LOCAL NEWS

Monday June 30, 2014

VANDALS DAMAGE AT BLAIR CEMETERY

Police are still hunting for whoever damaged or destroyed nearly 30 grave markers at The Blair Cemetery in Whitesburg. Investigators say the vandalism happened sometime between April and Memorial Day. Some of the markers were over 100 years old and the cemetery has asked decedents of those buried there – along with the community - to help pay for the repairs. Investigators ask anyone who has any information to catch the vandals to get in touch with the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office or Whitesburg City Police.

LETCHER COUNTY FOOD PANTRY BENEFIT BIKE RIDE

The Letcher County food pantry got a helping hand from the Rigid Riders motorcycle club in the form of food and cash donations. Food Pantry president Geraldine McDonald says the need is great right now and the efforts of the club help greatly in meeting that need. Saturday’s event was the first food pantry ride for the club. Donations are accepted at the Pantry’s location on Madison Avenue in Whitesburg.

MAYKING FIRE DEPARTMENT SUV STOLEN

A Letcher County fire department is asking for the public’s help to find an S-U-V that was stolen last week. The 1998 Jeep with official Kentucky License Plate 7-9-1-6 was taken from the Mayking Fire Department. The department says it used the Jeep for training trips and inside was thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Investigators ask anyone with information on the theft to call the Letcher County Sheriff’s Office.

EXPLOSION AT STATE HIGHWAY GARAGE IN PIKEVILLE

Some scary moments for a couple of Pikeville highway department workers when a gas explosion sent a portion of a garage's concrete floor flying into the air. Investigators say methane that accumulated in an abandoned may have caused the blast at the garage next to Pikeville High School. The 2 workers were not hurt.

PERRY COUNTY SUMMER IN THE PARK

A Perry County tradition went on as scheduled Saturday despite the nasty weather. It was the 9th annual Summer in the Park, held at Bobby Davis Park in Hazard. There were lots of kids activities including a workshop to teach the making of Hazard's famous tiny doors. Entertainment included performances by the Little Theatre of Hazard, which is celebrating its 60th season.

PIKE COUNTY MAN INDICTED IN SHOOTING

Prosecutors say a Pike County man indicted in a shooting is claiming it was an accident. Roger Johnson says while he was having an argument with the shooting victim, he says the gun went off while it was being cleaned. The victim – identified as Anthony Chainey – suffered a bullet wound to the stomach. Johnson could be in jail for up to 20 years if convicted.

CITY ATTORNEY CONTRACT IN PRESTONSBURG CANCELLED

Prestonsburg is without a city attorney when the city council voted to reject a contract with Jim Webb. The vote was 4 to 2, with 2 council members absent. The rejection brought stunned reaction from Mayor Jerry Fannin, who says the matter will be taken up at a future meeting. Webb says the city council overstepped its authority in not approving his contract.

SOAR LISTENING SESSIONS NEXT MONTH

The Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Education and Retraining Working Group will host a series of six public listening sessions next month. Organizers say the sessions give the public a chance to deliver input on a number of action plans being considered to attack persistent challenges of unemployment and poverty.

KSP I-75 CHALLENGE

Drivers are likely to see more state troopers on Kentucky roads through the Independence Day weekend. As part of "The I-75 Challenge," Kentucky State Troopers are joining with police in 5 other states to focus on drivers who are speeding, driving distracted, not wearing a seat belt and driving under the influence. The 'staying alive on 75' enforcement effort covers 1800 miles from Michigan to Florida.

Wednesday June 25, 2014

PROMISE ZONE PROGRAM COORDINATOR NAMED

The company managing a multi-county federal development program in Eastern Kentucky has selected a program coordinator. Sandi Curd was chosen by Kentucky Highlands Investment Corps to manage implementation of the Promise Zone program. Letcher, Perry, Leslie and Harlan counties are part of an 8-county group awarded a national Promise Zone designations - which gives the region tax incentives and federal grants aimed at improving the economy and expanding educational opportunities.


3 CAR CRASH IN FLOYD COUNTY


One person was hurt in a 3-car chain reaction crash yesterday in Floyd County. Police say a couple were driving south on U-S 23 in Banner when another driver pulled in front and suddenly stopped as they tried to make a left turn. The couple's car quickly braked and was then rear ended by 2 other cars. A woman in one of those cars was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.


