Saturday, September 25, 2010


Woman Allegedly Abducted At Gunpoint

Kentucky State Police in Harlan County say, Friday evening, a man approached a woman at the Coldiron community's gas station and asked for a ride. When she told him she wouldn't take him, he pulled out a handgun and demanded a ride. The two traveled to Martins Fork Lake where the man moved the gun to his lap and reached over to sexually assault her, causing the woman to flee from the vehicle, as the man also fled. When police responded, they found the victim's car engulfed in flames on a hillside.


Alleged Flasher Behind Bars

Officials at Eastern Kentucky University say an alleged flasher is behind bars. William J. Bullock of Somerset, KY was arrested Friday night and charged with three counts of Indecent Exposure. Officials say he admitted to exposing himself to females on EKU’s campus on three separate occasions this week. Arrest warrants were obtained by the EKU Police Department and he was lodged without incident in the Madison County Detention Center. Bullock is being held on a $5000.00 cash bond.


Jury Rejects Caffeine Claims...Finds Man Guilty

A jury deliberated about 1 1/2 hours Friday before convicting Woody Will Smith in the May 2009 strangulation of his wife, Amanda Hornsby-Smith. Attorney Shannon Sexton had told jurors Smith did not kill his wife, but that excessive caffeine from sodas, energy drinks and diet pills left him so sleep deprived and mentally unstable that he had falsely confessed to police, but the jury rejected the defense claims. Prosecutors said Smith attacked his wife during a fight. The jury also recommended a life sentence. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 20th.


Pike County Mining Operation Gets Award

Carl E. Campbell, commissioner for the department of natural resources,
presented a 2010 Commissioner’s Award for Excellence in Reclamation to LABCO, LLC
for outstanding reclamation work on their surface facility located in Pike County
near Elkhorn City.

“LABCO, LLC and Hank and Luke Salyer should be commended for the work they do,” Pike
County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said.

The mining facility is a surface area and re-mining operation. LABCO’s permit was
originally approved with hollowfills, but they did not use them, and, as a result,
no streams were impacted in the mining process. LABCO is developing a permanent and
diverse vegetative cover with planting of grasses such as orchard, timothy and
redtop grasses, and several species of legumes.

Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement inspectors Eddie Kelly and Gene
Blackburn nominated this site because of the company’s exceptional work and
commitment to the environment.


KSP Citizens' Police Academy

Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville will be accepting applications
for it's upcoming Citizen Police Academy. Applications can be picked up
at Post 9 Pikeville on the 2nd floor. The academy will start on
Wednesday October 13, 2010 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and will meet every
Wednesday until completion of the academy. The meetings will be held at
Pepsi Bottling Company located next to Post.

The Citizens Police Academy is an eleven week course provided by
the Kentucky State Police. Over the course of the eleven weeks you will
be presented with a variety of topics that the Kentucky State Police are
involved with. Applicants will learn about the structure of the agency,
processing of crime scenes, patrol and traffic stops. You will be
introduced to many special divisions of the Kentucky State Police and
learn about Trooper Island. You will even get a hands on approach to
learning about us by participating in many practical exercises.

Any questions can be directed to Kentucky State Police Post 9
Pikeville or Trooper Shaun Little at (606) 433-7711 or


KSP And DEA Drug Collection

KSP will partner with the Drug Enforcement Agency today in a collaborative effort to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from home medicine cabinets.
Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at every KSP Post across the state.


Otter Creek Survey

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources launched an online survey this week to gain public input as it plans for future uses of the Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area in Meade County. The survey will remain open until Oct. 15.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is acquiring the property formerly known as Otter Creek Park. The property, which was formerly operated by the Louisville Metro Parks Department, closed for budgetary reasons in January 2009.

Persons without Internet access may call 1-800-858-1549 to request a paper copy and instructions for completing the survey.


Governor/First Lady Get Flu Shots

With influenza season just around the corner and flu vaccine already available in many locations this season, Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear received their seasonal flu vaccinations.

Governor and Mrs. Beshear urge all Kentuckians to get a seasonal flu shot or nasal vaccine spray and encourage parents to make sure children older than 6 months also receive protection against the seasonal flu. This year's seasonal flu vaccine includes the H1N1 strain, as well as other strains of flu that are expected to circulate.

Kentucky expects local health departments and private health care providers to have plenty of flu vaccine on hand for this year’s season, and vaccine is already available at many locations around the state. Kentuckians should contact their health provider or local health department for more information.

The flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May, but usually peaks between January and March. September, October and November are good months to be vaccinated for flu because it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop and offer protection against flu. However, vaccination can be given any time during the flu season. Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.


Fire Rips Through Cross Lanes Apartment Building

Sixteen families spent Saturday morning huddled outside, looking at what used to be their home, as fire ripped through the Tyler Apartments along Big Tyler Road in Cross Lanes around 5:00 A.M. Officials say everyone made it out okay, but one person was treated on the scene for minor burns and another was treated for smoke inhalation. The Red Cross was called in to help the 16 families who lost almost everything in the fire.


