Local News Monday February 20, 2017

The family of missing man Hershel Starrett continue to search for him.  He went missing on December 20th, and his family says they think he may have been back by his Harlan County house at least once since that night.  Family says they’ve received several tips and will continue searching for him until they find him either alive or dead.  Earlier this month Hershel’s wife Melissa and cousin Jamie Starrett were indicted on conspiracy to commit murder charges.  Police say the pair were plotting to kill Joshua Starrett, Melissa’s son.  There is not any direct information to indicate that either one of them was involved in Hershel’s disappearance.

An experiment designed by two students at the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, a high school on the Morehead State University Campus, has gone into space.  The students designed an experiment to examine the behavior of smooth muscle cells as they acclimate to a microgravity environment.  It was launched yesterday aboard a SpaceX rocket headed to the International Space Station.  The students were in Florida for the launch and will be able to monitor it via a live video and data feed.  The experiment will stay in space for a minimum of six weeks.

A Bell County woman is charged with burglary after Christy Turnbill told officers that she caught Amber Maiden inside her Middlesboro home taking things.  Turnbill says Maiden fled, but deputies found her and arrested her a short time later.  She’s charged with second degree burglary.

Many schools across the area are closed today due to the President’s day holiday, but some others are closed due to illness.  Scott County Schools are on a Non Traditional Instruction day today while Somerset, Wolfe County, and Corbin Independent Schools are closed to let students dealing with illness rest. Letcher County schools are open.

Warm, dry temperatures are causing the US forest service to caution people camping to be very careful with their campfires.  Cordell Taylor a fire management officer with the US Forest service says low humidity and strong wind gusts can quickly spark a fire out of control, especially when leaf litter is as dry as it is now.

A 29-year old miner from Pikeville was injured seriously after being trapped inside a coal mine in Buchanan County Virginia.  Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy officials say the miner, whose name has not been released, got pinned between the cutter head of the continuous mining machine and the wall of the mine, often called a rib.   He was flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center Thursday night.  Since then his condition has stabilized.  The area of the mine where the incident occurred is now closed for investigation.  Investigators initially found no problems with the machine.  The injured miner had been working at Buchanan #1 for two months.

A medical doctor in Kentucky, who also happens to be a Republican State Senator is leading an effort to further restrict smoking in the state.  Senator Ralph Alvarado has pushed several statewide workplace smoking bans that have failed, but last week, Alvarado convinced the Senate to approve a ban on all tobacco products at Kentucky’s 173 public school districts.  That will also apply to school sponsored events.  The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.  Kentucky leads the nation in both smoking rates and smoking related cancer.

Hazard Police say a man who went missing last week was found safe last night.  David Ryan Evans went missing last week but was found safe.  It’s not clear why he was out of contact.

Several families across the state feeling relieved today after a glitch in the Medicaid system meant they didn’t get money they were counting on last week.  The glitch affected disability checks for more than two weeks. All 11,000 people who were affected should be getting the money they need soon.