Tuesday, June 14, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-15-'11
- The Pikeville City Commission has approved a one and a half percent restaurant tax officials say is needed to fund the East Kentucky Expo Center. The tax is expected to raise around $650,000 each year. City Commissioner Donovan Blackburn says, on a $10 meal ticket, which is an average ticket, you're talking about 15 cents tax. City leaders believe the extra revenue will bring in more events to the Expo Center. The restaurant tax goes into effect on July 15th.
- Eighteen year old Christopher Diskey of Prestonsburg is set to appear in court Wednesday after allegedly using counterfeit money at the Water Gap Trade Center in May. Diskey is said to have used the counterfeit money at four different vendors.
- The University of Kentucky board of trustees has approved a five-year contract for incoming president Eli Capilouto with a base salary of $500,000 in a deal close to that of Lee T. Todd Jr., whose current compensation is $657,000. Capilouto indicated he would not accept a performance bonus for the first year he is in office, but he will be eligible for a bonus of at least 10 percent of his salary beginning with his second year. Capilouto, who earned $371,664 as University of Alabama-Birmingham provost before being hired at UK May 3rd, will also receive $125,000 in retirement contributions.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the Obama administration Tuesday to send two Iraqi nationals arrested recently in Bowling Green to the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, McConnell said 30 year old Waad Ramadan Alwan and 23 year old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, two Iraqis facing terrorism-related charges in Kentucky, should be subject to the same system as combatants caught on a battlefield. McConnell wants Alwan and Hammadi sent to the prison at Guantanamo Bay rather than allow them to face trial in a civilian court. McConnell said sending the men to the facility on the southeastern tip of Cuba is the best way to ensure that there will be no disruptions that could come with a civilian trial. McConnell says, "Sending them to Gitmo is the only way we can be certain there won't be retaliatory attacks in Kentucky." Alwan and Hammadi are charged in a 23-count indictment with conspiring to send weapons and money to Al-Qaida in Iraq. Alwan is also charged with attacking American soldiers in Iraq. A grand jury in Bowling Green charged the men last month.
- After a 90-minute open hearing in Lexington Tuesday, the Kentucky Bar Association board of governors voted to disbar prominent Cincinnati lawyer 75 year old Stan Chesley, agreeing with a trial commissioner who said he should repay $7.6 million and be permanently disbarred for his role in a settlement over the diet drug fen-phen. Retired Franklin County Circuit Judge William Graham, the hearing officer, said in February that Chesley lied to a judge, covered up his colleagues' misdeeds and took excessive fees. During Tuesday's hearing, Chesley's lawyer said Chesley successfully negotiated the fen-phen settlement from $20 million to $200 million. Chesley can ask the Kentucky Supreme Court to review the decision.
- Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford received a letter and a contract from Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock on May 30th notifying him the transportation cabinet is going to provide funds to build interior roads at EQT’s site. This money is part of the original package of more than $2.8 million in tax breaks, etc., offered by the state to EQT so the company would locate its facility in Kentucky. “We are moving right along with the EQT project,” Rutherford said. “Construction has begun on the site and now we are ready to improve the interior road so it can accommodate the trucks and other traffic that will be entering and exiting the site.” Pike County Director of Energy and Economic Development Charles Carlton said he is pleased at the progress of the EQT project. PRAY Construction began working on the site in early May. “We have come a long, long way in the course of getting this project off the ground,” Carlton said. “The site prep is finished now and construction of the building has begun. It’s evident the state is on board with this project and this money for the interior roads is proof of that. It won’t be long until everything is operating at full speed and EQT has a permanent home here in Pike County.”
- Lexington, Kentucky-based mine operator Rhino Resource Partners has bought 32,600 acres of coal reserves in West Virginia for $7.5 million. Rhino hopes to mine metallurgical-grade coal for the steel industry from the properties in Randolph and Upshur counties. Rhino operates mines in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio and Colorado.
- The three-day Kentucky River Mine Rescue Contest is being held at Hazard High School. The program is aimed at preparing miners by creating disaster simulations. The mine rescue portion of the competition will begin Wednesday and run through Thursday. Miners from all across the nation are participating in the events. Judges grade teams in three different contests, bench, first aid and pre-shift.
- The Helen Brown Bridge next to Walters Toyota on US 23 north of Pikeville will be closed Wednesday morning, June 15th, for its annual inspection. The bridge will be closed to all traffic from 8:00 A.M. until 10:00 A.M. This is a routine inspection and does not imply that there is anything wrong with the bridge. All bridge inspections are done according to a schedule, said Robin Justice, Highway District 12 Bridge Engineer, and it is this bridge's turn.
- Metro Louisville Police are investigating the shooting of a 12 year old boy which occurred late Monday night in southeastern Jefferson County. Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says witnesses told officers the boy and several of his friends were ringing doorbells or knocking on doors in the neighborhood and then running away. Jim Natsis, who lives in the neighborhood, says the wounded boy appeared to have been hit in the back with shotgun pellets. He was sitting up and conscious when an ambulance arrived.
- Students who make good grades in high school and perform well on the ACT or SAT can earn money for college through the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship program. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority says students earn a base award for each year they make at least a 2.5 grade point average at a certified Kentucky high school. Students who earn at least one base award can also earn a bonus award for scoring 15 or higher on the ACT or at least 710 on the SAT. There are also bonus awards for students who qualified for free or reduced lunch programs during high school if they score at least a three on any Advanced Placement exam or five on International Baccalaureate exams.
- A graduation ceremony is planned this week at a western Kentucky prison, where the graduates have spent 12 weeks being schooled by inmates. The graduates are rescued dogs, who will next be paired with wounded soldiers at Fort Campbell, the sprawling Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Green River Correctional Complex at Central City has operated a dog rescue program since 2004 but recently decided to work with the Army to help provide wounded soldiers with therapeutic dogs. After the dogs deploy to Fort Campbell, they will begin specialized training geared toward each soldier's specific needs. The graduation ceremony is the first in the Dogs2Vets program and is set for Wednesday afternoon at the prison.
- The U.S. Department of Labor is requiring the owner of two Louisville restaurants to give more than $90,000 in back pay to 53 employees. The federal agency says the owner of the restaurants, Louisville Irish LLC, failed to pay tipped employees the federal minimum wage at required meetings and for hours worked. Workers at Sully's Restaurant and Saloon and Maker's Mark Restaurant also didn't receive proper overtime pay. A statement from the Department of Labor says the company has agreed to pay the back wages for the time period of the investigation, from 2008 to 2010. Karen Garnett, director of the federal Wage and Hour Division's Louisville District Office, says the Labor Department "has zero tolerance" for companies that don't comply with laws that protect low-wage workers.
- Preliminary statistics indicate that ten people died in nine separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, June 6th, through Sunday, June 12, 2011. Nine of the fatalities involved motor vehicles and six of the victims were not wearing seat belts. Single-fatality crashes occurred in Boone, Grant, Laurel, Menifee, Monroe, Pendleton, and Wolfe counties. Alcohol was a factor in the Menifee, Monroe and Wolfe county crashes. A double-fatality motor vehicle collision occurred in Butler County and neither victim was wearing a seat belt. One ATV involved fatal crash occurred in Whitley County and the victim was not wearing a helmet. Through June 12th, preliminary statistics indicate that 267 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is thirty less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2010.
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