LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday September 9, 2014

3 SERIOUSLY INJURED IN MULTIPLE CAR CRASH IN PIKEVILLE MONDAY

3 people were hospitalized after a multiple vehicle crash yesterday in Pike County. Police say a 10-wheel truck lost control at the intersection of southbound US 23 and Island Creek, went off the road, rolled onto its side and slid into the northbound lanes, hitting at least 4 cars. There's been no specifics on the injuries the 3 people suffered but officials say they ranged from minor to severe. Severe backups were reported on the roads near the crash scene while police conducted their investigation.

ANOTHER VACANT HOME BLAZE IN HARLAN COUNTY

For the second time in as many weeks Harlan County firefighters responded to a blaze at a vacant home. Investigators say the front door of the home on May Street in Harlan was open when firemen arrived yesterday and they encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from a back room. Last week firemen responding to the same home found the back door open and flames coming from that area. An investigation into both fires is under way.

FEDERAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST A KNOTT COUNTY COUPLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD

Federal fraud charges are filed against a couple from Knott County suspected of illegally obtaining social security disability payments since 1999 totaling over $49,000. David and Ida Hughes were indicted for falsely reporting they were separated in order to receive benefits as 2 individuals rather than as a couple, which reduces the amount of the benefit. The couple are scheduled to appear in US district court in Pikeville on September 22.


BABY STRUCK IN ATTACK ON ELDERELY WOMAN

Bond was set at $27,00 full cash for a Harlan County woman accused of hitting a 3 month old child as she was trying to attack an elderly woman. Police say Angela Lamb was burglarizing Joyce Smith's home when the suspected assault occurred. The infant was taken to Harlan ARH Hospital and there's been no information released on the baby's condition or if Smith was hurt in the attack.

BIG SANDY CTC LOOKING FOR INPUT ON EXPANSION

A Pike County college is getting the public's input on how it should proceed with a 60,000 square foot expansion. The Appalachian News Express reports a public hearing was held at Big Sandy Community and Technical College to get input on what they can do to use the expansion to best serve the area. The expansion is the result of a grant from the BuildSmart Investment for Kentucky Competitiveness, a public-private partnership that is providing funding for projects at each of Big Sandy’s four campuses.

MEAT CLEVER ATTACK IN HARLAN COUNTY

A dispute between two women at a Harlan County home ended up with one in jail accused of using a meat cleaver to attack the other. Police say Tami Dunson of Lynch went after Bridget Mallory with the cleaver at her home then threw it at her, leaving Mallory's home before cops arrived. The next day Dunson returned to Mallory's home with an axe handle and this time Mallory was able to keep her out. Bond for Dunson was set at $5000.

MINERS WIN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST MILE MINING COMPANY

Around 100 Wise County Virginia coal miners won a class action lawsuit against Jim Justice-owned Mile Mining claiming they weren't given 60 days notice before they were laid off. The former employees are now waiting to hear the amount of damages they will be awarded. Justice reached a $1.5 million settlement with the state of Kentucky over a number of violations stemming from not doing post-mining reclamation work required by law.

ACCIDENT KILLS A HARLAN COUNTY MAN

A man is killed and 2 were critically injured in a Sunday night wrong way crash in Harlan County. Police say Clifton Jeffers was on north on US 421 when he drifted into oncoming traffic hitting a car driven by James Osborne. Osborne died at the scene and Jeffers along with a passenger in Osborne's car were airlifted to Holsten Valley Medical Center in Tennessee. Police are investigating what led up to the crash.

Monday September 8, 2014

BURGLARY INDICTMENTS HANDED DOWN AGAINST A PERRY COUNTY MAN AND WOMAN

Felony burglary indictments were handed down against a man and woman from Perry County suspected of breaking into an abandoned house in July. Police say they caught Doyle Standafer and Sarah Krantz in the act of taking items from the home on Carter Street in Hazard. Krantz was arrested several hours later and Standafer turned himself in a short time later. Bail was set at $30,000 each.

8TH GRADE STUDENTS FROM 2 COUNTIES PARTICIPATING IN SPECIAL ASSEMBLY WEDNESDAY

Eighth grade students from Knott and Perry Counties will be among the 1300 heeding to Corbin Arena the Wednesday for a special assembly dedicated to keeping kids in school. The popular band Sundy Best will be performing and will also lead the group in discussions about sticking with school and keeping on working on making their dreams realities. Sundy Best members Kris Bentley and Nick Jamerson are Prestonsburg natives and both graduated from local colleges.

