LOCAL NEWS

Thursday October 9, 2014

MINER DIES FROM INJURIES IN TUESDAY ACCIDENT

A Tennessee man injured in a mining accident in Bell County has died from his injuries. It happened at the Nally and Hamilton mine on Centers Branch Road off Kentucky 92 in the Ingram community. Investigators say Justin Mize was injured when a right-highwall miner cutter chain broke, and as Mize was retrieving it a rock hit him. A Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson says Mize died while being airlifted to a hospital. This is the first mining related death this year.

CONSULTANT SAYS REC CENTER NOT ENERGY EFFICIENT

Operational costs for Letcher County's 3 year old recreation center can be reduced by nearly $44,000 annually if energy efficiency improvements are implemented. That's the conclusion of an outside consultant presenting their survey results to the Letcher County Fiscal Court. The consultant told the court that contractors who built the center didn't correctly inspect the facility, and nowadays  municipalities bring in outside inspectors to certify installations. Judge/Executive Jim Ward says he will contact the center's original contractor to get answers on the inefficiency issues.

PERRY COUNTY'S SCHOOL BOARD LOCKS IN ITS 2014-2015 BUDGET

The Herald reports the final budget is $49 million with a large amount of that funded from state sources that take into account student's average daily attendance. District officials are already looking at next year's spending plan, where employees are scheduled to get 2 percent raises - double what is in this year's budget.

SECOND SUSPECT ARRESTED IN A/C THEFT

Another Harlan County man faces theft charges on suspicion of stealing  heating and cooling equipment from a vacant home then sold it. The Enterprise reports Cory Bledsoe of Baxter was arrested yesterday and is held on $5000 bond secured by 10 percent. On Monday Bobby Napier of Baxter was taken into custody. Police say Bledsoe and Napier took a 3-ton heating and cooling unit from a home on Kentucky 840 in Lawnvale then sold it to Baxter Metal Company for less than $70. Police say construction workers at a home next door saw some suspicious activity around the home, and a short time later a truck pulled up and 2 men grabbed the AC unit then took off.

MORE TROUBLE FOR A PIKE COUNTY MAN

A Pike County man is indicted on weapons charges resulting from an arrest 10 days after taking a plea deal on drug charges. Billy Jack Fuller of Feds Creek is indicted on a weapons charge for possessing 4 guns and ammo, with the serial number removed from one of the guns. Fuller pleaded guilty to drug possession and distribution charges and was to be sentenced next month but there's been no word on when he'll be in court on the weapons charge.

FATHER CHARGED WITH PHYSICALLY ABUSING HIS INFANT SON

Charges are brought against a Perry County man on suspicion he physically abused his month old baby. Henry Clemons of Hazard was arrested and taken to the Kentucky River Regional Jail. Police say in August Clemons called for help saying his baby couldn't breathe, and medics took the infant to Hazard ARH then to a Lexington hospital, where doctors found both of the baby's legs, the left forearm and a rib were broken. Charging papers say Clemons knew about the injuries but did not seek assistance. The baby is recovering and is with relatives.

NWS HEADS TO PIKE COUNTY

A National Weather Service team is traveling to Pike County to survey the damage from Tuesday night's storms and to determine if a tornado touched down in the area. The heaviest damage was near Buffalo Creek at the Pike-Floyd County line where trees were uprooted and the winds damaged a number of houses. Heavy rains the night before damaged the cafeteria and 2 classrooms at Shelby Valley High School but it didn't cause classes to be interrupted.

NEW COURT CLERK APPOINTED

The Harlan County Circuit Court has appointed a successor to Paul Williams, who passed away last month. Court Clerk office bookkeeper Wendy Flanary is sworn in to be the first new clerk in nearly 4 decades. Flanary will serve out the remainder of Williams' term and says she hasn't decided about running for a full term.

Wednesday October 8, 2014

MINING ACCIDENT INJURES ONE PERSON

A Bell County mining accident sent one person to the hospital. It happened at the Nally and Hamilton mine on Centers Branch Road off Kentucky 92 in the Ingram community. There’s been no word on the extent of that person's injuries or how the accident happened.

DELAYS AGAIN IN ROBINSON SENTENCING

There's been another sentencing delay for a former mayor in Floyd County along with her husband on convictions tied to a vote buying scheme. The Floyd County Times reports the judge presiding over the cases of former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and Red Robinson had a scheduling conflict that forced sentencing to be postponed until November 5. Robinson's daughter Rita Whicker's sentencing on disability fraud charges was also rescheduled for that date.

