LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

LABOR DAY POLICE CHASE REACHING SPEEDS OF 100MPH ENDS IN LETCHER COUNTY

The holiday weekend’s police emphasis patrols were called into action on Labor Day when a driver led officers on a chase that ended in Letcher County. An officer in Pike County tried pulling over Bradley Meadows after learning he was wanted on several felony warrants and Meadows took off, heading into Virginia before coming back into Letcher County at speeds reaching 100 miles an hour. Investigators say Meadows finally crashed his car at the intersection of US Route 119 and the old Kentucky route 15 business junction in Whitesburg. He faces a new round of charges including DUI, fleeing from police and possession of a controlled substance.

NEW EMERGENCY/RESCUE SQUAD HQ DEDICATED

Floyd County dedicated its new Emergency and Rescue Squad Headquarters on Saturday. The building is named for Alexander Goble Willis – one of the charter members of the organization. A memorial is there to remember the 27 people killed in the 1958 bus crash. The new building’s construction cost was $1.5 million.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN DIES IN A BELL COUNTY LABOR DAY CRASH

A Harlan County woman lost her life yesterday in a one-car crash. Investigators say the accident happened on U.S. 119 in Bell County when the SUV driven by Flossie Smith of Evarts left the road, heading into a ditch, up an embankment then rolled over onto its top. Smith was pronounced dead at the crash scene. The accident is being investigated and so far police haven’t said if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

FLOYD COUNTY MEN SENTENCED FOR ROBBING A PIKE COUNTY BANK

2 men from Floyd County were each sentenced to 20 years in jail on their conviction robbing a Pike County bank. Anthony Gillespie and Claude Isaac were found guilty of robbing the U.S. Bank branch at Virgie in November 2013.  Both also pleaded guilty to charges of being a persistent felony offender.

A FOURTH PERSON HAS DIED FROM INJURIES SUFFERED IN BREATHITT COUNTY PICKUP TRUCK ACCIDENT

A fourth person has died from his injuries suffered in a Breathitt county pickup truck accident last month The crash happened on Wolverine Road near Tracy Lane when the pickup with 2 inside and 4 riding in the bed went off the road and landed in a house. 3 people died the night of the crash. The 4th victim - identified as Joshua Thorpe – had been airlifted to UK hospital where he was pronounced dead on Saturday. Marcus Jones – the other survivor airlifted to UK – remains in stable condition. The driver - identified as Shawn Hardin - faces multiple murder and assault charges.

MAN RELEASED FROM PRISON TO HALFWAY HOUSE

A man convicted for his role in the 2009 murder of a Floyd County native is released from prison to serve the rest of his sentence in a halfway house. Jeffrey Mundt was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in burying James Carroll's body. Mundt’s boyfriend, Joseph Banis is serving a life sentence in Carroll's murder, avoiding the death penalty by agreeing to testify against Mundt.

FIRE OFFICIALS LOOKING INTO CAUSE OF PERRY COUNTY HOUSE FIRE

Firemen are trying to determine the cause of a blaze that destroyed a Perry County home Saturday night. When crews arrived at the Augustus Court home they found it was fully engulfed but firemen were able to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby homes. o one was injured.

Friday August 29, 2014

JENKINS SCHOOL BOARD LOOKS INTO MISUSE OF PASSES TO EVENTS

A Letcher County school district takes action over misuse of passes to its athletic events and increases several fees. The Jenkins School board voted to void all previously issued passes after a discussion of the matter between High School Principal David Lee and board vice chairman Tracy Goff. Administrators are asked to come up with a new plan for pass issuance and the board will consider recommendations at a future meeting. The board also voted in a one dollar hike on attendance fees for high school and middle sports events, doubled the Pee Wee cheerleader fee to $20 and set student parking fees at $5 per year.

HOMELESS SHELTER NEEDS FOOD DONATIONS

A call has gone out from a Perry County homeless shelter for non-perishable food donations. Officials with Community Ministries Corner Haven Homeless Shelter in downtown Hazard say they've been seeing more people than ever coming in for meals, and that's left the shelves bare. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter on Main Street in Hazard 7 days a week between 6am and 11pm.

STATE TREASURER VISITS FLOYD COUNTY FOR STATEWIDE TREASURE FINDERS EVENT

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach was in Floyd County this week to promote next month's Treasure Finders event - one of 120 held statewide to help folks in getting unclaimed property returned to them. Hollenbach says around 12,000 county residents have around $1.5 million in property waiting to be claimed. The event on September 11 will be at the Mountain Arts center and Hollenbach is looking for volunteers to make calls to those who are owed money, A similar event was held in Letcher County in June and one of the claimants turned out to be the City of Whitesburg - who had $6400 returned to them.

