HARLAN COUNTY DEATH INVESTIGATION
Police received a call from the Harlan County Coroner around 11:15 Friday night after Woodrow Fields, 58, was found dead at Evarts Pentecostal Holiness Church. Police are still investigating at this time. Autopsy results are pending.
MISSING JACKSON COUNTY MAN FOUND SAFE
Kentucky State Police said a man missing from Jackson County has been found safe. Ronald L. Tincher, 73, was last seen Saturday morning . State Police Tincher reported he was found on Sunday afternoon by his family.
MURDER TRIAL BEGINS TUESDAY IN HARLAN COUNTY
Timothy Turner, 38, is set to face trial for the murder of Stephen Gibson. Gibson, 58, was found dead in his residence at 610 South Main Street in Harlan on June 2, 2011. The long-awaited trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Harlan Circuit Court. The victim was found when Harlan City Police Department officers assisted by members of the Harlan City Fire Department performed a well-being check at Gibson’s residence. Another person, Rachel Osborne, was originally charged with murder in the same case, but entered a plea of guilty. She is scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday. Osborne and Turner were arrested in June 2011 by Kentucky State Police on charges of murder, first-degree robbery kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence. Turner is charged with murder, two counts of theft by unlawful taking, first-degree robbery, kidnapping (victim death), and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
2 ESCAPE FROM BLACKBURN IN LEXINGTON-ONE HAS EASTERN KY CONNECTIONS
The Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington says two inmates walked away from the facility and one has eastern Kentucky connections. Employees discovered Michael Fleet and Joshua Stephenson were missing just after 8:00 pm on Saturday. Fleet was serving a 13-year sentence for burglary charges out of Bell County here in Eastern Kentucky. He would have been eligible for parole in March 2015. Stephenson was serving a 13-year sentence for burglary charges out of Campbell County. He would have been eligible for parole in May 2015. We're told Fleet is 26-years-old, 5'8", 185 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Stephenson is 23-years-old, 5'4", 135 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information should contact police.
HARLAN ARH ADVISORY COUNCIL RECOGNIZES SEVERAL
Two outgoing members of The Local Advisory Council of Harlan ARH Hospital met recently and recognized Rev. Larry Toner, of Bledsoe, was recognized for his eight years of service to the council and hospital, as well as for his many years of work as Harlan’s representative to the ARH President’s Representative Advisory Council that meets four times per year. Randall Brock, of Harlan, was recognized for his seven years on the council as well as for his services the past two years as council chairman. The council noted the addition of three new members: Rev. Ronnie Hampton, of Lynch; Edna Burkhart, principal of Harlan County High School; and Rev. Nathan Boggs, of Pine Mountain.
HARLAN IND HIGH SCHOOL HONORED
Harlan Independent High School has been recognized as an exceptional academic institution by Carnegie Mellon University’s Niche.com. Founded in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University students, Niche.com provides reviews and rankings of more than 120,000 K-12 schools across the country. Among Kentucky’s best was Harlan Independent High School, ranked No. 22. Other schools in the region making the ranking were Hazard High at No. 35 and Corbin High at No. 19. US News & World Report has routinely rated Harlan Independent High School as “One of America’s Best High Schools.” Categories used to determine the Niche.com ranking include Academics, Health and Safety, Student Culture and Diversity, Teachers, Resources and Facilities, Sports and Fitness, Parent/Student Surveys on Overall Experience and Extracurricular and Experience.
3 VEHICLE CRASH IN PERRY COUNTY SENDS ONE TO THE HOSPITAL
An accident on Kentucky Highway-15 in Perry County sent one person to the hospital Monday afternoon. Police Officers say it happened around 2:00 p.m. near the Bluegrass Exit in Hazard when one vehicle pulled onto Kentucky-15, causing a crash that involved three vehicles. The driver of one of the vehicles was transported by ambulance to ARH, with non-life threatening injuries. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, and police do not expect to file any charges.
FLOYD COUNTY POLICE ARREST ONE AND STILL LOOKING FOR ANOTHER IN SEVERAL ROBBERIES
Police in Floyd County are still looking for a suspect in connection to robberies and they have arrested 21 year old Tanner Spears who was indicted on multiple charges including kidnapping, robbery, and theft of more than $10,000 . 23 year old Johnathan Weddington is still wanted, indicted on the same charges. Anyone with information is asked to call 606-433-7711.
POLICE LOOKING FOR SERIAL FLASHER IN PERRY COUNTY
A serial flasher has been reported near Avawam and Perry County Sheriff's Deputies are looking for the person. Investigators received a complaint two weekends ago but have not found the flasher yet. Perry County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Eversole says the individual may be a homeless person. Several witnesses have reported the flasher, described as a while male in his sixties, over six-feet-tall and wearing only a black knit cap. Investigators believe they know the man responsible and say he is dangerous, with a history of assaults. Police are cautioning the public to not approach the individual.
HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED ON SEVERAL CHARGES
Sylvia Chasteen, 40, of Loyall, was arrested on multiple charges by Kentucky State Police Trooper Rodney Sturgill on Sunday after police received a complaint about stolen medication. According to the citation, police received a call that Chasteen had stolen medication from her mother’s residence and was fighting with her niece. Chasteen was arrested on a Bell County warrant. Chasteen was arrested and charged with tampering with physical evidence, public intoxication by controlled substance, first-degree promoting contraband and second-degree possession of a controlled substance. Chasteen was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $1,000 full cash bond. The case is being investigated by Sturgill.
HARLAN COUNTY OFFICIALS APPROVE USING COUNTY PROPERTY TO HELP PAY FOR ZIP LINE LOAN
At a special called meeting held on Monday. members of the Harlan Fiscal Court approved using county property as collateral to help the Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board Authority refinance a zip line loan. Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said Harlan Revitalization Association Inc. is in the process of closing their loan program and have requested their borrowers refinance their loans with them through another financial institution. downtown, but Harlan County was included. Grieshop said the fiscal court got involved because the recreation board wasn’t able to make their payments and the court was subsidizing them for several years.
PIKE COUNTY COAL MINE IDLED
A Pike County mine has been idled and will eliminated 48 jobs. Steve Hawkins who is media relations director for Alpha Natural Resources said Friday that the company has idled its Sidney Coal Company Taylor Fork Energy underground mine. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Mine Data Retrieval System, through the first three quarters of this year, the mine has produced more than 282,000 tons of coal.
CRAM THE CRUISER DRIVE UNDERWAY
The Fifth annual ‘Cram the Cruiser’ food drive sponsored by Kentucky State Police is in full swing. Food collection sites have been established at all 16 posts throughout the state and at the agency’s headquarters location in Frankfort. The campaign extends through Dec. 16, 2014 and is designed to collect non-perishable food items for needy families.
MURDER ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED IN FLOYD COUNTY
In Floyd County, warrants have been issued by Police for the arrest of Floyd Junior Sexton, John Tate Maggard and Jennifer Gayle Jernigan. Sexton is wanted on a murder charge, while Maggard and Jernigan both face a complicity to commit murder charge steming from the death of Bill Russell Collins, earlier this month. Anyone with information is asked to State Police at 606-433-7711.
A HARLAN WOMAN'S MONTH OLD CORPSE FOUND INSIDE APARTMENT WITH SON
A 63-year-old Harlan City woman was found a woman dead inside her Holly Point Apartment Thursday. Police report that her son lived with her corpse for about one month after she died of natural causes, and did not report her death because he was praying for a miracle. The deputy coroner ruled that Hall died of natural causes, but her body was to Frankfort for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
HARLAN MAYOR LOOKS FOR FEDERAL MONEY FOR KHIC
Mayor Danny Howard told members of the Harlan City Council at a recent meeting, that he had met with Sandi Curd, program coordinator of the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation’s (KHIC) Promise Zone, hoping to get federal money. Curd will be in Williamsburg this week assisting those who want to submit grants. Harlan Center Executive-Director Brandon Pennington said that Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley are a part of the Promise Zone and will receive extra points for grants submitted. Pennington also met with Curd and will attend the meeting in Williamsburg.
ROAD CLOSURE SATURDAY IN LETCHER COUNTY
KY1469, Long Fork in Letcher County, between mile points 0 and 1 will close at 8 a.m. Saturday, November 22, for installation of a new cross drain to improve drainage at that site. The project requires that a trench be cut through the pavement from one side of the road to the other. Highway District 12 Section Engineer Paxton Weddington said the road will be closed to all traffic and weather permitting, will re-open about 4 p.m. the same day. Local traffic will be able to access the road on either side of the work zone but traffic will not be able to go through the work area.
LONG TIME BUSINESS TO CLOSE IN BIG STONE GAP VA
A 65-year-old family operated business in Big Stone Gap will close its doors at the end of the year leaving the oldest business building vacant. Wilma James who opened Powell Valley Builders and Supply in 1969 with her late husband Walter, plans to close up shop after 65 years of business in the Nickels building which dates back to the towns earliest years.
JENNY WILEY THEATRE'S WHITE CHRISTMAS IS UNDERWAY
The Jenny Wiley Theatre is being packed out with people for "White Christmas" the musical.Ned Donovan, is cast as Bob Wallace. Director and choreographer Brian Swasey said the performance is right from the classic film, about a song and dance duo that goes up to Vermont to help another sort of female duo save an inn that a friend is running. The inn is not doing so well and they decide to put on a show. It features familiar Christmas songs and runs about 2 hours. For more information on "White Christmas," visit http://www.jwtheatre.com.
