Saturday, October 02, 2010


Final Day To Register For General Election

If Kentuckians want to participate in the upcoming general election on November 2, 2010, Monday is the final day to register to vote.

County Clerks’ offices throughout Kentucky will accept voter registration cards until the close of business. A postmark of October 4 is also required for all mail-in voter registration applications. Registration cards can be obtained over the internet at

Additionally, Secretary of State Grayson reminded voters that if they have moved recently, they need to update their voter registration so that they are allowed to vote on election day. In particular, if a voter has moved from one county to another prior to the voter registration books closing and he or she does not update his or her voter registration, that voter will not be allowed to vote in the general election.


Mayking Bridge Detour

On Monday, state contractors will resume work on the US 119 bridge at Mayking. The bridge will be reduced to one lane, with a concrete barrier wall and temporary traffic signals, until some time in January. In addition, a section of KY3410, which runs underneath the bridge, will be closed during the same time.

What started as a routine bridge deck overlay has changed to a complete
superstructure replacement. When state inspectors analyzed the Mayking bridge deck after asphalt was removed, they discovered that deterioration of the structure was much worse than it appeared when the deck overlay was approved.

At the same time, KY 3410, which runs under the bridge will also be closed. Motorists can take a short detour on KY 1862, which can be used as an alternate route from either end.


KY To Get Additional Funding To Help With Housing Concerns

Gov. Steve Beshear, along with Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) Chief Executive Officer Richard L. McQuady, announced that Kentucky will receive additional funding from the U.S. Treasury Department to help unemployed and underemployed homeowners pay their mortgages as they seek work. Kentucky originally expected to receive $55.6million, but received notification that the state will receive an additional $93.3 million for a total of $148.9 million.

“Kentucky’s unemployment rate continues to be at very high levels and we know we have families in need,” said Gov. Beshear. “This additional funding is much needed and means we will be able to assist even more Kentuckians.”

Geared to serve low-to-moderate-income households, this loan program is funded through Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds are dedicated to the expansion of the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets (the Hardest-Hit Fund.

Details are still being determined, but it is anticipated that the program will be launched statewide in April 2011. Until these funds are made available, Kentuckians who are facing foreclosure or near facing foreclosure can seek free help through the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center.


Tennessee Governor Signs Order To Protect Ridgelines Adjoining KY

Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee has signed a petition to protect ridge lines on the Northern Cumberland Plateau.

The petition signed Friday requests the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining to find ridge lines on land managed for public use on the plateau unsuitable for coal surface mining.

Much of the property covered by the petition is part of the state's 2007 "Connecting the Cumberlands" conservation initiative and is located in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan and Scott counties.

The Southern Environmental Law Center and the National Parks Conservation Association applauded Bredesen's signing.


Kentucky Horse Racing Commission To Meet

The Wagering Integrity Committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 4, at the Red Mile Clubhouse,1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington.

Wagering Integrity Committee Agenda

I. Call to order, roll call
II. Approve minutes of Oct. 19, 2009 meeting
III. Conditions to Licensure
IV. New Administrative Regulation on Advance Deposit Account Wagering
V. Adjournment


Approved Mosque In Mayfield Under Reconsideration

A western Kentucky city's zoning board plans to discuss its rejection of a Somali man's request to build a mosque.

The Mayfield Board of Zoning Adjustments will meet Oct. 12, but will not take public comments. City Planner Brad Rodgers told The Courier-Journal in Louisville that the board will discuss a Sept. 22 letter from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the mosque applicant, Khadar Ahmed.

The board denied a permit on Aug. 24, reversing a decision made two weeks earlier to approve it, citing concerns about limited parking and capacity in the small commercial building where the mosque was planned.

The board and other city officials heard opposition to the proposal from critics of Islam at the hearing and in correspondence.

Ahmed sought to build the mosque for Somalis who moved to Graves County to work in a chicken processing plant.


Lr. Governor Mongiardo To Sell Farm

Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo has put his central Kentucky farm on the market.

The 54-acre Franklin County farm became a campaign issue in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, which Mongiardo lost to Attorney General Jack Conway.

Mongiardo bought the farm in July 2009 for more than three-quarters of a million dollars. He gets a $30,000 per year housing allowance and there are no restrictions on how it's spent.

Mongiardo told The Lexington Herald-Leader that, had he won the Senate general election, the farm would have been a convenient place to live when not in Washington.

Conway said last spring Mongiardo should return the allowance because he planned to develop the property and profit from it.

A realty agent said the asking price for the farm has not been determined.


Man Must Stay Out Of KY After Guilty Plea

An eastern Kentucky man will have to stay out of Kentucky for at least two years as part of his guilty plea to sexual misconduct.

The ban is part of an elaborate plea agreement between 22-year-old Julio Peon of Winchester and prosecutors to settle charges that he had sexual involvement with a

Peon must stay out of Kentucky until the victim turns 18 and that he will move to Florida after being released from the Clark County Detention Center. Peon pleaded guilty to one count of sexual misconduct and sentenced to 270 days in jail.

Peon was first arrested in June after allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl. He was released on bond in July and ordered to have no contact with the girl.

Prosecutors say he took the girl to a party in another county a month later.


