Local News Thursday March 9, 2017

One person was hurt when a train hit his truck in Pulaski County yesterday afternoon. Police say the truck collided with the train at a crossing on KY-2227 near Warner Fertilizer around 1:30. There were no cross bars at the crossing… only a stop sign. 40-year old Russell Roberts was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. His condition isn’t known.

The Kentucky Public Service Commisison has granted Cumberland Valley Electric a rare hike, but it wasn’t as much as the utility had asked for. Last month…PSC ordered Cumberland Valley to conduct a financial study to examine how the utility can cut costs, and to look at options for merging with another electric utility in order to improve its financial standing. With the rate increase that was approved.. the average Cumberland Valley residential customer will see your bill rise by about 5.40 per month, a little more than a third of what they were asking for.

Kentucky lawmakers want to see school districts in the state re-work their calendars so that school starts in late August. 
Senate Bill 50 cleared the state House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 77-18 and now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin's desk. The bill requires each school district to create a committee to come up with new options for the school calendar, in the hopes that local school boards will adopt a calendar where school begins no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26, which supportes say would help the states tourism industry.

Local musicians are coming together this weekend to help raise money for those who lost their homes in the recent storms. The Kickin it on the Creek benefit concert will raise money for residents in Estill County… where at least 20 homes were destroyed by damaging winds and severe weather that rolled through the area last week.

We’re under an elevated fire danger advisory today. Letcher, Leslie, Pike, Perry, Knott, and Pike counties are included in the advisory. Dry and windy conditions, along with a drop in the relative humidity, means we have an increased fire danger this afternoon. Fire officials ask you to not do any burning tomorrow if at all possible.

A traffic stop in Whitley County yesterday for outdated license plates… landed a Tennessee man in jail on drug charges. Kentucky State Police Vehicle Enforcement stopped the driver… 45-year old Murriel T. Ward Jr. During the stops… troopers found drugs and drug paraphernalia, including needles and syringes.

The Prime 606 Steakhouse opened its doors last night in West Whitesburg. Owner Charles Colwell is no stranger to running a restaurant… he also owns Las Penas… a Mexican restaurant in Letcher County, right next door to the new steakhouse in the Parkway Plaza Shopping Center. Colwell’s daughter will help run the new restaurant.

There’s a new grocery store coming to the town of Jenkins. The former Casey’s IGA store is undergoing a remodel and expansion to become a Save-A-Lot. The new store is expected to open for business some time next month.

The FAA warned pilots at Louisville International Airport yesterday to expect "VIP movement" flight restrictions on Saturday… something that is put in place during presidential visits. However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t confirm whether President Donald Trump has any plans to visit Kentucky this weekend… through there are reportedly plans for Trump to visit his estate in Florida on Saturday. At least one group who opposes the Trump administration has said that if the President does land in the Bluegrass State… they’ll be on hand to protest.

Borrow a book… or leave one to be borrowed, at Letcher County’s newest free library. The lending library is in the entrance to the courthouse. The new enclosed book shelf was donated by master woodworker Larry Whitaker from Mayking.

Local News Tuesday March 7, 2017

Watch out for Funny Money. That’s the warning from officials at Community Trust Bank in Hazard after fake 20-dollar bills were passed off at two of their branches in Hazard. Police say there have also been some fake bills used at the Hazard Walmart recently. The best way to protect yourself is to hold the casH up to the light to make sure the inside markings are visible—most fake money won’t have those.

A Grandmother in London Kentucky is grateful that a bank teller stopped her from handing over nearly every penny she had to a con artist. The woman says she got a phone call from someone who called her grandma… she thought it was her grandson. He said he was in jail and needed bail money right away. She went to the bank to pull out cash to wire, but the teller helped track down the location where the money was being sent, and found out it was a pharmacy, not a jail. Police say this is a common scam, and most people don’t realize it until it’s too late.

An Amish man from Bath County has been convicted on 13 federal counts for misbranding his homemade lotions. Prosecutors say Samuel Girod mislabled homemade salves, claiming they cured skin cancer, tumors, and headaches. An investigation was launched in 2013 after someone reported his products to the state health department in Missouri. A federal judge in Missouri told him to stop selling the products at that point… but he continued selling them in other states. There’s no word how long the father of 12… and grandfather of 25… could end up in prison on the charges. He’ll be sentenced in June.

State lawmakers want to make sure students in Kentucky learn how to write and read cursive. State Representative Jill York filed the bill to make sure cursive is included in elementary curriculum before students graduate from 5th grade. The Kentucky Education Commissioner supports the measure.

Floyd County Deputies put a large-scale drug dealer behind bars following what started out as an everyday traffic stop last week. John Hunt with the Sheriff’s Office says deputies pulled over an SUV in Garrett Friday. Two men were inside the rig… along with about 30 grams of crystal meth, some oxycodone and other controlled narcotics. 60-year old Hank Pelphrey is charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance. 45-year old Jeremy Graff was arrested on outstanding warrants out of Kentucky and Florida.

