Saturday, July 02, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...7-3-'11
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...7-3-'11
- A vehicle rollover in the area of 5th Street Road in Huntington at 1:12 A.M. Saturday morning sent one woman to the hospital and 20 year old Joshua Barr to the Western Regional Jail charged with DUI causing injury. Police say Barr was heading south when he swerved, hit the median, flipped and landed on an SUV.
- Talbert Dehaven III, who also goes by the name “Chip,” escaped from the Beckley Correction Facility, where he was serving time for forgery and uttering, between 2:00 - 3:00 A.M. Saturday morning. Police think he may have gone to Virginia, where he is originally from. Dehaven is 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs roughly 200 pounds, has brown hair, blue eyes and a shaved head. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dehaven is urged to contact Raleigh County’s detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
- Kentucky State Police located an elderly West Virginia couple at about 5:00 P.M. Saturday afternoon after Wayne County 911 dispatchers had issued a Silver Alert for French James Napier, 86, and his 81 year old wife Elizabeth May, of Prichard, who were last seen Friday at approximately 4:30 P.M. at Chase Bank in Wayne. The couple was on their way to meet family at Pullman Square in Huntington. The couple's family was worried because French James has dementia and diabetes and Elizabeth has Alzheimer's. Dispatchers had gotten a call about a car swerving all over the southbound lane of I-75 at the 115 mile marker near Mt. Sterling. When KSP found the car on a side road, they realized it was the Napiers. Family msmbers picked them up at the KSP station in Morehead
- Timothy David Chapman, 33, of Wayne has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse after state police say he had pictures of a 14 year old boy, partially-clothed with his wrists, arms and legs duct-taped or tied with a rope. The photos, taken in November and December of 2008, were found on a thumb drive by Chapman's ex-wife and taken to state police. Bond was set at $100,000.
- A fire that started in a garage of a Chelyan home on Church Street belonging to Becky Adkins quickly spread to the adjacent Paul White Chevrolet car dealership Friday afternoon, destroying the business's storage building and body shop. Paul White Chevrolet Inc. general manager Margie Hancock said employees rushed to salvage whatever they could from the two buildings before they were destroyed, including a 1981 Corvette.
- Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper wants to ban the use of electronic cigarettes for county workers on the job. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department recently banned their use on Health Department property and in Health Department vehicles, and the state banned them for state employees on state property. Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, thinks there are enough questions about the safety of electronic cigarettes that health officials decided to ban the devices on Health Department property, and he would love to ban electronic cigarettes countywide but doesn't have the science to back the move up.
Friday, July 01, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...7-2-'11
- U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar has issued a temporary restraining order commanding CAM Mining LLC in Pikeville to stop giving coal miners advance warning about searches for cigarettes and lighters. The order comes a week after the Labor Department sued CAM Mining in federal court under a little-used provision in federal mine safety law that allows regulators to seek an injunction from a federal judge, bringing the mine under the jurisdiction of the judge to ensure the law is followed. Federal inspectors had planned to search CAM Mining's No. 28 mine on June 17th after receiving a tip about smoking underground. Federal officials say, since the federal Mine Safety and Health Act was passed in 1977, there have been four major mine explosions blamed on smoking.
- More than 1,300 soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard of the 149th Maneuvering Brigade are training for deployment to Iraq to help decommission hundreds of bases, guard convoys and weapons and handle security at U.S. bases as the military prepares to pull out of Iraq. The mission is the Guard's largest overseas deployment since World War II.
- Greg Harkenrider, deputy executive director of the Governor's Office for Economic Analysis, said Friday that raising the state's cigarette tax from 30 cents to 60 cents a pack in 2009 appears to have caused people to smoke less. Kentucky smokers purchased 120 million fewer packs of cigarettes over the past two years. The American Heart Association's advocacy director in Kentucky, Tonya Chang, says the state, with one of the highest smoking rates in the nation, needs to do more to discourage people from lighting up. Chang said she'd like to see Kentucky's cigarette tax raised to the national average, which now stands at $1.45.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is asking states to join its nationwide effort to prevent injuries related to fireworks. According to the CPSC, fireworks-related injuries in 2010 were associated with approximately 1,900 people ending up in emergency rooms. CPSC’s annual death and injury report on fireworks incidents indicates that nearly half of these injuries affected children younger than 15 years of age.
“Although fireworks play a major role in Fourth of July celebration, you have to keep public safety in mind – even with smaller items,” said Kathy Fowler, director of the public health protection and safety division in DPH. “Firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers are some of the biggest culprits of injury. Please use caution if you are using these items.”
