Friday April 11, 2014

Federal mine safety officials say the number of mining deaths in the nation totaled 42 in 2013, up six from the previous year. The preliminary numbers were released Thursday by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. It reports that the 20 coal mining deaths last year were unchanged from 2012, but deaths at other mining operations were up by six, to 22. The 2013 deaths were driven by 15 mining fatalities in the fourth quarter of the year. The overall injury rate dipped to a historic low.
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Next week, the Letcher County Public Libraries join libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week, April 13-19, a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries work with elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large to discover what their communities’ needs are meet them. Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers of those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.
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One woman is dead following a crash in Pike County. The Pike County coroner says it happened around 8:45 Wednesday night on Highway 80 near Elkhorn City. The coroner could not tell us the woman's name, but tells us she was 21 year old. We are told the woman was walking near the highway and the crash was not a hit and run.
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It's been more than two years since one of the worst tornado outbreaks in Kentucky history uprooted hundreds of thousands of trees.  Now a group is working to replant trees, along with hope, into the lives of tornado victims. On March 2, 2012, 19 tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, killing 22 people and devastating communities. To help the landscape recover, the Kentucky Division of Forestry and the Arbor Day Foundation created the Kentucky Community Tree Recovery Campaign.
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A Whitley County road was closed overnight following a single car accident that led to the discovery of a meth lab. Officers say Highway 204 near Gibson Lane in Williamsburg was closed to all but emergency traffic while they worked to clear the scene. Police were called out to a car accident late Tuesday and found a meth lab in the trunk of the car. The road remained closed through the early morning until the meth lab was safely removed.
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James River Coal Co. is being allowed to continue its business operations while the company is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A federal bankruptcy court judge on Wednesday approved numerous motions for the Richmond, Va.-based company. The court ruled that James River can continue to pay wages, salaries and benefits to its more than 1,200 employees and maintain contracts and relationships with shippers and vendors.

Thursday April 10, 2014

An Isom convenience store has been robbed twice in the last month. Both times a cash register drawer was taken from the Isom Double Kwik. A store employee told Kentucky State Police that a man armed with a black handgun entered the business around 4 a.m. on April 1 and demanded money. The man left the store with the drawer to a cash register and was last seen walking north on KY 15. State police said the amount of cash held in the register drawer remains undetermined. No suspects have been identified in either robbery.
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The last of eight classic Corvettes gobbled up by a giant sinkhole in Kentucky has been recovered, but the mood was somber as the mangled car was pulled to the surface. The Corvette was buried in dirt and rocks, dozens of feet below the surface of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. The prized cars were swallowed by the sinkhole that opened up in February beneath part of the museum. The museum will display the cars through August. The ones deemed fixable will be shipped to Michigan for repairs.
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As one major coal company with operations in Letcher County filed for bankruptcy protection this week, the stock values of two other large firms with mines here Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal improved after a fourth firm, Consol Energy, reported better than expected coal production. James River Coal Co. said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its efforts to turn around its business. The Richmond, Va.-based company says it faces challenges from the weak economy, environmental regulations and competition from natural gas. Utilities are increasingly switching to gas from coal.
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The Rotary Club of Whitesburg is accepting applications through April 15 for a $1,000 scholarship available to college bound high school seniors and current college students who are residents of Letcher County and working on their first degree. The winner will be selected by May 1, and the scholarship will be awarded in August. Applications are available at Whitaker Bank and Community  Trust Bank on Main Street in Whitesburg, or contact the counselor at Jenkins Middle High School, Letcher County Central High School, or the Whitesburg Campus of Southeast Community and Technical College.
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Student artists from Berea College have handcrafted 120 new chairs for the Governor’s Mansion. Each chair represents a Kentucky county and is being funded by private donors from every county. The County Seats Legacy Project is a part of the Governor’s Mansion Centennial Celebration. Each chair has a name plaque of a Kentucky county placed on it. Dr. and Mrs. David A. Narramore of Whitesburg funded the Letcher County chair.

