Richard Allen Ball age 79 of Pine Knot passed away Sunday May 3, 2015. Graveside services will be Thursday at 11:00AM at Lower Cal Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. Pine Knot Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Everett Young age 72 of Pine Knot passed away Tuesday May 5, 2015. Funeral services will be Friday at 1:00PM at Pine Knot Funeral Home with burial in Youngs Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. Pine Knot Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
James "Sonny" Boyatt age 81 of Texas, formerly of McCreary County, passed away Monday May 4, 2015. Funeral services will be Saturday at 1:00PM at McCreary County Funeral Home with burial in Lower Hickory Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 


Updated Wednesday May 6, 2015 @ 8:25am

A federal jury has found that a Somerset Optometrist sought payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs for eye exams performed at several nursing homes that were found not to be medically necessary. Dr. Phillip Robinson is at the center of the case after officials say he claimed to have performed more than 11,000 eye exams at several facilities over a five year period, meaning a loss to the Medicare program of about $420,000. The Department for Health and Human Services is now reportedly looking at the case to determine whether he will be allow to continue participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

State officials have released numbers showing the tourism impact on the economy statewide, as well as regionally and on an individual county level. According to the data, Kentucky's impact from travel and tourism spending increased by $2.2 billion in 2014, topping more than $13 billion in all. In The Kentucky Southern Shorelines region, which includes McCreary and nine other counties, the direct tourism expenditures for 2014 came in at more than $193 million with the total expenditures related to travel and tourism at more than $300 million. McCreary County was also impacted by tourism dollars with direct spending increasing from about $4,639,000 in 2013 to $4,685,000 in 2014. Total travel expenditures impacting McCreary County also increased between the two years by more than $70,000. More information about tourism in McCreary County can be found at and for statewide tourism information, visit

A reminder is being put out by the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office about the tire recycling program in the county. Officials say there is no need to improperly dispose of old, unwanted tires when they can properly dispose of them free of charge. Each year, the county receives a tire recycling grant from the state to handle the disposal and recycling of the old tires and still has money left from that grant for the current fiscal year ending June 30th. McCreary County residents with up to ten tires to dispose of can take those directly to the transfer station in Stearns for free disposal and those with more than ten tires can get a voucher from the Judge Executive's Office to dispose of the tires free at Leslie's Tires, the designated vendor working with the county. There is currently no limit on the number of tires that can be disposed of, but the program is open to McCreary County residents only. For more information, visit the online recycling page on the county website at or call the judge's office at 376-2413.

The April session of the McCreary County Grand Jury was fairly light with only five individuals indicted on charges. Drug charges were filed against Dora Crossley of Stearns including trafficking in a controlled substance and manufacturing methamphetamine. Joshua Angel of Parkers Lake and Cynthia Clark of Stearns were also listed among last month's indictments on druf offenses with Angel charged for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance not in a proper container. Clark was also charged with trafficking and possession charges in the case as well as tampering with physical evidence and being a persistent felony offender. The grand jury also indicted Alex Decker of Stearns for flagrant non-support for allegedly failing to provide support for a minor child. The final indictment handed down last month was against Randell Stevens of Stearns on charges of assault first degree for allegedly stabbing another man during a drug transaction. That allegedly took place in late February. Listeners are reminded that an indictment by the grand jury is not a finding of guilt, but is a formal charge against a suspect or suspects in a case.

Each year, Highland Telephone Cooperative awards scholarships to area high school seniors in each of their exchange areas to help them further their education after graduation. This year, three McCreary County students were among the award recipients including Darron Perry from the 376 exchange, Olivia Perry, also from the 376 exchange and McKayla Hamlin from the 354 exchange. The winners had to submit essays on “Technology for Telecommunications” which were judged and selected by teachers from outside the student's county of residence. The annual scholarship awards are $1000 for each recipient from Highland Telephone.

The numbers have been released by county officials showing that more than thirty-three (33) miles of roadways were cleaned during the recent McCreary County Clean Sweep Days. The county utilized volunteers, including their registered litter abatement groups, to cover areas from Pigskin Road to Wilburn K Ross Highway to Barren Fork, Bethel, the county park and several other outlying areas. During those roadside cleanup efforts, a total of 109 volunteers picked up 317 bags of trash and debris. The group “Trout Unlimited” was also in the area recently where they cleaned up 12 miles along the Rock Creek area. The bulk item drop off was also said to be a success with ten dumpsters filled during the free drop off held over three days at the transfer station in Stearns. The efforts kicked off April 22nd, Earth Day, and were sponsored by the McCreary County Fiscal Court and 109 Solid Waste Board, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and Scott Solid Waste.

The weekend got started on a tragic note in neighboring Wayne County as a fatal car crash claimed the lives of all six people inside. Investigators say at about 5:50pm Friday May 1st, a 1999 Chrysler Cirrus was traveling westbound on Kentucky Highway 90 when the car crossed the center lane for an as yet undetermined reason. The vehicle struck an oncoming 2001 Dodge pickup truck. The six occupants of the car were pronounced dead at the scene including two adults and four children. The two occupants of the truck were transported for treatment of their injuries. The wreck occurred just east of Monticello on Kentucky Highway 90. Kentucky State Police are continuing the investigation.

