Local News 12-23-2014

Paintsville Police Investigating Break-In’s

According to a news release from the Paintsville Police Dept., the agency is currently investigating several incidents where vehicles were broken into on the 100 block of Depot Road, Frank Street and Saltwell Street in Paintsville. Unknown person(s) removed items from the vehicles which included cash, personal items, jewelry and a firearm. These incidents occurred late Sunday night (12-21-2014) or early Monday morning (12-22-2014). Police ask that if anyone has information concerning these incidents, you’re urged to contact the Paintsville Police Department 606-789-2603. These incidents are under investigation by Officer Paul Witten.

* In a separate news release from the Paintsville Police Dept., the agency is also currently investigating where unknown person(s) attempted to break into the garage located on the property of the First Church of God at 8th Street in Paintsville. Police ask that if anyone has any information concerning this incident, you’re urged to contact the Paintsville Police Department 606-789-2603. Officer Scott Wheeler is investigating this incident.

Broadway Mini-Park in Paintsville Vandalized

* According to another news release from the Paintsville Police Dept., on 12/11/2014 an organization in Paintsville placed 20-25 metal doves on a Christmas tree at the mini-park off Broadway. These doves had the names of patients/victims of cancer. Paintsville Police received a call from the organizer of this event on Monday (12-22-2014), who reported that the metal doves were gone. Chief Bill Holbrook is asking the public for any information concerning this incident. If you have that information please notify the Paintsville Police Department @ 789-2603.

Rowan Co. Couple Competent to Stand Trial in Alleged Abuse Case

A Judge has found a Rowan Co. couple competent to stand trial following accusations of abuse and neglect of their eight children. On Thursday, Dec 4, 2014 police in Rowan Co. found the body of a premature baby at a residence of two people, who are already facing neglect charges. Police went to the home of Johnathan Prater and Edith Strange on Igo Road, where they found the baby's deceased body. Police said they had previously found nine children living in horrible conditions just a week or so ago. The body of the baby was sent to Frankfort for an autopsy and the couple will face a judge in the early part of April of 2015.

Court Date Set For Duct Tape Bandit in Mugging Case

Boyd County's infamous duct tape bandit faces a Christmas Eve court date on charges connected to a mugging. According to the Ashland Daily Independent, 32-year-old Kasey Kazee and his alleged accomplice, Jeffrey Driver, will go before a judge Dec. 24. The men are accused of assaulting and robbing an Ashland businessman on Dec. 1, taking personal items including cash, credit cards and a wedding band. Both men have pleaded not guilty. Back in 2007, Kazee robbed a liquor store with his face and head covered by duct tape, with his shirt pulled up over his head.

Kentucky Power Proposes 12% Rate Hike

FRANKFORT, Ky.- Kentucky Power wants to raise customer rates by more than 12 percent. The company says the rate hike proposal being submitted to Kentucky Public Service Commission, is "the next step in a cost-conscious plan to meet increasing EPA demands." They say the adjustment will also pay for expanded tree trimming. If approved, Kentucky Power says residential customers using an average of 1,362 kilowatt hours per month would see their month bill go up by about $22, or about 72 cents per day. The increased-rate request hopes to garner $70 million for Kentucky Power. They plan to use the money from the increase to help fund the purchase half of the Mitchell power plant in Moundsville, W.Va. That purchase is expected to save Kentucky Power customers nearly $500 million instead of going the more expensive route of bringing the Big Sandy Unit 2 up to date with changing EPA standards. Kentucky Power is a subsidiary of American Electric Power.

Ky. Motor Fuels Tax Rate to Drop on New Year's Day

Kentucky's tax on the sales of gasoline, diesel and ethanol fuels will drop by 4.3 cents per gallon on New Year's Day. Transportation officials say the lower tax rate would cost the state Road Fund about $129 million on an annualized basis. State Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says a revenue loss of that magnitude is "crippling," meaning less money for road and bridge projects. The Transportation Cabinet says a $129 million revenue loss amounts to about 6 percent of Kentucky's highway program. The lower tax rate reflects a decline in the calculated average wholesale price of motor fuels. The motor fuels tax is paid by those using highways and bridges. Its components include a variable excise tax and a supplemental user fee of 5 cents per gallon for gas.

