Thursday July 31, 2014

KITTEN THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN KILLED IN ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE IS STILL ALIVE

2 weeks ago a Letcher County man was arrested for animal cruelty after throwing a kitten so hard that police said it died. Police say Robert Machniak was under the influence and fighting with family members when the suspected cat cruelty occurred.  But now – a woman has come forward saying the kitten didn’t die after all. According to the Mountain Eagle the woman called the newspaper claiming she has the kitten and it’s still alive. The Jenkins police chief tells the newspaper he’s talked to the woman and verified her story. Machniak will still be tried on animal cruelty and is in the Letcher County Jail on a surety bond of $2,500.

3 LETCHER COUNTY TREE COMPANY WORKERS RESCUE MAN FROM TREE

Letcher County men just starting their workday for a tree trimming company ended up rescuing a Craft’s Colly man who was injured while cutting down a tree on 5th Street. The 3 Asplundh Tree Expert Company workers were clearing trees in the Mayking community when they were sent to the site where Paul Hall had badly injured his leg and couldn’t climb down. Firemen weren’t able to rescue Hall because the rough terrain made it impossible to maneuver in a bucket truck, so the three tree cutters – who are trained on how to rescue their colleagues – managed to get Hall to safety. Hall says it’s the first time he’s been hurt in nearly 30 years of tree cutting.

JENKINS SCHOOL BOARD CLOSE TO HIRING A NEW SUPERINTENDENT

With classes set to begin on Wednesday, the Jenkins School Board says it’s close to announcing who will be the district’s new superintendant. The candidate pool has been reduced from 18 to 4 in the search for the successor to current superintendant Deborah Watts. All 4 have interviewed with the board. Meanwhile Jenkins High School hired Daniel Sexton to be the new football coach. Sexton is a graduate of Fleming-Neon High School, where he played football.

REACTION CONTINUES IN RESPONSE TO KHSAA SUSPENSION OF CORDIA HS BOYS BASKETBALL

Reaction continues to pour in from family, friends and fans of a Knott County high school basketball team suspended Monday by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. KHSAA banned Cordia High School from competing during the 2014-15 season and playing in the 2016 playoffs because it said the school made several violations of the association’s bylaws. School officials say they have already begun the process to appeal the suspension. Cordia is a private school but is supervised by the Knott County Board of Education.

OVER 30 GRAVES TO BE MOVED IN PERRY COUNTY FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION

Over 30 graves at an abandoned Perry County cemetery are to be moved so construction on Highway 15 can proceed. Last week the Perry County Fiscal Court approved a request from the cemetery’s owner to relocate the graves from the site in Hazard to another location he owns. The new Highway 15 is planned to be widened to 4 lanes and part of the new road will occupy the cemetery space.

CHURCH FIRE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES IN PIKE COUNTY

The investigation is continuing into what started a fire that destroyed a Pike County church on Saturday. Shelby Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Darrell Compton tells the Appalachian News Express they’re looking at the church’s electrical service connection as a possible location where the fire started. Church pastor Clyde Stillner says the church didn’t have fire insurance.

U.S. 421 IN LESLIE COUNTY WILL HAVE DELAYS THE NEXT 2 DAYS

Drivers using Highway 421 in Leslie County today and tomorrow should plan for extra travel time as crews plan to reduce the road at mile 8 down to one lane from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Work is being done on drainage improvements and stabilization to reduce the number of slides along the road. Officials urge drivers to use extra caution in the work zone

HARLAN COUNTY PAIR UNDER ARREST FOR SELLING STOLEN DOG

2 Harlan County residents are under arrest on suspicion they stole a dog then sold it. Police say the dog’s owner told officers Donna Eversole and Albert Osborn both of Loyall they took the dog from her on Sunday. Investigators say the two then tried to sell it, but couldn’t tell detectives who they sold it to. Eversole and Osborne were charged with theft by unlawful taking over $500 and lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $5,000 full cash bond each.

Wednesday Juy 30, 2014

DAMAGE REPORTS FROM EF-1 TORNADO SUNDAY IN LESLIE COUNTY

Damage reports are beginning to surface from the EF-1 tornado that touched down in Leslie County on Sunday. At Shell Cemetery along Kentucky 2009 trees were uprooted which knocked over a number of headstones. And a tree fell on a carport at a home in Essie. The storm also had golfball sized hail that cracked the windshields of 2 vehicles parked at the home. The homeowner says the roof was replaced just 2 months ago. So far there have been no reports of injuries from Sunday's storm.


