevie Wonder Anthology, to name a few. Griffith said the West Virginia State Auditor's office did an audit on the city's transactions for the years that Deerfield was in charge of funds, which was before Griffith took office.
Griffith said of about 80 sample transactions the office researched, only about 15 could be accounted for. The transactions were not manipulated, Griffith said, they were missing. Griffith said while trying to put city records together, $18,000 worth of questionable transactions were found – the city’s insurance company has claimed $13,000 missing.


Woman Steals Dog From Animal Shelter

The Kanawha-Charleston animal shelter is looking for a woman who allegedly stole a dog from the shelter by using a child as a lookout Thursday. Shelter workers say the woman took a stray Jack Russell terrier that was not yet available for adoption because it had only recently come into the shelter. Stray animals are held to give their owners a chance to pick them. She also took a leash and did not pay the 66 dollar adoption fee. They say she won't be prosecuted if she returns the dog, but they want to know who she is.


Gov. Manchin Signs Drug Bills

Prescription drug abuse…never has it been such a problem…and getting worse. Drugs like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are called controlled substances and your neighborhood pharmacist will tell you the abuse is way out of control. One pharmacist said, "I'm filling more prescription for controlled substances than I do for blood pressure medicine." Governor Joe Manchin signed four bills into law to address the prescription pill problem. One of the bills requires doctors to write prescriptions on official tamper-proof paper. Another law increases the penalty for people who lie to get prescriptions. There is also a measure requiring pharmacies to use an online database to better track who's getting these drugs and how often and one requiring medical professionals to report the loss of any controlled substances to the pharmacy board. Governor Manchin said, "We're fighting a war on drugs all over the state. These four bills will help." A few pharmacists said the new laws will create more red tape and it may take longer to fill prescriptions. The signings took place in conjunction with the first National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators meeting at the University of Charleston. The N.A.D.D.I. is an non-profit agency that fosters cooperation between law enforcement and the medical community to better handle the illegal use of controlled substances.


Five Arrested In Florida..Drugs

Four people from eastern Kentucky are arrested and are being held in a Florida jail for allegedly trafficking prescription pills. Law enforcement officials found nearly one thousand OxyContin pills in their vehicle during a traffic stop. Officers from the Indian River County Sheriff's Department pulled over a white Nissan SUV expecting to write a ticket for a busted headlight. Instead, they found a lot more.
Jeremy Combs of Leeburn, Larry Gayheart of Hindman, Kenneth Kunkle of Littcarr, Shelia Slone of Hazard, and Luverina Tucker of Lexington were all traveling in the same vehicle on I-95 in Indian River County, Florida when they encountered a police checkpoint. In searching the vehicle, officers found nearly one thousand pills and a little more than eight grams of marijuana. All individuals are facing charges relating to unlawful possession of prescription medication, or OxyContin. The five individuals are still being held in the Indian River County Jail and have a combined cash bond of more than half a million dollars.


Copperhead Bite While Man Sleeps

78-year-old Earl Perkins told his niece that he thought he was bitten by one of his cats while he slept on his couch. Turns out, he was actually bitten by a copperhead snake. Laura Sammons says her uncle was sleeping on the couch and reported feeling a weight on his stomach. When he awoke, his arm was hurting. He decided to go down the road to her house in hopes that she might have an idea of what bit him since it was clear it was far more serious than a cat bite. She called an ambulance and Perkins was taken to an area hospital. Wiley says snakes generally will only bite a person if they feel threatened. She said it's entirely possible that the snake in this case did feel threatened if Perkins rolled around in his sleep or startled due to a bad dream. His family says they have urged him to move out of his home as it is falling into a state of disrepair. However, he has shown no interest in doing so.


Pike County Settlement In Vehicle Death

A settlement in the wrongful death suit against Raven Crest Leasing of Pikeville, Ky. for the amount of 1.5 million dollars has been reached according to the law offices of A.J. Ryan. The case was the result of a Feb. 5, 2009 accident between Edward S. Potter, employee of Raven Crest Leasing, and Earl and Peggy Ratliff of Stone, Ky. The accident occurred on U.S. 119 in the vicinity of Sydney, Ky. and resulted in Peggy Ratliff’s death. The vehicles were traveling north toward Pikeville when the accident occurred. The settlement was awarded to Peggy Ratliff’s husband and administrator of her estate, Earl Ratliff, after Potter was found to have operated the vehicle negligently.


Large Mudslide In Delbarton Area

A mudslide caused by mining damaged two homes in the Delbarton area. No one was injured in the mudslide at Ragland’s Puritan Camp, but homes and property were damaged. Investigators determined earlier Thursday that mining was the cause of the mudslide. Crews had to wait until fog lifted to investigate the mudslide. Officials were on the scene Thursday evening and said crews have worked for several hours to get the roaway cleared of rocks and debris. A spokesperson at the Mingo County Emergency Services office in Williamson said the County Route 65/5 was blocked for a period of time by the mudslide while workers from the Division of Highways cleared the mud from the roadway.


