LOCAL NEWS

Local News Tuesday January 24, 2017

A crazy day for Letcher County schools yesterday.  Around 1pm students were sent home due to a high water advisory.  Once the advisory was issued, school officials began alerting parents through a variety of channels including calls, emails, texts, and their facebook page. Martin County schools also dismissed early due to high water.

A Prestonburg man is facing child pornography charges.  49 year old Kenneth Lewis was arrested after a search warrant at his home following a three week long investigation.  Cyber crime officials in the Attorney General’s Office began investigating Lewis for allegedly trading images and videos online that showed sexual exploitation of children.  Lewis is charged with one count of possession or viewing of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor and one count of distribution of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.

A Floyd County couple had their home burglarized over the weekend.  For Orville and Hazel Adams it’s the second time in two years that they’ve lost things like tv, guns, tools, jewelry, and medication.  Last time they were held at gunpoint.  This time the home was ransacked while they were at church.  Kentucky state police are asking anyone with information or tips about the burglary to call them.

An interesting casting call is getting a lot of local attention.  B17 Entertainment has put a call out for coal miners and former coal miners in Eastern Kentucky to be on a TV show.  The company says they’re looking for American Miners that want the opportunity to work for a very successful mine overseas.  Producers will be in West Virginia and Kentucky this week to meet with interested miners.

You’ve heard the term stealing candy from a baby, well some local thieves stole baseball gear from a local kids baseball league.  Kentucky State Police say a pitching machine, baseball bats, printer, popcorn machine, and other tools were reported stolen from the Letcher Little League concession stand over the weekend.  The league says their season will go on as planned, but many parents say they counted on their kids being able to use that extra equipment.  The league says they’ll be looking into other forms of security to prevent future thefts.

High water yesterday caused several issues including blocking off several roads in Martin County.  With more rain still to come, officials are suggesting people find an Alternate route to get around Blacklog road.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College is the recipient of a $3.5 million grant to help implement training for high demand fields. The Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce Economic Revitalization (POWER) grant is from the Appalachian Regional Commission and will help fast track training for high speed jobs in industries like cybersecurity, medical coding, and advanced manufacturing through their Eastern Kentucky Coal Country Transformation project.

Barbourville Doctor Charles Jones was arrested Sunday on child pornography charges.  Barbourville Police now say the investigation and charges date back to 2014, when suspected child pornographic images were found on a common printer/copier by one of Jones’ co-workers.  Investigators say they later found hundreds of illegal images on his computer and storage devices.

The Kentucky Department of Education is changing the cutoff for children entering kindergarten.  Starting with the upcoming school year children entering kindergarten must be five years old on or before August 1st.  Previously the cutoff was October 1st. Students can only qualify for early enrollment by passing an evaluation process designed to determine the child’s readiness for school.

Local News Monday January 23, 2017

Letcher County Police are looking for two men wanted in connection to an active meth lab found last Thursday night.  Two women, Wendy Riley, and Jessica Moberly were arrested in connection to the same case.  Police say they were unable to locate Chris Brown and Dylan Rayburn who ran into a wooded area.
Women’s Marches took place across the country on Saturday including in Pikeville.  Dozens of women gathered early Saturday afternoon to march for women’s rights and equality.  Former First Lady Judy Patton spoke at the event.  It was organized by Gypsy Cantrell Ratliff, the President of Pikeville’s local United Steel Workers Union.

Kentucky State Police are warning about a new phone scam.  They say victims are getting a call from Cumberland Valley National Bank telling them their credit card has been locked and in order to unlock it, they must enter their credit card number and social security number.  Police say you should never give out personal information over the phone or internet unless you initiated contact and know who you are speaking to.  If you get a similar call, you’re urged to visit your bank to report suspicious activity on your account.

A $1.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will help make a new Inter-generational Training Center on the Lees College Campus in Jackson a reality. Hazard Community and Technical College plans to construct a 14,700 square foot center focusing on job training and credentialing for information technology, telemedicine and health sciences, mechatronics, eco-tourism, and small business development.

A Pike County boy severely injured in a car crash that killed his father is finally back home.  Gatlin Leedy had been in the hospital for nearly two months recovering.

