Saturday, October 09, 2010


State General Fund Up

State budget director Mary Lassiter says the state's General Fund, which pays for most state programs, took in 5.3 percent more money in September than in the same month last year. Total revenues for the month were $763.7 million, up from $725.6 million during September 2009. Since the fiscal year began July 1st, the General Fund has grown 4.4 percent. Road Fund receipts for September totaled $108.9 million, an increase of 13.8 percent from September 2009 levels. The official consensus General Fund revenue estimate for this fiscal year calls for revenue to grow 4.2 percent compared to last year's actual receipts. Based on September's results, General Fund revenues must increase 4.1 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to meet the official estimate.


Morehead Woman Sentenced

Sheila Darlene Troxell, 40, of Morehead, was sentenced Friday to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $6,743.05 in restitution after pleading guilty in June to
conspiracy to commit bank fraud, theft of mail and aggravated identity theft. Police say she would steal mail from residential mail boxes in rural areas, extract checks and credit cards and discard the rest, then use the checks and credit cards to buy goods and services from retail stores and obtain cash from financial institutions.


Hazard Mayor Dies

Hazard Mayor Bill Gorman died at his home Friday at the age of 86. Gorman was first elected mayor in 1977. Gorman worked to extend city water lines throughout Perry County and was involved in the effort to locate the Appalachian Regional Hospital outside of the city limits.


Victim Sold By Pedophile To Another Pedophile

A convicted child molester who allegedly sold the boy he sodomized to another pedophile is being charged under the state's 3-year-old human trafficking law.

Kenton Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders confirmed to the Kentucky Enquirer that the case of 39-year-old Bobby Jo Perry II of Elsmere is the northern Kentucky county's first human trafficking case.

Perry faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty in Kenton Circuit Court.

A jury found Perry guilty Wednesday of one of two counts of first-degree sodomy, with the jury recommending a 45-year sentence. Kenton Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett will sentence Perry on Nov. 8.

The victim, now 16, testified at trial that he was sodomized by Perry four times at the age of 11.

Perry is now awaiting trial on the human trafficking charge.


ATV Fatality

The Fayette County coroner's office says a 16-year-old eastern Kentucky boy is dead after an all-terrain vehicle accident.

The coroner's office said Jordan Svatba died Friday. The vehicle flipped and landed on him Thursday while he was driving it up a hill in Beattyville.

He died at after being taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington.


State Representative Candidate Arrested For Reckless Driving

A Georgetown man who is running for a state House seat this November pleaded not guilty to reckless driving.

Ryan Quarles was arraigned Thursday morning in Fayette District Court after his arrest in Lexington on Saturday.

According to a police report Quarles was driving a black Jeep Cherokee through a parking lot and weaving between cars.

The report said Quarles showed signs of intoxication, but his blood alcohol level was below the legal limit for driving.

The 26-year-old is a Republican challenging Democratic state Rep. Charlie Hoffman in the 62nd House District.

Quarles is expected to return to court Oct. 13 for a preliminary hearing.


Pikeville College Football Players Expelled

Pikeville College officials say 19 year old Christian Simmons, 18 year olds Dajuan Kelly and Frankie Young are no longer students at the college. The Pikeville College football players were arrested after police say they stole a roommate's credit card and charged nearly one thousand dollars of items in Kentucky and in Ohio.


Fire Ban Issued For Parts Of Daniel Boone Forest

A fire ban was issued Friday in the Cumberland Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest, including the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Clifty Wilderness and general forest area of Cave Run Lake. Another order closed nearly 12 miles of trail in the Red River Gorge due to wildfires and concern for public safety. Under the fire ban, no campfires are permitted outside of developed recreation areas. In developed recreation areas, campfires must be attended at all times. The fire must be contained within designated fire rings. Forest visitors on the Cumberland Ranger District will be allowed to use lanterns and portable stoves for cooking if camping outside a developed recreation area. Charcoal grills and fireworks are prohibited. Trail closures were ordered for sections including Grays Arch, Rush Ridge, a portion of Rough Trail, and the Pinch-Em Tight section of the Sheltowee Trace. These trails will reopen for public use once the wildfires are contained and fully extinguished.
The fire ban will remain in place until further notice.


Alleged Bank Robber Arrested

Police arrested 48 year old Michel W. Smallwood of Corbin Friday afternoon following a bank robbery at the First National Bank in Corbin. Bank employees say the robber did not show a weapon but indicated that he did have one.


Letcher County Man Charged With Murder

Kentucky State Police have arrested Samuel T. Collier, 32, of Jenkins, in Letcher County, and charged him with murder after a shooting Thursday night in Jenkins. Police say Mark Sturgill, a field maintenance engineer for KET, died at Whitesburg ARH Hospital after being shot in the head. Sturgill had been employed by KET in Lexington as a field maintenance engineer and climber since 1999. He maintained the WKHA-Hazard transmitter site and assisted at other KET tower sites.


Kentucky Confirms First Flu Case

Kentucky health officials say the first confirmed case of the flu this season has been reported in Fayette County. The department will report the results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention next week as part of statewide flu surveillance efforts. Kentucky's flu activity will be reported as "sporadic," the lowest level indicating flu activity. Kentucky expects local health departments and private health care providers to have an adequate supply of flu vaccine on hand for this year's season.


Former Pagan Sentenced

Former Pagans Motorcycle Club member, 51 year old Steven Jeffrey Bailey of St. Albans, was sentenced Friday to one year and one day in prison. Bailey pleaded guilty in January, admitting that, while taking a handgun safety course in 2008 in an effort to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, he handled a Smith and Wesson revolver, which he was not allowed to do because he was a regular user of cocaine at the time. Bailey is the fifth defendant convicted of felony charges to be sentenced in the racketeering case unsealed in October 2009 against 55 members and associates of the Pagans Motorcycle Club.