After family members reported him missing last Wednesday, an elderly Pulaski County man was found dead in Lake Cumberland Thursday afternoon. Crews from the Pulaski County Rescue Squad were called to the scene where they searched the waters and found the lifeless body of 88 year old Eugene Jones. Authorities say it appears the man's death is due to accidental drowning and, while foul play is not suspected, investigators are still looking into how the man ended up in the lake.

The McCreary County Voice reported this past week about changes that are in store for a long standing McCreary County tradition. The McCrearyFest event has been held for the past thirty five years in early October as a celebration of the local community and its businesses and organizations. During a tourism meeting last week, the McCreary County Tourist Commission gave approval to a plan that will transform McCrearyFest into a “Heritage Trail Days” event the first weekend in October. Many of the more popular components of McCrearyFest will remain, such as the parade through downtown Whitley City, live music, vendors and other activities. Added to the event will be trail adventures such as hikes, bike rides, horseback rides and potentially programs on the local trails, scenic beauty and also the heritage and history of the region. Tourism officials say they hope to continue the event as something locals can look forward to and enjoy while also attracting visitors to the region in early October. Local officials hope to take advantage of the designation of Stearns as a Kentucky Trail Town by state officials later this summer by offering events and promotions to market that designation to outside areas. A meeting will be held in early June to begin gathering community interest and support and to begin forming committees for the event. For more information call the McCreary County Tourism office weekdays between 12:30-4:30pm at 376-3008 or e-mail

A Whitley County man was arrested this week and charged with sexual abuse for an incident that allegedly happened back in December. Cory Mattox is accused of getting into bed with an underage girl and touching her in an inappropriate manner without her consent. Mattox was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center following his arrest. The case remains under investigation.

Next week, May 4th through 8th, will be the 96th annual National Children's Book Week, and the McCreary County Public Library is celebrating the longest running national literacy campaign in the country. The purpose of Children's Book Week is to connect young readers with authors and illustrators, according to library staff, who invite children and parents to stop by the local library next week to celebrate a love for reading. Each day of the week, Mother Goose will be somewhere in the children's area and when kids find her they will be entered into prize drawings. Kids checking out a book during Children's Book Week will also be eligible for a prize drawing with winners announced the following Monday May 11th. For more information, stop by the McCreary County Public Library on Main Street in downtown Whitley City, call 376-8738 or visit the library online at or on Facebook.

This Saturday, May 2nd, is Derby Day across Kentucky but it is also a chance for participants of the local sustainable food program known as “Grow McCreary” to get out for a field day program. The group will meet at the Led Plow Homestead in the Corder Flats area of Strunk where Andrew Powell will offer a program on greenhouse usage, composting and Derby Day planting. Future programs include a field day at the End of the Road Organic Farm in Marshes Siding on May 28th and the opening of the McCreary County Farmers' Market on June 13th in Stearns. For more on the Grow McCreary program you can visit or look them up on Facebook.

Local high school seniors have just a few days left to submit their application for a $500 scholarship for higher education being offered by the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce. The award has become an annual presentation by the Chamber to help a local student continue their education after high school graduation. The deadline is this coming Monday May 4th and applications are available online at You can also find out more about the Chamber on their Facebook page. The Chamber holds regular monthly membership meetings the third Wednesday of each month at the McCreary County Public Library.

The month of May is set to be filled with a number of special events in McCreary County for locals and visitors to enjoy. The Uptown Opry, which is held Friday nights in downtown Whitley City with Hap Strunk and Southern Smoke, will feature Lindsay Hatfield in a special Patsy Cline tribute this Friday May 1st starting at 7:00pm. The Blue Heron Mining Camp will host “Decoration Day” on Saturday May 16th with live music, food, historic pictures and memories from those who worked and lived in the area coal mines. The event will run from 12:00-4:30pm that afternoon with everyone welcome. Other upcoming events include the Mountain Craft Center's Memorial Day Craft Days which will be Saturday May 23rd through Monday May 25th with activities from 10:00am to 5:00pm each with craft sales, demonstrations, and more. The craft center is seeking crafters who want to set up and display their items at the event and be part of the center located on Highway 90 about seven miles east of Parkers Lake and four and a half miles west of Cumberland Falls. For information you can call 376-3463 or you can call Karen at 354-3246 or Lorella at 354-2946. The McCreary County Relay for Life is also set to be held at the end of the month on Friday May 29th from 6:00pm to midnight at the McCreary Central High School track and field. For more on upcoming events and festivals in McCreary County, you can visit and click on “What's Happening?” or visit the McCreary County Tourism Facebook page at

For the past few years, local officials from the McCreary County Judge Executive's office to tourism to the McCreary Heritage Foundation have been working toward the goal of having Stearns certified as a Kentucky Trail Town. That project is nearing certification and local officials are reportedly awaiting a date for that ceremony to be set by state officials this summer. The state initiative will put more focus on Stearns, as well as McCreary County, as a destination for tourists who are looking for trail activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and more. Various components of the project have either been completed or are nearing completion including the construction of a Trail Town gazebo with visitor information and welcome sign in Stearns, the location of Trail Town signs at various trail heads in the county and several beautification efforts. As the project continues and nears certification, local officials will meet this Thursday April 30th at 5:00pm at the train depot in Stearns to continue planning and discuss ongoing efforts. Find out more about the local project on the Stearns Trail Town Facebook page and more about the statewide project at