CONCEAL CARRY CLASS TO HE HELD
ROAD SHUT DOWN DUE TO ICE & SNOW
A portion of Kentucky-15 was shut down by Hazard Police Monday night due to ice and snow. The winter weather caused dangerous road conditions for drivers, but no major accidents were reported. Officers responded to several calls from stranded drivers who had slid off the slick roads, advising people to stay off the roads if possible and only venture out in an extreme emergency. Officers say they did not respond to any accidents, but several drivers became stranded after sliding off the slick roads. Highway conditions began to improve as road crews treated the roads.
STABBING AT HCTC
A stabbing occurred at Hazard Community and Technical College on Monday at around 11:30 a.m. resulting in one person being hospitalized and two more being treated for minor cuts. Hazard Police are reporting that the stabbing was a fight over a girl and took place in a hallway of the First Federal Center on the HCTC campus. When officers arrived, they found that one student, a 17-year-old, had brought a box cutter type knife to the school and during the fight, he had injured another student by cutting him under his left eye. A faculty member apparently tried to intervene and was cut on the left arm. The 17-year-old cut himself accidentally and was taken to the ER for treatment. His name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, but may face at least first-degree assault charges. The stabbing is currently under investigation by the Hazard Police Department.
HARLAN COUNTY GRANDMOTHER ARRESTED AFTER GRANDDAUGHTER EATS SUBOXONE
A Harlan County grandmother was arrested Monday, facing wanton endangerment, endangering the welfare of a minor, and other drug charges. Police say her two year old granddaughter l was at Harlan ARH after eating a Suboxone pill. Police are reporting that the child was under the care of Worthington when the girl found the pill in her purse. 38 year old Christy Worthington was taken into custody Monday afternoon.
TWO HARLAN COUNTY FIRES OVER THE WEEKEND
Two fires were reported over the weekend resulting in the loss of property and the lives of several family pets. Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire in the Farmers Mills area near Chevrolet at the Darby Bennett home, Sunday around 8:30 a.m. Fire Chief Steven Hatfield said the first firemen on the scene discovered a pool house near the home, fully engulfed. The fire had been called in by a motorist passing by the home and home owners were apparently still sleeping in the main house. An employee of Bennett’s arrived and jumped the fence and opened iron gates leading to the home so that emergency vehicles could get to the fire. The fire was contained in the pool house near the home, but the family lost five of their six dogs, a pet duck and several bearded dragon lizards in the fire and a kennel attached to the pool house was a total loss. The cause of the fire appears to have been electrical and is still being investigated. Also assisting at the scene was the Harlan Fire Department. In another area of the county at approximately 12:30 a.m. Monday, the Loyall Fire Department was dispatched to a fire at 301 Johnnie Street. Upon their arrival they observed flames exiting from bedroom windows on the right side of the home. Fire Chief Vern Guffy said firefighters were on the scene for approximately three hours extinguishing the fire, which resulted in heavy fire and water damage to the interior of the home. A rekindle at approximately 8 a.m. and returned to the scene to once again extinguish the fire. The home is owned by Angela Brooks, but being rented by Christy Warren. Cause of the fire is still under investigation. Also assisting on the scene were the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department and the Harlan Fire Department.
BENHAM FIRE CHIEF SAYS THEY WILL RECEIVE STATE AID
Fire Chief George Birman Jr. spoke to the city council during a meeting on Thursday reporting that Benham Fire Department will once again be receiving state aid money. The fire commission is granting state aid money and is requesting that it be kept in a separate account from any other city funds, with Birman noting that the money is the fire chief's responsibility. Birman said two signatures are required for signing checks from the account, the fire chief and the city clerk or the fire chief and the mayor, and if the city has money to put into the fire department it has to be a completely separate account.” The $8,000 is good news for the city, as the fire department is in need of equipment such as turn out gear. Birman also updated the panel on the possibility of repairing a broken fire hydrant.
WEEKEND DRUG ARRESTS IN HARLAN COUNTY
An Evarts man was arrested by the Kentucky State Police on Friday on multiple charges, including drug trafficking. According to the citation, KSP Trooper Jimmy Halcomb, at about 12:35 p.m. on Friday, observed a 1999 silver 911 Turbo Porsche being driven by Charles W. Helton, 51, of Evarts, allegedly going 73 mph in a 55 mph zone on U.S. 119. The citation states Halcomb got behind the Porsche and observed it allegedly crossing the fog line several times and almost rear-ending a vehicle in front of it before passing it and pulling onto the shoulder of the road. Helton was charged with first-degree trafficing a controlled substance first degree (first offense), possession of marijuana, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, no operator’s/moped license, operating on a suspended or revoked operator’s license, failure to register transfer of motor vehicle, speeding 18 mph over the limit, no registration plates and no registration receipt. He was lodged at the Harlan County Detention Center
• Matthew Hall, 26, of Baxter, was arrested on several warrants Sunday by Harlan Police. Two failure to appear warrants on traffic violations and another warrant for drug court termination. Police Chief Owens said after running a check on Hall, he was also served with an indictment warrant for charges of second-degree trafficking a controlled substance and persistent felony offender. Owens said Hall was arrested at Walmart after receiving an anonymous tip. He was lodged at the Harlan County Detention Center.
