Tuesday November 12, 2013

Their job is crucial whenever Mother Nature flexes her muscle. Road crews are ready to go out to make sure all 850 miles of Letcher County roads are safe for people to travel on. That can get tricky when winter weather hits because it can come at any time. As the Eastern Kentucky region braces for its first batch of winter weather this season, county officials work to tighten budgets without compromising safety.

A Kentucky-based promotional campaign featuring a special logo for farm goods produced by military veterans is spreading nationally, with the goal of making the brand a household name and boosting income for ex-service members looking to make a living off the land. James Comer, Kentucky's agriculture commissioner, said Monday the California-based Farmer Veteran Coalition has volunteered to run the Homegrown by Heroes program across the country. The branding program got its start last January in Kentucky.

Two hikers have been found after getting lost on a trail in the Red River Gorge Sunday night. It happened in Menifee County on Osborne Bend at Lost Branch. Officials say Troy Nowlin, of Lexington, and Mary Nash, of Pittsburg, were the two hikers that went missing. They're both 46 years old. The Menifee County Emergency Manager says they got lost when it got dark. They called 911 and were rescued. Neither one were taken to the hospital.

Police say a central Kentucky woman injured in a weekend blaze has died. Kentucky State Police said that 49-year-old Debbie Cooper died early Monday morning from injuries suffered in the house fire. Police said Cooper's home in Liberty caught fire Saturday. She was flown from Casey County to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.
  Police are still trying to find the cause of the blaze but don't suspect foul play.

It's almost time for the holidays and KCEOC officials estimate one-half of charitable donations are made in November and December. Police say it is also the time of year holiday scams begin. The Christian Life Food Pantry in Barbourville depends on donations. Knox County Sheriff's Deputies want to make sure this charity and all of the others in the area get the donations people intend for them to get. Deputies say this is the time of year when scammers try to take away from the holiday spirit.


Monday November 11, 2013

Kentucky's bumper corn and soybean crops appear headed toward record heights for production, a dramatic turnaround from last year's struggles for grain farmers plagued by a combination of drought and extreme heat. Statewide corn production is forecast to reach a record 247 million bushels, up a whopping 138 percent from last year's skimpy production.
Corn and soybeans account for about one-third of Kentucky's overall agricultural cash receipts, which are hovering around $5 billion annually.

A Pike County man is jail after police say he robbed a Pikeville convenience store Saturday evening. Police say surveilance video is what helped them make the arrest. Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday Pikeville Police say they received a call about a robbery at the Marathon Double Kwik on South Mayo Trail. Police identified 36-year-old, Gary Lowe, as the man they say held the cashier, stole the cash, and then left the scene on foot. Officers say they seached various locations before locating Lowe at the Riverside Inn.

A two car accident sent one person to the hospital early Sunday morning. Perry County dispatchers say the accident happened on Kentucky 28 across from Ben's Quick Stop. the incident occurred around 10:20am. one person was taken to Hazard ARH. The extent of the injuries is unknown.


A Boone County power station is using algae to eat the carbon dioxide emissions from its smoke stacks. The project began after Kentucky's Department for Energy Development and Independence tasked the University of Kentucky with finding a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions biologically. The procedure begins with a line connected to the flue gas stack atop Duke Energy's East Bend Station. More than 90 percent of Kentucky's power comes from coal, which produces carbon dioxide as a waste product when burned.

The Rockcastle County coroner was called to the scene of a fire at a home in the Brodhead Community. Fire crews were called to the home on Chestnut Grove Road around 11pm Friday night. The coroner has identified the victim as 72-year-old Walter Wagers. Wagers' daughter says she spoke to him just before the fire. Kentucky State Police arson investigators were on the scene well into the morning to try to determine the cause of the fire. They say they don't think the fire is suspicious.

Emergency crews in Laurel County say an allergic reaction may have been to blame for a hazmat scare. A student at the London campus of the Somerset Community College had to be treated by paramedics after having an allergic reaction. The reaction came after she opened a padded envelope and the lining came out. That led to emergency crews responding, including homeland security. At least 30 people were temporarily quarantined. No one was injured in this scare.


Friday November 8, 2013

A new report shows fourth- and eighth-graders in Kentucky have made little academic growth in math and reading. Commonly known as the "Nation's Report Card," the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is given every two years to a sample of fourth- and eighth-graders.

In Kentucky, there was no change in fourth-grade math, but there was a one-point decrease in eighth-grade math.

As for reading, the report showed a one-point decrease for the fourth grade, and a one-point increase for the eighth grade.


A shortage of police officers in the City of Jenkins is hampering efforts to keep students at Jenkins Independent Schools safe as they arrive at and leave school.

At the November meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Councilman Robert Adams questioned why Jenkins police officers were not directing traffic at the entrance of Jenkins Middle High School.

Adams said he has seen Jenkins MHS Principal David Lee out directing traffic and said the situation is not safe for Lee or for the people leaving the school and traffic passing the entrance.


Officials say repairs are almost complete to the Evarts Elementary water line.

The leak has caused some issues recently, but officials say it is almost back to normal for students.

Outside of Evarts Elementary, the ground is torn up while crews repair the water leak.

Water plant workers noticed the school's water line had a leak and informed school officials. The Harlan County School District is making repairs and the water plant workers have provided some of the parts for the repairs.


A new program in Kentucky is designed to speed up mental health treatment for combat veterans and reduce the wait for care from the federal Veterans Affairs administration.

The goal of the program, a partnership between the Kentucky National Guard, the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Louisville, is to move veterans more quickly into treatment after they are either referred or seek out help for problems such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The federal Veterans Affairs department has a nationwide backlog kept soldiers waiting more than four months for treatment.


