LOCAL NEWS

Local News 4-3-2014


Evidence Gathered in a Lawrence Co Death Investigation. Looks Suspicious

According to reports out of Lawrence Co. evidence gathered at the scene of a man’s deceased body on a logging road looks very suspicious, that’s according to officials with the Lawrence Co. Sheriff’s Department. On Monday, March 31, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a deceased male on a logging road off of Cains Creek Road in the Blaine area of Lawrence County. The body was sent to the Medical Examiner Office in Frankfort for an autopsy to determine cause of death and proper identification, which came back as Brandon M Burnett, 30 of Denton, Ky in Carter County. Autopsy results did not show any signs of trauma to Burnett’s body.

Lawrence Co. Sheriff Garrett Roberts said they found shoe and tire tracks in the mud where the body was located, he added the only people who regularly travel the dirt road are workers with a gas and oil company, who found Burnett's body. Officials are waiting for the results of the toxicology test to help in determining the cause of death and whether drugs might have been involved. The Sheriff's Office is following up on leads reference to who Mr. Burnett was with prior to his death. Anyone with information as to how Burnett's body got to the location is asked to contact the Lawrence Co. Sheriff's Office 606-638-4851 or Lawrence County 911.

Paintsville Police Make Arrest in an Attempted Robbery

Paintsville Police Officer P.D. Witten arrest a woman Tuesday, April 1 after the owner of a local business witnessed the customer with her hand in the “cookie jar,” in this case the “cookie jar” was the businesses cash register. According to reports, the owner of Mudpyz and Butterflies on Broadway in Paintsville, witnessed a customer, Misty Mollette 36 of Allen, reach in a take money from the cash register. When confronted, the owner Anita Watts, said the woman became combative and charged at Watts. Watts however was able to subdue the woman until officer Witten arrived on the scene and took Mollette into custody. Mollette also was said to have merchandise on her possession. She was taken to the Big Sandy Region Detention Center charged with 2nd Degree Robbery and Public Intoxication. She was also served a bench warrant from the Johnson Co. District Court for failure to appear. No further information is known at this time.

Kentucky Teachers, Staff To Receive Pay Raises Over Next Two School Years

It was announced Tuesday that Kentucky's roughly 100,000 teachers and administrative staff will be getting an automatic pay raise in each of the next two years. The state's new two-year spending plan requires school districts to give employees a 1 percent raise in the 2015 school year and a 2 percent raise in the 2016 school year. The raises are a victory for House Democrats who pushed to make the raises mandatory. Senate Republicans wanted the raises to be optional because they were concerned some school districts could not afford to pay staff.

How to Spend 20 Billion Dollars

FRANKFORT, Ky. - While a two-year, $20.3 billion spending plan won overwhelming passage in both chambers of the state Legislature, an economic analyst says it falls short of what it will take to make needed progress in Kentucky. Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said the state's new budget is just enough "to tread water." While the spending sounds large, he said, the budget contains many cuts. "We're on a track in Kentucky through these budget cuts that is setting us back," he said. "We're failing to invest in our schools and our health and our human services in the ways that we need to really move forward."

Sen. Bob Leeper, I-Paducah, chairman of the Senate budget committee, said the agreement "sets us on a good stead for the future." Medicaid is protected, and there is more money ($189 million) for basic education funding. Small raises are built in for teachers and state workers, but many state agencies are cut another 5 percent. Bailey said the 14th round of budget cuts since 2008 illustrate the need for tax reform, something lawmakers continue to shy away from. "Our revenue base is eroding over time because there are too many holes in the tax system; it's not been modernized," he said. "We're not taxing those high-income individuals and corporations that can pay their fair share."

Bailey was a member of the governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, which in 2012 recommended an overhaul of the tax system. The panel proposed changes which would have produced an estimated $700 million in new revenue. Instead, Bailey says things such as higher education continue to get cut - 1.5 percent in the new budget - which piles the cost onto students. "We have the 11th-highest community college tuition in the country, yet they keep doing this year after year after year," he said. "The average graduate of EKU has graduated with $23 thousand in debt." Bailey said a bright point in the budget is $18 million to expand access to preschool in 2016.

Details of the budget bill, House Bill 235, are online at lrc.ky.gov.

Over 300,000 Kentuckians Sign Up For Health Insurance

More than 370,000 people have signed up for health insurance through the state's marketplace, a project that has come to define Democrat Steve Beshear's term as governor. But as the governor and his staff celebrated the numbers on Tuesday - one in every 12 Kentuckians now has health insurance through Kynect - the program's future is less certain in the state legislature.