In fact, according to the CPSC, a sparkler can get as hot as the flame on some blow torches and can easily ignite clothing.
No fireworks can be considered safe enough to let young children play with them without direct adult supervision under any circumstances,” Fowler added, emphasizing the following guidelines when using fireworks:
· Never allow young children to ignite fireworks.
· Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
· Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that fizzle and don’t go off.
· Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
· Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
· After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a fire.
ndence Day usually brings thoughts of parades, backyard barbecues and, of course, fireworks. This year, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) wants the public to focus on safety in addition to celebrating the holiday, particularly when using certain types of fireworks recently legalized in Kentucky. House Bill 333, signed by Gov. Steve Beshear in March, expanded legal fireworks in the state from ground devices and novelties to include a full line of consumer fireworks, such as Roman candles and other fireworks that shoot into the air. The law regulates the sale, storage, location and display of the explosives. “Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate and add to the festivity of the holiday, but don’t forget injury prevention,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker. “This year, the types of fireworks that can be legally sold in Kentucky have expanded and some might be new to consumers. Make sure you know how to properly use these items and are working to avoid injury.” The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is asking states to join its nationwide effort to prevent injuries related to fireworks. According to the CPSC, fireworks-related injuries in 2010 were associated with approximately 1,900 people ending up in emergency rooms. CPSC’s annual death and injury report on fireworks incidents indicates that nearly half of these injuries affected children younger than 15 years of age. “Although fireworks play a major role in Fourth of July celebration, you have to keep public safety in mind – even with smaller items,” said Kathy Fowler, director of the public health protection and safety division in DPH. “Firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers are some of the biggest culprits of injury. Please use caution if you are using these items.” In fact, according to the CPSC, a sparkler can get as hot as the flame on some blow torches and can easily ignite clothing. No fireworks can be considered safe enough to let young children play with them without direct adult supervision under any circumstances,” Fowler added, emphasizing the following guidelines when using fireworks:
“Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate and add to the festivity of the holiday, but don’t forget injury prevention,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker. “This year, the types of fireworks that can be legally sold in Kentucky have expanded and some might be new to consumers. Make sure you know how to properly use these items and are working to avoid injury.”
· Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
· Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that fizzle and don’t go off.
· Never throw fireworks at a person
· Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...7-2-'11
- Testimony is set to continue Monday, July 11th, in the murder trial of 38 year old Christopher Bowling, a Raleigh County man accused of fatally shooting his wife Tresa in their Daniels home in January 2010. The proceedings were put on hold for a week Friday to accommodate some jurors with vacation plans. This is Bowling's second trial after the first ended in a mistrial after two jurors were dismissed.
- The investigation into the January 27th mine death of 19 year old John C. Lester Jr. is complete. Investigators say it appears Lester attempted to cross a moving conveyor belt where a suitable belt crossing facility was not provided and became trapped in the structure. The accident occurred at Jim's Branch No. 3B mine near New Richmond in Wyoming County.
- About 20 new laws went into effect Friday, July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year for West Virginia. West Virginia’s Division of Veterans’ Affairs became the Cabinet-level Department of Veterans’ Assistance. Marcellus shale natural gas field developers are eligible for new tax credits, and both public and private insurers are required to cover autism spectrum disorder treatment. Insurers do not have to adjust their coverage until the 2012 plan year.
- More than 300 uninsured West Virginia children are now eligible for coverage by the state Children's Health Insurance Program. Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the coverage expansion proposed by the program's board in February, extending coverage to children of families with a gross income of up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. A family of four can have a household income of about $67,000, up from about $55,000. Families also must pay a $35 monthly premium for one child or $71 per month for two or more children.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...7-1-'11
- A Cabell County grand jury has indicted Pamela Faye Taylor, 63, of Huntington, a former daycare owner, on a charge of child neglect resulting in injury. Taylor was arrested in October 2010 after a 10-month-old child was found with a red mark on his face in the shape of a hand and a bruise on his forehead. The child is believed to have received the injuries while at Pam's Kids Daycare in Huntington. Taylor is set to be arraigned July 13th.
- Eighteen year old Telisa McCauley of Charleston was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for first degree robbery. Police say, last May, McCauley and Whitney Avery robbed Robert "Jeff" Moore, 53, of Charleston, after Earl Moore brutally beat him on Fife Street in downtown Charleston, leaving him in a coma.
