LOCAL NEWS

Local News10-21-2014


           

Former Johnson County Teacher Indicted.

According to a news release from the JCSO, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office received a complaint from a concerned party in reference to a teacher who had pursued an inappropriate relationship with a student at Johnson Central High School. The teacher in question, Robert L. Cantrell, age 25 of Prestonsburg, KY was immediately suspended, and later dismissed from employment by the Johnson County School Board after concluding an internal investigation by school administrators.

A criminal investigation was conducted by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office with the assistance of the Kentucky Attorney General's Electronic Crimes Unit. The investigation resulted in charges being filed on Cantrell for: Use of a Minor in a Sexual Performance (two counts), and Unlawful Transaction with a Minor, 1st degree. An indictment warrant has been issued for Cantrell’s arrest. Cantrell is also facing possible criminal charges in Floyd County relating to this investigation.

The criminal investigation revealed that Johnson County Schools had absolutely no indication of any questionable actions by Cantrell prior to the investigation. Deputy Tim Clark stated he has full confidence in the Johnson County School system. If they (the school officials) ever find anything questionable or illegal, he has no doubt they will follow protocol and report to the proper authorities immediately. This case is currently under investigation by Deputy Tim Clark and Chief Deputy Kevin Pelphrey of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

Monday Accident Forces One Lane of US 23 to Close in Lawrence Co.

According to Lawrence Co. emergency officials, one northbound lane of US 23 near Louisa was closed Monday for a time, following an accident involving a log truck that flipped over. Police say the accident happened just before 12 noon on Monday and the log truck was the only vehicle involved in the crash. No one was hurt in the accident and no further information has been provided.

Two Boyd Co. Teens Injured in ATV Accident

According to the Boyd County Sheriff's Dept. emergency personnel responded to an ATV accident on the 2500 block of Hearthstone Lane in Summit on Sunday afternoon. Deputies say two 14-year-old girls were riding the ATV when it appeared the driver of the ATV lost control of the vehicle as its tires dropped off the road and when the driver over-corrected, it caused the ATV to flip on the road. Neither of the girls were said to be wearing helmets and officials say both suffered head injuries. Both young ladies were flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital for medical treatment. There has been no information released on their conditions at this time.

Report: Education Funding in Kentucky Not Keeping Up

Since the recession, Kentucky is 11th worst in the nation in the depth of budget cuts to K-through-12 funding, according to a nonpartisan policy research organization. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 30 states are providing less funding per student since the economic crisis hit. Ashley Spalding, a research and policy associate for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said that has serious consequences beyond the classroom. "Investments in education are investments in the economy," she said. "Budget cuts threaten our ability to grow our economy." The report compared core funding for local schools, state by state, and found that when inflation is factored in, Kentucky has cut its per-student investment by 11.4 percent from 2008 to the present. That's $561 per student.

The Kentucky Legislature did increase core funding, known as SEEK, in this year's state budget by $37 per student. While that increase is "certainly an improvement," Spalding said, years of flat funding have been especially hard on the state's poorer school systems. "With funding cuts at the state level, compounded by cuts at the federal level," she said, "you see inequality grow because of the wealth disparities in the local school districts." Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, said public-school employees, especially those in far eastern Kentucky counties, still are grappling with the impact of the recession. "It's hard for those school systems, with such low socio-economic status, to keep up with what they need for 21st-century learning," she said. Winkler said a lack of broadband infrastructure is a prime example. The report is online at cbpp.org.

TECO Coal Sold to Booth Energy

It was announced on Monday that TECO Energy reached an agreement to sell its coal mining subsidiary, TECO Coal, to Cambrian Coal Corporation of the Booth Energy Group. TECO Energy Chief Executive Officer John Ramil said, “This transaction will result in a complete exit from the coal mining business. TECO Coal has been an important component of TECO Energy’s business mix since the mid-1970s, contributing strong earnings and cash flow for many years. We appreciate the dedicated team members at TECO Coal and the contributions they have made to TECO Energy’s success.” The sale was for a total of $170 Million, including a $50 million benchmark if coal sales reach a certain benchmark.

Another Year, Another Small Social Security Bump

For the third straight year, millions of older Americans who rely on government benefits can expect historically small pay increases come January. Preliminary figures suggest the annual cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees will be less than 2 percent. That translates to a raise of about $20 a month for the typical Social Security beneficiary. The government is scheduled to announce the increase Wednesday, when it releases the latest measure of consumer prices. By law, the increase is based on inflation, which is well below historical averages so far this year. More than 70 million people receive benefits affected by the annual increase. The average monthly Social Security payment is a little less than $1,200 a month.

