Pike County taxpayers may have to pay more than $135,000 spent on flood recovery projects that were performed with no promise of federal funding following July flooding. According to local reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service was one of the first agencies responding after flood waters swept through eastern Kentucky. They were examining areas to see if the Emergency Watershed Program could fund restructuring of the county's creeks.
But Jack Kuhn, with the Kentucky office of Natural Resources Conservation Service, says Pike County's District 1 Magistrate Jeff Anderson refused to let them work in his district and that the work was done by contractors without the agency's involvment. However, Anderson has denied those claims. The county is waiting to see whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for the work or county taxpayers are responsible. Kuhn says, because 33 repair projects in District 1 didn't go through NRCS, they are not eligible for reimbursement. FEMA has sent paperwork back to the county indicating a refusal to pay because they say the work is under the authoeity of NRCS.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, will break ground Tuesday on a $103 million project to replace a deteriorating Ohio River bridge span between Madison, Indiana and Milton, Kentucky. The two states will evenly split the cost of the project.
Traffic will be able to use the existing bridge and temporary spans that are part of the project on all but 10 days of the project. Last year, inspectors found cracks all the way across the bridge deck and through the concrete curbs at five-foot and 10-foot intervals.
Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard is investigating a double homicide in the Brownsfork area of Hazard in Perry County. Police responded to a home on Crawford Lane around 9:00 P.M. Friday night where they found the bodies of Roy Campbell, 81 and Wanda Campbell, 79 who apparently died from gunshot wounds. No arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing.
Kentucky Man Arrested On Vandalism And Drug Charges
A Kentucky man was arrested, Tuesday, for flooding his hotel room with hundreds of gallons of water and then pulled the fire alarm to try and get away from police. Charles R. Weaver, 46, from Hindman, Kentucky, was arrested at the downtown Cincinnati Courtyard by Marriott.
A police report stated that water was coming out from under the door to Weaver's room and was leaking into rooms next door and into the lobby. According the report Weaver was found laying in the water, naked and he was screaming that someone was trying to set him on fire. Weaver also allegedly set off a fire alarm while trying to run away from the police, according to the report. He also allegedly broke a window because according to him, he was trying to get his sisters attention outside.
Police also report that they found 24 grams of cocaine wrapped in money, several bottles of alcohol and 1.8 ounces of marijuana in Weaver's room. Weaver apparently admitted that he had been doing drugs over the past couple days.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration...MSHA...has closed a Pike County mine after finding readings exceeding safe conditions for Methane. The Excel mine ordered shut down till subsequent levels of the explosive gas are lowered and the source determined.
Warren County Schools Competing For New Technology
Schools in one southern Kentucky county are in a competition to bring new technology such as iPads and netbooks into the classroom.
The Warren County school system introduced a funding program called I-Cubed -- which stands for instructional, innovative and influential -- that asks teachers and principals to submit grant proposals for equipment they need for teaching.
Robert Forsythe, director of technology for the school system, said they are looking for innovative projects and so far he's gotten 62 proposals ranging from $10,000 to $400,000.
Some of the proposals include using iPads and iPods and a group of middle school and high school music teachers requested equipment that will allow students to record and listen to themselves.
The winners were expected to be announced Dec. 1, but Forsythe said that will probably be delayed because of the large number of applicants.
A Thanksgiving Day crash on southbound I-71 killed two victims, while two others are still recovering in the hospital.
According to Lt. Col. Billy Way, 33-year-old Robert P. Kane of Buckner lost control of his Chevy Trailblazer as he drove northbound. Kane's vehicle crossed the median, and struck a Nissan Altima in the southbound lanes driven by 19-year-old Adrian Hightower of Louisville.
Hightower and a 17-year old passenger in his car had to be cut from the vehicle by firefighters. Oldham County police say both were taken to University of Louisville Hospital where Hightower died from his injuries Friday morning. Hightower's passenger has been identified as Madeline Thomas of Louisville. She died from her injuries Friday afternoon, according to police.
West Virginia State Police are investigating after Vernon Maynard was found dead on Nine Mile Road in Midkiff in Lincoln County Friday afternoon. State police say Maynard was riding an ATV when he was apparently tossed off, then hit by a passing vehicle.
Fifty year old Deborah Ann Russell of Piney View in Raleigh County died Friday evening at Cabell Huntington Hospital after a blaze had broken out Thanksgiving night at the Cinco Street home occupied by Russell and Michael Wayne Adkins. Both victims were rescued after being trapped inside the flaming home. Adkins has been transferred to a Pittsburgh burn center and is listed in stable condition.
Despite rain and, even snow in some places, across the Bluegrass, thousands of shoppers didn't let that or earlier special sales stop them from flocking to stores to participate in the annual Black Friday sales, or in some cases Blue Friday sales. Merchants say the shopper turnout was great as people on a mission waited outside stores for doors to open. Bigger crowds than last year were reported at several stores. While about an inch of snow fell in some parts of the state, shoppers said a little white snow was not going to dampen their Black Friday.
Kentucky State Police say Rudolph Valentino Brannigan III, 39, of Aberdeen County, Maryland, was pronounced dead Thursday night at the scene of the single-vehicle accident on Ky. 30 east of Booneville in Owsley County. Police say Brannigan was riding in a vehicle driven by Diane Sue Young whenYoung lost control of the vehicle, slid off the road and overturned.
Three other passengers were taken to Kentucky River Medical Center in Jackson for treatment of injuries that weren't considered life-threatening.
Kentucky Sheriff's Association To Discuss Volunteer Deputies
Kentucky law allows counties to have one special deputy for every 2,500 residents to assist with general law enforcement needs. The sheriff is required to swear in the deputy and log that person on a county clerk order book. Beyond that, there are few requirements, other than the deputy will not be paid. Just how many volunteer or special deputies are working in Kentucky is unclear. Retired Fleming County Sheriff Jerry Wagner knows some current sheriffs rely on volunteer deputies to help supplement the ranks and handle duties that would leave an office stretched thin, but he says how often special deputies are used and how they are trained may change after a federal jury in southern Kentucky handed down a $6.2 million verdict against the Whitley County Sheriff's Office. Christopher Brewer of Corbin filed a civil case in which a jury found that then-volunteer deputy Tony Ramey was acting on behalf of the sheriff's office in June 2007 when he beat Brewer, causing injuries that linger three years later. Wagner, who heads the Kentucky Sheriff's Association, says how special deputies are used and trained will be taken up at Sheriff's Association meeting in Bowling Green in December.
