Saturday, September 04, 2010


KSP Investigating Deadly Pike County Shooting

Kentucky State Police in Pikeville received a 911 call shortly after 11:00 P.M. Friday night involving a fatal shooting in the Phelps area of Pike County. KSP officials say 38 year old Sonny Charles received several gunshot wounds after he became engaged in an altercation with 52 year old Harold Scott of Phelps in the parking lot of the Phelps Laundromat on KY 632. After being shot, Charles attempted to flee the scene in a pickup truck, but the truck went across Ky. 632 and into the Right Fork of Peter Creek. Pike County Deputy Coroner Ernest Casebolt pronounced Charles dead at the scene. Scott, who was arrested and charged with murder, remained in the Pike County Detention Center without bond on Saturday.


Remains Of Knott County Woman Found

The remains of 88 year old Sallie G. Williams were found in the bedroom of her home in the Sassafras community of southern Knott County after a Friday night house fire. The house was engulfed in flames when emergency personnel arrived on the scene. No foul play is suspected, but state police continue to investigate.


Breathitt County Teen Killed

Kentucky State Police in Hazard say 14 year old Joseph James Earl Crank of Canoe, a Breathitt County community south of Jackson, was sitting on the traveled portion of KY 1812 in the Quicksand community shortly before 5:00 A.M. Saturday morning when he was hit by a car being driven by Edith Robinson. Crank was pronounced dead at the scene.


Louisville Man Dies In UPS Crash

The two crew members killed when a UPS cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff outside Dubai Friday have been identified as 48 year old Captain Doug Lampe of Louisville and 38 year old First Officer Matthew Bell of Sanford, Florida. Lampe has been with UPS since 1995, while Bell has been with UPS since 2006. Both crew members flew out of UPS's Anchorage, Alaska, pilot base. The National Transportation Safety Board was dispatching an aviation investigation team to assist United Arab Emirates authorities in the investigation of the crash.


Ohio River Bridges Project Favors Tolls

The panel developing a financial plan for the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project says it won't delay construction to avoid tolls. The Ohio River Bridge Project Authority has concluded that $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion of the project's cost will come from tolls. Opponents of the proposed tolls have suggested following the example of Illinois and Missouri, which delayed construction of a second bridge to avoid tolls. But, Steve Schultz, executive director of the Ohio River Bridge Project Authority, says his research found big differences between the Ohio River project and the projects in the other two states.


Man Pleads Not Guilty To Sex Charges

A southern Kentucky man faces a January trial date after pleading not guilty to 120 sexual offenses.

The trial of 43-year-old Anthony Scott Peak of Rocky Hill is set for Jan. 31 on 40 counts of incest, 40 counts of unlawful transaction with a minor, 20 counts of first-degree rape and 20 counts of first-degree sodomy.

An Edmonson County grand jury indicted Peak on the charges in March, but authorities were unable to capture him until last month in South Carolina.

He entered the not guilty plea at a court appearance on Wednesday.


Russell County School Combats Bedbugs

Health inspectors were at Salem Elementary in Russell County Friday as officials work to stop an infestation of bedbugs at the school. Salem Elementary has been sprayed several times after some of the bugs were found in the school, but, so far, attempts to eradicate the bugs have completely failed. On Friday, inspectors worked to check every part of the school. In an effort to try to rid the school of the bugs, school supplies are not allowed to be taken home by students, who are also not allowed to bring backpacks to the school.


Shooting Investigation Uncovers Dead Body

Kentucky State Police in Louisville recently arrested 43 year old Jeffrey Lay after they say he shot his brother in the head. During questioning, Lay told police about another shooting in Brandenburg. Early Thursday morning, troopers found the body of 53 year old Danny Embry inside a home in Brandenburg. Lay was charged with attempted murder, and KSP officers are investigating Embry’s death. Lay was also wanted on charges of second-degree robbery and second-degree escape from Louisville Metro Community Corrections Center, which houses people on work-release programs.


McDowell County Accident

Two women and a Davy man were killed Friday in a head-on collision on U.S. 52 near Premier in McDowell County, while a third woman was airlifted to Charleston Area Medical Center in critical condition. According to witness, a vehicle traveling southbound in a very erratic manner fell on and off the road and was moving from berm to berm, before striking another vehicle nearly head on. John Tinney Jr., 25, of Davy, was killed.


Deadly Accident In Boone County

The Boone County Sheriff's Deputies say 32 year old Brian Keith Hall from Julian was thrown from his Jeep after it crashed into a guardrail along Route 119 and then rolled over an embankment. About 7:00 A.M. Saturday morning, visitors to the Hatfield-McCoy campground near Julian in Boone County found his wrecked SUV and the victim's body, which had been thrown from the vehicle.


Man Arraigned On Armed Robbery

Zebulon Thomas DeWees, 18, was arraigned in Putnam County Magistrate Court Friday on charges of first-degree armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. DeWees turned himself in after being accused of robbing someone in Red House two hours after turning 18 on July 12th. According to police, DeWees robbed the victim at gunpoint and left with an undisclosed amount of money.


Education Officials To Accept Innovation Zone Funding Applications

Shortly after Labor Day, State Department of Education officials will begin allowing new schools to apply for the second round of innovation zone funding. The Legislature has set aside $435,000 for planning grants. Innovation zones allow schools to waive many state laws and policies, such as requirements in the school calendar, and allows teachers to try out new, creative strategies to improve student learning. In January, state Board of Education members approved 19 innovation zones across the state.


