Parents Arraigned on Child Abuse Charges in Floyd Co.
A Floyd Co. couple pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to abuse charges. According to reports, the mother and father, Danh Huynh, 36, and Holly Le, 39, were each arraigned on two counts of criminal abuse of a child under 12 during a hearing in Floyd County District Court. The abuse charges stems from an arrest last month, claiming the two intentionally abused their two minor children, ages 7 and 9, by cruel punishment that included striking the children with sticks while they maintained positions that required them to hold heavy objects above their heads for up the to three hours. The warrant also says the punishment sometimes included the children urinating and/or defecating on themselves.
The parents' attorney, Ned Pillersdorf, told WSAZ that the incident may be a misunderstanding due to cultural standards on how parents discipline their children in other cultures. He also believes there are some language barriers in this case. A preliminary hearing for the parents is set for December 10.
Martin County Man Convicted in Death of Wayne County, WV Child
A Martin Co. man has been found guilty of hitting and killing a little girl with his car in Wayne Co. W.Va. Brandon M. Cornette, 29, of Inez, was in court Tuesday for his bench in Wayne County Magistrate Court. He was charged with misdemeanor manslaughter-negligent homicide in connection with the accident that killed 6-year-old Isol Colleen Newsome back in July.
Investigators say Cornette was driving along Rt. 52 in the area of Laura Fork Road near Fort Gay when he struck Newsome. Cornette told Wayne County Sheriff's Deputies that the little girl stepped out into the road and he wasn't able to come to a stop, hitting her, but deputies say there were no tire marks consistent with Cornette trying to stop. Witnesses say Cornette was speeding and told deputies that he ran off the right side of the road before hitting the little girl.
Cornette was found guilty and sentenced to 1 year in jail and a $100 fine by Magistrate Judge John Cavins. Cornett’s legal team plan to appeal the verdict to Wayne County Circuit Court. The sentence will not be imposed until that appeal is heard and Cornette remains free on bond.
Greenup County Man Dies Following Explosion at His Home
Officials in Greenup Co. say a man has died, from injuries sustained in an explosion at his home. Officials report, William "Rick" Bush, 44, of Alcorn Road, was cutting up automobile gas tanks for scrap metal Monday afternoon when the explosion happened. Bush was critically burned in the explosion and passed away early Wednesday morning at Cabell Huntington Hospital from complications with those burns. Greenup Co. Sheriff Keith Cooper said, "Mr. Bush had burns on about 80 percent of his body."
Numbers Show Traffic Deaths Down In Kentucky from Last Year
Heading into the final month of the year, Kentucky's traffic death count was lower than the same time a year ago. Kentucky State Police say 586 people lost their lives on the state's roadways through Dec. 1 of this year, based on preliminary statistics. That's 98 fewer than the total reported for the same period in 2012. State police say that of the 451 motor vehicle fatalities, 225 victims were not wearing seat belts. Of the 72 motorcycle fatalities, 44 victims were not wearing helmets. And all 10 victims in fatal ATV crashes were not wearing helmets. Other fatalities have included pedestrians, bicycle riders and someone in an animal-drawn vehicle. State police say 132 fatalities have resulted from suspected alcohol-related crashes.
KY Attorney General Appeals Plan that Closes Big Sandy Power Plant
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced Wednesday he has appealed the Public Service Commission’s decision that allows Kentucky Power to purchase a 50 percent interest in a West Virginia power plant instead of retrofitting the Big Sandy facility in Louisa, Kentucky. The appeal filed in Franklin Circuit Court seeks to vacate and set aside the Commission’s findings on multiple legal grounds.
On October 7, the Kentucky PSC approved Kentucky Power’s proposal to purchase from Ohio Power, a 50 percent interest in the Mitchell Generating Station located in Moundsville, West Virginia at an estimated cost of $536 million. In its findings, the PSC accepted Kentucky Power’s assertion that the Mitchell Plant acquisition was less costly than retrofitting Kentucky Power’s Big Sandy coal-fired unit with environmental controls. In his appeal, Conway asserts that the findings of the Commission were unreasonable and unlawful because they relied on evidence presented by Kentucky Power and its corporate parent company that could not be independently verified.
In addition, General Conway asserts that the Commission failed to consider the economic feasibility of Kentucky Power’s plan and neglected the public policy interests of Kentucky, as expressed by the General Assembly. General Conway points out that the General Assembly and Kentucky courts have held that the use of Kentucky coal and the continuation of jobs and other economic benefits constitute a legitimate government interest.
