Local News for November 7, 2016

Forest fires still burning in Eastern Kentucky
More than 10,000 acres of Eastern Kentucky are on fire.  Forestry officials don’t expect that
number to go down anytime soon thanks to largely dry and often windy conditions persisting
across the area.  Fires in Harlan County on Pine Mountain and in Breathitt County in Jackson
are two of the largest of the more than 20 fires active in the area. Harlan County has declared
a state of emergency and most Eastern Kentucky Counties including Harlan, Letcher, Perry,
and Pike County are under a burn ban until further notice.

Two gas tanker trucks collide over the weekend
Over the weekend a crash between two gas tanker trunks shut down US 23 near Jenkins for hours,
and severely injured one of the drivers.  Officials say it happened Saturday morning.  Fire Crews
from Jenkins and Neon helped to mop up gas from the truck that was turned on it’s side.

11-year-old Louisville boy dies in Red River Gorge
An 11-year old boy scout from Louisville died in Red River Gorge over the weekend after a tree
fell on his tent.  Wolfe County Search and rescue says Jack Rose was in his tent for the night
when a tree fell and hit him in the head.  Two doctors who were nearby responded but could not
revive the boy.  The Boy Scouts of America released a statement confirming the death and
expressing sadness for Rose, his family, and his troop.  They also thanked Wolfe and Powell
County Search and rescue teams for their support.

New scam arises as people pose as Kentucky Utility Workers
Police warn that in a new scam people are posing as Kentucky Utilities workers saying they will turn
off your utilities in 15 minutes unless you put money on a prepaid credit card, outstanding bill pay, or
money pak card.  They say ignore the call and if you’re really worried call the utility company yourself.

Kentucky Wildcats win their Final Exhibition Game on Saturday
A sounding win for the Kentucky Wildcats in their final exhibition game on Saturday. They thumped
Asbury 156-63.  That’s the most points ever scored by UK in a regular season or exhibition game. 
The previous record was 143 points against Georgia in 1956.  The regular season begins this Friday 
in Rupp Arena with the cats taking on Stephen F. Austin at 7pm.

Forest Fires continue to burn across the region
As fires continue to burn across the region fire officials are urging people to keep their lawns free of
leaves, sticks, and other flammable lawn debris.  If a fire gets close to your home inform authorities
immediately.  Currently more than 20 fires are burning across Eastern Kentucky resulting in a lot of
hazy smoke. 

ATV crash kills a Perry County man near the Knott Perry County Line
A Perry County man died following an ATV crash yesterday morning near the Knott Perry County Line.
Tyler fugate will be remembered this evening from 6 until 9pmat the Maggard Funeral home.  His funeral
will be held tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.  Fugate was taken to the hospital after the ATV he was driving
went off an embankment near the Knott-Perry County Line.  He later died at Hazard Medical Center.

Former Harlan County Sherrif has been indicted
Former Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird has been indicted on a charge of theft of property from a
federally funded program.  The indictment claims that Lipfird stole money that was supposed to be
used for controlled drug purchases.  The indictment also alleges that Lipfird made Harlan County pay
for a litany of expenses including personal expenses, a dating site subscription, a friend’s cell phone,
and duplicate travel expenses that should not have been paid for with taxpayer money.  No court date
has been set.  If found guilty Lipfird could face up to 10 years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.

Notice anything unusual while voting call Election Fraud Hotline
As you head out to vote tomorrow if you notice anything suspicious or abnormal you should call the Election
Fraud Hotline set up by Attorney General Andy Beshear.  That number is 1-800-328-VOTE.  The hotline is
open from 6am to 7pm.  Beshear says each and every call alleging possible violations of voting rights will be
investigated quickly.  He says they’re committed to making sure the election is clean and anyone who tries to
tamper with the outcome is prosecuted.

Local News Wednesday July 6th 2016

Whitesburg Attorney James Craft the second has been appointed by Governor Matt Bevin to fill the unexpired term of Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright.  That appointment was announced yesterday.

