Tuesday October 1, 2013


There have been three robberies in Floyd County in less than one week, and police believe the same person is behind all of them.

In all three cases, a man matching the same description came in demanding money and left on foot, and it is his weapon of choice that ties him to all three.

Video from Newman's Shop A Lot in Harold shows a man enter the business Wednesday night and shove a large stick into the clerk's back forcing her behind the counter.

Just after midnight Sunday folks at the Cardinal Country Mart in Stanville say the same thing happened to them.

Then Sunday night it was the same scenario at the VIP Fuel store in Grethel.

No one in any of the stores was hurt.

Anyone with information should contact Kentucky State Police.


Attorney General Jack Conway announced two key rulings in the Commonwealth's case against Purdue Pharma on Monday.

Purdue filed a motion to change the venue of the case from Pike County to Franklin County.

General Conway opposed and Pike County Court Judge Steven Combs ruled the case will stay in Pike County.

Also, Purdue asked the court to allow it to withdraw admissions the company made when they failed to respond to pleadings in the case.

The court denied this motion.

The case involves the alleged illegal marketing of Oxycotin.


Police have arrested a woman they say spent thousands of dollars by using fraudulent credit cards.

West Liberty police say 27 year old Courtney Phipp has been charged with identity theft.

Police say Phipps applied for and received three credit cards by using someone else's social security number.

Police say she used the credit cards to buy 19,000 dollars in items which she then tried to pawn off.


A federal judge ordered attorneys in a long-running death penalty case to move toward a resolution.

The judge set a November meeting date for prosecutors and attorneys for 54 year old Karu Gene White to set a schedule for resolving the case, which has been pending since 2002.

Proceedings halted in White's most recent federal appeal while he sought funding in state court to test if he has a mental disability.

White killed 75 year old Charles Gross, his wife, 74 year old Lula Gross, and 79 year old Sam Chaney during a February 1979 robbery in Breathitt County.


The Fall Trail Ride in Knott County is still a few days away but folks are already lining up for the event.

The 13th annual trail ride kicks off on Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Attendees can ride horses and ATVs through the mountains.

There will also be live music performances, including Kentucky native Marlow Tackett.

Tackett will perform Thursday night.


Attention coal miners looking for work, help is out there.

There will be a job fair today at the Perry County Job Sight in Hazard.

The event starts at 10 this morning and is a partnership between Patriot Coal and the HOME or Hiring Our Miners Everyday program.

Organizers said the company is looking for experienced, underground miners.

If you are interested, Michael Cornett, a representative with HOME, suggested bringing your resume and updated mining certifications.

A similar event will be held Wednesday in Pikeville.

The jobs will be based in Western Kentucky


Monday September 30, 2013

A car accident has left one man dead in Floyd County.

The single vehicle accident happened Friday on Ky. 1428 in the Allen community.

Officials say 29 year old Brenan McKinney hit an embankment and his vehicle overturned.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation.


Rescuers from Powell County and Wolfe County teamed up to help a hiker who fell in the Red River Gorge over the weekend.

Officials say the hiker was climbing Saturday night at the Pistol Ridge Crag on a route known as the "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" when he fell.

His fail-safe gave way, allowing him to hit the ground.

Officials say crews were able to get the hiker safely out of the rugged area without any problems.

He was taken to a local hospital by ambulance.

Officials did not release any information on his condition.


Laurel County Sheriff's Deputies and Detectives carried out undercover surveillances at the World Chicken Festival in London on Friday and Saturday.

Official say the officers in plain clothes operated in downtown London to ensure that the large number of visitors would enjoy a safe, and family oriented atmosphere.

Multiple arrests were made both days mostly for drug and alcohol offenses.


Funeral arrangements have been set for a woman who was found dead in the woods of Knott County last week.

34-year-old Christina Barnett's body was found by her family.

She had been missing and her mother says she was with a man she met online.

State Police are still calling this a death investigation, until they can get more information from the autopsy.

A visitation will be held Tuesday at Phelps and Son Funeral Home in Paintsville and her funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.

If you would like to help Christina's family with funeral costs, donations are being accepted at any BB&T Bank branch.


Two agencies are seeking to withdraw from the state's troubled pension system.

