Local News Wednesday February 1, 2017

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for lower gas and electric bills in Eastern Kentucky.  Many Kentucky Power residents say they feel nickel and dimmed by fees and say the winter months are tough on many people.  Many customers specifically had questions about the Big Sandy Retirment Rider that added fees to every power bill.

For the last week and a half sheriff's deputies in Knox County have been training on a virtual decision that is designed to help them make the right decisions about when and if to use deadly force.  The virtual reality simulator puts law enforcement officers in real life do or die situations.  Following each training exercise is an analysis of what the officer did right or wrong in the given situation.  They hope that kind of training will prepare them and make them more likely to make good decisions when confronted with tricky situations in real life.

The loss of coal and mineral severance funds has hit most counties in Eastern Ke ntucky hard, causing a variety of problems.  Floyd County officials Say the loss of 4 million in funding per year since 2012 and the high likelihood that the number is even lower next year is making it hard to keep the jail open.  Floyd County Judge Executive Ben Hale says fiscal court is trying to figure out how to cover the cost of the jail in the next fiscal year and  into the future.  Jailer Stuart Halpert says the number of inmates in the Floyd County Detention Center has increased despite continued budget cuts.  Some of the options that the county is looking at to keep the jail open and ease budget restrictions include a three percent increase to transient room Tax on motels or a tax on insurance companies that do business in Floyd County.  Hale says he wont consider an occupational tax, though other  members of the fiscal court might.

A Perry county man is facing charges for allegedly forging signatures on multiple prescriptions.  Pikeville police say they got a tip that Travis Hicks  was using her name to get prescription medication.  Police say Hicks forged the signatures of three doctors on five prescription blanks and had them filled at the Food City in Shelbiana.  Hicks, who is a Registered Nurse at Pikeville Medical Center used the forged prescription slips to get oxycodone  and nor could.  He's charged with five counts of forgery of prescription, theft of prescription blanks, and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Elaine Chao, the wife of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnel has been confirmed as Transportation Secretary in the Trump Administration.  She was conformed with overwhelming support.  The vote was 93-6.  Trump has promised to invest $1 trillion in improving highways, rail service, and other infrastructure projects.

A drug roundup yesterday landed 21 people behind bars.  Indictments were served for 21 people in Perry and Knott COunties.  The indictments stemmed form several different investigations all related to drug trafficking.  More arrests are expected.

Last night Voice Winner Jordan Smith of Harlan sang the National Anthem at the UK vs. Georgia men's basketball game in Rupp Arena.

Yesterday in Lee County Teleworks USA hosted a job fair for people working from home.  Concentric, a business services company facilitated the fair virtually.  There will be another Job fair in Perry County February 9th.

Chuck Sexton, President and CEO of One East Kentucky has been chosen of a 40 under 40 award.  The award program was managed by Development counselor international, a firm specializing in economic marketing.

Governor Matt Bevin is planning a visit to Virginia to help Republican Ed Gillispie's bid for Governor. THey'll campaign together in Lynchburg and Staughton on February 9th.

After two straight losses the Kentucky men's basketball team got a much needed win, though it was hard fought.  Kentucky outlasted Georgia last night winning 90-81 in Overtime.    It looked like the cats would be headed to a third straight loss until a jumper from Malik Monk with 8 seconds left in regulation tied the game up at 76 all.

A 13 year old Girl in McCracken County allegedly robbed a clothing store while armed.  Investigators say a 13-year old girl and 14 year old boy robbed The Pink Tractor in Grand Rivers at around 12:30pm.  They say the girl, wearing a mask fired a gunshot into the ceiling before demanding cash.  Both juveniles are charged with robbery.  The girl is also charged with wanton endangerment.

Local News Tuesday January 31, 2017

Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.You can order tickets on Ticketmaster or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Ralph Baze shot and killedd Powell county Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Srthur Bristol 25 yer ago while the men were trying to serve a warrant on Baze.  A jury convicted him to death 24 year ago and Baze is still on death row.  Briscoe's sister says they[be waited too long for Bae's case to play out through the court.  Baze legally challenged lethal injection saying it was cruel and unusual punishment a claim rejected by the Supreme Court in 2005.