- Chester Wilkinson, 57, of Charleston, has been charged with possessing child pornography. Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say Wilkinson’s computer contained several illegal images of minors engaging in sexual activities.
- Michael Moore, 28, of Charleston, has pleaded guilty to distributing heroin in the Charleston area from December 2010 to March 2011. Moore told officers he purchased heroin from his associates and let them drive his car to distribute the heroin. Moore faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when sentenced October 6th.
- New charges of second degree sexual assault by a parent, guardian or custodian were filed against Michael David Adams, 27, of Pliny, Thursday. Putnam County Deputies say he raped a 14 year old girl while out on bond after raping another 14 year old girl. He's being held on a half million dollar bond on the new charges and no bond while awaiting sentencing for his conviction on sexual abuse charges in August. He was convicted last week of molesting his wife's 14 year old cousin. Court documents say Adams raped the other girl June 21st while his wife was taking a shower. The victim and her father were living in the same home along U.S. 35 as Adams and his wife. Adams has admitted he had a prior felony conviction. This could allow the judge to double the 25 year potential sentence he faces for the recent conviction.
- After more than thirty years of public service, state Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline retired Thursday. Cline, who announced her retirement last month, worked as commissioner for 10 years. Cline, who recently turned 55, now qualifies for retirement benefits, which was a major factor in the decision to step down. Cline first started working in state government in 1978 in the accounting department of the state Division of Highways. She later moved on to become the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles for eight years under Governor Gaston Caperton's administration. In 2001, Governor Joe Manchin named her insurance commissioner. Interim Insurance Commissioner Mike Riley has worked in the office since 2001.
- The West Virginia Public Service Commission has approved a $98.7 million rate increase for Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company. The increase amounts to 7.9 percent. A typical residential customer can expect a $6.40 increase. In 2008, the PSC agreed to implement rate hikes over four years that would help companies recover costs of coal. The case is now in its third year. During a hearing in May, company leaders told the PSC that the gradual increases were needed to avoid a huge upward swing in rates. Rates increased 12 percent in 2009 and 8.2 percent in 2010.
- U.S. Representative David McKinley says the Environmental Protection Agency’s deadline for coal-fueled power plants to comply with proposed tighter emissions regulations is proof the federal agency needs to be reined in. EPA wants plant operators across the nation to significantly reduce emissions of toxic materials, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, in some cases by the end of 2014. McKinley says forcing compliance in the time frame EPA has mapped out will have a devastating effect on West Virginia, costing jobs and stifling economic growth in the state. American Electric Power is hoping to persuade EPA to extend the deadline for complying and grant a reprieve of sorts to the 242 workers in West Virginia alone who would otherwise see their jobs eliminated until 2020.
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...7-1-'11
- Christopher Cello Smith, 50, of Prestonsburg, who served as vice president of Target Oil and Gas Co. in Albany from 2003 to 2008, was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison after being convicted by a federal jury of seven counts of mail fraud last July. He also was sentenced to three years supervised release, a $500 mandatory assessment and a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $3 million. Former Barrackville, W.Va., geologist Ray Garton, 60, was sentenced to five years probation, and six months community confinement followed by six months home incarceration and a $100 mandatory special assessment. Garton pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in September 2009. Both men were involved in luring $13.4 million from hundreds of investors in Kentucky, California, New Jersey and other states by distributing false information about oil and gas investments. Smith gave investors false reports that drilling programs had hit oil and gas. Garton worked with Smith's brother, Michael Smith, former president of Target Oil and Gas, to prepare brochures for potential investors containing false information. Michael D. Smith, 55, of Lancaster was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 11 counts of mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Lexington last July. He was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $3.2 million.
- Congressman Hal Rogers joined PRIDE on Tuesday to announce that a record-breaking 33,100 volunteers picked up litter across southern and eastern Kentucky during PRIDE Spring Cleanup Month in April, and he presented trophies to the counties, cities, schools and nonprofit agencies that recruited the most Spring Cleanup volunteers. The Spring Cleanup campaign removed 32,840 bags of trash and 27,513 tons of trash from the region's landscape. Ten tons of junk appliances and 52 tons of other materials were recycled. 203 tons of old tires were gathered for proper disposal.
- A special judge will be appointed to decide whether two teenagers will be tried as adults on charges they hit teacher and state Representative Dewayne Bunch during a fight at Whitley County High School in Williamsburg on April 12th. Whitley County District Judge Cathy E. Prewitt recused herself from the case at the request of attorneys for the teens. It will be about six weeks before a new judge takes the case and can decide how the teens, ages 15 and 16 at the time, will be tried. Bunch is continuing his recovery at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta from a brain injury caused by a punch and fall.
