Wednesday 8-12-15

By Jerry Adams

The cats at the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter have been saved.  Earlier this week, the shelter put out word that they would have to euthanize 60 cats because of overcrowding, but now, the public has responded and adopted more than 100 cats and kittens.  People from as far away as Lexington showed up, and now the  shelter has plenty of room. In fact, they have no more cats left for adoption for now.

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More than 100 people lined up in Jenkins on Tuesday, for a chance to fill one of 50 positions at a new call center that is set to open there next month. Healthcare National Marketing plans to open that center to make calls to people about health and dental insurance. The Florida based company says after the initial 50 jobs are filled, they plan to add more, to staff an expected second shift at the facility. Healthcare National Marketing is based in Florida where they employ 200 people at a similar call center.

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Police have made an arrest in the murder of a Clay County man who was shot as he got ready for work last month. The aren't releasing the mans name and he was brought into jail with a jacket over his head to protect his identify as the search goes on for another person beloved to be involved in the killing.  24 year old Trevor dykes was gunned down on July 27th  in front of his home in Manchester. Since then, detectives say the have been working non stop to close the case. Dykes's friends and family says they have waited for this moment and now want justice. The suspect  in custody is facing solicitation to commit murder charges.

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A man from Harlan County is accused of leading police on a chase that began in the Bledsoe community—and ended several miles later in Bell County on Tuesday morning.. They say they had to use spike strips to stop the car, driven by 54 year old Byran Wells. The pursuit began when police say wells refused to stop for officers on Highway 221. He is facing several charges.

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Some people in Letcher County say they have found help from addictions though a new program.  The Letcher County Lifeline Connection is a faith based program, which uses something called neuron electric therapy, or NET, at the Isiah House drug treatment center.  The group also holds support meetings for people with any substance abuse problem—and for their families as well. They have several of those sessions scheduled in the coming weeks throughout the county.

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Johnson county sheriff's are looking for two people they say burglarized a charity there. They say they have surveillance video of the suspects who took items from the Christian Appalachian Project early Sunday morning.  The project says the theft of the items, in including tools and other supplies—will hurt. They also say they want the theives to know that they have stolen—not only from the project, but from members of the community who are in need. The sheriffs office is hoping the public can provide tips about that theft.

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When flood waters washed though Johnson County last month, thew swept away dozens of homess—and the precious meories that were inside. Now some volunteers are combing though debris, salvaging what they can and trying to put pictures that they have found back in the hands of people they belong to. All Hands volunteers say they are happy to do something meaningful—rather than just sorting junk and putting it in the trash.

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A woman who found a pair of World War II dog tags in a park in isom is hoping to get them back to their owner. Sarah Caudill found the tags near a dumpster at the isom Community Park and says  find the people who they belong to. She says they are important to someone and are of both personal and patriotic significance. The well worn tags are on a chain and have the name Richard
McCraken—and Caudill has posted pictures of them on the Internet, hoping someone will recognize them.

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Kentucky has joined the list of states suing the EPA over its tough new restrictions on coal emissions from power plants. Attorney general Jack Conway says the federal government is overstepping its authority with those rules that were announced earlier this year. Conway says the proposed regulations would make it difficult for the state to come up with its own air quality guildines and would likely lead to higher electric bills as well.

Tuesday 8-11-15

By Jerry Adams

Officials are investigating an apparently serious accident in Floyd County. Reports say a pickup went of an 250 foot embankment in the Prater Creek community near highway 1426. No word yet on the extent of any injuries.

