LOCAL NEWS

Wednesday October 1, 2014

FLOYD COUNTY INMATE ESCAPES CUSTODY AND IS STILL ON THE RUN

A Floyd County jail inmate being transferred to Pike County authorities escapes custody. Police say Jeremiah Vance assaulted the officer transporting him to the Pike County Detention center then took off on foot. Vance is described as white, 5-8 and around 180 pounds. Call 9-1-1 if you know of Vance's whereabouts

A WISE COUNTY TEENAGER WON'T BE TRIED AS AN ADULT

A Wise County Virginia teenager accused in the fatal shooting of his older stepbrother is not being tried as an adult.  Commonwealth Attorney Ron Elkins says because the teenager - who he declined to identify because he is under age - has no criminal history, his case remains with the juvenile court. Elkins said the investigation shows the boy did not act in self defense. He said police have been to the home where the 2 brothers lived a number of times for matters involving the older brother.

NEW SHERIFF IN FLOYD COUNTY

There's a new sheriff in town - in fact for all the towns - and cities - in Floyd County. John Hunt takes the oath office to succeed John Blackburn, who steps down due to health concerns. Blackburn holds the distinction of serving the longest as Sheriff of Floyd County. Hunt is running unopposed for Sheriff in November, so when Blackburn announced his resignation, Judge/Executive Doc Hastings appointed Hunt to take office now.

4 MOUNTAIN COUNTIES TO GET FEDERAL MONEY DUE TO FLOODING

4 Eastern Kentucky counties are granted federal aid for recovery  from damage resulting from heavy rains in August. President Obama approved the disaster assistance for Knott, Floyd, Pike and Johnson Counties. The declaration includes money to help pay for actions to prevent damage from occurring in the future.  Meetings with federal and state officials are being scheduled to go over what aid is available and how to apply for it.

PERRY COUNTY FISCAL COURT BEING SUED

Perry County's fiscal court is being sued over its plans to borrow $2.4 million for blacktopping county roads and the purchase of two commercial lawn mowers to maintain grass on the side of roadways. The Hazard Herald reports Perry County Sheriff Les Burgett along with Judge/Executive candidate Scott Alexander filed a petition to block the work, saying the fiscal court failed to follow procedure when it approved the project. Current Judge/Executive Denny Ray Noble tells the newspaper the lawsuit is "just politics".

PIKE COUNTY FISCAL COURT MAKES NO CHANGES TO TAX RATES

Pike County's fiscal court decides to keep tax rates where they are for the next fiscal year. The Appalachian News Express reports the decision to leave real property rates at 12.6 cents per $100 assessed value, personal property and motor vehicles at 14 cents per $100 and 2 cents per acre for fire protection may cost the county over a quarter of a million dollars. Tax hikes are planned by the county's library district, extension service, conservation district and Pikeville Independent Schools.  The Pike County School district has not submitted its rates for 2014.

HCTC GETS GRANTS FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Hazard County Technical College gets over $5 million from the US Department of Labor for training programs in information technology. The Hazard Herald reports HCTC is heading a group of 6 schools sharing a total of $10 million in federal money to create the IT training which college officials say will start being offered next summer. This grant is part of $450 million awarded to community colleges nationwide.

WISE COUNTY WOMAN BEING HELD IN A WEST VIRGINIA JAIL

A Wise County, Virginia woman remains in a West Virginia jail on suspicion of kidnapping her 3 children. Police say Lisa Cantrell was pulled over on I-77 near Charleston when officers found her car's license plate number matched information provided by child welfare authorities. Wise County Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Ron Elkins says it's not clear if Cantrell will fight extradition. The kids weren't hurt and are back with family.

Tuesday September 30, 2014

COURT DATE SET FOR WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING FROM WHITESBURG MIDDLE SCHOOL

A November 5 court date is set for a Letcher County woman accused of stealing property from Whitesburg Middle School. Court papers say Peggy Cook stole the items - valued at over $10,000 - during a 15 month period beginning July 2012. Cook was fired in October 2013.  If convicted Cook could be in prison for up to 10 years.

HARLAN COUNTY MAN APPEARS IN COURT ON DUI CHARGES

A man from Harlan County makes his first court appearance today on DUI charges stemming from a one car accident. Police say Jackson Stewart crashed his car last week on Kentucky 38 in the Highsplint Community, then drove from the scene. He was eventually pulled over and given a field sobriety test. Stewart had a woman and a child as passengers and officers found drugs in the car.

