Saturday, October 30, 2010


General Electric Motors Closes Owensboro Plant

Owensboro's General Electric Motors Plant, which built electric motors for industries, closed its doors for good Friday. At its peak in 1996, the plant employed more than 6,600 workers, but last year that number had decreased to 109. Company officials say the closing was due to a lack of demand for the product and economic conditions. The local economic development office, state and local officials, and employees made proposals to keep the plant open, but they were rejected.


Louisville Teen Crowned Miss World

The 60th Miss World, 18 year old Alexandria Mills from Louisville, was crowned Saturday night in southern China. Mills, who calls Louisville, Kentucky, her hometown, recently graduated from high school and says she would like to become a teacher. Women from more than 100 countries participated in the contest. Second place went to Emma Wareus of Botswana, and Adriana Vasini of Venezuela came third.


Governor Beshear Expects "Stiff" Challege

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is predicting that Louisville businessman Phil Moffett will be a strong candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year.

Beshear said in a letter to supporters earlier this month that he can't yet predict who he will face in his re-election bid. Moffett and state Sen. David Williams have announced they intend to run. Beshear said Williams will have "a stiff challenge" from Moffett, a tea party candidate.

Beshear has so far drawn on token opposition in the Democratic primary from Harlan County demolition contractor Otis Hensley, a perennial candidate.

Lexington lawyer Gatewood Galbraith has announced he intends to run as an independent candidate for governor.


Harlan County...Wet or Dry?

In just a few days... voters in Harlan will decide if the city should go moist.

Thousands of folks come to Harlan County every year for the ATV trails.

Folks with the Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board Authority have voted in support of the petition. They say it would boost the economy.

The Harlan County Christian Alliance is asking folks to count the cost when it comes to the possible dangers alcohol could bring. Leaders have posted billboards, flyers, and held rallies against the petition that they say will not bring in added revenue.

Voters will have the final say on Tuesday.


Johnson County School Superintendent Honored

Johnson County Superintendent Steve Trimble was recognized for being named the KEDC Outstanding Superintendent for the 2010-11 school year.

Trimble was honored before Johnson Central's football game with Belfry and says if it wasn't for his staff it wouldn't be possible.

"I accept that award with all the hard working people in Johnson County. If we don't have a good administrative staff, teaching staff, sports staff and school system, I wouldn't win that award,” Johnson County Superintendent Steve Trimble said.

Trimble was voted the best among 70 other superintendents from eastern Kentucky.


DNR Attempts To Control Deer Disease

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says chronic wasting disease was discovered in Virginia last year, and, as a result, West Virginia rules bar hunters from bringing intact deer carcasses across the border. The DNR says hunters can bring back venison without bones and are allowed to bring back antlers and antlers attached to skull plates, if all flesh is removed, along with portions of hides used for taxidermy and mounted deer heads. There is no known treatment for chronic wasting disease, which eventually kills deer. West Virginia has been trying to control its spread since finding the disease in Hampshire County in 2005.


Appointed Senator Leaving Proudly

Carte Goodwin, West Virginia's junior U.S. senator appointed by Governor Joe Manchin in July to fill the vacancy left by the death of Robert C. Byrd, says he is leaving Washington, D.C. proud of the votes he cast during his short tenure. The 36 year old lawyer will step down once a winner is certified from the November 2nd special election. Goodwin says West Virginians continue to thank him for his first act as senator, allowing a vote on extending unemployment benefits. Goodwin also cited criticisms that the unemployment measure added to the federal deficit. Goodwin says he remains in awe of Byrd, who had spent more than a half-century in the Senate when he died at 92. Goodwin served as Manchin's former chief lawyer until he resigned in early 2009 to return to the family law firm.


Former Pagans Granted Probation

Two former Pagan's Motorcycle Club members, 36 year old Donnie Ray Workman and 50 year old William Copen of Charleston, have been granted probation after pleading guilty to drug related charges. Workman, of Red House, was ordered to serve four years of probation. He had pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm while regularly using cocaine. Copen was given three years of probation and fined $2,000 after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy, admitting he regularly used cocaine with other members of the club. Workman faces state charges stemming from a hit-and-run incident in June, when he allegedly struck a woman while driving drunk.


Putnam County Magistrate Clerk Retires After 46 Years

Putnam County Magistrate Clerk Louise Gunnoe has been part of the Putnam County judicial system, while working a variety of jobs, since 1964. After 46 years, she announced her retirement. Deputy clerk Derry Casto has been appointed to take over her position.


Senate Candidates Call In Big Names For Support

As election day nears and the end of the campaign trail enters its last steps for the coveted Senate seat left by longtime Senator Robert C. Byrd, two top candidates are calling in some big names to help with their efforts.

Former President Bill Clinton will be back in the state of West Virginia Monday, November 1st, to continue to campaign with Governor Joe Manchin in his bid for the U.S. Senate election. The two will be at a rally in Beckley to be hosted at the Tamarack Conference Center. The event is open to the public and no tickets are required. Doors will open at 1:30 P.M., and the event will start at 2:45 P.M. There will be no formal seating, and no signs will be allowed.

Saturday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin joined rock legend Ted Nugent at a rally at the Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston to campaign for U.S. Senate candidate John Raese. Palin told a crowd of cheering supporters that Alaska and West Virginia had a lot in common, saying "We are all clinging to our guns, our God and our constitution." Palin said she likes Governor Joe Manchin, but he fits better in the West Virginia mansion.


Boone County Man Strikes Teen Pedestrians

Police say 33 year old Daniel Toler of Hewitt, in Boone County, struck 19 year old Miguel Osbourne and a 16 year old while driving near the Dempsey Little General gas station in Ottawa Thursday night. The teens were flown to a hospital in Charleston.
Toler has been charged with DUI causing injury, driving on a suspended license and failure to have insurance.


Rutherford Shows Concern For Mountain Parkway

The Pike County Fiscal Court is requesting the Kentucky Department of Transportation make traveling to and from the capitol in Frankfort easier and safer.

Pike Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford requested the Fiscal Court adopt a resolution to make the Mountain Parkway a four lane highway.

The highway, named after former governor Bert T. Combs, begins in Salyersville and connects to US 64 near Winchester. The road stretches 76 miles, 33 of which is a two lane road, which Rutherford calls “a disgrace.”

“You can go to Charleston, the capitol of West Virginia, on a four lane highway,” the judge said. “But to travel to our capitol, you only have a two lane road.”

Rutherford referred to the amount of money the county generates in tax revenue.

“I have been on all the parkways in Kentucky,” he said. “Most of them are in farm country, they don’t contribute to the state’s coffers the way energy rich Eastern Kentucky does.”

He went on to explain he feels a turnpike should be established, using money collected from tolls to pay for the highway.

“Mountain Parkway is the most dangerous road in Kentucky,” Rutherford said.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Floyd County House Fire Sends Twins To UK

Twin babies were flown to the UK Medical Center after fire broke out at a home along Route 306 in the Wheelwright area of Floyd County around 2:00 P.M. Friday afternoon.


Reward Offered For Arson In Big Sandy Region

A reward is being offered as fire burns hundreds of acres in the Big Sandy region. As of Friday afternoon, firefighters had battled 10 fires in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Lawrence Counties, and rangers say nine are confirmed arson. Fire has burned nearly 100 acres near the Banner and Dana communities in Floyd County, and Rangers say dry leaves and wind are causing the fires to spread, but every time a fire is contained, an arsonist resets it. A one thousand dollar reward is being offered for information leading to arrests and charges. If you have any information on who started the fires, you can call the arson hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON. Burn bans are in place in all counties in the Big Sandy region.


