Monday September 22, 2014

WHITESBURG DISTILLERY PUT ON HOLD

A businessman's plans to bring a distillery to a historic building in Letcher County are sidetracked because of public opposition. Colin Fultz leased the auto repair show at Main and Madison Streets from the city of Whitesburg but the city council has denied his request to use it for alcoholic purposes.  Mayor James Wiley Craft says opposition to the distillery came from the First Baptist Church over concern the operation is in full view of their building. The 80 year old building  is on the National Register of Historic Places.

KNOTT COUNTY SCHOOL ON LOCKDOWN FRIDAY

Gunshots put a Knott County school on lockdown. Police say on Friday they were chasing a man who ran off after a traffic stop in Perry County and headed toward Carr Creek Elementary, so as a precaution the school was locked down. The man is still at large. Later that night a tip came in about the man's whereabouts and police went to the Holly Hills Shopping center, but again had no luck finding him.

PIKE COUNTY WOMAN SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT AT ELKHORN AMBULANCE SERVICE

A Pike County woman is sentenced to 3 years in jail for her role in embezzling a now-defunct ambulance company. Mary Morton took a plea deal on charges she stole at least $68,000 from the Elkhorn Ambulance Service. The Appalachian News Express reports the service's operators blamed Morton - who handled the company's financial records - for it having to file for bankruptcy in March.

2 MILE SECTION OF BREATHITT NAMED IN MEMORY OF CRASH VICTIM

A section of a Breathitt County highway has been named in memory of a man killed in a pickup truck crash. Family and friends of Josh Thorpe were out over the weekend cleaning up a 2 mile section of Kentucky 1098 named in his honor. Thorpe was one of 4 people killed last month when a pickup driven by Shawn Hardin went off Wolverine Road and landed in a house.  His family says because Thorpe was an organ donor, three people's lives have been saved.

VIDEO HELP ID BURGLAR AT FLOYD COUNTY RESTAURANT

Surveillance video made it easy for police to identify the burglar who broke into a Floyd County restaurant's safe. Police say Billie Hall was seen on video using a credit card to open the restaurant's safe then taking an envelope with several hundred dollars. The restaurant owner gave police the video footage and an officer identified Hall as the person breaking into the safe. Hall has 2 prior theft convictions in Pike County, the most recent netting probation as long as he had no more theft charges.

McCONNELL CANCELS DEBATE AT UPIKE

Senator Mitch McConnell has cancelled his appearance at a debate in Pike County next month. The Appalachian News Express reports McConnell's campaign says an upcoming bus tour is the reason he won't be at the University of Pikeville next month to debate Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell's organizers say Grimes has turned down a number of other debate opportunities, but her campaign McConnell is using the bus tour as an excuse not to debate.

4 EVARTS POLICE OFFICERS RECOGNIZED

4 city of Evarts police officers received certificates of appreciation for their work in capturing an escaped inmate from the Harlan County Detention Center. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Evarts Assistant Police Chief Owen Noe, Chief Lupe Blas, Sgt. John Teagle and Officer William Clogston were recognized for locating Michael Bryant Day, who had escaped from jail in May. Day had originally been convicted on drug charges.

PIKE COUNTY SCHOOL OFFICIALS DROP IDEA OF WEIGHT LOSS CONTEST

Pike County school officials decided to drop a weight loss competition that was to be a part of a promotion to fight childhood obesity. According to the Appalachian News-Express the district-wide competition was to offer prizes including tablet computers, scholarships and cash. Superintendent David Lester tells the newspaper the district didn't want to encourage kids to lose weight just to win a contest. The contest was to have started September 15, and Lester says they're working on developing a different event.

Friday September 19, 2014

GUILTY PLEAS FILED BY 2 LETCHER COUNTY WOMEN ACCUSED OF ELDER ABUSE

Guilty pleas are filed by the daughter and granddaughter of a Letcher County woman who the 2 were accused of abusing months before her death. Teresa and Serenna Maggard of Neon were indicted 2 years ago on charges they and 2 of Teresa's other children confined Mildred Hughes in a manner that resulted in physical pain and suffering. Hughes died hours after bring brought to the emergency room at Whitesburg ARH. Sentencing is set for October 22 and the Commonwealth is recommending 10 years in prison for each woman.

LETCHER COUNTY MAN TAKES PLEA DEAL IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE

A Letcher County man takes a plea deal on child pornography and other sex charges. Roger Johnson admitted possession the images and gratifying himself in front of children. Sentencing is scheduled for November.

