LOCAL NEWS

Thursday March 13, 2014

In pleading guilty earlier this week to her role in the brutal slaying of her husband in June 2012, a Millstone woman will avoid the possibility of being sentenced to death, or to life in prison without the possibility of parole, if she follows through on her promise to testify against her lover and another friend who are also charged in the case. Stephanie Fleming, 32, must give a recorded sworn statement regarding the murder of Drad Fleming, a 34-yearold father of three, and testify in the separate trials set against her lover, 34-year-old James Maggard of Neon, and the third suspect, 26-year-old Austin Ison of Pert Creek near Whitesburg.
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The Las Peñas restaurants will soon expand into the City of Jenkins. Charles Caldwell, who owns and operates the Las Peñas in Whitesburg, made the announcement Monday at a meeting of the Jenkins City Council. Caldwell said the restaurant will be located in the city community center next to the new Jenkins Swimming Pool. Caldwell said he intends to become the first restaurant in Jenkins to serve alcohol. Jenkins residents voted to approve alcohol sales in certain restaurants about three years ago.
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A career fair will be held at Hazard Community and Technical College on Tuesday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in room 123 of the First Federal Center. High school students, college students and people throughout the community are invited. Partners in the event include the Hazard/ Perry County Chamber of Commerce, East Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program . Local businesses, as well as regional employers have been invited. Application and resume assistance will be available.
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Fleming-Neon Police Chief Mike Dingus wants the town’s citizens to contact the police department when they have a law enforcement issue rather than posting it on social media websites such as Facebook or Topix. Dingus said he recently learned of dog problems in the city because some residents had posted it on Internet sites. He told the Fleming- Neon City Council that he has been working to address the issue, but added that for faster results it would be much better if citizens contact the police department directly.
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A House committee has approved a bill that would forgive public schools up to 10 missed school days because of winter weather. Most state lawmakers were eager to approve the bill. They were concerned a longer school year would force students to take end-of-the-year tests in June, a time when students are used to being on vacation. The Lawrence County school district, for instance, has missed 32 school days this year because of weather, pushing its school year to June 12.
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A seminar on home- or building-invading insects will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on March 17 at the Letcher County Extension Office. Dr. Mike Potter and Dr. Lee Townsend from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology will talk about spiders, head lice, bed bugs and brown marmorated stinkbugs. Lunch will be provided. It is free and open to the public.

Wednesday March 12, 2014

A House committee has approved a bill that would forgive public schools up to 10 missed school days because of winter weather. State Rep. John Will Stacey, D-West Liberty, said only school districts that missed at least 10 days would qualify for the waiver. Most state lawmakers were eager on Tuesday to approve the bill. They were concerned a longer school year would force students to take end-of-the-year tests in June, a time when students are used to being on vacation. The Lawrence County school district has missed 32 sch.ool days this year because of weather, pushing its school year to June 12.
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One woman is dead after she was ran over by her own car. The Pike County Coroner says 54 year old Roberta Ratliff was killed just before 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. He says Ratliff pulled into her driveway in her pickup truck, the vehicle was left in gear and she was pinned underneath.
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Flames threatened homes and scared neighbors in Harlan County Tuesday afternoon. That was after a fire started on the Loyall flood levee! Firefighters from two departments controlled the fire. The cause is considered suspicious. Shortly before 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon, flames erupted on the flood levee in Loyall. Firefighters say when they arrived, flames and smoke covered both sides of the levee.
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Officials in Pike County say they are fed up with a rash of thefts targeting county property. They say thieves have raided a county maintenance garage multiple times over the past year or so, taking tools, tires and diesel fuel. They say someone also broke into a display case at the county courthouse, making off with two vintage Vernon Bickford baseball cards. Sheriff's deputies say they are reviewing security tapes to find out who took them, and when.
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Kentucky State Police are looking for their next trooper cadet class and if you want to apply, there is still time. KSP are taking applications until April first. Anyone interested in applying can contact their local post or go online to www.kentuckystatepolice.org.  Applicants must be US citizens, 21 years or older and have good moral character.

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.