Mountain Kentucky

8:43am

Fri June 7, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Clay County Crew Killed in Helicopter Crash

Credit Air Evac Lifeteam

Three men died Thursday night in Manchester when a medical helicopter crashed, Missouri-based Air Evac Lifestream officials said Friday. The accident occurred around 11:16 p.m. Thursday while the helicopter was on its final approach to its Manchester base. "We are devastated at this loss," Air Evac Lifeteam President and CEO Seth Myers said in a news release. "These were members of our family. Our focus at this time is on providing support for the family and friends of these crew members." The crew members included pilot Eddie Sizemore, flight paramedic Herman "Lee" Dobbs and flight nurse Jesse Jones, the release said. Read more...

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10:23am

Fri May 17, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Seven coal mines open, creates over 250 jobs

“Good news” for the Eastern Kentucky coal industry was announced Wednesday, with officials saying several new mines are opening in Pike County, bringing more than 250 jobs. According to a statement from the Pike County Judge Executives Wayne T. Rutherford’s office, High Ridge Mining, a Kentucky corporation owned by Bill Smith, of Raccoon, announced the opening of seven deep mines in Pike County.

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10:26am

Thu May 16, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Mountain Parkway lanes closed for summer repairs

Traffic is moving a bit slower on the Mountain Parkway and likely will for the remainder of the summer. One lane in each direction will be kept open during the construction of a bridge, but the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Department of Highways announced the closures will keep traffic slowed around the 10- and 11-mile markers on the Parkway. Read more...

12:30pm

Wed April 17, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Heavy Rains Easing for Now

Heavy rains shut down some roads in Southeast Kentucky earlier today.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Sean Harley says some communities received as much as three inches of rain overnight.  He says waters are expected to recede, easing the threat of more flooding today.  “Not in the near term.  We do expect some heavy rain again later in the week, so we will have to watch that real close,” said Harley.

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3:31pm

Fri April 12, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Getting Eastern Kentucky Trails in Springtime Shape

A group of nine young adults is blazing a trail through parts of eastern Kentucky.  The Americorps team is improving trails in Letcher County and at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.   Kentucky Tourism Spokesman Gil Lawson says hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders will all benefit.  “Most folks can put on a pair of either hiking shoes or tennis shoes and get out on a trail.  Some people like to do things with bicycles and horses.  But, we are fortunate in Kentucky that we have trails in a lot of places, not just one area.  We’ve got trails in urban areas and rural areas,” said Lawson.

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10:35am

Fri March 29, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Attorney Plans Suit Against State for Failing to Make Coal Companies Clean Up

A lawyer in Eastern Kentucky has announced his plans to file suit against the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet for allegedly not enforcing its own orders. The suit stems from the cabinet’s 2008 finding that a coal company was responsible for destroying the water supply in a small Letcher County town.

4:38pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Mountain Kentucky

Honoring Weather Related Communications

Two Magoffin County officials are being honored for their response to a tornado event in southeast Kentucky almost a year ago.  County Judge Executive Charles Hardin and Emergency Management Director Mike Wilson are recipients of the StormReady Community Hero Award.  Wilson alerted Hardin of the impending tornado heading toward Salyersville.  Jackson National Weather Service meteorologist Shawn Harley says the county judge made door to door visits along highway 460.

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11:31am

Wed December 19, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Whistleblower Faces State Penalty for Working in Unsafe Conditions he Reported

An eastern Kentucky coal miner who reported unsafe work conditions is now facing sanctions by the state. Mackie Bailey is a longtime roof bolting machine operator who worked at Manalapan Mining’s P-1 mine in Harlan County. For several weeks, Bailey says he and other miners had been working without a required safety device called the Automated Temporary Roof Support (ATRS), which is supposed to brace against the roof of the mine and protect miners from a potential roof collapse.

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9:18am

Mon December 17, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Night Comes to the Cumberlands, 2012

In 1962, three books changed how America thought about the environment and poverty.  There was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Michael Harrington’s “The Other America,” and, out of Kentucky was “Night Comes to the Cumberlands.”  In it, Whitesburg author Harry Caudill linked Appalachia’s poverty to the dark side of coal mining. 

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4:02pm

Thu November 29, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

'Mountain Santa' Marks 37 Years of Helping Others

Mike

Holidays are a time for giving and helping others. Marking 37 years of delivering toys and treats to Harlan County children, Mike “Mountain Santa” Howard says he is looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces with this year’s deliveries beginning on Dec. 15. “I begin my runs on Dec. 15 and finish on Dec. 24,” said Howard, 59, of Wallins. “Last year we gave away over 100 truck loads of toys, along with treats. I have people who come from Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisville and Knoxville, just to name a few, to help me deliver the toys.”

