Local News 12-17-2014

2 Arrested on Meth Charges

According to a news release from the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office, on the evening of Monday, December 15, 2014 at approximately 7:30 pm, Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Clark and Constable District 2 Bob Hyden located a parked vehicle at the Thealka Park while on patrol. Upon investigation, Clark found two male subjects inside a white Volkswagen passenger car. Clark observed drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle and upon further investigation Clark found a back pack which contained methamphetamine precursors and two active shake and bake meth labs on the dashboard of the vehicle. The driver, Timothy M. Baldwin and the passenger, Michael C. Peters, both of Paintsville were arrested for manufacturing methamphetamine 1st offense and Drug Paraphernalia Buy/Possess. Baldwin was employed by the Johnson Co. School System.

Both Baldwin and Peters were transported to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center for decontamination and medical clearance, and then lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center. The Kentucky State Police DESI unit was contacted to disassemble the active labs. Assisting at the scene was Deputy Byron Fairchild. The incident is under investigation by Deputy Tim Clark. If you have knowledge of any illegal activity, please contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 789-3411. As always, we need your information, not your name.

Paintsville Police Dept. Investigating Monday Accident Involving Scooter   

According to a report from the Paintsville Police Dept, officers are investigating a late Monday evening accident on Rt 321, at the bottom of Walmart hill. According to investigating Officer Jon Holbrook, he says a scooter was traveling along Rt 321 NB and ran the red light around 10 PM. At the same time a vehicle was traveling SB on Rt 321 and was attempting to turn right to go up to Walmart. As the scooter went through the red light, contact was made with the other vehicle. Upon investigation officer Holbrook said he, along with other officers, found a backpack belonging to the operator of the scooter, a Maynard subject. Further investigation of the backpack by the officers found meth precursors inside. The subject was also found to be under the influence. The driver of the scooter was arrested and taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, charged with DUI, as well as other drug charges. No injuries were reported in the other vehicle, but the operator of the scooter did received minor injuries. No other information has been released at this time and Officer Jon Holbrook in continuing to investigate this incident.

Attempted Child Sex Assault Suspect Indicted in Boyd Co.

An Ashland man, accused of trying to kidnap and rape an 11-year-old boy, has been indicted. Ermel Copley, 80 was indicted this week on attempted kidnapping and attempted sodomy. He was arrested last month, as investigators say he tried to lure the boy onto his porch, holding him against his will and making sexual advancements toward him. The boy was able to break free and call for help. Copley has said all of the allegations against him aren't true. He said he didn't admit anything and said, "I don't fool with boys." He is being held on $100,000 bail. No word when he will be arraigned on the charges.

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. (WSAZ) -- 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.

Edwards Named Interim KCTCS Chancellor

Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTCS) president- elect Dr. Jay Box today announced Dr. George Edwards has been named interim chancellor effective Jan. 26. As the system-level chief academic officer, the chancellor provides leadership, direction and support for academic affairs, economic/workforce development, institutional research and effectiveness, distance learning initiatives, professional development and external collaborative relationships. Edwards retired this month from Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) where he served as president for 14 years. Edwards has 35 years of teaching and administrative experience at four community colleges in Kentucky and Virginia.

Edwards has significant interest and experience in partnership development with high schools, colleges and business and industry. During his tenure at BSCTC, the institution was strengthened by the honors program for students, the Leadership Institute for faculty and staff and the creation of the music and drama program for students and the community. Additionally, Edwards has been involved in community leadership programs in numerous eastern Kentucky counties. The KCTCS chancellor position is currently posted and a new chancellor will be named no later than April 1. To see the job description, visit https://careers.kctcs.edu. The KCTCS Board of Regents named Box president-elect Nov. 19. He served as chancellor five years and will begin his new role as president Jan. 16.

Johnson Co. Deputy Receives Governor’s Award

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office would like to congratulate Deputy Byron Fairchild. On December 16th, 2014 in Lexington, KY, Deputy Fairchild was honored with the Governor’s Award for Impaired Driving Enforcement. He was recognized for outstanding achievement in the apprehension of impaired drivers. Deputy Fairchild wrote 24 citations, the most citations for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office between the months of October 2013, through September 2014. The Sheriff’s office wrote 35 DUI citations in total.

Local News 12-16-2014

KSP Investigating Deadly ATV Accident in Pike Co.

According to a news release from the KSP in Pikeville, troopers are investigating a fatal ATV collision that occurred in Pike Co., on Friday, December 12, 2014. The initial investigation indicates that the operator of an ATV lost control, exiting the trail in which they were riding, in the Ball Fork Mountain area of Stone, causing the passenger, Mark Tyler Williams, to be ejected from the vehicle. Williams was Airlifted to Holsten Valley Hospital by Wings Rescue; however, Williams succumb to his injuries on December 14, 2014, and he was pronounced deceased at the hospital. It does not appear that he was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision and alcohol does not appear to be a factor. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by Trooper Curt Rowe.

