Local News Tuesday March 21, 2017

President Donald Trump was in Louisville last night, where he covered a wide-range of topics including immigration, health care, and jobs, telling the audience that miners are coming back.  Thousands of Trump supporters attended last night’s campaign-style rally.

State Troopers in Laurel County arrested a Texas man during a traffic stop over the weekend. According to a press release… a trooper stopped a car for a traffic violation, and he found that the 27-year old driver was wanted in Texas. Officers search the man’s car and found more than 5 ounces of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine along with drug paraphernalia. The man was taken into custody and faces drug-related charges.

Kentucky State Police believe several brush fires that burned in Perry County on Sunday may have been set on purpose. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is also involved in the investigation. Officials say the fires threatened homes and businesses in Hazard off of Highway 15. They’re reviewing surveillance video from the area, and are asking anyone who might have seen anything suspicious to please call state police.

We’re just weeks away from the federal income tax deadline… which means con artists are in high gear trying to convince you that the IRS is on your case. Law enforcement agencies across the state have received reports recently about scammers calling, claiming that you need to pay fines right away over the phone with iTunes gift cards… or you’ll be arrested. IRS officials say they will never take payment over the phone, and certainly not with iTunes gift cards, and they don’t call you when you owe them money… they’ll contact you with an old fashioned letter through the mail.

The Perry County Drug Court has received a 1.3 million dollar federal grant to expand treatment services for adults who are struggling to rebuild their lives after drug addiction. The money will be used to help drug court participants with counseling and job coaching, as well as helping with housing, transportation, and child care needs.

A body found yesterday afternoon in Pulaski County has been identified as a Harlan County man. Police say a driver noticed the body in a drainage ditch along Highway 80 near KY-914. The man has been identified as 29-year old Jeremiah Childers from Cumberland. Investigators believe the man may have died while trying to run away from something, but say there’s nothing at this point to indicate any foul play. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

A Knox County man was arrested for allegedly holding a woman hostage at knifepoint for several hours. Officials with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office say 24-year old Brandon Davidson tried to run away from deputies when they arrived at the home. The woman wasn’t hurt, but investigators say Davidson threatened her with the knife. Davidson faces several charges including making terroristic threats and resisting arrest.

Police in London arrested a man on drunk driving charges after he crashed his Jeep Wrangler into a ditch Friday. Officers took 37-year old Jason R. Hale to the police department following the accident on Faith Assembly Church Road where his blood alcohol level registered .226… nearly three times the legal limit. He was booked into the Laurel County Detention Center and is out on bail.

Letcher County officials aren’t worried about potential cuts to the federal budget for new prison construction… because money has already been set aside to build the county’s new prison in Letcher county. President Donald Trump released his budget last week, which included cuts to federal prison construction projects, but 440 million dollars has already been set aside to pay for new Letcher County project. The prison is expected to help the county financially… providing as many as 1-thousand construction jobs once building begins, probably sometime next year… and then as many as 400 federal jobs to support the prison operations.

A new Smithsonian Exhibit at the Wayland Historical Society showcases sports teams and local sports history. The exhibit is called… Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America is open through April 22nd.

Local News Monday March 20, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that some 24-million people would lose their health care coverage within 10 years if congress passes the American Health Care Act in its current form. Among those losing their healthcare, could be about a half-million Kentuckians, according to the latest numbers from the Urban Institute. The reason is that the AHCA would wipe out the Medicaid expansion that happened under the Affordable Care Act. That expansion allowed people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for government-paid health care coverage to receive it. The GOP plan would instead allow an expansion of tax credits based on age, rather than income. Some opponents of the plan have said the tax credits would amount to an unfair tax on the elderly.

Fire damaged a commercial building early yesterday morning in Laurel County. Fire officials say fire fighters from four different departments were called out to help with the blaze at the Aisin Automotive plan outside of London. Investigators believe the fire started in the Dust Vac Collector, but they aren’t sure yet what sparked the blaze. There were no reports of anyone being hurt in the fire.

One of the stars of the TV Show Duck Dynasty was in Eastern Kentucky this weekend. John Godwin spoke at the Faith Assembly of God in London yesterday during their regular Sunday service, and also addressed a men’s event on Saturday night.

Workers at the Walmart in Pikeville had to deal with an unruly customer last night. A deer managed to get inside the building at about 8PM, wandering around the store until officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived on the scene and got it out safely. The deer didnt do any damage to the store, and no one was hurt.

Today is the first official day of spring! To celebrate most Dairy Queen locations are offering customers a free vanilla soft servce ice cream cone.

