FBI enlisting public help to uncover corruption in Ky.
LOUISVILLE (AP) — The FBI wants to recruit Kentuckians to help uncover public corruption in a state long hampered by scandals.
The crime-fighting agency on Friday announced its “End Corruption Now” campaign in Kentucky. The initiative includes a toll-free tip line and email address to allow people to report suspicions of wrongdoing by public officials. A billboard campaign will publicize the effort.
Howard S. Marshall, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Louisville Division, says the public should expect nothing but integrity from every public official. To accept less, he says, perpetuates the state’s reputation for corruption.
A 2014 Harvard study identified Kentucky as one of the nation’s most corrupt states.
The state’s two U.S. attorneys, Kerry Harvey and John Kuhn Jr., vowed to pursue any evidence of corruption revealed by the campaign.
Bus driver charge dropped in guns at school case
BARBOURVILLE (AP) — A judge has dismissed a charge that was brought against a Kentucky bus driver who was accused of not telling school officials that two boys had guns in their backpacks.
WYMT-TV reports the judge ruled Thursday there was a lack of criminal intent by Charles Honce and dropped the charge of facilitation to unlawfully possess a weapon on school property.
Police say two boys, a first-grader and his brother in kindergarten, took two handguns on a bus to school in Flat Lick in Knox County in April.
Authorities said the boys apparently thought the guns were toys. The firearms, one of which was loaded, were taken when the boys reached school and another student told a teacher. No one was hurt.
Body of missing W.Ky. girl found in pond
WICKLIFFE (AP) — The body of an 8-year-old western Kentucky girl has been found in a pond about a quarter-mile from her home.
Kentucky State Police said the body of Skyleigh Pool was located around 8 a.m. CDT Thursday, some 15 hours after she went missing.
State police said officials from several agencies searched through the night in the area where Skyleigh had been last seen before the body was found.
An autopsy was scheduled for Friday. No foul play is suspected.
8 states probe slain man’s possible serial killer ties
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Authorities say police in at least eight states are investigating unsolved cases that may be linked to an Oregon man who was recently killed by an escort in West Virginia.
Police say the prostitute was attacked by 45-year-old Neal Falls on July 18 and she grabbed his gun and fatally shot him as he choked her. Police found axes, knives, handcuffs and a shovel in Falls’ car.
Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper says authorities in Nevada, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Texas, Oregon and California are comparing similar cases, some involving dead or missing prostitutes.
Cooper says authorities in at least 20 states had stopped Falls and checked his license plate or Social Security number, but he has no history of major crimes.
Kentucky Lottery reports record sales for fiscal year
LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky Lottery says despite falling sales for multistate games, it produced record sales in fiscal year 2015.
Total sales for the year were just over $899 million, which includes $12 million in free tickets. The number broke last year’s mark of $858 million.
The lottery transferred $236 million to the state, breaking the record of $225 million but still $16 million below budget.
The lottery said in a news release that scratch-off ticket sales climbed $39 million from fiscal year 2014 to a record $560 million. Multistate Powerball and Mega Millions games continued declining.
Keno sales showed the greatest increase of any draw game, rising 60 percent to $47 million. Overall, draw game sales held at $338 million, which was $1.3 million more than the previous year.
Indiana county approves needle-exchange program
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Commissioners have approved a needle-exchange program in a southern Indiana county near the center of an HIV outbreak among intravenous drug users.
The Clark County commissioners approved the program Thursday. The proposal now goes to the Indiana State Department of Health for its approval.
WDRB-TV reports most people speaking at a hearing on the proposal were in favor of it.
Clark County health officer Dr. Kevin Burke says the number of drug overdose deaths in Clark County has risen from 32 in 2013 to 58 last year and more than 60 so far this year.
State health officials have approved needle-exchange programs for adjacent Scott County and central Indiana’s Madison County under a state law spurred by a Scott County HIV outbreak that’s become the largest in state history.
Social worker who tried to help girl gets 3-day suspension
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Boone County social worker who faced possible termination for checking up on a 7-year-old girl whose case had been closed by another worker has received a 3-day suspension.
The Courier-Journal reports defenders have rallied to Karey Cooper’s cause, saying she is being punished for doing the right thing. Cooper was following up on allegations from relatives that the girl was being mistreated at home.
Cooper’s attorney says she will appeal the decision of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Rep. Tom Burch, chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, says he plans to hold a hearing on the case in October.
The social worker who closed the case received a 2-day suspension for failing to address or report the abuse claims.
Opening arguments personal in attorney general race
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Opening arguments in the campaign for Kentucky attorney general are laden with personal attacks, as Democrat Andy Beshear and Republican Whitney Westerfield seek to weaken each other before the November election.
Republicans cite Beshear’s lack of prosecutorial experience and suggest some of his law clients might create conflicts of interest for him if he’s elected. Democrats pounced on a comment in Westerfield’s personnel file as a young assistant prosecutor, saying sometimes his personal interests took priority over his job. They suggested Westerfield had skipped court for pedicures.
In a recent interview, Westerfield called the Democratic attack “a farce and a really puny attempt at smearing me.”
Meanwhile, Beshear said his opponent is relying on the Republican Attorneys General Association for his own attack material. Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, called it an attempt to shift attention from Westerfield’s record of representing debt collectors in his private law practice.
“I think these groups know that my opponent can’t win on his record of helping financial predators … prey on vulnerable Kentuckians,” Beshear said.
The attacks provide plenty of fodder for zingers Saturday in western Kentucky at the annual Fancy Farm picnic, the state’s premier political showdown.
125-year-old tradition ending with last camp meeting
WILMORE (AP) — An annual summer revival that began in 1890 takes place for the last time on Saturday.
Organizers of the Wilmore Camp Meeting tell the Lexington Herald-Leader they are ending the 125-year tradition because of declining attendance and the proliferation of other church programs in the community.
In its heyday, the meeting included 10 straight days of preaching, singing, youth activities and prayer meetings in the wilting summer heat.
Ninety-one-year-old Phyllis Corbitt is a retired Wilmore physician who attended her first camp meeting in 1940. She said it was hot everywhere in those days before air-conditioning, so people didn’t mind being hot at the meeting.
Since 2010, the meeting has been held indoors, but on Saturday it returns to its original campgrounds for one last time.
Expansion adding jobs at meat packaging company
OWENSBORO (AP) — A meat packaging company in business for more than 100 years in western Kentucky is celebrating an expansion that will add dozens of jobs.
Specialty Foods Group Inc. invested $2.6 million into the project and will create at least 65 new jobs.
The company’s portfolio of brands includes Kentucky Legend, Field, Fischer’s, Kentuckian Gold and Mickelberry’s.
Gov. Steve Beshear joined Owensboro-area officials for a ribbon cutting for the expanded facility on Thursday.
The project included updating equipment to increase production capacity.
Specialty Foods opened its manufacturing facility in Owensboro in December 1914. Currently, the company employs 501 people in Kentucky.