Former Martin mayor Sentenced to Prison

Former Martin Mayor, Thomasine Robinson, was sentenced to prison on Monday. Robinson was sentenced to 90 months in prison after being convicted of intentionally violating voters' civil rights in the 2012 elections. Robinson's husband, James "Red" Robinson, was sentenced to 40 months on related charges. 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.

Breathitt County Man Faces a Sexual Abuse Charge

A Breathitt County man is facing a sexual abuse charge, after police say he sexually abused a child younger than 12 years old during 2010. Police arrested Dewey Lewis on Saturday, after a grand jury indicted Lewis last week. No further information has been released at this time.

Complaint Details Prison Attack

According to the Floyd Co. Times, a federal judge has refused to dismiss all of a lawsuit brought by a federal inmate in Arizona, dealing in part with an incident in which he was stabbed 26 times at U.S. Penitentiary Big Sandy, in Martin County, and has instead ordered that relevant parts of his complaint dealing with that incident be heard in a Kentucky federal court. Paul Raymond Weakley, a current inmate in Tuscon Federal Prison, filed the lawsuit in 2012, in an Arizona federal court, against unknown employees of several prisons around the country. In his complaint, Weakley describes a pattern of prison officials refusing to place him in protective custody, despite his history as an informant against a member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, which resulted in him being beaten once and stabbed twice at three prisons. Weakley is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges.

In Weakley’s complaint, on Dec. 29, 2008, Weakley was transferred to USP Big Sandy from Florida and during his intake screening, told prison guards his concerns about being placed in general population, due to his status as an informant, and he shared his experience at USP Coleman. Those concerns, Weakley says, were not taken seriously. On Jan. 10, 2010, two inmates from another part of the prison entered Weakley’s cell and stabbed him 26 times with homemade knives. Weakley claims that the inmates were allowed to pass through to his cell “unchallenged,” despite the fact that they triggered alarms on metal detectors and wore color-coded badges that indicated they were not supposed to be in that area of the prison. In his complaint, Weakley alleges the unnamed employees violated his Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to perform their duties to adequately safeguard him. He is seeking $4 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Drunk Drivers Beware!

If you drink and drive in Kentucky this holiday season, know that there are increased police patrols looking to get you off the road. The holiday driving season is a time when state and local police agencies put additional officers on the streets looking for impaired and distracted drivers. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign runs through New Year’s. Last December drunk drivers in Kentucky caused 440 crashes, killing eight people, and injuring 239 others.   State officials say if you plan to drink this holiday season, make a plan on how you're going to get home safely.

Flu Activity on the Rise in Kentucky

According to officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, they are recommending people take time to get a flu shot, due to the increased influenza activity. Officials with the department reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Kentucky's flu activity level increased from "regional" to "widespread," which is the highest level of flu activity. Widespread activity indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state. Here are some ways to try and avoid the Flu.

   * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. A quick rinse won't do the trick. To kill germs, communicative disease experts recommend washing with soap for 15 to 30 seconds-about as long as it takes to hum a rollicking verse of "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

   * Keep your hands away from your face to reduce the chance of delivering viruses directly to your eyes or nose. One study found that people typically touched their face fifteen times in an hour.

   * Make certain you're getting your RDA for vitamin E and other antioxidants including A, C and B-complex vitamins and minerals. These have properties that enhance immune response. Studies on older mice have shown that those with reduced levels of vitamin E were more susceptible to flu infection.

   * Use tissues, not cloth handkerchiefs, to reduce spread of infection.

   * Reduce stress. Research has shown that immune responses are compromised by stress.

   * Get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Chronic sleep deprivation can reduce your immune response.

   * Reduce alcohol consumption. Chronic heavy drinkers suffer from more colds and flu-and their complications-than others do, and even regular moderate use of alcohol can compromise immune response.

If you would like to get more information on how you can get your Flu shot, stop by or call your local Health Dept. Once you get the flu shot, it generally lasts six months to one year.

Local News 12-15-2014



Man Faces 14 Charges Following Arrest in Pike County

A Pike Co. man and his passenger, have been arrested after leading Pikeville Police on a lengthy chase through Pike County late last week. Police say the chase started on U.S. 23 near the Island Creek Bridge around 5 p.m. Wednesday. From there, 32-year-old Gregory Mullins, of Pikeville, drove onto Marion's Branch and then onto Kewanee Road, according to Pikeville Police. Police noticed the vehicle slowing down, and Mullins jumped out of the vehicle, which later came to a stop in a ditch. When police caught up to the vehicle they found a female passenger and a 5-month-old baby inside.