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A tough choice facing the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter in Hazard—and you can help.. The shelter's board says they are urgently looking g for new homes for 50 to 60 cats by Thursday morning.  If not, the shelter may have to euthenize the animals because they just font have the room to hold them all. The cats that are up for adoption are inexpensive -- 5 to 10 dollars. Officials say saving one cat may not seem like much, but it does make a difference.. The shelter has more information and pictures of the kittens and some of their new families on its facebook page. We have put a link to it on the local news page at 103.9 the bulldog.com. (https://www.facebook.com/KentuckyRiverRegionalAnimalShelter)

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A church community in Pike  County is facing a rebuilding after a fire destroyed their house of worship on Monday. Officials say the Freewill Baptist Church in the Brush community is a total loss. There is no word on what caused the fire that apparently began near the back corner of the structure.  Investigators will be looking through whats left to find out how it started.  Members say they are heartbroken by the loss of the 60 year old church, but that their faith will help the through the tough time. They say the church is more than a building—that it is the people who attend services and worship god every Sunday, wherever that may be for now.

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As students head back to class this week, a new superintendent will head to a new job beginning September 1st. The Pike County Board of Education has named Reed Adkins as the distrct's new leader.  He's worked his way through the school system from bus driver, to teacher to basketball coach and principal.  Adkins says he is looking forward to the position and says he will focus on classroom achievement and student safety when he takes over the county's top school  job.

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A man from Breathitt County has pleaded guilty in a manslaughter case that began with a DUI related car crash a year ago,but the victims family says justice was not served. Four people died  in the wreck last August and Shawn Hardin was originally charged with four counts of wanton murder, but now, he has plead guilty to a lesser charge with a recommended 13 year old sentence. Family members say thats too lenient and that the plea on the eve of a trial is not what they had expected or hoped for.

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A new warning about counterfeit money in the area. There have been more reports of bogus bills now in  Letcher and Perry counties. Officials say its important for businesses to check all cash especially 20 dollar bills carefully, using a special pen that detect fake bills. They also say the money feels different than usual and is fairly easy to detect.  It's no laughing matter, printing and passing counterfeit money can lead to a 5 to 10 year federal sentence for forgery.

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People in Johnson County are hoping to get their hands on some real money soon to help them pay for damage done by last month's flooding.  Officials with the county disaster relief fund say they are doing the best they can  . They say they will be able to help even more people once insurance companies begin to pay claims and FEMA gets word that the county has been declared a disaster area.  No word yet on when that designation might come.

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And an honor for Whitesburg ARH for it's care of patients who have had a stroke. The Norton/UK Heath care Stroke network has named the hospital as a Rising Star for their work. Officials say Whitesburg ARH has shown a commitment to quality care that should be recognized. . The facility is an affiliate of U K health' stoke network and doctors say being part of that larger group improves the chances of recovering following a stroke.

Monday 8-10-15

By Jerry Adams

Police have made an arrest in connection with the theft a truck from a Wal-Mart in Hazard that was later recovered at another Wal-Mart in Whitesburg.  46 year old Ercil McPeaks was picked up over the weekend in Knott county and was taken to the Kentucky River Regional Jail.  Police say this is an unusual case, and that their investigation is continuing.

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The Whitesburg Bike night roared though town again on Saturday—days after organizers said they were considering  canceling the event. The city of  says the event—which is held every second Saturday—is a great tradition and that they are happy it can go on.  Last week, bikers said they  were looking at taking the event elsewhere because of a  state mandated insurance policy and what they felt was indifference by the city, but now, those involved say any problems have been ironed out and the riders say they are good to go in Whitesburg to have fun—and to raise money for charity.

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Police say they have found a man who escaped as he was being taken to the Harlan County Detention Center. They say 21 year old Christopher Thacker was able to escape from an officer who was taking him back to the jail after a hospital visit early Saturday morning . Reports say Thacker is now back in custody following his arrest at a residence in Caxton.

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Family and friends came  together  in Hazard on Saturday to remember a man who died while hiking in Colorado.  21 year old Joseph Combs was a graduate of Hazard High and was an avid soccer player, so organizers held a pickup game in his memory.  They also put together a motorcycle ride to help raise money and show support for the Combs family.