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6:14am

Wed September 26, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

A New Path for Adventure Tourism

Kentucky’s adventure tourism effort is traveling down a new trail.  Ground was broken Tuesday on the Dawkins Line project in eastern Kentucky.  The trail, which runs along a former railroad line, is expected to attract hikers, horseback riders, and cyclists.  It’s a 36 mile trek that travels through Johnson, Magoffin, and Breathitt counties.  Work is underway for the first phase of the project.  It spans 18 miles from Hagerhill in Johnson County to Royalton in Magoffin County.

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7:14am

Thu August 9, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

62 Year Mountain Ministry Ends for Catholic Missionary

Monsignor Ralph Beiting in Meditation at his Louisa Parish.

The Roman Catholic missionary who founded the Christian Appalachian Project died overnight.  Since World War Two, Monsignor Ralph Beiting served the people of eastern Kentucky through a series of social service programs.  WEKU’s Charles Compton, who knew the Catholic priest, has this appreciation.

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3:12pm

Tue August 7, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Coal Rally Set for in Southeast Kentucky

A rally in support of coal is scheduled for this weekend in southeast Kentucky. It stemmed from a Facebook post, but now Bell County resident and business owner Joe Harris says he expects more than 20,000 people to line a county road Saturday in support of coal.

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4:20pm

Wed July 25, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Beers Sales Provide over $22,000 to Corbin

The first month of sales of packaged beer in Corbin has generated more than $22,000 in tax revenue for the city. Corbin Alcoholic Beverage Control Officer Bruce Rains said the 12 vendors who have received licenses to sell packaged beer, made payments to the city totaling $22,435.64. The city's alcohol ordinance calls for a four percent tax on the sale of beer. That means the vendors took in a combined $560,891 from the sale of beer in June.

10:01am

Wed July 18, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Pike Air Service Remains in Holding Pattern

A proposal to apply for $1 million in multi-county coal severance funding in order to continue a project to establish commercial air service in Pike County will remain in a holding pattern for now. The Pike Fiscal Court, in its regular meeting on Tuesday, again declined to act on the proposal, for which a court resolution supporting the possible allocation of $1 million is required, despite the pleas of a consultant who is working on the project that this may be the last chance.

8:52am

Tue July 17, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Safety Agency Cites Coal Company in Death of Miner

A personnel carrier involved in a fatal coal-mining accident in Letcher County had been altered so it no longer had an original safety feature, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. The agency cited the coal company in relation to the modification, and for using the carrier in a way that was dangerous. A mine foreman, Jerry E. Britton, 47, died in the Nov. 7 accident, which happened at the Hubble Mining Company LLC Mine No. 9, an underground mine about three miles west of Eolia.

9:43am

Fri July 13, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Safety Agency Fines Harlan Coal Company

Federal mine-safety regulators want to fine a Harlan County coal company nearly $600,000 for alleged safety violations that led to the death of a miner last year. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the fine for Manalapan Mining Co. Inc. on Thursday. The fine is a proposed penalty because the company is contesting the citations that led to the fine.

4:39pm

Wed July 11, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Pike Judge-Executive Unveils Plans for Natural Gas Station

Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford’s office has announced that it is working toward establishing the region’s first natural gas filling station along U.S. 119 in Pike County. The announcement comes after Rutherford recently announced the county was requesting funding for the project and comes after Ford Motor Co. and General Motors announced in March they were investing in compressed natural gas, or CNG, technology.

8:56am

Tue July 10, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Major Coal Company Files for Bankruptcy

A major coal company with mines in Appalachia and Western Kentucky has filed for bankruptcy. In a news release, Patriot Coal said it was undertaking the move to facilitate restructuring. "The coal industry is undergoing a major transformation and Patriot's existing capital structure prevents it from making the necessary adjustments to achieve long-term success," said Patriot Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Irl F. Engelhardt. "Our objective is to use the reorganization process to address important issues in an orderly way and make the Company stronger and more competitive."

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4:45am

Tue July 10, 2012
Black Lung Returns To Coal Country

Black-Lung Rule Loopholes Leave Miners Vulnerable

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 10:41 pm

Coal miners rally for black lung law reform on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1975. (See more from Earl Dotter's "Quiet Sickness" series here.)
Courtesy of Earl Dotter

Part two of a two-part series.

Thousands of coal miners continued to suffer and die from black lung during the 40 years that tough new limits on exposure to coal dust were supposed to provide protection.

