Saturday, October 16, 2010


KSP Investigating Deadly Fire In Morehead

Kentucky State Police are investigating after fire claimed the lives of two people at a three-unit apartment on Sun Street in Morehead around 9:00 A.M. Saturday morning. Forty year old Kristopher Harvey was killed in the fire, while 49 year old Vada Knipp was pulled from an upstairs apartment, then transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The occupant of one unit escaped unharmed. The KSP is continuing an investigation into the fire's cause.


Rogers And Paul Disagree On Operation UNITE

At a Republican campaign event in Somerset Saturday, U.S. Representative Harold "Hal" Rogers said he agrees with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul on many things, but they differ greatly on the issue of Operation UNITE. Rogers says he's disappointed that Paul had not expressed support for the task force Rogers created to fight drugs in his district, where substance abuse has been described as an epidemic. Rogers, who has represented the 5th District in Eastern and Southern Kentucky for three decades, started UNITE in 2003. The task force gets most of its money from federal sources, and Paul says he would rather see drug abuse and dependency treated and paid for at the local level. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said Saturday that drugs have been disastrous to all our families, but local officials say they simply don't have the resources to deal with the problem alone.


Drugs Found At Pike County Hall Of Justice

Pike County officials say numerous people come to court while either intoxicated or in possession of illegal drugs or both. At least six people have been transported to the hospital for possible overdoses over the past two months, and deputies are seizing more than 1,000 pills a year. Tuesday, officers noticed a bag containing more than 50 pills and pill pieces sticking out of the jacket pocket of 31 year old Kyle Ratliff who was getting a drug test at the Hall of Justice. Ratliff was taken to the hospital for a possible overdose, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Thursday, 33 year old Stephanie Adkins was falling asleep while sitting outside the Hall of Justice with a sign announcing her conviction for theft. Officers arrested her for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and various drug charges after finding pills and marijuana in her purse.


Information Filed Against Former WV Lottery Employee

The U.S. Attorney filed a one-count information Friday against Carolyn Kitchen, a former employee of the West Virginia Lottery implicated in the federal racketeering and gambling case of former Logan County Delegate Joe C. Ferrell who entered a guilty plea recently to charges of racketeering and tax evasion. The investigation into Ferrell's actions indicated he helped get Kitchen hired as an inspector with the lottery and then offered her additional payments periodically to be "on call" for his Southern Amusement business. Kitchen is accused of often giving Southern Amusement access to restricted areas of video-lottery machines and lying to federal investigators in their probe of Ferrell and his company.


Fires Kill Two Elderly Women

Separate fires left two elderly West Virginia women dead Friday. Early Friday morning, fire engulfed a mobile home in Lewis County, just outside the Weston city limits. An elderly female victim was discovered near the front door of the home, in a position indicating she was attempting to escape. Friday evening, fire destroyed a two-story home in the community of East Daily outside of Beverly, taking the life of another elderly woman. The bodies of both have been sent to the state Medical Examiner's office in South Charleston for positive identification and cause of death.


Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settled

Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King approved a settlement this week awarding $812,500 to Derek, Kaley and Zac, the three children of 42 year old Gina Sigmond of Sissonville. Sigmond's estate filed a wrongful death suit filed against the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department in August 2009, a year and a half after she was killed in February 2008. The suit named the sheriff's department, Kanawha County Commission and Sheriff Mike Rutherford as defendants as well as three individual officers, Deputy A.J. Miller, Cpl. D.H. Duff and Lt. Sean Crosier. The suit alleged that a deputy's negligence led to the death of Gina Sigmond, 42, and family friend, 52 year old Steven Woodall. The settlement stated the court found Sigmond died of injuries inflicted by her husband, Edgar Sigmond Jr., who later shot himself.


Psychological Evaluation Ordered For Man Involved In Murder

Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman has requested that 25 year old Joseph Hardwick of St. Albans be incarcerated for 60 days at Anthony Correctional Center to undergo a psychological evaluation before being sentenced for his involvement in a 2009 murder in St. Albans. Hardwick pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and admitted he got $50 to buy drugs in exchange for disposing a vehicle belonging to Stacie Smith, 32, of St. Albans just after Christmas 2009. Timothy Sutherland, Smith's cousin who is accused of stabbing her to death, is currently serving a 10-year sentence for drug charges.


Williamson Doctor Refuses To Forfeit Seized Money

Federal prosecutors want Dr. Katherine Hoover to forfeit more than $88,000 seized when her Mountain Medical Care Center in Mingo County was raided. The Williamson clinic was shut down in March, when investigators alleged it operated as a pill mill, but no one has been charged criminally. Hoover, who was served with the forfeiture warrant late last month in the Bahamas, where she has been since the raid. denies any wrongdoing and says she'll fight the attempt to confiscate the money. She also continues to argue that the Mountain Medical Care Center was illegally targeted. The $88,029 was seized from a bank account and her Williamson apartment.


Early Votes Nearly Triple May Primary

The first three days of early voting have already seen more than 16,300 West Virginians cast their ballots for the general election. The secretary of state's office says the volume is nearly triple from the May primary but less than the more than 21,100 early votes cast before the 2008 general election. Brooke and Wetzel counties slated limited early voting hours for Saturday. Early voting will otherwise resume Monday and continue until October 30th, excluding Sunday. Election Day is November 2nd.


