LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday June 24, 2014

STATE TREASURER IN LETCHER COUNTY TODAY FOR SPECIAL UNCLAIMED PROPERTY EVENT

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach will be in Letcher County today to find the owners of nearly $750,000 in unclaimed property. Judge/Executive Jim Ward will join Hollenbach in directing volunteers to establish a phone bank, review the list of claimants and call them so they know they have possible unclaimed property. Treasury staff will be at the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg to help claimants fill out paperwork. The visit is part of the state's Treasure Finders program that Hollenbach developed to notify potential claimants of cash or tangible property being held by the Treasury.

FLOYD COUNTY MAN FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER

A Floyd County man has been found guilty of killing his nephew, and abusing the little boy's siblings. Jason Dickerson was charged with the 2011 death of two-year-old Watson Adkins. The sentencing phase is currently underway.  Dickerson's wife is also facing charges in the case.

HARLAN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION WILL PAY FOR SCHOOL NURSE SERVICES

The Harlan County Board of Education has agreed to pay nearly $28,000 for school nurse services provided by the County Health Department for the 2014-15 academic year. Superintendent Mike Howard says the high school and Cumberland elementary are covered by full-time staff, while the other elementary schools share a nurse. Last year, the Harlan County government transitioned the health department from the Cumberland Valley District to independent status - and Howard says that's why the district now has to pay for services it had received at no charge.

PERRY COUNTY MAN INDICTED ON CHILD ABUSE CHARGES

A Perry County man has been indicted on child abuse charges after school officials found multiple injuries on his girlfriend’s 6-year-old child 2 months ago. Jamie Stamper is currently on home incarceration, and a $50,000 bond was set in the case. The grand jury indictment found Stamper had intentionally shakened, punched, pushed, and beat the child. Police arrested Stamper after the child went to school with injuries so severe they prompted school officials to call police and take the child to a hospital.

CRASH ON FLOYD-JOHNSON COUNTY LINE SENDS ONE TO HOSPITAL

A crash on Route 321 at the Floyd-Johnson County line sent a woman to the hospital. Police say it happened yesterday afternoon when a car was rear-ended by a pickup truck near the Johns Creek Bridge. There's been no word on if the pickup driver was hurt or if charges have been filed.

METH INDICTMENTS IN PERRY COUNTY

A Perry County man and woman are indicted on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine. Police arrested Clifton Plowman and Elizabeth Fugate at an abandoned building in Combs that detectives say is a well known drug hangout. Plowman tried to escape on foot but officers apprehended him a short distance from the building. Investigators say a search of Fugate's purse found meth making materials. The two are being held on $75,000 bond each and are due in court next month.

ESCAPED INMATE FOUND IN WISE COUNTY

A Southwest Virginia jail inmate who escaped earlier this month was found in Wise County, Virginia. Police say Ryan Richard Potter was arrested at a home on Nightingale Lane in Coeburn. Deputies in Scott County Sheriff's Office say Potter walked off from an work detail in Pennington Gap. He was due to be released in August for a probation violation and prosecutors have nor charged him with felony escape. Potter is being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.

NEW LOOK FOR FLOYD COUNTY LIBRARY

The Floyd County Library in Prestonsburg is sporting a new fresh look. A year-long renovation has just concluded and with it comes a number of upgrades. One notable feature is in the new children’s book area - the library has put in what it calls a "tree feature", described as like a tree house and a tree under the skylight. The renovations were entirely paid for by the library.

Monday June 23, 2014

 

HARLAN COUNTY MAY HAVE TO PAY FOR FAILED INSURANCE TRUST

The Harlan County school district could be on the hook to pay over $300,000 for a failed school district insurance trust. For years The Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust provided school districts low-cost worker's comp and liability insurance but was dissolved when debts topped $50 million. After some legal wrangling, the county school district was told they owe 293 grand for workers comp and over 11 thousand in property liability. District officials say the ruling will likely be appealed but if the money has to be paid, bonds may be sold to cover the costs.

PERRY COUNTY CHURCH BURGLARY

Police in Perry County have made an arrest in connection with a church burglary. Late last week around a thousand dollars in merchandise were taken from the Big Leatherwood First Baptist Church - including snacks and items for the Vacation Bible School. On Saturday a van belonging to the was stolen. Yesterday police say they found everything - but not in the same condition as it was. The van sustained some exterior damage and one church member says it will need some substantial cleaning both in an out. Police found the merchandise in a foreclosed home next door to the church. 18 year old Shawn Noble is facing multiple charges, and police say there may be 2 other arrests in connection with this crime.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED FOR USING FAKE MONEY TO BUY MEDICATION

A Harlan County woman is accused of using fake money to pay for medication and other pharmaceutical items. Casey Neal was taken into custody last Thursday. Charging papers say that on June second Neal made two different purchases with counterfeit money. She is at the Harlan County Detention Center on a $20,000 full cash bond.

