LOCAL NEWS

Monday 8-24-15

By Jerry Adams

Authorities are investigating a weekend fire in Perry County. Nobody was hurt in that blaze on Newsome Lane in Cornettsvile on Saturday, but the home was destroyed. Neighbors say they smelled smoke and called 9 1 1 , but that by the time fire crews got to the scene it was too late to save the building. No one was home at the time of that fire.

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A boy from Knott County is recovering, after a live saving kidney transplant from his adoptive father. Breven Portwood had been diagnosed with kidney disease and his father, Elmer Portwood was the perfect match. Father and son are improving at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. 12 year old Breven says he is looking forward to returning to a normal live and elmer says he is thankful that he was able to help his son —who was born in Guatemala and adopted as an infant.

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No sign of foul play in the death of a Clay County man whose body was found in the Daniel Boone National Forest on Friday. Officials say 43 year old Steven Eddie Woods was discovered after he was reported missing last week. An autopsy will be done to determine how he died.

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Thousands of people rallying over the weekend in support of the Rowan County Clerk—and her refusals to issue marriage license because of her religions belief. That rally in Frankfort on Saturday drew people from around the state and around the country. Kim Davis spoke briefly,saying she was grateful for the turnout an needed prayers. A judge has ruled that Davis must issue those licenses in the wake of the US supreme court decision on gay marriage earlier this year, but that decision is on hold pending a review buy the sixth circuit court of appeals.

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Cleanup work is progressing in Johnson County in the aftermath of the floods. Officials say the first phase of construction debris pickup in the flooded areas is complete. The contractor plans to wait a week to give people time to sort through and pile more material for pickup. The final round of pickups will begin Monday, August 31.  Officials say material that can be picked up and hauled off is limited to construction debris from homes and other buildings that were damaged or destroyed during last month's floods. Debris should be separated into six categories: Construction Debris, Electronics, Large Appliances, Hazardous Waste, Vegetative Debris, and Household Garbage.

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Another new traffic pattern in Pikeville this week.  It's due to work on Bypass Road in Pikeville as the work progresses north toward Town Mountain Road. The Kentucky Highway Cabinet says motorists are asked to watch for new directions on variable message boards and new signs and barriers . All businesses on Bypass Road remain open and accessible from the Chloe Creek side of the project through to Don Combs Bridge. Officials say while that work may be frustrating now. When its done, Bypass Road will be much, much safer for vehicles and pedestrians

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It was a great day for flying on Saturday at the Big Sandy Regional Airport, as the field celebrated its 14th annual Airport Day. There were dozens of copters and even a military Black Hawk on hand to showcase the airport and let aviation enthusiasts share their hobby. Officials say while Eastern Kentucky may not have a large aviation community, it is growing and that events like Airport day let people appreciate the joy of flight,

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will be able to run for president—and re election to he IU S senate seat at the state time. The state GOP has approved a March 5th presidential caucus—in addition to the state primary in May,. State law says a candidate cannot appear om the same ballot twice, meaning Paul would have had to give up either his senate—or presidential primary . Paul will have to pay 250 thousand dollars for the caucus—he says he should have no trouble coming up with that cash.  

Friday 8-21-15

By Jerry Adams

Police have charged a man with driving while under the influence following an accident involving a school bus in Floyd County. That crash around 3 PM on Highway 1426 in the community of Dana sent one child to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver is identified as 38 year old Anthony Kiser, who was arrested for D U I. He will face several other charges chages inlcuding wanton endangerment as well and was taken to the Floyd County Jail. There were 42 children, and the driver,on the bus at the time of the crash.

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A man from Floyd County who was found guilty but mentally ill on charges that he killed two neighors back in 2012. The state suprme court says Berry Hall deseres a new trial because of some graphic crime scene photos that the jury saw during his trial. The judges say those 28 pictures were repetitive and unnecessary. Alan Tackett and his wife Lisa were found shot to death outside their home.

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A new trail could help keep people in letcher county physically fit, and officials hope it will help with fiscal fitness too, by attracting more people to the community. That trail is planned for Whitesburg and could some day be hooked into a similar path in Jenkins. Leaders of that Greeway Project say the 14 mile trail is one of the few consistently down hill places in the county, making it ideal for biking and hiking—maybe not so ideal though for going uphill if you aren't already in shape.

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Its back to school for students at the University of Pikeville, Registration continues today and classes begin for the fall semester om Monday. U-Pike says there are still scholarships available and hope that potential students who are still on the fence when it comes to college will consider enrolling, even with the first classes just a few days away now.