Security Beefed Up At Construction Site In Belle

Kureha Corp. has hired a private security firm, IMAC Security Services, after a series of incidents between union workers and immigrant laborers who are building a $100 million specialty plastics plant in Belle. Kanawha County sheriff's deputies were called to the site earlier this month after a local pipefitter working above other laborers allegedly dropped a wrench near a Hispanic worker who was insulating pipe below. Kureha plans to finish construction by the end of September and start production in mid-November. The plant will produce a polyester resin for plastic soft drink bottles, fishing line and food containers.


Kanawha County Judge Denies Injunction To Change Ballot

In West Virginia, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1. On Friday, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Bailey denied an injunction request from the West Virginia Republican Party seeking to change the way the November 2nd ballot is structured. An attorney for the state GOP argued that Secretary of State Natalie Tennant should have created two separate ballots, one for the general election and one for the special election to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat. The party's problem with the single ballot is that people can vote a straight ticket once and that includes the race for U.S. Senate and the races for the general election. GOP Chairman Mike Stuart claims lawmakers meant for there to be two ballots when the Legislature passed new legislation this summer, and Tennant could have easily printed up two ballots instead of one. Hundreds of ballots have already been mailed overseas to military members and West Virginians living abroad.


U.S. Senate Candidates Set To Debate

West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and the Associated Press are all organizing a televised one hour long debate which will include Democrat Joe Manchin, Republican John Raese, Jesse Johnson with the Mountain Party and Jeff Becker with the Constitution Party. The debate, scheduled for Monday evening, October 18th, will be moderated by Journalism School Dean Maryanne Reed.


Dunbar Hoping To Merge With Institute

Dunbar is hoping to expand its city limits by merging with Institute, but not everyone is eager to see that happen. Two similar proposals were voted down by residents and businesses in Institute who say they have no desire whatsoever to be incorporated, or to lose the Institute name. When Union Carbide moved out of the Institute area, so did the big money that was used to help the area out financially, leaving some to fear that not joining up with Dunbar could hurt them in the future. If Dunbar annexed, they could receive taxes from people and businesses in the area which Mayor Jack Yeager says would give the people police protection, fire protection, planning and zoning, streets and trash pick-up. Yeager says the average person will have to pay a little more property tax, but their insurance would go down proportionally, while the average citizen would not have to pay more tax. More than 51 percent of the homeowners and businesses would have to agree to approve the merger. People against the plan are organizing a community meeting on October 1st which will be held at West Virginia State University's Student Union in room 134 beginning at 7:00 P.M.


Forum To Discuss West Virginia Dropouts

Generation Charleston, an organization of young professionals, says West Virginia's 17 percent dropout rate is troubling. The organization and the Education Alliance will host a policy forum Tuesday evening to come up with a legislative initiative aimed at lowering the rate. State and national education leaders have been invited. Several ideas will be presented to groups of eight to 10 participants, who will discuss them and make recommendations. The groups then will present the initiatives to all forum attendees, who will pick one that best deals with the dropout issue.


Severstal Restructuring North American Operations

Severstal is in the process of restructuring it's North American operations, and, as a result, has put three mills on the auction block. According to American Metal Market, U.S. Steel Corp. and India's Essar Steel are two of the five companies interested in the U.S. steel mills put up for sale by Severstal. U.S. Steel's interest is limited to the Severstal Wheeling assets, while Essar is interested only in Severstal's Sparrows Point Mill. Such limited interest makes the two steelmakers longshots to succeed in their bids. Other bidders have made offers for all three mills.


Supreme Court Suspends Law License Of Morgantown Attorney

The state Supreme Court has suspended the law license of Morgantown attorney John Michael "Mack" Cavendish for three years. Cavendish admitted that he submitted bills to Daniels Capital Corp. without proper documentation to justify the payments. Daniels Capital is a company that advances defense attorneys money they are owed from the state's Public Defender Corp. Cavendish stipulated that he received advance payments for work he had not performed by misrepresenting the amount due him, work he had performed for his privately retained clients and for funds due a former employer, that he was not entitled to receive. Cavendish must pay restitution of more than $62,000 to Daniels Capital. Before he can be reinstated, he must also pay $4,412.78 to cover the costs of the disciplinary proceedings, and submit a doctor or psychologist's certification that he is mentally and physically fit to practice law.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Bledsoe Keeps NCAA Eligibility

The Birmingham school board decided Friday to let basketball star Eric Bledsoe keep a grade that helped him gain NCAA eligibility to play at Kentucky. Superintendent Craig Witherspoon said a teacher claims Bledsoe completed makeup work to justify a higher grade in an algebra course during the 2008-2009 school year. The teacher alleged the mark was switched from a "C" to an "A" after that, but an investigation found no documentation to justify the improvement, although it didn't prove that it was improper, either. Bledsoe left the Wildcats after one season and is now a rookie with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said the school maintained its reliance on the high school, the university and the NCAA for initial eligibility, and, at no point, was the University of Kentucky under investigation by the NCAA nor was there any reason to believe UK was ever under investigation.


KSP Investigating Death Of Whitley County Attorney

Kentucky State police are investigating the death of former Whitley County attorney 56 year old Kyle David Kersey who was pronounced dead at Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin Friday. Shortly before 7:00 A.M., Kersey was found with a gunshot wound in the torso when officers and emergency workers were investigating a wreck on Ky. 770 in southern Laurel County. Kersey had crashed his pickup and crews found him in the truck.


