News in Brief


W.Va. officials object to Patriot Coal bankruptcy plan

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — West Virginia environmental regulators say Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy plan would leave the company with no assets to cover hundreds of millions of dollars in mine pollution cleanup.

In a Monday filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Virginia, attorneys for the Department of Environmental Protection wrote that Patriot’s plan would expose people to public health and safety risks.

Patriot wants to close a proposed partial sale to Lexington, Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining LLC.

DEP attorneys said the plan appears to favor New York hedge funds and leave little to no ability for Patriot to pay to reclaim land and treat acid mine drainage and other water pollution.

The plan also is opposed by the United Mine Workers of America because Patriot wants a judge to reject its collective bargaining agreement.

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Ky. pays off federal loan 2 years ahead of schedule

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky has paid off a $972 million federal loan two years ahead of schedule, shedding one of the last vestiges of the recession and saving businesses an estimated $165 million in taxes.

At the height of the recession, Kentucky had so many people filing unemployment claims that it did not have enough money to pay them all. Kentucky was one of about 30 states that began borrowing money from the federal government to keep paying benefits to people who were losing their jobs in massive numbers.

In December 2008, Kentucky had more than 87,000 people file unemployment claims, the most ever recorded in one month. Since 2009, Kentucky had borrowed nearly $1 billion from the federal government.

The debt kept Kentucky’s unemployment insurance trust fund from running out of money, but it also meant higher taxes for business owners to help pay off that debt. This year, businesses had to pay $126 in taxes for every employee they hired. Next year, now that Kentucky has paid off its federal loan, businesses will owe $42 per employee.

“This milestone demonstrates in clear terms that this critical fund is on the path to solvency,” Beshear said.

While the fund has a positive cash balance, it is still not solvent. That only happens once the fund has enough in reserve to cover another surge in unemployment benefits in case another recession hits.

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Guilty plea in scheme to steal more than $1M in donations

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Samuel K. Pate Jr.’s job was to make sure donations were deposited into the accounts of his conservative clients — including campaign funds for now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republican Sen. David Vitter. Instead, his bookkeeping scheme diverted more than $1 million into his own accounts to pay for a lavish lifestyle of vacation homes, luxury vehicles and jewelry, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Pate pleaded guilty on Monday to three counts of mail fraud in federal court in Louisville, Kentucky. Prosecutors said the scheme ran from early 2008 through November 2014 and netted him more than $1.1 million.

More than half of the amount was taken from campaign funds for McConnell and Vitter, Republicans from Kentucky and Louisiana, respectively.

“This is really a case of embezzlement,” U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. told reporters after the court hearing. “It’s simply theft. These were donations from donors all over the United States that were trying to participate in the political process, and his fraud disrupted and frustrated those efforts.”

The scheme began unraveling after a McConnell donor didn’t receive a customary thank you note from the senator’s campaign, Kuhn said. He added that the 52-year-old defendant from Forest, Virginia, stole from 18 clients, including political campaigns, political action committees and non-profit groups.

In court, Pate showed no emotion while answering a series of questions from U.S. District Judge Greg N. Stivers before entering his guilty plea.

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Mom: Son who died was badly bruised after 2 hours with dad

RADCLIFF (AP) — As police searched for a man seen driving down a Kentucky highway beating an infant in a car seat, Daniel Cox pulled up to Kimberly Chrystie’s home, handed her their 4-month-old son and sped away, police say.

Jayceon Chrystie was black and blue and unresponsive; he had no pulse and his eye was swollen shut.

The baby died two days later, and Cox has been charged with his murder.

Cox, who did not live with his son, had asked the baby’s mother, Kimberly Chrystie, if he could take the boy out for a visit Thursday, according to court records. They were gone for two hours.

Just before 7 p.m., a family called 911 to say they saw a man in a gold Mercury Grand Marquis repeatedly hitting a child in a car seat as he drove along a highway in Radcliff, about 45 miles south of Louisville, according to court records.

Dena Stevenson told WLKY-TV that she and her family drove behind the Grand Marquis for miles, and it looked like the man was beating the child in the head and the chest.

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Driver charged in deaths of 6 in crash faces new charges

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A truck driver faces new charges in Kentucky after being indicted on six counts of vehicular homicide in connection with a crash that killed six people near Chattanooga.

Multiple media outlets report 39-year-old Benjamin Brewer of London, Kentucky pleaded not guilty Monday to criminal mischief and trafficking of a controlled substance. Police say Brewer was caught with narcotics and kicked a police cruiser during his arrest on Friday in Lexington, Kentucky.

Federal investigators say Brewer had been driving for 15 consecutive hours before crashing into multiple vehicles on June 25 near Chattanooga, killing six and injuring six others.

On Aug. 3, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted Brewer on the vehicular homicide counts and several other counts.