American Crossroads Launching Blitz To Help Raese

American Crossroads, a conservative Republican group launched by Bush administration political operative Karl Rove, is launching a get-out-the-vote blitz to help Republican John Raese in his bid to defeat Governor Joe Manchin and other candidates in the November 2nd U.S. Senate race. The groups says the effort will be extensive and include a 72-hour mail and phone call blitz prior to Election Day. American Crossroads is one of the biggest of the so-called “super PACS,” political action committees, that the courts have said can raise unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against candidates.


Huntington FBI Conducts Drug Bust

The FBI's Huntington Violent Crime Drug Task Force has arrested 41 year old Stanley Smith, following six years of investigation. The Task Force, along with other local and federal agencies, had received information for six years that Smith was involved in trafficking drugs in Huntington and Detroit, along with areas of Texas, Tennessee and Ohio. Investigators coupled information from informants and interviews with convicted drug dealers with Smith's previous arrests in March and April 2004, October 2005, May 2006 and November 2007. A criminal history check revealed a felony conviction in August 2006 for manufacturing/delivering drugs in Anahuac, Texas. Through a confidential informant, investigators purchased a half ounce of cocaine from Smith on September 23rd.


Head-On Collision Kills Two

A head-on collision between a coal truck and a pick up truck Friday afternoon on Route 60 near Glasgow in Kanawha County resulted in the death of 66 year old Mary Turner of Montgomery and 71 year old Franklin Holdren. Fifty-five year old Dorothy Runion and 54 year old Joseph Runion were taken to the hospital with very serious injuries. Fifty-eight year old Roger Fleshman of Beckley, the driver of the coal truck, received minor injuries. The coal truck was registered to Jeff Mining Inc. of Rainelle.


Cabell County Sheriff's Deputy Wins Shooting Competition

Cabell County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Vincent won the bullseye shooting competition Saturday during the Sheriff's Cup, a shooting competition between law enforcement officers held at Barboursville Park. More than 30 officers participated in the competition. Vincent scored 97 out of a possible 100 when shooting a handgun at 25 yards, 15 yards, 10 yards, 7 yards and 5 yards. Vincent has been a sheriff's deputy for 11-and-a-half years and has spent 18 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He serves on the sheriff's department's Special Weapons And Tactics Team.


Cabell Huntington Hospital Secures Funding

Cabell Huntington Hospital has been awarded $643,500 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a planned Children's Hospital project which will reconstruct the hospital's pediatric unit and pediatric intensive care unit, in addition to constructing procedure rooms, family lounges, play rooms and a new entrance to be used for young patients. The Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation Inc. has raised $9.5 million for the project so far. The state-of-the-art facility will provide advanced care for children close to home.


Woman Allegedly Steals Debit Card

Amber Lynn Picklesimer faces 12 felony charges after turning herself in at the Cabell County Sheriff’s Field Office in Ona late this week. The charges include fraudulent use of an access device and forgery of a credit card. Police say she stole a debit card from an elderly woman for whom she worked for as a caretaker and then used the card seven times to purchase over $850 worth of items like video games, a cell phone with extra minutes, gift cards, gas, candy, and cartons of cigarettes from K-Mart, Walmart, Tower Food Fair, Speedway and Exxon.


Remains Of Elkins Man To Be Buried In National Cemetery

Sixty-six years after his death, the remains of Pfc. Lawrence Harris of Elkins will be buried October 8th at the West Virginia National Cemetery in Pruntytown. Honor guards from Taylor County and Camp Dawson will attend. Military records show the 24-year-old Harris and two others died October 9, 1944, when their M-10 tank destroyer was blown up by enemy fire in a French forest. The Army tried unsuccessfully to locate the men but ruled them unrecoverable in 1947 without knowing the bodies had been found and buried without identification in Belgium. In 2003, an ID bracelet was discovered in France leading investigators to begin to make the connection.


Putnam County Residents To Receive Better Sewer Service

A $12.9 million federal loan to bring sewer service to 448 Putnam County residents along Route 33, Rocky Step Road, and Route 60 has been approved. Also, aging sewer lines within Marina Park, a mobile home community, will be replaced. The project essentially fills in the gap in the service area on Route 33, Teays Valley Road, to the Kanawha River. Marina Park has a sewage collection system that is connected to the Putnam Public Service District but the lines have deteriorated. The Route 60 portion of the project was originally conceived in 1996 and part of it was done then. Sewage from Route 33, the main portion of the project, will go to Nitro for treatment, while sewage from Route 60 and Marina Park will be treated at Hurricane. Ground for the project will probably be broken in early 2012, and construction is expected to take about one year. The Putnam Public Service District currently has 9,762 sewer customers.


McDowell County Prison Seeking Workers

The Federal Correctional Institution in McDowell County was officially activated two weeks ago, and the prison already serves as home to more than 50 inmates. The $249 million facility will house more than 1,150 medium security inmates, and nearly 130 minimum security adult male offenders. As of September 15th, the prison had hired 118 new employees, with nearly 100 from the commuting area. Public Information Officer Gene Beasley says, out of the 330 available positions, there's still 80 left to fill. Those positions include correctional officers, teachers, cooks, a chaplain and more. Federal officials estimate the facility will contribute approximately $38 million annually to the local and regional economy. According to Beasley, they hope to have medium security inmates inside sometime between November and December.


