Local News 4-21-2014


Fire destroys Pike County home

A Pike County family’s home was destroyed by fire Friday, leaving the family with hardly nothing. The fire was located in the Arrowhead Estates neighborhood and was called into 911 just before 11 AM Friday morning. According to reports, firefighters from four different fire departments, along with Pike County Emergency Management, and The American Red Cross were called to the scene. Fire officials say the family was inside the residence when the fire occurred, but were able to get out, unfortunately three of their pets did not. Firefighters worked for more than three hours to extinguish the flames. Fire officials are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire. No other information has been released.

Floyd Co. Man Charged with Escaping Home Incarceration

Floyd County authorities have charged a Floyd Co. man with escape, after he allegedly cut and removed his monitoring ankle bracelet. Randall Akers was under home incarceration at his home on Old House Hollow in Floyd Co. when he cut off the device and left the residence shortly after midnight, on April 16. Akers was arrested a short time later and now is accused of second-degree escape, tampering with a prisoner monitoring device and third-degree criminal mischief.

According to the Floyd Co. Times, Akers appeared in court Friday and an order holding the new charges against him in abeyance, pending the outcome of his participation in a substance abuse program. Akers is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 24, at which time the outcome of the substance abuse program will be reviewed. If Akers successfully completes the program, the new charges against Akers will be amended to misdemeanors.

Man Wanted for 2012 Robbery Arrested

A man wanted in connection with the robbery in May of 2012 of an Amish store in Gallia County, Ohio has been arrested. According to the Boyd Co. Sheriff’s Office, Zebulun Lane, 34, was indicted on a robbery charge, with a gun specification, in connection with the robbery of Yoder Lumber in Walnut Township. Lane was arrested last week in Boyd County on a traffic violation and after a routine identity check, deputies found Lane had had warrants for his arrest in Boyd and Campbell counties in Kentucky, along with the indictment in Gallia County. Lane was said to have robbed the owner of the Amish store at gunpoint, taking money and property from the business. No further information has been made available at this time.

Commercial Flights from Pikeville, Ky to Nashville to be Delayed

For years there’s been an effort to provide commercial air service between in the mountains of Eastern Ky and for the last few months, that dream seemed to be turning into a reality, but folks will have to wait just a little bit longer, as the new service has stalled due to proper paperwork. Appalachian Air had been scheduled to start offering flights from Pikeville and Nashville, Tenn. last week, but that initiative has been delayed because the airport in Pikeville hasn't yet obtained all the proper certifications. Officials in Pikeville, along with the airport board and the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce have been working on the initiative for four years. They say the setback is disappointing but only temporary, but no timetable has been set on when commercial flights might begin in the area. Pikeville officials say they are working diligently to get the proper approvals.     

Ky. Academic Standards to get Review

Kentucky residents will get a chance to review state academic standards later this year and suggest changes. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday told a Lexington newspaper that the initiative called the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge will begin in the fall. He says the project isn't a reaction to criticism of the national Common Core standards, on which Kentucky's standards are based. Instead, Holliday said he has always maintained that the state standards should be formally reviewed after about five years. Kentucky Core Academic Standards were implemented in 2010. Holliday said a group of higher education professionals, business leaders and teachers will use the public feedback to make revisions.

OSHA Hearing Examines Silica Dust Risks in Fracking

LEAD: OSHA just wrapped up nearly three weeks of hearings on a proposed rule to limit worker exposure to silica dust. Hydraulic fracturing was one of the industry exposures examined, along with general construction, masonry and foundries. Greg Stotelmyer reports.

FRANKFORT, Ky. - OSHA has wrapped up nearly three weeks of hearings on a proposed rule to limit workers' exposure to damaging silica dust. Hydraulic fracturing was one of the industries where silica-dust exposures were examined, along with general construction, masonry and foundries. Silica dust is connected to various respiratory illnesses and to silicosis, an incurable chronic lung disease. According to Celeste Monforton, Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University School of Public Health, in her testimony, safety regulations were first recommended back in 1974, and even the rule now under discussion will take up to two years to be put in place. "So, it's really a national disgrace that we allow exposures to silica dust that are so high," she declared.

Monforton added that those most at risk from silica-dust exposure are also the most vulnerable: immigrants, people who don't speak English, and contract workers. Industry groups testified against the rule, saying that deaths from silicosis have declined. Monforton however said it's estimated that the rule would save 700 lives a year. Peter Dooley, health and safety project consultant at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, testified that workers often don't know that the dust they're inhaling can cause lifelong disabilities. "It's not like asbestos and lead hazards; this is a hazard that's not well-known," he said.

Dan Neal, executive director of Wyoming's Equality State Policy Center, spoke to the hearing in favor of the rule, saying history shows that industries won't meet limits on their own, conduct monitoring, offer medical surveillance, or provide training. Of silica dust, he said: "It leads to long-term complications that impair someone's breathing, lung cancer and kidney problems, among many other related diseases. It's very important for workers to know that they've got to protect themselves, and that they've got a right to protect themselves."

Exposure limits would mean that businesses would have to use various methods to reduce dust at work sites, including vacuum systems or protective respirators for workers. The proposal would limit silica dust that could be breathed in by workers to 50 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter of air space. The long-standing existing rule has a much higher limit, at 10 milligrams per cubic meter. Proposed silica dust exposure rule details are at OSHA.gov.

Eastern Ky. University to be Tobacco-Free Campus

Eastern Kentucky University's Board of Regents has approved a tobacco-free campus policy. According to the Richmond Register, effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited. The tobacco-free policy, which replaces the smoke-free zone policy that had been in effect since 2006, covers all Eastern facilities and grounds. It also prohibits the use of tobacco in vehicles owned, leased or rented by EKU, as well as in personal vehicles while on university property. The university joins more than 1,100 colleges and universities nationwide that have enacted similar tobacco-free policies.