Johnson Co. Taxes to be Delayed

According to a news release from the Johnson Co. Sheriff Dwayne Price, due to the fact that the Johnson County School System has voted to raise their tax collection percentage rate, and the subsequent petition of protest that was filed against the attempted raise; the 2014 Johnson County Property Tax Bills will not be issued until at least November 15th, 2014, and very possibly later than that. We do not have a definite release date as of yet.  We will make an announcement as soon as we have a release date. We at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office apologize for any inconvenience.

Local News 10-20-2014


Officials Searching for Suspects Wanted in a Martin Co. Robbery

The Martin County Sheriff's Dept. are searching for those responsible who beat a man and robbed a pawn shop in Inez. According to Sheriff Garmon Preece, he says a man was hit and kicked repeatedly, before he was robbed by his cousins. It appears that the man playing on a poker machine Thursday at the business, when the other men came into the business and hit him, then took his money. Investigators said the men got into a 1968 blue Chevrolet truck and sped off with about $700. Sheriff Preece says the men now have warrants out for their arrest. Officials ask that if anyone spots the blue truck, or knows the men involved, please call the Martin Co. Sheriff’s Office.

KSP Investigating a Murder in Morgan Co.

According to a news release from the KSP in Morehad, on Friday, October 17, 2014 Kentucky State Police Morehead made two arrests in connection with the Murder of Randy Williams. Christopher S. Peyton, 20 of West Liberty was arrested and charged with murder. Kimberly D. Peyton, 55 of West Liberty was arrested and charged with Complicity to Commit Murder. Both were arrested without incident and lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Paintsville, Kentucky. Police say on October 16, 2014 at 2:27pm Kentucky State Police received a call from an anonymous caller in regards to a deceased male subject on Dyer Branch in West Liberty, Kentucky. With further investigation Trooper Charlie Bolin located Randy Williams, 33 of 684 Dyer Branch, West Liberty, Kentucky, murdered at his residence from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. Troopers and Detectives from Post 8 Morehead, Morgan County Sheriff Deputies, and Morgan County Coroner responded to the scene. The murder remains under investigation by Detective Donnie McGraw.    

Thieves Steal Jewelry in a Hazard Home Invasion

Two Perry Co. men were arrested Saturday for their connection in a Hazard home invasion. Police say 34-year-old Eddie Boyd and 36-year-old Billy Caress broke into a home in the Woodland Park community Saturday morning and made off with more than $10,000 worth of jewelry. The owner of the home says what the thieves didn't count on was anyone being home at the time. Perry County coroner Jimmy Maggard says he was working, when his wife called him multiple times from home saying someone was in the house.

Hazard Police say Eddie Boyd and Billy Caress forced their way into the home though the screened back porch and took thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry, before exiting the home after they realized someone was home. Fortunately no one was hurt in this robbery. Eddie Boyd and Billy Caress have been charged with receiving stolen property over $10,000, as well as several drug charges. Police say the two may end up facing other charges as well.

           

Former Boyd Co. Jail Employee Charged with Sodomy

A former Boyd County Detention Center jailer has been arrested, charged with sodomy. According to the KSP in Ashland, they say James F. Robertson engaged in sexual misconduct with the two inmates while employed as a deputy jailer. Robertson turned himself in late last week. He was terminated from his job Wednesday. Robertson has been charged with two counts of sodomy.

Kentucky Unemployment Rate Dropped Last Month

Kentucky’s Office of Employment and Training (OET) says the latest unemployment numbers shows the biggest drop since 1976. Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in more than six years in September 2014 at 6.7 percent from a revised 7.1 percent in August 2014. It marks the single-biggest one-month drop in unemployment rates since 1976, when the current methodology for measuring the rate was adopted. “A steep drop in unemployment combined with gains in hiring and consumer spending are clear indicators of a growing economy,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “All signs point to a robust recovery from the financial crisis in 2008.”