There’s more information about a man charged as an accessory to the murder of Janina Jefferson at the Town of Appalachia Water Treatment plant back in November. 24-year-old Jacob Rowland is facing five charges in connection to the case.  Police say he drove Eric Jones, the man charged with Jefferson’s murder, to the scene even though he knew Jefferson had an active restraining order against Jones who was her ex-husband.  According to documents filed in the case Rowland is the sone of Jones’ current girlfriend Carmella Mefford and though of Jones as a “father figure.”  Rowland’s girlfriend was also allegedly in the car when they dropped Jones off near the water plant on the night of the murder.   She has not been charged in the case.  Jones, who is officially charged with murder is still at large and considered armed and dangerous.

A motion filed by one of the doctors accused of colluding with disability attorney Eric C. Conn to fraudulently win social security disability benefits has asked that Conn’s former clients who lost their re-determination hearings for benefits not be allowed to be used against him.  Many of Conn’s clients had to re-submit for benefits after he was charged, some retained benefits, while some did not.

A group of students at Betsy Layne High School in Floyd County recently won the “best in the state” Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge.  The students created at app called Hear Me that was chosen from more than 1,800 entries.  That won them $5,000 for the school, and each student won a tablet.  The app will now go on to the regional level.  If they win there, they will go to Orlando to meet with app developers.

ESPN’s popular pre-game show College GameDay is returning to Rupp Arena in Lexington for the Kentucky/Kansas game on January 28th.  The show known for crazy signs will air live from Rupp starting at 11am.  Admission is free.  Doors open at 9:30am.  Tipoff is at 6pm.

Local News for November 7, 2016

Forest fires still burning in Eastern Kentucky
More than 10,000 acres of Eastern Kentucky are on fire.  Forestry officials don’t expect that
number to go down anytime soon thanks to largely dry and often windy conditions persisting
across the area.  Fires in Harlan County on Pine Mountain and in Breathitt County in Jackson
are two of the largest of the more than 20 fires active in the area. Harlan County has declared
a state of emergency and most Eastern Kentucky Counties including Harlan, Letcher, Perry,
and Pike County are under a burn ban until further notice.

Two gas tanker trucks collide over the weekend
Over the weekend a crash between two gas tanker trunks shut down US 23 near Jenkins for hours,
and severely injured one of the drivers.  Officials say it happened Saturday morning.  Fire Crews
from Jenkins and Neon helped to mop up gas from the truck that was turned on it’s side.

11-year-old Louisville boy dies in Red River Gorge
An 11-year old boy scout from Louisville died in Red River Gorge over the weekend after a tree
fell on his tent.  Wolfe County Search and rescue says Jack Rose was in his tent for the night
when a tree fell and hit him in the head.  Two doctors who were nearby responded but could not
revive the boy.  The Boy Scouts of America released a statement confirming the death and
expressing sadness for Rose, his family, and his troop.  They also thanked Wolfe and Powell
County Search and rescue teams for their support.

New scam arises as people pose as Kentucky Utility Workers
Police warn that in a new scam people are posing as Kentucky Utilities workers saying they will turn
off your utilities in 15 minutes unless you put money on a prepaid credit card, outstanding bill pay, or
money pak card.  They say ignore the call and if you’re really worried call the utility company yourself.

Kentucky Wildcats win their Final Exhibition Game on Saturday
A sounding win for the Kentucky Wildcats in their final exhibition game on Saturday. They thumped
Asbury 156-63.  That’s the most points ever scored by UK in a regular season or exhibition game. 
The previous record was 143 points against Georgia in 1956.  The regular season begins this Friday 
in Rupp Arena with the cats taking on Stephen F. Austin at 7pm.

Forest Fires continue to burn across the region
As fires continue to burn across the region fire officials are urging people to keep their lawns free of
leaves, sticks, and other flammable lawn debris.  If a fire gets close to your home inform authorities
immediately.  Currently more than 20 fires are burning across Eastern Kentucky resulting in a lot of
hazy smoke. 