SUSPECTED AIR CONDITIONER THIEF SELLS UNIT FOR SCRAP

A Harlan County man faces theft charges on suspicion he stole heating and cooling equipment from a vacant home then sold it. The Enterprise reports Bobby Napier of Baxter is held on $5000 bond secured by 10 percent. Police say Napier took a 3-ton heating and cooling unit from a home on Kentucky 840 in Lawnvale then sold it to Baxter Metal Company for less than $70. The charges against Napier are felonies.

SLIP-SLIDIN’ AWAY RESULTS IN AN ACCIDENT

A 2-car crash in Floyd County yesterday results in significant damage but no injuries. The causing driver told officers she tried to brake to avoid hitting a car on US 114 but skidded on the wet roads. So far there’s no word of if charges are to be filed.

BESHEAR TAKES A STAND AGAINST BULLYING

Governor Steve Beshear declares October as Anti-Bullying Month. The proclamation encourages parents, teachers, students and others to take action for improving safety for kids and adolescents. Earlier this month Governor Beshear announced the creation of the Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force, charged with studying bullying in schools and offer recommendations to make things safer in schools.

NEW SHERIFF, NEW BUDGET.

Floyd County's fiscal court calls a special meeting to allocate money for newly sworn in sheriff John Hunt's department operations. According to the Floyd County Times the swearing in of Hunt resets the spending accounts, so money was transferred in to cover salaries, department expenses and other costs. Hunt - who is running unopposed in November - took office early when Sheriff John Blackburn stepped down due to health concerns.

STATE ASKED TO AUDIT CITY’S FINANCES

A city in Knott County is asking the state to audit the municipalities’ finances because its former clerk was indicted on forgery charges. Hindman City leaders met Monday to go over plans to recover from its financial problems and City Attorney Jeremy Morgan says he will request the state auditor to conduct a thorough exam.  Former city clerk Rebecca Patrick was indicted last year on second-degree forgery charges and has a pretrial conference scheduled for Oct. 23.

ARRAIGNMENT HELD IN KNOTT COUNTY MURDER

The Floyd County man suspected in a fatal shooting at a Knott County concert is arraigned on murder charges. Miles Hamilton made his first court appearance yesterday and pleaded not guilty. He's accused of killing Zachary Murphy after the 2 got into a physical altercation at the Knott County Trail Ride. Murphy's father says there's no way police could cover all the area at the Mine Made Adventure Park, where 5000 people attended the weekend event.

MC CONNELL CAMPAIGNS IN 2 MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

US Senator Mitch McConnell made campaign stops in Perry and Floyd Counties. The senate minority leader used yesterday's visit to Hazard ARH as an opportunity to take issue with the Affordable Care Act, saying it's moving America's health care system towards the way ones in Western Europe operate. McConnell dismissed the results of the latest Bluegrass Poll, showing challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes with a 2 point lead.

Monday October 6, 2014

MAN KILLED AT KNOTT COUNTY CONCERT, SUSPECTED SHOOTER IN CUSTODY

An argument at a weekend concert takes the life of one Floyd County man and puts another behind bars. Police say Miles Hamilton fatally shot Zachary Murphy in the Mine Made Adventure Park at the Knott County Trail Ride. Investigators haven't said why the two were arguing, just that they were in a physical struggle, then were separated - and the shooting happened a short time after that. Hamilton fled on foot and turned himself in several hours later. Around 3000 campers were at the Trail Ride when the fatal shooting happened.

DIRT BIKE ACCIDENT RESULTS IN LIFE THREATENING INJURIES

A Harlan County teenager is critically injured when his dirt bike slid under a box truck. Police say it happened at US 119 near Elk Road in the Sawbriar community when the rider - who was on the shoulder - swerved to avoid the truck and lost control. The 18 year old was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport and his condition is not disclosed.

WHAT DO PEOPLE IN INDIANA KNOW, ANYWAY?

An Indiana man who spent 45 years photographing every county courthouse in the country didn't have very flattering comments about the one in Letcher County. Charles Aiken tells the Bloomington Herald Times the Letcher County courthouse is the ugliest one he found - and says the name "Letcher County" is itself ugly. The newspaper described the photo as one of an "unsightly courthouse showing a mangy mongrel strolling along the sidewalk in front of the building" Aiken also claims he was harassed by "grizzled old timers in an eastern Kentucky burg" while taking photos, but didn't say exactly where that was.

