LOCAL NEWS

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

 

Thursday September 26, 2013

According to the Mountain Eagle:
Paychecks for employees who work inside the city limits of Whitesburg will be a bit smaller beginning October 1.

That is the date a new “occupational payroll tax” approved this week by the Whitesburg City Council on a 4-1 vote will take effect.

The 1.5% tax on gross wages applies to nearly every worker who performs a job in Whitesburg, resident and nonresident alike.

It will be collected by employers and paid quarterly to the city.

The ordinance appears in its entirety on pages 10 and 11 of this week’s issue.

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A trio of people searching for a missing person along Highway 80 found a body on Wednesday.

The body was found one mile east of Hindman in Knott County.

The family says they believe it is the body of their missing loved one, Christina Barnett.

Barnett, of Johnson County, was last seen in Hazard on Wednesday.

We are told that's when David Fairchild, a friend of the family, found what they believe is Barnett's body, badly burned and covered by a television.

State police and the coroner are on scene and have not yet confirmed the identity of the body or any details in this case.

They say the body will be sent to Frankfort for an autopsy.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Changes to federal black lung rules are expected to make it easier for coal miners and their families to obtain benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Program on Wednesday announced a final rule that implements amendments to the 2010 Black Lung Benefits Act.

The amendments sponsored by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd reinstate two provisions that were eliminated in 1981.

After 1982, survivors of a coal miner totally disabled due to black lung had to prove the disease caused the miner's death.

One amendment makes that an automatic assumption for those who worked in coal mines for at least 15 years and suffered a totally disabling respiratory impairment.

The other amendment automatically transfers black lung benefits from the late recipient to eligible survivors.

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Benham City Council members say the city in Harlan County owes thousands of dollars to the Internal Revenue Service.

City Council member Wanda Humphrey says she and other council members recently received a letter from the IRS. It claims the city of Benham owes nearly $38,000 dollars in unpaid taxes.

Humphrey says an IRS investigator claims the city did not pay certain taxes for three quarters from June, 2012 to March, 2013.

She says the council hopes to resolve the situation soon.

The city of Benham is also still without a mayor since a judge removed Shirley Dodd from office in a legal matter. Humphrey says the council must select a new mayor soon or Governor Steve Beshear will appoint one.

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Seven counties in eastern Kentucky have begun enrolling families for a pilot program to fight asthma.

The "Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids" initiative plans to test assessments that are used to identify and reduce environmental factors that trigger asthma.

The non-profit is administering the project with local health departments in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliot, Lawrence, Floyd, and Pike Counties.

Officials want to find 100 families to take part in the study.

Wednesday September 25, 2013

Cumberland Police have arrested the third man wanted for a stabbing last month.

Officers found 37-year-old Wayne Johnson walking on a road in Cumberland on Saturday night.

He is facing several charges including assault.

Investigators say Johnson stabbed Lonnie Tippett during a fight.

Johnson also received stab wounds and went to the hospital.

Police say he hid from officers when he was released from the hospital last month.

Tippett and Curtis Halcomb are also charged in the case.

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Officials at Eastern Kentucky University are investigating the death of a Floyd County student on campus in Richmond.

University spokesman Marc Whitt said the student was found dead in his dorm room.

Whitt said in a news release that 24-year-old Benji Fish was found in his Telford Hall room.

Fish was a senior environmental health science major from Prestonsburg.

No foul play is suspected.

University police and the Madison County coroner's office are investigating.

A final toxicology report is expected in two weeks.

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The Kanawha County, West Virginia prosecutor's office will represent the state in the trial of a man accused of killing Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.

Police say the Kanawha County prosecutor's office has the resources to take over the case of Tennis Maynard.

Maynard is accused of shooting Crum twice in the head on April 3 as the sheriff ate lunch in his parked vehicle in downtown Williamson.

Maynard is scheduled to go on trial in December.

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The Perry County Sheriff's department is working again at full force.

Chief Deputy Tony Eversole says all employees were brought back thanks to projected income from the collection of local property taxes.

While all road patrol Deputies will be brought back full time, some court house security employees will only work part time schedules.

In July, Sheriff Less Burgett announced the department would be forced to cut their staff to only four deputies because of a budget deficit.

Perry is one of a handful of counties in eastern Kentucky, including Letcher County, forced to lay off employees.

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A federal appeals court has upheld the two-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine of a former eastern Kentucky school superintendent who pleaded guilty to leading a vote-buying conspiracy during the 2010 primary elections.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found Monday that one-time Breathitt County Superintendent Arch Turner's socio-economic status had not been taken into consideration when he was sentenced.

Turner ran Breathitt County schools from 2005 until his retirement in 2012 after he was charged.

Turner pleaded guilty in July 2012 to distributing money to others to buy votes for candidates he supported in local races.

Eleven others, including a former sheriff, were convicted or pleaded guilty in related cases.

The 67-year-old Turner is being held in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

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On Tuesday, 37 year old Michael Shawn Bartley of Elkhorn City, Kentucky plead guilty to one count each of armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of robbery, eluding police, and attempted assault of a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to serve 16 years and 5 months in a Virginia prison.

