LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday August 12, 2014

NEW SUPERINTENDENT & NEW CHANGES AT JENKINS INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS

A new superintendent isn’t the only change for one Letcher County school district. Jenkins Independent Schools has implemented changes to the dress code in order to keep attire appropriate for a good self image at school. The big change is that students are not permitted to wear form fitting pants, such as yoga pants or leggings, without additional covering. Recommendations for updates to the dress code came in from a number of educators and the final revisions were approved by the school board at a special meeting last month.

OPPOSITION TO ROAD PROJECT FUNDING IN PERRY COUNTY

Some surprising opposition to a road project funding request made by Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble. According to the Hazard Herald when Noble appeared before the Kentucky Department for Local Government in Frankfort to bond money for the road work – Perry County Sheriff Les Burgett was there along with 2 citizens to oppose Noble’s request. Burgett says his concern is that the money is being granted before a plan is in place on what it will be spent on. Noble was ultimately approved for a bond of up to $2.4 million for blacktopping county roads and the purchase of two commercial lawn mowers to maintain grass on the side of roadways.

STATE GRANT SHARED BY SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAMS

3 Eastern Kentucky substance abuse treatment programs are sharing in nearly $18 million in funding from the state’s Kids Recovery program. The grants awarded to 19 programs statewide will fund comprehensive adolescent substance abuse treatment programs, expand inpatient capacity and create new programs to provide more care options. Kentucky River Community Care received just over $686,000 for treatment services to adolescents in the Kentucky River Comprehensive Care area which includes Letcher, Knott, Leslie and Perry Counties. Mountain Comprehensive Care Center – which serves Floyd and Pike Counties – was awarded nearly $193.000 WestCare was given $600,000 to provide substance use treatment and prevention services for 500 kids over the next year, with outpatient services available in Knott and Pike Counties.

NEW HOMELESS SHELTER IN PIKE COUNTY

WestCare opened a new homeless shelter yesterday in Pikeville. The new shelter is off US 23 and can house up to 16 women and children. WestCare’s current shelter will now be for men only. Shelter officials say that the goal for the new facility is to get women back on their feet by helping them find housing, get needed services and help them find jobs. Last year around 600 men, women and children used the shelter’s services.

NEW DRUNK DRIVER EMPHASIS PATROL CAMPAIGN

Drive Sober – or get Pulled Over. That’s the theme of the drunk driver emphasis patrol campaign that starts tomorrow. The campaign kickoff was last Friday in Whitesburg and a number of officers and medics spoke about the importance of not getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Police departments from Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia will participate, along with state police.  The emphasis patrols run through the Labor Day weekend.

DOMESTIC FIGHT LEADS TO MARIJUANA CHARGES

A lover’s quarrel ended up with a Harlan County man being taken to jail for growing marijuana. Police responded to a domestic call at a Harlan apartment and as they were talking to the couple, they saw a half dozen pot plants in plain sight. A search found more pot and paraphernalia used to produce and sell marijuana. Investigators say Phillip Krol told police pot growing was a hobby of his.

ATV ACCIDENT MONDAY INJURES TEENAGE GIRL IN PERRY COUNTY

An ATV accident in Perry County resulted in a teenage girl being taken to the hospital. Few details have been released on what happened other than the accident occurred in Avawam near Big Creek Road and the 15 year old’s parents drove her to the hospital. There’s been no word on how severe the injuries were.

TRIAL DELAY IN CASE OF WISE COUNTY MOTHER ACCUSED OF KILLING 2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER

The trial of a Wise County, Virginia mom accused of killing her 2 year old daughter has been delayed by a week. Attorneys for Brandie Baldwin say they needed more time so they could review some newly obtained documents.  Baldwin’s boyfriend took a plea deal for his role in the child’s death and is serving life in prison. 