A Wise County Virginia man is pleading guilty to trying to coax a minor into having sex.  24-year-old Stormy Dotson of POound pleaded guilty to using an electronic communication device to propose a sex act with a minor child under the age of 15 years old and faces up to 10 years in prison.  His sentencing is scheduled for March 30th.

A logging truck overturned in Jaohnson County yesterday afternoon reducing traffic on KY 40 to one lane.  The wreck was cleaned up easily and no injuries were reported.

A man was hit by a car on HIgh Street inHazard Monday morning around 8 to 9am.  Police say a woman tried to stop to avoid hitting a man who didn't see her.  They say her car bumped him and he fill.  THe man was taken to Hazard ARH with minor injuries, the road has since reopened.

Pulaski COunty deputies say they found two burglars hiding in the basement of a church last week.  Police were called to a possible burglary at Ringgold Pentecostal Church last week.  A search of the building turned up two people found hiding in the the basement they were arrested, charged with burglary and taken to the Pulaski County detention center.

Congressional Republicans are moving to repeal Obama administration tregulations aimwed at better protecting streams from mining debris.  Legislation unveiled Monday would overturned regulations approved just last month in a manner that is immune to filibusters by Senate Democrats.

A Martin County family says their dog likely save their lives.  Around 3:30am Monday morning flames ripped through a Floyd OCunty home.  Floyd Maynard says their miniature schnauzer Lucy came to the rescue, it ran into their bedroom barking no woke them up in time for them to get out of the fire safety. They say within just minutes the fire engulfed everything they owned.  Fortunately no one was hurt.

On Monday, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced the formation of a Survivors Council. The group is made of people from Beshear's Office and 27 survivors of violent crime in the state.  the council will advise and assist the Office of Attorney General on matters related to victims of crime, including advancing victim-centered services, training and policy, and raising awareness. Beshear said the Survivors Council brings together individuals who have survived the violent death of a family member, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, gun violence and other violent crimes to help improve responses to victims in the stat
e.

Monday January 30, 2017

A fire in Breathitt County at an apartment building.  Fire officials were called to the building on Railroad Street that was once the B&G Motel.  It's not yet clear how many people were inside at the time. No injuries were reported.

A Knox County man and woman were arrested over the weekend after a 13-hour standoff with Police.  Police were called to a Shell Gas station where 40-year-old Melissa Drummer claimed that Fifty-year-old David Wilson was armed and harassing her. Police say they do not know what Wilson's intentions were, but that he took off when he saw police. He was found later inside a newly build home. Barbourville Police and Kentucky State Police (KSP) surrounded the home to negotiate with Wilson.  He was eventually found in the home of the attic and was taken into custody.  Wilson was taken to Barbourville ARH for the treatment of minor injuries. He faces numerous charges including burglary, resisting arrest, fleeing or evading police, and wanton endangerment. Drummer was also arrested because police say she was uncooperative in identifying Wilson.  Police Drummer brought two suitcases in the women's restroom of the gas station.  They say the luggage contained drugs, paraphernalia, and a gun.  The case is still under investigation by both KSP and Barbourville Police.

A Corbin man is charged with endangering the welfare of a minor after police say he was smoking marijuana when he was supposed to be caring for three young children. 25-year-old Allen Buttery Jr. was arrested during a welfare check.   Deputies say when they arrived they're noticed a strong odor of marijuana and Buttery admitted that he had been smoking marijuana in the apartment. Social services was called to the scene, and the children were placed with other family members.Buttery was wanted on numerous warrants from Knox, Whitley and Laurel Counties.

Environmental groups are taking the Tennessee Valley Authority to trial over whether waste ash from its aging coal-fired power plant near Nashville polluted the Cumberland River in violation of the Clean Water Act.  The group claims that ash storage ponds have been illegally pollutin the river for years and that state regulators haven't property addressed the problem. The bench trial opens today in Nashville federal court.

