LOCAL NEWS

Thursday September 12, 2013

This news from William Farley with the Mountain Eagle:

In a move that will put Whitesburg level with most surrounding cities, the Whitesburg City Council voted unanimously at its September meeting to institute a one-and-a half percent payroll tax on people working in the city.

The move came after the council heard bad economic news about issues with the city waterworks and met in executive session to discuss pending litigation with Veolia Water, which ran the city’s water and sewer operations for a number of years.

In related news, 36 City of Whitesburg employees are being furloughed one day of each two-week pay period.

Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft said that finances of the city have caused the mandatory days off for employees of the administration, street department and water department.

Fire and police department employees have been spared the furlough.

In the two months since the furloughs began, Craft says the city is saving an average of $4,000 a month.

For more on this story and the entire Whitesburg City Council meeting see this week's edition of the Mountain Eagle.

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Also from the Mountain Eagle, Jeff Breeding has been sworn is as the newest member of the Fleming- Neon City Council.

Mayor Susie Polis swore in Breeding before he joined the council in addressing the agenda for its September meeting.

Breeding fills the seat vacated by Everett Duncan, who resigned after he moved out of the city.

The annual Neon Days celebration will be held this Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, in Neon

This year’s Neon Days celebration will also mark the city’s 100th birthday.

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Following the recent layoff of two office personnel and a parttime deputy by the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department, the Letcher County Fiscal Court has voted unanimously to extend a loan of $20,000 to the sheriff ’s department to prevent any further layoffs.

At the Sept. 6 special meeting, Judge/Executive Jim Ward told the court that the funds will be taken from the Road and Bridge Fund and will be repaid as soon as county tax revenues come in.

The sheriff ’s department derives most of its income from collecting county taxes.

Fifth District Magistrate Wayne Fleming made a motion to extend the loan and the vote was unanimous to approve the loan.

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Officials say one person is dead after an accident on U.S. 23.

Police say they got the call just before 3:00 Wednesday afternoon that there was a two car accident on U.S. 23 at the intersection of 321.

Police say it appears a red Chevrolet SUV pulled out onto U.S. 23 from 321 into the path of a coal truck that was in a northbound lane.

The coal truck then hit the SUV in the driver's side and pushed the vehicle down 23 before coming to a stop.

The woman driving that SUV was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say the driver of the coal truck was not injured

The accident is still under investigation.

Police have not released any names.

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A man convicted of falsely reporting a gunman at the University of Virginia's College of Wise will spend two years on supervised release.

Bryant Alexander Hairston also must pay more than $4,000 in restitution to law enforcement and counseling agencies who responded to the January incident.

The 20-year-old Martinsville man pled guilty in May to two counts of making false statements.

Police said Hairston called 911 and reported seeing a gunman on campus.

The bogus report prompted university officials to place the school on lockdown.

Hairston was a student at the school at the time of the incident.