By Jerry Adams
It's about as cold as it gets today with highs barely out of the teens with viscous winds. Schools—including in Letcher are closed today. Police say slippery roads contributed to a minor accident involving a Letcher County school bus on Wednesday afternoon and that the accident actually in the community named Ice on Highway 588 wasn't serious, and fortunately, the driver was able to finish his run safely. Authorities say drivers should use extra caution today.
This kind of cold can affect your water pipes. One tip from plumber Patrick Goodin of Hazard says to leave just a bit of water running. Another is to make sure the pipes don't get cold in the first place by keeping them well insulated.
Police in the state capitol say State Senator Brandon Smith has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. According to Frankfort police, Smith was stopped for speeding on Tuesday night and then charged with D U I after indications he was under the influence. He reportedly refused a Breathalyzer test. So far the senator has had no comment except to say through his lawyer that he will NOT resign. His 30tn district covers Bell, Breathitt, Johnson, Leslie, Magoffin and Perry counties.
The timing isn't good, but for the moment, a dispute in Magoffin County is keeping road workers off the job. Judge-Executive Charles Hardin says because magistrates refused to accept some nominations he made for those jobs, so for the next two weeks none of the employees will be working. He says if there is a serious problem, he will issue an emergency order, but short of that, road work in the county will remain undone.
A longtime educator from Hazard has died. John Quillen was a teacher, principal and assistant coach at the school in the 60's and 70's. He also played for the team in the early 50's and played in college for Virginia Tech. John Quillen was 79. His death comes just three weeks after the death of his friend and fellow coach Roscoe Shackeleford.
By Jerry Adams
Kentucky State Police are investigating a fatal accident over the weekend in Letcher county. They they don't know why 47 year old Connie Meade was lying in the middle of KY 7 in the Colson community before she was struck and killed Saturday night. Investigators don't think the driver was to blame and don't suspect foul play.
Authorities have made an arrest in connection that killed four people back in August in Breathitt county. 19 year old Shawn Hardin was picked up last night and is now facing murder charges because police say he was drunk and behind the wheel at the time of that crash on highway 31-93 in the Wolverine community. Family members say last week's indictment of Hardin won't bring anyone back, but will ensure that justice will be done in the tragic case.
Some local businesses say that Kentucky Blue and Louisville Red make lots of green. The two teams big basketball game this weekend meant extra crowds at local bars and shops that sell team gear. In case you missed it, the Wildcats beat the Cardinals in one of college basketball's fiercest rivalry games on Saturday—keeping U -K unbeaten and number one in the country.
And this is a big time of year for some other local business. Gyms and fitness centers in the area say New Year's fitness resolutions bring in new members. The Letcher County Recreation Center in Whitesburg says this is actually the busiest time of the year and they count on new sign ups to help them through the leaner months of summer when fewer people decide to start getting back in shape.
A fire in Jackson County has destroyed a mobile home. That big blaze broke out around 8;30 Saturday night on Zekes Point Road and the chief of the Pond Creek Fire department says it was roaring when his crews got to the scene. Chief Larry Bowling says there wasn't really anything they could do to save the home. He also says there were challenges because the trucks had a tough time making it up the steep gravel driveway which added to the difficulty getting water on the blaze. The family that lived there was out shopping and are staying with family for now.
A Golden Alert has been issued for a man missing in Laurel County. Kenneth Greene hasn't been heard from since he called home from a London gas station to say he was almost out of gas. Authorities are concerned because of Smith's mental illness. They are asking the public to help locate his 1999 Olds 88 with Tennessee plates. [R72-41E]
A Floyd County construction contractor has his excavator back. Officials say they arrested one person in connection with that theft last week in Prestonsbug. The owner of Ousley Concrete construction is glad to have it back because without a vital piece of equipment, his crews would have been forced to look for other ways to get their jobs done. No word yet from Kentucky State police about who took the excavator—or why.
A ministry in Harlan county is gearing up to serve meals to the needy. The Club 180 ministry in Cumberland is planning to serve hot meals three days a week in January and February to help people get though the chill of winter. The free meals will be on the table at the ministry Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays between 3 and 6 beginning January 5th.
