Wise County Sheriff’s Report

July 23 2015
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office reports the following activities for the period of 07/13/2015 through 07/19/2015.
Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1,691 calls for this seven-day period.
Of the total calls received 355 were dispatched to the Sheriff’s Office
Total number of Domestic calls for this period was 17.
Criminal Process for this period: Served 48 Felony Warrants, 47 Misdemeanor Warrants, 3 DUI Arrests.
Civil Process Served: 284 Civil Papers
Traffic Accidents: 7
11 Additional Criminal Investigations were initiated and 19 Cleared by Arrest.
Sheriff’s Office provided 230 man-hours of Court Room Security.
Unlocked Vehicles: 19
Escorted Funerals: 6
The Sheriff’s Office Transported:
1 Adult In State
1 Adult Out of State
4 Mental Patients
3 Juvenile
Total Transports: 9
Total Transport Hours: 38.75
1,858 Visitors to Courthouse.

Lee Theater and MECC-Wellmont Golf Classic

Tickets will go on sale Monday, August 3rd at 10:00 a.m. at Town Hall to see Marty Stuart in concert at the Lee Theater on October 24. Tickets can also be reserved by calling 276-546-4000 with a credit card. Tickets for the stage to the 10th row are $45, $35 for rows 11-18, and $20 for balcony seats. The show will be held October 24 at 7 p.m.

If you missed the Summer Movie Night last night, Lee Theater will be showing the movie “Daddy Day Camp” again tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $3 per person.

The MECC-Wellmont Health Systems Golf Classic will be held at Cedar Hill Country Club next Friday, July 31 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The classic is an 18-hole tournament to raise funds for MECC Foundation Scholarships.

IDA Job Fair

The Lee County Industrial Development Authority will host a job fair in August 11 at 10 a.m. in the Pennington Gap Community Center. Confirmed employers include:

Health Care:
Lee Health & Rehab
Stone Mountain Health Systems
Mountain State Health Alliance
Harlan ARH Hospital

Lee Bank & Trust
Powell Valley National Bank

Construction & Related:
Estes Brothers Construction
Brock Services
Glass Machinery
Southwest Heating & Air/Southwest Propane

Taco Bell

Board of Supervisors Meeting

The Lee County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to discuss a number of issues on the agenda. A public hearing was held to discuss the consolidation of Robbins Chapel and Keokee election precincts. The board had proposed an amendment to the ordinance establishing the boundary lines of election districts, precincts, and polling places. The amendment would consolidate the Robbins Chapel Precinct with the Keokee precinct, moving the Robbins Chapel polling place from the Robbins Chapel United Methodist Church to the Keokee Elementary School grounds. A number of concerned citizens voiced their opinions on the matter, strongly disagreeing with the amendment. They argued that the older citizens of Robbins Chapel would have difficulty driving so far on winding roads. With these comments in mind, the board voted not to pass the amendment. The voting precincts will remain the same.

A public hearing was also held to discuss the board’s intent to submit an application to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for designation of a Virginia Enterprise Zone within the county. The board approved this application.

Coy Scalf of the St. Charles Rescue Squad informed the board of their intent to separate into the St. Charles Fire Department and the St. Charles Rescue Squad, acting as two separate entities.

Pennington Gap Town Council

In a regular monthly meeting of the Pennington Gap Town Council Monday, the Pennington ATV Trail became the main topic, as the council hopes to do a soft opening of the trail on August 29. The council approved an application for Department of Conservation and Recreation grants for safety training for the ATV Trail. Several public hearings will be held on August 17, one of which will be in regards to proposed routes for the trail.

The council also approved a $500 donation to the Lee East Girls 12-14 year old softball team. The team has earned a berth in the Southwest Regional Softball Tournament in Fort Myers, Florida.

In other business, the council approved the route for the Bobcat Pride 5k to take place on Labor Day, which will benefit the Pennington Middle athletic department. The route will start from the driving range behind Pennington Middle to the Greenbelt walking trail and up Industrial Drive, completing a circle back to the school.

