Saturday, July 31, 2010


Man Found Engulfed In Flames

A Missouri man who set himself on fire behind the Holiday Inn Express in Corbin told police that he was attempting suicide. An employee found 42 year old Kenneth Patrick Turvey of Pevely, Missouri engulfed in flames around 4:00 A.M. Friday morning and extinguished the fire with water from a nearby ditch. Witnesses said Turvey had been seen filling some gas cans before the fire started. Police say he was having marriage problems and his RV had broken down in Corbin. Turvey was taken to Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin and later was transferred to University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington where he was listed in critical condition Friday afternoon. Police say virtually his entire body had been burned.


Kentucky Education Team Headed To Washington, D.C.

A five-member education team is headed to Washington, D.C., next month for Kentucky's last chance at winning millions in federal dollars of what is called “Race to the Top” money. The state is eligible for $175 million that would be used to improve struggling schools and close the achievement gap. The team will present Kentucky’s plan to a panel of peer reviewers on August 10th. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the winners of the competition in September. The department expects 10 to 15 applicants will ultimately receive a share of $3.4 billion, depending on whether large or small states win.


Fort Knox ROTC Cadet Dies

Carmela Kirkland of Dothan, Alabama, an 18 year old ROTC cadet died Friday at University Hospital in Louisville after being struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon while doing field exercises at Fort Knox.


Tim Sypher Testifies At Sypher/Pitino Trial

Rick Pitino aide, Tim Sypher, has testified in the case against his ex-wife, Karen Cunagin Sypher, about helping her get an abortion, admitting he called clinics in Indiana and Ohio before taking the woman, then known as Karen Wise, to Cincinnati, where she terminated a pregnancy on August 29, 2003. Tim Sypher said he paid for the procedure with $3,000 Pitino gave to Karen Sypher for medical care, but not for an abortion. Pitino, married and Roman Catholic, has said he intended for the money to be used for medical insurance, not an abortion. Tim Sypher, who has worked for Pitino in various capacities since 1996, told jurors the coach called him on August 23, 2003, and asked to use his condo to meet with a woman about a “supposed pregnancy.” That meeting took place just less than a month after Pitino and Sypher had sex after hours at Porcini, an Italian restaurant where they met a few hours earlier. Tim Sypher says he heard nothing of the conversation, but six days later he took her to get an abortion. Less than a year later, Tim Sypher and Karen Cunagin Sypher were married. Karen Sypher attended functions around Pitino without problems, Tim Sypher said. Tim Sypher and Karen Cunagin Sypher divorced after she was indicted last year on charges of demanding cash and gifts worth millions from Pitino to keep it a secret about their 2003 sexual encounter.


Kentucky Congressman Wants Rangel To Resign

At least two House Democrats, Congressmen John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Zack Space of Ohio, are calling on embattled Representative Charlie Rangel to resign. A House ethics panel made its tax and disclosure violation charges against Rangel public this week, but Rangel denies the charges and says the indictment contains factual errors. House Democrats heading home for their August recess are wrestling with how to handle the matter in their districts. Yarmuth and Space say the 13 charges of ethics violations against Rangel show a pattern of disregard for House rules, and undermine the public's trust in Congress.


Louisville Man Convicted Of Double Slayings

A Fayette Circuit Court jury has convicted 29 year old Carlos Ordway of Louisville of the slayings of two men in 2007. Ordway was found guilty of fatally shooting 21 year-old Patrick Lewis and 25 year old Rodrieques Turner, both of Louisville, while the two were inside a car in Lexington. Defense attorneys argued Ordway acted in self-defense and was robbed of drugs, but prosecutors said Ordway fired a gun into a car that had crashed. The jury recommended the death penalty for Ordway, and his formal sentencing will be September 10th.


Dominion Hope Requests Lower Natural Gas Rates

Dominion Hope, which serves about 115,000 customers in West Virginia, says, if West Virginia regulators approve the company's request to cut their rates by 3 percent, residential customers could get a break on their monthly bills. Dominion says the average residential customer using 73,000 cubic feet of natural gas would pay $51 a month, down from $53, effective November 1st, if it's approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. Dominion says its costs to buy natural gas were lower than expected last winter, and the utility expects costs to continue to be lower than projected for the upcoming winter.


Capitol Food Court Transitions

The Capitol Food Court closed down temporarily on Friday as it transitioned over to a state operation. Guest Services, the original operators, were allowed to terminate their contract two years earlier than expected after Guest claimed it was losing money. The state is considering different menu options like maybe going back to more of a cafeteria style. The food court will only open when the Capitol is busy like when the State Legislature is in session.


Mardi Gras Casino & Resort Opens Hotel

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort, formerly known as Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center, opened its 150 room hotel on the resort's grounds in Nitro Friday. A grand opening is scheduled August 25th through August 29th to commemorate the opening and the resort's recent name change.


Allegheny Wood Products Proposal Rejected

In December 2005, the Forest Service had proposed to give Petersburg-based Allegheny Wood Products an easement to the publicly owned half of a railroad grade along the Blackwater River in Tucker County. Allegheny, which owns the other half of the railroad grade, wanted to expand onto the public side to ease access for more logging of the Blackwater area. The U.S. Forest Service has rejected Allegheny's proposal to use a national forest trail as a logging road. Clyde Thompson, supervisor of the Monongahela National Forest, says he would approve Allegheny Wood's access to the trail for the limited purpose of repairing damage to the grade and maintaining drainage structures to reduce impacts to the company's land but not motorized access to the Forest Service's portion for log hauling or timber management. Environmental groups have opposed the logging and development, saying they want the area to be made into a national park or be made part of the adjacent state park.


Lincoln County Absentee Ballots Questioned

Lawyers for Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey Jr. and current Sheriff Jerry Bowman want charges from one of their challengers thrown out of court on technical grounds. During Lincoln County's May 11th primary election, Ramey, who was running for re-election, and Bowman, who was running for the office of circuit clerk, were losing at the polls. After more than 600 absentee ballots were counted, results showed the absentee ballots went in favor of Bowman and Ramey by a ratio of about 9 to 1 compared with their challengers, County Commission candidate Phoebe Harless and incumbent Circuit Clerk Charles Brumfield. At a pretrial hearing Friday, attorney Mike Carey argued that Harless should be dropped from the lawsuit. Another hearing is planned in Raleigh County to finish taking evidence on the summary judgment motion. Trial is scheduled to begin August 16th.


Logan County Transport Service Cited

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Marcum Transport for 34 safety violations at its operation in Verdunville of Logan County. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $73,500. Thirty-three violations considered serious include obstructed exit routes, improper machine guarding and electrical hazards. The remaining citation alleges record-keeping violations. The company has less than 15 days to contest the citations, comply or ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Charleston.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Charity Concert In Pikeville

Southern Wind, Caci Matney, Amy Reed, Jason England, the Churchill Jax, Downtrend and others performed at a charity concert Friday night which was held at the Pike County Artisans Center in Pikeville to help out victims of the recent flood. Almost two weeks after floods devastated parts of Pike County, Red Cross officials say victims are still in great need. Admission was five dollars and all proceeds will be donated to the Big Sandy Red Cross.


