Local News 5-31-2013

Johnson Co. Sheriff's Dept. Issues Scam Alert

According to a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, they would like to make everyone aware of a new phone scam being run in our area. The caller will call from an out of town or blocked number. They will insist that the person they are calling (the victim) owes a debt. They sometimes state they are calling from one of the local county agencies, such as the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, or the Sheriff’s Office. Then they will tell the victim, that if they do not send money to clear the debt, a warrant will be issued for the victim’s arrest. If you receive a call of this nature, do not under any circumstance send the caller money! This is a scam. If these people have your personal information, such as your date of birth, social security number, etc., you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.consumer.ftc.gov for detailed instructions on what to do if you feel your information has been compromised. If you need any additional information, please contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 789-3411.

3 Men Arrested for Theft in Lawrence Co.

According to a news release from the L:awrence Co. Sheriff's Office, three Lawrence County men were arrested for theft of metal. Matthew Webb,29, Johnathan Ratliff, 46, and Ronald Ratliff,45 all of Louisa were caught in the act of loading metal roofing and other metal items that they were stealing at a residence on Highway 32 just outside Louisa. The Sheriff's Office had been contacted by the owner of the property about thefts that were occurring there and requested that they keep an eye out. While on patrol in the area Chief Deputy Mark Wheeler observed a pick up truck at the property and the three men loading the items into the bed. The three were then arrested by Wheeler and Sgt. Chuck Jackson. All three men were charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking Over $500 (Felony) and Criminal Trespassing. After processing they were transported and lodged in Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Paintsville. The Sheriff's Office is currently going through video and pictures obtained from cameras installed around the property. Other suspects have been identified and more arrest are pending. The Sheriff's Office wants to make would be thieves aware that even if a home and/or property appear abandoned that it is still illegal to be on the property and to take even what appears to be scrap metal. Anyone seen on abandon property will be checked and if it is found that they are trespassing and/or stealing property they will be arrested and charged.
Morgan Co. Woman Charged in Elliott Co Graveyard Thefts

According to a release from the Elliott County Sheriff's Department, a Morgan County woman is facing charges after police say she was stealing items from graves on Memorial Day. Deputies say Becca Wireman, 36, of Morgan County, was charged with theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief. She allegedly went to Elliott Memory Gardens, in broad daylight on Memorial Day, and stole several items from the graves. Deputies were able to track Wireman down after several people told deputies that they saw her stealing and wrote down her license plate number. Deputies found numerous items on Wireman when she was located and then taken into custody. Wireman's husband also brought in a load of items that he found in their home that he did not know was there. The Elliott County Sheriff believes that Wireman has also been stealing items from other cemeteries including one in Morgan County and the Sheriff believes Wireman was putting the items on the internet to sell. The Elliott County Sheriff's Department ask that if you believe you have had items stolen in Elliott Co. to please contact the Sheriff's Department to check out the items so they may be returned to you. You can also visit the Elliott County Sheriff's Facebook page to see pictures of the stolen items. This incident is still under investigation by the Elliott County Sheriff's Department and Becca Wireman is innocent until proven guilty.

Former Johnson Co. Resident Found Not Guilty of Killing Lexington Native

A jury has found a former resident of Johnson Co. not guilty of the killing and robbery of a Lexington man. Jeffrey Mundt was cleared of those 2 charges, but was found guilty of tampering with physical evidence and criminal facilitation to commit robbery. Mundt was accused of killing Jamie Carroll. Carroll's body was found buried in the basement of a Louisville home. Another man, Joseph Banis, was convicted of murder for his role in the crime back in March and he testified in Mundt's case. Mundt was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison for the guilty verdicts.

Man Killed in a Breathitt County Crash

A Breathitt Co. man was killed Wednesday morning after a single-vehicle accident in Breathitt County. According to Police, Donald Evans, 55, was driving eastbound along KY-52 in the Athol community of Breathitt Co., when he lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway and overturning. Evans was ejected from the vehicle and the Breathitt County coroner pronounced him deceased at the scene. Police say Evans was not wearing a seat belt. This accident is still under investigation by the KSP.