On Monday, state lawmakers approved a two year, $20.3 billion state spending plan that forbids Beshear from using any state tax dollars to pay for Kentucky's expanded Medicaid program or the private insurance marketplace.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said the Republican majority in the Senate still opposes the federal Affordable Care Act. He said it contributed to this year's contentious state budget debate, which did not conclude until 5:30 Sunday morning after an all-night closed-door meeting. Of particular concern, Stivers said, was the roughly $100 million the state will have to find in two years to begin paying for the state's share of the expanded Medicaid program.

Local News 4-2-2014


Anonymous Tip Leads to Meth Discovery/Arrest

According to a news release from the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office, on the evening of Monday, March 31st, Deputy Byron Fairchild responded to an anonymous tip received by Sheriff Dwayne Price of a possible meth lab and meth trafficking complaint at 786 KY302 in West Van Lear. Upon the deputy’s arrival the home owner, Cynthia Greathouse (Vickery), allowed the deputy to enter the home. Deputy Fairchild discovered several baggies containing a white powdery substance believed to be Methamphetamine. He located two (2) hollowed out light bulbs along with baggies and a white powdery substance in one room of the residence. Also discovered inside the residence were several needles laying throughout the house and on the floor. Inside the garage of the residence was a black box containing all the Methamphetamine precursors needed for manufacturing Meth. Additionally, he found one active “shake and bake” Methamphetamine Lab. KSP DESI UNIT was called to disassemble the lab. Two (2) children who were living in the home were taken into protective custody by the Cabinet of Social Services. Cynthia Greathouse (Vickery) was arrested and charged with the following: Possession of Methamphetamine 1st degree 1st offense, Manufacturing Methamphetamine 1st offense, 2 counts Controlled Substance endangerment to child 4th degree, Unlawful Possession of Meth Precursors, Drug Paraphernalia Buy/Posses. The case is currently under investigation by Deputy Byron Fairchild. If you have any knowledge of illegal activity, Sheriff Price asks you to call the Sheriff’s Office at 789-3411. As always, you will remain anonymous.

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office February 2014 Activity Report

The following is an activity report for the month of February 2014 for the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office. The department responded to a total of 484 calls.

Collisions Worked: 21
With Injury: 5
With Commercial Vehicles: 1
With Property Damage: 16

Citations Issued:

Manufacturing Meth – 4
Trafficking in Controlled Substance – 6
Possession of Controlled Substance and/or Marijuana -5
Sexual Abuse -1
DUI -2
Apparatus for Unlawful Manufacturing Alcoholic Beverage -1
Terroristic Threatening -6
Resisting Arrest -1
Assault 4th -1
Thefts – 4
Persistent Felony Offender -2
Disorderly Conduct -1
Endangering the Welfare of a Minor -4
Contempt of Court -1
Reckless/Careless Driving -4
Driving on Suspended License -3
Disregard Signals from Officers Directing Traffic -1
Disregarding Traffic Light -1
Failure of Owner/Non-owner to Maintain Insurance -6
Improper Equipment -7
Failure to Signal -2
Speeding -7
Failure to Wear Seat Belts -50
License to Be in Possession -5
No Registration Receipt -24
No Registration Plates -12

Again that was an activity report for the month of February 2014 for the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Deceased Male Found on Logging Road in Lawrence Co.

According to a news release from the Lawrence Co. Sheriff’s Office, On Monday, March 31, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a deceased male on a logging road off of Cains Creek Road in the Blaine area of Lawrence County. Upon arrival they discovered the body of a Caucasian male subject believed to be approximately 25 to 35 years of age. At the time of the body was discovered, the subject did not have any identification on his person. The body was sent to the Medical Examiner Office in Frankfort for an autopsy to determine cause of death and identification.

The LCSO identified the body of Brandon M Burnett, 30 of Denton, Ky in Carter County. Preliminary autopsy results from the medical examiner did not show any signs of trauma to the body. Officials are waiting for the results of the toxicology test to help in determining the cause of death and whether drugs might have been involved. The Sheriff's Office is following up on leads reference to who Mr. Burnett was with prior to his death. Anyone with information as to how Burnett's body got to the location is asked to contact the Lawrence Co. Sheriff's Office 606-638-4851 or Lawrence County 911.