The Courier-Journal reports the agencies of Frontier Housing in Morehead and Housing Oriented Ministries Established for Service also known as HOMES, INC in Whitesburg filed the request last week in Franklin County Circuit Court.

The agencies argue in the complaint that they shouldn't have been allowed to join the County Employees' Retirement System more than 10 years ago.

The system is facing more than $6.2 billion in unfunded liabilities.

Kentucky Retirement Systems Director William Thielen said Thursday that the agency would fight the matter in court.

At least two other organizations have also sought to leave the program.


A Perry County deputy jailer will stay in jail while he waits to go on trial.

A judge denied a motion Friday to amend the bond condition for William Howell.

Howell faces a manslaughter charge in connection with the July 2013 death of Larry Trent at Kentucky River Regional Jail.

His bond is currently set at $75,000.

The trial is scheduled to start on February 17th.

Friday September 27, 2013


A Knott County coroner confirmed the body found Wednesday along Highway 80 is that of missing Johnson County woman Christina Barnett.

A search party found Barnett's body Wednesday afternoon.

The man who found it says it had been burned.

Officials have not yet confirmed it as a murder.

Barnett's body is in Frankfort for an autopsy.


Police are investigating a robbery that happened in Floyd County Wednesday night.

They say a man entered Newman's Shop A Lot in Harold about 8:40pm with a big stick demanding cash, and the whole thing was caught on camera.

Police say it looked like the man was carrying a large piece of wood which he shoved into the clerk's back and pushed her behind the counter.

The man, described as a while male about six feet tall, wearing blue jeans, gloves and a mask, is seen taking money from both registers before running out the door.

No one in the store was injured, and KSP is asking anyone with information to contact them.


Unemployment rates decreased in 97 Kentucky counties between August 2012 and August 2013, while 19 county rates rose and four stayed the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5.5 percent.

Harlan County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate — 16.3 percent. It was followed by Leslie and Magoffin counties, 15.7 percent each; Letcher County came in 4th at 14.9 percent; Fulton County rounded out the top 5 at 14.5 percent; .

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working.


Middlesboro Police say a man broke into a health facility Thursday morning and assaulted workers.

Police say 31-year-old Jimmy Ray Turner went to the Middlesboro Health Care Facility where his mother and sister were.

They say he broke down a locked door and then hurt four people.

Police say he choked one worker and pushed others.

He has a list of charges including assault, burglary, and criminal mischief.


A Letcher County man faces a DUI charge.

Officials with the Johnson County Sheriff's office say they received a call about a crash along Kentucky 1428.

When they arrived, deputies found a vehicle over the hill and a man sitting on the ground who had slurred speech.

Officials found a gallon jug of vodka near the car and arrested Ricky Mullins of Letcher County.


Officials from the State Treasury were in Pike County Thursday trying to return unclaimed money to folks in the area.

The State Treasurer says there is nearly $2.5 million of unclaimed property that belongs to folks in Pike County.

He says that could be anything from cash payments from companies to items that have been abandoned.

Volunteers set up a phone bank to let people know they had unclaimed property.

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach says they will be traveling through all 120 counties.

You can check to see if you have unclaimed property by visiting www.missingmoney.com


Thursday September 26, 2013

According to the Mountain Eagle:
Paychecks for employees who work inside the city limits of Whitesburg will be a bit smaller beginning October 1.

That is the date a new “occupational payroll tax” approved this week by the Whitesburg City Council on a 4-1 vote will take effect.

The 1.5% tax on gross wages applies to nearly every worker who performs a job in Whitesburg, resident and nonresident alike.

It will be collected by employers and paid quarterly to the city.

The ordinance appears in its entirety on pages 10 and 11 of this week’s issue.


A trio of people searching for a missing person along Highway 80 found a body on Wednesday.

The body was found one mile east of Hindman in Knott County.

The family says they believe it is the body of their missing loved one, Christina Barnett.

Barnett, of Johnson County, was last seen in Hazard on Wednesday.

We are told that's when David Fairchild, a friend of the family, found what they believe is Barnett's body, badly burned and covered by a television.

State police and the coroner are on scene and have not yet confirmed the identity of the body or any details in this case.

They say the body will be sent to Frankfort for an autopsy.

The investigation is ongoing.