National Academy Conducting MIC Study

The National Academy of Sciences is conducting a $575,000 study that will look at the storage of the toxic chemical methyl isocyanate, or MIC, at Bayer CropScience's plant in Institute. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says it hopes the study will be a model for the chemical industry to assess and reduce toxic hazards. Bayer says it plans to cut MIC storage at the plant by 80 percent and build an underground tank to hold the chemical.


Plans To Renominate Blair Mountain On National Register

The Division of Culture and History, through the Office of Historic Preservation, plans to renominate the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain for a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The area was placed on the National Register in March 2009, then removed nine months later, after a new list of landowners at the site seemed to indicate a majority of the landowners wanted the historic site to be opened to coal mining. Massey Energy and Arch Coal are among the companies that have indicated some interest in developing mining operations in the area. Gordon Simmons, president of the West Virginia Labor History Association, says the list turned out to have some dead people on it, and he believes there was no adequate basis on which to revisit the issue. The Battle of Blair Mountain was fought for five days, in late August and early September 1921, along the 15-mile ridge separating Boone and Logan counties. At least 7,500 coal miners marched from Marmet to Blair Mountain, planning to continue into Logan County to organize nonunion mines. The miners confronted a force of 3,000 law officers, many of whom worked directly for coal companies.


Bayer Corp. CEO Speaks At Business Conference

Bayer Corp. CEO Greg Babe urged West Virginia business leaders to push for judicial and tax reform during Wednesday's state Chamber Business Summit. More than 700 people are attending the business conference this week at The Greenbrier resort. Babe, who oversees Bayer's North American operations, says West Virginia's tax on inventory and equipment penalizes businesses that want to expand and spend money to upgrade facilities. Babe says, unless the state modifies its tax structure, it will fail to attract significant capital investment.


West Virginia General Revenues Up

West Virginia state government collected $31 million more in taxes last month than expected. General revenues totaled $309 million in August, beating the $278 million estimate. Sales and personal income taxes provide nearly 70 percent of general revenues. Both taxes exceeded their monthly projections as well as their August 2009 collections. Severance taxes on coal and other natural resources were also better than expected. The new budget year began July 1. The state expects $3.7 billion by its June 30 end.


West Virginia Children Benefit From Stimulus Surplus

Faced with a deadline for using federal stimulus funds, the state Department of Health and Human Resources has finalized plans for sending out $52 million in one-time benefits. About 70,000 West Virginia children in 41,000 households will receive $250 for school clothes and supplies. These payments follow the $200 per child that was distributed in August. Nearly 11,000 households on public assistance will receive three times the cash allotments they normally would get for September. More than 19,000 low-income parents or guardians will receive up to $1,000 in past-due child support. Much of the money comes from Obama administration's stimulus package, although it includes about $10 million in state money. The money is being funneled through the cash assistance program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.


Premier Financial Bancorp Inc. Plans To Merge

Premier Financial Bancorp Inc. plans to merge Boone County Bank, First Central Bank, and Traders Bank in West Virginia with Washington, D.C.-based Adams National Bank and Richmond, Va.-based Consolidated Bank. If state and federal regulators approve the plan, the combined bank would be headquartered in Huntington. Premier says the bank would have nearly $800 million in total assets, $667 million in total deposits and 22 locations in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Washington.


Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Awarded Grant

The Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership has been awarded the Drug Free Communities Grant of $125,000 a year, more than $600,000 for the next five years, from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Approximately 500 to 600 organizations apply annually, with only 169 receiving the funding. Cabell County had previously applied for the grant in 2008 and 2009. Grant funds will enable the hiring of one additional staff member and for implementing Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol, which focuses on the prevention of underage drinking and prescription drug abuse.
Other counties in West Virginia that are recipients of the Drug Free Communities Grant money include Brooke, Jackson, Marshall, Mercer, Mingo, Morgan and Ohio.

Friday, September 03, 2010


KSP Troopers Beef-Up Patrols

As Labor Day weekend officially got underway Friday, KSP Troopers have beefed-up patrols on roadways in an effort to keep them safe for holiday travel. During last year's Labor Day weekend, 10 people died on Kentucky roadways, six of those deaths involving alcohol. KSP would like to remind you to buckle up, obey the speed limit and traffic laws, be cautious and courteous of others, focus on the highway, don't drive under the influence and enjoy the holiday.


FEMA Approves Nearly $14 Million

FEMA has approved nearly $14 million in assistance for Pike County victims of July flooding, but they feel, as the September 21st deadline approaches, some may be left out. The disaster recovery centers will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for the Labor Day holiday weekend, but will open again Tuesday morning. Anyone who wants to register this weekend can still apply online or on the phones. The phone number to register with FEMA is 1-800-621-FEMA. The website is


Martin County Drug Bust

Martin County Deputies and detectives with Operation UNITE fanned out across Martin County Friday armed with arrest warrants for seven people on a variety of drug charges. Martin County Sheriff Garmon Preece says of the seven people indicted, five were arrested, while two remain at large. Investigators also arrested two other people on drug posession charges at one of the houses that was raided. Charges include 1st and 2nd degree drug posession after police discovered drugs including Oxycontin and Lortab pills.


Legislation Filed To Protect Hunting And Fishing

House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Floyd County and state Representative Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, have filed legislation that would give Kentucky voters the right to include hunting and fishing in the Kentucky Constitution. The amendment they are proposing, and planned to be deliberated in the 2011 regular session, would guarantee that hunting and fishing will never be outlawed in Kentucky unless a statewide vote is held. The amendment would not come before voters until possibly November 2012. Combs says the amendment does not affect current laws involving licenses, seasons or trespassing, but, instead, would ensure hunters and fishermen have the protections they deserve.


