OBITUARIES

Mary Helen Bruce age 77 passed away Sunday March 29, 2015. Funeral services will be Thursday at 1:00PM at McCreary County Funeral Home with Rev. Lenville Maxwell officiating. Burial will be in Taylor Ridge Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

DAILY NEWS UPDATES

Updated Wednesday April 1, 2015 @ 7:00am

WHITLEY COUNTY DENTIST ENTERS PLEA TO MEDICAID FRAUD
A Whitley County dentist is facing major legal troubles after being accused of, and now pleading to, Medicaid fraud. The Kentucky Attorney General's office announced this week that Ronald Hungerbuhler has entered a plea to the charges that he billed Medicaid for dental exams that he claimed to have performed on patients at a nursing home, but did not. He entered an Alford plea, meaning he does not admit guilt but admits enough evidence exists for a conviction. He received a sentence of one year probation and was ordered to pay $16,000 back to the Kentucky Medicaid program. He also agreed not to seek reinstatement of his dental license as part of the plea agreement.

McCREARY COUNTY SCHOOLS CUT SPRING DAY FROM CALENDAR
After missing more than twenty days due to weather this year, the McCreary County Board of Education recently voted on an amendment to the school calendar to make up for those days. Part of the new plan includes cutting out all days that had been scheduled for spring break, which was originally scheduled for next week, starting Monday April 6th. Now, students and staff will be in school all week with no spring break. With an application to the state to forgive an additional five days, local schools are set to close on June 5th as the calendar stands right now.

McCREARYFEST BOARD TO HOLD ANNUAL ELECTIONS
The future of several McCreary County traditions will be impacted by a meeting this Friday April 3rd. The McCrearyFest & Parade, Inc. Board of Directors will have their annual election of officers and board members for 2015 at 5:00pm on Friday at the McCreary County Museum in Stearns. The organization oversees the annual McCrearyFest celebration in early October, as well as WinterFest in December and the Banquet of Blessings, an annual Christmas dinner for those in need in the community. Current President Shane Gilreath says several board seats will be vacant and up for grabs at the meeting after terms have expired. Anyone interested in getting involved with the volunteer organization is encouraged to attend the meeting.

KENTUCKIANS ON MEDICAID IMPACTED BY 2015 GOVERNOR'S RACE
Kentuckians who get their health coverage through the Medicaid program, and especially those who benefited from the recent Medicaid expansion in the state, could see an impact from the 2015 race for Governor. Several of the Republican candidates for Kentucky Governor have indicated they will scale back the Medicaid expansion which was enacted by Governor Steve Beshear as the state took the lead in compliance with the Federal Affordable Care Act. One GOP candidate, James Comer, was set to announce his health care plan this week and said he would transition many on Kentucky Medicaid off the plan and over to private insurance. Roughly 25% of Kentuckians currently depend on Medicaid for their health coverage, meaning about one quarter of the state's residents could see a change depending on this year's elections.

PLANNING UNDERWAY FOR McCREARY COUNTY CLEAN SWEEP WEEK
While details are still being worked out by county officials, plans are being put in place for a “Clean Sweep” week for McCreary County which will kick off on Earth Day, which is April 22nd. That falls on a Wednesday and tentative plans include offering residents of the county a chance to dispose of bulk items free of charge April 22nd through 24th at the transfer station in Stearns. The rules for the bulk item disposal are the same as in previous years, including a requirement to be a customer of Scott Solid Waste, one truck or trailer load per customer, no household garbage or hazardous waste accepted, and the drop off will be on a first come, first served basis for the three days or until all available dumpsters are filled. As of now, county leaders say plans include being open regular hours Wednesday April 22nd and Thursday April 23rd, with extended hours on Friday April 24th. White goods, appliances, and all recyclable items, including tires, can also be dropped off at the bulk disposal event. In addition to the three day bulk item disposal, McCreary County Fiscal Court and 109 Solid Waste Board are encouraging residents and groups to get involved with roadside cleanup efforts on Saturday April 25th. Groups taking part this year in the county sponsored litter abatement program will be required to do one of their paid cleanups that day but other individuals and groups can sign up and be assigned a section of roadway to cleanup. Registration for volunteers will be held the week of the clean up campaign at the McCreary County Judge Executive's office. To cap off the cleanup week, the county is planning an event at the McCreary County Park Saturday evening April 25th to include free food and a movie showing. Details will be released as they become available and those wishing more information can call the Judge's office at 376-2413 or watch the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com for postings about the effort.

McCREARY GRAND JURY RETURNS INDICTMENTS IN MARCH SESSION
Each month, the McCreary County Grand Jury convenes and hears evidence in a number of cases to determine if formal charges are warranted in a particular case. An indictment handed down by the grand jury does not find the suspect guilty, but charges them officially with the crime or crimes in question so the legal process can proceed.

During the March session of the McCreary County Grand Jury, several individuals were indicted including some drug related charges, which is fairly common month-to-month. Noel Bryant was charged with possession of a controlled substance 3rd degree and assault 3rd degree for allegedly kicking a Kentucky State Police trooper this past November. Noel Bryant was also charged, along with Robert Dustin Bryant, for an incident allegedly occurring last May in which the pair is accused of entering a residence for the purpose of burglarizing it while armed with a firearm. They were also charged with possession. Darla Earls of Winfield, Tennessee was charged by the grand jury with theft over $500 and being a persistent felony offender, while Dylan Waters of Pine Knot was indicted for burglary and theft. Casey Mounce was charged with assault 1st degree in connection with a DUI (driving under the influence) crash last May in which she reportedly caused injury to her daughter. Mounce also faces the charge of operating amotor vehicle while under the influence first offense.