The Cawood Water District in Harlan County issued a boil water advisory for the Pathfork area due to a main line break.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working to pass a bill to boost mobile networks, which would give rural areas access to fast, next generation technology. Almost 34 million Americans don't have the high-speed internet access or broadband they need. The Mobile Now Act, aims to make more 5G wireless spectrum available for commercial use in the future. It would also free up hundreds of megahertz of spectrum by the year 2020 and will make it easier to install broadband infrastructure, strengthening the signal in even the most rural areas. The bill got tied up on the Senate floor last session. The Senate Commerce Committee approved the bill this week with bipartisan support. It now heads to the Senate floor.

Kentucky lost to number 2 ranked Kansas Saturday in Rupp Arena as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The final score was 79-73.  It was the Jayhawks second straight win over the Wildcats on their home floor.

A Harlan County man is facing numerous charges after deputies said he knocked his female landlord unconscious. Officials say Ronnie Curtis asked his landlord for a glass of water. When she went to help, deputies said he knocked her unconscious and tied her with duct tape.   She woke up about four hours later, hands and feet duct-taped and Mr. Curtis was leaning over her on the bed," said Brewer. She did not report the incident for several days, telling police that she was afraid Curtis would try to ambush her that night.  He was arrested within hours of her riling the report. Deputies said Curtis did not take anything from the home. They are still investigating what happened while the victim was unconscious.

The Harlan County Lady Green Dragons fell to Monroe County 61-55 in the GIrls ALl "A" State Finals.  Jordan Brock scored 39 points in the loss.  Brock broke the tournament record for the most three-pointers in a game with eight.

Yesterday in Knott County to dedicate a bridge to a local business owner, veteran and leader in the community.  Burnice Steele owned and operated Steele’s Auto Sales in Hazard with his son, Rick Steele, for more than 55 years.  Rick says he hopes everyone will think about Burnice when they cross his bridge.

Local News Friday January 27, 2017

A grand jury in Harlan County has indicted a mother in the murder of her two-month-old child. Social Services went to the home of 23-year old Sierra Foster in December to look into a complaint from someone that she claimed she was under the influence of drugs and unable to care for her child.  Investigators found Foster high and her child dead.  They say she had not cared for her child for at least 12 hours when the child was found, investigators said.  She charged with murder, criminal abuse, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The grand jury returned indictments on all charges.

Vandalism and Break ins at the Bull Creek Trade Center in Prestonsburg had Kentucky State Police Troopers searching the scene yesterday for any sign of fingerprints or other clued as to who broke into around 10 businesses there.  Damage included broken windows, locks, door frames and more.  Many vendors have already begun repairing the damage.  Many say they’re looking into additional security measures to keep the same thing from happening again in the future.

Police in McCreary County say they were called to a possible kidnapping and when they arrived they found 40-year-old Gary Roberts dead in the road near that call.  Roberts was last seen leaving his home with 25-year-old Kenneth Mullins going very fast.  Mullins has been arrested in connection to the death.  An exact cause of that death is still pending an autopsy.

Perry County Park is going to get a new three mile long walking trail.  The Perry County Fiscal Court applied for, and was awarded a $200,000 grant to build the walking trail.  Perry County Judge Executive Scott Alexander says they’ve been aggressively applying for grants which are allowing them to expand and renovate their parks, even when money is otherwise tight.  So far they’ve won around $600,000 total in park funds.

A 44-year old man was found dead Thursday afternoon in the bathroom of the Dollar General Store in Neon.  Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Pease says they were called to the store after employees reported that the man had been unresponsive in the bathroom for some time.  The man was pronounced dead on the scene by Letcher County Coroner Renee Campbell.  Officials are not identifying the man and say an autopsy will determine his cause of death.

The McCrery County Fiscal Court has proposed a new tax to help solve a major budget shortfall, around one and a half a million dollars. One of the options is a 7% insurance tax, which many people came out to protest.  Judge Executive Douglas Stephens says they’re going to try making cuts before taxes, but there’s not much left to cut and they have a big shortfall to make up.  They did not reach a solution to the problem and will continue to discuss. Knott County has proposed a similar solution to a similar predicament.

