Historic Pikeville Train Will Still Be Moved

City officials in Pikeville are saying the proposed move of the historic train that sits downtown has been postponed. It was scheduled to be moved Saturday but officials have said this is a temporary measure and it’s still being sold and moved. An Irish Pub will be put on the site where the train, a part of downtown Pikeville for 40 years, currently sits.

Former Conn Clients To Receive Benefits This Week

Good news came out of Frankfort for the former clients of Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn. Representative Hal Rogers’ office said the SSA began the process of reinstating the social security benefits for those clients on June 4th. For those who elected to receive payment by direct deposit (which was approximately 97%), the benefits should be received in those individuals’ accounts by tomorrow or earlier. For those who asked to receive checks by mail, they will be placed in the mail this week and could be received, depending on mail service, as early as the end of this week.

Suspects In Rockcastle County Murder Case Claim Innocence

The suspects in the murder case of a Rockcastle County woman have told the press that they are innocent of the charges against them. 86 year old Mary Hinton was found dead on Wednesday Morning from blunt force trauma after her home on Red Hill Road in Livingston was broken into on Tuesday night. 35 year old Kimberly Slusher and 30 year old Tabitha Howard were arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder, first-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence, public intoxication of a controlled substance and fleeing or evading police in addition to other charges. The two are accused of breaking into Hinton’s home and police say they took some of her property afterwards. It is not known at this time why the 86 year old blind woman who also suffered from hearing loss was targeted in the robbery. Information on the evidence that connected police to Howard and Slusher (who are in a relationship) has not been released. Howard said they were targeted because of a previous criminal history and the fact that they walked past Hinton’s home often. The police report says when officers went to interview the two about the investigation; they ran into a nearby wooden area. Canines and a helicopter were used to track the two women down and the canines were forced to bite the women as they would not come out of hiding. While both admitted to using drugs, neither admitted to the murder of Hinton.

EPA To Provide 400,000 Grant to Cumberland Valley Area Development

Environmental Protection Agency officials have selected four projects in the state of Kentucky for grant money, and one of them is in Eastern Kentucky. 400,000 dollars will be given to the Cumberland Valley Area Development District who will use the money to conduct site inspections of Brownfield sites. Officials will be allowed to discuss eight clean-up plans as well.

Social Security Disability Payments Restored….

Newly released by the Lexington Herald, Hal Rogers has stated that (over 900) Social Security and Disability Checks ARE going out!! Below is what has went out in the Lexington Harold just hours ago!

“The federal government will restore Social Security disability payments to hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky whose checks were suspended pending a review of their eligibility, easing fears of economic ruin for many families.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican who represents the region, announced the decision Thursday.

Rogers had met with several Social Security officials Wednesday and asked them to lift the agency’s earlier decision to suspend benefits, citing the hardship it would cause.

The move to suspend checks could have left hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky with little or no income for a year or more.

That had caused fears about people not being able to afford food or medicine or losing their homes. The loss of benefits might even have played a role in three suicides.

During his meeting with Social Security officials, “I was rather blunt that this is a matter of life and death,” Rogers said.

The acting administrator of the Social Security Administration, Carolyn Colvin, called him Thursday to confirm that the agency would restore disability payments to people who received notice last month about being suspended.

About 900 people got the notices. Most of them live in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

Rogers said he didn’t know exactly when checks would go out, but he thought it would be within days.

“I’m elated,” Rogers said. He had been worried about the potential for more suicides, he said. “This is an enormous relief to me. I’m overjoyed for the recipients who will now be able to afford medicine and food.”

Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who is helping represent people in the issue, said Rogers’ successful request to restore benefits to people ranked as an accomplishment worthy of the memory of Carl D. Perkins. The Democrat from Knott County represented Eastern Kentucky in the U.S. House for more than 30 years, using his post to push for improved education, mine safety and programs to help poor people.

“He acted like Carl D. Perkins today,” Pillersdorf said of Rogers. “In my view, that’s the highest compliment you can give to a Kentucky politician.”

