Mr. James "Jamie" Terrill Branscum of Whitley City, son of Carol Branscum, passed away Wednesday October 22, 2014. Funeral services will be Saturday at 2:00PM at Resurrection Life Christian Center with burial in Mill Creek Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday after 6:00PM at McCreary County Funeral Home. Jamie's body will lie in state after 1:00PM Saturday at Resurrection Life Christian Center. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lord's Gym PO Box 129 Pine Knot, KY 42635. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Updated Friday October 24, 2014 @ 7:00am

The Pulaski County man accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a sinkhole appeared in court this week to formally answer to murder charges. Johnny Hendrix was arrested a short time after Monica Wells was reported missing and her body eventually discovered in the sinkhole not far from her home. Hendrix has entered a not guilty plea to murder charges after a Pulaski County judge refused to amend the charge to manslaughter. Information came out in court that Hendrix may have become upset after learning that Wells was with another man. The case has been held over for a grand jury with Johnny Hendrix being held on $500,000 bond. Monica Wells funeral was held earlier this week.

State officials have reported that for the second consecutive month, in September 2014, unemployment rates dropped in all 120 Kentucky counties, including McCreary County. Locally, the jobless rate improved from 9.9% in August to 9.2% in September, a drop of more than three points from one year ago when the rate for McCreary County was nearly 13%. Other neighboring counties also saw improved jobless rates including Pulaski County where the rate inched from 7.2% in August to 6.6% last month. Wayne County saw an improved rate of 8.1%, down from 8.8% the previous month, while Whitley County improved its jobless rate from 7.9% to 7.3%. Kentucky’s unemployment rate was also down from 6.5% in August to 6% last month, compared to the national rate of 5.7% in September. For more on unemployment rates and the labor market in Kentucky visit

Crews from the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be joined by volunteers this Saturday (October 25th) for a Yamacraw Bridge area cleanup in McCreary County. Those taking part should meet at 8:30am in the parking area on the east side of the river just off Highway 92. Volunteers will sign in and begin the clean up from the parking area and should wear comfortable, sturdy shoes or boots, dress appropriately for the weather and bring water with them. Trash bags and trash grabbers will be provided. For information on Saturday’s cleanup around the Yamacraw Bridge area, call Effie Houston with the Big South Fork at 423-569-2404 ext. 228.

The weekly arrest report from the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department ending Monday October 20th shows a total of eight individuals arrested by department staff for the week. 36 year old Clayton Lewis of Whitley City was arrested October 15th for non-payment of fines; 25 year old James Strunk was picked up October 17th for possession of marijuana and fleeing or evading police; 45 year old Lonnie Stephens was arrested October 17th for burglary and theft by unlawful taking; 38 year old Donny Bell of Oneida was nabbed October 18th for non-payment of fines; 18 year old Brandon McConnell was arrested October 18th for assault; 19 year old Miranda Allen was jailed October 18th for alcohol intoxication and assault; 21 year old Scottie Lyons was arrested October 18th for alcohol intoxication; and 64 year old Sharon Adkins was taken into custody October 19th for careless driving and driving under the influence. These arrests reflect only those by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department over the past week and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers or agencies.

The two party nominees for McCreary County Sheriff squared off Monday night in the “Truth or Politics” debate for the office. Republican incumbent Sheriff Gus Skinner and Democratic challenger Randy Waters took part in the program and answered questions about their vision for the sheriff’s department over the next four years. One issue dividing the candidates was whether the local department should take the lead on drug busts or work with other agencies. Waters said as sheriff he would lead the way on busting drug dealers which would not only get them off the streets but also provide revenue for the department through asset forfeitures. Skinner said he works with other agencies, including state police and the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force, to secure more arrests and more jail time for offenders. Waters also pushed for a partial payment option for property taxes, while Sheriff Skinner highlighted his more than thirty years of experience in law enforcement. Each candidate made a final push for votes and support in their closing statements.

Danny Lee Crabtree, who lost his bid for sheriff in the primary, has entered the race on November 4th as a write-in candidate, but failed to attend and take part in Monday’s debate. The next candidate debate will be Monday October 27th at 6:00pm at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center when candidates for County Judge Executive will answer questions.

While McCreary County officials say there is no need for panic and the chance of a health emergency such as an outbreak of Ebola locally is very minimal, they are nonetheless preparing as a precautionary measure. The McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office recently participated in a conference call with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and is implementing preparedness measures to be ready in case of a health emergency. According to information released this week, Judge Executive Doug Stephens is directing all the county’s emergency responders to follow guidelines set forth by the CDC and has issued an executive order to that effect. In a statement issued this week, Judge Stephens said “there is very little probability that we will have to face an emergency related to this disease here in our community. However, as the situation grows so does concern and the need to be prepared.” McCreary County Emergency Management Director Rudy Young is monitoring the situation, along with EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett and other county officials. Right now, say county leaders, the best thing for local residents to do is to not panic, and take simple precautionary measures to avoid the spread of illnesses, just as they would to avoid spreading the flu. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly; avoid contact with ill persons; remain home if you are sick; and contact health officials or 911 if you are ill with your symptoms to ensure proper treatment can be planned without spreading the illness to others. More information on McCreary County’s response to Ebola and other health emergency preparedness is available on the official county website at That includes the recent executive order, an Ebola fact sheet and instructions for putting on personal protective gear. A link is also included for up to date information from the CDC website.

Each year, the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual meeting and banquet including installation of new officers and board members, presentation of awards, dinner and entertainment. This year’s banquet is scheduled for Tuesday October 28th at the McCreary Center of Somerset Community College in Whitley City. Tickets for the banquet are available in advance for $20 per person and can be purchased at United Cumberland Bank by seeing Trey Ball or Whitney Tucker. The last day to purchase tickets is Monday October 27th.

Authorities report a crash in southern Pulaski County Friday evening at about 9:00pm. It happened on US Highway 27 near the Keno Road area when police say 33 year old Tasha Cox fell asleep behind the wheel and drifted off the roadway crashing into an embankment. While Cox, and the five year old child in the vehicle, suffered non-life threatening injuries, both were reportedly transported to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset for treatment.

With the countdown to Election Day now under two weeks, it’s all hands on deck for the McConnell and Grimes Senate campaigns ahead of November 4th. Alison Lundergan Grimes has recently had some heavy hitters batting for her across Kentucky including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton. Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife is also out pushing for his re-election including an upcoming visit to McCreary County. McConnell’s wife is former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao who served all eight years of the George W. Bush administration. She will make a stop in downtown Stearns this Friday October 24th at 4:00pm with the public welcome and light refreshments planned. The stop is being sponsored in part by the McCreary County Republican Party. Mitch McConnell is seeking to retain the US Senate seat from Kentucky that he has held for the past thirty years. Grimes, who is Kentucky’s current Secretary of State, is running to defeat him saying during her campaign that thirty years of McConnell is enough.

The McCreary County Senior Citizens Center will play host next month to a “Medicare Checkup” event for seniors. Open enrollment for Medicare for 2015 is underway through early December and representatives from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, known as “SHIP”, will be on hand Friday November 7th to discuss Medicare benefits. These representatives will provide unbiased, accurate information to help seniors determine their needs. For information on the free program, or to make an appointment, call Sonya at 1-800-264-7093.