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5:13am

Mon July 9, 2012
Black Lung Returns To Coal Country

As Mine Protections Fail, Black Lung Cases Surge

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 5:26 am

Mark McCowan, 47, was diagnosed with the worst stage of black lung only five years after an X-ray showed he had no sign of the disease.
David Deal for NPR

Part one of a two-part series.

It wasn't supposed to happen to coal miners in Mark McCowan's generation. It wasn't supposed to strike so early and so hard. At age 47 and just seven years after his first diagnosis, McCowan shouldn't have a chest X-ray that looks this bad.

"I'm seeing more definition in the mass," McCowan says, pausing for deep breaths as he holds the X-ray film up to the light of his living room window in Pounding Mill, Va.

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4:36pm

Mon June 25, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Pike County Miner Killed in Accident

A Pike County miner has died following an accident at the McCoy Elkhorn Coal Corporation's Mine No. 23 in Kimper. From the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing: Preliminary reports indicate 33-year-old Farley Sargent was laying track when a rib roll occurred. A rib roll is when a portion of the coal pillar wall falls into the corridor.

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7:56pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Judge Rules on Mine Whistleblower Case

An Eastern Kentucky coal miner can return to work after a judge ruled he was unfairly fired from his job. The decision affirms the rights of coal miners to report unsafe working conditions without fear of retribution. Charles Scott Howard was injured while working at a mine operated by Cumberland River Coal Company in Eastern Kentucky. The complaint alleges that even after he was cleared by doctors to return to work, the coal company took extreme steps to keep him from working.

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2:30pm

Fri June 8, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Four Mines to Close in Eastern Kentucky

One of the nation’s largest coal companies has announced it will be closing several mines and preparation plants in Eastern Kentucky.Alpha Natural Resources will stop mining coal at four mines in Martin and Pike counties and idle two preparation plants. The company has enough jobs at other locations to reassign 286 employees, but about 150 will lose their jobs.

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9:13am

Fri June 8, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Government Files Lawsuit Against Coal Operators

The federal government has filed a lawsuit against seven Eastern Kentucky coal companies, alleging the companies discharged waste into nearby valleys and streams without a permit. Coal companies need to obtain permits from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers before mining in order to comply with the Clean Water Act.

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10:23am

Thu May 31, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Miniseries 'Hatfields and McCoys' Draws Huge Audience

Kevin Costner, second from right, stars as Devil Anse Hatfield in Hatfields & McCoys. Bill Paxton portrays Randall McCoy. The miniseries was been a runaway ratings winner, cable or network.
History channel

If Virginia is for lovers, then Pike County is for feuding. The History channel miniseries about the infamous Kentucky and West Virginia families has drawn huge viewership, propelling the Eastern Kentucky county into the pop-culture ether and pushing a historical tome by a Lexington publisher to the top of the sales charts.

12:42pm

Wed May 30, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Boone's Steps Revisited

Kentuckians can see a bit of what pioneer Daniel Boone saw when he crossed into Kentucky in 1775.   The Fort Boonesborough Foundation is sponsoring two tours this summer.  A one day tour on August 21stbegins and ends at Fort Boonesborough and includes a trip to Levi Jackson State Park.  Foundation Secretary Elizabeth Chalfant says they’ll also offer two-day tours in July and September.  Those trips also begin in Madison County.

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2:09pm

Fri May 25, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Tornado Disaster Assistance Signed

This spring’s devastating storms and tornadoes thrashed Kentucky communities, marking the 11th federally declared disaster in the state since 2008. To support ongoing recovery efforts, Gov. Steve Beshear Friday ceremonially signed legislation to help Kentuckians when they are victims of natural disasters.  Several members of the General Assembly joined the governor for the ceremony in West Liberty, where the central business district was devastated by the March 2 tornado outbreak that heavily damaged several other communities and killed 24 Kentuckians.

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3:13pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

25th East Kentucky Leadership Event

For a quarter of a century, Eastern Kentuckians have gathered to discuss progress in their region.  Today and Tomorrow (Friday), they gather in Prestonsburg. This year’s East Kentucky Leadership Conference will compare the economies of two Appalachian states.  East Kentucky Leadership Foundation Director Bill Weinberg says studies show 70 percent of east Kentucky’s counties are distressed while only four percent are distressed in Appalachian Virginia.  The longtime east Kentucky activist says Virginia might have better education and infrastructure, but, in some ways, the differences are minimal.

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4:13pm

Wed April 25, 2012
Mountain Kentucky

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Sues State

Eastern Kentucky’s largest healthcare provider is suing the state and two major managed care operators (MCO) for failing to manage the new privatized Medicaid system. Appalachian Regional Healthcare, which provides a majority of the healthcare services to eastern Kentucky (locations noted on map), may soon lack adequate protection against high medical costs.

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