LOCAL NEWS

Monday 6-29-15

By Jerry Adams

Attorneys for embattled Floyd County lawyer Eric C. Conn want a judge to toss out a wrongful death suit against their client. Conn is being sued by hundreds of people who were told last month that their social security disability payments would be cut off amid allegations that Conn may have used fraudulent information to obtain them and two of those people were so distraught by those letters  that they committed suicide. Conn has never been charged and he denies the allegations. His lawyers say as sympathy for the  people who took their own lives but bears no responsibility.  The social security administration has resumed  benefits  but the recipients have been forced to submit new paperwork to show that they are entitled to the checks.

-0-

Sunday was a day of celebration at a rebuilt Magoffin County Church. It's been more than three years since a tornado destroyed St. Luke Catholic Church, and parishioners finally have a new place to worship, which they dedicated at a special mass. Father Bob Damon says the congregation is grateful  for the replacement for the building that was ripped pert by the storm—part of a deadly outbreak in March 2nd 2012.  He says the new church is a symbol of God's love—and that  positive presence that has now been restored. Plans are also in the works to rebuild the chuch rectory which was destroyed by the tornado as well.

-0-

Johnson County will soon have  a new animal shelter when “Whiskers and Wags” shelter will open later this week.  Officials say they have worked hard getting everything ready for the opening on Wednesday—and that the new home  in Paintsville for those stray animals will be a far cry from what they had before.  Shelter board members say they can't wait to begin matching the abused and neglected dogs and cats with new, loving owners. The shelter will also provide basic care like shots and exams to the animals that are bought in.

--0-

There was magic in the air at the Jenny Wiley State Park over the weekend. The park held its first dinner and magic show for guests.  Officials say it was a big hit and an evening of fun that they hope to repeat in the future.

-0-

With the fourth of July just around the corner now, officials say it's time to keep fireworks safety in mind. They say it's mainly common sense—keeping at a sfaey distance, keeping water nearby, and not trying to handle fireworks that see to be duds. Even sparklers can be dangerous is mishandles and officials say kids should always be supervised when using them.

-0-

It's the season for farmers markets—and the Floyd County farmers market was a busy place at its seasonal opening.  Next weekend, the market will offer a new way to pay for those fresh vegetables, fruits and other market fare, when  buyer scan use tire SNAP cards for purchases, the Floyd County farmers market in Preston is open on Saturday's from 9:00am to 2:00pm.

-0-

Thursday 6-25-15

By Jerry Adams  

A man from Bell County is back behind bars after he tried to escape. Police say Roy Sanders tried to run as he was being led to lunch but didn't get too far, Sanders was re captured a bout half  an hour later wandering in the streets of Pineville and was re-arrested without incident.  Jailer Gary Ferguson says now that Sanders is back in the lockup, he will face additional charges. His mom says Sanders began getting into trouble following he death of his wife.

 -0-

Police continue their investigation into a Bell County crash that left one  woman dead. It happened on 31 Street in Middlesboro near Cumberland Avenue,  when the victim collided head on with an oncoming truck. They say the truck driver, identified as 43 year old Avail Anderson of Middlesboro was unable to avoid hitting the scooter that veered into his lane.  The name of the victim has  not been released

-0-

Attorney Eric C. Conn is not saying anything about the lawsuit again him filed by 1500  of his former clients, some of whole nearly lost their social security benefits. Conn was in court n Prestonsburg in connection with that lawsuit but took the Fifth and refused to answer any questions, His conduct has been investigated for allegations that some of the disability applications were fraudulent. That led to last month's letters to around 900 disability recipients who were told they would lose those benefits. The social security administration has stopped that suspension, but the people effected will still have to prove they are entitles to the money—which is  time consuming and expensive process. When he HAS spoken, Conn has denied doing anything wrong—and through his attorneys he says NONE of the hundreds of clients have even lost anything and that the suit should be tossed out

-0-

A man from Rockcastle County is missing and police are hoping the public can help find him.  They say 77 year old Gerald Chandler is consider endangered. He hast been seen since his home in Livingston, near the Laurel County line, since Tuesday. The Kentucky State Police are hoping the public can help locate him.