Other indictments this month included Luther Murphy who was charged with several drug offenses and being a persistent felony offender; Freddie Summers, Jr. for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and John Smith Jr. for asron, criminal mischief and being a persistent felony offender. That reportedly dates back to December and involves damage to a vehicle as well as a residential fire that was deliberately set.

McCREARY COUNTY PARK SEEKING GRANT FOR SPLASH PADS
In an effort to increase recreational opportunities at the McCreary County Park, county officials are preparing a grant application in hopes of obtaining funding for new “splash pads” at the park fur use during the summer. The grant request is being submitted to the state, which administers a federal Land and Water Conservation grant program. Part of the application process includes a requirement that the applicant, in this case the McCreary County Fiscal Court, hold a public meeting to gather input on the project. That meeting will be held just ahead of the next regular court meeting on Thursday April 9th. The public meeting begins at 6:30pm, followed by the court meeting at 7:00pm. Anyone with input, positive or negative, about the project, or wishing to learn more about the grant application, can attend the meeting or contact the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office. You can also submit written comments to Land and Water Conservation Fund Program, Governor's Office (Department for Local Government), 1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 340, Frankfort, KY 40601.

BIG SOUTH FORK TO WELCOME KENTUCKY TOURISM SECRETARY
A reception is planned for Kentucky's Secretary of Tourism, Bob Stewart, who will pay a visit to McCreary County on Tuesday April 14th. Stewart will be at the Big South Fork Kentucky Ranger Station, located on Wilburn K Ross Highway in Stearns, on April 14th for an event being held between 11:00am and 12:30pm. Stewart heads the state's tourism efforts including the promotion and marketing of Kentucky's parks, tourism, cultural heritage and arts. In addition to Big South Fork and local officials attending the reception, all interested community members are being invited. For additional information, call the Big South Fork headquarters at 423-569-9778.

McCREARY ALCOHOL VOTE COULD BE ON TAP AGAIN IN 2015
After a narrow loss in 2012, supporters of alcohol sales on a countywide basis are gearing up for another run at the local referendum vote this year. By law, three years must pass between such special elections and this August will mark three years. Petitions are already reportedly circulating in McCreary County with the “Advance McCreary” group also promoting the petitions on their Facebook page in support of the effort. The margin against alcohol sales in 2012 was just 47 votes out of more than 5,000 total votes cast at that time. The Stearns precinct also voted by a narrow margin to approve alcohol sales in the historic district area this past November. The McCreary County Heritage Foundation, which oversees management of the historic district of Stearns, recently voted to approve the application for an alcohol license. Once received, that license will allow for sales by the drink in the downtown Stearns area including at businesses and at events.

McCREARY COUNTY RECORD NEWSPAPER ANNOUNCES CLOSURE
After more than 95 years in publication, The McCreary County Record newspaper printed its last edition this week, announcing on the front page that the paper is shutting down. The closure is being blamed primarily on a lagging economy as well as reduced readership of newspapers. This, along with the competition of two weekly newspapers in a small community, prompted the decision according to the article. The Record began informing and entertaining the residents of McCreary County, as well as many who had to relocate out of the county but still subscribed, in 1919 and continued its run for better than 95 years, ending with the March 25, 2015 edition. The paper announced that Janie Slaven, its News Editor, would be going to work for sister paper The Commonwealth Journal, while the remaining staff members would be retiring.

McCREARY CHAMBER TO HOST SPRING “AFTER HOURS” EVENT
The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce is inviting all its members, and local residents, to attend a “Chamber After Hours” event being held at Kristina's Kitchen in downtown Whitley City this evening (Thursday March 26th) from 5:00-7:00pm. The event will allow attendees the chance to experience the restaurant which opened last year and serves a variety of vegetarian dishes as well as baked goods and offers regular free cooking classes. Everyone is welcome to attend the “open house” style event.

GROW McCREARY TO HOLD SESSION ON PREPARING YOUR GARDEN
As the 2015 season of the Grow McCreary program is getting underway, the next session for participants will be this evening (Thursday March 26th) at 6:30pm at the McCreary Center in Whitley City. Tonight's meeting will focus on preparing your garden and will include topics such as selecting and ordering seeds, the planting calendar, and best varieties to plant for Kentucky. For more information on Grow McCreary you can call the McCreary County Judge Executive's office at 376-2413 or visit www.mccrearycounty.com or www.facebook.com/GrowMcCreary.

WHITLEY COUNTY CHILD KILLED WHEN HIT BY SCHOOL BUS
Investigators say a child's return home from school Monday turned into a tragic situation as the boy was struck by a school bus. It happened in neighboring Whitley County at about 4:20pm Monday on Kentucky Highway 779 when a bus, operated by 33 year old Amanda Woliver, stopped to let four students off after school. As the bus began to drive away after the stop, it somehow struck 10 year old Jonathan Chatham who was pronounced dead at the scene by the Whitley County Coroner's Office. The investigation is continuing by Kentucky State Police who say neither alcohol nor drugs are believed to have been a factor.

AREA CAMPGROUNDS, RECREATION AREAS SET TO OPEN APRIL 1ST
One week from today is Wednesday April 1st and many area recreational facilities and campgrounds are set to open for the spring season on that date. The US Forest Service has announced that in the Stearns District of the Daniel Boone National Forest all recreation areas which were closed for winter will reopen April 1st including Alpine Picnic Area, Bell Farm, Barren Fork Horse Camp and Great Meadow Campground. The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service, has also announced that the Bandy Creek and Blue Heron Campgrounds will officially open on April 1st with campsite reservations available through the online service at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. You can also find out more about recreational opportunities in the Big South Fork by calling 423-286-7275 or visit www.nps.gov/biso. For more on recreation in the Daniel Boone National Forest, call the Stearns District office at 606-376-5323.