- Kentucky law now allows the sale of fireworks like bottle rockets and Roman Candles. Fireworks retailers are defying an order by the city of Florence not to sell items determined to be illegal in Boone County, but permitted under state legislation passed earlier this year. Rick Lunnemann, Florence city coordinator, says those who are selling the fireworks previously illegal in Kentucky were notified that they are not legal in the city of Florence. Lunnemann says they must cease selling them immediately, and, if they choose not to, they will receive a citation from the code board staff, be required to pay a fine and attend a code board meeting. Some fireworks retailers have indicated they would consider litigation, which could include claims for damages from lost sales, if they were shut down for selling the questionable fireworks.
- After three days of testimony, the unusual hearing into the actions of Kentucky's top racing steward, 66 year old John Veitch, wrapped up Thursday. Veitch is accused of failing to properly enforce the state's racing regulations last fall at the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville. In that race, second-favorite Life At Ten finished last. Her jockey, John Velazquez, had made comments on television beforehand that she "was not warming up" as she usually did. After a four-month investigation, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted 9-1 in March that there was probable cause that Veitch had violated rules by not investigating potential racing infractions, failing to scratch a horse not in "sound racing conditions" and failing to collect a post-race sample from the horse. Charges also were referred against Velazquez for failing to ride out the horse and for failing to act in the best interest of racing by not taking the horse to a veterinarian to be checked.
- The National Education Association announced Thursday that Governor Steve Beshear is this year's recipient of the America's Greatest Education Governor Award. The annual award recognizes and honors governors who have made major, state-level education strides that improve public schools. Despite repeated budget shortfalls, Beshear has protected the main education funding formula from cuts. During his term, Kentucky has moved into the top 20 in the United States in fourth-grade and eight-grade reading scores. He also signed legislation to make it easier for higher education students to transfer credits from a community or technical college to any of Kentucky's four-year universities.
- A volunteer fireman with the Woodbine Fire Department pleaded guilty earlier this week to setting fire to the Daniel Boone National Forest in Whitley County. Michael Luttrell admitted in U.S. Federal Court in London to setting several fires along the Whipporwill Trail in March, destroying over 100 acres of land. Luttrell faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release.
- Thursday afternoon, a Fayette County jury convicted 34 year old Glenn Doneghy of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Lexington Police Officer 27 year old Bryan J. Durman. Durman died in April 2010 after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver in a sport utility vehicle as he answered a complaint about loud music. Doneghy was also found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, assault and possession of marijuana and cocaine.
- Kentucky officials say four people were charged Thursday with lottery fraud in a sting designed to catch dishonest retailers. A Jefferson County grand jury handed up the charges against two people in Louisville and two in Lexington, saying they kept scratch-off tickets worth $8,000 and tried to cash them in for prize money after telling customers the tickets weren't winners. Kentucky Lottery CEO Arch Gleason says the charges, believed to be a first in the state, were the result of an operation in which an undercover security person presented 33 retailers with a ticket and asked them to check to see if it was a winner. The person at the store said the ticket wasn't a winner, kept it and later tried to cash it in. Gleason says the stores were targeted because of prior complaints, but the charges against the four people aren't indicative of how the majority of the 2,800 lottery retailers operate.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-30-'11
- State officials say 46 year old David Partin of Pineville died while working at the Manalapan Mining Co.'s P-1 mine in Pathfork in Harlan County around 11:50 A.M. EDT Wednesday. A statement from the state's Energy and Environment Cabinet says preliminary reports show the miner was killed in a roof fall. The mine has been closed, and officials from the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing are investigating the incident. It is the second fatality at a mine in Kentucky this year. Robert L. Cook of Inez died in March when he was pinned between a continuous miner boom and a mine wall at a mine in Martin County.
- Kentucky State Police say, Tuesday evening, Sarah Melton, 42, fired a shotgun, injuring her brother, Bill Couch and killing Couch's girlfriend, Cindy Caudill, at a home on Browns Fork Road in Hazard. Melton is in the Kentucky River Regional Jail facing charges of murder and attempted murder. Couch remains at UK Hospital.
- The Williamsburg Police Department, Whitley County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky State Police and the Jellico Police Department joint task force on drugs conducted a drug roundup Wednesday morning. Thirteen people were arrested throughout the county and downtown Williamsburg and lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Police are actively looking to serve 7 more arrest warrants. Three suspects are out of the state. Authorities have contacted officials in those states to arrest them.
