Special Election for School Board Tax Approved by Board of Education
The Johnson Co School Board approved May 23 for the date of a recall election for the property tax increase set in September of 2014, during their monthly school board meeting on Monday, April 24. The cost of the election to the school district is an estimated $50,000. However, the impact if the “recallable nickel” school board tax is revoked is an estimated $800,000 of county tax funds and considerably more in matching state education funds according to the Tom Salyer, Johnson County School District Superintendent.
Jury Recommends Maximum Sentence in Martin Co Triple Murder Case
A Johnson Co jury recommended the maximum sentence for Amanda Bowen who was found guilty in a Martin Co triple murder case. The jury recommended life without parole for each of the three murders, 20 years for robbery and five years for tampering with evidence. Sentencing is set for May 19 in Johnson Co.
One Person Killed in Pike Co Crash
KSP reported that one person was killed in a crash on U.S. 23, near the Dorton community, Wednesday afternoon. Police say the crash happened around 1 p.m. and involved a car and a motorcycle. Both vehicles were traveling northbound when Police say the motorcyclist apparently slowed down in a work zone and the car hit the motorcycle from behind. The operator of the motorcycle died. Police say the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet. The crash is still under investigation, and police have not yet released the name of the victim. The crash caused a traffic backup on U.S. 23 in both the northbound and southbound lanes for several hours.
KSP Investigates Robbery in Pike Co
KSP in Pikeville are continuing to search for two men involved in a recent robbery in Pike Co. According to the original news release, in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 22, 2017, Post 9 Pikeville received a 911 call of a robbery at the Belfry Seven Eleven in Pike Co. Troopers responded to the scene and determined that two unknown males entered the business and approached the clerk. One of the subjects threw hot coffee in the clerk's face and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. The two males fled the service station on foot. The males were both described as wearing a sweatshirts, blue jeans, and ball caps. The Kentucky State Police is asking the public for any information relating to this case, and can call the Kentucky State Police Post 09 at (606) 433-7711. Callers can remain anonymous. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Trooper Michael Coleman.
Man Charged with Killing wife pleads not Guilty in Menifee Co
A man charged with murder in the death of his wife appeared in Menifee County District Court on Tuesday. Last week, police charged 20-year-old Austin Prater with murder, violating an Emergency Protective Order, leaving the scene of an accident, and tampering with physical evidence. According to investigators, Prater ran over his wife, 18-year old Mariah Prater, and left her on the side of the road to die. Police say they found her body in a ditch off the roadway. According to his arrest citation, Austin Prater told investigators his wife fell out of his truck. Prater entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday. He's due back in court on May 2 for a preliminary hearing. The grand jury meets before that date, so it's possible he could be indicted before then.
Train and Tractor-Trailer Collide in Letcher Co
Emergency officials in Letcher Co. responded Wednesday morning to a collision between a train and a tractor-trailer. Officials say the crash happened near KY-7 in the Colson community of Letcher Co. around 10:30 AM. Ky-7 remained closed for several hours while emergency crews cleared the scene. Officials have not released any further information and no word about injuries.
Governor Announces $1.3 Billion Aluminum Plant to be built in Greenup Co
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevins made a much anticipated announcement Wednesday, announcing a $1.3 billion aluminum mill that will be built in Greenup Co. Braidy Industries Inc. will build the mill and create 550 manufacturing jobs to produce sheet and plate for the automotive and aerospace industries. “Braidy Industries’ decision to locate in Eastern Kentucky has the potential to be as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky,” said Gov. Matt Bevin.
A 2.5 million square foot aluminum mill will be built near South Shore. The company expects construction to begin in early 2018, with completion scheduled for 2020. The facility will produce about 370,000 tons of aluminum per year for the automotive and aerospace industries, with opportunities to expand over time. According to a release, the average wage of workers in the new facility will be about $70,000 per year.
