Joyce Bentley age 61 of Pine Knot, daughter of the late Maudie "Marcella" Taylor, passed away Friday February 27, 2015. Funeral services will be Sunday (March 8th) at Pine Knot Funeral Home at 2:00PM with burial in Murray Wilson Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday after 12:00PM at the funeral home. Pine Knot Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Updated Monday March 2, 2015 @ 7:00am

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.)

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

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.

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.

Due to weather conditions and the cancellation of registration last Saturday, sign-ups for McCreary County Little League have been extended by an extra week. Organizers say the registration will be held as scheduled this Saturday February 28th from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the McCreary County Public Library, with a date added for next Saturday March 7th with registration from 10:00 am to 2:00pm at the train depot in Stearns. Draft day for little league has been delayed to Saturday March 14th at 10:00am at the Lord's Gym with opening day still set for April 20th at the County Park. Registration fee is $35 per player to cover league fees, insurance and the team hat and shirt. Age divisions for little league this year include wee ball for ages 2 and 3; tee ball for ages 4 – 6; coach pitch for ages 7 and 8; minor league for ages 9 and 10; major league for ages 11 and 12; fast pitch girls' softball for ages 9 through 12; and senior league for baseball and fast pitch softball for ages 13 through 16. The draft day schedule on March 14th will include coach pitch and minor league from 9:00 to 10:30am and fast pitch and major league from 10:30am to 12noon. Wee ball and tee ball players do not need to attend draft day events. For more information on McCreary County Little League call League President Donnie Whitehead at 606-310-9471 or visit and click on “Little League.”

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.

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 online or go to the county website at You can also call the McCreary County Judge Executive's office for information at 376-2413.

Those interested in ordering a variety of fruit plants and rootstock from the McCreary County Extension Service have only a couple of days left to place those orders. This Friday February 27th is the deadline for orders on strawberry plants, apple rootstock, pear rootstock, blueberry plants, blackberry plants and raspberry plants. Prices and quantities vary but you can call the office for details or to place orders at 376-2524. You can also e-mail Greg Whitis at

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.

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

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.

The weather and extreme cold forced the postponement of the local high school basketball district tournaments, which were scheduled to start for boys' and girls' action last night (Monday February 23rd). Instead games will be played at Wayne County High School tonight. In the boys' tournament, McCreary Central will face Southwestern before the winner plays Friday in the championship game against Wayne County. The Raiders have dropped both prior meetings this season against Southwestern. The Lady Raiders will face off against Wayne County with the championship against Southwestern scheduled for Thursday. In a similar trend, the Lady Raiders lost both games this season against Wayne County.

After approving the first reading of a smoke free ordinance for McCreary County earlier this month, county leaders will hold a public hearing to gather input on the issue. The hearing will be Thursday March 12th at 5:00pm in the Fiscal Court meeting room upstairs at the McCreary County Courthouse, just ahead of the regular court meeting scheduled for 7:00pm that same evening. At that meeting, court members could vote to approve the second reading of the ordinance which would officially make it law in the county. The ordinance was proposed by the local chapter of Champions for a Drug Free McCreary County and Operation UNITE and was also endorsed by the McCreary County Board of Health at their recent meeting. If given final approval, the measure would require all public places, including businesses such as restaurants and stores, to be smoke free inside the facility and within reasonable distance of the entryway. Copies of the proposed ordinance are available at the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office and those with comments can attend the public hearing on March 12th at 5:00pm or submit input in writing to the Judge's office prior to that date.

The past week has been filled with issues and problems related to the blasting of the region by a major winter storm. It started one week ago as several inches of snow were dumped locally, with some areas of Kentucky receiving more than a foot of accumulation. It took several days to dig out from the snow and get to the point that local roads were starting to be in fair condition when another round of wintry weather moved through Friday night and early Saturday, this time bring some snow but mainly freezing rain and sleet to the area. This transitioned to mainly rain during the day Saturday leading to flood warnings for the region through Sunday.

One issue seen from all the heavy snow and ice that plagued the area was roof collapses, with several reported across Kentucky. One such incident reportedly took place just up the road in Somerset where the roof over Belk's, a popular clothing store located inside the Somerset Mall, reportedly collapsed. There were no conirmed injuries from that incident. Many traffic accidents were also reported across the state as motorists tried to deal with the hazardous driving conditions.

The good news coming from weather experts is that this coming week is expected to be much calmer with no major chance of precipitation through the coming weekend.

The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce is once again seeking applicants for their $500 scholarship award to help a local high school senior further their education after graduation. The annual scholarship award is presented in May with applications, essays and letters of recommendation accepted now through May 4th. The application and information is available on the Chamber website at and you can also look up the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.