MISTRIAL IN PERRY COUNTY CIVIL CASE


A judge declared a mistrial in a Perry County civil case because of a possible irregularity during the jury selection process. It centers around a suit brought over a crash between a Perry County School District and a car. Perry County Circuit Judge Bill Engle learned from recordings that during the jury selection process, Perry County School Superintendent Jonathan Jett, who had not been subpoenaed for the case, had been talking with potential jurors in the hallway during the recess. Jett says he had not discussed the case with any of the jurors - but Judge Engle said that any conversation could taint the jury pool, so a mistrial was declared.


PIKE COUNTY MAN DIES IN WEST VIRGINIA FIGHT OVER CHILD CUSTODY


A Pike County man died Monday night in what police in Logan County West Virginia say was a battle over child custody. Investigators say Matthew Dillon of Belfry got into an argument and a fight with Rex Hale of Logan, West Virginia. Dillon suffered fatal injuries in the fight, but West Virginia State Police haven't disclosed the nature of those injuries. Hale was taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries. West Virginia State Police say charges may not been filed because Hale may have been acting in self defense.


FLOYD COUNTY SCHOOLS NAME NEW COORDINATOR


The Floyd County School District has selected a veteran educator to be technology innovation coordinator . Courtney DeRossett  most recently was assistant principal at  Prestonsburg High School.  The district is beginning its digital conversion this fall beginning with grades 5 through 9 - and part of that program is individual laptop computers for each teacher and student.


HARLAN COUNTY MAN ARRESTED ON BURGLARY CHARGES


A Harlan County man was arrested on suspicion he burglarized a home and then tried to sell some of the stolen items. Police say earlier this year Joshua Noe entered property owned by Edwina Burkhart and took a number of metal items and some vintage farming equipment. Investigators say Noe sold them to Robinson Recycling in Bell County. Noe was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $25,000 full cash bond.


LEGENDARY CLINTWOOD VA FOOTBALL COACH PASSES AWAY


A legendary football coach from a Dickenson County, Virginia high school has died. Ralph Cummins is described as the man who founded one of Southwest Virginia's most enduring high school football dynasties at Clintwood High School. Cummins won 271 games at Clintwood, leading the Greenwave to state titles in 1974, 1975 and 1978. The team went undefeated between 1972 and 1979.  Cummins was 88.

Tuesday June 24, 2014

STATE TREASURER IN LETCHER COUNTY TODAY FOR SPECIAL UNCLAIMED PROPERTY EVENT

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach will be in Letcher County today to find the owners of nearly $750,000 in unclaimed property. Judge/Executive Jim Ward will join Hollenbach in directing volunteers to establish a phone bank, review the list of claimants and call them so they know they have possible unclaimed property. Treasury staff will be at the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg to help claimants fill out paperwork. The visit is part of the state's Treasure Finders program that Hollenbach developed to notify potential claimants of cash or tangible property being held by the Treasury.

FLOYD COUNTY MAN FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER

A Floyd County man has been found guilty of killing his nephew, and abusing the little boy's siblings. Jason Dickerson was charged with the 2011 death of two-year-old Watson Adkins. The sentencing phase is currently underway.  Dickerson's wife is also facing charges in the case.

HARLAN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION WILL PAY FOR SCHOOL NURSE SERVICES

The Harlan County Board of Education has agreed to pay nearly $28,000 for school nurse services provided by the County Health Department for the 2014-15 academic year. Superintendent Mike Howard says the high school and Cumberland elementary are covered by full-time staff, while the other elementary schools share a nurse. Last year, the Harlan County government transitioned the health department from the Cumberland Valley District to independent status - and Howard says that's why the district now has to pay for services it had received at no charge.

PERRY COUNTY MAN INDICTED ON CHILD ABUSE CHARGES

A Perry County man has been indicted on child abuse charges after school officials found multiple injuries on his girlfriend’s 6-year-old child 2 months ago. Jamie Stamper is currently on home incarceration, and a $50,000 bond was set in the case. The grand jury indictment found Stamper had intentionally shakened, punched, pushed, and beat the child. Police arrested Stamper after the child went to school with injuries so severe they prompted school officials to call police and take the child to a hospital.