With just over two weeks until Kentuckians go to the polls to cast their ballots in important races, last week US District Judge William Bertelsman issued an injunction against Kentucky’s law that prohibits campaigning within 300 feet of a polling place. The suit seeking the injunction was brought by a Kentucky business and property owner who wanted to post campaign signs on his property which fell within the 300 foot barrier. The judge ruled that the law banning such campaigning violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. Kentucky’s Secretary of State and Attorney General joined to appeal that decision and late Friday a decision was returned by the federal appeals court. That ruling upheld the injunction which allows private property owners to post campaign material on their property even if it is within 300 feet of the polling place. However, the decision also allows Kentucky to continue enforcing a ban on campaigning within 300 feet of a polling place on public property. The actual grounds around a polling place and inside the polling place also remain off limits to campaigning efforts on Election Day.

For those who will be out of town or otherwise unable to go to the polls on Tuesday November 4th to vote, they still have options in terms of casting their ballot. Some may qualify to do a mail-in absentee ballot but an application should be submitted no later than October 28th to receive you absentee ballot by mail. The actual ballot must be back to the County Clerk’s office by Election Day. Another option for those unable to vote November 4th is absentee voting in person at the McCreary County Clerk’s Office which is underway now through Monday November 3rd. For details on absentee voting or voter registration contact the clerk’s office at 376-2411 or stop by in the McCreary County Courthouse.

The series of candidate debates held by the Truth or Politics program will continue this evening (Monday October 20th) with candidates for McCreary County Sheriff taking part. Republican Gus Skinner won the office in 2006 as a write in candidate and then claimed re-election in 2010. Skinner went on to narrowly defeat challenger Milford Creekmore II in this past May’s primary and will seek a third term on November 4th. Democrat Randy Waters, a former McCreary County Constable, was originally named the winner of the 2006 race but a court decision on write-in votes allowed Skinner to take office. Waters ran again in 2010, winning the Democratic primary, but losing to Skinner in the General Election. Now, Randy Waters will face Skinner again this November after winning his party’s primary this year. Danny Lee Crabtree, who lost his bid for sheriff in this year’s Republican primary by a large margin, has also reentered the race this time around as a write-in candidate. All three have an invitation to take part in tonight’s debate which will air live on WHAY 98.3FM at 6:00pm. Live audience members are also welcome at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center. Candidates and audience members are asked to arrive and be seated by 5:45pm. The debate for McCreary County Judge Executive candidates will be next Monday October 27th.

The case that began as a search for a missing Pulaski County woman this week has now become a homicide investigation with the discovery of her body late Wednesday. Police say 34 year old Monica Wells was reported missing Tuesday and police searched for her until they found her lifeless body in a sinkhole well about 12 feet deep. Investigators say Wells was last seen alive arguing with her boyfriend, 35 year old Johnny Hendrix, in front of her 8 year old son Tuesday morning. Hendrix had fled the area as police searched for Wells but he was located at a residence in Leslie County Wednesday night and was arrested on the charges of assault and murder. Authorities are still searching for Hendrix’s brother, Freddy Pennington, who they believe witnessed the assault or may have been involved. Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department at 606-678-5145. Hendrix was lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center under $500,000 bond.

Two Scott County, Tennessee sheriff’s deputies were injured early Wednesday morning as they pursued a domestic dispute suspect. The Scott County Sheriff’s Department reports that Captain Gary Sexton and SGT. Paul Adkins responded to the dispute call and spotted the suspect traveling on US Highway 27 in the New River area when they began the pursuit. Foggy conditions resulted in the officers striking each other’s vehicles just north of New River Bridge. Both deputies were seriously injured in the wreck and were transported from the scene to the hospital for treatment. The suspect in the case fled the scene and was still at large at last report. The accident is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is coordinating an effort to clean up around the Yamacraw bridge area in western McCreary County. The cleanup is scheduled for Saturday October 25th starting at 8:30am when volunteers will meet at the parking lot on the east of the river just off Highway 92. Morning snacks, coffee and water will be available at that time followed by volunteers cleaning up around the area. Trash bags, trash grabbers and portable restroom facilities will be available on site. For more information or to volunteer call Chelsea at 376-3787 or Effie at 423-569-2404 ext. 228.

A Pulaski County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against a Stanford man for first degree assault in connection with the August 2013 shooting of a McCreary County native. 24 year old Troy A. McAninch was indicted this month on the charges related to his alleged shooting of Luster “Levi” Rose of Parkers Lake at the intersection of the KY 914 bypass and KY Highway 1247 just outside Somerset more than a year ago. The McCreary County Record reports on the indictment and the shooting.

Authorities have arrested a Pulaski County Sunday School teacher on charges of sexually abusing a teenager. Police say 30 year old Rex Murphy of Eubank was taken into custody this week on three felony charges related to accusations that he sexually abused the underage boy. Lexington’s WKYT television reports that Murphy is a Sunday School teacher at Polly Ann Church of God in Pulaski County. The case remains under investigation with Murphy lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center.

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department has reported a light week of arrests, with only four suspects taken into custody during the week ending Monday October 13th. Billie Bolin age 27 was arrested on a warrant for forgery; Brittany New age 25 was arrested for public intoxication; Chas Anderson age 42 was arrested on a warrant for bail jumping; and Brandon Hill age 28 was nabbed on warrants for burglary, theft and non-payment of fines. These arrests reflect only those executed by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the past week and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers in the county.

McCreary County officials recently received a letter of approval from state officials concerning their efforts toward solid waste management. The letter dated October 6th comes from the Department of Environmental Protection, part of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. The letter, directed to McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens, states that the county is making progress toward its solid waste management plan for 2013 through 2017. The Division of Waste Management commended the county for making progress with the plan as well as litter abatement funds received annually by the county. Those funds are used in part to fund a county position held by Donnie Morgan, who also serves as the county’s recycling coordinator. Counties are required to prepare and submit to the state a solid waste management plan each five years.

The house fire that killed three people in McCreary County early Sunday morning was likely not caused by foul play according to Kentucky State Police investigators. They told media sources this week that the fire was likely electrical, possibly related to a heater that was in use, but was likely not intentionally set. Funeral services for 52 year old David Perkins, 48 year old Lisa Young, first identified as Lisa Perkins, and 2 year old Shaelynn Crabtree will be Thursday afternoon at McCreary County Funeral Home. The fatal fire was first reported to authorities just before 6:00am Sunday and was on Sycamore Trail off Williamsburg Street in Whitley City.

The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department reports an arrest in a stabbing incident that took place on October 4th. The incident was reported as part of a domestic disturbance in the Cane Creek area where officers say Roy Thomas and Aaron Nelson were involved in a physical dispute. Nelson was stabbed in the leg during the altercation and was treated at the scene and then flown to UT Medical Center in Knoxville. Thomas admitted to stabbing Nelson but told investigators it was self defense. After a week on investigating the case, the sheriff’s department obtained an arrest warrant and took 43 year old Roy Thomas of Williamsburg into custody this past weekend on charges of second degree assault and third degree terroristic threatening. Thomas was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center as the investigation continues.

