Tuesday, May 03, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...5-4-'11
- Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Jay Burke has resigned from the department after being arrested on DUI charges. Sheriff Dwayne Price says a deputy pulled over Deputy Burke early Sunday morning after he was allegedly swerving on the road. State Police also responded and made the arrest.
- Johnson Central High School AP English Teacher Amiee Cantrell-Webb has been chosen as the national Math and Science Initiative All-American Teacher of the Year for Kentucky. Officials say under her guidance, the English department at J.C.H.S. has become a model for the state. She will receive a trophy, $2,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to the awards ceremony in Washington D.C. in May.
- Governor Steve Beshear visited Fulton, McCracken and Marshall counties in far western Kentucky Tuesday. He says rising floodwaters still pose significant danger to homes and communities along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He also visited the recently opened Regional Emergency Coordination Center at the Benton Armory. Beshear says he supports the decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to breach the Birds Point levee. Approximately 400 National Guardsmen and 140 tactical vehicles have been deployed in six counties to assist in security operations, sandbagging efforts and other flood protection details. More troops are on standby and will be deployed as needed.
- On a 12-6 vote Tuesday, University of Kentucky trustees approved a 6 percent tuition increase for students in the next academic year. The tuition boost amounts to an extra $259 per semester for freshmen and sophomores from Kentucky. In-state juniors and seniors will pay $266.50 more per semester. Out-of-state students face increases of $531 per semester if they are freshmen or sophomores and $538 more if they are upperclassmen. The tuition hike will go before the state Council on Postsecondary Education in June. UK's outgoing president, Lee T. Todd Jr., says the higher tuition won't cover the school's full budget deficit. He has proposed merit-based pay raises for non-UK Health Care faculty and staff who have gone three years without pay raises.
- University of Kentucky trustees on Tuesday hired Eli Capilouto to succeed Lee T. Todd Jr. as the school's 12th president. Capilouto, 61, has been provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham since 2005 and was acting provost before that. He rose through the ranks as a professor and dean of UAB's School of Public Health before serving as the school's chief academic officer. Capilouto starts his new job July 1st. UK spokesman Jay Blanton says Capilouto had reached an agreement in principle with UK trustees on terms for a five-year contract that includes a base salary of $500,000 per year, a maximum $50,000 bonus for achieving target goals determined by trustees. It also includes retirement contributions and deferred compensation totaling $125,000, for a package totaling $675,000. UK also will provide Capilouto with an automobile and membership dues. Todd's current salary and benefits total $657,000.
- The state made $230,000 off the sale of 2 surplus planes. Governor Steve Beshear said Tuesday that a 1975 Piper Navajo brought $190,100 on eBay.com, and a 1967 Cessna Skyhawk generated another $41,330. The sale of the two surplus planes Beshear ordered to be sold in an online auction brought more than expected. All of the proceeds from the sale will be returned to the state's General Fund that pays for basic government services and programs. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Department of Aviation had hoped to get at least $175,000 for the twin-engine Navajo.
- Governor Steve Beshear and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are taking action to repair a slide on Cannell Coal Gap Road in Johnson County and a rock fall on Burgess Branch Road in Lawrence County. Appropriations of $36,000 to the Johnson County Fiscal Court and $17,300 to the Lawrence County Fiscal Court have been made by the Cabinet. When emergency situations require repairs, it is our goal to make those repairs as quickly as possible said Mike Hancock, Transportation Cabinet secretary. These projects should make travel safer for those who use these roads each day to get to work or school. The projects will be completed by the respective fiscal courts. Costs will be paid from the Rural Secondary Emergency Fund, which is administered by the Transportation Cabinet Department of Rural and Municipal Aid.
- A General Motors executive has plans to visit the company's assembly plant in south-central Kentucky. A statement from the company says GM North America President Mark Reuss is scheduled to arrive Wednesday at the Bowling Green plant where Corvettes are assembled. GM is expected to announce a major investment in the plant. Last month, the state approved $7.5 million in tax incentives for the company if it moves forward with an expansion at the plant. Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes, who was among a group from Kentucky to visit GM headquarters in Detroit last week, says he expects a formal announcement Wednesday and hopes to be there for it. Governor Steve Beshear is also expected to attend.
- Jury selection is expected to take several days for the murder trial of two men charged in the shooting of a University of Kentucky student five years ago. Attorneys began picking the jury Monday in Lexington to try 31-year-old Adrian Lamont Benton and 29-year-old Raymond Larry Wright. They are accused of fatally shooting 23-year-old John Graves Mattingly III in May 2006. Investigators said Mattingly was shot in the head after two men knocked on his door, then pulled a gun and demanded money from people in the home. Mattingly died more than a month later at University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center. He was the son of Marion County Judge-Executive John Mattingly Jr. and Janet Mattingly and was a senior, majoring in secondary education.
- Kentucky State Police report collecting 309 pounds of prescription drugs statewide during a national effort that ran over the weekend. The 16 state police posts collected drugs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, along with some 5,300 other sites across the country. It was the second national "Take-Back" day, with the idea of helping prevent increased prescription drug abuse and theft. State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer says the program offers people a way to clean out their medicine chests when they aren't sure how to properly dispose of prescription medication. Brewer says prescription drugs are being abused and misused "at alarming rates" and are a public safety issue.
- The messages came in a fast and furious onslaught: a series of massively powerful tornadoes were ripping across Alabama and other parts of the South. On the receiving end of frantic descriptions of entire neighborhoods wiped out by last week's storms that killed 342, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate urged President Barack Obama to immediately sign an emergency disaster declaration for Alabama. The near immediate response was starkly different from past catastrophes. It looks like Fugate's decision to risk being criticized for sending too much too soon to flattened towns than be left explaining why help took so long to arrive worked to at least make victims feel as if the government cared. Fugate was on the ground a day after the storms subsided. Obama joined him Friday.
- Officials with the Blue Grass Army Depot in central Kentucky are investigating what sparked a fire in a building where anti-tank mines are demilitarized. Depot spokesman Sam Hudson said in a statement that a depot fire crew responded to the scene early Sunday to find heavy smoke and 6- to 8-foot flames coming out of a roof ventilation pipe. The statement says fire damage was contained to a 15-by-15-foot room of the building where M15 anti-tank mines are destroyed. The statement said workers in the building were evacuated, but no one was injured and "the surrounding community was not in danger." The chemical weapons were not affected, according to the statement. The building will remain closed until the cause of the blaze is determined.
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