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West Knox FD needs to replace $30,000 of gear

West Knox fire guys1Officials say nothing toxic was released into the community following multiple explosions and a fire at Safeco in Gray last Monday night, but the fire has had a significant impact on the West Knox Fire Department, which is scrambling to replace 12 sets of turnout gear and nine sections of hose.
Chief Daryl Baker said in the course of fighting the fire at the tire recycling center on Ky. 233, turnout gear and nine sections of hose became soaked in oil and diesel fuel.
“We tried to wash them (the gear and hoses) but it won’t come out,” Baker said, noting the cost of replacing the gear and hoses is estimated at $25,000 to $30,000.
The bill Safeco will receive will include the cost to replace the damaged gear and hoses.
“We have 38 volunteers and 12 of them don’t have gear,” Baker said.
After speaking with officials at neighboring Woodbine and Keavy volunteer fire departments, Baker said those departments have agreed to loan West Knox some of the extra gear they have on hand. Baker estimated that could temporarily replace as many as eight sets of gear.
In addition, Baker said he and some of the other firefighters can leave their gear at the station with the trucks for use by the responding firefighters.
However, turnout gear is not one-size-fits-all and a new set takes up to two months to come in after it is ordered.
“It still depends on the size of the gear and the firefighters who need it,” Baker said.
Baker said a new set of turnout gear has a 10-year lifespan, after which it must be replaced.
The department has a rotation process ongoing whereby three sets of gear are replaced, annually.
Baker said members of the community are more than welcome to contribute toward the purchase of the new gear, noting any donations are very much appreciated.
Anyone that like to help may contact the fire department at 528-1700 or come by station one next to the old Lynn Camp School after 6 p.m. on Monday.
“There is no option not to replace it,” Baker said. “We have got to come up with the money.”
Firefighters were called to the scene about 9:20 p.m. following reports of multiple explosions in the area.
Baker said the explosions were propane tanks inside the plant where tires are shredded and oil is extracted from the remains.
Knox County Emergency Management Director Mike Mitchell said there was approximately 300 to 350 gallons of oil at the plant when the explosion occurred.
Firefighters were on scene until after midnight battling the blaze.
No one was injured in the explosion or the fire.


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Two Redhounds, two Lady Hounds sign to play college soccer this week

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Teen facing multiple charges after leading police on high speed chase in mom’s minivan

One teenager went to the hospital and another is facing multiple charges after leading police on a high-speed chase in a minivan.

Corbin Police Lt. Coy Wilson, the department’s public affairs office, the incident began at approximately 2 a.m. on April 14 when Officer Robbie Hodge witnessed a Chrysler Pacifica run the stop sign at the intersection of Beatty Ave. and Master Street.

Hodge activated his lights and sirens in an attempt to make a traffic stop.

However, the minivan accelerated as it traveled west to Kentucky Ave. before turning up Gordon Hill.

The chase continued west on Ky. 312 reaching speeds of 100 mph.

As it approached the 312 bridge, Wilson said the driver lost control of the minivan and crashed.

“He turned it over,” Wilson said of the driver.

While the passenger was trapped inside the vehicle after suffering a broken leg, Wilson said the driver was able to flee on foot.

Hodge gave chase and took him into custody.

Hodge said the passenger was extricated from the vehicle.

Wilson said the driver and passenger are each 14 years old.

“The driver had taken his mom’s car and then got scared when the police got behind him,” Wilson said.

The driver was charged with second-degree assault, first-degree fleeing or evading police, second-degree fleeing or evading police, four counts of wanton endangerment and reckless driving.

The assault charge was because the passenger got hurt,” Wilson explained.

The passenger was taken to a Lexington hospital.

According to social media posts from a family member, the passenger had successful surgery and is recovering.

The driver will go before Judge Cathy Prewitt in juvenile court.


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Ky. Administrative Office of the Courts will limit Corbin office to driver’s licenses

The ping pong match between the City of Corbin and the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) over the Whitley County Circuit Court Clerk’s office in Corbin continued this week when the AOC notified the city it would keep the office open on a limited basis.

According to a letter sent to Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus, dated April 15, AOC officials cited security concerns as the reason for moving court and all of the court-related functions of the office to the main office at the judicial center in Williamsburg.

AOC officials stated a security assessment performed in February revealed several deficiencies, noting that upgrades costing between $93,000 and $127,000 would be necessary.

“That estimate is dependent on two factors:

  • “Whether the Whitley County sheriff will continue to transport inmates to Corbin from the Whitley County Jail (also at a cost to taxpayers) or if equipment will be installed to make video arraignments and hearings possible.”
  • “Whether the facility installs the delayed-egress exit doors.”

Arraignments are currently held via video from the jail when scheduled at either Corbin or Williamsburg

AOC officials noted there are multiple public entrances to the Corbin building and no system in place to screen people entering the building for weapons/contraband.

In addition, there are no security cameras.

State Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and State Rep Regina Bunch Huff, R-Williamsburg, were able to secure $50,000 to fund the office through June 30, 2020.

“The first thing was to keep it from shutting down,” Stivers said. “That gives us an additional year to work through this plus another legislative session.”

