News in Brief

Health agency official to pay more than $1M in settlement

LEXINGTON (AP) — The executive director of Lexington home health agency has agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle allegations she paid doctors to refer patients to her agency then submitted Medicare claims for services provided to those patients.

WLEX-TV reports the Stark Law prohibits submitting claims that are the result of referrals from doctors an agency is compensating.

The settlement is between the U.S. government and Vicki House, of Scott County, who was the secretary and an executive director of Nurses’ Registry and Home Health Corporation. Litigation against Nurses’ Registry and the estate of its former owner and Chief Executive Officer, Lennie House, is ongoing.

Those defendants are scheduled for trial in August.


Lewis Co. battling dangerous synthetic drug

VANCEBURG (AP) — A synthetic drug known as “flakka” or “gravel” is wreaking havoc in some Kentucky communities, but law enforcement officers say there’s little they can do about it. That’s because possession of Alpha-PVP is only a misdemeanor, no matter how much of it a person has.

Lewis County Sheriff Johnny Bivens told The Courier-Journal deputies recently arrested the main dealer there, but others soon sprang up to take his place.

Bivens said he wants the legislature to stiffen the penalties for possession. But in the meantime he has had to get creative.

“We’ve never charged anyone with organized crime here, but that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.

To that end, the sheriff’s office is working with federal government agencies to track Alpha-PVP into and out of Lewis County.

Although the drug is on the U.S. list of illegal controlled substances, anyone can order it off the Internet from China or India and have it shipped by UPS.


Boat explosion in Marshall Co. hospitalizes 6

GILBERTSVILLE (AP) — Authorities say six people were injured and sent to area hospitals after a boat explosion at Moors Resort in Marshall County.

Multiple media outlets report that rescue crews and first responders arrived at the scene after receiving a call that a boat was on fire.

Director of the Marshall County Emergency Management Department Duane Hawes says crews worked to move the boat away from the dock and out onto the water.

Hawes says all six people were on the boat when the explosion occurred. No information has been released about their conditions.

Authorities say the cause for the explosion is still under investigation.

Witnesses have told authorities that the boaters were having some type of mechanical issue while they were trying to start the boat when the incident occurred.


Coroner: Man, 18, drowns at Lake Cumberland

LEXINGTON (AP) — Officials say an 18-year-old man has drowned at Lake Cumberland.

According to WLEX-TV, the drowning took place at the Cumberland Point area of the lake on Saturday.

The Wayne County Coroner said the victim, who died just before 2:30 p.m., was a Lexington resident who was visiting the area with his family. His name has not been released.

The drowning is under investigation.


Lane restrictions added in Hopkins Co.

MADISONVILLE (AP) — Traffic is being restricted to one lane in both directions on a stretch of the Pennyrile Parkway in western Kentucky.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says workers are extending ramps and improving the Kentucky 70 Exit 42 interchange for Madisonville.

The work zone is between mile markers 41 and 42. The cabinet says the speed limit in the area will be 55 miles per hour with double fines while work is in progress.

The work is part of upgrades that will allow Interstate 69 to be extended northward on the Pennyrile Parkway running 36 miles from about mile point 37 in Hopkins County to about mile point 73 in Henderson County.

Work on the $11.9 million project is expected to be completed Oct. 15.


Beshear announces Governor’s Awards in the Arts

FRANKFORT (AP) — Milner Award recipient Al Smith leads the winners of this year’s Governor’s Awards in the Arts.

The Kentucky Arts Council says the longtime Kentucky newspaperman and broadcast journalist’s contributions to the arts aren’t as well-known as his journalism career.

Smith was chairman of the Kentucky Arts Commission, the council’s predecessor, twice in the 1970s and ’80s. He also has been an advocate for education, the arts and economic development.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced the awards last week.

Other awards went to Appalachian artist Linda Fifield, Lexington manufacturer Big Ass Solutions, Louisville-based Creative Diversity Studio, Centre College music professor Nathan Link, western Kentucky sculptor Willie Rascoe, the Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kentucky broadcaster Dave Shuffett and bluegrass musician Sam Bush.


Planetarium offers program on moon landing anniversary

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium at the University of Louisville are marking the moon landing anniversary with a free event on July 20.

That’s the date 46 years ago when astronaut Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon.

Memorabilia from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission will be on display with models marking milestones in space exploration.

U of L says showcased items include an Apollo command module model, full-page original newspapers from the 1960s and an interactive space exploration timeline.

Planetarium director Tom Tretter will give a talk examining manned space explorations. It includes a discussion of the difficult physical conditions and limitations of space travel.

The event runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the planetarium.

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