Three people face burglary charges in Rowan County.

Police say they arrested Jonathan Runyon, Alisa Broussard and Adam Wilson.

They say the trio broke into a home along Freestone Road in Morehead and stole several items.

All three face burglary and theft by unlawful taking charges.


Folks traveling along Kentucky 1006 tomorrow should expect delays.

Transportation officials say a section of the road around General Dynamics will be closed from 8:00 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. T

hey say the closure is necessary to allow crews to replace cross drains.

Friday November 1, 2013

An overnight break-in early Thursday morning at the Betsy Layne Senior Citizens Center just across the Pike/Floyd County line caused them to cancel their Halloween activities and officials at the center say the thief got away with all of their money.

Officials at the center say some one broke in the front window, made their way down the hall, and then broke into the office where all the money for the center is kept.

All together, more than $500 was taken and the thieves left behind more than $500 in damage.

A reward for any information leading to an arrest is being offered.

You are asked to contact the Kentucky State Police.

The center is also accepting donations.


Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources says it plans to eliminate about 230 positions throughout the company as it seeks to reduce costs.

The Bristol, Va.-based company said Thursday that it has developed a plan to further reduce operating and support expenses by at least $200 million in 2014 and beyond.

Alpha Natural Resources says most of the positions it is cutting are salaried.

About 100 of those positions are already vacant and will not be filled.

Alpha has mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.


Fire likely caused a plane crash that killed three eastern Kentucky women.

Tiffany Maggard, Kassie Lynn Robinson, Miranda Morgan all of Knott County and their pilot Matthew Shuey died when the plane went down in the mountains of North Carolina two years ago.

An NTSB report released this week shows the plane disappeared from radar less than a minute after Shuey reported the fire.

Investigators say they can't figure out what started the fire, because the plane had too much damage.

The women were returning to Kentucky after visiting a friend out of state.


The case against a Knox County daycare owner charged with criminal abuse has been continued to next year.

Barbourville Police arrested Larinda Tuttle last year when officers say they found five children in a hot attic with broken glass, loose wiring, and even dead animals.

Tuttle pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, the judge set the case for trial on January 15th.


A federal judge rejected attempts for a plea deal from four people accused of vote buying in Clay County.

The Lexington-Herald leader say that four of the remaining five people charged in the Clay County case planned to plead guilty today, but a federal judge rejected them.

The proposed deals would have allowed the four to appeal issues related to the racketeering charge against them, despite admitting guilt.

Those who planned to plead guilty were Doug Adams, Freddy Thompson, Charles Wayne Jones, and William Stivers.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys could still work out new agreements.

Judge Karen Caldwell set a November 7th deadline for new deals.


Dozens of new jobs are now available in Eastern Kentucky thanks to a large federal grant.

Officials at the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation requested the grant in May for a manufacturing initiative.

KHIC President Jerry Rickett says he requested the $800,000 grant.

Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday the grant money will go toward expanding Phillips Diversified Manufacturing facilities in Jackson and Clay counties.

The plant expects to hire 40 new employees.


Thursday October 31, 2013

A 28-year-old Eolia man has pleaded guilty to robbing two Virginia convenience stores last fall.

Jonathan Dean Adams entered a guilty plea in Wise County Circuit Court on Oct. 16 and was sentenced the same day.

Money, cigarettes and other merchandise were stolen Sept. 16, 2012 from State Line Food Mart and Double Kwik, both located in Pound, Va.

In both instances Adams brandished a weapon and took items, some of which were recovered.

All the sentences against Adams are to be served consecutively for a total of 40 years.


The case of a Perry County woman and man facing charges in an attempted murder case is heading to circuit court.

A grand jury returned indictments against Larry Yocum and Teresa Karr.

Yocum faces attempted murder and tampering with evidence charges.

Police say he beat Jeff Karr with a brick and left him to die in the Kentucky River.

They say Karr's wife Teresa washed Yocum's clothes, trying to get rid of evidence.

She faces a tampering with evidence charge.

An arraignment date is set for December 12th.


The Lynn Camp Middle and High Schools were on lockdown on Wednesday while investigators looked into a safety concern.

Knox County Sheriff's Deputies say a student threatened to bring a knife to school.

Knox County School officials say administrators placed the school on lockdown to investigate but deputies say no weapon was found.

Deputies and administrators say there is no evidence anyone intended to cause harm at either school.

Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles sent a letter home to parents explaining the situation.


A Southern Kentucky jail escapee is back in custody after spending five days on the run.

Williamsburg Police say Justin Cornettt was caught Wednesday morning at a motel in Bell County.

Cornett escaped from the Whitley County Jail Friday with another inmate, James Fields.

Fields was caught hours after the escape but Cornett eluded police for five days.

Cornett has been transported back to Whitley County.


A Breathitt county woman faces murder charges after a summer crash that left three people dead.

Billie Caudill was arraigned in court Wednesday where she pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and driving under the influence.

The crash happened near the Perry-Breathitt county line on July 3.

Officials say 30-year-old Billie Caudill was driving under the influence when she crossed the center line and hit a truck head on.

70 year-old William Belcher and his wife, Lillie, also died in the crash along with Caudill's husband Danny.


Forty-three percent of the households in Letcher County will be affected by a decrease in monthly food stamps benefits that begins Friday, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

Of 9,300 households in Letcher County, 4,038 are enrolled in the Federal SNAP program, according to information from CHFS and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The long-term change in benefits will depend on household size, income and expenses according to the cabinet.

For more on this story see this week's edition of the Mountain Eagle.