LOCAL NEWS

Monday April 21, 2014

Eastern Kentucky University's Board of Regents has approved a tobacco-free campus policy. effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited. The tobacco-free policy, which replaces the smoke-free zone policy that had been in effect since 2006, covers all Eastern facilities and grounds. It also prohibits the use of tobacco in vehicles owned, leased or rented by EKU, as well as in personal vehicles while on university property.
______

funeral arrangements will take place for a man killed in a hunting accident last week. The funeral for Brian Griffin is set for today at 1 p.m. at the Horse Creek Baptist Church. A shotgun blast killed Brian Griffin, 28, and injured another hunter Thursday morning near the Fogertown community of Clay County. Griffin left behind a wife and two children.
_____


Earlier this year, Kentucky's General Assembly unanimously approved a new name for a Floyd County bridge.  Now, the construction at mile point 13.6 on Highway 680 near Harold will memorialize Leo Roberts, a Korean War Veteran and former schoolteacher and minister.  State and county officials were on hand Saturday afternoon for the dedication ceremony.
_____


Kentucky residents will get a chance to review state academic standards and suggest changes later this year. the initiative tentatively called the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge  will begin in the fall. a group of higher education professionals, business leaders and teachers will use the public feedback to make proposed revisions, which would then need approval from the Kentucky Board of Education.
_____

A dozen members of the National Guard stationed in Afghanistan found out they would be back in the Bluegrass for Easter. On Saturday, 15 members of the Kentucky National Guard were welcomed home by family and friends. For nine months the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion has been stationed over in Afghanistan. They have been running base closure operations in support of US Special Operations Command.

Friday April 18, 2014

A hunter is dead and another is injured after they were shot early this morning. The shooting happened in Clay County near the Fogertown community and is currently under investigation by multiple agencies. Those agencies are the Kentucky State Police and the Department of Fish and Wildlife since this incident involved hunting. Clay County Sheriff’s deputies also assisted in the investigation earlier in the morning. Investigators tell us they made a game plan before heading into the woods looking for clues.
_____

A new plant will bring more than 100 jobs to Russell County. Governor Beshear helped cut the ribbon for Germany-based Dr. Schneider Automotive SystemsThe company makes parts for companies such as Ford, BMW, Mercedes and Audi. The plant will have 155 full-time jobs. This opening comes on the heels of a major economic hit to the county. The Fruit of the Loom plant announced earlier this month that it will close later this year. More than 600 people will lose their jobs.
_____

The support of the governor, attorney general and leaders of both parties in the state legislature was not enough to pass a bill strengthening sentences for serious heroin dealers and expanding the state's substance abuse treatment programs. Now, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers says he will ask Gov. Beshear to call state lawmakers back to Frankfort for a special session so they can try again. State officials estimate a special session would cost taxpayers about $60,000 per day.
_____

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights visited Eastern Kentucky this week to learn more about the area and issues affecting the region. They want to make sure all Kentuckians from all backgrounds and walks of life have an equal opportunity to succeed. The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights usually meets in Louisville once a month, but this month, they came to Harlan County.
_____

A Pikeville doctor admitted Wednesday he allowed a pharmacy access to prescription drug samples. Thad Manning pleaded guilty to conspiracy to misbranding drugs.  Manning agreed to pay $250,000, which represents the proceeds he received as a result of the conspiracy.  He also agreed to enter into a drug rehab center for an addiction of hydrocodone. Manning will be sentenced in July. He faces one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Thursday April 17, 2014

An argument that ended in a fatal shooting at Boothill Road in Letcher last month has resulted in a murder indictment being returned against a 47-year-old Cornettsville man. The Letcher County Grand Jury says Milburn Glover, 47  murdered 37-year-old David Richie of Blackey “by firing a handgun backwards” at Richie on March 16.
_____

A former reality show cast member from Mayking was one of 11 people arrested yesterday in a drug roundup in Letcher County. “Snake Man of Appalachia” debuted in January 12, 2012 on Animal Planet, just four months before Verlin Short, 42, of 49 Cleo Loop, allegedly sold Oxycodone and Percocet to a confidential informant. Short has been charged with two counts of firstdegree trafficking in a controlled substance.
_____

A 19-year-old Kingscreek man has pleaded guilty to charges filed against him after he illegally passed a school bus loaded with students from Cowan Elementary School. Kelly Neace entered the guilty plea on the charges of second-degree wanton endangerment and illegally passing a school bus while loading or unloading during his arraignment last week in Letcher District Court. The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office filed the charges against Neace on April 3, two days after witnesses said Neace nearly struck a five-year-old kindergarten student who was exiting the stopped bus.
_____


An announcement made on, Wednesday, at the University of Pikeville is all about innovation and moving forward.  Officials say small businesses are the backbone of a strong economy, so they want to do everything possible to help those with ideas turn them into a reality.  Last year, the Kentucky Innovation Network supported more than 400 companies...creating more than 1,000 jobs. On Wednesday, officials announced the network's newest office will be in Pikeville.
_____

The 60-day work session ended at midnight for lawmakers in Frankfort. The general assembly passed measures affecting anything from healthcare to human trafficking. One of the more notable headlines from the capitol is an action legislators didn't take. City leaders in Lexington and representatives in Frankfort made their voices heard when it came to getting state-backed bonding to help fund the multimillion dollar renovation of Rupp Arena, but they fell short of the results they wanted.

