Kentucky Press News Service

Kentucky House Democrats pitch alternative pension bill that protects benefits

July 12, 2019 - 3:22pm
Minority House Democrats on Thursday offered an alternate approach to relieving local health departments and other quasi-governmental groups from soaring pension costs. They say their version would not threaten the benefits of current employees. Critics of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's version say it will likely cause many employees of the affected groups to have their accrued pension benefits frozen and draw future benefits in a new 401(k)-like plan. 2019-07-12T12:18:11-04:00

Congressman: Amy McGrath's early errors show a primary challenge 'might be helpful'

July 12, 2019 - 3:22pm
Kentucky's lone Democrat in Washington says Senate candidate Amy McGrath made a “pretty significant” mistake in saying she would have voted to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rep. John Yarmuth, who is often seen as the state party's unofficial leader, told the Courier Journal on Thursday he hopes McGrath better prepares in the future. But Yarmuth added that another Democrat might need to enter the race to strengthen any contender against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 2019-07-12T12:09:04-04:00

Kentucky has a nearly $200M budget surplus. Here's how it will be used

July 12, 2019 - 3:22pm
Kentucky tax revenues outperformed expectations in the recently ended fiscal year, leaving the state with a $194.5 million surplus on July 1. The surplus should allow the state to cover some unbudgeted expenses, transfer $70 million to the Teachers’ Retirement System medical insurance fund, and give a little help to the state’s most troubled pension plan, which provides retirement benefits for most state workers. While the surplus is good news, it represents less than 2% above the $11.2 billion in tax revenue already anticipated during the fiscal year, and it will have only a tiny effect on Kentucky’s long-term financial problems caused by the $42.7 billion in unfunded liabilities for its retirement plans. 2019-07-12T12:05:07-04:00

KHSAA addresses concerns over violence in game for esports

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control on Thursday stopped short of prohibiting the popular video game League of Legends for its esports competition, but took action out of concern over violence in the game. At a meeting in Covington, the governing body for traditional sports and activities in high schools across Kentucky voted to require the written approval of principals, superintendents and parents before students can play League of Legends. 2019-07-12T11:53:29-04:00

Amy McGrath’s campaign off to a rocky start after gaffe

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
It has been a rough 48 hours for former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath. Within hours of her campaign’s launch, McGrath has already taken to Twitter to reverse and apologize for an early gaffe. “I know I disappointed many today with my initial answer on how I would have voted on Brett Kavanaugh,” McGrath said on Twitter. “I will make mistakes and always own up to them. The priority is defeating Mitch McConnell.” 2019-07-12T11:51:07-04:00

Months-long search for Savannah Spurlock ends in heartbreak. Man facing charges.

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
After months of investigation and national attention, the search for missing mother of four Savannah Spurlock ended late Wednesday night when a search in rural Garrard County led to human remains. Kentucky State Police confirmed Thursday afternoon that the remains found just before midnight near Fall Lick Road were those of 23-year-old Spurlock. Just hours after her body was found, police charged David A. Sparks, 23, of Lancaster with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. He was charged at 2 a.m. Thursday and booked into the Madison County jail at 3:42 a.m. 2019-07-12T11:44:26-04:00

Jury returns guilty verdict on sodomy, incest charges

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
Jurors deliberated nearly six hours Thursday, find­ing a Radcliff grandfather guilty on three of four felony charges against him in a seven-month sexual assault of his then 11-year-old granddaughter in 2017. Robert Pat Jamieson, 63, was found guilty of Class A felonies of first-degree sodomy and incest, and a Class C felony charge of first-degree sexual abuse. 2019-07-12T11:35:46-04:00

Fishermen offered incentive to help combat war on Asian Carp

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
The Kentucky Lake Vacationland/Lodging Association held a War-on-Carp Poker Run in June to help commercial fishermen combat the species that is trying to take-over the lakes and rivers. Several ideas have been tried; some successful, some not so much, and others in progress now. The commercial fishermen have successfully been netting and removing thousands of pounds and selling them for both human and animal consumption. 2019-07-12T11:27:54-04:00

Former Cornbread Mafia member offers 'a remarkable story'

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
As one of the central figures of the infamous Cornbread Mafia, Joe Keith Bickett takes his place among one of the more potent strains of recent Kentucky history. The network of marijuana farmers who operated primarily out of Marion County, but maintained acres of pot fields in several states, were targeted by law enforcement in the 1970s and ’80s. Bickett was one of dozens of people who reaped the financial whirlwind of the underground drug trade, only to suffer a hard landing when he and dozens of others were prosecuted near the end of the 1980s. While incarcerated, Bickett cultivated an interest in the law, helping inmates file appeals in their cases and looking for legal remedies for his own situation. Released in 2011, Bickett was hired as a paralegal for a Lebanon attorney, and he said he enjoys helping people through his work. 2019-07-12T11:21:02-04:00

Bloomfield man leaves nearly $2.5 million to his community

July 12, 2019 - 12:22pm
A Bloomfield man who died in 2017 has bequeathed thousands of dollars to various community organizations and individuals in his will. Jack Briggs passed away Feb. 20, 2017, at the age of 86. According to his last will and testament, he had no known living next of kin, and an estimated $2.48 million in personal property. Briggs’ bequests include land and monetary gifts, which have been divided in various amounts to organizations and entities of his choosing. Last week, Nelson County Relay for Life received a check for $60,000. Other organizations also received large amounts. 2019-07-12T11:16:11-04:00

Lots to learn in this life

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
I’ve seen a variety of news stories circulating recently about teaching youth how to become better adults via a school window. I go back and forth with my opinion. How handy this would’ve been in school growing up!? Thankful my mom taught me a lot of this and other parents should do the same. I don’t know whose job it is---but I think it is a good idea regardless. 2019-07-11T13:41:40-04:00

Should Boyle County go smoke-free? Absolutely.

