Kentucky recorded its first coal mining death of the year when a 29-year-old miner was killed in a conveyor belt accident in an underground Harlan County mine. Hubert Grubbs was working in the D11 Panther Mine in Cumberland. He was splicing a conveyor belt early Wednesday morning when it started unexpectedly, causing fatal injuries. The mine was shut down after the death and inspectors have issued 15 state citations for non-compliance. The coal mine death was the country’s fourth this year.
The Former Pastor Of Highlands Fellowship Church In Wise Virginia Is Facing Charges Involving Sex Crimes Against A Child. Jeff Rolen, Who Was The Campus Pastor, Is Charged With Ten Counts Of Indecent Liberties With A Child. The Alleged Incidents Occurred More Than 30 Years Ago. If Convicted, He Faces Up To Five Years On Each Count. Rolen Has Since Been Released From His Position. He’s Being Held Without Bond In The Southwest Virginia Regional Jail In Duffield.
The USDA Forest Service Has Delayed Opening Several Seasonally Closed Roads On The Clinch Range District In Wise And Scott Counties Due To Road Damage. The Major Storm Event Experienced By The Region In February Caused Damage That Made Those Roads Unsafe For Vehicle Travel. Roads That Will Remain Closed Until Further Assessment And Needed Repairs That Can Be Made Include Eagle Knob Road, Beaverdam Gap, Mountain Fork Road And The Eastern Section Of Wallen Ridge Road. Users Should Use Caution Of All Forest Roads Due To Flood Damage From Recent Heavy Rains.
Kurtiss Delano Bardge, age 32, of Lakeland, Florida, was found guilty today in the Wise County Circuit Court of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery after he pleaded guilty under the Alford rule. The plea comes on the same day Bardge was scheduled to face a jury. The jury was assembled at the Wise County Courthouse and the Commonwealth was prepared and ready to proceed with the trial in his case.
Bardge's Alford plea and conviction was without a plea agreement from prosecutors regarding his sentence. A sentencing hearing will be held on June19, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. At the sentencing hearing, both prosecutors and the defense will have an opportunity to present evidence as to the appropriate sentence in the case. After hearing evidence from both sides, a judge will determine Bardge's sentence. The maximum possible punishment for the charges is 40 years in the penitentiary.
These crimes occurred almost ten years ago in the City of Norton and involved two different victims who were minors at the time. In Virginia, there is no statute of limitations for a felony offense. Prior to moving to Florida, Bardge was living in the City of Norton. Evidence showed that between January and March 2008, Bardge committed these sexual offenses against two female juveniles who were less than 13 years of age at the time.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorneys Josh Newberry and Brett Hall.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Sexual offenses against children are disgusting and despicable, traumatic for the victims, and offensive to our community. My office will continue to aggressively prosecute and seek harsh punishment for anyone who would do harm to a child. These cases are extremely difficult to prosecute and particularly difficult for the victims to endure. We are thankful that the convictions mean that these children can begin the healing process and will not be forced to testify in front of a jury."
Slemp thanked the law enforcement agencies and officers who worked the case and made a conviction possible, including the City of Norton Police Department and Norton City Department of Social Services.
A Man, Who Was Shot A Killed By Wise County Deputies Earlier This Week, Has Been Identified. 34 Year Old Nathan Curtis Castle, Led Deputies On A Chase And At One Point, Stopped His Vehicle And Got Out With A Shotgun. He Was Killed After Failing To Comply With Commands To Put The Weapon Down. He Died At The Scene. Castle Had Been Involved In A Domestic Dispute Earlier In The Day In Scott County And Authorities Had Been Looking For Him. An Autopsy Has Been Ordered. The State Police Bureau Of Criminal Investigation Is Reviewing The Case And Its Findings Will Be Turned Over To The Wise County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
Mountain Empire Community College In Big Stone Gap Virginia Is Gearing Up To Host Its 2018 Job Expo. More Than 30 Regional Employers Will Be On Hand. Attendees Are Encouraged To Dress Appropriately And Bring Resumes. The Event Will Take Place Monday April 2nd Noon To 4 In The Goodloe Center In Phillips-Taylor Hall.
A new law in Virginia is aimed at helping residents get the lowest cost for medication. The new law strips away some red tape that previously may have led to some paying more for their medicines. Sometimes it is cheaper to pay out of pocket for prescriptions. However, pharmacists were not allowed to tell patients this because of contractual obligations. The new law eliminates those restrictions. Governor Northam has signed the legislation which will take effect January 1, 2019.
Tri Cities Crossing In Kingsport Is Expected To Be A Busy Place In The Future. Meade Tractor’s New Corporate Office And Construction Branch Is The First Business To Open In That Area, But There Are Lots Of Hopes For This 400 Acre Area Near Interstates 81 And 26. A New Chantz Scott Kia Dealership Is Already In The Works. They’re In The Process Of Getting Their Approvals. Tri Cities Crossing Reportedly Qualifies For The Border Regions Retail Act Which Allows A Portion Of The State Sales Tax Derived There To Be Returned. This Is Funds That Can Be Used To Pay For Infrastructure Improvements And Other Incentives
Environmental regulators have fined Appalachian Power Company for illegally dumping contaminated coal ash into the Clinch River in Russell County, Virginia. Officials say the power utility provider dumped the coal ash with levels of iron, copper and chlorides that exceeded its permit into the water way between July 2016 and October 2017. Appalachian Power must now pay a thirty five hundred dollar fine and will also install enhanced monitoring systems to study the process that led to the elevated levels of coal ash.
The Virginia Legislation Has Announced An Educational Partnership Between Dominion Energy’s Solar For Students Program And Eight School Systems In Southwest Virginia. The Program Will Serve Students In Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell And Wise Counties And The City Of Norton. It Will Provide Students With The Opportunity To Observe And Learn Firsthand About Harnessing Solar Energy From A Solar Array.