Monday, June 06, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-7-'11
- Two Pike County men, 41 year old Jeffery Lowe and 44 year old Randy Thomas, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of murder and robbery in the death of Millard Thornhill who was found dead inside his home in Hatfield on May 19th. Thomas and Lowe's bonds are each set at $2 million dollars full cash. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday, June 9th.
- Mike Taylor, Elkhorn City's new mayor, was sworn in Friday. Taylor's victory in the November 2010 General Election was voided by a circuit judge after it was discovered that residents outside the city limits cast ballots. In April, the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, declaring the three ballots were not enough to affect the outcome. The ruling declared Taylor won fairly and could return to office immediately.
- Former state Representative Steve Nunn has been placed in protective custody after being threatened by another inmate at the Fayette County Jail. Capt. Darrin Kelly says, during a minor standoff Monday with corrections officers which lasted about an hour, federal inmate Marshall Dewayne Williams barricaded the door to the common room so corrections officers couldn't enter, and used an object to jam open the door to Nunn's cell so it couldn't be remotely shut. Williams entered Nunn's cell several times and was holding a broom while he was threatening to hurt him. An emergency response team forced their way into the common room and subdued Williams, who was placed in disciplinary housing. Williams made news in April when, as an inmate at Big Sandy Penitentiary in Inez, he was charged with 21 counts of falsely telling federal judges and several Kentucky congressmen that whoever opened a letter would be exposed to anthrax or smallpox. Nunn was beaten up by an inmate on May 9th. Ronald "Li'l Ron" Hill punched Nunn in the head and face during an argument while the two were playing basketball. Nunn is awaiting trial on a charge of murdering his former fiancée, 29 year old Amanda Ross, who was found shot outside her home on September 9, 2009. Nunn is charged with murder and violating a domestic violence order of protection.
- Nearly two months after suffering a critical brain injury while trying to break up a high school fight at Whitley County High School in Williamsburg, where he has taught math and science for 17 years, Kentucky teacher and state lawmaker Dewayne Bunch is able to communicate and his recovery has amazed doctors. His wife, Gina Bunch, said Monday that she asked a doctor at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where Bunch has been treated since April 28th, if Dewayne would regain at least 80 percent of everything he had, and the doctor said that that's a realistic goal and maybe even more. Shepherd Center spokesman Larry Bowie said Bunch is able to speak a few words at a time and could be released from the Atlanta center as soon as late June. The center specializes in treatment and rehabilitation of people with spinal cord and brain injuries. After leaving Shepherd Center, Bunch is expected to continue his recovery at a rehabilitation center in Lexington.
- Prominent Whitley Circuit Judge Paul Braden died Friday at Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin at the age of 71 years. Braden was away from the bench for a while in 2009 after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, but returned only to leave again this year when his condition worsened. Braden, who served in the 34th Judicial District covering Whitley and McCreary Counties, held the position for 15 years. He was about halfway through his eight-year term when he died. Braden was southeast Kentucky's most senior circuit judge.
- So far this year, 342 deficiencies have been found in nursing homes, some of those deficiencies in eastern Kentucky nursing homes. Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Pikeville had 19 and Laurel Creek Health Care Center of Manchester had 12. The website for the Office of the Inspector General reports the average number of deficiencies is six per inspection.
- Just after 1:00 A.M. Monday morning, police in Leslie County went to a home on Muncy Creek Road in the Stinnett community where they arrested 36 year old Scott Roberts, 34 year old Dwight Hill, 23 year old Ashleigh Baker, 29 year old Fredy Collett and 35 year old Anita Collett, all charged with manufacturing meth. Sgt. Ryan Katron with Kentucky State Police says additional arrests and charges are possible.
- The city of Paintsville has a $154,000 budget deficit, and Paintsville City Council members say they're faced with making cuts or increasing revenue. Paintsville city officials say, in the last four years, costs have skyrocketed while revenue has not. Options on the table include cutting trash services and recreational services, laying off a few employees, increasing the city's occupational tax and selling the city's ambulance service. Council members must have the budget in place by July 1st. The next city council meeting is June 14th.
- Police on Monday began rounding up 52 people indicted on drug charges in Harlan County. The charges stem from a yearlong Operation UNITE investigation that dealt primarily with the sale of the drugs OxyContin, Suboxone and Hydrocodone, and most of those targeted live in the area of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch. UNITE officials say most of the pills bought undercover during the case came from Florida. UNITE detectives, assisted by officers from seven other agencies, had arrested 30 of the 52 people charged by mid-afternoon.
- Lawmakers in Frankfort are looking for ways to reduce the number of Kentucky teens jailed for non-criminal behavior such as unexcused absences or habitually running away. State Representative John Tilley, co-chairman of the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary, says reducing the numbers is "a priority." Senator Tom Jensen, Tilley's co-chairman and a Republican from London, says legislators want to come up with a plan that will pass during the 2012 legislative session. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says, in 2010, 1,541 youths were locked up in Kentucky for status offenses, misconduct that is not criminal and would not be illegal if committed by adults. Although that is down from 1,765 young people in that category in 2009, Kentucky joins Washington and Texas in having the highest number of status offenders jailed in the country. Representative Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, filed such a bill that passed the House of Representatives in the 2011 state legislature, but it failed to get out of committee in the Senate.
- Preliminary statistics indicate 14 people died in 12 separate crashes on Kentucky's roadways from Tuesday, May 31st through Sunday, June 5, 2011. Ten of the victims were traveling in motor vehicles. Three were not wearing seat belts. Two involved alcohol. Three were riding motorcycles. Two double-fatality crashes occurred: one in Boyle County and one in Floyd County. Two single fatality crashes occurred in Fayette County. Single-fatality crashes occurred in Butler, Clinton, Jefferson, Knox, Laurel, Ohio, Powell and Scott counties. Through June 5th, preliminary statistics indicate that 257 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is 19 fewer than reported for this time period in 2010.
- A report says the number of Kentucky surface mines that inspectors deemed compliant with federal regulations dropped sharply from 2008 to 2010. The report says the coal industry's rate of compliance with federal law in Kentucky dropped from 87 percent of surveyed mining sites in 2007 and 2008 to 65 percent in 2010. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement found in the report that as the compliance levels dropped, the frequency of water pollution violations, landslides or flying rock have risen from 3 percent of mine sites in 2000 to 21 percent last year. Jim Dickinson, director of the Kentucky Division of Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, says the rise in compliance issues is due to inspectors doing "a much more rigorous job of enforcement."
- A state law limiting where sex offenders can live has led to an increase of offenders clustering to certain areas of Louisville. For example, 29 of 74 registered offenders living in the city's 40258 ZIP code live in one apartment complex, according to the online Kentucky State Police Sex Offender Registry. It is one of the largest clusters in the city, which has 1,000 registered sex offenders. Trooper John Hawkins, a state police spokesman, says the law is "pushing sex offenders into certain locations." Sex offenders in Kentucky who committed their crimes after July 2006 cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school, publicly owned playground or day care center.
- Kentucky will be making a second attempt this week to try to keep flooded areas of western Kentucky from becoming mosquito havens. Starting Monday, crews began identifying standing floodwater that needs to be treated, with help from local health departments and city and county governments. Last month, professional contractors conducted aerial spraying of more than 700,000 acres across western Kentucky. Governor Steve Beshear says tests after the spraying showed much lower number of mosquitoes. University of Kentucky entomologist Grayson Brown is helping with the mosquito abatement plan. He says in some parts of western Kentucky, a person could get 20 or more mosquito bites per minute before the spraying took place. He says the insecticide spray reduced that by about 85 percent, and larvicide treatments will reduce it further.
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