DHHR Defends No-Bid Contracts

The state Department of Health and Human Resources is defending a plan to award no-bid contracts to three health care insurance companies, although some lawmakers are questioning the plan. Bureau of Medical Services Commissioner Nancy Atkins says bidding wouldn't produce a better deal, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services don't require competitive bidding. The DHHR already has agreements with the companies to provide health care to more than 160,000 Medicaid recipients who are on welfare, while the no-bid contracts cover another 55,000 Medicaid recipients who are part of the Social Security Income program. The contracts for both Medicaid groups would total nearly $600 million. Kanawha County Delegates Ron Walters and Nancy Peoples question whether the no-bid contracts are legal, but DHHR spokesman John Law says state law doesn't require bids for managed care products.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Kentucky Gets Broadband Funding

Governor Steve Beshear announced Friday that Kentucky has been awarded $3.2 million in stimulus fund grants for broadband mapping and outreach programs. The grants, combined with prior awards and matching funds, raises Kentucky's broadband investment to more than $396 million. Commissioner of the Commonwealth Office of Technology and Chief Information Officer Phil Baughn will manage the broadband infrastructure investments statewide.


Judge Rules Against State Cabinet

Earlier this week, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ordered the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to pay $16,211 to The Courier-Journal and $4,520 to the Lexington Herald-Leader, legal fees spent by the two newspapers after the cabinet withheld public records concerning the death of a child in state protection. Kayden Daniels, a Monticello toddler, died last year after drinking drain cleaner at a methamphetamine lab allegedly run by his parents. Kayden and his 15-year-old mother were under supervision of the state foster care system. The cabinet has 30 days to appeal.


Pike County Mine Temporarily Closed

Administrative law judge Steve Blanton of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has granted a temporary injunction stopping work at Cambrian Coal's No. 8 Mine near Elkhorn City in Pike County. In April, the Kentucky Division of Mine Permits granted Cambrian subsidiary Apex Energy permission to mine a 792-acre area surrounding an already-mined area. The Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth say the permit should have never been granted.


Letcher County Lawsuit Settled

To settle a state lawsuit over an October 2008 diesel fuel spill that contaminated the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Letcher County, Childers Oil will pay $500,000. In February 2009, a similar spill from a second Childers Oil site damaged the Whitesburg water plant, shutting off service for days to 7,500 customers. Whitesburg Mayor James Craft said Friday that he was surprised and pleased to hear the city would recover some of the costs. Craft says the city paid around $125,000 to replace and upgrade the city water treatment plant's carbon filtering system and
also sued Childers over about $50,000 in water testing laboratory bills.


Former Beshear Staffer Intends To Run For Auditor

Thirty-five year old Adam Edelen, former chief of staff to Governor Steve Beshear, announced Friday he intends to seek the Democratic nomination for state auditor next year. Crit Luallen is finishing her second term and legally cannot seek a third. Edelen, who lives in Lexington, resigned as Beshear's chief of staff in September after more than two years. Before that, he served as Beshear's director of homeland security.


Kinzer Drilling Raises Gas Well Gratis To Pike County

In order to continue with site preparation work at the future site of EQT’s Regional
Headquarters at Scott Fork, Kinzer Drilling supervisor Darren Rudd and operator
Rodney Wireman Jr. raise a gas well 32 feet at no cost to Pike County. The job would
have cost several thousands dollars, but Kinzer Drilling Company LLC has agreed to perform the job at no additional cost as a showing of its partnership with Pike County in regard to economic development.


Rutherford Proclaims ‘National 4-H Week’ In Pike County

Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford recently presented Pike County 4-H President Gerri Bentley with a proclamation recognizing Oct. 3-9, 2010, as ‘National 4-H Week’ in Pike County. Also present were Courtney Case, 4-H Secretary; Bentley, Novella Froman, County Extension Agent for 4-H and Youth Development; Juanita Saylor, 4-H Vice President, Kaitlin Preston, 4-H Reporter, and Brooke Preston, 4-H State Teen Council Member.


ARC Funding For KY Mountain Health Alliance

Gov. Steve Beshear joined local officials to announce $325,000 of Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) federal funding for the rehabilitation of a building to house the Kentucky Mountain Health Alliance Inc (KMHA).

KMHA serves the health and wellbeing of underserved citizens and those at risk for homelessness. The existing Little Flower Clinic facility is leased space that has a leaking roof and malfunctioning heating/cooling system and does not meet building code requirements. With only 4,500 square-feet of space, the ability to protect patient confidentiality and provide adequate workspace is limited. Outdated communications and technology services result in frequent disruptions in service. Dangerous and limited parking presents problems for clients and staff.

The ARC grant will supplement funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).


Combs Receives NRA Endorsement

Citing her “record of supporting Second Amendment legislation,” the National Rifle Association (NRA) has endorsed 94th District State Rep. Leslie Combs in the Kentucky General Election.

