LOCAL NEWS

Thursday March 27, 2014

Kentucky's mine inspectors would be required to spend less time examining coal mining operations under language inserted in the state Senate's budget proposal. Mine-safety advocates say fewer inspections would raise the risks for miners every time they venture underground. State law currently requires six inspections annually for each mine by state regulators. That number would be pared to two required annual inspections under the Senate's budget plan.
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Kentucky drivers could find out this week if they will pay more at the pump this summer. House Democrats have approved a 1.5 cents-per-gallon increase. It would give the state an extra $107 million during the next two years to build new roads and fix the broken ones. But Senate Republican leaders rejected the gas tax increase Tuesday, arguing Kentuckians do not want to pay more taxes for any reason.
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A two-year $4.5 billion road plan being debated in the Kentucky General Assembly includes almost $64 million for Letcher County, with much of that going to the U.S. 119 relocation in the Cumberland River area. Another $8 million would be used to ease traffic congestion in and out of KY 805 in Jenkins. In addition to the four projects already mentioned, the rest of Letcher County’s road money would be spent on bridge replacement projects scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.
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A Kentucky House panel cleared a measure Wednesday aimed at stemming the tide of heroin abuse in the state. The bill would provide a three-pronged approach to the problem, combining treatment funding, harsher penalties for trafficking and education in communities. The bill also allows first responders, including police officers and emergency medical technicians, to prescribe and use the heroin antidote.
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While the 2013-14 winter season continues to be one of southeastern Kentucky’s most severe in recent years, the region has been downright fortunate when compared to the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States, where snowfall totals have more than doubled those here.  In fact, aside from students in most mountain counties missing nearly a month of school because of poor road conditions, the winter weather conditions that were still being suffered by residents of Letcher and surrounding counties Tuesday night could have been much tougher.
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People in the Kay Jay community in Knox County are taking steps to restore the community center and their voting precinct. The building was damaged by a flood three years ago. Yesterday, they presented a petition to the Knox County Fiscal Court with 194 signatures on it asking to restore the building. They asked the Knox County Fiscal Court to spend $1,500 to restore electricity at the building.

Wednesday March 26, 2014

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would allow persistently low-performing schools to convert to charter schools. Current Kentucky gives consistently underperforming schools four options for improvement, ranging from restaffing to closing down. The bill would provide a fifth option, allowing the school to vote on whether to become a charter school.
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A divided Letcher County Fiscal Court voted at its March meeting to explore the possibility of selling what has become the controversial industrial park site at Isom, which is currently occupied by Process Systems and under lease to Process Systems owner Doug Sizemore. In the four-to-two vote, Fifth District Magistrate Wayne Fleming and Second District Magistrate Terry Adams voted not to sell the site. The vote was the result of a motion by Fourth District Magistrate Keith Adams who said the site had been a bone of contention between the court and local residents and would be more beneficial overall if it was in private hands. Adams’s motion came in the midst of a contentious discussion over the restructure of the current lease with Sizemore that was originally set to allow him to sublease the property to Refuel Carbon to install a wood pellet processing plant.
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If you have not signed up for health insurance through Kynect, you only have a few days left.  The deadline to sign up through the state marketplace is on Monday. If you sign up by March 31st, your coverage will begin May 1st.
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A judge has decided that eminent domain can't be used to take private land to build a natural gas pipeline through Kentucky. Bluegrass Pipelin has said it has the right to condemn property for its pipeline under Kentucky eminent domain law. The citizens group Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain had sought a ruling on the question.
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Family members confirm to WKYT, that Former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer reported to Federal Prison Tuesday afternoon.  Farmer is staying at a minimum security satellite camp, next to a high security facility in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia.  Farmer was allowed an extra week of freedom, in order to watch his son play basketball in the boy's Sweet 16 Tournament. Farmer pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges stemming from his time in office.

