News in Brief

Ky. joins in challenging EPA power plant rules

FRANKFORT (AP) Kentucky has joined several other states in a legal challenge against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its power plant regulations.

Attorney General Jack Conway said Tuesday the legal action takes aim at federal overreach that threatens Kentucky’s ability to implement an air quality protection plan that works best for Kentucky.

In May, the EPA told a number of states, including Kentucky, to revise air quality standards regulating emissions during startup, shutdown and malfunction of power plants. Conway says the EPA wants to impose its judgment in regulating air standards.

He warns the likely result would be higher utility bills in Kentucky.

The states have asked a federal appeals court to review the EPA’s rule.

Conway is a Democrat running for governor, and EPA regulations of coal-fired power plants have been a major issue in Kentucky.


Hearings set in 6 states on proposed stream protection rule

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal regulators plan to hold public hearings in six states on a proposed stream protection rule.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation says the proposed rule overhauls a set of regulations that are three decades old.

Under the proposal, coal companies would be required to avoid mining practices that destroy drinking water sources, permanently pollute streams, threaten forests and increase flood risk.

Companies also would be required to restore streams and return mined areas to their previous uses and form.

The first hearing is set for Sept. 1 in Denver. Other hearings are scheduled Sept. 3 in Lexington, Kentucky; Sept. 10 in Pittsburgh and St. Louis; Sept. 15 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia; and Sept. 17 in Charleston, West Virginia.


Significant drop in GED diplomas in state after new test

FRANKFORT (AP) — There has been a significant drop in the number of people receiving a GED diploma in Kentucky since a new, more rigorous version of the test was implemented.

WFPL-FM reports that data from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education shows there were 1,663 GED diplomas awarded in the 2015 fiscal year. That’s a 77 percent decline from 2014 and an 81 percent drop from 2013, which was the last full year the old version of the test was used.

The new test, which is geared toward preparing students for post-secondary education and the workplace, requires higher level math, science, reading comprehension and computer skills.

Testing company Pearson says the GED was changed in response to employers, colleges and the military, who complained the test didn’t accurately reflect student preparedness.


Park says pipeline proposal poses threat to cave’s resources

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The National Park Service says a plan to change an aging pipeline near Mammoth Cave National Park from carrying natural gas to natural gas liquids may pose a threat to the cave’s ecological systems.

The Courier-Journal reports the proposal by Kinder Morgan to convert part of its Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. operations has stirred controversy all year along a 256-mile path through Kentucky.

Bobby Carson, the park’s chief of science and resource management, says the 70-year-old pipeline may not be safe for carrying the liquids, which if spilled could damage the park’s rare natural resources, including a variety of endangered species.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley says the company is committed to public safety, protecting the environment and operating its facilities in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations.


State treasurer to seek Louisville judge seat

FRANKFORT (AP) Democratic state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach was the odd man out of statewide elections this year, unable to seek re-election because of term limits while some of the biggest names in Kentucky politics are campaigning for governor and attorney general.

But the 55-year-old hopes to stay in public office as he filed Tuesday to run for district judge in the 30th judicial district of Jefferson County. The seat became vacant in May when Michele Stengel retired. Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. opted for a special election in November rather than appoint a successor.

Hollenbach is the 22nd person to file for the seat and one of five to do so on Tuesday.

“It looks like we one-upped the Republican presidential primary,” Hollenbach said, referring to the 17 GOP candidates fighting for the Republican nomination, including Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.


Ky. firefighters sent to help combat blazes elsewhere

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky firefighters have been dispatched to help combat wildfires in Washington, California and North Carolina.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says it sent 14 firefighters to be part of a 20-person crew fighting a fire in North Carolina.

Five KDF firefighters left on Aug. 1 to help deal with a fire in northern California.

Two other Kentucky firefighters were sent out west, one to deal with a fire in Washington and the other to help with another blaze in California.

State officials say that as Kentucky’s fall fire hazard season begins Oct. 1, this might be the last opportunity for Kentucky to send aid to other states.


State Fair to bakers: Make it from scratch, or be scratched

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A new sign in the culinary hall of the Kentucky State Fair warns people entering cakes, pies and other homemade goods that they must be just that — homemade.

Last year, a blue ribbon awarded for a buttermilk pie was stripped after fair officials learned the maker used a store-bought crust. The woman who made the pie said her own crust doesn’t turn out right and she wasn’t aware of the rule.