PIKE COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING A KSP TROOPER FACES COURT DATE

A court date was set for a Pike County man accused of assaulting a Kentucky State Trooper who had responded to a domestic violence call. David Leedy was charged with menacing and multiple counts of assault and was held on $5000 bond. Court papers say Leedy was physically fighting with his wife when trooper arrived and he kicked one as they were trying to take him into custody, forcing the trooper to use a stun gun so they could get Leedy in handcuffs. He's due in court Thursday.

KANSAS CHURCH IN LESLIE COUNTY FOR MISSION WORK

5 women from a Kansas church are in Leslie County this week delivering 100 handmade teddy bears to those in need. The women are from the Kansas Christian Church and they are making the delivery to Big Creek Missions in Bear Branch, which is based in a converted old school building and offers a variety of mission projects, including construction work.  Besides the dolls, the women brought a number of quilts, around 2 dozen aprons and nearly 30 handmade rag dolls. Their trip will focus on helping children, single mothers and widows, and will include a visit to a local church.

WOMAN RAN OFF THE ROAD IN PRESTONSBURG AND ENDS UP IN RESTAURANT PARKING LOT

4 flat tires and a damaged exhaust system was just some of the damage that happened to a car that went off a Floyd County road, jumped a curb and ended up in a parking lot. Police say the driver reported being run off University Drive in Prestonsburg and she went down the hill on the grass, landing in a restaurant parking lot. No one was hurt.

PERRY COUNTY LEADERS SEEKING FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF AFTER FLOODING

Perry County leaders filed for federal disaster relief in the wake of the flooding 2 weeks ago. According to the Hazard Herald officials contacted the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to have them inspect the damage areas and they will determine if aid can be requested. The money - if granted - would pay for repairs to roads, culverts and other natural damage, but not for damaged homes and buildings. A meeting is set for tomorrow afternoon where the feds will report whether or not aid will be granted.

FUNERAL SERVICES HELD FRIDAY FOR 4TH VICTIM IN BREATHITT COUNTY TRUCK CRASH

Funeral services were held Friday for Josh Thorpe, the last of the 4 victims from a pickup truck crash in Breathitt County nearly 2 weeks ago. Thorpe had survived the crash that killed Adam Fugate, Pearl Armstrong and Lee Campbell and had been airlifted to UK Hospital but died just over a week ago. One other survivor - Marcus Jones - is still at UK hospital and at last report was in stable condition. The driver - identified as Shawn Hardin - faces multiple murder and assault charges.

3 WISE COUNTIANS, ARRESTED DURING PROTEST, WON'T FACE JAIL TIME

Prosecutors say 3 people from Wise County, Virginia arrested last during a Jim Justice protest in Roanoke, Virginia likely won't face jail time, but may be fined when they appear in court next month. Rebecca Holmes, Kyle Gibson and William Blevins were among the 5 people who police say strung up a banner between 2 buildings in downtown Roanoke criticizing Justice and his coal operations. The street between the buildings was shut down for an hour and a half.

Friday September 5, 2014

A PERSON TAKES A PLEA DEAL IN FLOYD COUNTY VOTE BUYING CASE

One of the 5 people suspected of vote buying in Floyd County who took a plea deal has been sentenced to probation. Former City of Martin employee Henry Mullins's guilty plea resulted in a conspiracy charge being dropped. Mullins attorney says his role in the vote buying scheme to sway the 2012 mayoral election was minor and asked that he not be given jail time, and the judge agreed. 3 others charged including former Martin Mayor Thomasine Robinson were found guilty in May and a 5 person was found not guilty.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN EXTRADITED TO TENNESSEE ON ROBBERY CHARGES

A Harlan County woman has been extradited to Hawkins County, Tennessee to face robbery charges. Holly Zinno is suspected of holding up a pharmacy in Bulls Gap last April, making off with cash and nearly 700 prescription painkiller pills. She is being held without bond and is due in court on Monday. Zinno was recently arrested on DUI and child support charges and that's when police learned she was wanted in Tennessee.

3 WISE COUNTY RESIDENTS ARRESTED AT JIM JUSTICE PROTEST

3 people from Wise County, Virginia were arrested yesterday  during a Jim Justice protest in Roanoke, Virginia. Rebecca Holmes, Kyle Gibson and William Blevins were among the 5 people who police say strung up a banner between 2 buildings in downtown Roanoke with the words “JIM JUSTICE PROFITS APPALACHIA PAYS” on one side and “JIM JUSTICE: TOXIC SPILL BILLIONAIRE” Each face misdemeanor charges and were granted a $1,500 secured bond. No injuries were reported.

PROPERTY VALUE DECLINE IN HARLAN COUNTY LEADES TO INCREAST IN PROPERTY TAX

Declining property values in Harlan County forced the Fiscal Court to impose a $22 million increase to the county's property tax  to offset the revenue loss. The increase agreed to yesterday amounts to a new compensating rate of $33.60, a $2.20 raise over the 2013 rate. A compensating rate is the amount to insure a municipality's level remains the same, and if property assessments go up, the compensating rate declines.

