LOCAL NEWS

Friday September 12, 2014

FORMER KNOTT COUNTY WATER & SEWER DIRECTOR INDICTED

An indictment has been handed down to a former Knott County water and sewer district manager on theft charges. Court papers say between 2009 and 2013 Reva Campbell made questionable charges of around $85,000 on a department-issued credit card. Attorney General Jack Conway's office says an investigation began last October after possible forged financial documents were found during an audit of the district. Campbell's arraignment is on September 25 and she could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

LETCHER COUNTY RANKED NEAR THE BOTTOM IN CHILD WELL BEING

Letcher County ranked in the bottom third on a recently released list of child well-being from an independent child advocacy organization. According to the County Data Book from Kentucky Youth Associates the county was 82nd of the state’s 120 counties based on 16 factors used to rank child well-being. Executive Director Dr. Terry Brooks says Kentucky leaders need to enact solutions to prevent adverse child experiences in the first place and when they do happen, help children successfully recover. The organization says the report was sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Delta Dental Plan and Kosair Charities.

MOUNTAIN PARKWAY CONSTRUCTION GETS A BOOST FROM FEDERAL GRANT

A $24 million federal grant is expected to speed up construction on part of the Mountain Parkway in Magoffin County. Officials say the money means widening work on the section in Salyersville between US 460 and Kentucky 114 will start 2 years ahead of schedule. The state is paying for the additional $15 million to complete the project.

SUSPECT ARRESTED IN HARLAN COUNTY SCHOOL BREAK INS

State Police say they've apprehended a number of suspects connected with a series of break ins at a Harlan County elementary school. Investigators say there's been a number of thefts from Green Hills Elementary School in Bledsoe over the last few weeks and the burglars also damaged several of the building's doors. Troopers say all of the stolen items - worth over $4000 - have been recovered.

JENKINS CITY COUNCIL HEARS ABOUT CHANGES WANTED IN ALCOHOL SALES TAX

Just 2 months after alcohol sales in restaurants were restarted in a Letcher County city, they could be ending because of a possible change in the ordinance that lifted the prohibition. It started when the sister of Jenkins City Councilman Rick Damron appeared at the council's September meeting to ask that sales taxes from food and alcohol sales be separated, saying the tax should only be applied to alcohol sales. Mayor G.C. Kincer said that be very difficult to do and even if it were done, it may actually result in the one restaurant licensed to sell alcohol to lose their license. City revenue officer Benny McCall says he will consult with the state on what implications the change would have on selling alcohol. For now the Council took no action on the woman's request.

STEPSON OF FORMER MARTIN CITY MAYOR IS SENTENCED

The stepson of the former mayor of a city in Floyd County will be in jail for two and a half years on a conviction for his role in a vote buying scheme. James Robinson was one of 6 people charged in connection with a plot to sway the 2012 election for Mayor in the city of Martin, which according to court papers involved paying off people to get votes for Ruth Thomasine Robinson or threatening to evict tenants of buildings if they didn't vote for her. Robinson and her husband have also been convicted in the scheme, and are due to be sentenced in October.

6 YEARS IN PRISON FOR PERRY COUNTY MAN IN  ASSAULT CASE

It's 6 years in prison for a Perry County man who took a plea deal on charges he beat a man with a brick and left him to die. Court papers say Larry Yocum beat Jeff Karr as a result of a love triangle between the 2 men and Teresa Karr that went bad. Teresa Karr faces tampering of evidence charges on suspicion she washed Yocum's clothes after the attack.

Thursday September 11, 2014

2 FACE CHILD ENDANGERMENT CHARGES AFTER DRUGS FOUND IN LETCHER COUNTY HOME

2 Letcher County residents face charged of child endangerment after police found drugs in their home. According to police the children's mother - identified as Wendy Riley - and Randy Amburgey II told investigators they had used the drugs. Syringes and traces of prescription painkillers were found when the home was searched earlier this week while the children were at school. Riley and Amburgey were taken to the Letcher County Jail.

TAX RATE UPDATE FOR WHITESBURG AND FLEMING-NEON

Tax rates in one Letcher County city are going down and staying the same in another. Whitesburg property taxes would be slightly reduced under a proposal unveiled at the September City Council meeting.   The reduction would amount to 2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The ordinance will be taken up at the next council meeting and if approved, becomes law. Fleming-Neon taxpayers will be paying the same rate for property, vehicle and vessel taxes - 25 cents per $100, and tangible taxes will be 45 cents per $100.