Floyd County MCC To Expand

Mountain Comprehensive Care Center received a deed for nine acres of land at Stonecrest from Prestonsburg city officials this past week, leasing the land for $1. There are no plans to move the offices along Front Street in Prestonsburg to the mountaintop location. MCCC representatives are writing grant proposals to see work begin on Phase 1 of a project in which the land will be used for new buildings, new programs and an even more involved role in helping those in need. MCCC says 6.5 acres will be used for substance abuse programs. There will be eight buildings on those 6.5 acres. The remaining 2.5 acres will be used for an eight-bed facility for emotionally disturbed boys and another of the same size for emotionally disturbed girls.


Kentucky Death Row Inmate Loses Another Challenge

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Friday ruled that Kentucky death row inmate 53 year old Gregory Lee Wilson challenged the the state’s lethal injection method too late when he filed suit in December 2008. Wilson challenged the use of sedatives given to an inmate before an execution, saying they interfered with the deadly three-drug cocktail. The ruling comes as Wilson moves toward a September 16th execution after a jury sentenced him to death in 1988 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Deborah Pooley.


Law Firm Prepares To Release Bledsoe Report

The law firm investigating the high school academics of former UK star Eric Bledsoe plans to release its findings next week. Since June 24th, the Birmingham school system has spent over $8,300 on their investigation being conducted independently by the law firm of White, Arnold & Dowd. The Birmingham school system is being billed $275 per hour for attorney fees and $100 per hour for paralegals. The goal is to not exceed $10,000. A story in the New York Times in May questioned the Bledsoe's high school academics at Hayes and Parker. The NCAA visited Birmingham in February checking into Bledsoe's academics and his residency in high school. Bledsoe was selected in the first round of the NBA draft and is preparing to attend training camp with the L.A. Clippers.


Betsy Layne High School Teacher Charged

Darnella Carol Bradley, 37, a teacher at Betsy Layne High School, has been charged with terroristic threatening brought against her by the school’s principal, Cassandra Akers. Akers accuses Bradley entering the school on August 27th and making several threats against her and other teachers, including one threat directed toward a fellow teacher that she would kill her “by slitting her neck” and also proclaimed that “the police would have to take her.” Bradley appeared in Floyd District Court Thursday morning where she pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree terroristic threatening.


Gubernatorial Candidate Favors Legalizing Industrial Hemp

Louisville businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett says he's willing to "go to the carpet" to legalize the production of industrial hemp in Kentucky. Moffett says industrial hemp, a cousin to marijuana, is not a drug and should not be regulated by the DEA or any other federal authority. It is illegal because it contains trace amounts of a mind-altering chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol, that makes marijuana intoxicating. Industrial hemp is used to make paper, lotion and other products. Moffett made it clear that, while he advocates industrial hemp production, he doesn't favor legalization of marijuana. Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith, a perennial candidate running as an independent, has promoted industrial hemp for years.


Road Construction And Repair During Holiday

Highway construction will be suspended through the long Labor Day holiday period to minimize delays for travelers, though lane restrictions will remain in place at multiple sites.

“Labor Day is historically a period of heavy highway travel, and drivers need to be focused on the roadway,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “A heightened awareness and sense of safety will be especially important in our construction zones. We do as much as possible to ensure that traffic can flow smoothly, but lane restrictions cannot always be avoided.”

An array of highway signs and electronic message boards will warn motorists of these closures:

Interstate 24, Christian County – Westbound traffic restricted to the left lane near the 82 mile marker, between the Cadiz and Fort Campbell/Hopkinsville exits, because of excavation for a new interchange on the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway. Eastbound lanes are not affected. Lengthiest delays are likely to occur with returning traffic Monday afternoon and evening.

I-64, Boyd County – Right lane closed in each direction from mile markers 184 to 191 – the Cannonsburg and Catlettsburg interchanges – for extensive paving and rehabilitation.

Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway, Barren County – Traffic restricted to left lane in each direction at the 15 mile marker because of interchange work.

William H. Natcher Parkway, Warren County – Southbound traffic shifted to left lane due to construction of I-65 on-ramp. Northbound lanes not affected.

U.S. 127, Mercer County – Two lane closures – north and south of Harrodsburg – will be established at 6 p.m. EDT Monday. Northbound traffic restricted for completion of paving between mile markers 2.8 and 4.0 south of Harrodsburg. Traffic in both directions restricted between mile markers 6.0 and 9.6 north of Harrodsburg.

For information on work zones and potential delays on routes in Kentucky, plus links to highway information in neighboring states, go to


South Lake Horse Trail

Damage from the flash-flooding of July 17, 2010, has prompted Pike County Fiscal Court officials to cancel the fall 2010 South Lake Horse Trail Ride. Crews have been working to repair damage sustained to the trail but will not be able to complete their work before winter.

“The safety of those participating in the trail ride must be our top priority,”
Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “We wish this were not
necessary but we can’t take the risk of our citizens and visitors being injured
along an unsafe trail.”

According to Jarrod Hunt, Pike County Parks and Recreation Director, several
landslides have occurred on the main trail, one of which 200 feet in length.
Additionally, many of the side loop trails have experienced minor slides that have
left them covered in debris.

Rutherford said that work will continue throughout the fall and winter with the hope
of having the trail ready for the spring trail ride.

Anyone needing further information about the South Lake Horse Trail’s spring and
fall rides may contact Hunt at 606-432-6327.


