Man cited for mining coal without a permit
FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials have cited an eastern Kentucky man for illegally mining coal in Letcher County.
The Kentucky Division of Mine Safety and the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement say Bryan Lee Wagner mined about 700 tons of coal at a surface mine. He has been charged with mining without a permit and mining without a license.
In a violation notice, Wagner, who headed the small operation, was directed to immediately cease mining operations and begin reclaiming the land and install temporary sediment control.
The civil penalty for illegal mining under surface mining reclamation regulations is from $5,000 up to $25,000 per day. Officials say Wagner’s penalty is being calculated.
Driver in fatal crash charged with murder, DUI
JACKSON (AP) — State police say they have charged an eastern Kentucky man who was behind the wheel in a deadly crash with three counts of murder, two counts of assault and driving under the influence.
Media cited Kentucky State Police in reporting the charges against 19-year-old Shawn Hardin of Jackson.
Police say he lost control and overcorrected while driving a pickup truck Wednesday night in Breathitt County on Kentucky 3193. The vehicle flipped before hitting an unoccupied house.
Three men — 31-year-old Adam Fugate, 24-year-old Lee Campbell and 19-year-old Pearl Armstrong — were killed in the crash. Two others were injured.
Hardin was taken to Three Forks Regional Jail. He declined to speak to media. It wasn’t immediately clear if he has an attorney.
Pilot hurt in small plane crash in Brassfield
BRASSFIELD, N.C. (AP) — A pilot has been injured after his small plane crashed near a home in Granville County.
Investigators told local media that the pilot was taken to the hospital with minor injuries late Thursday.
Authorities say the plane was traveling from Kentucky when it went down shortly before midnight next to a Brassfield home.
Officials say the pilot contacted officials at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and said he was having trouble. Airport officials contacted Wake County authorities after they lost contact with the plane, which was found a short time later by Highway Patrol troopers.
Investigators said people inside the home near the crash site didn’t hear anything when the blue and white Cessna landed in trees just feet from the front door. Federal authorities are investigating the crash.
190 citations issued during MSHA mine inspections
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal impact inspections at U.S. mine operations in July resulted in 190 citations and eight orders.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections at 15 coal mines and three other mines.
There have been nearly 800 impact inspections since April 2010 after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 coal miners.
The increased enforcement is conducted at mines that have a poor compliance history or specific compliance concerns.
MSHA chief Joe Main says a review shows that safer conditions exist in mines that underwent impact inspections between September 2010 and March 2014 along with at least one follow-up inspection.
Overdose confirmed as cause of cheerleader death
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A coroner says a drug overdose caused the death of a University of Louisville cheerleader in July.
Jefferson County Coroner Barbara Weakley-Jones told The Courier-Journal that 22-year-old Danielle Cogswell died of an overdose of heroin, amphetamines and Xanax.
University sports information director Kenny Klein said cheerleaders will now be required to undergo the same drug testing as other athletes.
Cogswell was found July 28 in Cardinal Towne, an off-campus student housing complex with ties to U of L.
Police said previously they were treating the death as a suspected overdose.
An associate athletic director for student life at U of L, Christine Simatacolos, said the circumstances of Cogswell’s death and the coroner’s report were saddening.
Gas conversion project in Pike Co. gets tax breaks
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A project to build a facility that would convert natural gas to synthetic diesel and other products in Pike County has received approval for $18 million in state tax incentives.
RCC Big Shoal seeks to build a plant that would use natural gas to create synthetic fuel, base oils and lubricants.
Several local officials including Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne Rutherford attended an announcement of the tax incentives Thursday in Louisville.
Rutherford says the planned project is good news for a county where coal production continues to decline. The plant would draw natural gas extracted from Pike County and other nearby sources.
The first phase of the project would cost nearly $200 million and employ about 30 people upon completion.
Pikeville, WKU reach partnership
PIKEVILLE (AP) — The University of Pikeville and Western Kentucky University are collaborating to provide wider access to some programs.
The schools say students in eastern Kentucky will have three health-related master’s degree programs available, while Western Kentucky University students will have access to Pikeville’s College of Optometry.
By fall 2015, students in Pikeville will be offered a master’s program in communication disorders and the master of health care administration. Western will offer the master of social work at Pikeville in fall 2016. This fall, Western will offer a speech-language pathology pathway program that includes prerequisites needed for the communications disorders master’s program.
Pikeville is developing a pre-optometry track and will offer five admission slots each year to Western undergraduates who meet program criteria.