FLOYD COUNTY SCHOOL COMPLETES DEAL TO BUY LAND FOR NEW COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

Floyd County's school board has completed a deal to buy over 150 acres of land at Eastern for building the county's new high school. The Floyd County Times reports the district spent $1.275 million for the land but still needs to work out obtaining the mineral rights which is currently in litigation with Elkhorn Coal. Once the new building is finished, students from Allen Central High School and South Floyd High School will both attend the same school, leaving their old buildings to be refurbished for 2 of the district's elementary schools.

MORE CHILD ENDANGERMENT CHARGES FILED IN PIKE COUNTY

Child endangerment charges could be filed against a Pike County man and woman suspected of using drugs while taking care of 2 small children. Police say they were responding to a welfare check call at a home on Grapevine Road in Pikeville and found Thomas Sawyers and Amanda Taylor appeared to be high. Officers say there was no one there who was sober.

FEMA CONTACTED ON BEHALF OF SEVERAL COUNTIES DEALING WITH FLOOD RECOVERY

Governor Steve Beshear directed Emergency Management Director Mike Dossett to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration to obtain funding for recovery from last month's heavy rains that resulted in significant damage in Knott, Floyd, Pike and Johnson Counties. In a prepared statement, Governor Beshear says it's clear from the state's evaluation that the dollar amount of the damage exceeds minimums for federal assistance and they expect a swift response to their requests for aid. Federal assistance would include grants to repair roads and bridges along with low-interest loans for homeowners to rebuild damaged property and pay for uninsured property loss.

PIKE COUNTY PHARMACY WORKER SENTENCED TO 6 YEARS

It's 6 years in jail for a former Pike County pharmacy worker convicted of scheming to distribute prescription painkillers. Charging papers say Beverly Lockhart was working at a number of pharmacies when she conspired with 11 co-defendants on the plan to illegally dispense the drugs. Lockhart is required to serve at least 5 years of the sentence and she was the last to be sentenced in the case.

APPALACHIA'S BRIGHT FUTURE EVENT TO BE HELD THIS WEEKEND

Letcher and Harlan Counties will be taking part in the second annual Applalachia's Bright Future event this weekend. It's organized by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and Whitesburg Chapter Manager Josh May tells the Harlan Daily Enterprise they're inviting people to Eastern Kentucky to see real examples of economic transition. The event kicks off tomorrow night in Lynch and runs throughout the weekend.

Wednesday September 10, 2014

MAN INVOLVED IN MONDAY'S 5 CAR CRASH IN PIKEVILLE PASSES AWAY

One of the victims in Monday 's 5-car crash in Pike County has died of his injuries. Police say Walter Gearhart was one of 3 people injured in the accident on US23 in Pikeville. The crash investigation is continuing.

JOHNNY RAY TURNER RECEIVES AWARD

State Senator Johnny Ray Turner received an award for his work on behalf of those with disabilities. The Kentucky Rehabilitation Association recognized Turner for his sponsorship of legislation to change the state's Bioptic Driving Regulations which had imposed a 36 month restriction on night time driving even if an individual passed the night time driving test. The bill passed during the 2014 session. Turner represents Letcher, Knott, Floyd and Harlan Counties.

NEW CHILDHOOD ACADEMY IN PERRY COUNTY

Perry County now has an early childhood academy thanks to the United Way and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. The two organizations collaborated to open a Born Learning Academy at Roy G. Eversole Elementary School in Hazard. The school is one of 34 statewide receiving funding for a Born Learning Academy which educates parents and guardians on how to use everyday moments to teach their kids basic concepts. Just over a dozen people came to an informational session Monday night. Floyd County received an academy last year and ones in Leslie and Bell Counties are set to open in the next few weeks.

ROAD WORK DELAYS CAUSING PROBLEMS IN HARLAN COUNTY

Road work in Harlan County has drivers seeing red - literally. A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesperson says traffic lights in the construction zone on US 421 were temporarily switched from being triggered by road sensors to timer operation so the road work can proceed. The change means traffic lights circle on the same interval all the time - and that has meant longer red light durations. Harlan City Police Chief Mike Thomas tells the Daily Enterprise that some impatient drivers have been running the red lights and he asks drivers to be patient while the project proceeds. Work is expected to be completed by mid October.

