Monday, April 18, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...4-19-'11
- Investigators with the state Mines and Minerals Department were at the scene Monday where Pike County Emergency Management officials say a possible mine blowout spilled slurry across Highway 611 and into yards on Caney Creek. Local officials say it did not get inside any homes.
- Governor Steve Beshear reported Monday that he has banked $4.8 million since beginning his re-election campaign, a total that sends a strong message to potential Republican challengers that they have their work cut out for them in the fall. The campaign had taken in an additional $1.27 million between January 1st and April 15th, and, after expenses, still has about $3.3 million in the bank. “I am grateful for the support of Kentuckians of our hard work to bring economic recovery and prosperity to every community,” Beshear said in a statement. “Though I remain focused on creating jobs and running an efficient and lean state government, I am nevertheless pleased with the campaign’s fundraising success.” Beshear is unopposed in the May 17th Democratic primary. The leading fundraiser on the GOP side as of the last reporting period was state Senate President David Williams, who documented $750,000. Williams campaign manager Scott Jennings said Monday a new campaign finance report is undergoing review and will be filed when that’s complete. The total is expected to exceed $1 million. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett said his campaign finance report will show total contributions of less than $100,000. The Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw campaign submitted a report for a portion of the latest reporting period showing contributions of more than $7,000. The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance requires candidates to file periodic reports on fundraising and spending. The deadline for the latest reporting period is Wednesday.
- Officials in the University of Kentucky health system say they are concerned about an uptick in unpaid bills. UK HealthCare reported $45 million in bad debt during the past seven months, a 49 percent increase over last year and $13 million more than anticipated. The percentage of UK HealthCare’s total billing that went unpaid was 12.9, more than double the national average of 6 percent in 2009. UK HealthCare includes University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Kentucky Clinic, and all of UK’s clinics. Sergio Melgar, senior vice president for health affairs and chief financial officer for UK HealthCare, says, while $13 million may seem like a big number, it is a small portion of the overall hospital budget of $1.1 billion. When you are working with such large numbers, an increase of one percentage point can make a multimillion-dollar difference, he said. Caroline Steinberg, vice president of trends analysis at the American Hospital Association, says bad debt at U.S. hospitals jumped 8 percent to $39 billion between 2008 and 2009. Melgar says UK’s overall bad debt is higher than the national average because it serves a high percentage of poor, uninsured patients and is a trauma center where the sickest of the sick are provided care.
- A third suspect has been arrested in connection with copper thefts from Blue Diamond Mine in Perry County. Darin Hensley was arrested after he was found at his mother's house in Bell County Monday afternoon. State police took him to the Bell County Detention Center where he will later be taken to the Leslie County Detention Center. Two other men were charged Thursday for allegedly stealing copper from Blue Diamond Mine.
- Ten people died in eight separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, April 11th, through Sunday, April 17, 2011. All of the fatalities involved motor vehicles, and six of the victims were not wearing a seat belt. Through April 17th, preliminary statistics indicate 171 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is thirty less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2010.
- State police are investigating the discovery of human remains in rural western Kentucky. Police say in a statement that the remains were found Saturday by turkey hunters in a heavily wooded area of southern McCracken County. Coroners from Graves, Marshall, and McCracken counties helped at the scene on Sunday, and the skeletal remains were confirmed to be human. The remains were scheduled to be analyzed on Tuesday by the state medical examiner's office in Madisonville.
- Kentucky State Police have charged a man in the critical injury of his son with a baseball bat. KSP spokesman Don Trosper says officers arrived at a home in Rockcastle County on Sunday morning to find the 9-year-old boy had been struck in the head with the bat. The child was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington and was listed in critical condition. Troopers arrested the boy's father, 34-year-old Jesse Vanwinkle of Livingston, on a criminal abuse charge. He was taken to the Rockcastle County Detention Center, where he remained Monday. The Rockcastle County Sheriff's Department and Child Protective Services are aiding the investigation by the KSP.
- A rock slide in northeastern Kentucky has closed all lanes of U.S. 23 in Greenup County. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says engineers were at the scene of the slide late Sunday night, but all four lanes of the highway were closed through the Monday morning commute. Fallen rock must be removed and engineers must assess the stability of the hillside. Traffic is being diverted through Flatwoods on Ky. 207.
- Four years after throwing his daughter a lavish Sweet 16 celebration, Kentucky oilman Gary Milby is still paying for that party. Milby goes on trial Tuesday in Lexington on federal charges he defrauded more than 375 investors of almost $20 million while he and his associates bought yachts and real estate. A 34-count indictment against Milby says that Milby claimed there was no risk for investors and that he had an extensive record of success in oil and gas production. Prosecutors say he actually had a spotty history of success and every investor lost money. His trial is expected to last four weeks. He faces 20 years in prison on 20 of the charges against him and a maximum fine of more than $5 million.
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