LOCAL NEWS

Wednesday November 27, 2013

Some of the 280,000 Kentuckians whose insurance policies don't comply with the Affordable Care Act will be able to keep their plans, at least for another year. Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark told lawmakers yesterday that three major insurance companies - Humana, United Healthcare and Assurant - have chosen to extend existing policies.  Clark said she didn't know how many people that would affect. About 130,000 Kentuckians have individual policies that don't comply with the federal health care reforms.
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One Pike County man could spend 17 years behind bars. Court officials tell us Richard Ratliff accepted a plea deal on Monday. Ratliff pleaded guilty to an amended second degree manslaughter charge and first degree assault charge. Last December, police arrested Ratliff for the murder of Ricky Coleman. Officials found Coleman shot to death along Adams Lane in October of 2012.
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Police, Harlan County Emergency Management workers, and family members are searching for a missing man in Harlan County. Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill says there is a Golden Alert for 35-year-old Christopher Allen Buell of Middlesboro. He disappeared from the Harlan ARH around 1:00pm on Monday. Officials say he was walking toward the the Tractor Supply store in the Gray's Knob area.
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Witley County Sheriff confirms one person is dead and four people are injured after a multiple vehicle crash on Southbound I-75 around the seven mile marker. This is between Williamsburg and the Tennessee state line. Both north and southbound lanes are closed right now. Crews are expected to be on scene for a few hours. There is no work on how many are injured.

Tuesday November 26, 2013

The Martin County Sheriff's Office is looking for two men they say broke into Horn's BP early Monday morning, stealing more than $1,000 worth of cigarettes. Store owners are making repairs at the convenience store after they say the men used a large rock to shatter the front door. Only in the store for about three minutes, but long enough to fill up several large bags, cleaning out one particular section....store owners say is valued at more than $1,000. They got away with about 40-50 cartons.
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A Laurel County man will spend more than three decades in prison for the death of his girlfriend. On Monday, a judge sentenced 35-year-old Sean Messer to 35 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to the murder of Pamela Sue Bobbitt. The Laurel County judge then sentenced Sean Messer to 35 years in prison for Bobbitt's death. Bobbitt's family said they are pleased with the outcome. Family members say Messer was Bobbitt's live-in boyfriend.
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Investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a large fire at an Eastern Kentucky ice plant early Monday morning. Fire crews tell us it happened around 1:30 Monday morning at the Corbin Ice Company on Cumberland Falls Highway. About 40 firefighters were called in to help get the flames under control and ultimately put it out. Corbin Fire Chief Barry McDonald says this particular fire was especially dangerous because of the chemicals inside the factory. No one was inside at the time of the blaze and crews are still trying to figure out what sparked the blaze.
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The Johnson County Sheriff's Office teamed up with Kentucky State Police hitting the streets early Monday morning going after more than two dozen people facing drug charges.
One by one deputies walked them out, handcuffs in place, a host of drug charges to answer to. Sheriff Price says a combined effort between his office and KSP led to indictments on 28 people--the results of a two and a half year investigation that allowed officers to make more than 80 undercover buys. Officers say most of the people charged are accused of trafficking narcotics. Some of them are facing meth charges.
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The mayors of Kentucky's two largest cities made a pitch Monday to increase the number of homegrown engineers, part of a strategy to expand the region's manufacturing clout as Louisville and Lexington put aside their rivalry to team up on economic development. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray floated the goal of doubling the number of engineers produced by the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville within a few years. They urged Gov. Steve Beshear to include money in his budget proposal to state lawmakers next year to ramp up the engineering schools.

Monday November 25, 2013

A man was found dead in his Pike County home Friday and now an investigation is underway. Police are not releasing many details right now. The man, who the coroner says could be in his 30's, was found dead Friday evening inside a home on Harless Creek. Police are not releasing his cause of death and are calling it a death investigation, but detectives have confirmed that foul play is suspected. Detectives say they are interviewing some people of interest. The Pike County coroner took the man's body to Frankfort for an autopsy.
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Police are searching for two men they say robbed a gas station at gunpoint. Police say the men robbed the Fast Lane convenient store in the Eastern community in Floyd County Saturday night. It happened around 10:30 pm, police say the men took off on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes. This incident remains under investigation, anyone with information should contact state police.
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Fire officials believe a wood-burning stove may be to blame for a Somerset family losing their home Saturday night. It happened around 11pm on Slavey Lane near Ring-Gold Road. Officials tell us there was no one inside the home at the time, but that the homeowners had just started a fire in their wood-burning stove before they left. When they arrived back at the home, the fire had already spread throughout the trailer. Firefighters say it took them around thirty minutes to get the fire out. No one was injured.
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Two people in Wise County, Virginia are facing charges, accused of abusing a three week old baby. Police say 19 year old Evan Johnson is accused of hurting the baby on two different occasions. St. Paul police chief Bo Phillips says the baby's mother, Cassandra Wallace, took the toddler to a Johnson City hospital when she noticed one of the baby's legs was swollen. Doctors say the leg turned out to be broken. Wallace was charged later with child abuse. The baby was taken into the custody of social services.
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After nine weeks of falling gas prices, the average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline is up 3 cents over the past two weeks. The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday says the price of a gallon of regular is $3.25. Midgrade costs an average of $3.44 a gallon, and premium is $3.59. it's the first price hike since Sept. 6.