Ky Attorney General Demands Copycat Website Be Taken Down
A website similar to Kentucky's health insurance exchange site has been taken down and no longer appears in Google search results after action by Attorney General Jack Conway. The website was similar to Kentucky's official health insurance exchange site, and Conway's office said Tuesday that some consumers trying to find the Kentucky site were landing at the copycat site instead and being given wrong information. The attorney general's Office of Consumer Protection contacted owners of the website on Nov. 26 and demanded the site be taken down. Conway's office said Google was also contacted and asked to remove the site from search results. The release said it is the third health insurance-related website the office has taken action against, resulting in them being taken down, corrected or blocked.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers Welcomes New East Ky Field Rep
U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) welcomes Adam Rice as his new Field Representative for Eastern Kentucky. Rice will serve 15 counties in the Fifth Congressional District including Breathitt, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Rowan, Perry and Pike Counties.
“Adam was born and raised in Paintsville and knows first-hand, many of the issues and concerns of the people of our region,” said Rogers. “Adam's experience as an educator, counselor, and coach will will be beneficial in this new role and I am confident that he will be a great resource for Eastern Kentuckians.”
Rice brings a wealth of experience and education to the Rogers' team. He has a Bachelor's Degree in History from Eastern Kentucky University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Morehead State University. Rice is a former teacher and coach at Paintsville Independent Schools and has spent the past year and a half as a Substance Abuse Counselor.
Rice will be working along-side Shannon Rickett, Congressman Rogers' Field Representative for the western half of the district. Rice lives in Paintsville and will work out of the Prestonsburg and Hazard district offices.
Foul Play Suspected In Death of Big Sandy Prison Inmate
Authorities have concluded that an inmate at the Big Sandy Federal Prison in Martin County died as a result of suspected foul play. According to the United States Department of Justice news release, on December 2, 2013, at approximately 3:15 p.m., an incident occurred between multiple inmates in a housing unit at the United States Penitentiary, Inez, Kentucky.
Staff immediately responded to the area. Inmate Gregory Kittle was transported to a local area hospital for treatment of life threatening injuries. He was subsequently pronounced dead at 4:28 p.m. by the Floyd Co. Coroner. The FBI was notified of the incident and began their investigation, which continues. An autopsy has been ordered for Kittle, who was a 32-year old male serving a 113-month sentence for simple assault, assault with intention to kill, assault on law enforcement officer, threats to injure a person, and possession of a firearm. He was sentenced in the District of Columbia Superior Court, and had been in custody at USP Big Sandy since October of 2012. No staff or other inmates were injured. The institution was placed on lockdown status. All inmates are secured with no threat to the public.
Police Find Drugs on Woman at Big Sandy Regional Detention Center
According to a news release from the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Dept. on the evening of Thursday, November 28th, 2013, Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Byron Fairchild was asked to respond to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in reference to a female subject that the Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office had recently arrested and transported. The subject, Regina Dyer, age 34 of Salyersville was searched by BSRDC Corrections Officers, and was found to have contraband on her person.
Dyer was found to be in possession of 5 1/2 white pills inside of a metal container, 58 white pills inside of a plastic wrapper, a pink container with white residue inside, two (2) small marijuana cigarettes with clip, rolling paper, and a short straw used for “snorting” crushed pills. Dyer was charged with Felony Promotion of Contraband, 1st Degree. This case is currently under investigation by Deputy Fairchild, and will be presented to the Grand Jury for Indictment.
Former candidate for Johnson County Sheriff pleads guilty to drug charges
A Johnson County man has plead guilty to federal drug charges. Reports indicate that John Kline admitted to knowingly and intentionally distributing a quantity of Oxycodone and carrying a weapons. Prosecutors said Kline sold Oxycodone to an undercover informant and carried a gun during the drug deal. Sentencing has been set for Kline March of 2014
Thirteen Die On Kentucky Roadways Last Week (Nov. 25 through Dec. 1)
Preliminary statistics* indicate that 13 people died in 12 separate crashes on Kentucky’s roadways from Monday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. Four fatalities occurred prior to the start of the Thanksgiving holiday reporting period. One single fatality motor vehicle crash occurred in each of the following counties: Boone Calloway, Jefferson and Whitley. The victim in Jefferson County was not wearing a seat belt. The crash in Whitley County involved the suspected use of alcohol.