PERRY COUNTY BANK ROBERRY INDICTMENT CAUSES DISAGREEMENT

The indictment of a man suspected of robbing a Perry County bank in July has stirred up a disagreement between prosecutors and the operators of the county's homeless shelters. Prosecutors say Martin County native Floyd Fletcher was staying at the Corner Haven shelter in Hazard when he robbed the People's Bank branch inside the Hazard Walmart. Perry County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen tells the Hazard Herald Fletcher is the second homeless man from outside the county to commit a dangerous crime, and says the shelter needs to do a better job of keeping people outside of Perry County out of their facilities. Hazard-Perry County Community Ministries executive director Adrienne Bush called Hansen's comments irresponsible, saying the benefits they provide to people in Perry County and Eastern Kentucky outweigh any suspected blame when someone committs a crime. Fletcher was ordered held on $100,000 bond and is due in court next month.

ARREST MADE IN ROBBERY OF KNOTT COUNTY SUBWAY

An arrest has been made in connection with the robbery of a Knott County Subway restaurant last month. Stephen Calhoun faces robbery and theft by unlawful taking charges in the holdup of the restaurant in the Hollie Hills Shopping Center. Police haven't said what led them to arrest Calhoun and there's been no word on if bond was set.

BIG HOLES CAUSED BY HEAVY RAIN IN ONE PIKE COUNTY NEIGHBORHOOD

The recent heavy rains have created a new problem for a Pike County neighborhood: There's a big hole in one family's yard and driveway along with a hole in a neighbor's driveway. Contractors say the repairs will likely cost around $200,000. Officials in Knott, Floyd, Pike and Johnson Counties have advised Governor Steve Beshear they are in need of assistance from FEMA.

HARLAN COUNTY MAN ARRESTED IN VEHICLE BREAK IN

A Harlan County man suspected of breaking into a car and taking over $1000 in cash is behind bars. Police say Elijah Smallwood of Harlan broke into the car owned by Edward Jones late last month. He's being held on $5000 full cash bond.

Tuesday September 9, 2014

3 SERIOUSLY INJURED IN MULTIPLE CAR CRASH IN PIKEVILLE MONDAY

3 people were hospitalized after a multiple vehicle crash yesterday in Pike County. Police say a 10-wheel truck lost control at the intersection of southbound US 23 and Island Creek, went off the road, rolled onto its side and slid into the northbound lanes, hitting at least 4 cars. There's been no specifics on the injuries the 3 people suffered but officials say they ranged from minor to severe. Severe backups were reported on the roads near the crash scene while police conducted their investigation.

ANOTHER VACANT HOME BLAZE IN HARLAN COUNTY

For the second time in as many weeks Harlan County firefighters responded to a blaze at a vacant home. Investigators say the front door of the home on May Street in Harlan was open when firemen arrived yesterday and they encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from a back room. Last week firemen responding to the same home found the back door open and flames coming from that area. An investigation into both fires is under way.

FEDERAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST A KNOTT COUNTY COUPLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD

Federal fraud charges are filed against a couple from Knott County suspected of illegally obtaining social security disability payments since 1999 totaling over $49,000. David and Ida Hughes were indicted for falsely reporting they were separated in order to receive benefits as 2 individuals rather than as a couple, which reduces the amount of the benefit. The couple are scheduled to appear in US district court in Pikeville on September 22.


BABY STRUCK IN ATTACK ON ELDERELY WOMAN

Bond was set at $27,00 full cash for a Harlan County woman accused of hitting a 3 month old child as she was trying to attack an elderly woman. Police say Angela Lamb was burglarizing Joyce Smith's home when the suspected assault occurred. The infant was taken to Harlan ARH Hospital and there's been no information released on the baby's condition or if Smith was hurt in the attack.

BIG SANDY CTC LOOKING FOR INPUT ON EXPANSION

A Pike County college is getting the public's input on how it should proceed with a 60,000 square foot expansion. The Appalachian News Express reports a public hearing was held at Big Sandy Community and Technical College to get input on what they can do to use the expansion to best serve the area. The expansion is the result of a grant from the BuildSmart Investment for Kentucky Competitiveness, a public-private partnership that is providing funding for projects at each of Big Sandy’s four campuses.

MEAT CLEVER ATTACK IN HARLAN COUNTY

A dispute between two women at a Harlan County home ended up with one in jail accused of using a meat cleaver to attack the other. Police say Tami Dunson of Lynch went after Bridget Mallory with the cleaver at her home then threw it at her, leaving Mallory's home before cops arrived. The next day Dunson returned to Mallory's home with an axe handle and this time Mallory was able to keep her out. Bond for Dunson was set at $5000.

MINERS WIN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST MILE MINING COMPANY

Around 100 Wise County Virginia coal miners won a class action lawsuit against Jim Justice-owned Mile Mining claiming they weren't given 60 days notice before they were laid off. The former employees are now waiting to hear the amount of damages they will be awarded. Justice reached a $1.5 million settlement with the state of Kentucky over a number of violations stemming from not doing post-mining reclamation work required by law.

