LOCAL NEWS

Thursday June 5, 2014

GUILTY PLEAS IN PIKE COUNTY HEROIN RING

2 people from Pike County have entered guilty pleas for theur roles in a heroin ring with ties to Michigan and Ohio.

Tiffany Caudill could face 20 years in jail and Kevin Maurice Hubbard faces 30 years in prison because he had a prior felony conviction.

According to the Appalachian News Express 12 people await sentencing in what police say was one of the most wide-ranging heroin cases ever investigated.


PERRY COUNTY HOUSE FIRE

No one was hurt when a fire broke out yesterday at a home on Summer Street in Perry County.

Fire officials say most of the damage was to the upper floors of the home but the entire structure had smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but it's not believed to be deliberately set.


FUNDRAISERS FOR HAZARD POLICEMAN BATTLING CANCER

As Hazard Police Lieutenant Paul Campbell continues his fight with stage four colon cancer, folks are taking to social media to help raise money to pay for his medical bills.

Videos are popping up on Facebook showing people taking the "cold water challenge" - and here's how it works:

If you brave the icy water, you give ten dollars to help Lieutenant Campbell - and if you don't - it costs $100.

Officers have arranged another fundaiser - the Hazard Police Foot Pursuit 5k.

It's set for July 3rd, with a car show to follow July 4th.


DESTIN KINCER IN MISS USA PAGEANT SUNDAY

A Letcher County woman is making final preparations to represent the state in Sunday's Miss USA Competition.

Destin Kincer from Little Cowan will be one of the 51 contestants vying for the crown at the pageant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The 2011 graduate of Letcher County Central High School won the Miss Kentucky pageant in January.

Kincer's Miss U-S-A bio says she plans to attend medical school after graduating from the University of Kentucky.


WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS FOR COAL TRUCKS IN PART OF PIKE COUNTY

Pike County's Fiscal Court is getting ready to take action over continued damage to Clevingers Branch from loaded coal trucks using the road.

The Appalachian News Express reports Road Commissioner Frank Hatcher wants to implement an immediate weight restriction so trucks will be forced to use Miller's Creek.

This comes after Assistant County Attorney John Doug Hays reported he has seen no progress between his office and the coal company to work out an arragements to bring the road up to standard.

Pike Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford agreed with Commissioner Hatcher's suggestion, saying that the Court need to balance the needs of the county with those of businesses.


EKCEP RECEIVING GETS GOVERNMENT MONEY

The federal government is sending nearly $8 million to a local organization that helps laid off workers.

Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program  - E-K-C-E-P for short - operates a number of centers giving those out of work access to numerous federal and state programs providing retraining and job search assistance.

Their main office is on North Main Street in Hazard.

The money is to be allocated to EKCEP's help our miners everyday or home initiative.


DICKENSON COUNTY VA CRASH KILLS ONE

A crash in Dickinson County, Virginia killed a man and has a woman fighting for her life.

Police in Clintwood say an S-U-V failed to make a turn at Routes 72 and 83, went through a guardrail and struck a utility pole.

So far there's no word on what caused the crash and the names of the man and woman haven't been disclosed.

Tuesday June 3, 2014

 

BY RICH PRICE

 

HARLAN COUNTY TEENAGER LAID TO REST

The Harlan County teenager who was killed the day before he was supposed to graduate from high school will be laid to rest today.

Police say Cody Fultz was killed Saturday when his car went off the road on Pine Mountain, rolled over and burst into flames.

He was trapped in the burning car.

His passenger Bradley Lloyd, survived the crash with minor injuries.

Friends remembered Fultz as a smart and funny person who was also very generous and always ready to help.

Fultz will be buried at the Scott Cemetary in Bledsoe.

 

RETRAIL DELAYED IN LESLIE COUNTY FAMILY MURDER AND ARSON

The retrial of a man charged with murder and arson in the death of a Leslie County family has been delayed.

Clayton Jackson was senteced to life in prison for the 2004 deaths of Chris and Amanda Sturgill's 3 children.

At the time a jury was deadlocked on the murders of the parents.

Jackson's murder conviction was thrown out by the state Supreme County when it ruled one of the jurors should have been removed because he asked not to serve as he was a friend of the victim's brother.

Yesterday a judge said he would need to review a motion before scheduling a date for the re-trial.

 

CHEMICAL SPILL CAUSES FISH KILL IN HARLAN COUNTY

State fish and wildlife officials say hundreds of fish are dead at a Harlan County mine after an accidental chemical spill last Friday.

The mine near Evarts is operated by Harlan Cumberland Coal Company and officials say the chemicals have been contained.