Governor Beshear's Statement On Passing Of S.T. Roach

"S.T. Roach is more than just a legendary coach in Kentucky high school basketball, he was a legendary force in helping our state move forward when our schools integrated more than a half century ago. Coach Roach’s long-standing commitment to integrity, honesty and respect live on not only through his players, but through everyone who had the honor of calling him a friend. He will be truly missed, and Jane and I will keep his family in our thoughts at this difficult time.”


Fish And Wildlife Personnel In The Field

Most state offices were closed Friday, as part of the state’s budget balancing plan to furlough state government workers a total of six days in Fiscal Year 2011, but Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation officers will be in the fields and on the water for the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest recreational times of the year.

Gov. Steve Beshear selected the Friday of Labor Day weekend as a mandatory state furlough day in hopes of lessening the impact to citizens who rely on state services, and to take advantage of the additional operational savings in decreased energy usage.

The Labor Day weekend is the traditional beginning of the fall and winter hunting seasons. It is the opening weekend of mourning dove season and one of the busiest boating weekends on the state’s lakes and rivers.


National Mining Association Criticizes EPA

In renewing its criticism, the National Mining Association has accused the EPA of using bad science to develop the strict water quality standards it introduced April 1st. Among other things, the organization says the study underpinning the standards violated EPA guidelines by relying on field data rather than laboratory findings. The EPA policy is aimed at sharply reducing the practice of filling valleys with waste from mountaintop removal and other types of surface mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee. Mountaintop removal coal mining is considered highly efficient by mine operators, but terribly destructive by environmentalists.


Lawyer Says UBB Evidence Could Be Compromised

Mark Moreland, a lawyer handling two wrongful-death lawsuits against Massey Energy says two Massey managers were underground for nearly four hours after the April 5th explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. New details say the men traveled 9 miles and were near the longwall mining machine considered a possible source of the blast. Massey confirms the men stayed inside even after a federal order to leave, but the company says the men were trying to rescue the 29 men who died. Moreland says that revelation casts a pall on all the evidence, and the matter must be investigated and resolved. He says evidence collected in the mine could be compromised. Investigators have previously acknowledged the men were underground.


Judge Releases Former Pagan's National Vice President

U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston has approved a jail release for former Pagan's Motorcycle Club national vice president Floyd "Jesse'' Moore pending sentencing. Conditions for Moore's release include home confinement, with electronic monitoring, among other things. Moore, who has been held since October, pleaded guilty in December to charges involving a murder conspiracy and participating in illegal raffles. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Moore's former girlfriend, Rebecca Martin, was sentenced to one day in prison and fined $5,000 for perjury. Martin admitted lying to a grand jury.


Former Karate Teacher Sentenced

Jeffrey Alan Spangler, 38, of Elkview has been sentenced to one to five years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed by law, after he pleaded guilty last month to one charge of third-degree sexual assault involving a 13 year old girl he met through a karate class he taught part-time in Mink Shoals. Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom told Spangler he hoped he was denied parole and spends his entire sentence behind bars. Bloom also imposed a $10,000 fine and ruled that Spangler register as a sex offender and be supervised for 40 years after getting out of prison.


Cross Lanes Man Charged In Drive-By Shooting

Philip Jason Tolley, 33, of Cross Lanes has been charged with wanton endangerment after witnesses say they saw him drive a green Mercury Mountaineer by a home in the 200 block of Keystone Drive near Charleston at about 9:00 P.M. August 28th, pull out a pistol, and open fire on the house. At his home in Cross Lanes, deputies retrieved a 9 mm pistol believed to be used in the shooting.


Cabell County Commissioners Threaten To Sue

Cabell County commissioners Bob Bailey and Nancy Cartmill have indicated they would support a motion to sue the city of Huntington if its proposed 1 percent occupation tax is approved by the state's Municipal Home Rule Board, saying they both believe an occupation tax on those who work inside the city limits is prohibited by the West Virginia Constitution. Bailey and Cartmill say they want to wait until Commission President Scott Bias is present before voting on such an action. In 2002, after the weekly user fee was approved by Huntington City Council, the commission sued on the grounds that it was taxation without representation. But former Cabell Circuit Judge John Cummings later ruled it was a fee and could be imposed. Bailey says the occupation tax is clearly a tax, and employees involved need representation.


Sex Offender Arrested

Donald E. Henry Jr. has been arrested after allegedly failing to register as a sex offender in the state of West Virginia. Henry reported to Michigan State Police that he was moving to Brooke County on July 2 but had not registered with the West Virginia State Police as required. State Police troopers found Henry at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Wheeling Island in Ohio County, where he was employed, Thursday and found out he has been in the area since mid-July. Henry appeared in Magistrate Court Friday morning, where he applied for a court appointed attorney. Henry faces five counts of failure to register as a sex offender and faces up to 25 years in the state prison. He is the Northern Regional Jail on $125,000 bond and will have a preliminary hearing within the next 10 days.


Charleston Man Charged With Kidnapping

Thirty year old Brandon Evjen of Charleston, has been charged with kidnapping. Crystal Skeens says, on August 28th, Evjen grabbed her hair and forced her into his vehicle, then held her hostage in his apartment until the morning of September 2nd, when she was able to escape and go to a neighbors house to call 911. Skeens, who had filed a domestic violence petition against Evjen, missed a hearing on August 31st because she was being held against her will. The petition was denied.


Deer Hunting Season To Soon Begin

West Virginia is gearing up for the first deer hunting season of the year. The Division of Natural Resources says the early archery season runs September 13th through the 18th in several counties...followed by the early muzzleloader season from September 20th to the 25th.


