Cave City voters approve package liquor sales


The Associated Press July 23, 2014

CAVE CITY, Ky. — Voters in Cave City have approved package liquor sales in a local option election.

The Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1rJWlU5 ) that a total of 230 people voted in favor of allowing package sales with another 132 voting against it.

The results mean that Cave City will be allowed to have two full liquor stores.

The question on the ballot was “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Cave City, Kentucky?”

By-the-drink alcohol sales have been allowed in Cave City since 2006.

Currently, two restaurants and the Cave City Convention Center are licensed to sell alcohol by the drink.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/07/23/3348034/cave-city-voters-approve-package.html#storylink=cpy

Roaming horses are growing problem


There are many people in Breathitt, Knott and throughout east Kentucky who love horses but have limited space on their own properties to keep them due to the mountainous terrain.

At  the same time, there are many large landowners and coal reclamation sites that could provide lots of grazing area and ideal pastureland.

In the past, there has been a wonderful relationship between local horse owners and large private landowners to free-range one’s horses on someone else’s property.   These horse owners would check on their horses, make sure they were in good health, and either bring them home during the winter months when food was scarce up on the mountain or take both hay, grain and salt blocks to the horses when needed.   And there was an unwritten code that no stallions were to be free-ranged.   But that is no longer the case.

There is a growing number of horses up on reclamation sites.  Some are there with permission, but more and  more are being dropped off without permission by people who may or, in many cases, may not even live in the county.  And these individuals have no intention of checking on their horses, providing health care if they should get hurt or ill,  or for that matter, ever reclaiming them.   These horses have been abandoned.

Some of these horses are old, some are in poor health, but a large majority are in good shape and will live for years.

But it is not just the horses being dropped off that are a problem.  Stallions have been let loose on the reclamation sites and are now impregnating the mares whom, unchecked, may birth colts who grow up into studs and impregnate more mares — and the numbers just keep growing.  If one questions this, go to Mill Creek, Raven, Jones Fork or a number of other reclamation sites throughout the county and count the number of pregnant mares and the growing number of yearlings.   This unchecked growing population of horses has now put into jeopardy the relationship the responsible horse owners once had with the landowners.

A group of people are attempting to inventory all the free–ranging horses in Knott, Breathitt and surrounding counties to determine which horses are owned and which ones have been abandoned.  That way, if horses have already been identified and they end up somewhere they shouldn’t be, like the seven horses last week that ended up down on Ky. 80, six horses noted in the article on this page, or have ventured on still bonded reclamation sites, they could quickly be identified and their owners contacted before any permanent damage is done.  If the horses causing problems have been identified as abandoned then they would be available for immediate adoption to someone that would take responsibility for them.

Find the Troublesome Creek Times at local stores in Knott and surrounding counties or subscribe to the Times at (606)-785-5134

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What Is Fracking and Why Should It Be Banned?


 

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/FrackingWastePit_BGS_WEB.jpg

 

The case to ban fracking grows stronger every day. Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It’s a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of fluid — a mix of water, sand, and chemicals, including ones known to cause cancer — are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock surrounding an oil or gas well. This releases extra oil and gas from the rock, so it can flow into the well.

But the process of fracking introduces additional industrial activity into communities beyond the well. Clearing land to build new access roads and new well sites, drilling and encasing the well, fracking the well and generating the waste, trucking in heavy equipment and materials and trucking out the vast amounts of toxic waste — all of these steps contribute to air and water pollution risks and devaluation of land that are turning our communities into sacrifice zones. Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. That’s why over 250 communities in the U.S. have passed resolutions to stop fracking, and why Vermont, France and Bulgaria have stopped it.

Why a Ban? Can Regulations Make Fracking Safe?

Ban Fracking in Your Area

No. Fracking is inherently unsafe and we cannot rely on regulation to protect communities’ water, air and public health. The industry enjoys exemptions from key federal legislation protecting our air and water, thanks to aggressive lobbying and cozy relationships with our federal decision makers (the exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act is often referred to as the Cheney or Halliburton Loophole, because it was negotiated by then-Vice President Dick Cheney with Congress in 2005). Plus, the industry is aggressively clamping down on local and state efforts to regulate fracking by buying influence and even bringing lawsuits to stop them from being implemented. That’s why fracking can’t be made safe through government oversight or regulations. An all out ban on fracking is the only way to protect our communities.