2 CAR CRASH AT GARRETT ON HIGHWAY SENDS 2 TO THE HOSPITAL

A 2-car crash in Floyd County Wednesday morning sent 2 people to the hospital. Police say a pickup truck rear ended a slow-moving SUV on Route 80 near Garrett, pushing in the left side of the vehicle to its rear tires. The driver of the truck and a passenger were taken to a hospital with unknown injuries, and the 2 people in the SUV were treated at the scene. Investigators are determining the cause of the crash.

NOT GUILTY PLEAS ENTERED IN MARTIN COUNTY TRIPLE HOMICIDE CASE

Not guilty pleas were entered by the 2 suspects in the murder of 3 people in Martin County. Jack Smith and Amanda Bowen are scheduled to be back in court December 4. The two are accused of stealing medicine and jewelry then killing Cainie Johnson Jr, Tina Goble, and 8-year-old Trinity Maynard then starting their home on fire. Court officials say Bowen is now being held in the Floyd County Jail so she has no contact with Smith. Investigators are also looking into allegations Smith was involved in a shooting the day before the triple murder.

DESPITE DELAYS PIKEVILLE COMMONS SHOPPING CENTER SHOULD BE OPEN BY CHRISTMAS

Developers of a new shopping center in Pike County say they expect it will be open in time for Christmas. The weather delayed construction work at Pikeville Commons on Thompson Road by around a month, according to city leaders. Between 400 to 600 jobs are expected to be created once the center is fully operational.

LYNCH POLICE MAKING PROGRESS IN WAR ON DRUGS

Police in one Harlan County city say they are making progress in the war on drugs. 15 meth labs have been busted in the city of Lynch in just the past 4 weeks - with 8 of them found in a single apartment complex. Lynch was without a police force for 6 months earlier this year and city leaders say they hope their efforts in ridding drug activity will entice people and businesses to move back to Lynch.

Thursday September 4, 2014

NUMEROUS TRAFFIC CITATIONS ISSUED IN LETCHER COUNTY

Over 160 traffic citations were issued in Letcher County between August 25 and Labor Day. According to police the vast majority were commercial vehicle violations, but the patrols nailed a number of speeders on the section of US 119 between Payne Gap and Mayking. Police say there were a number of tickets issued for drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts.

KNOXVILLE DOCTOR THAT PRACTICED IN LETCHER & BELL COUNTIES HAS LICENSE SUSPENDED

The state has suspended the medical license of a Knoxville doctor who practiced in Letcher and Bell Counties. Dr. Donald Ramsey is accused of prescribing prescription weight loss supplements to employees at Hazard ARH where he also worked as an ER doctor. Charging papers say Ramsey is accused of overprescribing the medicine even though the co workers were not being seen for any ailments. The suspected wrongful prescribing happened over a one year period beginning in February 2013.

LAWSUIT FILED BY KY AND 11 OTHER STATES OVER EPA REGULATIONS

New coal plant regulations put in place by the EPA earlier this year are the target of a lawsuit filed by 12 states including Kentucky. Attorney General Jack Conway joined with West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey in saying the agency overstepped its bounds when it ordered the tighter regulations on emissions from coal fired power plants. State Senator Brandon Smith says the regulations are an energy policy issue, not an environmental issue - and that means the EPA has no authority to set standards.

JUMBO TRON AT LCC DOWN FOR A WHILE

It could be a very long time before football fans see instant replays on the video board at Letcher County Central High School. Last month a lightning strike took out a computer that displays videos on the 9 year old board and the company that supplied the equipment has gone out of business, so there's no support available to help technology experts figure out what gear is needed to get the board working again. The estimated price tag to replace the board and the computers is around $85,000, and that doesn't include shipping, handling or installation.

HEAVY RAINS AFFECT FLOYD AND HARLAN COUNTIES TUESDAY NIGHT

Heavy rains Tuesday night once again stranded a Floyd County family when an overflowing creek flooded the road to their home. Homeowner Kermit Bell tells local TV that it always happens around 30 minutes after a heavy rain, adding the roadway dropped around 4 feet and continues to wash away. Bell says when it starts raining he takes his kids to a relative's home so they don't miss school. Several homes were damaged in Harlan County Tuesday night including one home being struck by a fallen utility pole.

POSSIBLE BRAKE FAILURE CAUSED WRECK ON HIGHWAY 15 IN PERRY COUNTY

Police in Perry County say a possible brake failure was behind a 2-car accident on Highway 15 near the turn off to Johnny Cox All American Drive in Hazard. Investigators say the driver tried to avoid other cars and even tried to steer his car out of the way to make it stop, but it ended up spinning around and hitting a pickup truck. 2 people were hurt but their injuries are said to be non life threatening.