Wednesday April 16, 2014

House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a $4.1 billion road spending plan on the Legislature's final day that, if approved, would avoid an expensive special session. The plan includes $5.2 billion worth of projects throughout the state. But as much as 25 percent of that money will not be spent. Lawmakers said they like to include a cushion in case some projects are delayed because of environmental concerns or problems acquiring land.
_____

Investigators presented their evidence against a man facing murder charges in Floyd County.  Last week police found, Rodney Mullins, shot to death outside a home in the Bypro community. Police arrested Tyler Shehan. At Tuesday's hearing, investigators explained how the two men knew each other.  Detectives worked for hours at the scene.
_____

Some people in Whitley County had early morning wake up call. Sheriff's deputies went after more than two dozen suspected drug dealers. The efforts are part of what officials call "Operation "Snowflake". Whitley County Sheriff named it "Operation Snowflake" because the investigations started in the winter, and he says it is fitting it snowed when they made the arrests. One by one on Tuesday morning, Sheriff's Deputies and other officers arrested accused drug dealers in Whitley County and brought them to the courthouse for booking, then took them to jail.
_____

Two brothers who defrauded millions of dollars from thousands of investors in an oil and gas drilling scheme lost a bid Tuesday to have their convictions and sentences overturned. Christopher Smith of Prestonsburg and Michael Smith of Cookeville defrauded thousands of investors. The Smiths ran a company called Target Oil and Gas. Prosecutors said the company asked investors to fund drilling projects in Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia and Tennessee but used fraudulent marketing materials and false geological surveys to persuade them. Christopher Smith is serving a five-year sentence. Michael Smith is serving a 10-year sentence.
_____

It looks like Eastern Kentucky University students will be paying more for their education next school year. On Monday, the EKU Board of Regents approved a five percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students. That means full-time students will each pay around $192 more per semester. The tuition hike will go into effect in the fall.
_____

While the annual unemployment rates were lower in 51 Kentucky counties in 2013 than in 2012, the rates went up or stayed the same in more than half of the state's counties. New statistics find unemployment rates increased in 57 counties while 12 counties had the same annual rate for both years. Leslie County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2013 17.7 percent. Letcher County, 17.3 percent; Knott County, 16.1 percent; Fulton and Jackson counties, 15 percent each; Bell County, 14.9

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Billions of dollars in Kentucky road projects were in jeopardy Monday night after House and Senate leaders could not agree on a two-year spending plan. Lawmakers agree on the big projects  like the Brent Spence Bridge in northern Kentucky and the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky but they cannot come to terms on the hundreds of smaller projects scattered throughout the state.
_____

Patricia Gish, who along with her husband Tom Gish ran The Mountain Eagle of Whitesburg for a half-century, died Sunday at her home in Letcher County. She was 87. Her son, Ben Gish, said she had been battling Alzheimer's disease for about a decade. Pat Gish's first job at a newspaper came at age 13, when she was hired as proofreader at a paper in Danville, Ill. She later took the same job at the Lexington Leader and worked her way up to become a statehouse reporter. She married Tom Gish in 1948 and the couple bought the Whitesburg newspaper in southeastern Kentucky in 1956.
_____


Commercial air service was set to start in Pikeville on Monday. However, officials say they recently learned the airport does not have proper certification for the service they plan to provide.  Officials say it took them four years to get to this point and they are now faced with an issue they did not foresee, and it is now up to federal agencies. Non-stop flights to Nashville from Pikeville scheduled to start on April 14th. City officials say in a nutshell the delay is due to the airport's certification.
_____


Kentucky lawmakers completed work Monday on a bill that would revamp the state's juvenile justice system by steering more young offenders into community-based treatment as an alternative to locking them up in detention centers. The measure won final legislative approval on a 30-8 vote in the Senate on the next-to-last day of the 2014 regular session. All eight opposing votes came from Senate Republicans. The bill, which had won strong backing in the House, now goes to Gov. Beshear for his consideration. Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville Republican, has said his bill would bring the biggest changes in decades to Kentucky's juvenile justice system.
_____


A forest fire in the Cumberland area of Harlan County burned hundreds of acres. Part of the fire spread to Kingdom Come State Park and officials were forced to shut it down. Officials plan to re-open the park today. Forest Rangers say the fire is contained and now they are going over hot spots and monitoring the fire lines. Monday's weather brought relief and helped contain the fire. The flames started Friday and spread all weekend.  Although the fire is contained, emergency management officials warn people to still take precaution in the area.
_____

The Bell County Clerk's Middlesboro office will re-open for customers on Tuesday. The office was closed earlier this year. New Bell County Clerk Rob Lincks says the office will open will be open Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 4:00pm. The Pineville office is also adding Saturday hours from 9:00am to Noon. The clerk's office will also no longer charge a five dollar fee for not having the previous year's registration receipt when you renew your tags.