Wednesday October 23, 2013

A woman was hospitalized after a hit-and-run Tuesday in Martin County.

Claudia Johnson was walking on Spence Branch Road in the Milo community around 5:00pm when a car hit her and drove away according to Sheriff Garmon Preece.

Johnson was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center in nearby Lawrence County.

Preece said she had injuries to the back of her head after she was hit and drug several feet.  

According to the sheriff the vehicle that hit Johnson could be a white Ford station wagon.

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Kentucky's auditor says a former school superintendent assigned his wife to a job with an inflated salary, costing the Martin County School System an extra $200,000 over four years.

The report released Tuesday by Auditor Adam Edelen also says Mark Blackburn, the ex-superintendent, also  awarded a privately funded scholarship to two of his children.

Current Martin County schools Superintendent Steven Meadows says the district will create or strengthen policies to avoid a repeat of such incidents.

Blackburn now works in the school system as an elementary school teacher.

Blackburn says he's disappointed at how the auditor has portrayed the findings and says his children earned the scholarship money on their own.

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Officials dedicated the new judicial center in Pike County Tuesday afternoon after millions of dollars spent and years of work.

Many in the community debated the removal of some historical buildings that once sat in its place but officials say it was worth it.  

Officials say they will be placing pictures and artifacts of the buildings they had to tear down in the lobby of the judicial center.

The $33 million/92,000 square foot building includes technology officials say will improve productivity and help the city and county continue to move forward.

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School districts across Kentucky have maxed-out local property taxes in an effort to make up for cuts in state and federal funding in recent years.

The result is an inequality among the state's 173 districts that has turned school boards into political exiles.

Eighty-one districts, including Letcher County, have adopted rates increasing revenue by 4 percent, the largest amount allowed without being subject to a voter recall.

Seventy-six districts approved similar measures last year, while 26 school boards have yet to set a rate.

Kentucky School Boards Association spokesman Brad Hughes told The Courier-Journal the districts have no other choice but to turn to taxpayers.

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Kentucky now has a new emergency operations center that has been built to stand up to any weather catastrophes that hit the state, including winds of up to 250 mph.

Gov. Steve Beshear said the $11.8 million facility will be a lifeline to all of Kentucky's 120 counties in times of trouble.

Kentucky has dealt with a series of natural disasters in recent years, including tornadoes, floods and ice storms that have resulted in federal emergency declarations.

Nearly $10 million of the funding for the center came from FEMA.

The remainder was covered by the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and the Office of Homeland Security.

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Hollywood has come to the mountains as filming is underway in Big Stone Gap, VA for a movie starring Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg.

Recently, film crews descended on the town to make "Big Stone Gap", a movie based on a series of novels by Adriana Trigiana.

Trigiana is a Big Stone Gap native.

The film will feature locals as extras.

The city manager said they plan to sell merchandise that will promote both the town and the movie.

Those will be available in shops around town.

City officials hope the movie will bring an increase to the economy of Big Stone Gap.