Daughter Of KFC Founder Dies

Ninety-one year old Mildred Sanders Ruggles, the daughter of Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, died Tuesday after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. Ruggles was the wife of the late John F. Ruggles Jr., founder of the Ruggles Sign Company based in Versailles. In the late 1950s, Mrs. Ruggles traveled around the United States and Canada with Colonel Sanders teaching KFC franchisees the proper way to cook chicken "the Colonel's way.


LexTran Announces New Day Pass

Just in time for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, LexTran has announced its new day pass which will allow visitors to make unlimited bus trips to and from the airport, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and the Kentucky Horse Park in a single day. Adult day passes are $3 each. Passes are $1.50 for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and Medicare card holders.

Day passes will be accepted on Route 28, the Kentucky Horse Park Express, LexTran’s shuttle to the World Equestrian Games. Passengers using this route for transportation to and from the Kentucky Horse Park may also ride for $1 each way. The first bus will depart the Transit Center one hour prior to gates opening at the Kentucky Horse Park and shuttle service will continue until 2 hours after the completion of the last event each day.

In addition to the Kentucky Horse Park Express route, the day pass will also be accepted on all other LexTran routes. After the conclusion of the World Equestrian Games, the day pass will remain available for purchase on a regular basis.


Fire Leaves Workers In Critical Condition

A flash fire erupted at the Kingsford Charcoal Plant just south of Burnside in southern Kentucky just before noon Friday, injuring four people working atop outdoor storage tanks during a regular production shutdown for maintenance work. The injured workers suffered burns to their upper bodies. Plant manager Tom Burkenpas says the workers were using a cutting torch while working along conveyors on top of storage tanks when the flash fire ignited. The four workers were identified as Dana Mayrand, Jerry King, Gayson Roberts and Jamie Dancy, all between ages 35 and 45. Three were taken to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington where Mayrand, Roberts and Dancy were listed in critical condition Friday afternoon. Burnside is about 85 miles south of Lexington.


Conway Campaign Calls Paul Contributions Disturbing

Democrat Jack Conway’s U.S. Senate campaign is calling for Republican Rand Paul to return some $1,400 in campaign contributions from three people that a Conway staffer labeled “white supremacists.” Conway spokesman John Collins said Friday the contributions that ranged from $400 to $500 were disturbing. Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said 35,000 people have made contributions to the Bowling Green eye surgeon’s race. He said staffers couldn’t possibly do background checks on every donor. Benton wouldn’t say Friday whether the campaign would return the contributions.
Conway and Paul are running for a Senate seat now held by Republican Jim Bunning, a northern Kentuckian who finishes his second term this year.


False Fingerprint Evidence Charged

A northern Kentucky man claims a police officer used false fingerprint evidence and testimony to charge him with robbery and is seeking $12 million in damages in a civil lawsuit.

James Dillon Dawson says in a suit filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Covington that Ludlow police officer John Dorman took his fingerprints off a soda can then submitted them as evidence of in a burglary case in which $20,000 was stolen. Dawson spent seven months in jail before the charges were dismissed in June.

Named as defendants are Dorman, Ludlow Police Chief A. Wayne Turner and Assistant Police Chief Benny Johnson. Turner said he had not seen the lawsuit and referred questions to Ludlow City Attorney Tom Miller, who could not immediately be reached for comment.


High School Coach Faces Sexual Charges

Police have charged an assistant high school football coach in Madison County with sexually abusing a student.

An arrest warrant says 34-year-old Joey J. Tate attempted to have sex with a female student at a high school in Berea.

The Richmond Register cited school board records in reporting that Tate is an assistant football coach at Madison Southern High School and an instructor in the school district.

The newspaper reported Madison County Schools spokeswoman Erin Stewart declined to comment on Tate's employment or the charges against him.

Tate's attorney, Jim Baechtold, said Wednesday that his client was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, so the case was sent directly to a grand jury.


USDA Federal Funds For KY

Kentucky is receiving a $53 million infusion of federal assistance for rural development initiatives, with much of the money going to improve electric service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the amount in loans and grants for rural infrastructure and economic development. Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday that the investments to the rural economy come at an opportune time.

Three of the awards were made through the USDA Rural Development's Electric Program. It provides loans to electric utilities to upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural electric infrastructure.

The governor's office said Jackson Energy Cooperative Corp. has been selected for a $20 million guarantee loan. It said Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. has been chosen for an $18.5 million guaranteed loan, while Clark Energy Cooperative Inc. has been selected for a $14 million guaranteed loan.


Eight Indicted On Reckless Abuse Charges

Three former caregivers at a Madison County home for mentally disabled adults have been indicted on misdemeanor abuse charges.

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office announced the charges on Thursday, relating to allegations of abuse of a patient at Independent Opportunities in Richmond in September 2009.

A grand jury indicted Patsy Jackson on a charge of reckless abuse of a vulnerable adult. The panel charged Hosea Farris and Verna Campbell with criminal attempt to knowingly abuse of an adult.

