LOCAL NEWS

Monday October 13, 2014

BLACKEY DAY’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Thousands turn out for the 50th anniversary Blackey Day Festival. The event featured lots of free entertainment, over 2 dozen craft booths and a cakewalk along with a cupcake walk for kids. A silent auction was held and the proceeds benefit the Blackey Improvement Committee, organizers of the festival.  For many Blackey Day is a homecoming to people who live away and they plan a visit home to Letcher County well in advance.

PIKE COUNTY JAILBIRDS CHARGED WITH DRUG POSSESSION

3 Pike County Detention Center inmates faces additional charges for possessing drugs while incarcerated. The Appalachian News Express reports Connie Allen of Dorton was found with prescription painkillers, Eric Childress from Left Fork of Island Creek had a syringe along with pain meds and Barry Ron Maynard of Pikeville was in possession of hydrocodone. Each is charged with first-degree promotion of contraband, which is a felony.

LIHEAP SIGNUPS START THIS WEEK

Pre-registration begins Wednesday for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program administered by the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program. Last year the program helped around 15,000 homes in a 5-county area including Floyd and Pike Counties and officials expect even more applications this year. Pre-registration runs through the end of the month and the statewide LIHEAP subsidy program begins November 3rd.

PIKE COUNTY TOT RECOVERING FROM CANCER SURGERY

A Pike County infant is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor. 3 months ago Clay Allen was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma cancer and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy before last week's surgery. Doctors say the chemo shrunk the tumor to half its original size. 14 month old Clay sees his doctors on Wednesday for a scan to determine if he is cancer free.

MISSING HARLAN COUNTY MAN FOUND DEAD

A Harlan County man reported missing is found dead. Police say Willis Dixon of Nolansburg walked away from his home early Wednesday morning and his body was found in a Nolansburg stream late Saturday morning. Dixon had a history of medical conditions including schizophrenia. Investigators say foul play is not suspected.

DOCTOR, 2 OTHERS FACE DRUG CHARGES

A doctor, his wife and a staff member at a Perry County clinic are indicted on drug charges. Court papers say Doctor James Chaney, his wife Lesa and Physicians Assistant Gregory Hoskins distributed and unlawfully dispensed drugs while working at the Ace Clinique of Medicine in Hazard between 2006 and 2013. Each entered not guilty pleas and have a December court date. If convicted they could each face 50 years in jail.

ARGUMENT ENDS WITH A STABBING AND AN ARREST

A woman in Harlan County is jailed on assault charges stemming from an argument. Police say Lorenza Hernandez of Cumberland pulled a knife and stabbed the victim twice. She is held without bond at the Harlan County Detention Center.

ALLEGATIONS MADE ABOUT PIKE COUNTY AIRPORT SPENDING

Pike County's airport hasn't yet started commercial air travel and already there's charges that money was misappropriated by the airport board's chairman. The Appalachian News Express reports Board Member Bobby Wagner says chairman Bill Hickman okayed spending over $20,000 for items requested by one of the companies involved in getting the air service operations - but didn't get board approval to spend the money until several days later. Wagner also says some of the items were massively overpriced and if bought locally could have been acquired a lot cheaper. He says a request for a formal state audit of the board's books will be made at the October 20 meeting.

Friday October 10, 2014

BY RICK PRICE

BLACKEY MAN LEADS POLICE ON CHASE

A Letcher County man pulled over for a seatbelt violation now faces a number of additional charges. Police say they tried to stop Rodney Sexton of Blackey on Kentucky 7 South and as he slowed to pull over, Sexton took off, leading police on a mile long chase ending in a parking lot near Letcher Elementary School. Charging papers say Sexton left the car and struggled with officers who used non-lethal force to get him into custody.

NO INDICTMENT FOR WELLS

A grand jury decides not to indict a Leslie County man on murder charges. Gavin Wells is suspected of fatally shooting Christopher Sizemore after a fight broke out between the two and Sizemore's brother. Wells said he acted in self defense. Sizemore's brother was also shot in the altercation.

FLOYD COUNTY CLEANS UP…YET AGAIN

Folks in Floyd County are again dealing with the aftermath of heavy rains, the fifth big storm in the last two months. One of the hardest hit areas is the Dodson Branch community want to know if or when help is on the way. County authorities are meeting with FEMA officials to learn how soon the aid approved by President Obama can be distributed to pay for cleanup work.