Murder in Magoffin County Still Under Investigation

Kentucky State Police investigators are continuing to review evidence and interview people associated with a murder in Magoffin County that happened over the weekend. KSP reports a stabbing took place on Route 40 in the Falcon community of Magoffin Co. near Salyersville Saturday morning. The Magoffin Co. coroner’s office identified the victim as Roy Prater, 43. Police arrested Marie Minix, 42, and charged her with one count of Murder (Domestic Violence). Minix continues to be held in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center. No other information has been given at this time and he incident remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police Detective Tony Tackett.

Murder Trial Set to Begin Tuesday, Cancelled in Magoffin Co.

A Magoffin County man’s murder trial that was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday has been cancelled. The trial was against Daniel H. Hackworth, 35, of Salyersville, who was indicted on one count of murder in the first degree (a Class A felony) in March of 2013. The indictment states that on or around January 7, Hackworth allegedly committed the murder of Donnie R. Allen. Reports indicate Hackworth shot Donnie Allen, 49, on January 7, at his home on Route 40 in Magoffin County. According to information, Hackworth is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, April 3 at 1 PM. No information has been provided as to why the trial was cancelled and why Hackworth will appear Thursday. WSIP news will continue to follow this story and will have further information when it becomes available.

Kentucky Budget Bill goes to Governor's Desk

Kentucky General Assembly has approved a two-year spending plan that authorizes $20.3 billion in spending for education, Medicaid, pensions, and other state government services while cutting spending in many state agencies by 5 percent through fiscal 2016. The budget bill passed Monday by final votes of 89-11 in the House and 37-1 in the Senate were sent to the governor and both chambers adjourned. They return April 14 for a two-day session to veto review. Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper, an Independent from Paducah, says the final budget agreement sets Kentucky on a good stead for the future. Democratic leaders in the House and Republican leaders in the Senate spent most of Monday in closed-door meetings finalizing the plan. The legislation is House Bill 235.

Local News 4-1-2014


Anonymous Tip Leads to Meth Labs in Johnson Co.

According to a news release from the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office, on the evening of Monday, March 31st, Deputy Byron Fairchild responded to an anonymous tip received by Sheriff Dwayne Price of a possible meth lab and meth trafficking complaint at 786 KY302 in West Van Lear. Upon the deputy’s arrival the home owner, Cynthia Greathouse (Vickery), allowed the deputy to enter the home. Deputy Fairchild discovered several baggies containing a white powdery substance believed to be Methamphetamine. He located two (2) hollowed out light bulbs along with baggies and a white powdery substance in one room of the residence. Also discovered inside the residence were several needles laying throughout the house and on the floor. Inside the garage of the residence was a black box containing all the Methamphetamine precursors needed for manufacturing Meth. Additionally, he found one active “shake and bake” Methamphetamine Lab. KSP DESI UNIT was called to disassemble the lab. Two (2) children who were living in the home were taken into protective custody by the Cabinet of Social Services. Cynthia Greathouse (Vickery) was arrested and charged with the following: Possession of Methamphetamine 1st degree 1st offense, Manufacturing Methamphetamine 1st offense, 2 counts Controlled Substance endangerment to child 4th degree, Unlawful Possession of Meth Precursors, Drug Paraphernalia Buy/Posses. The case is currently under investigation by Deputy Byron Fairchild. If you have any knowledge of illegal activity, Sheriff Price asks you to call the Sheriff’s Office at 789-3411. As always, you will remain anonymous.                

Two Men Arrested on Meth Charges in Lawrence Co.

According to a news release from the Lawrence Co. Sheriff’s Dept. on March 27 the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence on Nebo Road in Lawrence County, KY to check about possible meth manufacturing. Upon arrival the deputies located a burn pile with multiple items in it that are used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. After speaking to one of the subjects there it was learned that when deputies arrived on scene the suspect locked another subject in a building where they had just finished putting together a shake and bake bottle and were in the act of cooking meth. The subjects had thrown the lab along with the other manufacturing products into a stove in the building in an attempt to destroy the evidence. After conducting further investigation Michael Diamond. 39 of Catlettsburg and Jonathan Adkins, 38 of Louisa were charged with Manufacturing Meth and Tampering with Physical Evidence. Both subject were transported to Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Paintsville, Ky. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrest are possible. The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by Netcare Ambulance Service and the Big Sandy Station 93 Fire Department.

