LOCAL NEWS

Thursday February 20, 2014

A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at restoring the voting rights of some felons cleared the Kentucky Senate on Wednesday after being rewritten to include a five-year waiting period. The measure returns to the House. It passed a much different version last month that proposed automatically reinstating voting rights for eligible felons after completing all conditions of their sentences. The proposal, which cleared the Senate would go on Kentucky's fall ballot if it clears the Legislature.
_____

A bank bag containing $5,024 was found on the bathroom floor at the Whitesburg McDonald’s and was returned the following day to the 91-year-old man who had lost the money.
An elderly Hazard man was in Whitesburg on February 3 for an eye appointment. His daughter had driven him here and the two had stopped for lunch at McDonald’s, where bank bag fell out of the man’s shirt and onto the bathroom floor. The bag was found by Jerry Lynis McNew, a tow truck driver from Dungannon, Va., who had also stopped to eat at McDonald’s on February 3.
_____

Both school districts in Letcher County have missed 22 days of school, stretching the 2013-14 year into June. Before canceling classes so many times because of inclement weather, Jenkins Independent Schools and Letcher County Public Schools were set to end the school year for students on May 14. The Letcher County Board of Education approved shortening spring break by three days at its January meeting. The board is now expected at its Feb. 24 meeting to vote on whether to take the remain- ing two days of spring break.
_____


The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would create panels of medical experts to review pending legal claims against health care providers. The bill would create three-member expert panels to review evidence in cases. Supporters say the bill would reduce frivolous lawsuits without denying people access to the courts. Opponents said the review panels would give an upper hand to defendants in malpractice cases.
_____

A former president of the Sandlick Volunteer Fire Department has pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine in Letcher County. Buddy Sexton, 76, of 115 Memory Lane, Whitesburg, will remain on home incarceration until he is formally sentenced in Letcher Circuit Court on April 16. A judge will allow Sexton to attend doctor’s appointments for him and his wife while Sexton is on home incarceration.
_____

Police in Floyd County say they are currently looking for a man who robbed a store. On Tuesday night, the Kentucy State Police received a call of an armed robbery in the Lackey community of Floyd County. When they arrived at the Redi Mart in Lackey, they determined someone had entered the business, brandished a weapon, and demanded money. The man fled after obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash.The male was described as approximately six feet tall, slender build, wearing a orange hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Wednesday February 19, 2014

New information was released yesterday about the investigation of a child who was found on a strip job last week in Perry County. Sheriff's Deputies say they believe due to the distance from the home and terrain, someone might have picked up Aiden Wallen and dropped him off at the site. Last Wednesday, the three-year-old went missing from a home in the Dwarf Community while his step-mother was reportedly taking a nap. The child suffered only minor cuts.
_____

An investigation is underway following an overnight robbery at an Eastern Kentucky convenience store. It happened just before midnight Tuesday morning at the Cardinal Country Mart near the Perry-Knott County line. The man ran from the scene before police were able to get there, according to Kentucky State Police. Police are looking for a tall slender white man, last seen wearing a black hoodie, gray ski mask and jeans with a design on the back pocket.
_____

The Healthcare provider that includes two hospitals in Eastern Kentucky, announced layoffs this week. They did not specify how many people would be laid off or locations that would be affected. Employees will receive severance pay based on a number of factors along with other services to help them find new jobs. In January, the company announced a $218 million deficit. Kentucky One operates hospitals in Martin City and London.
_____

Military officials say a Marine master sergeant based at Camp Lejeune has died in Afghanistan. 36-year-old Master Sgt. Aaron Torian of Paducah, Ky., died Feb. 15 of wounds sustained during combat operations in Helmand province. Torian was assigned to 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. He joined the Marine Corps in March 2003. Torian was promoted to master sergeant last September. Among Torian's awards is a Purple Heart.
_____

The Kentucky Historical Society has approved a proposed highway marker to honor country music entertainer Louis "Grandpa" Jones at his birthplace. Linda Hallmark, vice president of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society said the approval will allow the group to start fundraising for the project, which is expected to cost about $2,500. Jones was born on Oct. 20, 1913 in the Niagara community of Henderson County in western Kentucky.

 

Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

A snake-handling pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show "Snake Salvation" has died after being bitten by a snake during a weekend church service in Kentucky. Jamie Coots was handling a rattlesnake at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bitten on the hand Saturday night. After the bite, Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued on. When an ambulance arrived at the church at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, they were told Coots had gone home.
_____

One person is dead and another is injured following a weekend crash in Dickenson County, Virginia. At 2:40 Sunday morning, the Virginia State Police responded to an accident on Dickenson Highway right outside of Clinchco. The highway was blocked off for about 12 hours while authorities attempted to rescue the victims. One person is confirmed deceased and another is seriously injured. EMS crews took the second person involved in the crash to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport for treatment of life threatening injuries.
_____

The cold winter means higher heating bills. Monday, people lined up in Knox County to get some of the LIHEAP extra funds.  the freezing temperatures this winter have made the LIHEAP funds go faster than usual. They actually ran out in January. KCEOC officials say they will continue taking LIHEAP applications until the funds run out. Officials at Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency say they have extra funds and will start taking applications today.
_____


A Mingo County elementary teacher is behind bars on drug charges. Fredrick Huffman, a teacher at Gilbert Elementary School was arrested Saturday by the Summers County Sheriff's Office. A routine traffic stop revealed he had drugs in his vehicle. Deputies say they found one an ounce of marijuana and they also found a firearm in Huffman's car after he was stopped. Huffman is charged with felony possession of marijuana. There is no word on whether he will face any additional charges.
_____

Former Knott County Judge Executive Randy Thompson is appealing his conviction. Court documents we obtained indicate Thompson wants the 2008 conviction to be vacated and to be granted a new trial. Thompson claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel. In December 2012, Thompson reported to federal prison to serve a sentence of 40 months for his vote buying conviction.
_____

It is an achievement that will protect you and your family! Kentucky State parks have reached "Storm Ready Supporter Status". It means all state parks have equipment, shelters, training, and plans to keep you safe if severe weather hits during your visit. The state park system is one of the first in the country to achieve this designation.