Seven fatalities were reported as the result of six motor vehicle crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, which started at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1. One double fatality crash occurred in Green County. One single fatality crash occurred in each of the following counties: Graves, Knox, Marshall, Owsley and Warren. The victims in Graves, Owsley and Warren counties were not wearing seat belts. The crashes in Marshall, Owsley and Warren counties involved the suspected use of alcohol.
Also reported during the holiday period was one motorcycle fatality in Daviess County and one pedestrian killed in Jefferson County as the result of a crash involving the suspected use of alcohol. In 2012, 1,064 traffic crashes occurred throughout Kentucky during the Thanksgiving holiday period, claiming seven lives and injuring 202 people.
Through Dec. 1, preliminary statistics* indicate that 586 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2013. This is 98 fewer than reported for this time period in 2012. Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.
State Encourages New Ways of Using Old Tires
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is offering grants to schools and other organizations that want to use rubber mulch from shredded tires as bedding on playgrounds and athletic fields. The goal is to dispose of Kentucky's ever-growing supply of discarded tires. Agency spokeswoman Ricki Gardenhire said the Division of Waste Management in Frankfort will be taking applications through Jan. 31. Since 2005, the state has awarded more than $5.8 million in grants, primarily to schools and local governments. Some 700,000 tires are being ground into crumb rubber and mulch in Kentucky each year.
Two Indicted for a Pike Co. Bank Robbery
According to reports, one of the two men that were indicted in connection with a bank robbery in Virgie, last month is now in jail. The robbery happened at the US Bank branch along Ky. 610 in Pike Co. on November 13. State Police say while one of the men entered the bank and showed a weapon to the bank tellers, the other man waited outside on ATV.
Last Wednesday a Pike County grand jury indicted Claude Isaac.35, of Hi Hat and Anthony Gillespie, 25, of Grethel, Ky. for the robbery. Both men are charged with 1st degree robbery, theft by unlawful taking, and being persistent felon offenders. State Police arrested Isaac late Wednesday night, but Gillespie is still on the run. Both men are scheduled to be arraigned on the bank robbery charge December 13.
Boyd Co. Deputies Discover Nine Meth Labs at a Boyd County Residence
According to the Boyd Co. Sheriff’s Department, deputies conducted another meth bust at home along Martin V Drive in the Cannonsburg community of Boyd Co. "This has been going on here for about seven months," that’s according to Sgt. Rob Donta. "We've had a lot of complaints by the neighbors."
Deputies arrested Jeffrey Hurn after they bought oxycodone pills off of him. He was arrested and charged with trafficking a controlled substance. After a search of the property, deputies say they found nine meth labs in and around the home. Deputies say they had made another bust at this same residence earlier this year.
Hurns is being held in the Greenup County Detention Center. He'll likely also be charged with making meth. His girlfriend, Sima Bentley, has also been arrested and charged with trafficking prescription pills. She's currently in the Boyd County Detention Center. More arrests are possible according to the Boyd Co. Sheriff as they continue their investigation.
Harlan Officials Investigating Discovery of Deceased Man
Officials in Harlan are investigating the discovery of a deceased man’s body that was found Monday afternoon along the river bank behind the Hardee's Restaurant. Initial reports indicate the body could be that of Christopher Buell who was reported missing by family members one week ago when he walked away from Appalachian Region Hospital in Harlan. Family members say Buell suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia. Police will continue to investigate and we’ll bring you further updates when they become available.
Former Mayor Pleads Guilty to Drug Charge
A former mayor of Olive Hill has pleaded guilty to a drug charge. Danny Sparks was arrested on Nov. 28, 2012 after police said he sold marijuana to an undercover officer near Olive Hill Elementary. Following his arrest, Sparks resigned as mayor. Monday, during a hearing in Carter County Circuit Court, Sparks pleaded guilty to drug trafficking within a thousand feet of a school. He now faces up to 24 months in jail. Sparks will be sentenced on January 6.
Kentucky's Flu Status Up To Regional, One Level below Widespread
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that Kentucky's flu status is regional, which is only one step below the widespread level. We're at least a month from the beginning of peak flu season, and cases are already popping up. Kentucky is now one of four states that have regional flu status.
