Saturday, May 21, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-22-'11
- After months of undercover work, Friday, Pike County Sheriff Deputies arrested twelve suspected drug traffickers accused of selling cocaine or prescription pills. Social Services took two children into custody after police say Traci Murphy of Virgie was found with drugs in the presence of her children.
• Timmy Casey, 44, Phelps
• Christopher Holbrooks, 26, Rockhouse
• Alicia Lee Johnson, 23, Virgie
• Maxwell Mark Tackett, 42, Virgie
• Jodi Ann Taylor, 35, Virgie
• Chris Taylor, 38, Virgie
• Jason Dean Maynor, 31, Virgie
• Traci Murphy, Virgie
• Jamie Ratliff, 39, Regina
• William Johnny Slone, 51, Mouthcard
• Charles Ratliff, 66, Regina
• Phillip West, 68, Coon Creek
- Louisville police say a 21-year-old man wanted in the death of a boy who was hit by stray gunfire has surrendered. Police say Roderick Moss of Louisville is wanted in the shooting death of 3-year-old Davion Powell on May 13. The boy was inside an apartment when shots fired outside hit him in the head, police said. The boy died Monday. Moss turned himself in at Louisville Metro Police headquarters around 5:20 p.m. EDT.
- A Franklin Circuit judge expects to issue a ruling next week in a case alleging Marathon Petroleum Co. participated in price gouging. Judge Thomas Wingate heard from petroleum experts Thursday who offered contradictory testimony about whether Marathon illegally raised gas prices after an emergency order was issued in April when heavy rains caused widespread flooding.. Attorney General Jack Conway is seeking a court order requiring Marathon to restore prices it charged shortly before the emergency declaration and preventing Marathon from further price increases. Marathon attorney Sheryl Snyder says Marathon's prices aren't set by weather conditions, but by the market.
- Kentucky Education Association members are asking the McCracken County school district to re-evaluate the number of teachers it will cut before classes begin next fall. The board has cut 38 full-time teaching positions and one part-time position. KEA members showed up en mass at Thursday's board of education meeting wearing black clothes and stickers that read "United We Stand," according to The Paducah Sun. McCracken County Education Association president Charlotte Benton told the board that teachers and parents are disappointed at the recent transfers, terminations and non-renewals that left many teachers without jobs. In response, Superintendent Nancy Waldrop said the cuts were necessary due to budget constraints and a reduction in the number of students needing special education. She said the district's actions followed state-mandated staffing procedures.
- Free GED testing in Kentucky will end June 30, but prospective GED test-takers still have time to prepare for and pass the test. Kentuckians taking the test before June 30 will not have to pay the usual $55 fee, which is being paid by Kentucky Adult Education, a unit of the Council on Postsecondary Education. Free GED classes are available through local adult education programs in all 120 Kentucky counties. To be eligible to take the GED, students must first successfully complete the GED Official Practice Test to make sure they are prepared for the actual test. In 10 years, 105,848 Kentuckians have earned a GED, ranking Kentucky 13th highest in the nation in the percentage of non-high school completers earning a GED. On July 1, the test fee will increase to $60 for the full five-part test. The new fee leaves Kentucky well below the $75 national average GED test fee. Official GED test centers receive no state or federal funding. Test centers must operate on the test fees and contributions from their contracting entity – primarily boards of education and community colleges.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-22-'11
- Several accidents in and around the Charleston area Friday afternoon left one person dead and several others hurt. A truck and SUV collided between Dudley Farms and Trace Fork, known as Corridor G, at about 1:00 P.M. leaving the road shut down for hours. Drew Tucker, who was driving the truck, was killed in the wreck. Another person was hurt in the accident. Meanwhile, Interstate 77 northbound between the 96 and 97 mile markers was also shut down for hours after an accident. Two people were taken the hospital. Another accident on Interstate 77 southbound near Ripley left the road shut down for less than an hour Friday evening after a tractor trailer caught fire.
- Friday, Parkersburg native and West Virginia University alumnus Stuart Robbins and his wife Joyce gave WVU $3 million to be used in the College of Business and Economics, along with the new School of Public Health. $2 million will go toward the Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy 20/21 while another $1 million will go toward the Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins Distinguished Professorship in Epidemiology. That final gift is also expected to be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match by the West Virginia Trust Fund, making the total donation worth a potential $4 million. Robbins is the former managing director of global equities for DLJ, one of Wall Street’s leading investment banks.
- Representatives from U.S. Senator Joe Manchin's office will take part in a second Commonsense Connections Week beginning Monday, May 23rd. Staffers will travel to every county in West Virginia to meet with residents and hear their ideas, priorities and concerns.
9:30-10:15 a.m. Monday, May 23, Hamlin-Lincoln County Public Library, 7999 Lynn Ave., Hamlin, Lincoln County.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 23, Hometown Senior Citizens Center, 100 1st Ave., Hometown, Putnam County.
2-3:30 p.m. Monday, May 23, Mason County Public Library, 508 Viand St., Point Pleasant, Mason County.
10-11 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, Gilbert Senior Center, 87 Venus St., Gilbert, Mingo County.
11 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, Westmoreland Senior Citizens Center, 3609 Hughes St., Huntington, Wayne County.
2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, Milton Public Library, 1140 Smith St., Milton, Cabell County.
10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 25, Chapmanville Towers, 3407 North Main St., Chapmanville, Logan County.
3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, Chapmanville Public Library, 299 Vance St., Chapmanville, Logan County.
10-11 a.m. Thursday, May 26, Mingo County Courthouse, 75 East Second Ave., Williamson, Mingo County.
Friday, May 20, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-21-'11
- Paintsville Police say they responded to a call of an unresponsive infant at the Hidden Valley Apartments on November 13, 2010. The Johnson County Coroner arrived at the scene and pronounced the almost 5-month-old baby Draven dead. Wednesday, the Johnson County Grand Jury indicted Draven's mother, 34 year old Heather Stambaugh and Draven's grandmother, 65 year old Alice Stambaugh for second degree manslaughter. Both were arrested Thursday. According to the indictment, Draven died of an overdose of Benadryl and Soma. If convicted, Heather Stambaugh and Alice Stambaugh each face 5 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Kentucky law allows each school district to decide whether to use corporal punishment. James Wallace and his wife, Tammy, gave permission for the principal at Belfry Middle School in Pike County to paddle their 12-year-old son in November for spitting on another child during a fight. A board that regulates teachers in Kentucky is investigating the incident after Wallace says his son ended up in a hospital emergency room for treatment of bruises and blisters on his buttocks. Principal Matt Mercer says he did not use excessive force. Pike County Schools personnel director Ralph Kilgore said he was satisfied after an internal district investigation that Mercer, whose school has recently received national accolades, had followed board policy. Kilgore says he immediately notified social services and other agencies of the allegations, which he said the district took seriously. Pike County is among 45 school districts in Kentucky that report allowing corporal punishment. The case comes at a time when the Blueprint for Kentucky's Children, a six-year plan to improve child well-being in Kentucky, is calling for all school districts to stop corporal punishment. A 2010 Safe Schools Data Project report from the Kentucky Center for School Safety shows there were 1, 573 incidents of corporal punishment in the 2009-10 school year in Kentucky. That's a 0.3 percent increase from the previous year, but down from the 3,460 incidents reported in the 2005-06 school year.
