News

Lawrence Co. Woman Arrested on Several Charges in Johnson Co

According to the Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office, a Lawrence Co woman was arrested Wednesday after Deputies caught the woman driving high on drugs following a safety checkpoint. Deputies report they were conducting a traffic safety checkpoint Wednesday afternoon on Kentucky Highway 201 when Rebecca R. Clark, 38, of Louisa, pulled up in a maroon Hyundai. Deputies immediately noticed Clark was under the influence of meth. Clark was arrested at the scene after she failed field sobriety tests. Deputies say before searching the vehicle, they asked Clark several times if there were any needles in the car for fear of being stuck with one. Deputies say Clark reportedly told them there were no needles, but Deputies found multiple needles, as well as a hollowed out light bulb made into a meth pipe during their search. Clark now faces DUI, wanton endangerment of a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia and other charges. She was booked in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center. The Johnson Co Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that you can anonymously report drug activity by calling 606-789-3411.

 

Man Arrested on Child Abuse and Drug Charges

According to the Boyd Co Sheriff’s Office, Deputies arrested a man Tuesday on child abuse and drug charges. Davon L. Tippett, 40, was charged with first-degree child abuse, trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputies say they received information about a child in the Ashland school system who had “obvious signs of physical abuse.” They also say Tippett was tied to “a large scale drug trafficking operation” in the Ashland area, allegedly led by him. Deputies seized more than 1,100 oxycodone 30 milligram tablets, a handgun, a muzzleloader and other paraphernalia. Tippett was taken to the Boyd Co Detention Center.

 

Knott Co Gas Co Admits to Violations, Settles Case against Them

A natural gas company operated by Knott Co Judge-Executive Zach Weinberg has agreed to pay a fine to settle a complaint brought by the Kentucky Public Service Commission. According to information, Martin Gas was found to have violated state law by over-charging customers over $15,000 during a 21-month period in 2015 and 2016, and by acquiring $40,000 in debt without state approval. These discrepancies were discovered in papers filed by the company last year seeking a 62-percent rate increase. In filings with PSC, the company says the rate discrepancy was due to errors made by a former employee. It also says it has taken steps to ensure future compliance with state laws and regulations. Martin Gas has agreed to pay a $4,000 fine to settle the case and the company has already begun refunding customers amounts they were over-charged. Martin Gas serves 435 customers in Knott, Floyd and Perry counties.

 

 

Kentucky Judge Dismisses Challenge of Medical Marijuana Ban

A Kentucky judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on marijuana for medical purposes. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate recognized in a ruling Wednesday that marijuana has the potential for medicinal use. But he said the three people who filed the lawsuit do not have a constitutional right to violate a controlled-substance law. Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. Kentucky lawmakers have failed to consider proposals to do so. In 2014, the legislature allowed the limited prescription of cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant. The lawsuit was filed by three people who use medical marijuana. They could appeal the decision. An attorney representing them did not immediately respond to a phone call and email requesting comment.

 

Police Asking for Public’s Help in Locating Wanted Suspect

Kentucky State Police along with the Floyd Co Sheriff’s Office are searching for a Betsy Layne man that fled from them during a traffic stop. Officials say the incident started when a Trooper pulled over a car on US 23 in the Betsy Layne community of Floyd Co. The trooper reported that he questioned the driver and a passenger, then went back to his cruiser to run their licenses, that’s when the passenger jumped out of the vehicle and fled into the brush leading to the riverbank, possibly due to the active warrants for his arrest. KSP Troopers and Floyd Co. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene to assist in the search throughout the area, but the suspect remains on the run. The man has been identified as 38-year-old Billy Hunt, of Banner. Officials ask that if anyone has any information as to his whereabouts of Hunt, please contact their local law enforcement agency.

 

Man Arrested on Child Abuse and Drug Charges

According to the Boyd Co Sheriff’s Office, Deputies arrested a man Tuesday on child abuse and drug charges. Davon L. Tippett, 40, was charged with first-degree child abuse, trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputies say they received information about a child in the Ashland school system who had “obvious signs of physical abuse.” They also say Tippett was tied to “a large scale drug trafficking operation” in the Ashland area, allegedly led by him. Deputies seized more than 1,100 oxycodone 30 milligram tablets, a handgun, a muzzleloader and other paraphernalia. Tippett was taken to the Boyd Co Detention Center.