Health Centers Threaten To Sue State

One in five West Virginians, more than 373,000 people, get their medical care through the state's 28 federally-funded community health centers. More than 91,000, or 26 percent, are Medicaid patients, while another 25 percent have no insurance. West Virginia's community health centers say, since 2001, the West Virginia Medicaid program has arbitrarily paid them less than the cost of care for patients. They say the action violates federal law which requires them to serve everybody who comes, whether they are insured or not. In a 14-page letter delivered Friday to Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Patsy Hardy, attorneys for the Primary Care Association said the state has showed "complete disregard for federal law" in this matter, and if the DHHR does not take steps to correct the situation within 10 days, the association will take legal action.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Knott County Judge Executive May Seek Re-Election

Despite a federal felony vote-buying conviction, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson may run for re-election. Because Thompson's appeal of his 2008 conviction is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, he is eligible. Twenty-one Knott County Democrats challenged his candidacy before the May primary, but because Thompson is a Republican, they had no standing to challenge another party's primary election.
They re-filed a challenge before the general election, and special Judge John David Caudill ruled in Knott Circuit Court that according to state law, Thompson may run.


MSHA Proposes New Rule

Officials proposed a new rule that could save miners in the future.

MSHA officials say thousands of young miners are being diagnosed with black lung disease and others are dying from it. Officials say it shows current regulations are not working to prevent the disease.

“The disease has affected tens of thousands of miners destroying their lungs, cutting their lives short, and leaving people gasping air just to survive. The U.S. Department of Labor will not tolerate this,” Hilda Solis said.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration is proposing new rules that lower coal mine dust exposure to miners.

The proposal would lower limits for respirable coal dust from 2 milligrams of dust per cubic meter of air to 1 milligram; require the use of personal air supply monitors in the dustiest areas, and change dust sampling from eight hours to a full shift.

“All the features of this rule combined will reduce miners exposure to unhealthy dust and will reduce a miner's chance of getting the terrible black lung disease,” Jospeh Main of MSHA said.

MSHA estimates it could cost the coal industry nearly 45 million dollars per year.

Coal leaders say they are evaluating the changes.

“Everyone wants the safest work place for our miners and no one wants black lung. We want to do all we can to prevent any kind of issue with that nature,” Bill Bissett said.

The rule would also require more medical surveillance.

MSHA is accepting public comments on the rule proposal.


Man Pleads Guilty To Murder Of Four Year Old

Cecil New II pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping and killing 4 year old César Ivan Aguilar-Cano, who disappeared while playing outside his home near Churchill Downs. New admitted his guilt to charges of murder, kidnapping, tampering with physical evidence and unlawful transaction with a minor for giving the boy alcohol before he killed him and dumped his body in the trash. Ivan's body was found July 7, 2007, inside a garbage truck. New entered an open plea, making him eligible to receive the death penalty and waiving his right to an appeal. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jon Heck said during the hearing that prosecutors will ask for the death penalty. An October 25th hearing is set to decide a date for arguments in New's sentencing.


Former UK Player Arrested

Former University of Kentucky basketball player Darnell Dodson was arrested early Friday morning and charged with disorderly conduct. Dodson had been dismissed from playing for the Wildcats after last season, his first after a transfer from Miami-Dade Community College, but UK coach John Calipari had left the door open for a possible return to practice. Calipari closed that door Thursday afternoon saying, “He's no longer here,” and indicating Dodson had a full release, granting him the ability to transfer to any school he chooses. Dodson has pleaded not guilty.


Senator Mitch McConnell Upbeat About GOP Chances

While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell campaigned with Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul at a rally in Murray in western Kentucky Thursday, he told a crowd of about 175 that Republicans are competitive nationally in 12 races for Senate seats now held by Democrats. McConnell says a backlash against President Barack Obama's policies will spur a strong GOP showing next month, but he's stopping short of predicting his party will take control of the Senate. McConnell also says he's confident he'll lead a larger GOP Senate caucus next year, but Republicans need to guard against overconfidence.


Kentucky Reports Second H1N1 Case

Health Department officials confirm that a Fayette County 2-week-old has the flu. It's the second confirmed case in Kentucky this fall. Both confirmed cases have been H1N1 in Fayette County residents.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot, which covers both the seasonal and H1N1 strains of the flu. Because young babies are not able to get a shot, health officials urge pregnant women to get one to stay safe. Officials say children between two weeks and nine years old are especially vulnerable to the current outbreak.


Trial Delayed Following Fatal Fire At Fort Campbell

The trial in Paducah, Ky., of a woman charged with setting fire to her home and killing two of her children has been postponed.

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell on Thursday delayed the Oct. 18 trial of Billi Jo Smallwood.

Smallwood has pleaded not guilty to malicious damage and destruction by fire to property owned by the United States resulting in deaths in the May 2007 blaze at the Fort Campbell Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

Two children, 9-year-old Sam Fagan, and 2-year-old Rebekah Smallwood, died in the blaze. Smallwood's husband, Army Spc. Wayne Smallwood, and their toddler daughter, Nevaeh, survived.

Prosecutors asked for the delay to appeal a ruling excluding some evidence from the trial. Defense attorneys filed an objection to the delay Thursday afternoon.


KY To Provide Civil Legal Aid To Low-Income

Kentucky has joined nearly two dozen other states in forming a commission to help the judiciary deliver civil legal aid to low-income citizens.

Chief Justice John D. Minton announced on Thursday the creation of the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission, a 30-member body tasked with removing impediments to access to the justice system, developing effective plans for funding for civil legal services and expanding assistance available for self-represented litigants.

Retired Judge Roger Crittenden, the interim chair of board, says the commission will hold an initial meeting Jan. 28, 2011. Minton has not yet appointed members to the board.


Pike County Mine Has Injunction Lifted

Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters has overturned a temporary injunction that halted work at a Pike County coal mine.

An administrative law judge issued the injunction Sept. 30 while considering a petition from environmental groups who claim the state failed to adequately consider the effect the mine near Elkhorn City would have on water quality.

On Thursday, Peters vacated the judge's order, saying arguments put forth by the Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth about minerals in the water aren't required to be included in documents for mining permits.