LETCHER MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS SEEKING DONATIONS FOR VETERANS
Letcher Middle School Students continue their celebration of Veterans day by seeking donations for the Big Sandy Regional Veterans Transitional Housing Center in Pike County. Each classroom has a donation box that they are working hard to fill. School Teacher Courtney Casebolt said it's a student project that began two weeks ago, and because Principal Rick Warf is a veteran, they wanted to continue with it. Chris Adair is a resident at the housing center, and is one of more than 15 veterans that Casebolt said will get a laundry basket full of gloves, socks, food, and other items.This is a first time project for the school and teachers hope their students get the message. Students are writing letters, sharing why they want the chance to deliver the baskets on December 15th. Casebolt said many of the students have just wrote that they want to come say thank you. December 11th is the last day Letcher Middle School is accepting donations.
ANSWERS SOUGHT ON DEMOLITION PROGRESS
2 decrepit buildings on Main Street in Fleming Neon haven't been torn down and city officials want to know why. One is owned by the Dawahare family and the Letcher County Library Board owns the other one. Mayor Susie Polis says she's contacting the library board and the Dawahare family tells her they can't afford the demolition costs.
DOC OFFICERS SHOW SUPPORT FOR TWO OF THEIR OWN
The final pre-trial hearing is held for a Knott Co. man accused of shooting and injuring a probation and parole officers. Rocky Wicker Senior is accused of opening fire on the officers when they tried to serve a warrant on his son at a home in the Mousie community. WYMT reports the courtroom was packed yesterday with a large number of Department of Corrections officers some of whom came all the way from Louisville to show their support for the 2 wounded officers. Wicker's trial starts December 8 and a representative of the DOC officers say they will be back in court then.
TRIAL AVERTED IN CHILD RAPE CASE
A plea deal is reached in the case of a Floyd County man accused of sexually abusing an eight year old. The Floyd County Times reports Harvey Robinson originally faced 15 counts of rape, sodomy, and abuse for his actions with the child over a 16 month period. Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner says one reason they accepted the plea deal was so the child wouldn't have to appear in court to testify against Robinson. He's due to be sentenced in February.
TROUBLE FOR AN ELECTED OFFICIAL
Pike County Judge Executive Elect Bill Deskins is called to court - but not over his campaign. The Appalachian News Express reports a complaint was filed by Steelworkers Local 14581 president Gypsy Cantrell Ratliff over claims Deskins verbally harassed and threatened her at a rally for Alison Lundergan Grimes held a day before election day at the Pikeville/Pike County airport. He is due in court November 18.
WORK BEGINS SOON ON DEVELOPMENT
Construction on over 2.5 acres of land in Floyd County deeded to a company planning to build apartments for those with low income or special needs is expected to begin soon. In July the Prestonsburg City Council allocated the land from the Stonecrest Industrial Park to Mountain Comprehensive Care on the stipulation it received approval for the project from the federal Economic Development Administration. The company says it will build a 60 bed facility on the site along with a psychiatric residential treatment facility for boys and girls ages 13 to 18. Federal grants and coal severance money are helping to pay for the $3 million cost of the project which is expected to create 90 jobs.
2 COUNTS, SAME TOTALS
A recanvass for the Circuit Court Judge race in Harlan County yields the exact same result as the initial count. Kent Hendrickson defeated incumbent Henry S. Johnson by 179 votes. Johnson says he asked for the recanvass because he wanted to be certain the votes were counted accurately. As part of the transition Hendrickson is recusing himself from all cases he was involved with as an attorney, and a special judge will handle those proceedings. Hendrickson will be sworn in early next year.
SENTENCING IN HOME INVASION CASE
15 years in jail is the sentence for a Pike County man taking a plea deal on home invasion charges. Court papers say 18 year old Daniel Gillman of Pikeville and an accomplice broke into the home of Lizzie and Robert Compton and held the couple against their will while stealing cash, jewelry and other goods. Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley says Robert Compton suffered non life threatening injuries in the January incident. Gillman's accomplice, William Hamilton also took a plea deal and is to be sentenced November 21.