-0-

Some tense moments on Wednesday when a man being stopped by police tried to make a break for it but was caught a short while later.  Pinevile police were able to corer Robert Bildigmyer after he sped off going he wrong way down busy US 25 E in Middlesboro. They say they had to struggle, but eventually were able to subdue and arrest him after the pursuit. Witnesses say it was an intense moment, and were relieved when they saw the suspect hauled away. He is facing several charges.

Wednesday 6-24-15

By Jerry Adams

Police have arrested a Harlan County man after a month long investigation. 59 year old John Paul Thomas was busted at his home, where deputies say they found pills, marijuana and a stack of cash. He was taken to the Harlan County Detention Center and  is facing first offense drug trafficking charges. Chief deputy Matt Cope calls it another win for law enforcement in the fight against the illegal drug trade. He says there are other similar investigation ongoing and that there will likely be more warrants and more arrests.

-0-

A 13 year old girl from Magoffin County remains in very serious conditon following an ATV accident—and her family members say she may not survive.  Brooklyn Caldwell suffered serious head injuries   a week ago today.  Family and friends gathered in Salyersville on Tuesday to prayer for her recovery. They say they are grateful for the prayers of support from the community. Brooklyn's brother was also less seriously injured in that crash and he was released from the hospital on Friday.

-0-

A young boy from Knott County will soon undergo a kidney transplant—after his adopted father was found to be a perfect match. Breven Portwood was born in Guatemala and adopted when he was six months old. When his parents found out that he has was is called renal dysplasia and would need a kidney transplant, the both were tested as possible donors and now, doctors say the Breven's farther will donate his own kidney for that operation, scheduled for August. The family will hold a fundraiser on July 18th at the Combs Road McDonalds in Hazard to help them pay for the surgery.

-0-

Pikeville Medical Center has earned a designation that could save lives. The hospital was been certified as a level two trauma center by the American College of Surgeons, meaning patients with life threatening injures can now been seen there—rather than have to be transported to facilities that could be hours way. The center is the only level two  trauma center in the state. PMC's ER has already handed more cases since that designation. Hospital officials say  WHERE a patient lives shouldn't be a factor in WHETHER they live after a serious injury.

-0-

Authorities continue to investigate a fire that destoyed a home in the Perry County community of Viper—which has left a mother and daughter without a place to live. Brooke Cody says she is still stunned by that  blaze early Tuesday morning and is trying to figure out what she will do next.  Cody says firefighters had a tough time battling that flames because a tree limb had fallen acorss the driveway. No one was home at the time, and no one was hurt.

-0-

Reports say three eastern kentucky counties lead the state in the number of prescriptions for the drug suboxone written for people who have medicare. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health, doctors in Pike, Harlan and Floyd Counties prescribe that drug which is intended to curb heroin addiction. However,Suboxone itself is being abused, and officials are cracking down on its illicit sale and use.

Tuesday 6-23-15

By Jerry Adams

A  man who was  arrested and charged with stripping and running crazily though a Pike County Wal Mart says he did it and would do ti again. 24 year old Timothy Smith says it was joke and that he hopes it makes him famous. Police don't agree and they say they will press whatever charges they can. Smith says, he, in his words—lives to make people laugh and decided to pull that stunt on a 50 dollar bet and a night of drinking. Prosecutors have charged him with indecent exposure—he is in jail on $2,000 dollars bail.  His next court appearance is September 22nd.

-0-

More people have joined in a lawsuit against Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn,    Last month, dozens of his clients temporarily lost their social security benefits amid allegations that Conn committed fraud and while the newest group of about 600 people were never notified that their benefits were in jeopardy,  they will still have their eligibility reviewed. There are now about 1500 in total  people involved in that suit. Conn has never been charged but his conduct has been question by federal investigators.

-0-

The trial of a former State Representative accused of bribing a federal mine safety official  is under way in Pike County. W. Keith Hall is accused of trying to pay off mine inspector Kelly Shortridge to overlook safety violations.  Once jury selection in Hall's federal trial begins, it the case could last through next week.  No comment from Hall or his attorneys.  Shortrdge has already pleaded guilty and is expected to testify.  He will be sentenced in august.

