LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday March 11, 2014

Barbourville officials have cited results from a recent state audit in their attempt to oust Mayor David Thompson. The hearing is set for today at 6 p.m.The action comes after the council asked Thompson last week to resign. They cited two state statutes involving misconduct and conflict of interest. Thompson refused the request and later denied any wrongdoing. He said the council cited nothing more than the findings from the audit in seeking his removal. He says the city has already put policies into place to correct items as recommended by the auditor's office.
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A Letcher County woman faces life in prison after accepting a plea deal in a murder case.  Stephanie Fleming admitted her role in the 2012 death of her then husband, Drad Fleming. In June 2012 police found Drad Fleming murdered in his burnt out truck along Franks Creek Road.
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More than 200 forest fires have burned more than five thousand acres in Kentucky so far this year. This past weekend, state officials say 44 fires burned 652 acres. A forest fire is burning near the Christopher area of Perry County. Fire officials say it started around five in the afternoon and continues to burn. Bell County Forest Rangers say they are working three fires. A fire on Mountain Drive burned more than 50 acres.
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A school spending plan awaiting a vote by the House budget committee would go along with the governor's recommendation for a sizable funding increase for public kindergarten-through-12th grade classrooms across Kentucky.The proposal from a budget subcommittee on Monday also calls for extra funding to expand preschool services, but at a lower amount than recommended by Gov. Beshear in January. It also retains the governor's proposed pay raises for teachers and other school employees.
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The trial of a Laurel County man facing attempted murder was continued yesterday.  William Mills was indicted for shooting 31 year old William McDougal at a home on Littleton Road last August. Police say mills and McDougal were fighting when they arrived.  A pre-trial conference is set for March 24th.
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The federal vote fraud trial of a former Martin City mayor was rescheduled. Former Mayor of the city of Martin in Floyd County.  Thomasine Robinson and five others were indicted in December on a vote buying scheme. Prosecutors say that Robinson and the others conspired together to intimidate, oppress, threaten, and even injure voters in Martin. A judge set a new trial date for May 5th. Robinson and Christine Whicker were convicted on eight counts related to defrauding the the social security administration and misusing government money last month.

Friday March 7, 2014

The Mountain Heritage Festival Committee is accepting applications for the 2014 fall semester. The scholarship applications are available at www.mountainheritagefestival. com under the applications heading. Applications will also be available through the school’s guidance counselors. There will be four scholarships awarded in the amount of $250 each. The scholarships are available to high school seniors and current college students. Applications must be returned by May 15.
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Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb was surprised last week when he opened a package containing a Bronze Star Medal. As an Army tank supervisor, Webb was issued the fourth-highest individual military award for heroism in a combat zone while serving in Vietnam. In 1969, Webb received a package that contained the citation for the medal, but not the medal itself.
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A contentious Kentucky bill that would enact a statewide ban on smoking in shared public spaces and places of employment is dead. Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington said  that despite high public approval and Democratic leadership urging progress on the bill, it is unlikely to be taken up for a vote on the House floor this session. Westrom says it's due to pressure from lobbying organizations and some lawmakers.
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Official's with the Whitley County Sheriff's department have confirmed the Emanuel Herrara has been found. Herrara was found at the Phoenix House in Corbin. Herrara was reported missing from a home on Elbert Lane in Williamsburg just after 9pm Wednesday. We are told Herrara suffers a mental disorder.
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What is best for their local businesses? That is the question Pikeville City leaders are asking as they debate a major change to the parking system in downtown. Some business owners like the current system while others are hoping for a change.  City officials say it is no secret there is simply not enough parking in the downtown area and that is why they are now discussing installing parking meters. They say it is a good problem to have as it means there is plenty of traffic through town creating local commerce.