- Kentucky has reached a $6.5 million settlement with Mylan Laboratories Inc. and Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. Attorney General Jack Conway's office says the case stems from the state Medicaid program's use of published average wholesale prices to determine reimbursement rates for drugs. In a statement, the attorney general's office said Mylan published inflated prices, causing the Medicaid program to pay more for Mylan's drugs than Kentucky pharmacies had to pay for them.
- Fifty-eight year old Randy "Macho Man" Savage, the professional wrestler who got his start in Lexington, died in a car crash Friday in Florida. Florida Highway Patrol say the former wrestler, whose legal name was Randy Mario Poffo, was driving a Jeep Wrangler when he lost control in Seminole around 9:25 A.M. The Jeep veered over the raised concrete median divider, crossed the eastbound lanes and collided head-on with a tree. Barbara L. Poffo, 56, suffered minor injuries. Savage was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993. Savage's father, Angelo Poffo, who wrestled in the '50s and '60s, ran International Championship Wrestling in Lexington, where Savage wrestled in the beginning of his career.
- Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell from 10.2 percent in March 2011 to 10 percent in April 2011, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The preliminary April 2011 jobless rate dropped .6 percentage point below the 10.6 percent rate recorded in April 2010 for the state. The 10 percent rate recorded in April 2011 is the lowest rate since February 2009 when it was 9.8 percent.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...3-21-'11
- The Kanawha County Commission filed an order Friday seeking to shutdown Secret Pleasures a day after State Police confiscated more than $100,000 worth of illegal bath salts and synthetic drug products from the store in Jefferson. The commission originally tried to block the opening of the operation based on it's adult entertainment theme. Store owner Kenneth Holliday says he bought the "incense" product from a Florida distributor and that the manufacturer told him the ingredients complied with state law. The Legislature this year approved a bill targeting products such as K2, Spice and bath salts, chemicals meant to produce effects similar to cocaine and marijuana.
- Boone County Career and Technical Center Principal Keith Phipps and teacher Jack Turley were arrested Friday morning and charged with the illegal purchase of pseudoephedrine. Jack Turley will face four counts related to the manufacture of methamphetamine and Keith Phipps faces a charge from Kanawha County for purchasing more cold medicine than the law allows. Troopers say the men bought meth and then smoked it in Phipps' office.
- Former Charleston Attorney 65 year old John Lutz Jr. pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of forgery, two counts of uttering and one count of committing a fraudulent scheme. Lutz admitted that, from July 2009 to September 2010, he forged and cashed checks belonging to Charles Gardner. Lutz was originally indicted on approximately 80 counts of forgery, uttering, fraudulent schemes, and obtaining by false pretenses. Lutz lost his license to practice law after forging the signature of former Kanawha County Circuit Judge Irene Berger on a scheduling order. Lutz was sentenced to one to 10 years in prison, which will be suspended if Lutz can successfully complete a drug treatment program. He currently is on the waiting list to enroll in the Legends program in Princeton. Lutz was ordered to pay $13,000 in restitution to Gardner.
- Huntington Police arrested Richard Maze, 23, of Huntington, and his step-brother Justin Mccloud, 25, of Ceredo and charged them with breaking and entering. Police say, around 1:00 A.M. Friday morning, they heard an alarm coming from the U.S. Equipment distribution center and went to check it out. Maze and Mccloud were seen running from the building. They were stopped after a short car chase.
- Travis Ray Goodwin, 21, one of four men charged with beating 23 year old Ben Craig, a college student who was visiting Sissonville last March, has been given a sentence of six months of home confinement followed by two years of probation and 50 hours of community service.
- Michael Turner and Billy Woosley, two McDowell County men, were charged Friday afternoon with conspiracy to deliver and the delivery of a controlled substance after West Virginia State Police in Boone County placed an order for synthetic drugs after busting the Hatfield-McCoy Mart near Danville Sunday. Troopers say, when the order arrived Friday afternoon, Turner, Woosley and their truck hauling K-2 were all detained. Police seized $1,400 worth of drugs, along with cash.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-20-'11
- Phelps Elementary teachers and parents fought 14 years for a new school to replace the current building considered a Category Five, which is one of the worst in the state. Pike County Superintendent Roger Wagner says the School Board is receiving $60 million from the state to build a new Phelps Elementary, along with new facilities in Virgie, Millard, and Pond Creek. Thursday, officials held a groundbreaking for a new $15 million school to be built next to Phelps High School, where the football field is now located. Construction will begin Monday, and the new school is expected to be finished and open in the fall of 2012. The current building will be torn down and a new football field and athletic facility will be built on that site.
- Richmond, Va.-based James River Coal Co. says its subsidiary Leeco Inc. in Perry County has received an imminent danger order issued by federal inspectors. The company says workers at Leeco's 64 preparation plant used a personnel hoist basket that had not been approved for use. Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors issued the order last Friday after observing a contractor lowering two workers to the ground in the basket. The filing says the contractor did not have certification that the hoisting system was properly designed. The report was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
- In federal court in London Thursday, 51 year old Abby Vicky Paul told U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove that she helped former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge embezzle and launder $222,914 from several accounts while she worked as a bookkeeper in the the sheriff's office. Paul admitted she altered records related to property tax payments in order to create a false surplus of money in the department's tax account. At the end of a reporting period, Hodge and Paul took a portion of the excess money. Paul is scheduled for sentencing September 1st. Hodge, who pleaded guilty last week to money laundering, extortion and drug distribution charges, is set for sentencing August 25th.
- Forty-four year old Colonel Bolen pleaded not guilty Thursday morning after being indicted on charges of attempted murder. Police say Bolen opened fire in the J & J General Store parking lot in the Gunlock community of Magoffin County, near the Floyd County line, in February, shooting three people. Officials with the Floyd Co. Detention Center identified one of the victims, Sharon Smith, as their employee. Bolen was an inmate at the Floyd County Detention Center several times from 2004 to 2009. Lonnie Dillon was shot at least twice. The third victim was an out of state traveler seeking directions. Bolen's bond remains at $500,000. A hearing will be set to determine if Bolen is competent for trial. The motive for the shooting remains a mystery.
- A Pulaski County Jury deliberated for two and half hours Thursday before sentencing Peggy Mina to life without parole. She was also sentenced to 20 years each on burglary and robbery charges. Mina and her nephew Raphael Robinson both pleaded guilty in the killing of 72 year old Homer Carrender in 2009. Mina pleaded guilty last March to complicity to commit murder, avoiding a possible death penalty. Robinson is already serving a life sentence.
- Attorney General Jack Conway appeared in Franklin Circuit Court Thursday seeking a court order requiring Marathon Petroleum Co. to restore prices it charged shortly before Governor Steve Beshear issued an emergency declaration on April 26th and a temporary injunction preventing Marathon from further price hikes. The law allows price increases as long as they relate to comparably higher costs. Peter Ashton, a petroleum industry expert for the Attorney General’s office, testified nearly three hours, saying Marathon raised prices by as much 30 cents a gallon after the declaration and reaped “significant” profits. Ashton said Marathon gas prices averaged $3.13 a gallon in the 30 days before the declaration and rose to a peak level of $3.53 afterward, while prices for crude oil remained constant or fell. Ramsey Shehadeh, an economic and regulatory expert for Marathon, countered that prices are based on market conditions in the area around Chicago, a regional trade and distribution hub for gasoline. Shehadeh pointed to decreases in gas prices that began May 11th, two days before Conway filed the motion, and other data showing that prices were similar to those charged in April and May during past years. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate expects to issue a ruling within the next week.