PRIDE CUMBERLAND FALLS CLEANUP SET FOR THIS SATURDAY
Volunteers are being sought to help kick off the annual spring cleanup campaign sponsored by PRIDE. The event will be this Saturday March 28th and will focus on the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park as well as the stretch of Kentucky Highway 90 in either direction, covering both McCreary and Whitley Counties. According to Tammie Wilson, PRIDE President and CEO, the cleanup will be a full day of activities including registration, the cleanup, lunch and door prizes. Wilson says those interested in volunteering can call ahead for details or to register, especially if they will be bringing a large group, but participants can also simply show up Saturday morning. She added that a number of sponsors and partners have joined with PRIDE to make the event, and all spring cleanup efforts, possible.

McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell also noted that while McCreary Countians should take part in the Cumberland Falls Cleanup this Saturday, there will also be another opportunity to help clean up along Highway 27 locally. Powell said for information on any of the local cleanup efforts, as well as recycling programs in McCreary County, you can call the McCreary County Judge Executive's office or visit the county website (www.mccrearycounty.com).

Again, the spring cleanup efforts officially begin with the Cumberland Falls and Highway 90 cleanup this Saturday March 28th. For information on PRIDE, visit their website at www.kypride.org.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Tammie Wilson (PRIDE) and Andy Powell (McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive) about the PRIDE Cleanup.

FORMER DISTRICT JUDGE JAILED ON DRUG RELATED CHARGES
A former McCreary-Whitley County District Judge was jailed late last week on drug related charges. Jason Price was arrested following a lengthy investigation and a reported undercover operation by the Williamsburg Police Department. Price is charged with accepting pills in exchange for legal work as an attorney. Police are also looking into whether some of that legal work was even performed, which could lead to additional charges. Price is an attorney in Williamsburg but also served for a short time as district judge for McCreary and Whitley Counties after winning a special election in 2008. Current District Judge Fred White then defeated Price in 2010 and went on to run unopposed for judge in 2014. A grand jury will reportedly hear the case against Jason Price and could file additional charges as the case remains under investigation.

McCREARY EXTENSION SERVICE OFFERING BEEF CATTLE PROGRAMS
The McCreary County Cooperative Extension Service is offering two upcoming programs for local beef cattle farmers. On Tuesday March 24th at 6:00pm, a program will be offered on beef cattle outlook by Kenny Burdine, a Beef Cattle Economist with the University of Kentucky. Next Tuesday. March 31st, a program will be offered at 6:00pm on herd health by Whitley County Extension Agent Garrard Coffey. Both programs are free to attend with no registration required. The sessions will be offered in rooms 153 and 154 of the McCreary Center. Enter the main building to the south of the main entrance, near where the pool was once located. For information call the McCreary County Extension Office at 376-2524.

McCREARY HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE OFFERED THIS WEEKEND
The McCreary County Hunter Education program, joining with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, is offering another free hunter education course this coming weekend. The course will be held Friday evening March 27th starting at 6:00pm and Saturday March 28th at 9:00am at the Sawbucks Bingo Hall on Highway 1651 between Whitley City and Stearns. For information call 376-3933 or 376-2834. Those planning to participate are asked to preregister online through the Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov.

COMMONWEALTH CLEANUP WEEK BEGINS THIS SATURDAY
With the arrival of spring this weekend, many thoughts are turning to cleaning up and taking pride in one's surroundings. The annual Commonwealth Cleanup Week begins this Saturday March 21
st with volunteer individuals and groups around Kentucky taking part in cleaning up along roadways and waterways during the week. Last year during the week long effort, more than 20,000 Kentuckians took part in the volunteer program with about 109,000 bags of trash collected along with more than 1,000 old tires. In addition, eight illegal dumps were cleaned up in the state during the effort last year. In addition to the Commonwealth Cleanup Week statewide, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE is hosting their annual Cumberland Falls Cleanup next Saturday March 28th which takes in the state park, along with Highway 90 in McCreary and Whitley Counties. For information on that campaign, visit www.kypride.org. McCreary County officials will take part in those cleanup projects and are also planning for a countywide, Highway 27 cleanup in the county in late April.

McCREARY'S GROW APPALACHIA PROGRAM TO HOST FIELD DAY
As the Grow Appalachia program gets its 2015 season underway for participants in McCreary County, a field day is on the schedule for this Saturday March 21st at the McCreary Central High School Greenhouse. Among topics discussed will be seed propagation techniques, transplanting into your garden, and how much you should grow. The field day begins at the high school greenhouse Saturday at 10:00am and is open to all registered Grow McCreary participants. Next Thursday, March 26th, the program will hold a session on preparing your garden at 6:30pm at the McCreary Center campus. Topics at that session will include selecting and ordering seeds, planting calendar and best varieties for Kentucky. For the complete 2015 Grow McCreary schedule you can visit the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com and click on the Grow McCreary link or visit www.facebook.com/GrowMcCreary.

FOREST SERVICE, PARK SERVICE TO CONDUCT SPRING BURNING
Prescribed burning is generally conducted this time of year in the area around McCreary County, including in the Daniel Boone National Forest Service and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Officials were conducting burning in the Buck Knob area of McCreary County this week and will continue burning to clear brush and debris that can be fuel for wildfires on the forest floor. Burns will be conducted when weather conditions permit throughout the spring in the region.