The funds were allocated in an amendment to HB 335 with additional language requiring the AOC to keep the Corbin office open.

“The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts shall not close or relocate operations of any satellite or extension facilities that it maintains in the City of Corbin the effective date of this Act for the 2018-2020 fiscal biennium,” the bill states.

“The provisions of this section shall expire after June 30, 2020.”

Corbin City Manager Marlon Sams said he was not surprised by the AOC’s decision and would be speaking with City Attorney Bob Hammons to see what, if any, legal options were available.

“Hopefully, we can sit down with the AOC and work something out to keep the entire office and the court in Corbin,” Sams said.

The courtroom is used for district court. Civil and criminal matters, along with juvenile court, are heard there.

“If it was its own court system, it would be in the top half of the state in terms of the number of cases,” said Whitley Circuit Court Clerk Gary Barton.

Whitley District Court Judge Cathy Prewitt holds court in Corbin.

“It would be a travesty for the people in northern Whitley County not to have court in Corbin,” Prewitt said adding that it may yet change.

“It ain’t over, till its over,” Prewitt said using the phrase made famous by legendary baseball player Yogi Berra.

The AOC initially announced it would be closing the office and moving everything to Williamsburg.

In addition to the security concerns, AOC officials stated in the initial letter that the changes to the state’s driver’s licenses through the Real ID Act, would decrease driver’s license renewal traffic to the office, as new licenses would be valid for eight years as opposed to four.

The Corbin office is unique among such offices across the state in that it proves driver’s license renewal not only for residents of Whitley County, but neighboring Knox and Laurel counties as well.

Approximately 10,000 driver’s licenses are issued or renewed at the Corbin office for residents of the three counties.

Finally, AOC officials said it would be financially prudent to close the office.

It currently leases the space in the old Corbin City Hall from the city at an annual cost of $100,000.

AOC officials noted in the most recent letter that it has similar satellite offices to the Madison County office in Berea and the Hardin County office in Radcliff. However, the AOC was negotiating with the local governments to use the respective office space, rent free.


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North Corbin crash sends three to the hospital, one to jail

A rear-end collision in north Corbin Saturday afternoon sent three people to the hospital and one driver to the Laurel County Correctional Center on a DUI charge.

Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Jason Coffey, 39, of Corbin on charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence – second offense, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked operator’s license and no insurance.

Deputies were called to the scene on U.S. 25E at approximately 3:50 p.m.

Deputy Rick Cloyd determined that Coffey, who was driving a Mazda Tribute SUV, rear-ended the other vehicle that was waiting at a red light.

A passenger in Coffey’s vehicle, along with the two occupants of the other vehicle, were all transported to the hospital.

Deputies determined that Coffey was under the influence and placed him under arrest.

Coffey was lodged in the correctional facility where he is being held on a $1,500 cash bond.

Coffey has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to return to Laurel District Court on May 14 for a pretrial hearing.


Corbin Primary School getting extra parking

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WCHS AG supporters come out to protest proposed program cuts

Dozens of people gathered in front of the old Whitley County Courthouse late Thursday afternoon many of whom were carrying signs saying, “We Support FFA” or “We Support Ag.” Many sported or held up blue shirts with the words “Support Whitley County FFA #WCFFAPROUD.”

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Whitley Co. BOE sets June 2 graduation

A June graduation date has been set for Whitley County High School seniors.

The Oak Grove Academic Team was recognized for winning the district league competition.

During the Whitley County Board of Education’s monthly meeting Thursday, the board amended the 2018-2019 school calendar setting the gradation date for June 2 at 2 p.m. at The Arena in Corbin.

“That is the only time The Arena was available,” Director of Instruction Patrick Bowlin noted.

Amanda Croley received the April Above and Beyond Award.

In February, the board approved a request from WCHS seniors, who by a 94.6 percent margin, voted to move graduation to The Arena.

The calendar amendment also set the last day

of school for May 31, but it will only be a half-day with school dismissing at 11 a.m.

In other business Thursday, the board:

  • Recognized the Oak Grove Elementary School Academic Team, which won the district academic league. Team members include: Jaylynne Hamblin, Brileigh Logan, Krystin Price, Luke Tepesano, J.D. Woods, Henry Bowling, Reese Croley, Makenzie Eaton, Alexia Eversole, Chelslynn Helton, Mariana De La Hoya Trejo, Madisyn

    Whitley East Elementary School student James Jones was the grandparent essay contest winner.

    Hopkins, Tanner Logan, Amber Price, Cameron Smith, Noah Vanderpool, Eli Yount, Jaydon Barnett, Camren Price, Reagan Trimble, McKinley Vanderpool, Amy De La Hoya Trejo.

  • Recognized Whitley East Elementary School student James Jones, who was the Grandparent Essay Contest winner.
  • Recognized WCHS Freshmen Academy employee Amanda Croley as the April Above and Beyond winner.
  • Approved the audit contract for the 2018-2019 school year with Marr, Miller & Myers.
  • Approved a memorandum of agreement with Midway University for its students to do observation and student teaching in Whitley County schools.