Bioenergy Conferences

Seven collaborative conferences that will provide an opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs to learn about potential development through BioEnergy, mandates that are driving BioEnergy markets, and federal and state resource organizations that provide financing, marketing and other services were announced today by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Department of Energy Development and Independence. The 2010 Symposium series: “Economic Development through BioEnergy,” is designed to help grow this expanding industry while looking at energy cost-saving opportunities for Kentucky businesses and homeowners.
“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase how Kentuckians can take advantage of the many resources that are available to those who look to lead an exciting and dynamic industry,” said EEC Secretary Len Peters.
In addition to presentations on Gov. Steve Beshear’s Executive Task Force on Biomass and Biofuels Development, the impact of federal mandates on Kentucky’s biomass potential, and the integration of energy and agriculture, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about the Cabinet for Economic Development’s small business development programs, the New Energy Ventures funding program administered by Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development funding opportunities. Information will also be provided on Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs administered by the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center.
Regional entrepreneurs, local leadership, service providers, and vendors allied with the biomass and biofuels business community shouldn’t miss this chance to learn about Kentucky’s BioEnergy potential and resources available to them. The series dates and locations are:

Aug. 12 - Morehead Conference Center, co-hosted by Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council, Inc. and the Morehead Tourism Commission/Conference Center.

Sept. 8 - Hosted by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and will be held in their conference room in Bowling Green, Ky.

Sept. 22 - The Opera House in Springfield, Ky., hosted by the Bluegrass South Regional Economic Development Coalition.

Sept. 23 - Hosted by the Big Sandy Area Development District and will be held in their conference room in Prestonsburg, Ky.

Oct. 13 - The Maysville Conference Center, hosted by TENCO Workforce Investment Board.

Oct. 19 - The Henderson Agricultural Extension Conference facility, co-hosted by Northwest Kentucky Forward and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.

Oct. 27 - The Corbin Center for Technology & Community Activities, co-hosted by the Corbin Economic Development Authority and the Southeast Kentucky Industrial Development Authority Inc.

Additional information will be available concerning each event two weeks prior to the scheduled event date.


No More "Snow Days" In Floyd County?

The Floyd County Board of Education may soon have a new option for providing instruction to students when inclement weather or other circumstances keep the doors to schools closed.

Supt. Henry Webb addressed the board and those in attendance at a meeting of the Floyd County Board of Education at Allen Central High School,talking briefly about a suggestion from the Kentucky Department of Education to form a committee that will research ways to utilize computers and technology to continue instruction despite the fact that students are not in the classroom.

“We know that it will include using technology so teachers can provide assignments and instruction to students when they are at home and count that as an attendance day,” Webb said. “The commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education is open to looking at alternative kinds of ways to meet the needs of kids. The committee will be having conversations with the KDE about the feasibility of making this happen.”

According to Webb, the committee to discuss the proposed idea will be formed this week and should meet soon to learn more about what the option will entail. While Webb is excited about the idea, he also said there are plenty of questions that need to be addressed, including how to utilize the option for those students who don’t have computers at home.

“It’s a wonderful idea and a terrific option,” Webb said. “It’s just making it happen that is the next step. There are a lot of questions that we have to get answered before we go down that road.”



1000 Foot Plunge Kills Trucker

A Kentucky trucker has been killed when his tanker rig ran off Interstate 75 near Caryville and plunged three football field lengths down a mountainous slope. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said the Thursday afternoon crash was so intense that it ejected 60-year-old driver Gary Gabehart of Louisville, Ky., despite him wearing a seat belt. The Knoxville News Sentinel quoted Trooper Matthew Chitwood's report, which stated Gabehart lost control as he tried to stop his rig because traffic was slowed by a previous accident. The big truck jackknifed, clipped and overturned a pickup, veered to the right and broke through a guard rail, then plunged down the embankment. The pickup driver wasn't hurt. The tanker was carrying liquid nitrogen.


World Equestrian Games Has 5000 Volunteers

A spokeswoman for the World Equestrian Games says more than 5,000 volunteers have been assigned jobs for the event this fall in Lexington. Amy Walker Associated said hundreds of others have volunteered to help in some capacity but haven't yet been given a role. She says only about 100 more volunteers are needed for the competition, Sept. 25 to Oct. 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park. Each volunteer must commit to at least six eight-hour shifts and attend at least three training sessions. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to work at the Horse Park.


Identity Theft On Grand Scale

She's just one woman, but local police think she's swiped a couple dozen identities all over Kentucky, all with the same first name. What's more, the banks involved, may not even realize it yet.

Shelbyville police say it was an elaborate scheme by a woman who clearly knew what she was doing, someone who's done this kind of thing before.

"I committed a crime of check fraud and identity theft," said Kimberly Pennington Irvin from prison in 2007.

At the time three years ago, she said she had learned her lesson and wanted to keep other people from being a victim of crimes like hers.

She said then: "there are more deterrents set up now to stop people like me doing what I did to people like you."

Apparently not enough. Irvin was arrested days ago because police say she did it again.

"About 25 different stolen identities," said Shelbyville Police Detective Jesse Paulley.

Paulley says Irvin was running a pretty smart game: working at a Lexington medical facility to gain access to personal information of women with the first name "Kimberly" and women with birth dates close to her own.

Paulley said she then took out loans and got credit cards at banks and financial institutions all over.

"Bullitt county, Okolona, J-town, Louisville," Paulley said. "We've got Lexington, Georgetown, Danville, Dry Ridge."

When the credit check came back to a "Kimberly" with a different last name, Paulley says Irvin had a ready explanation.

"It would say on there, well this social security number and date of birth comes back to Kimberly Smith," Paulley said. "She would say, 'Well yeah, that was my maiden name. I've married Gary Irvin.'"

Paulley says he's been able to link Irvin to crimes in eight jurisdictions

"It's in the thousands and thousands of dollars," he said.

He thinks he's just scratched the surface. He says area banks need to take a close look at their files, check for a loan to Kimberly Irvin and make sure it's legit.

"They have no clue, I don't think that they've made bad loans yet," Paulley said of the banks. "They're delinquent loans to them but they have no idea probably that they've given loans to someone that stole identities."

Right now, Irvin is only charged with one case of ID theft for a loan at a Shelby County financial institution.

However, Paulley says police in Lexington are investigating her work at that medical facility where they think she got access to the personal information, as are the other Kentuckiana jurisdictions where police suspect Irvin has been getting loans with those stolen identities.


Louisville Man Declares Candidacy For Governor

A Louisville man is throwing his hat into the race for the Kentucky governor's office and hoping to get the support of the Tea Party. Phil Moffett has never held a political office before but he hopes that will work to his advantage.