CITY COUNCIL DEEDS LAND FOR SPECIAL NEEDS HOUSING TO BE BUILT IN PRESTONSBURG

Over 2.5 acres of land in Floyd County has been deeded to a company planning to build apartments for those with low income or special needs. 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 24 unit complex on the site with around a fifth of the apartments reserved for special needs residents.

PIKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY DIES FROM ACCIDENT INJURIES

A Pike County sheriff's deputy hurt in a horse accident earlier this month has died from his injuries. Ernie Rhoten had been the baliff at the Pike County Judicial Center for the last 18 months. Co-workers say Rhoten was one of the best officers the Judicial Center ever had, adding that he made everyone there smile. Rhoten had registered as an organ donor.

2 ARRESTED IN PERRY COUNTY ON BURGLARY CHARGES

2 people from Perry County are arrested for burglarizing a vacant home. Police say they caught Doyle Standafer and Sarah Krantz in the act of taking items from the home on Carter Street in Hazard and both took off on foot. Kratz was arrested several hours later and Standafer turned himself in a short time later. Both are scheduled to make their first court appearance next week.

PIKE COUNTY CHURCH LOST TO FIRE AND BEING INVESTIGATED

A Pike County church that members say has roots dating back to the 1800s is now nothing but a memory after it burned to the ground. The fire at Yeager Church of Christ in Little Creek happened on Saturday morning and investigators from the State Police Arson division along with the State Fire Marshal are determining the cause. One church members says nearby surveillance cameras may have captured images of what happened before the fire started. Another says the congregation will rebuild the church in the near future.

POSSIBLE NEW FLOYD COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

The Floyd County Board of Education has given the green light to a preliminary design for a new high school building. Designer showed board members renderings of the new facility which is to be located on Route 380. It will have around 140,000 square feet of space with nearly two thirds of it used for classrooms. The design now goes to the state Department of Education for its approval.

PERRY COUNTY SHOOTING MONDAY RULED SELF DEFENSE

Police say they are not filing charges in a Perry County shooting Monday night, saying it was a case of self defense.  According to investigators Filas Hilton was in the process of stealing from ginseng from property owned by Logan Sexton of Leatherwood when Sexton confronted Hilton. Sexton tells officers Hilton appeared to be reaching for a weapon and that's when Sexton shot Hilton, who was airlifted to a Pikeville hospital and is expected to recover from his injuries. A grand jury will determine if charges are to be filed against Hilton in the suspected ginseng theft.

IDA IN HARLAN COUNTY BEGINS TO REFORM RECORD KEEPING AFTER STATE AUDIT

Harlan County's Industrial Development Authority has begun the process to implement reforms in its financial record keeping procedures. This comes after the state auditor sumbitted a number of recommendations to correct problems which resulted in the county having to assume over $175,000 in debt. Step one of the process according to the I-D-A is to get a forensic audit of the agency's finances. 

Tuesday July 29, 2014

NWS CONFIRMS TORNADO IN LESLIE COUNTY SUNDAY

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado did touch down Sunday in southern Leslie County – but was gone as fast it came, only on the ground for a minute or so. Tree damage was reported during the brief touchdown of the EF-1 tornado that had winds of around 75 miles an hour No one was hurt.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON TO VISIT HAZARD NEXT WEEK

Former President Bill Clinton will visit Perry County a week from tomorrow on a campaign swing with Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Clinton – who is a longtime friend of Grimes’ father Jerry Lundergan – will be in Lexington in the morning then appear at the Hal Rogers Center in Hazard at 3pm. The latest Bluegrass poll puts Grimes in a virtual dead heat with incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell.

PERRY COUNTY MAN AIRLIFTED AFTER SHOOTING

A man shot in Perry County last night had to be airlifted to a hospital. Police haven’t released many details on what happened other that the shooting occurred at a home off of Owens Branch Road near the Slemp Community. The gunman is still at large.

EVARTS LOOKING AT DIFFERENT WAYS TO COLLECT PROPERTY TAXES

One city in Harlan County is looking at some different approaches to collecting delinquent property taxes and unpaid privilege licenses. Just over $30,000 is due the city of Evarts and the city council says it’s taking a look at selling the debt to a third party that would then try and collect the money. Some of the delinquent taxes date back over five years, according to Mayor Eddie Manning. Another way to collect back taxes is by filing liens against the property owners – but one Evarts councilman says it’s best that people just pay their bills rather than lost their property.

