Local News 1-30-2013

Death Investigation Underway in Perry County by KSP

According to a news release from the KSP in Hazard, on January 29, 2013 at approximately 09:05 a.m. Kentucky State Police in Hazard received a call from Perry County 911 that an individual had been located under a bridge deceased in the Glomawr community of Perry County. Identification of the person has been determined and the deceased is 44 year old John J. Turner of Hazard. Turner was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Perry County Coroner's Office. The cause of death has not been determined at this time. The body has been taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort for an autopsy. Additional information will be released as it becomes available. Det. Kevin Hurt and Kentucky State Police is continuing the investigation.

Wolfe Co. Deputy Saves Drowning Man

A Sheriff Deputy in Wolfe Co.has been called a hero after he went above and beyond the call of duty. Reports are just now being surfacing about a Wolfe Co. man who nearly drowned in a Wolfe County creek. Two weeks ago, Jonathan Burke fell off a bridge on Kentucky 191 in Hazel Green, but the quick thinking actions of Wolfe Co. Deputy Marcus Stephens saved Burkes life. The story goes that Burke was at a nearby residence near the creek's location and was involved in an argument with a female. Law enforcement officials where called to the scene, but Burke left before they arrived. The sound of a gunshot was heard nearby the residence and when Deputy Stephens went to investigate, they found Burke floating in the water, laying face down. Deputy Stephens went into the creek to get to Burke, who hadn't been shot, but appeared to have just slipped. According to Deputy Stephens, Burke was not responsive, his eyes already rolled back. I pushed on his chest, you could feel the water in his chest," says Stephens. He says Burke was unconscious. CPR was performed on Burke until emergency personel arrived at the scene. Burke was taken to a nearby hospital and has since been released and is said to be doing fine, though family members say he has no memory of what happened. Family members of Burke say that if Deputy Stephens had not been present, Jonathan Burke might not be here today.

State Senator Set To Bring Hemp Bill Up For Vote

The chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee sounded upbeat Monday about prospects for his bill that would regulate industrial hemp production in Kentucky if the federal government lifts its decades-long ban on the crop that once was a Bluegrass state staple. Republican Sen. Paul Hornback of Shelbyville said Monday he intends to bring the hemp bill up for a vote in his committee, which is expected to review the legislation at a Feb. 11 hearing. Hemp proponent U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is scheduled to appear at the hearing and put his political weight behind the measure. "I feel very good about it getting through the Senate Ag Committee," Hornback said in an interview prior to a meeting of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. "I feel very good about (its prospects in) the full Senate." The state General Assembly resumes its regular 2013 session next week. The hemp bill's outlook in the House is less clear. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said recently that it would be difficult to pass any bill that doesn't have the support of Kentucky State Police. State police oppose the bill and its commissioner, Rodney Brewer, has expressed concerns about law enforcement being able to distinguish between hemp and its cousin, marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, cannabis sativa, but are genetically distinct. Hemp has a negligible content of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high. Hemp supporters say that marijuana growers would not want to try to conceal their pot crop in a hemp field because cross-pollination would the eliminate potency of the marijuana.

Hornback, a tobacco farmer, said Kentucky has the ideal climate and soils to grow hemp. The versatile crop could create jobs in processing and manufacturing, Hornback said. At least a couple of Kentucky companies - a tobacco processor and a seed supplier - have expressed interest in branching out into hemp if the crop becomes legal again. Hemp can be turned into paper, clothing, food, biofuels, auto parts, lotions and many other products. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, has signaled that it is up to Hornback to decide whether to call for a committee vote on the bill. Stivers' spokeswoman, Lourdes Baez-Schrader, has said that state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and state police representatives have been invited to speak to Senate Republicans at a caucus meeting next week. Comer, a Republican, has championed the effort to re-establish hemp as a legal crop in Kentucky. Comer said Monday that hemp legislation is supported by both House and Senate majorities. So we shall see.

Gov. Beshear Urging Kentucky's Low-wage Earners To Apply For Credit

As tax season shifts into high gear, Gov. Steve Beshear is urging low-wage-earning Kentuckians to take advantage of a federal tax credit. Beshear says nearly a half million Kentucky taxpayers are eligible to receive the earned income tax credit. He says the credit can help struggling families buy food and clothes and pay bills. In the 2011 tax year, Kentuckians filed nearly 401,000 earned income tax credit claims for more than $905 million in benefits. The average credit was $2,255. The Internal Revenue Service estimates 15 to 20 percent of eligible workers don't claim the benefit, mostly due to lack of awareness. Beshear says there are nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where trained volunteers will help Kentuckians file their taxes and apply for the credit.

Road Work Continuing on Spicy Mountain in Martin Co.

According to Highway District 12 officials, they report that good progress is being made on Spicy Mountain (KY 40) in Martin County, near the Johnson Co. line. Traffic has been reduced to one lane since the early morning pavement collapse on January 17. Brittany Ball, an engineer with Highway District 12, said that the road needs to remain closed to all traffic from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. for a few more days. “We had hoped to open one lane by today,” she said, “and we tried, but it isn’t working very well. We are still setting the inside row of cribs and have increased the length of the second row from what we originally thought would be sufficient.” Ball said that the road will remain closed at least through Thursday, January 31. If the weather cooperates, she said that work should have advanced by that time to the point that one lane can remain open all the time, using the temporary traffic signal that is already in operation at the site. “We want to thank people for their understanding and patience,” Ball said. “We are working as quickly as safety and the weather allow.” She also pointed out that one lane remains open from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. “People just need to make sure they observe the traffic signal at night and drive cautiously in the work zone.”

Johnson Co. Sheriff's Office Reminds Residence of Johnson Co. about 5% Penalty Phase Ending for 2012 Property Taxes

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that the 5% penalty phase of the 2012 Property Tax bills will end on January 31st 2013. If you pay your Property Tax bills after January 31st, a 21% penalty fee will be applied. Also, the face amount on the 2012 Gas and Oil bills will end on January 31st. If your Gas and Oil bills are paid after January 31st, a 5% penalty fee will be applied. If you mail your bills in by January 31st, the sheriff’s office will honor the post mark. In addition, you may pay your 2012 Property Tax bills online. Just go to our website: http://sheriff.johnsoncounty.ky.gov/ click on the property tax link, and follow the prompts. You can also print copies of your 2011 and 2012 property tax receipts from our website for your records. If you have any questions regarding your property taxes, please call the sheriff’s office at 789-3411.