News in Brief


Counties added for assistance after July storms in Ky.

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The U.S. Small Business Administration says additional counties have been added to those eligible for assistance following severe weather in July.

The presidential disaster declaration covers Breathitt, Carter, Fleming, Johnson, Perry, Rowan and Trimble counties. They are eligible for physical and economic injury disaster loans from the SBA.

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in these adjacent counties are eligible for economic injury disaster loans: Bath, Boyd, Carroll, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Henry, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, Menifee, Morgan, Nicholas, Oldham, Owsley, Robertson and Wolfe in Kentucky; and Clark and Jefferson in Indiana.

The SBA has approved more than $1 million in loans for Kentucky residents affected by the storms.

To apply online, visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela . The deadline for physical property damage is Oct. 12. Economic injury applications are due May 12.

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State finalizing details of new DUI law

PADUCAH (AP) — Kentucky transportation officials say the state is getting close to finalizing details of a new law that will require some drunken drivers to get ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.

Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe told The Paducah Sun that the agency is “very close” to finalizing regulations so that the law can go into effect.

The General Assembly voted in March to pass the law, which requires ignition interlock licenses as part of the sentencing for repeat offenders or for first offenders who have an aggravating circumstance such as having a child in the car.

Court officials say they think the devices will help curtail the number of repeat drunken driving arrests.

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US regulatory agency seeks to expand mining safety feature

ARLINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal mine regulators are moving to expand a safety feature in coal operations aimed at preventing crushing of miners.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says it wants to broaden the requirement for mine operators to install so-called proximity detection devices.

It says it will publish a proposed rule Wednesday calling for the detection systems on underground coal-hauling systems.

The proximity detection units would be equipped on scoops and shuttle cars, among other equipment used in mining.

The systems warn miners when they get too close to equipment.

MSHA estimates that only a fraction of underground coal-hauling machines are equipped with proximity detection.

Between 1984 and 2014, pinning, crushing and striking accidents killed 42 miners and injured 179 others nationwide.

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TVA seeking public input on coal ash study

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking public input on a study for closing coal ash storage sites.

The agency wants input on the scope of its Environmental Impact Statement to address the disposal of ash and other coal combustion residuals at its coal plants.

CCRs are byproducts from the burning of coal or its emissions, such as fly ash.

The purpose of the EIS is to help TVA comply with the CCR Rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in April.

It will consider the impacts of two primary closure methods, as well as examine the impact of closing 11 of TVA’s impoundments within three years.

Comments may be submitted online at http://www.tva.gov/environment/reports/ccr/, or emailed to [email protected]

TVA supplies power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

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Man pleads guilty to killing landlord over $58 electric bill

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a Louisville man has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting his landlord last summer in a dispute over a $58 electric bill.

The Courier-Journal reports that 55-year-old Anthony Jecker pleaded guilty Tuesday, accepting a plea agreement to serve 25 years in prison on a charge of murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Police say Jecker and 49-year-old James Scott Tolle, of Jeffersonville Indiana, were arguing over the bill in July 2014 when Jecker shot Tolle.

According to WLKY-TV, Jecker told investigators that he paid the bill and said Tolle taunted him into coming out of his Louisville apartment, which was owned by Tolle.

Jecker is scheduled to appear in Jefferson Circuit Court on Oct. 13 for formal sentencing.

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4 dead after head-on collision in Fort Wright

FORT WRIGHT (AP) — Four people have been killed in a head-on collision on a northern Kentucky road.

Multiple media outlets report that 48-year-old driver Kenneth Hartsock hit another vehicle head-on on Tuesday afternoon in Fort Wright, killing Hartsock and three adults inside the other vehicle.

Authorities have identified the other victims as 70-year-old driver Sarah Willis, her 79-year-old husband John Willis and her 72-year-old sister Gloria Roaden.

Police say witnesses saw Hartsock driving erratically down Highland Pike when his vehicle crossed into the oncoming lanes, striking the Willis’ vehicle. Hartsock was the only person inside his vehicle.

Investigators are trying to determine whether impaired driving or a medical issue contributed to the crash.

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