Three Die In Highway Accident

State and county officials say three people were killed when a semitrailer and van collided on a state highway in western Kentucky. Kentucky Department of Transportation spokesman Keith Todd says Ky. 425 will likely be restricted after the 10 a.m. wreck. The Henderson County Sheriff's Office says three people died, but names and ages were not being immediately released.


PVAs No Longer Immune From Ethics Charges

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ordered ethics charges stemming from the hiring or promoting of family members reinstated against 11 property valuation administrators.
The court's decision, issued Friday in Frankfort, overturns a 2009 decision by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd that the Executive Branch Ethics Commission had no jurisdiction over the officials, who are elected to set the value of property for tax purposes. The PVAs were charged in 2008 with violating a prohibition on state officials using their position to obtain financial gain for themselves or their family members. The appeals court ruled that the PVAs fall under a state law governing ethics by "major management personnel" in the state's executive branch.


Retreat Mining...Dangerous Practice

A coal miner killed in Kentucky this week was engaged in retreat mining, a dangerous practice that involves deliberately cutting away pillars of coal intended to support overhead rock layers. A compilation of statistics from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Adminstration and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health shows some 60 miners have been killed in retreat mining operations over the past 25 years. Of those, 20 have died since 2000. That includes 42-year-old Jimmy Carmack of Barbourville, who died Wednesday when a 15-foot-high section of coal toppled into a 100-ton jack used for roof support. The jack struck Carmack, a section foreman at the Lone Mountain Processing's Clover Fork No. 1 mine at Holmes Mill in Harlan County.


Body Found In Tub In Basement

Louisville police have arrested two men after finding a body buried in a plastic tub in a basement. Authorities said the victim was stabbed and shot to death, probably in late November or early December. Jeffrey Mundt and Joseph Banis, both 38, were charged with murder and other offenses. The name of the victim has not been released.
The body was discovered after police responded to a domestic dispute. Officers said information from Banis led them to the body.


Hal Rogers Responds To Suspension Of Mining Permit Process

U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) released the following
statement today in reaction to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to
indefinitely suspend Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP-21) in Appalachia:

“For years, Nationwide Permit-21 (NWP-21) has served as a valuable tool for the
Corps and coal operators to expedite non-controversial mining permits. In recent
years, NWP-21 guidelines have changed and participation diminished, but by outright
cancelling this program in Appalachia, the Corps will force operators into further
regulatory limbo where nearly 200 mining permits are already gathering dust. I have
no faith that this Administration has the ability or desire to process and approve
coal permitting applications. This latest action will result in further uncertainty
for our people, and could lead some mines to shut down completely, or prohibit
future mines from ever getting off the ground. Perhaps most egregious and
unjustifiable, this ban only applies to Appalachian coal, granting other states the
ability to legally proceed with their operations.

“Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia are national leaders in coal production, by far
our most valuable and abundant energy resource. Throughout Appalachia, 1 in 4
mining jobs is threatened by these politically-motivated delays in the permitting
process, and 81 small businesses in the region stand to close their doors because of
these delays. Today’s announcement, in conjunction with the permit-processing
backlog, the President’s misguided “Cap and Trade” bill, and EPA’s bizarre
carbon dioxide endangerment policy, amounts to another nail in the coffin for
Appalachian mining. With unemployment hovering at 10% and 20,000 hard-working
Kentuckians relying on this industry for their livelihoods, this White House is
doing nothing short of waging war on coal, putting our nation’s economic and
energy security at risk.”

Friday, June 18, 2010


Lexington Police Procedure Questioned

The chief of the Lexington Police Department cast doubt on his department. The Lexington police chief says he doesn't think officers who found a badly beaten woman behind her home last week checked her pulse. That was just one piece of the puzzle revealed during a timeline of the response to the case of 44-year-old Umi Southworth, who later died, that was made public Thursday at a news conference. It marked the first time Chief Ronnie Bastin spoke about the June 9 incident, in which Southworth was presumed dead, yet was actually alive and did not receive medical help for more than three hours after she was found. Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said he could not discuss the issue because the case is a pending homicide investgation.


Chicago Track Challenged To Stay In Business

The chief executive of Churchill Downs Inc. says any racetrack without alternative gambling for extra income would find it difficult to stay in business, and raised doubts about the future of its Chicago-area track. Bob Evans on Thursday after the company's annual shareholder's meeting that, in his words, "You can't run on hope."
Asked if Arlington Park near Chicago and historic Churchill Downs in Louisville are in jeopardy, Evans told the newspaper that any racetrack that does not have alternative gambling needs some business to make up the difference. Evans said that while Churchill Downs has the famous Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks races, in his words, "it's a tough one" for Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.