Rogers Eyes Possible Chairmanship

Republican U.S. Representative Harold "Hal" Rogers said Friday that, if the GOP wins enough seats on Tuesday to take control of the chamber, he has a majority of votes on a key panel to become the next chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. In his 30 years representing the 5th District, Rogers has been remarkable at getting federal money for a range of programs and projects, including economic development, infrastructure, tourism and anti-drug efforts. Rogers passed up a run for governor in 2003, saying he'd like to stay in Congress long enough to become chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Rogers says 19 of the 33 members of the current steering committee support him.


Labor Union Withdraws Furlough Lawsuit

The American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees, the labor union that filed suit to block the unpaid furloughs of state employees, has withdrawn the suit. American Federation says it decided to drop the suit after Beshear administration officials agreed to discuss furloughs and other issues through a group called the Governor’s Employee Advisory Council. David Warrick, executive director of AFSCME Council 62, says there’s no promises of anything, but there had been no discussion prior to the furloughs, and it's the process that should have been used in the first place.


KY U.S. Senate Candidates Attract Millions From Outside Groups

Records compiled by the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation show that more than two dozen outside groups have poured nearly $8.5 million into the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul. Much of the money comes from donors whose identities do not have to be disclosed. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January opened the door to unlimited spending on elections by corporations, unions and other groups. The decision did not affect direct corporate or union contributions to candidates; those are still banned. Nor did it cover spending by political action committees run by special interests, which must disclose their donors. The ruling did, however, free corporations and unions to spend on independent ads for and against candidates, as well as on other advocacy efforts, such as mailings. Of the $8.5 million spent by outside groups, $6 million was to help Paul, while $2.5 million was to help Conway.


Former Paul Volunteer To Be Arraigned

Timothy Profitt, 53, a former volunteer with the campaign of Republican Rand Paul, is scheduled to be arraigned on a misdemeanor assault charge November 18th. activist, 23 year old Lauren Valle, says Profitt stomped on her head, causing her to suffer a concussion and a sprained arm and shoulder while she was tackled Monday night before the Kentucky Educational Television debate in Lexington between Paul and U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Jack Conway.


Attorneys Appeal Ten Commancments Ruling

Attorneys for McCreary and Pulaski counties are asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal in cases involving displays of the Ten Commandments. The attorneys say panels of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued contradictory rulings on identical displays, allowing them in courthouses in Mercer and Grayson counties, but not in McCreary and Pulaski counties. The main difference was that officials in Grayson and Mercer said their purpose in posting the display was educational while officials in the other counties had a track record of religious motivation, though both have since declared only an educational intent. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky challenged the displays.


Reopening Of Kentucky Kingdom Delayed

The Kentucky Fair Board and Kentucky Kingdom investor Ed Hart say the Louisville amusement park won't reopen next year as planned because they need the General Assembly to approve bonds to finance improvements at the park. The State Fair Board intends to recommend that lawmakers, who convene in January, authorize the sale of an estimated $50 million tax-exempt bond issue to pay for upgrades that would include at least two new attractions and an expanded water park. Hart had been scheduled to present a preliminary business plan for the park to the board at a meeting Thursday, but he was given until March 31st to refine the plan. Six Flags abandoned the park earlier this year after it failed to reach a lease agreement with the fair board.


Heating Costs For Natural Gas To Take Slight Rise

About 44 percent of Kentuckians use natural gas to heat their homes, while 10 percent heat with propane, 3 percent with fuel oil and 39 percent use electric heat.
The state Public Service Commission said Friday that heating costs will rise slightly this winter. Based on data submitted by the state's natural gas companies, the average customer will pay about 7 percent more this November than last. But the average total bill, including base rates, is still 35 percent lower than in November 2008. The PSC says wholesale costs, which make up the largest portion of natural gas bills, are only 2 percent higher than a year ago, and, over the past year, they have remained at less than half the peak prices seen in 2008. Also, the amount of natural gas placed in storage for use this winter is at above-average levels.


Fighting Fire With Fire

On Friday morning, the U.S. Forest Service began fighting fire with fire in an effort to burn out the Auxier Ridge wildfire in the Red River Gorge that began last Sunday. Officials say, on Friday morning, the fire had grown to nearly 500 acres, but, following burn out efforts, the fire is expected to be more than 1,600 acres.


Former Morehead Worker Charged With Sodomy

Forty-one year old Anne Marie Jones of Jeffersonville, a former employee of Community Alternatives of Kentucky-Morehead was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree sodomy, a Class D felony. Authorities say Jones sodomized a 24 year old mentally disabled male resident. Jones resigned following a report of the alleged incident. Sodomy 3rd degree carries a potential sentence of one to five years in prison.


Two Elderly Women Indicted

A grand jury indicted two people, accusing them of stealing nearly $86,000 from an elderly disabled woman.

An indictment by a Hardin County panel charges 73-year-old Hazel Martin with four counts of the financial exploitation of Marie Farmer of Clinton County. A facilitation charge was returned against 63-year-old Iris Hodge, who is also accused of receiving stolen property.

Both defendants live in Radcliff. Farmer has since died.

Prosecutors allege Farmer's money was taken on several occasions between July 2009 and June 2010, in amounts ranging from $1,800 and $36,000.


Mercer County Felon Faces Other Charges

Marvin Dearing says he won $2,500 in the lottery that he said he kept hidden in a drawer. He said that he came home Thursday night to find his door kicked in and his winnings, along with two rifles, stolen. Dearing's neighbor, Michael DeStefano, told police that Dearing's house had been burglarized, and that he had chased two Hispanic males responsible for the burglary away with a metal pipe. Later, police discovered DeStefano had made up the whole elaborate story, and he was seen by neighbors putting the stolen rifles into his own SUV. DeStefano, a convicted felon, was arrested but was able to escape from police and was on the run for two hours before being re-captured and charged with first-degree burglary, receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


Gas Prices Remain Steady Nationwide

Gas prices at the pump Thursday were virtually unchanged from Wednesday at a national average of $2.808 for a gallon of regular, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's 2.3 cents below a week ago and 12.5 cents higher than a year ago.

Oil prices rose on Thursday as the dollar lost some ground against the euro and other foreign currencies. Benchmark crude for December delivery added 24 cents to settle at $82.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The price of crude oil and retail gasoline tend to move in tandem. Both have been listless for the past week, with oil prices drifting between about $80 and $83 a barrel. Most analysts think it's because traders and investors are in wait-and-see mode.


KY Counties Added To Level 1 Drought Declaration

A Level 1 Drought Declaration was issued Thursday for seven additional counties in northeastern Kentucky. These new counties bring the total to 50 counties under a Level 2 declaration and 42 counties under a Level 1 declaration. Rain earlier this week provided some temporary relief but officials with the National Weather Service say dry conditions will return, increasing fire dangers. From August 1st to October 24th, there were 497 fires reported to the Kentucky Division of Forestry that burned 9,197 acres. During the same time period last year, there were only 10 reported fires and 13 acres burned. State officials say several counties in the central and eastern parts of the state that do not fall within the Level 1 or 2 drought declaration areas are developing drought-like conditions and impacts as the result of the rapid change to a dry weather pattern over the past 30 to 60 days. If this pattern persists, drought declarations will be made for additional counties. The counties named Level 1 drought areas Thursday are Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence and Lewis.