Permission was given to the Pennington Gap Police Department to purchase new safety equipment and the town has received several water grants, which the council approved. Amendments to property maintenance and derelict property ordinances were also approved by the council.

Town Manager Phil Hensley informed the council that the the town is currently looking to buy new Christmas lights. A site will be chosen to display Christmas light options sometime in August.

A public hearing will be held to receive public comment on an amendment to the open burning ordinance, which will prohibit burning except in appropriate containers. Public comment will also be sought on designating a site for an Industrial zone for a public restaurant or motel. The hearings will take place at the Pennington Gap Community Center at 5 p.m. on August 17.

Harlan Man Arrested for Cooking Meth Behind Post Office

A Harlan County man has been accused of cooking meth behind a post office. A press release stated that the Harlan County Sheriff’s office received a complaint last Thursday of multiple subjects making methamphetamine behind the Cawood U.S. Post Office. Deputy Danny Lewis, along with Chief Deputy Matt Cope and Harlan County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detectives, arrived at the scene and found Teddy Smith in possession of needles and several items used to manufacture meth. Smith attempted to destroy the evidence by tossing two packs of Sudafed tablets into the weeds. Deputies also found suspected salts in a baggie along with a cut open soda can. The evidence will be sent to a crime lab for analysis.
Smith is also wanted in Virginia on felony and misdemeanor warrants, including fleeing from police. He has been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful possession of meth precursor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, and is being held at the Harlan County Detention Center without bond. Further arrests are pending, as the investigation is on-going.

Public Hearing for Robin’s Chapel Voting Amendment

A public hearing will be held tomorrow at 5 p.m. by the Lee County Board of Supervisors to receive public comment on an amendment to a voting ordinance. The ordinance sets the boundaries of election districts, election precincts, and polling places. The amendment will consolidate the Robins Chapel precinct with the Keokee Precinct, moving the polling place to Keokee Elementary School. A full copy of the ordinance is available at the County Administrator’s Office and more information can be given by County Administrator Dane Poe at 346-7714 or the Registrar’s Office at 346-7780.

School Board Meeting

Thomas Walker High School will have a new assistant principal this Fall, after the school board voted last week to transfer Mark Long from Rose Hill Elementary. Superintendent Mark Carter reported that work had begun on the repair of the Lee High gymnasium floor to be completed by August 20.

The board passed a motion to join the Virginia Department of Education’s Pilot Virtual Part-time High School. Students will be able to complete all core academic courses required to earn a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma online, while still enrolled in their local public school. The program is offered to 100 students for the 2015-2016 school year on a first-come, first-served basis.

The board also voted Tuesday to combine the Jonesville Middle and Pennington Middle football programs.
The board agreed to apply for a $100,000 School Security Equipment Grant offered by the Virginia Public School Authority and approved an amended budget for the 2015-2016 school year. The Lee County School Board will meet again Monday July 27 at 10 a.m.

Lee County Social Worker Arrested on Meth Charge

A Lee County social worker was arrested by Middlesboro Police Saturday night, after being found with one ounce of crystal meth in her possession. Amanda Celeste Szemak was arrested by Middlesboro Police Department officer Barry Cowan when Cowan pulled over a truck driven by Billy Marlow of Middlesboro, KY in the Cumberland Village parking lot. Cowan says he knew Marlow’s license was suspended and was measuring the truck’s window tint when Marlow handed the meth to Szemak to conceal.
Both Marlow and Szemak were arrested for first-degree trafficking of a controlled substance and are being held on $5,000 cash bonds. Their court date is scheduled for July 21st and 1:30 p.m.

Storms Cause Damage and Flooding

The multiple storms and downpours over the past two days have caused severe flooding, structural damage, and power outages throughout the county. Downed trees on Old Nursery Road in Rose Hill and Cedar Hill Church Road near Flatwoods closed traffic on these routes for a short time Tuesday morning. The Virginia Department of Transportation has reported flooding on Middle Wallens Creek Road. Drivers are urged to use extreme caution in flooded areas and turn around when the road is flooded or closed.