Logging Operations May Begin in Big Stone Gap

Town leaders are expected to discuss the plans of a logging company that wants to begin operating near the Big Cherry Reservoir in Big Stone Gap. The company states it intends to protect the Watershed by not cutting within 100 feet on each side of the river or lake and a minimum of 50 feet on each side of the stream that feeds into the lake.

Wise County Crash Kills 3

In a tragic accident that occurred in Wise County, officials stated that 60 year old Fred Russell of Kentucky was killed at the scene when his vehicle allegedly ran off of U.S. Route 23, rolling over several times and hitting another vehicle. Rushed to the hospital but later succumbing to their injuries were passengers from the other vehicle, 54 year old Pamela Stanley and 53 year old John Stanley. Officials added that the investigation is ongoing.

Tennessee Highway Safety Office’s Operation Incognito

For travelers headed into Tennessee this week, you should be aware that the Tennessee Highway Safety Office alongside local law enforcement personnel have partnered together all this week for Operation Incognito. With the intention to enforce the Distracted Driver, Move Over and additional motorists laws. Using large black and tan buses to observe possible traffic violations; these bus tours hope to beat the last one which had more than 1,800 citations issued statewide in Tennessee.

Scott County Crash Kills One

Recently in Scott County Virginia, a two vehicle crash has resulted in the death of one adult passenger. According to the Virginia State Police, a car turned left in front of a pickup truck on Monday afternoon, at the intersection of State Route 23 and Route 871. No names have been released at the time of this statement but one adult was pronounced dead at the scene and the drivers of both vehicle were transported to the closest hospital. The VSP went on to say that charges are indeed pending at this time.

Stone Mountain Health Services Black Lung Program Recognized Nationally

Recently the Stone Mountain Health Services Black Lung Program was recognized nationally when it received the Virginia Rural Health Association’s 2018 Best Practices in Rural Health Award for their ongoing efforts to address Black Lung in Appalachia. The Black Lung Team was also awarded the “Team of the Year” by the Virginia Commonwealth Healthcare Association.
The Black Lung Program was created and designed to aid with the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment, along with enhancing the quality of life for individuals with chronic respiratory issues. The program is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration in order to be able to provide specific services to local miners.
In total, the Black Lung grantees served 13,122 area miners from July 1st, 2016 until June 30th, 2017. SMHS clinics served 2,474 miners, and roughly 20% of the total miners served were done so by the grantees.
Staff members at the Black Lung Clinics cite their success as the result of a strong relationship to the community. Many of the Black Lung Clinic employees are from the region and can relate with the miners and their families.
Individuals with Black Lung Disease have a buildup of coal dust that leads to the creation of small areas of damaged lung tissue that appear on chest x-rays. Recently an increase of the advanced form of the disease called Progressive Massive Fibrosis or PMF in area miners, in central Appalachia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee has been noted. Individuals with PMF have increased lung damage.
SMHS offers medical screening for Black Lung; available at low cost and any miner, whether surface or underground is eligible for the screening. Individuals may contact the St Charles office at 276-383-4428 for additional information.

Strip Mine Permit Approved in Wise County

Recently the State Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has approved a new Strip Mine Permit in nearby Wise County. The JW Construction Company was the recepient of the permit for the Turkey Branch Surface Mine. This operation is a re-mining of land that had previously been 'stripped' in the early 1970's before the passage of the Federal Surface Mining and Reclamation Act went into effect in 1977. The permitted site just over 108 acres.
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 the SMCRA is the primary federal law which regulates the environmental effects of coal mining in the United States. SMCRA created one program for regulating active coal mines and a second program for reclaiming abandoned mine lands.

Ashley Marie Cowan Pleads No Contest

According to Scott County Commonwealth's Attorney Dan Fellhauer, Ashley Marie Cowan, accused of felony child abuse and felony child neglect in a case that left her one year old child blind has pled no contest to all charges this week. Cowan is expected to be sentenced on January 11, 2019.
Cowan allegedly assaulted hospital staff when she was asked about the child's injuries. The staff at Niswonger Children's Hospital contacted the authorities when the child was brought in with extensive brain bleed and retinal hemorrhages.

Lee County Sheriff’s Dept October 2018 Stats

Lee County Sheriff's Office Monthly Activity Report for October 2018
Total calls received by Dispatch: 5,332
Total calls received that Deputies responded to: 1,140
There were 402  calls dispatched to other agencies.
There were 211  Rescue Squad calls and 4  Ambulance calls.
There were 50  Fire Department calls dispatched.
 Deputies escorted 13 Funerals.
64 vehicles were unlocked for citizens.
Deputies served 192 Felony and Misdemeanor warrants and processed  78 people on  173   charges.
Deputies served 38 Protective Orders.
Deputies served 167  subpoenas, 20  show cause summons and   345  various civil papers for the three Lee County courts.
3 search warrants were executed.
Deputies traveled a total of  77,061 miles with 2,540 miles being on transports.
Deputies transported 7  juveniles, 4  mental health patients and   2 prisoners from other jurisdictions.
Inmates from the Duffield Regional Jail, along with Deputies picked up 234 bags of trash from Lee County roadways.
Lee County Reserve Officers volunteered  96  hours to the community this month.

Lee County Hospital Authority Still Searching

Currently the Lee County Hospital Authority is looking for possible answers to an angle to keep it's local hospital open longterm. Last year Americore bought the facility for two million dollars; with the company now engaged in the process of reopening the facility by the end of December this year. July was supposed to have been the reopening date since the building has been under construction since January, but unfortunately the project was delayed. Talk is that a meeting could very well be held soon between Americore and our county representatives.

New Use for Appalachia Elementary School

The building that previously housed the Appalachia Elementary School is to be repurposed by Mountain Empire Community College Center for Workforce and Innovation of Appalachia and will conduct classes for the Power Lineman Program. Future plans also include an Aggregate Producer Apprentice Program and Community Wellness courses at the school site.