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Federal officials have started going door too door in Johnson County, spreading the word about disaster relief available for victims of last month' s flooding. FEMA says its survivor assistance teams want to make sure people know what help is available to help put the pieces back together after the rising water washed away or damaged dozens of homes. Meanwhile,  FEMA says residents should be on the lookout for scam artists trying to take advantage of the situation. Officials say representatives will not make unsolicited phone calls asking for personal information and that any agent who stops by in person will have proper identification, which residents should ask to see.

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The city council in Evarts says they are holding the line on a tax incrase this year. Council members say given the tough economy, now isn't the time to add taxes to residents who are already struggling to make ends meet. They say they should be able to go though the budget and find enoough savings to avoid an increase in the tax rate for now but will take another look at taxes next year as they hope for an improving economy.

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Back to the bargaining table for workers at Paul B Hall Medical Center in Paintsville. The United Steelworkes Union has ulled back from a 10 day strike notice at the facility, and says it will resume contract talks on September 3rd, aimed at avoiding a walkout.

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An honor for the state prosecutor in Clay County. Clay Bishop has been named as on of the state's top county attorneys at a ceremony hosted by governor Steve Beshear. This is the third time Bishop has been recognized for his work. He was named to that top prosecutors list in both 1995 and 2006. The governor says Bishop has done an outstanding job, in office, including his work fighting domestic violence. In addition to his public work, Bishop has a private practice and teaches paralegal studies at Eastern Kentucky University.

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Wednesday 8-19-15

By Jerry Adams

Officials say there were no serious injuries in a school bus crash in Perry County on Wednesday. That bus carrying two students, a monitor and the driver was hit as it made a turn on Higway 28, not far from the Chavies Elementary School. One of those students went to the hospital for a checkup, but is OK. Police say an SUV apparently collided with the bus in that school zone. With schools back in session, they say it is a reminder for drivers to be extra cautious, especially around the open and closing of school hours.

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The Bell County School Board says it has approved a plan for people attending high school football games this fall to take part in a prayer before kickoff.   The board says it has reviewed the way the voluntary prayer will be conducted and say it is  constitutional for a student led organization to be involved. The district was involved in a prayer controversy a few years back after a complaint by a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Kentucky ACL says it is aware of the current plans and says it will monitor the situation to make sure the school is following the law.

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The Harlan County Fiscal Court says it will consider allowing a new Cable TV provider in to the county after complaints about one of those that currently proves TV to residents. Members quizzed a representative of Zito Media about the number of customer complaints . Zito Media says its small number of subscribers makes it difficult to maintain the system, especially given the terrain, but the fiscal court says other companies are operating with the same restrictions in other sorts of the county with fewer service problems. Officials say the plan to advertise for other cable TV companies which might want to set up shop in the area.

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A man from Pike County has been charged with animal cruelty after police say he chained his dog to a pipe near the Pikeville Elementary School. They say Jordon Johnson told officials he had chained the animal before going out for a run. Johnson was also cited for public intoxication .                                                                            

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Police hope the public can help them solve the theft of historical items and office equipment from a museum in Laurel County. They say the burglars targeted that museum twice in June and got away with thousand of dollars worth of items. Among the artifacts taken, a replica 1890's era long gun the museum's security system and donation boxes and a collection of Colonel Harland Sander's memorabilia. Police think whoever stole the Sanders objects knew what they were looking for because of the value it has on the open market. The Laurel-London Crime stoppers has put up a reward for information about the theft.

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A man from Cumberland has been indicted on a kidnapping charge in Harlan County. Officials identify him as as 30 year old Frank Lee, who deputies say restrained and assaulted a woman in an incident back on May 26th. Lee has been arrested and is being held in the county detention center. Officials say he has at least four previous felony convictions dating back to 2007.

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Some late summer roadwork could cause inconvenience for drivers on coupe of area highways, Crews will be out repairing a road break on Kentucky 1210 in Floyd County near the May Valley Elementary School—and that drivers could face delays of u to an hour during those work times for the next week or so. Crews will also be out on Highway 2059 in Pike County, where a portion of the road will be closes today and tomorrow between 8 AM and 3 PM for repair work as well.

Tuesday 8-18-15

By Jerry Adams

Letcher County Fiscal Court has turned down a request to add 25 thousand dollars to the county Sheriff's Office budget. The court's 3 to 3 tie means the extra funding was NOT approved. Among those voting not to add more to the 150 thousand dollars already appropriated was county judge executive Jim Ward, who says it was a tough, but necessary decision, given the county's already tight finances. The department allocation is 150 thousand dollars—which is 650 thousand dollars less than last year, Those who supported the additional money say they department is too important to leave underfunded.   Department hours and staff have already been cut because of the decreasing county share of the budget.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court did approve support for a plan that would bring some federal dollars to communities hit by the downturn in coal.  The federal Power Plus plan involves grants to help diversify the economy. The city of Whitesburg has also decided to take part.