Monday August 11, 2014

CITY OF JENKINS WARNS SPEEDERS

Speeders in a Letcher County city are being warned that police are being extra vigilant at catching them. Jenkins Police Chief James Stephens tells the city council officers will be increasing speed enforcement patrols throughout the city and especially on Lakeside Drive. Chief Stephens says those caught speeding can be charged with reckless driving and other offenses that don’t necessarily require evidence from a radar speed gun. He says warnings will first be issued but then officers will begin handing out tickets.

MOST GRAVEMARKERS AT BLAIR CEMETERY HAVE BEEN REPAIRED

Most of the grave markers damaged during a vandalism spree at a Letcher County cemetery are now repaired. Police say sometime between April and Memorial Day nearly 30 grave markers at the Blair Cemetery in Whitesburg were damaged or destroyed.   The cemetery’s owner it took 2 days and nearly a dozen bags of concrete to make the repairs. According to the owner one large monument will need some additional manpower to relocate and repair.

FLOYD COUNTY YOUNG MAN KILLED IN NOVEMBER CRASH REMEMBERED

Folks gathered over the weekend to remember a Floyd County man killed in a one car crash last November. Police say Chase Thornsbury died after in the accident on Route 979 outside Hi Hat. Thornsbury was airlifted to UK Hospital in Lexington, where he later died. The 2012 South Floyd High School graduate would have turned 21 today.

2 MEN ARRESTED FOR METH LAB AND DRUGS

A Pike County man along with a man from Buchanan County, Virginia are under arrest on suspicion they operated a meth lab and dealt on drugs. Police say a search warrant was executed at Russell May’s Stopover home and in addition to the meth lab, officers found cocaine and prescription painkillers. Court papers say May along with Nathaniel Duty of Hurley, Virginia were charged with multiple county of trafficking in a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a meth precursor. Both were ordered held on $30,000 cash bonds each.

NEW FILTERS WORKING WELL AT JENKINS WATER PLANT

New filters installed at the water plant in one Letcher County city are working well, according to a contractor. Paul Nesbitt from Nesbitt Engineering reported to the Jenkins City Council that the filters, installed 6 weeks ago have increased water quality. Coal severance taxes paid for the filters and for some additional work at the plant.

ALLEN CENTRAL STUDENT/ATHLETE REMEMBERED OVER THE WEEKEND

Hundreds of friends and family gathered in Floyd County to remember the life of a student athlete who died on the first day back to classes. Trey Aldrich played football and baseball for the Allen Central High School Rebels. Police say he was found dead at his home just hours before he was to leave for school. There’s been no word yet on Aldrich’s cause of death.

PIKE COUNTY GRAND JURY INDICTS WOMEN IN VEHICLE DEATH OF 6 YEAR OLD

A grand jury handed down an indictment against a Pike County woman accused of causing an accident that killed a 6 year old girl. Charging papers say a car driven by Katherine Kilgore crossed the center line on US 460 near Pikeville as she swerved to avoid a car stopped in front of her Kilgore’s SUV hit a car driven by Debra Fouts. Her daughter Kyla was severely injured and was airlifted to a Tennessee hospital, where she died the next day. Police say witnesses reported seeing Kilgore driving recklessly before the crash. A hearing in the case will be scheduled at a later date.

TENNESSEE WOMAN KILLED IN HARLAN COUNTY CRASH

A woman from Tennessee has died in a Harlan County one-car crash. Police say Laura Spencer was driving west on Highway 221E near Big Laurel, when she lost control of her vehicle and left the roadway, hitting a tree. Her car landed upside down in a stream. Investigators say Spencer was not wearing a seat belt.

UPIKE FOOTBALL COACH DUDLEY HILTON STEPS DOWN

After 3 years University of Pikeville head football coach Dudley Hilton is stepping down. UPIKE President James Hurley says it’s due to personal and health matters and that Hilton informed the team of his decision before practice on Saturday. Hilton guided the team to a 7-4 record last year that was its best finish in 6 years. A search for Hilton’s successor is expected to begin right away.

Friday August 8, 2014

ANIMAL ABUSE CALL RESULTS IN A MASSIVE MARIJUANA FIND IN LETCHER COUNTY

A call to police about an animal cruelty case in Letcher County turned into the discovery of a massive marijuana grow. Investigators say officers found dozens of plants at a home along Highway 317 in Fleming Neon – some described as over 10 feet tall. Tommy Wright was taken into custody in connection with the pot farm.