The Blue Heron Interpretive Center in McCreary County will host a special dulcimer music concert this Saturday October 18th at 12:00pm. The Knoxville Area Dulcimer Club will be performing at the Blue Heron Mining Camp site for the free concert. The club is a non-profit group that teaches and shares the playing of Appalachian and hammered dulcimers at events throughout the region. Limited seating will be provided for the event but you can also bring your own outdoor chair. The event is wheelchair accessible. For information or directions to Blue Heron, call 376-3787 or visit the Big South Fork park website at

McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens has signed an executive order setting the official trick-or-treating hours for the county. Halloween activities will be Friday October 31st from 5:00-8:00pm. The McCreary County Park Senior Citizens Center building will host a “Trunk-or-Treat” event that evening followed by a dance in the gym at the park. For information on the event call 376-8811 or 376-7275.

Those who hike in McCreary County, and more specifically those who hike the Lick Creek Trail and the nationally recognized Sheltowee Trace Trail, will notice a new pedestrian bridge has been completed. The project was a joint effort of the US Forest Service and National Park Service to complete a new bridge over Lick Creek in the Stearns District of the Daniel Boone National Forest in western McCreary County near the boundary of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The creek crossing also forms the intersection of the Lick Creek Trail and the Sheltowee Trace National Trail. The 16 foot steel I-beam bridge also includes pressure treated lumber for the decking and was built by US Forest Service employees. The Big South Fork, part of the National Park Service, contributed the building materials for the project. For additional information on the project or on recreational opportunities in the area you can call the Stearns District of the Daniel Boone National Forest at 376-5323 or the Big South Fork park at 423-286-7275.

The McCreary County Hiking Club will participate in two scenic hikes this Saturday October 18th with anyway interested invited to join the group. They will meet at and leave from the McCreary County Extension Office at the McCreary Center at 9:00am Saturday morning and will then travel to the Buzzard Rock Overlook area for a hike that is about a one mile round trip. The hike is rated easy, but does have a couple of short hills. The overlook from Buzzard Rock provides a great scenic view of the Big South Fork River. A second hike will be tackled by the hiking club at Three Forks of Beaver Overlook which is a two mile loop trail rated easy with very little elevation change. This trails leads to the overlook with a view of the Beaver Creek Wilderness Area. There is no fee for the hikes. For information contact Greg Whitis at the McCreary County Extension Service at 376-2524.

An early Sunday morning house fire in McCreary County claimed three lives according to Kentucky State Police. The fire was reported before 6:00am Sunday on Sycamore Trail, off Williamsburg Street, in Whitley City. 52 year old David Perkins, 48 year old Lisa Perkins and 2 year old Shaelynn Crabtree were all pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators believe all three died from smoke inhalation but autopsies are planned and the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.

In addition to nearly two dozen drug-trafficking suspects arrested in recent weeks by authorities in McCreary County, The McCreary County Voice reports that another ten suspects were picked up last week. Local law enforcement officials say as their investigation continues, even further arrests are possible.

The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department reports that the suspect in a school bus hit and run last Thursday has been apprehended and is facing charges. The collision took place on Junior Rowland Road when a grey and silver car struck the bus and then fled the scene. While officers searched for the vehicle involved, a woman identified as 34 year old Krystal Smith of Williamsburg called the Whitley County School’s bus garage and claimed to be the driver of the car that hit the bus. Upon investigation, officers found that Smith was lying and was actually not the driver. She was charged with falsely reporting an incident and was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. As the investigation continued, officers obtained an arrest warrant for 21 year old Preston Rains for leaving the scene of an accident and failure to render aid second offense. Additional charges on the warrant included driving on a DUI suspended license and possession of a controlled substance. Rains was located after several hours, but officers say he resisted arrest leading to an additional charge. He was also in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia at the time of his arrest and was charged with those crimes. After being lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center, investigators say Rains was found to be in possession of additional marijuana leading to the charge of promoting contraband. The Whitley county Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the investigation, says no children were injured during last Thursday’s hit and run.

The “Truth or Politics” program has been holding a series of candidate debates ahead of the November 4th elections and was also set to host a debate on the upcoming wet/dry vote for the Stearns precinct. That debate was scheduled for this evening (Monday October 13th) but show host and moderator Darlene Price says that despite offering seats on the panel to both sides of the issue, a lack of significant response from those opposing Stearns alcohol sales has resulted in the debate being cancelled. The vote is slated for Tuesday November 4th, along with the regular General Election, but only those already registered to vote in the Stearns precinct will be able to vote “yes” or “no” on alcohol sales. The measure, if it passes, will only impact the historic district of Stearns and not the entire precinct, although all voters in the precinct can vote. The measure would allow for sales by the drink at restaurants and at special events in the historic district. Those with questions regarding the wet/dry vote in Stearns or their eligibility to vote should contact the McCreary County Clerk’s office. The next live “Truth or Politics” program will be Monday October 20th when candidates for McCreary County Sheriff will debate.

The latest numbers are in and a decline has been reported in McCreary County’s Occupational Tax for September. According to the numbers released by the Judge Executive’s Office this week, a total of $6,059.82 came in last month from the tax collections, down from more than $7,600 in September one year ago. Last month, just over $18.00 in interest came in from the tax fund for a total collection of $6,078.24. After just over $3,000 in administrative expenses for the month, $3,033.61 was left to be deposited in the county’s General Fund. For complete details on McCreary County’s Occupational Tax, including monthly tax reports, visit the tax page online at

The owner of an online medical equipment company has reportedly been indicted by a Pulaski County Grand Jury on charges that he stole from a Somerset doctor. Kyle Lulow is facing two Class D felony counts for allegedly stealing $5,000 from a doctor who ordered an ultrasound machine from the man’s Ohio based company. The doctor told investigators the equipment was never delivered despite paying for the order. Listeners are reminded that a grand jury indictment is not a finding of guilt but formally charges a suspect in a case for further action.

The final regular session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court before the November 4th election was held Thursday evening with mainly routine items on a short agenda. The court approved minutes from the September session, as well as a September financial statement and transfers as presented by County Treasurer Mark Sewell. The court also approved a measure to seek bids for a new 911 radio console system which will be purchased using grant funding and will allow for all new equipment at the local dispatch center. Stacey Earnest was hired as a PRN (part time as needed) paramedic; Carrie Jones was re-appointed to the West McCreary Fire District; and Adam Phillips and Kathy Reed were re-appointed to two year terms on the 109 Solid Waste Board.

Most county department heads were on hand to give updates on activities including Donnie Morgan, who serves as litter abatement and recycling coordinator for the county. Morgan said a recent shipment of recycled items was sent out, earning the county money, and that he recently delivered 70 tires for recycling as part of the county’s ongoing tire recycling program. That allows McCreary County residents to dispose of old, unwanted tires properly, and free of charge, using state grant funds. Other departments reporting to fiscal court included Susan Stephens, Economic Development Director; James Jones, county maintenance; Milford Creekmore, Animal Control Officer; Rudy Young, Emergency Management; Jimmy Barnett, EMS and 911; and Melissa Vanover, County Park Manager.

The court also discussed the need for generator backup and a new computer system for the road department garage. According to Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell, the system sometimes locks up and will not allow county vehicles to get fuel, including ambulances, law enforcement and road department equipment. He said with winter weather ahead that could become a dangerous situation. He added that with generator backup, even with a power outage the fuel pumps could still operate. Powell said the county’s LGEA fund has about $250,000 currently and will still have about $150,000 after an upcoming payment for a road department truck. He said that money could be used for the upgrades which he estimated would cost between $30,000-$35,000, including the cost of a generator, plus the cost of a new computer. The court agreed to solicit bids on the project to review and possibly accept next month.