PIKE COUNTY HOSPITAL RECEIVES AWARD

Congressman Hal Rogers visits Pikeville Medical Center to present the Health Impact Award, given to the center's Heart and Vascular Institute. Pikeville Medical Center will mark its 90th anniversary this December.

MORE SENTENCES IN COCKFIGHTING CASE

Sentences are handed down in what police called one of the nation’s largest cockfighting rings. Jonathan Robinson - the son of Wesley Robinson, both of Wise County Virginia - gets a year and a day in jail for pleading guilty to a number of charges including possession of an animal for fighting. Walter Stumbo from Floyd County received an 18 month sentence and his wife Sonya along with their son Joshua wach received 10 month sentences. Sonya Stumbo went to trial on her charges while her husband and son took a plea deal.

RECORD SETTING TORNADO CONFIRMED

The National Weather Service confirms a tornado did touch down in Pike County Tuesday night - and it wasn't just an ordinary tornado, but the strongest one in history to hit the area. The EF1 twister blasted through the area with winds around 90 miles an hour tearing up trees and damaged houses. The Big Sandy community experienced the greatest amount of damage but there are no reports of injuries. Pike County's last big tornado was an EF0 twister 15 years ago.

MORE CHARGES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SUSPECT

A Floyd County man taken into custody on a possible domestic violence order violation now faces drug charges. Robert Burchett was arrested in Magoffin County and when searched police found marijuana pills and drug paraphernalia.

 

SCHIZOPHRENIC MAN’S WHEREABOUTS STILL UNKNOWN

A Harlan County man wandering away from his home on Tuesday is still missing. Police say Willis Dixon of Nolansburg is schizophrenic and is said not to be dangerous or violent. Dixon is 40, 6 foot tall around 220 pounds with light blond hair and a sleeve tattoo on his left arm. Call Kentucky State Police if you know of Dixon's whereabouts.

STATE SUED OVER COUNTY SPECIFIC LAW

Pike County sues the state over a new mandated process to receive coal severance tax proceeds. Lawmakers implemented a change just for Pike County in the 2014-2015 budget which includes a provision requiring state officials to consult with the county's legislative delegation and changes the application process with rules just for Pike County. The lawsuit says the changes are unconstitutional because it affects only one county. Pikeville senator Ray Jones said one reason for the change was the county requested $11 million in requests for coal severance only had about $4 million of it spent.

Thursday October 9, 2014

MINER DIES FROM INJURIES IN TUESDAY ACCIDENT

A Tennessee man injured in a mining accident in Bell County has died from his injuries. It happened at the Nally and Hamilton mine on Centers Branch Road off Kentucky 92 in the Ingram community. Investigators say Justin Mize was injured when a right-highwall miner cutter chain broke, and as Mize was retrieving it a rock hit him. A Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson says Mize died while being airlifted to a hospital. This is the first mining related death this year.

CONSULTANT SAYS REC CENTER NOT ENERGY EFFICIENT

Operational costs for Letcher County's 3 year old recreation center can be reduced by nearly $44,000 annually if energy efficiency improvements are implemented. That's the conclusion of an outside consultant presenting their survey results to the Letcher County Fiscal Court. The consultant told the court that contractors who built the center didn't correctly inspect the facility, and nowadays  municipalities bring in outside inspectors to certify installations. Judge/Executive Jim Ward says he will contact the center's original contractor to get answers on the inefficiency issues.

PERRY COUNTY'S SCHOOL BOARD LOCKS IN ITS 2014-2015 BUDGET

The Herald reports the final budget is $49 million with a large amount of that funded from state sources that take into account student's average daily attendance. District officials are already looking at next year's spending plan, where employees are scheduled to get 2 percent raises - double what is in this year's budget.

SECOND SUSPECT ARRESTED IN A/C THEFT

Another Harlan County man faces theft charges on suspicion of stealing  heating and cooling equipment from a vacant home then sold it. The Enterprise reports Cory Bledsoe of Baxter was arrested yesterday and is held on $5000 bond secured by 10 percent. On Monday Bobby Napier of Baxter was taken into custody. Police say Bledsoe and Napier took a 3-ton heating and cooling unit from a home on Kentucky 840 in Lawnvale then sold it to Baxter Metal Company for less than $70. Police say construction workers at a home next door saw some suspicious activity around the home, and a short time later a truck pulled up and 2 men grabbed the AC unit then took off.

