Local News 5-2-2013

Johnson County Girl Recovering Following Dog Attack

According to WYMT-TV, they are reporting that a young girl in Johnson Co. is recovering from a dog attack. They report that the Johnson County Sheriff's Office says the attack occurred Friday, April 29 in the Nippa area of the county and the victim was an 8 year old little girl.. Deputy Sheriff Tim Clark told the WYMT the pit bull that was tied up at a home about 70 feet away from where the child was playing, but the dog broke its chain and ran toward her, then attacked her. Dep. Clark told WYMT there is no evidence at this time to show that the girl provoked the dog. Dep. Clark described the girl's injuries as brutal and graphic on the leg and on her side. The girl was taken to the hospital and is now recovering at home. According to the report, Dep. Clark says this wasn't the first time this dog has attacked a child, saying the owner provided him with documentation, showing the dog attacked another child in February. Animal control currently has the dog quarantined. Dep. Clark told WYMT-TV he has presented the case to the county attorney and has asked for a charge of harboring a vicious animal against the owner, which is a misdemeanor. WSIP news has attempted to contact Deputy Clark for further information on this story, but have been unable to speak with him. We hope to bring you further information, when it becomes available.

Eastern Ky. Anesthesiologist Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Medicaid

An Eastern Ky. anesthesiologist, who was a former owner of two pain clinics in the area, has pleaded guilty to charges he defrauded the Medicaid program. Louisa Dr. Lee Balaklaw entered an Alford Plea to 10 misdemeanor counts of theft by deception under $300 during a hearing in Lawrence Circuit Court late last week. Circuit Judge David Preston immediately sentenced Balaklaw to 12 months in jail on each count to run concurrently. The sentence was suspended for two years providing that the defendant pays restitution in the amount of $140,105, which includes more than $135,000 in restitution to the Kentucky Medicaid program. Dr. Balaklaw is excluded from participation in all federally funded health programs, including Medicaid and Medicare, for a period of at least five years pursuant to federal regulations.

This case dates back to October of 2011, when a Lawrence County grand jury indicted Balaklaw on 20 counts of Medicaid fraud following an investigation into his billing practices at Anesthesia Associates of Louisa. In the indictment, Balaklaw was accused of intentionally and/or wantonly submitting fraudulent and false claims to Medicaid by claiming he treated multiple patients using pain treatment injections into the tendon. The investigation showed Dr. Balaklaw was actually performing another injection treatment which entitled him to a smaller reimbursement from Medicaid. The charges allege that from January 2007 through July 2010, Balaklaw fraudulently billed $90,000 for the 29 patients included in the indictment. Balaklaw was a former owner of two, now closed pain clinics in Louisa and Prestonsburg.

Judge Rejects New Trial for Pain Clinic Owner

A Louisiana businessman, who is currently serving 15 years in a federal prison for distributing drugs through pain clinics in eastern Kentucky has lost his bid for a new trial. U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled that there is "sufficient evidence" to support the jury's guilty verdict in the case of 47-year-old Michael D. Leman of Slidell, La. A jury in Lexington found Leman guilty in March 2012 of using pain clinics in eastern Kentucky to distribute medications, such as oxycodone and methadone, to bogus patients. Van Tatenhove also ordered Leman to pay $1 million in restitution to an agency handling crime victim compensation and one dealing with substance abuse. Leman is housed at Forrest City Correctional Complex in Forrest City, Ark. He has appealed to U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Lawmakers Ready To Talk Legislative Redistricting

Pressure is beginning to mount on Gov. Steve Beshear to call lawmakers back to Frankfort this year for a special legislative session on political redistricting. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said in a letter to Beshear on Tuesday that his chamber "stands ready to act" if called into special session. Beshear said he is considering doing just that. A group of northern Kentucky officials filed suit in federal court last week against Beshear and other state officials to force the Legislature to act. Two judge-executives, a county clerk and nine residents charge in the lawsuit that rapid growth in northern Kentucky has left them without adequate representation in the Legislature. Always a divisive issue, redistricting is supposed to occur every 10 years to account for population changes recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kentucky had major population shifts between 2000 and 2010, requiring reconfiguration of legislative districts in both the House and Senate. The Kentucky Supreme Court struck down legislators' initial redistricting plan last year, finding that the proposed districts weren't balanced by population and didn't comply with the federal and state "one person, one vote" mandate. The House approved a subsequent plan earlier this year, but the Senate opted to wait until next year's legislative session to deal with the issue. Senate leaders said they wanted to pass both House and Senate redistricting at the same time, so neither got final passage. Stumbo said he's hopeful Beshear moves quickly to call a special session.

Smoot Named Successor to Kelly as President/CEO of Operation UNITE

Dan Smoot, who has been part of the Operation UNITE team since its inception a decade ago, will step up to lead the organization effective May 15. The UNITE Board of Directors voted Tuesday, April 30, to elevate Smoot to President and Chief Executive Officer. He will replace Karen Kelly, who helped create UNITE in 2003. “I’ve been here from the start and will continue what we do best – arresting drug traffickers, providing treatment assistance to those dealing with an addiction, and educating our youth about the danger of drugs,” said Smoot, who has overseen the day-to-day operations of UNITE since September 2011. “I feel my time spent as vice president will make the transition to this new role easier.” “Kelly, who is leaving to become District Director for Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers – whose vision led to the creation UNITE – said she can think of nobody more capable of continuing the anti-drug organization’s mission. Smoot is a 1982 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. After completing the Kentucky State Police Academy he was assigned to Post 13 in Hazard, where he served for 22 years – 14 years in the Narcotics Division. That experience led him to being named Director of Law Enforcement for Operation UNITE in November 2003. Under Smoot’s leadership, UNITE’s drug task force became accredited by the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police in 2005. For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at www.operationunite.org.

Kentucky Ranks 3rd Most Stressed Out State

Feeling a little stressed out lately? If you answered YES, your not alone. According to a Gallup poll conducted recently, asked people a simple question, "was I stressed yesterday?" By totaling the results from all 50 States, Kentucky ranked third as the most stressed states. The only worse States above Ky. was West Virginia and Rhode Island. Stree can cause a lot of problems such as, headaches, trouble sleeping, chest pain, weight loss, weight gain. According to Dr. Debra Hall with Highlands Health Systems, she says an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but a smile can go a long way, and maybe friends and fun can give Kentuckians a little piece of mind. The poll ranked Hawaii as the state with the least stress.