ATV crash kills a Perry County man near the Knott Perry County Line
A Perry County man died following an ATV crash yesterday morning near the Knott Perry County Line.
Tyler fugate will be remembered this evening from 6 until 9pmat the Maggard Funeral home.  His funeral
will be held tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.  Fugate was taken to the hospital after the ATV he was driving
went off an embankment near the Knott-Perry County Line.  He later died at Hazard Medical Center.

Former Harlan County Sherrif has been indicted
Former Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird has been indicted on a charge of theft of property from a
federally funded program.  The indictment claims that Lipfird stole money that was supposed to be
used for controlled drug purchases.  The indictment also alleges that Lipfird made Harlan County pay
for a litany of expenses including personal expenses, a dating site subscription, a friend’s cell phone,
and duplicate travel expenses that should not have been paid for with taxpayer money.  No court date
has been set.  If found guilty Lipfird could face up to 10 years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.

Notice anything unusual while voting call Election Fraud Hotline
As you head out to vote tomorrow if you notice anything suspicious or abnormal you should call the Election
Fraud Hotline set up by Attorney General Andy Beshear.  That number is 1-800-328-VOTE.  The hotline is
open from 6am to 7pm.  Beshear says each and every call alleging possible violations of voting rights will be
investigated quickly.  He says they’re committed to making sure the election is clean and anyone who tries to
tamper with the outcome is prosecuted.

Local News Wednesday July 6th 2016


Whitesburg Attorney James Craft the second has been appointed by Governor Matt Bevin to fill the unexpired term of Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright.  That appointment was announced yesterday.

A new smoke free ordinance takes effect today in Hazard.  Smoking is now prohibited in a variety of public places, including city facilities, restaurants, and other businesses within city limits. Smoking next to schools and daycare centers or within 10 feet of a building entrance is also now off limits. The CDC estimates that since 1964 2,500,000 non-smokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

A woman accused of fatally shooting her husband appeared on video in court for her arraignment yesterday.  Sandra Hurt is accused of shooting her husband, son, and another  woman last month before overdosing on drugs.  Her husband 47 year old Henry Hurt was killed.  The other two are still recovering .   Hurt faces one  count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of wanton endangerment. A preliminary hearing is set for next week.

A man accused of fatally stabbing another man after an argument on Sunday appeared in court  yesterday.   William Josh Napier, 31, was arraigned Tuesday in Wolfe County.  Officers arrested Napier after they found a man stabbed to death Sunday in the  parking lot of the Jackson Inn Motel. Charles N. Costello, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene with stab wounds to his throat. Napier entered an automatic not guilty plea. He  faces one count of murder. A preliminary hearing is set for  next week.

A Wise county man has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder a police officer.  39 year old Charles Ray Hill pleaded guilty to Attempted Capital Murder of a police officer yesterday in a plea deal just one week before he was go face a Wise County Jury. Hill was charged last May after Norton City Police responded to a domestic call.  Sergeant James McReynolds entered the home after finding a woman bleeding.  That's when  the officer says Hill came out of a bathroom with a rifle, and pointed it at Sergeant McReynolds then fired from short range, barely missing him.  Hill was sentenced 60 years in prison with 40 years suspended meaning he will serve a total of 20 years in prison.  He'll serve the remaining time if he violates probation.

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday an EF-2 tornado touched down in Louisa on Monday. The area saw significant damage in severe storms on the 4th. At Walmart, a truck and car was flipped on its top and part of the roof was blown off the store. The National Weather Service estimates that the twisters wind speed was 120 mph and the path length was 2.5 miles.

Some residents in Perry County still cleaning up after storms swept through the area Monday.In Chavies storms  knocked down several trees and even knocked some homes off their foundations.   One woman says her trailer moved about 8-10 feet during the storm knocking it completely off of its foundation and causing some roof damage.  Others have more minor issues like siding or flashing damage or downed tree limbs.

A woman in Bell county is charged with indecent exposure and alcohol charges after police say they found her drunk and naked in Cannon Creek.  Troopers say they found 20 year old Lauryn Hopper with a 30 pack of Bud Light.  Bell County deputies were not able to find a boy who ran from the scene.  Police say he was also drunk.  His name has not yet been released.

