WSIP News 10-19-2017 - UPDATED


KSP Investigating Fatal Accident in Floyd Co

The Kentucky State Police in Pikeville confirm one man was killed following a crash between a car and a motorcycle in Floyd Co Wednesday evening. The crash happened around 9 PM on Abbott Creek Road in Prestonsburg near the entrance to Waddle Lane. Reports indicate the driver of the motorcycle was sent to the hospital for serious injuries where he later died. KSP identified the driver as 25 year old Aaron Adkins of Prestonsburg. The accident remains under investigation.

Accused Conn Accomplice Pleads Not Guilty

The man accused of helping Eric C. Conn escape from house arrest before his sentencing for defrauding the government told a judge on Wednesday that he was not guilty. Curtis Wyatt is accused of providing Conn with a getaway vehicle and testing out the security at the United States-Mexico border. The indictment, unsealed Monday, said that Conn plotted for a year before secretly escaping from home detention weeks before he was to be sentenced in a massive fraud case. Wyatt worked for Conn at his law office in Stanville. Conn was scheduled to be sentenced on July 14 but escaped on June 2. Charges of escape and failure to appear against Conn were also in the indictment for Wyatt. The charges are punishable for up to five years in prison each. Wyatt is on house arrest until his trial on December 18.

Two Men Indicted for Magoffin Co Burglary

A Magoffin Co. grand jury indicted two men from Louisville for a burglary that happened in Salyersville. Matthew Gibson and Steven Dobson are both facing charges for a burglary back in July. Officials said the two men broke into a home and stole several items, including guns. Both men have been charged with first-degree burglary and public intoxication.

Several Recovery Clinics in Eastern Ky. will Remain Open

Seven recovery clinics throughout Eastern Ky will be allowed to stay open after a Medicaid freeze hindered their ability to fund themselves. Four clinics in Hazard, Jackson, Paintsville and Richmond were raided back in August and are currently under investigation by the Attorney General’s office. According to reports, Dr. George Burnette’s seven clinics treat more than 2,200 patients and had all Medicaid payments withheld from the beginning on Sept. 19, until a judge said payments needed to continue on Oct. 16. Officials confirmed in courtroom footage the Burnette was being criminally investigated but has not been charged with anything. The judge said on Oct. 16 the clinics would remain open.

Investigation Underway in a Fatal Hit and Run in Wolfe Co

According to officials in Wolfe Co., one man was killed after a hit-and-run crash in the Campton community. Officials say the crash happened on Highway 15 in Campton on Wednesday morning. The Wolfe Co Coroner’s Office said the man died after he was hit by a car while on a bicycle. Police say the man was collecting cans at the time of the crash. Officials are withholding the victim's name until family is notified. Police do not have a description of the vehicle, but say evidence collected at the scene may help to identify the make and model.

Gov. Bevin Proposes Massive Changes to State Worker Pensions

On Wednesday, Gov. Matt Bevin and State Republican leaders released a proposal that would make major changes to Kentucky’s retirement plans for teachers and other state workers. The proposal would phase out the state’s use of a defined-benefit pension system, which guarantees payments to state employees throughout their retirements. Instead, nearly all future and some current employees would be moved into defined contribution plans like 401(k)s, which will require the state to put less money into employee retirements. Gov. Bevin said the changes are necessary to keep the pension system alive. The much-anticipated proposal comes after months of closed-door negotiations and still must pass the state legislature, most likely during a special session Gov. Bevin plans to call before the end of the year.

Kentucky’s pension systems are among the worst-funded in the nation. Lawmakers diverted contributions to the systems for decades, leading to an un-funded liability ranging between $30 billion and $70 billion. Gov. Bevin’s proposed changes differ for each of the state’s pension funds, though all employees will now be required to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to a retiree health program and won’t be allowed to use accrued sick leave to boost their benefits. Employees who have “hazardous” duties — like police and firefighters — have the fewest changes. They would remain in the state’s conventional pension system. State workers hired before 2014 will be able to continue using their defined benefit programs, though they would have to transfer to a 401(k) once they have worked for 27 years. State workers hired in 2014 or later, and teachers hired after July 1, 2018, would be moved into 401(k) plans. Because teachers don’t receive Social Security benefits, the state and local school districts would make increased contributions to their retirement funds.

Teachers would also contribute 3 percent of their salaries to retiree health benefits. Gov. Bevin said “we’re not changing anything for someone who’s already retired,” though his proposal tinkers with cost of living adjustments given to retired teachers — ending the 1.5 percent supplements for the next five years and the first five years of future teacher retirements. Teachers also wouldn’t be able to use sick leave in their retirement calculations after July 2018. Teachers and state workers who have worked more than 27 years would be required to transition to a 401(k) plan within three years.

New Bill Allows for Creation of Public Charter Schools in Kentucky

Public charter schools are one step closer to operating in Kentucky. Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 520 Tuesday in Frankfort. That piece of legislation allows for the creation of public charter schools in Kentucky. The governor says this decision is about providing an equal opportunity in education.

Lawrence Co. Receives Nearly $20,000 from Kentucky Power for Sewer Project

Lawrence Co Fiscal Court on Wednesday received $19,836 from Kentucky Power to help fund a feasibility study for a sewer expansion project. The grant is part of the Kentucky Power Economic Development Growth Grants (K-PEGG) program. K-PEGG grants are funded through the Kentucky Economic Development Surcharge. For every 15 cents collected monthly from customers, company stockholders match customer contributions dollar for dollar to generate more than $600,000 annually for investment at the local and regional levels. Information is posted at kentuckypower.com/development/. Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, Kentucky, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in eastern Kentucky counties. The program is available in all 20 counties served by Kentucky Power.

In its application, Lawrence Co Fiscal Court sought funding for a feasibility study for a sewer line extension from the city of Louisa’s existing sewer plant to approximately 8 miles north of Louisa on U.S. Route 23. The sewer line extension would serve a proposed industrial park. The grant allows Lawrence Co to pay for a feasibility study to be conducted by Summit Engineering as well as legal advertisements. The proposed 85-acre site includes the location of the former Big Sandy Unit 2 cooling tower, which was demolished in 2016 after it was closed. Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties, including Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan counties. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the American Electric Power system, one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S. with nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.