FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed new fishing regulations and bear hunting season changes.

The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly and approves all expenditures by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. All recommendations must be approved by legislators before they become law.

In fisheries-related business, the commission recommended several new fishing regulations. The following fishing regulations are scheduled to go into effect this fall:

The round goby, an invasive, non-native baitfish, may not be possessed or released in the state of Kentucky. 

The shad possession restriction on Cedar Creek Lake in Lincoln County will be removed.

These fishing regulations will go into effect on March 1, 2016:

•Install a 36-inch minimum size limit on muskellunge on Dewey Lake in Floyd County.

•In order to protect the native strain walleye that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is restoring to sections of its former range, there will be a two fish daily creel limit with an 18- to 26-inch protective slot limit for walleye in the following waters: the Rockcastle River and tributaries; the upper Barren River and tributaries; the Barren River below Barren River Lake downstream to Lock and Dam 1 and tributaries; the upper Levisa Fork and tributaries; the Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls and tributaries; the Kentucky River upstream of Lock and Dam 14 along with the Middle and South Fork, as well as the North Fork below Carr Creek Lake and all tributaries. This regulation also applies to Wood Creek, Barren River, Fishtrap and Martin’s Fork lakes. All walleye caught from these waters from 18 to 26 inches in length must be immediately released.

In wildlife-related business, commission members recommended changes for bear hunting for the 2015-2016 bear seasons. They proposed creating a two day youth hunt season for bears beginning the Saturday following Christmas with a quota of five bears of either sex. They also recommended increasing the modern gun bear hunt quota from 10 to 15 bears, of which no more than five may be females.

They also recommended moving the bear archery/crossbow season from November to the fourth Saturday in October for seven consecutive days, which is Oct. 24-30 this year. This coincides with the opening segment of the fall turkey shotgun season.

The Commission proposed implementing a split season for the bear quota hunts with dogs beginning this fall. The first segment will open the Saturday after Thanksgiving, running for two days which this year is Nov. 28-29. The second segment opens the third Saturday in December for two days which this year is Dec. 19-20. The Commission also proposed refinements of the bear quota hunt with dogs to eliminate barriers for hunt participation.

They also recommended expanding the Central Bear Chase Area in Bell, Harlan and Letcher counties by 41,482 acres and expanding the Eastern Bear Chase Area in Pike County by 31,145 acres.

In other wildlife-related business, the Commission proposed changing the upland bird quota hunts on the main unit of Clay Wildlife Management Area in Nicholas County from the second Tuesday in December to the fourth Tuesday in December and from the second Saturday in December to the third Saturday in November.

The area will be closed to all other small game hunting during the upland bird quota hunts.

The next Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 5 at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife headquarters, located at 1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort.

Medical Leader | Photo courtesy of CATRINA SLONE
THE WELLS WAY: University of Pikeville Basketball Coach Kelly Wells donated his time and talents to conduct two ball camps for UNITE Pike. Participants were fed, taught some basketball skills, but more importantly life skills, from Coach Wells.

PIKEVILLE — Hundreds of middle school students turned out for University of Pikeville Basketball Coach Kelly Wells’ UNITE Pike Basketball Camps held recently at Pike Central and Phelps.

Wells brought several of his players to assist with the camps. Pike County School District employees Marionette Little (Safe and Drug Free Schools Coordinator) and Catrina Slone, a UNITE Pike Board Member and a parent, spearheaded the camps. About 130 students turned out for the Pike Central Camp and another 115 for the Phelps event.

“The kids had a great time,” Slone said. “We fed them and they were ready Kelly!” Wells and his staff were so patient and kind while teaching them some basketball basics. “More importantly the message Coach Wells presented was excellent…staying drug-free, the dangers of tobacco and making good choices in life,” Slone said. “They listened to him intently.”

Little added, “Our hope is that each child has been impacted by this event and we can show them they can have fun without drugs!”

The women wanted to particularly thank the people who made the camps possible beginning with Wells and his staff.

Wells also gave away basketball, and wristbands.  Also appreciation is extended to: Kimper Family Resource Youth Services Center Director Vivian Carter; AmeriCorps workers Karissa Hinson, Jamie Mounts, Mikah Justice, Amanda Lovern and Lora Beth Coleman; and sponsor who donated supplies to cash: L & M Mart, Heiner’s Bakery, Sam’s Hot Dog  Stand, UPike Cafeteria, T.J. Litafik, Crystal Water, Pic Pac and Pepsi.