- The state's Supreme Court ruled Thursday Kentucky death row inmate 69 year old John Roscoe Garland can have hair taken from the scene of a 1997 triple slaying tested for DNA because the evidence has potential value to his case. Garland was sentenced to death February 15, 1999, in the shooting deaths of Willa Jean Ferrier, Crystal Conaster and Chris Boswell, whose bodies were found in a mobile home in Whitley City. Much of the case against Garland was based on the testimony of his son, Roscoe Garland, who told Kentucky State Police his father confronted Ferrier, a former romantic interest, because she was dating someone else. Roscoe Garland told police his father shot Boswell and Conaster during a fight. After a few minutes, Ferrier returned from another room and was shot. Roscoe Garland acknowledged helping his father cover up evidence by burning clothing and hiding the weapon, a .357 magnum. KSP found a clump of blackish-brown hair in Ferrier's hand. Boswell's hair, along with that Roscoe Garland, was brown. John Garland had silver-gray hair. John Garland's attorneys argued at trial that their client wasn't at the trailer and that Roscoe Garland, who has an extensive criminal history, committed the killings.
- Mitchell Sivina, of Doral, Florida, has been sentenced to 31 months in federal prison after being convicted in Mississippi for his role in a multistate cigarette smuggling operation. Sivina pleaded guilty a year ago to money laundering and transporting stolen cigarettes. Prosecutors say Sivina acted as a broker between people who stole about $2 million worth of cigarettes and met him at a Walton, Kentucky parking lot in 2006 and wholesalers who bought them in Mississippi and Kentucky. Federal prosecutors say Sivina's assistance helped them make cases against numerous others involved in the tobacco scheme.
- In a 5-2 split, the state's Supreme Court ruled Thursday a requirement that sex offenders in Kentucky register their address with law enforcement cannot be enforced retroactively. The high court found that anyone convicted of a sex offense before 1994 cannot be forced to give his or her address to law enforcement officials. The ruling comes in the case of 37 year old Anthony Nash of Lexington, who was initially convicted of two counts of third-degree sodomy on December 14, 1993, just months before Kentucky enacted its sex offender registration requirements. The high court ruled the 1994 law didn't apply to Nash because his conviction came before it was passed. A grand jury in Fayette County charged Nash in January 2007 with failing to register his address. Nash pleaded guilty in August 2007 and received a five-year sentence. Nash, who is in Green River Correctional Complex in Central City, is currently scheduled for release June 18, 2016. Ed Monahan, who heads Kentucky's public defender office, says the ruling should prompt Nash's immediate release. Shelley Catherine Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky attorney general's office, said the office is reviewing the ruling.
- Pulaski and McCreary counties are facing mounting legal bills resulting from an unsuccessful fight to post copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses. The case dates back to 1999 when officials in both counties posted copies of the Ten Commandments in courthouses in Somerset and Whitley City. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky sued the counties, arguing the displays were a violation of the First Amendment. The civil rights organization won the case, and now the counties owe a total of $456,881 in attorney fees and costs to the ACLU...not including mounting interest. There is an option to appeal at least part of the amount, and the counties could seek to negotiate a lower settlement.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-20-'11
- Assistant U.S. Labor Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Joe Main says he agrees with the independent investigative report by Davit McAteer, the independent investigator appointed by then West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin to investigate the cause of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. The full report on the investigation of the blast on April 5, 2010 that left 29 workers at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine dead, two seriously hurt, and many thankful to have escaped was released Thursday. The report concluded it was a man-made disaster which could have been prevented. According to the report, the teeth of the massive coal shearer on the longwall machine in the Longwall 22 section cut into the sandstone mine roof, resulting in sparks igniting a pocket of methane, creating a fireball. The pocket of methane which created the initial fireball resulted from poor ventilation. The mine had been idled for Easter weekend two days before the blast. Testimony from several miners indicated water pumps in one section near a critical fan portal malfunctioned over the weekend and some areas of the mine had filled completely with water or "roofed out". The water buildup caused the fans to direct airflow improperly and failed to ventilate the methane gas away from the longwall face. The gas accumulated in the gob of old mine works behind the longwall section and leaked into the longwall face. The report says the ignition was not extinguished because of faulty sprinklers, and it spread quickly with the help of build up of coal dust and poor ventilation. Massey says all methane monitors were functional and yet the mine experienced a massive inundation of methane-rich natural gas that was not detected in time to prevent the explosion.
- West Virginia State Police say cases of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, were found inside Secret Pleasures in St. Albans Thursday night.
- Seventy-five year old David B. Daugherty, an administrative law judge in Huntington for 21 years, is the subject of a federal investigation for approving too many disability cases. In a system where only about 75 percent of the cases presented for disability claims are typically approved, Judge Daugherty has a nearly 100 percent approval. From 2005 to 2008, Judge Daugherty heard nearly 5000 cases and approved nearly all of them. According to the Wall Street Journal, this year, Judge Daugherty processed more cases than all but three judges nationwide.
- The trial of 49 year old Sherry Lou Smith and 25 year old Cassandra Smith, both of Elkins, and 23 year old Anthony Lambert of Montrose, three people charged with the February 16th shooting death of Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller in Elkins, has been delayed. The trial, originally set for May 31st, is now scheduled for September 6th. Hotsinpiller was killed while trying to serve a warrant on Charles Smith for federal drug charges. Smith also was killed, and two other deputy marshals were injured. Fawn Thomas, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office in the Northern District of West Virginia, says the case has been deemed "complex" by the court.
- Bluefield Police Chief J.W. Wilson says his department received a welfare check call around 7:00 A.M. Thursday at the Opera House Apartments. When officers arrived, they found an 18 year old girl dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
- Mason County Sheriff's Deputies say, when they went to serve a warrant on Leslie Rainey at a home in the 300 block of Long Ridge Road Thursday, they discovered about $10,000 worth or marijuana being grown in the home. Deputies arrested Leslie Rainey's father, 53 year old Ronald Rainey and charged him with cultivation of marijuana, his second offense. Leslie Rainey is wanted on burglary charges and additional charges are pending in connection with a meth ring.
- Matthew Jarrell, a man who claims he was a preacher in Terrell, Texas, is facing sexual assault charges in the Kanawha Valley. Jarrell was charged and arraigned Thursday after a woman claims Jarrell picked her up in Charleston Thursday morning when she needed a ride home. The woman says he took her to a secluded area off Martin's Branch Road near Sissonville and raped her. The woman says she got away when Jarrell's truck got stuck in the mud. Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say Jarrell told them he was a preacher in Texas, his family is moving to South Point, Ohio and he was traveling through the Kanawha Valley. Deputies say he did admit to having sex with the woman.
- Jason Edgar Parsons, 33, of Proctorville, Ohio, Alfredo Morales, 34, of Huntington and Brandon Jarrell Hairston, 23, of Huntington were arrested Wednesday night after Huntington Police were called to 7th Avenue to investigate a breaking and entering at the property of American Electric Power. Each is charged with felony breaking and entering after police say they were trying to steal copper. AEP officials say they will work with law enforcement on the prosecution of the individuals.
