Breaking News: Eric C. Conn Pleads Guilty

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The former “Mr. Social Security” Eric C. Conn has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribing a federal judge and stealing from the Social Security Administration. Conn admitted to arranging deals with SSA administrative law judge David B. Daugherty for his cooperation with his cases, which included paying him up to $9,500 a month. The former attorney also allegedly paid off doctors to falsify medical records, the most prominent being psychologist Alfred Bradley Adkins, who was charged alongside Conn and Daugherty. Adkins and Daugherty have pleaded innocent to the charges against them.

Conn faces up to 12 years in prison for one count of stealing from the SSA and one count of bribing a federal judge. His sentencing is scheduled for July 14.

Betsy Layne High Robotics Team Place 1st and 2nd at Regional Competition

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The Betsy Layne High School Robotics team place first and second at the Robo Challenge Xtreme regiona; competition on March 18th at Dorton Elementary in Pike County. The Betsy Layne Robotics team is divided into a varsity and junior varsity team. They have competed in regionals and advanced to state competition  for four consecutive years and this is the second consecutive year they’ve placed first and second at this level. Both teams will travel to Rupp Arena on April 12 to compete at the Student Technology Leadership Program state Competition.

Law Enforcement Officials Warn of Siri 108 Prank

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A viral post on social media has potentially hazardous consequences. The post tells iPhone users to tell Siri, the digital assistant of iOS devices, “108”. Upon doing so, Siri will reply “Calling emergency services in five seconds.” Law enforcement agencies warn that this “prank” has the potential to tie up emergency phone lines. The software for iPhones allows emergency codes for any country to be used with Siri as a panic code, which will then connect you to the region’s local emergency contact; 108 is equivalent to 911 in India. Officials remind users that prank calls to 911 can be considered a crime.

Boat Owners Face Law Change When Renewing Registrations

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The Kentucky Department of Vehicle Regulation is alerting boaters of a recent change in federal law regarding the registration and renewal process for vessels. Beginning January 2018, boat owners will need to verify all Hull Identification Numbers when renewing or applying for new registrations. All HIN registrations must be valid and formatted correctly in order to be compliant with the new law. If a HIN is missing or not formatted properly, a boater must apply for a new HIN.

Laurel County Man Sentenced for Murder Arrested on Bench Warrant

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On Thursday, March 23, members of the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office arrested Justin Wibbels, charged with a bench warrant. Wibbels, 24, of Kelly Road in Grayhawk, was out on an appeal bond when arrested. He was charged with murder, wanton endangerment, and reckless driving from a 2014 crash which killed 61-year-old Jerry Wayne Thompson. The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction and the 20-year sentence Wibbel received.

Drug Arrest in Knox County Parking Lot

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On Monday, March 20 around 11:30pm, Knox County Deputy Andrew Lawson obersved a vehicle pull in the parking lot of the A&B Quick Stop on KY HWY 11 at Cannon. Deputy Lawson noticed the vehicle occupied by a driver and two passengers. After searching the vehicle, with assistance from Deputy Mikey Ashurst, crystal meth, assorted pill, marijuana and over $1400 in cash were discovered. Benjamin Jordan, 38, Clarence Sizemore, 36, and Morgan Grant, 22, were arrested and lodged in the Knox County Detention Center.

Floyd County Grow Appalachia Inches Closer to Growing Season

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The Floyd County Grow Appalachia program held its second meeting on Friday, March 17 on the Prestonsburg campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Chris Steele, a former Grow Appalachia participant who oversees the Floyd County Farmer’s Market, spoke to participants about her positive experience with the program and the need for additional growers to join the Farmer’s Market. Tammy Ball, Floyd County Grow Appalachia coordinator, met individually with participants to discuss results of soil test, scheduling of tilling, and a plan of action for the upcoming growing season.

Wolfe County Road to Close for Drainage Replacement

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In order to replace a drainage pipe, the Kentucky Department of Highways plans to close KY 1010 in Wolfe County on Tuesday, March 28. The road will be closed to all through traffic between mile markers 5 and 6, south of the KY 191 intersection at Hazel Green. The work will begin around 9am and should be finished around 3pm. No marked detour will be posted, but drivers can use the Mountain Parkway and KY 191 as a detour route. Motorists should plan their trips accordingly.

Two State Park Golf Courses to Close

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Kentucky State Parks announced Thursday, March 23 that it will look into alternative recreational uses for the 9-hole golf courses at Carter Caves State Resort Park and Kincaid Lake State Park. The parks previously sought proposals for private businesses to manage the golf courses, but did not receive any responses. As a result, the course at Carter Caves will close permanently April 2. The course at Kincaid Lake will remain open through October 31, 2017. Donnie Holland, State Parks Commissioner, said rising maintenance costs and decreasing number of rounds played were a factor. All full time employees will be retained.

Eight Month Drug Trafficking Arrest in Bell County Leads to Arrest

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After an eight month investigation into drug trafficking, Bell County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Jordan of the Appalachian Narcotics Investigation Unit executed a search warrant – in conjunction with the Middlesboro Police Department – on a Wilderness Road residence in Middlesboro. Seized in the search was over $8,000 in cash, several guns, various prescription guns, and other property. 33-year-old Alphaeus Jerome Witherspoon was arrested and charged with five counts of trafficking controlled substance and lodged in the Bell County Detention Center.