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s elk zone encompasses more than 4.1 million acres in 16 counties and a new program developed by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources strives to make more of that land accessible to the public during the elk hunting seasons.

The Voucher Cooperator Elk Permit Program offers private landowners and lessees an incentive for volunteering to open their land for elk hunter access: an elk tag of their own. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed the framework for the program late last year.

“We’ve got to have more places for people to go and essentially spread out hunting pressure,” said John Hast, deer and elk program biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We’re seeing fewer elk on the traditional elk areas with lots of public land around them because they have just been hunted hard now for years. The elk essentially have been run off those open areas where you could routinely go out and see 100 elk in an evening and are using the woods a lot more.”

The department has used Limited Entry Areas  in recent years to manage the harvest of elk on areas with large tracts of public land and heavy elk hunting pressure. But unless private land becomes available for elk hunter access, biologists believe the hunting pressure will be unsustainable on those areas.

Enter the Voucher Cooperator Elk Permit Program, which is separate from and does not change the landowner cooperator elk permit system already in place. Any landowner or lessee with at least 100 acres in the elk zone would be eligible to enroll in the new incentive program.

Each enrolled voucher property would have a set limit of hunters allowed on the land at any point in the elk hunting season. That number would stem from biologists’ recommendations, voucher cooperator input, and the number of elk using the area.

“Accessing some of that timbered land around the traditional elk hunting areas, I think, would provide productive hunting,” Hast said.

In exchange for volunteering to allow elk hunting access on their property, the voucher cooperator would accumulate points toward a Kentucky elk tag for each elk successfully harvested on their property by drawn hunters.

The voucher cooperator would be credited two points for bull elk and one point for cow elk harvested on their property. Points do not expire and may be accrued over multiple years.

Upon accumulating 20 points, the landowner or lessee of the property would receive one voucher elk permit, which would be transferable and valid for either sex on any land the landowner or lessee owns or leases in the elk zone the next season. Any points left over would remain as a balance for the landowner or lessee to put toward a future tag.

Voucher cooperators would have the option to close elk hunting access during other hunting seasons, such as deer and bear seasons.

And enrolling doesn’t preclude the voucher cooperator from inviting others to hunt the land. However, only elk harvested by hunters signed up to hunt on the property would count toward the point total.

“Each landowner will have tons of control over how things are done,” Hast said.

Beyond the incentive to landowners and lessees, and expanded opportunity for hunters, biologists envision the new program spurring habitat improvement on private land and helping mitigate elk nuisance issues while fostering relationships between landowners and elk hunters.

“Landowners out there want to be in the elk game,” Hast said. “This program involves them in the process while they work toward what is one of the most sought-after hunting opportunities in Kentucky.”

Interested landowners and lessees should call 800-858-1549 to learn more about the Voucher Cooperator Elk Permit Program.

Have you ever had one of those life situations that made you wonder why we don’t have three hands? I was thinking about a situation I found myself in years ago. Walking around town reading water meters I stumbled into a gentleman trying to start a bolt into his old truck. I don’t know how long he’d been working at it but I do know he was very frustrated. A few minutes later with a little help everything was back together. The extra hand was all he needed.

What about your spiritual life, would you ever like an extra hand? Like that man trying to fix his truck by himself, we will be very frustrated trying to fix our spiritual issues without any help. God puts others in our path to give us a hand. Sometimes all we need to do is ask. It is so simple yet not used as often as it should. Here is the offer from God, ”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.

PMC Chaplain Randy Johnson may be reached at 606-218-3915 or via e-mail at

PIKEVILLE — Local residents have the opportunity to support cancer patients during a race that will be hosted by Pikeville Medical Center later this year.

Registration is now underway for the Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center Colors of Courage 5K Run/Walk, which will be held on Aug. 22 in downtown Pikeville.

In its second year, funds generated by the Colors of Courage 5K will be used to help underinsured patients of the cancer center. Last year, more than 900 runners and walkers from throughout the region participated, and the race provided $21,542 that was used to help underinsured cancer patients.

Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center Interim Director Amanda Madden-Dyal reported that those funds were used to help cancer patients with costs associated with transportation, medication and nutritional needs.

She is looking forward to this year’s race.

“This event was so uplifting and inspiring to everyone who participated — survivors, family, caregivers, nurses, doctors, friends and supporters,” she said. “Many ran or volunteered in honor of their loved ones, others volunteered in support of family, friends and patients, as well as each other. It has been extremely rewarding for our staff to help patients with transportation, medication and nutritional needs since last year’s race.”

She encourages others to register for this year’s race.

“I want to encourage the community to pull together once again to help support cancer patients in need. We are always better together,” she said.

Participants are encouraged to dress in the color of cancer they represent at this event, and a balloon release will be held to honor those who lost their battle with cancer. Cancer survivors will also be recognized.

The race will begin and end at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center Plaza. Registration is $20 by Aug. 20, $25 on race day and $15 per person in a group of eight or more. All participants who pre-register by Aug. 7 will receive a Colors of Courage 5K Run/Walk T-shirt. Awards will be presented to the overall top three male and female finishers and the top three male and female finishers in each age division. Awards will also be presented for most colorful attire and  most creative attire.

TriState Racer, a West Virginia organization that is experienced in hosting cross country and road races of all sizes, and its TSR Timing Group will provide race timing services for the Colors of Courage 5K.

Online registration is available at Registration forms may be dropped off at the Medical Leader at 116 Main St., Pikeville, or mailed to Pikeville Medical Center, Public Relations Department, Attention: Whitney Hogg, 116 Main St., Pikeville, Ky. 41501.

For details, call 606-218-4509.

PIKEVILLE — Warm weather is here, which means it is all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding season.

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) encourages everyone to put safety first when riding ATVs.

PMC Trauma Outreach/Injury Prevention Coordinator Jackie Caudill said, “Wear a helmet at all times. If the ATV is a mule or side-by-side, always use a seat belt. Never allow children to operate an ATV without adult supervision.”

PMC treated 63 ATV-related injuries this past year.

ATVs provide a lot of fun for those riding them, but like anything that involves high speeds (up to 60 miles per hour) and heavy machinery (possibly 700 pounds), they can be very dangerous.

As of December 31, 2013, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission staff received reports of 13,043 ATV-related fatalities occurring between 1982 and 2013.

When riding an ATV, one should practice the  following safety tips:

•Take a hands-on safety training course

•Always wear protective gear, especially a helmet, when riding an ATV

•Wear over-the-ankle boots, goggles, long pants and a long sleeved shirt

•Practice correct riding posture

•Children should not ride on adult ATVs

Children under six should never be on an ATV. Most ATVs have a label detailing the recommended age for that particular model.

Unless the ATV is a “2-Up” unit, do not drive with a passenger or ride as a passenger

•Do not drive on paved roads or unfamiliar terrain

•Do not drive or ride under the influence of alcohol or any other medication that may make you sleepy or affect your driving

For more information about ATV safety or to sign up for an ATV training course, visit:


PIKEVILLE — Summer is the season for outdoor fun, but an increase in snake activity creates the need for heightened awareness.

A snake bite victim should go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Trauma Outreach/Injury Prevent Coordinator Jackie Caudill said, “When in the woods or the garden, the best defense against a snake bite is to look where you are walking and look closely where you are placing your hands.”

 Victims are urged not to:

•Cut and suck — Can damage underlying organs and increase infection

•Apply ice  — Can cause frostbite

•Use electrical shocks — Can cause burns or heart problems

•Use alcohol — Can increase venom absorption

•Use tourniquets or constriction bands — Can increase tissue damage and lead to the loss of a limb.

Snake bite symptoms may include: local or general swelling, bleeding, blistering, intense pain, low blood pressure, dead tissue around the wound, shortness of breath, weakness or renal failure.

There are 33 snake species in Kentucky, four of which are poisonous: northern copperhead, western cottonmouth (water moccasin), timber rattlesnake and pygmy rattlesnake.

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, there are specific characteristics that separate Kentucky’s venomous and non-venomous snakes. Please see the diagram above for the features that distinguish these snakes.