Brewer is being held at Fayette County Detention Center in Kentucky without bond.

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Girl fatally shot by brother in apparent accident

CATTLETSBURG (AP) — A coroner says a 12-year-old girl has been killed by her brother in an apparent accidental shooting.

Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond told The Independent that 12-year-old Halee Marshall, who was a seventh-grade student at Boyd County Middle School, was shot once Monday evening and died at the scene.

He said the family was unloading a pickup truck as they moved into a new home in Catlettsburg when Marshall’s brother accidentally fired the gun. Hammond said the girl’s brother said he had cleaned the gun and didn’t remember reloading it.

The newspaper reports grief counselors were dispatched on Tuesday to Boyd County Middle School.

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Former police chief convicted of lying to FBI sentenced

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a former police chief has been sentenced to two years of probation after being convicted of lying to FBI agents.

U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. said former Hillview Police Chief Glenn A. Caple was sentenced on Monday. A judge also ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine.

Prosecutors said Caple lied when he was questioned by the FBI in April 2012 about directing police officers to move a backpack characterized as a mobile meth lab from property belonging to the city’s mayor.

Police officers testified that Caple asked an officer to move the backpack to a location believed to be off the mayor’s property and failed to report the incident to protect the mayor from bad publicity.

Hillview is located in Bullitt County, just outside Louisville.

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2nd arrest made in stabbing death of Frankfort man

FRANKFORT (AP) — Frankfort police have made a second arrest in connection with the stabbing death of a 66-year-old man last week.

Police spokesman Maj. Rob Warfel tells local media that 32-year-old Cameron Wright of Frankfort was charged Sunday night with tampering with evidence.

Wright is the ex-boyfriend of 28-year-old Meisha Nichols of Frankfort, who is charged with murder in the death of Thomas Ellison of Frankfort.

Ellison’s body was discovered in his apartment by a neighbor on Friday. Further details have not been released about the case.

It is unclear if either Wright or Nichols has an attorney.

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State parks working to preserve Monarch habitat

FRANKFORT (AP) — Five Kentucky state parks have become certified “waystations” for Monarch butterflies and are working to protect their habitat.

The Parks Department says 10 other parks are in the process of getting certified or have planted milkweed plants that the butterflies need for survival.

The waystations certified by Monarch Watch, a group that works to protect the butterflies, are places where milkweeds are planted to provide food and a place for Monarchs to lay their eggs.

The parks that have been certified are Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Waveland State Historic Site, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site and John James Audubon State Park.

The park system also uses a children’s menu that illustrates the life cycle of Monarchs, designed by the Garden Club of Kentucky.

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Public may submit project proposals for national forest

WINCHESTER (AP) — The public is being asked to submit project proposals that would benefit public lands and natural resources in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The Daniel Boone Resource Advisory Committee expects $189,000 over the next two years to spend on projects in McCreary, Laurel, Jackson, Leslie and Rockcastle counties. The funding comes from a program to pay for projects that would improve or maintain existing infrastructure, enhance forest ecosystems and restore or enhance forest watershed quality.

The deadline for proposals is Sept. 18, and the committee will review the proposals in late October.

The form required to submit a proposal is available at http://cloudapps-usda-gov.force.com/FSSRS/allRAcs , then click on the Daniel Boone site; at the Stearns, London and Redbird ranger districts; or at the forest supervisor’s office.

For more information, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/pts/.

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Wreckage of small plane found in southern Illinois forest

EDDYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in southern Illinois say the wreckage of a small aircraft has been found in Shawnee National Forest northwest of Eddyville.

Pope County Sheriff Jerry Suits says the plane is believed to have gone down late Sunday or early Monday. The single-engine plane was flying from Marion, Kentucky to Marion, Illinois.

Suits said the pilot’s sent his wife a text message around 8:55 p.m. Sunday, saying he was flying in rough weather and having trouble. The plane wasn’t heard from again.

Suits refused to say how many people were aboard the four-seater. However, he did say no survivors were found.

The airplane was found late Monday by a U.S. Forest Service worker following a search by air and horseback conducted by sheriff’s deputies, state police and forest service personnel.

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Fort Campbell sets retiree appreciation day for Sept. 19

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Fort Campbell’s annual retiree appreciation day is set for Sept. 19.

The post says it’s a way to recognize contributions of military retirees and their families and make sure they receive the resources and benefits they’re entitled to.

More than 20 organizations will have representatives at the event. There will also be equipment displays showcasing technology in weaponry, explosive ordnance disposal and communications.

Pneumonia and shingles vaccinations will be available for free, and legal assistance personnel will be available to create powers of attorney.

The event will be held from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., with registration starting at 7 a.m., at the Soldier Support Center. Brunch will be held at the 1st Brigade Combat Team dining facility from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

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