Tuesday 7-7-15

By Kristen Thoburn

Two inmates in Pike County are accused of trying to escape by drilling through one of the jail's walls. Derek Nunemaker, 21, and Ronald Skeens, 25, used a piece of metal to carve out a hole in the wall before being caught. Pike County Jailer Freddie Lewis says both men deny the accusations that they stole a metal spring clip from a weight bench and turned it into a makeshift screw driver, drilling about one foot into the wall, Lewis said.Both men now face attempted escape charges.

-0-

Some homeowners in Johnson  and Floyd Counties are cleaning up in the aftermath of high water. In a matter of hours, flood waters rose and receded destroying homes and property that stood in its path.  Steve Sexton says he got 3 to 4 inches of water inside of his home. representatives from the American Red Cross will visit the area to see how they can help.  Officials say there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities due to the flooding.

-0-

There's a new mayor in one Leslie county town. Carol Joseph was appointed the Mayor of Hyden last week. Former Mayor, Lonnie Hendrix, resigned last Monday saying he felt it was best for the city.  Hendrix said he would be more than happy to help finish projects that he started. Carol Joseph, former Mayor pro tem, was appointed Mayor of Hyden She says she will do the best job she can and if things go well she will run in November. Joseph says she already has plans for the place she calls the prettiest town in the mountains.

-0-

Attorney Eric C. Conn is becoming a well known name in Floyd Circuit Court as a Class Action Lawsuit has been filed against him as well as two Wrongful Death Suits.Emma Burchett alleges that  Conn is responsible for her husband's suicide that happened in early June.  The man killed himslf after his social security benefits were terminated due to another suit against Conn alleging fraud.Conn’s attorney asked for the suit to be thrown out saying the law doesn’t allow for causation between a negligent act and suicide. Burchett's attorneys argued there is more than enough evidence for the suit to continue.

-0-

An early morning fire destroyed a Perry County home Sunday. The house belonged to well-known local photographer Cordis "Cuzz" Bishop and his wife, Doris. Both are counting their blessings no one was hurt. Bishop, his wife and his stepson are all staying with relatives for the time being.  Firefighters say they were able to keep the flames isolated to the upstairs attic, but in the end, the home was heavily damaged. An avid photographer, Cordis Bishop can usually be found snapping away at area events like the Mountain Classic and the Knott County Trail Ride. Firefighters do not know how the fire started.

-0-

Eastern Kentucky University has reinstated two football players suspended for their roles in a bar fight earlier this year with University of Kentucky football players.  Colton Scurry and Patrick Graffree were fully reinstated to the football team.   The two players were involved in a bar fight Jan. 25 in Richmond. UK quarterback Drew Barker, wide receiver Dorian Baker and defensive lineman Tymere Dubose in Richmond.

-0-

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis says same-sex marriage violates his religious beliefs. He stopped issuing marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized gay marriage.He wants a law passed allowing people to purchase marriage licenses online, similar to the process of purchasing a hunting or fishing license.

Monday 7-6-15

By Kristen Thoburn

Letcher County has issued it’s first same sex marriage license.  On Independence day the first and s far only same sex marriage license in the county was issued to Mona Lisa Burke and Angela Slone. Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade is among the majority of Kentucky’s county clerks who are honoring the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last week that legalizes gay marriage across the U.S. Instead of listing bride and groom, the computerized license has been changed statewide to name applicants as party one and party two.

-0-

The Letcher County Sheriffs Office will now be closed on evenings and weekends to help save money.  Sheriff Danny web ordered the actions, forcing evening dispatchers to be laid off.  The change is a result of the loss of a $15,000 a month contribution for insurance and hazardous duty pay in the middle of a budget year. According to Webb, the layoffs mean the sheriff ’s department’s new operating hours will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.  During off hours they’re working on an arrangement to get 911 dispatchers in Hazard to cover service calls. More layoffs may be yet to come.

-0-

A man with strong Letcher County ties will be the next “voice” of Louisiana State University radio broadcasts Chris Blair, currently the voice of Georgia Southern University athletics, was announced over the weekend as the next “Voice of the Tigers” beginning with the 2016 LSU baseball season. Blair is the grandson of the late Ben and Mattie Blair of Whitesburg, and has many relatives still living in Letcher County.

-0-

The National Weather Service in Jackson, Ky. is urging caution as flooding continues in Johnson and Floyd Counties.  The National weather service reporting serious flooding through areas in those counties. Roads in the Wittensville are being reported flooded as well. Just take it very slow out there and if you run into any water, turn around don’t drown.

