LOCAL NEWS

Tuesday September 23, 2014

FREE DENTAL CARE COMES TO LETCHER COUNTY

Free dental care has come to Letcher County - but just for a week. The Florida-based SmileFaith Foundation set up shop in Jenkins in partnership with “God's Love from a Diaper Bag”, an organization that helps needy moms. Patients coming to the Appalachian Community Dental Clinic located at 9727 Highway 805 will be seen by volunteer dental teams from across America. Cleanings, fillings and extractions are being done through Friday and hours are from 8am until 4pm.

PIKE COUNTY SCHOOLS SAY THERE ARE NO SAFETY ISSUES AFTER A STUDENT THREAT AGAINST A PRINCIPAL

Pike County school officials are reassuring parents along with faculty and staff that there's no threats to safety after a student threatened to slit the throat of Pike Central's Principal David Rowe. He says it happened Friday when a student became upset about a writing assignment and told a teacher if he did it, he'd write about slashing Rowe's throat. The student was taken to Rowe's office where he admitted making the threat.

BURGLARY OF POOL SUPPLY STORE IN HARLAN COUNTY

The owner of a Harlan County pool supply business is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever broke into the store taking merchandise, tools and money plus 2 pickup trucks and a car from a neighboring used car dealer. Police say the crooks cut a hole into the Discount Pools building on US 119 some time over the weekend. The burglary was discovered on Sunday. The pickup trucks are a maroon 1992 GMC along with a white 1996 Chevy Silverado, and the stolen car is a dark red 2009 Ford Fusion.  Call State Police if you have tips on the whereabouts of the robbers or the stolen items.

PIKE COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTERS NEEDS HELP TO DECREASE POPULATION

Officials with the Pike County Animal Shelter are asking for help to get the population down. They say maximum capacity is around 200 animals and last week they were nearly 100 animals over capacity, and had to turn people away. Shelter personnel encourage people to continue adopting animals or offer help to the shelter.

MISSING HARLAN COUNTY TEENAGER FOUND SAFE

A Harlan County teenager reported missing Sunday was found safe. Gary Planck's family says he was out dirt biking and didn't come home, and searchers were out nearly 15 hours covering 50 miles of trails when they found Planck with his bike stuck in the mud. Police say Planck told them he got lost and ended up landing in the mud. He wasn't hurt.

FLOYD COUNTY MAN TAKES PLEA DEAL AND SEEKS DELAY IN SENTENCING

Attorneys for a Floyd County man who took a plea deal on drug charges in Pike County asked a judge to delay his sentence so he could go to what the lawyers called an important doctor's apartment with his pregnant wife. The Appalachian News Express reports lawyers for Joshua Meade argued their client had no prior felony convictions, but Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Chamberlin said Meade's plea deal significantly shortened his sentence. The judge denied the attorney's request, but said he'd consider taking action on Meade's sentence in the future.

RAPE & KIDNAPPING CHARGES AGAINST A CUMBERLAND MAN

A Harlan County man faces rape and kidnapping charges in an attack on a 19 year old woman. The State Police says the victim came to Harlan ARH hospital and medical personnel called officers saying the woman had been raped. Kenneth Keith of Cumberland was arrested the day after the attack and has been jailed without bond. A court date has not been set.

GOVERNMENT GRANTS OVER A MILLION DOLLAR FOR HYDROELECTRIC POWER STATION IN DICKENSON COUNTY,VA

The federal government has granted a $1.125 million guaranteed federal loan to pay for a hydroelectric power station in Dickenson County, Virginia. Once completed, the station at the John Flanagan Dam will supply power to 800 homes and cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 8500 tons. The Jordan Hydroelectric Partnership will be working with the US Corp of Engineers which is in control of the dam.

Monday September 22, 2014

WHITESBURG DISTILLERY PUT ON HOLD

A businessman's plans to bring a distillery to a historic building in Letcher County are sidetracked because of public opposition. Colin Fultz leased the auto repair show at Main and Madison Streets from the city of Whitesburg but the city council has denied his request to use it for alcoholic purposes.  Mayor James Wiley Craft says opposition to the distillery came from the First Baptist Church over concern the operation is in full view of their building. The 80 year old building  is on the National Register of Historic Places.

KNOTT COUNTY SCHOOL ON LOCKDOWN FRIDAY

Gunshots put a Knott County school on lockdown. Police say on Friday they were chasing a man who ran off after a traffic stop in Perry County and headed toward Carr Creek Elementary, so as a precaution the school was locked down. The man is still at large. Later that night a tip came in about the man's whereabouts and police went to the Holly Hills Shopping center, but again had no luck finding him.