West Virginia State Police Marijuana Eradication

According to figures released late this week, the West Virginia State Police have destroyed 420,000 pot plants this year. Besides seizing all the plants, the agency says it also made 180 arrests as part of its 2010 marijuana eradication campaign. Officers say their efforts have paid off, but there's more to be done, and they will continue in their battle.


Early Voting Ends Saturday

Figures on the Secretary of State’s website show that more than 81,000 West Virginians have already voted, including at least 4,767 absentee ballots that have been returned to county clerks. Early voting began October 13th and ends at 5:00 P.M. Saturday.

The figures do not include votes cast in Taylor and Monongalia counties, where clerks will enter information after poll close this weekend. By this point in the 2008 general election, a total of 110,133 early ballots had been cast.

The U.S. Senate seat that belonged to the late Robert C. Byrd for a half-century is up for grabs, as are all three seats in the House of Representatives.


Massey Officials Invoke Fifth Amendment Rights

According to documents obtained under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Elizabeth Chamberlin, Massey Energy's vice president for safety, and five other officials have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and will not appear for interviews with state and federal investigators who are trying to determine the cause of the April 5th explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Attorneys for the Massey officials formalized their plans in letters submitted between October 6th and October 20th to the state Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training. A deal between Massey officials and the Manchin administration allowed company employees to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights by letter, instead of being compelled by subpoena to appear for interviews and do so in person. Lawyers for the six officials said in letters to the state that their clients have done nothing wrong, but do not believe the investigation interviews are being conducted properly.


Former Pagan Sentenced

Corey Charles "Mohawk" Hinkle, 30, of Charleston, a former Pagans Motorcycle Club member, was sentenced Thursday to five months in jail. Hinkle pleaded guilty on July 8th to aiding and abetting obstruction of justice, admitting that, in February 2009, under orders from Pagans national vice president Floyd B. "Jesse" Moore, he removed a tote full of clothing and patches commandeered from members of another motorcycle club from the group's St. Albans clubhouse so that it could be destroyed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Loew said the Pagans knew they were under federal investigation, because of several searches conducted by federal agents and several Pagans who had testified before a grand jury. Hinkle said he voluntarily left the Pagans in 2009, not long after the clubhouse incident, because he was constantly being pulled between the club and his job as a Kanawha County school bus driver. After being indicted, Hinkle resigned from his job as a bus driver.


Grant To Help Mingo And Wyoming County Flood Victims

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund is receiving a $500,000 state grant to continue helping residents who were flooded last year in Mingo and Wyoming counties. The Housing Development Fund is taking ownership of manufactured homes provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, homes currently being used by more than 55 families as transitional housing. The agreement will allow eligible families make permanent housing arrangements through the Housing Development Fund on the condition they move the homes to a flood-safe site. The grant will include moving expenses, insurance, utilities and lot acquisition.


Man Faces Sexual Assault Charge

Eighteen year old Bernard Veasley of Abingdon, Maryland was transported to Charleston Thursday evening to face sexual assault charges after he and other men were accused of sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old juvenile on West Washington Street in Charleston on September 18th. Police say the men took turns assaulting the teen. A judge set Veasley's bond at $50,000. If convicted, he faces one to five years in prison for each of the charges and a possible $10,000 fine for each. He is due in court again next week.


Alleged WV Bank Robber Arrested In Texas

West Virginia State Police say 21 year old Richard Dwayne Vance of Orma, in Calhoun County, robbed the Calhoun County Bank in Arnoldsburg on September 13th. He then fled to San Antonio, Texas where he was arrested and charged on October 21st. Vance is charged him with first degree armed robbery and grand larceny. Vance waived extradition during a hearing in Texas.


Former Mingo County Sheriff Robbed

Mingo County Deputies say Christopher Evans went to the home of former Sheriff Jim Webb Monday, armed with an automatic handgun, and when Mr. Webb opened the door, Evans stuck a gun in his face and forced him back into the home. Evans then forced Mr. Webb and Michael Webb to the floor and took their wallets before searching through several drawers, taking around $600.00 in cash before fleeing. Deputies say Evans should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on Evans' whereabouts should contact 911 or the Mingo County Sheriff.


Prison Inmate Denies Rape Charge

Donald Good, the man charged with the rapes of two women at the Huntington Mall in 1987, pleaded not guilty while being arraigned Friday morning in Cabell County Circuit Court before Judge Dan O'Hanlon. O’Hanlon agreed to a request from County Prosecutor Chris Chiles to obtain a DNA sample from Good. Chiles said he believes there was no chain of custody when the first sample was received, which later was used in the CODIS DNA match. CODIS is the FBI's DNA database program. Chiles said it is protocol that if the CODIS match was not obtained with chain of custody, another DNA sample needs to be taken with chain of custody to confirm the match. Good, who is already being held in the Mount Olive Correctional Facility, was denied bond. Investigators say his DNA matched that of previously unidentified DNA collected at the time of the attacks.


West Virginia Superintendent Of Schools Retiring

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Stephen Paine announced Friday that he plans to retire January 3, 2011. Paine, who started his teaching career in West Virginia in 1978 as a history teacher, says his decision came after much deliberation which led him to believe it is the right time to close this chapter of his educational career. Paine served as Mingo County's Superintendent before going to work at the state Department of Education in 2003. He was chosen as the state's 25th Superintendent of Schools in 2005.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Man Charged With Attempted Murder Of Police Officers

Police in Knox County charged 28 year old Ronnie A. Taylor of Woodbine with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer Wednesday, after he hurled a one-step meth lab at Deputy Chad Gregory and Trooper Jake Wilson who were investigating possible drug activity at a residence on Hedden Flats Road in Corbin. Deputies arrested Taylor, known as Tadpole, and charged him with two counts of attempted murder, manufacturing meth and other drug related offenses.

Officers also arrested Cleveland L. Gibson, 31, and Deborah L. Hackler, 40. They face several drug charges.


Award Lowered In Former UK Player's Death

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled damages awarded to the family of a former UK football player who was killed in 1994 by Shane Ragland was too high.

Originally, a jury found Ragland guilty of murdering Trent DiGiuro. The case was appealed, and Ragland pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was given time served.

In 200,8 a jury awarded $63 million to DiGiuro's estate for the killing. Since then, Ragland has been fighting that lawsuit. The Court of Appeals ruled the lawsuit stands, but lowered the damages to be paid to DiGiuro's parents to $30 million, the highest ratio allowed by the court.


Reward Offered In Red River Gorge Fire

The U.S. Forest Service closed more trails in the Red River Gorge Thursday as a result of wildfire that started last Sunday. The fire was caused by an illegal campfire on Auxier Ridge. So far, the fire has burned over 400 acres and is still active. In addition to trail closures, the wildfire has closed Tunnel Ridge Road, a portion of Kentucky Highway 77 and the entire Auxier Ridge area. The most recent trail closures include a section of Rough Trail #221 from Highway 77, which provides access to other popular trails and recreation areas such as Military Wall. The fire has burned trees at the base, causing them to fall onto the highway. The highway is closed from Nada Tunnel to the Martins Fork parking area. The Forest Service is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to the conviction of the individuals responsible for the Auxier Ridge fire.


Corbin Man Charged With 1985 Murder

Kentucky State Police arrested 59 year old Ernest L. Hensley of Corbin Thursday afternoon and charged him with the murder of Harry Miller Maupin of Richmond, who was age 40 at the time of his death in 1985. Hensley was also charged with tampering with physical evidence. The investigation into Maupin's death started in June 1985 after he was reported missing from his place of employment near Lejunior, KY. The case is still under investigation by State Police.