Dr. Dave Blake of Commonwealth Pediatrics is one of several pediatric offices LEX 18 checked in with around Lexington recently to see if the flu has hit hard and fast here. Like many doctor's offices, his practice has been pushing the flu shot so much, the flu vaccine was in high demand. Your best defense, says Blake, is to get a flu shot. If not for yourself, to protect the most vulnerable ones around you, like young babies and those easily susceptible to illnesses. Flu season will last a long time into April," Blake said. Once you get the flu shot, it generally lasts six months to one year.
Coming Home to Appalachia – What Will It Take?
More than 1100 people have registered to attend a day-long conference next Monday about the future of eastern and southern Kentucky. SOAR - which stands for "Shaping Our Appalachian Region" - is a bipartisan effort to find ways to move the region forward. According to Ethan Hamblin, a Berea College student from Perry County, it has to start with the people, invigorating their own morale. "We have such a strong sense of place, and we have such a deep duty to our families and our communities here," he said. "We have to tap into that spirit that we have lost over the last few decades."
Hamblin said he will attend the conference, which includes "youth engagement" as one of its main topics. Governor Steve Beshear has said he wants everyone who cares about Appalachia to "commit time and energy to helping create strategies to revive" the region. Nearly 6,000 coal industry jobs have been lost in the region in the last two years. Hamblin, who plans to return to Appalachia after he graduates from Berea next May, said the decline of the coal industry is a clarion call for diversification. "We have been working within that binary, that binary system of you are either 'pro' or 'anti' coal. It is so silly that we are still having to have that conversation," he declared. "And, yes, this SOAR conference cannot, should not - and I am hoping will not - be that conversation again."
While access to health care is good in Appalachia, Hamblin said health and wellness must improve along with the region's quality of education. Cecily Howell, a first-generation college student from Floyd County now doing graduate work at Morehead State, said knocking down barriers to communication is essential for progress to be made in Appalachia, especially when it comes to helping young people be successful. "I came from an area where people weren't expecting anything out of their kids," Howell recalled. "So, they were like, 'Oh, you're probably going to work at McDonald's or in the mines,' or, 'We're just going to put you somewhere else where we don't have to deal with you.' It's a horrible way, a horrible mentality and attitude. " Howell declared that she will live somewhere in Appalachia after college because, as she puts it, it's part of her "identity." She wants to help at-risk kids there. The conference is December 9 at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. SOAR registration is at kydlgweb.ky.gov.
State Police Launch Holiday Enforcement Drive
Kentucky State Police troopers across the state will be looking at data to see where highway crashes involving injury or death most often occur. Sgt. Michael Webb says a new enforcement campaign known as "Operation Holiday Lights: All Night, Every Night" involves having posts look at when and where crashes are prevalent and schedule heavier patrols in those spots. Police are using traffic safety check points, covert details in high traffic areas and night vision equipment to help with the effort. Webb says data shows nearly 53 percent of drivers killed last year weren't wearing seat belts. He says officers will focus on seat belt usage and proper child seat restraints. The campaign runs through midnight Jan. 1.
Pike County Murder Suspect Indicted
According to the Appalachian News Express, a grand jury in Pike Co. has indicted Ervin Smallwood for the murder of 32-year-old Gregory Martin. Smallwood allegedly killed Martin on Friday, November 22 in the Regina community of Pike County. Court documents indicated that Smallwood beat and then suffocated Martin, causing his death. Smallwood remains in the Pike County Jail.
Convenience Store in Perry County Robbed With Screwdriver
Police in Perry Co. are searching for the individual that used a screwdriver as his weapon of choice in a robbery attempt of a Perry County convenience store. The incident happened early Saturday morning at the Double Kwik Mart, off the Hal Rogers Parkway in the Avawam community of Perry Co. According to State Police, a man entered the business wearing a bandana over his face, showed the screwdriver, took cash, and then left the store. The man is described as a white man, 130 to 150 pounds, and about 5'6'' tall. State Police ask that if anyone has any information on this robbery, to please contact the Kentucky State Police in Hazard or call 1-800-222-5555.
