Local News Wednesday February 15, 2017

Volunteer firefighters are desperately needed across Eastern Kentucky.  Officials at several local fire companies including the W.R.Castle Fire and Rescue in Johnson County say they’re having trouble finding help, and have been for while.  The shortage of volunteers likely has a lot to do with the economy.  Many people have to travel long distances for work, are working long hours, or had to move away altogether.  There are positions open with most local fire departments.  To become a volunteer firefighter you need to pass a criminal background check, be in good health, and complete 150 hours of certification training.

A 14-year-old girl is accused of stabbing her father multiple times.  Johnson County deputies say they received a call Monday morning from a man saying his daughter stabbed him.  The man was treated for stab wounds to the abdomen and shoulder.  He is recovering.  It’s not clear what the motive was for the violence.

A man charged in a deadly hit and run case will go to a grand jury.  46-year-old John Melton is accused of hitting 62-year-old Roscoe Jones as he was walking along the side of the road earlier this month, then fleeing the scene.  Melton went before a judge yesterday to face charges of second degree manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.  He’ll return on February 24th to see if an indictment is returned against him.

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would toughen penalties for people convicted of trafficking smaller amounts of heroin or fentanyl.  The bill, approved unanimously, would close a loophole giving lighter penalties to first time traffickers and those trafficking less than two grams of the drugs.

There will be a pre-bid meeting today to give more information about a housing project that will renovate the old Elkhorn City High school into apartments.  Officials say they will select a contractor by March 1st and hope to begin construction sometime in April.

Mine workers rallied in Washington DC yesterday, lobbying for another extension to ensure that miners have their benefits past April.  They’re in favor of the Miners Protection Act which would guarantee retired coal miners their health care benefits and pensions.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnels plan would only fund health benefits, not pensions.

A coal truck overturned on KY-2007 in Harlan County yesterday morning.  The driver, 47-year-old Randy Collier was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  HE was driving for R&S Trucking out of Whitesburg.

A man is behind bars after deputies say he pulled out a gun at the Wildcat Market in Flat Lick Tuesday Morning.  A deputy says he found 29-year-old Stanton Peace with a handgun in his wasteband, and when Peace tried to reach for the gun, the deputy grabbed his hand and took the firearm away.  He’s charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and public intoxication.  35-year-old Elizabeth Compass was also arrested.  For having eight Xanax bars on her.

Kentucky House Republicans are demanding a public promise from Governor Bevin that if they pass a bill to overhaul the states drivers licenses that he won’t veto it….again.  Kentucky is one of 27 states that has not complied with the federal Real ID Act.  Last year he urged the legislature to comply with the law, but when they did he veto-ed it.  Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover says he wants Bevin to testify before a House committee and promise he won’t veto again.  The federal government has given Kentucky until June 6th to comply. If they’re still not in compliance Kentuckians would have to use a passport or other approved federal ID to fly domestically, enter federal courthouses, or gain entry to army bases, among other things.

Humana is leaving the Affordable Care Act’s public insurance exchanges for next year following a failed merger with rival Aetna.  Currently Humana covers about 150,000 people in 11 states.