The next regular meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be Thursday November 13th at 7:00pm, more than a week after the November 4th General Election which will determine the makeup of the court starting in January.

A father and son are reportedly dead following a Tuesday night crash in southern McCreary County. Kentucky State Police report it happened at about 10:00pm Tuesday on US Highway 27 at Job Corps Road in the Pine Knot area when a Chevy Trailblazer, driven by 29 year old Shea Coffey of Stearns, crossed the centerline of the highway and struck another vehicle head on. The driver of the second vehicle, identified as 68 year old Palace Anderson of Strunk, was killed while his son, 47 year old Samuel Anderson of Strunk, was airlifted to UT Medical Center in Knoxville where he later died. Shea Coffey was also seriously injured and was airlifted for treatment. The accident remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police, who say none of those involved were wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision.

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department has released its weekly arrest report for the week ending Monday October 6th, with a total of 18 individuals arrested by the department during the seven day period on a variety of charges. Among those arrested were:

David King, age 38 of Mt. Pleasant Rd. was arrested on September 30 on a warrant for Assault; Heather Ferrier, age 27 of Roundtop Rd. was arrested on October 1 on warrants for non-payment of fines; Timothy Crabtree, age 27 of Whitley City was arrested on October 1 for violation of an emergency protective order; Lisa Young, age 48 of Whitley City was arrested on October 1 for violation of an emergency protective order; Gene Cooper, age 29 of Hwy 1651 was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in marijuana; Michael Barnett, age 35 of Shady Acres Rd. was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in controlled substance; Chasity Atwell, age 42 of Whitley City was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in controlled substance; Larry Spradlin, age 54 of Clear Pine Dr. was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for cultivating marijuana; Joseph Jones, age 45 of Bridgefork Rd. was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in controlled substance; Anthony Perry, age 35 of Whitley City was arrested on October 2 on  a warrant for trafficking in controlled substance; Randy Coffey, age 38 of H. King Rd. was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in controlled substance; Gloria Coffey, age 37 of Rattlesnake Ridge Rd. was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in controlled substance; Melissa Bowling, age 32 of Revelo was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking within 1000 feet of a school; Billy Miller, age 47 of Bear Creek Rd. was arrested on October 2 on a warrant for trafficking in marijuana; Stephen Newberry, age 36 of Lexington was arrested on October 2 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; Marshall Staten, age 38 of Monticello was arrested on October 4 for criminal trespassing and public intoxication; Tyler Mason, age 19 of Kidd Cemetery Rd. was arrested on October 5 on a warrant for theft by unlawful taking; and Brock Byrd, age 29 of Hwy 1651 was arrested on October 5 on a warrant for failure to appear.

Again, these arrests represent only those by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending Monday October 6th.

Candidates for McCreary County Constable were invited to take part in the latest round of candidate debates held Monday evening as part of the “Truth or Politics” program. While candidates in all four of the county’s districts were invited to take part, district four was no represented in the debate. From district one, Democrat Bill Hayes and write-in candidate Jeff Tucker took part while Freddie Clark, the incumbent constable in district two, was present, along with district three candidates Tim Dixon and Donald Daugherty. Daugherty is seeking a third term in office. In addition to answering a series of questions, each candidate had a chance to give a closing statement as a way of pleading with voters for their support. Issues addressed during the constable debate included qualifications, knowledge of the office budget and duties, arrest powers and plans if elected.

Upcoming candidate debates include the Sheriff’s race on October 20th, Judge-Executive on October 27th and Magistrates from all four districts on November 3rd. Each debate begins at 6:00pm live from the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center and is also broadcast live on WHAY 98.3FM. General Election Day is set for Tuesday November 4th when polls will be open from 6:00am to 6:00pm.

Emergency management officials have reported that a minor earthquake occurred in southeastern Kentucky late Saturday night. The epicenter of the quake was centered about 38 miles east-southeast of Somerset or about 7 miles west-southwest of Barbourville, just west of Interstate 75. The epicenter was reported as being about 6 miles below the earth’s surface and it was recorded as a 2.2 magnitude quake. No noticeable damage has been reported from the earthquake this past weekend.

A new link has been added to allow for paying 2014 property taxes by McCreary County property owners using credit or debit cards online. The link to view and pay tax bills is available through the McCreary County Sheriff’s department website at Tax bills can be paid with a 2% discount now through Monday November 3rd at the sheriff’s office, which will be open Saturday November 1st accepting payments in addition to regular office hours during the week. Tax bills not paid by the close of business November 3rd will be due at face amount through the end of the year at which time penalties will be added.

For the past 100 years, the Orie S Ware Masonic Lodge #874 has been part of the local community. Lodge members will celebrate that milestone with a special event this Saturday October 11th at the McCreary County Park from 11:00am to 4:00pm including barbecue and sides, provided in part by the Eastern Star, Laurel Heights Chapter #288. Awards will also be presented at 12noon and the celebration will include all Past Masters and widows. The lodge invites everyone to attend the special 100th anniversary celebration this Saturday at the McCreary County Park.

The series of candidates debates will continue tonight (Monday October 6th) with candidates for McCreary County Constable in all four districts invited to take part. The debates are being held as part of the “Truth or Politics” program each Monday evening at 6:00pm at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center at the county park. Live audience members are welcome or you can listen to the debates live in 98.3FM. The programs are also archived and can be listened to at

A child in Whitley County is recovering from injuries suffered after being hit by a car on Friday. Authorities say the child was riding a bicycle on Cemetery Road in Whitley County when they rode out in front of an oncoming vehicle, which then struck the child. The child did suffer non-life threatening injuries but was hospitalized for treatment.

A crash in Pulaski County Saturday resulted in a motorcycle operator being airlifted to UK Medical Center in Lexington for treatment. Police say it happened on Highway 90 just west of Burnside Saturday when 83 year old Terry Stewart was reportedly driving a van and turned into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, operated by 21 year old Chad Keeney, who collided with the van. Keeney was seriously injured and air lifted for treatment, while Stewart was not injured in the crash. Police say the van’s driver continued on after the crash but did return to the scene of the accident. No charges have been filed in the case but the investigation is continuing.

Most McCreary County schools showed some improvement in the latest round of test scores released last week by state education officials. All but one local school met their goal for the 2013-2104 school year, with only Whitley City Elementary School backsliding. According to the figures, the school slipped from a 69.6% score in 2012-2013 to 66.3% last year. Other schools, including McCreary Central High School, McCreary Middle School, and Pine Knot Primary School met their goal with improved scores but were still below 70%, meaning they still fall in the “needs improvement” category. However, Pine Knot Intermediate School was up to 76.4% last year, a significant increase in scores from the 72.9% of the previous year, keeping the school in the “proficient” category. The overall district score for McCreary County was listed at 65.4%, up from 64% the previous year. The school district’s state report card shows local schools overall meeting general goals but not meeting graduation goals for 2013-2014. More information on the recent scores can be found on the Kentucky Department of Education website at

Last Saturday, September 27th, was the “Drug Take Back Day” across Kentucky with law enforcement officials, including Kentucky State Police and the DEA, conducting events to take back old, unwanted prescription drugs. Every state police post was a location for residents to drop off their old drugs to avoid having them fall into the wrong hands. The one day event resulted in more than 1,100 pounds of drugs being collected in Kentucky. A permanent drug drop off box is also located in the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office.

