Wednesday 10-28-15

The Prestonsburg Police Department is making some changes after one of their officers was shot one week ago. Officer Adam Dixon was not wearing a bullet proof vest when he was shot last week, a decision the Prestonsburg Assistant Police Chief says was his to make.  Now they’re changing that policy requiring every officer to wear and be trained in bullet proof vests.  Both Assistant Police Chief, Gerald Clark and Sheriff John Hunt say they are guilty of not always wearing one, one reason being the heat, but Both agree no reason is worth risking your life. Dixon has been released from the hospital and will be okay.

Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin made a campaign stop in Hazard. Bevin spoke to people at France's Diner in Hazard. While Eastern Kentucky tends to vote Democrat in state elections, Bevin says he hopes people will vote their values, not their party. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced record voter registration ahead of the November 3rd election.

A Perry County man charged with attempted murder in connection to a shooting went before a judge yesterday.  Terry Newman, 53, has pleaded not guilty to shooting Chasidy Miniard in the arm. Miniard suffered non life-threatening injuries. Newman said in an interview from jail the shooting was an accident.  The grand jury will decide whether to indict Newman.

Alice Lloyd College is receiving positive attention for a new flag on campus.  The college posted a status on Facebook saying they put up a new Christian flag at the center of campus. The flag stands alongside the American flag, the Kentucky flag, and the Alice Lloyd College flag. President Joe Stepp says he’s happy to get such a positive response.

Good numbers of deer across the state coupled with a cool and wet summer and sub-par mast production means big harvest numbers Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says early returns have been very good.  Archery hunters, youth hunters, and muzzleloaders all brought in more than expected so far this season

22 year old Bobby Snell is charged with murder, assault first degree, assault second degree and DUI. State Police troopers say Snell lost control and his car ended on its top and the three people riding with him along the side of the road. They said Shirley France, a nurse, tried to comfort the most severely injured, 18 year old Caitlin Simpkins, she later died.  Brandon and Justin Collins both survived the crash. Investigators said Snell admitted to driving under the influence the night of the crash. The grand jury will decide whether to indict Snell. If they do the case will then head to circuit court.   commonwealth's attorney John Hansen said right now he is unsure if he will seek the death penalty.

Danville police say a Danville Schoole system volunteer and youth director at Gethsemane Baptist Church is charged with with promoting sexual performance by a minor, unlawful transaction with a minor and portraying a police officer.  an investigation was launched into 28 year old Bobby Cassady  after the 17-year-old boy told police about "suspicious activity." That investigation led them to a 15-year-old boy who sent Cassady pictures and improper text messages over the next year.  The pastor at Gethsemane Baptist says the allegations are troubling based on the man they hired two years ago to work with their young people.  It’s not clear if the victims were members of the church youth group or Danville high school students or neither.

The Harlan County Board of Education has approved a three-year contract to Superintendent Mike Howard, whose current three-year deal ends in June. The offer was approved during the board’s recent special meeting,

A 43 year-old Martin County woman who police say was driving on the wrong side of the road died on Monday afternoon when her vehicle collided with a semi-truck. After hitting the semi-truck police say Hensley's vehicle left the roadway, overturned multiple times and rolled down an embankment. Police say Hensley who was not wearing a seat belt died at the scene of the collision, alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor to the crash.

Tuesday 10-27-15

A Letcher County man is accused of pulling a hunting knife on police after leading them on a chase. Officer Justin Luttrell responded to the BP gas station in downtown Harlan after a caller complained Smith used a knife to threaten two other people. Luttrell chased Gregory Smith through nearby yards, eventually cornering him.  That’s when smith pulled a knife causing the officer to draw his weapon.  Body camera footage shows Smith's arrest and the moments before and after.  He’s charged with attempted assault of a police officer and is also facing drug charges because police found a bag full of pills in his mouth.

Pikeville movie theater, Riverfill Ten says their safe was stolen in a burglary.  Officer Tony Conn says there was signs of force entry and deveral items were missing. An undisclosed amount of cash,  and two were taken.  Police say once caught those responsible will be facing felony theft along with criminal mischief charges for the damage caused while breaking into the theater. Riverfill officials are offering a one-thousand dollar reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Triple Crown champion American Pharoah was made the early 6-5 favorite Monday in a field of 10 for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the last race of his career. The colt will break from the No. 4 post on Saturday at Keeneland. He is 6 for 7 this year, and is coming off a loss in the Travers two months ago. American Pharoah is scheduled to arrive in Kentucky today.

Harlan County native, Jordan Smith, will be moving on to the live rounds of NBC’s the Voice singing competition.  The Harlan County High School grad won a knockout round singing Adele’s Set fire to the rain.  Smith says the best part of the win was getting to watch it with all of his friends and family in Harlan. 

After more than a decade of requesting a veterans cemetery is coming to Southeastern Kentucky.   Leslie County Judge Executive Jimmy Sizemore says through the local, state and federal government they’ve received $6 million grant for the  Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Southeast. " The cemetery will be located along Kentucky Highway 118, or the Hyden spur.

