Tuesday, March 15, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-16-'11
- Pikeville College Alumni and Friends Dinner and Dance April 2, 2011 Reception - 5:30 p.m. Dinner and Awards Ceremony - 6p.m Landmark Inn’s Mark V, Pikeville, Ky. For more information about the event visit alumni.pc.edu or call (606) 218-5276.
- American Pharmacy Services Corp., a trade group representing the family-owned corner drug stores in many small towns in Kentucky, warned the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Tuesday that cuts to the Medicaid program could have dire consequences, including closures. State Representative Rick Rand, D-Bedford, chairman of the House budget committee, agreed. Kentucky Medical Association attorney Bill Doll said cuts could also hurt physicians, especially pediatricians who care for Medicaid-dependent children. Doll says doctors would have to absorb about $41 million of the overall cuts. Michael Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, urged lawmakers to move quickly to head off the cuts that would cost Kentucky hospitals about $130 million. Rust said rural hospitals that have a larger load of Medicaid patients would be among those most severely impacted.
Remember the Miners: http://remembertheminers.org/events/
- Jury selection will continue Friday in the Leslie County murder case of Clayton Jackson of London who was arrested in 2007 and charged with the February 2004 murders of Chris Sturgill, his wife Amanda, and their three sons. Kentucky State Police say the family was found deceased in their partially burned residence located in the Jacks Creek community of Leslie County. Enough jurors could not be found last week in Leslie County so the trial was moved to Clay County.
- Trial is scheduled to begin in May for John Combs, a man charged with murder after Doctor Dennis Sandlin was fatally shot in December 2009 at the Leatherwood-Blackey clinic in Perry County. Combs was in Perry County Circuit Court Tuesday, where defense filed motions, one for public funding for expert witnesses and one for a change of venue. Both were denied. The defense claims Combs will not receive a fair trial in Perry County because too many have already formed opinions. If convicted, Combs could get the death penalty.
- In August of 2008, Prestonsburg Police charged Floyd County inmates Chris Newsome, Ivan Gunnels, Matthew Ritchie, Stephen Jervis, Michael Rowland, Kevin Woods, and Larry Adkins with first degree assault after jail officials said they beat accused child molester Terry Fisher nearly to death. They were scheduled for trial this week, but the commonwealth's attorney says it is postponed and no new date is set yet.
- The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and the Whitley County Coroner are investigating after a brother and sister were found dead Saturday at the same house, 9 hours apart. At 11:18 A.M., 40 year old Carol Stevens was found unresponsive by Whitley County EMS at her residence in Emlyn. Nine hours later, just before 9:00 P.M., officials were called back to the residence where Steven’s brother, 49 year old Robert Rains, was found unresponsive. He was taken to the Jellico Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
- U.S. Senator Rand Paul has revamped his previously filed budget bill and is trying to attach it as an amendment to legislation now being considered in the Senate. Paul said Tuesday the amendment, if approved, would achieve savings of $200 billion by reducing most discretionary spending to 2008 levels, adding deeper cuts in some agencies and no cuts in others. The amendment would cut military spending by 5 percent and would not impact war funding. It would leave entitlement programs and veterans' benefits at current spending levels. And it would reduce funding by 50 percent to the Department of Energy, Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funding for some independent agencies would be eliminated entirely.
- After weeks of debate and trying to save the organization, Rowan County Judge Executive Jim Nickell officially eliminated the Morehead Rowan County Rescue Squad Tuesday. Nickell said there was too much liability and budget concerns to keep the squad running, and other organizations in the county, like the fire department, offer some of the same services. The search and rescue squad has been in Rowan County for 37 years. The rescue team has been in talks with the rescue team in Bath County, and anyone who wants to join the squad in Bath County is welcome to.
- Oil prices fell sharply Tuesday. Gasoline pump prices across the U.S. fell slightly for the first time in nearly a month to a national average of $3.556 per gallon. Prices are still higher than ever for this time of year. A gallon of regular is 42.8 cents more expensive than a month ago and 76.6 cents higher than last year. Oil prices are still higher than they were in mid-February when uprisings in Libya shut down that country's oil production and sent benchmark crude from about $85 a barrel to more than $105 a barrel last week, its highest level since September 2008. Investors worried about diminished demand for oil and other products in Japan, the world's third-largest oil importer, after the country was hit by an earthquake and tsunami Friday. However, Wall Street analysts say they expect Japan eventually to increase imports of oil, coal and natural gas. Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it will send liquefied natural gas and fuel oil to Japan to help meet power shortages. Japan produces most of its energy from coal-fired power plants, but can also run generators on LNG and even crude oil. Shell says the refineries it operates in Japan were not damaged by the earthquake.
- The House Education Committee has approved a bill to raise the minimum dropout age to 18, changing a generations-old law allowing 16-year-olds to drop out of school. The bill approved by the House Education Committee on Tuesday would raise the minimum dropout age incrementally to 18. Supporters believe allowing teens to dropout at 16 is a relic of past generations when most jobs didn't require at least a high school diploma. Critics fear that teens required to stay in school against their wills will be disruptive in classrooms. A similar bill was approved in the House but died in the Senate in a legislative session that ended last week. Governor Steve Beshear added the issue to the agenda for a special session that began Monday.