They were being used to clean a sludge pool and are not toxic to people, according to Fish and Wildlife.

A state official says the company's gone above and beyond in regards to clean-up after the fact.

 

TIGHTER EMISSION STANDARDS ANNOUNCED MONDAY FROM EPA IMPACT COAL INDUSTRY

Reaction to President Obama's announcement about tighter emissions standards on coal-fired power plants was met with mostly negative comments from those work work in the coalfields.

Prestonsburg is one city that would be significantly impacted by the new standards, which call for a nearly 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

The impacts aren't just in the coalfields - workers in associated industries like rail along with businesses that serve the community say they too are concerned they'll be out of work because of the tighter restrictions.

Nine-tenths of Kentucky's power comes from coal.

Prosecutors will ask for the death penalty in the murder case against a Clay County couple.

 

CLAY COUNTY COUPLE TO FACE THE DEATH PENALTY

The Commonwealth will seek the death penalty against a Clay County couple accused of killing Earl Woods, 74.

Joshua Morsch is accused of killing 74 year old Earl Woods in 2012 and his girlfriend Kathy Stewart faces charges of complicity to commit murder.

Police say they believe it started out as a robbery that went wrong and ended with Woods being killed in his home.

 

NEW TRAFFIC SIGNALS IN PIKEVILLE; COMING SOON TO OTHER COUNTIES

A heads up for drivers using the bypass in Pikeville.

New left-turn traffic signals have been installed that now flash yellow when oncoming traffic has a green light.

That means turns are permitted, but drivers must yield to not only vehicles but pedestrians.

Studies show crashes are reduced at intersections with the new signals because drivers know clearly they need to only turn when the intersection is clear.

The new traffic signals will also be installed in Letcher, Floyd and Knott Counties.

 

Friday May 30, 2014

PERRY COUNTY ROBBERY

Police continue their search for a Perry County robbery suspect.  State Troopers say the person robbed the BP Supermart in the Grapevine Community around 10pm Wednesday night.  They say the person walked in with a knife and demanded cash.  No one was hurt.  If you have any information, you can call Kentucky State Police at 606-435-6069.

HARLAN COUNTY DEPUTY ARRESTED

Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipford said he had no choice but to suspend one of his own deputies.  Deputy Hunter Luttrell is facing an assault charge after his girlfriend told Kentucky State Police he hit her, choked her, and then threw her to the ground by the hair.  Kentucky State Police took Deputy Luttrell  to the Harlan County Detention Center and after being released from jail the deputy was placed on suspension without pay by Sheriff Lipford.  If found guilty Lipford says further action will be taken.  KSP said the girlfriend, Destiny Moore,  is also facing an assault charge for allegedly hitting Luttrell.

JACKSON COUNTY BANK ROBBED

The search continues for a woman who police say robbed a Jackson County Bank Thursday afternoon.  Police say around 3:30pm Thursday, a woman captured on surveillance walked into the Sand Gap branch of the Jackson County Bank, demanded money, then took off with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Police say the woman then got into the passenger seat of a gold colored car waiting across the street which was last seen traveling toward US 421 in Sand Gap. 
This is the third time the bank's been hit in the last month.


FORMER TOWN MANAGER SENTENCED

Former Coeburn VA Town Manager Loretta Mays will spend time behind bars.  Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Ron Elkins says that Mays was sentenced to eight months in jail, followed by four to six months at a women's detention center.  Mays pleaded guilty to 13 counts of embezzlement and 13 counts of forgery.  She was fired from her job as town manager after being accused of taking money from Lays Hardware Center for the Arts.

FLOYD COUNTY POLICE CHIEF PASSES AWAY

People in Floyd County gathered Thursday to mourn the loss of a longtime law enforcement officer.  Former Martin police chief Jim Slone died Wednesday from a heart attack.  Slone worked for the Martin Police Department for more than 20 years and served as its chief from 2002 to 2011.  A visitation will be held today in his native Wheelright at the Wheelright Freewill Baptist Church.  Funeral services are at one p.m. Saturday at the church.  Jim Slone was 61.

Thursday May 29, 2014

COURTHOUSE CAFE CLOSING THIS FRIDAY

Courthouse Café owners Josephine Richardson and Laura Schuster have watched businesses open in downtown Whitesburg and later close after struggling to make it. After 29 years of serving lunch and dinner on the corner of Main Street and North Webb Avenue, Richardson and Schuster have decided to close their restaurant. The restaurant’s Alcoholic Beverage Control  license is up for renewal at the end of this month and Richardson said it didn’t make sense to renew the license if it was uncertain how long the Courthouse Café would remain open.