Of today's political climate, Moffett said, "they are looking, I think, more for people that don't come up through the political ranks and they're looking for people that aren't tainted by that process."

Moffett believes he is that. He's a partner in a tech support company in Louisville, a political unknown and now, a candidate for governor.

"I think all of us have seen the enormous growth of government, the enormous encroachment of government and the subsequent reduction in our personal liberties that come along with that," said Moffett.

Moffett told us he aligns himself with the Tea Party movement and hopes to find support in its members.

"There are different Tea Party organizations across the state and just like voters, I have to go and earn all their respect," he said.

Moffett's only foray into the public arena so far has been as one of the founders of the School Choice Scholarships charity, a private voucher program that operates out of Louisville. Improving education is one of the cornerstones of his now political platform and he supports charter schools to do so.

"The brilliance of charter schools, it allows the free market to enter the curriculum, and teaching and school year type of decisions," Moffett said.

His other main issue: fixing what Moffett says is a bad business environment in Kentucky by reforming the tax code.

"I want to strip that out and convert it to a single-rate consumer sales tax on all goods and services," Moffett said, "so there are no longer the income taxes for individuals, there are no longer the income taxes for companies."

Moffett realizes he has a long road to travel if he wants to go from political newcomer all the way to the governor's office.

"Hard work," he said. "That's really the answer. You get out there and get in front of as many people as you possibly can."

Moffett already has a running mate as well. Mike Harmon will run as Moffett's lieutenant governor. The current state representative from Danville has held that post since 2003.

Running Moffett's campaign is David Adams, former campaign director for Republican senate candidate Rand Paul.


Pikeville Transportation Worker Headed To Grand Jury

The case against Patrick Yates, a Pikeville department of highway engineer, is headed to a Pike County Grand Jury. Yates is charged with felony theft after being accused of using his state credit card to buy gas, then selling it for a cheaper rate and pocketing the money. Investigators say he met people at a gas station and would use his state credit card to pay for their gas, then charge them half the price, but the state transportation department noticed Yates was spending more money on gas than his state vehicle could hold. Transportation department officials are cooperating with the Pikeville police investigation and conducting an internal investigation.


Man Killed In Pike County Accident

Kentucky State Police say David Loudermilk died this week at the scene on Calloway Road near Phelps when his truck hit a commercial vehicle owned by B&M Trucking. An investigation is ongoing.


No Charges In Shooting Death

Louisville police say they will not pursue charges against a boy who shot his 12-year-old half-brother to death while they were playing with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Lt. Barry Wilkerson of Louisville Metro Police also said Wednesday that no charges will be filed against the owner of the gun, John O'Bryan. Wilkerson told The Courier-Journal that prosecutors had sent police a letter saying no charges would be filed. Wilkerson says the boys were playing and the gun's safety had been on when Darius Tucker was killed March 29 after he and his 14-year-old half-brother discovered weapons in the house where they lived with O'Bryan, their mother and O'Bryan's teenage daughter. Wilkerson said testing at state police labs showed the gun would fire with the safety on.


Health Grant To Rural Communities

A foundation grant of $2 million will help up to 10 low-income and rural Kentucky communities improve residents' health. A statement from the nonprofit Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is reporting the funding comes from the Corporation for National and Community Service and will be matched with another $2 million. The total $4 million will be used to develop ways to improve access to health services and promote health equity in the commonwealth.


High-Tech Firm To Lexington

Gov. Steve Beshear says the first of what is expected to be many high-tech firms is headed to Kentucky to take advantage of the U.S. Department of Energy's planned National Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center in Lexington. Beshear announced Thursday that nGimat LLC, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based nGimat Co., is establishing a new lab facility in Lexington that will eventually create 68 new jobs.
Beshear says the company plans to initially invest more than $740,000. He added it will create 18 new high-tech jobs over three years, paying an average salary of $58,500, followed by an additional 50 full-time jobs in production and administrative positions.


Mining Accident Kills One

State mine safety officials have identified a mine worker who died following a Thursday morning roof fall at Consolidation Coal's Loveridge Mine near Fairview in Marion County as 39 year old Jesse Adkins of Belington. Adkins, a roof bolter and continuous miner operator, was killed when a sizable piece of rock dislodged from the mine rib and pinned him against a mining machine. He had seven years total mining experience, with three years at Loveridge Mine. State Mine Safety Director Ron Wooten says it appears the crew was taking every precaution. Wooten says it's too early to tell if the mine owner, Consol Energy, will receive any citations or notice of violation from the incident. State and federal investigations continue.


Accused Murderer On Home Confinement

When accused murderer 60 year old James Downey of St. Albans was released to home confinement this week, the family of his daughter's boyfriend, 27 year old Brandon Hall expressed anger. Harry Carpenter, head of Kanawha County's home confinement program, says there are about 189 to 200 people under his watch at any given time, and sometimes they are alleged killers. Until the mid-1990s, those charged with violent crimes weren't eligible for home confinement, but the legislature changed that, as long as the accused didn't live with the person they were charged with harming. Downey has no criminal record, a long and stable work history and an honorable military record before allegedly fatally shooting Hall. He was released on a $100,000 property bond.


Eastern Regional Jail Correctional Officer Charged

State Police have arrested 27 year old Joshua Barrett of Hedgesville, an Eastern Regional Jail correctional officer, and charged him with imposition of sexual intercourse or intrusion on an incarcerated person. A 25 year old female inmate told a regional jail investigator that Barrett had asked her to perform a sexual act on May 22nd, and she agreed in exchange for pills and cigarettes. The inmate claimed she and Barrett had another sexual encounter shortly after the first. If convicted, Barrett could face one to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.


Panel Releases Inconclusive Report To Alleged Beating

Princeton police officer Christopher Winkler and his family claim two academy trainers at the West Virginia State Police Academy beat him during baton training on April 5th. Winkler's mother, Pamela McPeak, said an instructor told her, while her son was in the hospital, that he saved Winkler's life by pulling two other instructors off Winkler when they continued to beat him while he was unconscious. A review panel was commissioned by Governor Joe Manchin to look into the allegation. Friday, the panel released their report which states that "no conclusive determination" could be made as to whether Winkler got the blood clot from an earlier boxing session with an instructor or if the injury was "either aggravated or substantially inflicted" during baton training.


Charleston Police Captain On Paid Leave

An internal investigation involving Charleston Police Captain Myron White has now turned into a criminal probe. In May, a conduct complaint was filed against White who has been put on paid administrative leave. Chief Webster says new information has lead the department to begin a criminal investigation into the complaint while the internal investigation is still ongoing. In Capt. White's absence, Sgt. Autumn Davis will serve in the professional standards division.