Kentucky Weekend Escapes

Look to Kentucky for affordable and accessible long-weekend escapes this summer. Kentucky is full of romantic spots and exciting places for couples of all ages to explore. Now is the perfect time to take a long weekend and get away from it all in the Bluegrass state.

Stay in a quaint bed & breakfast, and take in arts and crafts, music or other cultural festivals that abound on summer weekends around the state. More than 150 artists from 16 states will be on hand as the tree-shaded campus of Midway College hosts the Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival June 26-27. Kentucky’s bluegrass music is celebrated with many festivals, including the Poppy Mountain Festival in Morehead, which runs for 20 days starting at the end of August.

Make a romantic getaway to the outdoors at a Kentucky state park like Cumberland Falls State Resort Park at Corbin and rent your own secluded cabin or cottage or a lodge room. Go upscale with a stay at luxurious 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, or enjoy a restful retreat at historic Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg.

Take a scenic drive along country roads lined with stone fences and hobnob with the bluebloods of the Bluegrass: thoroughbred horses. There are more than 400 horse farms in the pastoral Bluegrass region around Lexington, including world-famous breeding farms like Calumet, Three Chimneys, Claiborne, Hamburg and Donamire. The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau can provide a list of farms that welcome visitors. Call ahead to confirm arrangements. Another way to visit a working horse farm is to join a guided tour offered by several tour operators like Mint Julep Tours of Louisville and Horse Farm Tours of Lexington, whose vans hit various high points in the Bluegrass.

A visit to a Kentucky winery or distillery can be a romantic escape. Nearly 50 vineyards and wineries throughout the state are open to visitors for sampling and tours. Elk Creek Vineyards in Owenton, Equus Run Vineyards in Midway, Lover’s Leap Vineyard and Winery in Lawrenceburg and Smith-Berry Vineyard and Winery in New Castle are just a few that will welcome you to taste and tour.

At seven distilleries on the Bourbon Trail you can sample Kentucky’s native spirits. Take a tour of the trail in north central Kentucky and learn about the unique recipe and process each bourbon maker uses to create its brand. While you’re on the trail, make time for stops in towns like Bardstown and Lawrenceburg, rich in bourbon-making lore.

When the sun goes down, head out to sample the humming nightlife at 4th Street Live in Louisville, Lexington’s Limestone Corridor and Newport on the Levee. Take in the views from lounges at RiVue atop the Galt House in Louisville and Baker’s 360 in Lexington. Newport’s Jefferson Hall Saloon features live music and views of the Ohio River and the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky skyline.

Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail boasts nine great bars and lounges where bourbon novices and aficionados rub elbows. For starters, stop by the 57-foot bar at Maker’s Mark Bourbon Lounge at Fourth Street Live and then make your way to the Old Seelbach Bar and Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar and Lounge, where you can chose from more than 100 varieties of Kentucky’s famous elixir.

Couples who like to shop together will find plenty of opportunities in Kentucky. Shopping is a favorite pastime in the artisan capital of Kentucky, Berea, about 40 miles south of Lexington. You’ll find more than 40 studios and galleries downtown where you can browse and buy. At the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea near Interstate 75 you can chose from a wide variety of crafts created by more than 650 artisans from throughout the state.

Studio and gallery hopping is also a popular activity in Paducah, where the Lowertown Artist Relocation Program has attracted artists from throughout the U.S. to this western Kentucky city. Visit potters, jewelry makers, painters, printmakers, leather crafters and bookbinders in their own studios. Sample unique dining and entertainment and pay a visit to the National Quilt Museum while you’re in Paducah.

At Wakefield-Scearce Galleries in Shelbyville, English antique furniture, antique silver and fine art are on display in a refurbished historic girls’ school. Antique hunting is also a favorite pursuit in other communities throughout the state, including Hazel, a picturesque hamlet on the Tennessee border in southwestern Kentucky where the main street is lined with antique shops.

For more ideas and information, visit, the travel department’s website, and start planning your romantic getaway in Kentucky.


PRIDE Recycling Grant

Recycling is even more convenient in Pike County now, thanks to a new community recycling center at Runyon Elementary School. The school used a $4,000 PRIDE grant to launch the project. The public is invited to drop off aluminum cans, cardboard, newspaper and plastic at the recycling building in the school parking lot, which is located at 24 Runyon Branch Road in Pinsonfork. The facility will be open year-round. The Pike County Solid Waste Office will pick up the materials each week. PRIDE, a nonprofit organization, promotes "Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment" in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. PRIDE was founded in 1997 by Congressman Hal Rogers and Kentucky Environmental Secretary James Bickford, and it is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Floyd County Armed Robbery

Howards Family Pharmacy at Eastern in Floyd Cound was the site of an armed robbery. On Thursday night, Post 9 of the Kentucky State Police received a call of an armed robbery at Howard’s Family Pharmacy at Eastern in Floyd County. Two armed white males entered the store and left with an undisclosed amount of drugs. There were no customers in the store at the time of the robbery and no employees were injured. This incident is under investigation by Detective Billy Hall, with the Kentucky State Police.


