Thursday, April 28, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...4-28-'11
- Governor Steve Beshear has estimated damages from flooding, storms and tornadoes at $34 million and climbing. That's more than enough to qualify the state for federal funding to help the state repair infrastructure. Beshear said Wednesday his administration will find the money somewhere to make sure residents in hard-hit areas get the help they need. Kentucky has been under almost constant storm warnings since last week. Rainfall has been measured at 10 to 14 inches over the past six days. Some 25 counties and 11 cities have declared local disasters. Army Corps of Engineers Col. Keith A. Landry said he expects the Ohio River to top the floodwall at Smithland, which is already under an evacuation order.
- KSP Post 9 in Pikeville conducted a search warrant in the Nippa area of Johnson County and arrested 20 year old Zachary Morris on a charge of distribution of matter portraying sexual performance. Morris was lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.
- Despite the rain, state and local officials and members of the Belfry Volunteer Fire Department held a groundbreaking Tuesday for the department’s new satellite station which will be located along U.S. 119 in South Williamson. It is being built through coal severance tax funding secured by Representative W. Keith Hall and Senator Ray Jones, and allocated through the Pike County Fiscal Court. The property was obtained through a partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Construction is slated to begin this summer.
- J.J Wright, a former Letcher County teacher and coach, has arrested on drug charges. Wright is charged with first and second degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with physical evidence. Wright was accused of sexually abusing a 14 year old student during an after school program in 2003. Two mistrials were called before an agreement allowed those charges to be dismissed. Wright was released on a $5,000 surety bond.
- Three lawmakers, Senators Jack Westwood of Erlanger, Bob Leeper of Paducah and Democratic Representative Jim Wayne of Louisville, have reimbursed the state treasury for wages they received during a recess in a special legislative session last month. The state Constitution requires lawmakers be issued checks, even though the legislature was left in limbo for about two weeks in March with the House adjourned and the Senate in recess. The total bill for the period was estimated at more than $600,000. Senator Jack Westwood said, "The law says we have to be paid, but it doesn't say we have to keep it." Treasury documentation showed Westwood repaid $3,309; Leeper, $2,827; and Wayne $3,029.
- Kentucky State Police in Hazard and Alcohol Beverage Control Officials say they seized about $7,000 worth of what's believed to be synthetic marijuana that was being marketed as incense from a liquor store in Glomawr. They will be sending everything they seized to a lab to be tested and charges could follow.
- According to a report published by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, one of the candidates for the presidency at the University of Kentucky has been identified as Eric D. Fingerhut. Strickland called Fingerhut "a wonderfully gifted person" who built a broad-based coalition of business and education, Democrats and Republicans, during his four years as Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents which oversees 14 universities and 23 community colleges. Fingerhut is a former United States congressman and Ohio state senator. He currently works for a nonprofit organization called Jobs for the Future.
- Three candidates seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor in Kentucky have staked out positions opposing abortion. State Senate President David Williams, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett say human life begins at conception and should be protected. Republican voters will choose a gubernatorial nominee in a May 17th primary election. The winner of the GOP primary race will face Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith in the fall general election.
- Drop-off sites have been designated across Kentucky to allow residents to participate in this weekend's prescription drug "Take-Back" day. The event, the second nationwide prescription drug collection day, is set for 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. local time Saturday. The service is free and anonymous, and any expired, unused or unwanted medications can be dropped off to be destroyed. Attorney General Jack Conway says taking advantage of the service can help reduce the threat of drugs to families and children.
- Attorney General Jack Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners spoke to hundreds of students at Prestonsburg High School in Floyd County about the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse. Approximately 300 freshmen and sophomores attended the prevention and awareness program hosted by Conway and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. “We are in danger of losing a whole generation of kids to prescription pill abuse,” said Conway. “That’s why I am going to schools across Kentucky to warn kids that they are putting their lives and futures at risk by taking pills that are not prescribed to them.” Non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, according to Office of National Drug Control Policy. In Kentucky, prescription drug overdose deaths have more than doubled from 403 in 2000 to nearly 980 in 2009. Today, there are more overdose deaths in the Commonwealth than traffic fatalities.
- The University of Kentucky’s fight song is in the middle of a legal battle. Bro ‘N Sis Music Inc., a New York music publishing company, has sued Louisville-based Papa John’s alleging unauthorized use of “On! On! U of K” in a television commercial, claiming Papa John’s did not seek or obtain a license to use the song. The University of Kentucky believes they have “exclusive proprietary rights” to the song, though they were not named in the suit. Papa John’s, an official corporate sponsor of UK Athletics, claims it was advised in writing that it has permission to use the UK fight song in its advertising. Bro ‘N Sis Music Inc. is asking that it be awarded damages and profits from the infringement in an amount of no less than $150,000.
- A bankruptcy judge has approved the results of last week's auction of Joseph-Beth Booksellers pending the entry of a sales order. The order was expected Wednesday afternoon with the deal closing Thursday. Booksellers Enterprises LLC entered a high bid of $3.9 million for three Joseph-Beth-owned stores in Lexington, Cincinnati and Cleveland and the corporate headquarters, in Cincinnati. It was expected to take over operations Friday. The second-highest bid of $3.8 million was from Joseph-Beth founder Neil Van Uum, who has struck a deal to continue operating the company's store in Memphis, Tennessee. Joseph-Beth was founded by Van Uum in 1986 in Lexington and expanded to include nine Joseph-Beth and Davis-Kidd stores in several states. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in November after five years of declining sales.
- State officials have approved a plan to fix the most troubled schools in Jefferson County. In a letter sent to the Jefferson County Public Schools district on Monday, the state said it accepted recent revisions by district officials in a plan that outlines improvement strategies. The state said the changes better addressed concerns about inexperienced teachers in struggling schools, the number of strategies being attempted for improvement and accountability standards. JCPS planning specialist Dena Dossett says the district made changes after meeting with state officials last week. Two previous plans had been rejected. The Kentucky Department of Education's approval clears the way for up to $4 million in federal funds to help pay for teacher professional development, academic coaches and other instructional support services.
- Fido and Fluffy are now welcome to vacation in Kentucky state resort parks lodge rooms, or some of them anyway. The Department of Parks says its new policy will allow pet owners to bring pets into lodge rooms that have been designated for pets by paying a $25 fee. Each park will have a limited number of rooms available for pets, and an extra $100 charge will apply in pets are taken into non-pet rooms. Pets aren't allowed in cottages but may be taken to campgrounds as long as they are on a leash.
- The Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) Carpentry Program is immersed in the construction of another teaching and learning project in the Cross Creek Community of Johnson County, Kentucky. The BSCTC Carpentry Program prepares students with the skills necessary to sustain competitive careers in residential and construction carpentry. Spearheaded by BSCTC Assistant Professor Michael K. Froman, the Program provides technical and general education studies that encompass classroom and practical experience in field projects. Program criteria includes, blueprint reading, site layout, foundation work, rough framing, roofing, finish work, cost estimation,material list preparation and practical experience.
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