Thursday, March 10, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-11-'11
- White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske briefed the newly formed Congressional Caucus on Prescription Pill Abuse on Thursday about his findings from a tour of some of the hardest hit communities, including some in Kentucky. Kerlikowske, who is calling for a multi-pronged approach to combating the nation's problems with prescription pill abuse, called for using education and law enforcement to combat the problem. Republican U.S. Representatives Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Mary Bono Mack of California, who established and co-chairs the caucus, praised the director of the Office of Drug Control Policy for his commitment to taking on a drug problem that has reached epidemic levels nationwide.
- Senate President David Williams said Thursday that Governor Steve Beshear taunted senators with a "sophomore-ish" insult, calling the senators "fat guys," but Beshear said he never made such a remark. Williams, a Republican, and Beshear, a Democrat, were individually interviewed by WHAS radio Thursday about the deadlock over balancing the state Medicaid budget. Beshear began his remarks by complaining that the regular legislative session ended in deadlock Wednesday because Williams waited until the last days of the session to propose an alternative to the Medicaid budget plan he had unveiled in November. In a recording of the interview, Beshear appears to be saying: "Senator Williams and all of those fat guys had plenty of time to talk about it, tell us the problems with it, whatever." Asked later about the comment during a visit to Hardin County, Beshear denied referring to the senators as "fat guys." Kerri Richardson, the spokeswoman for the governor's office, said later she spoke with Beshear about it. "He said that he thought back and he said it must have been he was trying to say the word 'fellow' and then changed his mind midway through and he said 'guy,'" Richardson said. "It was just a stumble trying to say two words at the same time."
- Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company that makes OxyContin, has offered a $1 million donation to the state of Florida to fund a drug monitoring database, but Governor Rick Scott has rejected the offer. Alan Must, Purdue Pharma’s vice president for government affairs, says Florida’s database is needed to prevent pill trafficking nationwide. The donation would cover the operating costs of the database for two years, but Scott says he doesn’t want to rely on a short-term grant for fear the database would require state funding later.
- Forty-two year old Tony J. Hall of Hi Hat was set to go to trial on Monday in Floyd County after being indicted in 2008 on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse. When Circuit Judge John David Caudill asked potential jurors if they had any knowledge of the case, Roger Collins, a deputy with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, had no choice but to answer in the affirmative. Collins told Judge Caudill he was the arresting officer who apprehended Hall for a charge of bribing a witness in 2010. Hall was indicted on that charge in 2011. The defense said jurors heard Collins' comment and it would influence their view on the case. A mistrial was requested and granted. A new trial date will have to be set, but it could take five or six months to set a new jury.
- Former Clay County Circuit Court Judge Cletus Maricle was sentenced Thursday to 320 months, 26½ years, for being the mastermind in a racketeering conspiracy that bought votes in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Maricle and seven other county residents were convicted last March of using the county election board as a vehicle to corrupt the elections. U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves said 67 year old Maricle deserved a longer sentence than his counterparts because he was the head of the organization. Maricle's attorneys say they will appeal. Former Clay County magistrate Stanley Bowling was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months in prison. Judge Reeves recommended that Bowling, who suffers from multiple medical conditions, serve his time at a federal medical facility near his home.
- A.W. Stanley is scheduled to be sentenced in Floyd Circuit Court Friday. Stanley was originally charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of sexual abuse and one count of first-degree sodomy from incidents that occurred from 1997 through 2002 and November 2008, but, under a plea agreement, two charges of sexual abuse were dropped. Under the agreement, Stanley will receive two years in prison, must register as a sex offender and complete sex offender treatment and is subject to a five-year period of conditional discharge. Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner says the five-year period of conditional discharge is a prison sentence held over the head of the inmate for five years, and if they have any violations or don’t comply with sex offender laws, they can be returned to prison for five more years.
- Failed talks on the Medicaid deficit led to Republican Senator Damon Thayer of Georgetown and Democratic Senator Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville exchanging harsh words Wednesday. The verbally heated action began when Thayer gave a Senate speech criticizing Governor Steve Beshear's handling of the budget. Thayer mentioned Beshear several times without referring to him as governor, and even referred to him by his first name, an action which prompted Shaughnessy to accuse Thayer of not following proper decorum. Shaughnessy said it's customary to refer to elected officials by their title. Shaughnessy then referred to Thayer, a Michigan native, as a Yankee, spurring Thayer to leave his seat and walk toward Shaughnessy. The two stared at each other but didn't get within close distance of each other.
- Former Governor Brereton Jones stepped down on Monday as chairman of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, which he co-founded in 2004 to help push for expanded gambling. KEEP, which includes Kentucky racetracks as well as a diverse group of horse breeds, has unsuccessfully lobbied for expanded gambling at tracks in an effort to help the state's horse industry. Jones says he loves the industry with all his heart and will willingly stand up and fight for it at every level, but he believes he has reached the point where he has had about as much political activity as he cares to have. Jones says he still plans to breed and race horses and support the horse industry but will not be on the KEEP board. The board will meet later this month to elect a new chairman. Bill Casner, former co-owner of WinStar Farm, is the vice chairman.
- State Finance Secretary Jonathan Miller is leaving Governor Steve Beshear's administration at the end of the month to join the Lexington law offices of Frost Brown Todd LLC and also serve as a senior adviser to Washington-based Wellford Energy. Miller served two terms as Kentucky's elected state treasurer before joining the Beshear administration in 2007. Thursday, Governor Beshear named Lori Hudson Flanery, who had served as a deputy finance secretary for the past three years, as Miller's replacement. Flanery will take over as finance secretary on April 1st.
- The state Department of Highways says travel on the Hal Rogers Parkway in Perry County is being shifted as a safety improvement project gets under way at Exit 56. Work started this week and is expected to be finished by the end of the year. When finished, the road will be straightened to improve sight distance, and a center barrier will prevent head-on collisions. During construction, the merging pattern will change for traffic entering the highway westbound from Kentucky 451. The westbound truck climbing lane will be eliminated during part of the construction, and traffic entering the highway will be required to merge into a single westbound lane and yield to parkway traffic.
- Twenty-nine year old Cynthia Palmer of Clarksville, Tennessee was found on I-24 in Benton, Kentucky late on February 28th with her older son, Caleb, while a deputy found her 2 year old toddler, Jeremiah Austin Palmer, in the passing lane and moved him to safety. At a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Kentucky State Police Trooper Trey Green testified both a doctor and the boy's older brother indicated the toddler's injuries were not from falling or being dropped. Green testified that Caleb said his mother believed Austin was a demon or evil spirit, and that's why she hit him with a box-like object, like a chair that folds into a box. Caleb indicated that his mother pulled over because she thought there was a bomb in the car, but he tried to tell her it wasn't real. Austin tried to follow his mother and brother away from the car, but collapsed in the passing lane while Caleb tried to get him to stand up. Austin couldn't get up and his mother continued walking a distance police estimated at 50 yards before sitting down on the other side of the interstate's westbound lanes. Austin underwent surgery in Louisville for a head injury that exposed his brain. Marshall District Judge Jack Telle found sufficient reason to send the case to a grand jury and scheduled Palmer to appear in Marshall Circuit Court on May 2nd. Police believe Palmer was hallucinating after snorting bath salts.
Links to this post: