LOCAL NEWS

Thursday October 3, 2013

Workers at the Pontiki mining complex in Martin County have been told the surface mine and coal prep plant will close by the end of the year.

Alliance Resource Partners says its subsidiary, Excel Mining issued WARN notices to employees on Friday, according to a news release from the company.

The mining complex employs approximately 142 workers.

The company says it plans to continue operations at the complex until early December to fulfill commitments under existing sales contracts at which time the mine is expected to cease production.

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Kentucky State Police were on the scene of a death investigation last night on Ben House Road in Clay County late Wednesday night.

Officials say a man was found dead inside his home.

The Clay County Coroner says that 58-year-old Carl "Duke" House was pronounced dead at 6:46 p.m. on Wednesday.

While the coroner isn't releasing a cause of death, he does call it an apparent homicide.

Police have released few details about the investigation so far.


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A Johnson County woman who killed her boyfriend in 2010 will not be eligible for early parole.

Officials say Donna Wheeler will not become eligible for parole until she has served 85 percent of her 14 1/2 year sentence.

Wheeler asked for earlier parole saying she was a victim of domestic violence when she killed James Sparks.

On April 30th, 2010, Wheeler shot Sparks in the back as he was leaving her home.

She remains in the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex.

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Back in 2010, A Leslie County man, Norman Adams, was found dead and five men were charged in connection to his murder.

One of the men, Harold Pennington, has since been found not guilty.

Police said Adams was beat to death and that the men tried to make it look like an ATV accident.

One of the defendants, Millard Miniard, was in court Wednesday morning.

Miniard entered an alford plea to manslaughter charges earlier this year.

That means he pleaded guilty to the charges due to mounting evidence against him without admitting guilt.

The deal meant he would serve 12 years in prison.

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A former school building in Hazard is set to be torn down.

Dennis Wooton Elementary School was closed at the end of last academic year.

Perry County School District Finance Chair Jody Maggard says it has become a target for damage.

The board has not yet decided what to do with the site.

Even with the board's approval, the plan to tear the building down still needs approval from the state.

Wednesday October 2, 2013

Authorities in Perry County have charged two people after they say a man was beaten over the head with a cinder block and dumped in the Kentucky River.

Hazard Police were called to the home of Teresa Karr, the victim's wife on Monday afternoon for an unrelated situation.

Officers said a man there made the startling confession, telling them he watched Larry Yocum "murder" Jeff Karr by the basketball courts in town.

Investigators searched the area, eventually discovering Jeff Karr alive, but suffering from cuts, a broken nose, and he appeared to have brain and skull fragments on the back of his head.

He was rushed to UK Hospital for treatment.

Yocum is charged with attempted murder and tampering with evidence.

According to police, Teresa Karr helped clean Yocum's clothes after the attack on her husband.

She was charged with tampering with evidence.

According to UK Hospital, Jeff Karr was released from their care on Tuesday.

Police are describing the case as a love triangle gone bad.

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The search is continuing for two Leslie County inmates who escaped during work release on Tuesday.

Law enforcement officials are asking everyone for their help in order to find 22-year-old Taylor Brewer and 27-year-old Adam Warner.

Liz Morgan, a captain at the detention center, said the pair were weed-eating in the Greasy Creek area when they walked away.

Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Collett said Brewer and Warner could be heading to Knott County, where they are from.

Collett said the inmates do not have violent charges, however the community should remain alert.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact the sheriff's department or KSP.

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There's been a drug round-up in Wise County.

The Wise County Sheriff's office says local police joined state and federal law enforcement for "Operation Up In Smoke."

Officers targeted local businesses they say were selling synthetic drugs, commonly known as Bath Salts.

Authorities searched seven businesses and one home, with the owners' consent.

Officers say they recovered thousands of packages of synthetic drugs, tens of thousands of dollars in cash, along with firearms and illegal alcohol.

Deputies have not yet named any suspects.

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A Bell County judge sentenced a Detroit man to 15 years in prison on kidnapping and other charges.

Last year, Middlesboro Police said Jerry Lee Oliver went to a home and took a 13-year-old boy.

Police say Oliver and another woman were involved in a dispute involving stolen property and thought the boy had some information about it.