Knott County ATV Accident Kills Two

An ATV accident in the Vest community of Knott County around 8:45 A.M. Thursday morning took the lives of 41 year old Jack Gayheart and 43 year old Susan W. Miller, both of Vest. Police say they were traveling westbound on Kentucky 1087 when they somehow lost control, ran off the roadway, and went approximately 35 feet over an embankment. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.


KSP Kicks Off TACT Campaign

Crash statistics from KSP indicate that 70 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks are caused by passenger vehicles. Last year Kentucky had over 8,000 crashes involving commercial vehicles resulting in 114 deaths. In an effort to crackdown on motorists driving recklessly around commercial trucks and on trucks violating traffic laws, the KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division kicked off the 2010 Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) campaign Thursday. The first wave of the campaign will run through December and focus on routes heavily traveled by commercial trucks. KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer says his agency will work alongside local law enforcement partners to provide increased patrols where commercial truck crashes are predominant. Officers will look for aggressive driving behaviors such as following too close, unsafe lane changes, speeding and not leaving enough space when passing large trucks.


Unemployment Rates Fall In 95 Kentucky Counties

According to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, unemployment rates fell in 95 Kentucky counties between September 2009 and September 2010. Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 7 percent. It was followed by Fayette, Webster and Oldham counties, 7.8 percent each. Magoffin County recorded the state's highest unemployment rate, 18.7 percent.


School Bus Crash In Louisville

The spokeswoman for Jefferson County Public Schools says eight students have been taken to the hospital after a school bus and a car collided.

Lauren Roberts says the Thursday morning collision involved a bus carrying 34 students on their way to Kammerer Middle School in Louisville.

She says the eight students transported to the hospital complained of minor injuries, but the rest of the students went on to school. The driver of the vehicle also complained of minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.

The accident occurred about 7 a.m. EDT.


Sample Ballots Online

Many Kentucky voters will be casting ballots for unexpired-term judicial races and commonwealth's attorneys contests in addition to regular races being decided.

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson advises preparing for Election Day next Tuesday by checking sample ballots online or with the county clerk.

Online, voters can find a list of candidates, find out where they are registered to vote, view sample ballots and find out other election information at


Letcher County Man Sentenced

Charles Gross of Whitesburg, in Letcher County, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. Police say Gross was DUI while driving on Ky. 931 when his vehicle dropped off the road and overturned in a ditch in November 2008, sending his pregnant passenger, 28 year old Amanda F. Smith, to Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital, where she and her fetus were pronounced dead. Police arrested Gross and charged him with murder, fetal homicide, aggravated driving under the influence and drug possession.


Perry County Man Pleads Not Guilty

A Perry County man, 55 year old Ronnie Brock has entered a not guilty plea after being charged with stabbing District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens multiple times while she was eating lunch at the Circle T Restaurant in Hazard. Brock had appeared in the judge’s court in 2004 in a domestic violence case, and she issued a restraining order against him. A bystander, Victor Gainer, threw Brock through a window and sat on him until sheriff’s deputies arrived. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for January 27th.


Tornadoes Hit Kentucky

The National Weather Service has confirmed six sightings of tornadoes across Kentucky in Tuesday's band of storms. One that extensively damaged Middlesboro in Bell County, in southeast Kentucky, is thought to have been the worst, with winds that reached speeds as high as 105 mph. Roofs were stripped, and windows and doors were blown out of buildings. Bullitt, Christian and Warren counties also experienced damaging winds during the storms. A tornado with winds reaching 90 mph was reported southeast of Bowling Green. EF-0 tornadoes (winds of 40-72 mph) were reported in Bullitt and Christian counties.


Agriculture Department Purchases Additional Vehicles

The Department of Agriculture has spent about $621,000 on its vehicle fleet this year after the recent purchase of eight new vehicles.

The $176,000 in purchases were approved in tight budget times by state procurement officials in the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The Courier-Journal reports that requests for two more vehicles were denied because the vehicles that would have been replaced were not old enough.

The department has purchased a total of 27 new vehicles in 2010, including a $35,340 Chevy Suburban for the commissioner, Richie Farmer.

The newspaper reported that all but 17 of the department's 188 vehicles are 2007 models or newer.

Bill Clary, a spokesman for Farmer, says the department saves on maintenance costs by replacing the vehicles before their mileage gets too high.


St. Albans Caregiver Pleads Guilty To Abuse

Natasha Michelle Grimes, 26, of St. Albans has pleaded guilty to abuse. Grimes has been in jail since September 25th when she attacked 29 year old Christina Starcher of St. Albans, for whom Grimes worked as a caregiver. Police, responding to a call about a possible assault at an Oak Street apartment, found Starcher lying in the doorway of her home. Authorities say Grimes beat Starcher with her fists, dragged her off a couch and held her down with her leg across her neck while she was recuperating from back surgery. Starcher suffered cuts and bruises on her face, neck and arms and was missing clumps of hair after the incident. Grimes was also charged with first-degree robbery after police say she attempted to steal prescription pain medications from the woman and left the home with her cell phone and two debit cards. Under Thursday's plea agreement, the robbery charge was dismissed. Grimes faces to 2 to 10 years in prison when sentenced December 1st.


Charleston Man Sentenced For Child Abuse

Mitchell Kazoon of Charleston has been sentenced to one to five years in prison after being arrested in April 2009 on charges of felony child abuse and felony child neglect. The baby's mother told authorities she noticed burn marks on her son when Kazoon, who was watching the little boy, brought the baby back to her, saying he wouldn't calm down.


Massey CEO Defends Safety Record

All Massey underground mines will close for the day Friday for increased safety training and mine safety examinations. Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship continues to defend his company's safety record, saying Massey "has a totally clear conscience" about the April 5th explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 miners. Blankenship says Massey and its experts continue to develop evidence that discredits the view of federal investigators who believe a buildup of coal dust underground made the explosion far worse that it otherwise would have been. Massey's safety record, already the subject of much criticism, has been under increased scrutiny since the explosion, but Blankenship says he's not concerned about increased scrutiny. He and other company officials vigorously defend themselves, saying Massey is a national leader on safety and never puts production ahead of protecting miners. Still, some shareholder groups have complained that Blankenship's leadership has not put safety first. "We're doing everything we can to comply better than anyone in the industry," Blankenship said. "We will outperform the industry."


Proposed Coal-To-Gas Plant Unveiled In Mingo County

Companies from Europe and Asia plan to help bring the country's first coal-to-gasoline plant to Mingo County, West Virginia. Thursday, TransGas President Adam Victor and Governor Joe Manchin unveiled the project which plans to convert coal into 756,000 gallons of premium grade gasoline daily. TransGas Development Systems announced the contractors for the project which will rely on union workers. SK Engineering & Construction of South Korea will build the plant, which will be the largest such plant in the world. The German firm Uhde (OOH-day) GmbH will provide its coal gasification technology. Environmental groups remain concerned about such potential problems as air pollution.


Nicholas County Delegate Dies

Sixty-eight year old Sam Argento, Nicholas County Delegate, Assistant House Majority Whip and chairman of the Agriculture Committee, died Thursday morning as the result of a brain tumor. Argento, who was first elected in 2004, was running for re-election to the 35th District of the House of Delegates this year against Republican Harold "Pete" Sigler, of Summersville. County clerks will post signs in polling places to notify voters of his death, but, if he is re-elected, the county executive committee will meet and submit two lists, each with three names, to the governor. The first list would be for a person to serve Argento's unexpired term from the time he or she is sworn in until January. The second list is for Argento's full term, which would have begun in January.


