LETCHER COUNTY POLICE BUST MAN FOR SELLING SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA THAT WAS MAKING PEOPLE SICK
Undercover cops in Letcher County busted a man for selling synthetic marijuana that is believed to have sickened at least 2 people. Norman Monroe from Jenkins was arrested at his Smokey Row home yesterday morning and charged with felony trafficking and wanton endangerment. A search warrant revealed Monroe had a stash of the drug in his home along with cash and guns. Monroe is suspected of selling the synthetic marijuana – called “Chill Out” – to a pair of men who cops found Friday night, one of them without a pulse. On Saturday 2 more cases of “Chill Out” overdose were reported – one of which was a teenager who remains in the hospital fighting for his life. Investigators say more arrests are expected.
FLOYD COUNTY INMATE ACCUSED OF BITING ANOTHER INMATES EAR OFF TO APPEAR IN COURT TODAY
The Floyd County jail inmate suspected of biting off part of a fellow inmate’s ear is due in court today. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows Brian Caudill biting Jason Boyd’s ear twice as they were fighting, removing Boyd’s lower ear lobe. Doctors were able to reattach the lobe. Caudill – who has a lengthy rap sheet and was already facing multiple charges – now faces a count of felony assault and is now in solitary confinement.
PIKE COUNTY BACK ON TOP OF KY COAL PRODUCTION
Pike County has moved back to the top of the Kentucky coal production list for the second quarter of 2014 with production of over 3 million tons. The latest report from the Energy and Environment Cabinet puts Perry County in second place at 1.9 million and Harlan County was 3rd at 1.3 million. Those numbers are all up from the first quarter of 2014. The report says Eastern Kentucky had a 15 percent production increase compared to a nearly 9 percent production decrease in Western Kentucky.
FOUR PEOPLE TAKEN TO HOSPITAL AFTER HARLAN COUNTY CRASH ON MONDAY
Four people were taken to the hospital after a crash in Harlan County yesterday. Police say a SUV struck a car at the U.S. 119 Bypass and Kentucky 72, injuring the SUV’s driver and 3 other people. It’s not clear in which of the vehicles the passengers were riding in. The crash investigation is continuing and there’s no word on if charges were filed.
JOE CRAFT TOWER AT HAZARD ARH DEDICATED
Yesterday morning the new Joe Craft Tower at Hazard Appalachian Regional Healthcare was officially dedicated. It had already been in operation for a few months as workers finished up the final details of the $50 million project that adds additional patient rooms, doubles the emergency room capacity and has a new helipad for airlifts. Alliance Resource Partners President and CEO Joe Craft –a Hazard native - donated $1 million to the project
FLOYD COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER PASSING OUT WITH A CHILD NEARBY AT PIKE COUNTY OPTOMETRIST
The decision by a Floyd County woman to take her daughter to the eye doctor turned out to be a bad move when police caught her passed out in the waiting room. Not only was Tonya Haines arrested for public intoxication and endangerment, she was also picked up for a felony warrant in Indiana. According to court papers Tonya Haines showed up at a Pikeville optometrist’s office and according to workers there appeared to be intoxicated and having difficulty completing paperwork. The Appalachian News Express report when police arrived Haines was found unconscious with her 5 year old next to her. She was booked into the Pike County Detention Center and has waived extradition to Indiana. The girl is now in the custody of her grandfather.
THREE DICKENSON COUNTY FAMILIES DISPLACED AFTER WEEKEND FIRE
Three Dickenson County, Virginia families were displaced from their homes after an apartment complex fire over the weekend. Investigators say nearly 100 people were evacuated from the building, but there were no reports of serious injuries. The Red Cross assisted the three families in finding temporary shelter. No word on what caused the fire.
2 BROTHERS SHOTS AND SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LESLIE COUNTY
Gunfire Saturday night in Leslie County injured one man and put his brother in the hospital with life threatening injuries. Police say the brothers had been in an alcohol-fueled argument in Harlan County with a man identified as Gavin Wells when all three left there and ended up in Leslie County. That’s where investigators say Wells shot one of the brothers in the head and the other in the hand. Wells then took off and a passerby got the 2 men to Hazard ARH. As Wells was driving back to the shooting scene, police pulled him over and took him into custody. No word on if bond was set for Wells.
BENEFIT HELD FOR 3 YEAR OLD IN HARLAN COUNTY
On Saturday the community rallied around a Harlan County family waiting for a treatment to become available for their young daughter suffering from chronic seizures. A benefit was held to help 3 year old Michaela’s family come up with money to get things she needs to cope with a condition called Leukodystrophy – which causes multiple seizures, sometimes even hundreds of them a day. One of the goals is to help Michaela’s family raise $5000 for a handicap-accessible van to get her back and forth from the doctor. Michaela’s mom says her condition may be mitigated by the use of cannabis oil, but that’s not yet legal in Kentucky.
BATTLE BREWING OVER PIKE TV CHANNEL
A battle is brewing between Pike County’s judge-executive and the government TV service that he says was his brainchild. The Appalachian News Express reports Judge-Executive Wayne Rutherford okayed a stop payment order on a $30,000 check for Pike-TV, the joint effort between the county’s fiscal court, the City of Pikeville, the University of Pikeville and Pikeville Medical Center. Rutherford took the action after Pike-TV crews didn’t show up at a Friday morning meeting – a special session that according to station manager Al Greenfield they didn’t know about until 5 minutes before the meeting was to start. The newspaper reports Pike TV’s Paul Patton plans to discuss the matter with Rutherford.