- Thursday, members of the West Virginia Lottery Commission took the group's monthly meeting on the road to Jefferson County. During the meeting, held at The Inn at Charles Town, Commission members gave West Virginia's casinos permission to use complimentary chips to try to bring in more gamblers. The chips are just the latest additions to the list of gambling credits the state is offering as gambling competition from other states continues to build.
- As part of a plan to reduce costs, West Virginia American Water is laying off 31 workers and moving six other positions. This follows a 4.4 percent rate increase approved by the state Public Service Commission, which is less than a third of the 15 percent originally requested. American Water officials say they tried to reduce operating costs, but, without additional funds, the company cannot afford to maintain its infrastructure. They say failure to replace infrastructure will result in more water main breaks and water outages. They say the company’s only choice is to reduce its workforce. The workforce reduction includes the elimination of certain management, administrative, salaried and hourly non-union and union positions. West Virginia American Water has 171,000 customers.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-19-'11
- Senate President David Williams begins his general election campaign against Governor Steve Beshear down by double digits in the polls, trailing badly in fundraising and coming off a primary election victory in which he received 48 percent of the vote against two opponents who didn’t air a single television commercial. Still, Williams has promised an aggressive campaign and has professed optimism, promising to put together a campaign that will seriously challenge Beshear. Beshear went to Owensboro Wednesday to hand out $200,000 in grants and to Murray to announce 75 new jobs at the Pella Corp. plant. Thursday, he’s heading into the heart of Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District, a Republican stronghold, to make another economic development announcement in Somerset. The bad news for Williams is that any Republican running statewide in Kentucky must win over a sizable number of Democrats, who outnumber Republicans 56 percent to 37 percent. The good news is that Kentucky, despite registration figures, has increasingly voted for Republicans over the past 20 years.
- Prestonsburg police suspect foul play in the death of Brian Jacob Gayheart, who would have been 21 years old Wednesday. His body was found in the Big Sandy River in Boyd County last week, but police believe he was killed in Floyd County where he was last seen alive in the Goble-Roberts area on May 1st. Detective Steve Little says evidence shows foul play is involved, and they have suspects, but police are looking for a motive.
- The Abner Branch Rider Mine in Leslie County has been issued 10 withdrawal orders this month after federal regulators describe it as a pattern of violations mine. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the orders Wednesday, saying inspectors found multiple violations at the Bledsoe Coal Corp's mine in May. Inspectors found the mine roof was not adequately supported to prevent a potential fall in one incident, and inadequate ventilation controls and inadequate roof, rib and face support in another. The agency said the orders resulted in Bledsoe Coal, a subsidiary of James River Coal Co. of Richmond, Virginia, fixing the violations within a day.
- Republican Hilda Legg is planning to ask the state to recanvass votes in the GOP primary for secretary of state in Kentucky. Bill Johnson finished ahead of Legg by about 1,100 votes. Legg said Wednesday she's looking for assurances that every vote was reported accurately. Primary results will be certified Friday. Legg says she intends to request the recanvass after reviewing those official results. A recanvass involves double-checking math and looking for human errors in data entry. Kentucky officials reported few problems and no fraud complaints during the primary election.
- Indians outfielder Austin Kearns is fighting a drunken-driving charge in Kentucky, claiming Lexington Police Officer Todd Hart, the off-duty officer who stopped him on February 12th, was out of his jurisdiction. Hart was headed home to Jessamine County in his marked cruiser when he says he observed a vehicle that was "all over the roadway" and called dispatch. During a hearing Tuesday over a motion to dismiss the charge, Kearns' attorney, Brent Caldwell, argued Hart didn't have the authority to stop his client. Assistant prosecutor Anna Roberts-Smith said the Jessamine County Sheriff's Office authorized Hart to make the stop.
- U.S. Senator Rand Paul is proposing the elimination of the gasoline tax. Paul said he intends to make the proposal an amendment to any energy bill that comes before the Senate. He proposes offsetting the lost revenue with a corresponding reduction in foreign aid and corporate welfare.
- Days after President Barack Obama called for increased U.S. oil production in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, Democrats and Republicans are battling over how to boost offshore drilling. The Senate wants to speed up decision-making on drilling permits and force the Obama administration to conduct previously scheduled lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia's coast. The sales were suspended after the BP spill. Democrats have focused on repealing billions in tax breaks for large oil companies and called on companies to drill where they hold leases now.
- During a congressional committee hearing in Washington Wednesday, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pressed to save the jobs of some 1,200 nuclear plant workers in Paducah, calling for the Obama administration to begin re-enriching uranium that's stored there. McConnell told Energy Secretary Steven Chu that the jobs could be spared by re-enriching some 40,000 cylinders of depleted uranium and selling it, allowing the U.S. Department of Energy to turn a profit. Chu said tough decisions have to be made because of budget concerns, but his agency has no plan for re-enriching uranium in Paducah. For more than a decade in the early 1950s to mid-1960s, uranium was enriched for nuclear weapons at the Paducah plant. That ended when the government decided it had accumulated enough material for the nation's weapons program. McConnell also questioned whether the Department of Energy had enough money to safely idle the plant, where a cleanup began in 1988 after radioactivity and other contamination was found in underground water tables. "Certainly, it will be our obligation to clean up if and when Paducah closes down," Chu said.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-19-'11
- Mingo County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Ronnie Lane Perry Wednesday morning after they say he fatally shot Harvey Jack Riffe in Verner. Deputies say Riffe was asleep in his vehicle just before 5:00 A.M. when Perry shot him with a handgun. Perry followed Riffe, shooting him again, as Riffe got out of the car and tried to escape. Perry has been charged with first degree murder. Investigators say Perry told deputies at the scene that he had "eliminated" the victim.
- Jerry Godby, 64, of Chapmanville is facing charges of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of his wife, Delores Godby. A criminal complaint filed against Jerry Godby alleges the Godbys had been in a heated argument when, “at some point Mr. Godby went into his bedroom closet where he retrieved a brown and black leather bag containing a loaded .38 special revolver. Godby then removed the firearm, walked past his wife in the kitchen and pointed the gun at her. She reportedly asked, "are you going to shoot me?” The complaint says Jerry Godby turned and immediately fired one shot directly into Delores Godby’s chest. She was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center where she later died. Godby lost re-election to the Logan County Board of Education in 2002 and began working for the Logan County Commission on Hazard Mitigation Grants. He later left that job and was employed by the Public Service Commission in 2007 and by the State Senate during the 2009 session.
- An argument over a girlfriend is believed to have been at the heart of an Wednesday morning murder in the Kanawha County community of Chesapeake. Joshua Brian Long, 27, of Chesapeake was arrested and charged with the murder of William Proctor, 30, of Witcher Creek. Police say Long approached Proctor's vehicle while it was stopped at the intersection of 116th Street and MacCorkle Avenue just after midnight. Police say Long stabbed Procter with a large knife, known as a K-Bar, in the right side of his neck and shoulder area. Proctor was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital where he died. Chesapeake Police Chief Jack Ice says the girlfriend, Natalie Brown of Chesapeake, was in the car with Long, but left his car and climbed into another vehicle with Proctor and his father.