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is reaching out to the community in search of volunteers who want to help maintain and clean trails in the park. The program is called “Trail Keeper” and it allows individuals or organizations the opportunity to “adopt” a trail that they agree to travel four times annually. During each of those treks on the adopted trail, the volunteers will pick up trash or debris and can do light maintenance work to help keep the trail clear. Park officials emphasize that the program does not authorize the use of power equipment or heavy maintenance, but they say volunteers can use small handsaws to cut small trees that may be blocking trail access. The Big South Fork consists of more than 400 miles of trails that people use for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking on a regular basis and park officials are asking for the community's help in keeping those trails clear and useable. For information on the program, including the complete “Trail Keeper” information packet with information, guidelines and a list of available trails, you can go online to You can also call Effie Houston, the park's volunteer coordinator, at 423-569-9778. Trails included in the program can be found on the Kentucky and Tennessee sides of the Big South Fork.

The McCreary Center of Somerset Community College is getting in on the act of raising money for the local Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. A presentation at the local college campus this Wednesday April 29th will feature Edward B. Smith portraying Adolph Rupp, the legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach who led the Wildcats for more than forty years before he retired in the early 1970s. The presentation begins at 11:00am running until 2:00pm and is free, but a hot dog lunch will also be served at a cost of $4.00 per person with proceeds benefiting the Relay for Life. The program will be offered in room 115 of the McCreary Center and everyone is invited to attend on Wednesday April 29th.

After voters in the Stearns precinct gave their nod of approval to alcohol sales in the Stearns Historic District during last November's General Election, the McCreary County Heritage Foundation, which oversees the district as well as several of its ventures, is moving forward with plans to offer alcohol sales. After a recent meeting of the Heritage Foundation board resulted in a positive vote for the application process for an alcohol license, public notice was posted last week in The McCreary County Voice newspaper that the foundation intends to submit its application no later than May 1st to the state. Reported plans could include the location of a restaurant in the historic, downtown Stearns area that could serve alcohol by the drink as well as plans to offer drinks at special events and special rides of the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. Comments on the license application can be submitted to the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control in Frankfort within thirty days.

We previously reported on a series of break ins at local storage units in McCreary County. This past week, The McCreary County Voice reports that the sheriff's department made an arrest in that case. 32 year old James Andrew Ball of Whitley City was nabbed by officers and charged with a class D felony burglary charge. In addition, 38 year old Marshall Staten of Stearns was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property related to the case. Authorities say additional arrests may be pending as the case remains under investigation. The McCreary County Sheriff's Department is leading the investigation and they ask that any citizen with information call them at 376-2322 or submit a tip through their website at

After being delayed by a week due to rains and wet fields, the McCreary County Little League season is set to begin this week, weather permitting. The schedule for this week includes games this evening (Monday April 27
th) with the Blue Jays playing the Braves in the 11 and 12 year old division on field 1 at 5:30pm; the Mets playing the Braves in the 9 and 10 year old division on field 2 at 5:30pm; the Orioles vs the Cubs for coach pitch on field 3 at 5:30pm, followed by the Reds vs Diamondbacks also on field 3; and the Rangers vs Pirates in girls; softball on field 4 at 5:30pm. For the complete schedule, including team pictures set for this week and any cancellation notices, you can visit the “Little League” page at

The 2015 Primary Election in Kentucky is just over three weeks away, set to be held Tuesday May 19th across the state. Many statewide offices will appear on the ballot including Kentucky Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and others. Regardless of the outcome of this year's elections, some state offices will have new office holders. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is concluding his second term and was not eligible to run again. Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to run for re-election to his post, instead running as a Democrat for governor. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will also not return to that office as he is running for governor on the Republican ticket. Some absentee voting is already getting underway as certain voters are eligible to apply for a mail-in ballot now and others will be eligible closer to Election Day. Walk-in absentee voting will also get underway soon in the County Clerk's Office and polls will be open at all precincts on Tuesday May 19th from 6;00am to 6:00pm. In McCreary County, the local Board of Elections recently examined all voting machines ahead of the election cycle. The board consists of County Clerk Eric Haynes, Sheriff Randy Waters, Republican representative Shane Gilreath and Democratic representative Ralph Murphy. For more information on the elections or on voter eligibility you can stop by the clerk's office, visit their website or visit the Secretary of State's website at

The first week of play for McCreary County Little League teams got off to a slow start....or actually, no start thanks to the rainy weather seen over the past week. The league's season was scheduled to officially start this past Monday, but rain and wet fields forced the cancellation of that day's games. Fields were still wet and muddy Tuesday, prompting league officials to cancel games that day and to eventually make the call that all games this week would be called off. The fields will reportedly be given time to dry and be worked on before the league hopes to get play started next week. The schedule will be posted on a weekly basis online, along with any announcements of cancellations due to weather. The online home for McCreary County Little League is then just click on “Little League”. There is also information currently posted on the page about picture days for the local league teams.