Police Investigating Hit-And-Run

Huntington Police are seeking public help in locating the hit-and-run driver who struck John Roberts while he was crossing the intersection of Madison Avenue and West Ninth Street just after midnight on October 24th. Roberts remains in critical condition at St. Mary's Medical Center. Corporal C. E. Bradshaw of the Huntington Police Department is investigating the case and can be contacted at 304-696-5980.


Spirit Airlines Coming To West Virginia

Florida-based Spirit Airlines says it's coming to West Virginia. Spirit said Thursday it's going to start regular service between Charleston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina next year. Service to Fort Lauderdale begins March 3rd, while service to Myrtle Beach is scheduled for May 5th. Each route will offer three flights a week to and from Charleston. Spirit bills itself as an ultra low-cost airline and says it flies more than 150 flights a day to 40 destinations.


Judge Refuses To Allow Accused Murderer To Cast Ballot

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster was arraigning 32 year old David W. Kinney, who was arrested Friday by Charleston Police and charged with the July 4th fatal shooting of 31 year old Jeremy Parsons of Poca when Kinney's attorney, Richard Holicker, asked that he be allowed to take Kinney to the Voter's Registration Office so he could cast his ballot. Webster denied that request, citing concerns of public safety. Kinney pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder, and Webster denied bond. Holicker says Kinney takes his right to vote very seriously, and, while convicted felons cannot vote, Kinney has not yet been convicted of anything.


Kanawha County School Board Approves School Plan

After hearing from several concerned residents, the Kanawha County School Board announced Thursday it has approved a plan to construct the new elementary school, which will consolidate J.E. Robins and Watts Elementary, near Edgewood Country Club in Charleston. The board originally wanted to build the school at Cato Park. The county assured the public that a retaining wall would be built to protect their properties from flooding and that possibly a holding pond would be built for possible runoff. Officials say the first priority is to get engineers on the site to construct and expand a new access road that will be large enough for buses and other vehicles. The school board had until November 1st to acquire the property for the school or risk losing more than eight million dollars in funding from the School Building Authority. The school is expected to be ready for students by 2013.


WV Companies Receive Recognition

For the sixth consecutive year, Allegheny Power, an Allegheny Energy company, has been named the No. 1 utility company, in terms of customer satisfaction, in the northeast. According to Joe Ellis, President of TQS Research, “Allegheny Energy does one of the best jobs in the nation at determining what its largest customers want on an individual basis and then doing everything possible to meet those needs.”

In a news conference Thursday, The EPA presented West Virginia American Water with the Directors Award. The honor recognizes companies that consistently achieve water treatment standards that surpass regulatory requirements. The plant treats an average of 30 million gallons per day, serving more than 300,000 people in five counties.


Remains Of Civil War Captain To Be Reburied

The remains of Civil War Captain Philip J. Thurmond, CSA, will be reburied with full military honors on Saturday, October 30th, beside the 153 year old historic Hoge House behind the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield. The Historic Hoge House Foundation and Upper Vandalia Historical Society are both involved in the project. Captain Thurmond and a group of about 400 Rebels were in Winfield to drive off some Union soldiers on October 26, 1864. During the skirmish, Captain Thurmond was fatally shot in the stomach. He was buried in an unmarked grave near a creek on the property of James W. Hoge, a Putnam County judge and Confederate sympathizer. Thurmond's remains were exhumed on March 20th.


Governor's Office Providing Money For National Guard

Governor Joe Manchin's office has announced it's giving $200,000 to the West Virginia National Guard Foundation to provide emergency grants and loans for members and their families. Money also is going to preserve the history and heritage of the West Virginia National Guard.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


New Judicial Center In Pikeville Holds Groundbreaking

Main Street in downtown Pikeville will soon have a new $30 million look. Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

The new building on Main Street will be nearly 95-thousand square feet and cost 30 million dollars.

Some historical buildings were torn down to make room.

Officials say it is needed because the current courthouse is too small and does not have enough security.

"This judicial center is pretty important to to our community and to the justice center and represents a culmination of several years of work between many people to get this building built." says Pike County Circuit Judge Eddy Coleman.

Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton was the guest speaker at the ceremony.


Former Pike County Deputy Won't Return To Work

Pike County Sheriff Charles "Fuzzy" Keesee says former deputy William "Bill" Hatfield will not be allowed to return to the department, despite a jury finding him not guilty last week of first-degree rape. Keesee says Hatfield broke department rules and was dismissed. Keesee said Hatfield had been with the department seven years as a sworn deputy, with arrest powers, but was a volunteer until he was suspended.


KLC And KACo Make Changes

Officials at the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties say they're remaking their groups to meet legislative mandates and erase the shadows of recent scandals. Representatives of both groups' executive boards appeared before the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government on Wednesday to explain how they were fulfilling the requirements of Senate Bill 88, which was passed in the 2010 session in the wake of spending and conflict of interest problems involving hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars. The law aimed to make both KLC and KACo more transparent and accountable. The League has eliminated all spousal travel and the purchase of any tickets to sporting events, which had been done frequently in the past. The League will no longer allow loans as retention bonuses, and all surplus property put up for sale has to be assessed at fair market value. KACo has developed a three-year strategic plan and hired former legislator and judge executive Carolyn Belcher as CFO to keep a sharper eye on finances.

Among the changes:

Both groups have created new open records and open meetings policies that are advertised on their Web sites. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, both groups will have listings of all major expenditures.

Both groups have created conflict of interest and financial disclosure policies that bind both employees and board members.

All expenses at both organizations are reviewed monthly by executive board committees.

All contracts above a certain amount must be competitively bid (above $5,000 for the League, above $20,000 for KACo). At KLC, the executive board must approve any purchases above $50,000.

Credit card use has been strictly limited.


Trial Delayed For School Shooter

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell has reset the hearing for 27 year old Michael Adam Carneal for March 14th. It had been scheduled to begin February 7th in federal court in Paducah. Carneal, who admitted in 1998 to killing three classmates and wounding five others at Heath High School near Paducah in 1997 when he was 14 years old, is serving life in prison, being eligible for parole in 2023. He pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the shootings but has since claimed that mental illness prevented him from appealing the plea.


Former UK Player Indicted

Former University of Kentucky basketball star Ed Davender has been indicted by a Fayette County grand jury. Davender is accused of accepting a total of $4,000 from Richard Adams of Louisville from December through March for 14 NCAA men's Final Four tickets and not giving Adams the tickets. Davender was charged with theft by deception while on bond awaiting sentencing on numerous theft-related charges stemming from a UK basketball ticket scam and a drug charge. In that case, Davender accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to 20 charges, many of which were amended down. He was sentenced to eight years in prison on August 27th.


Advocates Calling For Cap On Payday Lenders

Consumer advocates testifying at a public hearing Wednesday in Lexington on deferred-deposit loans, said payday lenders suck Kentuckians into a cycle of debt that can be nearly impossible to break. Some compared the payday cycle to quicksand, saying
high fees, usually $15 for every $100 borrowed, mean that when the loan must be repaid in two weeks, borrowers come up short and have to borrow again and again,
and, as long as they have 400 percent interest rates, they can't get out. Some called it an unjust form of oppression and enslavement. Advocates are pushing again for a cap on interest in the next legislative session. Nicole Biddle of the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions said that through September, payday lenders reaped more than $80 million in service fees on $486 million in loans. Many of the loans were to repeat customers.


