Wednesday, March 30, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-31-'11
- The UK Wildcats are headed to their first Final Four since 1998, after their 76-69 win over North Carolina Sunday in Newark, New Jersey. The UK Wildcats basketball team left Blue Grass Airport late Wednesday afternoon aboard a chartered Delta flight taking them to Houston, where they will play UConn in the semi-finals in the NCAA Final Four beginning at approximately 8:49 P.M. Saturday night. A bus carrying the team left Wildcat Lodge at about 4:00 P.M. with fans giving them a rousing send-off.
- Stephen M. Lyon of Louisiana, a pain-clinic officer accused of conspiring to pour large amounts of methadone into the black market in eastern Kentucky plans to plead guilty. Lyon was CEO of Urgent Care Services, a company which, according to court documents, had offices in Slidell, La., Philadelphia and Cincinnati where drug addicts and traffickers from eastern Kentucky got prescriptions for methadone and other pills, often after little or no real medical examination. Two doctors and another employee who worked at the offices have pleaded guilty in Kentucky. The doctors said they questioned writing prescriptions for dozens of people from Kentucky, but Lyon pressured them to keep seeing the Kentucky residents. Michael Leman, who owned the company, also has been charged in Kentucky.
- The Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld $761,000 in fines from flagrant safety violations at a Massey Energy Co. coal mine in Kentucky in 2006. Inspectors found the violations while following up a tip about weak roof conditions at Stillhouse Mining LLC's Mine No. 1 near Cumberland. MSHA said Massey was cited for not following proper procedures after the mine's ventilation fan shut off, illegally changing its ventilation plan, not following a roof control plan and for failing to adequately inspect the mine for safety problems. MSHA says it has issued 142 citations for flagrant violations since 2006, but 92 remain on appeal. Massey has agreed to a $7.1 billion buyout by rival coal producer Alpha Natural Resources.
- Former Perry County Sheriff's Deputy David Gray was sentenced last week to 24 months of supervised diversion, which includes drug testing and continued counseling, after pleading guilty to three amended counts of wanton endangerment. Police say he fired a gun in the vicinity of three other people during an attempt to shoot himself inside an apartment in the Christopher community of Perry County in February 2010. He has since taken a position as a deputy sheriff in Nicholas County.
- Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis, two licensed practical nurses at the Fayette County Jail, have been placed on limited probationary status for three years following an investigation by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. Hodge and Travis, who were employed by Correctional Medical Services Inc., were working at the jail last July 9th when inmate 54 year old Dean Ferguson of Lexington died of a pulmonary embolism after complaining of leg pain and shortness of breath. The order suspended the women's licenses for three years, but the suspensions were stayed. If they work as nurses, Hodge and Travis will be under rigid supervision by their employer and monitored by the board. Hodge and Travis both agreed there was enough evidence against them to show they ignored Ferguson's medical needs. The family of Ferguson plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nurses and the jail.
- Officers with the Hazard Police Department have responded to at least seven vehicle break-ins at the Hazard ARH Medical Center in the past month. Police say three of the break-ins were accomplished by breaking out windows on the vehicles. Officers say most of the vehicles targeted were usually parked next to taller vehicles and had objects, like purses or other valuables, in clear view from the outside.
- Leaders from counties across eastern Kentucky will have an opportunity to come together during the 24th annual East Kentucky Leadership Conference April 28-29 in Pikeville. Established by the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation, the conference has been instrumental in providing an important forum for discussing educational, economic, environmental and social agendas for the citizens of the region. The conference is not for a few speakers and a lot of listeners. "The goal is to make everyone a speaker and a listener,” said leadership foundation Chairman Bill Weinberg. The two-day conference will be held at both the East Kentucky Expo Center and on the Pikeville College campus. Session highlights include health care issues in the region, the future of coal and other alternative energy sources, “The Pill Pipeline Flowing in the Mountains,” philanthropy for community development, the Pike County Youth Leadership Council’s animal rights advocacy project, Pikeville College’s acknowledgement of university status, topics of interest on women and children, Young Professionals of Eastern Kentucky (YPEK), East Kentucky women in politics, funding early childhood development and a workshop on ARC Flex-E grants. Pikeville College President Paul E. Patton, this year’s conference co-chair, says, “The conference provides an excellent opportunity for those who want to be involved in leadership in eastern Kentucky.” Early bird sessions and an awards banquet featuring Governor Steve Beshear, keynote speaker, will be held on Thursday, April 28th, at the expo. A highlight of the conference, the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation Awards Showcase honors leaders who have made a contribution to the region. This year’s honorees include: Public Individual, Donovan Blackburn – Pikeville; Private Individual, Bill and Linda Francis – Prestonsburg; Organization, MACED (Mountain Association of Community Economic Development) – Paintsville and Hazard locations; Culture & Arts, Artists Collaborative Theatre – Elkhorn City; Media, Appalachian News-Express – Pikeville; and the Tony Turner Award, Willard Kinzer – Kinzer Drilling. General and concurrent sessions will also be held on Friday, April 29th, at Pikeville College’s Record Memorial Building, with the exception of a luncheon at 12:30 P.M. at the expo center. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. For more information, contact the Pikeville Main Street Program at (606) 444-5284. Details, agenda, cost and online registration are also available at http://www.eastkentuckyleadership.org/.
- Kentuckians who have taken the General Educational Development (GED) test since July 2010 and achieved at least a 2700 composite score may apply for a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship. The scholarships, worth up to $1,500 per year, are administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). GED graduates may apply through Zip Access at www.kheaa.com. To apply, sign in to Zip Access with your user ID and password. Those who have not used Zip Access should register to create a user ID and password. Interested GED graduates should apply as soon as possible, allowing adult education counselors adequate time to certify applicants for consideration before the June 30, 2011 deadline. The Byrd Scholarship is named for longtime U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, who authored the legislation establishing the program in 1985. Kentucky receives enough funding to award 90 scholarships to high school seniors and GED graduates each year. GED recipients are chosen by an independent panel, based on GED scores and adult education counselor recommendations.
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