Friday February 14, 2014

A Knott County Pastor died Thursday morning after an ATV he was using to plow snow on a driveway overturned into a creek, killing him.  Carlos Craft, 73, served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Pine Top.
_____

Many across eastern Kentucky woke up to 8-14" of heavy, wet snow and many power lines ccumulatedsnow through Thursday morning. As a result, Kentucky Power Supervisor Greg Sparkman says thousands of people were without power in Perry, Letcher, Knott and Leslie Counties.  He adds that crews are working around the clock to restore power as soon as possible.  Sparkman said due to the large amounts of snow back-up is on the way.  In total, 20 additional crews will be working by Friday morning.  He expects to have everything restored by Friday at midnight.
_____

A Lee County family is still looking for their two teenage daughters who went missing more than one week ago. Brittany and Desiree Jewell were last seen the night of February 2nd, at their home in the St. Helens community near Beattyville( Bay-T-ville). The girls left with very little clothing, taking just a few pictures and other keepsakes. Brittany left behind medication she uses for her breathing problems. Police are hoping someone will come forward with information about where the girls went. The Jewells say an argument the night before may have led the 16-year-olds to run away. Anyone with information about the girls' location is asked to call the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 606-464-4140.
_____

Legendary former Paintsville football coach Walter Brugh has died. Brugh retired in 1994 after 39 seasons as the head football coach at Paintsville. At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest coach in Kentucky high school football history. He currently ranks eleventh. Brugh was battling illness and died of natural causes.
_____

A fire department was hit by a vehicle in Johnson County Wednesday afternoon. It happened at the West Van Lear Volunteer Fire Department. The driver told deputies her brakes went out going around a curve. The vehicle flipped three times before hitting the fire department. Nobody was injured, but the driver, 22 year old Joy Hall of Staffordsville, was cited for several traffic violations. Officials say this is not the first time a vehicle has hit the fire department.
_____

Kentucky State Police have confirmed a gas line explosion in Adair County. A natural gas pipeline exploded around 2 a.m. Thursday in the Knifely Community, near the Taylor and Casey County lines. Fire departments from Adair, Taylor and Casey County assisted. two homes were destroyed by the explosion and another one was damaged. one person was taken to the hospital with burns, but their condition is unknown at this time.
_____

A Pike County man was sentenced to thirty years in federal prison for child pornography. Officials say 63 year old David Campbell was sentenced Tuesday with the maximum sentence. Court officials say Campbell produced videos of himself engaged in sexual behavior with a child and distributed them to others online. Under Federal law, Campbell will serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.
_____

The old Daniel Boone Hotel building in Whitesburg could undergo a transformation very similar to the one that turned the old Jenkins High School building into senior apartments.
At the Whitesburg City Council’s February meeting Monday, Mayor James Wiley Craft told the council that AU Associates, the company that developed the Jenkins school, is apparently interested in a similar project in Whitesburg for the Daniel Boone Hotel.

Thursday February 13, 2014

The bitter cold this winter is making survival difficult for some livestock in central Kentucky. Madison County solid waste coordinator says his staff has removed 200 head of dead livestock from farms in the last 27 working days. The cold weather is the cause of many deaths. Madison County extension agent Brandon Sears says the harsh winter has been especially hard on calves. He says that animals are in danger from freezing temperatures as well as getting stuck in pockets of mud when there's a warming trend.
_____

A Jenkins church held services Sunday, despite its heat pump being stolen the day before. Thieves pulled a power meter before using a hacksaw to cut the lines to a heat pump belonging to the New Freedom Worship Center. The heat pump was removed sometime after midnight on Feb. 8. The thieves tried to break into the church through front and back doors, but were unsuccessful. Entry was also attempted through a screen window.
_____

Two Bell County Sheriff's Deputies were injured during a standoff with a man Tuesday night. Deputies say they went to the home of 48-year-old Orville Hobbs, Jr. in Balkan to serve a warrant and he pointed a shotgun at them. They had a one hour standoff with him and say Hobbs threatened to shoot them. Once Hobbs surrendered, deputies say he assaulted two deputies.Hobbs has a list of charges.
_____


Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, according to a ruling Wednesday by a federal judge, who struck down part of the state ban that he wrote treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them." The constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004 and included the out-of-state clause. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention called the ruling  disappointing.
_____

Police have confirmed they have found three-year-old Aiden Wallen near the home. Officials say he left his parents home while his step-mother and father were taking a nap. Police say the three year old boy went missing from a home on Opeck Lane in Dwarf yesterday afternoon.
_____

People in Pike County have a new way to keep folks informed during emergencies like severe weather. Officials say the newly-adopted "CodeRED" notification service will help them get the word out quickly. In flood-prone Pike County, officials say emergency preparedness is key. Pike County and the City of Pikeville just began using the CodeRED system, a state of the art service that will let emergency personnel broadcast important information quickly.