MORE TROUBLE FOR A PIKE COUNTY MAN

A Pike County man is indicted on weapons charges resulting from an arrest 10 days after taking a plea deal on drug charges. Billy Jack Fuller of Feds Creek is indicted on a weapons charge for possessing 4 guns and ammo, with the serial number removed from one of the guns. Fuller pleaded guilty to drug possession and distribution charges and was to be sentenced next month but there's been no word on when he'll be in court on the weapons charge.

FATHER CHARGED WITH PHYSICALLY ABUSING HIS INFANT SON

Charges are brought against a Perry County man on suspicion he physically abused his month old baby. Henry Clemons of Hazard was arrested and taken to the Kentucky River Regional Jail. Police say in August Clemons called for help saying his baby couldn't breathe, and medics took the infant to Hazard ARH then to a Lexington hospital, where doctors found both of the baby's legs, the left forearm and a rib were broken. Charging papers say Clemons knew about the injuries but did not seek assistance. The baby is recovering and is with relatives.

NWS HEADS TO PIKE COUNTY

A National Weather Service team is traveling to Pike County to survey the damage from Tuesday night's storms and to determine if a tornado touched down in the area. The heaviest damage was near Buffalo Creek at the Pike-Floyd County line where trees were uprooted and the winds damaged a number of houses. Heavy rains the night before damaged the cafeteria and 2 classrooms at Shelby Valley High School but it didn't cause classes to be interrupted.

NEW COURT CLERK APPOINTED

The Harlan County Circuit Court has appointed a successor to Paul Williams, who passed away last month. Court Clerk office bookkeeper Wendy Flanary is sworn in to be the first new clerk in nearly 4 decades. Flanary will serve out the remainder of Williams' term and says she hasn't decided about running for a full term.

Wednesday October 8, 2014

MINING ACCIDENT INJURES ONE PERSON

A Bell County mining accident sent one person to the hospital. It happened at the Nally and Hamilton mine on Centers Branch Road off Kentucky 92 in the Ingram community. There’s been no word on the extent of that person's injuries or how the accident happened.

DELAYS AGAIN IN ROBINSON SENTENCING

There's been another sentencing delay for a former mayor in Floyd County along with her husband on convictions tied to a vote buying scheme. The Floyd County Times reports the judge presiding over the cases of former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and Red Robinson had a scheduling conflict that forced sentencing to be postponed until November 5. Robinson's daughter Rita Whicker's sentencing on disability fraud charges was also rescheduled for that date.

SUSPECTED AIR CONDITIONER THIEF SELLS UNIT FOR SCRAP

A Harlan County man faces theft charges on suspicion he stole heating and cooling equipment from a vacant home then sold it. The Enterprise reports Bobby Napier of Baxter is held on $5000 bond secured by 10 percent. Police say Napier took a 3-ton heating and cooling unit from a home on Kentucky 840 in Lawnvale then sold it to Baxter Metal Company for less than $70. The charges against Napier are felonies.

SLIP-SLIDIN’ AWAY RESULTS IN AN ACCIDENT

A 2-car crash in Floyd County yesterday results in significant damage but no injuries. The causing driver told officers she tried to brake to avoid hitting a car on US 114 but skidded on the wet roads. So far there’s no word of if charges are to be filed.

BESHEAR TAKES A STAND AGAINST BULLYING

Governor Steve Beshear declares October as Anti-Bullying Month. The proclamation encourages parents, teachers, students and others to take action for improving safety for kids and adolescents. Earlier this month Governor Beshear announced the creation of the Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force, charged with studying bullying in schools and offer recommendations to make things safer in schools.

NEW SHERIFF, NEW BUDGET.

Floyd County's fiscal court calls a special meeting to allocate money for newly sworn in sheriff John Hunt's department operations. According to the Floyd County Times the swearing in of Hunt resets the spending accounts, so money was transferred in to cover salaries, department expenses and other costs. Hunt - who is running unopposed in November - took office early when Sheriff John Blackburn stepped down due to health concerns.

STATE ASKED TO AUDIT CITY’S FINANCES

A city in Knott County is asking the state to audit the municipalities’ finances because its former clerk was indicted on forgery charges. Hindman City leaders met Monday to go over plans to recover from its financial problems and City Attorney Jeremy Morgan says he will request the state auditor to conduct a thorough exam.  Former city clerk Rebecca Patrick was indicted last year on second-degree forgery charges and has a pretrial conference scheduled for Oct. 23.