- Thursday, South Charleston City Council will vote on two ordinances that would prohibit the selling or possession of bath salts, a synthetic drug believed to induce psychosis and mimic the effects of cocaine, and K2, an incense or potpourri with a chemical makeup similar to marijuana. The ordinances will support a state law passed in April making synthetic drugs a misdemeanor to sell or own with a punishment of up to six months in prison and a fine up to $1,000. Last week, the South Charleston Police Department shut down a Citgo gas station on MacCorkle Avenue after they seized more than 100 bottles of bath salts, numerous packages of K2 and other drug paraphernalia.
- Cynthia Fite filed a lawsuit Monday in Kanawha County Circuit Court against the state Division of Natural Resources. Her 8 year old son, Austin Cliff Runyon, was attending a pool party at Chief Logan State Park last August when he apparently fell into the pool and drowned. The lawsuit alleges the pool was improperly lit, park officials allowed the party to go on after the pool's normal hours of operation and only one lifeguard was on duty.
- About 100 people angry over proposed natural gas wells along the Monongahela River and near Morgantown's drinking water treatment plant gathered Wednesday in front of the Monongalia County Courthouse. Those attending contend state regulators aren't up to the job of properly overseeing the industry and preventing air and water contamination. It was the first significant protest in West Virginia over the rapidly growing exploration of the Marcellus shale field, a vast, mile-deep natural gas reserve underlying much of Appalachia. The protest was prompted by the recent discovery that Charleston-based Northeast Natural Energy plans to sink wells in the Morgantown Industrial Park, about 1,500 feet from a drinking water intake. Protesters were angry they had no input before the permit was approved, and they questioned the Department of Environmental Protection's ability to regulate effectively.
- Corley Distributing of Mabscott, a Raleigh County beverage distributor, has been sold and the new owner, Mountain Eagle of Beckley, is moving its operations to Nitro. Jim Linsenmeyer, one of the new owners comprised of several beer and wine distributorships, says the move will bring 25 jobs to a rented warehouse in Nitro. Corley Distributing is being renamed Mountain State Beverage. Linsenmeyer says former Corley employees will be given the chance to transfer.
- Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced Wednesday that West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline is stepping down June 30th. Cline, who is retiring after 30 years in state government, has served as insurance commissioner for the past decade. She was appointed insurance commissioner in 2001 by then-Governor Bob Wise. She also served as Division of Motor Vehicles commissioner during the 1990s. During her tenure as insurance commissioner, Cline oversaw the privatization of West Virginia’s workers’ compensation program and addressed medical malpractice and other insurance issues.
- The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to participate in the Prescription Monitoring Program Interconnect system which will allow the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy to be linked to other monitoring programs across the country to try to fight prescription drug abuse. Most state prescription monitoring programs, including West Virginia’s, collect prescription data so doctors and pharmacists can track a patient’s controlled substance use, but most systems lack the sharing that helps to identify doctor shoppers.The PMP Interconnect, which will be funded through grants obtained by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation, is planned to launch in July.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-18-'11
- The Pike County Fiscal Court has scheduled a special called meeting for May 23rd to discuss the budget and layoffs. During a meeting Tuesday, Pike County Magistrates said there will be employee layoffs to balance the county budget, but they do not know which departments will be affected yet. The Pike County Fiscal Court agreed to cut more than one million dollars from payroll and layoff some county employees, but they disagree on which jobs to cut and how many. Officials say less coal severance funds and property taxes led to the more than three million dollar budget shortfall. The Fiscal Court must have a balanced budget approved and in place by July 1st, but magistrates say they cannot vote on a budget until they agree who to layoff.
- Eighty-three year old Serur Frank Dawahare Jr., one of the principals in a former Kentucky retail clothing dynasty, died Monday at his home in Lexington, apparently of complications from leukimia. Dawahare was vice president of the former Dawahare's Inc., a family business that operated a string of clothing stores across Kentucky and in West Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio for decades. He was in charge of the men's clothing departments in the stores, the last of which closed in 2008. He also handled the S.F. Dawahare estate, which includes the family's real estate holdings. His first job, at age 12, was sweeping the floors of the Dawahare's store in Whitesburg. He made a quarter a week. Later, he worked with his brother, Harding, at the family's Pikeville store for about 20 years. After that, Serur Frank Dawahare Jr. and his brother, Woodrow, opened stores in Lexington. The last Dawahare's clothing store closed in 2008.
- Low turnout made for a slow day Tuesday in the primary election, which featured a Republican gubernatorial nomination battle among three candidates, Senate President David Williams, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.
Governor (R) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
David L. Williams * 68,540 48.2
Phil Moffett 53,950 38.0
Barbara Holsclaw 19,644 13.8
Secretary of State (D) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
Allison Lundergan Grimes * 85,563 55.3
Elaine N. Walker 69,077 44.7
Secretary of State (R) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
Bill Johnson * 66,429 50.4
Hilda Legg 65,332 49.6
State Auditor (R) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
John T. Kemper III * 70,874 57.3
Addia Kathryn Wuchner 52,876 42.7
State Treasurer (D) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
L. J. 'Todd' Hollenbach * 106,194 71.0
Steve Hamick 43,457 29.0
Agriculture Commissioner (D) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
Robert 'Bob' Farmer * 45,666 30.4
John Faris Lackey 31,560 21.0
B. D. Wilson 29,011 19.3
Stewart Gritton 25,003 16.6
David Williams 19,007 12.7
Agriculture Commissioner (R) - Statewide (100 % of precincts reporting)
Candidate Votes % Votes
James R. Comer * 86,527 66.7
Rob Rothenburger 43,142 33.3
- Voters in the Letcher County community of Jenkins showed strong support Tuesday when they chose to allow alcohol to be sold at certain restaurants within the city limits. Mayor G.C. Kincer says he had talked with business owners and believed alcohol sales would help draw more jobs to the area.
- The man found floating in the Big Sandy River in Boyd County last week by a worker at the Redbud Coal Dock, about three miles south of Catlettsburg, has been identified as Brian Jacob Gayheart, 20, of Van Lear, Kentucky. Gayheart was reported missing by his mother on May 1st after he was last seen in the Goble-Roberts area. The Boyd County Coroner says he still does not have a cause of death, but there is nothing to suggest foul play. The body was believed to have been in the river for 3 or 4 days. Police believe his body was in the water in Prestonsburg and floated to Boyd County. Prestonsburg Police are investigating how Gayheart died.
- Thirty-one year old Bass Webb was found guilty on two counts of attempted murder Tuesday for trying to run down Bourbon County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Barkley and pretrial officer Josh Mason outside the Bourbon County Detention Center in 2009. Webb then sped off, and police arrested him four miles away when his Geo Tracker caught fire. The jury deliberated for about three hours before finding Webb guilty. The jury recommended Webb spend 25 years in prison on each attempted murder count, with the sentences to run consecutively. Webb will be formally sentenced July 27th.
- Police say an unidentified middle-aged woman sneaked into Corbin Elementary School Friday, stole credit cards and went on a shopping spree. Officials say the woman appeared to be familiar with the building's layout and teacher schedules. Darrell Tremaine, the assistant superintendent for Corbin City schools, says the thief seemed to know exactly where she was going and what she was looking for when she took credit cards from two teacher's purses, which were tucked away in their classrooms during recess. Police believe the same woman, described as a black woman, between 30 and 40 years old with shoulder-length hair and no upper teeth, was spotted later that day using the stolen cards at a nearby Walgreen's. Police say the driver, a black male, drove the woman around to several stores, waiting outside while she used the stolen cards to rack up thousands in charges.
