Economists project $219 million budget surplus in Ky.
FRANKFORT (AP) — State economists have predicted a $219.2 million surplus for the budget year that ends June 30.
The Consensus Forecasting Group made the adjustment after looking at strong trends in individual income and sales tax collections, estimating Kentucky’s general fund tax collections will grow by 3.2 percent. But they were less optimistic going forward, projecting growth rates of 2.7 percent and 2.8 percent for the following two fiscal years.
The road fund, meanwhile, is expected to come up $129.3 million short this year, a decrease of 6.4 percent from the previous year. However, the fund should rebound in 2017 with a 3.1 percent growth followed by a 4.1 percent growth in 2018.
All of these numbers are preliminary estimates. The group plans to issue its final budget forecast in December.
Back to school: Agency asks motorists to watch for kids
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Education wants motorists to remember to look for schoolchildren as they return to the classroom this month.
The agency reminds drivers to watch for students walking or biking to school, waiting for the bus or exiting the bus.
The National Transportation Safety Administration also says drivers should be aware of school bus laws. In Kentucky, it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus in either direction on a two-lane road if the bus warning lights are on. Bus drivers use flashing signal lights to alert motorists of pending actions.
The Education Department also says parents should talk to their children about bus safety.
Teenager killed moving heavy football equipment
HOPKINSVILLE (AP) — A western Kentucky teenager has died after being hit in the head by a piece of football equipment on a practice field where he was helping move it.
Hopkinsville police say 17-year-old Jayvon Corey Quarles, of Hopkinsville, died Thursday as a result of blunt force trauma to his head.
Police say Quarles was helping move the large, heavy piece of metal equipment at the practice field at Hopkinsville Middle School just before 4 p.m. CDT when it accidentally fell and hit him in the head.
A news release from police said Quarles was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Man indicted on murder charge in infant’s death
ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A Kentucky man who police say was seen driving down a highway beating an infant in a car seat has been indicted on a murder charge in the death of his 4-month-old son.
The News-Enterprise reports a Hardin County grand jury indicted 35-year-old Daniel Antoine Cox of Radcliff on Thursday on a charge of murder-domestic violence in the death of Jayceon Chrystie. Cox is in jail, with his bail set at $500,000. Online jail records did not indicate whether he has a lawyer.
Court records say witnesses called 911 on Aug. 6 after seeing a man repeatedly hitting a child in a car seat while driving along a highway. After Cox left the unresponsive infant with the baby’s mother, she frantically called police.
The baby died two days later.
UK shows off hemp plots at research farm
LEXINGTON (AP) — Tobacco production has waned in Wolfe County, so its agricultural extension agent checked out hemp research plots Thursday to see if the crop that’s just starting a comeback could grow into a substitute for farmers in his region of the Appalachian foothills.
Daniel Wilson, the ag agent, liked what he saw while inspecting stands of hemp — marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin — at a University of Kentucky research farm. Some hemp plants towered eight to 10 feet tall.
Hemp could become an option on the acreages where tobacco once dominated in his hilly county, he said. Wolfe County used to produce up to 3 million pounds of burley tobacco during the crop’s heyday. The county’s production is now 100,000 to 150,000 pounds yearly, he said.
“With tobacco out, it’s got good potential to replace some of that,” Wilson said. “Anything that can help offset some of the income for some of these farmers, I’m for it.”
Hemp is prized for oils, seeds and fiber. The crop was historically used for rope but has many other uses: clothing and mulch from the fiber; hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds; and soaps and lotions.
The challenge isn’t growing hemp, which thrived in Kentucky’s soil and climate until getting caught up in the government’s fight against marijuana. The question is whether farmers can find reliable markets.
Energy-storing batteries will cut peak usage in Glasgow
GLASGOW (AP) — The Glasgow Electric Plant Board is installing electricity-storing batteries at dozens of homes to help reduce emissions during peak energy demand.
The battery system was produced by San Francisco, California-based Sunverge Energy. The devices capture power from the electric grid when demand is lower. When demand peaks and costs are higher, the utility orders the batteries to release power and distribute it to customers.
Sunverge says in a release that the system being installed in 165 homes will help the Glasgow board reach a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent. The company typically installs its system in tandem with solar panels, but CEO Ken Munson says Glasgow is the first customer to use the batteries in a non-solar model.
University of Maryland assistant faces sex abuse allegation
COVINGTON (AP) — A University of Maryland assistant women’s basketball coach has been suspended after a player he coached at Xavier University accused him of groping her.
Court records show Bryce McKey was scheduled to appear Friday in a Kenton County, Kentucky, court to face a charge of third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor. Covington Police Chief Bryan Carter confirmed police have been investigating McKey, but declined further comment.
According to a sworn affidavit, the Xavier (of Cincinnati) player says McKey asked her to come to his home in Covington in May. She says during the evening, he repeatedly touched her inappropriately.
A phone message was left Friday at McKey’s office. School spokesman Zack Bolno says he is suspended indefinitely.
The Associated Press isn’t naming the woman because of the nature of the case.
2 suspects plead not guilty in connection with man’s murder
MANCHESTER (AP) — Authorities say both suspects charged in connection with the murder of a Clay County father have pleaded not guilty.
Multiple media outlets report 32-year-old Roscoe Henson, who is charged with the murder of 24-year-old Trevor Dykes, pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Police say 35-year-old Thomas Miracle, who is charged with solicitation to commit murder, has also pleaded not guilty.
Dykes was shot outside of his home on July 27. Sheriff Kevin Johnson says police believe Miracle arranged to have Henson kill Dykes because of a child custody dispute between Dykes and his former girlfriend. Johnson says Miracle was the woman’s new boyfriend.
Henson and Miracle are being held in the county jail. Online jail records do not indicate if either man has an attorney.
Johnson says the investigation is ongoing.