A statement by Cambrian Coal Corp. Vice President Mark Campbell states the company is thankful it can resume operations that employ about 50 people.


Judge Questions Kentucky Execution Method

Federal Appeals Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr. has denied a request to reconsider the case of death row inmate Gregory L. Wilson who had been scheduled for execution on September 16th for the 1987 kidnapping, rape and murder of 36 year old Debbie Pooley in northern Kentucky. The execution was halted by a state judge who expressed concerns about how Kentucky carries out executions. Martin says misdeeds and mistakes in the case show the legal system is unreliable. Martin said multiple problems in the case led to a defense that was a "charade," a "kangaroo court" and created "a risk of bias" against Wilson, and until we reform this broken system, we cannot rely on it to determine life and death. The denial could send the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Huntington Grand Jury Indicts Detroit Men

Twenty-one year old Curtis Lavall Capers and 41 year old Stanley Smith, both from Detroit, were named in separate federal drug indictments this week for crimes allegedly committed in Huntington. Capers faces a two-count indictment alleging that he possessed with an intent to distribute OxyCodone at the same time he carried a 9 mm handgun during an incident which happened on September 2nd. Smith, also known as “Styles,” faces a three-count indictment alleging he distributed crack and possessed it with intent to distribute. The allegations stem from incidents on September 23rd, 27th and 30th. The affidavit states federal and local authorities had received information for six years that Smith was involved in trafficking drugs in Huntington, Detroit, Texas, Tennessee and Ohio.


EPA Recommends Revocation Of Arch Coal Permit

The Environmental Protection Agency is recommending revocation of a permit for Arch Coal's Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County. The EPA says, after taking another look at the project and reviewing thousands of public comments, they've determined the mine has too great a potential to harm the environment and wildlife. The original permit for one of the largest surface mines in Appalachia was issued at least three years ago, but, after numerous delays because of lawsuits, the Obama Administration announced plans to look at the permit again last Fall. Arch Coal says, if the EPA proceeds with its unlawful veto of the Spruce permit as it appears determined to do, West Virginia’s economy and future tax base will suffer a serious blow, and every business in the nation would be put on notice that any lawfully issued permit, Clean Water Act 404 or otherwise, can be revoked at any time according to the whims of the federal government. The West Virginia Coal Association says the EPA decision reveals an agency willing to put a political agenda ahead of people.


WVU Professor To Study Water Effects Of Mountaintop Mining

Nicolas Zegre, an assistant professor of hydrology at West Virginia University, is getting a grant to study the water impacts of mountaintop mining in the Appalachian region. WVU officials say he's getting a seed grant from the National Science Foundation to research what happens to the flow of water in areas affected by mountaintop mining. That will better help understand the factors behind flooding that is sometimes attributed to the mining practice. The school says little research exists on how large-scale mountaintop mining disturbances affect the ways streams flow and storm water drains.


Man Indicted For Burglary

A Mercer County Grand Jury has indicted 40 year old Juan Antonio Manresa Leyva of Hollywood, Florida on charges of felony breaking and entering and grand larceny.
Those charges are in connection to the burglary at Diamond Land Jewelry Store in Princeton last November in which investigators estimate more than $145,000 worth of jewelry and cash were stolen. The store, which had no insurance, later closed. Leyva, who was arrested in Knoxville, Tennessee in June, remains in the Southern Regional Jail on $5 million bond.


Two Charleston Women Stabbed

Around 3:45 A.M. Friday morning, police were called to the 7-Eleven convenience store on Washington St., W. in Charleston after about 15 people started fighting in the parking lot, and two women were stabbed. Twenty-five year old Tiffany Hairston of Charleston suffered stab wounds and cuts to her abdomen, back and face, while 21 year old Shanita Robertson, also of Charleston, had cuts on her right and left forearms.


Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall Set Up In West Virginia

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is set up in Spencer this weekend for the 56th Black Walnut Festival. The Wall, a scaled version of the original Wall in Washington D.C., spans 300 feet, is six feet tall, is 3/5 the size of the original in Washington and has the name of every soldier that died in Vietnam, listed in chronological order.


EPA Stops Operations At Boone County Plant

Cleanup continues in Boone County, following a coal slurry spill Tuesday night at Kanawha Eagle's Emerald Processing Plant near Comfort. The Department of Environmental Protection issued an imminent harm cessation order which makes the company stop operations and clean up the spill. The DEP has to give the go-ahead for the company to continue operations. The company is using pump trucks to remove the slurry that spread over a mile and a half in a stream along Joe's Creek Road.


Spike TV To Launch Reality Show In McDowell County

Spike TV and a Canadian mining company are preparing to launch a reality television series that will focus on West Virginia's coal industry. The series "Coal" will start shooting in November at Cobalt Coal's underground Westchester mine in McDowell County. Governor Joe Manchin, the United Mine Workers and others worry that shooting underground could be dangerous, and that Cobalt, with only two dozen employees, doesn't represent the reality of an industry dominated by corporate giants with thousands of workers and dozens of mines. However, Cobalt president Thomas Roberts, who has worked underground for more than 40 years, says there's no reason to worry. TV crews will undergo 80 hours of mine safety training.


Verizon Wireless Holding High School TXT2Win Contest

Huntington High School, Hurricane High School, Cabell Midland High School and Capital Senior High School are all looking for a chance to win $10,000 from Verizon Wireless if local fans can cheer loudest with their fingers.
Through the Verizon Wireless High School TXT2Win contest, students, parents and fans simply need to send a text message to 66861 with the school’s special contest code.

For Huntington High School, HUNT
For Hurricane High School, HURR
For Cabell Midland High School, CMHS
Capital Senior High School, CAP

Voters can also visit to vote online and increase the school’s odds of winning.