A new smoke free ordinance takes effect today in Hazard.  Smoking is now prohibited in a variety of public places, including city facilities, restaurants, and other businesses within city limits. Smoking next to schools and daycare centers or within 10 feet of a building entrance is also now off limits. The CDC estimates that since 1964 2,500,000 non-smokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

A woman accused of fatally shooting her husband appeared on video in court for her arraignment yesterday.  Sandra Hurt is accused of shooting her husband, son, and another  woman last month before overdosing on drugs.  Her husband 47 year old Henry Hurt was killed.  The other two are still recovering .   Hurt faces one  count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of wanton endangerment. A preliminary hearing is set for next week.

A man accused of fatally stabbing another man after an argument on Sunday appeared in court  yesterday.   William Josh Napier, 31, was arraigned Tuesday in Wolfe County.  Officers arrested Napier after they found a man stabbed to death Sunday in the  parking lot of the Jackson Inn Motel. Charles N. Costello, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene with stab wounds to his throat. Napier entered an automatic not guilty plea. He  faces one count of murder. A preliminary hearing is set for  next week.

A Wise county man has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder a police officer.  39 year old Charles Ray Hill pleaded guilty to Attempted Capital Murder of a police officer yesterday in a plea deal just one week before he was go face a Wise County Jury. Hill was charged last May after Norton City Police responded to a domestic call.  Sergeant James McReynolds entered the home after finding a woman bleeding.  That's when  the officer says Hill came out of a bathroom with a rifle, and pointed it at Sergeant McReynolds then fired from short range, barely missing him.  Hill was sentenced 60 years in prison with 40 years suspended meaning he will serve a total of 20 years in prison.  He'll serve the remaining time if he violates probation.

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday an EF-2 tornado touched down in Louisa on Monday. The area saw significant damage in severe storms on the 4th. At Walmart, a truck and car was flipped on its top and part of the roof was blown off the store. The National Weather Service estimates that the twisters wind speed was 120 mph and the path length was 2.5 miles.

Some residents in Perry County still cleaning up after storms swept through the area Monday.In Chavies storms  knocked down several trees and even knocked some homes off their foundations.   One woman says her trailer moved about 8-10 feet during the storm knocking it completely off of its foundation and causing some roof damage.  Others have more minor issues like siding or flashing damage or downed tree limbs.

A woman in Bell county is charged with indecent exposure and alcohol charges after police say they found her drunk and naked in Cannon Creek.  Troopers say they found 20 year old Lauryn Hopper with a 30 pack of Bud Light.  Bell County deputies were not able to find a boy who ran from the scene.  Police say he was also drunk.  His name has not yet been released.

A man in Knox County previously charged with murder is now free. Prosecutors dropped their case against Jonathan Taylor, who was accused in the killing of Catherine Mills in the Flat Lick Community back in 2010.  Four years ago he was indicted by a grand jury along with Amanda Hoskins, and William Lester.  Both of them are still facing charges. It's not clear what caused Taylor to be released.

A horrible prank in Ashland yesterday. Dozens of people may have thought they witnessed two execution-style murders at the Walmart there.  The pranksters used paintball guns painted to look like assault rifles and the victims had pillowcases over their heads.  Witnesses say they heard the gun pop pop pop and the boy fell over, and lay motionless on the sidewalk for about a minute before getting up and running away with the other victim.  They hopped into a car driven by the supposed shooters.   Witnesses estimate the perpetrators were teenagers anywhere from 112 to 17 years old, but they say it's dangerous game as they could have easily been shot if someone with a gun had witnessed the extreme prank that seems to have been based on a horror movie series called The Purge.

A Noah's Ark attraction built by a Christian organization will open tomorrow in Kentucky. The long-awaited theme park based on the biblical story of Noah, a man who got a warning from God about a worldwide flood. The Christian group behind the 510 foot-long wooden ark says it will demonstrate that the stories of the Bible are true.  The construction, tax incentives, and faith declaration required from all workers has been controversial.  Still owners Answers in Genesis is predicting more than a million visitors in the attractions first year.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was held yesterday.