A man in Knox County previously charged with murder is now free. Prosecutors dropped their case against Jonathan Taylor, who was accused in the killing of Catherine Mills in the Flat Lick Community back in 2010.  Four years ago he was indicted by a grand jury along with Amanda Hoskins, and William Lester.  Both of them are still facing charges. It's not clear what caused Taylor to be released.

A horrible prank in Ashland yesterday. Dozens of people may have thought they witnessed two execution-style murders at the Walmart there.  The pranksters used paintball guns painted to look like assault rifles and the victims had pillowcases over their heads.  Witnesses say they heard the gun pop pop pop and the boy fell over, and lay motionless on the sidewalk for about a minute before getting up and running away with the other victim.  They hopped into a car driven by the supposed shooters.   Witnesses estimate the perpetrators were teenagers anywhere from 112 to 17 years old, but they say it's dangerous game as they could have easily been shot if someone with a gun had witnessed the extreme prank that seems to have been based on a horror movie series called The Purge.

A Noah's Ark attraction built by a Christian organization will open tomorrow in Kentucky. The long-awaited theme park based on the biblical story of Noah, a man who got a warning from God about a worldwide flood. The Christian group behind the 510 foot-long wooden ark says it will demonstrate that the stories of the Bible are true.  The construction, tax incentives, and faith declaration required from all workers has been controversial.  Still owners Answers in Genesis is predicting more than a million visitors in the attractions first year.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was held yesterday.

Local News Tuesday July 5th 2016


The Kentucky Community and Technical College System has announced a new scholarship offered to high school juniors who are wanting college credit. The program offers scholarships to seniors in high school wanting dual credit.  Beginning in the fall juniors in high school will be able to enroll in dual credit courses within KCTcS offering college and high school credits simultaneously.  Leaders of Hazard Community and Technical College say this opens many doors for high school students who plan on attending college

Less than a month after announcing his retirement, the long-time president of the Kentucky Lottery has died. The Lottery announced yesterday that Arch Gleason died Friday of injuries he sustained during a fall.  He spend nearly 23 years leading the Kentucky Lottery.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officers spent much of Monday searching for a teenager after the teen drove their ATV into Grayson Lake.  Officers say it happened off of Horton Falls Road in Elliott County.  THey eventually had to call off the search due to severe weather. The name of the teen has not yet been released.

A man is dead and another is in jail following after a stabbing in Breathitt County Sunday Morning.  Kentucky State Police say officers found 29 year old Charles Costello in the Parking lot of the Jackson Inn Motel with stab wounds to his through.   Breathitt County Coroner George Griffith pronounced Costello dead at the scene. Police say the incident started with a dispute between Costello and 31 year old Josh Napier.  It's not clear what the dispute was over. 

Good news for Kentucky tourism.  A news tidy shows the state has seen its largest overall gain in tourism dollars since 2009.  According to th4e study the Bluegrass State generated $13.7 billion in 2015, and increase of 5 percent over 2014.  Tourism also generated more than $1.4 billion with almost $185 million of that going directly to local communities.  6,200 jobs were created by tourism in 2015.

Strong to severe storms swept through Eastern Kentucky Monday evening, leaving more than 5,000 customers without power.  Crews are working to restore power in Leslie, Floyd, Pike, Lawrence Knott counties, and more. 

The Harlan Independent School Board announced two new positions at the school system during a special called meeting on Friday. Superintendent C.D. Morton presented the board with a plan to create a part-time district technology coordinator position as well as a full-time high School/middle school assistant principal position.

A U.S. District judge has ruled a Harlan man arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will remain incarcerated. Mark Sawaf, 39, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Hanley Ingram to remain  at a detention hearing held on Wednesday at the U.S. District Courthouse in London. Sawaf could appeal the decision, but has not done so at this time.  Sawaf was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives following a search of a residence on June 21. Harlan City Police assisted the ATF at the scene.

Two zebras have taken up residence in Pike County.  According to Joan Potter her son Mitch bought the two animals who are now living on Potter farm, causing many passers by to do a double take.