Monday, March 14, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-15-'11
- Office of Education Accountability officials have confirmed they are investigating the Pike County School District. OEA officials will not give any other details, but Pike County Schools Personnel Director, Ralph Kilgore, says investigators are looking into complaints that non-tenured teachers were transferred without using the site-based decision making process. Kilgore claims the transfers were because of decreased enrollment at some schools, and school officials are cooperating with the investigation.
- Preliminary statistics indicate that ten people died in ten separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, Mar. 7, through Sunday, Mar. 13, 2011. 110 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is ten less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2010. A total of sixteen fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.
- Thursday night, a mudslide occurred on Pine Fork Road in the Shelbiana area of Pike County, forcing some people to voluntarily evacuate. This past weekend, mud, trees, and debris kept falling. Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett has asked officials with the Abandoned Mine Lands Department to determine what is causing the slide. Emergency management officials submitted pictures and paperwork to abandoned mine lands officials Monday morning and hope to get a response in a few days.
- Kentucky transportation officials are assessing what caused a section of Ky. 292 in Martin County to slide into the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in eastern Kentucky Saturday morning. Officials will decide how to build the road back, and what it will cost.
- President Barack Obama focused Monday on the big concerns of parents and lawmakers on how student progress is measured and how schools that fall short are labeled. Obama says, under provisions of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, four out of five schools may be tagged as failures this year. Obama, who says what we're doing to measure success and failure is out of line, is urging Congress to send him a new education law by fall. Obama has also called for better efforts to prepare and support teachers with a system that encourages their creativity yet holds them accountable for student progress and does not make excuses for the occasional bad teacher.
- Governor Steve Beshear announced Monday that Huntington, West Virginia-based J.H. Fletcher & Co. is locating a new $3.37 million manufacturing facility in Wurtland, Kentucky, creating 20 new jobs. Greenup County officials say they're extremely pleased J.H. Fletcher & Co., a leading manufacturer of mobile underground mining equipment, is locating to the Riverport facility. The new operation will manufacture underground drilling, roof support and other equipment used in the mining industry.
- A Fayette Circuit Court jury on Monday found Fayette County Detention Center prisoner 31 year old Bass Webb guilty of assaulting a corrections officer at the jail on June 6, 2010. Webb was charged with third-degree assault after throwing a telephone, ripped off a jail wall, at officer Bryan Richardson during a disturbance at the jail. Webb is in jail awaiting trial on murder and rape charges. The jury is considering what sentence to recommend and whether to convict Webb of being a persistent felony offender in the first degree. Webb could face one to five years in prison on the conviction of third-degree assault. If he is found guilty of being a persistent felony offender, his sentence could be enhanced to 10 to 20 years.
- Lexington police say a sharp-eyed Meijer store worker helped crack an interstate crime ring involving counterfeit credit cards thought to have been used by Chinese citizens in at least five states. The employee observed them "acting strangely" Friday while they were allegedly using fake cards to buy iPod music players. Le Yu, 22, Lei Tian, 22, and Liye Zhai, 23 are each charged with 86 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and one count each of false making or embossing of a credit card and receiving goods by fraud under $10,000. Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf Monday.
- Dewey Cornell, a clinical psychologist who works and teaches at the University of Virginia, testified Monday in federal court in Paducah that Michael Adam Carneal was likely incompetent when he pleaded guilty in 1998. Carneal pleaded guilty to killing three classmates and wounding five others when he opened fire on a prayer group at Heath High School on December 1, 1997. Cornell, who has treated Carneal periodically for the last decade, testified hallucinations and voices known as "the danes" were influencing Carneal's behavior, and Carneal stayed quiet about the voices and hallucinations until going on a more powerful medication while in prison in 2004 that allowed him to realize the voices in his head were not real and enabled him to talk about them. Cornell testified Carneal did not gain enough control over his mental illness to rationally understand his crime until May 2004. If Russell rules in Carneal's favor, it would open the door for Carneal to challenge his guilty plea on grounds that he was too incompetent to accept responsibility for the shooting. Should Russell rule against Carneal, he would be able to appeal the case to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Carneal is eligible for parole in 2023.
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