WISE COUNTY VA DENTIST PLEADS GUILTY TO PRESCRIPTION CHARGES

A dentist in Wise County, Virginia pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining and distributing over 2500 prescription painkillers during a 2 year period. Prosecutors say Newton Carroll Mullins ordered thousands of hydrocodone pills for use in his practice but diverted them for personal use. Court papers say Mullins admitted writing prescriptions for employees then had them fill them and bring the pills back to him. Mullins could face a fine of up to $750,000 and 14 years in jail.

MINES IN 3 COUNTIES RECEIVE CITATIONS FROM MSHA

Mines in Leslie, Floyd and Pike Counties were among those receiving citations and orders in July from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration. The mines cited are  Pine Branch Mining's Thunder Ridge Surface mine, Appalachian Mining & Reclamation's Ivel preparation plant  and New Jet LLC's Eagle 3 underground mine. The special inspections commenced 4 years ago at mines which had ongoing compliance issues along with other violations and since then nearly 800 inspections have resulted in 14,000 citations and orders.

PIKE COUNTY TO CONSTRUCT A NATURAL GAS TO SYNTHETIC FUELS PLANT

A natural gas to synthetic fuels plant is to be constructed in Pike County. Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford and House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced RCC Big Shoal plans to build the plant and will receive up to $18 million in tax incentives. The project still has a long way to go before a groundbreaking happens and officials estimate it will take between 3 and 5 years to get the new facility up and running and once that happens, 30 to 50 new jobs will be created.

WISE AND DICKENSON COUNTY SCHOOLS SHOW IMPROVEMENTS

Schools in Wise and Dickenson counties in Virginia showed improvements year to year on the state standards of learning math examinations. The passing rate in Wise County was 86 percent, up 2 percent from last year and Dickenson County showed significant improvement from last year's passing percentage of 58 percent, obtaining a 73 percent rate this year. Average passing rate statewide was 74 percent.

Thursday August 28, 2014

BY RICK PRICE

LETCHER COUNTY COUPLE APPEAR IN COURT ON DRUG AND THEFT CHARGES TODAY


A Letcher County couple makes their first court appearance today on drug and theft charges. Police say Amber and Douglas Mullins stole a car from her mother, broke into Douglas's uncle's home in Payne Gap and were in possession of chemicals used to make methamphetamine. The 2 were arrested at the uncle's home after police received a call that they had been there for about an hour and the uncle was not at home. Bond is set at $10,000 cash each.

JENKINS STUDENTS WON'T BE GOING TO VOCATIONAL CLASSED IN VIRGINIA FOR THE TIME BEING

Students in one Letcher County district won't be going out of state for their vocational training - for now. Back in June the Jenkins School Board decided to move its vocational students from Letcher County to Wise County's Career & Technical Center and while that was supposed to have begun with the start of classes earlier this month, some clarifications in the agreement having to do with differences in Kentucky and Virginia law have held up the contract signing. The decision by Jenkins to move vocational classes was met with criticism from the Letcher County Board of Education with some members saying they weren't informed about the planned move and the board didn't know that Jenkins administrators thought their students were being shut out of high demand classes.

SALE APPROVED FOR 3 JAMES RIVER COAL MINES

The sale of 3 James River Coal mines - including one in Perry County - has been approved by a bankruptcy judge. A subsidiary of Blackhawk Mining is buying the Hazard complex except for the assets of Laurel Mountain Resources in Prestonsburg. In April Blackhawk acquired former Apex Coal properties in Perry County. James River - which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - expects to have the sale done by the end of the week.

3 PEOPLE KILLED IN BREATHITT COUNTY SINGLE VEHICLE ACCIDENT WEDNESDAY NIGHT

3 people were killed in a crash last night in Breathitt County. Police say it happened on Wolverine Road near Tracy Lane when a pickup truck with 2 inside and 4 riding in the bed went off the road and landed in a house. There was no one in the home at the time of the crash. The driver - identified as Shawn Hardin - faces multiple murder and assault charges. Police say alcohol was a factor in the crash.