After the area got blasted with several inches of snow being dumped earlier this week, the wintry weather is not letting up yet. Just as people are getting dug out from the snow, frigid, arctic temperatures have settled in on the state of Kentucky with low temperatures well below zero and wind chills even lower. Even with temperatures warming slightly during the day on Friday, the chance of freezing rain, sleet and snow is in the forecast for Friday night and Saturday morning with light snow and ice accumulations possible. The good news is warmer temperatures which should reach the 40s this weekend, but rain is expected Saturday and Sunday across the region.

Officials with the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area are promoting business opportunities that are available within the park with the upcoming season starting in the spring. Among the opportunities are things like providing hayrides, swimming lessons, guided horse rides, shuttle services or setting up food stands in the park. These types of businesses must apply through the Big South Fork and some may require being open certain days, such as weekends during the summer, and having insurance. For more information on business opportunities and business permits for the Big South Fork you can call the park's fee manager at 423-569-2404 ext. 240 or e-mail

Those preparing for spring planting will want to make note of an upcoming deadline to place fruit tree orders through the McCreary County Cooperative Extension Service. Strawberry plants are available at a cost of $16 per 100 plants with plants ordered in lots of 25. Varieties include Earliglow for early season and Allstar for mid to late season. Apple rootstock is available for $1.50 each with varieties including Bud-9, M-7, and M-111. Pear rootstock varieties are also available for $1.50 each and blueberry plants are $8 each including blue ray and blue crop varieties. Other plants available include blackberry and raspberry with blackberry costing $4.50 each and raspberry $3.00 each. The deadline for placing fruit orders with the extension service is next Friday February 27th. To order plants you can call 376-2524 or e-mail extension agent Greg Whitis at

The Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum, a mobile museum that travels around the state, and neighboring states, sharing native artifacts and information, was recently awarded grant funding to help with their efforts in 2015. The museum is based in Corbin but travels to festivals, pow wows and schools throughout the year. The non-profit organization shared in $1.4 million awarded this year by the Kentucky Arts Council for its Kentucky Arts Partnership program. 96 separate non-profits received funding through the program, with presentations made earlier this month at Arts Day events held by the Arts Council. The Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum received $9,037 in grant funds. The museum also sponsors its own Pow Wow each Labor Day weekend in Corbin including native demonstrations, music and other activities. For information on the museum you can visit their website at or for information on the Kentucky Arts Council, visit them online at

McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens has issued an order declaring a state of emergency for the county following the major snow storm this week. The order directs local emergency personnel to assist residents and to help with delivery of essential medical supplies and travel for essential healthcare workers. EMS is on an emergency transport plan meaning transports out of the county by ambulance will be done for emergencies only. Judge Stephens urges citizens to only call 911 for emergencies, not to check weather forecasts or road conditions. Residents are also urged to stay off roads until the order is lifted. For more information or to view the executive order, visit

Residents across Kentucky are continuing the process of digging out and cleaning up after the major snow storm that blasted the state Monday. Some areas of Kentucky received more than a foot of snow and could see additional accumulations from smaller snow systems that move through the area over the next few days. Couple that with very frigid, arctic temperatures which will drop overnight lows in the below zero range with daytime highs in some cases struggling to reach double digits and this week is by far the harshest of this winter and possibly several winters. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Monday afternoon that he had declared a state of emergency for the entire state because of the heavy snow accumulation which allows local communities to request additional support from the state as they dig out.

While the next election is still about three months away with the May primary for many statewide races, election business took up two agenda items last Thursday during the regular February session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court. County Clerk Eric Haynes, who also serves as the county's chief election officer, asked the court to approve spending up to $4,000 to construct a new voting house for the Elm precinct in the southern portion of the county. Haynes noted the current block building has water and mold issues and that it is located in a flood plain area adding to those issues. He recommended building a new voting house that could be raised above ground level and would prevent water from entering the building. Haynes also asked the court to approve spending up to $4,000 on a new cargo trailer that can be used by his office to transport voting machines and supplies to voting locations for elections. He noted he has had to borrow trailers for this in the past and added that the trailer could also be used by other county departments when needed. The court voted to approve moth measures after also accepting a check for nearly $12,000 in excess fees generated by the county clerk's office during the past year.

Meeting in regular session Thursday night, the McCreary County Fiscal Court voted to approve resolutions in support of two separate grant applications being submitted by the county. The first project was presented by Economic Development Director Susan Stephens and involves a $10,000 grant from the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) to assist with business plans on programs related to Grow McCreary and the McCreary County Farmer's Market. There would be a $2,000 match required from the county for the project. The court also endorsed a grant application recommended by Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell seeking funding through the state's Land and Water Conservation Fund for splash pads at the county park. Park Manager Melissa Vanover had reportedly been working on that project in hopes of adding more recreational opportunities at the park. In a side note, a new county park website was launched last week to allow online visitors the chance to view rental information for park facilities as well as senior citizens' center information, park events and McCreary County Little League information. The website is online now at with additional information and pictures to be added soon.