ARRAIGNMENT HELD IN KNOTT COUNTY MURDER

The Floyd County man suspected in a fatal shooting at a Knott County concert is arraigned on murder charges. Miles Hamilton made his first court appearance yesterday and pleaded not guilty. He's accused of killing Zachary Murphy after the 2 got into a physical altercation at the Knott County Trail Ride. Murphy's father says there's no way police could cover all the area at the Mine Made Adventure Park, where 5000 people attended the weekend event.

MC CONNELL CAMPAIGNS IN 2 MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

US Senator Mitch McConnell made campaign stops in Perry and Floyd Counties. The senate minority leader used yesterday's visit to Hazard ARH as an opportunity to take issue with the Affordable Care Act, saying it's moving America's health care system towards the way ones in Western Europe operate. McConnell dismissed the results of the latest Bluegrass Poll, showing challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes with a 2 point lead.

Monday October 6, 2014

MAN KILLED AT KNOTT COUNTY CONCERT, SUSPECTED SHOOTER IN CUSTODY

An argument at a weekend concert takes the life of one Floyd County man and puts another behind bars. Police say Miles Hamilton fatally shot Zachary Murphy in the Mine Made Adventure Park at the Knott County Trail Ride. Investigators haven't said why the two were arguing, just that they were in a physical struggle, then were separated - and the shooting happened a short time after that. Hamilton fled on foot and turned himself in several hours later. Around 3000 campers were at the Trail Ride when the fatal shooting happened.

DIRT BIKE ACCIDENT RESULTS IN LIFE THREATENING INJURIES

A Harlan County teenager is critically injured when his dirt bike slid under a box truck. Police say it happened at US 119 near Elk Road in the Sawbriar community when the rider - who was on the shoulder - swerved to avoid the truck and lost control. The 18 year old was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport and his condition is not disclosed.

WHAT DO PEOPLE IN INDIANA KNOW, ANYWAY?

An Indiana man who spent 45 years photographing every county courthouse in the country didn't have very flattering comments about the one in Letcher County. Charles Aiken tells the Bloomington Herald Times the Letcher County courthouse is the ugliest one he found - and says the name "Letcher County" is itself ugly. The newspaper described the photo as one of an "unsightly courthouse showing a mangy mongrel strolling along the sidewalk in front of the building" Aiken also claims he was harassed by "grizzled old timers in an eastern Kentucky burg" while taking photos, but didn't say exactly where that was.

STYLIST FIGHTS OFF ARMED ROBBER

A Perry County woman is injured fighting off an armed robber. Police say it happened at the Electric Beach Hair and Tanning Salon in Wabaco when a stylist had just finished with a client, and a woman walked in with a knife demanding cash. The stylist refused and grabbed the knife, blade first, out of the robber's hand, resulting in cuts to her hand. Police took the suspected robber into custody.

HUSBAND AND WIFE SURRENDER ON THEFT INDICTMENT

A Harlan County couple indicted on theft charges turned themselves into police. Court papers say Delmus and Christie Baker embezzled around a half-million dollars from Harlan EMS in 2012. An indictment was handed down next month. Both Bakers posted bond of $10,000 each.

PERRY COUNTY CHARITY RUN ATTRACTS HUNDREDS

Over 400 runners participated in this year's Run For The Hills Charity 5K in Perry County. Organizers say the 4th annual race had more pre-registered entries than in past events. 17 Perry County charities benefit from the event and a number of other fundraising activities, which officials say should raise over $200,000.

GRIMES OPENS MOUNTAIN CAMPAIGN OFFICE

Kentucky Secretary of State and US Senator candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was in Pikeville Saturday for the opening of a new campaign office. At the office opening, Grimes says incumbent Mitch McConnell may have the millionaires and billionaires but he can't buy the hearts and minds of the people of Kentucky. She also challenged McConnell on his approach to area job creation and education.

SUSPECTED THIEF SURRENDERS TO COPS

A Harlan County woman surrenders to police on an indictment of theft charges. Charging papers say Amy Back of Totz stole over $500 from the Putney Volunteer Fire Department between 2011 and 2012. She was indicted in April. Back posted $2000 bond and is due in court October 16

REGISTER TO VOTE!

Today is the deadline to register for the November 4th General Election. County Clerks' Offices will accept voter registration cards until the close of business and mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked by today as well. To be eligible to vote, you have to have lived in Kentucky for at least 28 days before election day, can't be a convicted felon or have the right to vote anywhere outside Kentucky.