LOCAL NEWS

Friday February 7, 2014

The Kentucky House has passed a bill to raise the state's minimum wage for the first time since 2009. Under the bill, the minimum wage would gradually increase from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour in July 2016. There would be 95-cent increases in three phases. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his bill would help an estimated 400,000 workers. He says they are entitled to living wages that let them buy life's necessities. Opponents said the higher wage would force some employers to cut jobs. They said it would add costs for school districts and local governments to pay low-wage employees.
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The bodies of a father and son who appear to have died from injuries from an all-terrain vehicle accident were found by a Jeremiah resident yesterday. Kentucky State Police troopers found an ATV over an embankment near Arthurs Loop in Blair Branch around 11 a.m. The ATV left a dirt road adjacent to Arthurs Loop and overturned. The body of Tracy Adams, 34, of Jeremiah, was located under the ATV, while the body of his 70-year-old father Carlos Adams, also of Jeremiah, was lying next to the ATV with his leg trapped between a tree and the ATV.
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A Pike County woman went to the courthouse to get married.... but ended up getting arrested. Pike County Sheriff's deputies say 38-year-old, Terri Thacker, was unsteady on her feet as she entered the judicial center on Monday afternoon. Deputies say she was hiding underneath a hoodie as she came through security. Her boyfriend had to more or less help her around to get to where she was going.
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The head of a Kentucky propane company that stopped sending the heating gas to business customers in several states said problems with supply and shipping forced the company to halt deliveries. Paducah-based United Propane Gas notified its commercial customers in late January it would be forced to temporarily cease shipments. National supplies of propane were depleted by a late harvest that increased demand from farmers who needed to dry an unusually large amount of grain before storage.
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Police are searching for two people in connection to a meth bust made this week in Johnson County. Johnson County sheriff's deputies arrested John LeMaster, 34, Amanda Johnson, 26, and Frank Music, 44, Tuesday on Hyden Branch in Van Lear. Officials say the suspects were making meth in an empty trailer and found the drug and multiple "shake and bake" labs. Two others remain on the loose.
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A student aboard a bus that veered off Route 61 and hit a rock wall, sending 15 students to the hospital Wednesday afternoon, said it was a normal commute that instantly turned terrifying. A student said their bus veered off a narrow section of Route 61 near the Montgomery-Fayette county line and hit the rock wall. The accident happened about 3 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters say 15 Valley High and Junior High students were taken to the hospital. Most of the injuries were described as sore backs and necks nothing that appeared too serious.

Thursday February 6, 2014

Gov. Beshear will lead a trade mission to the United Kingdom, one of Kentucky's largest export partners. the trade mission is set for May 11-16. The Kentucky delegation will make stops in London and Manchester. Kentucky exported more than $1.6 billion in products and services to the United Kingdom last year, up more than 20 percent from 2012. Top exports include aerospace and pharmaceutical products. Beshear says the trip will give Kentucky companies a chance to build business ties in the United Kingdom, which has the world's sixth-largest economy.
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A special meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court turned controversial late last week when Judge/ Executive Jim Ward accused District Two Magistrate Terry Adams of voting against bringing new jobs to Letcher County. At the same time, Ward declined to name the company that is interested to locating on county-owned property at Isom. The business makes wood pellets that can be mixed with coal for power plants. Ward said he is afraid the company would lose state-funded incentives it hopes to receive if it is named prematurely.
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Prosecutors have filed a motion asking that information found during a search of the cellular phone owned by accused murderer Patrick Smith be sealed “until such a time as an indictment is returned by the grand jury or this case is otherwise disposed of.” Smith, of Pike County, is charged with complicity to murder in the early New Year’s Day death of Michael Hogg of Kingscreek, who was stabbed to death after an altercation in downtown Whitesburg with Smith and James Huffman, also of Pike County.
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The Kentucky Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to require doctors to perform ultrasounds prior to abortions and to describe what is seen to the pregnant women. Doctors failing to comply would face fines of up to $100,000 for a first offense and up to $250,000 for subsequent violations. The requirement would be added to Kentucky's existing informed-consent law. The measure would require a doctor performing an ultrasound to provide a "simultaneous explanation" of what is seen, including the location of the fetus in the uterus.
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Chris Sexton, a former Letcher County coal miner who has retrained and re-entered the workforce with help from the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program’s Hiring Our Miners Everyday jobs initiative, was publicly recognized at a forum on longterm unemployment at the White House on Jan. 31. The event focused on long-term unemployment and developing a more skilled and competitive workforce.
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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has selected Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and three other colleges within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System as among the nation’s 150 best community colleges. Joining Southeast are Hazard Community and Technical College, Madisonville Community and Technical College and West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Wednesday February 5, 2014

TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye planned to take the stage Tuesday night to defend evolution at Creation museum in Kentucky that presents the history of the world through biblical stories during an event that has attracted intense interest in science and faith circles. Nye is a former TV star and Ham is prominent among Christians who believe the Bible tells a factual account of the Earth's beginnings. Some scientists have been critical of Nye for agreeing to debate the head of a Christian ministry that is dismissive of evolution.
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One person is dead following an overnight crash in Knott County. It happened just after midnight on Dry Fork Road near Mousie. The coroner tells us the victim was a woman but her name is not being released yet. No word on what caused the crash.
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A mix of winter weather and rain are to blame for a flood inside the Letcher County Courthouse. You typically hear the sound of gavels and testimony inside the Letcher County Courthouse. But Monday the sound of dripping water filled the building’s hallways and offices. At least one foot of water leaked through the roof and through two floors before inmates housed in the building’s basement noticed around midnight Monday.
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Kentucky Emergency Management has activated the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center to Level II. Weather forecasts for much of the Commonwealth have prompted Kentucky’s emergency management officials to hold several conference calls with the National Weather Service and statewide emergency officials in preparation for another winter storm system approaching the state with a hazardous mix of precipitation in the forecast.
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Legislation pushed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo to expand a scholarship program for students in Kentucky's struggling coal regions cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly yesterday. The measure is aimed at increasing the number of people attaining four-year college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The students, for the most part, would attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes that they pursue careers in the same region after graduation.
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The Fayette County Health Department says the number of confirmed flu cases in Fayette county is down from last week, to 86 confirmed cases. Last week 102 confirmed cases were reported in Fayette county. The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are especially encouraged to receive the flu vaccine, because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences.