-0-

A man from Bell County is facing charges that he tried to steal another man's cell phone—and then then ran over his hand as he sped off  because he thought the man was cooperating with police .  Police say Kenneth Williams will face several charges.   The victim, Corey McCullough  says he was lucky the situation wasn't worse—because a passing Middlesboro police officer saw the situation unfold and quickly moved in to arrest Williams.

-0-

No injuries—human or horse—in a scary fire that destroyed a truck and horse trailer in Letcher County. That truck caught fire early Monday on U S 119 near the top of Pine Mountain after the driver pulled over because of mechanical problems.  The driver, four passengers and four houses where able to get out of the truck and trailer safely. The driver was on his way from Illinois to a horse stable in the Partridge community.


Monday 6-22-15

By Jerry Adams.  

Yesterday's severe weather has moved on, and officials say there was some damage in McCreary County and scattered power outages in both Bell and Wise Counties. There will be a few spotty showers today and some unsettled weather in the week ahead as well as we enter the first week of summer.

-0-

It doesn't get much more bizarre than this. The Pike County sheriff's deputies have arrested man they is the person shown on   an internet video, running though the South Williamson Wal-Mart on Friday, naked, wearing a Halloween mask, pouring milk on himself and shouting that he was on fire.   Timothy Smith of Phelps, is facing indecent exposure charges They have also picked up David Daniels of Belfry, who police say videotaped the apparent prank, which was posted, and later removed from YouTube.  Sheriff Rodney Scott says while some people might find it amusing, his office doesn't.  He says he only has one question to ask the suspect—-”Why”?

-0-

Police in Bell County say three people were hurt in a crash there on Saturday night. They say a car lost control on Highway 221 in the Right Fork community and then slid into the opposite lane where it hit an oncoming pickup. The driver of the car as well as two people in the truck were hurt. That driver, identified as Catherine Rogers, was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center.

-0-

A new program at the Letcher County farmers market is helping people eat healthy, locally grown food. Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation has teamed up with the farmers market for the program called Farm-acy that lets qualified people receive special vouchers that are good only at the farmers market. MCHC officials say it's good both for the participants who get fresh, healthy food—and for the local farms who can earn additional money selling it. The Farmacy program is scheduled to run through the summer.

-0-

About 80 young anglers had a chance to hone their fishing skills as they cast off their reels at a tournament at Fish Pond Lake in Jenkins over the weekend. This is the fifth year in a row that founder Nick Whitaker has hosted the tournament. He says its a great way to get boys and girls hooked on fishing and help keep them out of trouble by introducing them to a fun outdoor activity they can enjoy for a lifetime. The kids on hand say they had a great time—and they even got awards and a free meal to go along with to their stories about the one that got away.

-0-

Kentucky State Police are investigating a shooting that left a man from Barbourville wounded. The victim is identified as Ford Collett. A suspect, identifed as Jason Marsee was arrested at the scene in Barboursville late Saturday . Authorities say an altercation between the two men apparently escalated and ended with shots being fired.

-0-

Johnson County sheriffs deputies are looking for two men involved in a home invasion and assault early Sunday morning. 55 year old William Williams says the two burst into his home, hit him with a crowbar as they ransacked the place and   got away after about 20 minutes inside. Deputies later found Williams on his porch with facial injuries suffered in the beating. Williams says he is happy to be alive and that if those who broke into his house needed money that bad, he would have just given it to them. Officials hope the public can provide more information about that crime.

-0-

Police have tacked on additional charges for a man from Jenkins after he allegedly tried to bribe a police officer after the man was found with more than 1000 pills and a large amount of cash hidden in a high street home. Reports say 42 year old Phillip Tackett asked an arresting officer what it would take to drop or reduce the charges That was the wrong question to ask.   Tackett is now facing charges of bribery of a public servant—in addtion to the drug charges.

-0-

The owners of a cafe and bakery in Hazard have hung up the “closed” sign for good. The Treehouse Cafe and Bakery's last day was Thursday. Co-owner Jenn Noble says the rising cost of business..and the condemnation of part of the buildings led to the decision. She says while her business is closed, she will stay active in revitalization plans for Downtown Hazard—and will keep on baking cakes.

-0-