ACCIDENT KILLS A HARLAN COUNTY MAN

A man is killed and 2 were critically injured in a Sunday night wrong way crash in Harlan County. Police say Clifton Jeffers was on north on US 421 when he drifted into oncoming traffic hitting a car driven by James Osborne. Osborne died at the scene and Jeffers along with a passenger in Osborne's car were airlifted to Holsten Valley Medical Center in Tennessee. Police are investigating what led up to the crash.

Monday September 8, 2014

BURGLARY INDICTMENTS HANDED DOWN AGAINST A PERRY COUNTY MAN AND WOMAN

Felony burglary indictments were handed down against a man and woman from Perry County suspected of breaking into an abandoned house in July. Police say they caught Doyle Standafer and Sarah Krantz in the act of taking items from the home on Carter Street in Hazard. Krantz was arrested several hours later and Standafer turned himself in a short time later. Bail was set at $30,000 each.

8TH GRADE STUDENTS FROM 2 COUNTIES PARTICIPATING IN SPECIAL ASSEMBLY WEDNESDAY

Eighth grade students from Knott and Perry Counties will be among the 1300 heeding to Corbin Arena the Wednesday for a special assembly dedicated to keeping kids in school. The popular band Sundy Best will be performing and will also lead the group in discussions about sticking with school and keeping on working on making their dreams realities. Sundy Best members Kris Bentley and Nick Jamerson are Prestonsburg natives and both graduated from local colleges.

PIKE COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING A KSP TROOPER FACES COURT DATE

A court date was set for a Pike County man accused of assaulting a Kentucky State Trooper who had responded to a domestic violence call. David Leedy was charged with menacing and multiple counts of assault and was held on $5000 bond. Court papers say Leedy was physically fighting with his wife when trooper arrived and he kicked one as they were trying to take him into custody, forcing the trooper to use a stun gun so they could get Leedy in handcuffs. He's due in court Thursday.

KANSAS CHURCH IN LESLIE COUNTY FOR MISSION WORK

5 women from a Kansas church are in Leslie County this week delivering 100 handmade teddy bears to those in need. The women are from the Kansas Christian Church and they are making the delivery to Big Creek Missions in Bear Branch, which is based in a converted old school building and offers a variety of mission projects, including construction work.  Besides the dolls, the women brought a number of quilts, around 2 dozen aprons and nearly 30 handmade rag dolls. Their trip will focus on helping children, single mothers and widows, and will include a visit to a local church.

WOMAN RAN OFF THE ROAD IN PRESTONSBURG AND ENDS UP IN RESTAURANT PARKING LOT

4 flat tires and a damaged exhaust system was just some of the damage that happened to a car that went off a Floyd County road, jumped a curb and ended up in a parking lot. Police say the driver reported being run off University Drive in Prestonsburg and she went down the hill on the grass, landing in a restaurant parking lot. No one was hurt.

PERRY COUNTY LEADERS SEEKING FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF AFTER FLOODING

Perry County leaders filed for federal disaster relief in the wake of the flooding 2 weeks ago. According to the Hazard Herald officials contacted the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to have them inspect the damage areas and they will determine if aid can be requested. The money - if granted - would pay for repairs to roads, culverts and other natural damage, but not for damaged homes and buildings. A meeting is set for tomorrow afternoon where the feds will report whether or not aid will be granted.

FUNERAL SERVICES HELD FRIDAY FOR 4TH VICTIM IN BREATHITT COUNTY TRUCK CRASH

Funeral services were held Friday for Josh Thorpe, the last of the 4 victims from a pickup truck crash in Breathitt County nearly 2 weeks ago. Thorpe had survived the crash that killed Adam Fugate, Pearl Armstrong and Lee Campbell and had been airlifted to UK Hospital but died just over a week ago. One other survivor - Marcus Jones - is still at UK hospital and at last report was in stable condition. The driver - identified as Shawn Hardin - faces multiple murder and assault charges.

3 WISE COUNTIANS, ARRESTED DURING PROTEST, WON'T FACE JAIL TIME

Prosecutors say 3 people from Wise County, Virginia arrested last during a Jim Justice protest in Roanoke, Virginia likely won't face jail time, but may be fined when they appear in court next month. Rebecca Holmes, Kyle Gibson and William Blevins were among the 5 people who police say strung up a banner between 2 buildings in downtown Roanoke criticizing Justice and his coal operations. The street between the buildings was shut down for an hour and a half.