Poca Woman Charged

Exposing extra cleavage didn't prevent 21 year old Kandice J. Hill of Poca from being arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. State Police Trooper M.J. Napier says he approached her vehicle after a traffic stop earlier this week on Interstate 77. Napier says Hill quickly let go of a make-up bag and sat up, pulling down her shirt. Noticing a fresh, strong odor of perfume inside the vehicle and seeing a perfume bottle missing its lid on the floor, Napier asked if she had been spraying perfume in the vehicle to cover up the odor of drugs or other contraband. Napier noticed an empty pack of cigarillos and loose tobacco strewn through the vehicle. Hill denied a request to search the vehicle. A K-9 unit was brought in, and troopers found a medium-sized glass jar full of marijuana, a set of digital scales and other paraphernalia, a cell phone containing text messages, both sent and received, back to about August 2009 concerning controlled substances that she agreed to supply after naming a price.


Pagan Faces Second Trial

Thirty-eight year old Michael Lloyd Stevens of Huntington, a former federal prison guard accused of plotting against a Pagan’s Motorcycle Club member for cooperating with the FBI, will go on trial, for the second time, next week. The first trial ended in a mistrial last week, and his second trial started Thursday in Charleston federal court. Prosecutors claim Stevens conspired with members of the Pagan’s and a support club known as the Last Rebels to have Vincent Morris assaulted at a federal prison after Morris had been branded a snitch for helping the FBI investigate a February 2004 bank robbery.


Consumer Advocate Asks PSC To Consider Frontier Complaints

State Consumer Advocate Byron Harris has asked members of the state Public Service Commission to bring in officials with Frontier Communications soon to ask some tough questions and take another look at its decision to approve Frontier's takeover of Verizon's landline service. Harris says customers have reported a whole list of problems since the transition started at the beginning of July, and the issue has gotten past the point of glitches. FiberNet officials say their customers have been experiencing many problems since the change, and they have asked for a similar review. Frontier Spokesperson Brigid Smith says it's impossible to completely avoid all such problems, and the company is trying to fix a system that has been sorely neglected, but Frontier is very, very committed to the state. However, Harris says the Commission to look into it before the situation gets too much worse.


Disturbance Ends In Gunfire And Arrest

A disturbance in Huntington ended in gunfire and the arrest of 32 year old Richard Lusher who is facing charges including wanton endangerment. Police say Lusher pulled a handgun from his waist and fired shots after getting into an argument with several people. He then threw the gun into passenger seat of his car in clear reach of his two-year old son. One bullet struck the ground and ricocheted, grazing the forearm of woman who was standing nearby.


Senate's Version Of Mine Safety Bill Released

The U.S. Senate's version of the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety and Health Act of 2010 was revealed this week. The bill protects whistleblowers in the nation's mines by giving miners the ability to freely speak out against safety violations at their mines. In addition, it reins in some of the problems that have occurred at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration over the years in their inspection process. The Senate's version allows miners to sit one-on-one with MSHA officials to talk about safety issues without the pressure of having company and union officials in the meeting. It also has a provision that will mandate a day of training that shows miners how to report unsafe conditions in the workplace to MSHA. Under the House version, whistleblowers could shutdown a mine if it is deemed to be unsafe. It also expands the powers of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration across all businesses. The underlying philosophy of both bills is that miners need to go to work everyday with the confidence that everything's being done by the company and administrated by the government to make sure they have a safe place to work.


International Coal Group Targeting Political Candidates

West Virginia-based International Coal Group is asking its competitors to take advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court decision loosening restrictions on corporate contributions to political causes. International wants other mining companies to pool their money for a political offensive against Democratic U.S. Reps. Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Ben Chandler of Kentucky, and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky whom they believe are anti-coal. ICG Senior Vice President Roger Nicholson says four companies, including Massey Energy, have already had "theoretical discussions" about the initiative and are developing an action plan, but Massey says it has not committed to being involved in a 527 at this time. Nicholson has proposed that interested companies meet in August during a West Virginia Coal Association event. Mine safety advocate Tony Oppegard, a Lexington attorney and former government regulator, says he's concerned because the companies that seem to be behind the effort have poor safety records and have all had miners die recently. United Mine Workers regional vice president Steve Earle has called the proposal appalling, saying he considers it blood money, and the coal industry absolutely wants to defeat anyone in Congress who wants to stand on the side of right.


Charleston Attorney Sentenced To Home Confinement

Charleston attorney Joshua Robinson entered a Kennedy plea to a felony charge of unlawful wounding in April after being accused of beat his client, David Lee Gump II, with a baseball bat. This week, he was given one to five years of home confinement. In exchange for the plea, charges of embezzlement, obstructing justice and bond violation against Robinson were dropped. Gump hired Robinson to settle his grandfather's estate after the man died in November 2009. On December 3rd Gump went to Robinson's house to confront him after he cashed a check from the estate. Gump said he was at the house to retrieve lockboxes he'd given Robinson, but Robinson said he thought Gump had broken into his home. Since the incident, Robinson has lost his license to practice law, though there is a mitigation hearing into the matter in August. The judge wants to be advised of Robinson's compliance with home confinement every six months, and says he would consider reducing the judgment to probation or parole in the future.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


What To Expect When FEMA Inspectors Call

Inspectors contracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have
begun contacting Pike County residents who have applied for federal disaster
assistance following the mid-July storms and flooding. "These inspectors are setting up appointments to meet residents at flood-damaged properties, so it is important you give FEMA a current telephone number," Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director John Heltzel said. "We know many residents have been living in temporary
locations and it's crucial that they have a way to contact you." Once inspectors arrive, they will have approved FEMA badges that include the inspector's name and photo, and the name of the company under contract with FEMA. They will ask for identification to verify your name and address and registration with FEMA. Inspectors will NOT ask for a Social Security number nor ask to be paid for the inspection. The FEMA inspection is free, so beware of fraudulent individuals attempting to charge for an inspection. The inspection may take about
30 minutes, during which the inspector will assess disaster-related damage for
both real and personal property and may take photos of the interior and
exterior of the damaged dwelling. The inspector enters damage-related
information into a hand-held computer and sends that data to FEMA. Since July 23 when President Obama declared the Kentucky disaster authorizing assistance in Pike County, more than 1,000 households have registered for disaster assistance. To register for assistance, residents should call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA
(3362) or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585 for persons with speech or hearing disabilities, or online at


Illegal Sign Removal In Highway District 12

State highway workers have an ongoing directive to remove illegal signs from state right of way. Illegal signs are routinely removed from state roadsides and intersections, particularly, along four-lane roads and most state primary (two-lane) roads. This includes not only political signs, but signs for businesses, yard sales,
flea markets, revivals, weddings, reunions, anything that is placed on state right of way or affixed to guardrail or any traffic sign. "It is the state highway department's responsibility to keep roads as safe as possible," said Greg Couch, PE, Engineering Support Branch Manager. "Illegal signs interfere with operation of equipment used to mow shoulders and medians. They often cause sight-distance problems for motorists and make litter pickup difficult. They also pose problems for
crews cleaning out drains and ditchlines, which is a priority during summer mainntenance work." The district includes seven counties: Lawrence, Johnson, Martin, Floyd, Knott, Pike, and Letcher.