Appeals Court Rules in Kentucky Electioneering Ban

A federal appeals court has issued a ruling that will allow Kentucky to enforce its buffer zone prohibiting campaign activity on public property near polling places but not on private property. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday on a ruling by U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman, who said the state law violates First Amendment speech rights. He issued a permanent injunction Tuesday blocking the law's enforcement. But a three-judge appeals panel lifted the part of the injunction that applies to public property or polling locations, allowing the state to enforce the electioneering ban on such property within 300 feet of the polls. The case was brought in June by John Russell, a Campbell County businessman who had campaign signs pulled from the yard of his business.

Watch Out For Deer on the Road This Fall

The last three months of the year are when the most collisions involving deer on the road are reported, according to Kentucky State Police. Road officials warn drivers across the Bluegrass to be careful this time of the year, especially during dusk and dawn, when whitetail deer are more active searching for mates. Officials say about half of all crashes involving deer happen between October and December, with the most occurrences in November from 5 to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight.

Officials encourage drivers to slow down if you see a deer on the road, but only swerve if you are sure it can be done safely. Otherwise, swerving abruptly can scare the animal. Officials say 2,985 vehicle-deer collisions were reported in 2013. Some of the highest collision rates are found Boone County with an average of 154 vehicle-deer collisions per year, followed by Hopkins with 116, Campbell 103, Jefferson with100 and Hardin with 95. Biologists estimate Kentucky has about 1 million deer and attribute the increased movement in fall to breeding activity, not hunting pressure. More information about vehicle collisions with deer, including statistics and driving tips, is available online at www.kentuckystatepolice.org/deerauto.htm.

Local News 10-16-2014


Weekend Crash Leads to Charges against a Johnson Co. Man

According to a news release from the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office, on Sunday morning, October 12th, 2014 at approximately 4:46 AM, Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Byron Fairchild was dispatched to a call of a single vehicle collision on KY Rte. 321, at the bottom of Star Fire Hill, just outside of Paintsville. Upon the Deputy’s arrival, he discovered a Gray 1998 Ford Explorer lying on its side in the north-bound lane of Rte. 321. It appeared the driver of the vehicle was heading north when he lost control of the vehicle and struck the ditch line which caused the vehicle to flip.

The female passenger, Rebecca Davis, age 22 of Prestonsburg, KY was trapped inside the Explorer, and had to be extricated by Paintsville EMS at the scene. Deputy Fairchild observed a male subject standing beside the vehicle with obvious injuries to his head. He was identified as Lyle Jason Preston, age 32 of Tutor Key. Upon further investigation it was determined that Preston was the driver of the Ford Explorer. Preston smelled strongly of an alcoholic beverage, and it was also determined that he was under the influence after he failed a field sobriety test.

Due to injuries sustained in the collision, both Preston and Davis were transported to Paul B. Hall Medical Center for treatment. Due to the fact Preston was admitted for CT scans, he could not be lodged in jail, but was cited. Preston was charged with Driving Under the Influence 1st Offense (Aggravated Circumstances). This incident is currently under investigation by Deputy Byron Fairchild.

Affidavit of School Tax Recall Petition Filed in Johnson County

According to Sally Conley Holbrook, Johnson Co. Clerk, a petition committee affidavit has been filed in her office that will allow a petition to be circulated around Johnson Co. to try and recall a portion of the proposed property tax increase by the Johnson County School Board. Committee members that filed the petition Wednesday are Todd Meade, Janice C. Hammond, Loretta Belhasen, Todd Conley and Lynn Turner. The committee had to be made up of 5 people, who would then file an affidavit of tax recall at the clerk’s office (KRS132.017).

County School Board members voted on September 22, 2014 to increase the school property tax rate 4 cents, as well as adding a 5 cents recallable nickel, making the total increase 44.6 cents of $100 assessed value. Now a push to get over 900 REQUIRED signatures is underway. The petition with the signatures has to be filed in the Clerk's office by November 7th, 2014 to be valid. The Clerk's office will then verify the signatures to see if they meet all the requirements and if everything meets the criteria, a special election will be held to vote on the School Property Tax Rate. WSIP will continue to monitor this story and will bring you further updates as they become available. A copy of the affidavit has been posted on the WSIP facebook page.