Police Say Man Hauled Stolen Safe In Rented U-Haul

Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say Curtis Todd Wilson, 38, of South Charleston broke into a Tudor's Biscuit World in Cross Lanes early on the morning of October 6th by breaking a window to gain entrance into the restaurant and then made off with a safe, which he put into a rented U-Haul van. Wilson was charged with breaking and entering.


Frontier Expects Fewer Complaints

Formal complaints against Frontier Communications are on the rise, but the company says service quality will improve in time. Since July 1st, the day Frontier took over more than 600,000 telephone access lines in West Virginia from Verizon, at least 24 businesses or people have filed formal complaints with the PSC. Verizon's former customers filed 11 formal complaints with the PSC in the three months leading up to the deal. In July, August and September of 2009, former Verizon customers filed 22 formal complaints against the company with the PSC. Frontier spokesman Steven Crosby says the company inherited Verizon's aging landline network, which has caused many of the problems that led to the formal complaints, and many technicians have retired in recent months, but Frontier plans to hire more employees and spend $310 million to improve the landline network it now owns in West Virginia. Crosby says Frontier expects formal complaints to go down as the company continues to make progress.


US Dept of Education Examining Marshall University Logs

The U.S. Department of Education is looking into allegations that Marshall University violated federal law that requires accurate reporting of campus crimes following an alleged gang rape inside a freshman dorm last month. Reporters for the university's student newspaper, the Parthenon, reported Friday that they found the alleged assault listed in a crime log used to report crime statistics but not in a crime log they routinely were allowed to examine.


Police Find No Evidence To Link Two Robberies

West Virginia State Police say, around 2:20 P.M. Friday, a white male, roughly 5'7" and 190 lbs. entered Pam's No. 3 along U.S. 60 in Culloden, told an employee he had a gun and demanded money from the parlor's safe before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police say there's no evidence linking the Friday afternoon robbery to a similar incident on July 8th when a white heavyset male told an employee at Pam's No. 6 in Ona that he had a gun before demanding money from a safe. In that incident, the suspect told the employee to wait in the bathroom until he left. Anyone with information about either robbery is asked to contact the West Virginia State Police Cabell County Detachment at 304-528-5555.


West Virginia Wild Boar Season To Soon Begin

Wild boar gun season opens October 23rd in West Virginia. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says the weeklong wild boar gun season is open to state residents only and is restricted to Boone, Logan, Raleigh and Wyoming counties. Boar of either sex may be taken, but there is a limit of one per year, and any animal taken must be field tagged and checked at an official game checking station in the county where they are killed within 24 hours.


West Virginia To Get Millions In Health Grants

Friday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 143 community health centers nationwide will receive a total of $727 million through grants made under the Affordable Care Act. Federal grants totaling $18.6 million have been awarded to five West Virginia community health centers. In West Virginia, the grants include $8.8 million to Valley Health Systems of Huntington; $3.9 million to the Monongalia Valley Association of Health Centers in Fairmont; $3.5 million to the Lincoln County Primary Care Center in Hamlin; $1.3 million to Pendleton Community Care in Franklin, and $1.2 million to the Preston-Taylor Community Centers in Grafton.


Group Plans West Virginia's 150th Birthday

A group of educators and historians held a meeting Friday to plan for West Virginia's 150th birthday next year. The group plans to host reenactments, historical presentations and classroom programs to tell the story of West Virginia's birth during the Civil War. The programs will begin in April 2011.


Huffman Won't Reconfigure Gas Panel

In response to a letter sent to Governor Joe Manchin this past week by a coalition of watershed groups complaining that they're not represented on the nine-member advisory panel on gas drilling regulations in West Virginia, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman says he won't reconfigure the panel. The Upper Monongahela River Association says the panel is too heavy with industry, which has six seats. Huffman says he understands the concern and will listen to any ideas, but he won't be overrun by the gas industry. Huffman says he's relying on the panel mainly for technical advice, and it's not a voting body. He says he gets the final say on rules and legislation offered to lawmakers.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Longtime Floyd County Banker Dies

Henry Davidson "Buddy" Fitzpatrick Jr., who had been a Floyd County banker and businessman, died Wednesday in Pittsboro, N.C. at the age of 90. From 1946 to 1988, Fitzpatrick worked in every department of Prestonsburg's The Bank Josephine,
which was chartered in 1891 by his grandfather and other investors. He served on the Kentucky State Board of Education and on the boards of several educational institutions in the state. Fitzpatrick was born and grew up in Prestonsburg, graduated from what is now Eastern Kentucky University and was a World War II veteran.


UL Faculty Subdues Threatening Woman

Police say faculty members acted quickly to subdue a University of Louisville student who displayed a gun during a meeting on campus.

The woman said after her arrest Thursday afternoon that she had intended to kill herself.

Hall says the woman was in a meeting with faculty members when she pulled out the loaded gun and said, "well I guess this is it." Faculty members jumped on top of the woman and took the gun. No one was hurt.

Hall says the staff's actions kept the woman from hurting herself and anyone else.

Police said the woman, who was a graduate student and part-time employee at the university, will be charged with wanton endangerment.


MSHA Cites Two Coal Mines

Federal mine regulators have cited the owner of a western Kentucky mine after concluding that an unsupported roof caused a "massive section" to collapse and kill two miners.

The Mine Safety Health Administration issued its report Friday on the accident at the Dotiki mine on the Webster-Hopkins County line. The report says the collapse couldn't be foreseen, but Tulsa, Okla.-based Allied Resource Partners should have taken more steps to support the roof.

The collapse that killed 27-year-old Justin Travis and 28-year-old Michael Carter.

The state previously issued a notice of noncompliance to the mine's operator, Webster County Coal, for violations of state laws that require companies to have adequate roof control plans in underground mines.

