Local News 9-21-2012

Local Woman says a Man Stole from Her and Sold the Items to a Pawn Shop

According to a report from WYMT-TV, a Johnson County woman says she her generosity backfired against her. The woman says she was allowing a 31 year old man to reside with her until he was able to get back on his feet, but that generosity was turned into theivery, as she had items stolen from her residence, then pawned for cash. The woman said she had several items taken from her home, over $2000 worth. Johnson Co. Sheriff Deputies say they found several of the woman's items at a local pawn shop, where employees told deputies the man sold them for $275. Deputies say crimes like this are hard to solve because until they start an investigation, pawn shop owners will not know the items are stolen. According to WYMT, Sheriff Deputies say they will present the case to the grand jury.

West Liberty Courthouse To Cost $1.5 Million More

The rebuilding of a Morgan County courthouse that was between 65 to 70 percent constructed when it was largely destroyed by a March 2nd tornado in West Liberty could cost taxpayers an extra $1.5 million. The building was insured through the Kentucky Association of Counties, which agreed to pay about $8.2 million, but it will cost about $9.7 million to rebuild. The total cost of the new courthouse is projected to be $12.7 million. Much of the increase will pay for additional fees charged by Codell Construction. Representative Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, questioned why Codell Construction's "extended service" fees jumped from $40,000 to $912,000. Jeff VanHook, a representative of Codell Construction, says the larger fees stem from the fact that the project will take about 900 more days of work than was originally planned. Morgan County issued bonds to pay for the courthouse, but the state will pay off those bonds by making rent payments to the county. The state will have to come with an additional $118,000 a year to pay off the extra $1.5 million for the courthouse, which was originally scheduled to open this month.

Kentucky Court Orders Hearing On Exposure To a Local Facebook Page

According to a story from WLEX TV in Lexington, A FB memorial page created by the mother of 11-year-old Destiny Renee Brewer, who died in a truck crash last year, is now at the center of a precedent-setting case over whether the Internet can interfere with a juror's role in deciding a murder case. The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Martin Circuit Judge John David Preston to hold a hearing on whether jurors were truthful in pretrial questioning. The hearing is also to examine whether exposure to the Web page affected jurors in the case of 28-year-old Ross Brandon Sluss, who is serving life in prison after being convicted of murder, assault and tampering with physical evidence. This is the first case to draw Kentucky's high court interest.

The station says Destiny's mother, April Brewer, had about 2,000 "friends" on the social networking site when Sluss' attorneys discovered two jurors among those listed. Martin County, along the Kentucky-West Virginia line in the rural, Appalachian part of the state, has a population of just less than 13,000. Judge Preston excused more than 50 jurors because they either knew too much about the case or had connections to Brewer's family. To become associated on Facebook, one party must approve the "friendship" with the other person.. The two jurors with the Facebook connections didn't disclose their "friend" status on the social networking site. Preston was ask to consider the relationships at a new hearing and, if he finds the two jurors should have been struck from the panel, Sluss could be awarded a new trial.

Kentucky Announces Tax Amnesty Program

Kentucky is launching a Tax Amnesty program allowing people or businesses who owe back taxes to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to pay with no fees or penalties. The threat of prosecution will be waived, and only half the interest owed will be due. The 61-day program kicks off October 1, 2012. Delinquent taxpayers will soon receive mailed notifications stating the known amount of back taxes. They have until the end of November 2012 to apply for amnesty and pay their overdue taxes. However, if taxpayers fail to take advantage of the amnesty program, penalties get more severe and the interest escalates. An additional 2 percent interest will be charged on unpaid amnesty-eligible taxes. Taxpayers taking advantage of amnesty must remain current over the next three years or face reinstated penalties, fees and interest. The General Assembly authorized the amnesty program in the 2012 legislative session. Kentucky conducted a similar tax amnesty program in 2002. More than 23,000 taxpayers participated, netting more than $40 million in back taxes. The website - amnesty.ky.gov provides news and information about the program, online payment options and a way to search for all persons and businesses on the delinquent tax roll. Anyone with questions can also call the Tax Amnesty toll-free hotline at 855-KYTAXES (855-598-2937). The amnesty program applies to taxes owed only to the Kentucky Department of Revenue for eligible tax periods ending after December 1, 2001 and prior to October 1, 2011. While most on the delinquent taxes roll reside in Kentucky, the list includes people in all 50 states plus several other countries.

State GOP Lawmakers Make Pre-Election Pension Pitch

House Republicans revealed their top legislative priorities on Wednesday, proposing to rein in the pensions of lawmakers in a pre-election pitch intended to win points with voters. Some 40 GOP lawmakers and candidates attended a Capitol news conference to propose eliminating the lifelong health insurance coverage now provided to legislators. They also proposed dropping lawmakers from the state's pension system and creating a new 401(k)-type plan for them. House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown said the GOP also wants to reform the state tax code, revoke environmental regulations to end what he described as a war on coal, and impose a rule that lawmakers have a minimum of 48 hours to review bills before voting on them.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg said the House Republicans' priorities are an extension of those advocated last year by unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial candidate David Williams, the state Senate president. He said they were overwhelmingly rejected by Kentucky voters. State Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, is proposing a bill that contains a provision for incumbent lawmakers to opt-out of the state pension plan while ending pensions outright for all future lawmakers. The debate over pensions has become heated in Frankfort because of an ever-increasing shortfall that, by some estimates, could be as much as $30 billion in all the state's retirement plans, which cover lawmakers, teachers, judges, police officers, and other state and local government workers. Floyd said Kentucky lawmakers work only part time and, therefore, shouldn't be eligible for retirement benefits.

AEP Kentucky Power Donates Money for Tornado Relief Efforts in Magoffin Co.

Kentucky Power has donated $2,413.80 for Kentucky Tornado Relief efforts for Magoffin. The donation was presented last week to City and County officials in Magoffin Co. The AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund was created through American Electric Power (AEP) and The Salvation Army in October 2002 to allow financial relief to AEP employees and retirees in the event of a personal tragedy or hardship. AEP employees and contractors have donated through the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund, with the company matching all designated employee donations and funds to be split among The Red Cross, The Salvation Army and UNICEF for outgoing relief efforts.