LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday January 21, 2014

The U.S. coal mining industry will see a modest and short-lived rebound in 2014, driven by more production in Western states after two successive years of declines, according to a government forecast. Coal production from the Appalachian region is forecast to rise by just 3.5 million tons in 2014, then drop by 10 million tons next year. Still, that is some good news for Letcher County, where coal production fell in 2013 to record-low 1.64 million tons, down from 2.84 million tons tons in 2012.
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James Huffman the 34-yearold Pike County man accused of wielding the knife used to stab Michael Shane Hogg to death early New Year’s Day, has a long history of violating the law.
In addition to violating conditions imposed upon him after his release on bond from the Pike County Detention Center, where Huffman was taken after threatening Pike County sheriff ’s deputies with a hunting knife and sword during one-hour standoff on Dec. 4, Huff- man failed to appear for a scheduled jury trial in Pike District Court on Feb. 15, 2006 in connection with a fourth-degree assault charge filed against him.
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Officials with the Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center in Pikeville want to stress the importance of life. The center serves twelve counties, working to provide guidance, hope, and love for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy...operating solely off of donations from churches, businesses and individuals. Officials say their 'Banquet for Life' allows them to reach even more by raising money and awareness. The banquet is set for February 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Mark V in Pikeville.
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Kentucky legislators may soon debate whether to allow service monkeys to assist paralyzed adults with simple household tasks. Sen. John Schickel says his bill comes at the request of a family in his northern Kentucky district. The family wants to use a service monkey to assist their daughter, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident. The bill's critics include Sarah Baeckler Davis, executive director of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. She says monkeys are wild animals that don't belong in homes.
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Arrangements are made for a well-known Hazard businessman. James D. "Jim" Hill died on Saturday at the age of 75. He owned the Perry Oil Company in Hazard. Those in the community say he was an employer who valued, cared, and considered those he worked with his extended family. Hill was recognized as Hazard's Civic Night "Young man of the year" as well as an Honorary Colonel of the Kentucky State Police.
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Frontier Communications and the Communications Workers of America have extended their contract for workers in West Virginia again. It's the third contract extension since negotiations on a new agreement began seven months ago. Frontier said the latest extension will run until April 5 while negotiations continue. The contract originally was scheduled to expire Aug. 2, 2013. It covers 1,550 workers in West Virginia.

Monday January 20, 2014

One Perry County Deputy Jailer is on the other side of the bars. Officials say 27 year old Bruce Campbell is charged with official misconduct for bringing drugs and other items into the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard. An investigation started when someone complained an employee brought drugs into the detention center. Campbell was taken to the Leslie County Detention Center.
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In front of a crowd of people at the Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Bell County, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 73 rural Kentucky counties are now part of the StrikeForce initiative. This means the USDA will partner with local organizations, businesses, and universities to invest in the communities. Local officials say this will create new opportunities in light of declining coal jobs. Officials say the StrikeForce initiative is one more way to grow the economy in Eastern Kentucky.
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Kentucky State Police are investigating two armed robberies in Floyd County. Officials say on Tuesday night two men demanded money while showing a weapon at the Fast Lane convenience store in the Eastern community. Then on Thursday night, officials say another armed robbery took place at the Mi-Dee Mart in Lackey. Anyone with information is asked to contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 at 606-433-7711.
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Officials in Appalachia are gearing up for what they are describing as a one-of-a-kind steam train excursion. The Appalachian News-Express reports that officials from Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia met in Pike County, Ky., last week to discuss details for the 2014 Tri-State Rail Excursion that is planned for April 12-13. Officials say the steam train journey will begin in Grundy, Va., and pass through Pike County and Devon, W. Va. Pike County director of Energy and Community Development Charles Carlton said the train will pass land associated with the Hatfield-McCoy feud and passengers will have an opportunity to see coal mining activities.
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Kentucky State Police say new information led them back to the home of a couple accused of letting their nine children live in horrible conditions. On Thursday State Police executed that search warrant and found the remains of a premature baby Rowan County property belonging to Johnathan Prater and Edith Strange. The couple is currently in jail on  endangerment charges relating to their nine children.