Kenny Murray, the vice president of Allied Resource Partners, said in a statement that because the collapse wasn't foreseeable, the citation is unjustified.


WKU Bus Driver Suffers Fatal Heart Attack

A bus driver who was taking the Western Kentucky University volleyball team to an away game suffered a heart attack while driving and died.

The bus was traveling down Interstate 65 in northern Alabama on Thursday afternoon when the bus began veering toward the median and northbound lanes.

Senior associate athletic director Todd Stewart told WBKO-TV that head coach Travis Hudson gained control of the wheel and brought the bus to a stop.

The team was given the option of postponing their weekend games at South Alabama and Troy, but they decided to play.


Woman Helps Five Escape Fire...Then Dies At Hospital

Thirty-one year old Tomarra Finley died at University Hospital Thursday after collapsing at the scene of a burning Louisville home where she helped an adult and five children get safely. Finley helped her sister and two nieces get outside before going back into the burning town home to get to her three children, who were upstairs. Firefighters say Finley helped the children out of a window before she collapsed.


Administrative Law Judge Reduces ICG Fines

Administrative Law Judge Jerold Feldman at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Commission has reduced some of the fines levied against International Coal Group Inc. for the 2006 Sago Mine explosion that killed 12 men. Feldman slashed fines for 13 violations from just under $134,000 to $71,800, vacated four violations MSHA had cited, removed the "unwarrantable failure" designation from five others and reduced MSHA fines for delays in reporting the blast and summoning mine-rescue teams by $3,500, declaring the decisions made by ICG's Wolf Run Mining Co. "understandable, if not admirable."


Police Say Bomb Was No Hoax

Around 6:30 P.M. Friday, Charleston Police arrested 51 year old Vernon Maurice Channell of Beckley and charged him with bank robbery, unlawful possession of explosive materials and wanton endangerment involving explosive materials or incendiary devices. Police say he entered the City National Bank on Harper Road in Beckley Thursday claiming to have a bomb and demanding money, while threatening to blow up the bank. He then fled the bank and made his escape on a bicycle but left behind a device which was safely destroyed by a State Police bomb technician. Police say the device did have the potential to explode.


Sissonville Fire Department Receiving Help

Last Friday, fire destroyed the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department, causing a loss of everything including fire trucks and equipment. Wednesday, the NiSource Charitable Foundation announced a grant of $25,000 to help with recovery efforts. Thursday night the Kanawha County Commission approved the transfer of $100,000 from the county's emergency fund to the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department.


South Charleston Man Accused Of Shooting At Worker

Richard Paul Painter, 58, of South Charleston, has been charged with wanton endangerment after allegedly shooting at an employee of the West Virginia American Water Company. Deputies say, about 10:00 A.M. Thursday the worker called to report being shot at by a property owner on Brooke Road in South Charleston. Lt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department says the worker was reading water meters when he got into an argument with Painter. Both men walked away from the argument, and Painter allegedly fired a shotgun at the employee's truck as he drove by Painter's house. When police arrived at Painter's, he answered the door holding a single-shot 12-gauge shotgun which had a live shell in the chamber.


Logan County Train Derails...Closing Road

A CSX train, with 23 loaded coal cars, derailed around 5:00 A.M. Friday morning near the Logan County Country Club near Chapmanville. Each of the 23 train cars was carrying 100 tons of coal. Highway officials say a portion of Route 10 between Chapmanville and the Big Creek exits will be closed until the site is cleared and the damage is assessed. A CSX spokesman says the train originated in Russell, Kentucky and was loaded at Peach Creek, West Virginia, while hauling its load to Bill Creek, West Virginia.


Special Primary Election Cost May Exceed Appropriation

When legislation calling for the August 28th special primary election was passed in July, lawmakers appropriated $3 million, despite a fiscal note attached to the bill estimating the cost at $5.9 million. Dave Nichols, state manager of elections, told the West Virginia Association of Counties this week that the expenditures of the 19 counties he has processed so far totaled $1,124,982, and it appears the total will, in fact, exceed the appropriation. Patti Hamilton, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Counties, says current figures are in line with her organization's pre-election estimates of the cost of the election, but. if the amount exceeds the $3 million, it will be up to the Legislature to act to provide more funding.


Remains Of WWII Soldier Buried In West Virginia

After 66 years, the remains of Army Pfc. Lawrence N. Harris, a young Elkins soldier who died fighting the Germans in France during World War II, were put to rest in his home state of West Virginia Friday afternoon when they were buried at the West Virginia National Cemetery in Pruntytown with full military honors. The remains were found in a gravesite for unknown soldiers in Belgium. On October 9, 1944, Harris and four other men were on a M-10 Tank Destroyer fighting to clear German forces from Parroy Forest near Luneville in northeastern France when the tank was struck by enemy fire in the final battle for control of the region. Harris was killed in the blast.


Clinton To Join Manchin At Campaign Rally

Officials from Governor Joe Manchin's campaign for U.S. Senate have announced that former President Bill Clinton will make a stop in Morgantown on Monday, October 11th to campaign on behalf of Manchin. Clinton is scheduled to join Manchin at a campaign rally which will be held Monday afternoon and will be open to the public.


Man Fatally Struck By Train

One man is dead after being hit by a train early Friday morning in Logan County. The man, who was in his 30s, was apparently walking on the tracks on W.Va. 44 when he was struck and killed by a passing train around 3:00 A.M. Friday in the Wilkinson area, according to the State Police detachment in Logan. His body has been sent to the state medical examiner's office for positive identification.