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Some volunteer firefighters from Harlan County have had a chance to practice skills behind the wheel of some of their department's rigs.  The Evarts fide department brought in the Kentucky State Fire Commission to host  a training and testing session over the weekend—including the state's 1.5 million dollar driving simulator. Officials say that while simulation is great, nothing beas  the real experience of being in the drivers seat of a big firetruck.

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A man from Laurel County is in custody after his arrest on charges that he killed 6 people in  drunk driving crash in Tennessee.  Police say they found 39 year old Benjamin Brewer late Friday near Lexington after receiving a tip. Brewer had been wanted in  connection with that wreck on I-75 near Chattanooga in June. He is facing several counts of vehicular homicide in Tennessee.

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Some real mountain history will be in the spotlight tonight on the National geographic channel. The show called “Diggers” will feature the Hatfield-McCoy feud  .The show had its premiere on Saturday in Pikeville—and several descendants of the dueling families were on hand. They say they have long ago buried the hatchet—and have now come together to help tell the story about the deadly fights of the second half of the 1800's.

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A 96 year old man from Laurel County has been honored for his courage and service during world war two. The Twin Branch United Methodist Church  in London gave it's St Barbara's award to Leonard Gilliam, who served in the artillery and distinguished  himself in on the battlefield. Those on had say it was an honor to spend time with Gilliam and to thank  for his service to country and the community where he has spent his life.

Tuesday 7-28-15

By Jerry Adams

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A shooting in Clay County has left one man dead. The victim is identified as 24 year old Trevor Dykes—who police say was shot as he left his home for work on Monday morning, not far from Goose Rock Elementary School. Sheriff Kevin Johnso
n says police are talking to two people he describes as persons of interest.

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Nobody was hurt in an accident involving a coal truck and a train on Highway 7 in Letcher County.  That crash happened around 10 Monday morning when police say the truck and train collided in the Colson community.  The driver, identified as Donny Hall was stuck for several hours in the wreck but was pulled to safety. The highway was closed for about six hours for crews to clean up the mess. The cause is under investigation.

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One man is dead after a crash in Harlan County.  Police identify him as 30 year old Shawn Smith, who they say lost control of his car and flipped on Nola Street in the Cawood community. He was pronounced dead at Harlan ARH shortly after the crash.

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Officials are investigating a mining accident in Dickenson County, Virginia that left one man injured. They say that victim was injured while working on some roof bolts Monday morning at the Paramount Coal Company's number 26 mine. He is identified as a 44 year old man from Big Stone Gap who has been on the job with Bates Contracting since earlier this year. Reports say he was airlifted to a hospital in Louisville where his condition is unknown.

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An indictment  of an ambulance driver involved in a fatal accident nearly a year ago.  A Knox County grand jury has charged 25 year old Kevin French with being drunk behind the wheel in the crash that killed 14 year old Sampson Callender as he rode his bike along US 25 last august.  Two other boys riding with Callendar were not hurt.

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A man has been arrested in Laurel County and charged with a holdup in Corbin earlier this month. Police have accused Anthony Sizemore with the armed robbery of a Belk Store on Cumberland Gap Parkway. One woman was injured when she was pushed to the ground during the heist. Sizemore is facing wanton endangerment and assault charges.

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Someone is passing bad money in Pike County. Authorities say there have been  at least four cases of counterfeit bills since Thursday. Their advice to local business is to check all bills carefully, especially larger ones, with a special pen that detects counterfeits.   if  a bill doesn't feel right, you should let police know right away.

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Meanwhile, another kind of fake is being circulated at Family Dollar stores. The company says people are being fooled by a website simlar to but not related to the store's, where they can print out the useless coupon, which promises 50 dollars off an purchase of 55 dollars or more. The store will not honor that phony discount.