Tuesday February 4, 2014

 

Students at Kentucky's two-year schools would pay a fee to help finance nearly $200 million of proposed construction, touted as the biggest investment in the colleges since the system's formation. The proposed student fee would eventually amount to $8 per credit hour taken, Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Michael McCall said Monday. For students taking 15-hour class loads in a semester, the fee would amount to $120. The fee would back the issuance of $145.5 million in agency bonds that would pay for up to 75 percent of the construction projects.
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The Letcher County Courthouse is expected to remain closed at least through today after freezing water clogged up a roof drain and flooded parts of all three stories. Water seeped from the roof into the offices of Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright, down to the first floor into Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade’s office, and on down to the Letcher County Jail in the basement. The flooding occurred over the weekend when no one was present on the first and second floors. Flooding was discovered late Sunday night when the water reached the jail.
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Knox County Sheriff's Deputies and Kentucky State Police recovered more than $40,000 worth of stolen property at a home in Bell County. Investigators say it appears the suspects were running a chop shop for four-wheelers. Kristie Harris is one of the victims. She said her husband woke up early Sunday morning to go to Richmond and discovered their barn door open around 4:00 a.m. Her new 2013 Polaris RZR was missing. State Police arrested 26-year-old Justin Collett.
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Gov. Beshear said he will present a wide-ranging plan to modernize Kentucky's tax system, offering no details in advance but saying lawmakers should be well-acquainted with most of the features. Beshear plans to roll out his long-awaited tax package Tuesday, following through on his promise to present specific ideas on how to make Kentucky more competitive through its tax code. The Democratic governor briefed a bipartisan group of legislative leaders on the details yesterday.
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February is heart month and health professionals want to make sure your heart is healthy. In Hazard...the Mountain After Hours Clinic held heart disease screenings on Monday. Folks that stopped by could get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked for free. If you missed the event on Monday, you have three more chances: February 11, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mountain Clinic of Carr Creek, Sassafras... February 17, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mountain Clinic of Carr Creek, Sassafras...February 27, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mountain After Hours Clinic, Hazard.
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A fugitive and three others are behind bars following a police tip Monday morning. Police arrested Bryan Fields at his Aunt's home on Jackson Road in Laurel County just before noon. Officials say they were looking for him since they believe he stole and aluminum boat and fuel tanks to sell at a scrap metal business. They found him in the attic of the home.  He was charged with resisting arrest and theft by unlawful taking from a previous warrant. All were taken to the Laurel County Detention Center.

 

Thursday January 30, 2014

Unless students in the Letcher County school system miss more days, May 22 will be the last day of school for the 2013-14 year. The Letcher County Board of Education decided Monday night to shorten spring break by three days in an effort to keep students from attending classes in June. School will be held Monday, March 31, Tuesday, April 1, and Wednesday, April 2. The decision isn’t a surprise, as it was noted on the school calendar that these days could be used as makeup days if needed.
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Fifty-six candidates have filed to run for Letcher County offices in the May election. The deadline to file was 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The offices of county judge/executive, sheriff, county attorney, jailer, county clerk, coroner, property valuation administrator, magistrates and constables will be on the ballot for the primary election.
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Hiring Our Miners Everyday and the Kentucky Coal Association will host the job fair on Wednesday, Feb. 5, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Kentucky Career Center JobSight, 412 Roy Campbell Drive, in Hazard. Patriot officials will be on hand to accept resumes from miners and discuss underground mining job opportunities available at their Highland Mine in western Kentucky. The company is seeking only skilled “black hat” underground miners through the job fair. All applicants should bring copies of their resume and mine certifications.
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The Barnes and Noble Bookstore on the Cumberland campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will host a book signing on Friday, Feb. 7, for Professor Carlton W. Hughes, who will be signing copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: the Dating Game. The event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the store in Falkenstine Hall. Hughes’s story in the collection, “Grocery Store Cupid,” details how he and his wife Kathy met.
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Police have arrested a woman accused of stealing money intended for a Perry County cancer patient. Perry County sheriff's deputies arrested Kristina Amburgey, 30, Tuesday night.  Sheriff's deputies say Amburgey told them she took the money because she could not afford to eat. Amburgey is set to be arraigned Monday in Perry County District Court. She is charged with one count theft by unlawful taking under $500.
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A Pike County native is celebrating a big win at this year's Grammy awards. Josh Osborne is from Virgie in Pike County. He co-wrote country singer Kacey Musgraves' song 'Merry Go Round' with Musgraves and songwriter Shane McAnally. The song was nominated for Country Song of the Year at this year's Grammys and won!
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A Kentucky Senate Committee approved a bill to expand the instances when people can operate all-terrain vehicles without helmets. Under the measure, the helmet requirement would not apply when ATV riders cross roads with speed limits of 55 mph or less.