The high schools will be competing against 23 other high schools from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The school with the most votes by November 4th wins the $10,000 prize, but all participating schools will receive a $1,000 donation at an upcoming sporting event. Verizon Wireless is giving away a total of three $10,000 cash prizes to high schools throughout the Midwest.


West Virginia Launches Electronic Prescription Initiative

West Virginia is launching an electronic prescription initiative for medical prescribers across the state that are enrolled with Medicaid.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says the WVeScript will allow doctors to electronically send a prescription directly to a pharmacy.

Medicaid enrolled providers can use for all their patients, not just Medicaid members.

The department also will offer Medicaid enrolled providers monetary assistance and two continuing medical education credits for the completion of web-based training.


Kanawha County Commission To Consider Ban For County Workers

Nationwide, more than 5,400 people were killed in 2009 in vehicle crashes where drivers were distracted by cell phones or other devices, and about 24,000 people injured in crashes were using a cell phone at the time of the crash. Of 3,104 crash reports issued in Kanawha County since 2009, 301 listed distracted drivers as a contributing factor to the accidents. At a regular meeting of the Kanawha County Commission this coming Tuesday, members will discuss a proposed cell phone and texting ban that would prohibit county employees from texting or using cell phones in county vehicles. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department already restricts the use of cell phones and text messaging for deputies. If approved, the ban would include exemptions for emergency vehicles under certain circumstances, although the exceptions would be few.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Clayton Homes Burglarized

Kentucky State Police are investigating after copper wiring was stolen from electric supply boxes attached to 15 model homes at Clayton Homes late Tuesday night. Clayton Homes is offering a reward for any information leading to an arrest.


Former Hazard Mayor's Widow To Fill Office

Hazard City Manager Carlos Combs says the city commission is making plans to swear in Nan Gorman, the widow of longtime Mayor Bill Gorman, as interim mayor at a specially called meeting Monday night. Bill Gorman's name will appear on the November ballot, but votes for him won't be counted. The deadline to file with the county clerk's office is October 22nd. Nan Gorman will serve as the first female mayor of Hazard.


Judge Denies Prosecutors' Request

Thursday, U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell denied a request by prosecutors to halt a hearing scheduled for February in the case of 27 year old Michael Adam Carneal. Carneal admitted in 1998 to killing three classmates and wounding five others on December 1, 1997 at Heath High School near Paducah and is serving life in prison. He is eligible for parole in 2023. Carneal's attorneys say he was too mentally ill to disclose he was hearing voices at the time of the shooting and plea. Prosecutors say recently discovered letters show Carneal was aware of his mental illness long before he challenged his guilty plea, meaning he filed the appeal too late. Judge Russell ruled Carneal's claim of mental incompetence is "too important" to decide without a full hearing.


Beshear Going To India

Governor Steve Beshear is heading to India on a seven-day economic development trip, beginning Friday. First lady Jane Beshear and Larry Hayes, the state's economic development secretary, will accompany the governor on the trip in which they are
expected to travel to New Delhi and Mumbai. There are six Indian-owned companies in Kentucky, employing more than 1,500 people.


Teen "Drive To Stay Alive" Program Underway

Twenty-one high school students from 17 schools throughout the state checked into the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort for the 8th Annual 'Drive To Stay Alive' program.

'Drive To Stay Alive' (D2SA) is a four-day defensive driving academy for
teens that combine classroom studies and road course tests in an effort
to reduce teen deaths on Kentucky roadways.


Deadline For Write-In Candidates

Candidates who want to be eligible to have their votes counted as a write-in candidate for the upcoming election have until October 22, 2010 to file with the appropriate filing officer.

“As we head into the homestretch of the 2010 election cycle, I want to encourage those individuals who are considering running as a write-in candidate to file to run as soon as possible,” stated Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

Eligible write-in candidates who must file with the Secretary of State have until 4:00 p.m. EDT to file their papers, while candidates for offices that file with the local county clerk will have until 4:00 p.m. local time to complete their filings. If candidates choose to mail their filing papers, the documents must still be received in the appropriate office by 4:00 p.m. on the 22nd, and thus, candidates are asked to plan accordingly.


Numbers Set For General Election

Kentucky will have 2,885,775 citizens appear on its voter rolls for the November 2nd general election. That number is the second highest total of registered voters in the Commonwealth’s history, just slightly lower than the record set during the 2008 general election, which totaled 2,906,809. There were 2,851,996 citizens registered to vote in the 2010 primary election and 2,766,288 in the 2006 general election, the most recent comparable election cycle.

“We are confident that Kentucky has one of the best voter registration databases in the country, and these registration figures reflect our efforts to ensure a fair and honest election in the Commonwealth,” stated Secretary of State Trey Grayson. “While we would like to see these numbers increase to historic levels, we must also be mindful that our voter rolls must be continually updated to reflect those voters who are deceased, have moved away, or must be removed from the rolls for other lawful reasons.”

The registration totals are a net increase of 33,779 voters from those who were registered to vote in the 2010 primary election, increasing the voter rolls by 1.18%. In comparison, voter registration figures increased by a net of 49,578, or 1.74%, from the 2008 primary election to the 2008 general election. The 2010 increase is considerably lower than the 2.08% increase that the registration figures saw in 2006, the last comparable election cycle.

Registration figures continued to show little change in the percentage of male and female voters with females representing nearly 53% of the registration population and males representing 47%.

In terms of party registration, Democrats, Republicans, and “Others” increased their number of registered voters by 0.39%, 2.17%, and 2.56% since May of 2010, respectively. Democrats increased their voters by 6,350 to 1,624,361. Republicans increased their voters by 22,665 to 1,067,537. “Others” increased their voters by 4,758 to 193,871.