Oliver was also charged with drug trafficking and possession.

Court officials say the 15 year sentence is for all charges.

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Patriot Coal was part of a job fair hosted by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program and the Kentucky Coal Association on Tuesday in Hazard.

Forty jobs are set to be filled quickly from yesterday's job fair along with another, scheduled for 10:00am today at the Hampton Inn in Pikeville.

The jobs are with Patriot Coal, for a mine near Henderson in Western Kentucky.

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The fall wildfire hazard season has started in Kentucky.

The season runs from Oct. 1 through Dec. 15.

During that time, outdoor burning is prohibited from 6:00am to 6:00pm within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland.

State Forestry Division Director Leah MacSwords says that with the last several weeks of dry weather, conditions are favorable for outdoor fires to spread into wildfires.

The agency says human activity causes nearly all of the wildfires, and that most of them are preventable.

 

Tuesday October 1, 2013

 

There have been three robberies in Floyd County in less than one week, and police believe the same person is behind all of them.

In all three cases, a man matching the same description came in demanding money and left on foot, and it is his weapon of choice that ties him to all three.

Video from Newman's Shop A Lot in Harold shows a man enter the business Wednesday night and shove a large stick into the clerk's back forcing her behind the counter.

Just after midnight Sunday folks at the Cardinal Country Mart in Stanville say the same thing happened to them.

Then Sunday night it was the same scenario at the VIP Fuel store in Grethel.

No one in any of the stores was hurt.

Anyone with information should contact Kentucky State Police.

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Attorney General Jack Conway announced two key rulings in the Commonwealth's case against Purdue Pharma on Monday.

Purdue filed a motion to change the venue of the case from Pike County to Franklin County.

General Conway opposed and Pike County Court Judge Steven Combs ruled the case will stay in Pike County.

Also, Purdue asked the court to allow it to withdraw admissions the company made when they failed to respond to pleadings in the case.

The court denied this motion.

The case involves the alleged illegal marketing of Oxycotin.

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Police have arrested a woman they say spent thousands of dollars by using fraudulent credit cards.

West Liberty police say 27 year old Courtney Phipp has been charged with identity theft.

Police say Phipps applied for and received three credit cards by using someone else's social security number.

Police say she used the credit cards to buy 19,000 dollars in items which she then tried to pawn off.

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A federal judge ordered attorneys in a long-running death penalty case to move toward a resolution.

The judge set a November meeting date for prosecutors and attorneys for 54 year old Karu Gene White to set a schedule for resolving the case, which has been pending since 2002.

Proceedings halted in White's most recent federal appeal while he sought funding in state court to test if he has a mental disability.

White killed 75 year old Charles Gross, his wife, 74 year old Lula Gross, and 79 year old Sam Chaney during a February 1979 robbery in Breathitt County.

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The Fall Trail Ride in Knott County is still a few days away but folks are already lining up for the event.

The 13th annual trail ride kicks off on Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Attendees can ride horses and ATVs through the mountains.

There will also be live music performances, including Kentucky native Marlow Tackett.

Tackett will perform Thursday night.

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Attention coal miners looking for work, help is out there.

There will be a job fair today at the Perry County Job Sight in Hazard.

The event starts at 10 this morning and is a partnership between Patriot Coal and the HOME or Hiring Our Miners Everyday program.

Organizers said the company is looking for experienced, underground miners.

If you are interested, Michael Cornett, a representative with HOME, suggested bringing your resume and updated mining certifications.

A similar event will be held Wednesday in Pikeville.

The jobs will be based in Western Kentucky

 

Monday September 30, 2013

A car accident has left one man dead in Floyd County.

The single vehicle accident happened Friday on Ky. 1428 in the Allen community.

Officials say 29 year old Brenan McKinney hit an embankment and his vehicle overturned.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation.

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Rescuers from Powell County and Wolfe County teamed up to help a hiker who fell in the Red River Gorge over the weekend.

Officials say the hiker was climbing Saturday night at the Pistol Ridge Crag on a route known as the "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" when he fell.

His fail-safe gave way, allowing him to hit the ground.

Officials say crews were able to get the hiker safely out of the rugged area without any problems.