“The NRA’s endorsement means a lot to me. I am honored to have the support of an organization that is committed to serving the interests of Kentucky’s law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen,” said Combs. “My constituents throughout the 94th District can be proud of our efforts to protect their rights.”

This is the second time Combs has received the NRA-Political Victory Fund “A” rating and endorsement.


Youth-Only Firearms Season For Deer

Kentucky’s Youth-Only firearms season for deer is timed for success.

Kentucky’s Youth-Only firearms season for deer, first held in 1996, is the weekend of Oct. 9-10.

The season was created to offer resident and non-resident boys and girls ages 15 and under an introduction to deer hunting with the maximum opportunity for success. The Youth-Only firearms season for deer is the first of five firearms deer seasons. The early muzzleloader season is Oct. 16-17. Modern Gun deer season opens Nov. 13 and closes Nov. 28 in Zones 1 and 2, and Nov. 22 in Zones 3 and 4. Late muzzleloader season is Dec. 11-19 and Free Youth Hunting Weekend is Jan. 1-2, 2011.


Halloween At KY State Parks

Halloween will soon be here and the Kentucky State Parks have plenty of activities – some scary and some not -- planned for families. They include costume contests, haunted trails, hayrides, storytelling, games, campground decorating and more.

Here is a listing of Kentucky State Park Halloween events in our listening area with dates, times and phone numbers. (Please note that some activities are limited to campground guests.) Visit for more details about parks or to make lodging or camping reservations.

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, prestonsburg
Haunted Hayride, Oct. 15-16; Oct. 22-23
If you like to be scared, then Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is the place to be! Come join this annual event and take a tractor-pulled hay ride that you soon won't forget. The Haunted hay Ride will be held in the campground and will begin at dark. Fee is $4 per person. The park is also sponsoring a pumpkin-carving contest for school children. Deadline is Oct. 26. The judging will take place at 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. Pumpkins will be displayed at the park through Halloween weekend. Call 1-800-325-0142. Haunted Campground Halloween, Oct. 22-23
Come join the Recreation Staff for an evening of ghosts, ghouls and spooks! The evening activities will consist of a costume dance, a live ghost hunt, costume contest and much more! While you are there, take part in the Haunted Hay Ride. Happy Haunting! 1-800-325-0142.

Paintsville Lake State park, PAINTSVILLE
Camper’s Halloween, Oct. 29-30
Camp with us on Halloween weekend and we’ll treat you to a camper’s cookout. You’ll also want to spook up your campsite for our best decorated Halloween campsite contest. First and second place winners in both RV and tent camping will win free camping! The staff will have treats for the kids and they can also visit other campsite for treats! 606-297-8487.


October Is Civics Month

October is Civics Month in Kentucky, and there will be events throughout the Commonwealth to remind citizens, both young and old, about the importance of being engaged in the democratic process. Civics Month developed out of the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky (CLIK), chaired by Secretary of State Trey Grayson and was made official by the passage of House Joint Resolution 109 during the 2005 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

For more information about CLIK or to find out how to get your school, organization, or family involved in any civic activities taking place across Kentucky during the next month, please visit:


Fruth Pharmacy Robber Arrested

Huntington Police have arrested 32 year old Michael B. Nichols for allegedly robbing the Fruth Pharmacy located on Eighth Avenue in Huntington last Sunday. Police say Nichols walked into the pharmacy on Route 60 with a knife, and walked away with $6,800 worth of pills. Nichols, who has for his first time been arrested, claims a five year addiction to Oxycodone prompted him to commit the crime.


Bond Reduction Denied For Former Huntington Police Captain

Former Huntington Police Captain, 80 year old Foster "Pete" Bowen, appeared in court Friday to ask Cabell County Circuit Judge Dan O'Hanlon to reduce his one million dollar bond, but that request was denied. Bowen is charged with 38 counts of sexual abuse in an indictment which details numerous allegations of oral sex and sodomy involving what was, at the time, young boys. Cabell County Prosecutor Chris Chiles says he feels strongly that Bowen remains a threat to the community. Chiles says eight victims claim Bowen told them, 'If you tell, I'll kill you, your family and then myself."


Corrections Officer Arrested

The West Virginia State Police's Crimes Against Children Unit says 38 year old Ronald Russell of Lost Creek has been arrested and charged with 2 counts of 2nd degree sexual abuse by a parent guardian or custodian. Russell, a corrections officer at the Pruntytown Correctional Facility, is accused of committing crimes against a juvenile female. If anybody suspects a child is being abused, they should call the State Police's Crimes Against Children Unit at (304) 367-2701.


Beckley Post Office Workers Hold Picket

Friday, Beckley post office workers held an informational picket along Industrial Drive to let locals know they could soon have a new post office in charge of their area. The U.S. Postal Office has conducted a study to determine whether it’s feasible to continue processing operations at the Beckley Post Office or process mail at the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center. Post office employees say the move projects a one time savings of $571,017, but they believe the long-term effect would be detrimental. Members of the Postal Workers Union believe a public outcry would change plans that they believe are already in the works to move operations. They’re asking the public to address postcards to the Consumer Affairs division in Charleston by October 6th.