NEW DETAILS IN SUNDAY SHOOTING AT PIKE COUNTY MOTORCYLE CLUB

New details are emerging about an early Sunday morning shooting in Pike County that left a man dead and two others injured. Police say they found the 3 shooting victims at a motorcycle club off Pond Creek Road on Straight Hollow and Daniel Ward – the man who would be later charged in the shooting – had taken off on his motorcycle. According to investigators Ward was pulled over and booked into jail on traffic violations, suspicion of DUI and for possessing a concealed weapon – a pair of brass knuckles. It was after he was in jail that the murder charge was filed. Ward is due in court August 6.

HARLAN NATIVE AND UK LEGEND "WAH WAH JONES" PASSES AWAY

Legendary UK basketball and football All-American, Olympic Gold Medalist  and Harlan County native William Wah Wah Jones died Sunday at the age of 88. Jones led Harlan High School to a state championship in 1944, then went on to UK and to the Olympics in London 4 years later. With all the fame Jones gained, people say it never went to his head, always staying humble – and never forgetting Harlan was his home. Visitation is tomorrow from 5 to 7 pm at the Anderson-Laws-Jones Funeral Home in Harlan.

POLICE SAY NO PROOF OF SHOTS FIRED AT HOMES IN POUND VIRGINIA OVER THE WEEKEND

Police in a Wise County, Virginia city say they haven’t been able to find any proof that someone opened fire at a number of homes on Sunday as had been reported to dispatchers. Investigators from several agencies searched an area in the 7000 block of South Fork Road near the town of Pound but found no damage or any bullet casings. Officers did find there was some target shooting going on near the neighborhood.

CHILD CAR SEAT INSPECTIONS IN HARLAN COUNTY

Yesterday State Troopers in Harlan County conducted safety inspections for child car seats. In addition to making sure seats are safe, troopers helped parents make sure that the seats are properly installed in their cars. The troopers gave out free car seats to folks whose seats have been recalled.

Monday July 28, 2014

FISCAL COURT VOTES TO PAY FOR AIR MED HELICOPTER SERVICES

At its July meeting the Letcher County Fiscal Court voted to pay $17,000 for Air Med medical helicopter services to be added on to the insurance plans for county employees and first responders.  Last year the court voted to add the coverage which picks up the remaining cost after what health insurance pays out for the cost of an emergency flight.  Judge/Executive Jim Ward says it would cost over $90,000 to provide this benefit to all county residents but County Treasurer Phillip Hampton told the court there’s no provision in the budget to pay that higher amount.  Hampton suggested including the cost to cover the entire county in next year’s budget.  

MURDER AT PIKE COUNTY MOTORCYLE CLUB MEETING

A man was killed and 2 people were hurt after a shooting in Pike County.  Police say Daniel Ward shot and killed Bradley Coleman at a motorcycle club in the Stone community.  The 2 other people shot were taken to the hospital but there has been no word on the severity of their injuries or their current conditions.  Ward was arrested on suspicion of murder and police say additional charges are pending.  

RESCUE DOGS IN KNOTT COUNTY FOR TRAINING

Rescue dogs and their handlers were out in Knott County over the weekend for training exercises.  The class included rescue groups from Knott County along with those from 3 other nearby counties along with one rescuer who traveled from Wisconsin for the training sessions.  Classes were conducted by from Carl Alexander from the National Search Dog Agency and certification paperwork was handed out once training was completed.  A total of 8 dogs were involved in the training.  

PERRY COUNTY VOLUNTEERS GIVE OUT FOOD BOXES

Volunteers in Perry County prepared and gave away over 300 boxes of food this weekend.  It’s an endeavor conducted by the "Youth Awakening" ministry group which raised money all year to buy the food.  The food boxes were handed out on Saturday at the National Guard armory.    

HARLAN STUDENTS EARN COLLEGE CREDITS

High school students in Harlan County are getting a jump on their college education while finishing up work on their high school diplomas  A joint program between the Harlan Independent School System and Jefferson County Community College gives students the chance to earn credit hours by taking college level classes along with their high school curriculum.  School officials say one in 5 Harlan County seniors graduated with college credits in hand – as compared to just a handful 5 or 6 years ago.  The classes include those on a typical freshman’s schedule including Humanities, college-level math courses along with science and tech classes.  All credits earned transfer to four-year institutions. 

SOUTHWEST VA MINE RECEIVES OVER 2 DOZEN CITATIONS

Over 2 dozen citations have been filed against a Dickenson County, Virginia coal mine by a federal watchdog agency.  Dickenson-Russell Coal Company's Cherokee Mine was named in the latest report from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.  Inspections began 4 years ago the Upper Big Branch explosion in West Virginia killed 29 coal miners.


CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE PLANS TAKE SHAPE FOR NEW PIKE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL PARK

The timeline for construction of Pike County’s newest industrial park is beginning to take shape.  Last week Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers unveiled plans for the new industrial park called Marion Branch – at the location of a 380-acre former surface mine site.  Global animal nutrition company Alltech is planning to build a fish farm and egg farm at the park – and is the site’s first tenant.  The first step is construction of an access road to Marion Branch and a bridge across the Big Sandy from U.S. 23 to the new access road.  Pikeville officials say road construction could begin as soon as October and would likely take about 4 months.  Bridge construction will take longer to complete – well over a year, according to officials.  

FORMER WISE COUNTY PARAMEDIC CHARGED

A former Wise County Virginia paramedic is charged with inappropriate activities with a minor.       The Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney's office says Andrew Justin Rose is also accused of using an electronic device to propose an indecent act.  Authorities say he was a member of the Appalachia Rescue Squad at the time of the suspected activity.  Rose had faced prior theft charges while with the Clintwood Virginia Rescue Squad.

Friday July 25, 2014

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AT LETCHER COUNTY OWNED BUILDINGS

Energy efficiency at Letcher County owned buildings was on the agenda at the July fiscal court meeting. The court heard a report from Mark Saunier of Comfort & Process Solutions regarding energy audits conducted at the buildings. Saunier says the court could realize savings of $40,000 – but more extensive audits would be needed, and Comfort and Process would do those at no additional cost. Once those audits are done, Saunier says if the court chooses to have Comfort & Process implement the energy savings measures it would take its fees out of the savings to the county that were projected in the audit. The court agreed to allow the no charge audit but no further work was authorized.

 
LETCHER COUNTY CARES ASKS FISCAL COURT FOR FINANCIAL HELP

The director of a Letcher County domestic violence victims shelter appeared before the Letcher County Fiscal Court to ask for financial help – or else it may be forced to close. Phyllis Barker of Letcher County Cares says the tough economy means the shelter has seen more victims than before, and attempts to obtain grants have met with little success. The shelter currently serves seven women and 11 children. While no specific funding was granted to the shelter, the court plans to find a way to get it the money it needs to survive.

 
CRASH ON U.S. 23 IN FLOYD COUNTY THURSDAY INJURES 2

A crash in Floyd County yesterday sent 2 people to the hospital and blocked the road while the investigation took place. Police say a car and a pickup truck collided head on the intersection of Town Branch and U.S. 23 in Prestonsburg. Both drivers were taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center and the extent of their injuries has not been disclosed. Investigators are looking into the circumstances that led up to the collision.

 
INDIANA POLICE CAPTURE WANTED KNOTT COUNTY MAN

Police in Indiana apprehended a Knott County man wanted on over 20 sex charges including 6 counts of rape. Sylvester Slone was taken into custody Tuesday night at a home near Kendallville in Noble County. He had a warrant out for his arrest in that jurisdiction. Slone is currently in an Indiana jail and there’s been no word so far on if or when he will be extradited to Knott County. 

 
MINE SAFETY COMPETITION IN CUMBERLAND

Over 150 miners from 7 states descended on Harlan County for a mining safety competition organized by the Cumberland Tourism Commission. This was the 4th year for the event. Organizers estimate during the three day event, the visitors pumped more than $60,000 in the local economy.

 
WELLNESS CLINIC BEING HELD IN CAWOOD

A Free Wellness Clinic will be held today and tomorrow at James A Cawood Elementary School on Ball Park Road in Harlan. It's being organized by employees of The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hours are from 1pm until 7pm today and 10:30am until 6pm tomorrow. The clinic offers no charge physicals, eye glasses, podiatrist exams, dental exams and work along with diabetes checks and hygiene awareness. Children and adults can also obtain clothing, shoes, personal and oral hygiene products along with no charge haircuts. Officials say they will give away 500 backpacks to children tomorrow at 3 pm.

 
FLOYD COUNTY MAN TAKES PLEA DEAL ON MAJOR COCKFIGHTING CHARGES

A Floyd County man charged with helping operate what authorities called one of the nation's largest cockfighting pits has taken a plea deal. Walter Stumbo will be sentenced in October on his guilty plea to conspiracy to sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venture and conduct an illegal gambling business. Stumbo also pleaded guilty to charges of transporting both roosters and gaffs from Virginia to Kentucky. Stumbo's son, Joshua pleaded guilty to the same charges. 

 
CITY OF LOYALL CUTTING COSTS

Officials in one Harlan County city are looking at ways to cut costs - and have cut trash pickups to every other week as a way to save money. Loyall Sewer and Street Department Supervisor Mark Duff informed the city council trash pickups will be on the first and third Thursday of each month. Duff says residents who need to remove a large amount of trash can rent a truck at city hall and they will charge $50 per load.