Local News 3-28-2013

Paintsville Police Dept. Investigating a Burglary and a Theft

* According to a news release from th Paintsville PD, the agency is currently investigating a Burglary that occurred in the 200 block of Hidden Valley Rd. Unknown person(s) made forced entry through the front door and emptied two containers of change. Anyone having information on this incident is urged to contact the agency. Incident remains under investigation by Officer Billy Ramey and was assisted by KSP Trooper Jake Stinnett.

* In a seperate news release, the P.P.D. is currently investigating the theft of a construction trailer that was stolen from a lot in the area of Rite Aid and Advance Auto. The trailer is described, by the owner as : dual axle, boxed cargo area green in color, dump bed, black frame and bearing Tennessee license plate # U145019. Anyone with information concerning this theft is asked to notify the agency. Incident remains under investigation by Officer Danny Smith 606-789-2200 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Woman KIlled In PIke County Crash

A woman died Tuesday in a Pike County crash. Not many details have been released, but Police identified Brianna Maynard as the crash victim. Reports say she lost control of her car along KY-1469 in the Virgie community of Pike Co.and crossed the center line and hit another vehicle. Pike Co. Coroner Russell Roberts pronounced Maynard dead at the scene. Officials have not release any information on the other driver. KSP are continuing to investigate this accident.

Hearing in a Floyd Co. Murder Postponed

Two Floyd Co. people accussed in the shooting death of another Floyd Co. resident are scheduled to appear in court Today to answer to the murder charges against them. Ronald and Loretta Wright are accussed in the shooting death of a McDowell man two weeks ago. A preliminary hearing was supposed to be held for Ronald Wright earlier this week, but was postponed until today at 9:30 a.m. Ronald Wright, 64, of Printer, has been charged with murder and attemped murder, following the March 12 shooting death of Famer Halbert. Ronald Wright allegedly shot a sleeping Famer Halbert in the head while he and his wife visited the Halberts’ home. Halbert’s wife, Lorene, and Ronald Wright were each shot in the alleged struggle over the weapon that followed.

Family members have said that the Wrights blamed the Halberts for the death of their son, Matthew, in November. Loretta Wright and Lorene Halbert are sisters. A preliminary hearing has already been held in the case against Loretta Wright, with a potential indictment on charges of complicity to commit murder and complicity to commit attempted murder now in the hands of a grand jury. She was back in court Tuesday, however, as her attorney, Michael Bass, requested a lower bond.

Rowan County Teen Charged With Child Abuse

A Rowan County teen has been arrested and charged with abusing her 11-month-old child. On Friday, a Rowan County grand jury returned an indictment against Christina A. Carroll, 18 of Morehead, for first-degree criminal abuse of a child or under. The charge is the result of an investigation that originated in October 2012 in which Kentucky State Police responded to St. Claire Hospital in reference to an injury to Carroll's 11-month-old child. Carroll was arrested on Tuesday, and is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center. The case remains under investigation by Detective Gardner.

ARH and Union Reach Tenative Deal to Avoid Strike

The possibility of a strike appears to be over for more than 2,000 employees of Appalachian Regional Healthcare. ARH officials said a tentative new labor agreement was reached with the United Steelworkers Union on Tuesday. The current labor contract between ARH and the USW expires on Sunday and workers had threatened to strike as early as Monday if a new deal was not reached. Around 2,200 ARH workers are members of the union and they include LPNs, clerical workers and X-ray and lab technicians. The deal comes after Monday's counter offer from the USW that featured compromises in areas that had been dividing the two sides, including health insurance hikes. Details of the agreement are not being released because the deal is not yet official. Pearson said that will happen once USW employees vote to approve it. No word on when that vote will happen. ARH has facilities across eastern Kentucky and in Williamson and Beckley, W.Va.