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
We fully endorse a smoke-free law for Boyle County. We endorse it because it would protect the rights and freedoms of thousands of Boyle County residents. We also endorse it because it’s really good for business. Thirdly, we endorse it because of the immediate and long-term health and quality of life benefits that would come as a side effect. 2019-07-11T13:33:36-04:00

‘Done wrong.’ As the coal industry withers, it finds new ways to hurt miners.

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
The obituaries for the coal industry have been coming for years now, but lately, it seems as though the end is approaching more swiftly. Dispatches from Herald-Leader reporters Bill Estep and Will Wright have documented the supposed “win” of coal companies belonging to the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice finally paying late property taxes, minus penalties and interest, and an increase in environmental violations because the market downturn means companies can’t afford to meet reclamation and other safety requirements. 2019-07-11T13:24:00-04:00

Use of Casey’s Law a recent trend for county, state

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
When Charlotte Wethington’s son, Casey, died of a heroin overdose in 2002, she had exhausted efforts to get him help. Since Casey was an adult, Charlotte could not force him into treatment, but had she been able to, it could have saved his life. Casey’s death and Charlotte’s perseverance in the fight against addiction inspired a law that would help others before it was too late. Casey’s Law was enacted in Kentucky 15 years ago, but it has only recently gained momentum. 2019-07-11T13:20:07-04:00

Bernheim Forest will fight 'uphill battle' to stop LG&E from using land to build pipeline

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
Louisville Gas and Electric Co. wants to build a natural gas pipeline to feed the growing energy needs of Bullitt County, but some property owners in the area — including Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest — are pushing back. So, LG&E is preparing to go to court, in an attempt to take control of the land it wants through eminent domain. Bernheim's executive director, Mark Wourms, says the nonprofit won't accept that without a fight because the pipeline would cut through an area that's home to endangered Indiana bats and two species of extremely rare snails. The Bernheim forest covers more than 16,000 acres about 25 miles south of downtown Louisville. Its property lies in Bullitt and Nelson counties. It gets about 270,000 visitors a year, according to its website, and got its start with an endowment in 1929. 2019-07-11T13:10:40-04:00

Lightning strike started the Jim Beam warehouse fire as initially suspected

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
Officials have determined that a lightning strike caused a massive fire at the Jim Beam Woodford County warehouse, which went on to burn for several days and had wide-reaching environmental effects. Jim Beam will likely face fines from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources after bourbon reached waterways and killed fish, caused by a lightning strike, cabinet spokesman John Mura said. 2019-07-11T13:07:27-04:00

Former Knox County magistrate arrested on federal drug charges

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
Former Knox County magistrate Jerry “Rabbit” Cox was arrested on a federal indictment warrant for six counts of Distribution of Controlled Substances – Hydrocodone. Cox turned himself over to the custody of the DEA Thursday morning. 2019-07-11T13:03:10-04:00

Nurse pleads guilty to diluting meds

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
A Salyersville woman pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge related to diluting medicine while working as a nurse. On Monday, June 8, Kelsie Spencer, 24, of Salyersville, appeared in a re-arraignment hearing, and in accordance with a plea deal with the United States Attorney, Spencer pleaded guilty to one of the two charges she was indicted on in April. Within the plea deal, Spencer admitted to tampering with a consumer product in November 2018 while working at Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, having removed vials of butorphanol tartrate (Stadol), a Schedule IV controlled substance, from the drug supply area of the hospital for her own personal use. 2019-07-11T12:58:09-04:00

KSP releases murder victim’s name, say charges forthcoming

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
Kentucky State Police have released the name of a man they say was shot and killed Saturday night at a park in South Williamson, adding that charges are forthcoming in the case. Troopers and detectives responded to the scene and found Adrian Smith, 44, of Cleveland, West Virginia, who had been shot. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene by the Pike County Coroner’s Office. 2019-07-11T12:54:14-04:00

Man indicted in sex charges believed to have fled overseas

July 11, 2019 - 3:21pm
An Owensboro man indicted on multiple counts of sexually abusing minors is believed to have fled the country. Lad Duane Ottofy, 60, was indicted in March on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, among other allegations. Ottofy didn't appear at his March 22 arraignment and has not appeared at rescheduled arraignments. Mike Van Meter, an assistant commonwealth's attorney, said Wednesday that Ottofy is believed to have fled the country, but declined to say to which country Ottofy might have gone. 2019-07-11T12:43:09-04:00

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