LOCAL NEWS

Wednesday February 5, 2014

TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye planned to take the stage Tuesday night to defend evolution at Creation museum in Kentucky that presents the history of the world through biblical stories during an event that has attracted intense interest in science and faith circles. Nye is a former TV star and Ham is prominent among Christians who believe the Bible tells a factual account of the Earth's beginnings. Some scientists have been critical of Nye for agreeing to debate the head of a Christian ministry that is dismissive of evolution.
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One person is dead following an overnight crash in Knott County. It happened just after midnight on Dry Fork Road near Mousie. The coroner tells us the victim was a woman but her name is not being released yet. No word on what caused the crash.
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A mix of winter weather and rain are to blame for a flood inside the Letcher County Courthouse. You typically hear the sound of gavels and testimony inside the Letcher County Courthouse. But Monday the sound of dripping water filled the building’s hallways and offices. At least one foot of water leaked through the roof and through two floors before inmates housed in the building’s basement noticed around midnight Monday.
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Kentucky Emergency Management has activated the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center to Level II. Weather forecasts for much of the Commonwealth have prompted Kentucky’s emergency management officials to hold several conference calls with the National Weather Service and statewide emergency officials in preparation for another winter storm system approaching the state with a hazardous mix of precipitation in the forecast.
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Legislation pushed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo to expand a scholarship program for students in Kentucky's struggling coal regions cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly yesterday. The measure is aimed at increasing the number of people attaining four-year college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The students, for the most part, would attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes that they pursue careers in the same region after graduation.
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The Fayette County Health Department says the number of confirmed flu cases in Fayette county is down from last week, to 86 confirmed cases. Last week 102 confirmed cases were reported in Fayette county. The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are especially encouraged to receive the flu vaccine, because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences.

Tuesday February 4, 2014

 

Students at Kentucky's two-year schools would pay a fee to help finance nearly $200 million of proposed construction, touted as the biggest investment in the colleges since the system's formation. The proposed student fee would eventually amount to $8 per credit hour taken, Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Michael McCall said Monday. For students taking 15-hour class loads in a semester, the fee would amount to $120. The fee would back the issuance of $145.5 million in agency bonds that would pay for up to 75 percent of the construction projects.
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The Letcher County Courthouse is expected to remain closed at least through today after freezing water clogged up a roof drain and flooded parts of all three stories. Water seeped from the roof into the offices of Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright, down to the first floor into Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade’s office, and on down to the Letcher County Jail in the basement. The flooding occurred over the weekend when no one was present on the first and second floors. Flooding was discovered late Sunday night when the water reached the jail.
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Knox County Sheriff's Deputies and Kentucky State Police recovered more than $40,000 worth of stolen property at a home in Bell County. Investigators say it appears the suspects were running a chop shop for four-wheelers. Kristie Harris is one of the victims. She said her husband woke up early Sunday morning to go to Richmond and discovered their barn door open around 4:00 a.m. Her new 2013 Polaris RZR was missing. State Police arrested 26-year-old Justin Collett.
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Gov. Beshear said he will present a wide-ranging plan to modernize Kentucky's tax system, offering no details in advance but saying lawmakers should be well-acquainted with most of the features. Beshear plans to roll out his long-awaited tax package Tuesday, following through on his promise to present specific ideas on how to make Kentucky more competitive through its tax code. The Democratic governor briefed a bipartisan group of legislative leaders on the details yesterday.
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February is heart month and health professionals want to make sure your heart is healthy. In Hazard...the Mountain After Hours Clinic held heart disease screenings on Monday. Folks that stopped by could get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked for free. If you missed the event on Monday, you have three more chances: February 11, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mountain Clinic of Carr Creek, Sassafras... February 17, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mountain Clinic of Carr Creek, Sassafras...February 27, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mountain After Hours Clinic, Hazard.
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A fugitive and three others are behind bars following a police tip Monday morning. Police arrested Bryan Fields at his Aunt's home on Jackson Road in Laurel County just before noon. Officials say they were looking for him since they believe he stole and aluminum boat and fuel tanks to sell at a scrap metal business. They found him in the attic of the home.  He was charged with resisting arrest and theft by unlawful taking from a previous warrant. All were taken to the Laurel County Detention Center.

 

Thursday January 30, 2014

Unless students in the Letcher County school system miss more days, May 22 will be the last day of school for the 2013-14 year. The Letcher County Board of Education decided Monday night to shorten spring break by three days in an effort to keep students from attending classes in June. School will be held Monday, March 31, Tuesday, April 1, and Wednesday, April 2. The decision isn’t a surprise, as it was noted on the school calendar that these days could be used as makeup days if needed.
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Fifty-six candidates have filed to run for Letcher County offices in the May election. The deadline to file was 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The offices of county judge/executive, sheriff, county attorney, jailer, county clerk, coroner, property valuation administrator, magistrates and constables will be on the ballot for the primary election.
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Hiring Our Miners Everyday and the Kentucky Coal Association will host the job fair on Wednesday, Feb. 5, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Kentucky Career Center JobSight, 412 Roy Campbell Drive, in Hazard. Patriot officials will be on hand to accept resumes from miners and discuss underground mining job opportunities available at their Highland Mine in western Kentucky. The company is seeking only skilled “black hat” underground miners through the job fair. All applicants should bring copies of their resume and mine certifications.
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The Barnes and Noble Bookstore on the Cumberland campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will host a book signing on Friday, Feb. 7, for Professor Carlton W. Hughes, who will be signing copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: the Dating Game. The event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the store in Falkenstine Hall. Hughes’s story in the collection, “Grocery Store Cupid,” details how he and his wife Kathy met.
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Police have arrested a woman accused of stealing money intended for a Perry County cancer patient. Perry County sheriff's deputies arrested Kristina Amburgey, 30, Tuesday night.  Sheriff's deputies say Amburgey told them she took the money because she could not afford to eat. Amburgey is set to be arraigned Monday in Perry County District Court. She is charged with one count theft by unlawful taking under $500.
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A Pike County native is celebrating a big win at this year's Grammy awards. Josh Osborne is from Virgie in Pike County. He co-wrote country singer Kacey Musgraves' song 'Merry Go Round' with Musgraves and songwriter Shane McAnally. The song was nominated for Country Song of the Year at this year's Grammys and won!
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A Kentucky Senate Committee approved a bill to expand the instances when people can operate all-terrain vehicles without helmets. Under the measure, the helmet requirement would not apply when ATV riders cross roads with speed limits of 55 mph or less.