McCREARY COUNTY PREPARING FOR COMMUNITY EASTER EVENTS
McCreary County residents have a number of opportunities to celebrate Easter as a community. The McCreary County Park will host its second annual “Easter in the Park” Saturday April 4th with an opening ceremony at around 11:00am and the main events starting at 12noon. The event will include a free community Easter egg hunt, as well as concessions, games and pictures with the Easter Bunny. Attendees can take their own picture for free or can get a framed picture provided at a cost of $5.00. Inflatables will also be in place throughout the event between 12:00-4:00pm for the kids in the area around the ball fields and concession stand at the McCreary County Park. For information call Melissa Vanover, Park office manager, at 376-7275 or e-mail melissa@mccrearycounty.com. You can also visit the park website at www.mccrearypark.com and click on “Events.”

The Orise S. Ware Masonic Lodge in Stearns is also inviting the community to a free Easter breakfast and egg hunt Saturday April 4th at their lodge on Highway 1651. The breakfast will start at 9:00am followed by the community egg hunt at 10:30am. That event is also free and open to the public.

HIGHLAND COMMUNICATIONS WARNING OF SCAMS
Highland Communications has issued warnings about two scams reportedly circulating in the cyber world. Highland says one scam sends e-mails to the potential victim with “Helpdesk” in the subject line and claims to provide a link to monitor your spam e-mail. This is not from Highland and you should not click the link. A second scam warning involves an e-mail appearing to be from i-tunes service with the subject line including “Please verify your account.” This is another e-mail that is a scam and you are advised not to open, click or respond to this e-mail. Some other scam warnings that have been issued include advice such as never giving out personal or account information to anyone unless you initiated the contact.

McCREARY AMONG COUNTIES RECEIVING ADDITIONAL TROOPERS
Kentucky State Police Post 11 in London is receiving additional troopers to help patrol and serve their seven county area, which includes McCreary County. An additional five troopers are being assigned to the post area including Trooper Desmond Brittle who will be assigned to McCreary County. Other counties receiving additional officers will be Clay, Laurel, and Rockcastle Counties. Other counties served by post 11 are Wayne, Pulaski and Whitley Counties. The KSP says the decision to assign additional troopers is based on manpower and the number of calls for assistance received from individual counties.

DEMONSTRATORS SOUGHT FOR SPRING PLANTING FESTIVAL
Organizers of the annual Spring Planting and Music Festival, held each April in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, are still seeking demonstrators for the event. Traditional arts and crafts demonstrators are still needed as well as music groups to be part of the one day festival to be held Saturday April 25th. Activities included in the day's events are flint knapping, woodcarving, soap making, old time toys, blacksmithing and more. The event will run from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center, the Lora Blevins home place and the Oscar Blevins farm site on the Tennessee side of the Big South Fork park. For information on the festival or to volunteer call Park Ranger Bill Herman at 423-286-7275 or visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/biso.

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND IN WHITLEY COUNTY
An investigation was launched Sunday afternoon when fishermen in a rural part of Whitley County reported the discovery of a human skull near a pond. Authorities searched the area until darkness set in Sunday and say less than 20% of a full set of human remains was found, but officers are continuing the search for additional remains. No positive identification has been confirmed and authorities do not know what caused the person's death or who the person is, but they say the investigation is continuing.

McCREARY COUNTY OCCUPATIONAL TAX NUMBERS ON THE RISE
With all the bad news concerning county government finances and how tight the county budget remains, some good news is being reported by county leaders. The McCreary County Occupational Tax saw increased revenue collected last month compared to same the month in previous years. According to the numbers from Tax Administrator Stephanie Tucker, $199,276.26 came in from tax collections in February of this year. Another $28.03 was added from interest on that account and, after just over $5,000 was deducted for tax administration expenses, a total of $194,112.98 was left to be deposited in the county's General Fund. This was up by more than $60,000 over the collections during the same month in 2014 and was more than $110,000 more than was collected in February 2013. During last week's meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court, Tucker explained that part of the reason more collections will be seen on a month-to-month basis is the federal government's participation in the voluntary deduction program. This allows federal government employees the option of having the tax automatically deducted from their pay checks, as opposed to paying one lump sum annually. She added that many of the federal government employees in the county are taking advantage of that program. For the monthly summaries from the McCreary County Occupational Tax, as well as other tax information, visit the tax page online at tax.mccrearycounty.com.

McCREARY WORKING TOWARD WORK READY CERTIFICATION
McCreary County officials are moving forward with plans to become work ready certified. A committee working toward the effort, which could help the county with job training and readiness for workers as well as open doors to new business prospects locating in McCreary County, will meet this Thursday March 19th at 5:00pm at the McCreary Center of Somerset Community College. McCreary County's Community and Economic Development Director, Susan Stephens, is making a push for community minded individuals, as well as education and business leaders, to attend the meeting. Becoming state certified as work ready can help the county with economic growth for the future, according to Stephens. For information on the effort, call Susan Stephens at 376-9711 or e-mail susan@mccrearycounty.com.

McCREARY COUNTY JUNIORS TO TAKE ACT TEST MARCH 17TH
McCreary Central High School Juniors are being encouraged by school staff to strive for 100% attendance on Tuesday March 17
th. While school attendance is always important, this Tuesday is especially important for juniors as they will be taking the ACT test, in preparation for college. There will be no make up day for the test, so it is extremely important for all juniors to be at school Tuesday March 17th.