KENTUCKY.... Chuck Geveden, the head of Kentucky’s Office of Highway Safety, has submitted his resignation after being
reprimanded in August by Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock for filing a false time sheet for hours he worked the day before the Fancy Farm political picnic that month. Hancock said at that time that his review of Geveden's trip showed no improper expenditure of state funds. However, Hancock said Friday that since August the cabinet's Inspector General David Ray has been looking into the matter. Hancock said Geveden tendered his resignation Wednesday morning, effective December 15th. Geveden's salary is $93,324 annually.
Hancock said Geveden recapped accomplishments of the office in recent years but gave no reason for resigning, while only saying, ‘It's time to move on.'”
A central Kentucky company will be featured on "Dirty Jobs" when the Discovery Channel airs its program
on Kentucky Equine Research at 9:00 P.M. EST Tuesday night. The Kentucky Horse Council says the program was interested in the research company first because of feeding trials that involve collecting horse urine and feces but then decided the educational aspect of the work would also interest viewers. Kentucky Equine Research, founded in 1988, serves as a consultant to feed manufacturers and is the official nutritionist of the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the Equestrian Federation of Australia and is involved in thoroughbred racing worldwide.
Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Calls For More Open Records
Justice John D. Minton Jr., the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court has directed judges to seal court records only for compelling reasons. In his e-mail to judges, Minton cited a 1996 order by former Chief Justice Robert Stephens that directed judges and clerks to ensure that the public has access to the identity of sealed cases. Minton says that, in recent years, after Kentucky adopted new computer technology, the practice of sealing cases and moving them to the confidential division began anew, and the existence of too many cases are hidden from public view. Minton says there shouldn't be any such instances.
Court officials say they often don't know much about the cases, including why they were closed, if they were closed properly and whether they remain closed. Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson, who is also president of the state court clerk's association, said he was unaware that clerks were erasing some sealed cases from public court terminals.
A Thanksgiving Day crash has killed a Hopkinsville man inside a Kentucky state park.
The Marshall County Sheriff's Office says 51-year-old Bruce Petty of Hopkinsville died Thursday when his pickup truck ran off of U.S. 68 as it approached the Engers Ferry Bridge and crashed into trees at Kenlake State Resort Park.
A passenger, 49-year-old David Teed of Avondale, Ariz., was thrown from the cab into the truck bed. He was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Sheriff R. Kevin Byars says the crash is still under investigation and that alcohol contributed to it.
Some of Kentucky's public universities are encouraging their students to study abroad. The state's private liberal-arts institutions have traditionally led the way in sending students overseas to learn. For instance, 85 percent of the students at Centre College study overseas. Several of Kentucky's public universities' officials say it makes them more competitive in a global economy. The University of Louisville saw the number of its students studying overseas jump nearly 60 percent in 2009-10, while officials hope to see that number rise to 1,500 by 2020.
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant says she’s considered running for governor but her decision will depend on when an election is held and her gut feeling at that time. Tennant says serving as secretary of state has allowed her to show her leadership and her willingness to fight for what is right despite political and personal attacks. Tennant says she would prefer that a special election be held before 2012.
West Virginia Won't Mandate Fu Vaccinations For Health Care Workers
The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health isn’t going to mandate flu vaccinations for health care workers. State health officer Dr. Cathy Slemp says all health care workers should be vaccinated against the flu, but the state will leave that decision to each medical facility. The only hospital system in West Virginia that mandates employee vaccinations is Charleston Area Medical Center. Slemp says about 40 percent of health care workers in West Virginia are vaccinated, about the same as the national figure.
Federal regulators have rescheduled two public hearings on proposed stricter limits on coal dust exposure in the nation's mines.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration says it's also added a seventh hearing on the proposal.
MSHA says the final hearing will now be Feb. 15 at its headquarters in Arlington. The agency also reset a Pennsylania hearing for Feb. 8 in Washington, Pa., and added a hearing Feb. 10 in Prestonsburg, Ky.
The meetings will be held to take testimony on a proposal to cut existing limits for breathable dust in coal mines in half, among other things. The disease has plagued miners for generations and is blamed for the deaths of more than 10,000 coal miners in the past decade.
Saying he wants to spend more time with his family, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced today he will not be a candidate for Attorney General next year. Grayson, a Republican, lost a bid for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate this year to Tea Party favorite Rand Paul. He is completing his second term as Secretary of State and is not eligible to run for that office in 2011.
Many expected Grayson to challenge Jack Conway for Attorney General. Conway now holds the office. He lost to Rand Paul in the November general election for U.S. Senate. Conway announced last week he would seek re-election as Attorney General.
A tire explosion has killed one worker and injured four others at a plant in northern Kentucky.
Kentucky State Police say 48-year-old Robin Kelley of Madison, Ind., died in the accident Tuesday afternoon at the Gallatin Steel Inc. plant in Carroll County.
Police say 50-year-old David Davanzati of Louisville was flown by helicopter to University of Cincinnati Hospital. Three other workers were less seriously hurt.
The emergency dispatch center in Gallatin County was called at 3:27 p.m. by Harsco Metals, which police describe as a contractor for Gallatin Steel. Harsco Metals is a division of Harrisburg, Pa.-based Harsco Corp.
A preliminary investigation shows a tire on a piece of heavy equipment exploded during repairs inside a maintenance facility.
Fire officials in western Kentucky say they cannot determine what caused a blaze that killed four people last summer.
Investigators with the Owensboro Fire Department had previously said they believed the Aug. 27 fire was accidental.