-0-

Patients of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) in Whitesburg maybe able to get free fruits and veggies at the Letcher County Farmers Market.MCHD’s COO Mike Caudill  says nutrition is a big part of overall help, and they believe providing whole foods can have a positive impact. Patients approved for the "Farmacy" program and members of their household each receive $1 per day for seven days. A voucher for a family of four totals $28. A patient living alone will be given a voucher for $14 worth of produce. In the first two weeks of the Farmacy program, 70 percent of the vouchers were redeemed at the Letcher County Farmers Market.  Patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and patients who are pregnant qualify for the program. Patients who meet federal poverty guidelines and are diagnosed with hypertension, obesity or diabetes may be eligible for produce vouchers as well.

-0-

Nearly two months have passed and there is still no sign of a missing Knott County woman. Natasha Fugate Jones was last seen May 7th.  Sunday in Perry County, family and friends came together to pray and release balloons in her memory.  Hopeful hearts and tear filled eyes filled the pews at the Dwarf Church of God Sunday night to remember Natasha. Friends and family are hoping to keep her memory alive and are hoping even a small clue might be what the police need to bring her back home. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kentucky State police post in Hazard.

-0-

Pikeville police arrested two people Saturday morning after responding to a call about a fight at an apartment near U-Pike's campus. Police say they found 21-year-old Kelley Taylor and 29-year-old Ryan Sellards passed out in their apartment with the door open, and four children left unsupervised. They also say they found prescription drugs and alcohol throughout the apartment.  Taylor and Sellards are both charged with wanton endangerment and possession of a controlled substance.

-0-

Be careful as you’re out this morning.  Heavy rains dropping inches within an hour have left some areas of high water on the roadways, and some creeks swollen past their banks.  The national weather service has reported severe flooding in Johnson and Floyd counties.

Friday 7-3-15

By Jerry Adams 

Layoffs and reduced office hours are on the way in the Letcher County Sheriff's office. Sheriff Danny Webb says his hands were tied after the County fiscal court cut his budget. Several employees have been notified that they will be let go—and the sheriff says the office will close on weekend and cut back during the rest of the week.  The moves come after the fiscal court decided to cut a $15,000.00 a month payment to the or insurance and retirement, saying the sherriff  hasn't trimmed  his budget enough on his own. Deputies will remain on regular patrol, but 911 calls will be dispatched from the Kentucky State Police Post in Harzard.

-0-

Just in time for our country's birthday, there's a new monument in Pikeville honoring those who have served to keep us free. Veterans from around Pike County were on hand on Thursday for the dedication of the new Veterans Memorial Park on Hambley Boulevard, among them, members of the local V F W and the State V F W commander.  While the first phase of the memorial is finished, veterans groups want to add to include more bricks marked with the names of veterans, a retired tank and some picnic tables.

-0-

Kentucky State police continue to look for a missing woman from Perry County. They say Stacie Smith hasn't been seen since June 22nd when she left her home in Buckhorn. Troopers say she could be driving a white 2003 dodge stratus.  Officials do not suspect foul play, but family members are concerned about her safety.

-0-

Two people—including a Harlan County Deputy were hurt in a crash on Highway 119 near Payne Gap on Thursday.  Police say the deputy was transporting a prisoner from Pike County, when her vehicle skidded of the wet roadway,  Both the deputy and prisoner were taken to Whitesburg ARH with non life threatening injuries.

-0-

Two deputies from Johnson County are expected to be OK after their cruiser crashed in Morgan County, near the Magoffin County line. Police say the vehicle went out of control, hit a coal truck, smashed into the guard rail and then rolled down an embankment around 2 on Thursday afternoon. 

-0-

Police in Whitley County are looking for a man accused of punching his girlfriend's baby. They have issued an warrant for 25  year old Kenneth Boyd. Deputies accuse him of hitting that child on Saturday morning but the child didn't go to the hospital until the next day, The mother, identified as  Felecia Smith is in jail, facing child abuse charges—the little boy is recovering from his physical injuries.

-0-

The Leslie County city of Hyden has a new mayor.  Carol Lewis Joseph will take over from former mayor Lonnie Hendricks, who stepped down for health reasons.

-0-

A musician from Perry County's career is getting a boost after winning the highway 23 country music Road to Fame competition in Prestonsburg, 19 year old Whitley Tate took top prize in that contest—and will get $1,500.00 and a several performance opportunities as a result.

-0-

If you're starting your Fourth of July weekend today, keep an umbrella handy—and keep an eye on the sky. More heavy rain and possibly severe storms are in the way and there is a flood watch in effect. For all the information on how this might effect your holiday plans, stay with 103-9 The Bulldog for the latest information.

Thursday 7-2-15

By Jerry Adams

The fourth of July weekend could be off to a wet and possibly dangerous start, There is a Flash Flood Watch in effect for the area through Friday with 2-3 inches of rain expected by the time it ends. That could cause some flooding. The advice on the roads as always—turn around don't drown.