Republicans and “Others” increased their percentages of the Kentucky voter rolls as they now comprise 36.99% and 6.72% of Kentucky voters, respectively. That is an increase of 0.35% and 0.09% since the 2010 primary election, respectively. Democrats saw their percentage decrease 0.48% since the 2010 primary election to 56.29%. Those percentages have set records in modern Kentucky history with Republicans and Others being higher than ever before and Democrats being lower.

Compared to the 2006 general election registration figures, there has been a net increase of 119,487 in total voters, or 4.32%; 46,088 in Democratic voters, or 2.92%; 56,351 in Republican voters, or 5.57%; and 17,042 “Other” voters, or 9.64%. Democrats, Republicans, and “Others” represented 57.05%, 36.55%, and 6.39% of the electorate in November of 2006, respectively. Since November of 2006, the percentage of the electorate has changed -0.76% for Democrats, 0.44% for Republicans, and 0.33% for “Others” as compared to current percentages of Kentucky registered voters.

Secretary Grayson noted that the election’s focus now shifts to getting people to the polls on Election Day. “Now that the registration books are closed, we must work diligently to see that every registered Kentuckian votes in the November 2, 2010 general election.”

Grayson encouraged citizens to utilize the Voter Information Center (VIC) on the State Board of Election’s website to confirm their voter registration status and to locate their polling place. For complete registration statistics, including county and district registration statistics, as well as additional election information including the VIC, please visit


Pikeville College Homecoming

As Pikeville College marks its 122nd year, students, alumni and friends are invited to attend Homecoming Week, Oct. 18-23.

The Lady Bears’ volleyball team takes on U.Va. Wise on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the college gymnasium. Following the volleyball match, the countdown to the Bears’ and Lady Bears’ basketball seasons begins with Basketball Blast-Off at 8 p.m. The events are free.

The fun continues on Thursday, Oct. 21, with the traditional Founders’ Day picnic and games in the Allara Courtyard at 11 a.m. The cost for lunch is $6. An art exhibit and reception, “Where I Come From, Part 2, The Diversity Continues,” will be held from 11 a.m.-noon in the Weber Art Gallery located on level two of the Record Memorial Building. The event is free and the community is cordially invited.

Later Thursday evening, Pikeville College’s best and brightest will take center stage during the annual talent showcase featuring a variety of great music and outstanding performances. The event is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. in Booth Auditorium, located on level five of the Record Memorial Building.

Saturday will be an action-packed day as the Bears take the field against U.Va. Wise at the Hambley Athletic Complex in Pikeville. Admission to the game includes an invitation to the Pikeville College Alumni Association’s spirit rally and tailgate party, beginning at 5 p.m. Homecoming tailgate activities are sponsored by Pikeville College Alumni Association, Food City, Pepsi Bottling Company, Aramark and Utility Management Group. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. Admission to the football game is $8 for adults and $4 for students. Pikeville College students are admitted free with Pikeville College ID. Faculty and staff, and their immediate family (spouse and children), are also admitted free with ID. The Homecoming king and queen will be crowned during halftime of the football game. WYMT-TV, Z-ROCK 107.5, and WPRG-TV 5 will broadcast the football game live.


New Troopers For KSP Post 9 In Pikeville

Kentucky State Police welcomes twelve new Troopers to the Post 9 Pikeville family. On Wednesday twelve new Troopers reported to Post 9 Pikeville to receive their assignments.

The new Troopers are excited to be a part of the Post 9 family and the
opportunity to serve the citizens of the commonwealth. The assignments include; 2 are assigned to Floyd County, 3are assigned to Martin, Magoffin, and Johnson Counties.

The new Troopers names and their home counties are as follows; Adam
Hensley- Rockcastle,Ky., Joshua Cheault, Scott County,Ky., Alex Rubado,
Johnson County,Ky., Joshua Brainard, Pulaski County,Ky., Rodney Pratt,
Braken County,Ky., Mike Hindman, Elkville,IL., Brandon Creekmore,
Whitley County,Ky., Christopher Martin, Spencer County,Ky., Steven
Mounts, Mingo County WV., Zach Bryson,Laurel County,Ky., Ryan
Roessler,Campbell County,Ky., and Michael Haney, Morgan County, Ky.,


KY Joins Foreclosure Investigation

Kentucky has joined 48 states in launching a joint investigation into allegations that mortgage companies mishandled documents and broke laws in foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.

Attorneys general and bank regulators say they will examine whether mortgage company employees made false statements or prepared documents improperly. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says the alleged action of the banks may violate state law.

Alabama was the only state not to join the investigation.

Four large lenders -- Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage Unit, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- already have halted questionable foreclosures after evidence emerged that bank employees processed thousands of foreclosure documents without reading them. Other banks have not stopped processing foreclosures, saying they did nothing wrong.


TVA Lowers Residential Bills

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies power to nearly 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, has announced that, after increases for eight months, it will cut residential bills between $3.50 and $7, beginning November 1st. TVA says that in September, coal, purchased power and gas prices were 12 percent below the predicted level. That helped to offset demand that was higher than projected and lower hydro generation than had been forecast. The 5 percent decrease in November follows a total 28 percent increase in the fuel cost adjustment since March.


Spalding University To Install New President

Tori Murden McClure, a Louisville lawyer who was the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, will be formally installed as president of Spalding University during a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville Sunday. McClure, who rowed solo across the mid-Atlantic Ocean in 81 days aboard a 23-foot boat named American Pearl in 1999, will become the school's 28th president after serving as Spalding's vice president of external relations. McClure holds a master's degree in divinity from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Louisville.


