Sunday, March 20, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-21-'11
- Emily Keaton of Pike County won her second consecutive Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee Saturday by correctly spelling "ankylosaur" - an armor-plated dinosaur - at the PNC Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Keaton is a sixth-grade student at Christ Central School in Pikeville, Kentucky. Second-place finisher Priyanka Sheth, the 2009 Derby Festival Spelling Bee champion, misspelled "ephedrine." Keaton finished third in the 2009 KDF Spelling Bee. Keaton received a $10,000 savings bond for winning, as well as a Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Amazon.com gift card and a trophy. She will also have the opportunity to ride on the Winner's Float in the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 5th.
- Texas Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said Sunday that Billy Gillispie has been hired as the new men's basketball coach, replacing Pat Knight, who was fired this month. In 2009, the University of Kentucky fired Gillispie after the Wildcats went 40-27 in his two seasons and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years. Gillispie, 140-85 in his seven seasons as a Division I coach, led UTEP and Texas A&M to remarkable turnarounds. Texas Tech officials are hopeful he can do the same in Lubbock. Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt says he spent "significant" time with Gillispie in the past two weeks, and he is absolutely confident Gillispie will lead their basketball program back to the national spotlight while positively representing the university. Hocutt says there are exciting years ahead for Red Raider basketball.
- A First Amendment lawsuit to be decided soon in U.S. District Court in Frankfort might establish whether Henry County lawyer John M. Berry Jr., a respected lawyer broke an ethics rule, risking his law license, by criticizing the state's Legislative Ethics Commission. Nobody disputes Berry was entitled to disagree in 2007 when the ethics commission dismissed a complaint against Kentucky Senate President David Williams involving campaign money solicited from Frankfort lobbyists, but Berry didn't show his disappointment privately. In a letter he sent to ethics commissioners, he said they failed in their duty. Then he went to their next meeting and shared his letter with reporters. Berry's criticism angered some on the nine-member ethics commission, appointed by the Senate president and House speaker, who thought their integrity had been questioned. Ethics commissioner Paul Gudgel, a retired state Court of Appeals chief judge, responded by filing a complaint against Berry with the Kentucky Bar Association. Gudgel wrote, "Intentionally impugning the reputation of the commission members without justification to advance his own agenda was improper." In response to Gudgel's concerns, the KBA launched a 15-month professional conduct investigation of Berry.
- Elizabethtown sculptor Rich Griendling has unveiled a clay mold that will be part of a memorial to veterans in Hardin County. The mold, which depicts a black U.S. Navy sailor in a contemporary uniform, when completed, will be part of the Hardin County Veterans Tribute. Griendling said the iconic "Cracker Jack" image has remained for the Navy uniform over the years, so he stayed true to authentic apparel. The statue will be anchored at the site of the memorial on a proposed nature park. It is projected to be 70 feet in diameter, configured into a star and surrounded by flags. Statues representing each military branch will stand on marble bases on the tribute with black, etched monoliths behind them. It is expected to be finished next year.
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