1. David Centers
2. Roger Keith
3. Ralph Rains
4. Ronald Ball
5. Lois Jones Vanover
6. Anita Brown
7. Scott Jones
8. Johnny Hubbard
9. Jeff Combs
10. Connie Reeves
11. Christy Stephens
12. John Kanter
13. Raymond Douglas
- Two arrests have been made in the death of Lafe Humble, an Owen County, Kentucky man found dead in a burning truck in San Bernadino, California on June 17th. Police in California arrested Gerald Lee Nance last Friday and Lori Anne Whipple was arrested Monday in Oro Grande, California. Police in San Bernadino say Hunble was a patron at a bar where Whipple worked. Whipple gave Humble a ride home, and that's when police say Whipple and Nance robbed and killed him. Police say blunt force trauma was the cause of Humble's death. Humble's body will be brought back to Kentucky to be buried in Gallatin County.
- Darrell Patrick, a suspended North Magoffin Elementary teacher, will be re-arraigned and is expected to change his plea next month in federal court. Patrick originally pleaded not guilty to federal drug trafficking charges in February. A federal indictment accuses him of selling OxyCodone in 2009 and having more than 100 guns.
- Hardin County Circuit Judge Kelly Mark Easton dismissed murder charges Wednesday against former Fort Campbell soldier Brent Burke but did not order him freed. Easton left the door open for charges to be brought back in the future if prosecutors see fit. Burke has been tried four times in the 2007 shooting deaths of his estranged wife, Tracy Burke, and her former mother-in-law, Karen Comer, in Rineyville in Hardin County. There have been two mistrials and two hung juries. Burke will be turned over to the Judge Advocate General at Fort Campbell. Easton's order does not say why military authorities requested custody of Burke, a sergeant in the Army.
- A team of environmental groups says two coal companies that were fined in Kentucky last year for violations of the Clean Water Act continue to break the federal law. The groups say ICG and Frasure Creek Mining exceeded the limits of pollution discharge allowed under law more than 4,000 times in the first three months of 2011. They made the allegations Tuesday in intent-to-sue letters required by the Clean Water Act. Last year, the environmental groups took a similar action against the coal operators, but never filed suit because Kentucky officials and the companies reached a $660,000 settlement. The environmental groups are challenging the settlement in court, saying it's not enough. Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper and New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance say they filed notices this week to force the companies to comply with federal law.
- Republican Senators Damon Thayer of Georgetown and Democratic Representative Mike Cherry of Princeton, co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on State Government, have failed in the past in their efforts to get pension reforms through the General Assembly. Thayer and Cherry say a newly released audit that criticizes oversight of the state's $13 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems pension fund could provide what's needed to get the legislature to act when it convenes in January. The retirement plan isn't in immediate danger of collapsing, but it has been consistently underfunded, a point that state Auditor Crit Luallen made to lawmakers on Wednesday. Luallen says the long-term viability of the retirement system has been dramatically impacted by the state's consistent underfunding of its employer contributions since 2003.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-30-'11
- Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia has filed a notice to appeal the order setting Joseph Lavigne Jr. free. Lavigne spent 15 years in prison after he was convicted of the brutal rape of his then 5-year-old daughter in 1996. Putnam County Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding overturned his conviction on April 29th and gave him a new trial. In granting Lavigne's habeas corpus petition, Spaulding said Lavigne had been denied a fair trial because the victim did not identify her father as her attacker in court. He also found that a jury instruction was improper, and limiting him to four character witnesses fatally harmed his case. Lavigne was released May 5th after posting $150,000 bond.
- Nationally known comedian Andy Dick was indicted Wednesday by a Cabell County Grand Jury on two counts of first degree sexual abuse. Dick is accused of sexually abusing two men in January 2010 while he was in Huntington to perform at the Funny Bone Comedy Club. According to the indictment, he allegedly grabbed the crotch of two men at Rum Runners, a nightclub on 3rd Avenue, kissed one of the victims and licked the neck of the other. Dick is scheduled to be back in court July 13th.
- Testimony continued Wednesday morning in Raleigh County for Christopher Bowling whose defense team maintains shot his wife in a tragic accident after a long day of drinking. Bowling, 38, of Daniels, is accused of shooting his wife, Tresa, in the head on the night of January 31, 2010. His attorney, Richard Weston, says Tresa was lying on the couch when Bowling went to sit with her. Weston says, at that point, Bowling felt the gun pinching his side, and, in the process of removing the weapon, he inadvertently shot Tresa Bowling. On Tuesday, Christoper Bowling's cellmate, Robert Harmon, took the stand and testified Bowling had discussed his wife's shooting with him, saying he had made arrangements in advance to make the shooting look like an accident.