WOMAN EXPOSES HERSELF TO KSP TROOPER DURING DOMESTIC CALL

State Police say a Pike County woman exposed herself to a trooper who was taking her into custody in connection with a domestic dispute. Investigators say Thelma Rhinesmith appeared to be intoxicated and told officers she had drank and took drugs.

5K RUN THIS SATURDAY TO BE HELD AS FUNDRAISER FOR SHOP WITH A TROOPER

This Saturday the Harlan post of the Kentucky State Police is holding a charity 5k run to raise money for its "Shop With A Trooper' event. Corbin High School is the location for the run that starts at 8am. Each year in December kids in need are accompanied by a state trooper to pick out Christmas gifts that are paid for by the officers, and events like the one Saturday raise money to buy those gifts. The run is also a memorial to those who lost their lives on 9/11.

Wednesday September 3, 2014

LETCHER COUNTY GRAND JURY TO DECIDE IF INCIDENT WAS SELF DEFENSE

A Letcher County grand jury will decide if a Mayking man was acting in self defense when he shot his son last month. Police say David Fugate Junior was arguing with his mother Jackie when he assaulted her and another woman, then went after his father. Investigators say that's when David Fugate Senior opened fire, hitting his son. The younger Fugate was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center where he is recovering from stomach surgery. State Patrol detectives are continuing to investigate the shooting.

PIKE COUNTY WATER UTILITY WANTS TO RAISE RATES

Pike County's water utility is expected to file rates paperwork with the state Public Service Commission next month. The Appalachian News-Express reports the Mountain Water District is nearly done with a rate study that had begun in May which was paid for by the district with no state funding. Administrators say a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners may be convened to go over rates which the district's accountant says haven't had a true increase in 17 years.

BOND SET FOR HARLAN COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF BREAKING INTO MSHA OFFICE

Bond was set at $12,000 for a Harlan County man suspected of breaking into the Mine Safety and Health Administration Office last weekend. Police say Thomas Napier made off with some credit and gas cards along with mining belts and tried using one of the stolen cards to buy several cartons of cigarettes. Investigators say Napier did over a thousand dollars in damage to the offices. Most of the stolen items have been recovered.

LETCHER COUNTY ELEMENTARY TEACHER APPOINTED TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A Letcher County elementary school teacher has been appointed to the Center For School Safety board of directors. Danielle Bailey-Ratliff of Elkhorn City teaches 2nd grade at Letcher Elementary School. She is one of the teacher representatives on the board and her term runs through July of 2016.

ATV DEATH IS SECOND FATALITY ON LABOR DAY IN HARLAN COUNTY

A second fatal accident occurred in Harlan County on Labor Day. Police say Danita Millis was on an ATV that went off Kentucky 1137 and ended up striking a tree. Millis was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center in Tennessee where she was pronounced dead around 2 hours after the accident. Relatives say Millis and her fiancée were expecting twins. Earlier on Monday Flossie Smith of Evarts was killed when her SUV left the road, heading into a ditch, up an embankment then rolled over onto its top. Smith was pronounced dead at the crash scene.

LETCHER COUNTY MAN FACES ILLEGAL COAL MINNG CHARGES

Illegal coal mining charges have been filed against a man suspected of stealing 700 tons of coal at a Letcher County surface mine. State officials say  Bryan Lee Wagner was directed to immediately cease mining operations and begin reclaiming the land along with installing temporary sediment control. A civil penalty will be assessed against Wagner that could run between $5000 and $25,000 per day. The state says it is currently calculating the dollar amount of Wagner's fine.

BOND SET FOR HARLAN COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF EXPOSING HIMSELF TO 8 YEAR OLD GIRL

Bond is set at $25,000 for a Harlan County man suspected of exposing himself to an 8 year old girl and inducing her to view obscene material. Police say Jeffrey Coker of Evarts also tried to get the girl to expose herself and told her not to tell her grandmother because if she knew she would shoot him. Coker was taken into custody on Friday.

FUNERAL SERVICES HELD FOR 4TH BREATHITT COUNTY WRECK VICTIM

Funeral services were held yesterday for Pearl Campbell - one of the 4 people killed last month in a Breathitt County pickup truck accident. Family and friends remembered Campbell as a kind unselfish person who always made people he came in contact with feel welcome to be around him. Campbell and 3 others were riding in the truck driven by Shawn Hardin when it went off  Wolverine Road near Tracy Lane and landed in a house. Hardin is expected to be arraigned tomorrow.