New York Man Wanted in that State, Arrested in Magoffin County

According to reports from WYMT, a New York man was arrested early Wednesday morning in Magoffin County on several traffic violations. That’s not the main storyline, turns out the man is wanted in New York. Police received a call about a car swerving all over New Paintsville Road (Rt 460) in Salyersville. As they arrived on scene they located the car and pulled it over. The driver of the car, Mathew McIntosh reportedly told police his name was Jeremiah. Police say he smelled of alcohol. During the investigation, police figured out he gave them the wrong name and he was actually wanted in New York. McIntosh now faces several charges including giving an officer a false name and disorderly conduct. Plans to extradite McIntosh back to New York is currently underway.

Wet/Dry Vote Set For December in Louisa

A petition for a wet/dry vote in Louisa was approved Monday by the Lawrence County Clerk's office. A petition was filed last year with the same request but was denied, because Kentucky laws wouldn't allow class 5 cities like Louisa to hold a wet/dry election. Community members took their concerns to lawmakers during this past legislative session. They passed a bill that would allow Louisa and other class 5 cities to temporarily become class 4 cities so that an election can be held. According to news reports, Gene Williams a Louisa attorney, partnered with other community members and went door-to-door for signatures on the petition. Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe said the petition needed 204 signatures to be filed. It had more than 400, but Jobe said only 205 were certified as eligible Louisa citizens, giving them just enough to hold the election. The election will be held on December 16th.

Kentucky Given Grant to Watch Assistance Program

Kentucky is receiving federal grant funds to help prevent misuse of a program to provide nutrition assistance. Seven states are sharing $5 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants, with Kentucky receiving more than $1.1 million. The funds are to be used to help prevent trafficking in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps, for cash or other goods or services.The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services' Department for Community Based Services and the Office of the Inspector General will administer the grant. The cabinet says about 390,000 households in Kentucky receive the benefits, known as SNAP, each month. To report trafficking or fraud in Kentucky, contact the OIG hotline at (800) 372-2970.

Pre-Registration for Heating Assistance Begins

The Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is preparing to serve more people this year by offering preregistration for some LIHEAP applicants. The applications process for those who qualify for pre-registration will be the same as normal applicants. Pre-registration began on Wednesday, October 15th. The agency helped heat about 15,000 households last year in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, and Magoffin counties and officials expect an increase this year. Pre-registration will run through October 31st. The statewide LIHEAP subsidy program begins November 3rd. Applicants must apply in their county of residence. Applications will be taken at the following BSACAP service offices from 8 a.m. to 4:30pm.

Floyd County

60 Court Street
Allen, Ky
606-874-3595.

Johnson County

230 Court Street
Paintsville, Ky.
606-789-6515

Magoffin County

131 S. Church Street
Salyersville, Ky.
606-349-2217

Martin County

387 E. Main Street
Inez, Ky.
606-298-3217

Pike County

478 Town Mountain Road
Pikeville, Ky.
606-432-2775

Local News 10-15-2014


Fort Gay, W.Va Woman Arrested in Lawrence Co. on Several Charges

A Fort Gay, W.Va woman was arrested over the weekend by the Lawrence Co. Sheriff’s Dept. on several charges, including bail jumping. According to Chief Deputy Mark Wheeler, Tara Lycans age 30, was arrested Saturday at around 4:49 PM on the following charges. She was arrested on 2 indictments, (1) for Possession of Controlled Substance 1st Degree, Meth and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and (2) Bail Jumping. Chief Deputy Wheeler also served Lycans with 2 bench warrants. (1) for failure to appear on Shoplifting charges and (2) drug charges. Lycans was taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center and as of news time, she remains lodged. No other details have been made available.

Carter County Sheriff’s Dept. Make Two Meth Lab Busts in Three Days

The Carter County Sheriff's Department has made two meth lab busts in three days leading to four arrests in that county. The first bust occurred on Saturday as deputies busted a meth lab in the Olive hill area of Carter Co. Those arrested were William Adkins faces several charges including possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) first degree, and possessing drug paraphernalia. Cody Slone faces drug charges relating to manufacturing methamphetamine first degree, possessing drug paraphernalia, and not having prescription drugs in the proper container. A third person, Traci Moore was also wanted on a theft warrant. The 2nd bust happened on Monday, deputies say they arrested Brian Elliott in the Grayson community. He now faces drug charges for manufacturing methamphetamine first degree. All four people are now in custody at the Carter County Detention Center.                      

