Sunday, March 06, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-7-'11
- The Kentucky State Police are featuring a legendary ride for their 2011 Trooper Island raffle. Tickets are $10 each. For a chance to put your brand on a 2011 Ford Mustang, contact any Kentucky State Trooper, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer or any of the 16 KSP posts located throughout the state. Only 20,000 tickets will be sold. The winning ticket will be drawn on August 28 at the Kentucky State Fair. Ticket holders do not have to be present at the drawing to win. Trooper Island, located on Dale Hollow Lake in Clinton County, is a free summer camp for underprivileged boys and girls age 10-12. It is financed entirely by donations. The Mustang's EPA fuel economy ratings average 18 miles-per-gallon city and 25 highway. Sporting a shiny black exterior coat with faded "GT" side stripes and a charcoal black natural grain interior, this breed is outfitted with electric, rather than hydraulic, power-assist steering and suspension "wizardry" that, according to Motor Trend magazine, "makes it the best handling Mustang ever."
- Friday night, Perry County Ambulance crews were inside Hazard ARH before returning to find their ambulance had been stolen. Police say Shane Hale jumped into the ambulance and drove onto Highway 80, then took the exit for Highway 15 North toward Jackson. Off-duty State Police Detective Chris Fugate, who was also on Highway 15, noticed something unusual when the driver of the ambulance came up on a vehicle at a high rate of speed and hit his brakes. Fugate turned around, caught up to Hale, and followed until the ambulance turned right at Highway 476 in Breathitt County. The detective got Hale's attention by flashing his headlights, and Hale then pulled over in front of a church. Police say Hale, who was allegedly highly intoxicated, told police he was only borrowing the ambulance because he needed a ride home and that he was going to tell them in the morning where the ambulance was located. Hale is charged with theft by unlawful taking, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, criminal mischief, and driving DUI on a suspended license.
- U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) announced his strong support for the latest legislative effort to stop the prescription drug pipeline, authored by Congressman Vern Buchanan of Florida. This bill includes key provisions to support state-based prescription monitoring programs, turn illicit drug assets into drug treatment dollars, strengthen prescription standards for certain addictive pain drugs, and toughen prison terms and fines for pill mill operators.
1. Toughen federal penalties for pill mill operators by doubling the prison sentence from 10 to 20 years and triple the fine from $1 million to $3 million.
2. Stipulate assets seized from violators to be sold and the proceeds used: to fund drug monitoring databases in the states; to fund more DEA enforcement actions against pill mills; and, to fund more drug treatment programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The DEA last month seized an estimated $2.5 million in illicit assets owned by pill mill owners in South Florida.
3. Reclassify Hydrocodone combination drugs (such as Vicodin and Lortab) to make them a Schedule II drug that is more difficult to prescribe and obtain.
Rogers, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, has been a leading voice both locally and nationally in raising awareness of and seeking solutions for prescription drug abuse.
- A central Kentucky city is mulling a proposal to take its smoking ban a step further by prohibiting electronic cigarettes. The proposal by the Madison County Board of Health has drawn varied reactions, with some supporting the measure and some saying it goes too far. Resident Bethany Gibb says the board should wait for conclusive evidence of harm before making a decision. But board member Jack Taylor said during a public hearing last month that it is better to fall on the side of caution. The health department's Tobacco Program Coordinator says she could not find any research saying e-cigarettes were safe. The Board of Health is scheduled to take a final vote on the proposal in April.
- Friday, a jury found 54 year old Wilbur P. Graves of Tompkinsville, a former south-central Kentucky judge-executive, guilty of conspiring to buy votes in November 2006 in his own race in Monroe County. The jury couldn't reach a verdict on a separate charge of vote buying. Wanda L. Moore, a woman who pleaded guilty in the case last year, testified that Graves gave her money to buy votes and that she paid around 140 people, some receiving $40 and others $60. Moore and two others will be sentenced later this year in the case. Graves, who was defeated in the 2010 primary, is to be sentenced June 17th in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.
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