Senate Candidates To Debate

U.S. Senate candidates, Democrat Joe Manchin III, Republican John R. Raese, Mountain Party member Jesse Johnson and Constitution Party member Jeff Becker, who are vying for Senator Robert C. Byrd’s unexpired term, will face-off in a debate at 8:00 P.M. Monday, October 18th which will be aired on West Virginia PBS and West Virginia Public Radio. The debate is sponsored by The Associated Press and West Virginia University’s School of Journalism, which will be assisted by the West Virginia League of Women Voters. The moderator will Maryanne Reed, dean of the WVU School of Journalism.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Bell County Seeking Permit For Clean Coal Power Plant

Bell County officials say they now have the ten million dollars needed to apply for a permit to build a clean coal power plant at a site off of highway 1-19 in Bell County. Sky Energy leaders intend to undertake the full development of the project. For the first few years, officials say the project will require more than 15 hundred jobs. Officials hope to break ground in less than two years on the 600 mega watt power plant that will use 2 million tons of local coal every year.


Audit Reveals Overpayment For Prison Food

Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services serves three meals each day at Kentucky's 13 state prisons. Thursday, State Auditor Crit Luallen released an audit of the Department of Corrections' $12 million food service contract with Aramark which identified more than $36,000 in overpayments made by Department of Corrections to Armark due to billing errors and noncompliance with contract provisions and said the total overpayments could exceed $130,000. The audit found that in most cases billing errors and food production problems favored Aramark rather than the state. Due to poor documentation, it could not be determined whether Aramark consistently followed approved recipes, used the proper quantity of ingredients, and met food safety standards regarding food temperatures or use of leftovers. Aramark received almost $148,000 in inmate-grown food for nearly no cost, which is not compliant with the contract.


Clinton Visit Scheduled

John Collins, campaign spokesman for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway, has confirmed that former President Bill Clinton’s visit to promote the campaign of Conway will be at 11:00 A.M. Monday in front of University of Kentucky’s Administration Building. The Conway campaign said all supporters who want to attend the Clinton visit should call 502-632-1820 or contact the campaign at


Oldest NFL And Former UK Football Player Dies

Ralph Kercheval, the first All-Southeastern Conference football player at the University of Kentucky, has passed away in Lexington at the age of 98. Kercheval, who graduated from Henry Clay High School, also participated in basketball and track at UK, but football was his best sport. He was a football letterman from 1931-33 and was the first Wildcat to earn first-team All-SEC honors during the inaugural season of the league in 1933.

Kercheval played quarterback, defensive back and kicker for the Wildcats and is best known for his exploits as a punter. He still holds SEC records for most punts in a season (101), most punting yards in a season (4,413) and his 52.0-yard punting average against Cincinnati in 1933 is still the single-game league record (min. 10 punts). During his UK career, he punted 234 times for 9,749 yards, an average of 44.8 yards per punt.

Following his time at UK, Kercheval played seven years (1934-40) in the National Football League for the Brooklyn Dodgers as a running back and punter. At the time of his death, he was known as the oldest living player in the NFL.


UK Assistant Dean Pleads Not Guilty

Ray Dowd, 49, an assistant dean at the University of Kentucky, had a not guilty plea entered by his attorney Thursday after being arrested Saturday afternoon on charges of criminal trespassing and giving a false name and address to a police officer. A woman living at the Springhouse Apartments reported a man suspiciously walking around the complex Saturday and said the same man had exposed himself to her weeks earlier. When police arrived they quickly found Dowd, whm police say gave them a fake name and address. Dowd was released on bond on Sunday.


Activists File Notice Of Intent Against Kentucky Mines

Environmental activists with Waterkeeper Alliance and Appalachian Voices say they have found 20,000 instances of violations of the federal Clean Water Act at three eastern Kentucky mines over a two-year period. The groups have filed a notice of intent to sue Frasure Creek Mining and ICG of Knott County and Hazard. The groups say they found numerous instances of forms signed and dated by supervisors before testing was conducted, forms copied and pasted from one quarter to the next, and testing dates scratched out and rewritten to appear compliant. Each of the 20,000 violations could net a minimum penalty of $37,500, totalling about $740 million. Any award from a lawsuit would go to the U.S. Treasury. Under federal law, after a notice of intent to sue is filed, defendants have 60 days to get into compliance, and state regulators have 60 days to take enforcement action. If that doesn't happen, a lawsuit can be filed. Donna Lisenby of Appalachian Voices.says R
regulatory agencies in Kentucky are not doing an adequate job of reviewing discharge monitoring reports. Robert F. Kennedy the president of Waterkeeper Alliance.


Churchill Downs Reaches Agreement With NBC Sports

Churchill Downs Inc. and NBC Sports have reached a five-year agreement in principle to extend the network's exclusive rights to air the Run for the Roses, which has been on NBC since 2001. Under the agreement, the Kentucky Derby will remain on NBC through 2015. Last year's race was seen by an average of 16.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989, when 18.5 million people saw Sunday Silence run to victory. The last time the race was shown on ABC, in 2000, only 9.1 million tuned in for Fusaichi Pegasus' win. The new deal includes programming rights to the Kentucky Derby's sister race, the Kentucky Oaks, and other coverage from Churchill Downs on the first weekend in May. The Oaks has been aired on NBC-owned cable channel Bravo the past two years.


Low-Fare Commercial Flights From Louisville

A small airline based near Atlanta plans to offer low-fare nonstop commercial flights between Atlanta and Louisville, Ky.

Vision Airlines, based in Suwanee, said Thursday it plans to begin operating two daily roundtrip flights between the two cities on Dec. 13 with tickets starting as low as $99.

The airline says a low-cost option is needed because of the strong business ties between the cities.

The route will initially be served by 32-seat turboprop planes, but the airline may put its larger Boeing 737 jets on the route as demand increases.

Vision says it may soon add flights to destinations in Florida from "seriously underserved cities."

Vision started in 1994 offering aerial tours of the Grand Canyon, and now operates charter flights for a variety of clients.


Children Saved...Woman Dies In Fire

Authorities say a woman died helping five young children escape from a house fire in Kentucky.