Insurers Appear Before Commission

At a hearing before Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark Wednesday, health insurance executives said they would resume selling child-only policies, if Kentucky required their competitors to do the same. Insurers say they cut back sales of child-only plans after a new health care reform law kicked in, requiring insurers to accept children with pre-existing conditions starting September 23rd, changing a law that allowed insurers to refuse coverage to sick children. Insurance companies across the country, including Louisville-based Humana and Anthem, Kentucky's largest health insurer, responded by halting the sale of new child-only plans. Advocates protested the move, saying it amounted to working around one of the reform law's biggest consumer protections.


FBI Investigating Former West Virginia State Police Troopers

The FBI is investigating allegations against former West Virginia State Police troopers A.H. Young and K.E. Young stemming from their July 28th arrest of 32 year old Brian Joseph Wilson. Wilson, who was arrested on drug, conspiracy and assault charges, claims the two brothers violated his civil rights during the arrest. His attorney, John A. Carr, says there was an altercation between Wilson and the Youngs at the State Police barracks in South Charleston. The Youngs have been resigned and haven't worked as State Police officers since at least September.


MSHA Cites Mingo County Mine And Others

In a report made public Wednesday, following the investigation of the May death of continuous mining machine operator 55 year old James R. Erwin of Delbarton, MSHA investigators say Massey Energy's Spartan Mining failed to follow proper roof control procedures and training requirements. On May 10th, Erwin was crushed between a shuttle car and the mine wall at Massey's Spartan Mining Co. subsidiary Ruby Energy Mine near Delbarton in Mingo County. He died 11 days later from injuries received in the incident. Federal inspectors cited Spartan Mining.

State investigators cited Massey for illegally modifying a vehicle involved in the death of 60 year old electrician Wilbert Starcher at the Pocahontas Mine in Greenbrier County which occurred on July 1st.

International Coal Group was also cited over the crushing death of 28 year old John King at its Beckley Pocahontas Mine in Eccles which occurred on April 22nd.


Five Arrested During Huntington Drug Raids

Huntington Police conducted two raids Wednesday night, resulting in the arrests of five people. During the first raid on 14th Street, police arrested Kourmond Wiggins, 27, of Atlanta, Ga., and Damarcus Thomas, 27, of South Point, Ohio after finding two handguns, a large amount of cash and marijuana. During the second raid at an apartment on Washington Avenue, police arrested Lonnie McIntosh, 28, of Atlanta, Rickavious Tillman, 30, of Huntington, and Elijah Fletcher, 29, of Atlanta after officers found a large red duffel bag that contained marijuana, a large amount of cash and a .40 caliber handgun. Each is charged with possession and intent to deliver a controlled substance.


MSHA Unveils New Coal Dust Rule

MSHA Assistant Secretary Joe Main says current regulations on dust standards in U.S. coal mines are not working, and there's a continuing rise in the number of black lung cases. Main says regulation on dust standards needs to change. MSHA unveiled it's proposed new rules Thursday. First, the allowable levels of dust in mines will be cut in half from 2mg/cubic meter of air to 1mg. Secondly, the sampling of dust levels and monitoring of a miner's hour to hour dust intake would be more closely followed with the aid of new personal dust monitoring devices. The units would be worn by miners during underground shifts. At the end of the shift, the data from those devices would be downloaded and posted at the mine, and, at the end of the week, all of the data would be transferred to MSHA for analysis and study. The new rules also call for increased medical monitoring of miners, with more frequent health checks and more thorough examinations. Miners will be getting an X-Ray at first employment and, for new miners, a second one after three years, followed every five years. The examination would also require expanded testing. There will be a public comment period.


Mercer County Deputies Arrest Four

Mercer County Sheriff's Deputies arrested three juveniles and 21 year old Robert Nicewander of Montcalm and charged each of them with one count of breaking and entering, one count of grand larceny and two counts of felony conspiracy. Deputies say they broke into Swamp Fox Motorsports in Green Valley around 1:00 A.M. Thursday morning and stole three ATVs that were recovered on Hurricane Ridge Road within 30 minutes of the break-in. Nicewander was taken to the Bluefield City Jail, while the teenagers were transported to the Sam Perdue Juvenile Center.


Three Indicted On Theft Charges

William Lynd and Roger Layman, Jr., of Chesapeake, Ohio and Chris Mueller, of Huntington, have been indicted by a grand jury in Huntington on charges of conspiracy to transport stolen goods across state lines. The indictment says, between January 2008 and April 2008, Lynd, who worked at Steel of West Virginia, gave Layman, Jr. and Mueller access to the plant where steel was stolen and then taken to a salvage yard in Huntington where it was sold. If convicted, the men face up to five years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine.


Groundbreaking Held For New Veterans' Cemetery

The groundbreaking for the $14 million Donel Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery was held Thursday in Institute. The Veterans Affairs will pay 100-percent of the construction cost of the cemetery and the state will be responsible for operating it. The state plans to develop 25 acres of the property to start, but there will eventually be space enough for 60,000 burial plots. Phase One of the project should be complete in 12 to 18 months.

The cemetery, which will be located just behind the West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute on land Dow Chemical donated, is being named after Donel Kinnard, a man who won the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star and seven Purple Hearts while he served the country before he died in February 2009. Kinnard was a main player in getting the Veteran's Nursing Home in Clarksburg built. Kinnard will be the first to be buried at the new cemetery once it's complete.


Postal Service Reviewing Alleged Safety Violations

The U.S. Postal Service faces $212,500 in civil penalties for alleged safety violations at a mail processing facility in Huntington.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday that the Postal Service failed to train workers to safely work with live electrical parts, exposing them to potential hazards.

A complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Labor asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the Postal Service to correct electrical violations at all its facilities across the nation.