Thursday's meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court included an update from the Kentucky Department of Transportation involving state recommendations for rural secondary road funds for the upcoming fiscal year to start July 1, 2015. According to Jacob Chaney, an engineer with the state highway department, Kentucky Highway 896, known as the Eagle-Sawyer road in northern McCreary County, is set for resurfacing from mile point 2.8 to the end of state maintenance. The estimated cost for the project would be just under $540,000 with the county still having about $285,000 in flex funds that could be used for additional resurfacing projects in the county. Judge Executive Doug Stephens urged magistrates to compile their list of road projects they would like included which can then be submitted to the state as recommendations. Magistrate OL Perry made a motion that the court accept the state's recommendation for the rural secondary road funds, including the Eagle-Sawyer road project, saying that section of road is in desperate need of resurfacing. The court unanimously approved that motion.

Meeting in regular session Thursday evening (February 12th), the McCreary County Fiscal Court dealt with a few personnel issues, including holding an executive session at the request of Magistrate Roger Phillips. The session came near the close of the meeting with Phillips noting that a personnel issue that needed discussed had come to his attention. After several minutes behind closed doors, the court reconvened in open session with no action taken on the issue. Another personnel issue addressed earlier in the meeting involved replacing Donnie Morgan as the county's full time Community Service Coordinator, overseeing the litter abatement and recycling programs. Morgan had recently resigned to accept a different position. Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell recommended Chris Slaven to fill the post after he has been serving in a part time capacity assisting Morgan for some time. Powell noted that Slaven has picked up the slack since Morgan's departure and has kept the clean up programs going. At first, the court failed to make a motion on the matter leading Magistrate Roger Phillips to explain his reason for not acting. He said he had received reports that Slaven had been playing around and doing donuts on the county owned fork lift used at the transfer station for the recycling program. Slaven explained that he had not been playing around and that in fact he had pressed too hard on the accelerator for the machine, not being used to operating it, and it had gone faster and spun more than he expected. James Jones, county maintenance worker, backed Slaven up saying he had operated the machine before and confirming that it has more power than one would expect if not familiar with the fork lift. Slaven assured court members if approved for the position he would work hard and would not allow such an incident to occur again. In the end, the court voted to approve his hiring with the warning that he was essentially on probation and would be watched going forward. It was noted that applications would be taken for the part time position to assist Slaven with hopes that the position could be filled in March ahead of the busy spring cleanup season.

An issue which was raised at a previous meeting by Roger Owens with the local Champions/UNITE chapter came before the McCreary County Fiscal Court as an agenda item Thursday night. On the agenda was the first reading of County Ordinance 810.1 which would require all public places, including businesses, within the county to go smoke free. According to members of the Champions/UNITE chapter that were on hand for the meeting, the ordinance would require business owners to enforce the measure or be in violation themselves and it would require a certain distance around entrance ways to public places to also be smoke free. It was noted that Champions/UNITE planned to prove “no smoking” signs for businesses in the county if the measure passed. Magistrate Roger Phillips said he was against the proposal because he did not feel it was the local governments place to tell private business owners whether to allow smoking or not. He added that as a consumer, each individual has the right to choose whether to do business at places that allow smoking. The court voted 4-1, with Phillips casting the dissenting vote, to approve the first reading of the smoke free ordinance. The measure still has obstacles ahead, however, as the court will hold a public hearing to gather input at 5:00pm on Thursday March 12th, ahead of the regular court meeting that night at 7:00pm when a second reading of the ordinance will be on the agenda. The ordinance would have to pass then in order to go into effective countywide.

A death at the United States Penitentiary in McCreary County this month is under investigation according to a report this week in The McCreary County Record. 32 year old Lance Cameron Smith was an inmate at the federal prison who was transferred to the facility at the start of the month. Reports indicate that Smith was killed after arriving at the institution possibly in an altercation with another inmate, although the death is currentrly under investigation. The Record reports receiving a press release from USP McCreary stating that Smith was discovered by staff at the prison in a general housing unit and that he had multiple injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment. Smith died after arriving at the hospital from his injuries. The newspaper article further states that this death, the third at the Pine Knot facility in the past year, is currently under investigation by the FBI.