NEW SUPERINTENDENT FOR JENKINS INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS

The Jenkins Board of Education has named a Pike County elementary school principal as its new superintendent. In what almost sounded like a marriage ceremony, Frederick Bowling said “I do” when he was offered the job. Bowling was one of 4 candidates the board had interviewed for the superintendent job that opened up when Deborah Watts announced her plans to retire in May. He’s been in education for over 20 years and was a principal for nearly half of his career.

TRIPLETT NAMED NEW MEMBER OF JENKINS CITY COUNCIL

Roy Triplett was named to the Jenkins City Council as the person who will take over the seat held by Carol Anne Litts, who died last month. Triplett is a member of the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department, where he also serves as chaplain.  At Monday’s meeting Mayor G.C. Kincer read a plaque commemorating Litts for her service to the Jenkins. She was on the City Council for 12 years.

TONY SERGENT GETS NICE JOB EVALUATION RESULTS

High marks are given to Letcher County Public Schools Superintendent Tony Sergent on his first job evaluation. The board noted he’s manage the district’s budget very well, solicits input from numerous stakeholders before making decisions and is liked in the community. Sergent, who’s been a teacher and a football coach with the district -  became supervisor last July.

FUNERAL TO BE HELD SATURDAY FOR LESLIE COUNTY MURDER VICTIM

Funeral arrangements have been made for a Leslie County man shot to death last weekend. Visitation for Christopher Blake Sizemore will be held tonight at Walker Funeral Home in Hyden. His funeral will be held Saturday at Noon at Mullins Family Cemetery in Clay County. Police say Sizemore and his brother were shot by Gavin Wells near Wooton. Sizemore later died, his brother survived.  Wells is due back in court on Tuesday.

FLOYD COUNTY LOOOKING FOR CANDIDATES

Officials in Floyd County are looking for a few good…candidates. As the deadline to file nears, no one has declared their candidacy for mayor in Allen along with commissioner contests in that city and Wayland. School board seats in 2 districts also have no takers. The filing deadline is Tuesday at 4pm.

WANTED WISE COUNTY VA MAN ARRESTED IN TENNESSEE

Police in Tennessee arrest a Wise County, Virginia man wanted on several warrants. Officers on a routine traffic stop took Adam Mitchell into custody and he faces charges there for car theft and stealing a number of other items. He’s being held on $63,000 bond. Mitchell has outstanding warrants in Wise County for failing to register as a violent sex offender, grand larceny and petty larceny.  Extradition proceedings are now under way.

BIG SANDY CTC SEARCHING FOR NEW LEADER

A Floyd County college is now searching for a new leader. Big Sandy Community and Technical College president and CEO Dr. George Edwards announced he is leaving his post on January 5. Dr. Edwards was the founding president of the college. He will work on a special assignment at BSCTC through June 30.

MITCH MCCONNELL MAKES A STOP IN WHITESBURG AS PART OF TOUR

Just a day after Alison Lundergan Grimes made a stop in Eastern Kentucky with former President Bill Clinton, Senator Mitch McConnell paid a visit to the area along with Congressman Hal Rogers as part of their “Coal Country Bus Tour”. The tour featured six stops in several hours, including Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg. If the Republicans gain enough Senate seats this November, McConnell would likely become the new majority leader. Rogers is the longest serving Republican U.S. House member in the history of Kentucky.

FINAL DEFENDANT IN MAJOR COCKFIGHTING RING FOUND GUILTY

The final defendant in what police called one of the nation’s largest cockfighting rings has been found guilty. On Wednesday a federal jury found Sonya Stumbo of Floyd County guilty on multiple charges including conspiracy to knowingly sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venue. She will be sentenced in October and could get up to 50 years. Stumbo’s husband, her son and 2 defendants from Wise County, Virginia all took plea deals in the case.