A Lynch man has been sentenced to five years in prison for rape.  Toney Moore had sex with a girl under the age of 16 in 2014.  He pleaded guilty to three counts of third degree rape. He’ll spend five years in prison and participate in the sexual offender treatment program.

A mother and son were in Johnson County court yesterday to face accusations of robbing and beating an elderly man.  Conley Holbrook testified that Ronnie and Arthur web brutally assaulted her father, 80-year-old Wallace Conley in his home.  The judge sent Ronnie Webb’s case to a grand jury.  Arthur Webb’s hearing was reset to next week.  The Conley family says Wallace Conley is still recovering from his injuries.

Minor power outages in Perry County yesterday were triggered by a Rock slide.  Kentucky Power officials say the slide tripped a breaker and caused outages for more than 900 customers. Power was restored after about an hour.

After a trend for years of Counties approving alcohol sales, the trend seems to be reversing itself.  Allen County Voters became the third area in the state to vote down alcohol sales in a matter of a month or two.  

Local News Wednesday January 25, 2017

Eastern Kentucky Authorities are searching for a man suspected in two separate car theft cases.  Police one of the thefts occurred on Monday morning at a Shell station in Jackson.  Greg Mann says he was getting coffee when suddenly he noticed his truck driving off without him.  The truck was found wrecked later that that day on Highway 541 in War Creek.  Constable Ronnie Begley found 25 year old Charles Lutes walking down the road and put him in his cruiser for questioning.  While Begley and officials were inspecting the crash Lutes ripped apart the door panel and pulled the window down just enough to escape.  He’s also wanted for questioning by the Lee County Sheriff in connection to a stolen car that ended up in Breathitt County.

Right now the Historic Daniel Boone Hotel in Downtown Whitesburg is vacant.  Despite being one of the architectural centerpieces of the city, it’s been unused since the 1980’s.  Now two grants of half a million from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Department of Local Government aim to start restoration.  The building has developed a leak that has rotted wood and made the building structurally unstable.  While a full renovation is expected to cost around $6.5 million, the first million should get the ball rolling.  Mayor James Wiley Craft says the first order of business is to put a new roof on the building to stop the leak.  They plan to begin stabilization in late spring or early summer.  Once open it will feature 44 guest rooms, a penthouse, boutique shops, and a high end restaurant.

High water earlier this week created many problems across the region, but one of the most concerning is a washed out bridge in Pike County that connects several families to Kentucky 197 in Elkhorn City.  Right now road crews have a temporary solution in place, a gravel road leading to the next closest exit for the six families affected. County official say they will work to have the bridge fixed by spring.

The Knott County Fiscal Court has proposed new taxes as a solution to the county’s budget issues.  Judge Executive Zach Weinberg says a lack of coal severance money is putting programs like parks, the library, fire departments, and the senior citizens’ program on the chopping block.  The only way to save them?  Asking those in the county to pony up more money.  They’ve come up with three potential options, adding a one percent occupational tax, an eight percent insurance premium for insurance other than health and life, or to shut down the county government entirely.  The court will vote on the issue on February 2nd at 2pm.

$3 million in federal grant money is coming to southwest Virginia to try to help keep jobs in the region.  Mountain Empire Community College has received a nearly $1 million grant to start a new power lineman program, to train for the high demand, high pay job.  The Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing in Abington received $1.3 million to support businesses who make supplies for the coal industry.  The remaining grant money will to to Virginia Community Capital.

T
he ESPN College game day crew will make a stop in Hazard this weekend on their way to the Kentucky-Kansas game in Lexington.  The bus I scheduled to be in the Walmart Parking lot from 3:30pm until 6:30pm tomorrow.

A Laurel County couple has been charged with sexually abusing an eighth-year-old girl on four separate occasions.  Jordan and Sable Young are facing four counts each of sexual abuse.  Social Service officials are also investigating those incidents.


One lane of Kentucky 40 between Paintsville and Martin County near mile marker 19 is currently blocked by a rock fall.  State officials were able to clear one lane of traffic, and continue working to clear the other lane.