 

Wanted Man Arrested after Stealing $15,000 in Tobacco Products

A man wanted for a series of thefts in multiple counties is now behind bars. On Tuesday morning Deputies with the Perry Co Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call after workers at Pigeon Roost Tobacco in Perry Co found out their store had been broken into. When Deputies arrived at the scene, they the door had been kicked in and approximately $15,000 worth of cigarettes and tobacco had been stolen. Deputies say within an hour of the call, evidence collected at the business led Deputies to the house of Charles Douglas Griffith, where they found Griffith allegedly in the process of unloading the cigarettes out of his car. Griffith also had five outstanding warrants for other various crimes, including a string of thefts in Breathitt Co. Griffith has been charged with multiple theft and burglary charges.

 

No Danger Found after Written Threat Found At Rowan Co. High School

The Rowan Co Sheriff’s Office said that they have investigated a written threat found at the high school and feel that no one is in danger. They say that the vaguely written note was found in the bathroom on Wednesday. The Sheriff’s Office said that they investigate these types of threats on a regular basis throughout the school year and add the safety of students is always a number one priority.

 

Floyd Co Using Drug Deactivation Pouch to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Floyd Co is one of four pilot locations in the State taking action to fight against opioid addiction. According to WYMT reports, on Tuesday afternoon Judge/Executive Ben Hale received a shipment of 10,000 Deterra drug deactivation pouches. The pouches serve as a new way to dispose of any unused medication. Hale said data for 2016 shows there were more than six million pills in Floyd Co.and last year alone there was 116 thousand prescriptions written for opioids in Floyd Co. Attorney General Andy Beshear started this program to fight a growing problem not just in Eastern Kentucky, but across the state. The pouches are small and simple to use. You put the pills in the pouch, fill it halfway with warm water, wait 30 seconds, seal it, shake it up and throw it away. The pouches can hold up to 45 pills, six ounces of liquid drugs or six patches. Floyd, Perry, Henderson, and McCracken counties are the first to try the program. The pouches are free and the sheriff’s offices will distribute them to the community.

 

Two People Facing Burglary Charges in Martin Co

According to reports from the Martin Co. Sheriff’s Office, two people are facing burglary charges in Martin Co. Officials say the burglary happened on Sunday at one of the suspect’s family member’s home. 42-year-old Larry Mitchell Brewer and his 44-year-old girlfriend Suzanne Webb, both of Lovely, allegedly confessed to the crime after they were pulled over by the Martin Co Sheriff’s Office. The couple were originally pulled over for expired tags, but were found to be in possession of stolen items. Brewer and Webb have been charged with second-degree burglary and were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Paintsville.

Former Bath Co Attorney Faces Drug Charges

A former Bath Co attorney who pleaded guilty to buying votes in Central Kentucky has been arrested on drug charges. Donald “Champ” Maze is charged with cocaine possession and evidence tampering after being pulled over Monday afternoon on I-64. Owingsville police say that they stopped him for driving recklessly. Maze was convicted, sentenced, and served 21 months in federal prison for buying votes and lying to a grand jury.

 

Highlands Health System to Merge with Appalachian Regional Healthcare

Officials announced on Tuesday that Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) and Highlands Health System will merge the Prestonsburg-based Highlands Regional Medical Center and other Highlands health facilities and services into the multi-hospital ARH system. They hope to finalize the transaction by early next year. Harold C. Warman, President of Highlands Health System, said the merger will ensure that the communities Highlands serves will continue to have local access to the level of high-quality, cutting-edge healthcare Highlands has provided for the more than 44 years.

Under the agreement, Highlands Regional Medical Center will operate under the new name, Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center, and will become the 12th hospital in the ARH system. All other Highlands outpatient services and facilities in Floyd, Johnson, Martin and Magoffin counties are also included in the merger. ARH offers a wide-range of primary and specialty care services through its network of health facilities and partnerships with other health systems, virtually eliminating residents’ need to leave the area for care.

 

Update on KY-321 Bridge Construction in Johnson Co

Many have been asking about the progress of the bridge construction on Highway 321 south of Paintsville-where work seems to have stopped over the past few weeks. Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet say work is set to resume on October 2. We’re told the work stopped unexpectedly due to CSX railroad’s concerns about the need for flaggers for trains that run under the bridge. An agreement between CSX and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has been finalized. However, in the meantime, the contractor on the bridge project, in order to keep its crew working, moved to a project in Perry County. Those crews should return to work on the bridge on October 2.