This weekend will be full of activities in downtown Whitley City and throughout McCreary County as McCrearyFest is held and a number of school reunions and other events are planned. McCrearyFest dates back to 1980 when an event was established by the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce to help promote and support local businesses, but it grew into an annual community event including live music, food, vendors, games, and the parade.

McCrearyFest traditionally begins with the pageant, which this year was held over two nights last weekend at McCreary Central High School. McCreary Central Junior Rachael Wells was crowned this year’s Miss McCrearyFest during those festivities.  

Events continue tonight (Friday October 3rd) on Main Street with a chili cook-off and supper, live music from Ryan Patrick and the group Austin’s Basement, and the first ever McCrearyFest “Zombie Walk.” It is free to participate with awards for funniest and scariest costume as well as best group costume or theme. Line-up for the walk takes place at 6:30pm on the south end of town with the “Zombie Walk” starting at 7:00pm and proceeding north along Main Street to Jesus Hill. For information call Candice at 606-516-1051.

Saturday’s main day events begin with the closing of Main Street and vendor setup at 8:00am followed by the opening of vendors and the children’s section at 10:00am. The children’s section will be in the area around Centennial Park across from the bank while Jackson Heritage Park will be used for the McCreary County Farmers’ Market and other displays and booths. The original schedule released to the media by McCrearyFest listed a performance by KITES on Saturday, but McCrearyFest President Shane Gilreath said that was a mistake as the group was discussed as entertainers this year but was never confirmed by McCrearyFest.

Parade lineup begins at 9:00am at the Lord’s Gym, the former McCreary County High School, with the “Sweet Southern Comfort” parade starting at 11:00am with the presentation of colors and the National Anthem at the main stage. After the parade, entertainment will include a return visit by Dewayne Spaw, the McCreary Cloggers at 1:30pm, Rhonda Wilson and Keith Williams at 2:30pm, presentation of parade and mystery search prizes at 3:30pm and American Idol contestant and McCreary County’s own Zach Day at 4:00pm. Dewayne Spaw is scheduled for an encore performance at 5:00pm and country artist Buddy Jewell will cap off Saturday’s events at 6:00pm with a free concert in downtown Whitley City.

McCrearyFest is organized and planned each year by an all volunteer board of directors and supporters who also oversee WinterFest in December and the annual Banquet of Blessings to help feed those in need at Christmas time. For information visit or look them up on Facebook.

The case of an alleged rape in McCreary County about a month ago will be heard by a grand jury for possible action. The McCreary County Record reports that 36 year old Michael Ralph Barnett appeared before District Judge Fred White last week with Judge White finding probable cause to hold the case over for the grand jury. Barnett was lodged in the Wayne County Detention Center under $150,000 bond after his arrest last month by Constable Freddie Clark. Barnett is accused in the September 5th rape of a woman who then spent two days in the woods before being located walking on train tracks the following Sunday.

The 2014 McCreary County property tax bills have gone out in the mail and are payable now at the local sheriff’s office with a 2% discount. That discount is available now through November 3rd, after which the tax bills will be due at face amount. Those who do not receive a tax bill within the next several days should contact the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department who remind property owners that failure to receive your tax bill does not exempt you from paying a bill that is due. You can also view your tax bill information online using a link on the department website at Tax bills can be paid at the sheriff’s office using cash, check, non-pin debit card or credit card. Tax bills can be paid during regular office hours, Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, at the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department.

The latest arrest report released by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department shows a total of nine individuals arrested on various charges for the week ending Monday September 29th. This list does not include the nearly two dozen suspects arrest in the last two weeks on drug trafficking charges in McCreary County. The regular arrest report does include 32 year old Brandon Stephens who was arrested September 23rd for flagrant non-support; 34 year old Gradin Barnett who was jailed for terroristic threatening; 42 year old Chastity Atwell arrested for contempt; 48 year old Michael Soard who was charged with violating an emergency protective order; and 43 year old Sally Laney who was arrested for hindering prosecution. Other arrests this past week included 26 year old Laura Warman for contempt and non-payment of fines; 51 year old James Morgan for cultivating marijuana; 35 year old Brian Ball for non-payment of fines; and 26 year old Dustin Ross was arrested for non-payment of fines. Again, these arrests reflect those for the week ending Monday September 29th by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers or agencies.

The first in a series of local candidate debates was held Monday evening as part of the current issues program “Truth or Politics” at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center. Candidates for jailer and coroner were invited to take part in this week’s debate with all three jailer candidates showing up, including Derek Jones, Jesse Hatfield and Jerry Privett. Hatfield picked up the Republican nomination in May, while Jones won the Democratic primary. Privett had originally filed to run in May but due to health issues withdrew from the race early. He says he is now ready to resume his campaign and is running as a write-in candidate. All three men said they fully support getting the McCreary County Jail reopened and pledged to work hard to make that happen. Other questions addressed during Monday’s debate included budget and money saving ideas, training of staff, and community service programs for inmates. In their closing statements, each jailer candidate discussed why they want to be jailer and why voters should consider voting for them on Tuesday November 4th.

Only one candidate for McCreary County Coroner participated in Monday night’s program. Teddy Coffey, who won the Democratic nomination in May, answered questions and asked voters for their support. Republican Tim Corder did not participate.

You can listen to the full debate archived online at The next scheduled “Truth or Politics” debate will be next Monday October 6th at 6:00pm at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center when candidates for constable in all four districts are invited to take part.

A Corbin woman accused of intentionally exposing people to hepatitis C has now been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to that incident. 29 year old Tiffany Myers was being treated at the Knox County Hospital in early August when authorities say she forcefully removed an IV from her arm and intentionally spread her infected blood around the room, exposing the medical personnel and officers on the scene to hepatitis C. She is further accused of trying to spit on officers as they tried to restrain her. Myers has been formally charged with second degree assault in the case and was lodged in the Clay County Detention Center.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry wants to remind all Kentucky residents that the Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season is set to begin this Wednesday October 1st across the state. During the season, it is illegal to burn outdoors within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between 6:00am and 6:00pm. In other words, burning is only permitted after 6:00pm or when snow covers the ground. The fall season runs from October 1st through December 15th with a spring fire hazard season running from February 15th through April 30th.

McCreary County is again benefiting from state funding that provides for the proper disposal and recycling of old tires. The county has received $4,000 in state grant funds to conduct the local tire recycling program for the current fiscal year running through June 30, 2015. Beginning October 1st, which is this Wednesday, McCreary County will accept old, unwanted tires free of charge from local residents. This is the fourth consecutive year that the funding has been provided. Those with fewer than ten tires can take them directly to the transfer station off Wilburn K Ross Highway in Stearns for disposal during regular business hours. Those with ten or more tires are required to contact the McCreary county Judge Executive’s office for a free voucher will then allow for disposal at Leslie’s Tires which is the county’s certified recycling partner for the program. To date, a total of 3,521 tires have been recycled in McCreary County since the program was first implemented in 2011. Last year alone, more than 1,400 tires were recycled. The tire recycling program is funded through the Kentucky PRIDE program and administered by the Division of Waste Management. To find out more about recycling efforts in McCreary County you can visit or call the McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office at 376-2413.

