A child pornography suspect wanted in Buchanan County Virginia, who was arrested recently in Colorado is now back in Buchanan County to face more than 160 counts of child pornography charges. 39 year old Jamie Grant Castle fled to Colorado following a search of his home was conducted and was then arrested by the FBI.
Virginia’s Seat Belt Use Rate Reaches New High of 85.3 Percent DMV, Police and Safety Partners Still Working for 100 Percent
RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today that Virginia’s seat belt use rate has reached a record high of 85.3 percent. However, as 236 unbelted motorists have died in crashes this year in the Commonwealth, DMV, Virginia law enforcement and nonprofit partners continue their efforts toward 100 percent compliance. “Virginia’s seat belt use rate has averaged around 79 percent, so anytime we see that number go up, it’s a great thing,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “But, as long as Virginians continue to lose their lives because they aren’t wearing their seat belt, our work is not yet complete.” In recent years, more than half of the people who died in Virginia crashes in vehicles equipped with safety restraints weren’t using them. In 2016, 304 unrestrained drivers or passengers were killed in Virginia crashes. There were 310 unrestrained fatalities in 2015; in 2014, there were 256. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt users are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in a crash. In addition, statistics show that 80 percent of people ejected in a crash die; 30 percent of unbelted motorists are ejected during a crash. NHTSA studies show that drivers and front-seat passengers are five times more likely to die in a crash if the rear passengers are not wearing seat belts, and this is particularly the case in head-on collisions. According to NHTSA, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury for infants by 71 percent in passenger cars. For toddlers, the risk is reduced by 54 percent. “There are two simple things you can do to help Virginia reach a new record high seat belt use rate next year: Always buckle up and make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly secured,” Commissioner Holcomb said. “It only takes a second, and it very well may save your life or the life of someone you love.
More than one thousand rounds of ammunition, numerous weapons, black tar heroin, crystal methamphetamine, mushrooms and marijuana is confiscated by the Pound Virginia Police Department. Pound Chief of Police Tony Baker calls the drugs and weapons found in the raid frightening. No arrests have been made at the home located in the ten thousand block of Right Fork Road but police did find a suspects billfold with more than 700 dollars in it.
Fall wildfire season in Virginia begins Sunday (Oct. 15) and runs through Nov. 30. Residents are being asked to be extra careful with anything (matches, campfires, bonfires, mechanical equipment, etc.) that could cause a wildfire during this time.
Hot, dry and windy conditions have fueled a number of wildfires that have wreaked havoc in California this week, and the Virginia Department of Forestry has all of its emergency response equipment and personnel in an increased state of readiness. A quick response to a wildfire will help decrease the possibility of that fire becoming large and disastrous. Local fire departments will work closely with the VDOF to protect the citizens, property and resources of the Commonwealth, but they can’t do it alone. Wildfire prevention is still the best option.
“Before the rain this week, it had been more than 30 days since any measurable precipitation fell on the Commonwealth,” said Fred Turck, VDOF’s wildfire prevention manager. “That has us very concerned because when things are very dry they tend to burn much more quickly. And that makes battling a resulting wildfire that much harder and puts lives and property at risk,” he said.
Because more than 96 percent of wildfires in Virginia are caused by human activity, most can be prevented if people take care to ensure their debris burning or campfire doesn’t escape their control. (People burning trash or debris remains the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Virginia.)
“Weather plays a critical role in wildfire,” Turck said. “Before you light your fire, make sure winds are less than 15 miles per hour and that the relative humidity level is above 35 percent. If the conditions aren’t right, please don’t ignite.”
New 10-track Compilation Available for Purchase Now at Amazon, iTunes
and All Digital Retailers
Nashville, Tenn. (October 10, 2017) — For the first time in nearly a decade, country music duo Halfway to Hazard is back with new material. The album, appropriately titled, REDemptiOn, is available for purchase now.
Upon their debut to the country music scene in 2007, Halfway to Hazard hit with a rapid cannon fire. Suddenly the duo was opening for superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and were making major label records with big time producers and engineers in famous studios. David Tolliver and Chad Warrix struggled to find balance between artistry and life, and the rigors of breaking through as a new artist. Tolliver especially struggled with the newfound success and celebrity status. Eventually, Halfway to Hazard hit a breaking point.
"We had to take a several year break from each other and the business to save our friendship," says Warrix. "The stop in momentum definitely damaged our rise to the top. But we are repairing the broken pieces of the puzzle and finding new ways because of our experience and knowledge to find success."
Following the duo's last album release in 2009, the two Kentuckians chose to take a break from their country music career. During that time, Tolliver focused on his career as a songwriter, while Warrix also kept writing songs and continued to perform on the road as a guitarist for various artists.
When Tolliver and Warrix reunited and made the decision to record new music, they didn't rush the process. Both are now in different places in their lives and wanted to draw from that. They wanted quality music that accurately reflected their current whereabouts in life.
"This new project means a lot to me," says Tolliver. "We took some time off, we had success before and we also had some heartache. Making this new album helped heal wounds and also brought back great memories of why we started doing this in the first place, to make music and play music."
Warrix adds, "The REDemptiOn album was a long time coming, I felt like we were just meant to make more music years ago but because of certain circumstances, we didn't get that chance. So, for me, it's been really important to get new music out that represents David and I not just as songwriters but also as artists."
The album's first single, "Heaven on Down The Highway" is especially important to the duo because of its message of redemption. "It's about looking forward to the future and not dwelling on a past that you can't change. This life is short and we need to 'rip off that rearview' and enjoy what is in front of us," Tolliver says.