FLOYD COUNTY FATHER FILES THEFT CHARGES AGAINST HIS SON

A Floyd County man who says his son stole money from him has filed charges against him.  Court papers say Curt Jarvis Junior of Prestonsburg told his father he was going to use the bathroom, but instead pried open a bedroom door and took nearly $1000. He is due back in court next week.

COMMERCIAL AIRLINE SERVICE WITH APPALACHIAN AIR SET TO BEGIN OCTOBER 27

Commercial airline service at the Pikeville-Pike County Airport will kick off October 27. Appalachian Air has been trying to establish service and originally planned to begin nonstop flights between Nashville and Pikeville in April - but a number of issues delayed that until now. A consultant says the new service should be well utilized because people routinely drive beyond Pikeville to take a flight.

PROBATION DENIED IN HARLAN COUNTY DRUG CASE

Probation has been revoked for a Harlan County man for his conviction on drug charges. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Raymond Moses from Harlan hadn't been staying in touch with the county drug coordinator, telling a judge he thought it was a waste of his time because the court wasn't being fair with him as he tried to clean up his life. Moses is now in jail serving his original 10 year sentence.

PIKE COUNTY STATE EMPLOYEE, COACH AND MINISTER PASSES AWAY

A long-time state highway supervisor in Pike County has died suddenly. Gene Layne of Pikeville was also the pastor of Church of God Militant Pillar and Ground of Truth, and the congregation is remembering him as a man who was proud of his community and worked to make it a better place. Layne was a youth sports coach and served on a number of community boards, receiving the Governor's Ambassador Award in 2010 for his volunteer work.

3 PEOPLE HURT IN HARLAN COUNTY CRASH

3 people are hospitalized from their injuries in a 2 car crash in Harlan County. Police say a pickup truck tried passing a car on US 119 when the car started to turn left into a driveway. The truck hit the car's driver's side and rolled over several times. One passenger in the truck and the driver were airlifted to a hospital and another passenger was taken by ambulance to Hazard ARH hospital. The driver and passenger in the car were unhurt, but the driver was taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant.

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS FOR KENTUCKY IN AUGUST

Kentucky's unemployment dropped another three-tenths of a point in August to 7.1 percent - that's 1.3 percent lower than it was in August 2013. The professional and business services sector had the largest number of new jobs last month, followed by government jobs with most of those at colleges and universities that are back in session. The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training  reports that by the end of the year the number of jobs should exceed the number of positions before the 2008 recession.

Thursday September 18, 2014

2 CAR CRASH IN JENKINS LEAVES MAN WITH SERIOUS INJURIES

A 2 car crash in Letcher County sends one of the drivers to the hospital after he was thrown from his vehicle. Police say it happened in Jenkins on US 23 Northbound at the intersection of Kentucky 805 when the driver of a Jeep rear-ended a car, which caused the Jeep to roll over at least 3 times. The Jeep's driver - identified as Travis Moore of Jenkins - is at Pikeville Medical Center. Those in the car suffered minor injuries.

PRE-TRIAL MOTIONS HEARD FOR 2 PIKE COUNTY MEN CHARGED IN NEW YEAR'S EVE STABBING IN WHITESBURG

Pre-trial motions have been heard in the case of 2 Pike County men charged in the New Year’s Eve stabbing death of former Letcher County Central High School basketball player and EKU student Michael Hogg.  Police say James Huffman and Patrick Smith got into a fight with Hogg outside of a Whitesburg bar that got out of hand and stabbed him. Attorneys for the 2 men say they acted in self-defense. Smith's attorney asked for his client's bond to be reduced, and that was denied. Trial is set to begin in late January.

PERRY COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE OF FIANCEE'S 11 YEAR OLD SISTER

Charges are filed against a Perry County man suspected of sexually abusing an 11 year old girl who was the sister of his fiancée. Police say Steven Jude of Hazard inappropriately touched the girl on several occasions. He has served jail time on similar charges connected with 2 other girls. Jude is due in court on the new charges September 26.

SOAR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POSITION GETS AROUND 90 APPLICANTS

Around 90 people have applied to become the executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports the executive director will work with SOAR’s executive board, including Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear, to bring the organization’s mission to reality. A governor's spokesperson says there is no specific timeline to appointing a candidate to fill the position.