Learn More

 

Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans | Global Research


Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans | Global Research.

We all know that the radiation from the stricken Fukushima plant has spread around the globe and is poisoning people worldwide. We all know that the West Coast of the United States is being polluted with radioactive debris and that the oceans, the beaches that border them, and even the air is becoming more polluted by radioactivity as time goes on.

You have to ask yourself why the government won’t admit this. It’s not like a disaster half a world away is their fault, is it?

Or is it? Could the United States government have done something to prevent the situation getting to this point?

Nothing in this article is a state secret, everything is in the public domain, but the information is so disseminated that it appears disconnected.

Can Legalizing Marijuana Help Appalachia?


By Michael P. Tremoglie

 

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Will legalizing marijuana help or hinder some of the poorest of Americans? Appalachia has long been known for intractable poverty, coal and moonshine. But what many do not know is that marijuana is an Appalachian cash crop.

Some say it will only help; after all, Appalachians make quite a bit of dough from grass. “Outdoor cannabis cultivation is common throughout the Appalachia…region,” reads a June 2007 report by the Department of Justice (DOJ). “The number of outdoor plants eradicated from grow operations in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia increased from 1,004,329 in 2005 to 1,252,524 in 2006. Cannabis cultivators deliberately locate outdoor grow sites in remote areas of public and private lands to reduce the chance of discovery by passersby or law enforcement and, more commonly, to protect their crops from theft. Cannabis is cultivated in Kentucky on broad areas of privately owned land, in the Daniel Boone National Forest, and on the Cumberland Plateau.”

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What coca leaves are to the mountain people of Peru, marijuana is to the mountain people of America. These growers take their their marijuana cultivation seriously, too. They are not shy about using lethal force to protect it. The DOJ describes some of the efforts to protect crops, “Cannabis cultivators frequently use camouflage, counter surveillance techniques, and booby traps to protect their outdoor grow sites. …These sites are often protected by armed guards who conduct counter surveillance. Moreover, the use of booby traps significantly increased in 2006….some cannabis cultivators used punji sticks, which may be camouflaged by leaves and brush or incorporated into pits and explosive devices, to reduce the risk of crop theft.”

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Steward Will Run For Barren County Judge-Executive; Greer Not Running


“When I think that there is something going on that I think is corrupt, or I think that is inappropriate, or I think the taxpayers’ dollars are being wasted, then I will be contentious and I will be somewhat controversial.”

BARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) – Barren County Magistrate Chris Steward is adding his name to the mix to become the next Barren County Judge-Executive.

He said his number one priority is bringing jobs to the county.

“We have the infrastructure, we have the land. We have the work force, and I think economic development is a passion of mine,” said Barren County Judge-Executive Candidate Chris Steward.

Steward joins five other candidates in the race, but will not have to face current Judge-Executive Davie Greer, who officially told WBKO Monday, she won’t seek re-election.

“I just feel like at this time in my life that I want to spend more time with my family. They don’t want me to run either, so that’s mostly the reason,” said Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer.

Steward certainly has not shied away from the spotlight.

As a magistrate he was out in front of an investigation of the jail.

“When I think that there is something going on that I think is corrupt, or I think that is inappropriate, or I think the taxpayers’ dollars are being wasted, then I will be contentious and I will be somewhat controversial.”

However, Steward does think he could have handled it better.

“I think I owe some apologies to some people in which I voiced my opinion, perhaps I wasn’t as diplomatic as I should have been in certain areas,” said Steward.

WBKO asked, who are some of those people?

“Jailer Mutter, Judge Greer and others, I’m sure I could have worked with them better. I’m sure they could have worked with me better,” said Steward.

Steward announced recently but he said he will officially file Tuesday.

None of the other candidates in the race are current Magistrates, but the list includes democrats Brian Scott Taylor and W.R. Bud Tarry. Republicans in the race include David Honeycutt, Don “Goose” Gossett and Rob Strickland.