Also on Thursday, the attorney general announced five former caregivers at Bluegrass Communities at Oakwood in Somerset have been charged with reckless abuse of a vulnerable adult and with failing to report the abuse.


Shaken Baby Syndrome

University of Louisville Hospital is teaching new mothers about shaken baby syndrome.

A statement from the hospital says it is the first local hospital outside the Norton Healthcare system to offer families information about what it calls the most common form of deadly child abuse.

65 nurses have been trained to educate the 2,000-plus families with babies that come through the Center for Women and Infants at UofL Hospital each year.

The education program includes a video, a brochure and speaking with a nurse about the consequences of shaking a baby and tips for coping with persistent crying.

UofL says the program could be expanded for use in other birthing centers across the state.


Murder Suspect Offers "Caffeine Defense"

A northern Kentucky murder suspect maintains he remembers nothing about the day his wife was strangled with an extension cord in their bed.

Woody Will Smith testified in his own defense on Thursday and said he was so sleep deprived from drinking caffeinated beverages that he has no recall of the day.

Amanda Hornsby-Smith was killed in September 2009.

The defense claims statements Smith made to police that day are a false confession.


Arch Coal Permit Recommendation Sent To Washington, D.C.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a recommendation about a permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 mine was sent to headquarters in Washington, D.C., Friday as part of the internal review process. The next stop is the Office of Water. A final ruling will come sometime this fall. EPA received more than 50,000 comments on its plan to veto a Clean Water Act permit that’s crucial to the Logan County project. EPA contends the nearly 2,300-acre mine would cause irreversible damage to the environment. The mine was permitted in 2007 but has been delayed by lawsuits.


Hearing Delayed For Former Huntington Police Captain

A preliminary hearing was canceled Friday for former Huntington Police captain 80 year old Foster "Pete" Bowen of Barboursville. Bowen was arrested in August and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse which allegedly happened about 20 years ago and involved five victims who were then between the ages of eight and 13. According to police, the sex acts took place in Bowen's home in Barboursville, and pornographic material allegedly was sometimes used to entice the victims. Magistrate Court Officials say the hearing was canceled after prosecutors decided to take the case to grand jury for a direct indictment. A Cabell County Grand Jury met earlier this week. Their findings are expected to be released on October 1st.


MSHA Closes Areas Of Massey Mine

Federal regulators are accusing Massey Energy of failing to fix a dozen safety violations at the Upper Big Branch mine. That inspection is separate from criminal and civil investigations of the April 5th explosion. MSHA says 344 citations have been issued since the inspection started July 26th. Wednesday, MSHA issued 12 orders closing areas where violations hadn't been fixed. Massey chief Don Blankenship says the citations are being issued to seek publicity.


Jackson County Man Charged With Murder

Ronald Carl Davis of Kenna, in Jackson County, has been charged with first degree murder and first degree arson after investigators say he set a trailer on fire Thursday night, killing his ive-in girlfriend, 52 year old Cathy Lynn Parsons. Davis was released on parole August 29th after serving 9 years in prison for killing his brother. Police say it appears to be the result of a domestic dispute that got out of hand.


Pretrial Hearing Set For Charleston Businessman

A December 2nd pretrial hearing date has been set in the case of Charleston businessman 76 year old Donald Lee Tate, owner of the Fas-Chek supermarket chain and one of the owners of the former Tate-Porter Auto Mall in Ripley. Tate is accused of stalking an ex-girlfriend, Annetta Fields, by hiding in a vehicle in some weeds outside her house off U.S. 33 near Ripley. Tate and Fields, who dated for about seven years before breaking up, are in a dispute over the home where she lives, which is owned by Tate who is suing Fields in Jackson Circuit Court. Tate had a Kel Tec .32 caliber pistol in his pocket when he was arrested, but he had a concealed weapons permit. Tate was released on $1,500 bond.


Huntington Occupation Tax And City Sales Tax On Hold

During a meeting in Charleston Friday, the Municipal Home Rule Board voted to table Huntington’s plan to implement a one percent occupation tax and a one percent city sales tax. Board members told city leaders they want assurances that the plan is constitutional, along with a feasibility study on the sales use tax.
City leaders say they plan to provide the information early next week, and the Board is expected to re-convene sometime soon after that. The plan was set to take effect October 1st, if the board had given its okay on Friday.


Kanawha County Public Library Receives $46,000 Gift

Through the will of Charlene Byrd, the Kanawha County Public Library has received a $46,000 gift directed to go toward building a new main facility. It will apply toward the John L. Ray challenge grant. Byrd, who died in March of 2009, had served on the library board since 1998. The gift is 40 percent of a gift left to the library and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and Morgan State University. Byrd, a former Kanawha County teacher and school administrator, joined the school system in 1965 and worked in various positions before retiring in 1998 as associate superintendent for cultural diversity and communications.


Jefferson County Commissioner Pleads Guilty

Jim Surkamp, a Jefferson County commissioner who lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary in May, pleaded guilty late this week to unauthorized presence in a polling place. In exchange for his plea, a misdemeanor illegal voting count was dismissed. Surkamp was accused of trying to vote twice in a zoning referendum. Surkamp, who was fined $100 and ordered to pay court costs, also must write a letter to the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office admitting that what he did was wrong and that his prosecution was not politically motivated.