Thursday August 7, 2014

16 FELONY INDICTMENTS HANDED DOWN AFTER ONE NIGHT CRIME SPREE AT PAYNE GAP

16 felony indictments are handed up by a grand jury against a Letcher County man for a one-night crime spree in June. Court papers say Dylan Wright burglarized at least 3 homes and 14 cars – including one belonging to a Whitesburg police officer. All of the suspect thefts took place the night of June 24th in the Payne Gap area. Wright also faces a stolen weapons charge and carrying a concealed weapon charge because a gun he took was found in his truck after Wright got into an accident. The grand jury also indicted Heather Hall on charges she received stolen property and is a persistent felony offender.


NOVEMBER ELECTION CANDIDATES FILE

The Letcher County Court Clerk’s office has been a bit busy lately processing paperwork for candidates seeking election or re-election this November. Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft has filed for re-election and he will go up against Letcher County Central High School Band Director Jason Griffith. Former Jenkins City Council member Terry Braddock has joined Joe DePriest in challenging the re-election of Mayor G.C. Kincer. 5 current Whitesburg City Council members are running for re-election with Tom Sexton being the only one who hasn’t yet filed paperwork. Fleming- Neon Mayor Susie Polis will be seeking a new term against Joe Brown, who filed to run last month.

GRIMES/CLINTON CAMPAIGN STOP IN HAZARD

It was a packed house in Perry County yesterday when Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and former President Bill Clinton made a stop at the Hal Rogers Center in Hazard. Clinton noted that’s it’s been a decade-and-a-half since he last came to Perry County and that legislation he helped pass in 1999 has really helped the region. He also spoke about the battles with former Kentucky Senator Wendell Ford and how they worked out compromises.

AMBER ALERT ENDS AFTER MISSING VIRGINIA BOY FOUND SAFE IN PIKE COUNTY

A missing Patrick County, Virginia boy that prompted an AMBER Alert on Monday has been found safe in Pike County. Police say they found 3 year old Tommy Engle in Pikeville with his father. The boy’s father is in the Pike County Detention Center, wanted on two felony assault charges against Tommy’s mother.

6 MOUNTAIN COUNTIES TO SHARE COAL COMPANY FEE REFUNDS

6 eastern Kentucky counties will share in $400,000 of  refunds from the state based on coal company fees. Pike County will be getting the biggest refund at over $73,000 while Letcher County gets the smallest at nearly $11,000. The Department for Natural Resources collects mining fees and returns a portion of the money to coal producing counties.

CHILD RAPE SUSPECT IN HARLAN COUNTY TURNS HIMSELF IN

The suspect in a Harlan County child rape case turned himself in to police. Phillip Maddox was indicted in November on charges he sexually assaulted a 12 year old girl. Maddox – who police say had been on the run for nearly a year - is being held on a $25,000 full cash bond.

PLEA DEAL TAKEN IN POLICE INVOLVED SHOOTING IN PIKE COUNTY

A plea deal taken by a Pike County man on charges he threatened to shoot officers means he could be in jail for up to 5 years. Police say James Sallette threatened officers and aimed a firearm at them near his home in Island Creek in February after they responded to an assault complaint at a nearby home. Sallette was shot by cops after ignoring their commands to drop his weapon. None of the officers were injured.

HEAD ON CAR-MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT IN PERRY COUNTY

A car-motorcycle head-on accident in Perry County sends the rider to the hospital with a broken leg. Police say that the motorcyclist was going at a high speed when the bike collided with the car. The rider – who’s name hasn’t been released – was taken to  Hazard Appalachian Regional Medical Center and the car’s driver was not hurt. Police say they don’t expect to file any charges in connection with the crash.

PIKE COUNTY WANTED FACING DUI AND ASSAULT CHARGES

A Pike County woman pulled over by police is now facing a felony assault charge for attacking an officer at the Pike County Detention Center. Court papers say Nicole Huffman of Belcher was pulled over early Saturday morning in Pikeville and was arrested on suspicion of DUI and drug charges.  At some point after being admitted to jail, Huffman physically assaulted attacked one of the corrections officers, according to prosecutors. It’s not clear what provoked Huffman to go after the jailer.

