News in Brief


Marriage ruling for Ky. clerk expires Aug. 31

FRANKFORT (AP) — A federal judge clarified on Wednesday that his decision to let a Kentucky county clerk continue not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples will expire on Aug. 31.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Davis said it would violate her religious beliefs to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. Last week, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue the licenses. On Monday, Bunning agreed to give Davis more time to appeal his decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bunning decided Wednesday to add a deadline to his decision after reviewing federal rules of appellate procedure.

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Court: Producers responsible for paying severance taxes

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky’s Supreme Court says natural gas producers are solely responsible for paying severance taxes on the fuel.

In a divided ruling Thursday, the court said landowners are exempt from paying part of the taxes, unless specified to do so in lease contracts.

The ruling came in a dispute between a Pike County landowner and EQT Production Co., a natural gas producer.

Appalachian Land Co. claims it was underpaid the royalties owed in exchange for EQT extracting natural gas from its property. EQT used a calculation factoring in post-extraction processing costs that included severance taxes.

Writing for the majority, Justice Bill Cunningham said the tax is assessed for the privilege of severing or processing the gas. He said that privilege is given to the producer, not the landowner.

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Details of alleged bourbon theft ring described in records

FRANKFORT (AP) — A self-described middleman in an alleged bourbon theft ring in Kentucky says he bought barrels of whiskey from the accused ringleader and arranged more purchases.

In court records, Dustin Adkins says Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger sold cases of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Adkins says Curtsinger indicated the supply was available because labels were “messed up.”

Adkins says he started out buying quarts of bourbon before acquiring two barrels from Curtsinger. Wanting his friends to share in a “good deal,” Adkins says he arranged nine more barrel purchases.

Adkins recently pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal conspiracy to receive stolen property over $10,000.

Curtsinger has pleaded not guilty to charges that include engaging in organized crime. Defense attorney Whitney True Lawson says releasing such documents jeopardizes chances for a fair trial locally.

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Ex-parochial school teacher pleads guilty in child porn case

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A former parochial high school teacher and assistant football coach has pleaded guilty to child exploitation in federal court in Louisville.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 33-year-old Patrick Newman pleaded guilty Wednesday to 16 counts of producing child pornography and one count each of online enticement of a minor, transporting child pornography and possessing child pornography.

Prosecutors say the charges involved 16 boys ages 12 to 17 from Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and the United Kingdom.

The investigation began this year after authorities received a tip from Twitter about material uploaded to a video sharing website.

Newman has been in custody since he was charged in June. He was fired from Trinity High School the next day.

Sentencing is Dec. 16.

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Man waives extradition in deaths of 6 in Tenn.

LEXINGTON (AP) — A Kentucky truck driver has waived extradition to Tennessee, where he faces six counts of vehicular homicide following a crash this summer near Chattanooga.

Federal investigators say 39-year-old Benjamin Scott Brewer of London, Kentucky, had been driving for 15 consecutive hours before his tractor-trailer crashed into multiple vehicles on June 25, killing six and injuring six others. He was arrested Aug. 7 in Lexington.

Media report Brewer appeared in Fayette County District Court on Wednesday and waived extradition. He also faces felony drug charges, and that case was sent to a grand jury.

Charity Pennington, who was with Brewer when he was arrested, was taken into custody Wednesday. A judge said she didn’t take a drug test after being released from jail on bond. She’s charged with trafficking in a controlled substance and hindering prosecution.

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Disaster recovery center opens in Carter Co.

OLIVE HILL (AP) — A disaster recovery center has opened in northeastern Kentucky to help people affected by severe storms in July.

People who had losses in Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble counties can go to the center at Northeast Kentucky Community Action in Olive Hill for help with registration, questions about an application or to review information needed to process the application.

The center will operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT Monday through Saturday until further notice.

Federal Emergency Management Agency specialists are also reaching out to people in the four counties, canvassing affected areas to provide assistance.

To register for assistance, visit http://www.disasterassistance.gov or call (800) 621-3362). Applicants who use TTY should call (800) 462-7585 directly. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call (800) 621-3362.

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Inmate who walked away from Blackburn prison apprehended

LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Corrections says authorities have apprehended an inmate who walked away from a minimum-security facility in Lexington.

A statement says 42-year-old Richard Shell was found about 4 p.m. Wednesday in Lexington. He was reported missing shortly before 9 a.m. on Tuesday from Blackburn Correctional Complex.

Shell was serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted in Laurel County on charges that include receiving stolen property. He would have been eligible for parole in 2018.

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Muhlenberg Co. woman convicted of murdering ex-husband

GREENVILLE (AP) — A Muhlenberg County woman is facing a recommended sentence of life in prison after being convicted of murdering her ex-husband.

Local media outlets report that 62-year-old Brenda Hardin was found guilty of murder Tuesday night by a Muhlenberg County Circuit Court jury that recommended the maximum sentence.

Prosecutors say the woman killed her former husband, 64-year-old Ronnie Hardin of Central City, on July 7, 2014 by shooting him in the chest in a building attached to her home.

Investigators believed the victim was working on some golf equipment in the shed when he was shot. Kentucky State Police spokesman Stu Recke says Ronnie Hardin did not live at the home but sometimes did work in the attached shop.

Formal sentencing for Brenda Hardin has not been scheduled.

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Stage show tells women’s history of bourbon in Ky.

BARDSTOWN (AP) — A Louisville theater group is performing an original production called “Bourbon Babes of the Bluegrass” as part of this year’s bourbon festival in Bardstown.

The one-hour show by the Eve Theatre Company will be performed Sept. 14 and 15. It pays tribute to the many women who have contributed to Kentucky’s bourbon industry.

The play premiered in Louisville in March as part of Women’s History Month and was performed at the Bourbon Women Taste Affair in June at the Governor’s Mansion.

Written by Eve Theatre Company member Susan McNeese Lynch, Bourbon Babes tells the personal stories of seven women.

The play will be performed at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace in Bardstown.

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