Lawmakers Pass Several Bills in the Final Hours of the 2013 Legislative Session

Lawmakers late Tuesday passed a pension reform bill to protect the retirement plans of state workers, and approved a measure that would ensure Kentucky soldiers deployed overseas would get to vote in elections back home. They also passed a measure allowing a Christians-only health care plan to resume operations in Kentucky. But they were unable to agree in the final hours of the 2013 legislative session on proposals that would have drawn new political boundaries around state House districts and that would have deregulated the state's landline telephone service. Gov. Steve Beshear and a bipartisan group of legislative leaders boasted that they had gotten the biggest chore done - shoring up a pension system that had become so financially troubled that it had weakened Kentucky's credit rating. The legislation would provide nearly $100 million a year to make the state's required contribution to the pension plans of state government employees. It also would create a 401(k)-like retirement plan for new employees in an effort to protect the pension plans of current employees and retirees. Beshear, a Democrat, and legislative leaders had been trying for the past three weeks to develop a revenue bill that rank-and-file lawmakers would support.

In the final minutes before adjournment, the House and Senate quickly passed a measure to allow soldiers to receive ballots via the Internet. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the state's chief election official, had pressed for the legislation. She said about 300 overseas ballots arrived back in Kentucky too late to be counted in last year's elections. Lawmakers also worked out an agreement to allow Florida-based Medi-Share to resume operations in Kentucky. The Christian ministry would be exempt from state insurance regulations. A Franklin County Circuit Court judge ordered the ministry to shut down last year at the Kentucky Insurance Department's request. The ministry had served about 800 people in Kentucky, all of whom had been required to pledge not to smoke, drink, use drugs or have sex outside of marriage.  Lawmakers also were unable to agree on a bill that would have relaxed requirements that telephone companies provide landline service to all Kentucky residents. AT&T said the bill would have allowed phone companies to invest more in wireless and Internet services in rural areas. But some feared the bill could have left some rural residents without phone service, especially in remote and sparsely populated communities. One of the final actions lawmakers took Tuesday night was to override the governor's veto of a bill intended to protect the religious beliefs of Kentuckians from government intrusions. Lawmakers were unable to get the House redistricting plan passed.

Hemp Bill Passes Legislature

Kentucky would be able to quickly license hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the crop under a measure approved by the state Legislature on Tuesday. "We have, in my opinion, put together a strong bill," said House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Catlettsburg. "We will be on the cutting edge and be ready to hit the ground running." The measure passed the House 88-4 late Tuesday night. Minutes later, it passed the Senate 35-1. It now goes to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear who hasn't said whether he will sign it into law. Once a politically taboo idea, growing hemp has become an increasingly popular idea among Kentucky's elected leaders. Senate Republicans pushed the legislation, which was initially frowned upon by House Democrats. Hemp thrived in Kentucky generations ago but has been banned for decades since the federal government classified it as a controlled substance related to marijuana.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has said the crop could be an economic boon for Kentucky. Besides creating another crop for the state's farmers, Comer said hemp could lead to manufacturing jobs that produce products ranging from paper to cosmetics. "By passing this bill, the General Assembly has signaled that Kentucky is serious about restoring industrial hemp production to the commonwealth and doing it in the right way," Comer said in a statement. "That will give Kentucky's congressional delegation more leverage when they seek a federal waiver allowing Kentucky farmers to grow hemp." The bill was unpopular with law enforcement officials. They say hemp could be used to camouflage marijuana, which has identical leaves but far less potency. Hemp has a negligible content of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high. Under the bill, the state would have GPS coordinates of licensed hemp fields. Hemp growers would undergo criminal background checks, and each grower would be limited to 10 acres per license. Comer has championed the hemp bill, saying its reintroduction would give farmers a new crop and would create processing jobs to turn the fiber and seeds into products ranging from paper to biofuels. Dozens of countries already produce the crop. The legislation is Senate Bill 50.

Nominations Open For 2014 Teacher Awards

Want to honor a Kentucky teacher who is doing outstanding work? Nominations are now open for the 2014 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award. Anyone can make a nomination. Any full-time public school teacher in the state with at least three years of experience is eligible. Twenty-four teachers will be awarded Teacher Achievement Awards and one will be named teacher of the year in the fall. The 2013 Kentucky Teacher of the Year is Kristal Doolin, who teaches language arts at Corbin Middle School. The deadline for nominations is May 15. Visit http://kentuckytoy.com for more information.