Workers Needed At KY State Fair

The Kentucky State Fair Board is reaching out to people looking for work. The fair board said Thursday that it's adding two recruiting sessions with a goal of hiring more than 400 part-time workers for its venue services department. That department assists visitors at three Louisville facilities operated by the fair board _ the Kentucky Exposition Center, the Kentucky International Convention Center and the new downtown arena. The fair board says it's seeking people to work as ticket sellers, ticket takers, ushers, concierges and elevator operators. The recruiting sessions are set for next Monday and Tuesday in Exhibit Hall 1AB at the Kentucky International Convention Center.


Looking For Marijuana...Finding Moonshine

Kentucky state police troopers hoping to chop down marijuana plants came across what appeared to be another illegal substance the state was once known for: moonshine.
State police say 26-year-old William Brian Finley of Manchester was charged with a misdemeanor count of first-degree illegal possession of alcoholic beverages in dry territory. Trooper Don Trosper says the eastern Kentucky man was not arrested. Police say troopers confiscated 150 quart jars of the suspected moonshine Thursday in the Paw Paw community near Manchester. Trosper said, "You never know what you're going to run upon in our business."Police say they found no still or manufacturing facility.


Death Row Inmate Denied Bid For Rehearing

A former FBI informant on Kentucky's death row for more killings than any other condemned inmate in the state lost a bid for a rehearing before the state's high court as the governor weighs setting an execution date. The decision issued Thursday by the Kentucky Supreme Court turns away 53-year-old Robert Carl Foley's direct challenge to his convictions. Foley faces execution for multiple killings in eastern Kentucky in 1989 and 1991. The Kentucky Attorney General's office sought an execution date for Foley in November, but executions had been on hiatus while high-court-ordered procedural changes were made.


No Charges For Expectant Mothers

A state Supreme Court ruling could stop endangerment charges from being filed against expectant mothers who use illegal drugs. Justices on Thursday kicked out the wanton endangement indictment against Ina Cochran, a central Kentucky mother whose baby tested positive for cocaine after being born at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville. Prosecutors in Casey County brought charges against Cochran four years ago. A trial judge dismissed the indictment. The Kentucky Court of Appeals later reversed the trial judge's decision. In overturning the Court of Appeals ruling, the Supreme Court concluded that Cochran's alleged conduct didn't constitute a crime under Kentucky law.


KY Parole Board Gets New Members

Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed five people to the Kentucky Parole Board. The new members anounced by Beshear Thursday are:

-- Maria "Sally" Mooney of Frankfort, an attorney with the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions.

-- Jaye Shannon Jones of Lexington, a licensed social worker.

-- Monica Edmonds of Louisville, an employee of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

-- George Carson of Louisville, a retired Jefferson County school administrator.

-- Thomas Whetstone of Louisville, a former police officer and educator.


World Equestrian Games Entertainment

Entertainers have been announced for the FEI World Equestrian Games, all part of Alltech's Fortnight Festival, Sept. 23 through Oct. 9. The performers include Tony Bennett, the Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynonna Judd and the Temptations. They and others will appear at various locations in Kentucky. Some additional performers have yet to be announced. Tickets for all shows go on sale June 24 at


I-65 Road Repairs

Motorists on Interstate 65 north of Nashville can expect delays this weekend. Contract crews from the Tennessee Department of Transportation will reduce north and southbound traffic in Sumner County to one lane for bridge repairs. The work will be done until 6 a.m. Monday. Previous closures for this project have resulted in lengthy delays, particularly on I-65 northbound. The heavily traveled interstate flows north into Kentucky and dips south into Alabama.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


KY High Court Vacates Death Sentence

The Kentucky Supreme Court has thrown out the death sentence of a man saying he was "improperly subjected to the death penalty" during a retrial in southern Kentucky. The ruling, issued Thursday in Frankfort, upholds 29-year-old Phillip Brown's conviction for the January 2001 stabbing and beating death of Sherry Bland in Columbia in Adair County during a robbery. Brown was convicted of murder in Bland's death in Columbia in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. That conviction was overturned and the trial moved to nearby Warren County. At the second trial in 2006, a jury handed down a death sentence. Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson wrote that the life sentence after the first trial precluded a death sentence in the second trial.


