News in Brief


Report: Poverty afflicts 1 in 4 Ky. youngsters

LEXINGTON (AP) — A new report says poverty remains the biggest problem facing Kentucky children, a trend affecting all other aspects of child well-being.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 KIDS COUNT report shows poverty afflicts one in four Kentucky youngsters. Brooks says reducing poverty is the single most impactful way to improve overall child well-being.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the findings generally used figures from 2013.

Brooks says the way to help families build assets include ensuring they have access to responsible lending and financial services, along with providing a more integrated approach to benefits. He says tax reform would also make a difference.

The report shows the child and teen mortality rate fell by 24 percent from 2008 to 2013.

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Officials unveil plan to improve oral health in E.Ky.

MCKEE (AP) — Kentucky officials have announced a plan to improve oral health in eastern Kentucky by recruiting more dentists to the region.

The plan centers on a new loan forgiveness program supported by $500,000 in state funds that will be available for dental students who practice in the region. The program was announced Monday by Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, along with public health and university officials.

Officials say the dental schools at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville will administer the program.

Beshear says the vast majority of childhood and adult dental problems could be avoided through routine dental care and other preventive efforts.

Officials say the program will give priority to dental students from eastern Kentucky who want to practice in the region.

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Clerk prayed over decision to stop issuing marriage licenses

COVINGTON (AP) — A local elected official in a small Kentucky county testified Monday she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because signing the document would signal her approval of a union that violates her religious beliefs.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses June 27, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide. Davis testified that she prayed and fasted for months before reaching the decision.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued her on behalf of two gay couples and two straight couples.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear instructed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately. At least two clerks refused. Clerks are elected officials. They cannot be removed from office unless impeached by the state legislature. Impeachment appears unlikely, given the political climate in the state capital.

The couples have asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to order Davis to issue the marriage licenses. Bunning, who did not rule after the Monday hearing, could order Davis to issue licenses, and then fine her or put her in jail if she refuses. But he could not remove her from office.

Davis said Monday she is a member of a local Apostolic church, which is part of the Christian faith. She said she believes the Bible is “God’s holy word” and that it defines marriage as strictly between one man and one woman

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Members of Commission on the Future of the Army at Fort Knox

FORT KNOX (AP) — Two members of the National Commission on the Future of the Army spent Monday morning at Fort Knox.

The commission is charged with examining the structure of the Army and issues related to its size and force mix.

According to a news release from the commission, it will make recommendations to Congress and the President on how to modify the Army’s structure not later than Feb. 1, 2016.

NCFA Chairman Gen. Carter Ham and Commissioner Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz had briefings from Cadet Command, Human Resources Command and others during their Fort Knox visit. They finished by having lunch with ROTC cadets.

Members of the public can comment on the commission’s work at: http://www.ncfa.ncr.gov/leaveacomment.

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McConnell to attend Fancy Farm picnic

SHEPHERDSVILLE (AP) — Kentucky Republicans will have their longtime standard-bearer at this year’s Fancy Farm picnic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will attend Kentucky’s premier political event on Saturday, Aug. 1 in western Kentucky.

Taking center stage at this year’s round of political speeches will be the campaign for governor — pitting Democrat Jack Conway against Republican Matt Bevin. They are vying to succeed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who is in his second term and can’t serve again because of term limits.

McConnell is Kentucky’s longest-serving senator and a regular at the Fancy Farm picnic.

The senator said Monday he’s hoping to help make this year’s event interesting.

The event features armies of sign-toting, noisy hecklers on both sides.

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Family receives gift of life after daughter’s tragic death

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Days after a 12-year-old Louisville girl drowned in a swimming pool, the family of the deceased girl has been able to donate the girl’s organs to possibly save the life of another family member.

Local media report that Janyia Robinson died Sunday, five days after she was found unresponsive in the family’s backyard pool.

The family decided to donate the girl’s organs and soon after was notified of a match — Janyia Robinson’s cousin Deron Polk.

Struggling with diabetes for decades and kidney failure for three years, Polk this week received one of his cousin’s kidneys and her pancreas.

The girl’s mother Cuita Robinson told WLKY-TV that Polk had been hoping to find a transplant and she is jubilant that some good can come from her daughter’s tragic death.

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Kentucky Opera director dies in car crash in Illinois

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The director of Kentucky Opera died Sunday night in a car crash in Illinois, the company said.

David Roth was traveling east on Interstate 74 in Piatt County about 9 p.m. when his Hyundai Elantra struck a ditch, became airborne and hit a tree head on, an Illinois State Police report said.

Roth, 56, was transported to Carle Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

He had been returning to Louisville after taking a business trip to Iowa and visiting family in Wisconsin, opera spokeswoman Heather O’Mara said.

She said Roth, who came to the opera in 2006, balanced artistic quality and business acumen.

He was presenting performances including musical theater and new works “to expand the repertory and show people what opera can be,” she said.

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Missing man found dead in creek

JAMESTOWN (AP) — Authorities say a man who was reported missing last week has been found dead in a creek in southern Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police say the body of 58-year-old Thomas Polston was found in the creek at Jamestown last weekend.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Polston had been reported missing last Wednesday.

Police say an autopsy was conducted Sunday, and preliminary results indicate that Polston’s death “was related to a cardiac event and drowning.”

No foul play is suspected.

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