Police Continue Investigation of a Pike Co. Bank Robbery
According to a news release from the KSP, on Wednesday November 27, 2013 at 1:20 P.M. Post 9, Pikeville received a 911 call of an armed robbery at US Bank in the Meta community of Pike County. Information obtained at the scene indicates that an unidentified white male entered the business, brandished a weapon, and demanded money. The unidentified male fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The unidentified male is described as approximately 6'2'' tall, medium build, wearing a black hoodie, black jacket, black material over face, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes. There was no injuries during this incident. Attached is a photograph of two unidentified males that entered the bank prior to this incident. KSP is asking that these two individuals contact KSP Post 9 or anyone with information pertaining to these two individuals contact KSP Post 9, Pikeville at 1-800-222-5555 or (606) 433-7711. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Kevin Newsome.
State Police Investigating Hit and Run Incident in Powell Co.
According to a separate news release from the KSP, on Saturday, November 30, at 4:42 P.M. Kentucky State Police in Morehead was requested to respond the Easy Stop Gas Station on Main Street in Clay City to a report of an injury accident. Trooper Jason Brown, Powell County Sheriff’s Deputies, Stanton Police Department, Clay City Fire Department, Powell County EMS, PHI Air Medical Transport, and Air Methods responded to the scene. Jarrod Fugate, 19 of Frenchburg, Zachary Romans, 25 of Denniston, and Anthony Romans, 24 of Denniston, were reported to be causing a disturbance at the Easy Stop Gas Station in Clay City. When asked to leave by the owner, the three males all got into a 1998 Volvo S70 operated by Jarrod Fugate. Jarrod Fugate accelerated swiftly in reverse striking Tammy Curtis, 55 of Stanton. Jarrod Fugate then changed directions and accelerated striking Kayla Rivera, 23 of Clay City, and Virgel “Ben” Barnett, 84 of Clay City before fleeing the scene. The vehicle was located by the Mt. Sterling Police Department and Jarrod Fugate, Zachary Romans, and Anthony Romans were arrested on local charges. Trooper Jason Brown responded to the Montgomery County Detention Center and charged Jarrod Fugate with three counts of Assault 1st Degree, Wanton Endangerment 1st Degree, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. Tammy Curtis and Kayla Rivera were both flown from the scene to the University of Kentucky Hospital and are currently listed in stable condition. Virgel “Ben” Barnett was treated on scene and released. It does appear that alcohol is a contributing factor in the accident. The accident remains under investigation by Trooper Jason Brown.
Ky. Faces Potential Loss of Federal Road Funds
Kentucky's transportation secretary is warning lawmakers that the state could lose nearly $650 million in federal funding in 2015 unless Congress shifts additional money into the Highway Trust Fund. Mike Hancock told the Joint Transportation Committee earlier this week that all 50 states could experience the same financial wallop if the Highway Trust Fund isn't replenished. That fund, which receives federal gas tax revenue and redistributes it to states for road construction and maintenance, is forecast to run out of money in the 2015 fiscal year. Hancock says he's hopeful general government money will be transferred to the Highway Trust Fund. Congress has routinely made such transfers beginning in 2008, when the fund ran short of cash.
New Online Lung Cancer Screening Tool Can Save Lives
LEAD: November has been Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and lung cancer is the number-one cancer killer in America. Greg Stotelmyer reports.
This has been Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in America. The American Lung Association has launched a new online screening tool to help people determine if they should get a low dose screening for the disease. Dr. Elizabeth Gore is a radiation oncologist, who says low dose screening can save lives. "They're quick, simple, sensitive scans to pick up lung nodules or early cancer in patients who are at high risk for lung cancer," she explains. "So, you're getting a relatively low dose of radiation, different than you would from a diagnostic scan, but it serves the purpose of screening for nodules." The online screening is at LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org. The online assessment tool takes visitors through a series of questions that help determine if they meet guidelines for the low-dose screening. Anyone can take the assessment, but Gore says certain people should make it a point to do it. "People who are at high risk for lung cancer, including people who have at least a 30 pack per year history of smoking - they're older than 50," she points out. Medical experts believe by screening at-risk individuals, as many as 3,000 to 4,000 deaths could be prevented each year. Gore says the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chance of saving a person's life. She's convinced the new online tool will literally be a lifesaver. "I think it's very valuable," she adds. "It gets people online, it gets them to assess the risk of lung cancer and determine whether they should have a CT scan or see their physician. "Also for people who are smokers, it's a terrific starting point to access some of the other tools to help them quit smoking and generally improve their overall health." The American Lung Association also has a toll-free Lung HelpLine to answer questions about lung health or CT screenings, at 800-LUNG-USA (800-586-4872).