Wednesday January 29, 2014

Kentucky Republicans and Democrats wrapped up candidate recruitment for this year's election on Tuesday and set their sights on settling a crowded ballot, topped by a high-profile U.S. Senate race and the struggle for control of the state House of Representatives. As the candidate filing deadline passed, both sides sounded ready to press their case to voters, who will endure a blizzard of campaign ads, speeches, yard signs and canvassing in coming months. All 100 state House seats are on the November ballot, as well as half the 38 state Senate seats.
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Donations meant for a cancer patient are missing, prompting police to search for the woman they believe stole the money. Surveillance video from the IGA grocery store in the Happy community of Perry County appears to show the woman swiping the donation jar after completing checkout. The woman spent $1.78 on two boxes of salt and then signed her name on the receipt as "Kristina Amburgey," The jar contained more than $100.
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A major water main break has left about 5,000 people without water in Ashland, Catlettsburg, Westwood and parts of Summit. The break happened Monday night in the 2500 block of Carter Avenue in Ashland. According to the city of Ashland, system tanks have been depleted causing system-wide outages.
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The Kentucky Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would count computer programming classes toward fulfilling foreign-language requirements in public schools. The goal is to enhance programming skills, enabling more Kentucky students to land high-paying jobs in the growing computer industry. The measure cleared the Senate. The opponents remained silent during the discussion of the bill, which now goes to the House.
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UK HealthCare has announced plans to lease and renovate the former Dillard's location at Turfland Mall on Harrodsburg Road for consolidation and relocation of some of its primary care and specialty outpatient clinics. UK HealthCare will be the anchor tenant for the first floor of the building utilizing approximately 85,000 square feet. The clinic will consolidate patient services of UK Family & Community Medicine, which currently sees patients at both the Kentucky Clinic on the UK campus, and at Kentucky Clinic South, located on Harrodsburg Road.
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Several dogs in Floyd County are being treated after a house burned Sunday night. Officials say a house in Reed Branch caught fire around 6:00 p.m. No people were injured, but several animals were inside at the time. Officials with Dumas Rescue Group helped bring five dogs in to be treated for first and second degree burns. They say any help or donations are welcome to pay for vet costs.

Tuesday January 28, 2014

The first project undertaken by the Letcher County Water and Sewer District will soon be closed. The Millstone Sewer Treatment Plant, a highly innovative system at the time it was installed in the late 1990s, is set to close because of excessive repair and rehabilitation costs and the near total lack of payment by the 30 customers who are served by the system.  The plant was designed to direct its discharge into a leach field of peat that would clean the effluent before it reaches the stream that feeds the North Fork of the Kentucky River.
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The bitterly cold temperatures that hit the county earlier this month hit Fleming-Neon residents hard, with almost 40 water leaks occurring in homes and five water meters frozen.  The large number of leaks occurring at the same time contributed to the draining of 650,000 gallons from the city’s five water tanks and caused widespread water outages throughout the city’s water service area. With more freezing weather in the forecast, thry're asking water customers to not leave their water on continually in an attempt to keep it from freezing.
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Early Monday, Letcher County Sheriff's deputies arrested four people they said were making meth.  Sheriff Danny Webb says investigators spent the afternoon on Burton Hill at Letcher just off Highway 7 South cleaning up materials they believe were used to make meth.  Neighbors noticed a unique smell that led to the arrests.  In total, four people were arrested.  That includes Daniel Bentley, Sonya Freeman, John McCool and Jason Gibbs.  They were taken to ARH in Whitesburg for decontamination.  Sheriff Webb said the four suspects will face several meth related charges.  Several homes surround the trailer where the meth lab was suspected.
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A former Perry County Judge will be laid to rest today.  Doug Combs was found dead Saturday at his home in Hazard.  He served as Circuit Judge in Perry County from 1992, until he resigned in 2004 amid misconduct allegations.  He had also been District Judge.  The funeral will be today at 1 p.m. at The Gospel Light Baptist Church in Hazard.  Doug Combs was 57.
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There is a new chief at Mud Creek Fire Department and she is the first woman to hold the position in Floyd County history. 22-year-old, Stephanie McKinney, is a senior biology and psychology major at the University of Pikeville...while also being a member of the fire department for three years. With the most training hours last year in the department, she says her work ethic caught others attention...naming her chief.
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Kentucky is consolidating its workforce services for businesses looking to locate or expand in the state. Gov. Beshear said Monday the initiative amounts to a "one-stop shop" in assisting companies. The initiative is called WorkSmart Kentucky. The goal is to match employers with their workforce needs. Beshear says providing a quality workforce is the top factor in determining Kentucky's ability to attract high tech and advanced manufacturing jobs.