Kentucky Child Support Enforcement Program Launching New Website

New technology is being implemented at the Kentucky Child Support Enforcement Program. One of the features will be a customer service website making information such as payments, appointments and case status available to custodial and noncustodial parents. The public will be able to access general child support information and apply for services online. And noncustodial parents will be able to make payments online. The program received one-time federal funds to pay for the project. The upgrades are under way, and the public will be able to access them as they become ready. The project is scheduled to be completed by August 2012.


Kentucky Mine Fatality

A miner suffered fatal injuries Wednesday when he was struck by a vehicle at a coal mine in western Kentucky.

State officials say 39-year-old James Jeffrey Faulk was hit by a shuttle car at the River View mine in Union County. No one else was hurt in the incident, which occurred just before 8 a.m. CDT about a mile from the mine's entrance.

It is the sixth death at a Kentucky mine this year.

The underground mine employs 437 workers. Federal records say another miner was seriously injured at the site in September when a piece of roof rock fell on him, fracturing his back.

The mine is operated by Tulsa, Okla.-based Alliance Resource Partners.

The incident is being investigated by the state Office of Mine Safety and Licensing.


Kentucky Connected Ghost Books

Two new books featuring ghostly tales from around Kentucky have been released by University Press of Kentucky.

"Tales of Kentucky Ghosts" is by William Lynwood Montell and "Spookiest Stories Ever" is by wife-and-husband team Roberta and Lonnie Brown.

Montell's book includes more than 270 stories collected from across the commonwealth and is based on archival research and personal interviews, The Courier-Journal reports.

The Browns' book compiles a collection of tales set in places around the state including the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and Mammoth Cave.


Huntington Man Turns Himself In After Shooting

Twenty-nine year old Johnny M. Sneed of Huntington was arrested Tuesday night and charged with one count of malicious wounding after he made arrangements to turn himself in for the shooting of 34 year old Henry D. Coleman, also of Huntington. Coleman was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center after receiving a single gunshot wound to the leg. In August , the Ohio Highway Patrol arrested Coleman and two other men from Huntington on drug charges following a traffic stop near Lucasville. Officers confiscated 154 grams of suspected crack cocaine and two small bags of marijuana and charged the men with possession and trafficking of crack cocaine. Earlier this month the charge against Coleman was dismissed without prejudice pending the receipt of requested information from the arresting officer.


Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Legislature

Wednesday, the state Supreme Court unanimously decided a circuit judge went too far when he tried to order West Virginia's Legislature to erase records of a 2005 pardon. Aaron Vanatta, a Pennsylvania police officer, had been convicted of misdemeanors stemming from a fraternity party while attending West Virginia University in 1994. Then-Governor Bob Wise pardoned Vanatta, saying the record might hurt his law enforcement career. Vanatta had asked Monongalia County Circuit Judge Russell Clawges to expunge records of the pardon. Wednesday's decision grants a request from the House and Senate clerks to block earlier rulings by Monongalia County Circuit Judge Russell Clawges.


Mother And Guardian Charged

Officials say a 6 year old, who only weighed around 18 pounds, was taken to Raleigh General Hospital in September, unresponsive, while her body temperature had dropped to 80 degrees and her blood sugar was only 2. The child, who was in critical condition, was flown to Charleston Area Medical Center General where she was treated and has been released. Detectives say the child suffered severe bruises over a large portion of her body as well as other injuries. Forty-one year old Sabrina Smith, the child's mother and the child's guardian, 30 year old Amanda Wills, both of Beckley, are now charged with three felony counts of child abuse with substantial injury, child neglect with substantial risk of death and attempted murder of a child by parent, guardian or custodian by refusal or failure to supply necessities. The suspects admitted to restraining the child with zip ties in a car seat for long periods of time, including more than 9 hours while she slept.


NTSB Says Pilot Error Caused Fatal Plane Crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say pilot error caused a November plane crash in the mountains near Rainelle, West Virginia that killed 52 year old Kwan Kwok of Alexandria, Virginia, the pilot who bought the plane in the Texas Panhandle. Investigators say Kwok, who was certified as a commercial pilot, flew out of Dalhart Municipal Airport on November 23rd. The Piper PA-30 hit trees while descending near Rainelle during rainy conditions. The wreckage was discovered December 1st.


Wood County Sheriff's Department Under FBI Investigation

Joe Ciccarelli, FBI supervisory senior resident agent in Charleston, has confirmed that the the FBI is investigating the Wood County Sheriff's Department over an October 2009 video that allegedly shows 30 year old Brian Timothy Sawyer being hit and choked while in the department's holding facility. Sawyer filed a lawsuit against the department in U.S. District Court Tuesday accusing then-Deputy Jim Asbury of attacking him. The incident was presented to a Wood County grand jury, which did not indict Asbury, who resigned from the department in June. In a separate lawsuit, Wood County Sheriff's Sgt. David Westfall claims the department is unfairly firing him after he gave the FBI a copy of the video. Westfall also accuses other department officers of wrongdoing in the "whistleblower" lawsuit. Sheriff Jeff Sandy says his department has nothing to hide.


UBB Disaster Blamed For Massey Loss

In the third quarter of 2010, Massey Energy lost $41.4 million. During a conference call Wednesday, Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship briefed shareholders on the status of the UBB investigation, saying the company is certain methane was the fuel for the explosion. Massey got approval this week from MSHA to do its own limited investigation, but Blankenship says the company still must work through MSHA, who controls the mine. Massey indicated the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster accounted for $14.5 million of the company's loss.


CAMC Board Approves New Budget

In 2011, Charleston Area Medical Center expects to lose $11.5 million to Medicare and its pharmaceutical expenses will increase almost $6million. The CAMC Board of Directors has approved the 2011 budget which includes four noticeable cuts, The hospital plans to cut $10 million in labor costs by not filling vacancies and adjusting employee schedules. The hospital will also look at current contracts to see if there are cheaper brands they can use for medical supplies, such as gloves, robes and caps. At the end of September, the hospital was $10 million in the black, but the hospital is projected to be $20 mllion in the black by the end of 2010, $6 million under the projected current budget. Officials say their goal is to find $40 million in additional profits by the end of 2011, allowing the hospital to reach its goal of being $20 million in the black.


Verizon Announces $100 Million Expansion

Verizon Wireless plans to spend $100 million to build a faster broadband wireless network in West Virginia, Verizon officials announced plans Wednesday to launch a 4G long term evolution network, expanding broadband voice and data coverage. By the end of the year, 4G will be available in a portion of downtown Charleston. Then, it will be expanded to Huntington, Morgantown and other metro areas by 2013. The network will be 10 times faster than Verizon's existing 3G network. As part of the $100 million investment, Verizon Wireless also plans to expand its existing 3G network to areas without coverage.


WV Gets HUD Block Grants

First lady Gayle Manchin has announced federal small-cities block grants totaling $17.7 million, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for 31 projects across West Virginia. Those projects will help nearly 42,000 West Virginians. Among the projects are $1.35 million to extend water service to 50 homes in Braxton County and $800,000 to provide sewers in the Gypsy and Hughes areas of Harrison County. Also getting funding are the McDowell County Commission, to finish designing sewers for Coalwood, and $1.3 million for the town of Paw Paw, Morgan County, for sewer improvements.