KSP Collects 116 Tons of Food during Food Drive

(FRANKFORT, KY.) -Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer announced Thursday that the agency’s ‘Cram the Cruiser’ food drive netted 232,011 pounds (116 tons) of food statewide. Brewer initiated the program in 2010 to assist needy families in the local post and region areas. Since that time, the agency has contributed more than 500,000 pounds of food to shelters, food banks and churches across the Commonwealth. “The Cram the Cruiser food drive was established with the goal of giving back to our local communities who support our units throughout the year,” says Brewer. “Helping those in need is a fundamental part of our mission throughout rural Kentucky.”

Brewer says the campaign has developed into a friendly competition among KSP posts and CVE regions to see which location can collect the most food. The Harlan Post is the reigning champion this year with a total of 43,825 pounds of food collected. “Words can’t express how proud I am of the posts and community members who went above and beyond to make this food drive successful,” adds Brewer. “Cram the Cruiser is a great example of law enforcement partnering with their communities for the betterment of the Commonwealth.”

Police Offers Help to Residents During the Holiday

Paintsville Police Chief Bill Holbrook is asking the public to contact his department if you plan on being away for the upcoming holiday. Chief Holbrook is asking you leave the agency with the following information: Name, address, away dates, person(s) authorized to be at your residence and contact number. This information will be documented, forwarded to patrol supervisors for targeted patrol of a particular residence while away. If you have any questions, please contact the Paintsville Police Dept. M-F 8:00 am - 4;30 pm at (606)789-2603. This service not only includes holidays, but for anytime you plan on being away from home for extended periods.

Local News 12-22-2014

2 Plead Guilty in Prescription Drug Case

FRANKFORT, Ky. (December 19, 2014) – Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Special Prosecutions have announced the guilty pleas of a mother and son on prescription drug charges. 63-year-old Mary Lou Chandler, of Paintsville, Ky., pleade guilty in Johnson Circuit Court to one count of trafficking in a controlled substance, a class D felony. The Commonwealth recommends Mary Lou Chandler receive a two-year prison sentence to be probated for a period of five years. As part of the recommended sentence, Mary Lou Chandler, who practiced as an attorney in Johnson County, also agrees to give up her Kentucky Bar Association membership and no longer practice law in Kentucky.

Additionally, 35-year-old Matthew Chandler, also of Paintsville, pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in a controlled substance of 10 dosage units or more, a class C felony; and two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance less than 10 dosage units, a class D felony. The Commonwealth recommends Matthew Chandler receive a seven-year prison sentence for his involvement in this case. Both Mary Lou Chandler and Matthew Chandler are scheduled to be formally sentenced on Jan. 16, 2015, in Johnson Circuit Court.

On Sept. 18, 2014, Mary Lou Chandler and Matthew Chandler were indicted by a grand jury for selling oxycodone pills to a confidential informant from their Johnson County home. Attorney General Conway’s Office of Special Prosecutions handled the prosecution of this case at the request of Johnson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Melvin.

Three Indicted in a Floyd Co. Shooting Death

Three people, including two who Police are still searching for, have been formally charged, after a Floyd County grand jury issued indictments. According to the Floyd Co. Times, Floyd Sexton Jr., 33, was indicted on a charge of murder, while John Tate Maggard, 28, of McRoberts, and Jennifer Gayle Jernigan, 40, were indicted for complicity to murder. Of the three, Maggard is the only one currently in custody. The charges against the three, are the result of the killing of Bill Russell Collins, 36, of Leburn, whose body was found in a parking lot outside a former pediatric clinic on Route 321, north of Prestonsburg. Police say that Sexton and Maggard wrestled with Collins as they allegedly attempted to detain him in a vacant house. Later, Sexton allegedly shot and killed Collins. Jernigan is accused of driving the getaway vehicle and is wanted for complicity. KSP asked that if anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Sexton Jr. and/or Jernigan, to please contact the KSP in Pikeville at 606-433-7711.

Rowan County Man Charged With Animal Cruelty

A Rowan Co. man has been charged with animal cruelty, after a couple of dogs were found chained up outside a home in Morehead, nearly dead from starvation. Officials with the Rowan County Detention Center say 33 year-old Ricky Gee was taken into custody Saturday morning and charged with cruelty to animals. According to investigators, Gee had two Dobermans chained up outside. By the time animal control showed up to the home, it was too late. They say one of the Dobermans was dead and the other was barely alive. The 2 year-old dog named "Lola" was taken in by an animal rescue group in Rowan County. Lola was only weighing 30 pounds when she was found but she's slowly getting better.