The fire killed 35-year-old Wendy Devine; her children, 3-year-old Jerry Devine and 2-year-old Jonathan Ryan Devine; and her father, Jerry Marsh. The coroner's report says all four died of smoke inhalation.
The Messenger-Inquirer newspaper obtained a copy of test results from the fire investigation using an open records request and reported the tests found no unusual substances in the house. The fire marshal's report also said the fire is not believed to have been electrical.
An elderly woman may have been taken advantage of but she says she's not a victim. Louisville Metro police are trying to track down the man and woman responsible for targeting elderly area residents for the last three years and one of them hopes others will learn from her story.
The pair pose as plain-clothes officers in the middle of an investigation. Their story seems good but police say in reality they're working on the other side of the law. "I thought I did the right thing by asking to see a badge and so forth," said Carolyn Belt, 67. Belt says she considers herself pretty up to date on what you're supposed to do when police come to your door.
"I even said to him, 'You're not supposed to search my house without a search warrant,'" she said.
The man and woman who came to her door had a good story and a check from her bank.
LMPD Detective Amanda Frederick says Belt is not the first to be taken by the pair's story.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a $400,000 grant to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority which will be used to develop a 20-acre site at the Mingo County Wood Products Industrial Park. Redevelopment authority Executive Director Mike Whitt said the project will allow the county to recruit new businesses.
A section of Main Street in Logan was closed after part of the fire-damaged Aracoma Hotel collapsed shortly before 3:00 A.M. Thursday morning. Firefighters blocked off Main Street between Dingess and Jefferson streets as a precaution. A fire on November 15th destroyed the top floor of the four-story hotel, while other floors sustained smoke and water damage. City officials say the building will have to be demolished.
West Virginia has recorded the first fatality since its gun season for bucks opened Monday. The Division of Natural Resources says 61 year old Franklin R. Mitchell died Tuesday while hunting near his home in Chloe in Calhoun County. Officials say Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. His body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Charleston for an autopsy. Three other hunters have been injured since the season opened. The DNR says an estimated 280,000 licensed hunters will hunt during the gun season, which runs through December 4th.
A Mingo County man remains behind bars, charged with the shooting death of a man he believed to be his wife’s lover in Logan County.
According to West Virginia State Police, Jonathan Ferrell, 47, of Gilbert, has been charged with first degree murder. Police say the victim of the shooting, 42-year-old Wyatt Robinson of Mallory, went to the home of Ferrell Sunday evening, and an altercation took place related to the relationship of Ferrell’s wife and Mallory.
The victim was declared dead at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds.
Troopers from both the Logan and Mingo detachments of the WVSP are investigating the murder.
Ferrell remained lodged in Southwestern Regional jail at presstime.
Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship says the ongoing battle with federal and state officials over how the investigation and inspection of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion on April 5, 2010 continues to hamper operations at Massey coal mines and has also created new safety and health concerns for coal mine.
In a press conference Friday at Massey Energy offices in Julian, CEO Don Blankenship said that new government regulations are causing safety and health concerns for coal miners.
“This industry for the last 20 years has not mined a single ton of coal without a continuous miner scrubber, which is a filter for the dust in the air,” he said. “For whatever reason, MSHA is requiring Massey, and some other companies, to turn these filters off.”
Blankenship says some of MSHA’s rules and regulations changes, like turning off scrubbers which filter dirt and air in some of its mines, and moving around equipment more than it should, are real dangers for coal miners.
“This has put coal miners' health and safety at risk,” he said. “Nobody is reporting on this issue, but instead focusing on who’s to blame for the April 5 explosion at UBB.”
MSHA officials, however, said there is no policy banning the use of scrubbers. "There is no MSHA policy banning the use of scrubbers, as evidenced by the fact that approximately 50 percent of Massey mining units are permitted to operate their dust scrubbers on continuous mining machines,” MSHA spokesperson Amy Louviere said in a statement to the media.
“The ventilation plans at some Massey operations where they were using continuous miners with scrubbers did not comply with basic dust control and other regulatory requirements. MSHA continues to monitor their compliance performance on a mine-by-mine basis,” she said.
Blankenship also called MSHA’s ventilation plans and regulations dangerous for coal miners. “Engineers at UBB were required to make ventilation changes they didn't agree with, and five days later the explosion happened,” Blankenship said.
He said the company would present evidence in a couple of weeks that would shed some light on what really happened and may have caused the explosion at UBB on April 5, 2010.
Families in Mingo and Wyoming counties affected by storms in 2009 can stay in temporary disaster housing for another three months. The housing program was scheduled to end Nov. 15. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday it approved the state's request to extend the program to Feb. 15, 2011.
The program allows disaster victims to live rent-free in housing provided by FEMA while they work to obtain permanent housing.
As of Wednesday, 46 families were living in temporary disaster housing.
President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration following severe storms on May 3, 2009, that struck Mingo, Wyoming and several other counties.
Four people were arrested in relation to an incident Wednesday. Michael Tally Holmes, 24, or Radford, Mich., was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
Amy Rebecca Otts, 31, of Huntington; Antajuan Alfonso Flanders, 29, of Canton, Mich.; and Franklin Fitzgerald Elly, 21, of Detroit, Mich., were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
The arrest came after officers were dispatched to a possible burglary at a residence in the 600 block of 6th Avenue just after 10 p.m. Wednesday. After obtaining a search warrant, officers found three people hiding in the attic and confiscated a bag with 9.9 grams of cocaine and 35 small bags containing a total of 54 grams of cocaine just outside of a window in the attic. The cocaine was valued at $6,900.
Two people were taken into custody after leading police on a chase through Kanawha County.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department got a call around 6:00 p.m. Wednesday that two vehicles were crashing into each other on Maccorkle Avenue in Jefferson. They also heard that shots may have been fired.
Soon after, deputies spotted a car that was involved in South Charleston. The driver took off and lead police across the Dunbar Toll Bridge and then crashed into a road sign on Roxalana Road.