Louisville Fire Capt. Sal Melendez says the woman, whose name has not been released, died at University Hospital Thursday morning. The woman had to throw some of the children out of a window to rescuers because there was no other way to save them.

Melendez says the woman collapsed after all the children were out.

Firefighters say the children, who are all younger than 10, suffered minor smoke inhalation but are expected to be OK.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Violence Shelters Seek Funding For Food

Domestic violence shelters across Kentucky are being hit hard after their exclusion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commidities Program came without warning. The federal grant was traditionally used to buy food for residents. Federal officials say this type of shelter was never supposed to get food aid in the first place. Instead, it was reserved for places like homeless shelters and soup kitchens. A recent federal government audit turned up the long-time mistake. Those violence shelters are now seeking funding from donors.


Kentucky To Receive Health Funding

As part of a $42.5 million award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky will receive $1 million in federal grant funding over five years aimed at improving performance management for state and local health departments. The Kentucky Department for Public Health may use the funds to collect data to inform decisions, monitor and evaluate quality, make improvements throughout the state public health system and to hire two full-time staff members to focus on systems and processes within the state health department and coordinate comparable activities at local health departments.


Attack Survivor In 2006 Charged With Murder

A central Kentucky man who survived a violent attack in 2006 is now charged with killing an acquaintance.

41-year-old Mitchell Turner of Berea was arrested Monday and charged with murder in the death of 53-year-old Gary Deaton.

Trooper Chris Lanham said the men had been drinking together and police believe that alcohol played a role in the slaying.

Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said an autopsy showed Deaton died of blunt force trauma and possible stab wounds.

Turner survived several gun and knife wounds in an attack in 2006 in which his girlfriend was killed.


Former Delegate Pleads Guilty

Former Logan County House of Delegates member Joe C. Ferrell pled guilty Thursday to one count each of racketeering and tax fraud charges. Ferrell was first indicted along with his business, Southern Amusement Inc., on dozens of counts last year. The most serious charges allege he used the company to run an interstate gambling operation. Ferrell admitted he paid employees under the table and used his video lottery leasing company to run illegal gambling across state lines. Ferrell said his video poker machines paid out illegally in Kentucky, and he admitted to bribing a West Virginia Lottery investigator as part of that racketeering charge. Ferrell also pleaded guilty to failing to pay $38,000 in employee-related federal taxes owed in 2003. He's already paid $600,000 as part of his plea deal, and must divest from Southern Amusement. He will be sentenced January 5th.


Oregon Woman Sentenced To Life In Prison

Korena Roberts of Beaverton, Oregon has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to fatally beating 21 year old Heather Sniveley, originally from St. Albans, in June 2009. Investigators say Roberts killed Snivley, who was seven months pregnant, cut the baby from her womb and then left Snivley's body in a crawl space of her home in Beaverton. Roberts claimed she had just delivered the baby, but, when it was rushed to the hospital and could not be revived, officials discovered the baby was not Roberts'. Her attorney asked for the murder, kidnapping and robbery charges against her to be dropped, but the judge denied that request.


Project To Widen Island Creek Basin Awarded

To reduce flooding in the Island Creek basin in Logan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $5.8 million contract which will allow for the streambed of Island Creek to be widened to 80 feet for a distance of 3,600 feet upstream from the Guyandotte River. Construction is expected to begin November 2010 and will take about four years to complete.


Nitro Man Arrested After Taking Car For Debt

John Richard Thomas III, 21, of Nitro has been arrested and charged with burglary and grand larceny after allegedly stealing a woman's car in an attempt to collect a debt she owed him. Police say Thomas went to the home of Julie Eads and told her he needed the money he'd loaned her. When Eads told him she didn't have any money, Thomas went into a downstairs area of her home before heading back outside where she saw him sitting in one of the cars in her yard that she'd posted for sale. According to the complaint, Thomas drove off in her maroon 1993 Chevrolet Sportsvan, valued at about $2,000.


Son Appointed As Mercer County Delegate

Thursday, Governor Joe Manchin appointed Thomas Mike Porter, Jr. from Bluefield to take his father's place in the state House of Delegates. Mercer County Delegate Mike Porter, Sr. held the position until his death on September 27th. Porter, Sr. had been seeking reelection out of the 25th District and his name is on the ballot for the November general election.


Changes Approved For Deaf And Blind Schools

An effort is under way to improve the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind’s curriculum and operations. The West Virginia Board of Education approved several recommendations for the Romney school on Wednesday. They include forming a partnership with the Hampshire County school system to identify programs and services that could be shared. The school also will seek accreditation from the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools for the Deaf. The changes are based on an audit conducted earlier this year by the Office of Educational Performance Audits. Director Kenna Seal said in his report that auditors were concerned about the quality of the school’s curriculum.


New Massey Rules Approved

Wednesday, Massey Energy stockholders approved several new corporate governance rules at a meeting in Richmond. Among the proposals that received enough votes were declassifying the board of directors; removing super majority vote provisions related to stockholder amendment of bylaws; and removing the prohibition of the right for stockholders to request special meetings of stockholders. The proposal that would have changed the way shareholders vote for board candidates did not pass. Massey officials say the new rules will benefit shareholders.


Massey Mine Issued Closure Orders

Thursday, MSHA announced it has issued 11 closure orders to Massey Energy owned Elk Run Coal Co.’s Seng Creek Powellton Mine in Boone County. MSHA says, during a surprise visit on September 28th, mine inspectors discovered the mine was taking illegal cuts into the coal seam, operating without proper ventilation and not completing required air readings, which are needed to assure there is sufficient air flow to prevent mine explosions. MSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Joseph A. Main says the violations are a blatant disregard for the federal regulations, and the results of the Seng Creek inspection only reinforce the need for new legislation to halt these kinds of practices. Massey Energy Spokesman Jeff Gillenwater says discipline was issued immediately, while the foreman and two hourly workers were discharged, and nine additional miners were suspended for three days.