There are some simple steps to help reduce the number of snakes around your property:

•Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed

•Keep the yard tidy

•Keep grass short

•Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs

•Elevate any stored  firewood off the ground and away from the house

•Fill any 1/4” + openings around your house with mortar or 1/8” hardware cloth

•Caulk around windows, wiring, etc.

Other safety steps include:

•Do not attempt to handle, capture or tease snakes

•Keep away from long grasses, bushes and large rocks

•Limit alcohol use

•If a snake is spotted, turn around and retrace steps

•Wear protective clothing, including boots and long pants

•When camping, use a tent or insect netting

•Use a flashlight if outside after dark

•Create an emergency plan

•Know the local National Poison Control Center’s phone number (1-800-222-1222)


PIKEVILLE — Steve and Crystal Berger moved from Pikeville to Madison County to “get a fresh start” in 2013 — two years after their 10-year-old daughter lost her battle with cancer.

Next week will mark their fourth return trip to Pike County to host a soccer tournament in memory of their daughter.

Allison Berger played soccer at St. Francis School when she was diagnosed with cancer in her brain and spinal cord in 2009. She underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to fight the cancer, but it didn’t stop her love for soccer. She started playing the sport when she was only three years old, and her father said she was “fiercely determined” to play even after undergoing spinal cord surgery. She played her final season with the county’s Youth Soccer Association in 2010. She died in March 2011.

The Bergers held the first tournament as a way to thank people who loved and supported Allison during her battle with cancer. Since then, it’s expanded to raise funds for organizations that help children with cancer.

Steve Berger, a former employee in the Pikeville Medical Center pharmacy, said he and his wife are continually “amazed” at the community support they receive in Pikeville, even years after their daughter’s death.

“I would like to say ‘thank you’ to all the people who contribute, as well as all of the people who just remember Allison and loved her and all of the people who take part in this tournament and help it come together every year,” said Berger. “I really would like to thank the whole community.”

The event would not be possible without that community support, he said.

“That community, the whole eastern Kentucky area, when you’re really trying to accomplish something for a great cause, people come together. They give with an open heart. It really is amazing,” he said. “I can’t even express how touching it is and how amazing the people there are. I love them.”

Last year, the Allison Taylor Berger Memorial Soccer Tournament raised $1,500 for the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital and St. Jude’s. This year, the Bergers and two employees in the PMC Inpatient Pharmacy are selling raffle tickets to raise funds once again for those organizations.

Raffle tickets are $1 for one, $5 for six and $13 for 10 tickets, and the drawing will be held at the tournament, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, at the soccer field on Thompson Rd. in Pikeville. Raffle ticket donors do not have to be present to win prizes, which include a Stella and Dot metallic bag and catered truck show with Nicole McNamee, a $50 gift card to Wildcat Warehouse, a $100 gift card to the BHG restaurant group, a 31 Tote filled with beauty products and other items.

The Allison Taylor Berger Memorial Soccer Tournament is not an “open” soccer tournament and it usually only accommodates about 100 adults and children who knew Allison. Teams of adults and children play, in fun, to honor and celebrate her memory. Scores don’t really matter that much at this tournament. What matters are the stories and memories attendees share about Allison and the hope they bring, through fundraising, to other families who have a child with cancer.

Allison is taking her final rest in the Annie E. Young Cemetery in Pikeville. Her name graces the Allison Taylor Berger Memorial Bridge near Jack’s Creek in Floyd County.

To make a donation, visit or purchase raffle tickets, contact Berger at 859-624-1559 or 606-791-1722.

Medical Leader | SUBMITTED PHOTO

Local residents will turn out in droves in Floyd and Letcher counties next week to “celebrate, remember and fight back” against cancer.

They will be raising money for the American Cancer Society during Relay for Life.

Relay for Life teams in Pike and Mingo counties are also gearing up for annual Relay for Life events.

Floyd County

The Floyd County Relay for Life will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 5, at the Big Sandy Community & Technical College walking track.

The event will feature several speakers, numerous activities and fundraisers, including a luminary ceremony to honor people who died of cancer. It is geared to “celebrate hope” this year.

The Floyd County Relay for Life hosted a “Glow Run” to raise funds earlier this month. Now, the organization is planning its annual banquet to honor cancer survivors and their families for their courage and strength in battling cancer. 

