Tuesday January 14, 2014

Eight days and counting for some as thousands remain without water across the region. The failure to resolve water problems in Floyd County has people changing their everyday lifestyles. Calls from customers keep piling up. However, folks say resolutions have become false guarantees. Unusually cold temperatures caused Southern Water customers to lose water.

Thousands remain without water in Johnson County. Paintsville Utility officials say it is primarily in the northern and western parts of the county along with some customers in Lawrence County. Officials say it is a slow but steady process to get the water back on. The reason? Officials say last week's freezing temperatures. Water crews say restoring service to all customers is a slow process as they are working to make several repairs and their system plays catch up because along with those main line breaks, thousands of gallons were also lost in individual meter breaks.

Middlesboro Police arrested a teenager accused of stealing a water heater. Police say they caught 18-year-old Elvis Dixon and a juvenile pushing the water heater on a dolly down the road. Police say they stole it from a home on 45th Street early Monday morning. He faces burglary and drug charges.

Noah Hughes of Cumberland won a Ralph Gabbard Broadcasting Scholarship. He is one of three students in Eastern Kentucky to receive the honor. The awards were handed out last week during the WYMT Whayne Supply Mountain Basketball Classic. Hughes attends Harlan County High School where he is already preparing for a career in broadcasting. Hughes conducts interviews, writes stories, edits video, and anchors the news. He also writes for the school newspaper.

A Knott County agency is in some hot water following a less-than-desirable audit. That audit has landed the Knott County Water and Sewer District under investigation for mismanagement of funds. The finances in question stem from April of 2012. Knott County Judge Executive Zach Weinberg says an independent auditor had trouble accounting for several thousands of dollars in disbursements by the water district.


Thursday January 9, 2014

Health advocates are preparing another push for a statewide smoking ban in some public places, and the campaign is drawing bipartisan support from some Kentucky lawmakers.  Republican Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville and Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington said Wednesday they will file statewide smoke-free legislation.  They said everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air at work and in public. There's a patchwork of local smoking bans in Kentucky.

Police need your help finding a man who has been missing for about a week. Police say 62 year old William "Dan" Oakes Senior went missing from his home in Williamsburg on January 2nd. Whitley County Sheriff's Officials are still searching for Oakes. He is about 5'11 and 181 pounds with blue eyes, brown hair and scarring on his face. Anyone with information is asked to call Whitley County Dispatch.

Just one day after setting an all-time record, a new one is in the books for power usage. Kentucky Utilities now says that customer demand for power hit an all-time peak on Tuesday night. Customers used nearly 5,100 megawatts in the hour ending at nine Tuesday night. That's about 30 megawatts higher than the prior record set Monday night. East Kentucky Power said it also experienced an all-time high for usage on Tuesday.

An eight-county region of southeastern Kentucky will be among five locations that the President will announce this week as "Promise Zones" to help communities tackle poverty. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the counties are Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley. The president's announcement is part of a focus on income inequality in the lead-up to his State of the Union address. Promise Zones are areas where the federal government provides tax incentives and grants. Obama first announced the initiative during last year's State of the Union speech.

Senior citizens in Letcher County will soon be given the opportunity to move into new apartments in the same building in which some of them once attended school. The 101-year-old building that once housed Jenkins High School is being converted into senior apartments but is maintaining many of the features that have made it such a beloved structure to many.
The building’s new design was based on the existing layout of the old school, which resulted in eight different floor plans for the building’s 26 apartment units.

Reporters flocked around House Speaker Greg Stumbo Tuesday afternoon, many asking the same question about a gun that went off in Rep. Leslie Comb's office Tuesday. She called the misfire an accident and said no one was hurt or in harm's way. And she said she followed safety procedures. A source close to the situation described the damage by the bullet as significant.

Wednesday January 8, 2014

President Barack Obama plans to announce today that an area of southeast Kentucky struggling with chronic poverty and the loss of thousands of coal jobs will get priority when seeking federal money for job training, education, housing and other programs,

An eight-county area of Eastern Kentucky has been chosen for the Promise Zone program, according to the White House.

The designation will not include a big pot of new federal money, but it will give the counties priority for funding through existing programs and special help from federal officials in applying for money and coordinating efforts to fight poverty.  

The counties in the zone are Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley.

The announcement today was chosen to correspond with the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 State of the Union speech in which he called for "unconditional war on poverty in America."

Get more at kentucky.com


A Pineville woman is accused of trying to sneak pills into the Bell County Detention Center.