Friday November 22, 2013

Jackson Police arrested a man in connection with the school break in's. Brandon Nipper was arrested within the last few hours about 10 miles west of Jackson in Breathitt County. He was hiding in a home on John Street off Quicksand Road in the Robinson subdivision. He was on the run from police already after escaping from the Breathitt County Jailer back in late October. Police recovered most of the stolen property, including several iPads.

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We're learning more information about a deadly crash involving a Kentucky State Trooper. The trooper's name is DeWayne Foley, described as a veteran with state police. Police say his cruiser collided with a car, driven by James King, 41, of Williamsburg. King was pronounced dead at the scene. He leaves behind a wife and three children. Police say Foley was responding to a crash at the intersection of Highway 90 and Highway 25 near Williamsburg.

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Don't forget Headwaters will hold a stream clean-up tomorrow morning on the section of the North Fork of the Kentucky River behind Food City and Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Whitesburg. The event will begin at 9 a.m. and will last until noon. Volunteers will meet at the gas station in the Food City parking lot at 8:45 a.m. Trash bags, gloves and drinking water will be provided.

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Governor Beshear said more than one million dollars is going to help develop and maintain 20 trail projects throughout Kentucky. Knott County is one of those projects. Tourism Director Shawn Owens said not only will this boost visitors, but also keep locals coming back for more. The $100,000 grant is coming from the Federal Highway Administration. The money will develop more than 20 miles of trails, including restrooms and information centers.

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The Kentucky Supreme Court rejected a bid by a former Pikeville judge to reinstate his law license. The courts majority concluded Charles Huffman's willingness to trade lenient sentences for prescription medication too serious a violation to allow him to practice law again in Kentucky. Huffman pleaded guilty in 19-95 to extortion while serving as a judge in Pikeville. He admitted to promising a defendant community service in exchange for several prescription drugs and served 15 months in federal prison.

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A Pulaski County Teen pleaded guilty to a solicitation to murder charge. Police say Tyler Phelps asked his friend Paul Scott Young to kill his parents. Investigators say Young attacked Edwin Phelps in his Pulaski County home and Phelps managed to fight Scott off and protect his wife until police arrived. Young pleaded guilty last month to two counts of attempted murder and received ten years on each count. Phelps is set to be sentenced on December 19th. He faces 10 years behind bars.

Thursday November 21, 2013

With job opportunities continuing to dwindle across the region, a record number of Letcher County residents filed for federal bankruptcy protection between October 9 and October 31.  At least 36 county residents are named in Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases filed last month in U.S. District Court in Pikeville. Of that number, eight couples and eight individuals filed for protection under Chapter 7 rules. Five couples and two individuals filed for protection under Chapter 13 rules.

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Letcher County magistrates who seek a partial exemption from the Whitesburg occupational tax were told this week they will probably have to file the necessary paperwork themselves and document the amount of time they spend working in the city in order to qualify. At the November meeting of the Letcher Fiscal Court, County Attorney Jamie Hatton told the court he had spoken with Whitesburg City Attorney James Asher about whether the magistrates could avoid paying the entire amount in light of their claim that most of their work is not done in the city.

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Five more candidates have filed to run for the office of magistrate in Letcher County in the May election. Incumbent Codell Gibson, Woody Holbrook and Leonard Tackett filed papers in the Letcher Court Clerk’s Office to run for magistrate in District Three. Four filed last week. James “Brad” Collie is running for magistrate in District Two and Richard Yonts is a candidate for magistrate in District Five. The deadline to file papers for the primary is Jan. 28.

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A Letcher County man has been named director of the Kentucky Office of Rural Healthat the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health. Ernie Scott joined KORH in January 2012 as a rural project manager, and assumed his new post on Nov. 1, following the retirement of former KORH Director Larry Allen, who held the position for more than a decade.

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During the next Appalachian Regional Commission funding cycle, The Center for Rural Development will award federally- funded minigrants to advance strategic planning efforts throughout the region. Grant applications from city and county governments and eligible nonprofi t organizations in 37 southern and eastern Kentucky counties including Letcher County will be accepted through Dec. 12. Grants range from $5,000 to a maximum of $10,000.

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Headwaters, Inc. will hold a stream clean-up this Saturday, November 23, on the section of the North Fork of the Kentucky River behind Food City and Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Whitesburg. The event will begin at 9 a.m. and will last until noon. Volunteers will meet at the gas station in the Food City parking lot at 8:45 a.m. Trash bags, gloves and drinking water will be provided.