Huntington Police Continue Theft Investigation

Police say Joseph Jackson, 31 and Frank Floyd, 25, both of Huntington, were stealing items from a dozen homes in the Enslow Blvd. and southeast hills areas of Huntington which were then being sold at Grandmother’s Attic Antique Store. Jackson and Floyd were arrested on September 20th. Jackson is charged with two counts of daytime burglary and one count of receiving stolen property, while Floyd is charged with two counts of daytime burglary and driving on a suspended license. Virginia Ferguson, 50, the owner of Grandmother’s Attic has been arrested and charged with operating a business without a license. Since the arrests, investigators have recovered approximately $10,000 in stolen property, including electronics, a computer, jewelry, a gun stolen in Kentucky and a silver set valued at $6,000. Friday, members of the Huntington Police Department, Cabell County Sheriff’s Office and W.Va. State Tax Department executed a search warrant at the business and at Ferguson’s residence, while looking for business records. Ms. Ferguson was also served a cease and desist order from City of Huntington.


Rally To Focus On Jobs, Justice And Education

Hundreds of West Virginians will be in Washington D.C. this weekend to attend the One Nation Working Together Rally which will be held Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial. Ten bus loads will represent the AFL-CIO, and more than 190 groups from across the country are expected to attend for the purpose of rallying for jobs, justice and education. Labor unions, community leaders and others will be on hand.


Former Montgomery Police Officer Sues Town

Shawn Hutchinson, a former Montgomery police officer, is suing the town for wrongful termination. Hutchinson was the partner of Matthew Leavitt the night the pair stopped Twan and Lauren Reynolds outside the 7-Eleven store in Montgomery. Leavitt is in federal prison after pleading guilty to two civil rights misdemeanors after being accused of hitting Twan Reynolds over the head with a blackjack, kicking him in the back, spraying his eyes with pepper spray, using a racial epithet and licking Lauren Reynolds on the neck during an interrogation. Hutchinson says the town didn't follow procedural rules for disciplinary actions, and that he was entitled to a hearing on the issues before being fired. He says he requested a hearing, but town officials didn't respond. Hutchinson also claims city officials failed to provide any reason for the termination which has caused him substantial financial harm.


West Virginia Counties Approved For Disaster Funding

Federal agriculture officials have approved a disaster declaration for drought-ravaged counties in West Virginia. Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Pendleton and Preston counties were originally listed as disaster areas. Although Governor Joe Manchin had sought the declaration for those nine counties, it was extended to include Barbour, Monongalia, Pocahontas, Randolph, Taylor and Tucker. Farmers and ranchers in the 15 counties can apply for low-interest emergency loans from the U.S. Farm Service Agency to cover portions of their losses. Stressed crops included apples, peaches, corn, hay, pasture and soybeans.


Mason County Commission Approves Tolls

Thursday, the Mason County Commission approved a plan to place two tolls along the new Route 35 through Putnam and Mason counties. Commissioners Bob Baird and Miles Epling voted in favor of the measure, while Rick Handley voted against it, but all admitted this has been one of the toughest decisions they've had to make for the county. Commissioner Handley says that, this week alone, the commission received 104 requests from the public to vote against the tolls. They also received a petition with over 70 signatures out of more than 27,000 residents in Mason County. The Division of Highways says it needs additional funding to finish a nearly 15 mile stretch of the new road. Public hearings will be held on the state's toll proposal.


West Virginia Association Presents Check To Make-A-Wish Foundation

Members of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association say, since August, they've raised almost $202,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The association represents convenience stores, independent grocers and petroleum marketers throughout the state. Between August first and August 30th, more than 1,000 of those stores sold wish starts for $1, and a golf outing was held this week at Stonewall Resort in Lewis County. A check presented to the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Friday in Kanawha County will be used to grant wishes for sick kids.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Former Prison Guard Indicted

Thirty-seven year old Jesus Alfredo Cabrera, A former corrections officer at the Northpoint Training Center, a prison in central Kentucky, has been indicted. Cabrera has been accused of bringing 12 Diazepam pills onto prison grounds. Cabrera was on duty on August 21, 2009, when inmates rioted and burned several buildings. Prosecutors used his testimony to indict inmates. An arraignment is set for November 5th in Boyle Circuit Court.


Pike County Sheriff Department Conducts Bust

The Pike County Sheriff's Department, targeting 18 people, arrested 10 of those people Thursday morning, while three were already in custody. Lee Slone and Carl Pugh are already in Pike County Jail on previous drug charges, and Felicia Pennington is being held in West Virginia on drug charges.


Pikeville Drug Bust

UNITE detectives are continuing their investigation into a drug trafficking operation in Pikeville. UNITE law enforcement director Dan Smoot says illegal activity centered around an apartment located on Pike Street on the east side of town not far from Pikeville College. About 7:00 A.M. Thursday morning, three UNITE detectives and four officers from the Pikeville Police Department went to the residence where they arrested 36 year old Jose A. Acahua and 35 year old Marcello Salinas, who could produce documentation that they were in the United States legally. Police discovered approximately 25 grams of powered cocaine, 20 baggies of marijuana packaged for individual sale in about one ounce quantities, and $1,000 in cash. The drugs have a combined street value of about $3,000. They were charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine) and trafficking in marijuana less than eight ounces. After being taken to the Pike County Detention Center, officers discovered a Lortab pill concealed on Salinas, and he was additionally charged with second-degree possession of a controlled substance. Additional charges against Acahua and Salinas, as well as possible indictment of other individuals, is expected after the case has been presented to the Pike County Grand Jury.