Tide "Loads Of Hope" Looking For Laundry


Photo by Brandon Roberts
Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford talks with Tia Fletcher of East Kentucky Broadcasting about the Tide Loads of Hope trailer at Food City in Shelbiana. Rutherford stressed the use of the trailer for the clothing of those
helping in the recovery process. Two drop-off/pick-up points have been established, one at the mouth of Raccoon Creek and one at the mouth of Harless Creek. Loads of Hope workers Dan Bookmiller and Terrance Kelly said they expect the number of people utilizing the trailer to increase as cleanup continues.


Police Investigating Explosions In Pikeville

Explosions that were mainly low level noisemakers rather than destructive have occured in Pikeville. Emergency vehicles centered their response at the City Park where one of the explosions happened. A worker near the park commented, "I've been in Pikeville three years and this is the first I've ever heard of anything like that happening, we don't have lots of noise, not lots of stuff going on. Always quiet". Three other explosions yesterday afternoon kept Pikeville Police busy. A second device was detonated at the Pike County Courthouse, a third in the downtown area in a mailbox. Investigators believe they have several suspects identified and all evidence will be turned over to prosecutors for possible legal action. The suspects could face a criminal charge of possesion of a destructive device which is a class D felony.


FEMA Gets Over 900 Requests For Flood Help

FEMA officials say more than 900 people in Pike County have applied for FEMA assistance for flood damage. FEMA inspectors are meeting with those who applied for aid to assess the damage and figure out how FEMA can help. Officials say at least 200homes are destroyed, many more are damaged. FEMA is here, to help people begin the recovery process. Around 75 FEMA workers are in Pike Coungty meeting individually with victims and surveying the damage at each home and business. FEMA Officials say those eligible will start receiving reimbursements in two to three weeks. Eligible applicants can get aid or loans for temporary housing, uninsured property losses, and other expenses caused by the flood. FEMA officials remind that all victims must register to be eligible for aid. To register with FEMA and apply for aid, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA go online at You can also visit the FEMA disaster recovery centers at Harless Creek and Coon Creek.


Walmart Parking Lot Rage

What should have been a minor annoyance turned to a rant and a dangerous situation in a Walmart parking loot in Williamsburg. Josh Griffith had worked at Walmart for just over a year and cleared carts from the parking lot often, but “I’ve never experienced anybody be that mad before,” the 17-year-old said Wednesday. When bunching up a group of carts, he says several of them briefly blocked in a SUV. Griffith says its driver got really irate, to the point of near violence. “He was grabbing the cart pusher, slinging it, pushing it forward, ranting and raving, and screaming at me and stuff,” said Griffith. Griffith says he then moved the carts away, but as the man was backing up he says the situation quickly turned dangerous. Surviellance video from Walmart shows the SUV back up and Griffith says he was nearly hit. After reviewing the tapes, police later caught up with Andrey Botezart at a local water park. He was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment first degree. “Upon interviewing the suspect, he did admit all of it to me, stated he shouldn’t have done it, realized he had done wrong, lost his cool, having a bad day,” said Williamsburg Police Officer Shawn Jackson. Botezat was taken to jail but he's since been released on bond.


Boy 7, Will Testify Against Father

A judge has ruled to allow the testimony of a young boy whose father is charged with killing the boy's mother and grandmother in 2007. U.S. Army Sgt. Brent Burke is charged with killing his estranged wife, 31-year-old Tracy Burke, and her former mother-in-law, 53-year-old Karen D. Comer, in Hardin County. Two boys and a younger sister were found hiding in a closet of the Rineyville home after the slayings. Senior Judge Janet Coleman ruled Monday that one of the boys, who is now 7, is competent to take the witness stand. Coleman reversed her own ruling from last year.
Police have said the boy is the only person claiming to have seen Burke shoot his mother. Two attempts to try Burke for murder have ended in mistrials. He faces a third trial in August.


Vote Buying In Eastern KY

Four eastern Kentucky men have been indicted on vote buying charges for paying people to vote in the May primary in Perry County. One of the men, Pearl Combs Jr., was arrested on election day in May on a charge of voter fraud after a voter told authorities he was paid $20 to vote for certain candidates. The federal indictments were filed on July 22. It is not clear from the indictment which candidates were involved. Along with Combs, Michael Ray Combs, Lewis "Cuz" Baker and Charles Marvin Herald were charged with conspiracy to buy votes and separate counts of vote buying.
If convicted, the men face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count.


KY In Race For Share Of $3.3 Billion Education Funds

Governor Steve Beshear, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and congressional members applauded the news that Kentucky is among the finalists for the second round of federal Race to the Top funding, a pot of over $3.3 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to be used for education reform. Under Gov. Beshear’s leadership, Kentucky has multiple education reform efforts underway, including the Transforming Education in Kentucky and Early Childhood Development and Education task forces and the Graduate Kentucky Initiative, as well as implementation of SB1.


Two Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers Open In Pike County

Pike County residents who suffered damages during the July severe storms and flooding can get one-on-one information about federal and state disaster assistance at two locations. The Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers, staffed by Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), are now open. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The centers are adjacent to the following business

Marrowbone (Elkhorn City)
Community Trust
10579 Regina Belcher Highway
Marrowbone, KY

Community Funeral Home
4902 Zebulon Highway
Pikeville, KY 41501

Recovery center staff have
technical support and internet capability from two mobile units. Look for the FEMA vehicle in the grass lot adjacent to the bank and in the parking lot behind the funeral home.


"Y" Open To Flooded Children

The Pikeville Area Family YMCA is opening its facilities to any children
displaced by the recent flooding. Call Sherry Riddle or Tami Boling to
make arrangements at 606-433-9622.


First Steps To Disaster Recovery

When President Obama declared a disaster after the mid-July severe storms, flooding and mudslides, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) began working together to help people in the Commonwealth recover. Pike County residents, who had help from volunteer organizations and local emergency management, now can apply for federal assistance.

The first priority is making sure people have a safe place to stay and apply
to FEMA for disaster assistance. FEMA Individual Assistance program can provide grants for rental assistance and/or emergency home repair to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.

FEMA toll-free registration number is 800-621-FEMA (3362). Applicants with speech or hearing disabilities can call TTY at 800-462-7585. People can register online at Registration normally takes less than half an hour.
Be sure to have information ready. If you have insurance, contact your insurance
agent so you know what coverage your policy provides.

After registering with FEMA many applicants will receive a loan application from the
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in the mail. Be sure to complete the loan application and return it to the SBA. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a disaster loan program to help homeowners and renters as well as businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes.

FEMA assistance, in the form of a grant, does not have to be repaid. SBA federal
disaster loans used to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property are offered
at low-interest rates to those who qualify.