The McCreary County Occupational Tax Administrator's office has released the tax numbers for January of this year, and they show a steady income of funds compared to the same month last year. Last month's revenue was $138,559.32, up by just under $3,000 over the January 2014 figure of $135,855. After about $4,400 were deducted last month for expenses, a total net revenue of $134,147.49 was realized from the tax for the county General Fund. For more information on the McCreary County Occupational Tax, including monthly revenue summaries, reporting forms and more, you can visit the tax page at

The McCreary County Fiscal Court met for its regular February session last night (Thursday February 12th) with a number of items on the agenda, including the first reading of a smoke free ordinance. The issue was raised at a previous court meeting by Roger Owens with the local Champions/UNITE group and would focus its attention on restaurants within the county. Other issues on the agenda were approval of Chris Slaven as full time Community Service Coordinator, overseeing the county litter abatement and recycling programs; approving election issues such as improvements on the voting house for the Elm precinct and purchase of a cargo trailer for transport voting machines and equipment; and approving resolutions supporting grant applications. We will have a complete report on the February Fiscal Court meeting on Monday's “Daily Update” report.

With Valentine's Day this Saturday, and many in school celebrating or commemorating the event this Friday, transportation officials with the McCreary County School District have issued reminders to students, staff and parents regarding some bus rules. They say helium balloons and glass vases, such as those containing flowers, are not allowed to be transported on school buses for obvious safety reasons. If students receive items such as these at school for Valentine's Day, arrangements should be made to have them picked up by someone rather than getting on a bus with the items.

While Easter is still nearly two months away on April 5th, planning is underway now for the second annual 'Easter in the Park” to be held again this year at the McCreary County Park. The event is scheduled for 12:00-4:00pm on Saturday April 4th and will be held in the area around the concession stand and ball fields at the park. There will be an Easter egg hunt as well as concessions and inflatables for the kids to enjoy. The event is a free community event and is sponsored through donations from area churches, businesses and individuals. For information contact Melissa Vanover, McCreary County Park Office Manager, at 376-PARK (376-7275) or e-mail For information on the County Park, including facility rentals, events, and Little League in McCreary County, you can also visit the new park website at

The Kentucky Blood Center operates several blood bank locations in the state, including one in Somerset. They also offer mobile blood drives in communities across the state which provides for much of the needed blood supply to service hospitals and other clinics in Kentucky. The next community blood drive in McCreary County has been scheduled for next Thursday February 19th from 3:30-7:30pm in the training room at the Whitley City Fire Department. Remember that each blood donation can help save the lives of up to three patients by using different components of the blood. Each donor at the blood drive next week will receive a free gray, long sleeve shirt. Donors must be at least 17 years of age, or 16 with a parental consent form, and weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. For more information on donating blood, or the Kentucky Blood Center and their mission, you can call 1-800-775-2522 or visit online.

Those who wish to brave the frigid temperatures that are in the forecast for this coming weekend can go camping with no recreational fees charged in certain areas of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The National Park Service has announced that in honor of Presidents' Day, which is next Monday February 16th, the Big South Fork will offer free camping at Alum Ford Campground in McCreary County, as well as free backcountry camping in the park. The offer runs from Saturday February 14th through Monday February 16th. For additional information you can call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center with the Big South Fork at 423-286-7275 or visit Other fee free days scheduled by the Park Service this year include April 18th and 19th in honor of National Park Week, August 25th for the National Park Service birthday, September 26th for National Public Lands Day and November 11th in honor of Veterans' Day.

A late night rescue took more than four hours and resulted in a 15 year old Pulaski County teen being hospitalized. Authorities say rescue teams were called to an area near Tateville in southern Pulaski County where the boy had been coon hunting and reportedly fell up to fifty (50) feet down one embankment, before then slipping and fall up to one hundred (100) feet down a second cliff. The rough terrain and steep hills made for a very tough rescue mission but crews say they were able to reach the boy and lower him down to the lake below where he could be transported for treatment. He suffered a broken arm and leg but officials said he should make a full recovery.

The Kentucky State Parks Foundation has announced that six schools in the state have been awarded grants to help cover the cost of field trips to state parks. Among the grant recipients is Whitley City Elementary School in McCreary County which will send students to the Old Fort Harrod State Park. Other schools receiving grant funds included Elliott County Middle School, Seneca High School in Louisville, Leatherwood Elementary School in Perry County, Williamstown High School in Grant County, and B. Michael Caudill Middle School in Madison County. The grants are provided by the state parks foundation using donations. Applications for grants for this school year are still being accepted through the end of this month with information available online at

Those looking for a unique way for their children to celebrate Valentine's Day this year may want to take part in the old fashioned Valentine craft event with a Ranger in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The event will be this Saturday February 14th at 11:00am at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center on the Tennessee side of the park. The program will last about thirty minutes and will allow children to learn about Valentine's Day cards and how they have changed over time. Participants can also make their own cards using a variety of materials. The program is free and wheelchair accessible. Children attending should be accompanied by an adult. For information or directions, call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at 423-286-7275.