 

‘High Attendance Day’ announced for Kentucky Schools

A high attendance day at schools across the Commonwealth will be taking place today to emphasize the importance of classroom time for students. Elementary, Middle and High schools will compete in small or large school categories with the chance to win awards based on their performance. The school in each category with the highest percentage attendance on Tuesday, Sept. 20 will win $500. The goal of this statewide competition is for schools to achieve 100 percent attendance, as part of National School Attendance Awareness Month, which falls in September.Research indicates a child’s attendance record is one of the strongest predictors of their academic success. Students with irregular attendance may not develop the responsibility, effective work skill and self-discipline necessary for success in school, life and the work place. According to a release, ties for elementary and middle schools will be broken by the attendance on the previous day.

 

Construction Begins on Bridge along US-23 in Floyd Co

US-23 is down to one lane in each direction as bridge construction begins this week near Allen in Floyd County. That bridge restoration project is expected to be complete in 30 days. Officials urge motorists to use caution and reduce their speed as they travel through the work zone.

 

Not Guilty Plea Entered In Forgery Case

A not guilty plea is being entered by a Kentucky bank employee accused of stealing nearly-one-and-a-half-million-dollars.  Martin Ross works at Town Square Bank in Boyd County and allegedly put loans together using phony names.  The 52-year-old is accused of using birth dates and Social Security numbers to get together the fake loans.  He’s charged with forgery.  Ross pleaded not guilty last week and is due back in court this week.

 

Crash Involving Tanker on Interstate 64

A crash involving a tanker occurred early Monday morning along Interstate 64 near the Huntington Mall. WSAZ-TV reports the tanker was hauling well over 8,000 gallons of propane, but fortunately none of it leaked. The east-bound lanes of the highway were closed for nearly 8 hours while crews cleared the scene. No one was reported hurt.

 

Wolfe County Crews Cleaning the Gorge

Crews with Wolfe County Search and Rescue were busy over the weekend cleaning up the Red River Gorge. In a video posted on the agency’s Facebook page, crews pressure washed graffiti that vandals had spray-painted on some of the rocks in the popular tourist destination. Garbage was also picked up along trails. More clean-up projects are planned in that area in the future.

 

Prestonsburg City Officials Plan to Build Community Center

Prestonsburg officials met Monday night discussing future projects in the city. Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton made a big announcement regarding plans to build a new community center in Prestonsburg. City officials say they also hope to begin construction on a new trail in the near future.

 

Magoffin Residents Planning Community’s Future

Residents in one portion of Magoffin County are discussing the future of their community. A group known as the South Magoffin Community Activists are working to develop a plan to fulfil the needs of the South Magoffin community. That group is holding a planning meeting tonight (Tuesday 9/19) at 6 at South Magoffin Mini-Center.

 

Paintsville Church Honors Police Officers

One local church was pleased to welcome and honor police officers and their families on Sunday morning at their church service. Church members at Paintsville First United Methodist Church say the special service was in honor of National Thank a Police Officer Day. All active and retired officers were made welcome. Those in attendance received a special card and pen and were recognized during the service.

 

BSCTC to Host “Free Music in the Park” in Paintsville

Big Sandy Community and Technical College will host Free Music in the Park on Saturday, September 23 beginning at 6p.m. at their Mayo campus park on Third Street in Paintsville. Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair and enjoy the music of Big Sandy Idol contestants from both Johnson Central and Paintsville High School. In the event of rain, the event will be moved into the auditorium, also on the Mayo Campus.

 

Wanted Man in Johnson Co Arrested in Floyd Co on Drug Charges

Police in Floyd Co. say they arrested a man wanted out of Johnson Co. Friday. Reports indicate that 26-year old Robert Clark was arrested on Big Branch of Bull Creek Road in Floyd Co. after Police responded to a call of a man in the middle of the road trying to get into cars on KY 302. He was later discovered to actually be 40-year old Daniel Clark of Stambaugh. Reports say while being placed under arrest, a bag was found in Clark’s pocket that allegedly contained marijuana, an orange pill, a white powdery substance, a pipe and a spoon. Clark reportedly told officers that the white powdery substance was given to him by a local hospital to treat his prostate. A field test kit identified the substance as cocaine.

Clark was charged with possession of marijuana, two-counts of possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia and giving an officer a false name. He was also found to have an indictment warrant in Johnson Co for manufacturing methamphetamine and being a persistent felony offender in the 1st degree. Reports indicate that while being held at the Floyd Co Detention Center, Clark allegedly became irate and combative. The Prestonsburg Police Department was called back to the jail in to assist and as a result, Clark was additionally charged with 3rd degree assault on a police officer.