Three Kentucky State Troopers were hurt on Friday after a woman led them on a slow speed chase in a stolen vehicle. According to a press release The ARH Psychiatric Center reported that a 30-year old woman had walked out of the center without authorization. A short time later they learned that a truck had been stolen from Cumberland Valley Engineering by a woman matching the same description. The troopers found the truck and tried conducting a traffic stop but the woman went about 8 miles, ignoring the flashing lights before hitting the drivers side door of one patrol car, hitting a second trooper, then pinning a third trooper between the truck a guardrail. The woman was arrested on a long list of charges, including three counts of attempted murder, and two counts of criminal mischief.

Harland County deputies have arrested a 50-year old Totz man who is accused of stealing jewelry while doing work at a home. A grand jury indicted Donald Pittman on theft charges after he allegedly stole a pearl necklace back in November while doing contract work at a Loyall City home.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a class for women who want to learn some outdoor basics like hunting and fishing. The program called Becoming an Outdoors Woman is on April 8th in Frankfort. You have until next Monday [March 27th] to register.

Local News Friday March 17, 2017

Kentucky State Police are looking for a Laurel County man, and federal agencies hope a 15-hundred dollar reward will encourage someone to turn him in. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently announced the award for information leading to the arrest of 40-year old Bobby Green. The man is suspected of endangering a police officer. Detectives say Green should be considered armed and dangerous— don’t approach him, just call KSP.

Officials with Baptist Health Corbin don’t expect to layoff workers. The hospital made the statement after media reports of Baptist Health planning to lay off more than 280 workers. While the hospital system expects to cut some administrative staff system-wide, none of those are expected to happen at the Corbin facility.

The Kentucky Senate this week approved a plan to allow Kentucky drivers to choose a Real ID-compliant driver's license. It’ll cost you five dollars more to get the enhanced license. It’s not something you really need to worry about— unless you do a lot of flying. The old licenses won't work at airports or federal facilities after December 31st.

This week Kentucky lawmakers lifted a decades-old ban on the use of nuclear power as a form of electricity… as coal becomes more and more a target of environmentalists. With many coal producers downsizing because of fewer coal fired power plants… workers are having to find new jobs. Job training programs like the Appalachian Regional Commission are among those on the list of independent agencies that could see drastic funding cuts if President Donald Trump’s budget is approved. Kentucky Coal Miner Rigel Preston says ARC provided him with job training that helped him transition from military life… back into the civilian world, and he doesn’t want to see ARC funding cut.

Three West Virginia men were arrested yesterday in Martin County in what the Sheriff's Department calls a blow in the fight against the drug epidemic. Sheriff John Kirk said investigators had conducted a controlled buy, purchasing methamphetamine near Sheldon Creek High School. The three men were taken into custody, each charged with 2 drug-related counts.

Three men are scheduled to appear in court next week to face charges in connection with a drug trafficking operation. According to court documents. John Paul Tucker, Jankie Jackson, and Tony Scott
were buying cocaine from Mexico then trafficked the drugs through Hazard. The court documents show the trio may have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits, storing the loot in homes and safe deposit boxes in Paris and Hazard. Police also confiscated marijuana from a home in Georgetown, which is also linked to the drug ring. Investigators expect to make more arrests.

A debate over whether to accept a foreign country into NATO is starting to get personal. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said fellow Republican Sen. John McCain is "a little bit unhinged”. Rand’s comments were in response to McCain saying "the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.” McCain made the comments aAFTER  campaignING to include Montenegro in NATO. Russia doesn’t like the idea, and neither does Paul.

Governor Matt Bevin says he’ll sign a bill to allow charter schools in Kentucky. The bill passed through both the house and the Senate after some amendments, and now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Residents in Evarts are almost ready to start building the memorial wall they’ve been planning for several years. The Evarts Community Tribute Wall has received some grant money to help with the cost of construction. The Wall will pay tribute to locals who have served in the military… and also those who have served the community. The wall be built on a slab hear the train depot and Evarts Funeral Home. 


Local News Thursday March 16, 2017

Police in Laurel county stopped a car for a traffic violation Tuesday, and as usual, used a radio to relay information about the driver to dispatchers. Kentucky State Police drug agents happened to hear this particular transmission, and joined local officers. The 46-year old man was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Ohio. He was also driving a stolen car. Randy Chaney was booked at the Laurel County Detention Center on charges of receiving stolen property, along with traffic citations.

Two people were arrested on drug charges after Harlan City Police say they were called out to a hotel because a man had stolen some food. 27-year old Joshua Starrett and 26-year old Melinda Starrett from Lejunior were arrested after Melinda let officers into their hotel room where they found a white crystal substance, several syringes, and a 2-year old child. Police also found a handgun. Both face a long list of new charges. Joshua Starrett had been arrested last week on forgery charges, when he tried cashing checks belonging to a man who’s been missing since December.