Kanawha County Commission Trims Payroll

The Kanawha County Commission is set to trim more from its payroll budget. Chelly Morrison, administrative assistant to Commission President Kent Carper, has announced she will leave her job on November 3rd, following a six-year stint with the commission. Carper wants Morrison's position to be left vacant until further notice. Leslie Koepsel, administrative assistant to Commissioner Hoppy Shores, will take over meeting agenda duties in addition to her regular duties. Since August, more than $200,000 has been trimmed from the payroll by eliminating two property maintenance positions, the deputy county manager position and an administrative position at Camp Virgil Tate.


Forum Focusing On Rural Health Care

A conference, called the West Virginia Governance Forum, started Wednesday and runs through Friday at the Glade Springs resort in Raleigh County. It's hosted by the Center for Rural Health Development, a private, nonprofit group founded in 1984 to strengthen health-care delivery in rural areas. Speakers at the conference hope to help directors of local health groups comply with increasingly complex federal regulations. The forum focuses on non-profit health care in rural West Virginia.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Pikeville Medical Center Breaks Ground

The Pikeville Medical Center has broken ground on a $100 million expansion which consists of a new nine story medical building and a 900 car parking garage. The project will create hundreds of new jobs, while keeping up with the increasing number of patients. U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, who spoke at the ceremony, called the expansion a win-win-win situation. Officials expect construction to take two years. PMC President and CEO Walter May says plans for the hospital have only just begun.


Smarty Jones Moving To Pennsylvania

Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, is moving to Pennsylvania for stud duty after six years at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky. Three Chimneys President Case Clay says the decision had nothing to do with Pennsylvania’s breeding industry being supported by expanded gambling revenues, but about where Smarty Jones could attract more mares, in Kentucky where the best stallions stand or in the regional market where he was foaled. On track, Smarty Jones won more than $7.6 million, losing only once in eight starts, with a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes to Birdstone.


Sypher Claims New Evidence Can Prove Her Innocence

In an unusual letter publicly released Tuesday, Karen Sypher told U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III that she is faced with a conviction for something she did not do and asked the judge to force her former attorney, James Earhart, to release her case file to her new counsel, David Nolan of Washington, D.C. A jury convicted Sypher in August of extortion, lying to the FBI and retaliating against a witness. Prosecutors said Sypher demanded millions in cash, cars and a house from Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino to stay quiet about their one-night stand at a Louisville restaurant in 2003. In the letter, Sypher claimed to have new evidence that will show her innocence, but she did not offer proof. In an e-mail attached to the letter, Earhart told an associate of Sypher to have Nolan schedule an appointment once he was admitted to practice in the case.


Police Serve Paul Supporter With Criminal Summons

Tim Profitt, a volunteer with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul's campaign, has been served with a criminal summons after he was seen on video stepping on a liberal activist’s head at a rally Monday night. The incident happened as Paul arrived at the Kentucky Educational Television studio on Cooper Drive in Lexington for a debate with his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway. Lauren Lizabeth Valle, 23, an activist with, tried to get close to Paul to give him a fake award portraying him as a tool of big business, as the group has done elsewhere. Profitt says he was concerned the woman was trying to attack Paul and acted only to subdue her. He said he put his foot on her shoulder, not her head. Paul has cut ties with Profitt, saying he is “extremely disappointed in, and condemns” the actions of what his campaign called a supporter. The Paul campaign
urges all activists, on both sides, to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind. Police are investigating the incident as a fourth-degree assault.


Storms Wallop Kentucky

A weather front that swept through Kentucky Tuesday afternoon produced high winds that knocked down trees and limbs in some counties, while bringing much needed rain.
The storm hit the Lexington area about 1:30 P.M., and about half an inch of rain had fallen in the area by 4:00 P.M., and an inch of rain fell in Louisville. High winds just ahead of the storm were reported at 56 miles per hour in Lexington and at 52 m.p.h. in Winchester.


Subpoenas Issued In Federal Investigation

Sources within the ongoing federal grand jury investigation of the Manchin administration have confirmed that federal subpoenas have been issued for Keith Wood, the state Aviation Division director, and for records maintained by the Aviation Division. Department of Justice investigators first issued subpoenas in August 2009, seeking records from the Division of Highway's Right-of-Way Division. That sparked speculation that the investigation might have something to do with then-Manchin chief of staff Larry Puccio who resigned on December 31, 2009. Puccio is co-owner of Puccio and York LLC, a Fairmont-based real estate appraisal firm, which has had a total of $831,932 worth of contracts with the state since 1996, primarily involving property appraisals for the Division of Highways, according to state auditor's office records. This August, federal authorities issued additional subpoenas seeking documents from the Division of Highways and the Department of Administration. Sources at the time indicated the subpoenas were requesting additional Right-of-Way records, as well as documents from the state Purchasing Division, a branch of the Department of Administration.


Huntington Woman Pleads Guilty To Drug Gang Involvement

Terri Lynette Burns, a woman who watched her husband, Mark Lowry, be shot on July 27th and then die at a hospital, pleaded guilty Monday to aiding and abetting a drug trafficking organization with ties to Detroit in the distribution of at least 5 grams of crack cocaine in and around Huntington. The stipulation states Burns’ participation with helping the gang known as “Cash Out Crips” included providing shelter, riding on transport trips to and from Detroit, posting bond for its members and connecting group members with potential customers. The specific charge relates to a May 6, 2009, incident in which the stipulation states Burns acted as a broker in an estimated 20-gram crack cocaine transaction between traffickers and a Huntington Safe Streets Task Force informant. Burns has said drugs played no part in her husband's death. A January 31st sentencing date has been set.


Elkview Woman Faces Child Endangerment And Malicious Wounding

A warrant was issued Monday for the arrest of 42 year old Robyn Gale Hickman of Elkview. She faces two counts of malicious wounding and one count of child endangerment causing injury. Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say, on July 9th, she struck a person with her vehicle on Rutledge Road then fled the scene. Deputy B.K. Howery, who was responding to a report about a fight, pulled Hickman over and arrested her. He then went to the home on Rutledge Road, where Hickman had been with Justin Heyward Hall and Brittany Allison Hickman when an argument broke out between them. The couple told Robyn Hickman to leave, but she grabbed a can of WD-40, sprayed the contents at Hall and attempted to light the spray stream. Hall's young son then came out of the house, and, as he was carrying the boy back inside, Hickman got into her vehicle and struck them. Hall, who was still holding his child, struck the hood and the windshield of the vehicle resulting in an injury to his hand and a fracture to his son's skull. The father and son were taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital for treatment.


West Virginia Jet Manufacturer Files Bankruptcy

San Antonio-based Emivest Aerospace Corp., a company that manufactures corporate jets at facilities in West Virginia and Texas, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware estimates the number of creditors between 200 and 999 and lists both estimated assets and liabilities at between $50 million and $100 million. Emivest, a subsidiary of Dubai-based Emirates Investment and Development, acquired an 80 percent interest in Sino Swearingen Aircraft in 2008. The SJ30 corporate jet was assembled at facilities in Martinsburg and San Antonio. When Sino Swearingen won regulatory approval to build the jet in late 2005, it had 140 workers at the West Virginia plant, but, when the facility's former president took another job about a month ago, one employee remained in Martinsburg. U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller says he hopes Emivest is able to restructure in a way that keeps the company in the Mountain State.


Detroit Men Plead Guilty To West Virginia Drug Charge

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 41 year old Jack Deon Cooper and 62 year old Albert Sims, both from Detroit, pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving to Craigsville in Nicholas County to sell 145 OxyContin pills. They were purchased by a confidential informant for $15,000, a third of that for a previous drug debt. Both men face up to 20 years in prison and $1 million fine when sentenced in January.


