Thursday September 26, 2013

According to the Mountain Eagle:
Paychecks for employees who work inside the city limits of Whitesburg will be a bit smaller beginning October 1.

That is the date a new “occupational payroll tax” approved this week by the Whitesburg City Council on a 4-1 vote will take effect.

The 1.5% tax on gross wages applies to nearly every worker who performs a job in Whitesburg, resident and nonresident alike.

It will be collected by employers and paid quarterly to the city.

The ordinance appears in its entirety on pages 10 and 11 of this week’s issue.

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A trio of people searching for a missing person along Highway 80 found a body on Wednesday.

The body was found one mile east of Hindman in Knott County.

The family says they believe it is the body of their missing loved one, Christina Barnett.

Barnett, of Johnson County, was last seen in Hazard on Wednesday.

We are told that's when David Fairchild, a friend of the family, found what they believe is Barnett's body, badly burned and covered by a television.

State police and the coroner are on scene and have not yet confirmed the identity of the body or any details in this case.

They say the body will be sent to Frankfort for an autopsy.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Changes to federal black lung rules are expected to make it easier for coal miners and their families to obtain benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Program on Wednesday announced a final rule that implements amendments to the 2010 Black Lung Benefits Act.

The amendments sponsored by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd reinstate two provisions that were eliminated in 1981.

After 1982, survivors of a coal miner totally disabled due to black lung had to prove the disease caused the miner's death.

One amendment makes that an automatic assumption for those who worked in coal mines for at least 15 years and suffered a totally disabling respiratory impairment.

The other amendment automatically transfers black lung benefits from the late recipient to eligible survivors.

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Benham City Council members say the city in Harlan County owes thousands of dollars to the Internal Revenue Service.

City Council member Wanda Humphrey says she and other council members recently received a letter from the IRS. It claims the city of Benham owes nearly $38,000 dollars in unpaid taxes.

Humphrey says an IRS investigator claims the city did not pay certain taxes for three quarters from June, 2012 to March, 2013.

She says the council hopes to resolve the situation soon.

The city of Benham is also still without a mayor since a judge removed Shirley Dodd from office in a legal matter. Humphrey says the council must select a new mayor soon or Governor Steve Beshear will appoint one.

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Seven counties in eastern Kentucky have begun enrolling families for a pilot program to fight asthma.

The "Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids" initiative plans to test assessments that are used to identify and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma.

The non-profit is administering the project with local health departments in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliot, Lawrence, Floyd, and Pike Counties.

Officials want to find 100 families to take part in the study.