Tolls Approved By West Virginia Turnpike Authority

Members of the West Virginia Turnpike Authority gave final approval Thursday to a plan to place a toll plaza on the Mon-Fayette Expressway. Under the plan, a single toll plaza will be placed just north of the Interstate 68 intersection of the new highway in the Cheat Lake area and also at the Pennsylvania end of the expressway. The toll plaza in Monongalia County will collect funds to pay for West Virginia's end of the road. The Mon-Fayette Expressway is scheduled to open in the spring of 2011.


Former Executive Director Charged With Embezzlement

Jonathan Steven Deutsch, the former executive director of the Constructors' Laborers Council of West Virginia and former assistant professor at the University of Charleston, appeared before a federal magistrate Thursday on embezzlement and fraud charges. Deutsch was arraigned on 25 criminal counts after being accused of embezzling $750,000 from the organization and using the money to buy, among other things, expensive cars and homes. Deutsch is scheduled to go on trial December 7th.


Man Faces Concealed Weapn Charge

Eligah Shyquan Payton, 19 of Charleston has been charged with carrying a concealed and dangerous weapon. Charleston Police say, Wednesday afternoon, they received a call about a suspicious acting man in the liquor aisle of the Rite-Aid on Charleston's West Side. When Police arrived, Payton came out of the restroom and attempted to leave the store. Police patted him down and found a .25-caliber pistol on him.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Murder Charge Goes To Grand Jury

Wednesday, a hearing was held to determine whether 32 year old Robert Powers of Hager Hill should stand trial for murder following the death of 11 year old Austyn Stapleton. A Johnson County Sheriff's deputy testified that witnesses say the truck Powers was driving last Friday afternoon was swerving and speeding down route 321 near Paintsville, finally hitting a car driven by Austyn Stapleton's mother. Deputies say they did not smell or find any alcohol or drugs on Powers, but he failed every sobriety test. Deputies agree shock could have caused Powers' confusion. The judge found probable cause to send Powers first offense DUI and murder case to a grand jury. Blood test results are pending. Powers remains jailed on a one half million dollar bond.


Former President Bill Clinton To Campaign For Conway

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to come to Kentucky on Monday to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway. Clinton’s close friend, Lexington businessman Jerry Lundergan, confirmed Wednesday the scheduled visit but said the location of Clinton’s visit has not yet been finalized. Polls have shown Conway generally trailing Republican Rand Paul, although some recent surveys have shown the race in a statistical dead heat. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed Clinton as the most popular politician in the country, but Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, said in an e-mail, “Jack Conway is welcome to bring in all of the out-state liberals he wants. We hope he has (U.S. Rep.) Charlie Rangel campaign for him again like he did in 2002." Several popular national Republicans have appeared in Kentucky on behalf of Paul’s campaign, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Paul and Conway are scheduled to participate in a debate Monday night in Covington for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.


E-Mail Ballots For Overseas Voters

Under new federal voting requirements, military voters in Tennessee and Kentucky who are overseas during the November 2nd election can now get their ballots by e-mail and track their ballot online. The Military and Overseas Empowerment Act that passed last year requires all states to provide timely and electronic access to voter forms to help reduce the time it takes to get absentee ballots from military and overseas voters. According to the Overseas Vote Foundation, more than half of surveyed voters in 2008 who tried but could not vote were unable to because their ballots were late or did not arrive. Voters still have to return marked ballots by mail. While the e-mail option is quicker, soldiers will still need to find a way to print the attached documents.


KLC Names New Executive Director

In a unanimous decision of the Kentucky League of Cities executive board, Jonathan "Jon" Steiner of New Hampshire has been named the new executive director of the KLC. Steiner, who succeeds acting executive director Neil Hackworth, comes from the New Hampshire Local Government Center/New Hampshire Municipal Association, where he is deputy director for member services. Steiner received an undergraduate degree and a master's degree in public administration from the University of New Hampshire and a master's degree from Dartmouth College. Steiner's first day at KLC will be November 1st.


KFC Converts Restaurants To Feed Those In-Need

KFC announced Wednesday that to raise awareness for World Hunger Relief efforts, it shut the doors of its two most historic locations, Colonel Sanders' first restaurant in Corbin, Ky. and the original KFC franchise in Salt Lake City. KFC converted the restaurants into "World Hunger Relief Kitchens," serving free meals to in-need residents from local shelters. The Corbin restaurant, which has operated since 1940, was closed on Monday. The Salt Lake City location, which has been serving customers since 1952, closed Wednesday.


Former Miss Kentucky Latina Charged With Assault

A beauty queen has lost her crown. Former Miss Kentucky Latina, 22 year old Daniela Gaskie is facing felony charges of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after she allegedly assaulted two people in Madison County. Police say she was arrested last Wednesday after she stabbed employee Jonathan Carpenter in the neck with a pen after he didn't let her into the Swifty gas station in Richmond. Police say Gaskie apparently then ran across the street and got into a fight with pharmacist Mary Ann McKinley in the parking lot of M&M drugs. The 59-year old pharmacist says Gaskie punched her in the stomach, kicked her and tried to bite her. Police say they believe alcohol was a factor in the alleged attacks. Acirema Alayeto, the president of Miss Latina U.S., said Tuesday that Gaskie "no longer represents the organization."


Homeland Security Secretary To Visit Kentucky

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will travel to Lexington and Louisville on Thursday.

In Lexington, Secretary Napolitano will hold a discussion with state and local law enforcement partners and business leaders about DHS' strong commitment to smart, effective enforcement of America's immigration laws, and participate in a media availability with Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry.

