News in Brief


Lawmaker: Taxpayers to be repaid for ‘In God We Trust’ signs

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky taxpayers will initially foot the bill for “In God We Trust” signs that have been place in legislative committee rooms at the Capitol, but a lawmaker says the money will be reimbursed.

Republican Sen. Albert Robinson of London told the Lexington Herald-leader that he will either raise the $2,811 next year or will repay the state on his own.

Robinson sponsored legislation in 2014 to place the 13 signs in every legislative committee room in the Capitol and Capitol Annex. The legislation did not say how the signs would be paid for, but Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said at the time that private donations would be used.

“That’s exactly what’s going to happen,” Robinson said Wednesday. “I intend to raise the money when the next legislative session starts in January or will pay for it myself. I have deep convictions on this.”

The newspaper reports it got a copy of the bill from Jeb Advertising of Louisville through a request under the state Open Records Act.

ACLU of Kentucky Executive Director Michael Aldridge said he doesn’t agree with the signs, but they would be difficult to challenge in the court system.

“Government should not favor one religion over another but we have seen challenges to similar situations not go far since it is the national motto,” he said.

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Clerk disrupts an unspoken agreement

MOREHEAD (AP) — Kim Tabor hates to answer the phone these days, because so often the caller starts screaming.

Tabor works for the Rowan County Circuit Court Clerk, which keeps track of criminal and civil filings in a town that prides itself on peace and quiet. Marriages are handled across the street, where Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has ignited the passions of religious conservatives around the world by refusing to authorize weddings for anyone since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Tabor said people have called from all over, confusing the two offices. They ask for Kim, and when she answers, they don’t wait for her explanation before they start screaming.

In this eastern Kentucky town, now center stage in a national conflict, angry words and gestures have too often replaced quiet conversation – or, more often, silence – on a subject deeply personal to both sides. But many who will remain after the television trucks go away hope things will get better.

Most know there’s more to their town’s story than the high-decibel discussion that’s been playing out lately.

“There are no winners. Everybody’s been hurt,” said Lois Hawkins, a Morehead native who works as the executive secretary to the county’s top elected official. “It’s going to be different. It can’t go back the way it was.”

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Former Nevada Secretary of Senate picked to lead Ky. LRC

FRANKFORT (AP)€” — Kentucky’s legislative leaders have chosen the former Nevada Secretary of the Senate as the next director of the Legislative Research Commission.

David A. Byerman will earn $135,000 a year as the director of the agency that assists lawmakers in drafting and researching legislation. A news release on Thursday said Kentucky’s legislative leaders including Republican Senate President Robert Stivers and Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo agreed to hire Byerman. His appointment must still be confirmed by the full commission.

Byerman served two terms as Nevada’s Secretary of the Senate, the chamber’s chief executive officer. Before that, he worked for the U.S. Census Bureau and the MGM Mirage. He takes over a commission that has been embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal for nearly two years. Lawmakers agreed to settle the lawsuit earlier this year for $400,000.

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Ohio, Pa. regulators oppose Patriot Coal reorganization plan

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Ohio and Pennsylvania regulators say Patriot Coal’s reorganization plan doesn’t adequately address the company’s obligations to clean up mine pollution.

Both states opposed the plan’s approval in separate motions filed this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the plan would leave Patriot Coal with little ability to address environmental problems and reclaim land following operations at the Sunnyhill Mine Complex. The department’s motion says the company also won’t be able to prevent or repair any future problems.

The Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources says the plan doesn’t adequately establish how an affiliate, Eastern Associated Coal, will meet its environmental obligations for two closed underground mines.

Scott Depot, West Virginia-based Patriot Coal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 12.

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Panel approves incentives for projects in Paducah, Loretto

FRANKFORT (AP) — Tourism projects in Paducah and Loretto have won approval for state financial incentives.

The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said in a news release that the Tourism Development Finance Authority approved the incentives on Wednesday.

The projects include a hotel development in downtown Paducah and a distillery tour center in Loretto.

The 124-room Paducah hotel project will be eligible for up to $4.5 million in incentives. The cabinet said the $19 million project is expected to be a Holiday Inn.

The Loretto project, a facility for Maker’s Mark Distillery to showcase its Maker’s 46 product, will be eligible for up to $1 million.

The incentives are in the form of a rebate based on sales tax generated by the attraction over a 10-year period.

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Workforce training program expands to south-central Ky.

FRANKFORT (AP) — A workforce training program that involves a partnership of manufacturers working to prepare technically skilled workers has expanded to south-central Kentucky.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said in a news release the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education program is creating a new chapter in Bowling Green. The chapter will serve the surrounding region.

The program offers apprentice-style education and training.

Beshear said it’s the seventh chapter in Kentucky, and others are expected to be added before the end of the year.

Students attend classes two days a week and work 24 hours per week for a sponsoring employer. After completing the program, students receive an associate’s degree in applied sciences. Beshear’s office said most begin full-time employment with the sponsor, while others may further their education.

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Teen to receive hero award for calling 911 in 2007 murders

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A high school senior will receive an award for actions he took when his mother and grandmother were murdered in 2007.

The News Enterprise reports Matthew Pete will be honored Thursday in Louisville at the Kentucky Emergency Services Conference with the first 911 Hero Award.

Authorities say Pete was just 9 years old when he called 911 from a Rineyville home where Tracy Burke and Karen Comer were shot and killed by former solider Brent Burke.

Brent Burke, who was Pete’s stepfather, was convicted of the murders in May 2012 and sentenced to life in prison.

Pete was nominated for the award by Kim Lewis, a radio communications supervisor who monitored his call to a dispatcher at the time of the murders.

Pete currently lives in California.

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Army posts set ceremonies to honor 9/11 victims

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The victims of 9/11 will be honored during Patriot Day ceremonies Friday at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell.

At Fort Campbell, the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell community will have a ceremony with a wreath laying, remarks by Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, 30 seconds of silence, firing volley and the playing of taps. The ceremony is at 4 p.m. CDT.

At Fort Knox, an event at 8:15 a.m. EDT at Fire Station No. 1 will feature performances by the 113th Army Band and a bagpiper, tolling of the fire station’s bell and a wreath laying. A 21-gun salute and the playing of taps will close the ceremony.

A piece of steel I-beam from the World Trade Center set in granite is also located at Fire Station No. 1.

Some local communities also plan ceremonies Friday.

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