Spring Fire Hazard Season February 15 to April 30

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The Kentucky Division of Forestry is reminding citizens that during the Spring Fire Hazard Season, it is illegal to burn within 150 feet of a woodland area between 6am and 6pm from February 15 through April 30. If you believe this law is being violated, please contact your local regional forestry office. Individual counties may also enact complete burning bans if conditions warrant. If you are unsure if your county has enacted a burn ban, contact your local county judge executive’s office.

West Liberty Police Department Report Phone Scam

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The West Liberty Police Department has received reports of citizens getting calls from individuals claiming to be with Publisher’s Clearing House. The West Liberty Police Department reminds residents to be mindful of suspicious calls during tax season, especially ones claiming you have won something but request the victim send money first or supply them with personal information. If you receive a suspicious call, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Middlesboro Man Arrested with Stolen Vehicle

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On Saturday, February 18, Bell County Deputy Nick Capps observed a silver PT Cruiser operating on the roadway near South 31st and Parker Lane with its rear license plate not illuminated. After checking the plate number, he was informed the vehicle was stolen out of Tazewell, Tennessee. After stopping the vehicle, the driver, 31-year-old Preston Emmitt of Middlesboro, stated he had no knowledge of the vehicle being stolen. Emitt was charged with rear license plate not illuminated, operating a vehicle on suspended or revoked license, and receiving stolen property under $10,000.

Ashland Law Enforcement Serve Multiple Arrest Warrants at Residence

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On Thursday, February 16, Officers with the Ashland Police SWAT, Criminal Investigations, Kentucky State Police, F.A.D.E. and FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force served a warrant at a residence on Hilton Avenue in Ashland. An investigation revealed several wanted persons living in the home, including Christopher Barnett, who was wanted for 2nd degree escape, attempting to escape, and manufacturing methamphetamine. Also arrested were Roger Burnett for parole violation, Paula Burnett for public intoxication, and Samantha Nelson for warrants regarding traffic violations and receiving stolen property.

Big Sandy Hosts Presentation on Tuskegee Airmen in Commemoration of Black History Month

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The Office of Cultural Diversity at Big Sandy Community and Technical College held a presentation on the Tuskegee Airmen by Historian Ron Spriggs on Wednesday, February 15 in the Gearheart Auditorium on the Prestonsburg campus of the college. The Tuskegee Airmen have ties to eastern Kentucky. In 1948, Harry T. Stewart, Jr., a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, crashed his plane near Van Lear in Johnson County. Spriggs, an eight-year veteran of the United States Air Force, started displaying exhibits and giving lectures in 2002 as an independent means of preserving the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Epperson Places Second in Braille Challenge

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The 2017 Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge took place on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Blind on Thursday. The Braille Challenge is a national program of the Braille Institute of America, designed to challenge the skills of students across America in areas such as Braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading, and tactile graphics. Kaitlyn Epperson, a Senior at Perry County Central High School competed in the Varsity Division, and earned 2nd place.

Hazard Patrolman Recognized for Effort and Compassion During Medical Emergency

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On the evening of Thursday, February 16th, the Hazard Police Department received a report that a person had been found unresponsive in a local business. Patrolman John Holbrook arrived at the business and determined that the person wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. Holbrook began to administer CPR and continued it for several minutes until EMS arrived. Although the person ultimately passed away, Deputy Chief Joseph Engle, who witnessed the incident, praised Holbrook for his effort. In a letter of commendation, Engle wrote that he was thoroughly impressed by Holbrook’s effort and compassion in the situation.

Tree-Cutting Near KY 550 Begins Today

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Drivers using KY 550 in the Airport Gardens area of Perry County should be prepared for delays starting today, February 20. Tree cutting operations will take place between the KY 476 intersection and the KY 15 interchange. This work is expected to last approximately two weeks. While the project is ongoing, drivers should expect delays. One-lane traffic, controlled by flaggers, will be in place where the trees are being cut.

Somerset Man Arrested on Child Porn Charges

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On February 16, 2017, at approximately 10:50pm, the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch arrested Joseph A. Koger, 28, on charges related to distribution and possession of matter portraying a sex performance by a minor. Koger was arrested as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children investigation after a search warrant was executed at his residence in Somerset. His equipment was seized and taken to KSP’s forensic laboratory for examination. Koger is currently charged with 20 counts of distribution and 99 counts of possession of matter portraying a sex performance by a minor.

Prestonsburg Strategic Planning Meeting

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On Thursday, February 16, 2017, a strategic planning meeting for Prestonsburg and Floyd County was held at the mountain arts center. Several residents came out to the meeting to voice their opinions and concerns as to what could be done to help improve the area economically and for those coming to visit. Mayor Les Stapleton spoke on his desire to have this meeting for several years and spoke about a bright future headed for the city.