Secretary Napolitano will then travel to Louisville to meet with state and local law enforcement officials, first responders and community leaders to underscore the Department's efforts to get resources out of Washington, D.C., and into the hands of the men and women serving on the front lines-including local law enforcement and first responders, as well as citizens, community groups, and our partners in the private sector. She will also join Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson to participate in a media availability.


Bridge Work In Wolfe And Magoffin Counties

Motorists using the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway in Wolfe County can expect lane closures and possible delays during the next month, as work begins on a bridge repair project at Exit 40 near Pine Ridge.

Repairs will be made to the bridges carrying the Mountain Parkway over KY 15. Work will be done simultaneously in both the eastbound and westbound lanes. Construction began yesterday and should be finished by Nov. 15. While the project is ongoing, one lane will be closed in each direction.

During the work, the route will be restricted to vehicles less than 12 feet wide. Vehicles wider than 12 feet will need to find an alternate route around the project.
Bridge work is also being done in Magoffin County.

Motorists can expect changing traffic patterns at the work site. A reduced speed limit will be in effect and a double-fine zone will be enforced. Drivers should reduce speed in this area, and are urged to always "Drive Smart" and be aware of workers, traffic control devices and construction equipment when traveling in this and other areas where projects are ongoing.


Murder Charges For Anderson Co. Man

An Anderson County man has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Gary Bancroft is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, 33-year-old Frances Renee Mobley, in September 2010.

Mobley's body was found at Bancroft's home, just outside Lawrenceburg.

Bancroft is being held at the Franklin County Regional Detention Center.


Attempt To Curb Diesel Emissions

The Kentucky Division for Air Quality is asking for proposals from local governments for projects that would aim to reduce diesel emissions in municipal fleets.

A statement from the Division for Air Quality says diesel engines are one of the largest sources of harmful particulate matter in the country. A total of $235,000 is available for the proposals.

The division says emission reductions may be achieved various ways, including vehicle replacement, retrofit devices and technologies that reduce idling.

The competitive funding is open to any county, city or other local government agency in Kentucky that owns and operates its own eligible diesel vehicles or equipment.


Memorial Held In Rememberance Of UBB Miners

To mark the six-month anniversary of the April 5th Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in Raleigh County, friends and family members held a memorial service in Whitesville Tuesday in remembrance of the 29 miners who died in the explosion. Family members lit 29 candles to represent the lives lost. Those candles will stay lit for eight days, the same amount of time it took for the candles to go out when they were lit immediately following the explosion. Congressman Nick Rahall, who was at the service, says family members still have a lot of questions and doubts about the cause of the explosion, but it's a process that will take patience to find the answers that will bring closure.


West Virginia Sues EPA

The state and federal government have long been at odds regarding the issuance of surface coal mining permits, particularly for the Spruce Fork No. 1 mine in Logan County. During a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday, Governor Joe Manchin announced he is suing the Obama administration in an attempt to overturn its efforts to curb mountaintop removal coal mining. Manchin said negotiations that began a year and half ago have brought no satisfaction even though legal actions began in April. The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S Army Corp of Engineers are named as the defendants in the lawsuit. Manchin has been in contact with both the governors of Virginia and Kentucky and believes they may join West Virginia in the lawsuit. The agencies have 60 days to respond to the lawsuit.


Lawsuit Filed Against Bayer And West Virginia State University

Portia Gray, the mother of former West Virginia State University student 19-year-old Ra'Sean Gray who died on on September 18, 2008, is suing Bayer CropScience and the school over her son's death. Gray died as a result of exposure to substances released during an explosion at Bayer's Institute plant. An autopsy determined the cause of death was a blood clot in the main artery of the lungs. Bayer spokesman Tom Dover says, based on the company's assessment of the 2008 incident, Bayer continues to believe there was no health risk to the general public. According to the lawsuit, Gray remained indoors at an unspecified location after a shelter-in-place order was issued on the night of the explosion, and, later that night, he returned to his dorm room where the window was open and the room was covered with a dust or soot. There also was a foul-smelling odor.


AEP To Launch Energy Efficiency Program

American Electric Power has more than 439,000 customers in 24 West Virginia counties. The West Virginia Public Service Commission has signed off on a new program from AEP which is set to begin by March 2001. The Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Program is designed to encourage more efficient use of electricity, while providing assistance with managing electricity usage, reducing electric bills and conserving energy resources. A less than 50 cent a month rate increase will allow AEP to be reimbursed for part of the program's total cost.


Man Arrested Over Concealed Weapon

Charleston police have been cracking down on illegal weapons in the city. Officers on a routine foot patrol approached a car at Hunt Avenue and Orchard Street because of loud music coming from the vehicle. When police gave a warning to the driver, Earl Nathaniel Croner, 24, of Beckley, that he was in violation of the city's noise ordinance, they noticed an empty pistol holster on Croner's belt and asked him about it. That's when police say he told them he had a handgun under his seat. Police recovered a .40 caliber Hi-Point pistol and charged Croner with illegally carrying a concealed weapon.


Rasmussen Poll Shows Raese Continuing To Lead Over Manchin

The latest Rasmussen poll, released Wednesday, shows Morgantown businessman John Raese with a 50 percent to 44 percent lead over Governor Joe Manchin, with just five percent undecided, in the race for U.S. Senate. The Rasmussen Reports poll, which showed last week, for the first time, a Raese lead of 48-46, has now moved the race from "Toss-Up" to "Leans GOP." Tuesday, Rasmussen pollsters conducted phone conservations with 750 likely voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.


Putnam County School Board Considering Random Drug Testing

To combat drug use on school sports teams and in other after-school programs, Putnam County School Board members are considering a new policy which would require students to sign consent forms that allow them to be randomly drug tested in order to participate in extra-curricular activities. The policy also requires student drivers and parents to sign the consent form. Students refusing to sign the forms will be barred from participating in extra-curricular activities or from driving to school.