- Volunteers will be out in force next week for a spring cleaning of Kentucky's roadways. The state Transportation Cabinet says more than 900 groups participate in Kentucky's "Adopt-a-Highway" program, which started in 1988. Volunteers clean about 6,800 miles of roadside annually. Volunteers adopt 2-mile sections of highway under a two-year, renewable contract with the Transportation Cabinet. Litter pickups are held at least four times each year. The program's spring clean week is set for March 20th to 26th. Each year, the Transportation Cabinet spends about $5 million and 200,000 worker hours to remove 96,000 bags of highway litter.
- Attorneys are picking a jury for the state's fourth attempt to convict Brent Burke, a sergeant in the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell. Burke is charged with murder in the killing of his former wife, Tracy Burke, and her former mother-in-law, Karen Comer. The two women were found at Comer's home in Rineyville in September 2007. Burke has been held since his arrest a month later. Mistrials were declared during three previous court proceedings.
- Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate increased to 10.4 percent in January 2011 from a revised 10.3 percent in December 2010. The January 2011 rate is .6 percentage point lower than the 11 percent rate recorded in January 2010. It is the highest rate since May 2010 when it was 10.4 percent. The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 9.4 percent in December 2010 to 9 percent in January 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Six of the 11 major nonfarm job sectors reported an employment increase in January 2011, while five decreased. An increase of 4,000 jobs in January 2011 brought Kentucky’s nonfarm employment to a seasonally adjusted total of 1,781,700. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment has grown by 24,300 workers since January 2010.
- Volunteers can put the long, cold winter behind them by having fun outside together during PRIDE Spring Cleanup Month in April. Locally, the Spring Cleanup is being organized by Pike County PRIDE Coordinator Jimmy Dale Sanders, Pikeville PRIDE Coordinator Jesse Bowling and Mayor C. Laverne Dye, who serves as the PRIDE Coordinator for Coal Run Village. "The Spring Cleanup is important because it gets communities involved," Sanders said. "They really see first hand what we are dealing with. It encourages them to make a difference." "We are grateful to the PRIDE Coordinators who spearhead the Spring Cleanup in their communities," said PRIDE's Tammie Wilson. "Last year, they helped recruit 31,200 Spring Cleanup volunteers in the 38 county area, and we've challenged them to break that record in 2011." "The free T-shirts for volunteers have the slogan, 'Put PRIDE in Your Hands,' and that reminds us that a clean, healthy environment is up to us," Wilson added. "Please work with your PRIDE Coordinator to make this your best Spring Cleanup ever. PRIDE will support you all the way." PRIDE Coordinators are volunteers who are appointed by mayors and judge-executives. They work with the PRIDE staff to organize cleanup activities, recruit volunteers and track cleanup results. They assist local officials with the programs of PRIDE, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup and education in 38 counties. PRIDE Coordinators now are planning each community's Spring Cleanup activities. Throughout April, volunteers will pick up litter. Some communities also will offer free trash disposal events or clean up illegal dumps during the Spring Cleanup. PRIDE will provide volunteer T-shirts, cleanup supplies and funding assistance for local governments.
- Highway District 12 issued a warning to motorists using KY 292 in Martin County. The road is closed to all traffic at the 1 mile marker. A pavement collapse completely destroyed one lane of pavement and made the other lane dangerously unstable. People who insist on driving through the state-installed barricades and past the Road Closed Ahead warning signs are not only subject to fines from law enforcement, they are risking property damage, bodily injury, or worse. District 12 Martin County Superintendent Jerry Todd said the earth beneath the remaining lane of pavement is unstable. People have removed the barricades more than once already, and someone even ran over one of the posted warning signs. This is irresponsible, not to mention against the law. The 500-foot section of highway is one mile into Martin County from KY 468 at the Pike County line. People need to stay off this stretch of 292, Todd said. Take another route, for your own sake and that of your passengers.
- A state bridge on KY 160 over Carr Creek Lake is reduced to one-lane traffic for the next several weeks. Chuck Childers, Section Engineer for Highway District 12, said a hole has developed through the bridge deck, and the area around the hole is cracked. The westbound lane is closed and flaggers are directing traffic. Portable traffic signals will be installed to control traffic until repairs are made, which Childers said would take a couple of weeks.
• Wayne Back, age 45, of Linefork, second-degree trafficking in a controlled
substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.
• Billy Ray Fields, age 54, of Court Road, Partridge, second-degree trafficking in a
controlled substance. At the time of his arrest a quantity of hydrocodone was found
and he will be charged with a second count of second-degree trafficking in a
• Clarence Halcomb, age 55, of Galloway Acres, Partridge, first-degree trafficking
in a controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender.
• Billy Hubbs, age 50, of Highway 3073, Partridge, first-degree trafficking in a
• Johnny Osborne, age 44, Highway 199 South, Partridge, second-degree trafficking in
a controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender.
• George Thomas, age 69, Circle Drive, Whitesburg, second-degree trafficking in a
controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender.
• Matthew Alan Whitaker, age 25, of Highway 119 South, Partridge, second-degree
trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender.
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