Wednesday September 18, 2013

Officials with James River Coal Company have confirmed they have furloughed 525 coal miners at three mines across our region.

Officials with the Richmond, Virginia based company said Monday night the layoffs occurred at operations at the McCoy Elkhorn complex in Pike and Floyd counties, the Bledsoe complex in Leslie and Harlan counties and the Long Branch Surface mine in London.

The company says the layoffs are due to a weak coal market and says the restart of the operations is subject to market conditions.

James River mines thermal coal for power generation and metallurgical coal used to produce steel.

It also has operations in southern West Virginia and southern Indiana.

The company also idled several mines and reduced production at others back in March.

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The Lawrence County Attorney says the wet-dry petition for the City of Louisa is invalid.

In a press release Tuesday, Michael T. Hogan said after a review of the wet-dry petition submitted to the Lawrence County Clerk to set a wet-dry election, it has been deemed as invalid under Kentucky law.

Hogan says that under changes to Kentucky law earlier this year, only the first four class cities are permitted to sell alcohol.

Louisa is a class five city.

The classes are primarily based on population.

Hogan says that there are options with moving forward. He says the petition can be rewritten and it be called a "moist vote", which means alcohol could be sold in some restaurants, organizers can ask for the city to be reclassified, or they can challenge it in court.

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There are more than 65,000 bridges in America in need of repair or replacement.

Sara George, information officer for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 12 said several bridges are slated for maintenance in District 12, which includes Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Martin and Pike Counties.

None in District 12 are "fracture critical," a term used to describe a structure that could collapse should a critical component fail, but federal records show more than 100 bridges in the Commonwealth do carry that distinction.

State transportation officials say there is no cause for alarm.

In Eastern Kentucky, transportation officials say the biggest hurdle remains securing funding for future projects.

Kentucky spends about $30 million annually on bridge repair and another $30 million on bridge replacement.

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A Knott County man accused of avoiding police pleaded not guilty.

Rocky Wicker Junior was in court Tuesday morning after he was charged with running from police and possession of a controlled substance and a firearm

His father Rocky Wicker Senior was charged with shooting a parole officer after police say he fired at probation and parole officers who were looking for Wicker Junior last week.

Wicker Junior will have a preliminary hearing next Tuesday.