PIKE COUNTY WOMAN SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT AT ELKHORN AMBULANCE SERVICE

A Pike County woman is sentenced to 3 years in jail for her role in embezzling a now-defunct ambulance company. Mary Morton took a plea deal on charges she stole at least $68,000 from the Elkhorn Ambulance Service. The Appalachian News Express reports the service's operators blamed Morton - who handled the company's financial records - for it having to file for bankruptcy in March.

2 MILE SECTION OF BREATHITT NAMED IN MEMORY OF CRASH VICTIM

A section of a Breathitt County highway has been named in memory of a man killed in a pickup truck crash. Family and friends of Josh Thorpe were out over the weekend cleaning up a 2 mile section of Kentucky 1098 named in his honor. Thorpe was one of 4 people killed last month when a pickup driven by Shawn Hardin went off Wolverine Road and landed in a house.  His family says because Thorpe was an organ donor, three people's lives have been saved.

VIDEO HELP ID BURGLAR AT FLOYD COUNTY RESTAURANT

Surveillance video made it easy for police to identify the burglar who broke into a Floyd County restaurant's safe. Police say Billie Hall was seen on video using a credit card to open the restaurant's safe then taking an envelope with several hundred dollars. The restaurant owner gave police the video footage and an officer identified Hall as the person breaking into the safe. Hall has 2 prior theft convictions in Pike County, the most recent netting probation as long as he had no more theft charges.

McCONNELL CANCELS DEBATE AT UPIKE

Senator Mitch McConnell has cancelled his appearance at a debate in Pike County next month. The Appalachian News Express reports McConnell's campaign says an upcoming bus tour is the reason he won't be at the University of Pikeville next month to debate Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell's organizers say Grimes has turned down a number of other debate opportunities, but her campaign McConnell is using the bus tour as an excuse not to debate.

4 EVARTS POLICE OFFICERS RECOGNIZED

4 city of Evarts police officers received certificates of appreciation for their work in capturing an escaped inmate from the Harlan County Detention Center. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Evarts Assistant Police Chief Owen Noe, Chief Lupe Blas, Sgt. John Teagle and Officer William Clogston were recognized for locating Michael Bryant Day, who had escaped from jail in May. Day had originally been convicted on drug charges.

PIKE COUNTY SCHOOL OFFICIALS DROP IDEA OF WEIGHT LOSS CONTEST

Pike County school officials decided to drop a weight loss competition that was to be a part of a promotion to fight childhood obesity. According to the Appalachian News-Express the district-wide competition was to offer prizes including tablet computers, scholarships and cash. Superintendent David Lester tells the newspaper the district didn't want to encourage kids to lose weight just to win a contest. The contest was to have started September 15, and Lester says they're working on developing a different event.

Friday September 19, 2014

GUILTY PLEAS FILED BY 2 LETCHER COUNTY WOMEN ACCUSED OF ELDER ABUSE

Guilty pleas are filed by the daughter and granddaughter of a Letcher County woman who the 2 were accused of abusing months before her death. Teresa and Serenna Maggard of Neon were indicted 2 years ago on charges they and 2 of Teresa's other children confined Mildred Hughes in a manner that resulted in physical pain and suffering. Hughes died hours after bring brought to the emergency room at Whitesburg ARH. Sentencing is set for October 22 and the Commonwealth is recommending 10 years in prison for each woman.

LETCHER COUNTY MAN TAKES PLEA DEAL IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE

A Letcher County man takes a plea deal on child pornography and other sex charges. Roger Johnson admitted possession the images and gratifying himself in front of children. Sentencing is scheduled for November.

FLOYD COUNTY FATHER FILES THEFT CHARGES AGAINST HIS SON

A Floyd County man who says his son stole money from him has filed charges against him.  Court papers say Curt Jarvis Junior of Prestonsburg told his father he was going to use the bathroom, but instead pried open a bedroom door and took nearly $1000. He is due back in court next week.

COMMERCIAL AIRLINE SERVICE WITH APPALACHIAN AIR SET TO BEGIN OCTOBER 27

Commercial airline service at the Pikeville-Pike County Airport will kick off October 27. Appalachian Air has been trying to establish service and originally planned to begin nonstop flights between Nashville and Pikeville in April - but a number of issues delayed that until now. A consultant says the new service should be well utilized because people routinely drive beyond Pikeville to take a flight.