- West Virginia State Police troopers have arrested Erving "Tubby" Page of Sissonville and charged him with grand larceny in connection with the theft of copper phone and data lines from the state Department of Agriculture's headquarters in Guthrie, knocking out phone and Internet service at the department.
- State Attorney General 74 year old Darrell McGraw has announced his intention to run for a record sixth term as the state's lead law enforcement officer. McGraw was first elected as Attorney General in 1992. Prior to that, he served on the state Supreme Court where from 1976 to 1988 he was the chief justice. McGraw says he's built the state Consumer Protection Division into a "nationally recognized powerhouse." During his time in office, the division has recovered more than $2 billion by enforcing laws against large corporations. McGraw is married to Jorea Marple, the first woman to serve as state superintendent of schools.
- Former Belle police officer 28 year old Daniel Dodd no longer faces felony intimidation and stalking charges after his ex-wife, Jennifer Totten, admitted to sending herself messages allegedly from her ex-husband. Totten had accused Dodd of sending her threatening messages through email and instant messenger. Contacting his wife would have been a parole violation for Dodd, who is accused of hitting Totten during an argument in March. Totten admitted to logging in to Dodd's account and sending the messages to herself. She's been charged with filing a false police report. Dodd resigned from the Belle Police Department earlier this month. Dodd still faces misdemeanor domestic battery and domestic assault charges.
- Yeager Airport's governing board on Wednesday got a first look at a design for a makeover of the Charleston airport's general aviation terminal. A gas log fireplace, a departure lounge with seating for more than 50 passengers, a new conference room and enlarged and upgraded restrooms are among features of the new design scheme created by the Cincinnati-based Bascon architecture and engineering firm. Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson says work on the renovation would likely begin in October or November, after a final design is completed and approved and the project is sent out to bid.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-29-'11
- When University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd, Jr. steps down from his post on June 30th, he will join UK's engineering faculty as a tenured professor with a salary of about $162,000 a year. But first, Todd will take a year-long unpaid leave of absence. Instead of a salary, he will receive the retention bonus guaranteed in his contract for staying 10 years. It's worth $511,000, his base salary during his last year of work. The board's executive committee approved Todd's new contract as a professor late Tuesday.
- Gary Robinson, 62, of Ashland, was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy to commit murder in a murder-for-hire scheme. The Greenup businessman got the maximum 20 year prison sentence. Because of the severe physical injury suffered by John Jamison, Robinson will not be eligible for parole for 17 years. Robinson hired Wesley Allen to kill John Jamison to resolve a love triangle in January 2010. Allen, who pleaded guilty to shooting Jamison 10 times and was sentenced to 17 years in prison, testified against Robinson. John Jamison remains in a nursing home. The prosecutor says Robinson’s arrogance, power, money and ego drove him to pay the convicted felon and crack cocaine addict 25 thousand dollars and a truck to shoot and kill the husband of his on again off again mistress Dana Jamison, who is also the mother of Gary Robinson’s child.
- The New York Racing Association, Inc., announced Monday that New York native Joseph Cornacchia, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold and Go For Gin, died Sunday in New York of natural causes at the age of 78. Cornacchia, raised in Queens, made a fortune manufacturing the popular board game Trivial Pursuit. He founded The Games Gang, which also produced Pictionary and Balderdash. He partnered with B. Giles Brophy and William Condren to buy Strike the Gold as a 2 year old in 1990 and won the Derby a year later. Cornacchia and Condren won the 1994 Derby with Go For Gin and the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze. He served on the NYRA board of directors from 1998-2008.
- The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Kentucky death row inmate 62 year old David Eugene Matthews be retried within 180 days in the death of his estranged wife, Mary "Marlene" Matthews, and mother-in-law, Magdalene Cruse, which occurred in Louisville on June 29, 1981. Judge Eric Clay wrote that the trial judge misinterpreted Kentucky's law on an extreme emotional distress defense and allowed prosecutors to claim during closing arguments that Matthews and his attorneys concocted the issue in an attempt to avoid conviction. Clay, joined by Judge Karen Nelson Moore, also ordered the state to determine if Matthews can legally be retried or must be released because the constitutional prohibition on being tried twice for the same crime applies in this case. Judge Eugene Siler Jr. dissented, saying the judge properly interpreted the law, and prosecutors withdrew the offending statement in closing arguments. Matthews has been on death row for 29 years.