In about a one week period in McCreary County, the illegal drug trade took a big hit as nearly two dozen suspects were arrested by local law enforcement. Twelve suspects were taken into custody the week before last with an additional ten suspects apprehended this past week on various charges including trafficking drugs. Involved in the investigation and the arrests were the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Authorities say as the investigation continues additional arrests are possible.

Tuesday November 4th is General Election Day across McCreary County and Kentucky with many local races on the ballot in addition to races like US Representative, US Senate and judicial races. Absentee voting for those who will be out of town on Election Day or those who will be unable to go to the polls for various reasons including medical issues has already begun. Applications are now being accepted for mail-in absentee ballots through the county clerk’s office with those applications due in no later than October 28th. Once a voter receives the absentee application they must submit that and then will be mailed the actual absentee ballot which must be back in to the office by Election Day. Those not already registered to vote may do so by Monday October 6th and still be able to vote in the upcoming election. For information on voter registration or absentee voting, stop by the McCreary County Clerk’s Office in the courthouse, call 376-2411 or visit

With just a few weeks until voters will go to the polls to cast their ballots, and absentee voting already getting underway, the “Truth or Politics” current issues program will begin candidate debates tonight (September 29th) live from the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center at the county park. The debate schedule includes jailer and coroner candidates tonight, constable candidates October 6th, sheriff’s candidates October 20th, judge executive candidates October 27th and magistrate candidates November 3rd. In addition, a special debate and forum has been set for Monday October 13th when the wet/dry vote for Stearns will be discussed. All programs will begin on their scheduled date at 6:00pm with candidates and audience members asked to arrive early so they do not disrupt the show after it begins. In addition to attending in person, you can listen live on WHAY 98.3FM and shows are also recorded and archived online at All candidates for a specific office, including those on the ballot and those official registered as a write-in candidate, are invited to participate in their respective debates.

A case dating back to a government shutdown period last year has now resulted in a McCreary County pair being sentenced to federal prison terms. 33 year old Jeremy Coffey of Whitley City and 25 year old Andy Anderson of Pine Knot were indicted last January in connection with break-ins last fall at Blue Heron Mining Camp and at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife storage facility in Stearns. The men were charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of equipment from the facilities in October and November of last year with the indictments charging them with theft, burglary, criminal mischief and being persistent felony offenders. It was announced this week that Andy Anderson was sentenced to 18 years in prison while Jeremy Coffey was ordered to serve 15 years behind bars.

The latest figures released on the unemployment picture for McCreary County show improvement in the month of August when the jobless rate dropped to 9.8%, down from 11.7% in July of this year. Looking back to August of last year, the rate came in at 12.6%, meaning the rate has dropped by nearly three percentage points over the past year. This is also the first time in recent memory that McCreary County’s unemployment rate has been recorded below double digits. The Lake Cumberland area, which includes ten counties including McCreary County, had a 7.1% jobless rate in August, down from 8.3% in July and down from 9% in August of last year. The statewide jobless rate was reported at 6.5% last month while the US jobless rate came in at 6.3%. Unemployment rates are based on estimates of actual job seekers within a four week period.

The US Forest Service, Daniel Boone National Forest, is waiving some recreation fees this weekend in honor of National Public Lands Day, which is Saturday September 27th. For the entire weekend, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be no fees charged at Natural Arch Scenic Area, as well as the Appletree Shooting Range, both in McCreary County. Other facilities free of recreation fees this weekend include Cave Run Lake boat ramps outside developed campgrounds, Laurel River Lake boat ramps outside developed campgrounds, Redbird Crest Trailer in Clay and Leslie Counties, and White Sulphur ATV Trail in Bath County. For more information on National Public Lands Day, which began in 1994, you can visit

A Somerset man working for an adult care facility is now behind bars, accused of violently assaulting two men under his care. Brian Doan was arrested this week after the alleged attack which investigators say took place at a home operated by Star Support Services where Doan is employed as Programs Director. Police say he assaulted the men who were part of the assistance program and threatened to kill at least one of them if they told. One victim was reportedly injured seriously enough that he had to be transported to UK Medical Center in Lexington for treatment. Police searched for some time for Brian Doan but he eventually turned himself in to police. He had previously served briefly as a police officer and court records show his estranged wife had an emergency protective order on file against him. The investigation in the case is continuing.

A total of seven suspects were arrested on various charges this past week according to the latest report from the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department. The report covers only arrests by the department for the week ending Monday September 22nd. On September 17th, 26 year old Crystal Brant of Pigskin Road was arrested for burglary and assault, while on September 20th Coy Stephens, age 65 of Highway 1651, was arrested for theft by deception. 52 year old Krystal Patrick of Williamsburg Street was arrested September 20th for failure to appear and non-payment of fines; 34 year old Tomas Berman of Bowling Green was arrested September 20th for operating a motor vehicle under the influence; 57 year old Calvin Richmond of Meadows Grove Road was arrested September 21st for alcohol intoxication; and 40 year old April Richmond, also of Meadows Grove Road, was arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. The final arrest report by the sheriff’s department for the week came on September 22nd when 24 year old mark Lay of Oneida was arrested on a warrant for fleeing or evading police.

Officials with the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area have announced that hog hunting permits for the park will go on sale starting this Saturday September 27th. The Big South Fork is one of just a few National Park Service areas that allow hog hunting in a season that will run from September 28th through February 28, 2015 in both Kentucky and Tennessee. A permit is required to hunt hogs and may be purchased at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center and other specific vendors or online at The permit cost is $5.00 and is good in both the Big South Fork and the Obed Wild and Scenic River Area in Tennessee. Officials also remind hog hunters that dogs are not allowed to be used on those hunts. For information on the hog hunting season in the Big South Fork, visit their website at call 423-286-7275.

Kentucky State Police are leading the investigation into a fatal Wayne County crash Saturday night. Police say a motorcycle operated by 65 year old George Matz II of Florida was traveling southbound on KY Highway 696 when it dropped off the shoulder of the roadway and overturned. The operator and a passenger were both thrown from the motorcycle with George Matz pronounced dead at the scene by the Wayne County Coroner’s Office. The passenger, identified as Cherry Matz, was airlifted to UK Medical Center for treatment. Both were reportedly wearing helmets at the time of the accident at about 11:23pm Saturday night. The investigation into the crash is ongoing by Kentucky State Police.

With General Election Day just a few weeks away, on Tuesday November 4th, candidates in McCreary County will be working hard to get their message out to the voters. The Truth or Politics program, hosted and moderated by Darlene Price, is giving candidates a free opportunity to reach potential voters in person, on radio, online and on television through scheduled candidate debates. The program is held Monday evenings at the McCreary County Senior Citizens Center beginning promptly at 6:00pm with live audience members welcome free of charge. The show also airs live on WHAY Radio and is recorded for archiving at and for broadcast on the local Access Cable Channel 2. The schedule for debates includes Jailer and Coroner candidates on Monday September 29th, Constable candidates from all districts Monday October 6th, Sheriff candidates October 20th, Judge Executive candidates on October 27th and Magistrate candidates from all districts on November 3rd. There will be no wlive program on Monday October 13th. Candidates should arrive prior to 6:00pm on the day of their debate to receive instructions and be seated. The election is set for Tuesday November 4th with many local offices on the ballot, as well as the race for US Representative and US Senate and the referendum on alcohol sales by the drink in the Stearns precinct only.

