LOCAL NEWS

Friday February 14, 2014

A Knott County Pastor died Thursday morning after an ATV he was using to plow snow on a driveway overturned into a creek, killing him.  Carlos Craft, 73, served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Pine Top.
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Many across eastern Kentucky woke up to 8-14" of heavy, wet snow and many power lines ccumulatedsnow through Thursday morning. As a result, Kentucky Power Supervisor Greg Sparkman says thousands of people were without power in Perry, Letcher, Knott and Leslie Counties.  He adds that crews are working around the clock to restore power as soon as possible.  Sparkman said due to the large amounts of snow back-up is on the way.  In total, 20 additional crews will be working by Friday morning.  He expects to have everything restored by Friday at midnight.
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A Lee County family is still looking for their two teenage daughters who went missing more than one week ago. Brittany and Desiree Jewell were last seen the night of February 2nd, at their home in the St. Helens community near Beattyville( Bay-T-ville). The girls left with very little clothing, taking just a few pictures and other keepsakes. Brittany left behind medication she uses for her breathing problems. Police are hoping someone will come forward with information about where the girls went. The Jewells say an argument the night before may have led the 16-year-olds to run away. Anyone with information about the girls' location is asked to call the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 606-464-4140.
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Legendary former Paintsville football coach Walter Brugh has died. Brugh retired in 1994 after 39 seasons as the head football coach at Paintsville. At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest coach in Kentucky high school football history. He currently ranks eleventh. Brugh was battling illness and died of natural causes.
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A fire department was hit by a vehicle in Johnson County Wednesday afternoon. It happened at the West Van Lear Volunteer Fire Department. The driver told deputies her brakes went out going around a curve. The vehicle flipped three times before hitting the fire department. Nobody was injured, but the driver, 22 year old Joy Hall of Staffordsville, was cited for several traffic violations. Officials say this is not the first time a vehicle has hit the fire department.
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Kentucky State Police have confirmed a gas line explosion in Adair County. A natural gas pipeline exploded around 2 a.m. Thursday in the Knifely Community, near the Taylor and Casey County lines. Fire departments from Adair, Taylor and Casey County assisted. two homes were destroyed by the explosion and another one was damaged. one person was taken to the hospital with burns, but their condition is unknown at this time.
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A Pike County man was sentenced to thirty years in federal prison for child pornography. Officials say 63 year old David Campbell was sentenced Tuesday with the maximum sentence. Court officials say Campbell produced videos of himself engaged in sexual behavior with a child and distributed them to others online. Under Federal law, Campbell will serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.
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The old Daniel Boone Hotel building in Whitesburg could undergo a transformation very similar to the one that turned the old Jenkins High School building into senior apartments.
At the Whitesburg City Council’s February meeting Monday, Mayor James Wiley Craft told the council that AU Associates, the company that developed the Jenkins school, is apparently interested in a similar project in Whitesburg for the Daniel Boone Hotel.

Thursday February 13, 2014

The bitter cold this winter is making survival difficult for some livestock in central Kentucky. Madison County solid waste coordinator says his staff has removed 200 head of dead livestock from farms in the last 27 working days. The cold weather is the cause of many deaths. Madison County extension agent Brandon Sears says the harsh winter has been especially hard on calves. He says that animals are in danger from freezing temperatures as well as getting stuck in pockets of mud when there's a warming trend.
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A Jenkins church held services Sunday, despite its heat pump being stolen the day before. Thieves pulled a power meter before using a hacksaw to cut the lines to a heat pump belonging to the New Freedom Worship Center. The heat pump was removed sometime after midnight on Feb. 8. The thieves tried to break into the church through front and back doors, but were unsuccessful. Entry was also attempted through a screen window.
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Two Bell County Sheriff's Deputies were injured during a standoff with a man Tuesday night. Deputies say they went to the home of 48-year-old Orville Hobbs, Jr. in Balkan to serve a warrant and he pointed a shotgun at them. They had a one hour standoff with him and say Hobbs threatened to shoot them. Once Hobbs surrendered, deputies say he assaulted two deputies.Hobbs has a list of charges.
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Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, according to a ruling Wednesday by a federal judge, who struck down part of the state ban that he wrote treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them." The constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004 and included the out-of-state clause. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention called the ruling  disappointing.
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Police have confirmed they have found three-year-old Aiden Wallen near the home. Officials say he left his parents home while his step-mother and father were taking a nap. Police say the three year old boy went missing from a home on Opeck Lane in Dwarf yesterday afternoon.
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People in Pike County have a new way to keep folks informed during emergencies like severe weather. Officials say the newly-adopted "CodeRED" notification service will help them get the word out quickly. In flood-prone Pike County, officials say emergency preparedness is key. Pike County and the City of Pikeville just began using the CodeRED system, a state of the art service that will let emergency personnel broadcast important information quickly.