- State police in Rowan County and a dive team were on the scene Tuesday when a body was found inside a vehicle believed to have been driven into a pond on Cranston Road in Morehead Monday night. Officials say someone with the fire department was checking hydrants around 10:30 A.M. and noticed one that had been knocked over along with some tire tracks leading into the water. A dive team was then called in from Grayson to help in the search. Frank E. Christeson, 49, of Morehead, who worked at a local Huddle House restaurant, was pronounced dead at 3:15 P.M. Rowan County Coroner John Northcutt says drowning is the primary cause of death.
- Hundreds of sex offenders live in Kentucky, and every year they must register their current address with the state. Under a roundup, dubbed "Operation Frontier Trails" Tuesday, U.S. Marshals in Bath, Clark, Estill, Fleming, Menifee, Montgomery, Nicholas, Powell and Rowan counties hit the streets searching for 15 who are somehow breaking the rules, including one offender living with a child. Marshals say they are working with 18 agencies in the nine counties.
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-29-'11
- During a hearing Tuesday, the murder trial of 32 year old David Kinney of Charleston was scheduled for November 14th. Kinney is accused of fatally shooting 31 year old Jeremy Parsons on Charleston's West Side last July. Kinney was indicted on murder charges in October. He has been on home confinement since posting bond.
- Police arrested five people Monday after finding marijuana, prescription pills and cash in a Super 8 Motel room in Dunbar. Corey Armstead of Charleston, Timothy Harper of Poca, Adam Halstead of Cross Lanes, Cassandra Gentry of Nitro, and Curtis Conway of Liberty face felony charges of possession with intent to deliver. Police say a caller reported a funny smell coming from the room. When officers arrived, one man opened the door, while another man threw a purple baggie out the window. Police found marijuana in the bag and got a search warrant. Police determined the suspects intended to sell some of the drugs.
- A Kanawha County judge has put the city of Huntington's occupation and sales tax om hold. A hearing was held Tuesday afternoon in Kanawha County Circuit Court challenging Huntington's one-percent occupation and sales tax set to take effect Friday July, 1st. At Monday's regularly City Council meeting, council members went into executive session to discus the five lawsuits filed against the city last Wednesday. They voted to hire Mike Farrell to represent the city in court. Cabell County Commissioner Bob Bailey said Monday, "We're trying to get the city to understand that some parts of the home rule are good, but the bad part is the one-percent tax because you can't tax people if they've got no one to represent them."
- At Monday's Huntington City Council meeting, the firefighter's union announced the results of a "vote of no confidence" held within the department. Of the 83 valid votes cast, 81 voted they did not have confidence in the ability of Fire Chief C. Creig Moore to lead the Huntington Fire Department. Two voted they did. Reasons for a vote of no confidence against Moore include Moore's dishonesty with City Council on several occasions, causing harm to the reputation and integrity of the Huntington Fire Department, Moore's continuous use of derogatory statements when referring to Local 289 and West Virginia State Civil Service Law, his inability to operate within the current fiscal budget year and an unwillingness to address safety issues brought forth by the Union Executive Board.
- St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington is now tobacco-free after a ban on tobacco use on the hospital's campus went into effect Monday. St. Mary's spokesman Doug Korstanje says the hospital sees the impact of tobacco-related health problems daily, and hospital officials believe it's important for St. Mary's to take a leadership role and prevent smoking on its campus, joining at least 10 other hospitals in West Virginia that have adopted similar bans. The hospital has offered classes and support outlets to employees who smoke.
Monday, June 27, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-28-'11
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-28-'11
- Restoration work is nearly complete on Williamson’s historic Coal House which was built in 1933 from 65 tons of Mingo County coal. The 1,600-square-foot structure was severely damaged by fire in October 2010. The home of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce is owned by the Mingo County Commission. Leigh Ann Ray, grants coordinator and project manager for the Commission, says work on the interior should be complete in early July. The final aspect of the restoration project will be replacing the custom arched entry. Bids are due July 20th with construction expected to take four to six weeks. The Commission had a $187,000 insurance policy on the structure, and the Chamber had an additional $28,000 policy on the contents. Ray says the coverage will be approximately $120,000 less than actual replacement costs. The Coal House was included on the National Register of Historical Places in 1980.