McCREARY SHOWS SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN JOBLESS RATES
The latest figures have been released on unemployment rates for counties in Kentucky and McCreary County recorded a significantly improved jobless rate from January 2014 to January of this year. In fact, the data shows that the rate of locals seeking employment was down a full five percentage points over one year ago. In January 2014, the unemployment rate for the county was 14.5%, which dropped below double digits to 9.5% for January 2015. The rate was up slightly from December when the jobless number was 8.2%. Most counties in the Lake Cumberland area followed similar trends with jobless rates lower from 2014 to 2015, but none had as large a drop as McCreary County. Russell County was the one Lake Cumberland area county with a higher unemployment rate between years, going from 10.3% in January 2014 to 13.1% for January of this year. The overall Lake Cumberland region jobless rate was 8.1% in January, up from 6.2% in December but down from 9.8% in January of last year. Kentucky's statewide jobless rate was recorded at 6.1% in January while the nationwide rate was also 6.1%. Unemployment rates are based on estimates of actual job seekers for a four week period. More information on jobless rates and Kentucky's labor market can be found online at kylmi.ky.gov.

KY ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATE TO VISIT McCREARY COUNTY
With current Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway now running for Governor this year, the office he holds is now wide open for candidates in 2015. One of the candidates seeking the Attorney General post in the state is Republican Whitney Westerfield, who will visit McCreary County this Tuesday March 17th. Westerfield is a 2003 graduate of the University of Kentucky and a 2006 graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law. He lives in Christian County in western Kentucky with his wife Amanda and their baby daughter. He will be in McCreary County to meet voters, discuss his campaign and answer questions this Tuesday march 17th at 12noon at the McCreary County Public Library. The public is welcome and a light lunch will also be available for those attending the event.

McCREARY FISCAL COURT MEETS; NO ACTION ON SMOKING BAN
Meeting in regular session Thursday evening, the McCreary County Fiscal Court was asked to approved the second reading and final passage of an ordinance to ban smoking in public places, including businesses like restaurants and stores. At that point, the room fell silent and no court member made a motion for approval. After hearing no motion, Judge Executive Doug Stephens was forced to declare the measure dead from lack of a motion. This came with no discussion or explanation as the court had previously held a public hearing on the issue that same evening to gather input and debate the measure. There was no word if the matter could be revisited at a future date or is simply a dead issue for the current court.

Fiscal Court did approve other ordinances including final approval for a flood damage prevention plan for the county and another emergency management ordinance. The court also approved a budget amendment dealing with the ongoing 911 center renovations. EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett updated the court saying that the work is moving along quickly and that he hopes to have the new dispatch center fully operational by May 1st. The court did also accept a bid for a new CAD system, which Barnett said is essentially the brains of the 911 center showing maps, locations and other important data on individual households. The bid was for $67,250, which matches exactly the amount of funding the county has from a grant to cover the new equipment.

McCREARY COUNTY JAIL STILL A MAJOR ISSUE FOR FISCAL COURT
Even with a new jailer in place, McCreary County Fiscal Court still finds the jail, or lack of a jail, a major issue. During Thursday's court meeting, Magistrate Roger Phillips questioned when the Department of Corrections would send someone to inspect the jail building and meet with the county to say if the facility can be reopened. Judge Stephens said he has been in contact with DOC and they are trying to answer some questions first, then pay a visit to the county. Phillips urged Stephens to extend an invitation to those officials to attend a fiscal court meeting to get the ball rolling. Phillips commended new Jailer Jessie Hatfield for the job he has done so far, including handling many of the inmate transports himself. That, coupled with Hatfield's reduced salary compared to the previous jailer, is saving the county significant money on transports. It was noted that the county recently paid off the bond on the jail and that money in the budget could be used to finance additional work at the facility if needed to reopen. The county has also reportedly been looking at other options such as temporary inmate housing, but any move with the jail will require state approval.

PUSH FOR NEW TOURISM DIRECTOR FALLS SHORT
Another issue which brought heated discussion at times was the debate over whether to hire a new full time tourism director for McCreary County. It began with representatives from the local tourist commission addressing the court saying that since Tara Chaney vacated the post the first of the year they had been volunteering to fill gaps and keep things moving. They further said that things are falling behind or being put on hold and that a full time director is needed to pay attention to day-to-day operations of the tourism office, as well as overall projects and marketing. Judge Stephens expressed his desire to see something move forward on the issue, but all four magistrates seemed to be on a different page. Magistrate Roger Phillips said he wants to see the economic development and tourism position combined into one, saying he does not feel either job by its self is a forty hour per week job. He added later that one “good” person could do the job well, poking at current Economic Development Director Susan Stephens by saying “maybe you're not that person.” Magistrate Jason Mann echoed the idea of combining positions saying it may be the best solution temporarily and that the county could revisit having a full time tourism position later. Magistrate OL Perry also seemed to agree when he asked how quickly the two jobs could be combined. That is a question that apparently needs some research, with Phillips saying he would ask the Department for Local Government and County Attorney Conley Chaney saying he would look into that as well. Magistrate Duston Baird asked at one point if a part time tourism director could be hired to help with some of the work now being shouldered by the tourist commission. In the end, no action was taken but the court did agree to take some form of action next month on the issue.

WRECK LEADS TO ARRESTS ON DUI, OUTSTANDING WARRANTS
A McCreary County wreck early this week led to more than just injuries or vehicle damage. The McCreary County Record reports that the collision took place on KY Highway 741 in Revelo Monday afternoon when two vehicles, operated by 47 year old Mark Soard of Pine Knot and 26 year old Jeremia Hall of Strunk, crashed nearly head on. While the accident remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police, both drivers were arrested at the scene with Soard charged with driving under the influence and Hall charged with outstanding warrants. Three passengers in Hall's vehicle were transported for treatment from injuries in the accident. The investigation is being led by Kentucky State Police with assistance from the McCreary County Sheriff's Department, Whitley City Fire Department, South McCreary Fire Department, and the National Park Service.