Man Pleads Guilty to Assault in Deadly Beating Case

A Carter Co. man pled guilty to assault charges in the death of another man back in 2012. Clifford Cathey, 35, of Grayson, excepted a plea deal Monday to 2nd degree assault. He was originally charged with manslaughter in the beating death of 42-year-old Heath Toney, of Grayson, back on New Year's Day 2012. In December, a mistrial was declared because the jury was deadlocked after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Cathey’s second trial on the manslaughter charge was scheduled to begin today. Cathey will be sentenced April 21 and faces up to 8 years in prison. In February 2013, Cathey’s co-defendant, Bryan Rice, 39, of Grayson, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree facilitation of manslaughter. Rice received a five-year sentence with the understanding that he cooperate in Cathey’s prosecution. But during Cathey’s trial, Rice changed his story and testified as a prosecution witness that Cathey did not assault Toney.

Man Charged with Assault in Workplace Attack

A Boyd Co. man has been charged with assault in connection to a recent attack at the El Colonial restaurant in Russell that left a man with a serious brain injury. David Ortiz, 24, was charged with assault after Police say simple horseplay, turned into a man being hit in the head with a broom handle and taken to the hospital. Officers said the man is in critical condition. The manager of the restaurant said the incident happened after the men got off work. Ortiz was taken to the Greenup County Detention Center.

Lawmakers Reach Deal on State Budget

It’s been reported that the Kentucky Senate and House Budget Conference Committee reached a deal early Sunday morning on the state budget. According to the Herald Leader, the House and Senate reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal, but the deal does not include the $65 million for the Rupp Arena renovation. Lawmakers say the deal gives a small fund to the arena for planning and engineering that will be matched with local funds so that the project can still move forward.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said, "They will have a path forward. It'll be a fairly clear path, and if they accomplish what the General assembly would want them to do, then the path will be cleared for them," Lawmakers also said the project will have their support once more planning is done and more information is available. They say the arena project needs to present a financial plan and have a signed lease with UK before moving forward.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray asked the state to fund the proposed $310 million renovation of Rupp Arena and the Convention center. Stumbo asked Gray what would happen if legislators didn't give the project a way forward. Gray said it would be a "stake in the heart of the project," Reports say House members agreed to cut the funding for Rupp from the budget in order to avoid more debt. Lawmakers say the budget received final approval late Monday.

Governor Beshear Signs Snow Day Bill into Law

Districts that racked up dozens of snow days because of the harsh winter, will get help from the state to make them up. Governor Steve Beshear signed the Snow Day Bill into law Monday afternoon. The law requires districts to have at least 1,062 hours of classroom time. If a district has exhausted all options and can't reach that number, they can end school on June 6th. As announced on Friday, Johnson Co. schools will dismiss for the year on Friday, May 30 and Martin Co.school will now dismiss on Friday, June 6.

Report: Big Companies Good at Avoiding State Taxes

FRANKFORT, Ky. - As the deadline closes in on Kentucky lawmakers to pass another tight budget, a report from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy shows that profitable Fortune 500 companies around the country, including Kentucky-based Yum Brands and Humana, pay little in state corporate income taxes. The report finds that companies constantly ask for more tax breaks, even as most already have seen their state tax rates decline since 2008.

According to Matt Gardner, director of ITEP, some firms even collect refunds after paying zero taxes. "I think part of the reason you see so many companies asking for these corporate handouts is that they know there's a track record of success," he said. According to the report, Yum Brands made $1.8 billion in profits, but avoided paying state corporate income taxes in two of the five years examined by the study. Kentucky's top corporate income tax rate is 6 percent, slightly lower than the national average, 6.25 percent.

Richard Beliles, the chairman of Common Cause Kentucky, said that the influence big corporations have on the General Assembly is, as he put it, "very frustrating." "We're just out-gunned and in the legislature, most of them, all they're thinking about is being re-elected, Democrats and Republicans," he charged. "And that's why they don't want to take on any important issues, any sensitive issues." Beliles said the most telling finding in the report about Kentucky is that corporate taxes now make up only 6.9 percent of the state's General Fund collection, whereas back in 1989 it was 11.6 percent.

Matt Gardner said he hopes the report serves as a reason for lawmakers to embark on corporate tax reform, but he acknowledged that's a tough job, because legislators often don't know what corporate taxes look like. "It's ludicrous that state lawmakers are being lobbied by these companies for further tax cuts without knowing whether these companies are paying any corporate taxes to begin with," Gardner declared. The report examined tax records of 269 large corporations - all profitable - and found that collectively, they avoided paying more than $73 billion dollars in state corporate taxes. Ninety of those companies, one in three, paid no state income tax at all. The report, "90 Reasons We Need State Corporate Tax Reform," is at CTJ.org.