Labor Dept. Boosts Penalties For Child Labor

The Labor Department is sharply increasing the penalties against employers who illegally use child workers. Anyone illegally employing 12-and 13-year-olds will now face a penalty of $6,000 for each violation. The maximum fine previously was $900.
Those employing children under 12 will face a penalty of $8,000 per violation. That's up from a previous maximum of $1,150. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the new fines are part of a stepped-up effort to crack down on illegal child labor. The penalties could go as high as $11,000 per violation in cases that involve injury or willful and repeated offenders. The stiffer penalties are effective immediately and apply to any violation occurring on or after June 1.


Mother Delayed Two Hours In Calling Police

Louisville Police said a mother waited two hours before calling for help after her 3-year-old son was shot on Tuesday. Police spokesman Officer Carey Klain said the boy was shot with a .45-caliber handgun after he was in the line of fire during an argument between his mother and a man. The mother, 28-year-old Laquisha Mosby, is charged with assault, criminal abuse, wanton endangerment and tampering with evidence. Police also arrested 34-year-old Shawn Martin and charged him with assault, criminal abuse, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, wanton endangerment and tampering with evidence. According to the arrest citation, a court order had banned Martin from contact with the child. The boy was in critical condition at Kosair Children's Hospital.


Highway Named For African-American Woman

New highway signs on a stretch of Interstate 264 in Louisville will honor Georgia Davis Powers, who in 1967 became the first African American in the Kentucky Senate.
Gov. Steve Beshear and others unveiled one of the new signs Wednesday designating the 7�-mile section of roadway as the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway. Beshear said Powers spent her career building roads and bridges to connect people in Louisville as well as throughout Kentucky and that it's fitting to name a highway in her honor.
Powers spent 21 years in the Senate and retired at the end of 1988.


Whitesburg Woman Convicted Of Fraud Charges

A Letcher County woman is convicted in federal court of illegally receiving financial aid for nearly 15 years. 40-year old Beverly Eileen Banks of Whitesburg was found guilty after a day and a half trial. From December 1994 to October 2008, Banks concealed her true living arrangement so she could continue to receive SSI benefits. She faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced in November.


Man Charged With Holding Women Against Their Will

Police arrested a man in Lexington after two women say he and another man held them against their will. The women told police they had been hanging out with two men, but decided they wanted to go home. Police say one of the men, James Porter Sr., told them they couldn't leave, and threatened to kill them if they tried. One of the women left a note in the bathroom of a Shell gas station. She listed a description of the men, the car they drove, and the license plate number. Lexington police caught up with the car and arrested Porter. He is charged with unlawful imprisonment and drug possession.


Ex-UK Player Seeking Shock Probation

Derrick Millar, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, has asked for a shock probation hearing in Fleming County. Millar pled guilty to two counts of theft by deception in a ticket scam case. A Fleming County judge previously sentenced Millar to three years on each charge to be served consecutively. The shock probation hearing is scheduled for today.


Crop Dusting Plane Crashes

An eastern Kentucky man has been injured in a plane crash in western Kentucky. Graves County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dewayne Redmon says Ryan T. Smith of Owingsville was taking a flight test when the nose of the crop-dusting plane touched down and the plane flipped while landing at Mayfield-Graves County Airport Wednesday. Smith was taken to Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah and was in fair condition Wednesday night. Federal Aviation Administration officials were on site observing the test when the plane crashed. The airport was closed for about seven hours.


Nurse's Aide Goes Back To Jail

A former nurse's aide at a Richmond, KY facility has violated her probation and will spend one year in jail. in 2009, Jaclyn Dawn VanWinkle pled guilty to charges of reckless abuse while she worked at Madison Manor. The Attorney General is still investigating allegations of abuse at the facility. Meanwhile, she will return to jail for the remainder of her original sentence.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Court Of Appeals Selects Chief Judge

Judges on the Kentucky Court of Appeals have selected Jeff Taylor of Owensboro to serve as chief judge beginning July 1. Taylor, who has served on the Court of Appeals since 2003, will replace former Chief Judge Sara Walter Combs, who gave up the leadership position but kept her seat on the appeals court. Judge Laurance B. VanMeter had been acting chief judge since Combs gave up the post in May.


Floyd County Crash Kills Man

Kentucky State Police say a fiery crash happened on Route 80 near Maytown in Floyd County about 4:30 Wednesday morning. Troopers say they believe the vehicle had been traveling east, when it crossed into the westbound lane, struck a cliff and burst into flames. The body was sent to Frankfort for an autopsy and positive identification.


Harlan County Miner Killed

A Harlan County miner was killed about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at the Clover Fork Number One Mine after a steel beam fell on top of him. The victim suffered injuries when a coal rib roll struck a support that was holding a steel beam. The beam then fell and hit the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators of mine safety and licensing are conducting an investigation, and the mine will be shut down while the investigation takes place. The death is the fourth mine-related fatality in Kentucky in 2010.


