LOCAL NEWS

Wednesday July 9, 2014

FLOYD COUNTY DUI CRASH INJURES TWO

A crash in Floyd County injured 2 people and put a third behind bars. Police say it happened on U.S. 23 near Tiger Mart when a pickup pulled out into the southbound lanes and struck an oncoming car. One person in the pickup and one in the car were taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center for treatment of non life threatening injuries. Police say the pickup’s driver was given a field sobriety test, and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

TWO HAZARD DOCTORS INDICTED

Two doctors who worked at a Perry County health clinic are indicted on illegally prescribing pain pills.  Charging papers say James Chaney and Andrew Krasuski unlawfully prescribed the controlled substances when they were at Clarion Health and Wellness.  They’re both due in court next month. Chaney’s license to practice was suspended by the state medical licensure board at the end of last month.

FLOYD COUNTY MAN SUES UTILITY COMPANY OVER GAS INDUCED SICKNESS

A Floyd County man who was hospitalized following the venting of a gas line last October is now suing the utility and the contractor who did the work. According to the suit Frank Stone of Martin says he was overcome by the gas which collected inside his camper as crews emptied the line just feet away. Martin says he went to the hospital later that day when he still felt ill and was there for 4 days. He claims there was no warning given that the line was being ventilated before the work began. Neither the utility nor the construction contractor have commented on the litigation.

STATE POLICE CONTINUE INVESTIGATION OF FATAL CRASH IN BREATHITT COUNTY

The State Police in Hazard are still investigating a fatality crash in Breathitt County that killed a man. Police say Kimberly Watkins of Jackson lost control of the pickup on Kentucky 1098 in South Fork as she rounded a curve. According to investigators the truck left the road and struck a tree. The crash killed Earl Watkins. Kimberly Watkins was airlifted to the UK Medical Center and remains in serious condition. Investigators say neither person wore a seat belt and toxicology results are pending.

MISSING PERRY COUNTY MAN FOUND DEAD AT VICCO

A Perry County man reported missing by his wife a week age was found dead. Police say David Banks of Vicco was located in a car that went off on Georges Branch Road and down an embankment. The cause of Banks’s death hasn’t been disclosed but detectives say foul play is not being suspected.

SOAR LISTENING SESSION HELD TUESDAY IN FLOYD COUNTY

Health was the topic of yesterday’s Save Our Appalachian Region listening session in Floyd County. Community members and those in the medical profession gathered at the Floyd County Extension Office to discuss taking steps to improve health in the area. There is another health work group listening session today at two o'clock at the Country Music Highway Museum in Paintsville.

RAM CLINIC RETURNING TO WISE COUNTY JULY 18-20

Remote Area Medical (RAM) will be returning to Wise County, Virginia later this month to provide free health care. Dentists and doctors will be on hand at the Wise County Fairgrounds for 3 days beginning July 18. Medical dental and vision care are provided at no cost to those who are underinsured, uninsured, unemployed, working poor, or can’t afford to pay. Registration begins at 6am July 18 and patients will be served on a first come, first serve basis. Bagged lunches and water will be provided but officials ask patients to bring sunscreen and an umbrella.

Tuesday July 8, 2014

ARMED ROBBERY AT A PERRY COUNTY DOUBLE KWIK

Another armed robbery at a Perry County convenience store – the second in less than a year. Police say a man pulled a knife on the clerk at the Double Kwik in Avawam. He got away with an undetermined amount of money. The robber is described as white, wearing a dark hoodie and blue jeans. Last November the store was held up by a suspect who used a screwdriver as a weapon to threaten a worker.

4 PEOPLE SHOT IN PIKE COUNTY & GUNMAN STILL AT LARGE

4 people in Pike County were shot early yesterday morning and the gunman is still at large. Police say they were called to a trailer on Ky 194E in Stopover near Phelps for a report of shots fired. The four victims were airlifted to Pikeville Medical Center. One person has been released. So far, no arrests have been made.

PERRY COUNTY MAN KILLED LAST NIGHT ON AN ATV

A Perry County man was killed last night in an A-T-V crash. Police say the man was a passenger on the ATV when it traveled off the road, over an embankment, and into a creek. The coroner’s office says the man was 60 years old but his name was not disclosed.