Local News Tuesday July 5th 2016

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System has announced a new scholarship offered to high school juniors who are wanting college credit. The program offers scholarships to seniors in high school wanting dual credit.  Beginning in the fall juniors in high school will be able to enroll in dual credit courses within KCTcS offering college and high school credits simultaneously.  Leaders of Hazard Community and Technical College say this opens many doors for high school students who plan on attending college

Less than a month after announcing his retirement, the long-time president of the Kentucky Lottery has died. The Lottery announced yesterday that Arch Gleason died Friday of injuries he sustained during a fall.  He spend nearly 23 years leading the Kentucky Lottery.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officers spent much of Monday searching for a teenager after the teen drove their ATV into Grayson Lake.  Officers say it happened off of Horton Falls Road in Elliott County.  THey eventually had to call off the search due to severe weather. The name of the teen has not yet been released.

A man is dead and another is in jail following after a stabbing in Breathitt County Sunday Morning.  Kentucky State Police say officers found 29 year old Charles Costello in the Parking lot of the Jackson Inn Motel with stab wounds to his through.   Breathitt County Coroner George Griffith pronounced Costello dead at the scene. Police say the incident started with a dispute between Costello and 31 year old Josh Napier.  It's not clear what the dispute was over. 

Good news for Kentucky tourism.  A news tidy shows the state has seen its largest overall gain in tourism dollars since 2009.  According to th4e study the Bluegrass State generated $13.7 billion in 2015, and increase of 5 percent over 2014.  Tourism also generated more than $1.4 billion with almost $185 million of that going directly to local communities.  6,200 jobs were created by tourism in 2015.

Strong to severe storms swept through Eastern Kentucky Monday evening, leaving more than 5,000 customers without power.  Crews are working to restore power in Leslie, Floyd, Pike, Lawrence Knott counties, and more. 

The Harlan Independent School Board announced two new positions at the school system during a special called meeting on Friday. Superintendent C.D. Morton presented the board with a plan to create a part-time district technology coordinator position as well as a full-time high School/middle school assistant principal position.

A U.S. District judge has ruled a Harlan man arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will remain incarcerated. Mark Sawaf, 39, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Hanley Ingram to remain  at a detention hearing held on Wednesday at the U.S. District Courthouse in London. Sawaf could appeal the decision, but has not done so at this time.  Sawaf was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives following a search of a residence on June 21. Harlan City Police assisted the ATF at the scene.

Two zebras have taken up residence in Pike County.  According to Joan Potter her son Mitch bought the two animals who are now living on Potter farm, causing many passers by to do a double take.

Local News Friday July 1st 2016

The city of Hazard has passed a smoke free ordinance that will go into effect July 6th.  That means all smoking is banned at city of Hazard facilities, businesses, and restaurants.  Smoking next to a school or daycare facility is also banned and smokers will be required to stand at least 10 feet from doors or entrances if they’re smoking outside.

Breaks Interstate Park, which sits across the southwest Virginia/southeast Kentucky line, is now officially open to rock climbing. Breaks encompasses 4,600 acres of rugged, mountainous terrain which has had a history of climbing going back at least three decades, though climbing has never been officially allowed or sanctioned by a park management plan. Breaks already contains approximately 75 established climbing routes, with potential for hundreds more. Climbers are required to stop by the visitor center or lodge to get a climbing permit, which is free. 

Whitesburg based Kentucky Mist Moonshine has joined the Kentucky Distillers Association becoming the 28th member of the non profit trade group.  KDA members produce more than 90 percent of the world’s bourbon.

A new cosmetic manufacturing and packaging company RJM International opened yesterday in London and is hiring.  The factory has already hired many people but is still looking for about 15 more workers by Friday.  The company’s biggest product is nail polish.

The Ark Encounter is scheduled to open in Grant county in a little more than a week ,and Answers in Genesis says they’ll be ready to go.  The ark attraction has had battles over tax incentives, requiring all employees to sign a statement of faith, and now they say they’re ready for the crowds. The attraction plans to hire 300-400 seasonal workers.

A Judge in Big Stone Gap Virginia will hold former Big Stone Gap Police officer Oliver Mullins without bond.  A grand jury handed down a 48 count indictment accusing Mullins of child sex crimes.  He’s facing three counts of rape, three counts of incest, forcible sodomy, grooming, and 20 counts of indecent liberties and 20 counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Perry County Clerk Haven King will not appeal his conviction on a charge of official misconduct. King was found guilty of harassment and official misconduct after a video surfaced on Facebook of him questioning a woman about her disabled veterans license plate. A judge ordered King to pay $750 in fines based on the jury's recommendation. His attorney initially asked for extra time to pay those fine because he was considering an appeal, but he says now that King will not appeal the charge.

