Local News 7-3-2014 (Updated)

Fire Destroys Trucking Business in Floyd County

Fire crews from several fire departments in Floyd Co. were on scene Wednesday afternoon and evening, fighting a fire that eventually destroyed a trucking business. Officials say that nearly 70 firefighters from 13 departments responded to the blaze at Worldwide Equipment, located off of Ky. 1428, that’s according to Prestonsburg Fire Chief Bobby Carpenter. "The humidity, the heat, accessibility, and water supply was a major issue in this fire," Carpenter would add. The fire was reported about 4 p.m. Wednesday and officials think the fire may have started on the second floor attic of the building, which became unstable as fire spread through the ceiling. Chief Carpenter said the ceiling started to cave in early during the fire, forcing crews to evacuate and take a defensive stance. He said it was too dangerous for firefighters to stay inside. Prestonsburg city officials say there hasn't been such a large commercial fire such as this, since the mid-80s when a commercial lumber company burned. Fire crews stayed at the scene for several hours Wednesday and into early Thursday and will be back at the scene today, investigating what might have caused such a devastating fire.

New Allegations in Vote Buying Case in a Floyd Co. City

According to the Floyd Co Times, there has been new allegations of vote-buying in the city of Martin in Floyd Co, following a federal indictment. The indictment was handed down last week by a federal grand jury against Ray D. Hagans, charging him with one count each of false testimony and accepting payment for voting. Hagans allegedly lied while under oath, testifying in the vote-buying trial of former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and four others.

Hagans allegedly lied when he made the statement, “Mr. Howell and Mr. Castle did come over to my house one time and offered me money to vote for [then-candidate and current Martin Mayor] Sam [Howell].” Hagans had previously made a written statement to authorities that Howell gave him $40 to vote him in the Martin mayor’s race and told him that he could keep his job with the city. He further alleged that Anthony Castle paid him another $50 to vote and campaign for Howell.

Floyd Co. Times says the indictment says Hagans knew those statements were false, “in that he had not taken money from Sam Howell or Anthony Castle to vote,” but the second count of the indictment alleges that, in weeks leading up to the Martin mayor’s election, Hagans did accept payment to vote, and further states that the payment was made by “S.H. and A.C.” Hagans has been ordered to appear July 21 in U.S. District Court.

Lawrence Co. Man Pleads Not Guilty to Variety of Charges

A Lawrence County, man, who pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and kidnapping, is expected to face the death penalty once prosecutors file notice with the court. Aaron Uhlmann, 41, of Webbville is facing charges of murder and kidnapping of his wife Jennifer Priddy, 54. Uhlmann was arrested by Lawrence Co. deputies in Carter County on December 20, 2013 after investigators in Lawrence County say he called 911 telling them he had beaten his wife.

Jennifer Priddy, 54, died at an area Hospital on March 11. Investigators say she was tied up and beaten by Uhlmann to the point where she suffered head injuries. Uhlmann remains in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, awaiting trial.

Floyd Co. Woman Sentenced to 2 Years for Disability Fraud

U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar has sentenced the first of three Floyd Co. residents, convicted of Social Security disability fraud. Ginger Michelle Halbert Stumbo received the most lenient sentence possible, based on her cooperation with authorities and lack of a criminal record. Stumbo pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to conspiracy, federal program fraud and aggravated identity theft. In return for her guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed six counts of Social Security fraud, as well as a conspiracy charge in an unrelated vote-buying case.

Judge Thapar sentenced Stumbo to a statutory mandated 24 months on the identity theft charge and a total of one day for the conspiracy and fraud charges, after noting her cooperation with authorities. In addition, Thapar also ordered that Stumbo be held jointly and severally liable, along with the other defendents (former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and Rita Whicker), for repaying $176,949.71 in restitution. Robinson and Whicker took their cases to trial and were convicted on all counts.

According to the indictment against the women, Robinson and Whicker conspired with Stumbo to hire her as a city employee, while writing her paychecks in her son’s name, so Stumbo could continue drawing disability benefits.