A warning has been issued by the Kentucky State Police about phone scams that target victims by claiming to be raising money for fallen police officers. The calls have been received at various areas across the state from someone who says they are with the Kentucky State Police and are raising money for fallen officers who have died in the line of duty in the state. When asked by a potential victim for information to authenticate their identity, the caller reportedly hangs up. KSP officials advise that they will not ask for personal or bank account information over the phone and they advise anyone receiving such a call to avoid giving this type of information. The KSP is reportedly raising money for fallen officers, but they say they do not engage in cold calls where they call a person out of the blue asking for donations. You may check the legitimacy of any charitable organization by calling the Kentucky Attorney General's office at 502-696-5300 or online at By law, officials say, every charitable organization must be registered with the Attorney General's office to be legitimate. Kentucky State Police investigators are continuing to work this scam and will release additional details as they become available.

The days of school starting in early August may be coming to an end if Kentucky Senate Bill 129 passes and is signed into law. The bill, filed by Senator Chris Girdler who represents Pulaski, Boyle and Lincoln Counties in Frankfort, says that the first day of student attendance for a school year “shall be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26th, except for school districts that have adopted a year-round calendar.” The bill, if passed, would go into effect with the 2016-2017 school year. The bill also allows school districts who have been forced to cancel 7 or more days in each of the past 5 years due to weather conditions to apply for a waiver. Sources say current school year calendars for most school districts in Kentucky put opening day before August 26th, including McCreary County where school generally starts from early to mid August. It is unclear how much support Senate Bill 129 has but it would have to pass in the Senate and House before being signed by the Governor in order to take effect.

An early morning traffic stop this week on Tunnel Ridge Road in Stearns led to the arrest of three Tennessee residents on drug related charges. The McCreary County Record reports on their website that Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Chris King stopped the vehicle at just before 3:00am Tuesday. The driver, 20 year old Dalton Duncan of Helenwood, Tennessee, was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. Duncan was charged with driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, and trafficking in a controlled substance, as well as traffic offenses. 26 year old William Cross of Huntsville, Tennessee was a passenger in the car and was arrested for public intoxication, possession, trafficking and resisting arrest. Another passenger, 28 year old Danielle Ross, was also arrested at the scene for public intoxication. Assisting Officer Chris King at the scene was McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters and Deputies Jerry Meadows, Milford Creekmore and Charles Perry.

Normally the Better Business Bureau is used to report bad business practices, but this week a warning was issued that the bureau was being used by scam artists in an attempt to gain personal information. The warning came from Highland Communications in an e-mail to their customers saying not to open or reply to an e-mail claiming to be from “BBB SBQ” or standard business questionnaire. The e-mail was reportedly sent out this week to many businesses across the country and has a zip file attachment that links to a site that can download malware on the user's computer. Other agencies have also been used for scams in the past including the IRS, FBI and Fortune 500 companies. E-mail users are urged to use caution when opening suspicious e-mails or e-mails from unknown senders.

The McCreary County Co-operative Extension Service has announced that applications are being taken now for a 4-H Extension Assistant for the county's office. The position will involve assisting with implementing, teaching and promoting the McCreary County 4-H Youth Development programs and the extension service to the general public. A high school diploma or GED is required for the post with the salary ranging from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour. To apply for the position, complete an online application at or call the local extension office for details at 376-2524. The application deadline is set for February 17th.

A normal day working in the garage turned tragic Monday as 75 year old Foster Jones of Parkers Lake was killed when a semi-truck tire he was changing blew and struck him in the torso. Authorities say he was working at his garage in the Greenwood area when it happened late Monday morning. Jones was transported by ambulance to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, where he was pronounced dead at 12:07pm Monday. An autopsy was scheduled in Frankfort this week. Funeral services have been set for this Saturday at 1:00pm at Pine Knot Funeral Home for Foster Jones.

The McCreary County Grand Jury returned three indictments from their January session according to a report from The McCreary County Record. A local pair was indicted for a sexual abuse incident allegedly involving a female minor child under age 12. The indictment claims that Michael Hollis and Linda Slaven engaged in sexual contact with the girl, also engaging in deviate sexual intercourse and intentionally beating the minor child. Both were indicted on sexual abuse first degree counts as well as first degree sodomy and first degree criminal abuse. The indictment also reportedly calls for the suspects to be held under $50,000 cash bond and to wear ankle bracelets if released on bond. The grand jury also handed down an indictment against Gary Gibson of Williamsburg for the charge of flagrant non-support in connection with his two minor children. Listeners are reminded that an indictment by the grand jury is not a finding of guilt, but finds sufficient evidence for formal charges in a case.