Friday January 17, 2014

Several Eastern Kentuckians are recovering following a crash near Morehead. It happened just after 8pm Wednesday at mile marker 143 on Interstate 64. Police say 66 year old Eli Lucas of Jenkins was driving east when he lost control and hit another car. The driver of the other car, 36 year old Tara Lyons of Olive Hill, along with Lucas and two passengers in his car, 64 year old Gary Kanes of Elkhorn City and 58 year old Vivian Kanes of Virgie, were all taken to Saint Claire Regional Medical Center.
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Plans are underway to build a new Clover Fork Clinic in downtown Harlan to provide healthcare to anyone regardless of the ability to pay. The Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC, is providing a grant for construction. Officials say the site of the old Harlan Hospital on East Mound Street will be home to the new Clover Fork Clinic. Officials say the current Harlan building is too small and outdated.
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One of the largest health care providers in the area will make significant cuts in the coming days. Officials with Mountain States Health Alliance say they will eliminate 161 positions or about 1.5% of their workforce. Some of the positions are vacancies that have not been filled, but most of them will affect current employees. System officials say the cuts are necessary due to the loss of millions of dollars in reimbursements and patient volume.
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You have probably heard the expression that nothing in life is free. That could be true for drivers on the Mountain Parkway soon if a toll is reinstated to help pay for an expansion project. If Governor Beshear gets his way, drivers can look forward to more room on parts of the Mountain Parkway. On Wednesday, Beshear announced plans to make all of that road four lanes.
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Closing in on two weeks with no water some folks in Floyd County say they are losing trust they will keep it when it comes back on. Folks in the Frasure's Creek area say they got water back after nearly a week and a half only to lose it again. Several folks say they have had to deal with water outages for the past two weeks.
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An Arizona man faces a criminal mischief charge in Laurel County. Sheriff Deputies say early Thursday morning they were called to a vandalism complaint. Deputy Mikey Ashurst says when he arrived on scene he found a window had been broken out of a garage window at The Boss Shop. After reviewing surveillance video, they found a man broke out the windo and then ran from the scene. Deputies arrested Camelin Abraham. Damage was estimated at around $500.

Thursday January 16, 2014

Gov. Steve Beshear has unveiled a $753.6 million plan to widen and extend the Mountain Parkway. The project will eventually create a four-lane highway from the bluegrass region to Pikeville in eastern Kentucky. Beshear said Wednesday the proposal is part of the state highway plan he'll present to lawmakers. He says it's expected that tolls will eventually be collected along the parkway to help finance the project.
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One year ago Hazard made national headlines when a man opened fire in the parking lot of Hazard Community and Technical College, killing three people including a 12-year old girl. The shooting at HCTC rocked not just the campus, but the region as well. 12 year old Taylor, her father Jackie, and her cousin Caitlyn Cornett were all killed when police say the father of Caitlyn's child opened fire during a custody exchange.
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A Floyd County couple is behind bars after a disturbing case of alleged child abuse was uncovered by police last week. Shawn and Amber Cordle are accused in what police in Prestonsburg call one of the more disturbing cases of child abuse they've seen in years. Police say they arrived at Cliffside Apartments off of Cliff Road in Prestonsburg, and say the Cordles' apartment was filled with human waste. Police say all of the children are expected to be okay.
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Former Marrowbone hometown pharmacy manager Beverly Lockhart faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Last week, Lockhart accepted a plea agreement in Pike County Federal Court. She agreed to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to sell, purchase or trade prescription drug samples. In August 2012, Lockhart along with Thad Manning were indicted on federal drug charges. Manning is still set for trial. Sentencing for Lockhart is set for February 11th.
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A Pike County man faces a felony assault charge when police say he stabbed a man. Court officials say 20 year old Kyle Slone pleaded not guilty Tuesday to first degree assault charges which is a Class B felony. Police say early Monday morning, they found Slone stabbed a man twice during an altercation. Class B felonies carry a potential prison sentence between 10 and 20 years. Slone is held on a $15,000 dollar cash bond.
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Two men are charged with first-degree robbery following an altercation with a pizza delivery man, according to Kentucky State Police. Papa John's Pizza employee Jared Lindon was making a delivery in the Cherokee Hills Apartment, and two men attacked him. Those two men were Jerry Hurt and Austin Coots. They also used a false phone number to order the pizza. The two men stole up to three pizzas and about $60.

Wednesday January 15, 2014

A young woman from Letcher County is representing the state as well as the mountains on a national platform.  Destin Kincer, 21, was crowned Miss Kentucky USA 2014.
The UK student is a Letcher County native and is currently studying to be a dermatologist. But this week, her life changed after competing in a competition that now has her receiving national recognition. Destin has only competed in four pageants in her career, one of them being Miss Kentucky Teen 2011.
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Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison yesterday. The former Kentucky basketball star pleaded guilty in September to two counts of misappropriating government resources while overseeing the agriculture department. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors requested the former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner be sentenced to 27 months in prison.
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Several people are facing meth related charges in Floyd County. Police say they found a substantial amount of meth and meth precursors at a home in Prestonsburg, and nearly half a dozen people are now behind bars. Several police and fire vehicles poured onto Old Cliff Road Tuesday morning. The cause: suspected meth. Police say they found several items used for making meth stored under the house and some already made that had been put in the toilet.
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A rolling boulder led to the death of a Pike County man. The Pike County Coroner says 55 year old old Lawrence Fleenor died when a boulder rolled off a hill and hit his car. The accident happened around four Tuesday afternoon on Route 460 near the Draffin Community. The road was closed for a few hours, but is now open. No one else was in the vehicle.
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Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park in Perry County is temporarily closed due to a lack of water in the wake of severe cold weather this month. The park cannot get additional water because of water line breaks in the area. The park is closed until water service can be restored. Other parks in the area, including Natural Bridge and Jenny Wiley State Resort Parks, remain open. For updates and more information about Kentucky State Parks, visit www.parks.ky.gov