The suspensions affected former clients of Floyd County lawyer Eric C. Conn.

The Social Security Administration notified 900 people that their payments had been suspended because of suspicion that the cases Conn submitted for them included fraudulent information from four doctors.

The SSA is going through a process to redetermine eligibility for disability benefits on about 1,500 former clients of Conn.

The 600 who were not immediately suspended receive a different form of disability benefit called Supplemental Security Income.

A U.S. Senate investigation released in 2013 included allegations that Conn’s firm submitted medical evidence from doctors who did not properly examine some claimants and that Conn improperly colluded with David B. Daugherty, a Social Security judge who rubber-stamped benefits for Conn’s clients with little scrutiny.

A spokeswoman for the SSA said the agency has to make a new determination of a person’s eligibility for disability benefits when there is reason to suspect that fraud was involved in the earlier application.

However, there is no evidence that Conn’s clients knew about or took part in alleged fraud, according to a lawsuit that Pillersdorf and other attorneys filed for the people who lost benefits.

Conn’s attorney said he did nothing wrong in representing people and that the government should not have cut off payments to his former clients.”

-Lexington Herold

Letcher County Woman Will Spend Rest of Life In Prison

After several years of filing motions to attempt to win a new trial or have her sentence vacated, a Letcher County woman found out yesterday she will spend the rest of her life in prison. Kathy Walters Williams, who was convicted in April 2005 for the murder of Forrester Caudill in November 2003, was sentenced to life in prison when the Kentucky Court of Appeals issued its final ruling affirming the sentence originally handed down by Letcher Circuit Judge Samuel Wright in 2013.

Two Year Old Killed in Laurel County Fire

Yesterday morning in Laurel County, a two year old boy was killed in a house fire near East Bernstadt. The victim has been identified as Josiah Vickers and authorities are saying the home had several people inside when it caught on fire. The majority was able to escape and were then taken to a local hospital for treatment. Vickers was found inside afterwards by fire officials. Laurel County Police and Fire Department are investigating the incident.

Coal Run Community Center Now Open

The city of Coal Run in Pike County opened a new community center yesterday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Coal Run Community Center was built with a 350,000 dollar loan from USDA Rural Development. Mayor Andrew Scott said the building will hopefully hold weddings and different events. Elwood Howe, with the USDA Rural Development, was on hand for the opening ceremony and said his company help communities build fire stations, hospitals, medical clinics, libraries and much more. To schedule an event at the new center phone 606-437-6032.

Hearing In Suspended Disability Cases To Be Held Today

Attorneys met Tuesday with hundreds of people who are now suing the federal government after losing their disability benefits. Last month, payments were suspended for around 900 former clients of Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn as the government suspects Conn of fraud by providing false information to secure benefits to his clients. Attorneys have now filed separate lawsuits against Conn and the Social Security Administration in attempt to restore the former clients of Conn with assistance while they await the administration’s review of their cases. Prestonsburg lawyer Ned Pillersdorf has assembled a legal team he will lead to represent hundreds of the plaintiffs in both lawsuits. Conn maintains he is innocent of the claims by the federal government and has not been charged in the incident. Conn has been asked by a judge not to destroy any of his assets, and this morning, a hearing has been scheduled in Floyd County Circuit Court.

Escaped Estill County Inmate Still At Large

Kentucky State Police and the Irvine Police Department in Estill County are currently looking for an escaped inmate who was being transferred to the Estill County Detention Center on Monday. The man has been identified as 37 year old Jason Gay of Berea. He was being transported for a court date when he slipped out of his handcuffs and then stole a pickup truck at a nearby water treatment plant. It is unknown exactly how he managed to get out of the handcuffs. The employee whose truck was stolen said he managed to fire shots at the truck before Gay drove off. The truck was later found near the city library with three blown tires. Gay is said to be armed with a machete that was inside the stolen truck. He was arrested in March on charges of engaging in organized crime, receiving stolen property, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs and being a persistent felony offender.