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.

Local News Friday July 1st 2016

The city of Hazard has passed a smoke free ordinance that will go into effect July 6th.  That means all smoking is banned at city of Hazard facilities, businesses, and restaurants.  Smoking next to a school or daycare facility is also banned and smokers will be required to stand at least 10 feet from doors or entrances if they’re smoking outside.

Breaks Interstate Park, which sits across the southwest Virginia/southeast Kentucky line, is now officially open to rock climbing. Breaks encompasses 4,600 acres of rugged, mountainous terrain which has had a history of climbing going back at least three decades, though climbing has never been officially allowed or sanctioned by a park management plan. Breaks already contains approximately 75 established climbing routes, with potential for hundreds more. Climbers are required to stop by the visitor center or lodge to get a climbing permit, which is free. 

Whitesburg based Kentucky Mist Moonshine has joined the Kentucky Distillers Association becoming the 28th member of the non profit trade group.  KDA members produce more than 90 percent of the world’s bourbon.

A new cosmetic manufacturing and packaging company RJM International opened yesterday in London and is hiring.  The factory has already hired many people but is still looking for about 15 more workers by Friday.  The company’s biggest product is nail polish.

The Ark Encounter is scheduled to open in Grant county in a little more than a week ,and Answers in Genesis says they’ll be ready to go.  The ark attraction has had battles over tax incentives, requiring all employees to sign a statement of faith, and now they say they’re ready for the crowds. The attraction plans to hire 300-400 seasonal workers.

A Judge in Big Stone Gap Virginia will hold former Big Stone Gap Police officer Oliver Mullins without bond.  A grand jury handed down a 48 count indictment accusing Mullins of child sex crimes.  He’s facing three counts of rape, three counts of incest, forcible sodomy, grooming, and 20 counts of indecent liberties and 20 counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Perry County Clerk Haven King will not appeal his conviction on a charge of official misconduct. King was found guilty of harassment and official misconduct after a video surfaced on Facebook of him questioning a woman about her disabled veterans license plate. A judge ordered King to pay $750 in fines based on the jury's recommendation. His attorney initially asked for extra time to pay those fine because he was considering an appeal, but he says now that King will not appeal the charge.

Williamsburg passed a referendum to sell alcohol 448 to 241.  Mayor Roddy Henderson says he knows it is a divisive issue, but felt being a dry territory was holding the area back as businesses considering Williamsburg as a location tended to look elsewhere when discovering they were dry.  Harrison says most of the tax revenue from package liquor, beer, and wine sales will go to the police department, whom he says will be vigilantly patrolling, and making sure the towns new wet status doesn’t make it go wild.

Explosions rocked the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul yesterday killing at least 36 people and wounding around 150.  Initial reports say three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up.  EKU graduate and Kentucky native Seth Collins says he had a flight scheduled back to Kentucky just a few hours after the explosion.  Collins says his airline made him other arrangements as the Ataturk airport is closed indefinitely.

Perry County Central girls basketball coach Randy Napier is the winning-est coach in the state and took some time yesterday to remember another legend.  Napier says Pat Summit, who died at the age of 64, made women's basketball important.  He says he had a chance to interact with you and believes intensity and drive led to the success of the Tennessee women’s program.

Monday 11-2-15

There’s a new option in town if you get sick on Sunday’s.  People in Letcher County used to only have two options on Sunday: go to the emergency room, or wait until Monday.  The Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation and Appalachian Regional Healthcare will now be open on Sunday’s from 1pm til 6 pm.  The healthcare provider using those Sunday hours to promote colon cancer screenings.  While Dr. David Terwilliger says they’d like to see everyone over 50 in the county screened.

Open enrollment for Kynect is underway. This year, Kynect leaders say there are more options for families to choose from. If you already have Kynect, you must re-enroll to continue your coverage. The enrollment period closes January 31st.

More than 300 jobs are coming to southwest Virginia and recruiters are looking for locals to fill those positions. TeleTech is hoping to fill full-time customer-service openings at a new location in Weber City. The company will hold several hiring events this week.The job fairs will run Monday, Nov. 2 through Thursday, Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Virginia Workforce Connection in Norton.

UK head coach Mark Stoops says his Kentucky Wildcats need to man up.  He says after the 52-21 loss to the Tennessee volunteers they need to find a way to get better before playing Georgia last week.  They’re coming off a blowout loss to florida.

High school marching bands across the state competed in a championship Saturday. The Hazard Band of Gold was among many bands to compete in Bowling Green. Hazard placed fourth in the state in the 1A division. The band followed behind Beechwood, Murray, and Williamstown. One band member said this was a great accomplishment. 

The University of Pikeville will begin the new year with a new president — Burton Webb, PhD. Dr. Webb was chosen recently by the UPike Board of Regents, and will take over Jan. 1 from Chancellor Paul Patton.

Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade nnnot optimistic about voter turnout numbers tomorrow.  He says negative campaigning in statewide races, and no local offices on the ballot will  cause the lowest voter turnout in the 17 years he’s been county clerk.  Absentee voting  in the county was very low.  If that trend holds, Clerk Meade could be right.

Both candidates seeking the 7th District Supreme Court seat in Eastern Kentucky are experienced judges, but their experience is very different. Janet L. Stumbo, who is on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, has served 24 years on that court and the state Supreme Court. Her opponent, Samuel T. Wright III, the circuit judge in Letcher County, has been on the bench more than 23 years, first as a district judge for a short time but mostly in his current position.

With Veterans Day a little over a week away, the Veterans Referral Center held their 9th annual telethon.  The fundraiser supports the center's needs for the entire year. The telethon  at the Paintsville Recreation Center raises money to keep them going.  . 

A portion of Big Hollow Road in Sullivan County will be closed starting today.The Sullivan County Highway Department will be repairing a portion of Big Hollow Road to strengthen the shoulder. Big Hollow Road will reopen when repairs are complete

Keeneland was packed with a record attendance of about 50,100 people Saturday. They were all there for the Breeders Cup, and got a real treat as triple crown winner American pharaoh became grand slam winner American pharaoh.  Just a few minutes after he won the classic by six lengths he retired to stud at Coolmore Farms in Versailles. 

Wednesday 10-28-15

The Prestonsburg Police Department is making some changes after one of their officers was shot one week ago. Officer Adam Dixon was not wearing a bullet proof vest when he was shot last week, a decision the Prestonsburg Assistant Police Chief says was his to make.  Now they’re changing that policy requiring every officer to wear and be trained in bullet proof vests.  Both Assistant Police Chief, Gerald Clark and Sheriff John Hunt say they are guilty of not always wearing one, one reason being the heat, but Both agree no reason is worth risking your life. Dixon has been released from the hospital and will be okay.

Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin made a campaign stop in Hazard. Bevin spoke to people at France's Diner in Hazard. While Eastern Kentucky tends to vote Democrat in state elections, Bevin says he hopes people will vote their values, not their party. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced record voter registration ahead of the November 3rd election.

A Perry County man charged with attempted murder in connection to a shooting went before a judge yesterday.  Terry Newman, 53, has pleaded not guilty to shooting Chasidy Miniard in the arm. Miniard suffered non life-threatening injuries. Newman said in an interview from jail the shooting was an accident.  The grand jury will decide whether to indict Newman.

Alice Lloyd College is receiving positive attention for a new flag on campus.  The college posted a status on Facebook saying they put up a new Christian flag at the center of campus. The flag stands alongside the American flag, the Kentucky flag, and the Alice Lloyd College flag. President Joe Stepp says he’s happy to get such a positive response.

Good numbers of deer across the state coupled with a cool and wet summer and sub-par mast production means big harvest numbers Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says early returns have been very good.  Archery hunters, youth hunters, and muzzleloaders all brought in more than expected so far this season

22 year old Bobby Snell is charged with murder, assault first degree, assault second degree and DUI. State Police troopers say Snell lost control and his car ended on its top and the three people riding with him along the side of the road. They said Shirley France, a nurse, tried to comfort the most severely injured, 18 year old Caitlin Simpkins, she later died.  Brandon and Justin Collins both survived the crash. Investigators said Snell admitted to driving under the influence the night of the crash. The grand jury will decide whether to indict Snell. If they do the case will then head to circuit court.   commonwealth's attorney John Hansen said right now he is unsure if he will seek the death penalty.

Danville police say a Danville Schoole system volunteer and youth director at Gethsemane Baptist Church is charged with with promoting sexual performance by a minor, unlawful transaction with a minor and portraying a police officer.  an investigation was launched into 28 year old Bobby Cassady  after the 17-year-old boy told police about "suspicious activity." That investigation led them to a 15-year-old boy who sent Cassady pictures and improper text messages over the next year.  The pastor at Gethsemane Baptist says the allegations are troubling based on the man they hired two years ago to work with their young people.  It’s not clear if the victims were members of the church youth group or Danville high school students or neither.

The Harlan County Board of Education has approved a three-year contract to Superintendent Mike Howard, whose current three-year deal ends in June. The offer was approved during the board’s recent special meeting,

A 43 year-old Martin County woman who police say was driving on the wrong side of the road died on Monday afternoon when her vehicle collided with a semi-truck. After hitting the semi-truck police say Hensley's vehicle left the roadway, overturned multiple times and rolled down an embankment. Police say Hensley who was not wearing a seat belt died at the scene of the collision, alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor to the crash.