FORMER MAYOR OF MARTIN SENTENCING HEARING DELAYED

The sentencing hearing for a former mayor of a city in Floyd County and her daughter is delayed until next week. Martin’s ex mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and former Martin Community Center director Rita Whicker were found guilty of scheming to defraud the Social Security disability program. The two were to be sentenced on Thursday but that has been now pushed back to July 16. Court papers say Robinson and Whicker hired Ginger Michelle Halbert Stumbo as a city employee, but write her paycheck in her son’s name, to allow her to continue drawing disability benefits. Stumbo reached a plea deal three days before the scheduled trial date.

HAZARD/PERRY COUNTY WATER OUTAGE

Some city of Hazard and Perry County folks were without water yesterday morning as work continues to upgrade the area’s water system. Officials say the outage was because of pump work that’s part of the Hazard Water Systems Improvements Project. That project was approved by city commissioners earlier this year and is being partially paid for by an increase in the minimum charge for water service.

HARLAN COUNTY MAN FACES DRUG CHARGES

A Harlan County man faces drug charges after police say they found over 5 pounds of marijuana at his home. Joey Blevins was charged with cultivating marijuana five plants or more and was taken to the Harlan County Detention Center. Investigators say dispatchers received a call about pot being grown inside a home and when officers arrived, they first spoke with  Janie Blevins, Joey Blevins’ mother as Joey was not at the home at the time. Court papers say officers found a path into the woods where they discovered a number of marijuana plants. Blevins was taken into custody without incident.

2 FEDERAL AGENCIES ASSIST IN EASTERN KY JOB CREATION

The effort to bring more jobs to Eastern Kentucky received a major assist yesterday from 2 federal agencies. Yesterday Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers were joined by officials from the Corporation for National and Community Service to announce that more than one million dollars is being in a new AmeriCorps VISTA project in Eastern Kentucky. 52 AmeriCorps workers will work with Shaping Our Appalachian Region, known as SOAR initiative with the stated goal of improving the economy and quality of life. The U.S. Economic Development Administration also announced $312,000 dollars for job creation in the region.

UNITE SHOOT HOOPS NOT DRUGS CAMP THIS THURSDAY AT HARLAN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

An area organization combating substance abuse will put on a basketball camp in Harlan County.  Operation UNITE – which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education will put on a Shoot Hoops, Not Drugs camp Thursday at Harlan County High School. Four-time All-SEC Academic Team member Jarrod Polson will join fellow University of Kentucky alum Jeff Sheppard at the camp. Shoot Hoops Not Drugs is a camp in its 9th year, teaching kids to stay involved and win at life.  Sheppard says he is able to put on five to six basketball camps per year and uses the sport to educate kids about the dangers of drugs.

Monday July 7, 2014

LETCHER COUNTY SCHOOLS SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM AT FARMER'S MARKET

The Summer Feeding at the Farmer's Market program in Letcher County is under way. Every Saturday morning through the summer kids under 18 can get a free meal at the market in Whitesburg. Adults can buy breakfast burritos and blueberry smoothies at a discounted price. Locally grown produce is used to make the meals.

LETCHER COUNTY WATER & SEWER HIRES BELL ENGINEERING FOR CUMBERLAND RIVER PROJECT

The Letcher County Water and Sewer District Board of Directors chose a Lexington area firm to oversee work on the project bringing treated water to residents of the Cumberland River area. Bell Engineering was hired to replace Vaughn and Melton of Middlesboro who had begun work on the project but was unable to find a water source that could serve Cumberland River residents. Board members say it was time to bring in a new project management team to help the district move forward. The sourcing issue drew the attention of Congressman Hal Rogers and the board says he is working on a solution to the matter.

WORLD WIDE EQUIPMENT TO REBUILD FLOYD COUNTY FACILITY LOST TO FIRE

The owners of a Floyd County business that went up in flames last week say they plan to rebuild. World Wide Equipment's offices and parts department were destroyed in the fire that C-E-O Terry Dotson estimates caused damage in excess of one point five million dollars. Dotson says other World Wide locations will help in assisting Prestonsburg customers until a temporary facility is opened in the coming weeks. Fire investigators say the the flames ignited in the ceiling between the first and second floors of the nearly 50 year old building. No one was hurt.

SELF INFLICTED STABBING IN HARLAN COUNTY

Police say a stabbing in Harlan County turned out to be self-inflicted. Officers and medics responding to the stabbing near Evarts called in an airlift to take the victim to a trauma center. There's no word on his name or identity - or the events that led up to the stabbing.