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The holiday season could bring some new jobs for eatsren kentucky residents. Teleworks USA is looking to hire as many as 25 hundred employees to answer phones and process customer orders for its clients. The company will hold ajob fair next Tuesday to look for qualified applicants. The jobs pay 9 dollars an hour—and officials say they will bring a much needed boost to the mountain economy.  That job fair will be held in two sessions at the Teleworks USA telework hub in Hazard—one at 10 AM and one at 2 PM.

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And some area residents are picking up valuable skills at a course in Fiber Optics at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. The school says it is meeting a need—both for people looking for work and for an industry that needs certified installers. Those involved say the program is a perfect fit as the mountain region moves toward greater access to broadband communication services—that will be carried over fiber cables.

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Two men accused of conspiring to kill a Clay County man have had their first day in court. Thomas Miracle and Roscoe Henson were at a preliminary hearing on charges that they worked together to kill 24 year old Trevor Dykes outside his Goose Rocks community home. They judge says there is enough evidence to hold the two until a grand jury meets next month to decide if they should be indicted. Police say Miracle hired Henson to kill Dykes because of a child custody dispute. The victim;s family members were in the courtroom and they say it was difficult to see the two for the first time, but that they want to make sure justice is served. Dykes was gunned down on July 27th as he left his home for work. Sheriff Kevin Johnson says the two suspects have admitted their roles in the killing.

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Police are investigating a crash that killed a man in Leslie County. They identify him as 61 year old Rufus Gibson of Hyden. They say he died when his vehicle ran off Highway 421 and into a creek on Monday morning.

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The Rowan County Clerk will not have to issue marriage licenses, after a federal judges ruling. Last week, judge David Bunning ordered Kim Davis to perform those ceremonies in spite of her religios beliefs. The judge has now put that ruling on hold so a higher court can review the case. Judge Bunning says he relalzes that emotions are running high on both sides, so for now, he says he will defer until the entire sixth circuit court can decide what to do next.

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FEMA has opened a center in Johnson County to help those effected by last month's devastating floods. The center will provide assistance by processing applications forloans and grants and letting people know what forms of aid are available. Those on hand for the opening say they are happy that help is finally arriving—help that could allow them to get back to the life they had before the water rose in July. That assistanc center is located on Highway 40 in Paintsville.

Monday 8-17-15

By Jerry Adams

A house fire in Harlan County has left one woman dead. Officials identify her as 26 year old April Dean, who was trapped inside that home in the Stanfil community early Sunday morning. The Sunshine Fire Company responded to that blaze on Highway72, but were unable to save Dean. There is no word on what caused the fire—officials are investigating, but they say NO foul play is suspected.

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A  Pike County congregation held its Sunday service outside this week—after a fire destroyed their church building. The Piso Freewill Baptist Church caught fire on Monday—and so, members improvised and held their worship under a tent next to the structure on Sunday. They say they are focusing on the future now and will do what t takes to rebuild. They also say their faith is strong and that they will remain together with God as they face the challenge ahead. So far the cause of that fire is under investigation.

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Charges have been filed against a woman in Floyd County after they say she set up a booth promising free phone service, which they say was nothing but a scam. Police say they arrested Susan Ward after complaints that she had promised a free phone upgrade for cash at that booth in downtown Martin, , but that there were no free phones. She is charged with theft by deception..

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A weekend crash in Bell County has left one person dead. Police say 42 year old Scotty Shackleford died when his ATV crashed into a truck on Highway 186 near Bennetts Fork Church late Saturday night. The truck driver was also injured and flown to UT Medical center.

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Officials in Bell County say they aren't happy with some news coverage from big newspaper. A recent article about drug abuse and poverty by the Boston Globe focused on Pineville, and Pineville Mayor Scott Madon says that while his community has a problem with illegal drug use, so do many other places. He says the article was an unfair portrait of his town that ignored many of the positive things there. Other officials agree, saying county is working hard to address the drug problem, and working hard to improve the economy as well

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Some roadwork effecting traffic in Knott County for the next few days. The Kentucky Highway cabinet says highway 1697 near highway 550 in Sloan fork will be closed during the day to make it safer for school busses. Officials say the work should take about a week and a half.

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Some people in Breathitt County had a chance to step back in time..and to hone their marksmanship skills as well over the weekend. The national program called “Johny Appleseed” made a stop in Jackson, letting people practice shooting small caliber rifles...and giving them history lessons about how rifles were used during the Revolutionary War. Those in attendance say it was a worthwhile experience that taught them a lot about guns—and about history.