Wednesday April 9, 2014

One man is dead following a shooting in Floyd County Tuesday afternoon. Officials with Kentucky State Police say it happened at a small apartment building in the Bypro community in Floyd County around 3:00 pm.   The coroner says the man, in his 40s, died from multiple gunshot wounds. The body will be sent to Frankfort for an autopsy today. Officials are not yet releasing the name of the victim, or the man they took into custody.
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Union workers at the General Motors plant in Kentucky that assembles Corvettes are casting ballots on whether to authorize a strike. Voting began early yesterday and continues into early evening for about 800 members of United Auto Workers Local 2164 at Bowling Green. Local union President Eldon Renaud says the issues involved deal with safety and the elimination of certain quality control positions, which the union thinks affects the integrity of the plant's quality procedures.
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A new report shows Kentucky is one of the worst states for well-being in the nation.  The survey, by Gallup Organization and Healthways, ranked the bluegrass 49th in the perception of well-being. Governor Beshear and other state leaders have been working to tackle these numbers head on. In just a few short months, they’ve rolled out initiatives to help improve areas where Kentuckians suffer most.
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A man accused of provoking a fight between mentally disabled patients at Oakwood has entered a guilty plea. 22-year-old Coty King of Pine Knot entered the plea on Monday in Pulaski Circuit Court to two counts of abusing or neglecting an adult. Prosecutors said King, who worked at the facility in Somerset, provoked one patient to hit another and recorded the incident on his cell phone.
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Former state Rep. John Arnold will not be punished on charges that he sexually harassed three state employees over four years. Four of the five Legislative Ethics Commissioners present for Tuesday's hearing voted to find Arnold guilty on three counts of abusing his position as a public official. But state law says the commission cannot do anything unless it has five "yes" votes. Commissioner Elmer George - appointed by Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo a few months ago voted no on all counts.
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A former Harlan Independent School teacher will enter a plea today.  Kevin Crider faces distributing child porn and distributing obscene material to minors charges. Police arrested him last week.  State Police tell us the investigation started following allegations, Crider had improper communications with students.  State Police say Crider resigned from his job in February.

Tuesday April 8, 2014

If Kentucky taxpayers paid $75 million for the University of Louisville's basketball arena, they should do the same for the University of Kentucky, Gov. Beshear said before boarding a plane to watch Kentucky play for the NCAA championship in Dallas. Beshear said he is pushing legislators to include the money before it adjourns for the year on April 15. But it appears the Republican-controlled state Senate does not agree.
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15-year-old, Casey Maynard, a student at Belfry High School, lost her battle with cancer on Saturday.  Students at Belfry High School wore yellow on Monday, as they remember their classmate.  Principal Mark Gannon, says it is story that is also influencing the entire community.  Casey's visitation will be Tuesday and Wednesday, at 6 o'clock in the Belfry High School Auditorium.
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Middlesboro Police say they found meth ingredients in a car next to a baby. Middlesboro Police say it started as a routine traffic stop in the Walmart parking lot on Saturday morning. An officer pulled a car over for a license plate violation. Police say then the officer found a couple in the car with meth ingredients next to a baby. Police arrested the driver, 31-year-old Sherry Conley and the passenger, 30-year-old Delbert Roark. Police charged them with manufacturing meth.
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Several hikers from Kentucky who were stranded overnight in a West Virginia have been rescued. The three hikers were rescued Monday in Coopers Rock State Forest after they trekked up to a river lookout. A member of the group alerted a park ranger after she said her friends had been gone for too long. The group has been stranded since Sunday night.
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A murder trial in Harlan County for one of three men charged in connection with the death of James Feltner is scheduled to begin this week. Harlan County Circuit Court officials say the trial is expected to start on Wednesday for 38-year-old Thomas Polson. Police found Feltner's body in 2011 on an abandoned strip mine. Investigators believe he was shot with his own rifle.

Monday April 7, 2014

Aaron Harrison took a pass from his twin brother, Andrew, spotted up from NBA range and watched the ball rattle in for the lead with 5.7 seconds left Saturday night to lift the Wildcats to a 74-73 victory over Wisconsin in the Final Four. It was a near carbon copy of his game-winner last weekend in the regional final against Michigan.  Eighth-seeded Kentucky will play seventh-seeded UConn the highest seed total to play for the title since they started putting numbers by the names back in 1979.
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One man is facing charges following an undercover online investigation.  State Police say Claude Robinson, 63, had more than 1,000 child pornographic images on his computer in his Middlesboro home. Robinson is in the Bell County Jail, his bond is set at $50,000.
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Three thousand hyped up fans rushed onto State Street after UK's Final Four win, burning shirts and couches, uprooting stop signs and crowd-surfing. Lexington police say they arrested 21 people for alcohol intoxication and disorderly conduct.  Fire officials say they put out about 80 fires and treated 35 patients.
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One man is facing charges from a DUI arrest.  Laurel County deputies say Patrick Gray, 22, was driving more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit early Saturday morning.  After following Gray, police say he swerved off the shoulder and nearly hit a guard rail before stopping.  Gray is facing charges including his fourth DUI offense.