Dental Scam in Pike Co.

According to reports out of Pike Co., authorities are looking for a Pike Co. dentist who is accused of allegedly scamming patients. Kurt Childress is accused of not delivering dentures to patients who have already paid either partial or in full payments. The alleged scam occurred at Quality Dentures in Elkhorn City. Police say according to information they have gathered Childress apparently has left the state. Authorities also say they believe Childress has done this before. Authorities say when located. Childress will face theft by deception charges. If you have been a victim, you are asked to call the Elkhorn City Police at 606-424-1828.

Kentucky Fares Well in New Drug Report

LONDON – A new national report shows Kentucky fares well compared to other states in the number of patients potentially misusing non-prescribed medications or abusing illegal drugs. Kentucky, “which has long been known as an epicenter of the national prescription drug epidemic,” was “noticeably absent” from the top 10 worst performing states in each of three categories studied, according to the report, released December 17 by Ameritox, a leader in medication monitoring solutions. Urine samples were collected from more than 400,000 patients to examine three specific areas of concern: (1) patients who were prescribed drugs but those drugs weren’t found; (2) evidence of drugs for which there was no prescription; and (3) the presence of one or more illicit drugs.

The report showed that Kentucky:

• Ranked 36th for “prescribed drug not found” at 23.7% of samples.
• Ranked 35th for “non-prescribed drug found” at 30.3% of samples.
• Ranked 22nd for “one or more illicit drugs found” at 11.9% of samples. Marijuana (78%), cocaine (16.7%) and heroin (4.6%) were the most common substances detected among the samples testing positive.

Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, said the report indicates state efforts to address this national epidemic are working. There were 980 Kentucky resident drug overdose deaths in 2013, a 5% decrease from 1,032 deaths in 2012, according to the Kentucky Safety and Alignment Network. Drugs and medications – over-the-counter, prescription drugs and illicit drugs – were the underlying cause of death for 94.5% of all poisoning deaths in the state. For more information about Operation UNITE visit their website at www.operationunite.org.

Kentucky Unemployment Rate Drops to 6-year Low

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky officials say the state's unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent in November, the lowest rate in more than six years. The state Office of Employment and Training said Thursday that last month's seasonally adjusted rate was down from a revised 6.2 percent jobless rate in October. Officials say last month's rate was Kentucky's lowest since April 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent. They say the preliminary November rate was 2.1 percentage points below the state's 8.1 percent jobless rate in November 2013. Officials report broad employment gains in Kentucky. The trade, transportation and utility sector added 2,300 jobs in November from a month earlier. Manufacturing jobs in the state held steady from October to November, while employment in the mining and logging sector dropped by 400 in November.

Parental Coaching Program Cheerleaders Seek Stable Funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The clock is ticking on federal funding that helps struggling parents with young children. The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program expires in March, unless Congress takes action. A coalition of 750 organizations and elected leaders has sent a letter asking that the program continue as it has for decades. Karen Howard, vice president of early childhood policy at First Focus Campaign for Children, explains the home visiting idea began about 40 years ago and research has shown voluntary home visits, usually conducted by nurses or social workers, can prevent serious problems and learning deficits. "It is a real effective strategy for, particularly low-income families and women, building up their knowledge base and their self-esteem so that they can be capable parents," Howard says.

There's also a pay-off. Howard points to a RAND Corporation report that found home visiting programs saved up to around $6 for every dollar invested. Mike Hammons, director of Kentucky's Voice for Early Childhood, a statewide advocacy network, says there's "overwhelming evidence" home visitation programs work, from limiting birth complications to reducing domestic violence. "The importance of a healthy environment, the importance of a learning environment, the importance of interacting well with the children and reading to them as they get a little older," Hammons says. "All of those are key pieces of a healthy development that will position a child later for success in school and life.” Kentucky's Voice for Early Childhood is one of seven Kentucky organizations that signed the letter to Congress. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse America and Salvation Army are among the national organizations that signed the letter. Funding has been at about $400 million a year.