The Postal Service defended its safety record. It said it began implementing a plan in January to improve safe electrical work practices at all its facilities.

The Postal Service said it will review OSHA’s concerns and make necessary adjustments.


Environmental Groups Seek To Intervene In Mining Lawsuit

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups are seeking to intervene in a coal industry lawsuit brought by the National Mining Association. Mining industry lawyers are seeking to block more detailed permit reviews and tougher water quality guidance issued earlier this year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Shortly after the Obama administration took office, the EPA began much more rigorous reviews of valley fill permit applications being considered by the federal Army Corps of Engineers and threatened to exercise its Clean Water Act authority to block those permits if it believed the impacts were too great. In April, the EPA announced a new guidance for its regional offices in reviewing water pollution permits for mining projects being considered for issuance by state agencies. In its suit, the mining association said the guidance constitutes a rulemaking that should have gone through a public comment before it was put into effect.

The other groups seeking to intervene are Coal River Mountain Watch, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, and Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment.


Child Care Centers Get New Buses

Child care centers in West Virginia received new buses Thursday. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources purchased 74 safety buses, using federal stimulus money. The new buses will replace out dated and often unsafe passenger vans. Each program received a $36,000 grant from the DHHR to help pay for the buses, which have a base cost of about $39,000.


Regional Jail Authority Seeking New Director

Regional Jail Authority members conducted an emergency meeting Wednesday during which they discussed Director Terry Miller, who has been on administrative leave since September 16th and is no longer director of the Authority. Miller's termination comes amid sexual harassment allegations by two female employees. The state is looking for a new Regional Jails Director. Joe DeLong has been assisting with administrative duties since Miller's leave began, and he will continue to work as acting director until the position can be filled.


WV Families Save On College Tuition

Thanks to the federal American Opportunity Tax Credit, West Virginia families have saved about $51 million on tuition expenses. The credit, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has made college more affordable for more Americans. The Treasury Department says the credit increased overall tax benefits for higher education expenses by more than 90 percent, helping 12.5 million students and their families pay for college in 2009. In West Virginia, 29,000 families saved an average of $1,730 per family.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Pedestrian Fatally Struck By Car

Police are continuing to investigate after 44 year old Jamie Nolan of Corbin was fatally struck by a car near the intersection of 1527, just a few miles north of Barbourville early Wednesday morning.


UK Breaks Ground For Energy Research Facility

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research broke ground Wednesday for the university's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified laboratory. The $19.8 million, 43,000-square-foot laboratory will allow the research center to expand its research capabilities devoted to the state's growing renewable energy industries, including biomass and biofuels, electrochemical power sources and solar energy technologies.


Eastern Kentucky Officials Charged With Bribing Voters

Elliot County Judge-Executive Flemen D. "David" Blair and Deputy County Judge-Executive Barry F. Blair, who are father and son, are scheduled for arraignment October 21st in federal court in Ashland. A federal grand jury indicted the pair Friday on charges of conspiracy and bribery. Prosecutors say both men distributed county-owned gravel to potential voters for free in May 2010 to sway their votes in the primary election.


Judge Denies Motions In Perry County Murder

Police say, last December, John Combs walked into the Leatherwood-Blackey Medical Center in Perry County with a revolver and shot and killed Dr. Dennis Sandlin. Wednesday, a judge heard motions in the case about the death penalty and also set a trial date for May. The prosecution argues the fact that Combs was carrying a gun into the office where guns were not allowed and put several other people's lives in danger makes him eligible for the death penalty. Combs' attorney says, if this case qualifies for the death penalty based on the fact he had a gun, then it opens up the possibility of the death penalty for those accused of similar crimes, and the death penalty is unconstitutional and is only sought in this case because Sandlin was a popular figure in the community. The judge denied all those motions, paving the way to allow a jury to decide if Combs should be put to death. Combs' attorney says he plans to file for a change of venue.


Delay Sought In Sypher Sentencing

Karen Sypher's attorney, James Earhart, has filed a request in U.S. District Court asking that Sypher's October 27th sentencing hearing be put off for at least 30 days to allow him time to finish preparing for the sentencing. Sypher was convicted in August of three counts of extortion, two counts of lying to the FBI and a count of retaliation against a witness. Prosecutors say she demanded millions from University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino to stay quiet about a sexual encounter between the two at a Louisville restaurant in 2003.


Digital Scan Voting Expands In Kentucky

The November 2nd general election will mark the first time voters in 45 Kentucky counties use a new digital scan voting system called eScans, which gives voters a verified paper record.

Seven counties first used the new systems during the 2008 primary election with 27 counties following suit in the 2008 general election.

The equipment, called eScans, digitally captures voter selections on printed ballots and integrates totals from absentee-by-mail and electronic voting systems to produce a single set of election reports.

More than 90 counties in Kentucky already use the machines for absentee balloting.

Jefferson County has used similar technology called optical scan for over 20 years.


Three In Custody For Martin County Murder

KSP Detective Jason Dials says the three men, Jimmy Cornette Jr., David Jude and Jerry Stepp, indicted for the 2002 murder of Patrick Calvin Blackburn in Martin County have all been arrested. Cornette, Jr. was served his indictment in the Meade County Jail where he is being held on a receiving stolen property charge. Paintsville Police arrested Jerry Stepp Monday night, and David Jude turned himself into authorities at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Johnson County around 5:00 P.M. Tuesday


Police Make Arrest In Bell County Shooting

Kentucky State Police have arrested 46 year old Robert C. Wilson and charged him with assault, wanton endangerment and several drug related offenses. Police say they received a call about a shooting in the Cheona Community of Bell County Tuesday, and, when they arrived at the scene along Beaver Dam Road, they found Alvin Mason had suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, and the shooter had fled the scene.


