News in Brief

Court again denies clerk’s bid to delay marriage licenses

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis “has not demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success” in her legal bid to exempt her office from licensing same-sex marriages, a federal appeals court reiterated Tuesday.

One day after Davis returned to work following a stint in jail for defying a federal judge, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals shot down another of her requests to delay issuing the licenses.

After four couples sued Davis for refusing them licenses, she filed a counter lawsuit against Gov. Steve Beshear, alleging that he improperly instructed clerks to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that legalized gay marriage. The appeals court rejected her request to delay that directive, but also declined to toss the appeal entirely, as Beshear had requested.

Davis has one more request for reprieve awaiting the appeals court. In it, her attorneys with the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel argue that Bunning’s order to issue licenses should apply only to the four couples who sued her and not to any other same-sex couples who would like to get married.

The ACLU asked the appeals court Tuesday to reject that one too, calling it “Davis’ latest attempt to avoid the obligations of her office.”

Davis’ lawyers acknowledged their request for a delay presented a “high hurdle,” but highlighted that the appeals court rejected Beshear’s request that they scrap the appeal outright. The Liberty Counsel wrote that the court’s decision to let the case continue winding through the system is “good for Kim Davis.”


More transparency shows more fees for state pension plan

LOUISVILLE (AP) — After promising more transparency in its expenses, Kentucky’s pension plan for public employees has reported investment fees that are more than double what’s been previously made public.

According to WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting in Louisville, the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees made the disclosure last week in a meeting.

A memo to board members said the agency revised the amount it paid to outside investment firms as part of a “proactive transparency change.”

KRS Chief Investment Officer David Peden said the system’s net income was not affected.

WFPL reports the numbers give the nearly 350,000 public employees and retirees that depend on the pension system a better idea of how much the board pays to firms to invest about $16 billion in assets.


Motorist stopped to assist slain police trooper

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A police scanner recording indicates that a motorist stopped to help a Kentucky State Police trooper who was shot during a high-speed chase.

On the recording, wounded Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder is heard telling the dispatcher he had been shot and was passing out.

Soon, the motorist comes on the scanner traffic and tells the dispatcher he heard gunshots and the trooper wasn’t breathing well.

Ponder was shot Sunday night while pursuing a man who fled from a traffic stop along a rural stretch of I-24 near Eddyville.

Ponder died at a hospital. The suspect was shot and killed during a confrontation with police Monday following a manhunt.

Trooper Jay Thomas said Wednesday the scanner recording was authentic. Thomas said two people stopped to assist Ponder but didn’t identify them.


Fall harvest may yield state’s largest soybean crop

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky farmers may be poised to produce the state’s largest soybean crop on record as the fall harvest gets under way.

The latest figures from the National Agricultural Statistics Service show that soybean production in Kentucky is forecast at 92 million bushels. That’s unchanged from the August forecast but up 10 percent from 2014.

Statewide corn production is forecast at 224 million bushels, up 1 percent from the August forecast but down 1 percent from the previous crop.

Corn yield is estimated at 172 bushels per acre, up 14 bushels from last year’s level.

Soybean yield is projected at 50 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from a year ago.

Burley tobacco production is forecast at 118 million pounds, down 28 percent from 2014. Yield is projected at 1,900 pounds per acre.


Bevin hopes to redefine governor’s race on marriage issue

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican candidate for governor relied on a defiant county clerk in an attempt to redefine the race during the campaign’s first televised debate on Tuesday.

Matt Bevin attacked his Democratic rival Jack Conway for his stances on social issues, including his response to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ decision to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs. Bevin said Conway did not share the values of the majority of Kentucky’s voters and urged people to elect him instead.

Conway defended his decision to not defend the state’s gay marriage ban by saying it would have saved the state money on a costly lawsuit it was destined to lose. He criticized Bevin for refusing to release his tax returns, saying he was hiding from Kentucky voters.


Pope appoints Ohio bishop to participate in Vatican event

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A northeast Ohio bishop has been appointed as one of the U.S. bishops to attend an event at the Vatican that will focus on marriage and family issues.

The Vindicator in Youngstown reports Bishop George V. Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown was appointed by Pope Francis to attend the Synod on the Family next month in Rome.

The event will bring together bishops and lay delegates from around the world to discuss a variety of matters related to marriage and family.

Other U.S. bishops elected to the synod include Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. They are president and vice president respectively of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. Archbishops from Philadelphia and Chicago also are among those to attend the synod.


Former high school coach pleads guilty to sexual abuse

BENTON (AP) — A former high school football coach has pleaded guilty in western Kentucky to sexual abuse.

Attorney General Jack Conway’s office says Former Marshall County High School coach Ronald E. Barnard pleaded guilty Tuesday to six different charges, including five felonies.

Sentencing is Nov. 5 in Marshall County. The attorney general’s office said in a news release that the 47-year-old Barnard agreed to a total sentence of seven years.

The release said Barnard was arrested last year in a case involving a 15-year-old student at the school. Investigators examined personal computer devices belonging to Barnard, and he was indicted in May in connection with another female student, who was 17.

The release said the investigation led to discovery of a fake Twitter account set up by Barnard to communicate with students and allow inappropriate pictures to be exchanged.


Muhammad Ali launches University of Louisville scholarship

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Muhammad Ali, along with his wife, Lonnie, has made a donation to the University of Louisville baseball team for a scholarship in the legendary boxer’s name.

The university announced Tuesday that the Muhammad Ali Leadership Baseball Scholarship will consist of a $50,000 honorarium the Louisville native will receive, in addition to a $50,000 anonymous matching donation.

According to the news release, eligible players for the Ali scholarship include student-athletes in good academic standing who are active in community service.

Ali’s son, Assad, was a catcher on the baseball team from 2009 through 2012.

The former boxing champion is scheduled Thursday to receive the university’s first Grawemeyer Spirit Award, including a $50,000 honorarium Ali will put toward the scholarship.


Mine rescue teams from around US competing in Ky.

LEXINGTON (AP) — Mine rescue teams from 12 states are in Kentucky for a competition that helps train first responders in deadly situations underground.

The National Coal Mine Rescue competition is being held in Lexington this week. The event includes individual and team competitions in first aid and mine rescue and ends with a banquet on Thursday.

The event is sponsored by the National Mining Association and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. There will also be exhibits from companies and suppliers of coal-mining equipment and services.

The banquet will feature remarks by National Mining Association CEO Hal Quinn and U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joseph Main.

The events begin each day at 7 a.m. at the Lexington Convention Center.

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