Kingsford Worker Dies

Forty-two year old Jerry King, who suffered burns to over 60 percent of his body last Friday at the Kingsford charcoal plant near Burnside, was pronounced dead at 1:35 P.M. Thursday at the University of Kentucky Hospital. Dana Mayrand, Gayson Roberts and Jamie Dancy remain in serious condition. The four men suffered burns, as well as internal injuries from inhaling heated air and gases, after a fire erupted when a spark apparently ignited a small pile of particle-size charcoal. Authorities say the four men were using torches and welding equipment to repair a conveyor when the fire broke out.


Police Hope Son Can Help Investigation

Retired doctors Margaret and Terje Buggeland were discovered dead in their Elizabethtown home in Hardin County by one of their sons on the morning of September 21st. Police have been searching for the couple's other son, Erik, and their car ever since. Erik Buggeland, 35, was found shortly after midnight Wednesday in Adamsville, Tennessee by a city police officer on patrol. Erik Buggleland, who lived in the home with his parents, is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and was considered an endangered missing person, not a suspect in his parents' deaths. Foul play is suspected in the case, and police hope he can help them find answers to what happened.


Registered Sex Offenders Found In Foster Homes

An investigation by state auditors has found registered sex offenders living in nine Kentucky foster homes and three in-home child care centers.

State Auditor Crit Luallen released the findings on Thursday.

Luallen said auditors from her office compared the addresses of registered sex offenders with those of state-regulated foster homes and small child care centers operated out of private residences and turned up 30 matches.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, apprised of the findings, went looking and found sex offenders living in 12 of the 30 sites identified by auditors.

Luallen recommended that the state routinely cross-check addresses of sex offenders with foster homes and in-home child care facilities.


Belfry Middle School Highly Ranked In KY

Relationships, culture and ‘going above and beyond’ words that Belfry Middle School principal Matthew Mercer said are the key to successful education.

BMS ranked fourth in Kentucky on the overall Academic Index, at 110. The differance between number one and number four was only 10 points, with Scapa at Bluegrass ranking 120, Anchorage Independent Public School 119 and Corbin Middle School 114.

Mercer says recent test scores that put BMS near the top of Kentucky’s 327 middle schools “aren’t our focus.”

“Test scores don’t define us, but they do validate what we trying to accomplish here at Belfry Middle,” Mercer said. “I won’t mention test scores again all year.”


Yum! Center Official Opening Set

The public is invited to attend the official opening of the new Louisville arena next month.

A statement from the Kentucky State Fair Board on Wednesday says federal, state, local and University of Louisville officials will speak Oct. 10 along with Louisville coaches during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $238 million KFC Yum! Center.

The Fair Board will manage the 721,762 square feet multipurpose facility on the city's waterfront.

The first event scheduled at the center is a concert by The Eagles on Oct. 16.


High Ranking Democrat To Speak In KY

The No. 2 ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate is scheduled to speak to Kentucky Democrats.

U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Kentucky Democratic Dinner on Oct. 9 in Louisville.

Durbin is the Majority Whip and serves on the Senate's Judiciary, Appropriations and Rules Committees. First elected to the Senate in 1996, Durbin previously served in the House of Representatives.

Durbin will be joined by retired U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Senate Candidate Jack Conway, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth and Ben Chandler, along with multiple state officials.


Judds To Ride The Santa Train

Eastern Kentucky natives Wynonna and Naomi Judd will be aboard the 2010 Santa Train that will travel through Appalachia with gifts for thousands of children for the 68th year.

The Santa Train will make 14 stops in the mountains of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, delivering 15 tons of toys on Nov. 20.

The event will mark the first time the two have appeared on the train at the same time.

The mother-daughter duo have 14 No. 1 songs in a career that spanned nearly three decades.

They called it quits in 1991 after doctors diagnosed Naomi Judd with hepatitis, then got together again in 2000 for another tour. A week after the Santa Train, the Judds begin an 18-city reunion tour that is being billed as their final tour.


Louisville Officer Dies From Bike Accident

A Louisville Police officer was killed Thursday morning after he was struck while riding his bike.

The incident happened at about 9:45 a.m. On Kentucky 248 near Taylorsville Lake. Louisville police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said that 40-year-old Paul Pegram had gotten off his bike on Kentucky 248 when a car hit him.

Pegram, who was flown to University Hospital, died around 11 a.m.

Police say the crash does not appear to be alcohol or drug-related, and an investigation is ongoing.


Dog Thrown From Moving Car

Louisville Animal Services is asking for help from the public to find the person who threw a dog out of a car.

Around 2 p.m. on Sept. 28, witnesses say the black and white border collie type dog was thrown from a small, dark colored car on Interstate 65 south near the Crittenden Drive exit by the UofL silos. According to witnesses, the car is possibly a Nissan.

Metro Animal Services says there may have been multiple passengers in the car.