The man and woman inside took off. Police later tracked down the woman. Brian Wilson was found sitting inside a restaurant nearby. "One of the deputies did find a vehicle and removed a believe he said one of the bullet fragments from the hood of the truck," said Lt. Mike Oakley.
While on scene, Wilson admitted to WSAZ that he fired the shots after the truck kept running into the car he was riding in.
"I knew there was a pistol in the car. I picked it up and cocked it back. I told her to stop the vehicle, I put it in my waist. I hopped out the vehicle, raised up my shirt to let them know I was armed. They started revving up the engine. For her safety and mine I shot low at the engine," said Wilson.
He also apologized for his actions, saying that if anyone was hurt in the chase he was sorry.
Deputies have not said what Wilson and the woman will be charged with.
A legislative audit says West Virginia's higher education officials have done little to ensure a college education remains affordable. The Legislative Auditor's office also says officials can't say how much is enough when deciding what students can afford.
The audit was released as part of the Legislature's November interim meetings.
One of the findings reported by the Charleston Daily Mail is that 80 percent of low-income West Virginians can't afford to attend college, and for those who can - many must borrow money to remain in school.
The state Higher Education Policy Commission has been reviewing college costs since the summer of 2009. A report is expected next month.
A shadow political campaign or an "attagirl" for a struggling amateur? Bristol Palin's success on this season's "Dancing With the Stars" defies easy explanation.
Either way, Bristol has something to brag about if talk at the Palin dinner table turns toward vote-getting ability. Just like her mom, Sarah, and her campaign for the vice presidency two years ago, however, Bristol fell short at the end. She finished third to champion Jennifer Grey of "Dirty Dancing" fame during the ABC competition's two-hour finale Tuesday. Runner-up was Disney Channel star Kyle Massey.
Palin's march, shimmy and cha-cha to the finals put "Dancing With the Stars," of all programs, into the nation's political cauldron. Clearly, Bristol drew support from many people who admire her mother, who frequently appeared in the show's studio audience to root for her daughter. Bristol said Tuesday that if she won, "it would be like giving a big middle finger to people who hate my mom and hate me."
Sarah Palin supporters helped organize campaigns to keep her daughter on the show, like radio talk host Tammy Bruce's "Operation Bristol." Conservative blogger Kevin DuJan's Hillbuzz.org website also led a get-out-the-vote effort and wrote after Tuesday's results that Palin "drove the Left crazy for three months.
Until a couple weeks ago, a special blue and gold football jersey hung in the game room of Mac-Reedo's in Huntington. Coming from Harrison High School in Harrison, Ark., with the number 62 and "B. Reed" on the back, this piece of memorabilia stuck out in the bar surrounded by decades of relics from Thundering Herd athletics. Serving as a memorial to Brian Reed, the late nephew of Mac-Reedo's owner Connie Reed, the jersey was the centerpiece of the game room named in his honor. Despite the sentimental significance, Brian's jersey no longer hangs above the pool table in the bar, as it was stolen the weekend of the Marshall-UAB football game. Brian was killed in a single-car accident the night after his graduation from high school in 2009.
An attempted escape by six inmates at the Otter Creek Correctional Complex in Wheelwright in Floyd County Tuesday night was foiled when prison officials learned the inmates were missing and an immediate search of the grounds began. Within 15 minutes, the six inmates were found trapped between the inner and outer fences of the prison. The six men now face additional felony charges and administrative charges as a result of the attempted escape.
Lawsuits alleging vote buying have been filed by an incumbent in one Magoffin County race and a challenger in another.
Sheriff Bob Jordan and John P. Montgomery, who ran for judge-executive, filed separate lawsuits claiming a man paid "numerous voters" at least $100. The suits claim the man had voters sign blank absentee ballots.
In their lawsuits, Jordan and Montgomery claim more than 1,000 absentee ballots were counted among about 6,000 votes cast on Nov. 2 -- a number the plaintiffs say is "astonishingly high."
Jordan lost his re-election bid by 89 votes to Carson Montgomery. John P. Montgomery lost his challenge by 310 votes to incumbent Charles "Doc" Hardin.
Carson denies involvement or knowledge of any illegalities. The newspaper could not reach Carson Montgomery.
An Oklahoma chiropractor who was the first patient in Louisville to receive a double hand transplant has had a minor setback but says he's feeling great.
Rich Edwards said that three months after the surgery at Jewish Hospital, he may lose the fingertips on his right thumb and pinkie because his body started to reject the new limbs.
But otherwise, Edwards said in an interview aired Tuesday that he's started to regain feeling in his hands and he is happy to feel the things he's missed the most, like holding hands with his wife, Cindy.
In his words: "I've been blessed with two beautiful hands. I can spare a couple of fingertips."
Edwards' hands were left mangled in a 2006 truck fire. His doctors are optimistic he can make it home to Edmond, Okla., for Christmas.
State wildlife officials in Kentucky and Tennessee video recorded two commercial fishermen for several days, then charged them with netting undersize paddlefish in Kentucky Lake.
55-year-old Richard V. Sinclair and 33-year-old Kevin D. Coblentz -- both of Paris, Tenn. -- face 29 wildlife violation counts so far and 11 other state charges are pending with federal charges possible.
The men are accused of illegally harvesting fish eggs, called roe, for use as caviar.
Sinclair and Coblentz were also observed Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers as they fished near the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. The suspects were arrested Nov. 9.
The suspects were booked into the Calloway County Detention Center and freed on $500 cash bonds.
A Louisville man has sued two college football players and a bar over allegations that the players beat him up last year.
Andrew Howell filed suit last week in Jefferson Circuit Court claiming University of Louisville offensive linemen Ryan Kessling and Josh Byrom attacked him "without provocation" on Nov. 19, 2009, at the Granville Inn.
Howell claims he has severe head trauma and a brain injury. No criminal charges were filed against either player.
Travis Lock, an attorney for Howell, says his client was watching a fight between some football players and others when he was hit.
Kessling is a 6-foot-5, 314-pound junior who has played in nine games this year. Byrom is a 6-5, 305-pound senior who has played in 10 games this year.