Police Investigating Shawnee Park Break-In And Fire

Thieves broke into the Shawnee Park clubhouse in Institute early Friday, 24 hours after someone burned the golf course's pro shop to the ground. Investigators say the fire was deliberately set. Police say the pro shop had been broken into twice prior to the Thursday fire. Once, the thieves made off with a safe, and the other time, they destroyed and robbed a vending machine. Investigators believe Friday's thieves broke into the clubhouse looking for the money. Park system police and Kanawha County sheriff's deputies are investigating.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Heat Wave Breaks Records


It may be fall according to the calendar, but, baby, it's hot outside. Thursday's heat wave broke records in Lexington, Louisville and Jackson. Lexington recorded a record high temperature of 94 degrees. The previous high was 92 degrees, in both 1941 and 2007. Louisville's high of 97 degrees also set a record, beating 96 degrees in 2007. The 92 degrees recorded at the National Weather Service in Jackson topped the previous high for September 23, 2005, which was 91 degrees.


University Of Kentucky Issues Crime Alert

The University of Kentucky and Lexington police have announced a joint-operations task force and an increase in patrols to combat a recent rash of robberies on and around the UK campus. UK issued its fourth crime alert within three days Thursday after campus police were notified of a robbery at 700 Woodland Avenue, in the Cooperstown area of the campus. A female student reported that a man followed her to her apartment and took about $100 at about 1:15 P.M. The victim told police that the suspect was about 5-foot-6, and was wearing a mask over his face that covered everything but his eyes. Several other robberies have occurred in recent months.


Whitley County Authorities Offering Reward

Whitley County authorities are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the attempted murder of Williamsburg police officer Shawn Jackson. Police say, in July, someone went to Jackson's home in the middle of the night and messed with his personal pickup truck, causing him to crash when he took it out in the morning.


Internet Gambling Owners Need To Appear In Court

In 2008, the Beshear administration sued in Franklin Circuit Court to give the state control of 141 gambling Web site domain names in an attempt to restrict Kentuckians' access to them. Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court, for a second time, ruled that the owners of Internet gambling operations need to show up in court if they don't want the state to seize the domain names of their Web sites. Justices ruled that trade groups like the Interactive Gaming Council, which hired lawyers to fight the state's action, don't have standing to represent the owners of gambling Web sites. The justices also found questions about whether the few businesses named as owners of some of the sites really own the domain names.


Conway/Paul Debates Scheduled

Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway have committed to a fourth political debate which will be moderated by Chris Wallace on Fox News and aired at 9:00 A.M. EDT on October 3rd. The candidates had already agreed to three debates in Kentucky, and others remain a possibility. They have agreed to debate in Covington on October 11th, in Paducah on October 14th and in Lexington at a statewide appearance on Kentucky Educational Television on October 25th. The campaigns have discussed a face off on NBC's "Meet The Press," but haven't yet committed to that.


Kentucky Supreme Court Rules On DNA Testing

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that inmates are entitled to only a single DNA test of old evidence regardless of what, if any, results an initial test produces. The high court's ruling on Thursday in the case of condemned inmate Thomas Clyde Bowling marks the first time the scope of Kentucky's post-conviction DNA testing law has been defined. Bowling was sentenced to death on January 4, 1991 for the shooting deaths of Eddie and Tina Early in Lexington. The husband and wife were shot on the morning of April 9, 1990, while sitting in their car before opening their family owned dry cleaning business. Their 2-year-old son was injured, but survived the attack.


Former University Of Kentucky Student Gets Probation

Former University of Kentucky student, 20 year old Sean Patrick Dunn, has been sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to second-degree wanton endangerment and 3rd-degree criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. Dunn was charged after police say he wrapped fraternity brother John Pelosi in toilet paper and set him ablaze, causing an evacuation of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house. The UK chapter of SAE has been suspended for two years for violating UK's alcohol policy. The revocation will last until the fall semester of 2012.


Kentucky Unemployment Rates Fall

According to numbers released Thursday by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, jobless rates fell in 98 Kentucky counties from August 2009 to August 2010.Woodford County recorded the lowest rate, 7.6 percent, while Magoffin County recorded the state's highest unemployment rate, 18.2 percent. Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than the precise number of people working. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.


PRIDE Makes Presentations

During a ceremony at Shelby Valley High School on September 16th, students and educators accepted trophies and ceremonial checks for PRIDE awards earned by St. Francis of Assisi School, Runyon Elementary School and Shelby Valley High School.


Pikeville College To Honor Memory Of Former Teacher

Sixteenth century painter and sculptor Michelangelo once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

In the classroom, Janice Ford introduced her students to the artists who color our world. For Ford, a longtime professor of art at Pikeville College, that was an important part of the learning process.
Although she lost a courageous battle with Multiple Myeloma in 2007, Ford’s family, along with the campus community, will honor her memory by dedicating the Janice Beeler Ford Student Art Gallery at Pikeville College on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m., in the Allara Library.