Logan Fire Department Opens Public Computer Lab

On Thursday, the Logan Fire Department became the first of 60 fire stations across West Virginia to operate a public computer lab offering free broadband access and basic computer skills training to anyone. Ten computers and workstations, each equipped with webcams and connected to a printer, will be installed in each of the 60 fire stations. A laptop and big-screen LED will be standard components in each lab. Twenty computer labs are scheduled to open by the end of this year, and 40 more will open during the following two years. The Future Generations Graduate School in Pendleton County was awarded a $4.4 million federal stimulus grant for the program.


South Charleston City Council Drops Ordinance

This week, the South Charleston City Council decided not to approve an ordinance that would have removed the option for police and fire employees to take a different day off for working a holiday with pay. On August 19th, the council approved the first reading of the ordinance calling for city police and fire employees scheduled to work holidays to be paid both holiday pay and time and a half to work holiday shifts. However, it reversed the approval of an additional day off in place of the holiday the employee was required to work. Mayor Frank Mullens voiced concern on August 19th that, when employees took an additional day off, another employee was required to cover the shift. Mullens described the move as "double dipping" and fiscally irresponsible. This week, Mullens asked the council to rescind the ordinance, saying misconceptions had led to its proposal, and no financial problems existed with the current system.


Attorney General Settles With Collection Companies

West Virginia Attorney General Darrel McGraw says two debt collection companies have agreed to pay penalties and stop operating in West Virginia until they register with the state and post bonds. Carpenter Capital Investments, and National Recovery Services will each pay a $1,000 penalty. Carpenter also agreed to cancel debts previously assigned for collection. State law requires debt collectors to obtain a business registration certificate from the West Virginia Tax Department and to post a $5,000 bond for each office location before operating within the state. McGraw says neither company is registered as a debt collector in West Virginia.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Pike County Plans School Merger

Virgie Middle School and Robinson Creek Elementary are preparing to merge. This merging will effect only administration level positions at the two schools. If the merging is approved by state agencies, the two schools will operate under one principal. It needs to be pointed out there would be no movement of either student body. All students would remain at their respective schools. This move is seen as a cost-cutting effort by the Pike County school system.


Pike County Ready For Furloughs

Friday begins the first of the state's furlough days. Prosecutors and public defenders will be off, but Pike County District Court Judge Darrel Mullins says judges and those who commit crimes are not furloughed. Mullins says they can still hold arraignments and set bond for people arrested Friday, but not much else. Judges and their staffs say they are ready.


Trucking Company Ordered Shut

Federal regulators have ordered an Alabama trucking company shut down less than six months after one of its drivers slammed into a van on Interstate 65 in Kentucky killing 11 people.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration told Hester Inc., of Fayette, Ala., that it had to cease operations after failing to correct "critical" violations, including allowing drivers to operate trucks longer than allowed by law.

The order was issued in June, but was released to The Courier-Journal on Wednesday after the paper requested it through the Freedom of Information Act. Scott Hester, the owner of the company, declined to comment to the newspaper.

Truck driver Kenneth Laymon went across the median on I-65 near Munfordville on March 26, striking a van carrying Mennonites traveling to a wedding in Iowa. Two young children survived the crash.


Hazard Community and Technical College Seeking President

The search is underway for the next president of one higher education institution.

The Hazard Community and Technical College Board of Directors met with KCTCS president, doctor Mike McCall, to learn more about the process.

Doctor Allen Gobin served as president for several years and left to accept the same position at an Illinois system.

McCall says this will be a national search, as they try to find someone to take HCTC to higher levels.

Three finalists will be brought in for interviews in November, and McCall says the next president will be announced in December.


Fraternity Cleared Of Responsibility In Fatal Crash

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a fraternity and its members from a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a post-party fatal crash.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Wednesday ruled Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Murray State University bears no responsibility in the death of graduate student Nadia Shaheen, who was struck and killed by a car on a roadside as she walked home from the campus computer lab in 2005.

The ruling confirms a decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell in 2008.

Burgess Harrison Yonts was convicted in 2007 of wanton murder, drunken driving and other charges in the crash. Shaheen's estate sued Yonts, the fraternity and its members. Yonts, the son of state Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, was paroled in August.


High Speed Chase In Powell County

An eastern Kentucky man is in custody after leading police on a high speed chase.

An officer was called to a home in Powell County after a report of a theft. He found 25-year-old William Napier passed out in a truck with the engine running.

Investigators say when the officer tried to awake Napier, Napier tried to run him over. That's when the officer opened fire, shooting out the truck's tires. Napier tried to get away on foot, but was arrested after officers tased him.

Investigators found marijuana, syringes and a large knife while searching Napier's truck.


Rand Paul Visits Power Plant

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul visited a power plant Wednesday to tout the importance of coal to the state's low energy rates.

Paul said recent climate legislation that would place a fee on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, sometimes referred to as cap & trade, would kill industry in Kentucky.

The Bowling Green Republican visited a plant complex owned by the Big Rivers Electric Corporation in Henderson County. He said nearby aluminum plants that employ about 1,600 people wouldn't be located in Kentucky if not for the state's cheap electric power.

Electric consumers in Kentucky pay some of the lowest rates in the nation, and the state draws about 92% of its electric power from burning coal.

The climate legislation passed the House but Democrats in the Senate were forced to shelve plans last month because of a lack of Republican support. Paul said the legislation, which sought to cut carbon emissions from power plants, could make a comeback if Republicans lose seats in the Senate.