WISE COUNTY VIRGINIA TEENAGER CHARGED WITH FATALLY SHOOTING OLDER BROTHER

A Wise County Virginia teenager is arrested for fatally shooting his older brother. Police say the 15 year old from Pound Virginia was involved in what's described as a domestic situation with his 24 year old brother before opening fire yesterday morning. Detectives say the teenager then called 9-1-1 saying he shot his brother and asked for assistance. He's in jail on suspicion of murder and using a firearm in committing a felony.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK DAY NETS ALMOST 1 TON OF PILLS

Over 3/4 ton of expired and unneeded prescription pills in southern and eastern Kentucky are safely disposed of during the 9th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Operation UNITE worked with the Kentucky State Police and the US Drug Enforcement Agency to operate 42 collection sites on Saturday resulting in over 1650 pounds of pills taken in. Permanent drop boxes are available at a number of locations and a list is posted at operationunite.org.

DROWNING VICTIM REMEMBERED IN FLOYD COUNTY

A Floyd County man who drowned while kayaking was remembered by loved ones gathering at his home in the Tram community. Police say Milford Boyd had separated from a group of paddlers at Levisa Fork and his body was found Sunday. Boyd's wife says she wants folks to know he was a great man, a great father and loved his community. In addition to his wife, Boyd is survived by 3 adult children.  Family members say Boyd was a kayaker for 20 years.

HARLAN COUNTY DOG THIEF IS IN JAIL

A suspected Harlan County dog thief is jailed on without bond. Police say Gladys Wallace of Harlan took a Maltese dog valued at over $500 from a home in the Jones Creek area. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports police found the dog at Wallace's home last week and investigators say she admitted to the theft.

GRAND JURY INDICTS PIKE COUNTY MAN ON MURDER CHARGES

A grand jury indictment is handed down against a Pike County man suspected of murder. Daniel Little is accused in the May murder of Tiffany Mullins at a home in the Little Robinson Creek Community. Police say Little suffered stab wounds and was hospitalized in critical condition. Investigators haven't said what happened before the stabbing happened.

LICENSE PLATE SCANNER HELPS LOCATE WISE COUNTY VIRGINIA WOMAN WHO KIDNAPPED HER 3 KIDS

A high tech police tool is credited with locating a Wise County, Virginia woman suspected of kidnapping her 3 children. West Virginia State Police using an automated license plate scanner located the suspect in Kanawha County when the vehicle came up as a match to information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Investigators in Wise County Virginia say Lisa Cantrell picked up her three kids, ages 17, 12, and 9, from school on Wednesday and left the area. Cantrell is under arrest and the 3 children are in the care of family members.

Monday September 29, 2014

LETCHER COUNTY MAN WHO FIRED SHOTS NEAR BLACKEY STILL ON THE RUN

A gunman opening fire in a Letcher County community remains at large. State Police say the shooter fired at a number of homes Friday night on Wilder Drive in the Blackey community. There are no reports of injuries.

LETCHER COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF ARMED ROBBERY IN VIRGINIA WILL BE EXTRADICTED

A Letcher County man pulled over by State Police is being extradited for an armed robbery in Wise County, Virginia. Police say an alert from Pound, Virginia authorities helped officers find William Sawyer of Blackey and take him into custody just 2 hours after holding up a convenience store. Pound Police are obtaining warrants to bring Stewart back to Wise County.

LESLIE COUNTY HS GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM GATHERS GET WELL CARDS

Leslie County High School's girls basketball team gathered thousands of get well cards from fellow students and delivered them to 4 girls dealing with serious illnesses. The team went to schools across the county on Friday hoping to collect 1200 cards - but collected over twice as many. Cards were delivered to the 4 girls over the weekend.

FLOYD COUNTY SHERIFF RESIGNS 3 MONTHS EARLY DUE TO HEALTH

Floyd County Sheriff John K. Blackburn resigned 3 months before the end of his term due to health concerns. County Judge-Executive Doc Marshall tells the Floyd County Times Blackburn said in his resignation letter that it had been an honor to work for the citizens of Floyd County and with his fellow officials. John Hunt - who is running unopposed for Sheriff - is to be sworn in tomorrow to succeed Blackburn.