CONTINUE READING…

ALSO SEE HERE….

Japanese beverage giant Suntory Holdings has agreed to purchase American spirits maker Jim Beam.


 

 

DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An iconic Kentucky original is being sold to a foreign company.

Japanese beverage giant Suntory Holdings has agreed to purchase American spirits maker Jim Beam. The all-cash deal is valued at $16-billion. Beam stock shot up in premarket trading today after the deal was announced.

Suntory is known for Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies and Midori liqueur, as well as beers, wines, and soft drinks.

Beam is produced in Clermont, Kentucky, and is known for its brand-name products including Jim Beam bourbon, Maker’s Mark whisky, and Courvoisier cognac.

Suntory already distributes Beam’s products in Japan. Beam distributes Suntory’s products in Singapore and other Asian markets. Both companies’ boards unanimously approved the transaction, which is targeted to close in the second quarter. It needs approval from Beam Inc. stockholders.

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Suntory Holdings To Acquire Beam In $16 Billion Transaction

OSAKA, JAPAN and DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS – JANUARY 13, 2014 – Suntory Holdings Limited and Beam Inc. (NYSE: BEAM) today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Suntory will acquire all outstanding shares of Beam for US$83.50 per share in cash or total consideration of approximately US$16 billion, including the assumption of Beam’s outstanding net debt.

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Hunters Killed 20 Bears in Kentucky During Season


 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State Fish and Wildlife officials say hunters in Kentucky claimed 20 black bears during the season that ended in December.

It was the first season with a new expanded bear hunting zone and an archery and crossbow season.

Hunters can now hunt bears in 16 Kentucky counties, up from four counties in 2012.

In the recent season, hunters harvested eight male and two female bears during the firearms season. They took six males and four females during the archery and crossbow season.

Seven were killed in Letcher County, and three bears each were taken in Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties.

Modern-day bear hunting in Kentucky began in 2009.

CONTINUE READING HERE:

Cave City eyes work on strategic plan in ’14


 

Cave City 9.28.13 140

By JUSTIN STORY The Daily News jstory@bgdailynews.com

When it comes to planning for the future, Cave City officials are taking the long view.

Cave City’s City Council plans to hold a special meeting with the Kentucky League of Cities soon after the holidays on a date to be determined to learn about the work that will be involved in drafting a strategic plan that will guide the city’s development during the next several years.

The city’s proximity to Mammoth Cave National Park and its location along Interstate 65 have given Cave City a built-in advantage in attracting tourists, but Mayor Dwayne Hatcher hopes a strategic plan developed in consultation with the League of Cities will shine a light on Cave City’s other attractive qualities.

“We can’t put all our eggs in one basket, so to speak,” Hatcher said. “Tourism is a major factor here with our location, but we can’t just build solely on that. We’re working hard on infrastructure and industry here. … We can no longer be so dependent on tourism, although it is one of the major factors. We have so much more to offer, too.”

Two KLC advisers spoke at a recent council meeting about the benefits of a strategic plan and how the process of creating a plan can draw in the involvement of community members.

The KLC has been active as a consultant with other communities in the state that have drafted their own plans.

In 2011, Williamstown developed a strategic plan with input from community leaders, high school students and others that addressed a number of topics thought to be important to that city’s development, including restoration of downtown and diversification of the local economy.

Hatcher said Cave City’s process of putting together its own plan will involve extensive input and could take several months, if not longer.

“It’s a rather slow process, but it’s well worth doing,” Hatcher said. “With something this important, you don’t want to just rush into it. We want input from all of our citizens. … Hopefully, one thing we’ll create will be more involvement. We want people to feel that they are part of the community.”

Though not a member of Cave City government, Jeff Lawson wears many hats in the community as the owner of Cave Country RV Campground and the president of the Cave City Chamber of Commerce.

Lawson said he was aware the Cave City Convention and Tourism Commission has surveyed visitors for the past several months about their impressions of the area.

“Local people say things like they want more restaurants and more things to do, and visitors comment about empty buildings,” Lawson said. “That’s a real detraction because people come in and, instead of people, they see a dying town, and we don’t see it that way. We have a lot to offer, but for people driving in off the interstate they get the opposite impression.”