Williamsburg passed a referendum to sell alcohol 448 to 241.  Mayor Roddy Henderson says he knows it is a divisive issue, but felt being a dry territory was holding the area back as businesses considering Williamsburg as a location tended to look elsewhere when discovering they were dry.  Harrison says most of the tax revenue from package liquor, beer, and wine sales will go to the police department, whom he says will be vigilantly patrolling, and making sure the towns new wet status doesn’t make it go wild.

Explosions rocked the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul yesterday killing at least 36 people and wounding around 150.  Initial reports say three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up.  EKU graduate and Kentucky native Seth Collins says he had a flight scheduled back to Kentucky just a few hours after the explosion.  Collins says his airline made him other arrangements as the Ataturk airport is closed indefinitely.

Perry County Central girls basketball coach Randy Napier is the winning-est coach in the state and took some time yesterday to remember another legend.  Napier says Pat Summit, who died at the age of 64, made women's basketball important.  He says he had a chance to interact with you and believes intensity and drive led to the success of the Tennessee women’s program.

Monday 11-2-15

There’s a new option in town if you get sick on Sunday’s.  People in Letcher County used to only have two options on Sunday: go to the emergency room, or wait until Monday.  The Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation and Appalachian Regional Healthcare will now be open on Sunday’s from 1pm til 6 pm.  The healthcare provider using those Sunday hours to promote colon cancer screenings.  While Dr. David Terwilliger says they’d like to see everyone over 50 in the county screened.

Open enrollment for Kynect is underway. This year, Kynect leaders say there are more options for families to choose from. If you already have Kynect, you must re-enroll to continue your coverage. The enrollment period closes January 31st.

More than 300 jobs are coming to southwest Virginia and recruiters are looking for locals to fill those positions. TeleTech is hoping to fill full-time customer-service openings at a new location in Weber City. The company will hold several hiring events this week.The job fairs will run Monday, Nov. 2 through Thursday, Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Virginia Workforce Connection in Norton.

UK head coach Mark Stoops says his Kentucky Wildcats need to man up.  He says after the 52-21 loss to the Tennessee volunteers they need to find a way to get better before playing Georgia last week.  They’re coming off a blowout loss to florida.

High school marching bands across the state competed in a championship Saturday. The Hazard Band of Gold was among many bands to compete in Bowling Green. Hazard placed fourth in the state in the 1A division. The band followed behind Beechwood, Murray, and Williamstown. One band member said this was a great accomplishment. 

The University of Pikeville will begin the new year with a new president — Burton Webb, PhD. Dr. Webb was chosen recently by the UPike Board of Regents, and will take over Jan. 1 from Chancellor Paul Patton.

Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade nnnot optimistic about voter turnout numbers tomorrow.  He says negative campaigning in statewide races, and no local offices on the ballot will  cause the lowest voter turnout in the 17 years he’s been county clerk.  Absentee voting  in the county was very low.  If that trend holds, Clerk Meade could be right.

Both candidates seeking the 7th District Supreme Court seat in Eastern Kentucky are experienced judges, but their experience is very different. Janet L. Stumbo, who is on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, has served 24 years on that court and the state Supreme Court. Her opponent, Samuel T. Wright III, the circuit judge in Letcher County, has been on the bench more than 23 years, first as a district judge for a short time but mostly in his current position.

With Veterans Day a little over a week away, the Veterans Referral Center held their 9th annual telethon.  The fundraiser supports the center's needs for the entire year. The telethon  at the Paintsville Recreation Center raises money to keep them going.  . 

A portion of Big Hollow Road in Sullivan County will be closed starting today.The Sullivan County Highway Department will be repairing a portion of Big Hollow Road to strengthen the shoulder. Big Hollow Road will reopen when repairs are complete

Keeneland was packed with a record attendance of about 50,100 people Saturday. They were all there for the Breeders Cup, and got a real treat as triple crown winner American pharaoh became grand slam winner American pharaoh.  Just a few minutes after he won the classic by six lengths he retired to stud at Coolmore Farms in Versailles.