During the dedication, Allen Abshire, of Pikeville, will be recognized as the first student to receive the Janice Beeler Ford Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts.
“This is a special gift to our students. The best way to honor Janice is by recognizing their achievement,” said Pikeville College President Paul Patton. “Through this gallery, her love of the arts and dedication as a professor will continue to be a source of inspiration.”
A talented artist, Ford enjoyed and made the most of the creative ability God gave her. She began painting during her teenage years and progressed as an artist, expanding her knowledge of every medium including oils, colored pencil and watercolors. Ford most enjoyed painting watercolors and loved painting still-life images.

A Pikeville College alumna, she began her career as an art teacher at Johns Creek Elementary and at Pikeville High School. In 1969, she joined the faculty of Pikeville College. While at the college, Ford was named Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers for five consecutive years, received the Teacher of the Year Award and was named an Outstanding Teacher of America by the Pikeville Women’s Club.
A lifelong resident of Pikeville and a devoted member of the Pikeville Church of Christ, she and husband Bobby L. Ford were married for 43 years. Ford’s brother, Forrest (Buddy) Beeler, and sister, Beverly Beeler Sanders, also live in Pikeville.
“She was a wonderful teacher, supportive mother, devoted wife, and an example of what a Godly woman should be,” said daughter Laura Ford Hall. “For all the significance of her life, and the numerous lives she affected, she was, above all, a Christian servant.”

Hall, along with her husband, Brad Hall, and her father, Bob Ford, join Pikeville College in inviting the community to attend the Janice Beeler Ford Student Art Gallery opening on Sept. 30, at 5 p.m. For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 218-5270.


Additional KY Counties Added To Drought List

Gov. Steve Beshear has requested additional counties be included in a request for disaster assistance from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, as a result of drought conditions that began Aug. 1.

“The expanding drought conditions continue to severely impact our agriculture sector,” stated Gov. Steve Beshear in a letter to Secretary Vilsack. “The impacts of this drought will be felt in other sectors as reduced yields in grain crops and damage to pastures that have not recovered from previous droughts are realized.”

On Sept. 7, Gov. Beshear requested disaster assistance for 35 counties in western Kentucky. Today, the Governor requested the following 20 counties be added to that request:

Anderson,Butler, Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Franklin, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Kenton, Nicholas, Oldham, Pendleton, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Woodford.

The dry conditions, coupled with extremely high temperatures, have resulted in the early harvest of corn, the early use of hay to feed livestock and livestock producers having to seek alternate water sources, as well as other impacts that affect net farm income and the state’s economy as a whole.

Information about USDA Disaster Assistance Programs is available at by clicking on the Disaster Assistance Program link in the left-hand column.


Kentucky Historical Society Event

Author and writer Maryjean Wall, Ph.D., will discuss Kentucky’s wild and violent frontier past and its transformation to the horse capital of the world during the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) History Speaks! program at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7. The event will take place at the Old State Capitol in downtown Frankfort and is free and open to the public.

At the end of the Civil War, Kentucky was plagued with violence and lawlessness, which dissuaded wealthy capitalists from the Northeast from bringing their racehorse-breeding operations to Kentucky. Bluegrass breeders did not find a way to attract those breeders to Kentucky until after the war. Based on her research, Wall contends that this was the time that Kentucky’s identity transformed from that of a border state to a state that is truly southern.

Prior to beginning research toward her doctorate at the University of Kentucky, Wall served as a reporter on the horse racing beat for the Herald-Leader from 1970s to the early 2000s. When she first began her career, she was the only woman in the United States writing about racing for a newspaper on a full-time basis. She has received three Media Eclipse Awards for excellence in thoroughbred racing coverage and three John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing reporting.

Wall’s discussion, “How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers and Breeders,” is titled after her book, a recent release from the University Press of Kentucky. The book will be for sale at the event.

History Speaks! is part of the KHS Highlighting History series, which also includes the Food for Thought program. Highlighting History is funded with generous support from the KHS Foundation. Upcoming events in the series include a KHS Film Series screening of “The Narcotic Farm” and History Speaks!: “The Vanishing Bluegrass.”

For more information on Highlighting History, including the full Fall 2010 schedule, visit


Massey Seeks To Stop Subpoenas

Massey Energy wants a Raleigh County Circuit Court judge to bar investigators from compelling its employees to answer questions about the April 5th explosion that killed 29 miners at its Upper Big Branch mine. Massey Energy chief Don Blankenship says there's evidence some victims knew methane gas was pouring into the Upper Big Branch mine before the explosion, and some of the miners cut off electricity to the cutting head of the main mining machine, locked the machine's coal conveyer and apparently were trying to run for safety when they died. Massey's theory is that methane flooded the mine so fast it overwhelmed safeguards, such as ventilation equipment that Massey argues was weakened by federal regulators. Massey contends MSHA is using the state to expand its narrow subpoena power, and that, while the state has subpoena power for private interviews, MSHA only can compel witnesses to testify at formal public hearings.