Knott County Man Found Dead

Kentucky State Police say family members and co-workers began searching for 51 year old Leslie Williams of Kite in Knott County when he failed to show up for work at Fools Gold Energy Tuesday. His body and truck were found over an embankment off KY-3386 in Prestonsburg where police say his truck had gone off the roadway and flipped.


Lottery Lawsuit Dismissed

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the West Virginia Lottery Commission’s bidding process for the next round of 10-year limited video lottery licenses. In August, the West Virginia Amusement and Limited Video Lottery Association sued the state Lottery Commission in an attempt to halt the bidding process, while arguing that operators who previously held licenses weren’t given enough preference. In September, the commission revised its rules to allow operators who currently hold licenses to bid on any unclaimed licenses in all three rounds of bidding. Kaufman noted in his order that the parties had resolved their differences.


West Virginia Teen Charged With Homicide

A West Virginia teen, 19 year old Ian McClain of Follansbee, has been charged with criminal homicide following the death of 44 year old Saverio "Sam'' Veltri after what Pennsylvania State Police call a road rage dispute. McClain and Veltri crashed last month on U.S. 22 in Washington County, Pa., and a fight followed. Veltri died of his injuries Sunday at a Pittsburgh hospital.


Beckley Police Seeking Fugitive

Police in Beckley say Eric Morris is wanted for malicious wounding and attempted first-degree murder in relation to an October 8th shooting on Antonio Avenue in which a 40 year old man was shot multiple times.


FBI Arrest Man For Interstate Stalking

FBI agents arrested Mark Allen Smith, 37, of Newport, Ky., Tuesday on a charge of interstate stalking. Agents say Smith traveled across state lines from Kentucky to West Virginia to stalk, harass and attempt to kill his ex-wife. Smith allegedly went to her home in Barboursville and broke every window from the residence, destroyed her automobile and attempted to force his way inside.


School Bus Accident In Kanawha County

Police say, around 3:15 P.M. Wednesday afternoon, a car collided with a Kanawha County school bus on Reunion Road in Pinch. None of the children on the bus were injured, but two people in the car were transported to a local hospital for treatment for minor injuries.


Woman Charged After Concealing Crack Rocks

When Charleston police responded to a noise complaint on Quarrier Street Sunday night, 21 year old Ashley Blair Dixon answered a knock on the door. Police say they could smell burning marijuana and saw a set of electronic digital scales and a razor blade on a table in the living room. Dixon told police she had 21 crack rocks in her bra she was holding for her boyfriend. Dixon's boyfriend, identified only as Ibu, along with his friend Terrell White, who were in the apartment, said they had no knowledge of the crack and did not know she had been hiding them. Officers also found several small bags Dixon said were used for marijuana. Dixon was charged with felony possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine.


Board Buys Land For New Marsh Fork Elementary

The Raleigh County Board of Education has bought property for a new elementary school that will replace the existing Marsh Fork Elementary School on W.Va. 3 located near a Massey Energy coal preparation plant and slurry impoundment. The existing school has been at the center of a debate on whether the prep plant and impoundment are a health and safety hazard to the students. The board paid a member of the Cantley family $80,000 for the property at Rock Creek which is about 3 miles east of the existing site.


Jackson County Man Found Dead In Ohio

Police in Columbus, Ohio say 30 year old Justin Griffith of Ravenswood, in Jackson County, West Virginia was found shot to death in his car early Monday morning in the Hilltop area of the city. Police say Griffith was shot multiple times in his torso.


Program Aims To Help Special Needs Students

West Virginia is one of 11 states participating in a pilot project funded through a $22 million U.S. Department of Education grant aimed at assessing learning of special needs students. The state consortium will seek to create an assessment system to support teachers in improving learning for special needs students and will work to develop alternate achievement standards.


Postal Service Considering Martinsburg Consolidation

U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Cathy Yarosky says the Postal Service needs to consolidate operations because of a dramatic decline in mail volume that has left it with excess equipment and facilities. The U.S. Postal Service is studying the feasibility of consolidating mail processing operations in Martinsburg with a processing center in Maryland, a study which could take six months to complete. The Postal Service also is looking at consolidating mail processing operations in Beckley and Huntington with its Charleston plant.


New Wilderness Area Proposed

Under legislation introduced by Representative Alan Mollohan, 6,042 acres of North Fork Mountain in Grant County would be designated as a federal wilderness area. An earlier proposal included 9,200 acres in the wilderness area, but Mike Costello with the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition says the proposed area's size was reduced to make it more appealing to some user groups.

Redman Run Trail and most of the North Fork Mountain Trail would remain open to mountain biking. The designation wouldn't affect the state's trout-stocking program in the adjacent North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River.


West Virginia Joins Foreclosure Investigation

The West Virginia Attorney General's office will participate in a nationwide review of mortgage lending practices. Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office said Wednesday it has joined attorneys general in 48 other states to investigate how foreclosures are being handled by lending institutions. The investigation comes following allegations that mortgage lenders have been evicting homeowners using flawed court papers. West Virginians can file complaints with McGraw's office by calling the Consumer Protection Hot Line, 1-800-368-8808, or by obtaining a complaint form from the consumer web page at

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Committee Searching For New UK President

A 12-person search committee has been named to find the new 12th president of the University of Kentucky. UK Board of Trustees Chairman Britt Brockman announced Tuesday that the panel's goal is to extend an offer to a new president by May 1st, with on-campus interviews of three to five finalists in April. Lee Todd, who has been the president of the state's flagship university for a decade, announced in September he would step down when his contract expires in June. The search committee includes members of the board of trustees as well as faculty, students, staff and alumni.

The university is developing a website, , that will contain information about the committee and the search process.

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