Thursday March 6, 2014

A 39- year- old Isom man is charged by the Letcher County Grand Jury with helping his 15-yearold son severely beat another juvenile at the Letcher County Recreation Center in Whitesburg last week. The grand jury charges that Lewis Brock, of 141 Stampers Branch helped his son in planning and committing an assault in which the second juvenile, also 15, suffered serious injuries which required hospitalization. This incident occurred in the gymnasium area of the recreation center on February 25, two days before the grand jury named Brock and eight other persons in separate felony indictments.
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Funeral services will be held tomorrow for a 37-year-old Burdine man who died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident early Sunday morning. Police have not determined which of the three occupants was driving the pickup truck. Ronnie Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene. Robert Walker, 36, and Shawn Bevins, 44, both of Millstone, were transported to Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Hospital for medical treatment.
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After demanding money from an Isom Double Kwik employee early Sunday morning, a man armed with a hammer left the convenience store on foot with a cash register drawer containing $400. The suspect entered the convenience store located at 9722 Highway 25 South at 2:08 a.m. on March 2. The robber, who was last seen heading north on KY 15, is described as a white male. Police say the store employee was unable to give an accurate physical description of the subject.
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If it seems too good to be true, it could be a scam. “If you get a check from a lottery or anything that you have to send money back, it is a scam. On average, two people a week have reported various telephone scams to the sheriff ’s department for the past month. In one incident, a woman was told that she had been selected as a lucky shopper. She would receive a check for $2,500, of which she was to send $2,100 back and keep $400 to shop. Don't it's a scam.
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The Mountain Heritage Festival Committee is accepting applications for the 2014 fall semester. The scholarship applications are available at www.mountainheritagefestival. com under the applications heading. Applications will also be available through the school’s guidance counselors. There will be four scholarships awarded in the amount of $250 each. The scholarships are available to high school seniors and current college students. Applications must be returned by May 15.
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Despite a lull in the winter storms that have pounded the state, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has advised its 12 highway districts to conserve salt supplies and focus on other conservation efforts in combating further snow and ice this season. Currently, the cabinet has less than 70,000 tons of salt on hand statewide. Historically, this amount has been more than enough for riding out the winter. A national salt shortage, delays in salt deliveries and wave after wave of winter storms have hampered the cabinet’s snow and ice removal efforts.

Wednesday March 5, 2014

A bill that would allow a greater number of employees to be legally classified as independent contractors has passed the Kentucky Senate. The bill would also shield primary contractors from liability for illegal activity conducted by the subcontractors they hire. All workers' compensation decisions regarding contractors and subcontractors would be handled by the Labor Cabinet. Sen. John Schickel, a Republican from Union says the measure has the support of Kentucky's business sector and would be beneficial for business interests in the state.
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An update on a deadly weekend accident in Letcher County. Police say 27 year old Ronnie Campbell died in the crash. Troopers say a truck ran off the road along Kentucky Highway 805, hit a tree and flipped.  Robert Walker and Shawn Bevins suffered non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle has not been determined.  Troopers believe alcohol played a role in the crash.
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Five different departments, consisting of nearly 60 firefighters. have been called in to help battle a blaze at an auto parts store in downtown Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Big Stone Gap Police said firefighters were called to NAPA Auto Parts, 13 East 5th St., around 5 p.m. Monday. Part of the NAPA store partially collapsed due to the blaze. Firefighters say one person was injured at the scene and rushed to the hospital.
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Workers have plucked a third Corvette from a giant sinkhole that swallowed eight classic cars at a Kentucky museum. More painstaking work lies ahead to retrieve the five cars still buried deep in the hole beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. Progress continued Tuesday when a 1962 black Corvette was extracted by a crane.
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A scheduled statewide tornado safety drill was delayed for a day due to a winter storm that has caused problems and closed schools around Kentucky this week. The drill is being held as part of Severe Weather Awareness Month and is set for 10:07 a.m. this morning. Kentucky Broadcasters Association will send a tornado test message that will activate weather radios and broadcast media.

Tuesday March 4, 2014

Most of the University of Kentucky direct deposit payroll that didn't make it into bank accounts as scheduled Friday has now been posted. The university says as of Monday afternoon, about 85 percent of employee pay had been posted, with the remainder expected to be posted by Monday night. UK said last week that PNC Bank, which handles payroll posting, had an error that resulted in the problem. The error affected about 16,000 full-time, part-time and temporary employees who are paid biweekly.
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More ATVs reported stolen in Knox County were recovered in Bell County. This is the third time this year police have found four-wheelers stolen in Knox County and hidden in the hills of Bell County. Deputies believe the thefts are connected. Bell County Sheriff's Deputies say last week, they got a tip two ATVs were in the woods in the Dorton Branch area. Deputies hiked a mile into the woods and found them.
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Fayette County Schools will not have class on Tuesday, March 4. The district made the decision to cancel on Monday evening. Schools were out Monday as well due to a winter storm that dumped about five inches of snow on Lexington. Tuesday marks Fayette County Schools 13th snow day of the school year.
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Severe Weather Awareness Week continues through this Friday, March 7th. All Kentuckians are encouraged to prepare themselves and their homes for severe weather, including tornadoes, flash floods, and severe thunderstorms. The National Weather Service in Jackson will be sharing information  on a variety of severe weather safety and preparedness topics using their website and social media outlets throughout the week.
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Kentucky artists who are qualified to conduct residencies in schools may apply to be included in the online Teaching Artists Directory. The Kentucky Arts Council says it is accepting applications until March 15 for the index. Applicants must reside in Kentucky and have the skills required to work with teachers and students to design and implement arts education programs.