 

Wednesday February 12, 2014

A bill to allow concealed deadly weapons in Kentucky bars has passed its first committee hearing in the Legislature. The Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee approved the measure Tuesday. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. John Schickel of Union, is the committee's chairman. Current state law prohibits concealed firearms from being carried into bars, but Schickel's bill would allow it as long as those who carry them do not drink. He called that a matter of self-defense.
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Eastern Kentucky has always been known for great music, but one woman in the region can now claim the title of best high school music teacher in the state. Marilyn Schraeder is the choir director for Harlan Independent Schools a position she has held for the past 45 years. Affection for her students is one reason Schraeder earned the High School Teacher of the Year award from the Kentucky Music Educators Association.
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An Eastern Kentucky soldier is not coming home. Private First Class Joshua Gray, died Monday at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as the result of a non-combat related incident that remains under investigation. The 21-year-old was deployed in January and served as a satellite communications system operator maintainer. Gray was a 2011 graduate of Johnson Central High School. Friends say he was very involved....a member of the academic team, Skills USA team, prom king, and voted 'Most Unforgettable' by his senior class.
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A bill to increase the number of Kentucky children required to use vehicle booster seats has cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly. The measure won approval from the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday. State law now requires child safety seats for any youngsters under age 9 or under 50 inches in height. The bill would broaden the height range to include youngsters up to 59 inches. The bill's sponsor says 32 other states have similar laws, including all of Kentucky's neighbors.
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The Whitley County High School Athletics Director is on leave of absence following his arrest in Maryland. Maryland court records show 49-year-old Michael Campbell has several sex offense charges, assault charges, and one rape charge. He was arrested on January 22nd in Baltimore and is in jail there. He has a court appearance on February 18th. Whitley County School officials say John Siler is serving as Acting Athletic Director.

Tuesday February 11, 2014

The Kentucky House has voted to expand a scholarship program for students in the state's coal regions. The measure is aimed at increasing the number of people achieving four-year college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The scholarships would be awarded to students who, for the most part, attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes they stay there after getting their degrees. The measure seeks to make permanent a pilot project.
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Only 30 tons is left in the Laurel County road garage and that was borrowed from the state. Laurel crews are already close to doubling their usual usage of a thousand tons a year.  The state, they are getting low, too. Kind of cutting cities and counties off on borrowing salt from them. There are more than 1,200 miles of county roadways in Laurel County. In times like these, not all of those miles of roadway will be covered. A salt shortage means some roads will only be spot treated. Laurel County has ordered 800 tons from Michigan when normally they’d be able to get it from Louisville.
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The ARH Foundation for Healthier Communities announced today it has received a $1 million gift from Hazard native and energy industry leader Joe Craft towards the $47 million expansion project at the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center. In recognition of this gift, the new patient tower will be named in his honor. The newly named Joe Craft Tower has three floors and more than 100,000 square feet of space and includes units for patients with the most critical care needs.
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The conditions of a father and daughter who were the only survivors in a Kentucky house fire that killed nine family members have been upgraded. Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials said Monday that 36-year-old Chad Watson and his 11-year-old daughter, Kylie, are both in stable condition. two had been in critical but stable condition since they arrived on Jan. 30 but were upgraded over the weekend. Police say the fire started when a combustible material fell against an electric heater in a bedroom overnight.
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The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has launched a web portal that makes vast amounts of information available to the public. With a click of a mouse, someone can find out how many electric vehicles are registered in Kentucky, how much was spent last year on highway projects in each county and where state-maintained bridges are located. The new Web portal is called Kentucky Transportation Cabinet DataMart. Other details accessible through the portal will include traffic counts, highway crash data and organizational performance measures.
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A Congressional hearing into last month's chemical leak into the Elk River is scheduled for Monday at 9 a.m. at the Kanawha County Courthouse in Charleston. An estimated 10,000 gallons of the chemical MCHM leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries and tainted the water supply for about 100,000 West Virginia American Water customers in nine counties.  The president of West Virginia American Water is scheduled to testify at the hearing, as is the chairman of the U.S. chemical Safety Board and the director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Monday February 10, 2014

A special meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court turned controversial late last week when Judge/ Executive Jim Ward accused District Two Magistrate Terry Adams of voting against bringing new jobs to Letcher County. At the same time, Ward declined to name the company that is interested to locating on county-owned property at Isom. The business makes wood pellets that can be mixed with coal for power plants. Ward said he is afraid the company would lose state-funded incentives it hopes to receive if it is named prematurely.
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Police say an active methamphetamine lab was found inside a Thornton mobile home last week. This makes the third time in as many weeks that the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department has come in contact with a residence where police have found methamphetamine precursors. The renter of the trailer, William Bentley, 38, of 79 Golden Rod Drive, was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. Police found eight meth precursors including Coleman fuel, Liquid Fire, sea salt and Drano.
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Eight horses died in a barn fire Sunday morning. Scott County fire officials say the barn burned to the ground about 6 a.m. the flames may have been sparked near the tack room where three things were plugged in.  the barn was just renovated and everything was up to code. Fire crews are still working to determine what started the fire. seven of the horses killed in the fire were thoroughbreds and the yearlings would've been sold in September.
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Police officers with the city of Jenkins are currently investigating the suspected theft of a heat pump late Friday evening from the New Freedom Worship Center in Letcher County.  Severed wire is all that remains of the pumping unit. Police say pieces of a ripped screen window and a pronounced footprint on the front door are evidence of the failed entry. Pastor Danny Quillen has been ministering at the church for 10 years. He was in a job training session when he heard the news.
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Six school districts in Kentucky have received a $40,000 grant for a pilot program to help find ways to cut costs. The initiative is designed to save school systems across the state millions of dollars. The Kentucky Association of School Administrators and the American Productivity and Quality Center have partnered to train staff on different techniques that can be used to enhance savings. The districts that received funding from the state Department of Education include Daviess, Boone, Garrard, Lee, Martin and Nelson counties.