A 2-car wreck on the Highway 15 bypass in Whitesburg yesterday morning led to  one man being charged with drunk driving. Police say Jordan E-step crossed the center line… colliding with an oncoming truck. Both drivers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. 24-year old E-step is charged with DUI, wanton endangerment and traffic charges. 

Authorities in Fayette County need your help finding friends or relatives of a man who died while a ward of the state.  Seventy-year-old James Walling passed away last month at the Fountain Circle Health and Rehabilitation in Winchester.  Officials know that at one point he lived in the Sarasota Drive area of Lexington.  Anyone who may have information regarding family or friends of James Walling is asked to call Fayette County Coroner’s office.

Patrick DeHaan with GasBudy.com says we’re paying about 45 cents more per gallon this week than we were a year ago… and prices state-wide are up 5 cents just in the past week. DeHaan says last fall’s decision by OPEC to cut production continues to weigh on the minds of investors, pushing gasoline prices higher. Right now in Letcher County were paying about 2.16 for a gallon of regular… 1.99 in Dickenson County.


Local News Monday March 6, 2017

A bunch of wildfires broke out across Eastern Kentucky yesterday, scorching dozens of acres of forest land. Officials with the Division of Forestry say they were called out 18 fires yesterday, the largest being a 45 acre blaze in Perry County. There are no burn restrictions in place right now, but you can’t start a fire within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland from 6am to 6pm. Officials are still trying to find out how the fire started. Similar blazes were reported in Knott County, Lauren County, and Harlan County. There were no reports of any injuries or buildings damaged in any of the fires.

A man who fell about 80-feet down a cliff in Wolfe County Saturday night… is expected to survive his injuries. Emergecy crews say the man was camping near the edge of the cliff when he tripped and fell, suffering a number of traumatic injuries.

A Wallins man faces a long list of charges after State Police say he fell asleep behind the wheel… then resisted arrest. Kentucky State Troopers say they found 24-year old Leslie Saylor asleep at the wheel of a car that was running in the Walmart parking lot. He had a handgun in his hand, finger on the trigger, then refused to drop the weapon when police told him to. It took nearly two hours for Troopers to convince him to drop the weapon, which ended up being a BB gun made to look like a pistol. Saylor admitted that he had taken some drugs.

Kentucky U-S Senator Rand Paul is not happy with House Republicans, who he accuses of hiding their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Kentucky Republican tweeted that he's been told the bill is, quote, "under lock and key." The secrecy reportedly is aimed at preventing leaks. Paul says that's unacceptable because repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is the biggest issue before Congress and the American people right now.

A motorcyclist was flown to a hospital in West Virginia after being seriously hurt in an accident in Lawrence County yesterday afternoon. Emergency Management officials say the biker was driving along Kentucky One when he lost control and went off the road and over an embankment, falling about 50 feet and landing in a patch of trees and brush.

53-year old Walter Reed was taken into custody after a body was found buried in a shallow grave in his front yard outside of Clintowood
on Thursday. Dickenson County Sheriff’s deputies identified the victim as 40-year old Crystail Gail Stanley. Investigators say they believe she may have been killed last Sunday, but they haven’t said how she died. Reed is charged with second degree murder and is being held without bond.

Republican lawmakers reached an agreement on a bill last week that would allow charter schools to operate in the state for the first time. House Bill 520 would allow local school boards to approve an unlimited number of the schools. Governor Matt Bevin has said he will sign the legislation if it passes the full State House and Senate.

Residents are still cleaning up after last weeks devastating storms that hit parts of Eastern Kentucky. Volunteers from the American Red Cross have been out helping folks in Floyd and Estill Counties and other areas, making sure they have somewhere to sleep, and access to basic necessities. The Red Cross does offer some financial assistance for those impacted by disasters.

A food drive at the Save-A-Lot stores in Hazard collected more than 4-thousand pounds of food that was delivered to a local charity. Employees have been selling 5-dollar food bags, and 5-dollar non-food bags to customers since February first. All of the items were donated to the Bluegrass Care Navigators

Local News Friday March 3, 2017

Deputies in Dickenson County are investigating what theyre calling a homicide. According to Chief Deputy Scott Stanley, at least one person was found dead at the scene on Coeburn road south of Clintwood. Police have not confirmed social media reports that the victim was a young woman.

One man is in custody in connection with burglaries at three businesses in Leslie County, including a tobacco shop. Hyden City Police say Donnie Pace was arrested after cops got an anonymous tip. The found more than 16-thousnd dollars worth of stolen tobacco products in his home. Chief Bill Baker says they’re looking for Matthew Johnson who may know something about the burglaries as well.

Fire fighters in Lee County rescued some animals who were trapped in a home that had caught fire yesterday. According to Appalachia Fire Department Company 3
…they put out the fire in the home quickly, keeping it mostly in one room of the house in Keokee. However, some dogs and cats suffered smoke inhalation. Some of the cats died, but Fire fighters were able to revive soem puppies, giving them oxygen.