If you have any information, call the LMPD Crime Tip Line at 574-LMPD (5673). All calls to the tip line are anonymous.


TELL Survey To Probe Teachers' Thoughts

In light of recently-released statewide test scores that left a lot to be desired, Governor Steve Beshear and other education leaders officially signed up for a new program they hope will turn things around in the state's schools.

It's called the TELL survey – teaching, empowering, leading, and learning. It seeks feedback from every teacher on a variety of topics.

That includes several initiatives, including the development of turnaround strategies for struggling schools. That's been a big deal after last week's unveiling of dismal statewide testing results. Teachers will be asked by an outside agency for their confidential feedback on a variety of topics.

Teachers will be polled across the state starting in March of 2011 and the results will be released in June of 2011.


West Virginia Coal Association Endorses Manchin

The West Virginia Coal Association has given its endorsement to back Governor Joe Manchin over Morgantown businessman John Raese in the race for U.S. Senate. Association members say they feel both candidates are strong on coal, but they believe Manchin could hit the ground running, and, under the circumstances at this particularly time in our nation's history and in the coal industry's history, Governor Manchin would be the more effective representative in the U.S. Senate for their industry. Manchin now has both the support of labor and industry when it comes to coal.


Man Accused Of Stealing Nearly $100,000

On September 12th, more than $95,000 in cash was stolen from a home on Tallamansville Road in Buckhannon. Forty-four year old James Chewning was later pulled over in North Carolina, where authorities say they found the money and marijuana in his car. Deputies confiscated the money, cited Chewning for marijuana possession and released him. Upshur County deputies traveled to North Carolina to recover the money. After being contacted by deputies, Chewning surrendered Wednesday and was charged with burglary and grand larceny. Bail was set at $200,000.


Former Logan County Delegate Agrees To Plead Guilty

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says former Logan County Delegate Joe C. Ferrell has tentatively agreed to plead guilty to one count each of racketeering and failing to pay employee payroll taxes, while 38 other counts will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Goodwin says Ferrell has agreed to forfeit more than $500,000, while charges against his company, Southern Amusement, will be dismissed. Southern Amusement leases video lottery machines. An indictment accused Ferrell of running an illegal gambling racket in West Virginia and Kentucky and bribing a West Virginia Lottery investigator.


Charleston Man Sentenced

Police say John Mason of Charleston fatally stabbed Charles Spears on Lewis Street in April 2009 after they got into a fight over a bottle of spilled vodka. Mason pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and his attorneys asked for a three year sentence because they said Mason was defending himself. The judge disagreed, sending Mason to prison for 15 years.


Deputies Arrest Cabin Creek Woman

Police say Brandi Aldridge of Cabin Creek was driving south on Interstate 77 Thursday morningwhen a deputy saw her weaving on the highway and conducted a traffic stop. After noticing a strong odor of marijuana in the car, he did a search in which he found four grocery bags containing a substantial amount of marijuana in the back seat and a cellophane bag full of marijuana in the glove compartment and almost $600 in cash. Aldridge has been charged with possession with the intent to deliver.


Men Charged With Robbing Marquee Cinemas Appear In Court

Joshawa Clark and Dustin Shaver appeared in court Thursday charged with robbing the Marquee Cinemas in Huntington last October. Clark was there for a status hearing. The prosecution has made an offer to only charge him with one count of robbery and one count conspiracy, but Clark has only one week to make a decision. If not taken, Clark will be tried on all counts in the indictment. His trial date is set for October 20th. Police say Shaver tied up several employees before getting away with thousands of dollars in cash. He has pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery while in possession of a firearm. Part of the plea agreement is that Shaver will cooperate with prosecution during the trial of Clark. Shaver is scheduled for sentencing on November 3rd.


Gun Rights Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, has dismissed a lawsuit by gun rights advocates and states seeking freedom from federal gun laws. The lawsuit involving Montana, Utah, Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia argued that states should decide which rules, if any, would control the sale and purchase of guns and paraphernalia made inside their borders. The states said the 10th Amendment of the Constitution assures that the federal government only has those powers that are specifically given to it by the Constitution. A magistrate had recommended tossing out the lawsuit, saying Congress has the authority to regulate firearms with its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.


Massey Reveals Mistakes At UBB

Massey Energy revealed Thursday that its corporatewide accident rates for each of the last three years were up to 40 percent worse than the company had originally reported. Massey disclosed what it called mistakes involving electric equipment and underground mine ventilation systems that occurred at its Upper Big Branch Mine prior to the April 5th explosion. Massey says none of the mistakes contributed in any way to the accident but were being disclosed in the interests of transparency and accountability. Massey says it wrongly did not remove rail tracks from part of the mine's longwall area, leaving a potential pathway for an electrical current in place. Massey says workers and federal inspectors moved some "non-permissible" equipment, meaning gear that was not certified as not producing sparks that could ignite an explosion, on that track. In some places underground, air-lock doors were used instead of more permanent ventilation structures called overcasts. Air-lock doors, if left open, can cause potentially dangerous changes in underground mine airflow. Massey said MSHA approved the doors, but that their use violated the company's own "best practices."