Lawson came to Cave City from Pennsylvania more than five years ago, leaving the restaurant business there to operate an RV park in the area. When deciding where to relocate, he centered on Cave City for its small-town atmosphere and its convenience to Mammoth Cave.

Lawson said he believes it’s important for as many people to be involved in the process as possible, and he hopes that the different segments of the community can agree on some common goals for the city’s long-term future.

“For the future, if we have a clear direction of who we are and what we want to accomplish, we can achieve it,” Lawson said.

— Follow reporter Justin Story on Twitter at twitter.com/jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

Kentucky has more lakes suspected of having toxic algae


 

 

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Kentucky has seven lakes suspected of having excessive levels of toxic algae, but state officials aren’t revealing which bodies of water are being targeted for a second round of tests.

Kentucky environmental regulators are drawing water from the lakes for a second time for more rigorous laboratory analysis after initial samples showed concentrations of blue-green algae worthy of health advisories.

Kentucky Division of Water official Clark Dorman said the lakes involved in the most recent advisory aren’t run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Five Corps-run lakes were the subject of a recent advisory.

Even though the state’s initial tests suggested health risks to the public, dogs and farm animals, state officials are declining to identify those water bodies.

 

Read more: http://www.wlky.com/news/local-news/louisville-news/ky-has-more-lakes-suspected-of-having-toxic-algae/-/9718340/22411324/-/x31yeb/-/index.html#ixzz2hZAxiMlo

Furry intruder caught on camera (HERE’S THE BEARS!)


 

OHIO COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – A furry intruder was caught on camera in Western Kentucky.

A family went outside and found a black bear raiding their deer-feeder.

Wildlife officials suspect the young bear was either forced out of its territory in eastern Kentucky or Tennessee by another black bear and is wandering around trying to find a girlfriend.

In June, there was a bear sighting near Mammoth Cave and on July 12 five people in Daviess County reported they saw a bear near Masonville.

Experts said the bear appears to be a small and estimate he weighs between 100 and 150 pounds.

CONTINUE READING…

Amneal Undertakes Major Sales and Distribution Expansion in Kentucky


Published: Sept 23, 2014 4:31 p.m. ET

Newly-leased space in Glasgow will nearly double size of current operations

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Sep 23, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC (www.amneal.com), one of the largest generic drug suppliers in the U.S., has signed a lease for a second location in Glasgow, Kentucky that will nearly double the size of its national sales and distribution center.

Tony Hodges, Vice President for Global Logistics, discussed Amneal’s latest growth plans in the state at a Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce breakfast on September 12. The company was honored as the 2014 Industry of the Year, chosen by Chamber members, during the event.

Amneal acquired the lease at 40 Aberdeen Drive in the former Carhartt Building from Aphena Pharma Solutions, a medication packaging firm and Amneal supplier, which announced it will cease operations in Glasgow at the end of the month. The building will be refurbished to create a 120,000 sq. ft. warehouse and 6,000 sq. ft. of offices to support logistics. When the expansion is complete, the company’s Glasgow operations will occupy a total of 221,000 sq. ft.

Since 2007, Amneal’s Kentucky sales and distribution capabilities have grown dramatically (see Figure 1 here). Upon acquiring Akyma Pharmaceuticals that year, the company moved into its 3,000 sq. ft. offices at 104 Hippocrates Way and 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse in nearby Fountain Run. In 2010 Amneal consolidated distribution logistics and sales operations in-state rather than relocating these critical functions near its headquarters and manufacturing plants in metro New York by leasing a much-larger 115,000 sq. ft. facility at 118 Beaver Trail.

Amneal has invested over $6.6 million in Glasgow and created jobs for 80 Kentuckians to date, exceeding this year’s goal. Figure 2 (view here) shows actual employment growth from 2008-2014. Once the Aberdeen Drive expansion is complete, the generic maker will employ over 90 local residents.

For its earlier project, Amneal secured multi-year tax incentives through the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) and the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program. The company also obtained an economic development loan from the Glasgow/Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority, forgivable if agreed-upon headcount growth commitments are met. The KEDFA/KBI grant and Glasgow/Barren County loan were key factors in Amneal’s decision to remain and expand in Kentucky.