Ashland Man Arraigned in Shaken Baby Case

The 20-year-old man arrested for what police say is a case of Shaken Baby Syndrome was in court Wednesday morning. Joseph W. Blankenship, of Ashland, has been charged with Criminal Abuse of a child less than 12 years of age. Blankenship was arraigned on the charge during a hearing in Boyd District Court. Blankenship entered a not guilty plea and had his bond was set at $10,000. Ashland Police says Blankenship admitted to shaking his girlfriend's 2-month-old son while babysitting. Police said he told them the baby was crying and wouldn't stop. Investigators said the mother was at work when it happened. The baby remains in critical condition. Blankenship remains in the Boyd County Detention Center.

Road Projects Delayed Because of Federal Shortfall

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state has postponed $185 million worth of construction projects because of a looming shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund. The delayed projects include the widening of Interstate 65 and various highway repaving projects. Beshear blamed Congress for the shortfall and said he hopes they can pass a bill fixing the problem so the projects can begin this fall. Kentucky receives about $650 million each year from the federal Highway Trust Fund. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx appeared at a news conference with Beshear on Wednesday at the Capitol and said unless Congress acts, states can expect cuts of 28 percent on average. Foxx said Congress could make up the shortfall by taxing overseas profits of American corporations. But Republican lawmakers oppose that idea because it would raise taxes.

State Animal Control Board Offering Funding For Animal Shelter Construction or Improvement

The Kentucky Animal Control Advisory Board (ACAB) is seeking applications for grants for animal shelter construction and improvement projects. Applicants will compete for $60,000 in grant funds. Twenty percent of the total project cost must be contributed locally. Contributions may include cash, land, and/or labor. Only county or urban-county governments may apply. An application may be submitted by one county or by multiple counties under one application. The proposed project must be on land owned by the applicant government and must be completed within one year of receipt of grant funds.

Applications and more information may be downloaded from the ACAB website at www.kyspayneuter.com. The deadline for submitting an application is July 15. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. For more information, contact Joyce Parman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

KSP Increasing Patrols During Fourth Of July Holiday

Kentuckians will see increased patrols beginning Wednesday, July 2, as troopers prepare for a busy July fourth holiday travel weekend. As part of the ‘Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass' safe driving campaign, troopers will be maximizing their efforts to save lives by arresting impaired drivers, ticketing speeders and enforcing the seat belt law.*

With this increased enforcement effort, KSP troopers will be conducting saturation patrols and safety checkpoints across the state. You'll see more troopers on the road and enforcement will be stringent. Impaired drivers will be arrested and motorists exceeding posted speed limits or not using seat belts will be ticketed. Citizens can help save lives by reporting impaired, erratic or speeding drivers to the KSP toll-free hotline at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should provide a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.

4th of July Fireworks Displays/Activities

Paintsville – Thursday, July 4:
Free Swimming at Paintsville Pool begging @ 6 PM until Fireworks show @ 10 PM. Fun inflatables, music and food will also be available on Escom Chandler City Park, which is near the city pool.


Local News 7-1-2014

Magoffin Judge Exec. “Doc” Hardin Appeals Recount Judgment

Magoffin County Judge Executive and candidate in the democratic judge executive primary race, Dr. Charles Hardin, has filed a notice of appeal, after Judge Kim Childers filed documents that H.B. Arnett won the May 2014 Democratic Primary for Magoffin Co. Judge Executive over Hardin. According to the Salyersville Independent, Judge Kim Childers filed a document on Thursday, June 19, stating that on Election night and in the recanvass, the election results as reported by the Magoffin County Board of Elections indicated 2,019 votes for Charles "Doc" Hardin and 2,022 votes for Haden "H.B." Arnett.

Within the findings of facts and conclusions , Childers reiterated what happened during the recount, held in court on June 13, stating the results from the voting machines of the various precincts, as well as the absentee voting machine, were all consistent with the original and recanvass totals for the judge executive primary race. Judge Childers says the court cannot direct the Magoffin County Board of Elections to issue a certificate of nomination due to the difference in the absentee vote count between the initial count on election night and the statutory recount conducted by the Court.

On Monday, June 23, attorneys James Deckard and Eldred Adams, representing Hardin, filed a notice of appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals from the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment. Without the recount results certified, currently Arnett is the democrat nominee for judge executive, as certified by the Magoffin County Board of Elections. The election materials are in the custody of Kentucky State Police.        