If you have unmet needs from these storms, please contact your local
emergency management director. A complete list of county
emergency management directors and more information on this, and other disasters,
can be found at


Massey Sets Aside Large Amount Of Cash

Massey Energy has set aside cash "in the upper range" to cover potential lawsuit costs and possible government fines related to the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. Massey has put the potential costs of the April 5th explosion at nearly $129 million, but David Khani, an energy analyst with the investment bank FBR Capital Markets, is wondering if the disaster might end up costing Massey $150 million or $200 million. Khani told CEO Don Blankenship that, if the $129 million number ends up being a much bigger number, a lot of the investors may have fears about owning Massey stock. Blankenship assured Khani that Massey experts have worked hard to come up with an accurate number that accounts for all possibilities, and the company has put in numbers that are at the upper range of anything Massey has ever experienced. Massey has offered the miners' families settlements ranging from $3 million to $5 million to resolve potential lawsuits over the Upper Big Branch deaths.


Walmart Manager Admits To Embezzlement

Twenty year old Jermey Bowles of Nitro was charged this week with embezzling $1,500 from the Hurricane Walmart store where he worked as manager. Bowles admitted to pocketing the money over the span of a month. Mike Persinger, a loss-prevention expert at the store, noticed registers came up short whenever Bowles counted the money as part of his nightly duties. When Persinger confronted him, Bowles admitted to the theft and told Hurricane police he stole about $1,000 from May 27 to June 30, but the amount was later found to be closer to $1,500.


Mingo County Case Moving On

A lawsuit against Massey Energy Co. subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing which originated in Mingo County is getting back on track. Hundreds of current and former residents of Rawl, Lick Creek, Sprigg and Merrimac sued Massey and Rawl Sales for injecting 1.4 billion gallons of slurry underground between 1978 and 1987, claiming the Massey operation poisoned their drinking water supplies with coal slurry. Mingo County Judge Michael Thornsbury was disqualified from the case last year because of a past attorney-client relationship with Massey. In June, the case was assigned to a three-judge mass litigation panel headed by Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone who has scheduled an August 20th meeting in Wheeling to discuss evidence, a proposed trial schedule and pending motions.


Union Votes On Hospital Contract

Union members at Montgomery General Hospital vote on a new contract Thursday.
Union representatives said it is a three-year contract covering both service and medical employees. They have been working without a contract since May 1. The results of the voting will be announced soon.


SBA Says Deadline For Non-Profits Is Near

The Small Business Administration says the deadline for non-profits in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties to apply for disaster loans is approaching quickly. Non-profits that provide services such as food kitchens and homeless shelters, as well as museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges that suffered flooding last June are eligible to borrow up to $2 million for various needs. The agency says applications for damages are due August 23rd.


DEP Sets Public Meetings

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will hold two public meetings on proposals to set pollution limits in the Cheat River watershed. Total Maximum Daily Loads are designed to keep a stream from becoming overly polluted by various substances, but DEP officials have determined several streams fail to meet water quality standards and a TMDL plan must be developed. The first meeting will be next Tuesday at the Camp Dawson Armed Forces Reserve Center in Kingwood at 6:30 P.M. The second is set for next Wednesday at Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, also at 6:30 P.M.


Georgia-Pacific To Close Fayette County Plant

Georgia-Pacific, which produces strand wooden boards for residential construction, has notified workers at its Mount Hope plant in Fayette County that it will stop production by October 1st, impacting nearly 100 jobs. According to a notice, the shutdown is expected to last longer than six months, but Georgia-Pacific spokeswoman Melodie Ruse says it's unclear when the plant would reopen or whether the shutdown would be permanent. Ruse says the building material isn't in demand.


Huggins Released From Hospital

West Virginia University sports officials released a very brief statement Thursday afternoon, announcing that men's head basketball coach Bob Huggins has been released from a Las Vegas hospital. Huggins had been in the hospital since falling in a Las Vegas hotel room and breaking his ribs, over the weekend. WVU officials did not release any further details on Huggins' condition.


Massey Plans To Reopen UBB

Massey Energy has confirmed that it could resume mining coal at the Upper Big Branch Mine within the next few months. The company made the announcement nearly four months after the April 5 explosion there that killed 29 miners and injured two others. Massey plans to create a new entrance into the mine and resume production. The cause into the explosion is continuing.


WV School Board Member Sentenced On Tax Evasion

A former member of the Logan County school board has been sentenced to prison for a year and a day. U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver Jr. sentenced 43-year-old Alison Lambert of Man on Wednesday in Charleston federal court. Lambert also must repay more than $256,000 to the Internal Revenue Service and pay a $10,000 fine. Lambert pleaded guilty in April to evading taxes by underreporting income from a motel, restaurant and bar and tobacco store owned by her family. Federal investigators say Lambert skimmed almost $1 million between 2004 and 2008.


3.5% Mortgage Program

It's an unprecedented time in West Virginia to buy a house. A new mortgage program announced today offers an unheard of 3.5 percent rate -- in addition to no down-payment. Owning a home is still one of the most sought-after American dreams. And members of the West Virginia Housing Authority are throwing in a key tool to make that happen: a 30-year fixed rate loan at a 3.5 percent rate. No down-payment required and loan help available for closing costs. "I don't think that anyone that's active in the industry now has ever seen or heard of the rates being below 4-percent. And this 3-point-5 is truly extraordinary not only for our area, but I believe the lowest fixed rate in the country," says J.D. Stricklen with the West Virginia Association of Homebuilders. Those who qualify could see their monthly mortgage payments match their rent payment, or be even less. Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 280 families. You can find out more about the program by contacting your Realtor, builder, lending institution or the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.


Cap And Trade Bill Looks Defeated

Cap and trade is back on the proverbial shelf in Washington D.C. Friday, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said the cap and trade bill didn't have the votes to pass debate. Many Republicans and Democrats, mostly from coal states, said they will not back the legislation. Cap and trade would have put a tax on carbon emissions. Groups across the Mountain State say the bill was an attack on coal. The West Virginia Coal Association has been following the bill closely. “We think its good news, it's a good piece of news,” said Bill Rainey, of the Coal Association. “Those that work in and depend on the mines are pleased because it's not going to effect them in a negative way as they go forward.” Cap and trade would have required companies to pay or trade to produce emissions, those costs would then be passed on to the consumer.