 

Wednesday August 6, 2014

GRIMES/CLINTON IN HAZARD TODAY

The US Senate campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes is in Perry County today – and with it is a former President. Bill Clinton will speak at the Forum at the Hal Rogers Center  – the first time he’s been back to Hazard in 15 years.  Clinton is a friend of the Lundergan family and carried Kentucky in both of his presidential campaigns.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IMPACT IN EASTERN KY

The passage of the Affordable Care Act has meant three Eastern Kentucky counties have reduced the percentage of uninsured to around one quarter of what it was before the state opened its healthcare exchange. That’s according to data from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which says over 20 percent of those in Letcher, Perry and Leslie counties were uninsured – but since the exchange opened last October, that number dropped to less than 5 percent. According to the Cabinet’s data over 413,000 Kentuckians have obtained coverage through the exchange – and around 75 percent were those with first-time coverage.

ALLEN CENTRAL STUDENT/ATHLETE FOUND DEAD

Shock has gone through a Floyd County high school on the news a star athlete was found dead just before the first day of school started yesterday. Allen Central High School football and baseball player Trey Aldrich died at his home. The Floyd County coroner is determining the cause of death. Last night teammates and coaches along with parents and the community gathered last night to plan a memorial for Aldrich. Funeral arrangements are pending. Allen Central football coach Jeremy Hall says Aldrich’s number 15 uniform will not be used by any other player this season.

PIKE COUNTY MAN CHARGED IN MOTORCYCLE CLUB MURDER GOES BEFORE THE JUDGE

The man suspected in a Pike County fatal shooting will face a judge today. Daniel Ward is expected to make his first court appearance on charges he shot and killed Bradley Coleman at a motorcycle club meeting in the Stone community. Charging papers say Ward also shot 2 other people but their wounds were not life threatening.

CDC IN PERRY COUNTY FOR TWO NEW INITIATIVES

2 new health initiatives were announced yesterday in Perry County – and they are so important, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came to town. Tom Frieden helped announce the Appalachian Cancer Navigation project that helps those dealing with cancer to find the care they need. Frieden also unveiled the Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky, which helps leaders work in improving their skills in developing solutions for the needs of individual communities. The Shaping Our Appalachian Region Initiative is involved with the Institute.

FLOYD COUNTY MAN SENTENCED IN CHILD ABUSE CASE INCLUDING MURDER

It’s life plus 40 years in jail for a Floyd County man convicted of murder and abuse in the death of Watson Adkins and his four siblings. Jason Dickerson got life for the murder of Adkins plus 10 years for each of the 4 abuse charges. The sentences will run concurrently according to prosecutors. Charges against Jason’s wife Gladys Dickerson are still pending.

FLOYD COUNTY BOARD LAWSUIT SETTLED

Litigation between the Floyd County Board of Education and Stanville Properties has been settled. A lawsuit was filed over the board’s purchase of land near Betsy Layne High School for the construction of athletic fields. The district was accused of interfering with a sale of the land to Kentucky Power. The settlement means the district will pay just under a million dollars for the property.

LESLIE COUNTY MAN NOW CHARGED WITH MURDER AFTER WEEKEND SHOOTING

The Leslie County man who is accused of shooting a man and his brother over the weekend is now charged with murder. Police say Christopher Sizemore died from his injuries Monday afternoon. Gavin Wells is charged with shooting Sizemore in the head and his brother in the hand. According to investigators a fight broke out between the three and alcohol is said to be a factor.

PHARMACY TECH IN WISE COUNTY SUSPENDED DURING STOLEN MEDICATION INVESTIGATION

A pharmacy technician in Wise County, Virginia is without her state license while she’s investigated of suspicion she stole medication from where she worked. Carolyn Fields is accused of taking the pills over a 5 month period that ended in April, according to the Virginia Attorney General's office.  Fields also faces multiple drug possession and embezzlement charges and is due in court Friday for trial.