The Kentucky Senate has passed a new law expanding background check for day care workers. The measure passed unanimously and now goes to the House. If aproved, the
 bill would allow parents to request background checks of people they hire as babysitters or nannies, including a check of child abuse and neglect registry records. It would also require any youth camps that get taxpayer money to do criminal background checks as part of the hiring process— even for volunteers.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate rose to 5 percent in January, about 2-tenths of a percent higher  than in December. The Office of Employment and Training (OET) released the monthly numbers yesterday. Analysts say some of the reason for the hike is that there are more people looking for jobs. Kentucky’s unemployment rate was slightly higher than the national average of 4.8 percent.

Police say a total of five people were arrested on Sunday as part of the investigation that led to a Knox County Teacher being charged with drug possession and suspended from his job. Middlesboro Police say they stopped a car for speeding on Sunday, and found the driver, 20-year old Linda Owens, was quite intoxicated. Investigators say she admitted to using several drugs, and found some drugs and meth pipes in her purse. A female passenger in the car was arrested on warrants. In talking to the women, police learned that there might be some drug activity happening at a nearby hotel. Officers investigated and found Joshua Kyle Ramsey along with another man and a woman in the room, along with drugs and drug paraphernalia— including scales.

The Dickenson County Sheriff’s office is getting ready to move. The Sheriff’s office is relocating to the the old county courthouse, along with the county’s dispatch center, and the commonwealth attorney office. County officials say by having all three agencies in the same buildin they can work more efficiently together. Once the move is complete, they’ll hold an open house.

Folks in storm-damaged areas of Kentucky are being warned to be on the watch out for scammers.  Officials with the Better Business Bureau say people in areas like heavy-hit Estill County are at risk from door-to-door contractors looking for easy prey.  They remind you to never pay any contractor up front, and to ask for references and proof of liability insurance.

Governor Bevin is launching a new apprenticeship program.  The governor yesterday announced his "Justice to Journeyman” initiative to match prison inmates and juvenile offenders with skilled jobs as they reenter society. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet are on board with the project.


Local News Thursday March 2, 2017

A high speed chase that started in Pike County… ended with a crash near the Floyd County line. Pikeville Police spotted the car speeding in the wrong direction on US 23 at around 2:00 yesterday [Wednesday] morning. An officer tried stopping the vehicle, but he kept going until he crashed into a hillside. The driver was thrown from the car. He was taken to the hospital… there’s no word on his condition.

Storms destroyed about 75 homes in EH-stl County yesterday… more tha 2 dozens others were damaged, along with many businesses. Emergency management officials say severe storms knocked out power to more than 27-thousand customers. The severe weather also damaged seven of the state’s 12 state prisons. The Kentucky State Penitentiary in Lyon County and the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington were the hardest hit. Three staff members at the Kentucky State Penitentiary were injured by flying glass and other debris. The Department of Corrections has cancelled visitation for at least one prison for today [Thursday]. Several counties have declared states of emergency.

Bank Street in Hazard was closed overnight because of a landslide. Hazard Police say mud and other debris was blcoking the road.

County leaders are looking at whether a 1-percent occupational tax could be the ticket to solving a 1.3 million dollar budget shortfall. If county officials don’t find a way to balance the budget, the state could take legal action for force the county to comply with state law, which doesn’t allow a county to carry any debt. The members of the fiscal court voted down a proposed tax on insurance premiums Monday, and will now consider the occupational tax option. The cities of Whitesburg and Jenkins already have an occupational tax in place.

An inmate at the Harlan County Detention Center has died. According to Kentucky State Police, the female prisoner was found unconscious in her cell on Friday. She was taken to a hospital where she died a short time later. An investigation found that the 26-year old Evarts woman died from health-related issues, and there’s no foul play suspected.

A man who had run away from police is now safe behind bard. Harlan City Police say the 31-year old Verda man had a warrant out for his arrest. Officers tried serving the arrest warrant… when he ran away. Police caught up with him a short time later, and waited until he decided to climb out from beneath the house he was hiding under. Police took him into custody and drove to the jail… but once out of the patrol car, he ran off again. Kentucky State Police found him and returned him to the jail where he faces new charges for escape and resisting arrest, in addition to the burglary and criminal mischief charges he had faced.

Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill yesterday that would create panels to review the merits of malpractice lawsuits, in the hopes of reforming the state’s medical malpractice system. The bill passed on a 51-45 vote and now goes back to the Senate. Supporters say the panels don't take away anyone's right to go to court with malpractice claims. Opponents say the panels would be a barrier delaying access to courts.

County leaders are looking at whether a 1-percent occupational tax could be the ticket to solving a 1.3 million dollar budget shortfall. If county officials don’t find a way to balance the budget, the state could take legal action to force the county to comply with state law, which doesn’t allow a county to carry any debt.

Pine Mountain Settlement School hosts a free  soup bean supper tonight, following the introduction of a Harlan County Farmer’s market. Several agencies will also be on hand to talk about how the Farmer’s Market can benefit local families. You can register for the dinner at the Pine Mountain Settlement School website.