The Grow McCreary program will have its next meeting this evening, Thursday April 23rd, as a field day session at the farm of Judge Executive Doug Stephens in the Strunk area. The session will cover chickens, high tunnels and other garden starting ideas and techniques. All Grow McCreary participants are encouraged to attend by turning off US Highway 27 onto Highway 1470 by Bobby Duncan's store and turn at the store going east on Hwy 1470 (Marsh Creek Road). Travel two miles and turn left on Murphy Ridge, continuing for two more miles to a sharp right. Follow the road to Lloyd Trammell Road and then after about 100 yards, turn into the first gravel road. Future Grow McCreary sessions will include a field day May 2nd at the Led Plow Homestead in Corder Flats and at End Of The Road Organic Farm in Marshes Siding on May 28th. As a side note, the McCreary County Farmers' Market is looking forward to a June 13th opening day. Find out more about Grow McCreary or the Farmers' Market at or on Facebook.

Those who get their electric power from Kentucky Utilities Company will have to start paying a little bit more each month. KU announced through paperwork filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission that it would be raising rates by an average of $9 per month on each bill. The increase will mean an additional $125 million in revenue for the company, which is owned by PPL based in Pennsylvania. The Kentucky Public Service Commission will still need to approve the rate increase at their next meeting.

Several Kentucky citizens found themselves on the wrong side of the law in Tennessee late last week. Media sources in Scott County report that a 32 year old Stearns resident was arrested Friday afternoon after she was allegedly found in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine. It happened during a traffic stop in Oneida and Joyce Ann Bailey was arrested at the scene charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance as well as drug paraphernalia and violation of the state's seat belt law. A passenger in her vehicle, 30 year old Scott Watson, also of Stearns, was charged with violating the open container law. In addition to drugs in the vehicle, officers say the discovered more than $3,400 in cash.

The same day, but in a separate case, two other Kentucky residents were arrested in Oneida for allegedly dumping illegally along Bear Creek Road in north Oneida. 45 year old Michael Lee Phillips and 44 year old Theresa Kidd were nabbed by police and charged with aggravated criminal littering after officers spotted them dumping trash from a truck and trailer along side the roadway. Police learned that the couple was apparently hauling the trash and debris off for the Oneida Family Motel, where they had been staying. The operator of that facility admitted to police they had told the pair to haul the items off, but said they had been told it would be taken to a friend's property to fill in an old swimming pool. Phillips and Kidd were charged on the littering offense while Kidd was also booked for driving without a license, invalid registration, and other charges.

The Oneida Police Department is leading both investigations.

Today, April 22nd, is observed as Earth Day, a day set aside each year to give greater attention to our planet and environment. McCreary County is using the occasion to begin a community cleanup week that includes three days of free bulk item drop offs at the transfer station in Stearns. During regular hours Wednesday and Thursday, and extended hours until 6:00pm Friday, customers of Scott Solid waste, the company franchised through the county to dispose of waste locally, can deliver one truck or trailer load of bulk items for free disposal. A limited number of dumpsters are available to fill on afirst come, first served basis during the three day period. In addition, community leaders are encouraging individuals and groups to get involved with cleaning up throughout the county this week. You can sign up and get free trash bags and more information at the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office. To reward those who help with the cleanup effort, a free movie and refreshments will be offered at dark this Saturday evening April 25th at the McCreary County Park.

A Pulaski County death investigation ha snow led to a guilty plea being entered by the man who admits to killing his girlfriend and disposing of her body. It happened last October when 34 year old Monica Wells was reported missing and her body eventually discovered in a sinkhole. 35 year old Johnny Ray Hendrix, her boyfriend, was arrested at the time and charged with her murder. Hendrix entered a guilty plea last week in the case admitting that he killed her and dumped the body in the twelve foot hole. Police say the man had a lengthy history of domestic abuse prior to the murder. Prosecutors in the case are seeking a 25 year prison sentence for the plea of murder and evidence tampering.

For nearly thirty years, the McCreary County Museum in Stearns has been in operation showcasing the history and cultural heritage of this county and region, including an emphasis on the many years that the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company was dominate in the county. The 2015 season will be the 27th consecutive year of operation for the museum which operates mainly on donations, grants and membership dues to cover its expenses. The museum is currently seeking additional members to support their efforts and continue the mission of sharing McCreary County's history and heritage with locals and visitors. Members receive special discount offers throughout the year to the museum and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, and also receive exclusive invitations to exhibit openings and events. As a member, you would also receive the museum newsletter and other benefits. For information on the McCreary County Museum in Stearns, including information on becoming a member, stop by the museum, call 376-5730 or visit them online at or on Facebook.

In the more than two years since the McCreary County Jail closed, the facility has been sitting empty and has continued falling into disrepair. The last meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court included discussion on the need to put some effort into cleaning up the facility so state officials will have something to look at when they pay a visit to the county to discuss possibilities for reopening the local jail. Since that meeting, Kim Coffey has stepped forward offering to help coordinate the effort to start the clean up process and is seeking donations of supplies from any local businesses. Those willing to help can contact Kim Coffey at the McCreary County Road Department at 376-8796 between 8:00am-4:00pm or call 606-310-6311.

A freak accident in nearby Laurel County is under investigation and authorities there say a 17 year old boy is dead. They say William Walters was camping with some friends when he was hit by the train at about 3:00am Saturday near Tackett Road in Lily, Kentucky. That is about seven miles south of London in southern Laurel County. Investigators say the train operator told them he saw the teen on the tracks and tried to stop and get his attention, but it was too late and the boy was struck. There are apparently no lights on the track in that location and the only light would have come from the train itself. Police say they do not yet know if alcohol or drugs played any role in the accident.