Traffic related deaths are falling across the state and area police say they notice the trend as well. One reason—milder weather this fall which has led to fewer accident. Hazard Police officer Dough Ashley says bad weather means more bad accidents as drivers fail to adjust to the more challenging highway conditions. He also says the continued crackdown on drunk drivers is paying off with fewer impaired motorists behind the wheel. So far, the state has seen 121 fewer highway deaths than in all of 2010.
LOCAL NEWS 12-26-2014
A Pike County theater was among a select few nationwide showing the controversial movie “The Interview” on Christmas day. The Riverfill Cinemas in Pikeville was one of only 200 theaters around the country to show the film about a fictional attempt to assassinate the leader of North Korea, Kin Jong Un. Sony Entertainment at first pulled the movie after its computers were hacked and it received threats. There have been no reported problems anywhere the movie has been seen.
A story about a dog, trapped and feared gone forever deep in a Letcher county cave has a happy ending. Earlier this week, you might remember hearing about that dog, and how rescuers said it was too dangerous for them to go into the coal break on Black mountain where the she was. Kentucky Regional animal shelter heard about it too and put out the word for help. Professional cave divers from as far as Missouri answered and after 12 hours Christmas Eve and Christmas day, they found the dog, named Jane. Her owner Lonnie Lewis says its the best Christmas gift he has ever gotten. As for Jane, she is fine, none the worse for her underground adventure.
Big plans are in the works for a major tourist attraction in Harlan county . The Black Mountain off road adventure area is adding 12 hundred acres of trails in 2015 n the north side of the mountain off US 119 near Putney which will run through land reclaimed from surface mining. County officials say its will be a big boost to the area, drawing lots of outdoor enthusiasts and ATV riders.
A businessman in Floyd county is offering a thousand dollar reward for information about a stolen excavator. Someone stole the equipment belonging to concrete construction company owner Jim Ousley from a parking lot in Prestonsburg last Friday. State police are handling the investigation [POLICE: 606-433-7711; EXCAVATOR: Serial WL000389]
Authorities say a man wanted for murder in West Virginia may be on the run in Pike County. The victim was found on Monday in Mingo County and his truck was reported stolen. Now, police say that red Ford Ranger with West Virginia tags was spotted in the Stopover community and they hope the public can provide tips to help find a killer. [POLICE: 304-235-6000; VEHICLE: WV Tag 4TK-331]
A family from Wooton, in Leslie County are thankful for their own Christmas miracle. No one was hurt on Wednesday afternoon when high winds roared through the mountains and blew their home on old highway 80 off its foundation. One person was home when the storm cam through, but was pulled out by a family member who raced to the scene. As bad at it was, the family says it could have been far worse.
A Perry County community center felt a lot like home for a lot of people on Christmas. Volunteers at the Hubb Center opened the center for a pay what you can Christmas dinner for needy families. They say too often people in need get a cold shoulder instead of a warm meal. Some of the volunteers say they know what it's like to be down and out and want to give back to the community that once helped the. The Hubb center isn't done dishing out support—they plan to offer pay what you can pay what you can dinners daily between 3 and 7, starting next month.
By Jerry Adams
A missing man from Laurel county has been found. 71 year old Michael Salisbury of London had been the subject of an Golden Alert since Friday after he went missing following an argument with his wife. Deputies say Salisbury was found driving in the county and is safe.
Family, friends and fellow deputies in pike county are mourning the loss of one of their own. Deputy Robert Marble died of an apparent heart attack last week and those who knew him are recalling a good man, who died far to young. Deputy Marble was 42.
It's Christmas week, and you don't have to look far to see folks getting into the real spirit of the season. In Hazard over the weekend, some musicians used their gift for song to provide gifts to children. They put on a concert to benefit Buckhorn High school's backpack program, which fills backpacks with food to take home during the holiday break. The event was organized by two students and featured a Buckhorn graduate, Nashville recording artist Timothy Baker.
And members of the Journey Christian Church in Hazard set out a table for people who might otherwise have a Christmas meal. Pastor Ben Fugate says while the idea is grounded in Christian compassion, the message of helping others in need is universal. He says he hopes this becomes an annual event in the community.
