Local Sports 1-29-2015

Police Continue Search for an Inmate from Prestonsburg

Law Enforcement agencies in Prestonsburg and the surrounding area, are continuing their search for an inmate who escaped custody while at the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center on Friday, January 23 in Prestonsburg. Floyd County Jailer Stuart Halbert said Michael Perry Cox Jr. escaped through a bathroom window, "Cox had actually asked to use the restroom. He went in the restroom and got out of his shackles, his uniforms, even flip flops and went out a window in the restroom" and scaled down the building.” Police say Cox had a female accomplice that helped set up the escape.

Prestonsburg Police, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and KSP have been searching the area looking for Cox and are checking out every lead, but so far the only thing they have is that he has connections in Michigan and Florida and may have headed there. Cox is described as having brown hair, tattoos and is around 6 feet tall. At the time of the escape, Cox was wearing a black t-shirt, blue pants and had no shoes on and investigators said they do not think Cox is a threat to anyone and do not think he has a weapon. The female accomplice, who has not been fully identified, will be charged once her identity is fully revealed. If you have any information about Cox call the Sheriff's office at (606) 886-6171 or the County Jailer at (606) 886-8021.

Suspect in Attempted Armed Robbery at Drug Store Still on the Loose

The suspect wanted for an attempted armed robbery in Pikeville is still on the loose. According to reports, the attempted robbery took place last week at a drug store in Pikeville, according to information from the Pikeville Police Dept. The incident happened at around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, January 21 at Pikeville Discount Drug in the 900 block of South Mayo Trail. Pikeville Police say a man armed with a knife was unsuccessful in his attempt to get cash or drugs. He ran from the pharmacy toward the riverbank and was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans. Police ask that if anyone has any information to call the Pikeville Police Department at 606-437-5111.

Three Arrested in Ashland Drug Bust

Three people have been arrested on drug charges following a raid a residence Tuesday night in Ashland. Ashland Police say they conducted the search in the 3100 block of Carter Avenue and say they seized 428 pills (Oxycontin/Xanax/Neurontin), crack cocaine, and more than $3,200 in cash. Arrested were: Edward Jones, 22, of Warren, Michigan, Bobby Kirk, 32, of Ashland, and Joshua Hinkins, 20, of Ashland. Jones was charged with two counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance. Kirk and Hinkins were charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. All 3three suspects are still in the Boyd County Detention Center. Additional charges are pending.

Three Students Hurt in Accident Involving Greenup Co. School Bus

According to reports, 3 students were injured following a Wednesday morning accident involving a Greenup Co. School. The minor accident occurred on U.S 23 near Old 23 in the Lloyd community, just before 7:30 a.m. Emergency crews on scene reported that the three students on the bus complained of minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital as a precaution. A person in the car that collided with the bus was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries. A spokesperson for Greenup County Schools told WSAZ news, the accident happened when the driver of the car pulled out onto U.S. 23 in front of the bus. The spokesperson added that parents were notified of the accident as soon as it was reported. The other 22 students on the bus were taken onto Greenup County HS following the accident. No other information has been made available at this time.

Man Arrested on Drug Charges in Letcher Co.

More than $6,500.00 in suspected drug money and a wide variety of prescription drugs were seized in Letcher County following a man’s arrest earlier this week. According to the Letcher Co. Sheriff’s Office, they have arrested 32 year old Eric D Howard after they found him hiding in a utility building near his residence, while trying to serve a probation violation warrant. When deputies went to the home, they found Howard with more than $6,500.00 in suspected drug money and medication including oxycodone. They also report he had notes in his wallet detailing out of state drug trafficking. Howard was taken to the Letcher county jail where he remains under a $10,000 cash bond.

Sen. Brandon Smith Tells Attorney to Withdraw DUI Motion

Kentucky State Senator Brandon Smith says he has informed his attorney to withdraw a motion to dismiss DUI charges against him. Earlier this month, on the first day of the legislative session, Smith was stopped by State police for speeding, at which time he was arrested for driving under the influence. Last week Smith’s lawyers made a motion in court to dismiss the charges, saying there was a law protecting lawmakers. The 1891 law protects lawmakers from being arrested, with certain exceptions, while the legislature is in session. Senator Smith told has since said he did not want it to appear that he was receiving special treatment. He told WYMT in an interview, "Being someone, an elected official, it's important for us to be, to have a high standard set for us. That's something we assume when we get elected, and if this just has the appearance that we're somehow trying to circumvent the law or hold ourselves up unaccountable, we want no part of it," Smith said. He also claimed he did not drink on the night of his arrest and said the truth will come out. Smith represents District 30, which includes Bell, Breathitt, Johnson, Leslie, Magoffin and Perry. He is on multiple committees, including Appropriations & Revenue and Natural Resources & Energy and is the vice chair of the Transportation committee.