After the unexpected death of McCreary County’s 1st District Constable, Jamie Higginbotham, last week, the local Republican Party has appointed the second place primary finisher, Dustin Ridner, to run for the office in November. Higginbotham was set to run for re-election November 4th against Democratic challenger Bill Hayes. Higginbotham beat Ridner by fewer than twenty votes last May in the primary. Dustin Ridner will now face off against Hayes in November, but McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens said late last week he was unsure if he would need to appoint a constable prior to the election or if he could wait until the voters weigh in. That is something he was going to be checking with state officials on this week.

Law enforcement officials from several agencies joined forces last week to conduct a major drug round-up in McCreary County. The McCreary County Voice reports that officers spent last Wednesday tracking down and taking into custody more than a dozen suspects on various drug related charges including trafficking offenses. Involved in the investigation and the round-up were the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force and the DEA. The investigation is ongoing with additional arrests possible according to authorities.

The annual tradition known as “McCrearyFest” in McCreary County is kicking off with events over the next two weeks. The “McCrearyFest Mystery Search” begins today (Monday September 22nd) with clues given daily here on WHAY Radio for the next two weeks or until the mystery object is found. The person locating and turning in the object will win a prize. Other McCrearyFest activities include the annual pageants this coming weekend with the divisions for newborn through nine years Friday night September 26th and divisions for ages ten and older, including Miss McCrearyFest, Saturday night September 27th. The pageants will be held in the auditorium at McCreary Central High School. On Friday night October 3rd, the annual McCrearyFest street concert will be held in downtown Whitley City, along with the first annual “Zombie Walk” along Main Street. Main Street will be closed that Friday night at 5:00pm to prepare for the event with lineup for the “Zombie Walk” up until 6:30pm. It is free to participate and awards will be presented for scariest costumes, funniest costumes and best group costume or theme. Other Friday night events will include live music, chili cook-off, and more. The main day for McCrearyFest will be Saturday October 4th in downtown Whitley City with live music, craft vendors, food, children’s section and the “Sweet Southern Comfort” parade starting at 11:00am. For more information on McCrearyFest, visit or look up McCrearyFest on Facebook.

The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce held its annual election of officers and board members during their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday. New officers elected include President Diana Bybee, President-Elect Susan Stephens, Vice President Suzie Strunk-Thompson, Secretary Whitney Tucker, and Treasurer Josh Stephens. Wendy Wilson-Allen, the Chamber’s current President, will move into the Past-President position. New board members elected to the Chamber include Trey Ball, Mehg Marshall, and Andy Powell, joining current board members Debbie Murphy, Kay Morrow and Greg Whitis. The newly elected officers and board members will be sworn in October 28th at the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet.

The 22nd annual “Haunting in the Hills” Storytelling Festival in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be held this Saturday September 20th in the area around the Bandy Creek Visitor Center in Tennessee. The festival starts at 10:00am and is free to attend with events continuing all day until 10:00pm Saturday night. Among the activities planned will be storytelling throughout the day, including ghost stories after dark, plus bluegrass music from Great Day in the Morning and performances from the Knoxville Area dulcimer Club. Wagon rides, craft demonstrations, and old time toys will also be part of the festival again this year. For information on Saturday’s festival in the Big South Fork, call 423-286-7275 or 423-569-9778 or visit the park’s website at

Since it was first implemented about three years ago, the McCreary County Recycling Program has continued growing and making progress, according to county leaders. Donnie Morgan, the county’s litter abatement and recycling officer, recently updated fiscal court members about his activities saying that about 250,000 pounds of recycled product was collected in the last fiscal year ending June 30th. He said the recycling crew averages collecting about two bales of cardboard daily with each bale weighing between 900 and 1200 pounds. The revenue from recycling came to just over $9,000 last year for the county. Morgan’s salary and expenses are paid in part using a state litter abatement grant and in part using funds generated through the solid waste franchise fee received from Scott Solid Waste. For more on recycling efforts in McCreary County you can visit or call the Judge Executive’s Office at 376-2413.

Those with signs placed along state highway rights of way may want to remove them soon or they could see their signs start to disappear. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has announced that their crews will begin removing signs from rights of way over the coming weeks if they pose a hazard to motorists, reduce visibility or impede mowing and other maintenance operations. Signs that may be removed include any that are on state highway rights of way, including candidate campaign signs for the upcoming election. State law does prohibit the placement of any signs, including campaign, yard sale or other type of advertisement, on state highway rights of way as well as on any utility pole or fences in the right of way. Signs that are removed by state highway crews will be kept at the local highway garage for up to two weeks before being discarded.

After reporting on Monday that Jerry Privett was the only official write in candidate in McCreary County, seeking the office of Jailer, The McCreary County Record reports that a second write-in candidate filed their paperwork later that same day. Wayne Phillips, twin brother of former two-term Judge Executive Blaine Phillips, has now entered the race seeking write-in votes against Republican Doug Stephens and Democrat Jimmy Waters. Phillips had initially filed to run on the Republican ticket last January before withdrawing from the race. Write-in candidates will have until late October to file for the November 4th election but will have to campaign hard to let voters know they are an option as their names will not appear on the ballot.

A fairly light week of arrests was reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending Monday September 15th. A total of seven individuals were arrested during the week by sheriff’s department personnel starting with 42 year old Chas Anderson of Stearns who was taken into custody September 9th for a warrant for failure to appear. 23 year old Haylee Malone was also arrested September 9th for receiving stolen property, while 42 year old Joella Duggar was jailed September 11th for theft by unlawful taking. 34 year old Misty McCoy was also nabbed September 11th for several charges including unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. 28 year old Shannon O’Regan was arrested September 12th for assault; 32 year old Rachel Worley was jailed September 13th for criminal possession of a forged instrument; and 20 year old Joseph Kidd was arrested September 13th for sexual misconduct. Again, these arrests represent only those reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending September 15th and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers or agencies.

In 2005, a group of organizers with the backing of the McCreary County Tourist Commission began a small bluegrass music event on the girls’ softball field at McCreary Central High School. That was the very first Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival, hosted at the time by local bluegrass group Kentucky Wind. The festival later moved to the Sandhill 4-H Camp to allow for a larger area and camping on site and has continued each year, making this year’s festival the tenth annual event. The 2014 festival kicks off tonight (Thursday September 18th) with the music beginning at 6:00pm and continuing all day Friday and Saturday. Artists performing this year include the Moron Brothers, James King Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Junior Sisk and others. For full details on the Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival call President Freddie Patrick at 606-310-1242 or Vice President Larry “Lucky Dog” Davis at 606-310-1619 or you can visit the festival website at

US Congressman Hal Rogers announced last week the awarding of two grants for improvements at regional airports. $145,000 was awarded to the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport in Pulaski County to remove obstructions in the runway approach. A $153,000 grant was announced for the Wayne County Airport to support the rehabilitation of the airport’s runway. These grants come from the Federal Aviation Administration through the US Department of Transportation with the grant funding covering up to 90%-95% of the total eligible costs for the project.

