LOCAL NEWS

Monday August 18, 2014

GRIMES IN PERRY COUNTY SATURDAY

Perry County was in the political spotlight again on Saturday as senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes came to town for the Kentucky Democratic Party's Annual 5th Congressional District Fish Fry, held at the Disabled American Veterans building in Hazard. It's her second trip to the area in less than 2 weeks. Grimes took aim at opponent Mitch McConnell, calling to light the fact that his wife Elaine Chao is on the board of an organization opposing coal. McConnell's campaign fired back with a new ad saying her attacks are nothing more than a way to focus attention away from her inexperience and commitment to President Obama.

METH LAB BUSTED FRIDAY IN KNOTT COUNTY

Police busted a meth lab Friday at a Knott County trailer. Acting on a tip, sheriff's deputies and state troopers raided the trailer off highway 1087 and along with the lab, found Suboxyne,marijuana, and prescription pills.  Drug paraphernalia was found in a van parked nearby. 3 people were taken into custody.

CEMETARY VANDALISM IN PIKE COUNTY

A Pike County family want to know why someone destroyed a gravestone that cost well over a thousand dollars. The family got a call last Wednesday from an unknown woman who told them the stone had been destroyed. When they went to the cemetery they found the stone in pieces. There's no word on if police are investigating the vandalism but the family wants whoever did it to step forward.

KNOTT COUNTY HOTEL RE-OPENS

A Knott County hotel that's been closed for a decade is now open under new ownership. The Quiltmaker Inn in Hindman recently reopened and the new owners left the historic 1937 building intact - but decorated it with local art. Each of the 15 rooms are named after well known Mountain folks, according to the inn's website. Managers of the Appalachian Artisan Center say the hotel re-opening will likely bring them more visitors.

2 MEN ARRESTED FOR HARLAN COUNTY BREAK IN

2 men are behind bars suspected of breaking into a Harlan County apartment. Robby Johnson and Paul Thomas are being held on $10,000 cash bond each. As police were taking the two into custody on Friday at the apartment on Gilbert Drive in Lynch they found both were also in possession of drugs.

PIKE COUNTY MAN ARRESTED AFTER PURSUIT

A Pike County man was arrested Friday after police say he led officers on a pursuit, nearly ramming an officer’s patrol car. Police say they spotted a pickup driven by David Nichols of Elkhorn City that went through the area near Pikeville Elementary School nearly going off the road and veering back on. An officer pulled Nichols over but he took off, leading police on a chase that ended on Town Mountain Road. Nichols faces multiple charges including driving while intoxicated.

FIRE DEPARTMENTS HAVE TRAINING IN HARLAN OVER THE WEEKEND

Several fire departments were in Harlan County over the weekend to take part in a training exercise covering what to do in a situation when a driver needs to be extricated from their car. Around a dozen first responders participated in the training which gave them hands on experience using the extrication equipment. The training was held at a car dealership in Harlan which also provided the vehicles firemen used in their training.

Thursday August 14, 2014

ALL 3 MAYORS IN LETCHER COUNTY WILL BE CHALLENGED THIS FALL

The slate of candidates is set for this fall's elections in Letcher County. Whitesburg Mayor James Craft will be challenged for re-election by Jason Griffith and David Narramore. All 6 Whitesburg City Council members have filed for re-election and for Earlene Williams - it will be her first time on the ballot as she was appointed to fill the term of her late husband John Williams. 4 candidates are challenging the re-election of Jenkins Mayor GC Kincer and 6 City Council members are seeking another term. Fleming Neon mayor Susan Polis has 2 opponents: Joe Brown and Gwen Johnson.

ANOTHER MARIJUANA GROW FOUND IN LETCHER COUNTY

Police in Letcher County find another marijuana pot grow - this time with the help of aerial surveillance. In July 9 pot plants were spotted near a home in Colson and officers took Bobby Bates into custody. Cops found a grow in Neon last week when they were responding to an animal cruelty call. State Police say between 1998 and 2013 pot grows in Letcher County lagged far behind other Eastern Kentucky counties, with Leslie County leading the list.

SCHOOL HIT IN LETCHER COUNTY ON WEDNESDAY

7 kids were taken to their hospital after their school bus was hit in Letcher County yesterday. Police say the bus was rear-ended by a pickup truck on Highway 931. Only one of the students complained of injuries but as a precaution all were taken to the hospital. The crash investigation is continuing.

FLEMING-NEON CITY COUNCIL AUDIT FINDINGS

Fleming Neon's city council reviewed its annual audit and they were told by their accountant that some issues arise with city utilities depreciation estimates. The audit found in 2013 the city had a net loss of nearly $400,000 in water and sewer operations because of incorrect depreciation calculations of the department's infrastructure. That deficit impacts the city's ability to qualify for a Kentucky Infrastructure Authority grant which could be used to make upgrades to Fleming Neon's aging water mains and sewer system. One other issue is collections - the accountant told the City Council they need to be more aggressive in getting customers with past due bills to pay up.