STYLIST FIGHTS OFF ARMED ROBBER

A Perry County woman is injured fighting off an armed robber. Police say it happened at the Electric Beach Hair and Tanning Salon in Wabaco when a stylist had just finished with a client, and a woman walked in with a knife demanding cash. The stylist refused and grabbed the knife, blade first, out of the robber's hand, resulting in cuts to her hand. Police took the suspected robber into custody.

HUSBAND AND WIFE SURRENDER ON THEFT INDICTMENT

A Harlan County couple indicted on theft charges turned themselves into police. Court papers say Delmus and Christie Baker embezzled around a half-million dollars from Harlan EMS in 2012. An indictment was handed down next month. Both Bakers posted bond of $10,000 each.

PERRY COUNTY CHARITY RUN ATTRACTS HUNDREDS

Over 400 runners participated in this year's Run For The Hills Charity 5K in Perry County. Organizers say the 4th annual race had more pre-registered entries than in past events. 17 Perry County charities benefit from the event and a number of other fundraising activities, which officials say should raise over $200,000.

GRIMES OPENS MOUNTAIN CAMPAIGN OFFICE

Kentucky Secretary of State and US Senator candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was in Pikeville Saturday for the opening of a new campaign office. At the office opening, Grimes says incumbent Mitch McConnell may have the millionaires and billionaires but he can't buy the hearts and minds of the people of Kentucky. She also challenged McConnell on his approach to area job creation and education.

SUSPECTED THIEF SURRENDERS TO COPS

A Harlan County woman surrenders to police on an indictment of theft charges. Charging papers say Amy Back of Totz stole over $500 from the Putney Volunteer Fire Department between 2011 and 2012. She was indicted in April. Back posted $2000 bond and is due in court October 16

REGISTER TO VOTE!

Today is the deadline to register for the November 4th General Election. County Clerks' Offices will accept voter registration cards until the close of business and mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked by today as well. To be eligible to vote, you have to have lived in Kentucky for at least 28 days before election day, can't be a convicted felon or have the right to vote anywhere outside Kentucky.

Friday October 3, 2014

JENKINS REVISES FOOD AND ALCOHOL SURCHARGE

The cost of food is to be removed from surcharges applied at restaurants in the city of Jenkins which serve alcohol. That decision is made by the Jenkins City Council, and once it goes through the regular approval process, it goes into effect. A citizen asked the Council to separate the food and alcohol surcharges, but the council decided instead to just keep the alcohol fee.

JAIL INMATE NO LONGER ON THE RUN

Escaped Floyd County jail inmate Jeremiah Vance is back in custody. He was arrested Thursday afternoon at a home in Pike County's  Island Creek community. Police say Vance assaulted the officer transporting him to the Pike County Detention center on Monday then took off on foot. Vance was already charged with fleeing/evading in Floyd County, and wanton endangerment on a police officer in Pike County. He now faces escape and assault charges.

MON ACCUSED OF HITTING DAUGHTER

A Harlan County mother is accused of physically assaulting her teenage daughter. Police say the 17 year old told investigators Debbie Hensley hit her in the face during an incident in June. Hensley was arrested on Wednesday.

ROBBER KNOCKS OUT VICTIM, BROTHER SAVES HIM

A disabled man in Leslie County is hospitalized from being beaten up during a home robbery. According to police Chris Mosely's brother found him laying on the floor the day after the attack. He says he was just driving by Chris's house and saw the lights were out, but the doors were open. A suspect description is not available as Chris is recovering from his injuries, and so far the only thing stolen is a gun.

SEX OFFENDER FAILS TO REGISTER

A Harlan County convicted sex offender is arrested for failing to register his correct address.The State Police says a warrant for Joshua Osborne's arrest was issued following an investigation and he was picked up at a Closplint home. Osborne is held in the Harlan County Detention Center. 

HIT THE TRAILS THIS WEEKEND

Mine Made Adventure Park is the site for this weekend's Knott County Horseback Fall Trail Ride. It's the 7th anniversary for the ride that attracts thousands of horses and riders from across Kentucky and beyond. The event kicked off yesterday and runs through Sunday, with admission $20 at the gate. Knott County tourism officials say the ride generates millions for the area economy.

CANDIDATE SAYS ALCOHOL ARREST PUBLICITY A SMEAR CAMPAIGH

A candidate for Pikeville City Commission calls his arrest on alcohol charges "an awkward misunderstanding". According to court papers police found Richard Ray of Pikeville was intoxicated during a concert at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center and could not walk without help. Ray was taken into custody for alcohol intoxication then brought to Pikeville Medical Center. The Appalachian News Express reports Ray says he believes an illness was behind what happened and he never was asked to take a sobriety test, adding he thinks the publicity is a character attack by his political opponents.