Floyd Co. Sheriff Warns Citizens about Telephone Scam

Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt says his department has been receiving calls and reports of financial scams conducted via telephone and warns the public to be weary of such calls. According to Sheriff Hunt, the caller will call the victim and will ask for them by name, then identifies themselves as an employee of the local or state court system. The caller will then identify an outstanding fine or debt for a specific amount of dollars that is to be paid to the court. The victim is then told if the amount is not paid immediately, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Sheriff Hunt says you should not give the caller any information and immediately hang up and call the police.

Magoffin County Officials on Board for New Veteran's Facility

According to recent reports, Magoffin Co. officials are showing their support for a new veteran’s facility in Eastern Ky., a matter a fact County Judge “Doc” Hardin says as construction begins on the Mountain Parkway expansion project, folks would have easier access to a facility in Salyersville. It’s been no secret for years that there has been a push in eastern Kentucky to bring a veteran's facility to the area. As it stands, currently vets have three Veterans Affairs hospitals in the region. One is in Lexington, another is in Huntington, West Virginia and a third in Johnson City, Tennessee. Most people see that as considerable distances to travel for our veterans here in Eastern Kentucky.

Magoffin Officials think they have a perfect location to house a center that would serve eastern Kentucky veterans with their health care needs and "Doc" Hardin approved a resolution at a recent Fiscal Court meeting, vowing support for the project. It’s estimated such a facility would bring more than 100 jobs to the region. "It is a great location. We are halfway between both of the two current veterans hospitals, one in Huntington and one in Lexington. Quite frankly, it is the right thing to do," said Hardin.

Report: A Third of KY Kids Face Risk of Chemical Catastrophe

It's supposed to be a safe place to learn, but a new report finds that two out of every five Kentucky children attend schools inside what chemical companies call a "vulnerability zone." Sean Moulton, director of Open Government Policy program with the Center for Effective Government, says the level of risk associated with a particular chemical facility has to do with the quantity of chemicals being handled, how dangerous they are, and the proximity of the facility to population centers. "They estimate how far a major accident could reach outside of their facility," says Moulton. "Then, that becomes the radius of a circular zone around the facility, and everyone inside that zone is potentially at risk."

According to the report, nearly 295,000 children are in danger zones in Kentucky for chemical leaks, gas clouds, or explosions. Kentucky is one of four states that have the most high-risk counties, along with Texas, Louisiana and Virginia. The report recommends greater oversight of these facilities, including a requirement they switch to safer alternatives whenever feasible. Moulton's group conducted a similar study earlier this year, drawing a one-mile buffer around each facility, that found low-income kids were most at risk. However, he says the new methodology paints a broader picture. "Many of these vulnerability zones are much larger than a mile," Moulton says. "Some of them are 20, 25 miles large. These zones are so big they really do cover all types of communities."

The five Kentucky counties where students are most at risk, according to the report, are Boyd, Greenup, Henderson, Marshall and McCracken with 100 percent of children there in "vulnerability zones." Moulton encourages parents and community members to be aware of any nearby facilities, and to make sure schools have emergency plans in place in the event of a disaster. "We have to insist they use the safest feasible technologies and chemicals, that they store the smallest amounts of chemicals as possible, especially when they're in these high-population areas," Moulton says. "Then, they can go directly to the facility and ask them why they're not being safer." The full report, "Kids in Danger Zones," with an interactive map of high-risk chemical facilities, is on the Center for Effective Government website.

Virtual Learning Allowed in some Kentucky School Districts.

When the snow flies this winter, students in 13 Kentucky school districts will be able to continue learning even when they aren’t at school. The Kentucky Department of Education has approved waivers that will allow the 13 school districts use of virtual or other non-traditional means of instruction when school is canceled because of bad weather or other emergencies. In most cases, students will participate in the snow day lessons online. Under the provisions of the waiver, a district may count up to 10 non-traditional instruction days as regular attendance days in its school calendar and not have to make them up. The 13 school districts that received non-traditional instruction waivers for the 2014-2015 school year had to submit applications that described their plans for learning while school was not in session.

The applications were scored on a rubric that evaluated teaching methods, equal access to the lessons for students without Internet access, staff deployment, community engagement and assessment of student learning. The school districts available for this virtual learning are: Boyle, Grant, Jessamine, Johnson, Lawrence, Leslie, Owsley, Pike, Taylor, Todd, Washington and Wolfe counties and Corbin Independent. According to Johnson Co. School Superintendent Tom Salyer, he says “this is an opportunity for our school system to offer students the opportunity not to get to far behind on their studies when bad weather forces us to cancel classes”. He went on to say that “students who don't have Internet at home would be given hard copies of the work to be completed.” Johnson Co. missed 23 days of critical instruction during the 2013/2014 school year due to “bad” weather. Mr. Salyer said that a letter will be going out to all parents in the school district in the coming weeks that will explain this things in further detail.