Sentencing Set For Men Who Stole Firearms

Joshua M. Sadler, 21, of Hurricane, James A. Thompson, 21 and Harold A. Thompson of Culloden, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding and abetting, admitting that, on May 24, 2009, they stole nine firearms from Johnny's Gun and Pawn Shop in Culloden. Each faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced in February.


Former Corrections Officer Sentenced For Child Pornography

Forty-one year old Joseph Dwayne Valentine of Gauley Bridge, a former West Virginia Division of Corrections officer at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex, has been sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty in May to possessing child pornography. In late 2007, Valentine's computers and CD's containing hundreds of images of child pornography were seized. Records also showed that he had purchased child pornography videos from an online website. Valentine was indicted in February. The indictment charged him with receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and possessing one or more computer hard drives and one or more computer compact discs containing child pornography.


Winds Cause Damage In West Virginia

As the National Weather Service issued wind advisories, high wind warnings and even tornado watches for parts of West Virginia Tuesday, emergency crews were placed on standby mode. Crews said they were expecting down trees, possible localized flooding and power outages. Response vehicles use for mobile command posts were ready to go. Crews were making sure all their radios worked, and they were alerting all the fire departments. According to AEP's website, as of 6:26 P.M., the following counties were reporting the following homes without power:

Cabell County: 3,538
Jackson County: 1,661
Kanawha County: 1,592
Lincoln County: 1,590
Logan County: 1,290
Wayne County: 606
Putnam County: 357
Mason County: 171
Boone County: 120
Roane County: 116


FiberNet Plans Changes

FiberNet customers across the state lost telephone and Internet service for about four hours Monday, making it the second outage since another FiberNet outage occurred in at least six counties on October 10th. The company said it met with state Public Service Commission officials to explain how it plans to prevent future outages. Those plans include replacing the power station at its central office in Charleston.


Workers To Remain During Renovations

Most of the 530 employees who work at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Huntington District office building will likely remain in the building during a $32.7 million renovation project that is expected to last three years. Studies are being conducted to determine how the work can be done in an occupied or partially occupied building during construction. It is anticipated that most construction will be performed at night to minimize impacts to the work force. Improvements to the building will occur in two phases. One phase involves post-9/11 security upgrades that have been mandated by the Department of Defense and must be completed by 2013. The Corps of Engineers has earmarked $16 million for the security upgrades. The other phase would use $16.7 million in funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to make the building energy-efficient.


Bids Opened For Route 35 Construction

The state Division of Highways opened bids Tuesday for the 14.6 mile construction project on U.S. Route 35 in Putnam and Mason counties. The lowest bid, $187.2 million submitted by Kokosing Construction of South Charleston, is just under the DOH internal estimate of $190 million. If approved, the contract would be the largest ever awarded by the DOH, topping the most current $120 million paid to build the Blennerhassett Bridge in Parkersburg. Plans are being made to make Route 35 a toll road, but that won't completely pay for the construction. The DOH is looking at bonds and other financial sources.


Allegiant Travel Company To Switch Huntington-To-Florida Flights

Allegiant Travel Company announced Tuesday that, beginning in February 2011, it will switch all of its flights back to Orlando Sanford International Airport. The company, which currently operates 29 routes to and from the Orlando area, will move the 10 routes it serves from Orlando International Airport to Sanford, including its flight from Huntington Tri-State Airport, which will make the switch on February 4, 2011. Andrew C. Levy, president of Allegiant, says customers prefer the convenience and simplicity of Sanford, and the substantially lower airport operating costs coupled with the more efficient operating environment at Orlando Sanford makes this the right decision for Allegiant.


Alleged Murderer Returned To Hardin County

Authorities say 35 year old Erik Buggeland was being returned from Tennessee Monday night to the Hardin County Jail to face murder charges after being accused of killing his retired parents. Retired gynecologists Terje and Margaret Buggeland were found dead in their Elizabethtown home on September 21st. Erik Buggeland, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, was found driving his mother's car in southwestern Tennessee eight days after the killings. Buggeland, who is charged with two counts of murder, refused to waive his extradition rights and had been held in the McNairy County, Tennessee, jail. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed an extradition order last week.


Grandson Of EKU President Dies

Fourteen year old Bobby Whitlock, the grandson of Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock, died Sunday at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington following a shooting that appears accidental. Whitlock was a student at Clark Moores Middle School in Richmond. Police continue to investigate.


Sypher Attorney Readmitted

Karen Sypher's sentencing had been scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed last week when U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III learned attorney David B. Nolan was not licensed to practice. A copy of a receipt showing Nolan was readmitted to the Washington, D.C, bar was provided by James Faller, the head of U.S. Justice Watch, the Kentucky group that found a new attorney for Sypher who has been convicted of trying to extort money from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and lying to the FBI.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Activist Injured At Paul/Conway Debate

Lexington police say a activist apparently trying to get close to U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul on Monday either fell or was tripped, and witnesses said she was either kicked in the head or had her head stepped on. Police Lt. Edward Hart says, about 7:30 P.M., as Paul walked toward the Kentucky Educational Television studio in Lexington for a debate against Democrat Jack Conway, the woman ran through a crowd of the candidates’ supporters to try to get close to Paul as some sort of campaign stunt, apparently to get her picture taken with Paul with a sign labeling Paul as a friend of big business. has bought television advertisements in support of Conway.

In a nationally televised debate Monday night, U.S. Senate candidates Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul accused each other of misrepresenting their views on issues ranging from civil rights to a national sales tax. The hour-long debate, carried live on Kentucky Educational Television and C-Span, was the final debate before the November 2nd election. Host Bill Goodman told the two that Kentuckians wanted to hear why they should vote for them, and did not want to hear their attacks. The two agreed that the most important issue facing America is jobs.
Paul placed the blame for the nation's sour economy on President Barack Obama's agenda that includes health care reform and increased regulation of financial institutions, and he linked Conway to the Democratic president. Paul said the answer to improving the economy is more involvement by entrepreneurs and less government regulation. Conway said he is the only candidate who has a plan to create jobs. His plan includes measures to increase lending to businesses and a tax credit program that he said would create about 750,000 jobs nationwide. Conway said the government must police large financial institutions and keep prudent regulations in place to make sure Wall Street isn't gambling with our money. Paul said he is completely opposed to abortion, while Conway said abortion should be rare, but also safe and legal.


Former Death Row Inmate Dies

Todd Ice, who was once the nation's youngest death row inmate, died of an apparent heart attack last Thursday at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Crystal City, Missouri at the age of 47. Ice was sentenced to death at the age of 16 after being convicted of murder for the 1978 slaying of his 7 year old neighbor, Donna Knox, in eastern Kentucky's Powell County. Her mother, Sheila Knox, was bound, beaten and stabbed by Ice but survived and later identified him as the assailant. The Kentucky Supreme Court in 1983 reversed his conviction and death sentence, and he was retried in 1986. He was convicted of the lesser offense of manslaughter during extreme emotional disturbance and sentenced to 20 years. Ice was eligible for parole at the time of sentencing based on time already served, but the state Parole Board, after being inundated with petitions from eastern Kentucky residents, ordered Ice to serve his full sentence. He was released from prison in the mid-1990s.


Breathitt County Man Found Dead

Kentucky State Police say Michael Campbell was traveling east on Panbowl Road when he lost control and his vehicle dropped off the road and overturned several times before it came to a rest in Panbowl Lake. Authorities found him dead in a partially submerged vehicle in Breathitt County on Saturday.

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