As McCreary County Fiscal Court and the McCreary County School District begin work on their respective budgets for the new fiscal year starting July 1st, both entities are seeing that finances look bleak moving forward. The school board met recently and heard several options for cutting its budget, but was still looking at a major shortfall for the upcoming year. Meanwhile, the county is just getting ready to start its budget process, but with revenue down in many areas, county leaders will also be looking at ways to make cuts starting in July. One area that was disturbing for both the county and school district was the news that PILT, or Payment in Lieu of Taxes, payments from the federal government will be cut drastically. The McCreary County Voice reports that previously, the county received just over $400,000 for the payment but will get less than $23,000 for the coming year. By law, that funding must be split between the McCreary County Road Fund and the McCreary County School District, meaning just over $11,000 for each. PILT payments are made to the county by the federal government in lieu of property taxes they would pay on the land owned by the government in McCreary County, however those levels are significantly lower than regular property tax payments would be.

This past weekend was filled with examples of how McCreary County, and its people, pull together to get things done. For the fourth consecutive year, a large group of volunteers put in many hours of preparation for two local Hee Haw style shows on Saturday all to raise money to battle a disease that has impacted almost everyone in one way or another. The local Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society, once again put on the annual Hee Haw Show to good crowds who filled the McCreary Central High School auditorium. Admission to the event was a $5.00 donation to the Relay for Life, plus concessions were sold and items auctioned, with all money going to the fight against cancer.

Another example of local volunteers pulling together to make a big event happen was the first, in what local officials hope will be an annual, Yamacraw Run 10k and 50k race. The event drew more than two hundred participants, many of whom came from other states and other sections of the country, to compete. From a young racer at age 8 to racers in their 60s, they lined up, signed in and took off along either a 10k route or 50k route starting from the Blue Heron Mining Camp Saturday morning. Tourism officials say in addition to the many racers who came to town, most of them brought friends, spouses or even their whole family to cheer them on and enjoy other aspects of the local community and attractions. The event was made possible through countless hours of effort put in by a large team of volunteers, including many locals who helped with sign in, staffing aid stations for the race and other parts of the overall project.

It's that time of year once again. Baseball season is here and the 2015 season of McCreary County Little League is scheduled to officially open today (Monday April 20th) weather permitting. The schedule for today includes field 1 at the County Park where the Tigers and Braves in the 11 and 12 year old division will play at 5:30pm; field 2 where the Diamondbacks and Braves will play in the 9 and 10 year old division at 5:30pm; field 3 where coach pitch action will include the Reds and Cubs at 5:30pm followed by the Diamondbacks and Pirates at 6:45pm; and field 4 with the Rockies taking on the Rangers in girls' softball play. For the complete schedule for McCreary County Little League, posted weekly, visit the “Little League” page online at

With this week being tax week, and Americans swarming to get their taxes filed earlier in the week at the last minute, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a warning about a scam that is apparently circulating throughout the nation. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim does not comply, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation if they are an immigrant, or suspension of a business or drivers' license. The caller has also been known to become hostile and insulting toward the victim with many of these scam calls. IRS officials say you should be on alert especially if you receive a call saying you must immediately pay such a debt. They also say that the IRS will most often make its first contact with a citizen concerning a tax issue by mail, not by phone.

It is likely that several hundred visitors will be in McCreary County this weekend for a number of special events that are planned. One major draw is the Yamacraw Run race which will include a 10k race as well as a 50k run. Spots for participants in the races have actually all been booked with nearly three hundred racers in all expected to take part. Registration and a pre-race meeting will be held today at Outdoor Venture Corporation in Stearns and the sign-in for the event begins at 6:30am Saturday at the Blue Heron Mining Camp. In addition to the racers, it is expected that a number of guests will also come with many of those out of towners to enjoy the race festivities.

The Big South Fork is also sponsoring its Wildflower Hike at Yahoo Falls Saturday starting at 9:00am. The group will meet at the parking area for the falls and those taking part are asked to dress appropriately for the weather. The hike, which is rated moderate, is free and open to the public.

The McCreary County Relay for Life committee is also sponsoring their fourth annual Hee Haw Show to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The show will be Saturday at McCreary Central High School with shows at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Admission is a $5.00 donation to the American Cancer Society.

These events are in addition to some of the regular weekend activities in McCreary County, including the Uptown Opry with live country music Friday nights in downtown Whitley City.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training recently released the February unemployment rates for counties in Kentucky, showing that 119 out of 120 counties recorded lower jobless rates between February 2014 and February 2015. McCreary County was among those and also saw a lower rate between January and February this year, dropping from 9.6% in January to 8.7% in February. The highest unemployment rates in the state came from counties with double digit jobless rates including the highest in Magoffin County at 14.3%. The lowest rate in the state was in Woodford County at 3.5%. The statewide jobless rate was recorded at 5.5% in February, down from 6.1% in January. The US rate was 5.8% for the latest report. For more on Kentucky's labor market and unemployment rates, visit

The McCreary County Public Library and the McCreary County Performing Arts Council have joined to offer Reader's Theater productions of two plays in early May. The production includes the play “The Spy On Ward Four” and “The Ransom of Red Chief.” The presentation will be Saturday May 2nd starting at 7:00pm at the local library, preceded by a light menu dinner and refreshments starting at 6:00pm. The cost is $10 per person including the light meal and the production with tickets sold in advance at the library. The play is for adults and teens and tickets must be purchased by Wednesday April 29th with no tickets sold at the door. For information, stop by the McCreary County Public Library or call 376-8738 or visit the library's Facebook page.

