Monday, April 25, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...4-26-'11
- Well, Mike Taylor, who just last week returned to the office of mayor of Elkhorn City, says he's ready to get Elkhorn City moving again following the three-month long legal struggle to regain his office. In the General Election Taylor defeated Richard "Hank" Salyer and Bill Powell. Powell filed suit, claiming there were improprieties in the voting process. The suit was filed in Pike Circuit Court. Circuit Court Judge Steve Combs ruled in favor of Powell. Two weeks ago the appelas court in Kentucky overtuned Combs' ruling, and Taylor was reinstated in the office of Mayor.
- The National Weather Service office in Paducah held a conference call with state officials on Sunday evening, during which forecasters said people in Kentucky should use extreme caution during this week because heavy rain and severe weather is expected to continue. Most of Kentucky got 3-4 inches of rain on Sunday. Rainfall totals for the last week range from 10 inches to 15 inches, causing flooded rivers, streams and tributaries. Officials in western Kentucky cities and towns along the Ohio River scrambled Monday to take as many precautions as possible, putting up floodgates and evacuating residents from flood-prone areas. Doug Harnice, the deputy judge-executive in McCracken County, said officials there haven't seen the Ohio River at levels this high since 1937.
- Freddy Smith, 52, of Bear Branch, in Clay County, has been charged after fatally hitting a pedestrian with his vehicle. Police say Smith was driving south on U.S. 421 eight miles south of Manchester Saturday evening when he ran off the road and hit Leroy Gilliam, 62, of Goose Rock. Smith kept driving for about a mile before losing control of his vehicle and hitting a guardrail. Smith was arrested on charges of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, having no insurance and drug related charges.
- Lisa Gilliam, a woman indicted for the murder of her well-known husband, London Attorney Larry Gilliam, was scheduled to be arraigned Monday, but she did not enter a plea because her attorneys asked the judge to recuse himself, due to the fact he knew the victim. Larry Gilliam died after being shot in the chest at his law office in January. The judge plans to make a decision whether to recuse himself by May 23rd. Lisa Gilliam remains out of jail on a $100,000 bond.
- Amythyst Brown and Lachrisha Moberly were arrested after police were called to the Whitley County Country Club Friday night. Police say both Brown and Moberly were scantily clad. Brown was caught with a blue Ecstasy pill that police say she was trying to sell. She says she was told to sell alcohol, but didn’t know that Whitley was a dry county.
- In response to Johnson County officials seeking advice on a local grassroots petition to ban clinics that prescribe high amounts of addictive painkillers, Assistant Attorney General James Herrick says county governments don't have the right to ban pain management clinics. Because such local ordinances infringe on the state's right to regulate medical practices, counties cannot ban legal medical practices within their borders. The issue could end up in court, if counties decide to pass such bans anyway. The attorney general's opinion said only the state and federal governments have the authority to regulate medical practices. Several other counties, particularly in eastern Kentucky, have already sought to fight prescription drug abuse by calling high-volume pain management clinics a public nuisance.
- Monday, the Kentucky Parole Board deferred for 10 years parole for Tina Marie Hickey Powell, a woman convicted of killing five people in Lexington in the 1980s. The full parole board cited the seriousness and violent nature of the crime, the fact that a life was taken and the use of drugs and alcohol by Powell in declining to grant her request for a shortened sentence or release. Powell and 47 year old LaFonda Fay Foster were convicted in 1987 of five counts of murder in the deaths. All five victims were stabbed and shot on April 23, 1986.
- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell raised nearly $1.9 million since January for a re-election campaign that’s still more than three years away. Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show he banked $940,000 between January 1st and March 31st. Chief of staff Josh Holmes said in a statement Monday the next step toward ending the liberal agenda in Washington and replacing it with serious conservative reform is ensuring that Mitch McConnell is the next majority leader of the United States Senate. McConnell’s fundraising success puts potential Democratic challengers on notice that he is bent on having plenty of money on hand when he runs for his sixth term in 2014. McConnell spent $20 million on his last campaign to get 52 percent of the vote and defeat wealthy Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford.
- A lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kentucky by Sandy Travis of Dixon and Melissa Carter of Hanson, whose husbands died in the April 28, 2010 collapse at the Dotiki mine in western Kentucky, alleges production was emphasized over safety. Justin Travis, 27, and Michael Carter, 28, were clearing loose rock in the mine on the Hopkins-Webster County line when the roof collapsed, trapping and killing both men. They also filed claims with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration seeking $9 million each for personal injury and wrongful death. Travis is seeking up to $5 million in punitive damages, while Carter, who is also suing on behalf of her son, is asking for up to $10 million in punitive damages. Both are asking for an undisclosed amount in compensatory awards. State and federal officials cited the mine, run by a subsidiary of Oklahoma-based Alliance Resource Partners, more than 1,000 times between January 2009 and the day of the roof collapse. Among those citations were 13 closure orders and at least 57 citations in the two years before the roof collapse.
- A crowded field of candidates seeking the job of agriculture commissioner took part in a televised debate. Kentucky Educational Television hosted the debate at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday. Democrats Bob Farmer, Stewart Gritton, John Farris Lackey, David Williams and B.D. Wilson faced off, as well Republicans James Comer and Rob Rothenburger. The eventual Democratic and Republican nominees will square off in the fall general election to replace current Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who had served the maximum two terms in the office. Farmer has signed on as running mate to Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams.
- Governor Steve Beshear is calling attention to a new website that highlights state government's initiatives to be more environmentally friendly. Beshear said his administration is saving money with green initiatives that can be reviewed on the website. People can access the site at http://greeningkentucky.ky.gov to check out initiatives within various areas of government. For example, the Finance and Administration Cabinet has a project under way to reduce energy consumption in state buildings with new energy management software and controls. And the Department for Environmental Protection is challenging residents and businesses to reduce water, conserve water and cut energy usage by 10 percent over the next three years. Beshear said his administration wants Kentuckians to be aware of how choices at home and at work affect the environment.
- A high school student from Elizabethtown scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test during the statewide assessment of juniors. Elizabethtown High School student Rebecca Hinkle learned the results of the college prep test from her father, Tim Hinkle, a teacher at the school. The 16-year-old took the test earlier in the spring. Hinkle says she's considering majoring in an engineering field when she enters college. Hinkle has taken the test twice before, once as a seventh-grader for the Duke University Talent Identification Program and again after her sophomore year. She received a 24 and a 34 on the test at those times, respectively. ACT, the company that administers the test, said generally, about one-tenth of 1 percent of students taking the test receive a 36.
- Preliminary statistics indicate that thirteen people died in thirteen separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, April 18th, through Sunday, April 24, 2011. Two motorcycle involved fatal crashes occurred in Fayette County. The victims were not wearing helmets. 187 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is twenty-four less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2010. A total of twenty-four fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.
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