Mullins ran to a nearby riverbank, where he tried to cross the river in an attempt to evade police. After a few minutes he asked for help getting out of the water. Three Pikeville Police officers helped him onto land and arrested him. He was taken to the Pikeville Medical Center, where he was treated and released into Police custody. Mullins is facing over a dozen charges including three counts of wanton endangerment, two counts of fleeing and evading, resisting arrest, DUI, reckless driving, a couple of probation violations and several traffic related charges. His passenger, Rikkia Anderson, 22, of Pikeville, was also arrested on three outstanding warrants for failing to pay fines. Both are now in custody in the Pike County Detention Center. The 5-month-old baby was taken into protective services.           

Guilty Verdict Reached in a Knott Co. Parole Officer Shooting

A Knott County jury has found a man guilty of trying to kill a parole officer. On Friday, Rocky Wicker Senior was found guilty of shooting at four Kentucky Department of Corrections Probation and Parole officers back in September of 2013. Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Bartley recommended a 17-year-sentence for Wicker. Bartley said Wicker was found guilty of attempted murder on one officer, attempted manslaughter on the second officer and first degree wanton endangerment on two female officers. Department of Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson said in a statement, "this case has served as a reminder for us, and we hope for the general public, of the dangers associated with supervising offenders out in the community." Rocky Wicker Sr. will be formally sentenced in mid-January

"Duct Tape Bandit" Arrested in Connection with Robbery in Ashland

According to Police in Ashland, two men were arrested over the weekend in connection with the robbery of a businessman. Police say Casey Kazee, known to area Police as the "duct tape bandit, turned himself into police Sunday afternoon. A jury found him guilty back in 2011 of wrapping his head in silver duct tape, and threatening to kill a worker at a liquor store in Ashland that he was trying to rob. Police say Kazee and another man, Jeffrey Driver, robbed a businessman in downtown Ashland. Driver was arrested on Friday. Both men are being held at the Boyd County Detention Center; charged with 1st degree robbery. 

Convicted Murderer Sentenced on Federal Drug Charges

According to the US Attorney's Office, Jason C. Brown, 32, of Huntington, W.Va has been sentenced in Boyd Co. to serve two decades in a federal prison. Brown was sentenced to 26 years last week after investigators said between January 2013 and April 2013, Brown sold heroin on multiple occasions in Boyd County. He also sold crack in February 2013. US District Judge David Bunning said Brown's criminal history qualifies him as a career offender. Not only does Brown have a prior drug trafficking conviction, he was also convicted of murder in West Virginia. Under federal law, he must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence. He will have to serve 15 years supervised release following the completion of his prison term.

Cash for College - Financial Aid Window Opens Soon

RICHMOND, Ky. - An important window will soon open for college-bound students in Kentucky who need help paying for tuition. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, determines how much financial aid schools can award based on a family's financial situation. The application can be filed starting Jan. 1. Laurie Wolfe, who is on the board of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, says preparing now can make the process less stressful. "Now that we're at Christmas time, that's a good time to sit down with the family and start talking about, 'What do we need to be looking at?'" she urges. "I highly encourage people to get a hold of a copy of that application now, look through it, pull together the documents that you need."

The list of documents includes federal income tax returns and investment statements. The application deadline isn't until June 30, but Shelley Park, who oversees financial aid at Eastern Kentucky University, tells prospective students "don't wait," even if you're not sure when you're going to start college. "What's at stake is some of the state money," she explains. "The federal money doesn't run out, but the state CAP Grant money does run out, and as we saw last year, it ran out the first week of February." CAP is short for Kentucky's College Access Program, which provides low-income, in-state students $950 a semester in grant money. Park says to be eligible for a Kentucky CAP Grant a student has to have submitted the FAFSA. Federal aid is based on need and offered through grants, loans and work-study. Wolfe says families need to understand the difference and look at ways to reduce costs before students begin college.

"Our fear is that students will not think about what happens down the road, when they graduate and they're $20-, $25-, $30,000 in debt," she says. "And they have to pay that back and, at the same time, they're trying to buy a new car, get a new house, maybe relocate." While in high school, Wolfe says students should consider volunteer opportunities that can be helpful experience in getting a scholarship, or high school courses that can be counted for college credit.

Flu Activity on the Rise in Kentucky

According to officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, they are recommending people take time to get a flu shot, due to the increased influenza activity. Officials with the department reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Kentucky's flu activity level increased from "regional" to "widespread," which is the highest level of flu activity. Widespread activity indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state. Public Health Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield says upcoming holidays mean more travel and family get-togethers, increasing the risk for exposure to flu. The agency says the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccination for anyone 6 months of age or older. Those who are at higher risk are especially encouraged to get a shot.