Middlesboro Police arrested 41-year-old Michelle Brock on shoplifting charges at Wal-mart.

Police say when they took her to jail, officers found a pill bottle hidden in a body cavity.

Police say she tried to smuggle more than 50 pills into the jail.


State auditors are referring the city of Barbourville audit to the Attorney General's Office, the Kentucky Department of Revenue, and Cabinet for Health and Family Services for review.

The audit started last year at the request of five of the six city council members.

The audit covered 2007 to August of last year.

The audit, released on Tuesday claims there is lax controls and oversight that led to financial abuse in the city.

Local officials say they are already fixing the issues and looking at the recommendations from the state audit.


The arraignment for a former Martin City mayor has been postponed.

In December, former Mayor Thomasine Robinson and five others were indicted in a vote buying scheme.

Prosecutors wrote in the indictment, Thomasine Robinson and the others conspired together to intimidate, oppress, threaten, and even injure voters of Martin.

All six are set to now enter pleas Thursday in Pikeville Federal Court.


A Harlan County woman will have to wait a little longer to learn how long she will serve behind bars.

In September, Rachel Osborne pleaded guilty to her part in the murder of 58 year old Steven Gibson.

Gibson's body was found in his Harlan home in June of 2011. Police later determined it had been there for a month.

Osborne agreed to plead guilty to wanton murder and robbery charges in exchange for a 20 year sentence.

She also agreed to testify against the other defendant, Timothy Turner.

A new sentencing date is not set yet.

Tuesday January 7, 2014

Wind chills plunged well below zero across Kentucky on Monday as a blast of arctic air forced schools to close and kept many people from venturing outside into the biting cold.  Temperatures dropped into the low single digits, and wind chills plummeted to 22 below zero at Louisville, 20 below in Lexington, 15 below in Jackson in eastern Kentucky and 14 below in Paducah in the west. Wind chills were expected to remain stuck well below zero across the state today.

Kentucky State Police say two people are dead following a blaze that destroyed a mobile home. police say the fire in Marion County was reported early Monday morning. Multiple departments from Marion and Nelson County responded and found the bodies after extinguishing the blaze. Police identified the victims as 60-year-old Thomas Wayne Cundiff and his wife, 71-year-old Mary Rose Cundiff, of the Holy Cross community.

While Letcher County has the state’s fourth-highest rate of unemployment, the current state of joblessness here is not as bad as it has been at other times in the modern era. Letcher County’s unemployment rate for November was 15 percent, up from 14.7 percent in October and 13.9 percent the year before. Letcher’s unemployment rate is better than only Leslie (16.5 percent), Magoffin (15.8), and Harlan (15.6) as the latest prolonged slump in mining leaves coalfield counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state.

Police are still looking for a Pike County fugitive who walked out of the Whitesburg hospital on Christmas Eve and left in a hospital pickup truck. Amanda Yonts, 24, of Shelby Gap, was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit of the Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital for a drug overdose. Nurses were aware that Yonts was wanted on an arrest warrant from Pike County for failure to pay fines.


Monday January 6, 2014

Fish and Wildlife officials need your help catching illegal poachers. Officials say two bull elk were shot Sunday morning in Knott County near the Beaver Creek Park. While it's legal for archers to hunt elk at this time, it is illegal to shoot them. Callers may remain anonymous, and a $1000 reward is offered for information that leads to the conviction of the poachers.

Around nine o'clock Sunday morning the Pikeville Police and Fire Departments responded to a call about a truck in the pond off of Hambley Blvd. When they arrived on scene officers say they saw a brown Ford truck partially under water. Officials discovered it was unoccupied. Officials say the keys were also still in the ignition and discovered the Pike County Sheriff's Office had received a report about this vehicle being stolen from the Big Creek area.

A man is behind bars following harassment complaints from several women. Laurel County Deputies say Willie Hubbard, 24, of Lily was harassing female customers at House's Liberty Station Saturday evening. Managers say they asked Hubbard to leave, but he refused. Officials say they saw Hubbard trying to get money from a woman in the parking lot when they showed up. Hubbard told police he had not been drinking, but that his father had spilled beer on him. Hubbard is charged with Criminal Trespassing, and Alcohol Intoxication.

A school district in Danville is leading the state in project-based learning. The concept is a deeper learning model that requires students to apply what they have learned to show that they are ready for college or a career after high school. Danville Independent School District Superintendent Carmen Coleman says that it's a different kind of accountability system for schools. As part of the move toward the concept, Coleman is preparing to state and federal officials for permission to stop giving two standardized tests to high school students.