Although the financial incentives Amneal has received over the past several years are important, the company is also reaffirming its commitment to Glasgow due to its people.

“From our first opportunity to get to know Akyma’s employees prior to acquiring that business, we have been impressed with the work ethic, integrity, common sense, commitment to success and positive attitude of Kentucky’s citizens,” said Jim Luce, Amneal’s Executive Vice President-Sales & Marketing, who oversees the entire Kentucky operation. “The economic incentives definitely played a critical role in our decision to continue growing in Kentucky, though incentives and nice buildings aren’t worth anything without superb people. And finding all three in Glasgow, it was easy to commit our long term future here.”

About Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC

Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC is a U.S.-based manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals. Known as “Generic’s New Generation,” Amneal prides itself on its unwavering commitment to quality, meaningful business relationships, and innovative approach to maximizing value for all stakeholders. Extensive investment in R&D, an intelligently aggressive expansion strategy, and focus on vertical integration are key contributors to the company’s impressive growth over the past several years. Amneal is headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey with manufacturing, R&D, packaging, sales and distribution facilities throughout the U.S., as well as abroad. For more information, visit www.amneal.com.

SOURCE: Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC

Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC
Jim Luce
Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing
M: 949-500-5756
jim@amneal.com
www.amneal.com
or
Cheryl Lechok Communications, LLC
Cheryl Lechok
President
Dir: 203-961-9280
M: 203-613-1506
clechok@optonline.net

 

LIST OF PRODUCTS AVAILABLE – SEE HERE

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At 100 Years Old, Brooklyn Math Teacher Continues To Shape Young Minds


Originally posted on CBS New York:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Age is nothing but a number for one Brooklyn math teacher who is still shaping young minds and inspiring others after celebrating her 100th birthday.

Madeline Scotto, who turned 100 on Thursday, is still working at St. Ephrem’s Elementary School in Dyker Heights.

She’s spent most of her life there, graduating in 1928 and returning years later to teach, DNAinfo reported. Now, she is the math bee coach.

Scotto said it keeps her young.

“I think helping others really is what made me able to be the person I am at 100,” Scotto told WCBS 880s. “I never look forward to the day that I’ll retire because there will always be something that I can do, I’m sure. When you’re helping others, you’re helping yourself.”

Most of her five children are retired, which Scotto told DNAinfo is a “big family joke” since she’s still working.

View original 324 more words

New federal judge named for western Ky.


Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014 7:51 am | Updated: 11:06 am, Mon Oct 13, 2014.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A new U.S. magistrate judge has been named for the western district of Kentucky.

A statement from Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. says 51-year-old Colin H. Lindsay will assume the position on Jan. 1 after the retirement of Judge James D. Moyer.

A native of Morgantown, West Virginia, Lindsay received a political science degree from West Virginia University and a law degree from Emory University School of Law.

He has worked at Louisville law firms as an attorney, and he has served as an adjunct instructor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and was president of the Louisville Bar Association in 2009. Lindsay has also been honored for his efforts to fight human trafficking.

He will be based in Louisville.

http://www.bgdailynews.com/news/state/new-federal-judge-named-for-western-ky/article_48cbb84f-5e9e-5644-8e05-32e2bcc55f43.html

Top ten climate polluters in Kentucky


James Bruggers, jbruggers@courier-journal.com 7:14 p.m. EDT September 30, 2014

 

 

Power plants top Kentucky’s biggest sources of climate pollution, according to just-released data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

There’s no surprise there.

But a prominent chemical plant in Louisville’s Rubbertown area — Dupont Louisville Works — is in the top ten biggest climate polluters in Kentucky for its emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, which the EPA say are actually more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to heating up the atmosphere.

The EPA released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities nationwide were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6 percent, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation, the agency said.

That figure intrigued me because conventional wisdom is that we’ve been burning more natural gas (which has less impact on the climate) and less coal.

RELATED: Air pollution district, union agree on job cuts

There is a lot of data to look at, and this is just my first crack at it. I started by doing a quick search of top emitters in Kentucky and Indiana, then top emitters in Louisville Metro, or Jefferson County.