The new Kroger store in Whitley City opened its doors one week ago, but the official grand opening is being held today (Thursday Feb. 5th) and will continue through the weekend. A ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for 8:00am this morning with some special giveaways and prizes offered to customers on opening day. The new store consists of 38,000 square feet of space, replacing the old location with only 15,000 square feet, more than doubling the size of the store for Whitley City. Expanded offerings are being promoted at the new location iuncluding more produce, meat and deli offerings as well as the new Kroger fuel station, and a pharmacy with drive through window opening soon. The store will continue to be open 24 hours a day with the pharmacy hours planned for 8:00am-8:00pm weekdays, 9:00am-6:00pm on Saturdays and 10:00am-6:00pm on Sundays. With more than 80 associates employed at the local store, 26 new jobs were created by moving to the new location. WHAY's Dave Shelley will be broadcasting live from Kroger in Whitley City Thursday from 7:00-9:00am, Friday from 4:00-6:00pm, Saturday from 12:00-2:00pm and Sunday from 1:00-3:00pm.

The Grow McCreary program, part of Grow Appalachia, will hold an orientation session for 2015 Thursday February 26th at 6:30pm in room 103 of the McCreary Center Campus. Anyone participating in the program last year is invited to return in 2015 along with others who are interested in learning more about gardening and small scale agricultural production. Interested parties must attend the orientation session to be part of the program this year. Eligibility is based on the applications received and the amount of funding available from the program sponsors. The orientation session will include a general overview of the 2015 program including planned classes that will be offered. For more information on Grow McCreary you can visit or contact the McCreary County Judge's Office at 376-2413 or the Economic Development Director's Office at 376-9711. Again, the orientation will be Thursday February 26th at 6:30pm at the McCreary Center.

Each year, with the exception of last year, the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE program has sponsored a cleanup around Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and Highway 90 in McCreary and Whitley Counties leading to the park. The effort will again be held this year on Saturday March 28th with volunteers asked to take part in cleaning up the area. A planning meeting is scheduled for Friday February 20th at 11:00am at Cumberland Falls DuPont Lodge to begin putting together the various pieces of the project. In addition, McCreary County Fiscal Court and 109 Solid Waste Board will again be sponsoring a Highway 27 and countywide cleanup day on April 25th for residents wishing to cleanup along a stretch of road or in their own neighborhoods. For more information on the cleanup efforts locally you can call the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office at 376-2413 or visit for future updates.

The position of full time McCreary County Community Service Coordinator and Litter Abatement Officer is currently vacant after the recent resignation of Donnie Morgan to accept another position. Morgan was responsible or the day-to-day operations of the litter abatement and recycling programs in the county. McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell recently told the 109 Solid Waste Board that these operations are carrying on with the county's part-time worker as well as some community service workers, but that the county will need to fill the post soon. In fact, the county is currently accepting applications from interested individuals and will potentially act on filling the post at the regular fiscal court meeting on February 12th. Applications and county employment waivers are available at the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office or online at the “Employment” page of The application deadline is 4:00pm on Thursday February 12th.

Meeting in special session Friday afternoon, the McCreary County Fiscal Court voted to move forward with the project to relocate the county's 911 dispatch center in the lower level of the EMS building. The court had previously voted to make the move but Friday's meeting focused on a resolution allowing the county to apply for financing to complete the project. The 911 center will be moved from the dilapidated building currently housing the center to a new space in the basement of the EMS building. The center will also include new dispatching equipment which is being provided through grant funding. Friday's court meeting also included the hiring of two part time inmate transport officers to assist the full time, elected jailer/transport office Jessie Hatfield. Gregory Chaney and Wesley Stephens were hired by the court at a pay rate of $12.50 per hour for no more than 24 hours per week, but will work only as needed depending on transports. The next meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be their regular session on Thursday February 12th at 7:00pm.

The McCreary County Little League Association is already getting ready for the 2015 season and will offer player signups and registration in the coming weeks. Preparations begin with a coaches meeting this Saturday February 7th at 2:30pm at the train depot in Stearns. Anyone interested in coaching this season should plan to attend. Player registration begins the following Saturday, February 14th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the McCreary County Public Library for players in all age ranges. Registration will continue February 21st and 28th during the same times at the library in Whitley City. Draft day will be Saturday March 7th at 10:00am at the Lord's Gym and opening day for McCreary County Little League is slated for April 20th at the County Park. The registration fee for little league is $35 covering league fees, player insurance and team shirt and hat. For information on McCreary County Little League you can call League President Donnie Whitehead at 606-310-9471 or look them up on Facebook.

Good news was reported for December for all Kentucky counties. State officials say that unemployment rates dropped in all 120 counties between December 2013 and December 2014, including McCreary County where the rate improved significantly, dropping from 12.9% in December 2013 to 8.2% in December 2014. The improvement also moved McCreary County out of the bottom ten in terms of the highest jobless rates in the state. McCreary County's rate also improved between November and December by more than one full percentage point, going from 9.4% in November to the 8.2% level for December. The ten county Lake Cumberland district saw a jobless rate of 6.2% in December, down from 8.7% a year earlier. Statewide the jobless rate improved to 5.1% while the nation's rate was 5.4% unemployed. For more on Kentucky's unemployment data and labor market you can visit online.