A young boy from Harlan has something he will never forget from a world famous musician. 9 year old Grahame Miracle had a front row seat for a concert—his first concert—for by the group Trans Siberian Orchestra in Lexington. He was so close, his dancing to the music caught the eye of the band's violin player Roddy Chong, who handed Grahame a signed bow—and even met with him and his mom after the show. Chong even mentioned the encounter on his Facebook page and says it inspired him. Grahame was adopted from china and is facing bone graft surgery for a cleft palate.
Police in Hazard say they three people have been arrested and are charged with stealing tires and car parts from several vehicles. They say a tip led them to the suspects and most of the stolen wheels have been recovered. The string of thefts began earlier this month from area dealers and at least one pickup was reported taken as well. The owner of the truck now has it back—minus the wheels-- and while she says it's good news, its also discouraging to think about somebody stealing something she worked hard for.
A vacant elementary school in Hazard now has a date with the wrecking ball. Officials say the Dennis C Wooten School in Airport Gardens will come down starting in February. Residents in the area were anxious to get the project started because vandals have been slowly trashing the school since it closed at the end of the 2013 school year. And while some people are sad to see the building come down, they say the school served the community well since it was built in 1962 and that the memories from there will last far longer than its walls.
A holiday tradition in Floyd county is helping people—and also helping a daughter get through a difficult time. Every year, Marlow Tackett held a big Christmas party for needy children. He died earlier this year, but on her first Christmas without him, Marlow's daughter, Wendy decided to honor him by continuing the party. Local residents say they're grateful and say without the help, Christmas might have been a bleak one this year.
By Jerry Adams
Kentucky State police are investigating an armed robbery at a Letcher County fast food restaurant. They say some held up the Subway in the Isom Plaza shortly before closing time on Tuesday night. The robber who was armed with a rifle, demanded money from the lone employee and got away with a little less than 500 Dollars. They say he then fled south on Highway 7 in a black Toyota or Nissan pickup No one was injured. Police have a description of the suspect and are asking the public for any help identifying him.[SUSPECT: White Male, about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, dressed in black and wearing a black mask]
And deputies are also hunting for whoever say burglarized two mountaintop cabins in Letcher county within the last couple weeks. One of the cabins on Little Shepherd trail in Whitesburg belongs to the Truth Ministries and the other belongs to an itinerant preacher from Louisiana. Minister Mark Duplantis says he feels violated by the thefts and has little compassion for anyone who would steal from a church group. Among the items taken, Flat screen TVS, tools, copper wire and a 5 foot tall taxidermied bear.
Fire investigators think a stove may have started a fire that killed a man in Clay County on Wednesday. The victim is identified as 49 year old Matthew Collins. His brother, identified as Warren Collins, was also burned and taken to UK Hospital. Other family members in the home, just south of manchester, were able to get out safely.
A local basketball legend has died. Roscoe Shackleford was coach at Hazard High for 11 years and those who played for—and against the coach say he taught lessons that went beyond the hardwood. During his years as coach the squad went to 4 trips to the state tournament and advanced to the semi finals twice. during the mid 60's . He was also a star athlete at the school and served as both Athletic Director and superintendent of schools. Funeral arrangements are pending. Coach Roscoe Shackleford was 80. Meanwhile. Local services have been set for another star athlete from Hazard High. Freddy Hogg played for the team in the 60's. He died last week of a heart attack in Texas, and a visitation will be held next Tuesday at noon at the Town Mountain Baptist Church.
A longtime Perry County Judge has been honored for his years of service. Circuit Judge Bill Engall is retiring and and staff, friends and family gave him a send off reception in Hazard yesterday. Judge Engle says it was a privilege to spend more than 10 years on the bench and that while he wants to stay involved in the community, he also plans to spend more time with his grand-kids.
A ministry in Bell County is bringing back a Christmastime event. The Lighthouse Ministry canceled its annual Christmastime Giveaway years ago after donations dried up, but this year, more people donated and so deserving community members will once again receive food, toys and other items. Church leaders say the donations are a real blessing that will help dozens of area families. The giveaway takes place on December 23th at the Ministry's building building on US -119 near the Paige school.
A new study says Kentucky may be making progress dealing with prescription drug abuse. A medication monitoring company says the percentage of people in the state FAIL to take drugs provided to them and those who take drugs NOT provided to them has fallen below the national average. The number of people using illicit drugs is slightly HIGHER than the national average. Local groups battling the problem say the numbers are an encouraging sign amid other reports that say abuse is getting worse here.