A federal judge says an Illinois man convicted of a tax conspiracy charge will not be given a new trial.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Simpson III ruled this week on a motion by an attorney for Thomas Schroeder to either acquit his client or retry him.
Simpson ruled that Schroeder's September conviction will stand, and no new trial will take place.
Schroeder was found guilty in a case that also involved former University of Louisville education dean Robert Felner. The two were accused in a scheme to bilk $2.3 million from U of L, the University of Rhode Island and a drug and alcohol treatment agency.
Schroeder, of Port Byron, Ill., is to be sentenced Dec. 14.
Felner pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and tax evasion and is serving a 63-month sentence.
In an effort to encourage holiday shoppers to shop locally, Governor Steve Beshear has declared Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010 as “Small Business Saturday” in Kentucky. “Small Business Saturday” is a national movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the United States to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.
“Most people are familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but many shoppers forget about the large number of small businesses right in their hometowns that provide a multitude of great gift ideas,” said Gov. Beshear, “More than 90 percent of the employers in Kentucky have 50 or fewer employees. These small businesses are responsible for thousands of jobs that form the backbone of our economy.”
Kentucky joins many other states and cities across the country in supporting the campaign, which is an initiative of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Small businesses are critical to the nation’s overall economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year. Over the past two decades, they created 65 percent of net new jobs. Their importance to local communities extends even further. For every $100 spent in locally owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to the small business advocacy group The 3/50 Project, which encourages consumers to pick three locally owned, independent brick and mortar businesses they can’t live without, and commit to spending $50 per month across the three businesses, in addition to all of the other spending they do.
Social media will play a central role in helping to raise awareness of the importance of supporting small business and recognizing Small Business Saturday. American Express is launching campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to drive consumers and business owners to http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday?v=app_165267296827487 where they can participate in many ways, including:
The first 10,000 business owners to sign up receive $100 of free Facebook advertising to help build online buzz and drive customers to shop at their businesses on Small Business Saturday. By entering a few pieces of information and clicking a button, these business owners can create a personalized, geo-targeted ad that will run on Facebook leading up to November 27th. Facebook has donated $500,000 in Facebook credits for these small business owners to use in the future.
American Express is also giving a $25 statement credit to 100,000 cardmembers who register their card and use it to shop on Small Business Saturday at any locally-owned, independent small businesses that accepts American Express.
Small business owners can download online promotional materials and use a number of social media tools to promote their businesses on Small Business Saturday.
Everyone can spread the word about the day and their favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to their favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.
For every person who 'likes' Small Business Saturday on Facebook, American Express is donating $1 up to $500,000 to Girls Inc. to empower young women to be entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
At an investor conference Tuesday in New York, Patriot Coal Corp.'s chief executive Richard M. Whiting said production at the Black Oak mine in Boone County, which began in September, should hit an annual rate of 500,000 tons of coal by mid-2011. The company was aiming to replace metallurgical grade coal lost when its Harris No. 1 mine closed in June. Officials say Black Oak will help Patriot take advantage of the booming demand for metallurgical coal from Asian steelmakers. Patriot has produced 6.1 million tons through the first three quarters of the year and plans to produce 8 million tons of metallurgical coal next year. St. Louis-based Patriot operates mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.
Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin will host West Virginia's annual Joyful Night holiday celebration at the Capitol when they kick off the December 2nd celebration by lighting the ceremonial Christmas tree on the Capitol's north side. The Division of Culture and History says the festivities include musical performances and a recitation by the Tomblins of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." That will take placr in the Governor's Reception Room.
About 469,500 households across West Virginia now have access to high-speed Internet, but Frontier officials say that number will grow to nearly 658,000 homes by the end of 2011. At a hearing Tuesday, Frontier executives told the state Public Service Commission that the company will spend $48 million through the end of next year as part of an "aggressive" broadband expansion aimed at making high-speed Internet available to 85 percent of its customers in West Virginia by the end of 2011, two and a half years sooner than expected. West Virginia now ranks 47th in the nation for the percentage of homes with broadband availability. Dana Waldo, senior vice president of Frontier's West Virginia operations, says by the time Frontier is done, West Virginia will be one of the top five covered states in the nation.
The state Supreme Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court’s decision in a decade-old contractual dispute involving the St. James Building in downtown Huntington. The City National Bank decided to vacate the building in late 2000, but the landlord argues the bank breached its lease by leaving the St. James without forcing a subleasing law firm to exit as well. In March 2009, Cabell Circuit Judge Jane Hustead granted a summary judgment order dismissing the case, while citing the lease termination agreement was ambiguous and it would have been legally impossible for the bank to require the law firm to leave. In its unanimous decision filed Tuesday, the Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that such a dismissal only should be granted when it is clear there is no genuine issue for trial. It also stated issues of fact typically arise in times of an ambiguous contract and such a dismissal is ordinarily not proper.
Portion Of Hatfield-McCoy Trails To Open In Spring
Mercer County’s portion of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, which began in October, is expected to open in the spring, adding between 80 and 100 miles to the trails system. A 9-mile connector will link the Mercer County system to more than 150 miles of existing trails. The trailhead will be built near Bramwell.
Christina Young of Charleston has been sentenced to 30 days home confinement and 10 hours of community service after investigators say she made a fake bomb threat aimed at JB's Gentlemen's Club. Police say Young was in the hospital in July when she found out her father was having an affair with a dancer at JB's. She then called the club, threatening the dancer and saying the club needed to be on the lookout for a bomb.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster granted a temporary order Tuesday allowing four South Charleston High School football players suspended after an on-field brawl to play in Saturday's state Class AAA semifinal against Brooke High School. Webster says, because the courthouse is closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, there is not enough time to schedule a hearing where the four players, Tyler Harris, Pierria' Henry, Emerson Gagnon and Trevond Reese, and the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission can present their sides of the story. The players were suspended Monday for their alleged involvement in a brawl at the end of Friday's playoff game against Hurricane High School at Laidley Field. Webster's order states that the players "have presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they will suffer immediate and irreparable harm" if they have to wait for a hearing before they can play.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is investigating a 2008 explosion at the Bayer CorpScience plant in Institute that killed Barry Withrow immediately and resulted in the death of Bill Oxley several weeks later. The board had hoped to complete the report by the end of this year, but it is now aiming for January. Also under investigation is a series of leaks at DuPont's Belle plant in January, including one that killed a worker. The Belle report is expected to be completed by March 31, 2011.