Tuesday March 25, 2014

State lawmakers have failed to agree on a bill that would relax the state's school attendance laws because of the unusual number of snowstorms this winter. State law requires school districts to have at least 170 days and 1,062 hours of classroom instruction each school year. But some school districts have missed more than 30 days this year because of snowstorms, pushing the school year for some districts toward the end of June.
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An athlete with a bright future, gone too soon. A car accident Saturday night on I-64 in Clark County, killed a University of Pikeville freshman. Officials say 18-year-old, Timothy "Cole" Thomas, lost control of his vehicle causing it to flip. As students return to campus after spring break, they are learning one Upike Bear is not coming back. There will be a memorial service for Thomas on Tuesday at 11 o'clock in the UPike chapel.
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A man has died after being hit by a train in Pulaski County. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office says it happened around 5:30am Monday near Kentucky Highway 452 and Etna Lane, near Science Hill. 19 year-old Korey Nicholls. The coroner says Nicholls, who was staying with his grandparents in the area, was on the tracks when he was hit. The Sheriff's Office is investigating what caused Nicholls to be on the tracks at the time.
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Police need your help finding a man who changed the amount on a check after patching an elderly woman's driveway. Officials say Saul Boswell went to a woman's home in Laurel County telling her he will fix the pavement.  Police say following the shoddy job, he asked for payment.  The lady filled out the check, but because of poor vision asked Boswell to fill out the amount of $48. They say Boswell then filled the amount out for $4,800.
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Kindergarten and preschool registration will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, March 27, at Jenkins Elementary School. Need to register are the child’s birth certificate and Social Security card, an upto date school physical, an up-to-date Kentucky immunization cerificate, an upto date Kentucky eye exam (kindergarten only) and an up-to-date Kentucky dental screening.
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A workshop will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Letcher County Extension Office in Whitesburg for farmers who grow vegetables, fruits, nuts or herbs and would like to can them to sell from their farm, registered farmers markets, or certified roadside stands. To qualify, farmers must live and farm in Kentucky and own or lease at least five acres capable of being used for the cultivation of a garden, orchard, or the raising of fruits and vegetables. Registration is $50.

Monday March 24, 2014

James Maggard, the Neon man accused of murdering Dradrick “Drad” Fleming in June 2012, entered an “Alford guilty plea” in Letcher Circuit Court today (Friday) that will protect him from the possibility of being sentenced to death by lethal injection. By entering the Alford plea, which originated in a North Carolina murder case in 1970, the 34-year-old Maggard maintains that he is innocent of the murder, kidnapping and arson charges against him, but admits that enough evidence exists that a jury could find him guilty of attacking Fleming with a baseball bat at Millstone and then burning Fleming to death after he set Fleming’s truck afire at a remote location on Black Mountain, near Franks Creek at Eolia.
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A toddler is dead following a drowning accident at a Wolfe County home. Kentucky State Police say 2-year-old Hunter Bush fell into a yard decoration that was filled with water. The child was taken to Kentucky River Regional Medical Center in Jackson where he was pronounced dead.
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Andrew Harrison scored 20 points, twin brother Aaron had 19 and Kentucky ended Wichita State's pursuit of perfection Sunday when Fred VanVleet's potential game-winning 3-pointer missed in a 78-76 victory in the NCAA tournament. Julius Randle had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and James Young also had 13 points for the No. 8 seed Wildcats. Kentucky will play in-state rival Louisville in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Indianapolis.
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Saturday morning, more than 100 runners hit the roads of London, running in support of one of their own. Saturdays race was for "5K for Angle," a race benefit for Cindy Angle's medical bills. All running for the same woman.  Organizers say they raised more than $4,500, but the community's turnout and support was what impressed them most.
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Police are asking for the public's help to identify a man who they say robbed a Clark County hotel overnight. Police in Winchester say the suspect entered the Hampton Inn on Early Drive early Sunday morning.  The suspect then showed a handgun to the person behind the counter and demanded money. He got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Friday March 21, 2014

A Kentucky House panel has halted three Republican-sponsored bills that would regulate abortion access statewide. Two of the measures would have required a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound, without exemption for rape victims. The third bill would have required a woman to be physically present during a consultation with an abortion provider instead of consulting over the phone.
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It's about more than sports...it's about support...Though March madness has caused quite the stir for UK and EKU fans, the NAIA tournament is exciting some fans in Pike County.The University of Pikeville men's basketball team won yesterday against Belleville-Lindwood, and dozens of fans gathered at the Landmark Inn to watch their Bears.  UPike supporters gathered as the Bears stomped out their opponents 103-76.
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A wanted man is now behind bars following a traffic stop and a brief struggle in Laurel County. 21 year old Joshua Coots was wanted for parole violations.  When police tried to arrest Coots, he ran from police.  He was found later by the London Police Department.  Coots faces several charges including running from police, assault on a police officer, and other traffic violations.
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Kentucky's unemployment rate has inched upward again. The state Office of Employment and Training says the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for February was 7.8 percent, up from a revised 7.7 percent in January but 0.4 percentage point below the 8.2 percent rate in February 2013.
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Police need your help finding a man who they say escaped from work duty in Wolfe County.  29 year old Melvin Scott Garland escaped while working at the Wolfe County Highway Garage yesterday morning.  He was staying at the Three Forks Detention Center. They believe Garland was picked up by a private vehicle and is on his way to Magoffin County.
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Hundreds came out for a job fair held Wednesday at Jenny Wiley State Park in Prestonsburg. Organizers say there were about twenty booths set up at the fair with companies looking to fill positions as well as non profit groups there to help folks through the job search process One of the most popular booths was GMS, a company hiring out of work miners for jobs in the mining industry in Western Kentucky.