News in Brief


Grant to help Ky. businesses make overseas sales

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky has received a $400,000 federal grant aimed at helping businesses market their products around the world.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says Kentucky will use the grant money to lower the cost for small businesses wanting to participate in international trade missions, sales trips and subscription services provided by the U.S. Commerce Department. The governor’s office says the grant also will assist companies with international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops or other export initiatives.

The funding comes from the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Export Promotion program.

The governor’s office says more than 100 Kentucky companies have benefited from the program so far.

Officials say that as demand for Kentucky products increases worldwide, the state’s businesses are able to create more jobs.

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Ky. students taking more advanced placement tests

FRANKFORT (AP) — Data from the College Board show more Kentucky students are taking advanced placement tests and scoring higher in the program that gives high school students a chance to earn college credit.

The state Department of Education says 31,658 students took the tests in 2015, which is up 35 percent from 2011. The number of tests with a qualifying score increased by 40 percent.

The agency says participation and qualifying test scores have risen for students in all ethnic groups.

The College Board also released results from the SAT college-entrance exam. The results show an increase of several points for average scores of Kentucky public high school students in 2015.

Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown in a news release attributed much of the success to a statewide math-science initiative called AdvanceKentucky.

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Univ. of Kentucky investigated for sexual assault cases

LEXINGTON (AP) — The University of Kentucky has a joined a lengthy list of universities being investigated by the federal government for their handling of sexual assaults.

The Lexington Herald-Reader reports that UK was added to the list this spring, according to the U.S. Office of Civil Rights. One hundred thirty-two other schools are also being investigated.

Federal officials don’t release any details about the investigations until a resolution agreement has been reached.

UK spokesman Jay Blanton confirmed the school had been contacted by the Office of Civil Rights regarding a complaint filed involving a UK student. Blanton says school officials think they handled the matter correctly.

On Monday, UK released results from a campus-wide survey in which nearly 5 percent of UK students reported experiences of sexual assault in the past year.

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Ex-pastor facing child porn charges to be released from jail

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A former Louisville Catholic priest facing federal child porn charges will be released from jail.

Stephen Pohl was arrested in Florida last month for accessing child porn on computers at his church.

Pohl appeared in federal court Wednesday, and Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin agreed to release him on a $25,000 unsecured bond.

Louisville Archdiocese officials say the FBI found child pornography on his computer and photos of students from St. Margaret Mary parish, where he was pastor. Pohl has since resigned.

Pohl smiled briefly at family members as he entered the courtroom Wednesday. The 57-year-old will live with his mother while awaiting trial and cannot have computers in the home. He will also wear monitoring equipment.

Pohl is set to be released from the Grayson County Jail on Thursday.

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Authorities: Man mowing lawn fell over cliff, died

SOMERSET (AP) — Investigators in Pulaski County say a man has died after his lawnmower went over a cliff.

WKYT-TV reports that lawn service worker Jake Neikirk was mowing near the edge of a bluff in the backyard of a home near Lake Cumberland when he went over the cliff and died.

Officials say Neikirk fell at least 150 feet down the embankment.

His body will be sent to Frankfort for an autopsy.

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Legislative leaders interview candidates for LRC director

FRANKFORT (AP) — Candidates for director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission have undergone interviews in Frankfort, but there’s been no decision on a new leader.

The Lexington Herald-Leader says legislative leaders conducted interviews behind closed doors Wednesday. Republican Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester and Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg declined to identify any of the candidates afterward.

Stivers and Stumbo say they plan to call a special meeting of legislative leaders to hire someone for the position. Legislative leaders hope to have someone in the position by Oct. 1. The General Assembly meets starting in January.

The LRC director oversees nonpartisan support staff for state lawmakers.

The interim LRC director, Marcia Seiler of Louisville, retired at the end of July.

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Fair-weather friend: Official happy with attendance results

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Attendance at last month’s Kentucky State Fair was up more than 16 percent from the previous year when rainy weather may have kept visitors away, but the total was short of the record.

The State Fair Board says 601,672 people attended the 111th fair, which ended Sunday. The 2014 attendance mark was a little less than 516,000.

The largest fair crowd was in 1994, when more than 684,000 people attended.

Fair Board President and CEO Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe said in a news release that weather was a big help with attendance as well as several discount programs offered for the first time.

The Fair Board says the 11-day event generated about $16.5 million in economic impact.

The dates for next year’s fair are already set: Aug. 18 to 28.

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Report: Koch, Pruitt finalists for education commissioner

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A published report has identified the two finalists for Kentucky education commissioner as Christopher Koch and Stephen Pruitt.

The Kentucky Department of Education said it narrowed the list of candidates from five to two after conducting a second round of interviews last weekend but did not name them.

The Courier-Journal reports the other three candidates said they did not make the final list.

Koch is interim president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and former Illinois state education superintendent.

Pruitt is senior vice president of Achieve Inc., an education reform organization.

The board has said it will commission in-depth background checks on both finalists, a process likely to take several weeks.

Associate commissioner Kevin Brown is serving as commissioner until the board chooses a new leader. Former commissioner Terry Holliday retired last month.

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UK to resume pediatric heart care services

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Pediatric heart care services will resume at the University of Kentucky as part of a new partnership between UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

UK officials said Thursday the collaboration will allow more Kentucky children to receive care closer to home. UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children’s signed a letter of intent to move forward with the partnership.

Officials said the first surgical procedure at UK is targeted for late 2016 or early 2017.

UK’s pediatric cardiac surgery program was suspended in 2012 following an uptick in child mortality rates.

Under the partnership, a heart surgeon will be jointly recruited and have a primary appointment at Cincinnati Children’s in a “two sites, one program” model. The surgeon will be based in Lexington and perform services at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

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