McCREARY COUNTY COMMEMORATES 103RD BIRTHDAY
On March 12, 1912, McCreary County officially came into being after a bill was approved by the General Assembly in Frankfort to form the new county out of parts of Pulaski, Wayne and Whitley Counties. The bill was then signed into law by Governor James B. McCreary and the county was officially formed on this date 103 years ago. McCreary County became Kentucky's 120th, and last formed, county. County officials and volunteers commemorated the centennial of the county three years ago on March 12, 2012.

McCREARY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ISSUES FLOOD WARNINGS
With the likelihood of heavy rains through this week, McCreary County Emergency Management Director Rudy Young continues urging caution and warning about the risk of flooding. In a statement, Young says that grounds are already saturated due to heavy rains and melted snow from recent storms and the additional water received this week will only add to the problem with water quickly running off into streams and creeks. Forecasts predict between three to four inches of rain will fall between now and Friday evening before the systems begin to push out of the area. Locally, areas that are flood prone should be watched and those living in or traveling through those areas should use extra caution.

LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL TEAMS PREPARE FOR SPRING SEASONS
With warmer weather and thoughts of spring also come thoughts of baseball and softball season. At least that is the case for members of the McCreary Central High School Raider Baseball and Lady Raider Softball squads. Those teams are preparing for the spring 2015 seasons which are set to get underway this week. The schedule includes a game this Thursday against the Alvin C. York Institute of Tennessee for the Raiders, followed by a game on the road at Pulaski County next Thursday March 19th. The Lady Raiders have a more intense week ahead on the schedule with a game at Corbin Friday evening, followed by games next week at Campbell County, Tennessee on Monday, at Williamsburg Tuesday, at Knox Central on Thursday and at Oneida, Tennessee next Friday. All of these games are, of course, weather permitting.

WINTER WEATHER REPLACED WITH DAYS OF SOGGY WEATHER
After three weeks of dealing with cold, snowy weather across the region, we now face a very soggy, although milder, forecast for this week. Forecasts are predicting several inches of rain to fall over the next few days with precipitation chances at 70% or better every day now through Friday. Saturday the rain chance stands at about 40%, decreasing to a 20% chance of showers to wrap up the weekend on Sunday. The rainfall, coupled with alright soggy conditions from snow and ice melting from the last few weeks, is causing flooding problems as well as overall dampness issues around the area. The extended forecast does show improvement heading into next week, with some dry days possible leading up to the official start of spring.

MAJOR DRUG ROUNDUP EXECUTED IN SCOTT COUNTY, TN
A major drug roundup was initiated by the Scott County, Tennessee Sheriff's Department last week with more than twenty (20) suspects reportedly nabbed and others still being sought. Authorities say officers began executing arrest warrants last Tuesday on individuals in various parts of Scott County, from Winfield to Oneida and Huntsville, with suspects charged with a variety of drug possession and drug sale charges. At last report, a number of individuals were still being sought by police as part of the campaign. Among those listed as being sought on drug related charges is Pine Knot resident 38 year old Tawnyah Duncan. The investigation and drug arrests continue, led by the Scott County Sheriff's Department.

PARKWAY IN PULASKI CO. REDUCED TO ONE LANE FOR PROJECT
Kentucky highway officials have announced that a section of the Louie B Nunn/Cumberland Parkway through Pulaski County will be reduced to one lane for several weeks while work is done in the area. The lane reduction runs from mile point 72 to mile point 78.35 in Pulaski County and went into effect this week and should last about eight weeks. The next phase will run from mile point 78.35 to mile point 84.3 in the Fishing Creek area. That second phase should begin around May 5th and last about eight more weeks. The project was awarded to Hinkle Contracting and involves general improvements to the stretch of highway. Speed limits have also been reduced in the work zone on the parkway from the usual 70 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour and fines will be double in the work zone for speeding. Drivers are encouraged to seek alternate routes and expect delays if they travel through the area.

FRIGID WEATHER A FACTOR IN PULASKI COUNTY MAN'S DEATH
The recent arctic blast which brought frigid temperatures to the area late last week is being blamed, in part, for a man's death in Somerset. Authorities there say a man was attempting to light a propane heater at his home on College Street at about noon last Friday when he caught himself on fire. The man was eventually pulled from the home by neighbors but he was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was planned this past weekend in Frankfort.

PULASKI COUNTY STORE ROBBED AT KNIFE POINT; SUSPECT SOUGHT
Police in Pulaski County are searching for the suspect in a robbery at a Dollar General Store in Burnside. Authorities say a man entered the store armed with a knife, tied up two women who were working in the store and then took cash before fleeing the scene. The women were not hurt in the incident and were able to break free and call police for help. The description of the suspect is sketchy but investigators are looking at evidence and asking for help from the public in capturing the individual.