Department Of Education Seeking Funding

The state Department of Education may ask the Kentucky General Assembly to delay portions of a major state education improvement act if funding to fully implement it can't be found. Kentucky officials had been hoping win about $175 million in the federal Race To The Top program to implement Senate Bill 1, the wide-ranging education package legislators approved in 2009. But Kentucky wasn't among the 10 winners. State officials are looking for other sources, such as private foundations, that might provide dollars for SB 1 implementation. The Kentucky School Boards Association is questioning whether Kentucky's lack of charter-schools caused the state to lose out in the Race To The Top. Kentucky's final Race score was 412.4 points or 28.4 points behind Ohio, the lowest-scoring state to win Race money.


Former IRS Employee Sentenced

Joseph Ligon, 31, a former IRS employee in Covington has been sentenced to 42 months in prison for helping steal $55,000 in money orders from taxpayers. U.S. District Court Judge Danny C. Reeves granted a motion to issue a sentence beyond the recommended guideline of 27 to 33 months. Ligon and co-defendant Lashon Weaver had pleaded guilty to stealing 28 money orders, but further investigation revealed the duo had stolen an additional 91, and used other people to cash them. Weaver's sentencing is scheduled for September 27th.


President Obama's Credentials As Commander In Chief Challenged

An Army doctor charged with disobeying a deployment order because he doubts President Barack Obama's credentials as commander in chief is asking a military judge for access to the president's school and college records.

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin also is requesting during a hearing at Fort Meade a subpoena to depose the custodian of Obama's birth records with the state of Hawaii.

Lakin is charged with five offenses for allegedly disobeying orders, including one to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., for deployment to Afghanistan last spring.

Lakin said in a video posted on YouTube that he chose to disobey orders that he said were illegal. He says he wants to see Obama's birth certificate as proof Obama is his commander in chief.


Corn Pops In The Field

A Hardin County farmer says that some ears among his feed corn rows popped on the stalk in a phenomenon that agricultural experts say is associated with irregular rainfall and high heat.

Star Mills farmer Patrick Preston sent a photo of the burst kernels that look like partially popped popcorn to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Hardin County Extension agent Doug Shepherd said he's never seen popped kernels before.

Shepherd said the outer coat of a kernel can explode from heat after the ears are pollinated. Temperatures in corn fields can be 10 degrees higher than in the surrounding area as the plants are producing energy.

Shepherd predicts corn yields will fall below normal this year because of hot weather and spotty rain.


Retirement System Seeks Audit

The Kentucky Retirement Systems is asking for an audit of its use of placement agents that have collected nearly $15 million in fees since 2004.

The KRS Board of Trustees audit committee on Wednesday voted to ask state auditor Crit Luallen to review the agents due to questions about the large payments while the $12.5 billion fund is struggling to keep up with pension and health care commitments.

The board released an internal audit on Aug. 12 that disclosed the names of placement agents and their fees but identified no serious problems.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the agents are paid by private investment funds to help sell their products to KRS, although KRS pays fees to the investment funds to cover their expenses.


New EPA Administrator For Region 4

President Barack Obama has selected DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming to lead the Environmental Protection Agency in the southeast.

EPA spokesman Carl Terry said Fleming has resigned as a prosecutor and will begin her new job Tuesday as administrator of EPA Region 4. Her office is responsible for environmental regulation in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Fleming will take her post during a challenging time. It's now dealing with the aftermath of a massive oil spill along the Gulf Coast.

Fleming has been a prosecutor and administrator for 15 years.


Nike Agrees To Change WVU Uniforms

Nike has agreed to change its advertisement promoting new West Virginia University uniforms. Mountaintop removal mining activists had demanded Nike pull its promotional ad for a new West Virginia University football uniform because it features a strip mine. The off-white clothing, which was to be worn for the November 26th game at Pitt, was intended to appear coated in coal dust, and the number 29 was on the coal-black helmets in tribute to 29 men killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. But activists pointed out the mine was an underground operation, and the ad suggested WVU and Nike endorse the controversial form of strip mining. Activists say they want apologies to the people harmed by such mines.


Huntington Police Arrest Four

Jerrell Johnson, Allen Motley, Gail Motley and Paul Perry, all of Huntington, have been arrested after Huntington Police found cocaine base substance in the sink at a home on 7th Street. Officers found 23.8 grams of cocaine base in the right side of the sink, 3.2 grams in the left side of the sink, .7 grams in a glass container which had been placed in the oven, along with a little more than $1000. All four are being charged with possession with the intent to deliver.


Kanawha County Prosecutors Drop Murder Charge

Kanawha County prosecutors have dropped a murder charge against Timothy Burdette, and he is now charged with third offense domestic battery and robbery. Burdette allegedly punched his pregnant girlfriend, Nastacha Caudill, in the stomach when she refused to give him money for drugs, and Caudill lost the baby days later. Assistant Prosecutor Dan Holstein says a medical examiner could not establish a relationship between the punch and the fetus' death.


Routine Traffic Stop Ends In Arrest

A routine traffic stop in Rand Wednesday night resulted in Travis Farley being charged with delivery of a controlled substance. The passenger admitted he had smoked marijuana with Farley about 30 minutes prior to being pulled over. A small bag of marijuana was found on the rear passenger seat. Farley denied any knowledge of it being there. Deputies found more than $3,000 inside the purse of a female teen who was inside the vehicle. Farley faces up to five years in prison.


Guilty Plea Entered In West Side Murder

Michael Serrano has pleaded guilty to one count of wanton endangerment. Charleston police say Serrano and Brandon Sherrod shot through the window of the home of James Williams on November 3rd, killing him. As part of a plea deal, Serrano will testify against Sherrod. He faces five years in prison.