Byrd Family To Receive $193,400

Through a temporary spending bill passed by Congress this week, the family of the late Senator Robert C. Byrd will receive $193,400. It is tradition in Congress for family members of a senator who died while in office to receive the equivalent of one year’s pay for the senator. The provision was tucked into a Senate amendment to a temporary spending bill passed by Congress before it adjourned for the mid-term elections. The money is to be equally distributed among Byrd’s children and grandchildren.


FBI Expansion In West Virginia

Turner Construction Co. has landed a $142 million contract to build a 360,000 square-foot, four-story Biometrics Technology Center at the FBI complex in Clarksburg, which, when finished, will accommodate nearly 2,000 employees. The building will nearly double the size of the Criminal Justices Information Services Division. Senator Jay Rockefeller says the expansion lets the FBI and the Department of Defense create new, good-paying jobs for West Virginia and builds on the state’s growing biometrics industry.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Letcher County Re-Trial Continues

Jeffery Allen was convicted in 2006 after being accused of murdering his two year old foster child, Dakota Yonts, who died the night of March 27, 2003 in Letcher County. Medical examiners ruled the child was beaten and strangled to death. The verdict was overturned, and a re-trial was ordered last year. Wednesday was the third day of the re-trial, and the prosecution presented several witnesses recounting the night Dakota died. In total, 11 witnesses testified on Wednesday.


Beshear Attends Ribbon Cutting In Whitesburg

Governor Steve Beshear attended a ribbon cutting in Whitesburg Wednesday to celebrate changes to Highway 15. Beshear said he heard people grumbling about the federal stimulus package, but that money paid for much needed road improvements throughout the state. Construction included widening bridges and installing a new left turn lane. At Wednesday's ceremony, Beshear presented the city of Jenkins with a $600,000 check which will go toward repairing the city's aging water lines. Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward says stimulus funding will be used to repair other bridges throughout the county, and more projects are on the way.


Face-Off Involves Instant Racing

Backers and opponents faced off Wednesday during a public hearing on rules to allow Instant Racing at horse tracks in Kentucky. Both want to help the state's thoroughbred and standardbred industries but are split on whether Instant Racing is the way to go. The hearing at The Red Mile in Lexington is part of a review process for proposed regulations on Instant Racing, which allows gamblers to wager on randomly selected past races. Representatives of the Family Foundation of Kentucky believe the slot-like game is illegal and would hurt racing by making casino gambling the focus. Backers of the game say it is a pari-mutuel, with bettors playing against one another and not the house, which is allowed under state law. Along with regulators, the racetracks have filed suit asking for a judge to rule on the game's legality. The Family Foundation intervened in the case in opposition.


Trial Date For Former VA Nurse Delayed

The trial date for former Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center nurse 33 year old Maria Kelly Whitt of Mount Sterling has been changed from October 12th to January 18th to give the government sufficient time to provide records to defense attorneys. Whitt is accused of killing World War II veteran 90 year old Jesse Lee Chain, who died of a morphine overdose in September 2007 at the VA hospital. Prosecutors say Whitt gave Chain a series of morphine injections. Whitt has pleaded not guilty.


Vehicle-Deer Collisions Occurring Early

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is asking drivers to watch out for deer on the state's roadways. Cabinet officials say dry weather has prompted an early fall harvest, increasing deer activity, resulting in vehicle-deer collisions occurring about two weeks earlier than normal this year. Transportation Cabinet engineer Jim LeFevre says the increase in deer kills on highways usually happens in the first few weeks of October, while half of all collisions with deer occur in October, November and December. There were 3,031 vehicle collisions with deer in 2009, up slightly from 2,926 the year before.


Robbers Take $50,000 Worth Of Drugs

Richmond Police say two people broke into a pharmacy and took $50,000 worth of Oxycontin and Lortab pills. Officers found an abandoned vehicle used by the burglars to escape Wednesday morning from the Bluegrass Family Pharmacy. The car contained stolen drugs, but a comparison to the store’s inventory needs to be finished before police know whether they’ve recovered all the pills.


800 Families Get Free Food

The nonprofit group Feed the Children brought enough food to Louisville to take care of 800 families for a week.

The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based organization says two trucks arrived at The Salvation Army in Louisville to give away the food and personal care items. Families receiving 25-lb. boxes of food and 10-lb. boxes of personal care items have already been chosen by The Salvation Army.

Feed the Children says in a news release that the distribution is part of the group's "Americans Feeding Americans Caravan," which will have given away food to some 200,000 families across the country by the end of the year.

In addition to the food and other items, free dental checks will be given to 300 children.


Woman Assumed Dead Sister's Identity

A jury has convicted a western Kentucky woman of stealing her dead sister's identity to avoid being arrested.

The jury found Susan M. Dixon guilty of one count of identity theft and recommended a 1 1/2-year prison sentence.

Dixon assumed her sister's identity to avoid charges that had been pending against her since 1995 of bail-jumping and marijuana possession.

When Dixon was involved in a mo-ped accident in March, she identified herself to officials as Mary McMillan, later determined to have died in 2007.

Dixon's attorney had argued that Dixon used McMillan's driver's license while both McMillan and their mother were alive to drive the mother to medical appointments. The mother died in 2008.

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