As he closes out his first month in office, McCreary County's 4th District Magistrate Duston Baird will host a town hall meeting next Friday February 6th. The McCreary County Record reports Baird, who was elected this past November, will host the meeting for the public at the Pine Knot Fire Department starting at 7:00pm. Baird is inviting residents of his district as well as other concerned citizens to attend to get information about what is going on in county government and ask questions. He is also encouraging county boards and elected officials to have representation at the meeting to give updates and answer questions. For additional information call Magistrate Baird at 354-4699. Baird is following the lead of Magistrates Roger Phillips and Jason Mann who previously held town hall meetings during the last term.

During a special meeting Tuesday evening, McCreary County's Relay for Life, on behalf of the American Cancer Society, honored local resident Larry “Lucky Dog” Davis as its “Volunteer of the Year.” The award indicates that Davis was key in advocating and fighting back against cancer in 2014, as well as many previous years. Larry Davis was the prime organizer of the annual Relay for Life Elvis Show that raised thousands of dollars each year for ten consecutive years going directly to the fight against the disease. Davis is also involved in the community in other ways including being a past school board member, active church member and a member of the Blazin' Bluegrass Festival board of directors. As the fight against cancer continues, McCreary County's Relay for life in 2015 will be held Saturday May 30th from 2:00-11:00pm at McCreary Central High School's track and football field. Additional information on the American Cancer Society can be found online at

The investigation is continuing into an apparent murder-suicide involving a husband and wife in the Eagle community in northern McCreary County. The McCreary County Record reports that the local 911 center received a call just before 2:00pm Sunday reporting gunshots fired in the area. Police found 36 year old Amanda Ridner and 40 year old Jerry Wayne Ridner both dead of gunshot wounds at their home. The investigation to date has led authorities to believe that Jerry Ridner killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself, although a motive was either not known or at least not being released this week by investigators. McCreary County Sheriff's Department Detective David Sampson is leading the investigation with assistance from other members of the sheriff's department, Kentucky State Police and Constable Dustin Ridner.

Investigators are reporting that a tractor trailer accident in Oneida, Tennessee this past Saturday morning claimed one life and injured two others. It happened on US Highway 27 just north of Oneida with 34 year old Jonathan Brumagen of Somerset pronounced dead at the scene after the tractor trailer in which he was riding left the roadway and struck a tree. It happened at about 1:30am Saturday morning. The driver, 63 year old Charles Hamby of Knoxville, suffered injuries in the crash along with another passenger, 29 year old Joaquin Sanchez of Somerset. Hamby was wearing a seat belt but Sanchez was not, and investigators say they were unsure if Brumagen, the deceased passenger, was wearing a seat belt. The investiagtion is ongoing by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

First time beekeepers may be eligible for some financial assistance through a cost share program offered as part of the Grow Appalachia Program. Funds offered will be on a reimbursement basis and will be limited to no more than 50% of the total project cost with the total available to first time beekeepers limited to $250. To qualify, you must never have had honeybees before and participants must be from either McCreary or Scott Counties. Grow Appalachia can provide the hive tool, bee brush, excluder, frame holder, top feeder, gloves, smoker and suit for a first time beekeeper who is approved for the program. Approved participants must also maintain membership in the Big South Fork Beekeepers Club which is administering the cost share program on behalf of Grow Appalachia. Applications and information on the program can be obtained now at the McCreary County Extension Service office, located in the McCreary Center Campus, or at the Scott County Extension Office. The application deadline is Wednesday January 28
th at 4:00pm. For information contact Greg Whitis at 606-376-2524.

McCreary County property owners who have not yet paid their 2014 property tax bills are running out of time to do so without an even larger penalty. Currently, tax bills are due with a 5% penalty on top of the face amount. Bills can be paid at the McCreary County Sheriff's office during regular business hours Monday through Friday. The office will be closed this Thursday January 29th as Sheriff Randy Waters and Office Manager Wanda Worley will be in Frankfort for training. Because of the closure, the sheriff's office will allow one extra day to pay tax bills with the current penalty. Bills not paid on or before Monday February 2nd will then include a 21% penalty in addition to the face amount of the bill. Property tax bills can be viewed online using a link at You can pay bills in person at the sheriff's office or mail payments to McCreary County Sheriff PO Box 627 Whitley City, KY 42653. Those wishing a receipt should enclose a self addressed, stamped envelope.