NEW PLAYGROUND IN VICCO

Perry County has a new playground - paid for by an Emmy-award-winning TV show producer and his spouse. Max Mutchnick was the co-creator of the "Will and Grace" sitcom that was on the air for 8 years. Mutchnick and Erik Hyman paid for the playground in Vicco and and named it after their daughters Evan and Rose. Last year Vicco was in the national spotlight after becoming the smallest city in the United States to pass a fairness ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation - and that's what brought Mutchnick and Hyman to help support the town with the addition.

MEMORIAL ALMOST DONE FOR 1958 FLOYD COUNTY SCHOOL BUS DISASTER

Floyd County's Emergency and Rescue Squad is putting the finishing touches on a memorial to the Prestonsburg school bus crash in 1958 that to this day is the worst school bus accident in United States history. A statue will be unveiled during next month's building dedication for the new Alexander-Goble-Willis Rescue Training Center. 26 students, and their driver, died after their school bus plunged into the Big Sandy River. The crash resulted in the creation of the Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad - the first of its kind in Kentucky.

PERRY COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SLITTING ANOTHER WOMAN'S NECK

A Perry County woman is under arrest on suspicion she slit a woman's neck. Police say Betty Jo Fields of Viper pulled the knife on a woman she had been fighting with in the George's Branch community. She's been charged with first degree assauly. The victim's wound was non life threatening and she has been treated and released. Police are investigating what motivated the attack.

THOUSANDS RAISED IN HAZARD 5K FOR POLICEMAN BATTLING CANCER

More than 200 runners and walkers registered for the Hazard Police Foot Pursuit 5K last week. Thousands of dollars were raised for Lieutenant Paul Campbell, who is battling Stage 4 Colon Cancer. Campbell's family says he had surgery last week and is recovering.

Thursday July 3, 2014

LETCHER COUNTY MAN INDICTED BY GRAND JURY FOR CASHING FAKE CHECKS

A Letcher County man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he cashed checks on a fake payroll account. According to court papers, Joseph Martin Lewis cashed a check for $716.47 at Food City on March 6 on a nonexistent payroll account of Blue Diamond Coal Company. The indictment also says Lewis cashed a check for $709.25 at Food City on March 9 from the same Blue Diamond Coal Company account. Lewis faces 2 counts of theft by deception and being a persistent felony offender.

SUV STOLEN FROM MAYKING FIRE DEPARTMENT STILL MISSING

There’s been no sign of the SUV that police say was stolen from the Mayking Volunteer Fire Department late last week. The white, four- door 1998 model Jeep Cherokee with official Kentucky license plate 7916 was reported on June 26. Both sets of keys were still in the Fire Department building, leading police to believe the SUV was hot wired. Tips on whoever took the Jeep can be called in to the Letcher County Sheriff’s Office.

LETCHER COUNTY MAN IN COURT TODAY TO ANSWER BURGLARY CHARGES

A Letcher County man is scheduled to be in court today on multiple burglary counts. Court papers say Dylan Wright is accused of breaking into 16 motor vehicles, two garages and one residence in the Webb Branch community of Letcher County. All the suspected burglaries happened in the early hours of June 24. Wright was apprehended after a crash on Route 805 between Neon and Jenkins where several of the stolen items were thrown from his pickup truck.

GRAND JURY INDICTS 2 FOR BREAK IN

2 men have been indicted by a Letcher County Grand Jury on multiple charges in connection with a break in at a Whitesburg home in May. Tristan Derrick Adams and Robin Miller face theft and possession of burglary tools charges along with fleeing or evading police and being a persistent felony offender. Charging papers say the items taken from the Highway 2026 home were valued at over $500.

POLICE ARREST MAN FOR STEALING GOLF MERCHANDISE FROM RAVEN ROCK

Jenkins police arrested a Dickenson County, Virginia man on charges he stole around $17,000 in merchandise from a golf pro shop over a 2 year period. According to investigators Allen Lorde took the goods a little at a time while volunteering at Raven Rock Golf Shop in Jenkins between February 2012 and April of this year. Detectives found what’s described to be a “golf shrine” at Lorde’s home with gold balls, tees, clubs, clothing and other items. Police say all of the items Lorde took from the shop were found and returned to the store.

CUMBERLAND MAN FACING SEX ABUSE CHARGES

A Cumberland man is facing a sexual abuse charge after allegedly subjecting two juveniles to sexual contact. William Brock is in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $50,000 full cash bond. Police say that last December Brock had sexual contact with two female juveniles under the age of 12 on multiple occasions. He is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a child under 12.