Kentucky Utility’s Ghent plant topped all of Kentucky’s largest industrial sources of a several greenhouse gases, with 12.8 million metric tons released in 2013, the most current year for which the data is available. That’s up 12 percent from the year before. LG&E’s Mill Creek plant in Louisville ranked third, with 7.9 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, a 20 percent decrease since 2010, according to the data.

But Dupont, the long-time Rubbertown chemical plant, ranked 7th, emitting 4,1 million tons, nearly all of that hydrofluorocarbons. That number was down from about 6 million pounds in 2011.

So what are hydrofluorocarbons and what impact do they have on the climate?

From the EPA:

Unlike many other greenhouse gases, fluorinated gases have no natural sources and only come from human-related activities. They are emitted through a variety of industrial processes such as aluminum and semiconductor manufacturing. Many fluorinated gases have very high global warming potentials (GWPs) relative to other greenhouse gases, so small atmospheric concentrations can have large effects on global temperatures.

HCFCs can have a global warming potential of between 140 to 11,700 times that of carbon dioxide, EPA says. The larger the global warming potential, the more warming the gas causes, according to EPA. The agency explains it this way: “For example, methane’s 100-year GWP is 21, which means that methane will cause 21 times as much warming as an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide over a 100-year time period.”

Statewide rankings for Kentucky:

1) Ghent power plant, 12.8 million metric tons.

2) Paradise power plant, 12.1.

3) Mill Creek power plant, 7.9.

4) H.L. Spurlock power plant, 7.8.

5) Trimble County power plant, 7.3.

6) Shawnee power plant, 7.2.

7) Dupont Louisville Works chemical plant, 4.1.

8) R.D. Green power plant, 3.6.

9) East Bend power plant, 3.5.

10) Coleman power plant, 3.3.

Two southern Indiana power plants ranked among the top ten greenhouse gas emitters in Indiana:

1) Gibson power plant, 16 million metric tons.

10) Clifty power plant, 5.8 million metric tons.

 

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Stonehenge Was Actually Part of a Huge Ancient Complex, Researchers Discover


Originally posted on TIME:

For a disenchanted visitor to Stonehenge in the south of England, the iconic array of 4,000-year-old pillars may have signified little more than a pile of rocks. But a new discovery that Stonehenge was actually the heart of a huge complex of ancient burial mounds and shrines could win over even the most cynical observer.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have found a host of previously unknown monuments, including ritual structures and a massive timber building that was likely used for burial of the dead during a complicated sequence of exposure and de-fleshing.

“New monuments have been revealed, as well as new types of monument that have previously never been seen by archaeologists,” Professor Vincent Gaffney, the project leader, said in a statement Wednesday. “Stonehenge may never be the same again.”

The project, which made use of remote sensing techniques and geophysical surveys, discovered large prehistoric pits, some of…

View original 39 more words

5 arrested in protest against coal magnate Jim Justice in downtown Roanoke


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By Jordan Fifer and Jeff Sturgeon | The Roanoke Times

A group of protesters who unfurled a large banner criticizing coal magnate Jim Justice and the practices of his Roanoke-based mining company caused a spectacle in downtown Roanoke on Thursday morning, prompting a large police and fire response to take down the display.

Five people were brought away in handcuffs after the sign was strung between two midrise buildings shortly after 9 a.m., spanning busy Jefferson Street.

The sign was in protest of Justice, who lives in West Virginia but bases his company Southern Coal Corp. in Roanoke, three doors down from where the banner was hung. Southern Coal has been the target of state and federal regulators and activists for numerous documented environmental problems at 30 company mines in five states, including Virginia.

“JIM JUSTICE PROFITS APPALACHIA PAYS,” read black letters on one side of the large white banner, while the reverse claimed, “JIM JUSTICE: TOXIC SPILL BILLIONAIRE.”