3 COUNTIES FORM THE CUMBERLAND RIVER DRUG TASK FORCE

3 Eastern Kentucky Counties have joined forces in the war on drugs. The Cumberland River Drug Task force comprises of police in Harlan, Bell, and Knox counties along with State Police and the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area - H-I-D-T-A for short. Officials say the goal is to go after upper-level drug dealers rather than street suppliers. Local police departments are funding the officers and federally funded H-I-D-T-A will pay for overtime costs.

PIKE COUNTY MAN WANTED FOR USING STOLEN CREDIT CARD

A Pike County man suspected of fraudulent credit card use is now facing a battery of drug charges. Police say Jonathon Holstein of Pikeville was seen last month on a gas station surveillance video using a stolen credit card.He was pulled over a few weeks later and when officers searched his car, they found a number of different drugs along with paraphernalia. Holstein was arrested and booked unto the Pike County Detention Center, but has since been released after posting a $10,000 cash or property bond. A Pike County grand jury is reviewing the case for possible indictment.

HARLAN COUNTY RELAY SETS RECORD

Harlan County Relay For Life organizers say they've raised over $60,000 from this past weekend's event. The annual event raises money for the American Cancer Society.  Folks say this year has broken the record for the most money ever raised at Harlan County's "Relay."

TRI CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION WILL BE JULY 5

The 4th of July will come on the 5th this year in one Harlan County city. That's the date for the 25th annual fireworks show put on by the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce and Cumberland Tourist Commission. Chamber President Jeff Wilder says they tried to get the event on the 4th, but the fireworks providers were already committed to larger-scale productions. Wilder says they know the Saturday show will help make a festive Independence Day weekend for everyone. It begins at 10pm.

 

Friday June 20, 2014

UTILITY COMPANY WEED KILLER PROGRAM DISCUSSED

Weed killers being sprayed by utility companies are in the crosshairs of the Letcher Fiscal Court.  At this weeks meeting the court overwhelmingly voted to have County Attorney Jamie Hatton determine whether any state laws requiring prior notification of aerial spraying are now in effect and whether the county government has the right to adopt regulations of its own.  Magistrate Wayne Fleming says residents are angry that utility rights of way on their property are being sprayed without any notice. Judge/Executive Jim Ward said he would speak to utility company officials and ask them to cooperate with the court on the spraying.
 
BECOME A LETCHER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY

Monday is the application deadline to become a Letcher County sheriff's deputy. A meeting is set for 9am at the Letcher County Central High School football field where completed paperwork will be accepted and a physical test will be administered. inlcuding the bench press, sit ups, pushups, a 300-meter run and a 1.5-mile run. The department says those attending should bring their own supply of drinking water.
 
WHITESBURG AND JENKINS ENTER INTO AGREEMENT WITH WINGS AIR RESCUE

Residents of 2 cities in Letcher County who are in need of medical airlifting services no longer have to pay out of pocket if they have insurance. The cities of Whitesburg and Jenkins have entered into a municipal site plan with Wings Air Rescue. According to a Wings Air Rescue spokesperson the 2 cities are the first to activate the plan - which assures coverage whether with Wings Air Rescue or any provider in their network. Whitesburg paid nearly $9000 for the plan and Jenkins just short of $11,000.
 
2 FLOYD COUNTY MEN CAUGHT RED HANDED

Two Floyd County men were arrested when they were caught in the act of burglarizing a business in the city of Eastern. Police say Chad Manual resisted officers as they tried to take him into custody at Chesapeake Energy on Route 550. A second man - identified by police as Chris Mullins - was found near a vehicle where Manual was hiding. Both men are scheduled to make their first court appearance Monday.
 
A 3 CAR CRASH IN PERRY COUNTY

A crash in Perry County involving a pickup and a car sent 3 people to the hospital. Police say the crash happened on Highway 15 in Hazard near the Perry County Park. Rescuers had to extricate the 2 occupants of the pickup but the car's driver got out on his own.
 