Now, the Courier-Journal reports that the new sign at the Louisville fairgrounds reads, “By entering an item in the culinary department of the Kentucky State Fair, you are acknowledging and certifying that you have used no commercially produced products such as frozen pie shells, boxed cake mixes, canned frosting or any like products.”

The fair is next week.


Judge: Feds can search emails of indicted Rand Paul aide

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A judge upheld a warrant allowing federal agents to search the email account of an indicted Republican operative who has worked for Rand Paul, Ron Paul and Mitch McConnell, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

Magistrate Judge Helen Adams on Monday rejected a request by Jesse Benton to quash a warrant that orders Google Inc. to turn over the contents of his Gmail account dating back to March 2011. On Tuesday, she unsealed her order and other court documents that show Benton had resisted the warrant for 11 months.

Benton’s attorney said in a letter to the court Monday that the account contains nearly 500,000 emails, including communications related to the presidential campaign of Kentucky senator Rand Paul, the 2014 re-election of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and the 2012 presidential campaign of Ron Paul.

Benton and two other aides to Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign were indicted last week in Iowa, accused of conspiring to buy the support of state Sen. Kent Sorenson before that year’s Iowa caucuses. The indictment alleges Benton negotiated a $73,000 payment to Sorenson in exchange for his leaving the Michele Bachmann campaign to support Paul. It accuses the trio of covering it up by using false invoices to hide the money in campaign records and filings.

Benton and John Tate are due to be arraigned next week in federal court in Des Moines. In the wake of their indictment, they have taken leave from their jobs leading America’s Liberty PAC, a super political action committee backing Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. The third aide, former Ron Paul deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari, appeared last week and was released on bond.

As part of the investigation, U.S. Magistrate Thomas Shields approved an FBI request for the warrant to obtain Benton’s Gmail account last year. But Google declined to produce the documents after Benton’s attorney, Roscoe Howard, told the company he would challenge the warrant as overly broad.


Vermont lawmakers to hear about death of inmate in Ky.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Members of a Vermont legislative committee are going to be asking why Kentucky State Police weren’t informed in a timely manner about the death of a Vermont inmate who had been serving time in a private Kentucky prison.

The Legislature’s Justice Oversight Committee is meeting Wednesday and lawmakers plan to discuss the death of inmate James Nicholson.

The 66-year-old Nicholson died on May 18, about six weeks after he had been assaulted and seriously injured by another inmate. An autopsy determined Nicholson died of a heart ailment, but it was unable to determine if the attack played a role in his death.

The Kentucky State Police began an investigation into the assault after Nicholson was attacked, but no one told police he had died.


Attorneys want to try boy as an adult in dumpster baby case

PADUCAH (AP) — A western Kentucky prosecutor says a teenage boy accused of disposing a newborn infant in a dumpster could be prosecuted as an adult.

McCracken County Attorney Sam Clymer tells local media that his office met with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office on Tuesday and decided to try to get the case against the 17-year-old transferred out of juvenile court.

Clymer says that if a judge decides to certify the boy as an adult, the case will then be transferred to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and tried in circuit court.

The boy is facing an attempted murder charge, among other charges, after the McCracken County sheriff’s office says a witness found the crying baby in a dumpster on July 30.

McCracken Sheriff Jon Hayden says the baby has been released to social services.


KSP trooper laid to rest in Rineyville

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) Hundreds of friends, family and fellow officers have turned out for the funeral of a Kentucky State Police trooper, who was killed in a car wreck last week.

WDRB-TV in Louisville reports a long funeral procession led mourners of 42-year-old Sgt. David Gibbs of Campbellsville to his final resting place at Rineyville Baptist Cemetery on Tuesday. Police said Gibbs lost control of his cruiser Friday while going around a sharp curve in LaRue County.

As the funeral procession passed, onlookers stopped what they were doing to watch. Trooper Kendra Wilson said officers from Illinois, West Virginia, Iowa and Pennsylvania attended.

Trooper Jeff Gregory says officers want to honor Gibbs and show support for his family.


Crews recover man’s body from Barren River Lake

LUCAS (AP) — Crews have recovered a man’s body from Barren River Lake two days after friends said he went underwater and didn’t resurface.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Lucas Hurt told media that 21-year-old Clay Nelson of Bowling Green was found Tuesday near a water treatment intake zone at the Narrows area of the lake. He was reported missing Sunday while cliff diving with friends.

It was the third time in three days that crews recovered a body in area waterways.

The Daily News in Bowling Green reports 59-year-old Joe Hartman was pulled on Monday from Nolin Lake and the body of 42-year-old Phillip Leedy was pulled on Sunday from the Green River. Both had been boating

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