Inmate Sentenced To Two Additional Years

Fifty-six year old Dean Edward Whitman Jr. has been sentenced to two additional years in prison after he pleaded guilty to walking away during a medical furlough to Ruby Memorial Hospital on April 15th Whitman was arrested later that day in Ohio.


CAMC To Construct New Cancer Center

Charleston Area Medical Center has purchased additional property on the site of the former Watt Powell ballpark in Kanawha City. The CAMC Foundation paid the University of Charleston $2.1 million for the remainder of the 5-acre property, after UC scrapped plans to build an athletic facility on the site. CAMC expects to start construction on a new $40 million cancer outpatient center in 2012 and complete the project by 2014.


Accident Kills Beckley Man

Police in Fayette County say John Scarbrough of Beckley died Thursday morning after he lost control of his car heading south on U.S. Route 19 near Hilltop. The vehicle rolled twice and skidded several hundred feet. Scarbrough was thrown from the car and died. Police say speed and alcohol likely played a role in the crash.


Virginia Man Sentenced For West Virginia Death

Randy Howerton, 23, of Falls Mills. Virginia has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 25 suspended, after pleading guilty to felony homicide and a firearms charge stemming from the January 2009 death of Wesley K. Miliam Sr., 42, of Kegley, West Virginia. Authorities say Kegley was shot in the stomach during a game of quick draw at Howerton's home. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped an involuntary manslaughter charge against Howerton.


West Virginia Auditor Sues Banks

West Virginia's auditor, Glen Gainer, says the criminal case that wrapped upthis week targeting an international fraud scheme should help him recover around $1.5 million lost in a Kenya-based scam which resulted in wiring of West Virginia's funds to Kenya. Gainer has sued three banks that handled the transactions involved in the scam. His Lincoln County Circuit Court lawsuit was filed in March against Wachovia, SunTrust and TCF banks. The banks deny any wrongdoing.


Daniels Man Denied Bond

A Raleigh County Circuit Court judge denied bond earlier this week for 38 year old Christopher Bowling of Daniels, saying it would be in the best interest of all parties involved given the history of domestic violence in his family. Bowling is charged with the first degree murder of his wife, Tresa Bowling, who was fatally shot on January 31, 2010 in their home along 4H Lake Road. Their young daughters were in the home at the time of the shooting. Tresa Bowling was rushed to Raleigh General Hospital and soon after pronounced dead. Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller says within the next couple of weeks Christopher will have his pre-trial hearings. Bowling is expected to go on trial January 26th, almost a year after the death of his wife. Bowling remains in the Southern Regional Jail.


Federal Magistrate Seeks Dismissal Of Gun Lawsuit

A federal magistrate is recommending the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by eight states, including West Virginia, seeking freedom from federal gun laws. The states argue they should decide which rules would control the sale and purchase of guns and paraphernalia made inside their borders. However, the U.S. Department of Justice and gun control advocates say the courts have already decided that Congress can set standards on such items as guns through its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The states in the lawsuit are Montana, Utah, Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Pike County Couple Arrested In Letcher County

Whitesburg police and a CVE officer have arrested 38-year old Mickey Thacker and 28-year old Amanda Thacker of Pike County in the Whitesburg Rite Aid parking lot after finding a large amount of drugs, along with forged prescription forms stolen from a doctor's office in Pikeville. The forms were allegedly filled out using fake names to get various prescription pills at numerous pharmacies.


Pike County Man Indicted

Steven Lumpkins of Pike County could face up to life in prison and a $4 million fine after being indicted on federal drug charges. Lumpkins is charged with knowingly and intentionally growing 100 or more marijuana plants in Pike County on or about June 8th. If Lumpkins is found guilty and has a prior felony drug conviction, then he could receive no less than 10 years in prison and up to life imprisonment, along with a $4 million fine. For a first offense, Lumpkins would face no less than five years in prison and no more than 40 years, along with a $2 million fine. He is scheduled to be arraigned September 14th.


National Emergency Grant To Provide Pike County Jobs

The Department of Labor has awarded a $938,441 National Emergency Grant to Kentucky to help with the clean up from July flooding. The grant money will go to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and will be used to create temporary jobs to assist in recovery efforts. Officials say the grant will create around 50 temporary jobs in Kentucky counties. Around 30 of those jobs will be in Pike County.


Parts Of Letcher County Mine Shut Down

Parts of Sapphire Coal's Advantage Number One Mine in Letcher County mine are shut down. MSHA inspected Sapphire more than one week ago, citing safety hazards on 33 conveyor belts. Inspectors visited again and found seven belts were still not corrected. The company was cited for eight violations, one for each belt and another for failing to comply. MSHA has issued Sapphire Coal more than $120,000 in proposed penalties this year for more than two hundred code violations. Sapphire is owned by United Coal.


Kentucky Judge Denies Stay Of Execution

Wednesday, Kenton Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett denied two requests to halt the scheduled September 16th execution of 53 year old Gregory L. Wilson. Bartlett ruled that there's overwhelming evidence of Wilson's guilt, making any DNA test of two-decade-old evidence useless to prove his innocence. Bartlett also found too little evidence to support a claim that Wilson is mentally retarded and ineligible for execution. Bartlett said Wilson's claims were too flimsy to support a stay. Wilson is scheduled to die by lethal injection after he was convicted in 1988 of raping and murdering Deborah Pooley.


Facebook Page For Animal Shelter

The Pike County Animal Shelter continues its efforts to get dogs and
cats adopted by creating a Facebook page.

The page has photos of all cats and dogs currently up for adoption, as well as
contact and location information.

The animals’ pictures will be updated when they are no longer available or new ones
are brought to the shelter.

