By Elizabeth Thompson and Appalachian News-Express
“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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.