News 4-30-2013

Pike Jail Escapee in Custody

After two months of searching, a Pike Co. jail inmate has been caught and is back in custody. According to the KSP, on Thursday 4-25-2013, KSP received a call reporting two suspicious men had been seen at Jones Creek Elementary and had crossed the road, heading to the Pike County Landfill. Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officer Sgt. Keith Justice and CVE Officer Marty Combs responded to the scene. Upon arrival, officers spotted the two men, who immediately took off running. CVE Officer Combs found and arrested Jason Benton, 34, of Varney and a little later, officers found and arrested Jeremiah D. Young, 24, of Phelps, who was wanted by police after escaping jail by walking away from a Pike County work crew Feb. 14. Both men were charged with second-degree trespassing and were lodged in the Pike County Detention Center.

City of Martin in Floyd Co. Risks $300K Default to FEMA

According to a story from the Floyd Co. Times, the Martin city council is facing a difficult task in the months ahead, as they attempt to find receipts and invoices for nearly $300,000 in FEMA projects from 2009. Kentucky Emergency Management officials appeared at a recent council meeting to reassure city officials not to panic just yet, but they will need to find all of the receipts and matching invoices for work performed following the 2009 flood or they will have too repay FEMA nearly $300,000. Martn officials say they have made a little progress, already locating $95,000 worth of invoices and receipts, which has dropped the total down from just over $400,000. Of the remainder, $90,000 is currently in collections, but the collections process has been stopped while the city clerk tries to find the remaining paperwork. Following Hurricane Sandy FEMA has changed their operational rules for a Presidental disaster.  Congress has cut back on how much money Congress gives out, so cities and counties will now have to show damages paid out of pocket, to show that they have exceeded what they could afford. Additionally, there will be no more small projects from FEMA where counties or cities received lump some payments up front.

Five Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week
Preliminary statistics* indicate that five people died in five separate crashes on Kentucky’s roadways from Monday, Apr. 22 through Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013. One single-fatality, motor vehicle crash occurred in each of the following counties: Boyd, Daviess, Franklin, Jefferson and Wolfe. The victims in Boyd, Franklin, Jefferson and Wolfe counties were not wearing seat belts. The Boyd County and Jefferson County crashes involved the suspected use of alcohol. Through Apr. 28, preliminary statistics* indicate that 165 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 48 less than reported for this time period in 2012. Of the 139 motor vehicle fatalities, 70 victims were not wearing seat belts. Six of the 11 motorcycle fatalities were not wearing helmets. The one ATV fatality was not wearing a helmet. One bicycle rider has been killed. Twelve pedestrians have been killed. One fatality involving an animal drawn vehicle has been reported. A total of 32 fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol. As of Apr. 28, Kentucky has had 33 days with zero highway fatalities reported during 2013. Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.

Owsley County Clerk Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion, Abuse Of Public Trust Charges

Attorney General Jack Conway announced Monday the guilty plea of Owsley County Clerk Sid Gabbard on charges of tax evasion and abuse of public trust. Gabbard entered a guilty plea on Friday in Franklin Circuit Court to three counts of abuse of public trust and three counts of willfully filing or making false tax returns, and/or failure to pay tax. The plea agreement also requires Gabbard to resign immediately as Owsley County Clerk and pay $61,118 in restitution to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The charges against Gabbard are the result of an investigation by General Conway's Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Department of Revenue's Division of Special Investigations. The Attorney General's Office launched its investigation of Gabbard in January of 2013 based on a 2010 audit report released in June of 2012 by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts. The Attorney General's investigation revealed that Gabbard withheld state income tax from employees' checks, but instead of sending the money to the state he used it as his own. Prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office of Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland.

Governor Signs Bryan Durman Act Into Law

Governor Beshear on Monday signed into law the Bryan Durman Act, named for the Lexington Police officer killed in the line of duty exactly three years ago. Durman was killed when Glenn Doneghy ran him over in April 2010. Doneghy was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, but because manslaughter is not considered a violent crime, he'll be eligible for parole in April of next year. Under the Durman Act, anyone convicted of second-degree manslaughter of a clearly-identified police officer or firefighter would have to serve 85 percent of their sentence. If the peace officer was not clearly identified, the person convicted would have to serve 50 percent of the sentence.

Program Hopes Stop Kids from Becoming Prescription Drug Addicts

Attorney General Jack Conway says one in five high school students in Kentucky abuse prescription pills. The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program is the Attorney General's campaign to lower that number. "I'm going around the state and if I can use a little bit of my office to get into these high schools to tell kids, 'look this is a problem. Don't go down this path,' then perhaps we can make a difference," said Attorney General Conway. Attorney General Conway says his efforts and state legislation have reduced prescriptions for Oxycontin, Hydrocodone and Opana drastically during the last year. He also said this has led to the closing of 20 pain clinics in Kentucky. Attorney General Conway says more people die from prescription drug overdoses in Kentucky than from car accidents. The Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program was also presented at Mullins Elementary and Middle School in Pikeville yesterday.

PSC Plan Public Meetings on Replacing Big Sandy Plant; Comments Welcomed

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) will offer opportunities next month for members of the public to provide comments regarding the proposal by Kentucky Power Co. to purchase replacement electric generating capacity in order to retire the Big Sandy generating facility near Louisa. A public meeting will be held Tuesday, May 14 in Louisa. On Wednesday, May 15, the PSC will conduct a teleconference linking sites in Whitesburg and Hazard with the commission offices in Frankfort. Both the meeting and the teleconference will begin with a presentation by PSC staff on the regulatory processes governing the case and an overview of the Kentucky Power proposal. “These meetings are an opportunity for the public to learn how the PSC reaches a decision in cases such as this,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said. “The meetings also allow the PSC to hear directly from ratepayers in these matters.” The presentation by PSC staff and a question-and-answer period will begin at 5 p.m. EDT each day and last an hour. Public comments will follow at 6 p.m. EDT. Kentucky Power is seeking PSC approval of an agreement to purchase a 50 percent interest in Ohio Power Company’s Mitchell power plant, which is south of Moundsville, West Virginia. Kentucky Power and Ohio Power are both subsidiaries of American Electric Power Co. The 780 megawatts of capacity from Mitchell would nearly replace the 800 megawatts generated by the larger of two units at the Big Sandy plant. In its application, Kentucky Power says the cost of the Mitchell purchase will be about $536 million. That is $404 million less than the estimated cost of upgrading Big Sandy’s 800-megawatt unit in order to meet stricter federal air quality standards, as the company earlier had proposed to do. Kentucky Power canceled the upgrade plans in May 2012 and said it would consider other options. The plan to purchase generating capacity at Mitchell is the best of the available alternatives, Kentucky Power said in its application to the PSC. The 800-megawatt Big Sandy unit now is scheduled to close in mid-2015. An older, 278-megawatt unit at Big Sandy is scheduled to be either converted to burn natural gas or shut down by the end of 2014. Kentucky Power has not yet finalized plans for the unit or for replacing that power. Both the Big Sandy units and the Mitchell units burn coal. But the Mitchell units are newer than the Big Sandy plant and have the equipment needed to comply with federal air quality regulations. Kentucky Power estimates that the purchase of the Mitchell units will result in an eight percent increase in customer bills, or about $6 per month for a typical residential customer. The rate impact of upgrading Big Sandy had been estimated by the company at about $31 per month for residential customers. The public meetings are scheduled for: Louisa Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 5:00 p.m. EDT Lawrence County Community Center 205 Bulldog Lane Whitesburg Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 5:00 p.m. EDT Room 203 Whitesburg ...