KENTUCKY... The robbery and kidnapping case for a Pike County man is headed to the grand jury. Kentucky State Police say 26 year old Glen Kinney was walking on the side of the road in the Ferrells Creek area when an 83 year old man offered him a ride. Police say Kinney had the man pull over, took his money, and then knocked the man to the ground. placed a knife to his throat and asked the victim if he had any more money in the bank. The pair went to the bank where the man withdrew more money. They went back to the elderly man's house where Kinney stole items, and the victim tried to escape. Police say Kinney then drove the man to an old strip mine and abandoned him. Kinney has pleaded not guilty.
State police say, on October 24th, Trooper Cassondra Mullins responded to a call of a woman being held against her will at a home in Allen. When the door opened, KSP say 40 year old David Hall was standing there with a shot gun pointed at her. She gave him a verbal command to put the weapon down, and, at that point, she saw his finger move to the trigger, and she fired one shot, hitting Hall in the abdomen. Hall has pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted assault on a police officer. The defense attorney asked for the charges to be reduced on the basis Hall did not fire the gun, but the judge did not agree. The lawyer also asked for his 50 thousand full cash bond to be changed to property so he can get out of jail, but, again, the judge refused, sending the case to the grand jury. Trooper Mullins is no longer on administrative leave but has returned to regular duty.
A man and a woman were found dead Sunday afternoon at a hunting cabin northeast of Irvine in Estill County near the Powell County line. KSP say a relationship breakup led to the deaths of 35 year old Kelli Barr of Mineral, W. Va., who was found dead in the bathroom with a gunshot wound to the head, and 53 year old Michael Boyle of Estill County, who was found dead in a living room chair, also with a gunshot wound to the head. Trooper Chris Lanham says Boyle apparently sat down in the chair and killed himself with a .22-caliber pump-action rifle after killing Barr. Lanham says Barr came to Boyle's cabin to retrieve her belongings after the couple broke up about two weeks ago, and he believes the killing was planned. Barr;s current boyfriend, who had driven her to the cabin and reported the shooting, says he heard a heated argument before hearing two gunshots.
A contract employee at an eastern Kentucky mine has died after his vehicle overturned.
A statement from the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety says 32-year-old Rhett Mosley of Perry County died early Tuesday at Rex-Strip Coal Mine in Harlan County. The statement says Mosley was on his way to service equipment when the truck he was driving went out of control.
Mine investigators were on the scene most of the morning and planned to return today to conduct interviews.
Rex-Strip Mine has been closed until further notice, according to the statement.
The death is the seventh mine-related fatality in the state in 2010.
Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford recently proclaimed November 2010 as ‘National Hospice/Palliative Care Month’ in PikeCounty. Attending the announcement was Malta Burchett and Patti Beatty from Appalachian Hospice Care, Randy Johnson from Pikeville Medical Center Palliative Care Program, Rutherford, and Connie Boyd, Ingrid Flowers and Michelle Sode from Hospice of the Bluegrass – Mountain Rivers.
Federal records show that just days after being ordered to shut down, the trucking company involved in the fatal accident that killed 11 people was back in business with many of the same drivers and trucks.
A trucking industry newspaper called The Trucker is reporting that Hester Inc. of Fayette, Ala., was ordered off the road June 5 but resurfaced June 10 as FTS Fleet Services.
Hester's president had applied to operate the new company from the same location.
Truck driver Kenneth Laymon went across the median on I-65 near Munfordville on March 26, striking a van carrying Mennonites traveling to a wedding in Iowa. Ten people in the van as well as Laymon were killed.
Preliminary statistics indicate that fifteen people
died in fourteen separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday,
November 15, through Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.
Eleven of the crashes involved motor vehicles and seven of the victims
were not wearing seat belts. Single-fatality crashes occurred in
Barren, Elliott, Fayette, Franklin, Grayson, Henry, Jefferson, Madison,
Mason, Shelby, and Whitley counties. The suspected use of alcohol was
a factor in the Whitley County crash.
One fatal motorcycle crash occurred in Pulaski County and the victim was
not wearing a helmet.
One fatal bicycle crash occurred in Jefferson County and the victim was
not wearing a helmet.
One double fatality pedestrian involved crash occurred in Jefferson
County. Both victims were pedestrians.
hrough Nov. 21, preliminary statistics* indicate that 678 people have
lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2010. This is 23 less
fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2009. There were
524 motor vehicle fatalities and 279 of those victims were not wearing
seat belts. Seventy-four of those crashes involved a commercial motor
vehicle. Fifty-three fatal crashes involved a pedestrian and two
involved a scooter. Seventy-eight crashes involved a motorcycle and
forty-five of those victims were not wearing helmets. Fifteen crashes
involved an ATV and thirteen victims were not wearing helmets. Six
crashes involved a bicycle. A total of 136 fatalities have resulted
from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.
Fifty-three year old Raymond D'Arco, a man who police say operated one of the largest methamphetamine labs in Kanawha County has been sentenced to five to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay for the cost to clean up the massive operation found in the basement of his home, beginning with any wages he earns in prison.D'Arco was convicted in August of conspiracy to operate a meth lab, operation of a meth lab and possession of the materials to produce meth. His niece, Shawnette Lovejoy, 26, who was on trial along with him, was found guilty of a conspiracy charge and was given a one to five year prison sentence, but the judge suspended it and will allow her to spend two years on probation and home confinement. The judge agreed to admit Lovejoy into the county's new drug court program that requires intensive supervision, treatment, counseling, community service and frequent court appearances.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited Massey Energy Co. after an explosives accident at a southern West Virginia mine. Virginia-based Massey revealed the citation in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday. Massey says it's been barred from blasting and loading explosives at its Twilight surface mine until MSHA determines what caused an unplanned ignition or explosion of blasting materials November 15th.