Huntington Police Find Body Of Missing Woman

The search for a missing Huntington woman ended around 1:00 P.M. Thursday when police found her body along the bank of the Ohio River. Ellen Weinberger, 60, of Huntington was reported missing by her husband Richard on Wednesday after police found her 2008 Honda CRV parked in the middle of the 6th Street Bridge in Huntington around 9:30 A.M. Wednesday morning. Huntington Police say the CRV was locked, all of Mrs. Weinberger's personal belongings were in the vehicle and the car seemed to be in good mechanical shape, but the keys to the vehicle were missing.


Hurricane Man Faces Drug-Related Charges

James Luikart, 48, of Hurricane, faces more than 20 misdemeanor charges after he allegedly called a doctor's office in St. Albans on Wednesday, identified himself as Corporal Clark with the West Virginia State Police and asked the doctor's office about missing prescription pads. Police examined state Board of Pharmacy records and found Luikart had obtained several controlled substance prescriptions for Zolpidem and Oxycodone between October 2009 and September 2010 from at least two different doctors. Luikart faces one misdemeanor count of impersonating a law enforcement officer and 20 counts of withholding information from a practitioner.


West Virginia Supreme Court Refuses To Consider Petition

The West Virginia Supreme Court voted 4-0 Thursday to refuse the petition filed by Janet "J.T." Thompson challenging the November 2nd ballot. The independent House of Delegates candidate objects to including the special U.S. Senate election on the regular general election ballot. Justices say Thompson's challenge could instead join a similar lawsuit filed in Kanawha Circuit Court by West Virginia's Republican Party. The GOP wants separate ballots to avoid "straight ticket" voting in the Senate race. That option allows voters to select one party's nominees with a single mark on the ballot.


Ravenswood's Chief Of Police Resigns

During a meeting Thursday, Ravenswood City Council members voted to accept Chief of Police Paul Hesson's resignation and to hire an outside attorney to investigate the Police Department because some residents have made allegations of wrongdoing by officers. Council members indicated their interest in forming a citizens advisory committee for the Police Department. Members feel it would make residents feel more comfortable coming forward with complaints against the department. Hesson, a former State Police trooper, has served as chief of police for three years. Ravenswood Mayor Lucy Harbert will serve as interim police chief.


Supreme Court Refuses Appeal

The state Supreme Court has refused to further consider the appeal of Michael Merrifield, a Putnam County man convicted in January 2008 for the 2005 murder of two year old Logan Goodall, the son of his girlfriend Pepper Eren. Merrifield's attorney had asked the Supreme Court to forward the case to full arguments, claiming insufficiency of evidence, venue issues and newly discovered evidence, but the court refused the appeal on a 5-0 vote. Merrifield is serving a life in prison sentence without the possibility for parole. Eren is serving a 1 to 10 year prison term and has been denied parole several times. She pleaded guilty to felony child neglect.


Marion County Man Sentenced For Murder

Thursday morning, Marion County Judge David Janes sentenced Samuel Rollins to life in prison for first-degree murder for the June 2009 murder of Christopher Martin. In August, a jury decided to grant Rollins mercy making him eligible for parole in 15 years.


West Virginia To Participate In National Drug 'Take-Back'

West Virginia will take part in the first national prescription drug 'Take-Back' initiative this coming Saturday, September 25th. Various police departments will collect expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, R. Booth Goodwin II, says the use of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the nation.


Beckley Man Sentenced

Christopher Shawn Mills of Beckley was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release Thursday after pleading guilty in June 2010 to illegally storing hazardous waste without a permit. Mills admitted he stored chrome plating waste materials, including sulfuric acid and chromic acid, he knew was hazardous. on site at Mills Plating Shop from 2004 through 2006. In 2006, when the shop moved to Harper Road, the waste materials were stored in open containers and vats and abandoned at the Beckley location. Mills was also ordered to pay part of the cleanup cost of $133,819.12, the amount determined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.


West Virginia Utility Assistance Program To Hold Fundraiser

Businesses and individuals who donate $500 or more to the Dollar Energy Fund West Virginia Utility Assistance Program can get a 50 percent tax credit. Dollar Energy Fund West Virginia is a statewide utility assistance program that has supported more than 8,500 needy families during the past two years.
Dollar Energy says $33,000 in tax credits are available, and those credits can leverage matching funds from the six companies that participate in the program, which has committed $2.3 million to needy families in West Virginia since its inception in 2008. Dollar Energy has scheduled a fundraiser for November 4th. Through the WCHS Radio 58 Warmathon in Charleston, a call center will be set up with volunteers taking donation pledges.

Participating companies include Allegheny Power, Appalachian Power, Equitable Gas, Dominion Hope, Mountaineer Gas and West Virginia American Water. Each participating utility matches donations from the program, which receives no government assistance.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Salyersville Man Sentenced

Seventy-one year old Robert Barnett of Salyersville in Magoffin County was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in prison for trying to arrange the murder of a West Virginia man who owed him money and possession of a machine gun. A mandatory 30 years of the sentence stems from the charge for having a machine gun. The sentences will run consecutively. In June, a jury convicted Barnett in a murder-for-hire plot involving an undercover ATF agent who was hired to kill a man in Huntington. Prosecutors say Barnett gave the agent a machine gun, a pistol, two illegal silencers and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, along with $5,000 as a down payment and a promise to pay $4,000 after the slaying.