WORLD WIDE EQUIPMENT FIRE IN FLOYD COUNTY

Firemen were called to a Floyd County business to battle a fire that eventually destroyed a repair garage. Investigators say the fire at World Wide Equipment started around four Wednesday afternoon. No one was hurt.  According to Prestonburg’s fire chief Bobby Carpenter there were several tractor-trailers in the garage and the flames were intense.The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES IN 3 EASTERN KY COUNTIES TODAY

Democratic United States Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is running against Senator Mitch McConnell – is planning to make campaign stops today in Perry, Knott and Leslie Counties. At a Knox County stop yesterday, Grimes addressed a gathering about her jobs plan and her ideas to help the coal industry and create new jobs for Kentucky's middle class. Grimes says she will fight in the United States Senate to finally put Kentucky, especially coal, as a prime American export back where it belongs and make sure they diversify the economy.

Wednesday July 2, 2014

POLICE SEARCH FOR WOMAN WANTED FOR STEALING FROM HAZARD WAL-MART

Police are looking for a woman on suspicion she made off with over $700 in merchandise from the Hazard Walmart. According to investigators the woman loaded up the goods in a plastic tub and headed for the exit. Loss prevention officers tried to stop the woman but she escaped, taking off in a mid to late 90's light green minivan. She’s described as in her mid to late 30s, with blonde hair changing to a dark color at the bottom, wearing shorts and cowboy boots.  Call Hazard Police if you know of the woman’s whereabouts.

3 COUNTIES RECEIVE GRANT MONEY FOR SCHOOL READINESS

Floyd County and Bell/Harlan County will be sharing in over a million dollars worth of state grants to promote school readiness for children.  The money goes to Community Early Childhood Councils in those counties, which work to develop strategies for improving school readiness and early childhood outcomes.  Floyd County will receive $20,000 and Bell/Harlan gets $28,000.

PERRY COUNTY PLEA DEAL

A Perry County man has taken a plea deal in connection with the January holdup of a pizza delivery driver. Jerry Hurt had originally faced first degree robbery charges, but the deal knocked that down to second degree robbery. He also pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking under $500. Hurt may get up to 6 years in jail when he’s sentenced next month. He also agreed to testify against Austin Coots, the other suspect in the robbery.

HARLAN COUNTY COUPLE ARRESTED

A Harlan County couple were arrested on endangerment and criminal abuse charges. Police say the home of Sarah Bray and Charles Penny had no power and no bathing water. There were 4 kids in the home and investigators say they appeared to be filthy. Officers searching the home found drugs and paraphernalia near where the kids were playing. Bond for Bray is $35,000 cash and Penny’s bond is $15,000 cash. Police say the children are now in a safe place.

ANOTHER PERRY COUNTY PLEA DEAL

A second suspect in the robberies of 2 Perry County gas stations in Perry County has taken a plea deal. Last week Ernest White of Hazard pleaded guilty to second degree robbery and felon in possession of a gun charges. Sentencing is scheduled for July 31 and White could be in jail for up to 15 years. Earlier Byron Fields pleaded guilty to reduced charges in connection with the January stickups at 2 BP stations.

FLOYD COUNTY MAN INDICTED IN VOTE BUYING TRIAL

A Floyd County man was indicted for his testimony at a vote buying trial. Ray D. Hagans was charged for lying under oath while testifying in the trial of former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and four others. Hagans also faces charges he accepted payment for voting. Court papers say he originally testified that 2 men gave him money to vote for Robinson’s opponent, but that testimony was false. He’s scheduled to be in U.S. District Court on July 21.

JAMES RIVER COAL COMPANY WANTS MORE TIME FOR BANKRUPTCY FILING

James River Coal Company has asked for more time to complete its Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan. Officials say they need an additional 100 days to finish work on a reorganization plan and searches for a sponsor. The company has a number of mining complexes in Kentucky including Bell County.

WELL KNOWN PERRY COUNTY BUSINESSMAN PASSES AWAY

A well known Perry County businessman has died. Moe Maggard, Sr. passed away Monday, the day before his 75th birthday. He was co-owner of Maggard Brothers Funeral home and owned Maggard Florist in Hazard. His funeral will be Thursday at noon.

E-COLI BACTERIA HIGH IN 2 AREA RIVERS

Officials are warning swimmers to stay out of 2 area rivers due to high levels of e-coli bacteria. Advisories are in effect for the upper Cumberland River, between Pineville and Harlan – and the north fork of the Kentucky River in Perry County. The water quality in the north fork of the Kentucky River is said to be improving. Meanwhile Harlan Municipal Water Works has issued a boil-water advisory for customers in the Sunshine area until further notice. Officials say it’s because of work on water mains.