Sunday, March 27, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-28-'11
- A federal judge Friday appointed attorneys Steve Romines and Pat Renn to represent 39 year old Ricky Lewis Kelly of Louisville, saying both had experience defending capital cases. Federal officials say Kelly, helped by others, killed a woman on August 19, 2005, in exchange for payment or to promote the position of another person in a gang. Lajuante Jackson was killed in the Sheppard Square housing complex by two hooded men. Police say they discovered the link between Kelly and the homicide after overhauling the department's cold-case unit almost three years ago. Kelly was indicted Wednesday and has pleaded not guilty to a federal murder and racketeering charge. A bond hearing will be held Tuesday. Friday, prosecutors dropped eight murder charges Kelly faced in state court, clearing the way for the federal case to proceed. Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel said he could refile the charges later.
- The U.S. Marshals Service is set to sell at auction Shirley Cunningham Jr.'s Hillcrest Farm on April 29th. Cunningham, a former attorney, was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison after being convicted of scamming millions of dollars from clients in a diet-drug settlement which should have gone to clients injured by the diet-drug combination of fenfluramine and phentermine, better known as fen-phen. The case is under appeal. LPS Auctions, the Chicago-based firm handling the sale, listed the 160-acre farm and 3,600 square-foot house in Georgetown at $3.4 million. Cunningham and former attorney William Gallion were ordered to pay $127 million in restitution to the victims and to forfeit $30 million to the federal government.
- From a three-day protest in the Kentucky governor's office to a White House visit and a high national honor, environmentalist and author Wendell Berry says he's had a lot going on lately. Last month the famed writer joined environmentalists for a sit-in at the office of Gov. Steve Beshear to protest strip-mining in Appalachia. Two weeks later, the 76-year-old author of 40 books was honored as a recipient of the National Humanities Medal for "achievements as a poet, novelist, farmer, and conservationist." Authors John Updike, Toni Morrison and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel have been awarded the medal in past years. Berry says it would have been rude to raise his concerns about Appalachian mining with President Barack Obama during the encounter, but environmental activism was not far from his mind.
- Textbooks are becoming "old school" for many students in the McCracken County district in western Kentucky. High school students in algebra and geometry classes now have the option of using online texts. Kentucky Department of Education library media and textbook consultant Kathy Mansfield told The Paducah Sun the funding for textbooks hasn't been available in Kentucky for a few years. Mansfield said her experience with textbooks has not only changed because of funding, but also because of technology. Lone Oak High School algebra teacher Dawn Durham said she's seen successes in the first year of the digital math textbooks. But she still enjoys having the option of the hard copy.
- Republican gubernatorial candidates are reaching out to GOP activists in northern Kentucky. Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw, state Senate President David Williams and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett were to appear Saturday at an annual GOP dinner in Hebron, Bobbie Holsclaw skipped the get-together. Holsclaw said she regretted missing the Kentucky event, but she had been scheduled in Washington for a series of meetings, including a fundraiser sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa. The winner of the May 17th GOP primary will face Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in November. Beshear is unopposed in his party's primary. The fall race also will involve independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith. The Republicans have been laboring to raise campaign cash. The fundraising leader, Williams, has only recently surpassed $1 million, far short of the $3.1 million Beshear had banked as of last December. The next campaign fundraising reports are due in mid-April.
- Governor Steve Beshear has used his veto power to strike portions of a Medicaid budget bill that called for spending cuts to most state government programs. Beshear announced the vetoes on Friday, a day after lawmakers passed the legislation to shore up a program that has become financially overburdened by new recipients in an economic downturn. The Republican-controlled Senate passed the Medicaid proposal along party lines on Thursday. The Democratic-controlled House accepted the Senate plan but only after getting an assurance from Beshear that he would strike the "unnecessary" cuts that members found objectionable. Beshear's lengthy veto message struck more than 150 pages of the bill, including provisions that would stop lawmakers from being paid during a legislative recess and that would bar furloughs of state employees.
- KY 292 in South Williamson will be closed between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 noon so that a trial closure exercise can be performed at the trolley flood gate. Motorists are asked to access areas such as Turkey Creek, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, and New Camp Branch from KY 292 using the US 119 connector north of Williamson. No through traffic will be allowed during the two-hour exercise.
- Message From Congressman "Hal" Rogers:
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