Changes to federal black lung rules are expected to make it easier for coal miners and their families to obtain benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Program on Wednesday announced a final rule that implements amendments to the 2010 Black Lung Benefits Act.

The amendments sponsored by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd reinstate two provisions that were eliminated in 1981.

After 1982, survivors of a coal miner totally disabled due to black lung had to prove the disease caused the miner's death.

One amendment makes that an automatic assumption for those who worked in coal mines for at least 15 years and suffered a totally disabling respiratory impairment.

The other amendment automatically transfers black lung benefits from the late recipient to eligible survivors.


Benham City Council members say the city in Harlan County owes thousands of dollars to the Internal Revenue Service.

City Council member Wanda Humphrey says she and other council members recently received a letter from the IRS. It claims the city of Benham owes nearly $38,000 dollars in unpaid taxes.

Humphrey says an IRS investigator claims the city did not pay certain taxes for three quarters from June, 2012 to March, 2013.

She says the council hopes to resolve the situation soon.

The city of Benham is also still without a mayor since a judge removed Shirley Dodd from office in a legal matter. Humphrey says the council must select a new mayor soon or Governor Steve Beshear will appoint one.


Seven counties in eastern Kentucky have begun enrolling families for a pilot program to fight asthma.

The "Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids" initiative plans to test assessments that are used to identify and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma.

The non-profit is administering the project with local health departments in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliot, Lawrence, Floyd, and Pike Counties.

Officials want to find 100 families to take part in the study.

Wednesday September 25, 2013

Cumberland Police have arrested the third man wanted for a stabbing last month.

Officers found 37-year-old Wayne Johnson walking on a road in Cumberland on Saturday night.

He is facing several charges including assault.

Investigators say Johnson stabbed Lonnie Tippett during a fight.

Johnson also received stab wounds and went to the hospital.

Police say he hid from officers when he was released from the hospital last month.

Tippett and Curtis Halcomb are also charged in the case.


Officials at Eastern Kentucky University are investigating the death of a Floyd County student on campus in Richmond.

University spokesman Marc Whitt said the student was found dead in his dorm room.

Whitt said in a news release that 24-year-old Benji Fish was found in his Telford Hall room.

Fish was a senior environmental health science major from Prestonsburg.

No foul play is suspected.

University police and the Madison County coroner's office are investigating.

A final toxicology report is expected in two weeks.


The Kanawha County, West Virginia prosecutor's office will represent the state in the trial of a man accused of killing Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.

Police say the Kanawha County prosecutor's office has the resources to take over the case of Tennis Maynard.

Maynard is accused of shooting Crum twice in the head on April 3 as the sheriff ate lunch in his parked vehicle in downtown Williamson.

Maynard is scheduled to go on trial in December.


The Perry County Sheriff's department is working again at full force.

Chief Deputy Tony Eversole says all employees were brought back thanks to projected income from the collection of local property taxes.

While all road patrol Deputies will be brought back full time, some court house security employees will only work part time schedules.

In July, Sheriff Less Burgett announced the department would be forced to cut their staff to only four deputies because of a budget deficit.

Perry is one of a handful of counties in eastern Kentucky, including Letcher County, forced to lay off employees.


A federal appeals court has upheld the two-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine of a former eastern Kentucky school superintendent who pleaded guilty to leading a vote-buying conspiracy during the 2010 primary elections.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found Monday that one-time Breathitt County Superintendent Arch Turner's socio-economic status had not been taken into consideration when he was sentenced.

Turner ran Breathitt County schools from 2005 until his retirement in 2012 after he was charged.

Turner pleaded guilty in July 2012 to distributing money to others to buy votes for candidates he supported in local races.

Eleven others, including a former sheriff, were convicted or pleaded guilty in related cases.

The 67-year-old Turner is being held in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.


On Tuesday, 37 year old Michael Shawn Bartley of Elkhorn City, Kentucky plead guilty to one count each of armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of robbery, eluding police, and attempted assault of a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to serve 16 years and 5 months in a Virginia prison.

Police say Bartley robbed the Westwood Pharmacy in Grundy, Virginia in October of 2011.  

Bartley collected what police estimated to be between 500 and 1000 narcotic hydrocodone and oxycodone pills during the robbery and led police on short chase along US 460 back into Kentucky.