Local News 10-14-2014

 

Minutes from the Johnson County Fiscal Court Meeting 10-13-14

The Johnson Co. Fiscal Ct. met in regular session Monday, October 12 @ 4:30 pm in the meeting room of the Johnson Co. Courthouse in downtown Paintsville. The meeting began in normal fashion with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, the approval of the minutes from the previous regular meeting on September 8, 2014 and a special called meeting of September 23, 2014 and the approval to pay the monthly bills as presented.

First actual agenda item was to open bids on Drilled Steel and Cribbing to be used around the county to help secure hillsides or banks that had mudslides or were damaged from all the recent flooding. The court received two bids: 1) Hinkle Environmental Services with a bid of $20.50 per linear foot on the steel and $7.50 per squared foot on the cribbing. 2) NATTCO with a bid of $22.00 for the steel and $7.50 for the cribbing. The court decided to tentatively approve the lowest bid (#1) pending the approval from the county road foreman. Both bids were lower than any previous times the county has had to bid for steel and cribbing.

Next the court opened bids for a Mobile Morque Trailer. The money for the trailer comes from a Homeland Security Grant in the amount of $40,000. The Mobile Morgue Trailer would be used in the case of a catastrophic event and is a joint effort with Johnson Co., Martin Co. and Magoffin Co. Paul B. Hall Medical Center has agreed to store this trailer until it would ever have to be used in an emergency. The court received two bids 1) Worldwide Disaster Response Group with a bid of $38,717.71 and the 2) Hazmat Medical in the amount of $39,009. Regina McClure and Emergency Mgmt Director Gary McClure will get with the other counties to review each bid to see if they meet all the specifications wanted and if so a Special meeting will be called to approve the bid. The court has until the end of this month to approve a company and purchase the trailer.

Next, Judge Daniel read a letter from county road foreman Sam Auxier about a road adoption/extention in the county. The road is located at Homeland Estates Lane (CR 1416) located off SR 581 @ Tutor Key and will extended a distance of 335 ft. The new distance in maintenance will be 0.398 miles or 2,097 feet. The developer of the property will pay for the blacktopping. The court approved this extension. Next the court heard from Eric Ratliff with Paintsville Utilities as he gave an update on the current water lines extension project in the county and said that they have completed 10/11 projects and near completion of the final extension. He also told the court about a possible grant for a sewer project in the Van Lear area at the old landfill which has been closed. The state has a new program that allows for counties to build such systems.

Next Judge Daniel gave an update on blacktopping projects in the county and said they are almost finished and already paid for with Flex money, grant money and county money. Next the court heard from Gary McClure on the approval to renew with the state the affiliation agreement with W.R. Castle Fire and Rescue, Rockhouse Fire and Rescue and the Johnson County Rescue Squad. This is an annual agreement. Gary McClure also told the court that the county has been awarded $16,600 from Homeland Security for extrication equipment. They are just awaiting on the final contract to sign for the money. Finally the court approved Trick-or-Treat times in the county. It will be on Thursday, October 30th 6 – 8 PM.

During final comments, (1) Judge Daniel asked the court to re-appoint Frank Heberlin to the Johnson Co. Library Board, which was approved. (2) He also told the court they are awaiting final confirmation from an area bank on the property to purchase for the new animal shelter for Johnson Co. and (3) Judge Daniel told the court and those present that he wanted to “clear the air” about recent claims against the fiscal court from current Sheriff Dwayne Price about the court “cutting” the Sheriff’s budget. Judge Daniel sternly said that the court never cut the sheriff's budget and said state law would not allow for them to cut the sheriff's budget. According to Judge Daniel,, he stated that the county has given the sheriff’s dept. over $1 million during the sheriff's 4 years in office. Judge Daniel said he didn't think that sounded like "cutting the budget". He went on to say that he approached Sheriff Price about these latest claims and Judge Daniel said he offered the sheriff the chance to discuss the last few years of the sheriff's and county budget in any kind of public forum of his choosing, he would be willing to do so to again "clear the air".  With nothing further to discuss, the meeting adjourned.