Police in Nicholasville are investigating after they say two suspects broke into an unmarked Lexington Police cruiser and stole four guns and ammunition. The theft happened early Monday morning. Police say the Lexington Police officer, who lives in Jessamine County, woke up and saw two people leaving the area where his cruiser was parked. He discovered that four guns and his ammo had been taken. Nicholasville Police believe this was a targeted incident. Lexington Police are working on getting serial numbers to identify weapons.

The Floyd County man accused of shooting a police officer, which led to a standoff with police, is out of the hospital and was in court Monday. Robert powers is accused of shooting Prestonsburg Police Officer, Adam Dixon , then barricaded himself in a home off Abbott Creek. After a more than five hour stand off powers was arrested and transported to the hospital.  Assistant County Attorney, Tyler Green says He was arraigned on charges of attempted murder of a police officer and flagrant non support. Powers pleaded not guilty to both charges and a preliminary hearing is set for November Second.

A Whitley County foster parents faces endangering the welfare of a minor charges after teens were found drinking at her house. Deputies arrested Paige Brown, after they say someone tipped them off that teenagers were drinking.Officers found two teenagers in the home drunk.  they were so concerned one teen was taken to the hospital.

ACT scores for Harlan High School students.Continue to outpace students from across the state on the ACT exam given each year, students at Harlan High School have an average composite score of 21.7 compared to a 20.0 from students across Kentucky. This is the school’s second highest composite score over the last five years.

Shoplifting is becoming a big problem in downtown Hazard.  Wildcat Wearhouse Manager Chrissy Napier says she’s gotten good at noticing the signs of a shoplifter including having an oversized bag and not making eye contact.   The Hazard Police Department says they receive 10 shoplifting-related calls per week. Police say those numbers only increase around the holidays, especially at stores like Walmart or Dollar General. Stores are already preparing staff for the holiday season and for possible shoplifting.

Monday 10-26-15

By Kristen Thoburn

Four inmates at the Pike County jail have been charged with felony assault after beating another inmate earlier this month.Pike County Jailer Freddie Lewis says Inmates, Larry Kendrick, James Rowe, Derek Nunemaker, and Adam Charles beat inmate Matthew Dotson after they heard he was in jail for child molestation.  in fact Dotson was in for theft, and has since been released.

Police are investigating after a double shooting in Pulaski County. It happened around 11:30pm Saturday at a home on Scenic Vista Drive in Somerset. Firefighters say two men were shot after an argument. According to firefighters both men had to be airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. The shooting remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police.

In the final debate before the election next week Kentucky's nominiees for governor proved how different they are. Republican nominee Matt Bevin said he would legalize marijuana for medical purposes while Democrat Jack Conway called it a dangerous gateway to addiction during a televised debate at Eastern Kentucky University. Conway asked bevin to explain why he has said he will immediately reverse the expansion of Kentucky's medicaid program.  Bevin said Kentucky simply cant afford the program.   when it comes to recent school shootings Bevin said college professors should carry guns and be trained to defend their classrooms, Conway said the answer is not more guns.

There is an active search for a suspect that shot at a police officer in Putnam County, Tenn. Officers believe 62-year-old Floyd Ray Cook was then involved in a shootout with officers in the Burkesville area with a KSP officer shortly after the initial shooting in Algood that started after a traffic stop. KSP say they are actively searching for the man and should be considered armed and dangerous.Cook was last seen driving a black Ford F-150 truck with a KY license plate number 091HCS.   The officer shot was wearing a bullet proof vest and is expected to be ok.

A man who police say is a person of interest in his father's death is now booked in the Pulaski County jail charged with murder. 56 year old Edward Vanwormer was reported missing on September 15th. The search led police to find a body on his property. Police say Edward was shot to death outside of his home.  At the time police says his 26 year old son Jebediah and Jebediah's girlfriend were persons of interest.  he was transferred to the Pulaski County Jail from a jail in North Carolina.

A man accused of stealing millions of dollars from his job in Kentucky, who then eluded federal authorities for more than 6 years until he was caught in southwest Virginia, has pleaded guilty to committing a crime.  James Hammes originally pleaded not guilty to stealing 8.7 million dollars from his employer , G&J Pepsi cola bottlers over an 11 year period.  After six years on the run he was caught in may.   He is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service and will now await a sentencing hearing.

A Leslie county school is teaching a long lost art, woodworking.  Teacher Victor Pennington's class everything from trim work to framing and roofing. , the students practice the art of carpentry building everything from dog houses to picnic tables. As part of the program, students can become certified in carpentry. The certificate is through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and the certificate never
expires.  Pennington says with the mining industry declining he's hoping he helps at least one or two kids find a new path to follow.  The program is even taking special orders from the public.

Tuesday 10-20-15

By Kristen Thoburn

Police say Harlan County magistrate James Howard abused his authority by issuing checks to a company, for which he is a manager and major stock-holder. The allegations are in relation to five separate checks which police say, were issued in 2009 and 2010 to the company he manages, LP energy. Howard is charged with misuse of confidential information, and abuse of public trust, under $10,000. Howard says he hasn’t done anything wrong, and an investigation will prove that.