PROBATION DENIED IN HARLAN COUNTY DRUG CASE

Probation has been revoked for a Harlan County man for his conviction on drug charges. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Raymond Moses from Harlan hadn't been staying in touch with the county drug coordinator, telling a judge he thought it was a waste of his time because the court wasn't being fair with him as he tried to clean up his life. Moses is now in jail serving his original 10 year sentence.

PIKE COUNTY STATE EMPLOYEE, COACH AND MINISTER PASSES AWAY

A long-time state highway supervisor in Pike County has died suddenly. Gene Layne of Pikeville was also the pastor of Church of God Militant Pillar and Ground of Truth, and the congregation is remembering him as a man who was proud of his community and worked to make it a better place. Layne was a youth sports coach and served on a number of community boards, receiving the Governor's Ambassador Award in 2010 for his volunteer work.

3 PEOPLE HURT IN HARLAN COUNTY CRASH

3 people are hospitalized from their injuries in a 2 car crash in Harlan County. Police say a pickup truck tried passing a car on US 119 when the car started to turn left into a driveway. The truck hit the car's driver's side and rolled over several times. One passenger in the truck and the driver were airlifted to a hospital and another passenger was taken by ambulance to Hazard ARH hospital. The driver and passenger in the car were unhurt, but the driver was taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant.

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS FOR KENTUCKY IN AUGUST

Kentucky's unemployment dropped another three-tenths of a point in August to 7.1 percent - that's 1.3 percent lower than it was in August 2013. The professional and business services sector had the largest number of new jobs last month, followed by government jobs with most of those at colleges and universities that are back in session. The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training  reports that by the end of the year the number of jobs should exceed the number of positions before the 2008 recession.

Thursday September 18, 2014

2 CAR CRASH IN JENKINS LEAVES MAN WITH SERIOUS INJURIES

A 2 car crash in Letcher County sends one of the drivers to the hospital after he was thrown from his vehicle. Police say it happened in Jenkins on US 23 Northbound at the intersection of Kentucky 805 when the driver of a Jeep rear-ended a car, which caused the Jeep to roll over at least 3 times. The Jeep's driver - identified as Travis Moore of Jenkins - is at Pikeville Medical Center. Those in the car suffered minor injuries.

PRE-TRIAL MOTIONS HEARD FOR 2 PIKE COUNTY MEN CHARGED IN NEW YEAR'S EVE STABBING IN WHITESBURG

Pre-trial motions have been heard in the case of 2 Pike County men charged in the New Year’s Eve stabbing death of former Letcher County Central High School basketball player and EKU student Michael Hogg.  Police say James Huffman and Patrick Smith got into a fight with Hogg outside of a Whitesburg bar that got out of hand and stabbed him. Attorneys for the 2 men say they acted in self-defense. Smith's attorney asked for his client's bond to be reduced, and that was denied. Trial is set to begin in late January.

PERRY COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE OF FIANCEE'S 11 YEAR OLD SISTER

Charges are filed against a Perry County man suspected of sexually abusing an 11 year old girl who was the sister of his fiancée. Police say Steven Jude of Hazard inappropriately touched the girl on several occasions. He has served jail time on similar charges connected with 2 other girls. Jude is due in court on the new charges September 26.

SOAR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POSITION GETS AROUND 90 APPLICANTS

Around 90 people have applied to become the executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports the executive director will work with SOAR’s executive board, including Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear, to bring the organization’s mission to reality. A governor's spokesperson says there is no specific timeline to appointing a candidate to fill the position.

2ND VICTIM PASSES AWAY FROM  LAST WEEK'S PIKE COUNTY 5 CAR CRASH

Another victim from last week's 5 car crash in Pike County has died from their injuries. Kimberly Thompson passed away Tuesday. Last week, Dr. Walter Gearheart died from the crash that resulted when 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. One other person was injured and there's been no update on their condition.

VIOLENT FIGHT AT PERRY COUNTY CONVENIENCE STORE LEAVES MAN INJURED AND ANOTHER IN JAIL

A violent fight inside a Perry County convenience store leads to a man suffering a possible broken nose and another man taken to jail. Police say Shawn Smith of Busy had been fighting with a man inside a van when the victim escaped and ran into the Marathon on old Highway 80 in Hazard. Investigators say Smith ran after the victim and continued beating him until police arrived. The victim was taken to Hazard ARH and was released the day after the fight. Smith was lodged at the Kentucky River Regional Jail.