-0-

There have already been some reports of flash flooding in some places.  In Pulaski county, officials say the torrential rain that drenched the area caused problems, especially along highway 27 in the Somerset area , where there was a flash flood emergency declared for a time late last night. The National Weather Service also confirms a small tornado touched down the Nancy area around 4 on Wednesday afternoon but did no damage.

-0-

It is a story you will hear often, but bears repeating. Police say if you drink and drive this holiday weekend, they will be looking for you. In Knox county, deputies say they will use a $3000.00 state grant to pay for increased patrols over the weekend. Sheriff Mike Smith says the goal isn't to stop people from having a good time, but to keep the county safe from  impaired drivers.   He says he hopes to get a similar grant later this year—in time for the Christmas holiday season.

-0-

Maybe he was trying to find something for the grill, but police in Middlesboro have arrested a man who was going about getting the food the wrong way.   Russel Jordan Anderson is accused of stuffing steaks into his pocket as he tried to leave a Kroger store there on Tuesday.   In addition to the steaks, they say he was also carrying something more dangerous in his pocket as well...a baggie of meth,  He is facing charges of theft and drug possession.

-0-

Tense moments at Hazard ARH  on Wednesday, as police had to put the hospital on a brief lock down, when a man came into the hospital with a knife and threatened several people there.  They say Terry Newman of Richmond made it to the fourth floor of the hospital, where he was arrested. He's charged with disorderly conduct, menacing and resisting arrest.  No one was hurt and the hospital was able to quickly return to normal.

-0-

Doctors in area hospitals say they are seeing more people coming to the ER for problems with their teeth, They may not be equipped to handle dental work, but the hospitals have to treat those patients even if they don't have insurance or a way to pay.  Dentists say the biggest issue is a lack of routine care, which leads to bigger and more painful problems down the road.  They also say eastern Kentucky needs a better way to handle dental emergencies to keep people from having to resort to a hospital trip for a toothache.

-0-

The no smoking sign is up on the campus of Hazard Community and Technical College. Officials say they have made the campus nicotine free—including cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes.   They  ay its part of a larger effort to keep folks in eastern Kentucky healthy.

-0-

Folks in and around Hazard will have something old that is new again for the fourth.  Mayor Jimmy lindon says he's glad to welcome e back the Hazard fish fry—which has not taken place for the last five summers. It starts Saturday morning at 11 near city hall. And if you'd like to FYOF---fry your own fish, you can do that too. There is a fishing tournament from 7am  to noon. The mayor says they're ready—with 900 pounds of fish for the friers—and a restocked river for the anglers..

Wednesday 7-1-15

By Jerry Adams

The Pike County fiscal court has approved a new 1 percent occupational and business profits tax. Members say they had no choice because of the county is in bad financial shape  facing a 1.7 million dollar budget deficit –and that without the tax, county services would have come to a halt at midnight. Opponents say the tax ill be a big burden for workers and businesses, but the fiscal court approved it by a 7 -0 vote during at last night's emergency meeting.

-0-

State police say alcohol may have played a part in a  crash on Monday night in  Perry County which left one man dead and injured three others—including a well known judge. The victim is identified as 40 year old Kevin Fugate.  He apparently crossed the center line of Combs Road in Hazard—killing him, and injuring his passenger. That oncoming car was driving by Perry County District Judge Leigh Ann Stevens. She and her passenger were hurt. State Police continue to investigate.

-0-

And state police are investigating an accident involving one of their own in Pulaski County. They say one woman died in a collision with a patrol car on highway 27 in Somerset.  She is identified as 56 year old Denise Koval. Troopers say she apparently turned into the path of trooper Joshua brainard's oncoming patrol car. He was not seriously injured. 

-0-

A woman who was featured in a documentary about her family has been arrested in Martin County—charged with shoplifting in Pike County. Sue Bob White was shown in in a film called “The Wonderful Whites of West Virginia”.  She was arrested at the Martin County jail, where she had gone to post bail for another family member—and when she told officers who she was, they found out she had a warrant for those shoplifting charges.

-0-

Police in Bell County have started a murder investigation, after an autopsy showed that a man who died in Ar jay two weeks ago had been shot. 38 year old David Mason was found in the woods not far form his home—and his grieving family says they can't understand why anyone would want to kill him.  State Police say they aren't sure either and will be following any leads they can get to find who did it.

-0-

The forecast may look damp for fourth of July, but that won't stop the annual fireworks show at Buckhorn Lake on Friday.  Officials say they sky will light up at dusk—capping off a day of events from hula—hooping, to water balloon tossing, music and kids games. Thousands of people are expected.