The Big South Fork Saddle Club will be hosting a coggins clinic this Saturday April 18th at the Winfield City Park from 8:00am to 12noon. The program is being offered in conjunction with the Highland Veterinary Clinic with a regular coggins report for $20 and the digital report available for $25. Breakfast can also be purchased at the event in support of the Big South Fork Saddle Club. For information on the clinic you can call Brooke at 423-286-9292.

Authorities in Pulaski County arrested more than two dozen suspects Monday as part of a drug roundup after the grand jury in the neighboring county handed down a total of 47 indictments. Additional arrests are planned over the coming weeks. The arrests came from just about every corner of Pulaski County with officers from various agencies assisting the effort led by the county sheriff's department. Most of the charges filed involved Oxycodone, methamphetamine, and related drugs, but heroin is also on the rise in the area.

The Big South Fork park ranger station in Stearns played host Tuesday to a top state official in tourism. Kentucky Secretary of Tourism, Bob Stewart, paid a visit to the area from Frankfort and spent time at the ranger station where park officials greeted him, along with other state, local and tourism industry personnel. Secretary Stewart was presented a welcome basket on behalf of McCreary County Tourism and was set to visit several locations in the county following a reception at the ranger station. Secretary Stewart oversees the state's efforts in tourism as well as parks, cultural heritage and arts.

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is now offering temporary permits to individuals allowing for the collection of downed firewood along roadsides in the park. The recent winter storms have downed a number of trees and park officials say it is time to clean the downed wood from along the roadsides, and the best way to do that is to allow residents around the area to make use of that wood. The permit allows for the removal of wood that is already down with twenty feet of the road and the permits are good for personal use only, not for resale. No chainsaws are permitted and there is to be no cutting of standing timber with the permit. There is no charge for the permits which can be obtained at the Big South Fork park headquarters at 4564 Leatherwood Road in Oneida or at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center during office hours from 9:00-4:30pm weekdays. For information on the program, call 423-569-9778.

A series of recent break ins at storage units locally is being investigated by the McCreary County Sheriff's Department. The McCreary County Voice reported on the investigations this past week and says the department is seeking the public's help in gathering information about the crimes. They are also working with the storage unit renters to compile a list of items taken during those break ins. Anyone with information on the recent crime spree is asked to call the McCreary County Sheriff's Department at 376-2322 or call the local 911 dispatch center. You can also submit tips through the department website at or by using the text link on the website.

This week is recognized as National Library Week with libraries across the country getting in on the celebration, including libraries at schools, college campuses, and, of course, community public libraries. The McCreary County Public Library is one of those with a number of activities this week along with a ficus on the many services offered every day at the local library. Online databases are available through the library on everything from law forms to car repair, along with DVDs, audio books, magazines, best selling books, and more. The local library also offers special programs for children, including after school tutoring, reading programs and even a LEGO club that meets on a regular basis. Outreach services are provided to daycares in the county, as well as preschool, head start and the bookmobile. The Literacy Bell ringing took place Monday to commemorate National Library Week and a special Lego program will offered for kids this Saturday April 18th. For more on special activities and the services offered by your McCreary County Public Library, you can stop by on Main Street in downtown Whitley City or call 376-8738. You can also visit the library online at or on Facebook. National Library Week was first commemorated in 1958 and is now held across the nation each April.

A team of workers with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community program is working at and around the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park this week. Their work will include trail repairs, removing invasive plants, cleaning out caves and other general park improvements. The crew is also assigned to help with certain Trail Town community projects. AmeriCorps workers are in the age range of 18 to 24 years old and come from all parts of the country to work on community projects in various areas. The team will be in the Cumberland Falls area through this week and will begin working at the Carter Caves State Resort Park on Monday April 20th.

During last Thursday's regular meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court, the county's jail situation was yet again a hot topic of discussion. Magistrate Roger Phillips asked Judge Executive Doug Stephens if the state's Department of Corrections (DOC) had scheduled a return visit to inspect the jail and talk with county leaders since McCreary County got a new jailer this year. Judge Stephens said he has remained in contact with DOC officials but that they are awaiting word from their facilities department on what would be needed to potentially reopen the local jail, if it can be done at all. Phillips said he feels the county needs to take action to begin cleaning up the jail facility so it looks at least somewhat presentable when state officials do pay a visit. He noted that he does not think the county should sink tons of money into that project, but simply clean, wash walls, paint and do cosmetic type projects. It was noted that community service workers who are ordered to work by the courts could be used and would only require one person to supervise their work. Discussions included using Jailer/Transport Officer Jessie Hatfield, as well as county employed litter abatement workers to help with that supervision. It was emphasized that those workers could not be paid for that work out of the litter abatement grant, but could be paid out of General Fund.

Since the meeting Thursday, Kim Coffey, who serves as secretary for the county road department and the magistrates, has stepped forward to help organize the jail cleanup effort. She is currently seeking donations and supplies from any local businesses who want to help with the project. You can contact Kim at the road department office Monday through Friday between 8:00am-4:00pm. You can call 376-8796 or e-mail

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.