McCREARY GRAND JURY CONDUCTS BUSY FEBRUARY SESSION
Last month's session of the McCreary County Grand Jury was a busy one with nearly twenty individuals indicted on a variety of charges. We told you previously about the indictment of former McCreary Central High School Girl's Basketball coach Toby Curry for an inappropriate texting relationship with an underage student. In addition, a number of drug charges were filed last month by the grand jury. Shawn Watson, Noble Cooper, Joseph Jones, Anna Brooks, Roscoe Garland, Michael Soard, Sandra Kidd, and Chasity Atwell were all charged with various counts of trafficking in a controlled substance. Shawn Meadows was indicted for cultivating marijuana more than 5 plants, as well as possession of marijuana. Billy Gene Correll, Jr. was indicted for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Other indictments handed down included Melvin Andrew Tucker for theft by failure to make required disposition related to work not completed; Milisa Ingoglia was charged with criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking over $500; William James Patton was charged with bail jumping; and Casey Mounce was indicted for flagrant non-support. Listeners are reminded that an indictment by the grand jury is not a finding of guilt, but formally charges a suspect in a case.

WINTER WEATHER OF 2015 CALLED “HISTORIC” IN NATURE
With a second major blast of winter weather in the past two and half weeks seen across Kentucky Wednesday night and through the day Thursday, weather officials have been quoted as calling the winter of 2015 “historic” in many ways. Some have said that more snow fell in some parts of Kentucky over the period than has ever been seen in such a short period before. While McCreary County received more rain, sleet and freezing rain to start the most recent winter storm, followed by a few inches of snow, some parts of the state were dumped on with better than a foot of snow. In some areas, reports put snow totals at about twenty (20) inches. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued a state of emergency for the entire Commonwealth early Thursday to allow local governments quick access to state aid and resources, including funding and the National Guard.

Locally, road crews were out scraping and treating roads Thursday, but with the frigidly cold temperatures that settled in last night, most roads were covered by a sheet of ice or at least patches of ice Friday morning. That makes for difficult, and in some cases impossible, driving conditions. The good news on the weather front is that a warm up is on the way gradually over the next several days, with high temperatures expected to soar into the 60s by the middle of next week. In the meantime, McCreary County officials are still urging motorists to stay off the roads as much as possible Friday to avoid accidents and to allow emergency responders and road crews to do their jobs.

HIGHLAND TELEPHONE SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE ONE WEEK AWAY
Area high school seniors interested in applying for the annual Highland Telephone scholarship award have just one week remaining to apply for the award this year. Each year, Highland awards $1,000 scholarships to seniors at high schools throughout their service area, including each exchange in McCreary County. To apply, seniors must submit a 500 word, double spaced essay on “Technology for Telecommunications” along with their application no later than 5:00pm next Friday March 13th. All entries must be submitted to the Sunbright, Tennessee office of Highland Telephone. The winners of the scholarships will be announced by April 15th. Contact Highland Telephone for additional information and applications.

FORMER WILLIAMSBURG COACH CHARGED WITH SEX CRIME
A former Williamsburg High School coach has now been indicted on sex related charges. An indictment has been handed down by the Whitley County Grand Jury against 26 year old John Massey, who was a volunteer assistant football coach at the school when the inappropriate sexual conduct was alleged to have taken place between Massey and a 16 year old female student. Massey has been charged with one count of sexual abuse first degree and two counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor. Investigators further explained to media sources that the initial accusation was made by an outside source after Massey was dismissed by the school from the coaching position but failed to report the incident to police. The Department of Social Services is also reportedly involved in the investigation because of the alleged victim being under the age of 18. Listeners are reminded that an indictment is not a finding of guilt, but formally charges a suspect in a case.

McCREARY COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE EVENT SET FOR MAY 30TH
The annual Relay for Life event in McCreary County is set for Saturday May 30th with a change to the event time slated for this year. In year's past, the relay would begin on Friday night and last through the night until Saturday morning. As a way of generating more support and more participation, this year's Relay for Life will run from 2:00pm to 10:00pm on one day, Saturday May 30th, and will still be in the area around the track and football field at McCreary Central High School. The event includes various laps such as the survivor's lap and also a luminary lighting ceremony, music and games to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. For full details or to get involved in the McCreary County Relay for Life event, call Brooke Whitis with the American Cancer Society office in Somerset at 606-678-0203 or e-mail brooke.whitis@cancer.org. You can also go online for details at www.relayforlife.org/mccrearyky.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED TO McCREARY SENIORS
McCreary Central High School seniors looking to further their education after graduation have several scholarship opportunities. Applications are being taken now for $1000 scholarships through Highland Telephone Cooperative with a deadline of March 13th. South Kentucky RECC also offers seniors scholarship competitions with the deadline on April 1st. The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce also offers a $500 scholarship for a local high school senior with applications taken until early May. For full details on scholarship offerings and application windows, see the counseling office at McCreary Central High School.

McCREARY RECEIVES EMERGENCY FOOD/SHELTER FUNDING
McCreary County has again been chosen to receive emergency food and shelter funding for programs in the county. A total of $10,114 have been awarded locally through the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency. Previous funding has been used to provide thousands of meals to those in need through the McCreary Christian Care Center and the Integrated Ministries of Rattlesnake Ridge. Public or private volunteer agencies wishing to apply to utilize these funds in McCreary County have until March 11th to submit an application. For information or the application, contact Sue Singleton at the McCreary Christian Care Center at 376-8742.

FORMER McCREARY CENTRAL COACH INDICTED ON SEX CRIME
A former McCreary Central High School girls' basketball coach is facing charges after being indicted by a McCreary County Grand Jury this past month.
The McCreary County Voice reports that the indictment was handed down against Toby Curry, who spent the previous three years coaching the high school girls' basketball team before leaving last summer to take a position in Adair County. Curry has been charged by the grand jury with a single count of unlawful use of electronic means originated or received to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities. The article does point out that the alleged incident, involving Curry being accused of using his cell phone to communicate with a minor under age 18 with the intention of engaging in sexual acts with the victim, did occur in October of this past year, after he had left the local coaching job at the high school. If convicted on the charge, Curry could face one to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 as a Class D felony.
(Note: an indictment by the grand jury formally charges a supsect in a case, but is not a finding of guilt.)