Missing Clay County Man Found

Forty-six year old David Bowling of Clay County had been missing since early Sunday morning. After three days of searching, deputies found his body Wednesday several feet from his truck near the bottom of an embankment roughly 40 feet from Highway 11. A woman living nearby says she heard a crash around 1:20 A.M. Sunday morning but could not find anyone or anything appearing to be an accident. Police say there were no signs on the road that Bowling even tried to brake. Police listed alcohol as a contributing factor after Bowling's family told investigators he'd been drinking before the accident.


Citizens' Police Academy...KSP

The Kentucky State Police in Ashland will be hosting their second annual Citizens Police Academy starting on September 16, at the Health and Education Center at Kings Daughters Medical Center. The classes run for 11 weeks from 7:30 – 9:00 pm every Tuesday evening with a graduation ceremony in November. This learning opportunity will provide those in the class with an in depth look at the multiple aspects of the Kentucky State Police as well as an opportunity to interact with the Troopers that work the local communities. There is no cost to attend this academy.


Pedestrian Killed In Boyd County

A man from Catlettsburg, Ky was killed after being hit by a car. The accident happened Monday night along Greenfield Road near the intersection with Skyline Drive.
The Boyd County Sheriff says the victim is Dustin Layne of Catlettsburg. He was pronounced dead at Kings Daughter Medical Center. Investigators say the driver of the car told them that Mr. Layne was lying in the road when she hit him. The incident remains under investigation. No word if the 19-year-old driver will face charges in the accident.


Summer Food For Floyd County Children

The Floyd County Board of Education is once again sponsoring the Summer Food Service Program for Children. Free breakfast and lunch will be available to all children through 18 years old, regardless of income. The breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The children are required to eat the meals on site. The meals will be served at Allen Central High School through July 1, Betsy Layne High School until June 25, May Valley Elementary and Prestonsburg High School until July 2, and South Floyd High School until June 25.
All children will be served the same meal at no charge.


Billboards Could Cost KY Road Funds

Jimmy Harston wants to help save people, but his efforts may cost Kentucky money. The Scottsville resident is the backer of multiple religious-themed billboards along Interstate 65 in southern Kentucky. But the billboards, with messages including "Jesus Died for Our Sins," are at the center of a legal case, the outcome of which could determine if the state stays eligible for millions in federal road dollars. The Kentucky Court of Appeals is weighing an appeal brought by Harston after he lost two suits brought by the state, which considers the signs a nuisance that violates the 1965 Federal Beautification Act. Kentucky could lose up to 10 percent of federal road dollars if it fails to effectively control outdoor advertising.


Churchill Betting Challenge Beginning Date

High rollers who want to try their skills at betting the horses will have a chance to enter the 2010 Betting Challenge for this year's Breeders' Cup races starting July 15. That's the day entries open for the event. Players can reserve their spot by sending in a $500 deposit to be credited toward their buy-in. But the total to enter is $10,000, with the remaining $9,500 due Nov. 1. The buy-in covers the $7,500 betting bankroll for each entry and $2,500 toward the prize pool. Registered players will participate in Churchill's Gold Room with a buffet and clubhouse credentials included for the player and a guest. The top six finishers will qualify for the $1 million National Handicapping Championships in January in Las Vegas.


TVA Overbilled For Services

An audit shows the Tennessee Valley Authority was overbilled $683,000 by a contractor who provided engineering services. An online summary of the audit by the TVA Office of Inspector General recommends that TVA try to recover the overbilling and excessive costs under two contracts between October 2004 and December 2008. A TVA inspector general's office spokeswoman has said contractors in such cases are not disclosed. The report says TVA was billed $558,000 in ineligible and excessive temporary living costs and unauthorized mileage. The overbilling was part of almost $62 million billed in the contracts.


Identity Theft Among The Homeless

Louisville Metro Police have arrested a Florida man they say was targeting homeless people for identity theft. Police arrested 30-year-old Antonio Philips. They believe he was paying homeless people $5 to tell him their names, dates of birth and social security numbers. Police believe Philips also promised victims they would receive a $50 stimulus check from the federal government. Police say they found more than $500 in $5 bills, weapons, and a list of homeless shelters and mealtimes in Philips' car. He is charged with trafficking in stolen identities and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.