Defeat the Deadline; Do Your Taxes Now

FRANKFORT, Ky. - January is almost over, and experts say a little time spent preparing for tax season in the next few days will pay off in the months ahead. Luis Garcia, spokesman with the Internal Revenue Service, says now is the time to make sure you know where all your important tax documents are so you're not scrambling to find them when the deadline is looming. "That means if you've got Form 1099s from your bank, or you have your W-2 from your employer, you want to make sure all those documents end up in the same place," says Garcia. "Now, whether it's a shoebox or a folder that's really the most important thing." Garcia also offers a reminder that anyone who wants to claim a charitable donation for 2014 needs to have appropriate records of those donations. More detailed information, forms and publications are online at "IRS.gov."

Garcia says this is the first tax season in which the Affordable Care Act figures heavily. That will include a little extra paperwork for many taxpayers. "The people who purchased health insurance, they want to be on the lookout for Form 1095A," says Garcia. "That's the form you're going to use to make sure you get the credit you need, in order to make sure you're getting your health insurance covered properly." Garcia says there also is a form to fill out for anyone who received an exemption to the health-insurance mandate for 2014.

Local News 1-28-2015

Judge-Executive Sentenced to Prison for Tornado Kickback Scheme

Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley was sentenced Tuesday to serve seven years in prison in connection with a kickback scheme. In August 2014, Conley admitted that between 2009 and 2013, he rigged the county's competitive bidding process to ensure contracts for certain Morgan County bridges be awarded to a Salyersville construction company. Conley admitted that as part of the scheme, he directed the owners, Kenneth and Ruth Gambill, to deliver kickbacks to him from the proceeds of the contracts be given to the company.

In 2013, following a tornado that ravaged the area, Conley secretly altered bid documents for three bridges to ensure the company would get the contracts. He solicited $15,000 per bridge and accepted $45,000 after the construction was done, according to the US Attorney's Office. According to the plea agreement, the kickbacks were part of a scheme to defraud citizens of Morgan County of their right to Conley's honest services. Conley must serve at least 85% of the 87-month sentence. He also has to pay $104,000 in restitution to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and $26,000 to Morgan County. He will start serving his sentence in March. The Gambills have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and both were sentenced to serve four months of home detention with 2 years probation. Mr. Conley was not taken into custody. He will self-report to prison on March 24. The Bureau of Prisons will determine the location at a later time.

Martin Co. Sheriff Investigating Break-in, Need’s Public’s Assistance

The Martin County Sheriff Dept. is investigating a recent break-in at a floral shop in Inez and they need the public’s assistance to help catch the person responsible. According to a news release Deputy Chris Todd was dispatched to Inez Flower Shop for a breaking and entering. Upon Todd's arrival he discovered someone had broken in the door, stolen several items, and vandalized the store. Sheriff John Kirk is asking that if anyone has any information related to this burglary, recalls seeing any vehicles or persons near this business between Friday evening and Sunday morning, please contact the Sheriff's office at 298-2828.

Martin Co. Man Arrested for Theft of an Inez Business

According to a separate news release from the Martin Co. Sheriff’s Dept. On Sunday morning, approximately 10:30 AM, Sheriff John Kirk received a call of a shoplifter at the Inez Dollar General. Upon arriving Sheriff Kirk was told that a man wearing an orange hat and mining pants with reflective strips had fled going west on Route 40 on foot. After about twenty minutes the subject was located and identified as Floyd Jude Jr. Mr. Jude was wet from the knees down. Upon further investigation Kirk learned that Jude had entered the creek near Lafferty Medical Clinic. Sheriff Kirk then called for assistance from Deputies Jerry Todd, Billy Patrick and was later assisted by Everett Kirk whom came to the scene with hip waders to be able to enter the water and search for the stolen merchandise. Approximately 15 minutes later the stolen items - 16 cans of Red Bull energy drink, 1 pack of men's underwear, and 1 pack of men's t-shirts were located in a sewer meter box along the creek bank. Jude was charged with shoplifting, tampering with physical evidence and public intoxication.       