A Perry County man charged with murder in connection to a car crash pleaded not guilty Monday. Police believe Bobby Snell, 22, was driving under the influence Thursday morning and caused a crash that killed Caitlin Simpkins, 18. Snell will be back in court October 27 for a preliminary hearing.

Police say 61-year-old Tommy Reeves was found dead in a Barbourville river. Reeves was reported missing to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department by his girlfriend after he went missing on October 4. According to Kentucky State Police, an autopsy is pending, but preliminary results indicate Reeves died from cardiovascular problems. The death is still under investigation.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin made two stops in Eastern Kentucky Monday. He met with members of the chamber of commerce before stopping at the ribbon cutting of a new call center in Somerset. Bevin also stopped in London and Taylor County.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for farmers and processors who would like to participate in industrial hemp pilot projects next year. Applications are being taken through Nov. 5 by the state agriculture department for the new growing season. the amount of hemp grown in Kentucky has continued to climb. In 2015, 922 acres were approved for industrial hemp growing, up from 33 acres in 2014.

Changes are coming to The Tanglewood Downhill Trail in Whitesburg. The Kentucky Division of Forestry is bringing in students from the Virginia Tech Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC) to help create a vision that will adapt to the trail. Many say the city calls for some serious change, but folks still want to keep their heritage in the mountains.  the master plans will soon be given to the city of Whitesburg. It will then be up to the mayor, the board and the community to implement the ideas suggested.

Good for tourism or bad for the community? Folks in Elkhorn City are split when it comes to deciding if alcohol should be sold in restaurants. Last week the Pike County Clerk received a petition to let the people decide if alcohol should be sold in restaurants. The petition only allows restaurants that can seat 50 or more people and have at least 70-percent of their sells coming from food to serve alcohol. The Pike County Clerk must verify all the signatures on the petition before it is put to a vote. There is currently no alcohol sold in Elkhorn City. If there are enough a special election will be held, most likely in January.

It's going to be a busy Halloween night in Lexington with the Kentucky-Tennessee football game, Breeder's Cup and trick-or-treating. On Monday, the SEC league office announced UK-UT kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network on Saturday, October 31.

Monday 10-19-15

By Kristen Thoburn

One person is dead and another is arrested for DUI... and manslaughter. Kentucky State Police arrested Robert Walker of Letcher County.  He was allegedly operating a vehicle under the influence, which resulted in the death of one person.   Walker was also arrested for wanton endangerment. Kentucky State Police is handling the investigation.

Since it opened late last month, owners of Kentucky Mist moonshine distillery in Whitesburg say their business has put about $26,000 back into the local economy. They say a big part of that is the distillery's gift shop, which features mainly handmade items from people in the area. Owner Collin Fults says they were inspired by farmers markets to give local artists and craftspeople a place to sell their goods. He says some of his biggest customers are tourists from out of town who are looking for some local flavor.

 A man is searching for a home after his exploded in Corbin. One neighbor says he is suffering burns on his head and chest. Brandon Goodin says he was using power tools when the explosion happened and it was still loud to him. He said he could feel the ground rumble beneath him. When he looked, his neighbor's foundation was obliterated. Officials say they have ruled out foul play. The gas company is also looking in to if there may have been a leak.

A man walked away from the Bell County Forestry Camp yesterday only to be found less than four hours later. Officials say David Philpot, 36, walked away from the minimum security prison. K-9 officers with the prison found Philpot on Pine Mountain hours later. Philpot is serving a 20-year-sentence for theft charges in laurel county, but officials say additional charges will be added to his sentence in connection with this incident.

Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs said approximately 15 troopers were involved in the Safe School Active Shooter class at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College’s Harlan Campus on Friday. The program involved faculty and other staff from the SKCTC campuses around the area, including Harlan, Cumberland and Pineville. Jacobs said along with troopers from Post 10 in Harlan, troopers from Post 13 in Hazard were also on hand to assist with the program.

The Whitley City Fire Department has dedicated a new training center and memorial in honor of a firefighter who died in the line of duty in 2013. Lt. Arlie "Pooh" Hill was fatally injured when attempting an apparent rescue attempt from a burning residence on August 30, 2013. Lt. Hill suffered severe burns to over 90 percent of his body in the tragic accident.  He passed away nearly two months later from his injuries.   On Saturday, the Whitley City Fire Department held a ceremony to dedicate the memorial and training center in honor of Lt. Hill.

Laurel County sheriff deputies rounded up a group taking part in what is considered organized crime. Sheriff's deputies say a woman was shoplifting from the Wal-Mart just outside of Corbin. They say Ella Bowman was taking the items to a car in the parking lot where a group was waiting to bag them in unused Wal-Mart bags and return them for gift cards. The pile of bags was found in the car. Officers say some of the suspects also gave false names, hoping to avoid outstanding warrants.

A popular Perry County restaurant is now "smoke-free." This weekend Jabo's Coal River Grille in Hazard went smoke free.  Its owner said families would often complain about the smoke. While not all customers are pleased, some said it is a good idea.  While the owner said sales might suffer, he thinks non-smoking is the right move. Those would like to smoke can still do so outside. The owner said he plans to add heaters in order to accommodate customers as much as possible.