KSP Investigates Robbery in Pike Co
According to a news release from the KSP in Pikeville, in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 22, 2017, Post 9 Pikeville received a 911 call of a robbery at the Belfry Seven Eleven in Pike Co. Troopers responded to the scene and determined that two unknown males entered the business and approached the clerk. One of the subjects threw hot coffee in the clerk's face and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. The two males fled the service station on foot. The males were both described as wearing a sweatshirts, blue jeans, and ball caps. The Kentucky State Police is asking the public for any information relating to this case, and can call the Kentucky State Police Post 09 at (606) 433-7711. Callers can remain anonymous. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Trooper Michael Coleman.
Lawrence Co. Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges
Timothy Scott, 44 of Lawrence Co. recently entered a guilty plea to Distribution of Matter Portraying Sexual Performance by a Minor - 1st degree and Possessing Matter Portraying Sexual Performance by a Minor. Scott has final sentencing scheduled for May 12, 2017 in Lawrence Co.
Couple Accused in Connection to a Toddler's Death Now Facing Murder Charges
Here’s an update to a previous story out of Menifee Co., as a mother and her boyfriend accused in connection with the death of a 19-month-old are now facing murder charges in the case. 19-month-old Aria Blanton died at UK Hospital on April 19. Robert Collins and Laura Blanton are in the Montgomery County Jail. Deputies say that Collins brought Blanton's toddler daughter to her place of work with severe injuries. Collins claimed the injuries were caused by an accident. A co-worker of Blanton's called 911. Aria was airlifted to Kentucky Children's Hospital where she died. Her death has been ruled a homicide. Originally Collins and Blanton had only been charged with child abuse, but after facing a judge Tuesday, they are now facing murder charges. Blanton was laid to rest Monday in Salyersville, Ky.
West Liberty Police Warn of Prop Money in Circulation
According to officials in Morgan Co., the West Liberty Police Department warned businesses in the city to be aware of “movie prop-money” being passed around. Two prop $50 bills were discovered in circulation. The front of the bill has the wording “For Motion Picture Use Only” written across the top center and top right of each bill. The bill has “Fifty Bollars” written across the bottom, underneath the center picture. This type of money is available for purchase online in other denominations, such as $20 and $100. Be cautious when accepting bills and inform the police department if you encounter such money.
Governor Set to Unveil "Mystery Project" for Eastern Kentucky Today
Gov. Matt Bevin is set to unveil a mystery project Wednesday in Greenup Co. State lawmakers agreed to let Bevin borrow up to $15 million in late March to convince a company to bring up to 500 full-time jobs to struggling eastern Kentucky. The project is rumored to bring an investment of $1.3 billion, 1,000 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs with average annual salaries of $75,000. The announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the McConnell House in Wurtland.
State Government News
* Governor Bevin recently signed House Bill 156 into law, a piece of legislation sponsored by State Representative Chris Fugate. Fugate spoke at the Chamber of Commerce meeting in Hazard Tuesday, saying this bill establishes a trail authority, allowing trail systems to interconnect in our area. He said 17 county judges have passed resolutions through the Fiscal Courts. Representative Fugate said it will hopefully grow to the local economy and says it will impact all of Eastern Kentucky. "I believe it shows that the people in East Kentucky want to work together to see all of East Kentucky to grow and prosper economically with tourism," said Fugate. Senator Brandon Smith also spoke at the meeting.
Johnson Co Schools Summer Food Service Program
With summer break coming up, that means some families who count on school meals may find their resources stretched thin. In an attempt to continue providing adequate nutrition to the children of Johnson County, the Johnson County School District is looking to expand the Summer Food Service Program and provide lunch this summer at various locations throughout the county. Under the program, any child aged 18 and under can receive a free meal at a SFSP site. The school board is looking for community input to ensure easier access for all children, and a link to their survey can be found by visiting the WSIP website and clicking on the news page or visit the WSIP Face-Book page.