Local News 4-3-2014

Evidence Gathered in a Lawrence Co Death Investigation. Looks Suspicious

According to reports out of Lawrence Co. evidence gathered at the scene of a man’s deceased body on a logging road looks very suspicious, that’s according to officials with the Lawrence Co. Sheriff’s Department. On Monday, March 31, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a deceased male on a logging road off of Cains Creek Road in the Blaine area of Lawrence County. The body was sent to the Medical Examiner Office in Frankfort for an autopsy to determine cause of death and proper identification, which came back as Brandon M Burnett, 30 of Denton, Ky in Carter County. Autopsy results did not show any signs of trauma to Burnett’s body.

Lawrence Co. Sheriff Garrett Roberts said they found shoe and tire tracks in the mud where the body was located, he added the only people who regularly travel the dirt road are workers with a gas and oil company, who found Burnett's body. Officials are waiting for the results of the toxicology test to help in determining the cause of death and whether drugs might have been involved. The Sheriff's Office is following up on leads reference to who Mr. Burnett was with prior to his death. Anyone with information as to how Burnett's body got to the location is asked to contact the Lawrence Co. Sheriff's Office 606-638-4851 or Lawrence County 911.

Paintsville Police Make Arrest in an Attempted Robbery

Paintsville Police Officer P.D. Witten arrest a woman Tuesday, April 1 after the owner of a local business witnessed the customer with her hand in the “cookie jar,” in this case the “cookie jar” was the businesses cash register. According to reports, the owner of Mudpyz and Butterflies on Broadway in Paintsville, witnessed a customer, Misty Mollette 36 of Allen, reach in a take money from the cash register. When confronted, the owner Anita Watts, said the woman became combative and charged at Watts. Watts however was able to subdue the woman until officer Witten arrived on the scene and took Mollette into custody. Mollette also was said to have merchandise on her possession. She was taken to the Big Sandy Region Detention Center charged with 2nd Degree Robbery and Public Intoxication. She was also served a bench warrant from the Johnson Co. District Court for failure to appear. No further information is known at this time.

Kentucky Teachers, Staff To Receive Pay Raises Over Next Two School Years

It was announced Tuesday that Kentucky's roughly 100,000 teachers and administrative staff will be getting an automatic pay raise in each of the next two years. The state's new two-year spending plan requires school districts to give employees a 1 percent raise in the 2015 school year and a 2 percent raise in the 2016 school year. The raises are a victory for House Democrats who pushed to make the raises mandatory. Senate Republicans wanted the raises to be optional because they were concerned some school districts could not afford to pay staff.

How to Spend 20 Billion Dollars

FRANKFORT, Ky. - While a two-year, $20.3 billion spending plan won overwhelming passage in both chambers of the state Legislature, an economic analyst says it falls short of what it will take to make needed progress in Kentucky. Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said the state's new budget is just enough "to tread water." While the spending sounds large, he said, the budget contains many cuts. "We're on a track in Kentucky through these budget cuts that is setting us back," he said. "We're failing to invest in our schools and our health and our human services in the ways that we need to really move forward."

Sen. Bob Leeper, I-Paducah, chairman of the Senate budget committee, said the agreement "sets us on a good stead for the future." Medicaid is protected, and there is more money ($189 million) for basic education funding. Small raises are built in for teachers and state workers, but many state agencies are cut another 5 percent. Bailey said the 14th round of budget cuts since 2008 illustrate the need for tax reform, something lawmakers continue to shy away from. "Our revenue base is eroding over time because there are too many holes in the tax system; it's not been modernized," he said. "We're not taxing those high-income individuals and corporations that can pay their fair share."

Bailey was a member of the governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, which in 2012 recommended an overhaul of the tax system. The panel proposed changes which would have produced an estimated $700 million in new revenue. Instead, Bailey says things such as higher education continue to get cut - 1.5 percent in the new budget - which piles the cost onto students. "We have the 11th-highest community college tuition in the country, yet they keep doing this year after year after year," he said. "The average graduate of EKU has graduated with $23 thousand in debt." Bailey said a bright point in the budget is $18 million to expand access to preschool in 2016.

Details of the budget bill, House Bill 235, are online at lrc.ky.gov.

Over 300,000 Kentuckians Sign Up For Health Insurance

More than 370,000 people have signed up for health insurance through the state's marketplace, a project that has come to define Democrat Steve Beshear's term as governor. But as the governor and his staff celebrated the numbers on Tuesday - one in every 12 Kentuckians now has health insurance through Kynect - the program's future is less certain in the state legislature.

On Monday, state lawmakers approved a two year, $20.3 billion state spending plan that forbids Beshear from using any state tax dollars to pay for Kentucky's expanded Medicaid program or the private insurance marketplace.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said the Republican majority in the Senate still opposes the federal Affordable Care Act. He said it contributed to this year's contentious state budget debate, which did not conclude until 5:30 Sunday morning after an all-night closed-door meeting. Of particular concern, Stivers said, was the roughly $100 million the state will have to find in two years to begin paying for the state's share of the expanded Medicaid program.