"I'm in love with the whole concept of this album, REDemptiOn, because to me each one of these songs represents our growth as writers and artists in a town of so many gifted people," Warrix explains.
The project contains 10 all-new tracks, most of which are self-penned by the duo, and is produced by Tolliver, Warrix, and Matt McClure. The album is available via Picnic Hill Records.
REDemptiOn is available for download now at Amazon, iTunes and all digital retailers.
REDemptiOn Track Listing:
1. Thank God That You Do
2. Heaven on Down the Highway
3. Meet Me in Vegas
4. Love It Round Here
5. Breaking Me
6. American Outlaw
7. Story of Me
8. Let's Fight
9. Girls Like That
10. Rebel Spirit
About Halfway to Hazard
Halfway to Hazard is an American country music duo composed of singer-songwriters David Tolliver and Chad Warrix. Though Tolliver and Warrix grew up in different towns in southeastern Kentucky, their group originated in Hazard, Kentucky, which was halfway between their hometowns. The group's debut album, Halfway to Hazard, peaked at #14 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, landing them a Top 20 album straight out of the gate. Byron Gallimore and country music superstar Tim McGraw co-produced the project. Included on the album was their debut single, "Daisy," which earned them a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2007. As a songwriter, Tolliver has penned songs that were later recorded by Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilbert, Jerrod Niemann, and more.
For more information on Halfway to Hazard, visit halfwaytohazard.com.
Virginia is looking for a developer to build a statewide charging network for electric vehicles. The state announced last week that it had issued a request for proposals for putting in the infrastructure. Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office said in a news release that $14 million in funding for the effort would come from Virginia's portion of the Volkswagen settlement over the company's diesel emissions cheating scandal.
LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Five different overlooks on Pine Mountain are set to open later this month, but before even opening, one has been spray-painted by vandals.
The project was sponsored by several local groups in the hopes of promoting tourism along the mountain.
"It ain’t even done yet, but a lot of people were like we need to find them and that's why a lot of us got together with a reward and hopefully we can find the people that done it,” said Chris Caudill, a member of the Letcher County Tourism steering committee.
Others who drive by frequently say this sort of vandalism is unacceptable.
“We have one of the most beautiful views, I've traveled the world, been to Europe multiple times and this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been,” said Connie Fields. “They've given us wonderful platforms for people from all over to come and enjoy our sights and someone has to do something so beneath the citizens of Letcher County.”
Fields said she hopes the vandals are found and the workers at Letcher County Tourism feel the same.
“We are ready to find out who done this and get it all resolved and fixed and hopefully it'll never happen again,” said Caudill.
The tourism department along with multiple local businesses have come together to offer a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the vandals.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is announcing he will seek new gun control laws in Virginia after the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. McAuliffe says he will seek bans on bump stock devices, high capacity magazines and military style assault rifles like the ones used in Las Vegas. McAuliffe has already pushed unsuccessfully for universal background checks and restoring the state's scrapped one hand gun a month law...and traditionally the republican controlled General Assembly has routinely blocked any new gun restrictions brough before them. But the announcement might put republican lawmakers on the defensive with all 100 seats in the House of Delgates up for grabs in next months election.
Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport is reporting the plant is being calibrated and brought back to normal operations. In a media advisory the chemical manufacturer also says the plant will be venting steam throughout Friday and possibly into the weekend and nearby neighbors may hear that process. The regions largest employer was rocked Wednesday by two explosions involving the plants gasification process. No injuries were reported.
Rhonda Jean Cooke, age 60, of Norton, was sentenced today in the Wise County Circuit Court for sexual offenses that took place in the 1990's and involved two different victims who were minors at the time. Cooke previously pleaded guilty under the Alford rule and was found guilty of four counts of indecent liberties with a child by someone in a supervisory role on June 26, 2017. Prosecutors did not offer Cooke a plea agreement.
At today's sentencing hearing, the court heard from witnesses and evidence from both the prosecution and the defense. Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp asked the court to impose the maximum possible punishment for these crimes, twenty years in prison.
At the conclusion of evidence, Cooke was sentenced to twenty years in prison with sixteen years suspended, meaning that she will have to serve an active sentence of four years within the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections. Cooke was ordered to complete sixteen years of supervised probation following her release from active incarceration, will have to register as a sex offender, and was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors.
Evidence in the case showed that in late 2016, an investigator with the Virginia State Police received information that suspicious recordings were found at the residence previously occupied by Rhonda Cooke. Based on these recordings, officers from the Virginia State Police and the Wise County Sheriff's Office interviewed Rhonda Cooke. During the interview, Cooke admitted to inappropriate sexual conduct with a victim who was a minor at the time. After Cooke's arrest, a second victim came forward and complained that Cooke sexually molested him while she was babysitting him as a child. These offenses took place in the 1990's.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Sexual offenses against children are among the most vile and disgusting crimes that we see in court. These crimes took place nearly twenty-five years ago and thankfully there is no statute of limitations for a felony offense in Virginia. That means, no matter how long a crime of this nature was committed, with the evidence and bravery of victims who want to seek justice, we will prosecute. Working closely with law enforcement, we were able to overcome significant challenges to prosecuting a case this old and a case of this nature. We hope that today's sentence will bring closure and healing to the victims for the pain that Ms. Cooke caused them so long ago." Slemp declined further comment "out of respect for the victims' privacy."
Slemp did credit the law enforcement agencies and officers who worked the case and made a conviction possible: Virginia State Police Special Agents Jason Nichols, Ray Cox and the Virginia State Police, Chief James Lane and the Norton City Police Department, and Investigator Charles Curry with the Wise County Sheriff's Office.