3 People Accused of Using Infant to Hide Stolen Items in Lawrence Co.

As reported by WYMT, the Loisa Police Dept. arrested three people in Lawrence Co., accused of using an infant to try and steal items from a local business. Louisa Police report they arrested Amber Kirk, Clarence Elkins, and Amanda Kirk Saturday after the trio was accused of using a seven-month-old to conceal more than $120 worth of items they did not pay for at the Louisa Wal-Mart. All three are facing shoplifting and other related charges. The child was placed in the care of social services.

Boy Dies from Injuries in a Perry Co. Accident. UPDATE

According to the Kentucky State Police, they have reported that a nine-year-old boy has died as a result of his injuries sustained in a head-on car crash Saturday night in Perry County. As we had previously reported, the accident happened around 7 pm Saturday on Combs Road in Hazard. A 1999 Chevy pickup was travelling east on Kentucky 550, (Combs Rd), when it crossed the center-line into the path of a 2001 Chrysler Sebring, causing the vehicles to hit head-on. Troopers say they arrested 36 yr-old Jason Combs following the accident, charging him with DUI, assault and wanton endangerment, with the possibilities of additional charges. The Fayette County coroner’s office identified the boy as Randall Wells. He was flown to the University of Kentucky Hospital with life threatening injuries. Police confirm he was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. No further information has been released at this time and more arrest and charges are pending.

New Name Chosen for Future Floyd Co. High School

During a meeting of the Floyd Co. B.O.E. Monday evening, actions were taken on moving forward with the naming of a new high school in Floyd Co. which combines Allen Central and South Floyd High Schools. Throughout the month of December, a general public survey was circulated asking people for suggestions about the school’s name, its new mascot, and school colors. According to the Floyd Co. Times, the two leading names proposed were “Floyd Central High School” with received 398 votes and “South Central High School” with 439 votes. During Monday’s meeting, board members agreed that although South Central received more votes, it just sounded too generic, so board members decided to adopt Floyd Central High School as the new High School name. B.O.E also voted to form a commission of students to select the school’s mascot and colors. Three 9th grade students from Allen Central and three from South Floyd will convene to go over the survey data and pull the options they consider most fitting, and present them to the board for consideration at their March meeting.

The new Floyd Central High School will be located on Rt.680 and will be the largest in the Floyd Co. school district, equipped to house 750 students. Besides plans or Allen Central and South Floyd to be combined into one high school, plans also calls for the merging of McDowell and Osborne with South Floyd Middle School into the existing South Floyd facility and a vocational school to the current Allen Central High School campus. School officials are looking at about 28-months of groundwork and construction and they hope to begin classes at the new school in the Fall of 2017.

Rogers Scholars Deadline is Jan. 31

The deadline for local high school sophomore students to submit applications for The Center for Rural Development’s 2015 Rogers Scholars program is Jan. 31. Rogers Scholars is an intensive one-week summer youth leadership program for high school students within The Center’s 45-county primary service area in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The program emphasizes the development of technological skills and builds in participants a sense of leadership, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to rural Kentucky. Applicants may download a copy of the 2015 Rogers Scholars application form from the Youth Programs at The Center website at www.centeryouthprograms.com. The Center encourages applicants to email their application forms and supporting materials to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications may also be mailed to the Rogers Scholars program, The Center for Rural Development, 2292 S. Highway 27, Suite 300, Somerset, Ky., 42501.

The 2015 dates for the Rogers Scholars program are June 21-26 and July 12-17. Rogers Scholars—The Center’s flagship youth program—is provided free of charge to participants. Lodging and meals for the week are included in the program. For more information on the application process or the Rogers Scholars program, contact Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator, at 606-677-6000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Local News 1-27-2015

Martin Co. Fire Destroys Home

A weekend fire in Martin Co. destroys a home. According to the Mountain Wolfe website, the home was located on Howard Maynard Dr. in the Pigeon Roost community of Martin Co. and happened around 9 PM Saturday evening. The Warfield VFD was called out to the scene, but upon arrival the house was already too far gone to save. Fire officials say it was a total loss. No one was home at the time of the fire and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. The Inez VFD also were on scene for mutual aide. No other information has been provided at this time.