KY 1363 IN McCREARY COUNTY REOPENED AFTER MUDSLIDE
The District 8 office of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reports through their Facebook page that a section of KY Highway 1363 in the Yamacraw area of western McCreary County has reopened to traffic. The section between mile marker 9.3 and 9.8 was closed one week ago (Monday February 23, 2015) after a mudslide completely covered the road. It took highway crews and contractors several days, working long hours each day, to remove large rocks, mud and debris from the area to get the road open again this past weekend. Pictures of the mudslide were posted on the page at www.facebook.com/KYTCDistrict8.

McCREARY SHERIFF REPORTS STANDOFF WITH ARMED SUSPECT
The McCreary County Sheriff's Department reportedly found two of its officers facing an armed suspect who allegedly had a gun pointed at them last Saturday night. The department reports that deputies responded to a possible domestic assault in Stearns when they found the suspect, 23 year old Kristopher Stallings, armed with a gun and refusing to give up. Additional officers from the Kentucky State Police were called to the scene and after a twenty minute standoff, Stallings was eventually taken into custody following a struggle with officers. He was charged with nine counts of wanton endangerment, assault for domestic violence, menacing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and alcohol intoxication.

MAJOR ROCK SLIDE CLOSES SOUTHBOUND I-75 IN WHITLEY COUNTY
A major rock slide that happened at about 2:00pm Wednesday around the ten mile marker of Interstate 75 in Whitley County forced the closure of all southbound lanes of the interstate at that point for several hours. Traffic had to be detoured around the area using US 25 and other routes until one lane was finally opened to limited traffic late Wednesday evening.

WHITLEY COUNTY MAN ARRESTED IN STABBING INCIDENT
A Whitley County man is facing charges after he allegedly stabbed another man in an altercation early Tuesday morning. Police say William Keisling stabbed his stepfather in the face, head, and chest during the incident on George Hayes Road in Williamsburg. The victim was airlifted to UK Hospital in Lexington for treatment while police found the suspect passed out in a bedroom, reportedly covered in blood. He is facing numerous charges including attempted murder. The investigation is continuing by Williamsburg Police.

GROW McCREARY READY TO PUT WINTER WEATHER IN THE BOOKS
While snow remains on the ground, some are looking for ways to put winter weather in the history books for this year and move on to spring. Among those are the individuals involved with the Grow McCreary program. The effort was initiated as part of the overall Grow Appalachia program, an effort to promote locally produced food as a sustainable and economical alternative. Throughout the year, Grow McCreary will offer participants various informational and educational sessions and will also offer them a chance to take part in the McCreary County Farmer's Market and other events to promote and sell their locally made products. The orientation for the 2015 Grow McCreary program will be this evening (Thursday February 26th) at 6:30pm at the McCreary Center Campus of Somerset Community College. Anyone planning to participate in the program this year should plan to attend the session. The schedule for this year has been released, but is subject to change. The next session will be March 21st as a field day at 10:00am at the McCreary Central High School greenhouse, followed by a program on preparing your garden on March 26th at the McCreary Center. Sessions will continue on a regular basis through October. For information on Grow McCreary, including the 2015 schedule for programs, you can visit www.facebook.com/GrowMcCreary online or go to the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com. You can also call the McCreary County Judge Executive's office for information at 376-2413.

FORMER SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER IN PULASKI GUILTY IN SEX CASE
The former Sunday School teacher from Pulaski County charged this past October with sex crimes has now entered a guilty plea in the case. The trial for 30 year old Rex Allen Murphy of Eubank was set to begin this week but Murphy entered the guilty plea to first degree sodomy, first degree sexual abuse and use of a minor in a sexual performance. The alleged crimes took place at Murphy's home as well as church grounds, according to investigators. Prosecutors have recommended a thirty (30) year prison term with sentencing scheduled for May 1st.

KY OFFERING EXTENDED ENROLLMENT FOR HEALTH COVERAGE
Although the deadline for enrolling for health coverage through Kynect, Kentucky's healthcare exchange program, was February 15th, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Tuesday that the enrollment has been extended. A special enrollment period was announced to begin next Monday March 2nd continuing through April 30th. Beshear announced that the main reason for the special enrollment period is to allow Kentuckians to avoid the tax penalties that are in place now for those without health coverage. Those penalties start at $95 for each household member or one percent of their income. The penalty is set to increase to $325 per household member for the 2015. To avoid these penalties when filing taxes, be sure to enroll in health coverage through Kynect, which offers several options including purchasing private insurance plans, plans with financial subsidies, and Medicaid enrollment. For information call 1-855-4kynect. That's 1-855-459-6328 or visit kynect.ky.gov.

WAYNE COUNTY MAN DIES FROM EXPOSURE TO EXTREME COLD
Investigators in neighboring Wayne County reported late last week that a man there had died from exposure to the extreme cold temperatures and over exertion in the cold. It happened when a truck, driven by Tensley Couch, become stuck in the snow. After the man attempted to free the truck, he was forced to abandon it and walk home in the frigid cold. The man reportedly collapsed just feet from his front door and was pronounced dead at the scene.


This site is © 2014/2015 by H-L Communications, Inc./WHAY Radio. PO Box 69 (69 Courthouse Square) Whitley City, KY 42653 radio@hay98.com.
No portion of this site may be reproduced, copied or used without written consent.