- A Jackson County High School basketball coach has been suspended, pending an investigation, after he allegedly had inappropriate contact with a student. School sources say Mitchell Madden coached the Jackson County High School girls' basketball team this past season. He is not allowed on school grounds or to have any contact with students.
- The U.S. Postal Service was more than $2 billion in the red for the first three months of this year and is facing an $8 billion loss for the fiscal year, which could force it to default on some payments to federal accounts. Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., said Tuesday he is introducing a bill to restructure postal finances and ease some of the restrictions that limit its flexibility. During a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management, Carper said the Postal Service, the Postal Service's inspector general, the Postal Regulatory Commission and two independent actuaries have all come to the conclusion that the Postal Service has overfunded its obligations to the Civil Service Retirement System by between $50 billion and $75 billion. Carper, chairman of the subcommittee, said he has introduced legislation that would allow the post office to use the overpaid money to make advance payments to cover future retiree health benefits - taking upwards of $5 billion off its books each year. In addition, the bill would provide for new postal services such as delivering alcoholic beverages, currently banned in the mail, and provide more flexibility in closing offices.
- Governor Steve Beshear has announced Modern Distributors, a full-line convenience store distributor, will expand its Somerset footprint, constructing a new 12,500 square-foot cooler-freezer facility. The expansion, which will allow the company to remain competitive in the wholesale grocery business, will result in 20 new jobs for the community. Modern Distributors began its Somerset operation in 1965 as a small, family-owned vending company and has grown into an organization designed to serve the wholesale grocery, coffee/ beverage and foodservice needs of convenience stores. Known as “Team Modern,” the company currently has approximately 1,300 vending, coffee and wholesale customers and employs 179 people between its Somerset headquarters and satellite office in Louisville.
- The cost of a study into how drivers will react to tolls in the Ohio River Bridges Project is burgeoning and is now nearly 10 times the amount allocated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Invoices show state officials have paid Wilbur Smith Associates of Columbia, S.C., $765,218 to date and the total cost is now about $1 million. The cost has mushroomed from the initial allocation of $127,214. The company says the study was broadened to include a computer model showing greater detail that is expected to counter flaws that have skewed past estimates on toll roads elsewhere. The study is needed to determine toll rates for the new bridges.
- The father of a 23-year-old man who died after being shot during a home invasion in Lexington was among the first to testify in the trial of a man accused of participating in the crime. Marion County Judge-Executive John G. Mattingly Jr. described the final 47 days of John Graves Mattingly III, who was shot in the head on May 25, 2006 and died July 10th without regaining consciousness. Mattingly testified in the trial of 31-year-old Adrian Lamont Benton, who is accused of murder and other charges in the case. A co-defendant, 29-year-old Larry Wright, pleaded guilty to murder and complicity to commit robbery as the jury was being selected. Benton's attorney, Casey Holland, told jurors during his opening argument Monday, that his client "is mentally retarded" and did not pull the trigger.
- Crews in Paducah are taking down the city floodgates, now that the Ohio River is receding after a flood. The National Weather Service predicted the river would drop below 45.5 feet Tuesday afternoon and drop to 43 feet on Friday. The unofficial crest was 55.3 feet, reached on May 5th. City Engineer Rick Murphy says 45 of the 47 gates, including all of those downtown, should be removed by the end of the week. Murphy says a few gates not used by the general public will likely remain sealed or have their sills raised. The city is also removing a temporary levee built to keep floodwater from reaching the Julian Carroll Convention Center and the Paducah-McCracken County Expo Center. Neither was flooded.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-18-'11
Monday, May 16, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-17-'11
- Kentucky State Police say a school bus crash in western Kentucky killed a 6 year old boy and injured several other students and adults on board when the bus overturned into a ditch in Carlisle County on Monday afternoon near the community of Cunningham. The 29 children on board were returning from a field trip to Paducah.
- During last year's primary election, the election fraud hotline received 116 calls from 43 counties. Investigators from the office of Attorney General Jack Conway will be out Tuesday patrolling precincts and polling places to keep the primary election free of voter fraud. But Attorney General Jack Conway and Secretary of State Elaine Walker say citizens are also expected to watch for any irregularities and report them to the election fraud hotline at (800) 328-8683.
- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the state's new prescription-monitoring program into law Friday. Lawmakers in Georgia approved a system to track prescription drugs dispensed there, which they say could help put a dent in interstate pill trafficking that has fed drug abuse and overdose deaths in Kentucky. Georgia officials hope to have the monitoring system in place by the start of 2013.
- Kentucky State Police are investigating after 37 year old Shannon Stidham claims she was run off the road Monday afternoon on U.S. 421 in the Tyner community of Jackson County by a driver who was in her lane. Stidham was flown to U.K. Hospital with head, neck and back injuries.
- Police in Perry County are investigating after shots were fired on Green Briar Court, just outside of Hazard. Joshua Neace claims his pregnant sister and her boyfriend, Eddie Boyd, pulled in front of his house and started banging on the front door. He says he watched outside his window as Boyd rammed his white van into his SUV. Neace told police, as the two were pulling away, they stopped in front of his house, one of them got out of the vehicle, brandished a firearm and fired some shots in the air. Neace says, when the van pulled away, he fired a shot at the back tire to try to slow it down to give police time to catch them. Police found buckshot in the back bumper, drug paraphernalia and syringes, but didn't find a weapon.
- Sixty-seven year old Jim Potts, who has served as judge-executive of Powell County since January, was found dead Monday morning by his wife, Judy. Potts, a former teacher, principal and Powell County School Superintendent was elected in November, defeating Republican Randy Bowen and write-in candidate Darren Farmer, had suffered kidney problems for years and had been on home dialysis treatments since last fall.
- The attempted murder trial of Fayette County Detention Center inmate 31 year old Bass Webb got underway Monday. In 2009, surveillance cameras caught Webb as he attempted to run down Josh Mason and Ryan Barkley, two Bourbon County sheriff's deputies, outside the Bourbon County Detention Center. Webb is also accused of killing two of his ex-girlfriends, Bryia Runiewucz and Sabrina Vaughn. He's also made headlines for spitting in the face of a judge and being involved in an uprising at the Fayette County Detention Center.
- A review of Governor Steve Beshear's flight expenses shows he has not charged the state for political and non-governmental use of a state airplane. Records show the Democratic Party and Beshear's re-election campaign have reimbursed the state about $85,000 and Beshear's re-election campaign paid $5,645. The Democratic Party reimbursed the state by check on May 2nd. Questions arose in March about the governor's use of a state plane he used to attend a political event in Louisa while making stops around the state related to the legislative session. Beshear's staff initially said the trip wasn't campaign related, but later acknowledged the event in Louisa was political and said Beshear would reimburse the state.
