LOCAL NEWS

Thursday May 22, 2014

MCCONNELL-GRIMES DEBATES

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell on Wednesday challenged his fall Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to three debates, pitting his 30 years of policy experience against Kentucky's first-term secretary of state. At a campaign stop on Wednesday, Grimes said she would welcome the debates with McConnell. The GOP Senate leader sent a letter to Grimes inviting her to three Lincoln-Douglas style debates "without an audience, without props, and without notes."



LETCHER COUNTY ELECTION

Most of Letcher County’s current officeholders moved a step closer to another four-year term after Tuesday’s primary election. In one of the most closely watched races, incumbent Property Valuation Administrator Randy Hall defeated Randy Blair by a margin of 792 votes. Sheriff Danny Webb easily won the Democratic nomination over challengers Randall Adams, Jon Hall and Ellis Keyes.

WHITESBURG BIKE NITE BACK ON

Organizers of Whitesburg’s monthly “Bike Nite” say they have obtained the permit necessary to continued holding the event on Main Street. Donna Halcomb, spokesperson for the Bike Nite committee said she was handed the permit while visiting the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 12 office in Pikeville Tuesday afternoon. Halcomb and other members of the Bike Nite committee attended the May meeting of the city council last week after being told by city officials the committee would have to have a permit from the state in order to continue blocking a portion of Main Street for the event.


JEFFERSON COUNTY SCHOOLS AUDIT

A state audit of Kentucky's largest school system found a bloated administration that has left classrooms resources limited. The audit report released Wednesday made more than 200 recommendations for improvement at Jefferson County Public Schools. The audit found that JCPS ranked highest among them in school administration, support staff and instructional aides while ranking at or near the bottom in spending for instruction and teacher staffing.

KSP TROOPER AND LETCHER COUNTY NATIVE HONORED

A Letcher County native who is an 18-year veteran with the Kentucky State Police has been honored for the bravery he exhibited during an armed standoff with a man in Pulaski County who had shot and killed his wife. KSP Trooper First Class Chris Ison was awarded a “Citation of Bravery” for his actions during the August 2012 standoff that led to the successful capture of Timothy Hislope.

FOOD STAMP USAGE UP IN LETCHER COUNTY

The use of food stamps in Letcher County increased during the recession, assisting families in stretching their food dollars, contributing to local spending and helping spark a national debate about the future of the federal nutrition program. The proportion of Letcher County residents receiving food stamps hit 29.8 percent in 2011. Nationally, 14.8 percent of the population receives SNAP benefits.

Wednesday May 21, 2014


CLICK HERE FOR UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS FOR THE 5-20-14 LETCHER COUNTY PRIMARY 2014


On Kentucky's 2014 Primary Election Day, some incumbents struggled across the region.  Incumbent Wayne T. Rutherford, working to seek his 7th term as county judge lost to Bill Deskins.  Deskins held the county judge position for one term from 2003 to 2007. Deskins will run unopposed in November.  Longtime Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble will not be moving on to the general election in the fall. Former Representative Scott Alexander defeated Noble by more than 1,500 votes. Alexander will face Republican Candidate Eddie Campbell in the fall. There will be a new sheriff in Harlan County next year. Incumbent Marvin Lipfird lost in the Democrat primary. Retired Kentucky State Police Captain Leslie "Smitty" Smith won the democrat primary by nearly 1500 votes and will move on to November to face Jayson Howard from the GOP Party. The Attorney General’s Election Fraud Hotline received a total of 205 calls with 210 issues reported on Tuesday. 2 calls complaints came from Letcher County.  One for  Electioneering within 300’ of Polls and the other for General Election Fraud or other. The largest number of calls came from Breathitt County, where there were seven reports of vote buying out of 13 calls total. Vote buying was also reported in Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knott, Lee, Pike and Wayne counties. Daniel Kemp said their office will thoroughly review each complaint for possible criminal violations.If an investigation is deemed necessary it will be referred to the appropriate agency.
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Coal miners and industry leaders heard first hand Tuesday how a new coal dust rule will change operations inside Eastern Kentucky mines.  It’s one of the biggest rulings in the history of coal mining and one that’s divided those within the industry.  Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main spoke at the meeting held at Hazard Community and Technical College. The new coal dust rule requires more sampling so officials can get an accurate picture of the air quality in and around mines.

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A sexting controversy in Eastern Kentucky has several female high school students from Lawrence County at the center of it all. School officials said the racy photos, which could be considered child pornography, made their way on to the social media outlet Instagram. But they were quickly removed. That's a lesson students at Lawrence County High School have taken to heart. This comes after a sexting incident involving students last week. School leaders said they don't believe the post happened at school.
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A fight between brothers in the Coal Branch area of Logan County ended Monday in gunfire, West Virginia State Police. Troopers said Gary Belcher, 45, of Whitman, was shot twice in the arm. His brother Jonathan Belcher, 35, of Mount Gay, was arrested shortly afterward. He faces a couple of charges, including malicious wounding.
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A 10-year-old girl is facing life-threatening injuries after she was hit by a car in Scott County. Our crews at the scene say they've learned the girl lives on the street where it happened, on U.S. 460 near the Bourbon/Scott County line.  She was rushed to UK Children's Hospital, where she is listed in critical condition.