Floyd County Man Found Guilty of Murder and Criminal Abuse

Floyd Co. jurors reached a verdict last week in the trial of Jason Dickerson, convicting him in the death of Watson Adkins. Prosecutors say Dickerson and his wife Gladys are responsible for the 2011 death of their two-year-old nephew Watson. Jason Dickerson was found guilty of murder and four counts of criminal abuse. Prosecutors maintained throughout the case Dickerson's nephew Watson Adkins died from internal injuries caused by repeated beatings. The jury recommended a life sentence for the murder of Watson Adkins, as well as a total of 40 years for four counts of criminal abuse. Jason Dickerson will be formally sentenced July 31st. Gladys Dickerson will go on trial at a later date.

Investigation Underway into Stolen Farm Equipment in Knott County

According to the KSP, thousands of dollars in farm equipment is missing from a farm in Knott County. Reports indicate thieves stole 3 walk-behind Gravely Model L tractors from Charlie Maggard's garden on Hollybush Road in Knott Co. Police say someone cut the heavy chains that tied the tractors together and took off with them. The owner of the stolen equipment is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the stolen items. KSP asked that if anyone has any information about the theft, contact Kentucky State Police.        

Letcher Co. Deputies make BIG Drug Bust

Police in Letcher Co. say they have made the biggest drug bust in that county, $50,000 worth to be exact. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb said they had received several reports of drug activity at a residence and upon arrival on Sunday at that home, discovered drugs and synthetic drugs. Deputies arrested Russell Peaks and Lawrence Sexton in connection with the bust. Peaks has been charged with being a fugitive from another state, according to an arrest citation and Sexton is facing one count each of possession of controlled substance in the 2nd degree, possession of synthetic drugs, and buying or possessing drug paraphernalia, according to another arrest citation. The Letcher Co. Sheriff’s Dept. is continuing to investigate this case and say more arrest are possible.

Hot Summer Temperatures Put Pets in Peril

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Dogs left in hot cars are an all too common summertime sight. Animal experts say it's extremely dangerous for animals, and could land their owners in hot water. Courtney Thomas, president and CEO of Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said animals left in cars can suffer heatstroke within minutes. Temperatures can soar inside a vehicle, even with the windows cracked. "The side effects of that can ultimately result in the death of the pet," said Thomas. "Other neurological and sometimes permanent situations can arise as well." Signs of heatstroke in animals include panting and seizures. Thomas said it's critical to get an overheated animal to a veterinarian as quickly as possible, and to cool them down on the way. She recommended cold, but not icy, water and compresses. Under Kentucky law, it's illegal to leave a child under the age of eight unattended in a motor vehicle. But there are no such laws pertaining to pets. But, the state driver's manual warns that a pet's life can be threatened by leaving it unattended in a hot car. Thomas agrees. "You may park your car in what you believe to be the shade," said Thomas. "By the time you get out of the store, your dog or cat may be sitting in direct sunlight. You wouldn't leave a child in the car, and pet owners really shouldn't do it with their pets." Thomas added it's important to ensure animals have access to water in the summer, as their body temperatures naturally run high. That makes them particularly susceptible to heat-related issues.

Police Issue Alert on Home Improvement Scams

State Police have issued an alert about home improvement scams. Police say they've been receiving many complaints about these scams, many of them involving unsolicited contractors who show up at your home, claiming it needs repairs. Police say you should never agree to have work done on the spot. They also suggest getting at least two written estimates from different contractors. They say you should never pay with cash and don't make a final payment until the job is finished.

BSCTC Launches Fall Enrollment Blitz

Big Sandy Community and Technical College has launched a Fall Enrollment Blitz for prospective students, featuring the website (www.go4less.bigsandy.org). On the site, students can complete an inquiry form and be entered to win an ipad air. BSCTC offers 27 programs and more than 200 credentials. The college's Go2Transfer program allows for easy transfer of credits to four year universities, while its Go2Work program allows students to earn industry-leading credentials in high-wage, high demand fields in two years or less. BSCTC will hold registration for the fall semester on August 11-12 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm each day on all of its campuses. For more information visit www.bigsandy.kctcs.edu.