St. Albans Man Charged With Sexual Assault


A St. Albans man has been charged with sexually assaulting and impregnating an 11-year-old girl, according to a news release from the St. Albans Police Department.
Michael Duane Lacy, 36, of Ferrell Road, was arrested after the victim's mother told police he impregnated her, according to the news release. The incident allegedly occurred in mid-May at Lacy's apartment, the news release states. The girl spent the night in the apartment with Lacy's daughter, who is about the same age as the victim. The girl now is about nine weeks pregnant. Lacy was charged with first-degree sexual assault and is in the South Central Regional Jail on $5,000 cash bond.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Beshear Wants Review Of Nursing Home Abuse

Although the state sends reports of the most serious nursing home regulatory violations to the attorney general's office, permission of local prosecutors is required before they can prosecute, and local prosecutors say they seldom hear about the cases. Governor Steve Beshear has asked Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller to conduct an immediate review of the way state government handles reports about abuse and neglect of residents in Kentucky's nursing homes and to complete the review by September 1st. Beshear has asked Miller to review the effectiveness of the coordination of efforts among state agencies, local prosecutors and law enforcement. In addition, he said, she should look at delays in sending the most serious citations to local law enforcement or the attorney general. Beshear says abuse of any nursing home resident is unacceptable and we must make sure that we are fulfilling our responsibilities to those residents.


Kentucky Included In Drug Settlement

Attorney General Jack Conway has announced Kentucky will receive nearly $2 million as the result of the state's participation in the $75 million national settlement with a subsidiary of pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Allegations stated that Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals illegally marketed the anti-seizure drug Topamax for uses not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, including psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol dependency. Kentucky's share represents double the amount that Kentucky Medicaid spent on prescriptions written as a result of the practices.


New Trial In Hardin County Murders

U.S. Army Sgt. Brent Burke is charged with killing his estranged wife, 31 year old Tracy Burke, and her former mother-in-law, 53 year old Karen D. Comer, in Hardin County in 2007. Two boys and a younger sister were found hiding in a closet of the Rineyville home after the slayings. Senior Judge Janet Coleman has reversed her own ruling from last year and has ruled that one of the boys, who is now 7, is competent to take the witness stand. Police say he is the only person claiming to have seen Burke shoot his mother. Two prior attempts to try Burke for murder have ended in mistrials, but he awaits a third trial in August.


Death Row Inmate Gets New Trial

During a hearing Tuesday in Bullitt Circuit Court, public defender Meggan Smith said she asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to grant a new murder trial for death row inmate Michael Dale St. Clair. In 1991, St. Clair was convicted of capital kidnapping in Hardin County in connection to the murder of Frank Brady of Bardstown. Prosecutors say St. Clair stole Brady's truck from Hardin County and later killed Brady in Bullitt County. A death sentence imposed has been overturned, and a retrial is set for March 2011.


Rondo Makes Team USA Roster

Celtics point guard and former UK Wildcat Rajon Rondo was among 15 players selected to Team USA's final roster Wednesday. Coach Mike Krzyzewski says Rondo was an unconventional choice for international play. Krzyzewski called Rondo an NBA champion and a triple double guy in this league. Krzyzewski says Rondo plays with a will to win, finds ways to have a positive impact on the game and did well shooting the ball in the camp.


UK Football Team To Help Pike County Flood Victims

The University of Kentucky Football Team will be at the Christian Appalachian Project warehouse on Thursday July 29th, at 3:00 P.M. to help kickoff CAP's Friends that CARE initiative. The team will help in CAP'S efforts to assist flood victims in Pike County as well as other eastern Kentucky counties. The CAP warehouse, located at 2592 Palumbo Drive, will be accepting donations of furniture, small appliances, air conditioners and canned food items as well as monetary donations to help fund the project. The Christian Appalachian Project is an interdenominational, non-profit Christian organization committed to serving people in need in Appalachia by providing physical, spiritual and emotional support through a wide variety of programs and services to children and their families, the isolated elderly and underserved individuals with disabilities.


Indictments In Perry County Election

According to federal indictments filed on July 22nd, four eastern Kentucky men, Pearl Combs Jr., Michael Ray Combs, Lewis "Cuz" Baker and Charles Marvin Herald have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to buy votes and separate counts of vote buying in the U.S. Senate primary in Perry County. Pearl Combs Jr., was arrested on election day in May on a charge of voter fraud after a voter told authorities he was paid $20 to vote for certain candidates. If convicted, each man faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count.


Pitino Testifies

Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino testified Wednesday that he met Karen Cunagin Sypher on July 31, 2003, at an Italian restaurant, where he had gone following a golf outing. Pitino said he and Sypher exchanged small talk after the restaurant closed, and, as they were leaving Sypher whispered something, opened his pants and the two engaged in sexual activities, but Sypher claims Pitino sexually assaulted her.


Mobile Disaster Centers Set Up In Pike County

Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers have been set up to provide one-on-one information about federal and state disaster assistance for Pike County residents who suffered damages during the July flooding. The centers are located adjacent to the Community Trust Bank in Marrowbone, and the Community Funeral Home in Pikeville. They will be staffed by Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), personnel from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Monday through Saturday. At the centers, disaster recovery specialists can check an individual’s application status, answer questions, or review information needed to process their application. Recovery specialists also can supply contacts for other state, federal and voluntary agency programs that may be able to help. Individuals are encouraged to register on line at or by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Applicants with hearing or speech disabilities can call TTY 800-462-7585.


Charleston Teen Sentenced To Forty Years

Fifteen year old Thomas Mallo of Charleston was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of his former neighbor, 82 year old Phyllis Phares. Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants says Mallo stabbed Phares more than 30 times with a pocketknife because he became enraged after she had told him to be quiet earlier in the day when he was outside yelling.


Intervention Sought In American Water Request

Huntington-based Steel of West Virginia and the Utility Workers Union of America have filed separate requests asking the state Public Service Commission to allow them to intervene in the latest rate case for West Virginia American Water Company. In June, American Water filed a request seeking a 15 percent rate increase, saying the money would provide $18.3 million for repairs, installations and upgrades. Steel of West Virginia says raising rates by 15.8 percent would have a potentially significant adverse impact on its Huntington plant and similar companies. Utility Workers Union of America Local 537, which represents more than 60 WVAWC workers, says it wants to provide an understanding to the PSC to the extent to which rate relief should be focused on meeting the needs of the Company's workforce and American water's customers. The state Consumer Advocate will also intervene in the case. American Water's direct testimony supporting the rate hike request is due next Monday, August 2nd.


Beckley Woman Killed

Raleigh County Deputies says 39 year old Kimberly Grimes of Beckley was driving her Trailblazer west on Eccles #5 Road Tuesday when she apparently ran off the pavement while attempting to turn onto Allentown Road, went over an embankment and rolled over several times, trapping Grimes inside. She was pronounced dead at the scene.


Police Arrest Campbells Creek Woman

Police have arrested 26 year old Ashli Logan Burdette of Campbells Creek after she allegedly robbed a 19 year old woman at gunpoint while the victim sat in a car in the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort parking lot in Nitro around 9:30 A.M. Tuesday morning. Late Tuesday night, investigators found and arrested Burdette at a friend's apartment in Cross Lanes and charged her with aggravated robbery. Deputies found Burdette's vehicle, the handgun allegedly used in the assault and the victim's purse.


