By Jerry Adams
It's been a long time coming, but some people in Perry County will soon have a big improvement in their drinking water. The county has received almost half a million dollars from the Federal government to hook those residents in Fort Branch into the municipal water system. They now get their water from wells but it is often contaminated and need to be filtered. Officials first discussed the water project more than ten years ago, and County Judge Executive Scott Alexander says it is about time Fort Branch got a safe and clean flow from the tap.
Police have started looking for a woman for Knott County who has been missing for several weeks. They say they are just now getting the case of Natasha Fugate Jones and are talking to people around the county to find out any additional information about where she might be.
Drug possession charges have been filed against three people from Harlan County. Police say they found cocaine and arrested Tice and Clarence Grubbs and Tonya Helton of Cawood on U.S. 421 on Wednesday. Deputies credit a tip for the arrest. The three are facing drug trafficking charges and are in the Harlan County Detention Center.
Some Bell County residents aren't giving up their fight to allow limited alcohol sales in their community. A petition drive in Middlesboro was tossed last month on a technicality, but now those in favor of letting larger restaurants sell alcohol are out with revised forms that comply with the rules. They'll need to get 666 signatures to get the plan on the ballot, and county officials say if it does come up for a vote, the process will be open and fair. The proposal would allow restaurants with more than 100 seats that make more than 70 percent of gross receipts from food to apply for a permission to sell liquor.
Residents and Businesses in Pineville will soon see a reduction in their property insurance bills. That's because recent evaluation gave high marks to the city fire department, and higher marks mean lower rates from insurance companies. Officials estimate people in Pineville—and within a five mile radius of the city- could save 15 percent or more on their residential and commercial insurance premiums. The new rating puts Pineville in some select company too— Fire Chief James Miracle says the fire department is in the top ten percent of the 50 thousand departments that were rated across the country.
Another Eastern Kentucky fire department is pitching in to help out its community. Members of the Thousandsticks fie company in Leslie county got together Wednesday to distribute food and clothes to residents in need. Fire department officials say it's a good feeling to be able to give back to folks who are struggling in the tough economy and are seeking donations so the program can continue.
The Laurel County sheriff's office is hoping that security camera pictures will help then nab a man who burglarized a gas station last month last month. The picture shows the man who deputies say broke into Macs Filling station on U.S. 25 and stole several cartons of cigarettes, tobacco and lottery tickets. Officials are asking the public for help solving that crime.
The city council in Lynch is dealing with a past due bill fro trash collection. The city clerk there wasn't enough money to make full payment to the Waste Management Company that handles the garbage pickups because that the company hadn't sent out a bill for three months. The city will begin making partial payments until the 20 thousand dollar bill is caught up.
Updated 12:00 noon 2-23-15
Water systems across Letcher County are experiening a variety of issues affecting many customers. Here's the latest info:
LETCHER COUNTY WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT
From the Letcher County Water and Sewer District: County Water System customers will be experiencing intermittent outages throughout the day today(Monday). They are working as quickly as possible to fix the issues and restore full service. They apologize for the inconvenience.
FLEMING NEON WATER SYSTEM
Attention all Fleming Neon Water System customers. The city water system is aware that some have water and some don't at this time. They are continuing to restore water service as quickly as possible to all areas on the system. They ask all customers to conserve as much water as possible and all customers are under a boil water advisory until further notice.
CITY OF WHITESBURG WATER SYSTEM
The City of Whitesburg Water System advises all customers conserve water as much as possible until further notice due to low water levels.
By Jerry Adams
State police continue to investigate a shooting involving a police officer in Magoffin county. They say the officer had no choice but to fire during an altercation with Vietnam veteran Carter Castle as police tried to serve a warrant at his Gunlock home on Sunday. Friends say even though the war was long ago, Castle lived with its haunting memories every day and that he had recently stopped taking medicine he had been prescribed. Those close to him also say they will remember the good times lived—rather than the tragic circumstances of how he died.
A 22 year old man has been arrested after he allegedly snatched a woman's purse and then tried to swim to get away. A police officer says he watched Skyler Kinney grab the woman's purse outside a store in prestonsburg on Friday and when the officer started to chase him, Kinney jumped into nearby Levisa Fork. He didn't get far—police were waiting on the other side. Kinney is facing theft and evading charges.
A Middlesboro man is in jail after he allegedly led police on a foot chase after they tried to arrest him on Saturday night. Officials when the caught up with say 38 year old Jason Schooler on Highway 441 was carrying three and half grams of the drug that he planned to sell. The meth is now evidence and Schooler is now facing wanton endangerment charges.
A class action lawsuit against the owner of a Wise County coal mine has been settled. Reports say Nine Mile Mining has agreed to pay the 6 former employees a total of 745 thousand dollars for alleged violations of the federal WARN act. An attorney for the workers says it is a fair outcome for his clients, who filed that suit about a year ago. A final hearing on that proposed settlement will be held February 23 in Federal court.
A teenager from Pike County is recovering in center after a serious accident left his pickup truck in the Raccoon Creek. Police say Patrick Sanders lost control of the truck while rounding a curve. Sanders got a bedside visit at Pikeville Medical Center from his Pike Central High school football coach on Monday, who says the teenager is doing well. Coach Shawn Thaker says sanders biggest concern is getting back onto the field.
Two eastern Kentucky judges are hoping to move up in the ranks to the state supreme court. Letcher county Circuit Court Judge Sam wright and Appeals Court Judge Janet Stumbo of Prestonsburg will face off on the non partisan ballot. The winner would replace Judge Will T Scott, who has stepped down to run for governor. Both Wright and stumbo say they have years of experience on the bench that would serve them well on the states highest court. Governor Steve Beashear has yet to appoint a replacement to serve until that election.
A two vehicle crash had parts of highway 15 closed in Perry county for a time yesterday. That accident, happened in the Bonnyman community. Meanwhile A travel alert if you are heading to I-75 and Cincinnati today. That major road is CLOSED after a bridge overpass collapsed there, killing one person.
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.