Sheldon Clark H.S. Locked Down for 2nd Time after Bullet Found in Bathroom

Sheldon Clark H.S. in Martin County was put on lockdown around 9 am Monday morning after a bullet was found in a boy’s bathroom. This marks the second time an incident like this has happened at the school in the past month. On Sept. 19, the school was put on lockdown after a bullet was found in a boy's bathroom. According to reports, a 9mm cartridge was intentionally placed to initiate a lockdown. Kentucky State Police were called to the school and discovered it was not a live round, but part of a decorative keychain. School officials say the student involved has been identified. It's not clear what disciplinary action was taken in that incident. Police were at the school Monday and are continuing to investigate this incident. The lockdown was lifted about 9:51 a.m.

Former Martin Mayor’s Sentencing Delayed Again

The sentencing of former Martin (Floyd Co) Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson, her husband and her daughter has once again been delayed, this time because of a scheduling problem. Robinson and James “Red” Robinson were originally scheduled to appear last week in U.S. District Court to be sentenced for their part in a vote-buying case related to the former mayor’s unsuccessful 2012 re-election bid. Former Mayor Robinson and her daughter, former Martin Community Center director Rita Whicker, were also due to be scheduled in a separate disability fraud case. Sentencing had to be moved because U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, who presided over both cases, was scheduled to be in another trial elsewhere last week. The new sentencing date has now been set for Wednesday, Nov. 5.

The Robinsons were each found guilty of one count of civil rights conspiracy and one count of vote-buying. They were originally among six people charged in the vote-buying case, when the indictment was handed down in December. “Red” Robinson’s son, James Steven Robinson, was also found guilty of conspiracy and two counts of vote-buying. He was sentenced last month to 31 months in prison. He has announced his intention to appeal that conviction. Charges against another defendant, Ginger Michelle Halbert Stumbo, were dropped as part of a plea deal in the disability fraud case, while another defendant, Johnny T. Moore, was found not guilty at trial. Former city employee Henry Mullins, who pleaded guilty to one count of vote-buying shortly before the trial in an agreement worked out with prosecutors, was sentenced to probation.

In the disability fraud case, Robinson and Whicker were each found guilty of conspiracy, five counts of federal program fraud, theft of Social Security disability benefits and aggravated identity theft for their part in a plot to hire Stumbo to work for the city of Martin, but to issue her a paycheck in her son’s name, so that Stumbo could continue drawing disability benefits. Stumbo worked for the city for five years, purportedly as a volunteer, before the scheme was discovered. Charges against a fourth defendant in the disability fraud case, Martin bookkeeper Ethel Lee Clouse, were dropped at trial, after no testimony implicated her in the conspiracy.

No More Green Slips for Kentucky Lawmakers

Officials in Frankfort are working on a modernized system of getting messages to lawmakers during the General Assembly. In the past, legislative staffers would take "green slips," containing phone messages from constituents to lawmakers during the legislative session. Marcia Seiler, interim director of the Legislative Research Commission, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she hopes a new system will be in place by the Jan. 6 start of the 2015 legislative session. She says the system will relay messages electronically, and lawmakers will be able to retrieve their messages and handle them like email. She says there won't be any more green slips unless lawmakers ask for messages to be printed.

Pre-Registration for Heating Assistance begins this week

The Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is preparing to serve more people this year by offering preregistration for some LIHEAP applicants. The applications process for those who qualify for pre-registration will be the same as normal applicants. Pre-registration is set to begin October 15th. The agency helped heat about 15,000 households last year in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, and Magoffin counties and officials expect an increase this year. Pre-registration will run through October 31st. The statewide LIHEAP subsidy program begins November 3rd. Applicants must apply in their county of residence. Applications will be taken at the following BSACAP service offices from 8 a.m. to 4:30pm.

Floyd County

60 Court Street
Allen, Ky
606-874-3595.

Johnson County

230 Court Street
Paintsville, Ky.
606-789-6515

Magoffin County

131 S. Church Street
Salyersville, Ky.
606-349-2217

Martin County

387 E. Main Street
Inez, Ky.
606-298-3217

Pike County

478 Town Mountain Road
Pikeville, Ky.
606-432-2775

Trick or Treat Dates Set

The dates and times for Trick-Or-Treat for Johnson County/Paintsville has been announced;

Johnson County/Paintsville              10/30/2014 @ 6pm-8pm