After less than successful seasons this year, at least two McCreary Central High School sports programs are now in store for some leadership changes moving into next year. The McCreary County Voice reports that the high school football program will no longer be led by former Head Coach Garry Galloway and a new coach is currently being sought. A group of volunteers, reportedly including Assistant Principal Rick Kenney and former coach Justin Bozeman, is leading the team through spring practices until a new coach can be named. Meanwhile, school officials will also be searching for a new girls' basketball coach after Darry Burkett resigned after one season in the position. The Voice article states that Galloway put up a record of 0-20 in two season with the football program, while Burkett recorded an 11-16 record this past year.

The McCreary County Fiscal Court met in regular session Thursday evening with personnel issues dominating the agenda, as well as a couple of items not on the agenda. The meeting actually closed with a lengthy executive session in which the court spoke behind closed doors, apparently about personnel issues at either the ambulance service or 911, as Director Jimmy Barnett was called to the room, and potentially at the road department. After that session, the court emerged, reconvened in regular session and took no formal action. This came after the court had already been questioned by local citizen, and former judge executive candidate, Bevo Greene about the termination of his daughter, Candice Greene-Bridgeman, as County Finance Officer. Greene cited a state statute and questioned if the judge executive can act alone, without court approval, on such a matter. County Attorney Conley Chaney said that state law does allow the judge to do so and the action will stand unless the court votes to rescind the action. Magistrate Roger Phillips noted that no appeal had been filed with them to the termination so they could not act on the issue.

Another personnel issue raised came from an employee of the McCreary County Road Department who asked if rumors about employees being held back a check were true. Judge Executive Doug Stephens said auditors had called the county out for not holding a check back from employees when they first begin their employment, which is a common practice in many other agencies and even other government entities. Judge Stephens said some action was needed because as it stands now, time sheets are turned in early in the week for a pay period that does not close until pay day on Friday. This means county employees, and their supervisors, are actually just estimating the days and times worked for the last few days of the pay period. He noted that any action on the issue would be done to inflict as little pain on employees, in terms of the schedule on which they are paid. Several options were discussed including staggering the pay periods, hold a check back for one week to get back on track and others, but no action has been taken on the matter.

Fiscal Court also approved hiring two individuals, both on a part time basis meaning each can work no more than 24 hours per week. Adam Phillips was hired as part time tourism director while Cody Dale Vanover was installed as part time litter abatement worker.

Other business conducted Thursday night by the McCreary County Fiscal Court included the re-appointment of Lloyd Wynn to the public library board of trustees; the re-appointments of Chris King and Randy Gilreath, and the appointment of Duston Baird, to the search and rescue squad board of directors; and approving a resolution supporting a grant application by the McCreary County Heritage Foundation for projects at the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. That grant would also, according to Becki Egnew from the Heritage Foundation, allow for funding to assist the local Trail Town project. The court also approved changing the time of their regular meetings to 6:00pm on the second Thursday of each month. This will put the meetings one hour earlier than the current 7:00pm meeting time. The next regular meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be Thursday May 14th at 6:00pm.

The McCreary County Sheriff's Department is seeking the public's help in making sure the local community is safe and that illegal activity is being investigated. The department offers several ways for citizens to submit tips about activity or actions that may be against the law. The sheriff's website at offers a “Tips” link that includes the phone number to call tips in, a web form for submission and even an option to text tips to the department. In addition, tips are accepted from the public in person at the McCreary County Sheriff's Department office, in the Courthouse Annex building, in Whitley City during regular office hours.

An anonymous tip reported to police in Whitley County led to the raid of a meth lab on East Highway 92 Tuesday afternoon. Kentucky State Police report that once the lab was discovered at the residence, several individuals were arrested at the scene including 29 year old Johnny Hill, 33 year old Shelly Lawson, 27 year old Jennifer Mattie and 21 year old Dillon Croley. All were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, while Croley was also charged with various other drug related offenses. The investigation is continuing by Kentucky State Police with assistance from the Williamsburg Police Department.

Several years ago, a group of civic minded community leaders gathered to form a new program called “Leadership McCreary”, which was to be focused on developing leaders for the community and helping participants improve their leadership skills. The program has since graduated several classes and is now set to begin a new 2015-2016 class. Applications are being accepted now through May 31st for the program which includes several group sessions covering a wide range of topics including duties of elected officials, tourism, problem solving, local and state government, and other aspects of the community and becoming a leader in the community. The cost to participate is $350 which covers all tuition and expenses for the program. Limited spaces are available in the new class and some scholarship opportunities may be available for some applicants. In many cases, businesses or organizations may cover the cost of the program. Information and the application for Leadership McCreary are available for download on the McCreary County website at on the “News & Notices” page or on the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce website at

A visit to a Wayne County home this past week resulted in the occupant being charged with wanton endangerment, unlawful imprisonment and animal cruelty. Deputies entered the home of 53 year old Gary Cox after his mother reportedly missed a doctor's appointment. The man's mother was found in the bed in a room that had a padlock on it and officers found buckets in the home filled with human waste. Also inside the home were at least two dogs that were dead along with several dead cats and dogs found inside carriers outside the home. Animal Control responded to the residence to remove several living dogs while Gary Cox was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment first degree, unlawful imprisonment and animal cruelty. He was lodged in the Wayne county Detention Center under $50,000 bond. There was no word on the condition or location of his mother following the incident. The Wayne County Sheriff's Department continues the investigation.