 

Martin Co Sheriff’s Dept. make Two Unrelated DUI Arrests

According to reports out of Martin Co. the Martin Co. Sheriff’s Office report they received a tip about a possible driver, driving under the influence at the Wildcat Mart in Inez last Thursday, Sept 14. When deputies arrived on scene, they approached a vehicle with a female inside, identified as Courtney Moore. Deputies say they immediately noticed a pill bottle in the front seat of the vehicle. Moore was arrested and charged with (1) operating a motor vehicle under the influence, (2) third-degree possessing a contained substance, (3) second-degree possessing a contained substance, (4) operating on a suspended license, (5) failure to surrender a revoked license and (6) first-degree prescription contained substance not properly contained.

While performing the arrest on Moore, Deputies say they noticed another car park in the middle of Wildcat Mart’s parking lot. When Deputies got to that vehicle, they found a man identified as Richard Maynard. Maynard was arrested and charged with (1) operating a motor vehicle under the influence and (2) no registration receipt. Both Moore and Maynard were lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

 

One Man Killed In Breathitt Co Crash

A Breathitt Co man was killed in a crash Thursday night. According to the Kentucky State Police, the crash happened just after 9 p.m. on KY 1110 in the Whick community of Breathitt Co. The victim was identified as David Roberts, 56. Police say Roberts was driving west on KY 1110 when he lost control of his car, crossed the center line and hit a tree. Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene by the Breathitt Co Coroner, George Griffith.

 

Rowan Co. Man Allegedly Shoots at KSP Trooper’s Home

A Rowan Co man was recently arrested after investigators say he shot at a State Trooper’s home. Police in Rowan Co. say they arrested Joseph Mirus on Wednesday night in the Clearfield community of Rowan Co. Investigators were called out to Scott Court for a report that someone in a pickup truck was allegedly shooting at a trooper’s home. Rowan Co. Sheriff Deputies say when they were in route to the scene, they passed a man driving a truck and the man was leaning out of the driver side window screaming. Deputies said they followed the truck, which was allegedly swerving all over the roadway. The driver, Joseph Mirus would lead the Deputies on a chase from Route 60, through downtown Morehead, before Mirus stopped when he pulled in the driveway of his home. Deputies say Mirus then exited the vehicle and approached the Deputies, cursing and yelling. Mirus was placed under arrest at that point. Investigators said he failed field sobriety tests. Deputies found a Glock 27 under the driver’s seat, a .38 revolver in the cupholder, and a box of ammo in the floor board. According to the arrest citation, investigators found four spent shell casings in the bed of the truck, the same caliber of one shell they said they found at the trooper’s home. Mirus has been charged with fleeing or evading police, driving under the influence, carrying a concealed weapon, and menacing.

 

Boyd Co Bank Employee Pleads Not Guilty in Forgery Scheme

Here’s an update to a story from Friday, a bank employee in Boyd Co. has pleaded not guilty to forgery charges after he processed more than $1 million in loans for people who aren’t real. Martin Ross, 53, has been charged with forgery, possession of a forgery device, filing an illegal lien and theft of identity of another without consent. According to reports, information was gathered from Town Square Bank, where Ross worked, that he had processed loans through the bank for several fictitious persons. The names were confirmed to be fraudulent through dispatch and NCIC where the social security numbers and dates of birth belonged to other real Kentucky residents. A search warrant was serves at Ross’ house and bank statements, deed and loan documents, IRS and tax returns were found in the names of the fictitious people identified by the bank. Electronic documents were provided by the bank from Ross’ computer that contained a blank deed which Ross would alter to get loans and credit reports that were also able to be altered. The total amount gained totals more than $1.3 million. Ross is being held in the Greenup County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond and is due back in court Sept. 20 for a preliminary hearing.

 

State Government News

* Kentucky prosecutors say the state’s criminal justice system will effectively shut down if they are not exempted from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget cuts. Bevin has proposed budget cuts of 17.4 percent across most of state government. He said the cuts would save the state $350 million, enough money to avoid a projected $200 million shortfall and put $150 million into the state’s reserves. The plan would cut nearly $16 million from state prosecutors. Commonwealth’s attorneys and county attorneys’ representatives told state lawmakers Friday the cuts would force them to lay off one out of every three employees across the state.

* Governor Matt Bevin has announced he’s working on a plan to eliminate Kentucky’s state income tax. In a message to Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce, the Governor said he’d like to zero out the state’s income tax, which ranges from 2% to 6% depending on the tax bracket. Governor Bevin says he will tackle the issue after a special session to fix the state’s pension crisis. House Speaker Jeff Hoover says he will appoint lawmakers to begin planning the shift. As of now, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, do not collect income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee don’t collect income taxes, but do tax income from investments.

 


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