James "Jimmy" Sigmon Jr.of Elkview, who faces attempted murder and malicious wounding charges, waived his preliminary hearing Monday, sending the case to the January grand jury. Police say Sigmon and David Sharp got into a fight in early November in Frame after Sigmon allegedly told Sharp he was having an affair with his wife.
The U.S. Marshal Service arrested 25 year old Richard Robert Sanders on Monday after a November 9th indictment charged him with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, his second firearms charge in as many years. The indictment stems from a January 17th arrest in Huntington, following a conviction for the same charge seven months earlier. The federal indictment alleges Sanders possessed a 9 mm pistol at the time of the arrest following a reported burglary in which the victim said several men kicked in the door, ran through the residence and exited out the back. Federal prosecutors intend to force Sanders to forfeit the 9 mm pistol if he is in convicted.
Monday, Senator Joe Manchin made his first trip to West Virginia after being sworn in as Senator. Manchin met with staff and patrons of the Huntington City Mission and discussed issues facing the mission and West Virginia. This was the first stop on Senator Machin's state wide tour before spending time with family for Thanksgiving, and returning to Washington D.C. Funding and future programs were some of the topics that Manchin and members of the city mission talked about. Manchin then traveled to Pullman Square to view Marshall University's new Arts Incubator.
Walker Machinery Continues Operations During Contract Negotiations
Walker Machinery Vice President Andy Southworth said Monday that International Union of Operating Engineers Local 132 workers voted down their latest contract offer, but the company and the union are continuing negotiations in good faith and everyone is still on the job. Workers at the Belle facility voted down a proposed three year contract again Friday after rejecting the first offer November 3rd. The Union represents nearly 200 of Walker's 700 workers. Workers say the contract presented Friday would have raised health insurance premiums and given workers a 25 cents per hour raise in the first year and a 40 cents per hour raise the following two years.
Spike TV says filming of a reality show about West Virginia coal miners is now well under way with ten videographers who have been certified as apprentice coal miners working with the managers and miners at Cobalt Coal's Westchester mine in McDowell County. The crew completed the same 80-hour training course required of all new miners in West Virginia, passing their apprentice certification tests on November 9th, the same day the team started filming above ground. They're now working in a space just 42 inches high, some 600 feet deep. Ten one-hour episodes of "Coal" are expected to air next spring.
DuPont has offered to pay $70 million and spend millions more on medical monitoring for the next 30 years to end a legal battle DuPont has been appealing since a 2007 jury verdict ordered the company to spend $130 million on medical monitoring for some 8,500 people and $55.5 million to clean up properties contaminated with arsenic, cadmium and lead from a former zinc-smelting plant in Spelter. The proposed settlement would wipe out a $196 million punitive damage award DuPont has also been fighting.. The proposal must be reviewed by the members of the class-action case, who can raise objections at a fairness hearing set for December 30th in Clarksburg. Of the $70 million on the table, $4 million would be set aside for cash payments to people who are eligible for medical monitoring. The remaining $66 million would cover the cost of cleaning up properties, launching the medical monitoring program, paying attorneys and paying the plaintiffs in amounts to be determined later. The plaintiffs' lawyers are seeking two-thirds of that money. $30 million to cover their fees and $11 million in expenses they incurred pursuing the case. People will have six months to sign up for the medical monitoring program.
Use Of Synthetic Marijuana Referred To Public Safety Committee
WEST VIRGINIA.... When Huntington City Councilman Scott Caserta talked to kids who were using what he vaguely knew of as herbal incense, he said the kids replied, "No, that's legal marijuana." When he learned that the Cabell County School Board hiked the K2 or Wildfire possession penalty from tobacco like to possible expulsion, Caserta drafted an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of the synthetic cannabis product to minors. Secret Pleasures and most Huntington shops already will not sell synthetic marijuana to minors, although they explain the leafy chemically treated substance is legally sold for incensing, not smoking. State Senator Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, says he'll introduce legislation in January that would possibly ban the herbal product altogether in West Virginia. Caserta says, while several legislators have talked about filing a bill to ban synthetic marijuana statewide, it couldn't happen before summer. Monday night, Huntington City Council members referred the matter to the Public Safety Committee.
West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has filed a suit seeking almost $4 million in penalties from a Delaware-based payday lender, alleging that Government Employees Credit Center Inc., and its owner, Vincent Ney, have defied a 2007 order requiring them to comply with an investigative subpoena and to stop making and collecting loans in West Virginia. At a hearing in November 2007, Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr. approved a fine of $3,000 a day for each day that GECC defied his order. That total has now reached $3.98 million. GECC was supposed to stop making short-term, payday loans over the Internet to West Virginia consumers, but in July 2009, a Cool Ridge woman complained that a collection agency had tried to collect a debt she allegedly owed to GECC. The suit also alleges two collection companies, P.D. Recovery and Dollar Financial Group, improperly collected debts from loans issued by GECC in violation of Zakaib's order. The suit seeks to have those companies return all payments collected and to be similarly penalized for collecting debts in West Virginia without a license.
WEST VIRGINIA.... An important note for those getting WCHS-TV and FOX-11 on Time Warner Cable:
You may soon lose your easy access to your favorite programs on those channels. Sinclair Broadcasting and Time Warner Cable are negotiating. The companies current contract expires at the end of the year. If a new pact can't be reached, FOX-11 and WCHS-TV could be pulled from the Time Warner line-up.
The Mercer County Health Department announced Monday that six people who were scratched, bitten or touched by a rabid cat in a Princeton neighborhood began vaccine treatment last week. Melody Rickman with the health department says another person was exposed to another animal that may have had contact. That person sought treatment Sunday after reading about the cat in the newspaper. Rickman says it's the seventh rabies case in Mercer County this year. The other rabid animals were a skunk, one fox and four raccoons.