STOLEN VEHICLES FROM HARLAN COUNTY LOCATED

A car and 2 pickup trucks stolen last month from a Harlan County auto dealer business are located by State Police. Police say the crooks cut a hole into the Discount Pools building on US 119 in Harlan then made their way into the neighboring car dealer, grabbing the keys to the 3 vehicles. Investigators found the vehicles along with tools and auto parts including 8 tires and rims. Billy Wynn and Michael Sargent, both from Ages, are charged in the robbery.

STATE SCHOOL ASSESSMENT TEST RESULTS RELEASED

The Kentucky Department of Education releases the results from the spring Unbridled Learning: College and Career Readiness Assessment exams, and while some mountain school districts received high marks, at least 3 finished below the state average. Pikeville Independent, Floyd County and Hazard Independent schools scores a Distinguished High Performing Rating and Letcher County along with Pike County schools earned a Proficient classification. Schools in Knott, Breathitt and Perry Counties received ratings of Needs Improvement.

Thursday October 2, 2014

BY RICK PRICE

BROTHERS BATTLE OVER LAND, ONE SHOT

A family feud over property ends up with one Letcher County man injured and 2 brothers in jail. Police say Albert Wilder of Blackey reported his brothers Edwin and Paul Wilder fired guns at his home causing an injury to his eyelid. Court papers say the Wilder brothers said they did fire the weapons but didn't aim  at Albert's home. Albert says his brothers have tried to seize his home since his mother died last month. The 2 brothers are due in court next week.

BOMB THREAT PUTS MAN IN JAIL

Terroristic threatening charges are filed against a Letcher County man suspected of making a bomb threat to a hospital security guard. Police say Robert Bentley showed the contents of his book bag to the guard outside Whitesburg ARH and told her 4 times he had a bomb. According to court papers Bentley said he made the comments but meant them as a joke. Bentley is due in court today.

CEMETERY HEADSTONE DESTROYED, REWARD OFFERED

Vandals destroy a World War II veteran's headstone at a Leslie County cemetery. The family of Ray Collett says they discovered last Friday the large stone at Bowens Creek Cemetery in Stinnett was smashed to pieces and a plaque recognizing Collett's military service is gone.  Vandals left other family member's headstones intact. A $1000 is posted for information leading to the arrest of the headstone vandals.

ARGUMENT ENDS IN SHOOTING AND AN ARREST

An argument in Knott County puts one man in the hospital and another in jail. Police say they were called to the Big S Market in the Topmost community and found Tim Terry of Kite with a gunshot wound in his stomach that is non life threatening. The gunman - identified as Henry Thornsberry of Kite - fled the scene but was arrested a short time later and is now in the Kentucky River Regional Jail. In addition to the shooting charge, Thornsberry is accused of firearm possession by a felon.

SCHOOL TAX UP IN A MOUNTAIN COUNTY

Harlan County taxpayers will see a hike in their school levies. The Enterprise reports the Harlan Independent School board increased real estate and property taxes to 42.9 cents per $100 assessed value, an increase of 1.4 cents - or around $14 more a year on a home worth 4100,000. 6 people showed up at the public hearing on the tax increase and none spoke against the rate hikes.

STOLEN TRUCK TORCHED

A Floyd County man offers a $1000 reward to find whoever stole his pickup truck and some tools, a motorcycle, a boat and a trailer -  then torched the vehicle, leaving it on a strip mine. Police say Marsillett of Prestonsburg discovered the truck was gone Tuesday morning and later that day a mine inspector found it completely burned out on route 114. Marsillett says he won't have peace of mind until those responsible are caught.

SUSPECTED THIEF FACES ELUDING CHARGES

Additional charges are filed against a Harlan County man from his escape from officers attempting to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Police say Brandon Saylor of Cumberland was wanted for taking over $500 in tools then selling them to another man. Charging papers say Saylor took off on foot as cops tried to cuff him, and when he was found Saylor put up his fists as if he was going to take a swing at officers. He's held in the Harlan County Detention Center.

ESCAPED INMATE STILL ON THE LAM

Escaped Floyd County jail inmate Jeremiah Vance remains at large. Police say Vance assaulted the officer transporting him to the Pike County Detention center on Monday then took off on foot. Investigators say he may have stolen a car in Prestonsburg Tuesday night. Vance is described as white, 5-8 and around 180 pounds.