FLOYD COUNTY MAN SURPRISES BURGLAR

A Floyd County man surprised the suspect who broke into his son's home - and held the burglar until cops got there. Court papers say John Harrison saw a back door window was broken and when he went inside to investigate - he confronted the suspect in a hallway. Police identified the burglar as Alex Adkins of Banner. Investigators say he admitted using a shotgun to try and force open a safe. Adkins is jailed on a $20,000 cash bond and will make his first court appearance Monday.
 
COAL MINE LAYOFF NOTICE IN HARLAN COUNTY

A mine in Harlan County has issued a 60 day notice of impending layoffs.  According to Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop 80 to 90 Harlan-Cumberland Coal Company workers could be furloughed on  August 18th. The company says an affiliate can't meet an upcoming deadline for fresh air retrofitting at 2 mines. A deadline extension is being sought.
 
LETCHER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE TONIGHT

Letcher County's Relay For Life is tonight at Riverside Park in Whitesburg. The annual event raises money for the American Cancer Society. It was started nearly 30 years ago by a doctor in Tacoma, Washington who spent a night walking around a college track. Earlier this week the annual Cancer Survivors' Dinner was held at Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg.
 
PERRY COUNTY BRIDGE NAMING CEREMONY TO BE HELD SATURDAY

A ceremony will be held tomorrow to dedicate a Perry County bridge in memory of a Korean War veteran. Private First Class Herbert King who was killed On March 7, 1952 is buried in Riverside Cemetery with full military honors. The bridge named in King's honor is on Route 550 and crosses Combs’ Branch. The Dwarf Baptist Church is hosting the dedication ceremony that is open to the public. 
 

Thursday June 19, 2014

RICH PRICE
WXKQ BULLDOG NEWS DIRECTOR

JUDGE EXECUTIVE RACE TAKES CENTER STAGE AT FISCAL COURT MEETING

The battle for Letcher County's Judge/Executive election heated up this week when candidate Hatler Kiser leveled several accusations against Jim Ward - and then challenged Ward to a series of debates. This all came about at Monday's Letcher Fiscal Court meeting when Kiser spoke during the public comments period. According to reports a number of the issues Kiser raised related to the Letcher County Recreation Center and how it was financed.  There's been no word on if or when the debates between Kiser and Ward and Kiser will take place.

SOAR MEETING TONIGHT AT EXTENSION OFFICE

The group Shaping our Appalachian Region - SOAR - is holding a meeting tonight at the Letcher County Extension Service office. It's a listening session for the group which is working on drafting an economic plan for the region.  It starts at 6pm at the office which is off the Whitesburg bypass.

FORMER FLOYD COUNTY FIRE CHIEF TO BE ARRAIGNED

A former Floyd County Volunteer Fire Department Chief will be arraigned June 30 on embezzlement charges. Terry Triplett had been on the run since his indictment in 2013 but turned himself in on Monday. A state auditor's report found over $120,000 dollars in questionable spending that was traced back to Triplett.

CITY OF BENHAM BANK ACCOUNT FROZEN

Trouble for a Harlan County city as the I-R-S freezes its bank accounts. Last year, the IRS said the city of Benham owed nearly 38 thousand dollars in unpaid taxes. Mayor Wanda Humphrey says the taxes were paid but the penalties had not, and that's why the accounts were frozen. Humphrey says they are working to resolve the issue.

FLEMING QUESTIONS HIGH ELECTRICITY BILLS

Letcher County's state representative got an earful about high electricity bills when she met with District Magistrate Wayne Fleming on Monday. Fleming says he's received many complaints about power bills hikes due to Kentucky Power surcharges to update its power plants.  Fleming told 94th District Representative Leslie Combs that Kentucky Power’s customers should not have to pay the cost of the upgrades. Combs says the Legislature is working on bills to stop the surcharges but it has been stalled in the Senate.

BBC REPORTERS IN THE MOUNTAINS

The British are coming to Floyd County - the British Broadcasting Corporation, that is. They're in Eastern Kentucky to find out how the state's healthcare exchange - known as kynect - is working in our area. Reporter Claire Bolderson says they chose Kentucky because it's one state where the exchange has been very successful in signing people up. The reporters started out in Clay County and once their journey is complete, their story will air on B-B-C Radio.

HARLAN MAN CHARGED WITH BURGLARY

A Harlan man suspected of taking $2000 from a residence is charged with burglary. Police say David Carmack broke into an apartment rented by Pancho Bautista and took the money. He was seen on surveillance video entering the apartment. Investigators say Carmack admitted entering the apartment using a key and stealing the cash. He's being held in the Harlan County Detention Center and bond has not been set.