Allegiant Air Offering Trips From Blue Grass Airport To Florida

At Wednesday's meeting of the Blue Grass Airport Board, it was announced that, beginning November 18th, Allegiant Air will offer two weekly round trips between Blue Grass Airport and Punta Gorda Airport near Fort Myers, Florida. Allegiant will be offering introductory fares of $44.99 one way. The fare is limited and must be purchased by October 12th. It's valid for travel through March 8th. Allegiant currently offers four weekly round trips to the Orlando area from Lexington and two weekly round trips to the Tampa Bay area from Lexington. The carrier will use full-size 150-seat MD-80 aircraft on the route. The flights will be Thursdays and Sundays.


Retired Couple Found Dead In Hardin County Home

Retired doctors, Margaret and Terje Buggeland, were discovered dead by one of their sons in their Hardin County home early Tuesday morning, and police have been searching for their other son, Erik Buggeland, and their car ever since. Police say Erik Buggeland, who lived in the home with his parents, is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who's considered an endangered missing person, not a suspect. Foul play is suspected in the case, and police are hoping the couple's son can help them. Erik Buggeland is described as 6-foot-1 and 370 pounds.


Clay County Accident Kills Biker

Kentucky State Police say Herbert Davidson was driving on KY 66 in Oneida in Clay County around 8:00 P.M. Tuesday night when he made a left turn into the path of two motorcycles. Seventeen year old Carl Davidson tried to stop, but hit the car and was ejected. He was transported to the Memorial Hospital in Manchester where he was pronounced dead by Clay County Coroner Jim Trosper. Herbert Davidson was arrested on charges of driving on a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, no registration and no insurance.


Representative Proposes Change In Nursing Home Deaths

Under legislation state Representative Tom Burch, D-Louisville, says he will introduce, nursing homes would be required to notify coroners of every resident's death in an effort to identify more abuse and neglect. State law does not specifically require nursing homes to report deaths to coroners, who are rarely called even when abuse or neglect is suspected. According to prosecutors polled as part of Governor Steve Beshear's recent review of how allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect are investigated, autopsies often aren't performed, and evidence isn't gathered. Attorney General Jack Conway proposed the change to state law to require nursing home officials to report to the coroner all deaths occurring in long-term care facilities or deaths occurring shortly after a resident leaves a facility. Conway recommended a proposal to increase penalties for caregivers convicted of not reporting abuse.


Paul Declines To Confirm Support For Operation UNITE

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul declined Wednesday to confirm his support for a well-known drug-fighting program in eastern Kentucky. On Friday, Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson said Paul had assured him in a telephone call asking for Johnson's endorsement that he would not seek to cut funding for Operation UNITE or other regional drug task forces. In July, Paul was asked whether he supported UNITE, and Paul answered the question directly by saying he would "rather see drug abuse and dependency treated and paid for at the local level." Paul explained that by saying, when tax money goes to Washington, much of it gets wasted. Paul did not say he would seek to cut federal funding for Operation UNITE.


Arrests Made In Floyd County

Prestonsburg Police are investigating after an estimated $200,000 worth of items were stolen from the EZ Pawn Shop several days ago. Forty-one year old Donald Tilley and 31 year old David Hall have been charged, while officers search for other suspects. The owners have a 5,000 reward for information leading to arrests.


Pill Dragon Visits Knott County

The Pill Dragon made a stop at the senior center in Hindman in Knott County Wednesday to help senior citizens get rid of their old prescriptions. Operation UNITE officials say people often become easily addicted by using drugs found in medicine cabinets in their own homes or in their neighbors' homes. This coming Saturday, every KSP Post in the state will participate in the national "Take Back Prescription Pill" program in which people can anonymously drop off their expired or unused pills from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.


PSC Fines Former Elam Utility Owner

Wednesday, the Kentucky Public Service Commission fined Wilma Ison-Sorrell, the former owner of Elam Utility Co. Inc., a total of $12,500 for repeated violations. The city of West Liberty recently purchased the assets of Elam, but the violations predated the transfer of the company which provided natural gas service to about 460 residential and commercial customers in Morgan and Wolfe counties. The violations relate to Elam’s repeated failure to file quarterly adjustments to its retail price for natural gas. The PSC assessed the maximum penalties permitted by Kentucky statute. The PSC dismissed Elam Utility from the case because the sale to West Liberty means Elam no longer exists as a viable utility company. Ison-Sorrell must pay the penalties within 30 days.

Payment by Ison-Sorrell of the $7,500 suspended portion of the earlier penalty.
A penalty of $2,500 against Ison-Sorrell for failing to file the gas cost adjustment for the second quarter of 2010.
A penalty of $2,500 against Ison-Sorrell for not responding to a PSC order issued in April 2010 regarding the failure to file the gas cost adjustment.


Kentucky Voters Can Access Candidate Information

Kentuckians trying to keep up with candidates for the November elections can go to a comprehensive website to do their research.

The site from Project Vote Smart includes information on the candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House, focusing on issues such as abortion, Afghanistan, crime education, the economy and health care.

Voters who go to can click on Kentucky, type in their ZIP code and easily find candidate breakdowns.

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