CRASH ON FLOYD-JOHNSON COUNTY LINE SENDS ONE TO HOSPITAL

A crash on Route 321 at the Floyd-Johnson County line sent a woman to the hospital. Police say it happened yesterday afternoon when a car was rear-ended by a pickup truck near the Johns Creek Bridge. There's been no word on if the pickup driver was hurt or if charges have been filed.

METH INDICTMENTS IN PERRY COUNTY

A Perry County man and woman are indicted on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine. Police arrested Clifton Plowman and Elizabeth Fugate at an abandoned building in Combs that detectives say is a well known drug hangout. Plowman tried to escape on foot but officers apprehended him a short distance from the building. Investigators say a search of Fugate's purse found meth making materials. The two are being held on $75,000 bond each and are due in court next month.

ESCAPED INMATE FOUND IN WISE COUNTY

A Southwest Virginia jail inmate who escaped earlier this month was found in Wise County, Virginia. Police say Ryan Richard Potter was arrested at a home on Nightingale Lane in Coeburn. Deputies in Scott County Sheriff's Office say Potter walked off from an work detail in Pennington Gap. He was due to be released in August for a probation violation and prosecutors have nor charged him with felony escape. Potter is being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.

NEW LOOK FOR FLOYD COUNTY LIBRARY

The Floyd County Library in Prestonsburg is sporting a new fresh look. A year-long renovation has just concluded and with it comes a number of upgrades. One notable feature is in the new children’s book area - the library has put in what it calls a "tree feature", described as like a tree house and a tree under the skylight. The renovations were entirely paid for by the library.

Monday June 23, 2014

 

HARLAN COUNTY MAY HAVE TO PAY FOR FAILED INSURANCE TRUST

The Harlan County school district could be on the hook to pay over $300,000 for a failed school district insurance trust. For years The Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust provided school districts low-cost worker's comp and liability insurance but was dissolved when debts topped $50 million. After some legal wrangling, the county school district was told they owe 293 grand for workers comp and over 11 thousand in property liability. District officials say the ruling will likely be appealed but if the money has to be paid, bonds may be sold to cover the costs.

PERRY COUNTY CHURCH BURGLARY

Police in Perry County have made an arrest in connection with a church burglary. Late last week around a thousand dollars in merchandise were taken from the Big Leatherwood First Baptist Church - including snacks and items for the Vacation Bible School. On Saturday a van belonging to the was stolen. Yesterday police say they found everything - but not in the same condition as it was. The van sustained some exterior damage and one church member says it will need some substantial cleaning both in an out. Police found the merchandise in a foreclosed home next door to the church. 18 year old Shawn Noble is facing multiple charges, and police say there may be 2 other arrests in connection with this crime.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED FOR USING FAKE MONEY TO BUY MEDICATION

A Harlan County woman is accused of using fake money to pay for medication and other pharmaceutical items. Casey Neal was taken into custody last Thursday. Charging papers say that on June second Neal made two different purchases with counterfeit money. She is at the Harlan County Detention Center on a $20,000 full cash bond.

3 COUNTIES FORM THE CUMBERLAND RIVER DRUG TASK FORCE

3 Eastern Kentucky Counties have joined forces in the war on drugs. The Cumberland River Drug Task force comprises of police in Harlan, Bell, and Knox counties along with State Police and the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area - H-I-D-T-A for short. Officials say the goal is to go after upper-level drug dealers rather than street suppliers. Local police departments are funding the officers and federally funded H-I-D-T-A will pay for overtime costs.

PIKE COUNTY MAN WANTED FOR USING STOLEN CREDIT CARD

A Pike County man suspected of fraudulent credit card use is now facing a battery of drug charges. Police say Jonathon Holstein of Pikeville was seen last month on a gas station surveillance video using a stolen credit card.He was pulled over a few weeks later and when officers searched his car, they found a number of different drugs along with paraphernalia. Holstein was arrested and booked unto the Pike County Detention Center, but has since been released after posting a $10,000 cash or property bond. A Pike County grand jury is reviewing the case for possible indictment.

HARLAN COUNTY RELAY SETS RECORD

Harlan County Relay For Life organizers say they've raised over $60,000 from this past weekend's event. The annual event raises money for the American Cancer Society.  Folks say this year has broken the record for the most money ever raised at Harlan County's "Relay."