WORK STOPPED ON A HARLAN ROAD

Work is halted on a road in Harlan County - and the project could turn into a battle between the state and the city of Harlan. A judge has issued a restraining order stopping a culvert replacement project on Kentucky 3459 between Gilbert Street and Middleton Street because of a dispute over who is paying for the work - the state or the city. The road was to be closed until July 3 and there's no word on how soon work will resume.

METH LAB EXPLOSION IN CORBIN

A suspected meth lab is being blamed for an explosion and fire at an apartment in Corbin. Three adults and a young girl were taken to a hospital to be decontaminated. 2 of the adults - Edward Cosgrove and Norma Brock face meth-related charges. The child's grandmother, Barbara Morrison, is charged with controlled substance endangerment to a child.

Wednesday June 18, 2014

3 SENTENCED IN SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD CASE

The first of three people from Pike County convicted of Social Security disability fraud has been sentenced. Ginger Michelle Halbert Stumbo pleaded guilty to conspiracy, I-D theft and fraud charges. As part of a plea deal she will spend 2 years in jail.   Sentencing for the other two defendants, former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and her daughter, former Martin Community Center Director Rita Whicker is schedule for July 9.  Court papers say Robinson and Whicker conspired with Stumbo to hire her as a city employee, while writing her paychecks in her son’s name, so Stumbo could continue drawing disability benefits. The 3 are also ordered to pay over $175,000 in restitution.

FREE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WORKSHOPS TO BE HELD THIS FALL

Leslie County parents will be able to attend a free early childhood education workshop this fall. The state is funding 25 workshops throughout Kentucky thanks to a grant from the federal government. The program consist of six sessions designed to demonstrate how to turn everyday moments with children into learning opportunities. It's the first step of a four-year, $1.4 million expansion of 150 academies across the state.

LEADERSHIP SOUTHEAST KY VISITS FORMER MIINING SITES

Leadership Southeast Kentucky visited Perry County to see firsthand the potential for economic opportunities on former mining sites. The first stop was at D & D Ranch  - the nearly 1000 acre site built on the former Pine Branch Coal Sales mine. Officials say that in the 25 years D&D has been in business it's contributed over a million dollars to the economy. The leadership class of 2014 will end next month with a Kentucky Power plant tour.

CLEANUP UNDERWAY IN WISE COUNTY

Folks from Wise and Dickenson Counties in Virginia joined forces to help with a cleanup operation in Washington County. They removed nearly 2 tons of litter and over 5 tons of tires from a dump along Copperfield road. Cleanup efforts continue through August.

JENKINS STUDENTS WILL ATTEND TRAINING IN WISE COUNTY

This August students from will be heading to Wise County in Virginia for vocational and technical training. Jenkins Independent Schools Superintendent Debbie Watts says some students will be attending Wise County's Career & Technical Center. According to Watts the site location with Wise County and the course offerings were the main reasons the district struck a partnership with the center. It's expected that 20 to 24 students will be in the first class this fall.

PIKE COUNTY JOB FAIR HELD TUESDAY

Pike County unemployed miners had an opportunity yesterday to learn about potential job openings with a nationwide operation. GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance officials say they have positions available across the country, and if miners are willing to relocate, they want to put them back to work. GMS official Derek Jackson says they know there are some really high quality folks who want to get back to work, and they are looking for top notch talent.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING MONEY FROM EMPLOYER

A Harlan County woman suspected of stealing money from her employer is facing a felony theft charge. Police say Sheila Fair allowed purchases from the Kwik Mart in Loyall to go through without putting them in the register. Fair is also accused to taking money from gas purchases and stealing food from the store. She is being held in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $5,000 full cash bond.

CHARITY BIKE RIDE TO BE HELD FOR HAZARD CITY POLICEMAN

A charity bike ride is set for tomorrow night to raise money for Hazard Policeman Paul Campbell, who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. It starts at Applebee's and will end at Campbell's house. The ride starts at 6pm and costs is ten dollars a bike. Organizers say all the proceeds will go directly to Campbell and his family.

NEW INFO IN WHITLEY COUNTY CHILD ABUSE CASE

More information is emerging about a child abuse case against a Whitley County mother and her boyfriend. Police say it happened the first week of May when they learned the father told the mother he was punishing their son for something school related. According to investigators the mother told her boyfriend to whip the boy. Both the boyfriend and the mother are facing first-degree criminal abuse charges.