Find your new pet by searching “Pike County Animal Shelter” on Facebook.


Pro-Coal Rally Set For Washington

Supporters of Kentucky's coal industry are planning a rally in Washington to highlight its importance to the nation's energy supply.

The Kentucky Coal Association, the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security, or FACES of Coal, and some citizens groups will hold the rally Sept. 15 at Russell Park on Capitol Hill.

Organizers say the rally will draw supporters from West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Ohio.

A statement from FACES of Coal says the rally will celebrate the American coal miner and the contribution coal and coal mining make to the nation


Muhammad Ali Center

When he was just 18 years old, Louisville resident Cassius Clay won the gold medal for light-heavyweight boxing at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

This weekend, visitors to Louisville's Muhammad Ali Center will be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that momentous win, which launched the young boxer's legendary career. Muhammad Ali the pro went on to become the first boxer to win the professional heavyweight championship three times.

The center will be open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. EDT with special activities honoring the golden anniversary of the gold medal win. Among other things, children will receive free miniature gold medals.

Admission is $5 for adults.

Visit the center's website,, to see a video of the gold-medal-winning fight.


Judge Seeks Information On Instant Racing

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate has granted the Family Foundation intervener status in the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's "Instant Racing" case.

The state has asked the court to rule on whether it properly put out regulations to allow betting on previously run races.

Wingate indicated on Wednesday morning that he will allow all parties to file briefs in the case but intends to limit discovery.

He also said he wants a better understanding of how "Instant Racing" or wagering on historical races actually works.


Boater Pulled From Ohio River

Crews from Petersburg, Dearborn County, Boone County and Covington have located the body of a missing boater in the Ohio River along Boone County.

Search and rescue crews located the body of Mike Fugate, 48, of Petersburg, using sonar equipment.

Charles Slagle, 41, also of Petersburg, told police that he and Fugate, his brother, were in a small johnboat near the Interstate 275 Carroll C. Cropper Bridge when Fugate jumped overboard and did not resurface.


Former Fayette Jail Employees Sentenced

Former Fayette County jail employees John McQueen and Clarence McCoy have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison and two years of supervised release after being convicted May 13th in connection with inmate beatings and a conspiracy to cover them up. Investigators say jail employees attacked inmates when they were neither resisting or posing a threat to any officer. Several former inmates have sued the jail in state and federal court. Three other former jail employees accepted plea agreements in connection with the case.


Mega-Church Moves Ahead With Purchase

A senior pastor at a mega-church in central Kentucky says leaders have signed a letter of intent to purchase a defunct mall and reopen it as a religious facility.

Southland Christian Church senior executive pastor Chris Hahn said the letter was sent to the owner of the former Lexington Mall, which has been in disrepair since Dillard's closed in 2005.

If the Lexington Planning Commission approves Southland's development plan for the 30-acre site, Hahn says the church would like to close on the purchase Oct. 1.

Southland expects to spend about $30 million to buy and redevelop the property, which would serve as one of five satellites to the church's Harrodsburg Road location.


Facebook Comments Gets Student Arrested

A middle school student in Lexington is facing a criminal charge after posting what police said were threatening messages on Facebook.

The Jessie Clark Middle School juvenile was charged with terroristic threatening. Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said the boy posted "comments that basically referred to the destruction of the school" between Aug. 18-25.

Administrators at the school learned about the comments on Monday and called police who arrested the boy.

Roberts said the boy told police the postings were a joke and that he didn't mean any harm.


Putnam County Woman Sentenced

Tina Holsopple, 44, of Culloden in Putnam County, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $146,494.91 for identity theft. Holsopple pleaded guilty to the federal charge in May 2010, admitting that while working at an accounting firm in Cross Lanes, she stole over $154,000 while being placed in charge of an account for Poca Valu Rite pharmacy. An investigation revealed Holsopple used check creation software to make counterfeit checks payable to herself, stamped the owner of the pharmacy’s name on the checks, deposited them in her own account, and withdrew the money for personal use.


Detroit Drug Dealer Sentenced In Charleston

Myreo Dixon, 21, a Detroit drug dealer has been sentenced to 52 months in a federal prison on heroin charges. In March, Dixon admitted he conspired with Phillip Moorhead to distribute over 100 grams of heroin in the Charleston area. Dixon supplied approximately 8 ounces of heroin to Moorhead over the period of one year. Federal prosecutors say, on July 29, 2009, Dixon and another individual traveled from Detroit to Charleston via bus with a backpack containing heroin. The men were arrested following a traffic stop in which agents recovered a backpack containing 110.9 grams of heroin Dixon admitted he planned to sell to Moorhead for $4,500. Moorhead was previously sentenced to 120 months in prison.


Ripley City Worker And Husband Charged

Ripley city worker, Brenda Rollins, and her husband, George Rollins, are facing charges after police say they found a sophisticated marijuana growing operation in their home in Sandyville. Police searched the home and found a hidden room exclusively used to cultivate marijuana, lights, marijuana seeds, fans and nearly 50 lines dedicated to drying out the drug so it could be sold. Their bonds were set at $125,000.


November Ballot Questioned

In West Virginia, the special election for U.S. Senate will be on the same ballot as the general election on Tuesday, November 2nd. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says those who vote straight ticket will, potentially, only have to vote once, but that raises some issues that need to be addressed. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant says the U.S. Senate race will be at the top of the one ballot and straight ticket voting will be an option. Tennant points out that the Senate race, Supreme Court race and the 10th Senatorial District race are all special elections in November. Tennant says they will all fall in line, but Carper maintains any issues need to be raised now, before Election Day.

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