The McCreary County Public Library will host its second annual Child Care and Preschool/Head Start “Palooza” event on Saturday April 25th. The session will run from 10:00am to 12noon at the library and will provide parents with information about services available in the local community for children from birth to five years of age including child care providers, head start, preschool, First Steps and other related programs. Drawings will also be held for several door prizes. For information on the event call the McCreary County Public Library at 376-8738 or visit the library online at or on Facebook.

The annual program that helps local households purchase garden supplies for spring is now taking applications for 2015. The Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency began taking applications April 1st and will continue accepting and approving qualified applications while funding is available. Eligible households receive vouchers for garden supplies which are redeemable at approved vendors. To apply you must provide proof of household income as well as social security numbers for each household member. To apply or for more information stop by the Community Action Agency office in the former Maloney's building at 431 North Highway 27 in Whitley City between 8:30am – 3:00pm or call 376-2593.

Despite the fact that he has been dead for more than three years, Gatewood Galbraith may run for Kentucky Governor yet again in 2015. Actually, the name of Gatewood Galbraith could appear on the ballot in November as an Independent candidate for the state's top office, but it will not be the same Gatewood who ran in several previous elections prior to his January 2012 death. Pulaski County resident Terrill Wayne Newman was in court last week where he was granted legal permission to change his name to Gatewood Galbraith (Newman), allowing him to file his letter of intent to run under that name as an Independent for governor this year. Since he is not running as a Democrat or Republican, he will not have to run in the May primary, but could move directly to the November General Election. Somerset's Commonwealth Journal reports through an article written by Janie Slaven, a name very familiar to McCreary County residents, that Newman is a 68 year old grandfather and former social worker who has been a fan of the original Gatewood Galbraith for many years. In fact, he says he had known Gatewood for many years and knew each other on a first name basis. He added that his decision to run using Galbraith's name is based on a desire for others to continue learning about the message delivered for many years by the former Lexington attorney and candidate. The potential candidate must still get at least 5,000 signatures to appear on the ballot and must have those turned in and certified by early August. While new to the internet, Galbraith (Newman) says with help from others, including his grandchildren, he plans to take his campaign online to help obtain the needed signatures. He added that his concern is not whether he wins the race or not, but rather promoting the name and message of Gatewood Galbraith. The original Gatewood Galbraith ran for Kentucky Governor every four years from 1991 through 2011, with the exception of 2003 when he ran for Kentucky Attorney General. He was unsuccessful in each of those races. He passed away January 4, 2012 at the age of 64.

Reports filtered in last week that some changes are in store for operations at the McCreary County Judge executive's Office. County Judge Doug Stephens reportedly gave County Finance Officer Candice Greene-Bridgeman notice last week that she was being terminated from the position she had held for nearly seven years. Judge Stephens has not issued a public statement on the decision and there is no word on a replacement for the post working inside the judge's office.

The recent Spring Cleanup effort at Cumberland Falls, sponsored by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, resulted in Whitley County claiming the Volunteer Cup over McCreary County for the most volunteers. It was a very close competition with Whitley County recording 117 volunteers registered and McCreary County with 111 volunteers signed in. Twenty one volunteers came from other counties to take part in the cleanup last Saturday March 28th. Whitley County Junior ROTC picked up the award for largest school based group, while the Pine Knot Job Corps was first runner up in that category. A total of 453 bags of trash were collected around Cumberland Falls and along Highway 90 in both directions with eight tires also picked up. Among the sponsors of the cleanup were PRIDE, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, McCreary County Fiscal Court and 109 Solid Waste Board, McCreary County Extension Service, McCreary County and Whitley County School Districts, United Cumberland Bank and Pine Knot Job Corps, among others. For information on PRIDE and its efforts, call 1-888-577-4339 or visit

The annual report of health rankings based on a number of factors has been released after being compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The group works with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to gather data from counties, not only in Kentucky but throughout the nation, to generate the report of health rankings each year. The rankings are put into two categories including factors and outcomes with factors including things like health behaviors, such as smoking, physical environment, diet, and more. Outcomes include things like premature death, health conditions, low birth weight and more. Out of the 120 counties in Kentucky, McCreary County ranked in the bottom 25% in both areas. In fact, McCreary County was 109
th in health factors and 95th in health outcomes. For example, roughly 40% of McCreary County adults were listed as smokers, while 26% in Kentucky are smokers. McCreary County had a much higher rate of teenage births than the state, with 84 reported locally and a state average of 48. The report also shows McCreary County with a 53% child poverty level, compared to 26% statewide, while the county did report a 93% high school graduation rate compared to 86% for the state. In the health outcome rankings, McCreary County recorded 41% of its residents in poor or fair health, while only 21% in Kentucky were found in that category. For information on the 2015 county health rankings you can visit online.

Each year, McCreary County spends in excess of $60,000 for animal control services, including more than $30,000 for salary and benefits for a full time animal control officer and $30,000 for a contract with the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter. That contract allows McCreary County a location for housing stray animals picked up locally. The Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter was destroyed by a fire in November 2013 which also killed a number of animals.. After more than a year of being housed in a temporary location and raising funds to rebuild, the shelter is this week moving into its new location in Corbin and is in the process of moving animals into their new location. In addition to McCreary County, the shelter also serves Knox, Whitley and Clay Counties. Visit or

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