2ND VICTIM PASSES AWAY FROM  LAST WEEK'S PIKE COUNTY 5 CAR CRASH

Another victim from last week's 5 car crash in Pike County has died from their injuries. Kimberly Thompson passed away Tuesday. Last week, Dr. Walter Gearheart died from the crash that resulted when a 10-wheel truck lost control at the intersection of southbound US 23 and Island Creek, went off the road, rolled onto its side and slid into the northbound lanes, hitting at least 4 cars. One other person was injured and there's been no update on their condition.

VIOLENT FIGHT AT PERRY COUNTY CONVENIENCE STORE LEAVES MAN INJURED AND ANOTHER IN JAIL

A violent fight inside a Perry County convenience store leads to a man suffering a possible broken nose and another man taken to jail. Police say Shawn Smith of Busy had been fighting with a man inside a van when the victim escaped and ran into the Marathon on old Highway 80 in Hazard. Investigators say Smith ran after the victim and continued beating him until police arrived. The victim was taken to Hazard ARH and was released the day after the fight. Smith was lodged at the Kentucky River Regional Jail.

CONCERNS ABOUT FREE ROAMING ANIMALS IN EVARTS

A Harlan County woman was recently arrested on charges she failed to restrain her dogs when they tried to attack a young girl riding a bike in Evarts. It turns out that isn't the only issue with animals on the loose. Police say they've received calls about horses, goats, and chickens owned by an Evarts man who have been wandering around the city, and say it causes a potential dangerous situation. The city attorney says they will ask the man to restrain his animals or he will be called into court.

US SENATE CANDIDATES WILL DEBATE IN OCTOBER AT UPIKE

Kentucky's US senate candidates will participate in an October debate in Pike County. The Appalachian News Express is sponsoring the forum between incumbent Mitch McConnell and challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. It will take place at the University of Pikeville.

Wednesday September 17, 2014

 

FOOD BANKS RECEIVING MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THANKS TO A NEW BILL

Food banks throughout Eastern Kentucky soon will be receiving more fresh fruits and vegetables under a bill signed by Governor Steve Beshear. The Farms to Food Banks program - which purchases surplus produce grown in Kentucky - has received $2 million to expand its efforts statewide. According to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks says since 2011 the program has enrolled over 500 farmers and each were paid just under $1000 for produce that would have otherwise gone to waste - and those fruits and vegetables have been used for 4.4 million meals.

UPIKE KICKS OFF 125TH ANNIVERSARY

The University of Pikeville kicked off its 125th anniversary by bringing back 4 of its former presidents for opening convocation which marks the start of the school year. Current president Dr. James Hurley announced the university is kicking off a $75 million comprehensive capital campaign to invest in new infrastructure. The former presidents all received honorary degrees.

3 VEHICLES DAMAGED IN PRESTONSBURG PARKING LOT CRASH

A car and 2 pickup trucks were damaged in a Floyd County parking lot crash. Police say a car stopped on South Lake Drive in Prestonsburg to pull into Calhoun's Garage when another car swerved to avoid the stopped car, hit a guardrail then careened into the garage parking lot, hitting the 2 pickups. The car's driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN MAY FACE CHARGES FOR NOT RESTRAINING HER DOGS

A Harlan County woman suspected of failing to restrain her dogs may face charges after they went after a 6 year old. Police say the girl was riding her bike near Dartmont Baptist Church in Evarts when the dogs owned by Wuanita Sawyers came out and attempted to attack her. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Sawyers has been warned several times before to restrain her dogs and has been taken to court for violating leash laws. She was arrested and taken to the Harlan County Detention Center.

FLOYD COUNTY FARMER'S MARKET IS NUMBER 1 IN KENTUCKY AND RANKED NATIONALLY

Floyd County's Farmers Market repeated its number one finish in the rankings for Kentucky, and that propelled the market to a top 5 ranking nationwide. American Farmland Trust sponsored the "I Love My Farmer's Market" promotion which tallied online votes between June 13 and September 13. The trust says the competition helps raise awareness about community markets and promote the work of local farmers. Last year the market ranked 23rd nationally.

BENHAM FIRE DEPARTMENT FACING INSPECTION FROM ISO

A fire department in Harlan County is getting ready for an inspection on Monday. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports the Insurance Services Office will be evaluating the Benham Fire Department's equipment and testing the city's fire hydrants. The inspection is required every 5 years and is used to set insurance rates. District officials say they are concerned about the hydrants, which they say haven't been tested as often as they should have been. A bad hydrant inspection report could result in the city's insurance premium being doubled.