HAZARD POLICE ARREST FAMILY DOLLAR STORE EMPLOYEE FOR FALSE CALL TO HIDE EMPLOYEE THEFT

Hazard police responding to a robbery call at a Family Dollar store found that in reality - it was a false call to conceal an employee theft. Detectives say the employee - identified as Eric Pennington - told officers he was attacked Friday morning while taking a deposit to the bank, but a review of security video along with witness interviews didn't support Pennington's story. He later admitted he hit himself to look like he was assaulted. The empty money bag was found nearby and the cash was located in Pennington's car, along with some prescription painkillers.

PERRY COUNTY TRIO INDICTED ON ILLEGAL TRUCKING OPERATION CHARGES

Indictments are handed down against 3 Perry County trucking operators on a number of charges including conspiracy and wire fraud. Court papers say Elliot Campbell, Melinda Campbell and Bryan Napier forced customers to pay first before loads were delivered, deceived federal regulators and set up sham operations to continue the fraud as complaints poured in about their former companies. In addition to restitution, the government is attempting to seize a number of semi trucks operated by the trio.

BODY OF MISSING KAYAKER FOUND IN FLOYD COUNTY

The body of a kayaker reported missing in Floyd County is found by rescuers. Police say Milford Boyd had separated from a group of paddlers on Saturday at Levisa Fork. Searchers were out Saturday night and brought K-9s in Sunday morning to help find Boyd. He is presumed drowned and the Floyd County coroner is determining Boyd's exact cause of death.

HARLAN COUNTY MAN SUFFERS LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES IN ATV ACCIDENT

A man is fighting for his life from injuries suffered in an ATV accident in Harlan County. The crash happened Saturday night on US 421 at Cranks where police say the rider failed to negotiate a horseshoe curve and hit a guardrail. An airlift was called in to take the man to a trauma center.

GRANT AWARDED TO MOUNTAIN WATER DISTRICT TO MOVIE PUMPING STATIONS

A $1 million grant is awarded to the Pike County Mountain Water District. The money is going to move flooding-prone pumping stations to above the 500-year flood plain. FEMA is providing the bulk of the grant with around 10 percent coming from the commonwealth. The remaining money for the $1.2 million project is paid by the water district.

Friday September 26, 2014

 

WHITESBURG MIDDLE SCHOOL SECRETARY FACES CHARGES OF STEALING SCHOOL PROPERTY

A Letcher County grand jury indictment is handed down against a former Whitesburg Middle School secretary accused of stealing school property. Court papers say Peggy Cook stole the items - valued at over $10,000 - during a 15 month period beginning July 2012. Cook was fired in October 2013.  If convicted Cook could be in prison for up to 10 years. A trial date has not been scheduled.

LETCHER COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES DROPPED

Letcher County unemployment dropped nearly 2 percent in August. Data from Office of Employment and Training puts the county's rate at 11.5 percent, with just over 850 people looking for work. It's a big improvement from last August when the rate was 16.6 percent. Magoffin County had the highest unemployment in August at 13.3 percent, but even there the rate dropped 3 percent from a year ago.

FORMER WHITESBURG HIGH SCHOOL VANDALIZED

The former Whitesburg High School is the target of vandals. Police say a window was broken to gain access and graffiti along with obscene language are painted on a number of classroom walls. A security guard is now keeping an eye on the building to insure it isn't further damaged as the district is trying to sell the property.

FORMER KNOTT COUNTY WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT MANAGER ACCEPTS PLEA DEAL

A former Knott County water and sewer district manager takes a plea deal on theft charges. Court papers say between 2009 and 2013 Reva Campbell made questionable charges of around $85,000 on a department-issued credit card. Attorney General Jack Conway's office says an investigation began last October after possible forged financial documents were found during an audit of the district. Campbell's deal nets her 5 years probation and she has to make restitution. Had Campbell gone to trial she could have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

DRIVER IN HARLAN COUNTY CRASH MAY FACE DUI CHARGES

The driver causing a one car crash in Harlan County may face DUI charges. Police say the driver - identified as Jackson Stewart - crashed his car on Kentucky 38 in the Highsplint Community, then left the scene. He was eventually pulled over and given a field sobriety test. Officers found drugs in the car. Stewart had a woman and a child as passengers but police haven't said if they were hurt in the crash.

VICCO MAN BEHIND BARS AFTER 2 COUNTY POLICE CHASE

The driver accused of leading police on a chase through 2 counties is behind bars. Police say Larry Ratliff of Vicco was pulled over in Perry County a week ago because his pickup matched the description of one used in a recent burglary. Ratliff took off, leading police into Knott County then abandoned the truck and took off on foot, forcing Carr Creek Elementary into lockdown. He was arrested the next day and is held in the Letcher County Jail pending a court appearance on a number of charges.