 

Tuesday May 20, 2014

An animal nutrition company plans to begin operating a distillery and brewery in eastern Kentucky. Alltech has agreed to purchase a former funeral home in downtown Pikeville that will serve as the location. The company already operates a brewery and distillery central Kentucky and a distillery in Ireland, where Alltech founder Pearse Lyons is from. Some leaders in economically depressed eastern Kentucky are looking to tourism to help reinvigorate the region, and they are using the success of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as a model.
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While people from across Kentucky might like to watch University of Kentucky basketball, a new Bluegrass Poll finds the majority of Kentucky adults don't want the state to help foot the bill for a renovated Rupp Arena. The poll found 75 percent say Lexington should find some other way to finance the project than ask for state money. Eighteen percent of those polled said the state should help with the costs while seven percent were unsure.
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Police in Laurel County continue to look for the man they believe broke into two businesses. It happened Friday at Glenview Market and Speedy Mart near London. Officers believe two people crashed their car into the front door of each business. Then they say stole quarter machines from each. They are looking for 35 year old Robbie Baker.
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A relatively small slice of the electorate will participate in Republican primaries in Georgia and Kentucky, despite international attention and eye-popping sums of money heaped on races that will help determine which party controls the Senate. Six states hold primaries Tuesday. Georgia, Kentucky and Oregon have closely watched Republican Senate races. Pennsylvania and Arkansas have feisty gubernatorial primaries. Idaho has a contested congressional primary.
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A father is behind bars after, police say, he shoved an officer while trying to steal shoes. It happened at the Walmart in Somerset. Police say Ricky Vaughn put shoes on his children and tried to leave without paying for them. When two officers confronted him, we're told he shoved one of them. They managed to get him under control and arrest him. Police say Vaughn later escaped from the police cruiser and took off running. Officers caught him near the King Buffett restaurant.
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Labor law posters are required to be displayed in every workplace. The posters are available for free through the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, but private companies are trying to profit off those posters. Cabinet officials want employers to save their money and get the posters through their office. The companies are threatening $17,000 government fines if they are not purchased.

Monday May 19, 2014

Many officials have stressed bringing tourism into Eastern Kentucky to support a declining economy.  Sunday, the first ever Appalachian Food Summit drew in visitors to the Hindman Settlement School from several states to explore the possibility of culinary tourism.  Speakers, farmers, and food enthusiasts turned out hoping to influence Kentucky's future economy.  Organizers also hope the summit can promote a future in culinary tourism.
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A Whitley County man was arrested Friday after sheriff's deputies discovered several large bags of "Betty" and "Sue" marijuana in his home. Deputies said Joshua Singletary, 35, of Williamsburg, admitted the marijuana was his. The drug bags were in a large, black, garbage-style bag in his home on Tackett Creek Rd. Singletary was arrested and charged with first-offense trafficking in marijuana.
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Bikers began a fundraising ride beginning in Perry County Saturday morning.  The ride raised money for KSP's Trooper Island Camp.  The motorcycles began at Perry County Park and rode to London and Booneville before returning.  The ride was in honor of fallen trooper Tim Moore.  Organizers say they host a fundraising event every year for Moore, this was the first motorcycle ride.
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Newport Aquarium in Kentucky turns 15. it has remained a top tourist attraction for Kentucky and the Cincinnati area over the years, with total attendance approaching 11 million. It's also been an economic driver for Newport, a city of about 15,000, since opening on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River.

 

Friday May 16, 2014

Two men are behind bars, facing charges related to a Knott County robbery.  Police say Jason Sexton robbed the Redi-Mart Thursday morning around 6 a.m. in Hindman.  Larry Slone is accused of driving the getaway vehicle.  Officers arrested Slone and Sexton a short time later at a home in Garner.  Sexton is facing a robbery charge, Slone is charged with complicity.Police say they are investigating a separate attempted robbery nearby to determine if the incidents are connected.
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Kentucky added more than 3,500 jobs in April as the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent - but a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says those are mostly low-paying jobs replacing high-paying ones. Kentucky lost 104,000 jobs during the recession and has added 65,000 jobs during the recovery period. The biggest job losses have come in construction and coal mining, two industries that pay above average wages.
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The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Bullitt County during storms on Wednesday. no injuries were reported, but some damage occurred to buildings and trees. The weather service says on the scale used to rank tornadoes, the twister was an EF0, which is the mildest, and carried winds of about 80 mph.
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Officials in Wolfe County are looking for a man they say escaped the judicial building on Wednesday. Kentucky State Police, Wolfe County Sheriff's Department, Mt. Sterling Police and Mt. Sterling K-9 units looked for John Trent all afternoon around the judicial building and the wooded area nearby, including behind the courthouse and the Wolfe County Senior Citizens building. KSP says Trent has several outstanding warrants.
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A candidate on the ballot for Letcher County Sheriff may be spending the day of the primary election in jail. "Walking Tall" Jon Hall of Neon was arrested on April 28th on a contempt of court charge for not showing up for a jury trial where he faced third-degree Terroristic Threatening charges; misdemeanors, Hall says, he has been falsely accused.
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A mother is in jail, accused of not giving her children enough food.  Lisa Wolfe, 55, of Irvine, is charged with criminal abuse. Neighbors tell us that Wolfe has lived in a house just outside Irvine home for many years. According to the indictment, Wolfe had three small children, all under the age of 12, and did not have enough food provided for them. Kentucky State Police say the children are now in the care of their foster parents.