News in Brief

Somerset police may be first in Ky. to use drone

SOMERSET (AP) — The Somerset Police Department has purchased a 2.8-pound unmanned aircraft and could become the first police department in the state to use a drone.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the agency received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in October.

Capt. Shannon Smith is the department’s only pilot. Smith recently returned from the Airborne Law Enforcement Association’s Unmanned Aerial Systems training course in Houston, part of the FAA requirements for public agencies to use drones.

The drone costs roughly $1,800, and Smith said he’s training other police officers to operate it.

The department will use the drone for search and rescue, fires and other emergencies.

It could be used to gather evidence in criminal cases. Smith said the department must obtain a search warrant before such use.


15 injured when church bus, SUV crash on I-64 in Ky.

FRANKFORT (AP) — Fifteen people have been taken to hospitals in central Kentucky after a bus carrying teenagers from a suburban Indianapolis church crashed.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton says the wreck happened shortly after 10 a.m. Monday on eastbound Interstate 64 as the 36-passenger bus approached slow traffic from an earlier wreck. Melton says the bus rear-ended a sport-utility vehicle, injuring 13 people from the bus as well as a woman and child in the SUV.

Melton says the injured were taken to Frankfort Regional Medical Center and University of Kentucky Hospital with mostly minor injuries.

The bus was carrying a group from Hamilton Hills Baptist Church of Fishers, Indiana, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Those who weren’t injured were taken to a Frankfort church to await another bus to carry them home.


Ex-preacher competent to stand trial for pawn shop slayings

DANVILLE (AP) — The former preacher charged with three counts of murder in a shooting in a Danville pawn shop in 2013 has been found competent to stand trial.

Commonwealth Attorney Richard Bottoms told local media Monday that Kenneth A. Keith’s trial will move forward, starting with a status hearing Sept. 1.

The competency hearing suffered several delays because of several changes in Keith’s defense attorneys.

A public defender, Sandra E. Downs, has been appointed and Keith has pleaded not guilty.

Keith is accused of fatally shooting and killing three people in October 2013 at a Danville pawn shop. He could face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Keith was a pastor at Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside. He was evaluated at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Hospital in La Grange.


Dayton sues former mayor over payments for pizzeria

DAYTON (AP) — The city of Dayton is suing its former mayor to recover city money it claims he improperly used to help expand a local pizzeria.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports the suit against Ken Rankle was filed last week in Campbell County District Court.

It claims Rankle in 2011 signed checks totaling $2,256 for engineering surveys to expand an outdoor patio at Buona Vita Pizzeria. The lawsuit claims the City Council did not approve the expense and Rankle didn’t inform anyone in the city about it.

The paper could not reach Rankle for comment.

Buona Vita owner Joe Frommeyer said the deal with the city was above board. Frommeyer said he met not only with Rankle, but also the city administrator and several members of City Council.


Dogs released to owner last week attack Lincoln Co. woman

DANVILLE (AP) — Seven dogs that had been seized by animal control but were released back to their owner last week escaped their kennels and mauled a woman in Lincoln County.

Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger told The Advocate-Messenger Loretta Stevens sustained “very, very, very severe” injuries to her arm and puncture wounds to her legs in the Monday attack.

She was airlifted to the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Medical Center where she is listed in fair condition.

Folger identified the dogs’ owner as Chris Pope, of Danville. Folger said he was trying to locate Pope and intends to charge him with harboring vicious animals.

Pope’s Presa Canarios were seized by animal control in April. They were released after Pope agreed to pay fines to settle charges related to the animals.


Ads in state governor’s race focus on Obama

LEXINGTON (AP) — New TV ads in Kentucky’s race for governor focus not on the candidates but on Democratic President Barack Obama.

An ad from Democratic nominee Jack Conway says he was the only Democratic attorney general in the country to sue the Obama administration over proposed emission standards for coal-fired power plants. In the ad, Conway says he will stand up to anybody to keep people working in coal mines.

An ad from the Republican Governor’s Association supporting GOP nominee Matt Bevin criticizes Conway for not joining other states in a lawsuit trying to overturn the federal Affordable Care Act. The ad says hospitals are struggling financially and insurance premiums have increased since the act was passed.

Polls show Obama is unpopular with a majority of Kentucky voters.


Former Ky. officials paid to settle sexual harassment suit

FRANKFORT (AP) — A former Kentucky lawmaker and the former head of the Legislative Research Commission made payments to settle sexual harassment and hostile workplace lawsuits from three female legislative staffers.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports House Speaker Greg Stumbo on Monday revealed the payments by John Arnold, a former Democratic representative from Sturgis, and Robert Sherman. Stumbo said he does not know how much each man paid.

The payments are in addition to a $400,000 settlement from the legislature to be split among Yolanda Costner, Cassaundra Cooper and Nicole Cusic.

Costner and Cooper were both aides to Democratic House leadership when they sued Arnold, claiming he touched them inappropriately. They also sued the Legislative Research Commission, then headed by Sherman, for not doing enough to protect them.

Costner later said Democratic House Majority Whip Johnny Bell fired her in retaliation for filing the lawsuit.

In a separate lawsuit, Cusic said she was demoted after complaining that Democratic state Rep. Will Coursey sexually harassed some female staffers.

Lawmakers have pledged to make the settlement document public, but it’s not clear if agreements with Sherman and Arnold will be made public. Both have resigned from their government posts.

Sherman was not available for comment; Arnold’s attorney did not return a call to the newspaper.

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who represented the women, said he could not comment on Arnold and Sherman, “consistent with the agreement in mediation.”


Alliance holding River Blast at Fort Boonesborough this week

RICHMOND (AP) — The Kentucky River Water Trail Alliance is holding its River Blast this week with activities throughout the day at Fort Boonesborough State Park near Richmond.

The event is planned to raise awareness of the importance of Kentucky River as a resource. Kentucky State Parks and Kentucky-American Water are sponsoring River Blast.

The state Department of Parks says the event Saturday includes paddling races starting at 8 a.m., a car show, live music, educational exhibits, arts and crafts, and food. Fireworks are planned at dusk. Most events will take place between noon and 10 p.m.

Fee is $5 per car.


Apprentice jockey back in the saddle after giving birth

LOUISVILLE (AP) — As a new mom, apprentice jockey Ashley Broussard says she knows how dangerous her line of work is. But she also needs to make money to support her 4-month-old son, and one of the things she is best at is riding racehorses.

The Courier-Journal reports the 22-year-old ranked among Penn National’s leading riders when she became pregnant last year. Nausea and fainting spells forced her to quit riding before she might have otherwise.

Broussard didn’t plan to return to the racetrack after Bentley Kofalt was born on March 14. But then she needed a job. While she was pregnant she had worked booking tee times at a golf course and walking horses at the New Orleans Fair Grounds.

“I went from making a lot of money to barely anything,” Broussard said.

As a single mother, her decision came down to this: “Do I go and struggle and work 12 hours a day for minimum wage? Or do I go back on the racetrack and do both: be a good mom and make a lot and doing something that I love?”

In a first, she was granted a 159-day extension of her apprenticeship by the Kentucky stewards because she was unable to ride due to pregnancy. Being an apprentice permits her to carry between five and 10 pounds fewer than otherwise required, a concession designed to encourage horsemen to use inexperienced riders.

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