Authorities in Whitley County have arrested and charged a father and son with cultivating marijuana. Officers say a social media post is actually what led them to the men at their Clifford-Canada Road home. A Facebook post with a picture of someone posing at the location with the marijuana plants resulted in a search of the property and one of the suspects allegedly admitting to officers that the plants were being grown there. 14 plants were confiscated and destroyed, some as tall as 13 feet, and 20 year old Tony Canada and his father, Ronald Canada, were arrested and charged with cultivating marijuana. The investigation is continuing by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.

The McCreary County school District, and in fact school districts across Kentucky, encourage their students to be in class every day. However, this Thursday September 18th has been set aside statewide as “High Attendance Day” in Kentucky schools with schools at each level, elementary, middle and high school, competing with other schools in the state. Categories based on school sizes will be established with schools with the highest attendance in each category receiving cash prizes to assist their school and students. School officials remind students and parents of the importance of good attendance to avoid falling behind in lessons and to develop good habits fur future life. Again, this Thursday September 18th will be “High Attendance Day” with all students in the McCreary County School District encouraged to be in class that day.

The McCreary County Soil and Water Conservation District is accepting applications from local farmers and landowners for the state funded cost share program. Applications for financial and technical assistance must be received in the local conservation district office by Tuesday September 30th. Applications will be reviewed locally but the final decision on funding in the cost share program comes from the state and is then administered by the local district. Applications and information are available at the district office on Wilburn K Ross Highway in Stearns which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 2:30pm. You can also call for information at 376-5017. The district also offers several pieces of farming equipment to local farmers for rent including lime spreaders, manure spreaders, sprayers, and pasture drags.

While a few weeks remain until the deadline for potential write-in candidates to declare their intentions to run in the November 4th election, as of Monday morning only one local write-in has filed their paperwork with the McCreary County Clerk’s Office. Jerry Privett had originally filed to run for McCreary County Jailer in this year’s primary election, but health issues forced him to withdraw from the race. Now, with a clean bill of health, Privett has officially filed as a write-in for the office in November and will face Republican Jesse Hatfield and Democrat Derek Jones in that contest. According to the county clerk’s office, others have inquired about running as a write-in this fall, but no other candidates have officially signed up. The deadline to file as a write-in is October 24th ahead of the November 4th General Election.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office announced last week the indictment of a Pulaski County couple on rape and sexual abuse charges. According to the indictment, which was handed down by the Pulaski County Grand Jury earlier this month, names 68 year old Robert Morris and his wife 61 year old Brenda Morris and charges them with sex crimes dating back to July 2009. The indictment alleges that Robert Morris engaged in sexual contact at that time with a child under age 12 and that Brenda Morris allegedly aided her husband in the act. Robert Morris was previously indicted in Breathitt County in September of last year on six counts of sexual abuse for crimes allegedly taking place between 2008 and 2013 involving two child victims. Both cases were investigated by the Kentucky State Police and are being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions. Listeners are reminded that a grand jury indictment is a formal charge in a case but is not a finding of guilt.

During last Thursday’s meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court, new County Treasurer Mark Sewell updated the court on the county’s financial status. One issue raised by Sewell was money that is sitting in the Occupational Tax Fund waiting to be transferred into the General Fund. This funding comes from expenses for the tax administrator which is supposed to be paid out of each month’s tax collections. Those expenses have for some time been paid out of General Fund but that amount has not been transferred from the tax fund to the General Fund, meaning the money has been staying in the tax fund month after month. The total amount still sitting in the tax fund comes to just over $102,000 which can now be deposited in General Fund. While this could be viewed as “found” money, it actually is budgeted through tax expenses each year. The county’s occupational tax was also discussed by Stephanie Tucker, Tax Administrator, who told court members there are still quite a few non-payers, including some federal employees in the county who do not have the tax automatically deducted from their paychecks. Tucker said the federal government requires 500 full time federal employees in the county before they will start automatic deductions of the tax. She said at last official count, McCreary County was only two employees short of that number.

The Hope Center, founded and managed by the McCreary County Animal Protection League, and the “Backpack Program”, organized through local schools, joined forces for a food drive and fundraiser this past Saturday at Kroger in Whitley City. Volunteers from the two organizations spent hours at the store gathering food donations and money, which was then used to buy more food. The donations will help support the backpack program, which sends food supplies on for weekends with local school children in need. The donations also help support the Hope Center which conducts monthly giveaways at Sawbucks Bingo for those in need. Volunteers say they plan to hold additional food drives in the future to help support the two programs.

Meeting in regular session last Thursday night the McCreary County Fiscal Court voted to set the county tax rate for 2014 and to accept tax rates presented by the various special taxing districts in the county. Representatives from each of those taxing districts addressed the court and the public to give updates on their districts and their activities as well as to officially present their tax rates. First to speak was Kay Morrow with the McCreary County Public Library, which set its tax rate the same as the last year at 7.7 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property and personal property and 7.58 cents for motor vehicles. The local health district set their tax rate at 4 cents per $100, while the soil and water conservation district set their rate at 1.7 cents. All local fire districts set their tax rate for this year at 10 cents per $100, which is the maximum rate allowed and set by the state. The county property tax rate was set by fiscal court at 9.50 cents for real property and 20.40 cents for motor watercraft. With tax rates now set for McCreary County, property tax bills will be prepared, printed and mailed in the coming weeks and will then be payable at the sheriff’s office.

During the regular session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court Thursday night, the discussion on where to locate the county’s 911 dispatch center continued. The issue centers on the poor condition of the current 911 building, which some county officials including Magistrate Roger Phillips, believe should be torn down. The county has received grant funding to purchase new dispatch equipment with county leaders looking at placing that equipment and the 911 center in the basement of the ambulance service building. That project would cost about $50,000, which was the low bid received to complete that project. County leaders have said that the project would eventually pay for itself with lower utility costs and not having to maintain the old building. In addition, it has been estimated that moving the new dispatch equipment later would cost $25,000 whereas the installation of the equipment in the beginning would be included in the grant funding. Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell also said the new equipment should cut maintenance costs for 911 by about $850 per month, adding that payment in lieu of taxes funding should be received in the coming months from the federal government which could help pay for the project. After discussion, the county voted to table the project until December when they can review county finances and hope to then move forward with the low bid for the project.

Just as McCreary County’s first responders were gathering for a 10:00am ceremony at the courthouse Thursday morning to remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many of those same first responders were called out on an emergency run. Kentucky State Police report that at 9:57am Thursday, 75 year old Edward Murphy of Marshes Siding was struck and killed by a Norfolk-Southern train at the crossing behind the South Fork Center in Whitley City. Police say the initial investigation points to the crossing signals all being fully operational at the time that the man was struck. Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene by the McCreary County Coroner’s Office. The investigation is being led by Kentucky State Police with assistance at the scene by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, McCreary County EMS, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and local fire departments.

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department is leading an investigation into a recent alleged sexual assault. The McCreary County Record reports this week that a woman was found walking along train tracks Sunday after she found her way out of a wooded area. The woman claimed to have been attacked and sexually assaulted by a man on Friday before he left her alone in the woods for two days. The woman was transported to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset for treatment. Investigators reported that the suspect in the assault had been identified and was being sought for arrest but additional details were not yet being released by authorities.

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