He was taken to a local hospital by ambulance.

Officials did not release any information on his condition.

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Laurel County Sheriff's Deputies and Detectives carried out undercover surveillances at the World Chicken Festival in London on Friday and Saturday.

Official say the officers in plain clothes operated in downtown London to ensure that the large number of visitors would enjoy a safe, and family oriented atmosphere.

Multiple arrests were made both days mostly for drug and alcohol offenses.

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Funeral arrangements have been set for a woman who was found dead in the woods of Knott County last week.

34-year-old Christina Barnett's body was found by her family.

She had been missing and her mother says she was with a man she met online.

State Police are still calling this a death investigation, until they can get more information from the autopsy.

A visitation will be held Tuesday at Phelps and Son Funeral Home in Paintsville and her funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.

If you would like to help Christina's family with funeral costs, donations are being accepted at any BB&T Bank branch.


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Two agencies are seeking to withdraw from the state's troubled pension system.

The Courier-Journal reports the agencies of Frontier Housing in Morehead and Housing Oriented Ministries Established for Service also known as HOMES, INC in Whitesburg filed the request last week in Franklin County Circuit Court.

The agencies argue in the complaint that they shouldn't have been allowed to join the County Employees' Retirement System more than 10 years ago.

The system is facing more than $6.2 billion in unfunded liabilities.

Kentucky Retirement Systems Director William Thielen said Thursday that the agency would fight the matter in court.

At least two other organizations have also sought to leave the program.

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A Perry County deputy jailer will stay in jail while he waits to go on trial.

A judge denied a motion Friday to amend the bond condition for William Howell.

Howell faces a manslaughter charge in connection with the July 2013 death of Larry Trent at Kentucky River Regional Jail.

His bond is currently set at $75,000.

The trial is scheduled to start on February 17th.

Friday September 27, 2013

 

A Knott County coroner confirmed the body found Wednesday along Highway 80 is that of missing Johnson County woman Christina Barnett.

A search party found Barnett's body Wednesday afternoon.

The man who found it says it had been burned.

Officials have not yet confirmed it as a murder.

Barnett's body is in Frankfort for an autopsy.

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Police are investigating a robbery that happened in Floyd County Wednesday night.

They say a man entered Newman's Shop A Lot in Harold about 8:40pm with a big stick demanding cash, and the whole thing was caught on camera.

Police say it looked like the man was carrying a large piece of wood which he shoved into the clerk's back and pushed her behind the counter.

The man, described as a while male about six feet tall, wearing blue jeans, gloves and a mask, is seen taking money from both registers before running out the door.

No one in the store was injured, and KSP is asking anyone with information to contact them.

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Unemployment rates decreased in 97 Kentucky counties between August 2012 and August 2013, while 19 county rates rose and four stayed the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5.5 percent.

Harlan County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate — 16.3 percent. It was followed by Leslie and Magoffin counties, 15.7 percent each; Letcher County came in 4th at 14.9 percent; Fulton County rounded out the top 5 at 14.5 percent; .

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working.

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Middlesboro Police say a man broke into a health facility Thursday morning and assaulted workers.

Police say 31-year-old Jimmy Ray Turner went to the Middlesboro Health Care Facility where his mother and sister were.

They say he broke down a locked door and then hurt four people.

Police say he choked one worker and pushed others.

He has a list of charges including assault, burglary, and criminal mischief.

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A Letcher County man faces a DUI charge.

Officials with the Johnson County Sheriff's office say they received a call about a crash along Kentucky 1428.

When they arrived, deputies found a vehicle over the hill and a man sitting on the ground who had slurred speech.

Officials found a gallon jug of vodka near the car and arrested Ricky Mullins of Letcher County.

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Officials from the State Treasury were in Pike County Thursday trying to return unclaimed money to folks in the area.

The State Treasurer says there is nearly $2.5 million of unclaimed property that belongs to folks in Pike County.

He says that could be anything from cash payments from companies to items that have been abandoned.

Volunteers set up a phone bank to let people know they had unclaimed property.

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach says they will be traveling through all 120 counties.

You can check to see if you have unclaimed property by visiting www.missingmoney.com