Buffalo Elementary Teacher Suspended

Putnam County school board members have decided to suspend Buffalo Elementary School teacher Carolyn Rogers for 30 days without pay. Last year, parents accused Rogers and her aide, Yvonne Francisco, of verbally harassing and intimidating students in their kindergarten class. Kathie Crouse, a mother of one of the boys in the class, planted a voice recorder in her son's backpack when she noticed that he was acting strangely after the first several days of school. The voice recorder, which Crouse said she planted every day for several weeks, allegedly recorded Francisco and Rogers calling the students babies and telling them they do not belong in kindergarten.


Cabell County Fugitive Captured

Eric White, 36, of Huntington was arrested by U.S. Marshals at a gas station in Stroudsburg, Pa., at about 7:00 P.M. Tuesday. White walked away from the Huntington work release center on September 13th, where he had been working after being paroled on a conviction for transferring stolen property. Officials almost caught White in front of Playmates bar near St. Albans on September 17th, but he charged marshals with his car, hitting two federal vehicles, causing one of the marshals to open fire at his vehicle. He then pulled onto U.S. 60, where he hit another car before abandoning his vehicle and fleeing on foot. White and his girlfriend, Samantha Priddy, kept running until they were tracked down in Pennsylvania. White faces numerous charges stemming from the escape and flight.


Massey Waiting For MSHA Decision

On September 28th, the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training approved a plan to allow Massey Energy to hold its own, separate investigation into what caused the April 5th explosion that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Massey has been waiting for a decision from MSHA officials who still have not permitted Massey investigators to initiate their probe. Massey says it has a team of some of the "nation's best accident investigators" to investigate the UBB mine explosion, and that "under the Mine Act, companies are required to conduct their own investigation.


Manchin Officials Seek Ethics Exemptions

State ethics law bars public officials from seeking jobs with businesses or persons that are regulated for one year after leaving government. Governor Joe Manchin's Chief of Staff Jim Spears and General Counsel Jonathan Deem are seeking ethics exemptions to seek employment in the private sector. In their requests, both Spears and Deem say they don't have immediate plans to leave the Governor's office, but they may have to seek other employment, if Manchin wins the November 2nd bid for U.S. Senate.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


KSP Investigating Attempted Armed Robbery

Kentucky State Police are investigating following an attempted armed robbery in Pike County which occurred around 8:00 A.M. Tuesday morning. Police say, just before the Quality Tobacco in the Buskirk Mini Mall opened, a man with a hand gun demanded an employee open the locked door, but, when the employee refused, the man fled the scene.


Baptist Seminary Finds Home At Georgetown College

The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky has found a new home at Georgetown College after its second relocation in less than a decade.

But seminary leaders say settling on the college campus with a Baptist affiliation could be the last stop.

President Greg Earwood said moving to the college campus is an important step in gaining accreditation.

The seminary, which moved to the college's Ensor Learning Resource Center in August, will remain separate from the college and has its own board of trustees.

The seminary prepares ministers to serve churches nationwide. It started holding classes at Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington in 2002, and after three years, moved to the Lexington Theological Seminary.


TVA Seeking Public Input

A series of public hearings on the Tennessee Valley Authority's plans to rely more on nuclear power and less on coal starts Tuesday at Bowling Green, Ky.

The utility has also set public hearings Wednesday at Nashville, Thursday at Olive Branch, Miss.; Oct. 13 at Knoxville and Oct. 14 at Huntsville, Ala.

The draft Integrated Resources Plan is intended to help TVA's efforts to meet regional electricity needs over the next 20 years.

The public can comment through November and then TVA will submit the plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a review of the environmental impact.

TVA supplies power to nearly 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.


Officer Fired After Altercation With Detainee

A western Kentucky police officer has been fired after an altercation with a detainee who was being booked at the jail.

The Owensboro City Commission voted 5-0 on Monday to terminate Fred Coomes' employment with the city for excessive force, conduct unbecoming an officer and impeding an internal investigation.

The commission listened to 11 hours of testimony about the April 7 incident before making the decision.

Coomes said during his testimony that he wasn't trying to provoke a fight, but could have handled the situation better.

A complaint from a jailer said Coomes had a verbal altercation with the detainee, then it appeared he struck the person.

Police Chief Glenn Skeens said he didn't believe Coomes' explanation and thought he should be fired.


Pontoon Doctor Sentenced To Five Years

A central Kentucky doctor convicted of killing his wife by running her down with a pontoon boat has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Peckler followed the jury's recommendation in sentencing Steven Hall on Tuesday.

A jury convicted Hall of second-degree manslaughter in the death of his wife, Isabel Lynn Hall, who was run over on Herrington Lake in May 2009 by a pontoon boat her husband was driving. Steven Hall has maintained the death was accidental.

The judge refused a defense request to probate the sentence, citing the "seriousness of the offense."

Hall's attorney says his client has been incarcerated since last May and will be eligible for a parole hearing within six weeks.


No Fraud In Insurance Procurement In Lexington

The state auditor's office has found no fraud in how the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government bought insurance.

The review does recommend some procedural problems be fixed, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Auditors recommend revamping the Internal Audit Board and changing several purchasing policies.

The audit analyzed the procurement process for the city's insurance services after a city employee alleged there was possible fraud involved.

Auditor Crit Luallen said the recommended measures could have stopped the issue from becoming a public controversy.


Gun Laws Under Review In Boone County

The Boone County Fiscal Court is considering allowing citizens to carry concealed deadly weapons on county property, including parks and buildings.

The fiscal court is scheduled to consider the new ordinance. The Kentucky Enquirer reports it would allow citizens who are properly licensed to carry guns on county property.

Some offices would still ban guns under the new ordinance, including prosecutors' offices, the Boone County Sheriff and jailer.

Current law bans carrying concealed weapons into all buildings the county owns, leases or controls.

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