TRI CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION WILL BE JULY 5

The 4th of July will come on the 5th this year in one Harlan County city. That's the date for the 25th annual fireworks show put on by the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce and Cumberland Tourist Commission. Chamber President Jeff Wilder says they tried to get the event on the 4th, but the fireworks providers were already committed to larger-scale productions. Wilder says they know the Saturday show will help make a festive Independence Day weekend for everyone. It begins at 10pm.

 

Friday June 20, 2014

UTILITY COMPANY WEED KILLER PROGRAM DISCUSSED

Weed killers being sprayed by utility companies are in the crosshairs of the Letcher Fiscal Court.  At this weeks meeting the court overwhelmingly voted to have County Attorney Jamie Hatton determine whether any state laws requiring prior notification of aerial spraying are now in effect and whether the county government has the right to adopt regulations of its own.  Magistrate Wayne Fleming says residents are angry that utility rights of way on their property are being sprayed without any notice. Judge/Executive Jim Ward said he would speak to utility company officials and ask them to cooperate with the court on the spraying.
 
BECOME A LETCHER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY

Monday is the application deadline to become a Letcher County sheriff's deputy. A meeting is set for 9am at the Letcher County Central High School football field where completed paperwork will be accepted and a physical test will be administered. inlcuding the bench press, sit ups, pushups, a 300-meter run and a 1.5-mile run. The department says those attending should bring their own supply of drinking water.
 
WHITESBURG AND JENKINS ENTER INTO AGREEMENT WITH WINGS AIR RESCUE

Residents of 2 cities in Letcher County who are in need of medical airlifting services no longer have to pay out of pocket if they have insurance. The cities of Whitesburg and Jenkins have entered into a municipal site plan with Wings Air Rescue. According to a Wings Air Rescue spokesperson the 2 cities are the first to activate the plan - which assures coverage whether with Wings Air Rescue or any provider in their network. Whitesburg paid nearly $9000 for the plan and Jenkins just short of $11,000.
 
2 FLOYD COUNTY MEN CAUGHT RED HANDED

Two Floyd County men were arrested when they were caught in the act of burglarizing a business in the city of Eastern. Police say Chad Manual resisted officers as they tried to take him into custody at Chesapeake Energy on Route 550. A second man - identified by police as Chris Mullins - was found near a vehicle where Manual was hiding. Both men are scheduled to make their first court appearance Monday.
 
A 3 CAR CRASH IN PERRY COUNTY

A crash in Perry County involving a pickup and a car sent 3 people to the hospital. Police say the crash happened on Highway 15 in Hazard near the Perry County Park. Rescuers had to extricate the 2 occupants of the pickup but the car's driver got out on his own.
 
FLOYD COUNTY MAN SURPRISES BURGLAR

A Floyd County man surprised the suspect who broke into his son's home - and held the burglar until cops got there. Court papers say John Harrison saw a back door window was broken and when he went inside to investigate - he confronted the suspect in a hallway. Police identified the burglar as Alex Adkins of Banner. Investigators say he admitted using a shotgun to try and force open a safe. Adkins is jailed on a $20,000 cash bond and will make his first court appearance Monday.
 
COAL MINE LAYOFF NOTICE IN HARLAN COUNTY

A mine in Harlan County has issued a 60 day notice of impending layoffs.  According to Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop 80 to 90 Harlan-Cumberland Coal Company workers could be furloughed on  August 18th. The company says an affiliate can't meet an upcoming deadline for fresh air retrofitting at 2 mines. A deadline extension is being sought.
 
LETCHER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE TONIGHT

Letcher County's Relay For Life is tonight at Riverside Park in Whitesburg. The annual event raises money for the American Cancer Society. It was started nearly 30 years ago by a doctor in Tacoma, Washington who spent a night walking around a college track. Earlier this week the annual Cancer Survivors' Dinner was held at Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg.
 
PERRY COUNTY BRIDGE NAMING CEREMONY TO BE HELD SATURDAY

A ceremony will be held tomorrow to dedicate a Perry County bridge in memory of a Korean War veteran. Private First Class Herbert King who was killed On March 7, 1952 is buried in Riverside Cemetery with full military honors. The bridge named in King's honor is on Route 550 and crosses Combs’ Branch. The Dwarf Baptist Church is hosting the dedication ceremony that is open to the public.