Man Charged with DUI in Perry County Crash

KSP Troopers are continuing to investigate a car crash that happened in Hazard Saturday night that left one boy in critical condition. Troopers say they have arrested one person in connection with that accident. The accident happened around 7 pm Saturday on Combs Road. Reports indicated that a 1999 Chevy pickup was travelling east on Kentucky 550, (Combs Rd), when it crossed the center-line into the path of a 2001 Chrysler Sebring, causing the vehicles to hit head-on.

Police say 36-year-old Jason Combs was operating the pickup truck and a woman and a nine-year-old boy were passengers. Combs and the woman were treated and released from the hospital with minor injuries, but the nine-year-old is still listed in critical condition at UK Medical Center. Combs of Hazard has has been arrested and charged with a DUI offense as well as several other traffic related offenses, and then further charges could be pending in relation to the outcome of the injuries of the other occupant.

One Dead in Lewis Co. Crash

According to reports, one person was killed Monday morning after a head-on crash on the AA Highway near the Lewis/Carter Co. line. Police say the accident involved a lumber truck and a car and happened about 9:30 a.m. at Grayson spur, just north of the Carter County line. Kentucky State Police say the driver of the car was pronounced dead on the scene and the driver of the truck was taken a nearby hospital. Their names have not been released. KSP accident re-constructionist are continuing to investigate what caused the accident, but they believe weather could have been a factor. The road was closed for nearly two hours while crews worked to remove lumber from the highway.

Floyd Co. Ambulance Company to Pay $948,000 Civil Penalty

A Floyd County ambulance service has agreed to pay the federal government nearly one million dollars to settle civil allegations that it billed federal health care programs for medically unnecessary services over the course of several years. According to reports, from February 1, 2006, until December 31, 2012, Lafferty Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Trans-Star Ambulance Services, transported Medicare patients to and from dialysis clinics by ambulance when an ambulance transport was not medically necessary the amount of the settlement is $948,000. Medicare covers non-emergency ambulance transports only when all other forms of patient transportation are considered a medical risk.

In addition to the financial settlement, Trans-Star has agreed to enter into an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, which obligates the company to undertake substantial internal compliance reforms and to allow a third-party to review its claims to federal health care programs for the next three years. According to WSAZ, the investigation and settlement stem from a complaint filed by a former owner of another ambulance company in eastern Kentucky. The whistle blower, Kevin Fairlie, will receive $189,600.

Deaths on Kentucky Highways Increased Last Year

State officials say highway fatalities in Kentucky increased last year after a record low in 2013. Officials with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety say preliminary figures show that 667 people died on Kentucky roadways last year, up from 638 the year before. But the agency's executive director, Bill Bell, says despite the uptick in deaths, there were 81 days in 2014 with no deaths, up from 75 in 2013. Bell says alcohol-related crashes were down by more than two percent. The fatal total from last year was the second lowest total since 1949, when 573 fatalities were recorded. A final report on crash data is expected by April.

Mountain Parkway Expansion Project Underway, New Information Office Opening

Work is underway on the Mountain Parkway Expansion, a highway improvement project designed to bring a wider, safer road to Eastern Kentucky. Bizzack Construction LLC, of Lexington, was awarded a $19.4 million project last month by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to widen 1.4 miles of the parkway and create an interchange at Gifford Road, which is about five miles west of Salyersville. Bizzack crews will begin to clear trees and prepare the area for the wider road and new parkway exit. When the new interchange is completed, it will provide direct access to the site for a planned Magoffin County Industrial Park. The initial construction work should create minimal impacts on traffic. However, motorists should be aware that there will be a reduced speed limit in the work zone, and flag crews might be working in the area.

The Gifford Road interchange project is one of three that are slated to begin this year to the west of Salyersville in what is described as the Magoffin County Central Section. In addition to the work near Gifford Road, projects to make improvements to the KY 7/Salyersville interchange (Exit 75) and the KY 30 interchange (Exit 72) are scheduled to begin this year. Combined, the three projects will widen 5.7 miles of the parkway to the west of Salyersville.

A field office has opened to provide information about the Mountain parkway expansion project. The new office is open Monday through Saturday in Salyersville on U.S. 460 in the Magoffin Plaza. The Transportation Cabinet says there's also a website and a phone number for those who can't make it to the office. Call (606) 349-8160 or visit http://www.MtnParkway.com , or follow the project on Twitter (@MtnParkway) or on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mtnparkway)