Police say Bartley robbed the Westwood Pharmacy in Grundy, Virginia in October of 2011.  

Bartley collected what police estimated to be between 500 and 1000 narcotic hydrocodone and oxycodone pills during the robbery and led police on short chase along US 460 back into Kentucky.

Tuesday September 24, 2013

The Whitesburg City Council had a special called meeting last night and passed the 1.5 percent payroll tax.

The first reading of the proposed payroll tax for all employees within Whitesburg's city limits was held last Thursday and last night was the second reading and vote on the tax.

The vote was not unanimous with one council member voting no, however the legislation did pass and is effective as of January first of next year.

City leaders said the local papers will publish more details and every employer will receive a copy.

The city attorney said this tax includes provisions and exemptions that everyone needs to know.

City leaders say anyone with questions or concerns should feel free to reach out to council members and the mayor James Wiley Craft.

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Police are investigating after a man stole a woman's purse in the parking lot of the Hazard Food City, and the whole incident was captured by security cameras.

Police say the robbery took place Monday evening around 8:30.

Police say the man drove up in an older model red pickup truck as the woman was putting groceries into her car.

Hazard policeman Timothy Feltner says the man got out and acted like he knew the victim.  She thought he was going to ask for directions when he grabbed her purse, pushed the woman to the ground and sped off.

The man is described as being in his early 20s wearing a gray top.

Anyone with information is asked to call Hazard Police.

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A Harlan County business owner is offering a $1,000 reward to catch the person who stole from him.

Harlan Police say someone stole about 3 thousand dollars worth of items from Hamrick Bowling Center.

Blanton Hamrick says last Thursday when the business was closed, someone threw a rock through the side door, smashed the arcade games and got away with the prizes inside including iPads, iPods, and other expensive items.

Police have leads but no suspects yet.

Anyone with information on the burglary should call the Harlan Police Department.

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Appalachian Wireless made an exciting announcement on Monday for the region.

Beginning October 1st, they will carry the newest Apple iPhone products...the 5c and 5s models.

Appalachian Wireless will offer the phones for a lower price than Apple and many other retailers.

They are two products officials say they are thrilled to offer to their customers.

Just like you saw from stores around the world, officials expect folks to line up early in Eastern Kentucky when the new phones become available next Tuesday.

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Pikeville City Officials have talked about a new shopping complex for several years and on Monday that project took a big step forward.

Several store names were revealed at the groundbreaking ceremony for the project where officials discussed the importance of this project for the region.

Six national brand name stores coming to Eastern Kentucky bringing with them hundreds of jobs, which city officials say are much needed after last week's loss of more than 500 coal mining jobs.

In addition, officials say about 100 construction and development jobs will also come to the area.

The stores that were announced at the ceremony were Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, Maurices, Ross, Rack Room Shoes, and Ulta.

Officials say there are many other stores and restaurants that will be announced soon.

There will also be 200 apartments in the complex.

Construction will begin within seven to ten days.

The project will be completed in phases with the first store opening in four to six months.

Monday September 23, 2013

Police are asking for help in finding a man they say robbed a gas station.

It happened Saturday evening a little after 8:00 p.m.

Police received a robbery call from the Double Kwik in the Virgie community in Pike County.

Officials tell us an unknown man demanded money, and took off.

He is described as a 6' man wearing a green hoodie sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call KSP at (606) 433-7711 or 1-800-222-5555.

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A dispatcher with the Kentucky State Police confirms 34-year-old Christina Barnett of the Sitka Community in Johnson County is missing.

Family members say last Wednesday night, Barnett was supposed to be back home six hours after telling them she was going to London with a man.

But that was the last time they saw her or heard from her and she always had her phone.

Police told her that her daughter was last seen at a gas station in Hazard on last Wednesday.

Family members say Barnett was last seen wearing a pink dress and cowboy boots.

She is 5'6" and weighs 130 lbs. with hazel eyes and blonde hair.

If you have information about Christina Barnett, call Kentucky State Police at (606) 435-6069.

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A federal appeals court will consider a request by a former eastern Kentucky school superintendent to overturn his guilty plea and two-year prison sentence for leading a vote-buying conspiracy during the 2010 primary elections.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will take one-time Breathitt County Superintendent Arch Turner's appeal under advisement on arguments in briefs on Oct. 3.

Turner ran Breathitt County schools from 2005 until his retirement in 2012 after he was charged.

Turner pleaded guilty in July 2012 to distributing money to others to buy votes for candidates he supported in local races.

Eleven others, including a former sheriff, were convicted or pleaded guilty in related cases.

The 67-year-old Turner is being held in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

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Classes resumed early Friday morning at the University of Pikeville following a lockdown.

School officials tell us some sort of tweet suggested a possible threat on campus.

However, following an investigation by police they found no threat.

Police tell us they are no longer investigating the incident.

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A trial date is set for a Harlan County man accused of stuffing a child in a freezer.

Police say Randy Hammons beat the child and then stuffed him in a small freezer, because the child would not stop crying.

The child's grandmother, Connie Jenkins, also faces charges because officials say she did nothing to stop Hammons.

He will face a jury on January 21st.