Story of 2 boys, 1 white and 1 black, teaches racial harmony
(AP) — Sometimes life’s lessons come from those with the least experience.
The story of two 5-year-old boys from Kentucky, one white and one black, is teaching people about racial harmony. The story exploded online when the mother of Jax, the white boy, posted on Facebook about how her son wanted to get his haircut like his black buddy, Reddy, so they could trick their teacher. The boys believe if they have the same haircut, their teacher won’t be able to tell them apart.
WAVE-TV followed Jax to his haircut, and he and Reddy giggle and goof around as Jax gets his hair shaved off.
In the video , Reddy sums it all up: “Jax’s me … and I’m Jax.”
Jax’s mother says she is glad people can “see what little kids see.”
Senate votes to expand background checks of caregivers
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has passed legislation aimed at closing gaps in checking the backgrounds of people who serve as caregivers for children.
Senators voted 37-0 Thursday to send the measure to the House.
The bill would allow parents to request background checks of people they employ as babysitters or nannies. Parents could request a check of child abuse and neglect registry records.
The measure would require youth camps that receive taxpayer funding to conduct criminal background checks of prospective employees or volunteers.
The bill also applies to schools. It would expand the requirement of criminal background checks to include public school staff and contractors working on school grounds during school hours.
The bill’s lead sponsor is Republican Sen. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville.
The legislation is Senate Bill 236.
Senate OKs bill allowing juvenile records to be erased
FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s policy of letting some wrongdoers erase their criminal records would be extended to its youthful violators under a bill that has cleared the state Senate.
The bill passed the Senate on a 37-0 vote Thursday and now goes to the House.
The measure follows last year’s action by Kentucky lawmakers to give some convicted felons the opportunity to have their records wiped clean.
Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville says his bill would create a similar process for people to erase juvenile records.
The Senate’s action Thursday was praised by Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. Brooks says the bill would help youths who stay out of trouble have brighter futures.
The legislation is Senate Bill 195.
Bill to allow charter schools clears committee
FRANKFORT (AP) — The mayors of Kentucky’s two largest cities could create charter schools that would be exempt from state regulations under a bill that has cleared a House committee.
House bill 520 would allow charter schools in Kentucky for the first time. Kentucky is one of seven states that do not allow charter schools, which are public schools that are governed by a contract instead of state regulations.
The bill would let local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington authorize charter schools in their communities. Private groups, excluding for-profit companies, could apply to create a school. They could appeal to the state Board of Education if their application is denied. State funding would follow the students, except for money set aside for debt, construction and transportation.
Senate passes bill to back VA nursing home in Bowling Green
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has added its support for legislation to authorize $10.5 million in bonds to back a project to build a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green.
Senators voted 37-0 Thursday to pass a bill offering the financial commitment. Supporters say it will improve chances that the proposed facility becomes a reality in south-central Kentucky.
The measure goes to the House, which has passed its own bill to authorize bonds for the project.
Supporters say the $10.5 million in bonds would be used to match $19.5 million in federal funding.
The legislation is Senate Bill 13.
Discussion to examine effect of elections on black Americans
SHELBYVILLE (AP) — The University of Louisville is partnering with the Shelbyville NAACP to hold a free, public discussion on how recent elections at the state and national level have affected black Americans.
“The Impact of the 2016 Elections on Black America: What Happened and Why?” will be held Sunday afternoon at Clay Street Baptist Church in Shelbyville.
The discussion will focus on election results, key issues of importance to minorities and ways to bridge cultural divides.
Panelists who have been invited to speak including NAACP state chapter and Louisville leader Raoul Cunningham, Kentucky Sen. Gerald Neal, UofL Pan-African studies chair Ricky Jones, retired Western Kentucky University student affairs vice president Howard Bailey, retired pilot and entrepreneur Rhynia Weaver and U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Kentucky advisory committee chair Betty Griffin.
Political consultant sentenced to 5 years in Longmeyer case
LEXINGTON (AP) — A Louisville political consultant who pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with a case against former Personnel Secretary Tim Longmeyer has been sentenced to five years in prison.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Lexington said in a news release that 57-year-old Lawrence J. O’Bryan was sentenced Thursday and fined $100,000. O’Bryan pleaded guilty in September to three counts of bribery concerning a federally funded program. He has paid more than $642,000 in restitution.
O’Bryan admitted taking kickbacks on Longmeyer’s behalf beginning in 2009. Longmeyer pleaded guilty to a related charge and was sentenced to 70 months.
O’Bryan’s plea agreement says Longmeyer agreed to steer contracts to MC Squared Consulting, whose owner agreed to pay O’Bryan some proceeds, and O’Bryan kicked back some to Longmeyer.
Samuel McIntosh and Myron Harrod, both affiliated with MC Squared, pleaded guilty to related charges.
Louisville police release body camera footage in shooting
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville police have released body camera footage from the shooting of an apparently unarmed black man by a white officer.
Police Chief Steve Conrad identified the man wounded Wednesday as 38-year-old Bruce Lamont Warrick.
The video shows Officer Sarah Stumler, while searching an abandoned house, discovered Warrick behind a mattress leaning up against a wall. The video indicates she shouted for him to show his hands, then fired her gun about a second later.
Conrad said at a news conference Thursday that a search of the house turned up no weapons. He says Stumler and two other officers were responding to a report of a man using drugs in the area.
Authorities said Warrick was in critical condition at a hospital Thursday.
Stumler’s police powers were suspended pending an investigation.
Graffiti vandals plague popular Red River Gorge destination
SLADE (AP) — Federal forestry officials say there is a growing graffiti problem at Kentucky’s popular outdoor destination, Red River Gorge.
The geological area is a favorite with hikers and rock climbers, but officials say vandals are becoming all too common.
The area in eastern Kentucky is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Red River Gorge manager Tim Eling says carving and spray painting on exposed rock features is increasing. Eling says they are seeing more brightly-colored spray paint on rock surfaces.
Eling says it is costly to remove the paint from the area’s sandstone features.
Visitors are encouraged to report vandalism to the nearest Forest Service office. A release from forestry officials says those caught vandalizing will be fined and prosecuted in federal court.
Group home resident indicted in fatal stabbing of employee
ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A man has been indicted in the slaying of an employee at a central Kentucky group home where he lived.
The News-Enterprise reports a Hardin County grand jury on Thursday indicted 32-year-old Lindale Cunningham for murder in the fatal stabbing of 66-year-old Sally Berry, who worked at the ResCare home in Elizabethtown.
Cunningham was charged Jan. 3 after authorities say he stabbed Berry more than 100 times with a steak knife. Another employee arriving to work found the victim lying in a pool of blood.
Court documents say Cunningham told authorities he stabbed Berry. Police have not released a motive.
Arrest records show Cunningham has been diagnosed as having health issues, including being autistic. Prosecutor Eric Carr says they don’t expect the case to go to trial.