Former Mine Officials Fined, Given Probation for Violation of Safety Standards

Three former officials at an eastern Kentucky mine where a coal miner was killed in 2011 have been fined in federal court and ordered to spend time on probation for violating federal mine safety standards. U.S. District Judge Gregory van Tatenhove scheduled a hearing to determine whether to impose a fine for Manalapan Mining Co. All of the men where supervisors at Manalapan's P-1 Mine in Harlan County during a June 2011 underground collapse that killed miner David Partin. Sentenced were 53-year-old mine foreman Bryant Massingale of Cawood, 54-year-old mine superintendent Joseph Miniard of Smith and 47-year-old operations manager Jefferson Davis of Harlan. Massingale and Miniard were fined $3,000 each and given three years of probation, including some home incarceration or confinement. Davis was fined $5,000 and given three years of probation.

Rogers Announces Expansion of KY Teleworks & Commends Coal Miner Hiring Program

U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers joined the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) in Hazard Thursday, to announce the expansion of Kentucky Teleworks and to commend the organization for working with Community Action Agencies across the region to assist laid-off coal miners with career advising, furthering their education and finding quality employment through the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) Program. "Kentucky has lost 5,700 coal mining jobs in the last 18 months, devastating the industry that has been a key economic engine for our rural region," said Rogers. "I am always thrilled to talk about job creation and company expansions, but now more than ever before, economic development is vital to our coal mining families who are struggling to find comparable salaries. I'm especially proud of the HOME Program and our Community Action Agencies that are working around the clock to assist our coal mining families." The H.O.M.E. Program offers to pay employers 75% of a former coal miner's salary during on-the-job training for a new career. Since December 2012, the program has assisted more than 1,000 coal miners and their spouses find a job or gain access to career training or post-secondary education, according to EKCEP officials. Rogers commended Bridgett Back for her tireless efforts to recruit employers and assist coal miners at the L.K.L.P. Community Action Agency.

Rogers also announced the expansion of EKCEP's Kentucky Teleworks program. The program works with national and global companies to provide customer service assistance from anywhere in the world, including your own home. Anyone with the required phone and internet services are eligible to apply for a pool of 1,000 jobs through Kentucky Teleworks. For individuals without the required phone, computer and internet services, EKCEP created a hub at its Hazard headquarters where employees have access to the tools they need. After the event, officials participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the Hazard hub for Kentucky Teleworks. "Kentucky Teleworks is the newest resident of Silicon Holler," said Rogers. "The program has been so successful, EKCEP announced it will be opening an additional hub in Jackson County, in partnership with Jackson Energy and the Appalachian Regional Commission. These jobs remove travel restrictions and thanks to the EKCEP hubs, individuals will not be hampered by the lack of technology in their homes." EKCEP Executive Director Jeff Whitehead said both initiatives fall perfectly in line with Rogers' vision for Eastern Kentucky's future.

"We truly can have it all. We can have our mountains and our coal mining, and new job opportunities," Whitehead said. "And now, thanks to 21st century technology, when it comes to economic development and bringing jobs to our region, we're as flat as Iowa." During the event, Rogers recognized local efforts in partnership with the  UNITE and PRIDE programs. This year, UNITE kicked off a scholarship program for high school seniors across the region who are active UNITE Club members and display leadership qualities at school and in the community.  Nineteen high school seniors are receiving a $1,500 scholarship this year. Rogers applauded four of the local scholarship recipients, Jalon Morgan from Leslie County High School and three students from Knott County Central High School, Brian Catron, Kennedy King and Avery Shrum. Rogers also commended several PRIDE volunteers for their efforts in this year's PRIDE Spring Cleanup Campaign. Rogers presented Outstanding Volunteer Recruitment Certificates to Roger Hicks from Knott County, Barry Spivey from Jackson County, Angie Muncy from Leslie County, Gary Cornett from Letcher County, and Rosa Couch from Perry County. Together, they recruited a total of 2,745 volunteers for the month of April. Additionally, Rogers presented Ashley Bowman a "Difference Maker" award for recruiting 2,000 volunteers in Wolfe County this year and his diligent efforts to raise awareness about the importance of recycling.