MARIJUANA CHARGES FILED AGAINST FLOYD COUNTY MAN

A Floyd County man already wanted on 2 warrants is now facing charges for growing marijuana. Bobby Dye was arrested when officers responded to a tip about the pot grow in the Hi Hat area. Police say Dye was very cooperative when officers took him into custody, even showing them where a number of plants were being dried in a building.

MOUNTAIN PARKWAY ENGINEERS FIND WAY TO SPEED UP COMPLETION

Governor Steve Beshear announced engineers have found a way to speed up the work on widening the Mountain Parkway and at the same time cut costs of the $750 million project by over 5 percent. Beshear's office says the cost savings are realized through redesigning the expansion in three areas which will provide the same road capacity but at a lower construction cost. Construction starts later this year in Salyersville between US 460 and Kentucky 114 - 2 years ahead of schedule.

 

Thursday September 25, 2014

STOLEN ITEMS FOUND IN LETCHER COUNTY AND 3 ARRESTED

$60,000 worth of stolen items - including a backhoe and a 14 foot trailer - are found in Letcher County, and 3 people are arrested. Police say the backhoe is owned by a Wise County Virginia man who now has it back, but they need help reuniting the other items with their owners. The theft happened in the McPeeks Branch area and investigators say the case will go before a grand jury.

FLOYD COUNTY BURGLARY ATTEMPT STOPPED AND SUSPECT ARRESTED

Things went from bad to worse for a suspected burglar in Floyd County. Police say the man broke into a Prestonsburg home pointing a gun at the 2 people inside threatening to kill them - but one of them wrestled the gun away and the suspect took off. Investigators say seconds later the suspect ran back into the house, only to be hit with an ax handle. The suspect is in the Floyd County Detention Center on $10,000 bond.

ACT SCORES IN HARLAN COUNTY BEST EVER

Scores on standardized tests taken by Harlan County 11th grade students are continuing to improve. Assistant Superintendent Brent Roark says the scores on the ACT - an exam taken by all high school juniors - are the best the district has ever had. The national exam is used by the state as part of its school performance evaluations.

FLOYD COUNTY BUSINESS OWNER FALLS FOR SCAM

A Floyd County business owner is victimized by a scam where someone calls a business threatening to shut off the power unless they make a payment over the phone. The call came in about an hour before closing and the owner - who runs a deli with a large inventory of perishables - did what the caller asked, buying $1500 in debit cards and giving the numbers over the phone. An American Electric Power Spokesman says they never demand payment over the phone, and if someone calls saying they will turn off service hang up and call AEP to be sure there's no issue with an account.

EVARTS TAXPAYERS MAY BEING PAYING MORE SOON

Taxpayers in one Harlan County city may be digging a little deeper to pay their bills. The Daily Enterprise says the Evarts City Council approved the first reading of an increase in the ad valorem tax - a levy on both personal property and real estate - from .407 cents per $100 of assessed value to .415 cents. The hike means about $4 more a year for a homeowner with a property valued at $50,000. A vote on the increase is expected next month and if approved, takes effect with bills sent out in November.

MICHIGAN DOCTOR ACCEPTS PLEA DEAL IN EASTERN KY DRUG CASE

A doctor from Michigan accused of working 2 other people to infiltrate Pike and Floyd Counties with illegal prescription painkillers accepted a plea deal. Court papers say Dr. Anthony Choe wrote prescriptions for the duo who had them filled then gave them to a woman who sold them in Eastern Kentucky to a drug dealer. The deal - which still needs to be okayed by a judge - calls for Choe to spend 5 years in prison and be banned for life from practicing medicine.

STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT PULLING SIGNS THAT AFFECT RIGHT OF WAY

Kentucky Department of Highways workers are pulling down any signs that interfere with the right of way on state roads. A spokesperson says there are a lot more campaign signs up since it's a local election year and since there's one more grass moving cycle to be done for the end of the year, the signs are safety hazards to workers and the public. Removed signs are kept for 2 weeks in the state highway garage for the county they were in.

DRUNK DRIVER PLOWS INTO FLOYD COUNTY TOBACCO SHOP

A Floyd County tobacco shop was unexpectedly converted into a drive-through when a suspected drunk driver plowed into the front window. Police say the driver told them the car's brakes failed but officers found he showed signs of intoxication and failed field sobriety tests. 2 people were in the store at the time and it's not known if they were hurt.