News in Brief

Number of Ky. mine inspectors to be cut

PIKEVILLE (AP) — The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is planning on phasing out its Pikeville, Kentucky office in a move that could lead to the loss of as many as 100 of the approximately 150 positions held at the office.

The Independent reports that, over the next 15 months, the administration will split the Pikeville employees’ duties between its offices in Norton, Va. and Barbourville, Ky. Some mine inspector positions will be eliminated, while other employees will be transferred.

The administration says the move is a response to a decline in central Appalachian mining.

Tony Oppegard, a mine safety advocate and attorney who represents miners, says he understands why the move is being made, but is concerned that greater distances between the offices will lengthen the response times of safety inspectors.


‘Parents killed by ninjas’ sign-holder arrested in Corbin

CORBIN (AP) — An Ohio man who was holding a sign saying his parents were killed by ninjas has been arrested for disrupting traffic in Corbin, Kentucky.

Laurel County Sheriff John Root tells local media that 51-year-old Jon Atha of Fairfield, Ohio was panhandling along the Cumberland Gap Parkway in southern Laurel County on Wednesday.

Root says a deputy found Atha at an intersection holding a sign that said, “Parents killed by ninjas, I need martial arts lessons, please help.”

Deputy Larry Parrott says Atha admitted to drinking beer and was arrested on charges of alcohol intoxication in public and second-degree disorderly conduct.

Atha is being held at the Laurel County Correctional Center in lieu of $1,000 bond. It was not immediately clear if he has hired an attorney.


Bevin: Ky. should stop issuing marriage licenses

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican nominee for governor says the state should stop issuing marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Matt Bevin said in a news release the government should be out of the marriage business altogether, saying two consenting adults should not need to ask for permission to enter into a contractual relationship. In the meantime, he said state officials should take steps to protect local officials who object to same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

At least two county clerks in Kentucky have stopped issuing marriage licenses after the ruling because they say issuing a license to a same-sex couple violates their religious beliefs. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over the issue, and a hearing is scheduled for Monday.


Fort Knox gains personnel, Fort Campbell sees minor cut

(AP) — Fort Knox in Kentucky will gain 67 personnel and Fort Campbell will see a reduction of about 360 military positions under a cost-saving plan to reduce the Army’s active-duty force by 40,000 troops over the coming two years, officials said Thursday.

Fort Campbell said reductions at the base that straddles Kentucky and Tennessee will come from the inactivation of a company from the 52nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, a cut in the size of the 101st Division Headquarters and other small training and base support reductions. No civilian reductions were announced.

The Fort Campbell cuts amount to 1 percent of the post’s total population. The small number of reductions was a relief to Kim McMillian, mayor of Clarksville, Tennessee, where some of the roughly 26,000 soldiers who live off-post and many civilian employees own homes, she said.

The base is the largest single employer in the city of about 150,000 people located in Middle Tennessee.

“They’re part of our community, so losing soldiers is like losing your family,” McMillan said. “That’s why it would have been such a loss and a tragedy for those of us in government in Clarksville to lose so many people we consider part of our community.”

Fort Knox said the base is gaining 67 personnel, making it one of only three Army installations that will grow under the plan. The base’s 3rd Sustainment Command, Expeditionary, and its 280 positions are being moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and its 550 positions is being relocated from Fort Bragg to Fort Knox.


Ohio man indicted in robberies linked to ‘Sock Hat Bandit’

COVINGTON (AP) — A federal grand jury in Kentucky has indicted a 31-year-old Ohio man, charging him with three bank robberies that officials have said were linked to a suspect known as the “Sock Hat Bandit.”

The FBI said Brian M. Parnell of Dayton was indicted Thursday in Covington.

The robberies occurred during a four-week period in northern Kentucky at a U.S. Bank branch and two Fifth Third Bank branches.

The FBI said Parnell was arrested by Covington police after trying to elude officers following a robbery June 18.

Parnell is jailed in Kenton County. Online jail records don’t indicate whether he is represented by a lawyer.

The “Sock Hat Bandit” is shown in bank photos covering his head with different knitted hats, but not covering his face.


Former social services lawyer sues over firing

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Kentucky lawyer says she was wrongfully fired from her job representing the state in court cases involving child abuse and neglect.

The Courier-Journal reports that Kelly Wiley filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Wiley says in her lawsuit that she represented the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for nine years before she was terminated a year ago amid a dispute with cabinet officials over her concerns about high turnover of social workers and their increasingly high caseloads in its northern Kentucky Bluegrass region.

Wiley says she was fired in retaliation for her complaints, but says she was told she was being dismissed for insubordination, failure to follow instructions and dishonesty.

Jill Midkiff, a spokeswoman for the cabinet, told the newspaper she had no comment.


Judge: Croatian woman can be extradited

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a Croatian woman can be extradited to Bosnia to face war crimes charges after living for years in Kentucky.

Azra Basic (BAH’-sich) has been battling her extradition in federal court since authorities arrested her in 2011. She is wanted in Bosnia on charges of committing war crimes against ethnic Serb civilians in 1992.

Her attorney filed court papers in 2012 saying Basic was being held in violation of her rights as a U.S. citizen and asking for her release after a magistrate judge ruled international treaties allowed her to be returned to Europe.

U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell denied that petition on Thursday, ruling the treaty cited for extradition is valid and applies to the case.

Basic’s attorney, Patrick Nash, says he plans to appeal.


Council seeks public input

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Council on Postsecondary Education is holding five meetings this month for public input on the strategic plan for Kentucky’s adult and higher education system.

Council President Bob King said in a news release the input is sought to help shape the plan in priority areas such as improving access and student success and creating a more highly skilled workforce and stronger economies.

Each meeting will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The schedule is: Wednesday, University of Pikeville; Thursday, Kentucky State University; July 20, Somerset Community College; July 21, Murray State University; and July 29, Northern Kentucky University.

To RSVP and find specific locations, visit


N.Ky. teen dies after being hit by train

VERONA (AP) — A 14-year-old northern Kentucky boy is dead after being hit by a train.

Boone County Sheriff’s spokesman Tom Scheben said Elijah Wagers was jogging on the tracks Thursday evening with headphones on and didn’t hear the train approaching. Scheben said the train wasn’t able to stop and hit Wagers.

He said the Verona teen was pronounced dead at the scene.

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