Wednesday, February 23, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...2-24-'11
- Pikeville Police said Wednesday they have received several complaints about flyers that have popped up in several locations in Pikeville which appear to be photocopies of a membership application asking people to join the Ku Klux Klan. Police say they are investigating the flyers and are asking anyone with information to call them at 606-437-6236.
- Elkhorn City Council members have chosen Johnny Mack Potter to serve as interim Elkhorn City Mayor after a circuit judge removed newly elected mayor Mike Taylor from office and voided 2010 election results. Potter will be mayor until a winner is declared in another election, which has not been set because the Pike County Board of Elections and the elected mayor Mike Taylor are appealing the judge's decision for a new election. Potter was elected to city council in November after serving on the council from 2002 to 2006.
- Kentucky State Police Trooper Bruce Reeves says, around 3:25 A.M. Wednesday morning, a Fed-Ex tractor-trailer and a SUV, with Illinois plates, collided on northbound Interstate 65 near Elizabethtown, killing three and injuring four others. Reeves says the collision caused the SUV to overturn, but neither vehicle crossed the median. Killed were 26 year old Victor Chacon, 10 year old Brianna Chacon and 11 year old Tatyana Alvarez. Hardin County Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Spangenberger said all died from multiple trauma.
- A man killed in a mobile home fire on Blackhawk Road in Jackson County Tuesday night has been identified as 56 year old Burton Mays. Mays' mother says her son was disabled and kept mostly to himself. Police say they don't suspect any foul play in the blaze and suspect the fire was started accidentally.
- Several governors and lawmakers from states, including Kentucky, have spent many hours and sent letters urging Florida Governor Rick Scott to develop and maintain a prescription drug database in order to help prevent the tremendous flow of prescription drugs coming from the state, which has no monitoring system in place. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local police swept across South Florida on Wednesday making arrests as part of a lengthy undercover operation into illegal pill mills that dispense huge amounts of powerful prescription drugs across the nation. The raids appear to be the largest effort yet by law enforcement to curb the sale of Oxycodone and other drugs at hundreds of pain clinics in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Mark R. Trouville, chief of the Miami DEA field office, said more arrests are coming, noting that undercover agents made at least 340 purchases of Oxycodone and other painkillers at 40 clinics over the past year.
- The Kentucky House voted 89-0 Wednesday to approve a symbolic resolution urging Governor Steve Beshear to halt further furloughs of state employees. Beshear furloughed 36,000 state workers for six days this fiscal year to help balance the budget. There have been three furlough days so far. Democratic Representative Rick Nelson of Middlesboro says state government has hired more people even while furloughing workers. He also said state tax collections are up. Beshear says furloughs are meant to minimize disruptions in services, and reducing furlough days will be among the first options looked at if tax receipts are strong enough to ensure a balanced budget.
- A coalition of business leaders is urging Kentucky lawmakers to shelve a bill that would require members of the Public Service Commission be elected instead of appointed. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson said Wednesday the legislation would politicize the process for setting electricity rates, hurting businesses. The bill, which passed the Senate last week and is awaiting action in the House, would expand the commission from three members to seven and require they be elected to staggered four-year terms. Democratic Senator Ray Jones of Pikeville introduced the measure on behalf of eastern Kentucky residents who were hit with a 17 percent electric rate increase last year.
- Governor Steve Beshear visited the newly created Highlands Center for Autism in Prestonsburg, in Floyd County, Tuesday afternoon. The center, which was made possible by a $360,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, operates as a year-round private day school and accepts students from earliest diagnosis through school age. The school currently accommodates seven students with plans for further expansion to accommodate 50 students and provide 50 jobs. Governor Beshear says the facility provides services to help children with autism without them having to travel to other states.
- The House Education Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 370 by a vote of 21-1. The bill would extend anti-bullying protections to children in Kentucky schools who are the subject of harassment because of their sexual orientation. The General Assembly approved an anti-bullying law in 2008, but that bill did not include language that said students cannot be discriminated against or bullied based on sexual orientation, race, religion or mental or physical disability.
- Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of 25 year old William Freeman of Louisville to determine whether his sentence is fair. Freeman, who was arrested seven years ago for possession of a loaded firearm and crack cocaine, faced a maximum penalty of life in prison, so he accepted a plea bargain requiring him to serve 106 months in prison, including 46 months on the crack cocaine charge. In 2007, the U.S. Sentencing Commission reduced the sentencing guideline range for crack. As a result, thousands of offenders have gotten their sentences reduced by an average of 26 months. Freeman was denied that break because he entered a fixed plea bargain.
- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bobbie Holsclaw is asking for an investigation into passage of legislation that would allow optometrists to perform some uncomplicated medical procedures now reserved for ophthalmologists. Holsclaw says she isn't alleging wrongdoing, but the measure raised concern by sailing through the legislature so quickly. The measure would allow optometrists, who made some $250,000 in campaign contributions to state lawmakers over the past year, to perform a variety of simple surgical procedures. American Optometric Association President Joe Ellis said previously that Kentucky lawmakers passed the bill because they recognized the need to modernize state law.
- Two fired McCracken County Schools employees are accused of stealing property valued at more than $10,000 from the schools. An indictment in the case claims 51 year old Thomas Clement and 43 year old Christopher Stamper purchased thousands of dollars worth of automotive items and other tools with school transportation funds. Many of the items were purchased for personal use, but invoices had been altered to indicate they were legitimate purchases. Stamper was senior mechanic at the district's bus garage. Clement was his supervisor. Both surrendered to police on Tuesday, and they were out on $2,500 bond each by evening. Each faces a charge of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000 and receiving stolen property over $10,000. They face arraignment March 17th.
- A couple is accused of stealing between $20,000 and $40,000 worth of catalytic converters from the Georgetown Toyota plant. Georgetown Police say 29 year old Darren Baker was contracted to work at the plant. He was arrested Saturday morning after an employee saw him and realized he shouldn't be at the plant. Baker's girlfriend, 25 year old Callie Ballard, is also under arrest after police say she dumped two duffel bags full of catalytic converters behind a business. The street value of the converters is between $400 and $500 each, but police said the couple often sold them for as little as $35. Police believe the thefts began in September.
- Kentucky State Park resorts will resume seven-days-a-week operations on March 1, 2011. This change in schedule includes lodges and restaurants at the 17 resort parks across the state. Most resort parks also have cottages available. These parks have been on a reduced schedule during the winter months.
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