Tuesday 8-18-15

By Jerry Adams

Letcher County Fiscal Court has turned down a request to add 25 thousand dollars to the county Sheriff's Office budget. The court's 3 to 3 tie means the extra funding was NOT approved. Among those voting not to add more to the 150 thousand dollars already appropriated was county judge executive Jim Ward, who says it was a tough, but necessary decision, given the county's already tight finances. The department allocation is 150 thousand dollars—which is 650 thousand dollars less than last year, Those who supported the additional money say they department is too important to leave underfunded.   Department hours and staff have already been cut because of the decreasing county share of the budget.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court did approve support for a plan that would bring some federal dollars to communities hit by the downturn in coal.  The federal Power Plus plan involves grants to help diversify the economy. The city of Whitesburg has also decided to take part.

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The holiday season could bring some new jobs for eatsren kentucky residents. Teleworks USA is looking to hire as many as 25 hundred employees to answer phones and process customer orders for its clients. The company will hold ajob fair next Tuesday to look for qualified applicants. The jobs pay 9 dollars an hour—and officials say they will bring a much needed boost to the mountain economy.  That job fair will be held in two sessions at the Teleworks USA telework hub in Hazard—one at 10 AM and one at 2 PM.

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And some area residents are picking up valuable skills at a course in Fiber Optics at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. The school says it is meeting a need—both for people looking for work and for an industry that needs certified installers. Those involved say the program is a perfect fit as the mountain region moves toward greater access to broadband communication services—that will be carried over fiber cables.

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Two men accused of conspiring to kill a Clay County man have had their first day in court. Thomas Miracle and Roscoe Henson were at a preliminary hearing on charges that they worked together to kill 24 year old Trevor Dykes outside his Goose Rocks community home. They judge says there is enough evidence to hold the two until a grand jury meets next month to decide if they should be indicted. Police say Miracle hired Henson to kill Dykes because of a child custody dispute. The victim;s family members were in the courtroom and they say it was difficult to see the two for the first time, but that they want to make sure justice is served. Dykes was gunned down on July 27th as he left his home for work. Sheriff Kevin Johnson says the two suspects have admitted their roles in the killing.

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Police are investigating a crash that killed a man in Leslie County. They identify him as 61 year old Rufus Gibson of Hyden. They say he died when his vehicle ran off Highway 421 and into a creek on Monday morning.

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The Rowan County Clerk will not have to issue marriage licenses, after a federal judges ruling. Last week, judge David Bunning ordered Kim Davis to perform those ceremonies in spite of her religios beliefs. The judge has now put that ruling on hold so a higher court can review the case. Judge Bunning says he relalzes that emotions are running high on both sides, so for now, he says he will defer until the entire sixth circuit court can decide what to do next.

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FEMA has opened a center in Johnson County to help those effected by last month's devastating floods. The center will provide assistance by processing applications forloans and grants and letting people know what forms of aid are available. Those on hand for the opening say they are happy that help is finally arriving—help that could allow them to get back to the life they had before the water rose in July. That assistanc center is located on Highway 40 in Paintsville.