Local News 7-23-2014

Lawrence Co. Man Charged with Sexual Assault

A Lawrence Co. man has been indicted on charges of Sodomy First Degree, 1 count - Use of a Minor under 16 in a Sexual Performance, Promoting a Minor Under Sixteen in a Sexual Performance and Possession/View Matter Portraying Sexual Performance By a Minor. Harold Keith Shannon, 66, was arrested on June 12 by the KSP. Police say on or about the Summer of 2008, Harold Keith Shannon knowingly and unlawfully engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with a 14 year old. The indictment also charges that on or about December 13, 2013, through June 3, 2014, Defendant induced the minor to engage in a sexual performance, namely the production of various photos of her sexual parts, according to the indictment.

Man Arrested Following Bank Robbery in Hazard

A grand jury is scheduled to hear the case of a man accused of robbing a Perry County bank. Police say Floyd Fletcher stole more than $2,000 from the People's Bank and Trust inside Walmart in Hazard, after he went up to the front counter of Bank with a small pocket knife and demanded money. Unfortunately for Fletcher, a Hazard Police Officer was inside that same WalMart when the robbery occurred and that officer followed Fletcher out to his vehicle and made the arrest. Fletcher of course has pleaded not guilty to the robbery charge. Hazard Police are continuing to investigate this crime.

Troopers Investigating Gas Station Robberies

For the 2nd time in less than a week, Police are investigating another gas station robbery in Eastern Ky. The first robbery occurred in Floyd Co. at the Skeans Marathon @ Bull Creek along US 23. In that robbery a male entered the store and demanded money from the female cashier, who complied with the intruder demand with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber fled the scene on foot. He was described as average height, last seen wearing black pants, a black mask, and a black sweatshirt with a white skeletal design.

The latest robbery happened in Knott County at the Double Kwik at 28 West Highway 80 in Hindman just before 4 AM Sunday morning. Police said an employee was outside when they were approached by someone "covered up" and asked them to go inside and get the money. Police add that the person got away with about $500. No injuries were reported in either robbery and police have not made any arrests at this time. The owners of Skeans Marathon is offering a reward in the amount of $5000.00 for information leading to the arrest, conviction and subsequent incarceration of this individual. If anyone has any information on these robberies, you’re ask to contact the Prestonsburg Police Dept. or the KSP.

Alltech has BIG Plans in Eastern Kentucky

A Nicholasville-based animal nutrition company is planning to build a new bourbon distillery and aquaculture and poultry farms in Pikeville as part of an initiative to develop business in eastern Kentucky. Alltech will get $13.7 million in support from the state to widen roads and build a bridge to accommodate the new businesses announced Monday. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet would provide up to $5.73 million for an access road wide enough to accommodate tractor-trailers to the site of the farms. The state also will provide $8 million for a bridge connecting the access road with U.S. 23. The distillery will be in downtown Pikeville. Alltech co-founder Deirdre Lyons says said construction would start on the Dueling Barrels distillery when engineering and demolition were completed on the site Alltech now owns. Construction on the poultry and aquaculture farms will start when the access road and bridge are completed. The project is part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, initiative, which focuses on reviving eastern Kentucky's economy. The aquaculture and poultry farms will be on 380 acres known as Marion Branch, formerly the site of a surface coal mine. The aquaculture facility will produce 1.2 million pounds of fish a year. The poultry farm will house only hens that lay eggs.

Child Health and Education Improve in Kentucky, but Poverty Prevails

While a year-by-year indicator of child well-being shows steady improvement in the health and education of children in the Bluegrass State, the number of children living in poverty is continuing to grow. The results, published in the 25th annual national Kids Count Data Book, were released Tuesday. Terry Brooks, executive director for Kentucky Youth Advocates, says a bright spot is over the last two decades the number of children without health insurance has been cut in half. "Health is an unqualified win," says Brooks. "Kids are now covered with health insurance who previously were not." The annual report is based on 16 indicators of child well being. According to the report's state-by-state rankings, Kentucky is 28th in childrens' health and 30th in education. Brooks calls the situation with Kentucky schools a "classic good news, bad news situation." Over the past 25 years reading and math proficiency have improved, more children are attending preschool, and high school graduation rates have increased. But Brooks cautions Kentucky faces persistent problems with student achievement.

"We still have two out of three kids who can't read at proficiency in fourth grade," he says. "We have seven out of 10 kids who still can't do math at proficiency at eighth grade." According to Kids Count, poverty is Kentucky's "albatross." The percentage of children living in poverty has grown by 13 percent since the first report in 1990. Brooks says over the past four years more than one in every four Kentucky children has lived in poverty, and the poverty "crisis" is something state lawmakers could do something about. "There are common sense, bipartisan solutions on the table," notes Brooks. "Like a refundable state earned income tax credit, increasing child care supports to 200 percent of poverty level, and tackling predatory lending, which is really a plague across the Commonwealth." Despite the state's economic troubles, this year's Kids Count report ranks Kentucky 35th in the nation for overall child well-being. Brooks says that's an improvement after years of Kentucky's near-perennial ranking in the bottom 10.

Labor Department Grant to Assist Unemployed

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky is getting more than $6 million from the federal government to help people who have been out of work for a long time. Gov. Steve Beshear's office says the Job-Driven National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Labor Department will be used to create and expand job-driven training programs for laid-off workers. The state intends to use the funds to provide services such as on-the-job training, customized training and apprenticeships. Funding will also be used for coaching, counseling and direct job placement to help connect laid-off workers with jobs. The state also plans to use the grant to further develop and strengthen partnerships between workforce and industry organizations and align services with other federal, state and local programs.