The five — identified as Rebecca Marie Holmes, 23, of Wise County; Heather Glasgow Doyle, 30, of Blacksburg; Kyle Scott Gibson, 28, of Wise County; William E. Blevins, 32, of Wise County; and Catherine Ann MacDougal, 27, of Gloucester, Massachusetts — were charged with interfering with the property rights of the building owners, a misdemeanor, police spokesman Scott Leamon said. Each was granted a $1,500 secured bond but remained in jail as of Thursday afternoon.

Three groups with an environmental bent, two of them Appalachia-focused, claimed to have had a role in the banner incident. One, Mountain Justice, describes its goal as to “seek to save our mountains, streams and forest from greedy coal companies,” according to its website.

Another group, Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival, also known as RAMPS and based in West Virginia, describes itself as “a non-violent direct action campaign” against strip mining. The third group that said it had a role, Rising Tide North America, based in San Francisco, is “confronting the root causes of climate change,” its website says.

D. Steele, a 23-year-old from Matewan, West Virginia, who gave only his first initial, said he was with RAMPS. As the demonstration wrapped up, he said the group aimed “to make Jim Justice be accountable for his unfair business and environmental practices.”

As of July, federal regulators were tracking 277 unabated or uncorrected environmental violations dating to 2011 at Justice company mines in Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee, said a spokesman for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, a federal agency that polices mine operators. “Civil penalties are piling up,” Chris Holmes said.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has begun proceedings to seize money placed in safekeeping by the company to guarantee reclamation of disturbed mined land at four Wise County locations. The Justice companies are appealing that state action, and Justice has said reclamation of those mines would be premature.

Justice, who could not be reached Thursday, has said most of the 277 violations were paperwork-related. “I’m cleaning it up,” he said in July.

In the view of the Roanoke protesters, Justice is an environmental scofflaw.

“He chooses the cheapest practices at the expense of his own employees,” said 32-year-old Erin McKelvy of Lee County, who said she belongs to Mountain Justice and came out to support the cause. “For somebody who’s a billionaire, you would think he would be able to do a good job, pay off his debts and clean up the messes he’s made.”

Police and fire crews closed about a block off Jefferson Street between Campbell Avenue and Church Street for about 90 minutes while they removed the banner and escorted the protesters down from atop two buildings.

The protesters “had attached themselves to the base of the banner, using their weight to anchor it, and declined to move,” Leamon said.

The owner of one of the buildings asked police to remove the sign, he said.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Deputy Chief Jeff Beckner, who was on one of the roofs, said the protesters offered no resistance during their arrests.

Police confiscated climbing equipment in bookbags including carabiners, yellow safety vests and rope, police Sgt. J.H. Bowdel said. A photo posted on Facebook showed the protesters wearing the vests on the roof.

“Everyone made sure to take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves and everyone else,” Steele said.

No one was injured, he said, describing the incident as a deliberate public act to try to create public pressure without regard to what he called “the legality of the tactics.”

The protest became a midmorning spectacle, with perhaps 60 to 70 workers and pedestrians milling about and stopping to take photos.

Some said they supported the protesters’ efforts but were unsure what the cause was about. A few said though they supported the right to protest, it should be done in a safe way.

“You got to realize that you got this hanging up right here and it’s caused a lot of businesses problems, and also you got the law involved over something stupid hanging up,” said Roger Simmons of Roanoke. “If that thing falls down and lands on a car, you’re going to have a big accident right now.”

Asked about any public safety risk of the protesters’ efforts, McKelvy said people should be more worried about the message the group was spreading.

“The public safety concern is what Justice and his company is doing,” she said.

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NATO Authorizes New Rapid Response Force to Deter Russia


Originally posted on TIME:

NATO will create a new military force based in eastern Europe designed to mobilize quickly in the event of a hostile incursion into the region, officials said Friday.

“Should you even think of attacking one ally, you will be facing the whole alliance,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday at the close of a two-day summit in Wales. The sentiment echoes the decades-old principle at the core of the NATO pact that an attack against any member of the alliance is an attack against all members.

The rapid response force will consist of thousands of troops based in eastern Europe that will give NATO a “continuous presence” in the region, Rasmussen said. Countries will contribute land, air and sea forces to the new unit on a rotating basis, he added.

Concern over Russian expansion into the former Soviet Union’s sphere of influence in eastern Europe, including Ukraine, where the…

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