CONCERNS ABOUT FREE ROAMING ANIMALS IN EVARTS

A Harlan County woman was recently arrested on charges she failed to restrain her dogs when they tried to attack a young girl riding a bike in Evarts. It turns out that isn't the only issue with animals on the loose. Police say they've received calls about horses, goats, and chickens owned by an Evarts man who have been wandering around the city, and say it causes a potential dangerous situation. The city attorney says they will ask the man to restrain his animals or he will be called into court.

US SENATE CANDIDATES WILL DEBATE IN OCTOBER AT UPIKE

Kentucky's US senate candidates will participate in an October debate in Pike County. The Appalachian News Express is sponsoring the forum between incumbent Mitch McConnell and challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. It will take place at the University of Pikeville.

Wednesday September 17, 2014

 

FOOD BANKS RECEIVING MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THANKS TO A NEW BILL

Food banks throughout Eastern Kentucky soon will be receiving more fresh fruits and vegetables under a bill signed by Governor Steve Beshear. The Farms to Food Banks program - which purchases surplus produce grown in Kentucky - has received $2 million to expand its efforts statewide. According to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks says since 2011 the program has enrolled over 500 farmers and each were paid just under $1000 for produce that would have otherwise gone to waste - and those fruits and vegetables have been used for 4.4 million meals.

UPIKE KICKS OFF 125TH ANNIVERSARY

The University of Pikeville kicked off its 125th anniversary by bringing back 4 of its former presidents for opening convocation which marks the start of the school year. Current president Dr. James Hurley announced the university is kicking off a $75 million comprehensive capital campaign to invest in new infrastructure. The former presidents all received honorary degrees.

3 VEHICLES DAMAGED IN PRESTONSBURG PARKING LOT CRASH

A car and 2 pickup trucks were damaged in a Floyd County parking lot crash. Police say a car stopped on South Lake Drive in Prestonsburg to pull into Calhoun's Garage when another car swerved to avoid the stopped car, hit a guardrail then careened into the garage parking lot, hitting the 2 pickups. The car's driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

HARLAN COUNTY WOMAN MAY FACE CHARGES FOR NOT RESTRAINING HER DOGS

A Harlan County woman suspected of failing to restrain her dogs may face charges after they went after a 6 year old. Police say the girl was riding her bike near Dartmont Baptist Church in Evarts when the dogs owned by Wuanita Sawyers came out and attempted to attack her. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports Sawyers has been warned several times before to restrain her dogs and has been taken to court for violating leash laws. She was arrested and taken to the Harlan County Detention Center.

FLOYD COUNTY FARMER'S MARKET IS NUMBER 1 IN KENTUCKY AND RANKED NATIONALLY

Floyd County's Farmers Market repeated its number one finish in the rankings for Kentucky, and that propelled the market to a top 5 ranking nationwide. American Farmland Trust sponsored the "I Love My Farmer's Market" promotion which tallied online votes between June 13 and September 13. The trust says the competition helps raise awareness about community markets and promote the work of local farmers. Last year the market ranked 23rd nationally.

BENHAM FIRE DEPARTMENT FACING INSPECTION FROM ISO

A fire department in Harlan County is getting ready for an inspection on Monday. The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports the Insurance Services Office will be evaluating the Benham Fire Department's equipment and testing the city's fire hydrants. The inspection is required every 5 years and is used to set insurance rates. District officials say they are concerned about the hydrants, which they say haven't been tested as often as they should have been. A bad hydrant inspection report could result in the city's insurance premium being doubled.

ADOPT A HIGHWAY FALL SWEEP WEEK

Eastern Kentucky drivers will be seeing people out cleaning up highways as part of Adopt A Highway Fall Sweep Week. The event runs through Saturday and involves thousands of people and groups who've picked a road to "adopt" by picking up litter. A transportation cabinet spokesperson says the efforts of the Adopt a Highway program volunteers are keeping nearly 5000 miles of roads clean.

SPECIAL ELECTION TO BE HELD IN DECEMBER FOR SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA DELEGATE

A special election is scheduled for December to elect a Southwest Virginia delegate in the 4th district, which covers all of Dickenson County and part of Wise County. The new delegate succeeds Ben Chafin, who was voted in to replace 38th District State Senator Phillip Puckett, who resigned earlier this year. House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell says the December date will allow the seat to be filled in time for the 2015 legislative session.