Local News 7-17-2014

Identity Released of Woman Killed in a Magoffin Co. Crash

The identity of a woman killed in a Monday morning accident on the Mtn. Parkway in Magoffin Co. has been released. Kentucky State Police identified the woman as Christy Mullins, 34, of Pikeville. Police say Mullins was a passenger in a car that hit head-on with a semi around 11 A.M Monday. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Magoffin Co. Coroner’s Office. Troopers say the driver of the vehicle Mullins was driving in, lost control in a steep right curve and crossed into the eastbound lane, hitting the semi head-on. The driver of the car, Merion Phillips, from West Liberty, is listed in critical condition at Pikeville Medical Center. The driver of the semi was treated at the scene. The KSP is continuing to investigate this incident.

Police Continue Search for Robbery Suspect Who Robbed a Prestonsburg Business

Prestonsburg Police are continuing to investigate a robbery that took place at the Skeans Marathon @ Bull Creek in Floyd Co. According to Police Chief Mike Omerod, at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning a male entered the business and demanded money from the cashier. The man indicated that he had a weapon, but never showed the cashier. The female cashier complied with the intruder as per store policy and gave an unknown amount of money to the man, who then fled the store on foot towards Town Branch Road in Prestonsburg. No one was injured during the robbery. The man was described as average height, last seen wearing black pants, a black mask, and a black sweatshirt with a white skeletal design.

Chief Omerod said his department is investigating this robbery and ask that if anyone has any information pertaining to this robbery, to please contact the Prestonsburg Police Department at 606-886-1010. The owners of Skeans Marathon is offering a reward in the amount of $5000.00 for information leading to the arrest, conviction and subsequent incarceration of this individual.

Johnson Co. Man’s Motion for Bond Reduction Denied

A Johnson Co. man charged with murder in the death of a Sitka woman, has been denied his request to reduce his $300,000 cash bond. Circuit Judge Kimberly Childers, said Gary Ward, 37, of Meally, will remain behind bars, awaiting his trial of allegedly murdering Christina Barnett, 34, and abusing her corpse. Ward has also been charged with tampering with physical evidence. Ward was by the KSP back in October 2013.

Christina Barnett was last seen on Sept 18, 2013 when she told family members she was traveling to the London, Ky area with a man, but she never returned. On September 25, family and friends were searching along Rt. 80 in Knott County, when they found a decomposed body over a hill that would later be positively identified as Christina Barnett. Ward remains lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard.

HRMC Management/Employee Union Reps Back at the Bargaining Table

On Friday, Union workers at Highlands Regional Medical Center, ‘overwhelmingly’ rejected the latest proposed contract offered by HRMC management. Service Employees International Union 1199 director Joyce Gibson said the decision not to call a strike last week, was made to keep the two sides talking, in an effort to avoid a work stoppage that neither side wants. Union negotiators are expected to return back to the bargaining table today (Thursday, July 17) with HRMC management, to try and hammer out a final offer. If workers again reject a contract the following day, Gibson said the union would likely issue a 10-day strike notice at that time. This notice is required by law, even though the current contract ends July 19. She said workers would simply work without a contract during the notice.

The primary source of contention is over employee health insurance, in particular coverage for spouses. Under the current contract, the hospital provides coverage to employees and their spouses. However, when negotiations began on a new contract over a month ago, the hospital sought to end coverage for spouses. According to the Floyd Co. Times, HRMC President and CEO Harold “Bud” Warman justified the cuts by saying in a statement released last week that Highlands is trying to deal with recent changes in the health care system that have put a squeeze on small community hospitals. Again the two sides will be back in discussions today in Paintsville.

Pikeville Airport Moves Closer to Getting Planes in the Air

A consultant says Appalachian Air has cleared another hurdle and can start working toward flying in and out of Pikeville. According to Luke Schmidt, who is an advisor for the new airport, said the Pikeville-Pike County Airport won't need a certification from the federal government before allowing the airline to start flying, however the Transportation Security Administration still must approve the airport's plan and security measures. Schmidt says until that approval comes through, there's no way to know when Appalachian Air can start flying, but he hopes for TSA approval within the next month.

State Auditor holds public hearings on fiscal health of rural hospitals

State Auditor, Adam Edelen, was in Prestonsburg Tuesday discussing small rural hospital networks. He says he believes folks in rural areas should have the same access to healthcare as those in more urban areas. However, with recent changes to healthcare laws and regulations ... some say it is tougher than ever to survive. Auditor Edelen says small hospitals are critical to their communities. "Rural hospitals aren't only primary drivers of healthcare in our communities, they tend to be some of our largest employers and tend to be our leading corporate citizens. So, you can't overstate the importance of rural hospitals to the communities they serve," explains Edelen. However, he says rural hospitals are in crisis which is why he is holding ten public hearings listening to challenges providers are facing. Edelen says it is his job to evaluate how efficiently public dollars are spent.

Labor Department Grant to Assist Unemployed

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky is getting more than $6 million from the federal government to help people who have been out of work for a long time. Gov. Steve Beshear's office says the Job-Driven National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Labor Department will be used to create and expand job-driven training programs for laid-off workers. The state intends to use the funds to provide services such as on-the-job training, customized training and apprenticeships. Funding will also be used for coaching, counseling and direct job placement to help connect laid-off workers with jobs. The state also plans to use the grant to further develop and strengthen partnerships between workforce and industry organizations and align services with other federal, state and local programs.

Operation School Shoe (O.S.S) this Saturday

Operation School Shoe will be held this Saturday, July 19th from 10:00-3:00 at the Paintsville Recreation Center. Operation School Shoe provides back to school shoes to Johnson County/Paintsville students who are in need. The student must be a student in Johnson County or Paintsville Independent schools and must be present & fit for their shoe by O.S.S volunteers. O.S.S is sponsored by Local churches, businesses, and private donations. For further information please call (270)-505-5487