Thursday, July 07, 2011


EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...7-8-'11

Pikeville Police are investigating an ATV crash that killed a man Wednesday night. Police say a husband and wife riding their ATV discovered an overturned ATV, with the driver trapped underneath on a gravel parking lot near Billups Drive. The driver of that ATV, Jerry W. Hunt of Pikeville, was pronounced dead at Pikeville Medical Center. Hunt was not wearing a helmet.

Pike County Sheriff's deputies say Harold Belcher has been arrested on several charges after he tried to buy police equipment at a store in Lexington with a fake sheriff's identification card. The store tipped off the sheriff's department, and deputies were waiting for Belcher when he returned to Pike County. Belcher was taken to the hospital after he faked a heart attack while being arrested. He is lodged in the Pike County Detention Center without bond. Belcher will undergo a competency evaluation before the case moves forward.

Kentucky law forbids child abandonment but does not establish a timeframe for notifying police about missing children. Representative Richard Henderson, D-Jeffersonville, said Thursday he is prefiling “Caylee's Law”  for the 2012 legislative session. The proposal, which would apply to children 12 years old and younger, would require parents of missing children to notify authorities within 12 hours or face a Class D felony charge which can carry a sentence of one to five years in prison. Henderson says the high-profile Florida murder case of Caylee Anthony highlights the need for new penalties against parents who fail to report missing children in a timely manner. Henderson says a stiff penalty could provide protection for those that can't protect themselves.

Kentucky is turning to managed care organizations to run Medicaid, the $6 billion government program that provides health care to more than 800,000 poor, elderly and disabled residents. In a Capitol news conference Thursday, Governor Steve Beshear said the change could save $375 million in the state's General Fund over the next three years and potentially $1.3 billion overall, not only saving money but providing improved medical care to the state's Medicaid recipients. Beshear unveiled three companies that will oversee Medicaid services to about 560,000 people across most of the state. Coventry Health Care of Maryland, WellCare Health Plans of Illinois and Centene Corp. of St. Louis will open offices in Kentucky, creating more than 500 jobs in the state. Passport Health Plan, which already had a contract with Kentucky, will continue to serve about 170,000 Medicaid recipients in the Louisville area. Beshear plans to embark on a statewide tour, beginning Friday, to explain the change to Kentucky residents. Kentucky still needs approval for the change from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If approval is granted, Medicaid would begin enrolling patients in one of the three new managed care plans starting October 1st.

Ford Motor Co. is about to hire 1,800 new workers for its Louisville Assembly Plant to produce the new Ford Escape. Applications were being taken at the Kentucky Office for Employment and Training in downtown Louisville Thursday and will continue through 5:00 P.M. EDT next Thursday. Mayor Greg Fischer's office says people will be chosen for pre-employment testing through a lottery. To participate in the lottery, applicants must fill out a form provided by the employment office. The mayor's office says some of the hires will be made from former Ford workers who were laid off in the past. Starting pay for the production assembly jobs is $15.51.

The Harlan County Sheriff's Office Chaplain Corps, a group of eastern Kentucky chaplains, has sued Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop over comments he allegedly made about the organization, including that the chaplains were selling donated items online. Attorney Robert Melvin, who represents the Corps, says Grieshop accused the chaplains of conducting illegal activities as part of his dispute with Sheriff Marvin Lipfird. Melvin filed the suit in Harlan Circuit Court seeking unspecified damages, saying the comments hurt the group's ability to raise money.

Officials in southeastern Kentucky say a man died of apparent electrocution. McCreary County Coroner Daniel Ridner pronounced 22 year old Steve A. Stevens dead early Thursday morning at the scene. The McCreary County sheriff's office is investigating after copper and a bolt-cutting tool were recovered in bushes near the South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. and Kentucky Utilities substations on U.S. 27 South.

The attorney general's office has concluded the city of Paintsville subverted the intent of the state's Open Records Act by trying to charge the Paintsville Herald newspaper $300 for records related to delinquent occupational and restaurant taxes. Paintsville Herald reporter David Wheeler had requested the documents and appealed to the attorney general's office after the city informed him of the charge. In an opinion issued last week, Assistant Attorney General Amye L. Bensenhaver called the fee excessive. City officials can either accept Bensenhaver's finding or appeal to circuit court.

Thursday, Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer retracted his claims after accusing city officials in Hazard of  refusing to change policy after a public employee kicked out a couple with developmental disabilities from The Pavilion pool in Hazard because the couple was gay. Hazard City Attorney Paul R. Collins says claims of the KEF were simply not correct, and new signage will be placed at The Pavilion soon. Collins says the city of Hazard has not refused to change policy and fully intends to carry out an agreement made on June 18, 2011. The city is in the process of securing signage, and the city had already scheduled training promised prior to the claims. The KEF says it requested 'gender identity' be added along with sexual orientation in order to avoid future problems as well as legal action.

Food stamp usage in Kentucky is continuing to rise. In May, some 825,000 Kentuckians were covered by food stamps. That’s a 32 percent increase since the downturn of the recession officially began in December 2007. Nationally, food stamp participation has soared even more. Federal data show a 63 percent increase, to 44.6 million people, since the start of the recession. Kentucky remains one of the states with the highest percentage of residents using food stamps. A February analysis by the Wall Street Journal shows 18.7 percent of Kentuckians getting food stamps, the 8th highest rate among 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Kentucky Department of Revenue has set the 2011 State Real Property Tax Rate at 12.2 cents per $100 of assessed value – the same rate as last year. Kentucky Revised Statute 132.020 requires the Department of Revenue to set the real property rate no later than July 1 of each year. This rate is based on the revenue generated from the increase in taxable real property assessments from 2010 to 2011. If the increase in revenue is more than 4% after the exclusion of new property added to the tax roll during 2011, then the prior year rate must be reduced. Because the assessment increase for 2011 is estimated at 1.05%, the state rate will remain the same as the 2010 rate, 12.2 cents per $100 of assessed value. All of the revenue generated from the state property tax rate will go into the state’s General Fund.

Visitors can experience what life was like on the frontier with Pioneer Life Week July 25-31 at Carter Caves State Resort Park. The week is dedicated to the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the settlement of lands around the Ohio River. It will feature re-enactors, musical entertainment and historical programs. The pioneer camp is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Historical programs are scheduled daily throughout the week, including tomahawk throwing, black powder rifle demonstrations, and spinning and weaving demonstrations, primitive fire making, atlatl demonstrations and pioneer clothing interpretation. County Fair Day is on Saturday which includes displays of flint knapping, old time machinery, woodcarving, 18th century naturalist and pioneer food. The park will also have a pie auction, pioneer vittles tasting, pioneer games, tomahawk throwing and finish off with a homemade ice cream social. Carter Caves State Resort Park is located at 344 Caveland Drive in Olive Hill. The park has a lodge with a restaurant, cottages and campground. Besides cave tours, activities include hiking, horseback riding, swimming, boating and fishing. The park is located off Interstate 64 at exit 161. Take U.S. 60 east. Go approximately 2 miles and turn left on KY 182 north. The park entrance is 3 miles from the left turn onto KY 182 north.

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