- By an 8-1 vote Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a Kentucky man who was arrested after police burst into his apartment without a search warrant because they smelled marijuana. A Kentucky Supreme Court threw out the evidence gathered when officers entered Hollis King's apartment in Lexington. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled there was no violation of King's constitutional rights because the police acted reasonably. Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
- Police are looking for a man accused of robbing the Dollar General in the Baxter community of Harlan County, just outside of Harlan, at knifepoint Sunday morning. No one was injured, but police say the suspect stole about $95 from the cash register. Police described the suspect as a white man, about 5’10″ with a thin build. He was wearing a dark hoodie and dark pants that had two white stripes down the side and the number “8″ on one leg. They say he shielded his face with a Boston Red Sox hat with the letter “B” on it.
- David Richart, the founding director of Kentucky Youth Advocates which was created in 1976, has died at his home in suburban Louisville at age 63. Richart served as the Advocates' first executive director and remained there for 20 years. Richart, one of the state's best-known voices on child abuse and juvenile justice issues, helped draft what became Kentucky's uniform juvenile law, the first attempt to standardize state law dealing with children charged with offenses. His friend and colleague, Helen Deines, says he was recently diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
- Glenn Doneghy faces several charges including murder in the April 2010 death of Lexington Police Officer Bryan Durman, who was struck by a sport utility vehicle as he answered a complaint about loud music. He died a short time later at a hospital. Defense attorneys Kate Dunn, Gayle Slaughter and Sally Wasielewski have petitioned Fayette Circuit Court asking for a change of venue for Doneghy. The attorneys claim their client has been portrayed as a mentally ill drug addict who holds a grudge against police. They want Doneghy's trial moved to Louisville. During a competency hearing for Doneghy Monday, psychiatrists testified he is competent to stand trial but has a personality disorder. Kentucky State Police lab results showed cocaine and marijuana in Doneghy's system, but a toxicology expert earlier testified the amounts and time gap make it impossible to determine when Doneghy was under the influence. A hearing on the motion for a change of venue was scheduled for May 24th. His trial is set to begin June 13th.
- An individual believed to be suicidal and possibly armed caused EKU’s campus to be placed on temporary lock-down Monday morning. No weapon was found, but, as standard procedure, Model Laboratory School was placed in lock-down until the situation was resolved. The suspect was taken into custody and both EKU and Model Lab resumed normal operations.
- Preliminary statistics indicate that six people died in six separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, May 9, through Sunday, May 15, 2011. All of the fatalities involved motor vehicles and four of the victims were not wearing seat belts. Single-fatality crashes occurred in Carlisle, Estill, Jefferson, Oldham, Perry, and Spencer counties. Alcohol was a factor in the Estill and Spencer county crashes. Through May 15, preliminary statistics indicate that 218 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is eighteen less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2010.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-17-'11
- Eighteen year old Shane Peck will be sentenced July 7th after pleading guilty Monday to burglary, first degree robbery and assault during the commission of a felony. Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants says Peck and 19 year old Joseph Gibson broke into 79 year old Geraldine Gibson's mobile home on Kirkwood Drive in Big Chimney on March 3rd looking for morphine packs, but instead they stole several other things including cash and prescription drugs after binding and severely beating her. Joseph Gibson, who is not related to the victim, pleaded guilty Friday. Peck was sentenced recently to up to 45 years in prison for a string of burglaries. Plants says both Peck and Gibson said during their plea hearings that Geraldine Gibson's son was with them when they planned the burglary, and investigators are looking into those claims.
- Antonio Summers pleaded guilty to second degree murder Monday morning after he fatally shot 14 year old Damion Blaney in front of Glenwood Elementary in April 2010 during ongoing argument with another boy in the neighborhood. Summers was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
- West Virginia State Police say 26 year old Steven Lupson II of Charleston died early Monday morning while trying to steal copper from an AEP power pole along Route 17 in the Blair area of Logan County.
- Garland Murray and Deshawne Taylor were both charged with murder for the April 2010 fatal shooting of Gregory Poole whose body was found in the front yard of a home on 2nd Avenue in North Charleston. Deshawne Taylor, who was expected to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge, appeared in court Monday, where he rejected a plea deal. His trial has been continued to August 1st.
- The preliminary hearing for Joshua Thomas Rose is set for May 23rd. Investigators say he used a knife to rob the 7-Eleven in Scott Depot and the Exxon in Eleanor on May 12th. Deputies arrested Rose that night after responding to a domestic call at his residence and finding a knife, money, and clothing used in the robberies. Rose is in the Western Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond.
- Kanawha County Magistrate Carol Fouty has released Daniel Dodd on a personal recognizance bond after he allegedly violated a domestic violence protection order. In March, Dodd, a Belle police officer now on paid administrative leave, was charged with domestic battery after his wife, Jennifer Totten, claimed she was physically and mentally abused. Dodd was arrested last week and his bond revoked. Totten told Magistrate Fouty Monday that Dodd had visited the house three times to see their child, but she sent several emails asking nothing happen to him. Fouty pointed out inconsistencies in Totten’s recollection of what had happened and told her Dodd had a good reputation as a police officer.
- An investigation is underway after police say a six-foot tall white man, weighing about 220 pounds and wearing a dark jacket and jeans walked into the BB&T branch on Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington about 9:15 A.M. Monday morning and demanded money.
- The jury selection in the trial of Brian Woodson, a homeless man charged with stabbing Johnnie Doctor and leaving his body on the steps of a Charleston building in August 2010, had gotten underway when Woodson pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder. Woodson was sentenced to life in prison without mercy.
- First responders from across West Virginia are gathering in Charleston this week for a public safety expo which kicks off with a downtown parade of emergency services on Wednesday evening and runs through Sunday at the Charleston Civic Center with sessions on subjects including domestic violence, street gangs, first aid, and a stun gun presentation. The keynote speaker Wednesday night is Richard Picciotto, a New York City fire battalion commander who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center during the 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Spokeswoman Kim Link says Arch Coal Inc. plans to eliminate 50-100 jobs at International Coal Group's Putnam County office, but company officials haven't decided exactly how large the staff reduction will be. The jobs that are targeted are administrative positions that would be redundant when the acquisition of ICG is complete, which is expected to be this summer. Link says those who lose their jobs will receive severance packages and help with job placement. Once the deal is complete, Arch plans to move its Charleston office to the Scott Depot ICG office.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-16-'11
- With a comfortable lead in the polls, front-runner David Williams plans to hopscotch the state by plane Monday on the last full day of campaigning before Tuesday's election, stopping in Bowling Green, Hazard, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro and Paducah. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett plans to drive to Paducah for a tea party rally, while Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is expected to concentrate her last full day in her political base of Louisville. Holsclaw spent Sunday going door-to-door canvassing for votes in the city and hoping to pull an upset. Williams' only public appearance Sunday was at a University of Kentucky building dedication where he shared a stage with Democratic Governor Steve Beshear. The two greeted each other with a tentative handshake. Moffett attended Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington for morning worship where Pastor Jeff Fugate introduced him to some 700 people. Williams said Sunday he was taking nothing for granted in his race against Moffett, a tea party candidate, and Holsclaw, a proven vote-getter in Louisville, home to about a fourth of the state's residents.
- In April, it took a Pike County jury only 25 minutes of deliberation to convict Bill David West, 38, of Knob Fork, Zebulon, on a two-count charge of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. The verdict came in the second day of his trial. The jury recommended he serve 13 years in prison after they convicted him of selling seven Oxycodone pills. West, represented by Attorney Steve Owens, was sentenced to two 6 and one-half year sentences on Thursday by Senior Circuit Judge Marc Rosen, who was filling in for Pike Circuit Judge Eddy Coleman.
