News in Brief

Mine safety agency gets injunction against coal operator

PRESTONSBURG (AP) — A judge has granted an injunction that bars an eastern Kentucky coal mine operator from interfering with federal safety inspectors.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the injunction was issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration sought the order after an Aug. 17 incident at a Floyd County mine in which inspectors said operator Jeremy Bryant screamed at them and backed one of them against a wall while discussing a citation.

Bryant’s attorney, Billy R. Shelton, said in a court document that his client disagreed with the allegations, but did not object to the request for an injunction.


Flying brisket whacks woman amid beef at barbecue festival

DANVILLE (AP) — Police say a woman was hit with a hot flying brisket when a contestant’s temper flared during a beef over a shared cooker at a central Kentucky barbecue festival.

Danville police say they were called to the Kentucky State BBQ Festival after a dispute was reported between contestants who were sharing a cooker Sunday.

Mary Berry of Bardstown told officers she was hit in the shoulder, neck and head by the slab of hot meat, which was estimated to be between 200 and 250 degrees when it was thrown.

Police said 42-year-old Mike Owings of Cunningham told officers he threw the brisket because he lost his temper but “didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt.”

Now, police say he faces a misdemeanor charge of wanton endangerment.


Clerk’s husband to speak at Nashville pastors rally

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The husband of Kim Davis — the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for her refusal to issue marriage licenses — will be part of a Thursday rally in Nashville organized by the Tennessee Pastors Network.

The event takes place at the capitol and promises to address issues like gay marriage, immigration, terrorism, education, health care and religious liberty.

In addition to Joe Davis, the rally will include Rafael Cruz, the father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and presidential candidate. Also speaking will be Richard Land, who led the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm for 25 years before leaving to become president of Southern Evangelical Seminary.


FDA halts sales of 4 R.J. Reynolds cigarette brands

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is ordering a ban on sales of four cigarette brands from R.J. Reynolds because they do not meet the agency’s safety review requirements.

Under FDA rules, companies that launch new cigarettes must show that the products are essentially the same as older products in terms of health risks. The FDA said four brands from R.J. Reynolds failed to show that they don’t raise new safety concerns.

The brands are Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set, Pall Mall Deep Set Menthol and Vantage Tech 13.

In 2009 the FDA gained authority to regulate some aspects of cigarettes and other tobacco products. The agency can evaluate new tobacco products for their health risks and ban those that raise uncertain health risks.

An email was sent seeking comment from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.


Ky. GOP chairman says Jeb Bush will visit Louisville

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson says Jeb Bush will visit Louisville later this month.

Robertson told The Courier-Journal that the Republican presidential candidate will attend an afternoon fundraising reception at a private residence on Sept. 24. The event will benefit the state Republican party.

Robertson said the visit shows the party’s central committee made a good decision when it voted to select Kentucky’s Republican presidential delegate next year during caucuses on March 5 instead of the traditional May primary.

The change was initiated by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul and allows him to run for president and re-election to his Senate seat at the same time without violating a law that bans candidates from appearing on a ballot twice in the same election.

Robertson said he expects the change to bring “a great number of presidential hopefuls” to Kentucky.


Officials to seek funds to beef up Ky. social services

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s commissioner of social services has announced that her agency will seek millions of dollars to address problems affecting social workers that she acknowledges have been overworked and underpaid.

Teresa James announced Monday that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services plans to present a substantial request for funds to the Kentucky General Assembly when it meets in 2016 to begin drafting the state’s next two-year budget, The Courier-Journal reported.

“We’ve got to put our money where our mouth is,” James said. Her agency, the Department for Community Based Services, has undergone about $50 million in budget cuts since 2009.

“Kentucky needs to decide if they really do care about kids and, if so, that budget has got to change,” James said, speaking at a meeting in Louisville of the state’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel.

Child advocates have long argued the state’s social service system needs more money and more workers to better manage increasingly complex child abuse and neglect cases.

In the state, the number of children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect in June reached more than 8,000, which James at the time acknowledged was “pretty close to an all-time high.”

James said that without more workers to manage the cases, children are remaining in foster care longer and said that’s unlikely to change without more resources for child protection.

“Are kids staying longer in foster care?” James said, “I can assure you they are because of the caseloads right now.”

James said she wants to hire more workers, boost salaries and improve working conditions. Workers currently start at about $32,000 a year.

Rep. Rick Rand, a Bedford Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, said he understands the need though he couldn’t say yet whether any additional funds might be available for social services.

“I certainly would be in favor of trying to find more money,” Rand said. “It’s just too early to know.”


Patient accused of stabbing nurses facing charges

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A patient accused of stabbing two nurses at a medical center in Knoxville, Tennessee, is facing attempted murder charges.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that 40-year-old Gary M. Smallwood attacked the nurses around 6:30 a.m. on Monday with scissors and a knife in his hospital room at Tennova-Physicians Regional Medical Center.

Police say a male nurse and a female nurse were injured. Their names have not been released, but officials say they’re both in stable condition.

Smallwood was brought to the medical center on Sunday after police were called to investigate his belligerent behavior at a Greyhound bus station. Police didn’t elaborate, but they said he suffers from a medical condition and seems to be unsure of his surroundings.

Smallwood, who police say has a Kentucky address, has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

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