ADOPT A HIGHWAY FALL SWEEP WEEK

Eastern Kentucky drivers will be seeing people out cleaning up highways as part of Adopt A Highway Fall Sweep Week. The event runs through Saturday and involves thousands of people and groups who've picked a road to "adopt" by picking up litter. A transportation cabinet spokesperson says the efforts of the Adopt a Highway program volunteers are keeping nearly 5000 miles of roads clean.

SPECIAL ELECTION TO BE HELD IN DECEMBER FOR SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA DELEGATE

A special election is scheduled for December to elect a Southwest Virginia delegate in the 4th district, which covers all of Dickenson County and part of Wise County. The new delegate succeeds Ben Chafin, who was voted in to replace 38th District State Senator Phillip Puckett, who resigned earlier this year. House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell says the December date will allow the seat to be filled in time for the 2015 legislative session.

 

Tuesday September 16, 2014

JENKINS SIDEWALK PROJECT ALMOST REALITY

A sidewalk project in a Letcher County city that's been years in the making may be a step closer to reality. At the September meeting of the Jenkins City Council Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority approved a $135,000 grant to add to $15,000 already awarded for extending city sidewalks between the highway across from Jenkins High School and Lakeside. Nesbitt says the grant is conditioned on choosing a contractor from a KIA-approved list.

FLEMING-NEON CITY COUNCIL LOOKS AT FEDERAL GRANT FOR UPGRADE TO WATER/SEWER SYSTEM

Fleming-Neon's city council took the first step towards obtaining a federal grant to upgrade water and sewer systems. At its September meeting the council agreed to move forward with an application to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for a planning and design grant so the city can apply for the Community Development Block Grant. The grants are handed out by the Housing and Urban Development to help communities deal with a variety of needs.

2 FROM MICHIGAN ACCEPT PLEA DEAL IN DRUG CASE

2 people from Michigan accused of working with a doctor there to infiltrate Pike and Floyd Counties with illegal prescription painkillers accepted a plea deal . Court papers say Clarence and Kelly Bentley obtained prescriptions for the pain pills from Dr. Anthony Choe then gave them to a woman who sold them in Eastern Kentucky to a drug dealer. Prosecutors say the Bentleys told them Choe would write prescriptions for cash without conducting thorough physical examinations. Choe's trial is scheduled to begin in Pikeville on September 22, and under the plea deal the Bentleys may be called upon to testify against him.

FUNERAL SERVICES HELD FOR LONGTIME HARLAN COUNTY OFFICIAL

Funeral services were held Monday for longtime Harlan County circuit court clerk Paul Williams. He had been with the court for nearly 4 decades. Williams worked for the Harlan County Health Department and the Harlan County school district before becoming court clerk.

WISE COUNTY RAM CLINIC SETS UP IN LEE COUNTY

A group of medical volunteers from Wise County, Virginia brought their mobile clinic to nearby Lee County and treated nearly 600 people last weekend. Remote Area Medical set up shop at the Lee County airport and even before they arrived, people were lining up to get no cost medical, dental and vision care. Clinic officials say one reason for the large turnout is because the county's only hospital shut its doors earlier this year

CRASH IN PIKE COUNTY CLAIMS A LIFE

A one-car crash in Pike County took the life of the driver. Police say Selena Thacker was on Kentucky 193 near Grapevine last Thursday when her car went into the opposite lanes then landed in a ditch, which caused it to careen back onto the road and roll over several times. Thacker was pronounced dead at the crash scene. She was the only person in the car.

ANOTHER HARLAN COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS BURGLARIZED

Burglars strike a second elementary school in Harlan County. Police say early Monday morning 2 people broke into Rosspoint Elementary in Harlan damaging a glass door and used a crowbar to pry open a vending machine, making off with a small amount of cash. Last week thieves made off with archery bows and other items from Green Hills Elementary School in Bledsoe, and most of the goods have been located and returned. Investigators say the two burglaries do not appear to be related.

MISSING DICKENSON COUNTY VIRGINIA MAN FOUND SAFE

A man from Dickenson County Virginia missing for a week was found safe.  Police say Kenneth Yates was last heard from on September 8 when he talked to his sister on the phone and family were concerned because he didn't drive and didn't have his prescription medications with him. Yates was located yesterday at a relative's home in Buchanan County, Virginia.