While spring is still weeks away, and no doubt the peak of the farmer's market season still months away, planning is already getting underway for the 2015 McCreary County Farmer's Market. A planning meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday February 17th at 5:00pm at the McCreary Center Campus in Whitley City. Interested participants and those wishing to provide input and find out more about the local farmer's market are invited to attend the meeting. For information on the McCreary County Farmer's Market, visit and click on the farmer's market link or call the Judge Executive's office at 376-2413 or the Economic Development office at 376-9711.

Kentucky officials announced good news toward the end of last week, reporting that the state's unemployment picture has improved significantly since one year ago. In fact, state officials say the unemployment rate in December 2014 dropped to its lowest level in nearly seven years. The 5.7% rate in December matched the low rate of February 2008 and was 2.2% points lower than December one year ago. While individual county unemployment rates for December have not yet been released by the state, McCreary County's jobless rate did show some improvement in November dropping to 9.4%. McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens said on Friday that while some news coming out recently about the county and its economic standing is not good, there is work being done to address the problem. Judge Stephens said Mett USA, LLC, which promotes itself as a responsible waste management and energy production company, is set to meet with a state energy board later this week in hopes of moving a project forward that will locate a facility in the northern part of the county. A press release issued by the company in late October, announcing its decision to narrow in on McCreary County as a site, stated that between 600-900 jobs could be created locally. That company is also reportedly looking at a number of other locations for facilities in the country, but Judge Stephens said McCreary County is not in competition with those other sites as the company plans to open many different facilities. He also said at least two other companies are currently in talks with county officials to possibly locate their facilities, and jobs, in McCreary County. Judge Stephens noted that while there are no guarantees associated with any of these companies, he and his staff are working hard to follow up on every possible economic opportunity.

Each year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, known as HUD, requires states to conduct a count of homeless individuals within each community of their state. This count helps HUD determine the need for resources and services for the homeless and to determine how much HUD funding will be allocated to homeless programs and in which areas. In Kentucky the homeless count is known as the “K Count” and will be conducted from midnight this Wednesday January 28th until sunrise on Thursday January 29th. The state is divided into six regions with McCreary County's K Count effort coordinated by Adanta. IN 2014, McCreary County recorded a total of twenty (20) homeless individuals with two listed as being in transitional housing and eighteen unsheltered. Eight were listed in the survey as being chronically homeless. For more information the K Count, including results for previous years, you can visit the Kentucky Housing Corporation's website at

A meeting this week between some McCreary County officials reportedly centered on the future of the county's jail, which has been closed the past two years. The McCreary County Voice reports that Judge Executive Doug Stephens held the meeting with new Jailer Jessie Hatfield, Sheriff Randy Waters and County Attorney Conley Chaney to see where the group could work together on getting some action taken on the jail situation. Right now, the financial end of the issue is dire with most of the county jail's budget spent for the fiscal year and still several months to go until June 30th. It was noted that the county got some relief with the swearing in of Hatfield as Jailer/Transport Officer since he is making about $50,000 less per year in salary than the previously jailer, Tony Ball. The county was forced to continue paying Ball that salary and benefits for his full term, despite the fact he essentially did nothing the last two years of that term. With an election and a new jailer, the county was able to restructure the post to include the title of Jailer/Transport Officer and set the salary at $28,000 annually plus benefits. Hatfield has been handling a large portion of inmate transports so far, with a limited staff to assist, but Judge Stephens told The Voice he would recommend to fiscal court that additional transport officers be added to the roster. The meeting this week including discussion on ways to get the local jail open again, possibly on a limited basis in the beginning. The idea would be to use the jail facility to house inmates temporarily. This could allow inmates to bond out saving the county the cost of transporting. It could also allow for a more routine schedule of inmate transports rather than the current procedure of transporting with each arrest. All of this, and any future of the county jail, depends on both money being available and mostly on approval by the state. Judge Stephens said the Department of Corrections is scheduled to meet with county leaders to discuss those options.

Kentucky State Police Post 11 based in London and serving seven counties, including McCreary County, has announced they will soon offer the 2015 “Citizens Police Academy” for those wishing to learn more about the KSP. Areas included in the course will be patrol, criminal investigations, and drug investigations. Hands-on exercises will be included for informational purposes, but officials remind that completion does not give students any police powers. The eleven (11) week session will begin Tuesday March 3rd and run until mid-May with students meeting on Tuesday evenings at the Laurel County Health Department in London. Applications are available now through the Kentucky State Police Post 11 by calling 606-878-6622 or online at Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, live within the post 11 area and submit to a background check. Post 11 serves McCreary, Wayne, Whitley, Pulaski, Laurel, Clay and Rockcastle Counties. There is no cost to participate but attendance at 80% of the classes is required to graduate from the program. The “Citizens Police Academy” application deadline is February 26, 2015 and may be returned to Kentucky State Police Attn: Trooper Lloyd Cochran, 11 State Police Road, London, KY 40741. You can also e-mail applications to

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