Two two bodies found in a burned home last week have been tentatively identified as the couple who lived in the home. Kentucky State Police say they have still not been able to positively identify the bodies, believed to be 61-year old Joseph Maggard, and his wife 51-year old Donna Maggard. Their body’s were found in the burned remains of their home Thursday morning when Joseph’s son went to the house to check on them. Officials say the home had probably burned at least two days before the remains were found. A memorial service for the Maggards was held yesterday.

Should students in Kentucky be required to pass a civics test to graduate high school?  State lawmakers think they should. The Kentucky House this week approved a plan to require high schoolers in the Commonwealth to take the same civics test that new citizens must pass.  Kids can take the test as many times as needed until they pass.

A Letcher County businesman was sentenced to 30 months in prison for not being truthful on his federal tax returns. Jarrod Breeding admitted that he had underreported his income by more 5-million dollars three years in a row. Breeding own Southern Steel Recycling, as well as 201 Speedway Racing in Sitka.

A Clay County man faces more than 2-dozen counts relating to possessing and distributing child pornography.  Kentucky State Police say an undercover Internet crimes investigation led them to arrest Douglas Gibson Tuessday night in Manchester.  Police discovered the suspect sharing images of child sexual exploitation online.  He was booked into the Clay County Detention Center. 

Governor Matt Bevin has promised that if passed… he’ll sign a bill that would lift a ban on theuse of nuclear power in the state. He says he doesn’t believe nuclear power would replace coal as the dominant source of energy in Kentucky. Coal-fired power plants provide 83-percent of the state’s electricity… down from 93-percent three years ago.

The Office of Abandoned Mine Lands has agreed to pay to repair damage cuased by a landsline that damaged Sunday Drive. The repairs could cost about 400-thousand dollars, and will include replacing water and sewer lines. Construction will start as soon as the weather calms down.

Workers could start the task of stabilizing the Daniel Boone Hotel before summer. Whitesburg City officials say the Kentucky Department for Local government will help the city manage a one million dollar grant received to help pay for the project.

A freeze warning has been extended again… the National Weather Service now says we can expect another hard freeze overnight tonight. The freeze warning is in effect from 9:00 tonight (Thursday) until 9:00 tomorrow morning. Temperatures will dip to the 20s, which will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation. 

Local News Tuesday March 14, 2017

A Bell County High School student died on his way to school yesterday morning. Police say the crash happend on US 119, when 17-year old David Blake Jackson’s car appears to have gone off the road… he overcorrected, and hit a fence. He died at the scene. Investigators say that drugs or alcohol were not involved in the accident. Counselors were at the school yesterday to help students and faculty cope with the loss.

A deadly accident in Perry County closed down Highay 476 for several hours last night. One person died at the scene… a second person was airlifted to the hospital. Authorities haven’t released information about the victims’ identities.

Deputies with the Wise County Virginia Sheriff’s Office are looking for a man on several felony warrants. Investigators say 23-year old Guylas Dakota Graham may have stolen an older model green Subaru from a residence on Salem Road. Anyone with information about where he could be is asked to call the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

The price of gas has dropped in Kentucky. State-wide we’re paying about 2.16 for a gallon of regular… that’s about 8 cents less than a week ago. We’re paying about 2.15 for per gallon in Letcher County… 2.20 in Perry County. Industry analysts say the prices could drop some more over the next few weeks, but not much more beyond that.

The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for Letcher, Knott, Laurel, Leslie, Perry, and Pike Counties starting at 8:00 tonight (Tuesday). Forecasters are expecting temperatures to drop into the teen tonight and tomorrow night, and that could damage any fruit trees that have started budding.

Friends and family of a Perry County woman say they haven’t seen or heard from her in close to 3 weeks… and they’re getting worried. They say it’s not like her go so long without contacting them. Kentucky State Police are helping in the search for Maudie Smith who was last seen in late February. Anyone with information about where she could be is asked to call KSP.

Four Laurel County men have been arrested… and charged with theft. Sheriff’s Deputies say the four men forged and then tried to cash check from a local church to the tune of more than 15-thousand dollars. David Hosey, Leo Hull, Mitchell Followell, and Benjamin Knight are each charged with theft by deception, identity theft, and other crimes.

A disturbance at a store in Harlan landed one man behind bars. Harlan City Police say the got a phone call from a clerk at Cash Saver who said a man was causing a disturbance at the store. 36-year old Melvin Day from Evarts was booked on charges for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and other crimes.

Governor Matt Bevin plans to raise the pay for worker’s at Kentucky’s Juvenile Justice facilities. More than 400 workers will get a 20-percent pay raise. Bevin said the jobs are stressful… and there’s a lot of turnover. It’s hoped that the pay hike will help encourage workers to stay in their jobs longer.

State Police are looking for a telecommunicator for Post 13 in the Hazard Area. Post 13 covers five counties including Letcher and Perry counties.