Twenty-five year old Jonathan Anderson from Whitesburg has been charged with murder and first-degree assault, among other charges, after a Sunday night crash killed a woman and injured her husband. State police say Anderson was trying to pass another vehicle while driving north on the Whitesburg bypass when he came up behind a vehicle driven by 48 year old Gwendolyn H. Whitakerof Roxanna. Anderson rear-ended Whitaker's car, causing it to collide with a car driven by her husband, Mitchum Whitaker, 49, also of Roxanna. Gwendolyn Whitaker was taken by helicopter to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn., where she died at 11:11 A.M. Monday. Mitchum Whitaker suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
In addition to the murder and assault charges, Anderson is charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence second offense-aggravating circumstances and numerous traffic charges.
Kentucky Seeks Voluntary Pull Of Caffeinated Alcoholic Energy Drinks
The Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has sent a letter to manufacturers, distributors and retailers of malt beverages asking that they voluntarily discontinue the sale and distribution of caffeinated alcoholic energy drinks. The Federal Drug Administration last week issued a news release warning four companies that the caffeine added to their malt alcoholic beverages is an unsafe food additive and that further action, including seizure of their products, is possible under federal law. ABC Malt Beverage Administrator Stephanie Stumbo says, "This voluntary action by the malt beverage industry is necessary while we await further information from the FDA on the safety of these drinks." The companies have 15 days to respond to the letters and explain how they will take their products off the market or defend their drinks as safe.
Among those caffeinated alcoholic drink brands targeted by the FDA are:
· Core High Gravity HG Green
· Core High Gravity HG Orange
· Lemon Lime Core Spiked
· Four Loko
In a motion made public Monday, Karen Cunagin Sypher claims to have a witness to evidence tampering in the case in which a federal jury in August convicted her of three counts of extortion, two counts of lying to the FBI and one count of retaliating against a witness. The motion does not identify the witness or offer any details about the allegation, but Sypher, who claims a wide ranging conspiracy to convict her, wants a federal judge to appoint a special panel to reinvestigate her case. Sypher was convicted of trying to extort millions from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. Her sentencing is indefinitely postponed while U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III weighs a request to step down from the case because of alleged conflicts of interest.
Thirty-seven year old Lowell Harris of Putney, who was injured when a personnel carrier and a supply hauler collided at Bledsoe Coal Corporation's Abner Branch Mine in Harlan County, could be released by Wednesday. Harris and 27 year old David Estes of Harlan were airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee after the crash last Wednesday. Estes went home on Saturday. A third miner, 30 year old Michael Peterson of Putney, was released from Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital last week. The mine, owned by James River Coal Corp., has since reopened.
The Marguerite Weber Art Gallery at Pikeville College, in conjunction with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS), is pleased to announce the exhibit "El Grabado Mexicano," or "Mexican Engravings," a visual history of Mexico's struggle for independence.
Special presentations by Steve Budney, associate professor of history, and John Howie, professor of psychology - both of whom have taught in Mexico - will be held, a reception will follow. The exhibit, sponsored by KIIS, the Weber Gallery and Pikeville College's Division of Humanities, is free and the campus and community are cordially invited.
A federal inmate with Mafia ties who escaped custody by kicking open a prison van door in Kentucky has been reindicted. A federal grand jury on Monday handed up a superseding indictment against 37 year old Derek A. Capozzi. The new indictment keeps the escape charge, but deleted some information about how inmates are transported. Capozzi was in Kentucky to testify at a federal trial and was being taken back to a prison in Pennsylvania when he kicked open the van door and fled on April 15th. He was caught two days later. His trial date is set for December 21st.
Through a $4 million federal grant, rural counties throughout Kentucky have the chance to adopt an electronic warrant system known as eWarrant, which is already being used in seven counties and starts up Tuesday in Mason, Fleming and Bracken counties in northeastern Kentucky. Law enforcement officials, judges and attorneys were recently introduced to the system, which allows judges to sign warrants anywhere by using a smart phone. The eWarrant system was developed by Greenwood, Ind.-based Open Portal Solutions.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says the state will receive a share of a $16.3 million settlement with Maryland-based medical firm Ameritox Ltd., which is accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of giving kickbacks to physicians. Conway says the state's Medicaid program will get $131,888 from the settlement with the company that provides doctors with urine testing supplies and services.
An Eastern Kentucky University student group is taking a tutoring role on the difference between marijuana and hemp, a once-popular crop whose roots trace back to colonial times in the region.
Members of the EKU student branch of NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, say they are not trying to promote marijuana smoking.
EKU sophomore Ashley Sharp, president of the campus NORML chapter, says the goal is to educate people about industrial, medical and personal uses.
Membership in the campus group is open to any EKU student, and the group is sanctioned by the university like other student organizations.
The local chapter's vice president, sophomore Kristina Waters, says the group plans to get the community involved by inviting elected officials and others to give public presentations.
Mingo County Man Faces Murder In Logan County Shooting
West Virginia State Police say 47 year old Jonathan Ferrell of Gilbert, fatally shot 42 year old Wyatt Robinson, of Mallory Sunday night along Route 80 in Verner of Logan County. Police say Ferrell's wife and Robinson had allegedly been involved in an affair. Ferrell is charged with first-degree murder.
As the first day of firearm season for bucks got under way Monday, officials want to remind hunters to be extra careful. According to Kanawha County officials, a 17 year old male accidentally shot himself in the calf with a 30-30 rifle while deer hunting Monday afternoon. Earlier Monday, a 14 year old male accidentally shot himself in the foot in Wood County.
The state Supreme Court has given Mason County commissioners until December 6th to explain why they shouldn't be ordered to support tolls on U.S. 35 after approving the the project in September but revoking it earlier this month after learning tolls would increase over several years to pay for construction bonds. The Court also gave the West Virginia Parkways Authority permission to go ahead with planned public hearings on the project. The Authority says tolls are needed to upgrade about 14 miles of the highway, and the commissioners don't have the authority to revoke prior approval.