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF PERRY COUNTY CHURCH IS SATURDAY

Saturday marks the 100th anniversary for a Perry County church. Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in the Cornettsville community will mark the day with a service at 11am which organizers say is open to the public. The church was originally located in the Leatherwood community but after a fire destroyed the building around 60 years ago, the congregation moved to Cornettsville. Organizers say they've invited former pastors to take part in Saturday's celebration.

HARLAN COUNTY MAN INDICTED IN ROBBERY AND SHOOTING

An indictment is handed down against a Harlan County man suspected of robbing a man then shooting him. Court papers say that in May Cletus Robbins Junior and 2 accomplices stole over two grand in cash from the victim then threatened to kill his girlfriend's family if anyone called the cops. Police say Robbins restrained the victim and shot him in the chest.  His next court appearance is scheduled for October. The 2 other men involved in the robbery have been arrested.

PERRY COUNTY SCHOOL BREAK IN ARREST MADE

An arrest is made in a Sunday morning burglary at a Perry County school. Dakota Bates from Happy is accused of breaking into Combs Elementary and taking 2 laptop computers. Police say damage was estimated at $10,000. School officials say the damage didn't stop the building from opening for the first day of class on Monday.

HARLAN COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS HAVE A NEW TOOL

Firefighters in Harlan County have a new high-tech tool to improve its responses to emergencies and other specialized events. It's called MARPLOT - short for Mapping Application for Response, Planning, and Local Operational Tasks - and it's a joint effort of the Environmental Protection Agency and NOAA. The program gives firemen the ability to develop emergency plans and become proactive to emergencies before they actually happen. It's provided to first responders at no charge.

Wednesday August 13, 2014

MOTHER AND 7 WEEK OLD IN HOSPITAL AND 2 ARRESTED AFTER CRASH ON HIGHWAY 7 SOUTH IN LETCHER COUNTY

A mother and her infant girl are in the hospital after a one-car crash in Letcher County. Police say the car with 5 people inside went off Highway 7 and ended up on a railroad track. The mother and baby were passengers in the car and were taken to Whitesburg ARH for non life threatening injuries. Investigators say the driver is charged with DUI and endangering the welfare of a minor and another passenger faces meth charges.

CHARGES FILED AGAINST A BOY AFTER SHOTS FIRED FROM PELLET GUN AT WEST WHITESBURG SCHOOL STAFF

Charges are filed against a Letcher County boy accused of firing a pellet gun at the staff of an elementary school. Police say it happened Friday afternoon outside of West Whitesburg Elementary when the school's principal felt something sting her. Investigators found the teenager with the gun across the street in an apartment complex. He's been charged with assault along with multiple counts of wanton endangerment.

COMPLEX CHILD CUSTODY CASE WILL BE HEARD IN FLOYD COUNTY COURTROOM

What started out as a uncle trying to get his niece some medical help has turned into a child custody case that will play out in a Floyd County courtroom. It started a few days ago when - according to Bruce Jarrell - a doctor says his 2 year old cousin who had been treated for a dig bite wound that became infected needed to get to a hospital for treatment right away. Since Jarrell isn't the girl's legal custodian, they went to a Social Services office in Floyd County so she could be admitted to the hospital. That's where Jarrell says things were held up for hours - and ultimately, workers took custody of the little girl and awarded it to the state. The custody case is being heard today.

GRAND JURY TO HEAR THE CASE OF LESLIE COUNTY MAN FACING MURDER CHARGES

A Grand Jury will hear the case of a Leslie County man accused of murder. Police say Gavin Wells fatally shot Christopher Sizemore earlier this month after a fight broke out between the two and Sizemore's brother. Investigators say Wells told them he acted in self defense. Yesterday a judge ruled the evidence presented merited the case going to the grand jury. Sizemore's brother was also shot in the altercation but he is expected to recover from his injuries.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER THREATS AT A FLOYD COUNTY MEDICAL CLINIC

A call about a man making threats at a Floyd County medical clinic ended up with the man being arrested on drug charges. Police say they responded to the Highlands Plaza in Prestonsburg and when they encountered the man, they found he was intoxicated and wouldn't comply with officer's commands. He was eventually taken into custody and officers found hundreds of pills in his possession worth well over $40,000. The man hasn't been named and there's been no word on where he got the pills from.

18 YEAR OLD TAKEN INTO CUSTODY IN HARLAN COUNTY AFTER HIGH SPEED CHASE

A high-speed chase in Harlan County involving a teenager on an ATV ends with the 18 year old taken into custody on multiple charges. Police say Bryan Stephens was spotted riding the 4 wheeler in Loyall and wasn't wearing a helmet.  According to the Harlan Daily Enterprise Loyall Police Chief Mike Lunsford chased after Stephens at speeds up to 80 miles an hour. Stephens made his way through the locked gates at the airport then on to the runway, and as he tried to escape, Chief Lunsford blocked the gate and eventually he and 2 other officers got Stephens into custody.

LAPTOPS PASSED OUT TO STUDENTS IN FLOYD COUNTY

Over a thousand laptop computers were passed out to Floyd County students yesterday. Each 5th and 9th grade student in the district now has their own laptop. The district spent over a half million dollars for the computers - phase one of the district's digital conversion that according to school superintendent Henry Webb says will eventually result in all students having a laptop. Webb says the money to buy the computers comes from grants and redistributing funds.

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.