- The state Mine Safety Office says Joseph Cassell, 33, of Glen Daniel, in Raleigh County, the crew leader at the Rhino Eastern LLC Eagle #1 Mine, was killed early Monday morning. Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere says Cassell was shoveling along the wall to set roof support timbers when he was struck by a 100-inch high, 32-foot long piece of the wall. The accident happened at about 1:00 A.M. in the #4 South section of the mine. The company, the state Mine Safety Office and MSHA are conducting a joint investigation. The mine is owned by Lexington, Ky.-based Rhino Resource Partners. Cassell is the seventh coal mining fatality in the U.S. this year.
- Larry Holstein, 44, and Grant McGuire II, 49, two former West Virginia Division of Highways employees accused of selling drugs to undercover officers, pleaded guilty Monday to distribution of Hydrocodone. Holstein admitted he sold Hydrocodone at a home near East Bank in Kanawha County on March 12th, and McGuire admitted to selling the drugs less than two weeks later at a DOH garage in Chelyan. Each face up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when sentenced on September 28th.
- Mark Johnson, 20, of Charleston, pleaded guilty Monday to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police say, in December 2010, officers with an arrest warrant for Johnson found him hiding in the attic of a Charleston home. During the arrest, police found a loaded .22-caliber pistol, which Johnson admitted was his. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced October 3rd.
- Alicia Ciccarelli, 25, of Weirton, West Virginia, was sentenced in federal court Monday to five months probation after pleading guilty in March to aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute heroin in the Charleston area. Police say Ciccarelli was pulled over by officers near Charleston after picking up two associates near Pittsburgh. She admitted to knowing that Rahman Terry, one of the two associates, had heroin on him at the time. During the traffic stop, Terry pulled an item containing 55 individual packets of heroin from a duffel bag and tossed it into some bushes on the side of the road.
- Administrators announced Monday that Cabell Huntington Children’s Hospital has been accepted as a full voting member of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions. Dr. Joe Werthammer with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit says the elite new membership will enable them to move forward and recruit the personnel needed to really become a state-of-the-art children's hospital. The hospital has already raised $10 million of its $12 million goal to build a separate children’s hospital. Children's hospital organizers are still accepting donations toward the final $12 million goal.
- Four county school systems in West Virginia will share more than $21 million in funding from the state School Building Authority. The SBA met Monday morning at University High School just outside of Morgantown to reallocate more than $21 million now available after two counties, Harrison and Upshur, failed to pass school bond issues. The SBA handed out millions of dollars in April. SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin says there just wasn't enough money to go around. The allocations went to Jackson County, $8 million for a new Kenna Elementary School, Mingo County, $3 million for renovations to Riverside Elementary School, Mercer County, $5 million for Oakvale Elementary Elementary School and Putnam County, $4 million for additions and renovations at Winfield Elementary School with an additional $2 million to come later. The additional money will come from a school project at Winfield Middle School that is already underway and coming in under budget.
- An early morning mobile home fire in Beckley led to the arrest of a Beaver man. According to Raleigh County Sheriff's Deputies, a device was thrown through the window of a home at 110 Megan Circle in Beckley Monday morning. The device caused a fire in the home of Carrie Good, 29, and Michael Shivley, 34, while they were inside. Good's ex-boyfriend, Justin Sullivan, 22, was arrested. He has been charged with one count of first degree arson and two counts of attempted first degree murder. Sullivan is being held in the Southern Regional Jail, in lieu of $250,000 bond. Beaver, Bradley and Mabscott Volunteer fire fighters battled the blaze for just over two hours.
- The state Public Service Commission will make a decision later this week on a rate hike request from Appalachian and Wheeling power companies which are seeking a 9.5 percent increase as part of a case to recover costs from the 2008 purchase of coal. Testimony in a May hearing before the PSC focused on a phase-in plan after the PSC agreed to spread the increase over a four-year period. The current case is the third in four years. As part of the phase in plan, rates went up 12 percent in 2009 and 8.2 percent in 2010. The largest customers of the companies could pay up to 12 percent more in the current case. The PSC will likely announce its decision sometime Thursday, June 30th. American Electric Power is the parent company of both Appalachian and Wheeling power.
- The Fourth of July holiday is just days away, and the American Red Cross is hoping people think red.
-Beckley (At the Inez Brown Donor Center)
-Beaver: 9 a.m. until 3 p.m, at the Beaver Brake Supply
-Grandview: noon until 6 p.m. at the Grandview Christian Church
- Mount Hope: noon until 7 p.m. at the Crossroads Mall