LETCHER COUNTY GOVERNMENT BUDGET "TIGHT" IN 2014-15

Reflecting steep cuts in coal severance tax receipts and other funding sources, the Letcher County government’s operating budget will be “really tight” for the next fiscal year beginning July 1st. receipts for coal and other mineral taxes are down by at least $1 million. the 2014 budget had been returned to be reworked because the coal and mineral tax reemits had been estimated at too high a rate.


SKCTC CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT SUMMER CLASSES

The Creative Development Center at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will offer several summer classes. The local program will join with Bruce Parsons of the University of Pikeville (UPike) to offer one SKCTC class and one UPike class. The courses will deal with photography, writing and smartphone and web-based application development. Some scholarships will be available. For more information, contact SKCTC.

COUNTY NO LONGER BIDDING ON MCROBERTS SCHOOL

The issue of making a bid to acquire the McRoberts Elementary School property has been put to rest by Letcher County Fiscal Court. The McRoberts School bid has become increasingly controversial since the court’s April meeting, with accusations of bid rigging being leveled by County Judge/ Executive Jim Ward against District Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming, who represents Jenkins and McRoberts on the fiscal court. Fleming said he was accused of bid rigging by Ward, and added that he believes Letcher County Attorney Jamie Hatton also wrongfully accused him of breaking the law.

PIKE COUNTY PRINICIPAL SPENDS NIGHT ON SCHOOL ROOF

Pushing our youth to excellence. That is the message a Pike County principal wanted to send his students. Robert Jones cut a deal with sixth graders. Meet a goal, and I will go beyond being an educator. Last year he danced in the cafeteria. This year, Principal Jones says he had to top that...so he slept on the roof of Pikeville Elementary.  It is all because of a deal made with the more than 90 sixth graders, challenging them to read 1,200 books as a class and pass tests on them for the Accelerated Reader program.

ASHLAND HOSPITAL AGREES TO MAJOR SETTLEMENT

King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland has agreed to pay the U.S. Government $40.9 million to settle allegations of fraudulent billing.  The hospital was accused of making millions of dollars by falsely billing federal health care programs for heart procedures that were performed on patients who didn't medically need them.

Wednesday May 28, 2014

EXPANSION OF PIKEVILLE PLANT NECESSARY

Officials in Pikeville say their wastewater treatment plant is currently running at about 92 percent capacity. With many other projects on the horizon like a new shopping center and optometry school .... they say expanding their service is necessary. The city is one step closer to having the funding for the multi-million dollar project.  Pikeville is receiving millions in loan and grant money for the new plant, which officials say will allow the area to continue growing. The new plant will serve more than 3,000 homes and businesses in Pikeville and Coal Run.

JOB FAIR IN PIKEVILLE

Dozens of laid off miners attended a job fair in Pikeville on Tuesday. 'Hiring Our Miners Everyday' along with the Kentucky Coal Association hosted the event for White Oak Resources. Representatives from White Oak were on hand to take applications for underground jobs available in Illinois. Officials say while the coal economy is struggling in Eastern Kentucky, they want to help those unemployed find work ... even if it means relocating.


BELL COUNTY MEMORIAL DAY ROBBERY

A Bell County man is facing robbery and other charges for trying to steal a woman's purse. Bell County Sheriff's Deputies say on Monday night, 33-year-old Donnie Wayne Smith used force while trying to take a woman's purse at a building on Old Pineville Pike. Deputies say when he got to jail, he tried to smuggle drugs in. In addition to robbery, he also faces drug and promoting contraband charges.


ROAD CONSTRUCTION

Breathitt County is finally getting rock blasting plans underway after years of planning. For several years, rocks like these have fallen on or near the road. Elkins said the nearly four million dollar repairs will serve the community well. Weather permitting, the road should reopen by December. construction, which started Tuesday on the Highway 15 Bypass in Hazard, is supposed to last about two weeks.


EMERGENCY MONEY APPLIED FOR IN PIKE COUNTY

The Pike County Fiscal Court unanimously moved to apply for a $54,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. County officials say the money would be used to buy equipment that can monitor air quality in emergencies like last month's tunnel fire. The creosote-laden fumes from the Robinson Creek tunnel fire have been a concern since the flames started April 26th.


UK RAZING BUILDINGS

The University of Kentucky plans to proceed with razing eight buildings over the summer to make way for new construction. The move comes despite some objections from preservationists, who have noted that some of the buildings are historic and iconic. The school expects to spend $4 million to demolish buildings including Hamilton House, which was built in 1880, and Wenner-Gren Research Laboratory, which housed UK's early aeronautic research.