Plans For The Dow Chemical Tech Park To Be Unveiled

Future plans for the Dow Chemical Tech Park in South Charleston will be unveiled during a meeting scheduled at 10:00 A.M. Thursday morning at the park. The buildings and land at the Tech park will be deeded over to the state in January of next year. The Higher Education Policy Commission, Dow and the state have agreed to make the property a higher education research park. Higher Education Chancellor Brian Noland says the consultant hired to work on a short-term and long-term plan for the park will talk about those plans at the meeting. Noland says there's been interest in the park from a large number of private entities since the deal was announced earlier this year. Construction will begin soon on the Advanced Technology Center and new home for Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College.


Chemical Safety Board Expected To Release Bayer Report

In August 2008, an explosion occurred at the Bayer CropScience Plant in Institute in which the blast and fire claimed the lives of plant workers Barry Withrow, who died at the plant and Bill Oxley, who died six weeks later. The blast was near a container filled with Methyl Isocyanate, the same material that killed thousands when it was leaked in a chemical disaster in Bhopal, India in the 1980s. Bayer CropScience Vice President Steve Hedrick met with Chairman Moure-Eraso, the new chairman of the Chemical Safety Board, Monday and took him on a tour of the Institute plant. Several months ago Bayer CropScience announced plans to reduce MIC inventories at the Institute site. Chairman Moure-Eraso saw those plans during Monday's tour. A final report from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is expected by the end of August.


Huntington Man Dies

Huntington Police say 48 year old Mark Lowery died at Cabell Huntington Hospital after being shot around 7:30 P.M. Tuesday evening in an alley near the Fairfield Apartment building.


Huntington Men Charged With Armed Robbery

Jermaine Maurice Johnson, 28, and David Wayne Bolden, 20, both of Huntington, have each been charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of first-degree armed robbery. Police say, Sunday, the two men entered a home in East Huntington with guns and demanded medication. When they couldn't find any, they took the home's occupants to a house next door where they also searched for medication and stole some money.


Man Accused Of Punching Officer

Kanawha County deputies responded to Rosedale Drive near St. Albans early Wednesday morning after receiving word that several intoxicated people were fighting and threatening others outside a residence in the area. Deputies say 20 year old Casey Jeffrey ran behind the house, jumped into a car and refused to get out until a deputy physically removed him from the vehicle. The deputy says Jeffrey punched him at that time. Jeffrey is charged with battery on a police officer, obstructing an officer, underage consumption of alcohol and refusal to be fingerprinted.


West Virginia To Provide Insurance For Volunteer Fire Departments

In response to BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co.'s decision to stop underwriting "broad form'' liability plans on September 1st, the state of West Virginia is stepping in to provide insurance coverage to 281 volunteer fire departments. Broad form liability plans protect fire chiefs, other fire officers and members of fire department boards of directors from if a firefighter is injured in the line of duty. The state's Board of Risk and Insurance Management will provide the coverage until next June 30. Department of Revenue Secretary Virgil Helton says BRIM's involvement will allow a task force time to find a permanent solution to providing the coverage.


Kanawha County School Principal Under Investigation

Lisa Woo, who has served as school principal at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Kanawha County since 2004, is off the job while being under investigation. School superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring says Woo is being investigated on a personnel issue. In the meantime, vice-principal Rhonda Donohoe will serve as acting principal.


Out Of The Country West Virginia Voters Can Participate Online

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant says residents out of the country during the state's upcoming elections will be able to vote online. Participating voters will be given a security code and a link to Tennant's website, where they enter the code and fill out a ballot which will then be submitted electronically to the voter's county. The state has provided money for counties to pay for the online voting system on a first-come, first-served basis. Internet voting is expected to cost about $5,000 for the August 28th primary and about $7,500 for the general election of November 2nd. The last day to register for the primary is August 6th. Early voting begins August 20th and runs through August 25th, with the exception of August 22nd.
Early voting for the November 2nd general election starts October 13th and runs through October 30th.


More Space For Debris Dumping

The Pinson Farm, located below the Pinson Family Bridge on U.S. 119, has been designated by the county and the state as a temporary staging area for flood survivors. Pike County Deputy Solid Waste Commissioner Mike Lyons applied for use of the property through the Kentucky Division of Waste Management and permission was
granted. “This is a staging area for people affected by the flood,” Lyons said. “Dumpsters are filling up, our trucks are filling up, conditions are so bad some places we can’t get in and out, so we are going to use this as a place where people can dump their garbage and debris, and we will take it from there to the landfill.”

Signs will be posted and a fence erected so the actual staging area will be defined. People can dump items at the area any time and all items can be placed in the dumpsite. “This is all part of the recovery process,” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “It’s just another way to help those affected by the flood begin putting their lives back together.”

Another step in aiding flood victims is new hours for the Johns Creek, Robinson Creek and Belcher solid waste lots, which will now operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The staging area at Pinson Farm should be open Wednesday, July 28, 2010. The green dumpster is for household waste only, any other debris can be dumped onto the ground within the orange fence.


Hospital Has Massive Layoffs

One of Kentucky's largest hospitals is laying off dozens of employees. King's Daughters Medical Denter in Ashland cited the economy, patients delaying healthcare, and others not paying the bill as reasons for the cuts. In a statement released Tuesday the hospital says unreimbursed care and bad debt are at an all-time high, approaching $100million, a 33% increase over last year. Union officials say 82 employees were escorted off the property Tuesday and another 150 were given the opportunity to go part-time, change shifts or take a pay cut. The hospital says it's working with employees to help them find other jobs. King's Daughters is the fourth largest hospital in the state. It employees around 4,000 people.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Frenchburg Group Home Volunteers

Every year, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources stocks 725,000 trout in the state’s streams, rivers and lakes. Have you ever wondered how nearly three-quarters of a million trout get from the hatchery to your favorite fishing hole? The Fish Transportation Section stocks most of the brown and rainbow trout in the state, part of the 4.5 million fish that Kentucky Fish and Wildlife stocks each year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also helps stock trout in the streams within the Daniel Boone National Forest, including the rugged Red River Gorge. Sometimes, however, it takes assistance from volunteers to help trout on the final leg of their journey. The most difficult part of stocking can be getting trout from a transportation truck to a remote stream. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employees may hike miles of hills, climb over logs and finally slide into streams just to get fish to the water. Quickly getting trout to the water takes work and is vital to the health of the fish, so each spring and fall, as the fish hauling trucks load up, fisheries employees round up volunteers to help with the wilderness trout stockings.
Last October, the Northeastern Fishery District needed help stocking trout in Swift Camp Creek in the Red River Gorge. Fisheries Technician Kevan Lane, a former employee of the Frenchburg Group Home in Menifee County, suggested the boys’ home as a source of volunteers. It was a win-win situation: Volunteers learned about stocking fish and the outdoors, while department employees received some much-needed help. The volunteers did such a good job that they have since helped stock brown trout in the headwaters of East Fork of Indian Creek and again in Swift Camp Creek. They even chipped in and helped run a bait station at the Cave Run Kids’ Fishing Derby in early June.

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