Local News 3-12-2013

Magoffin Co. Officials Still Searching for Missing Man

Officials in Magoffin County continue to look for answers to the disappearance of a Magoffin Co. man, who has not been seen or heard from in 2 weeks and family members fear the worst. The man officials aresearching for is Freddy Brown, also known as Freddy Howard age 29, of Johnson Fork in Salyersville, He has been missing since Wednesday, February 27. According to Magoffin County Sheriff Carson Montgomery, he said Brown was last reportedly seen by his mother that Wednesday night (2-27-13) at around 6 p.m., at which time he was walking in her yard (near his home on the Left Hand Fork of Johnson). That was the last time anyone has seen Freddy Brown. Brown is described as 6 foot 2 inches tall, 180 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a green hooded jacket. While search crews search the area near his home for clues to his disappearance, Sheriff Montgomery said they will continue to follow all leads, but at this time, so far all of them have ran cold. Sheriff Montgomery had previously reported he did not suspect any foul play in this case, but now he says he is simply unsure what might have happened to Brown. Officials in Magoffin Co. ask anyone who might have any information regarding the whereabouts of Freddy Brown aka Freddy Howard, to please call the Magoffin Co. Sheriff's Office at 606-349-2914. According to family members, the Kentucky State Police are now involved in the search.

Accused Terrorist Sent to Federal Prison in Kentucky

An Iraqi man sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to terrorism charges has been assigned to a high-security facility in Kentucky. The federal Bureau of Prisons lists 25-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi as an inmate at the United States Penitentiary-Big Sandy in Inez. The prison is about 140 miles east of Lexington. A co-defendant, 32-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan, received a 40-year sentence in January. Alwan had not been sent to a prison as of Saturday. Hammadi and Alwan pleaded guilty in 2011 and 2012 to ship thousands in cash, machine guns, rifles, grenades and shoulder-fired missiles to al-Qaida in Iraq in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors said the two were working with a confidential informant. Both were arrested in May 2011 in Bowling Green after a federal sting operation.

Lawmakers Still at Odds Over How to Fix Pension

Gov. Steve Beshear and legislative leaders still have not broken an impasse on how to go about shoring up the financially troubled pension plans for state and local government retirees. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday the latest meeting yielded no resolution. The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate have been at odds on proposed fixes to the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability. The Senate is proposing a 401(k)-like retirement plan for new employees - a move the House opposes. And the House wants to use money from the lottery and horse tracks to boost the state's yearly pension contribution. The Senate is balking at that idea. Negotiators last met on Sunday.

Possible Changes to Kentucky Booster Seat Law

Small children are always supposed to ride in a child seat in the car, but the laws seem less clear for older children. Now, changes to a Kentucky booster seat law could keep kids in booster seats until they’re older. Under the current law, kids have to use booster seats until they reach seven years old or 50 inches tall. With the proposed changes, which are under consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee in Frankfort, the new limits become nine years old or 57 inches tall. Some parents believe a regular seat belt is enough to protect older kids in the case of a car crash. Trooper Michael Murriell of the Kentucky State Police said that’s not the case, since seat belts are designed to protect adults. Seat belts that don't fit can do more harm than good.

Kentucky lawmakers were presented with statistics from Kosair Children’s Hospital for children hurt in crashes. Most were older than seven and younger than 10, which meant they weren't required to ride in booster seats. All of the children wore seat belts at the time of the crash, and all had injuries to their internal organs. Half of them had head or face injuries – some severe. Murriell said car crashes are the number one cause of death for children between the ages of one and twelve in the United States. Keeping kids in child seats or booster seats until they’re big enough to wear only a seat belt is one way to reduce that risk. Parents have expressed their concern to Murriell that the changes will cost them money because they may have to buy a new or bigger seat. If children grow taller than 57 inches before they’re nine, they wouldn’t need to use a seat under the law, according to Murriell. Troopers from Kentucky State Police inspect child seats at post all over the commonwealth free of charge.

Stumbo Says Industrial Hemp Bill Is Dead

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says Kentucky's industrial hemp bill is dead. Stumbo told reporters Monday the bill is stuck in a committee, and it's too late for the House to vote on the measure based on General Assembly rules. The proposal would let Kentucky quickly license hemp growers if the federal government lifts its ban on the plant. The bill already cleared the Senate. Stumbo's statement angered the bill's supporters. Republican House Leader Jeff Hoover said Stumbo could suspend the rules and put the bill to a vote. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said the measure could create jobs. The proposal is unpopular among law enforcement officials who say hemp could be used to camouflage marijuana, which has similar leaves but far less potency.

UPike In Legal Battle Over New Building's Design

The University of Pikeville says design issues with its $40 million Coal Building could cost the university as much as $2.5 million to correct. According to the Appalachian News-Express, they report the university has entered into arbitration with the architect, CMW, over the issue. A statement from university President Paul Patton said the issues first became problematic during furniture installation, when officials found that the smaller lecture hall in the building was not useable because of inadequate spacing in the aisles. The small lecture hall has not been used since the building first became occupied in the fall semester, and the structure's larger lecture hall is not in compliance with state building codes. After discovering the problems, Patton said, the university asked CMW to address the situation and their suggestion was to put a balcony in each lecture hall to accommodate 140 students with adequate space in the configuration desired, a suggestion that was already rejected during the design phase. "After eight months, CMW has failed to propose a solution to the lecture hall deficiencies that has been demonstrated to either meet building code requirements or meet the instructional needs of the University of Pikeville," Patton said in the statement. However, because of the College of Osteopathic Medicine's class expansion due on campus in July, Patton said, the university has no choice but to install the balconies, and bids are currently being solicited, with the cost expected to be $2.5 million.