- Last week's flooding will mean longer school days for Floyd County students. School Superintendent Henry Webb has announced school days will be extended by 30 minutes, starting on Monday, May 16th, and the extended time will remain in place until the final day of classes on May 27th. Severe flooding led to the cancellation of classes in Floyd County on Wednesday, and classes were also canceled for McDowell Elementary on Thursday, but students were back at the school on Friday.
- Consumers are paying near-record prices at the gas pump. The Republican-led House passed three bills in the last 10 days that would significantly expand and accelerate oil development in the United States, saying the Obama administration was driving up gas prices and preventing job creation with anti-drilling policies. President Barack Obama announced Saturday he was taking several steps to speed oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters. Obama said the administration would begin to hold annual auctions for oil and gas leases in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, a 23-million-acre tract on the North Slope of Alaska. It will also accelerate a review of the environmental impact of possible drilling off the southern and central Atlantic coast and will consider making some areas available for exploration. The president also said he would extend leases already granted for drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico that had been frozen after last year's BP spill. Tens of millions of acres onshore and offshore are under lease but have not been developed.
- Pikeville College will honor the academic achievements of 160 undergraduate degree candidates and 65 new physicians from the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine (PCSOM) on Saturday, May 21st. The medical school commencement begins at 9:30 A.M. at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center in Pikeville. The undergraduate commencement will be held at 2:00 P.M., also at the Expo Center. Four distinguished individuals will be recognized for their significant contributions in education, medicine and public service. On Thursday, May 19th, graduating students in the college’s Elizabeth Akers Elliott Nursing Program will be honored during a pinning ceremony at 7:00 P.M. in Booth Auditorium.
- Now that the site prep work is complete, construction on EQT’s regional headquarters at Scott Fork has begun. “People need jobs, and we are ‘America’s Energy Capital,’” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “Our signature industries are coal and natural gas, which we depend on to keep our county going and with the opening of EQT’s regional headquarters we will be on the forefront of leading the country in both the coal and natural gas industries. Pike County produces more natural gas – 53 percent – than all other counties in Kentucky combined.” Construction is well under way at Scott Fork on U.S. 119 and EQT will be the first corporation to establish an office in the future energy park. Rutherford feels EQT’s locating in Pike County will attract other independent firms with whom they contract to locate at the energy park in the near future.
“We want to make sure that people are informed about the upcoming election
and their rights as voters,” stated Secretary Walker ;“We hope more
people participate in the upcoming election than we expect; and are trying
to raise awareness about the ;primary election in every way possible.
This election is critically important and I encourage everyone to get
out and vote.”
Below is a list of important “Dos and Don’ts.” ;For more information,
Kentucky Election Day Dos and Don’ts
Do; Verify your voter registration status before you head to the
polls. ;Visit the Voter Information Center at www.vote.ky.gov/vic
Don’t; Get discouraged by long lines or long ballots. You can be
prepared by previewing your ballot online at Vote.Ky.Gov. ;Remember, as
long as you are in line by 6 PM, local time, on May 17th you will be able to
cast your ballot.
Do; Know where to go to vote. The Vote.Ky.Gov website has the Voter
Information Center that allows voters to both find the address of their
polling place and to obtain driving directions from their residence.
Don’t; Campaign or solicit votes within 300 feet of a polling place.
Electioneering in the immediate area around polling places is illegal in
Kentucky.;However, you will not be turned away from the polls for
simply wearing a campaign button, shirt, hat, etc.
Do; Know the most convenient times to vote are during low traffic
periods: not during the morning rush hour, lunch, or the evening rush hour.
;Remember, polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ;However, if
you are in line by the close of polls at 6:00 p.m. local time, you will be
allowed to vote.
Don’t; Wait until the last minute to head to the polls. You may
encounter traffic or another unexpected delay. ;If you are not in line
by 6:00 p.m. local time, you will not be allowed to vote.
Do; Bring identification to the polls on Election Day. Types of
acceptable voter ID include: personal acquaintance of precinct officer,
driver’s license, social security card, credit card, or another form of ID
containing both picture and signature.
Don’t; Use prohibited items at the polls such as video cameras, cell
phones, or any other device that can record the identity of voters. If
you bring a cell phone to the polls, you are encouraged to place it on
silent or vibrate.
Do Ask a poll worker for instructions on how to use the voting
machine or ask other procedural questions of the precinct election officials
if you are confused about the voting process.
Don’t; Get caught up in election rumors. To get the facts,
Do; Let officials know immediately if you encounter any problems at
the polls;Start with your precinct election officers and county
clerk, or call the State Board of Elections at (502) 573-7100.
Don’t: ;Forget to remind your friends and family to vote. ;All
elections are important as it is one way that you can make your voice heard.
Do: ;Thank your poll workers. Without the nearly 15,000 Kentuckians
that have volunteered to be poll workers across our state, this election
would not be possible. They work long days on the front lines of our
elections and deserve our appreciation.;Contact your county clerk if
you are interested in helping in the future.
Don’t Forget that you can obtain all of the election results in near
real time by visiting www.elect.ky.gov after the polls have closed
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...5-16-'11
- According to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office, turnout for the special gubernatorial primary election on Saturday was about 16 percent. There are about 1,216,000 registered voters in West Virginia, and 188,109 voters cast their ballots Saturday. Of that number, about 125,000 were Democrats, while more than 60,000 Republicans voted. The Special Primary Election this weekend was the fourth for West Virginia voters in the past year.
- State Mine Safety and Health officials have identified the miner killed Saturday night at Guyan Surface Mine near Yolyn in Logan County as 37 year old Richard Young. MSHA officials say Young was struck by a piece of mining equipment. The Guyan Surface Mine is operated by Apogee Coal, a Patriot Coal subsidiary. Young's death is the second coal-mining related death in West Virginia in 2011 and the fourth coal-mining death in the United States this year.
- On May 6th, federal agents and West Virginia State Police troopers arrested Igor Shevchuk, Arsen Bedzhanyan and Sargis Tadevosyan at a South Charleston car lot and charged them with health-care fraud, conspiracy and aiding and abetting. Authorities say they were part of a health-care fraud scheme designed to bilk Medicare and Medicaid out of more than $2 million. The men are thought to be connected with a "false-front provider" scheme, where someone sets up phony companies to file fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims. Federal investigators discovered five fake companies set up in Charleston, South Charleston and Dunbar purported to be Medicare providers. Offices for all five companies had been rented by Konstantin Kalaydzhiev, who provided identification saying he was from California, but authorities believe the real Kalaydzhiev is no longer in the United States, and the man who rented the local offices, who is Asian, is using Kalaydzhiev's identity. The doctors who supposedly provided the medical services told investigators they'd never heard of the companies, and when agents went to the companies' addresses, all they found were empty offices.
- Representative Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., will host a summit to look at the problem of prescription drug abuse. The summit will run from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Wednesday, May 18th, at the Twin Falls Resort State Park conference center. According to statistics, approximately 76,000 West Virginians are using prescription drugs for “non-medical reasons” every year. An estimated 9,000 of those people are children between the ages of 12 and 17. During the April 30th Prescription Drug Take-Back event, 3,178 pounds of prescription drugs were collected statewide. Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, will join Rahall at the summit. The summit is open to the public.