The banquet, free to all cancer survivors, will be held June 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Registration will open at 5:30 p.m.

For details, visit or the group’s Facebook page.

Letcher County

Letcher County residents will “celebrate, remember and fight back” during Relay for Life on Saturday, June 6, in Riverside Park in Whitesburg.

The event will last from noon to midnight in the park.

Letcher County Relay for Life teams have hosted numerous fundraisers to raise funds for Relay. This year, participants are asked to deck out their booths and costumes in the 1980s style as organizers celebrate 30 years of Relay for Life.

The Letcher County Relay for Life is once again hosting its “Golden Girls” pageant, which will be held during the Relay for Life on June 6.

The contest is open to women who are age 50 or older and raises the most money for the relay.

For details, visit or call April Back Stevens at 606-335-0261 or 606-633-7668.

Pike County

The Pike County Relay for Life will begin at 6 p.m. on June 12 at Bob Amos Park in Pikeville, but participants can help raise funds at several events that will be held before the Relay.

Pike County Relay for Life is teaming up with the White Lightning Zipline to host a fundraiser this weekend.

The zipline will host Relay Zipline Day on May 30 and departure times are available at 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pike County Relay for Life volunteers will host a concession stand on site and taking donations for Relay during this event.

Participants from surrounding counties and states are also expected to participate in the 8th Annual Relay Ride for Life motorcycle ride, held in memory of Warren Thomas Prater, on June 7.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the ride will start at 1:05 p.m. at the Ferrell’s Creek Fire Department in Pike County. For details on this ride, call 606-835-2199.

Cancer survivors are invited to a “Rockin’ & Rollin’ Celebration,” the 2015 Pike County Relay for Life Survivor Banquet, at 6:30 p.m. on June 9 at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center. It is sponsored by Blessed Beyond Measure, a Pikeville-based business that helps cancer patients that is owned by Paint Pikeville Pink organizer Debbie Freeman.

Admission is free to all cancer survivors of Pike County. Attendees may dress in 1950s attire.

For details, call Freeman at 606-422-0693.

Mingo County

The Tug Valley Relay for Life will begin at 6 p.m. on June 19 at the Williamson Memorial Field House.

The GFWC Williamson Woman’s Relay for Life team is asking participants to “Paint the Town Purple” to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. The Mingo County Commission accepted the challenge and declared June as “Paint the Town Purple” month in Mingo County. 

The Tug Valley Relay for Life Hometown Heroes team will host a “Royal Grand Ball” fundraiser at 6 p.m. on June 6 at the Sacred Heart Gym in Williamson. Guests of all ages are invited to dress as a prince or princess and take pictures with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Princess Tiana and other Disney characters as part of the event. Tickets are $10 and some activities require additional fees. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

The Tug Valley Relay’s annual survivor’s banquet will be held at 6 p.m. on June 11 at Belfry First Baptist Church. Survivors who want to attend the banquet should call 304-235-2120.

For details on the “Royal Grand Ball,” call 304-785-6773. To purchase a “Paint the Town Purple” shirt, call 606-525-5032 or visit the group’s Facebook page.

Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air; and they will tell you.  Job 12:7

I believe we can learn much from God’s creatures.  Our family Rat Terrier, Bandit, is no exception.

With every joyful movement of his slender body, he eagerly greets me with a relentlessly wagging tail, enthusiastic attentiveness and a willingness to be by my side.  Bandit consistently  behaves this way no matter the day, no matter the weather and no matter what mood I am in.

Each time I am with him I smile and feel unconditional acceptance and love.

I am not as consistent as Bandit in my relationships. In my interactions with God, my attentiveness can vary depending on what the day holds and how I feel.

Bandit jubilantly relates to me. I want to relate to God as enthusiastically and consistently through daily prayer, Bible study and seeking God’s guidance.

I believe God patiently waits for me to seek and experience true relationships. Believing this, I can smile and feel God’s unconditional acceptance and love. I thank Bandit, one of God’s magnificent creatures, for consistently reminding me of this daily opportunity. All of God’s magnificent creatures can call us into relationship with God.

May God bless you as you are taught by God’s creatures and your pets.

PMC Chaplain Kaminski Robinson may be reached at 606-218-3969 or via e-mail at