HARLAN COUNTY MAN EXITS VEHICLE AND RUNS WHILE BEING PULLED OVER

A Harlan County man who tried to outrun cops by jumping in the river was taken into custody. State Police say they tried to pull over Teddy Smith on Kentucky 3001 in Cawood, but he took off, eventually jumping out of his vehicle and into Martins Fork. Officers were waiting for him on the other side.

PERRY COUNTY MAN'S CONVICTION THROWN OUT

A Perry County man's conviction of felony assault has been thrown out over evidence issues with the Commonwealth's attorney. The appeal filed by Tracy Napier claims the jury heard evidence replayed in the deliberation room from a laptop computer that was to only have the evidence on it, but that was never certified before the jurors heard the evidence. A hearing will be held later this year on retrying Napier's case.

100 HOMES DAMAGED FROM LAST FRIDAY'S FLOODING IN FLOYD COUNTY

Floyd County authorities say around 100 homes were damaged as a result of last week's storms putting the financial loss in the millions of dollars. Crews were working to get Abbott Creek Road reopened yesterday after parts were washed out after Friday's rains. The work was delayed as crews were trying to clear out old equipment so they could install a new 72 inch drain pipe.  In Johnson County around 25 homes sustained damage. Officials from both counties are putting together the total dollar amounts so Governor Steve Beshear can ask for a federal disaster declaration.

CHILD SEX ABUSE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST HARLAN COUNTY MAN

A Harlan County man is in custody on 2 child sex abuse charges - one that dates back 17 years. Curtis Hensley was indicted earlier this month for sexually abusing a child between November 1997 and October of 2003, and abusing another for a 3 year period just after the first suspected abuse ended. He's being held in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $2500 full cash bond.

Wednesday August 27, 2014

PORTIONS OF PIKE COUNTY EVACUATED AFTER TRUCK CATCHES FIRE

Parts of Pike County were evacuated when a truck carrying oxidizer caught fire late yesterday morning. Officials say around 150 people in the Stopover community were evacuated and Widows Branch Road was closed for several hours, impacting school bus service and in some cases keeping kids from getting to their homes. No one was hurt. Investigators are working to determine the fire's cause.
 
 
ECKEP MEGA JOB FAIR HELD IN PERRY COUNTY

Perry County was the place to be yesterday for those seeking work as  different employers were on hand for a job fair hosted by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program. Organizers say around 300 people attended the event in Hazard and some of them were hired on the spot. Job fairs are scheduled for 2 dates next month.
 
 
FLOYD COUNTY STRUGGLES WITH FLOOD CLEANUP

Floyd County officials are still tallying the damages from last week's heavy rains. Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin says road damage there is in excess of a million dollars - and that number is expected to increase. State Emergency Management Director Michael E. Dossett tells the Floyd County Times that the State Emergency Operations Center opened on Saturday and staff is in place to help with the recovery efforts. Those with property damage are asked to contact their insurance company and notify emergency management.
 
 
EVARTS PARENTS WILL HAVE TO PAY IF KIDS BREAK CURFEW

Parents in one Harlan County city will soon have to pay - literally - if their kids break curfew. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports City of Evarts officials have amended the Curfew for Minors Ordinance making it unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to be out between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday through Sunday and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The fine for the first curfew violation is $25 and $50 for each subsequent violation. A second reading will be held before the ordinance becomes law.
 
CAR-COAL TRUCK COLLISION BLAMED ON INATTENTIVE DRIVING

Inattentive driving is being blamed for a car-coal truck collision at routs 80 and 680 in Floyd County. State Police say the car's driver admitted she was not paying close attention when the truck pulled out, and she hit the left rear side of the trailer. The woman was taken to the hospital as a precaution and the truck's driver was not hurt.
 
WHITLEY COUNTY WANTED MAN ARRESTED IN PIKE COUNTY

Pike County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a man wanted for rape and other charges in Whitley County. Teague Webb was located in Pikeville, according to detectives. He was indicted earlier this month.
 
 
OLD ARH CLINIC COULD LEAD TO JOBS IN HARLAN COUNTY

Officials from a Harlan County city appeared before the county's industrial development agency seeking assistance on a possible project that could bring as many as 200 new jobs to the area. According to the Harlan Daily Enterprise Lynch Mayor John Adams joined with 2 other officials to ask the agency for help to renovate the old ARH clinic into a possible customer service call center that would employ 50 people to start and possibly expand to 4 times that. The IDA says it will look over the plans and get with the state to determine if it can help with the proposed call center.
 