Counterfeiters Target Yard Sales

Richmond Police say counterfeiters are passing fake bills at yard sales. Fake $20 bills showed up at at least five homes holding yard sales during a recent neighborhood event in Richmond. The suspects purchased low-priced items and got real money back in change. Gretchen Tracy said she and her husband were trying to sell some of their things for extra money when someone passed her husband a counterfeit bill. She said the money felt funny but the couple didn't give it too much thought at the time. Police have a description of the suspects, but no one has been arrested so far.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Beshear Signs Unemployment Bill

Governor Steve Beshear says high unemployment rates and an outdated revenue-benefits formula has thrown Kentucky's unemployment insurance system out of balance. Tuesday, he signed House Bill 5, a measure aimed to restore stability and to shore up the state’s depleted UI Trust Fund. The legislation is based on recommendations by a task force of Kentucky business and labor representatives and lawmakers convened by the Governor last year to study the state’s UI system. Beshear believes short-term sacrifices will provide a long-term solution that will bring solvency to the fund, stability to the system and savings to Kentucky employers. Beginning in 2012, the law increases the taxable wage base from $8,000 to $12,000 over a 10-year period; implements a waiting week after eligible workers file a claim before they can begin to receive benefits; and reduces the statutory replacement rate used to calculate a claimant’s weekly benefit amount from 68 percent to 62 percent.


Morgan County Murder Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

Twenty-three year old Brittany Williams, a former teacher at Conkwright Middle School in Clark County, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder. Police say, on May 31st, Williams was under the influence of drugs when her vehicle crossed the center line on KY-7 in Morgan County crashing head-on with another vehicle, killing 76 year old Gerry Blackwell. She remains in jail on a bond of over $100,000.


Well Known Kentucky Man Retires From Air Force

After 20 years in the Air Force and eight as Air Force One Crew Chief, Master Sgt. Michael W. King of Middlesboro has retired from active duty. King joined the Air Force in 1990 and, as his third assignment, became Air Force One Crew Chief to the Presidential Logistics Squadron, Presidential Airlift Group, 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland in 2002. King was assigned to the primary launch crew for three no-notice trips of Presidents Bush and Obama on trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. He flew presidents across the world and to state funerals and provided professional military ceremonies for the transportation of the caskets of late Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald R. Ford.


Education Commissioner Holds Hope For "Race to the Top"

Based on factors including low scores in reading and math, missing adequate yearly progress goals for at least three straight years and having a high school graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three consecutive years, the Kentucky state Department of Education recently identified 10 such schools statewide. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday told the General Assembly's Interim Joint Committee on Education this week that the state is moving ahead with efforts to turn around persistently low-achieving schools. Holliday says schools could receive up to about $500,000 a year for three years to spend on turnaround efforts. The state will establish three Centers for Learning Excellence based at the University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University and Eastern Kentucky University to provide technical assistance to the struggling schools in their respective areas. Kentucky hopes to get up to $175 million in the second round of the Race to the Top when it's announced in August or September, but Holliday has said the state is at a distinct disadvantage because it lacks legislation allowing charter schools. An effort to push a charter bill through the recent special legislative session fell short.


Newspaper Editor Resigns

The managing editor of the Bowling Green Daily News has resigned after being charged with driving under the influence on federal property. The paper reported that 50-year-old Mike Alexieff resigned Monday, two days after being cited for DUI and other charges. A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer cited Alexieff on Saturday on federal property on Mammoth Cave Parkway. Publisher Pipes Gaines says Alexieff's resignation was effective immediately. Alexieff, who started at the Daily News in 2001, took a tough stance on publishing the DUIs of public officials, once promising that if he were arrested for DUI, it would be published. Alexieff's first court date has not been set.


Man Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter

An eastern Kentucky man has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in a deadly fight and agreed to prison time. 45-year-old Randy L. McDowell of Ashland entered the plea in Boyd Circuit Court. McDowell acknowledged killing 31-year-old Brian Hensley during a Dec. 5 fight in an apartment. Hensley died three days later.
McDowell agreed to accept a 10-year prison term. However, he also pleaded guilty to a persistent felony offender count, which added two years to his sentence. Sentencing is set for July 9.


Magoffin Drug Roundup

At least nine Magoffin County residents have been arrested on suspicion of transporting or reselling prescription drugs from Florida. Fifteen people are targeted in the roundup conducted by Operation UNITE. They were indicted after a 10-month undercover investigation. UNITE law enforcement director Dan Smoot said most of the cases involve Roxicodone, a form of the narcotic painkiller Oxycodone. Arrested so far are Amanda Hurley, Jesse Moreno, Mikel Porter, Tommy Risner, Kenneth Rowe, Herbert Jerome Saylor, Tiffany Slusher and Jack Whitt, all of Salyersville, and Joshua Whitaker, of Royalton.


FEMA Warns Of Mold In Walls

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is warning Kentucky homeowners that mold may still grow in the walls of homes flooded in the heavy May rains. U.S. Department of Homeland Security said mold can grow inside of walls not immediately dried out and ventilated after becoming wet. The FEMA alert says molds digest organic material, eventually destroying the material they grow on, and then spread to destroy adjacent organic material. Besides the damage molds can cause to a home, it can also cause mild to severe health problems. FEMA guidelines call for homeowners should wear a filter mask and gloves to avoid contact with the mold, that all porous materials throughout the home be removed, including ceiling tiles and wood products.