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Some  Pike County residents are fed up with their local government and they are trying to do something about it. The group called Pike Countians Against Government waste has has started a  petition to change the structure of government from the current six magistrates to a three person commission. They will need 1200 signatures to get the question onto the ballot in November, but they may have their work cut out. With just two weeks before the deadline, they have collected about 100 so far. Current elected officials  aren't sure the change is necessary and say people should weigh that petition   carefully before deciding to sign it.

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Harlan County will play host to an annual event for horse enthusiasts later this week. The Harlan County Shriner Horse Show and Fair runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Shriners Fairgrounds in Putney. Organizers say it will have something for everyone, with racing and show horses and a stick horse competition for kids Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30. The fun has a purpose—to raise money for the Shriner Hospitals for children in Lexington and Cincinnati.

Friday 7-24-15

By Jerry Adams

Controversy around a Whitesburg gun shop whose owners have put up a sign calling it a “Muslim free store.”  Jill Stidham at Jace Firearms says she is just exercising her free speech rights, following last weeks shooting death of five service members by a muslim gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She calls Islam a religion of hate and says if people are offended , they can take their business elsewhere. Some residents say the sign sends the wrong message about the city being intolerant.

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Officials in Breathitt County call it the biggest drug bust they've made in a long time. Two people have been arrested following that raid at a home on Highway 20 west. Inside  police say the found drugs, including meth, pills and marijuana, and around 8000 dollars cash stuffed into safe boxes. Joseph Pennington and Zachariah Gross will face several charged in connection with that raid.  A third man, Jason Pennington, was also arrested and charged with a parole violation,

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Tears of joy in Pike County after a missing man was found safely.  71 year old Floyd Castle had been missing since Tuesday when he wandered off from his home in the Mouthcard community. His family says they are overjoyed and thankful after searchers found him safe and sound. They say castle has early signs of Alzheimer's disease and apparently got confused after he went out for a walk.

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Volunteers from around the country have been showing up in Johnson County to help the cleanup efforts there.  Now, some of them have a place to stay, thanks to the Christian Appalachian Project. That temporary dorm in Paintsville is home to about 50 to 60 people who are in Johnson County doing things like cleaning basements and hauling away mud from homes that were hit by the flooding.  Volunteers say they are touched by the stories of those who they are helping, and say they are glad to do what they can for people still very much in need of a hand.

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A  man from Clay County has died after he was shocked during cleanup work from last weeks storms. 50 year old Dwayne Brewster was electrocuted when some live wires pulled out of from a junction box on property in the Belles Fork community around 6:30 on Thursday night. Officials  say he was helping the owner level the foundation that had been damaged during last weeks floods.

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Officials are hoping the public can help find a man who swiped a dirt bike from a Laurel County business. It happened early Wednesday at Crossroads Motor Sports in London when the man walked past security cameras and simply took the bike, which is worth around a thousand dollars and had been dropped off for repairs.  Owner Ronnie Lewis says he can't say what he would have done had he caught that bold thief in the act. London police say anyone with information should call their office.

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Cumberland is a step closer to becoming an official “Trail Town” city that would allow it to host trail riding events. A local task force has received permission from another landowner to allow the trail to cross his property, meaning a trial run could be held on September 18th.  Members of the group say they are excited about the project which could bring marketing opportunities from the state, and draw lots of  new visitors to the area.

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A driving alert for a part of Pike County this weekend. The Kentucky Highway Cabinet says  a 1.2  mile  portion of Kentucky highway 3419 at Smith Fork in Phelps will be closed  from 5 this afternoon until 5 on Sunday as  crews  replace a concrete culvert. They say while it may be a temporary inconvenience over the weekend, the road will be in much better shape when the work is done.

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The Kentucky State Fair Board says it will no longer sell or promote items bearing the confederate flag. The decision on will include next months state fair and other properties the board oversees. Also taking a stand against the controversial flag, the Kentucky State Parks department which says confederate flag themed merchandise will no longer be for sale in any park gift shops. Group s opposing the flag call both decisions steps in the right direction against what they feel is a symbol of intolerance.