3 PEOPLE SHOT LAST THURSDAY IN LESLIE COUNTY CONTINUE TO RECOVER
2 of the 3 people hurt Thursday in a Leslie County shooting have been released from the hospital. Joshua Slusher and Derrick White were treated and released, according to the Leslie County Sheriff’s office. A third victim – a 17 year old girl – was also hurt but there’s been no update on her condition. Investigators say there were multiple shots fired and Slusher told police he pushed the teenager away from the gunfire. Police say they are continuing to track down leads on the suspect gunman’s whereabouts.
GOVERNOR BESHEAR AWARDS KNOTT COUNTY MAN
Governor Steve Beshear bestowed an award on a Knott County man for his ongoing community service efforts. Sergeant Jerry Hall, Jr. received the Veteran Volunteer Service Award at a ceremony in Frankfort last month. Earlier this year Sergeant Hall helped his community deal with a water service outage by hauling in over 7,000 gallons of well water. Hall was nominated by his wife Ashley along with some help from a couple of people.
NEW COAL DUST RULES ARE NOW IN EFFECT
Coal operators are expressing concerns that new rules from the Obama administration aimed at reducing coal dust in mines could lead to more layoffs as compliance expenses will end up increasing coal prices. But worker advocates applaud the new statutes saying they will help reduce black lung cases. The rules went into effect Friday and operators could be cited if they do not take immediate action to correct high levels of dust. Black lung disease has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN INDICTED ON DRUG CHARGES
A Harlan County woman has been indicted on drug charges dating back nearly 18 months. Last week Julia Sizemore was arrested in Loyall on the indictment that says she sold or transferred a controlled substance on two separate occasions in February of 2013. She’s being held in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $4,000 full cash bond. There’s been no word on a trial date.
FRESHMEN ORIENTATION TODAY AT LCC
This morning the freshman are ruling Letcher County Central High School. The incoming class along with their parents are on campus for a chance to get to know their new classmates and teachers, pick up class schedules, have photos taken and pick out their lockers – which cost $5 to rent. Parents are taking part in a special orientation session and the day wraps up with a free lunch. Classes start August 6.
NEW MATH TEXTBOOKS TO BE IN USE NEXT WEEK
When Letcher County’s kindergardeners through fifth graders head back to class next week, they’ll be the first to use the district’s brand new math textbooks. The last new books were bought over a decade ago. In addition to traditional textbooks, the district bought electronic books and other resources using an $80,000 grant from the state. Next year’s grant will be used to replace math books in grades 6 through 12.
FLOYD COUNTY WRECK INJURES ONE
In Floyd County a pickup truck and a car met by accident – and it took some heavy duty gear to pull them apart, Police say the car was stopped to make a turn near Cooley Medical in Prestonsburg and the truck ran into the back of it. A truck with a winch was used to separate the truck from the car. The man and woman in the car weren’t hurt but the pickup driver was taken to the hospital.
HARLAN COUNTY BRIDGE NAMED FOR FORMER LAWMAKER
This week a bridge in Harlan County was renamed in honor of a former state lawmaker. The bridge over the Cumberland River leading to the Sunshine area of Harlan was named in memory of former state Rep. Henry J. Giles. Giles represented Sunshine and the 89th district in 1946, 1948 and 1952. He is also known for owning and operating Giles Moving and Storage and Harlan’s Ready Mix Concrete. Giles passed away in the mid 1990s.
FLOYD COUNTY INMATE BIT OFF PART OF FELLOW INMATES EAR DURING SCUFFLE
In a scene reminiscent of the Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield boxing match, investigators say a Floyd County jail inmate bit off part of the ear of another inmate as they were fighting. Brian Caudill now faces an additional felony charge for nipping the ear of Jason Boyd. Prosecutors say the whole thing was caught on the jail’s security cameras. Doctors were able to reattach the part of Boyd’s ear that Caudill is suspected of biting off.
WISE COUNTY SHERIFF LOOKING FORWARD TO USE OF 2 NEW DRONES
Wise County Virginia sheriff Ronnie Oakes says he hopes deputies will soon be allowed to use the 2 drones the department bought – but it depends on when – or if – the Virginia legislature allows them to fly. The state is one of 13 banning drone use other than in searches for children or by the Virginia National Guard. heriff Oakes tells the Washington Times they want to use the unmanned aircraft to search for lost person and to seek out suspected drug operations in the county. The Virginia State Legislature is expected to take up the matter in January.
WRITER'S WORKSHOP IN HINDMAN ENDS TODAY
A week-long writer’s workshop in Knott County wraps up today. The 37th annual Appalachian Writer's Workshop started on Monday at indman Settlement School. Organizers say the workshop allows new and veteran writers to learn more about Appalachian literature and meet people who are from or write about the region.
3 PEOPLE SHOT IN LESLIE COUNTY THURSDAY NIGHT
3 people were shot last night in Leslie County and police are still trying to sort out what happened before the bullets went flying. Police say the 2 men and a 17 year old girl all suffered life threatening injuries. So far no one has been arrested.
SAYING GOODBYE TO PIKE COUNTY COURT BAILIFF AND DEPUTY
Friends and family of a Pike County court bailiff gathered Thursday night to say goodbye. Officials say Ernie Rhoten died this week from injuries he suffered when he fell off a horse last month. Rhoten was a Pike County sheriff's deputy and worked as a bailiff at the Pike County Judicial Center for about one year. Pike County chief sheriff's deputy Melvin Sayers said he never saw Rhoten frown or gripe. He was just well-liked by everybody." Members of the Fraternal Order of Police paid tribute to Rhoten in a special service at the visitation. Rhoten’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Washington County, Virginia.
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.
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.