Body Found On Lexington Railroad Tracks

Lexington police are investigating after body of 54 year old Ronald Porter was found along the railroad tracks. Officers were called to the scene after a conductor spotted the body on train yard property. Lexington police believe a train hit Porter and dragged him about a quarter of a mile. The coroner's office said Potter died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries. Police are investigating the death as accidental.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Operation UNITE Conducts Magoffin County Bust

Following a 10-month investigation, Operation UNITE conducted a drug roundup Monday in Magoffin County, while targeting more than a dozen suspected drug dealers suspected of transporting or reselling prescription pills from Florida. Most of the cases involved Roxicodone, a form of Oxycodone. UNITE law enforcement director Dan Smoot says some of those arrested were going to Florida three and four times a month and would receive an average of 600 pills at a time. On Monday, nine of the 15 suspects were arrested and charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance...all from Salyersville.


Former Big Sandy Guard Pleads Not Guilty

Doug Muncy, a former guard at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center pleaded not guilty Monday in Johnson District Court to a misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse. As part of a wide-ranging state police and auditor's investigation at the Paintsville jail, which serves Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin and Martin counties, Muncy was charged last month with second-degree sexual abuse of an inmate. He was fired in February after being reprimanded several times for exposing himself to inmates and coworkers. Muncy is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on August 4th.


Jackson County Woman Fatally Shot

Kentucky State Police say 50 year old Ray Hacker Jr was apparently intoxicated when he shot his girlfriend, 52 year old Gerilyn Walerski, at the couple's home in McKee of Jackson County about 4:00 P.M. Sunday. Police say she died after being shot during a heated argument. Hacker was charged with murder.


Medicare Stalling For Congressional Action

Medicare officials are hitting the pause button on a hefty cut in doctor's pay required by law unless Congress acts. President Barack Obama urged lawmakers over the weekend to move quickly to stave off the 21 percent cut, required by a 1990s deficit reduction law Congress has routinely waived in the past. Medicare says it will hold claims through Thursday, giving lawmakers four more days to act. The House has already approved a fix, which is pending in the Senate. The cut was technically required as of June 1, but Medicare has been holding claims in hopes lawmakers will resolve the issue. Doctors are not getting paid for services they provided as of June 1, but when they do, they'll get the full amount.


Storm System In Eastern KY

Yesterday (Monday), a Thunderstorm Warning was in effect for Pike County.
National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a line of severe thunderstorms produced damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. These storms were located near the Virginia border, extending into the southeastern area of Pike County. Destructive hail,..deadly lightning..and very heavy rain accompanied the storm system. In addition to the violent weather, heavy rainfall made area roads treacherous.


Florence Baptist Church Faces Liens

Florence Baptist Church at Mount Zion has been besieged by more than $1 million in liens from tradespeople who claim they were not paid for their work on the megachurch that features a soaring steeple and stained-glass window visible from Interstate 71/75. Nine subcontractors have filed $1.18 million in liens against the church, according to the Boone County Clerk's Office. Some of the subcontractors are also seeking to foreclose on the church in order to collect on bills they say general contractor Kodiak Constructors of Charlotte, N.C., has not paid. Pastor Tim Alexander said he hadn't told the entire congregation of the liens on the 1,400-seat worship center, which is due to house the 2011 Kentucky Baptist Convention. Some liens date back to at least October, only seven months after the building opened.


Woman Shooting Victim

A Kentucky man is in jail charged with murder after police say he shot a woman to death. Kentucky State Police say 50-year-old Ray Hacker, Jr. got into an argument with 52-year-old Gerilyn Walerski Sunday afternoon at a home on Highway 2003, near McKee. When state police arrived at the home, troopers say they found Walerski dead from a gunshot wound. Hacker was arrested at the scene. He is now in the Jackson County Jail. Police say Hacker and Walerski were living together at the time of the shooting.


RAM Clinic In Pike County

Officials in Pike County are preparing for the next RAM clinic. The clinic offers free medical services to people who cannot afford it. Last year, 800 people from three states sought help but officials are expecting more than 1,000 this year. There will be a number of services offered, including autism screenings for children and substance abuse counseling from UNITE. It is expected more than 500 volunteers will turn out for the clinic. There is a particular need for optometrists and ophthalmologists. The clinic will be at Pike County Central High School on June 19 and 20. Doors open at 6 a.m. both days..."First Come-First Served".


Covington-Cincinnati Bridge Briefly Closed

A bridge that spans the Ohio River has reopened after being shut down briefly due to a report of a suspicious package that turned out to be a bag of trash. Officials found the package Monday morning wedged in the side of the Clay Wade Bailey bridge in Covington. The bridge connects downtown Covington to Cincinnati. Investigators determined the package contained garbage. The bridge reopened during the morning rush hour.

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