 
DOG'S OWNER SHOT AND KILLED BY WISE COUNTY DEPUTY SAYS IT WAS AN UNWARRANTED TRAGEDY

The owner of a pit bull fatally shot by Wise County Virginia sheriff's deputies says he's mourning the dog's death, calling it an unwarranted tragedy. Deputies were trying to locate a wanted man when they went to the home of Paul Carico, who told them he didn't know the man they were looking for. Carico told a local TV station the deputies pressed the issue and that's when he says his dog named De'Ja got protective. Police say the dog went after one of the deputies and Carico refused to call it off, but Carico says the deputy shot the animal before he had a chance to get to the dog. De'Ja - who Carico says was like a family member - was buried at their home.
 

Tuesday August 26, 2014

LETCHER COUNTY MAN SHOOTS SON DURING FAMILY ALTERCATION

A family squabble ended up with a Letcher County man shooting his son. Police say David Fugate Junior was arguing with his mother Jackie at their Mayking home when he assaulted her and another woman, then went after his father. Investigators say that's when David Fugate Senior opened fire, hitting his son. The younger Fugate was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center with what were described as non life threatening injuries. So far no charges have been filed but State Police say the matter will go before a Grand Jury as soon as possible.

ARMED ROBBERY AT KNOTT COUNTY SUBWAY

The armed robber who held up a Knott County sandwich shop Sunday morning is still on the loose. Police say the man brandished a handgun when he robbed Hometown Subway at the Holly Hills Shopping Center in Mallie. Investigators say the store clerk handed over an undetermined amount of cash and the robber fled on foot. e's described as a white man between 6-3 and 6-6, thin build wearing a grey sweatshirt, jeans, a black stocking over his head, and bags covering his shoes.

FLOOD CLEANUP ONGOING IN FLOYD COUNTY

The cleanup continues in hard-hit Floyd County from last week's heavy rainfall. Downtown Prestonsburg was hit particularly hard, with the receding waters leaving lots of mud and debris behind. County officials say they are stil evaluating the damage and will made a decision this week on seeking federal assistance.

WILD HORSES DEAD OR NOT IN HARLAN COUNTY

Conflicting information has been emerging about a number of horses reported missing from Harlan County last week. According to the Harlan Daily Enterprise Humane Society president Marcella Chadwick reported on Friday 28 horses in the Dingo area had been killed - now Chadwick has clarified that report to say she got the information from a man who called the Humane Society. Chadwick posted on Facebook that 3 horses are dead - and she is now stepping down from the matter leaving it in the hands of the property owners. The State Police says only one horse had been found dead - and investigators haven't confirmed the cause of death. Chadwick also clarified reports of a reward being offered for information about the horses whereabouts, saying on her Facebook page while there have been pledges of money, nothing has been collected yet.

ARRAIGNMENT SET FOR 2 SUSPECTS IN MARTIN COUNTY MURDERS AND FIRE

Arraignment is set for September 4th for the 2 suspects in a Martin County triple homicide. Police say Amanda Bowen and Jack Smith stole drugs and valuables from Tina Goble before fatally stabbing her, her husband Cainie Johnson and 8 year old Trinity Maynard. Detectives say the 2 then set the family's house on fire. Meanwhile Amanda Bowen has more legal trouble - this time in Floyd County. Before she was taken to jail on the murder allegations, Bowen was brought to Highlands Regional Medical Center for medical clearance - and according to the Floyd County Times hospital workers said she was acting peculiar. The paper reports a nurse then saw a container then fall out from Bowen's underwear, then the nurse saw Bowen open it up and swallow what was inside - later identified to be prescription painkillers for which police say Bowen possessed illegally. She now faces drug possession charges.

ENTROLLMENT DOWN IN HARLAN COUNTY SCHOOLS

Harlan County school officials say enrollment is down for the 2014-2015 year by around 200 - with about a third of that reduction at Harlan County High School. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports district enrollment this year is 4,207 students. 2 elementary schools reported an increase in students. Superintendent Mike Howard says some of the enrollment declines are due to people moving from the area so they can find work.

WISE COUNTY DEPUTY KILLS DOG WHILE LOOKING FOR WANTED MAN

A Wise County Virginia sheriff's deputy fatally shot a dog who investigators say charged at him as they were trying to locate a wanted man on Saturday. The dog got out of the home and went after the deputies, who backed off and told its owner to call it off, but he refused to do so. Virginia State Police are investigating the shooting.