News in Brief


Ky. firefighters helping with Alaskan wildfires

FRANKFORT (AP) — Nearly two dozen Kentucky Division of Forestry firefighters are on their way to Alaska.

The 16 full-time and five seasonal firefighters will leave from Knoxville, Tennessee, to help with seven large fires burning in Alaska. The firefighters volunteer for the duty, take leave from their regular duties and join the United States Forest Service for a 14-day assignment.

The firefighters will join with federal personnel from the Daniel Boone National Forest, Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, Great Onyx Job Corps and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area to form two crews.

For more information about national wildfires, visit http://www.nifc.gov.

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Kentucky Power rate increase settlement approved

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a settlement agreement granting a rate increase to Kentucky Power.

WKYT-TV reports the agreement allows Kentucky Power to increase annual revenue by $45.4 million, which is 57 percent of the amount sought by the company in its December 2014 application. As part of the settlement, Kentucky Power agreed to drop its appeal of an earlier commission decision that disallowed certain fuel costs, saving the company’s customers a total of about $54 million.

Customers will pay a 15-cent monthly charge that will generate about $300,000 annually — to be matched by company shareholders — for a fund to support economic development efforts in Kentucky Power’s service territory.

Kentucky Power has about 173,000 customers in 20 counties in eastern Kentucky.

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Attorney: Ky. resolves sexual harassment lawsuit

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s legislative leaders have resolved a sexual harassment lawsuit involving a former Democratic lawmaker and two state workers.

Thomas Clay, the attorney for Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper, said the case has been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties. He declined to elaborate.

Costner is a former aide to House Majority Whip Johnny Bell. Cooper still works for Bell. The pair filed a sexual harassment lawsuit alleging former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold touched them inappropriately and that the Legislative Research Commission did not do enough to protect them. Arnold was later fined $3,000 by the Legislative Branch Ethics Commission. He has appealed the fine.

A spokesman for the Legislative Research Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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GOP questions legality of Louisville’s needle exchange

FRANKFORT (AP) Kentucky’s Republican state Senate president says Louisville’s new needle exchange program might be violating state law.

A state law passed earlier this year to fight the state’s heroin problem allows local governments to set up a program to allow people to “exchange hypodermic needles and syringes.” The exchange set up by the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health promises to give away clean needles even if the person requesting them does not have dirty needles to exchange.

Sen. Robert Stivers wrote a letter to Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway asking his opinion on whether the program violates the law. A spokesman for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The needle exchange program was one of the most debated provisions of the new law.

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Conway offers plan for job growth in Ky.

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway has released a jobs plan that includes promoting Kentucky’s homegrown industries and expanding broadband access to rural areas lacking the links with high-speed Internet service.

Conway on Tuesday called for phasing out the state’s portion of the inventory tax as a way to lower business costs and spur more investment.

He said he wants to build on Kentucky’s strengths in agriculture, manufacturing, logistics, mining, tourism, horses and whiskey production.

Conway and Republican businessman Matt Bevin are competing for the governor’s office in the November election.

Conway opposes right-to-work legislation backed by Bevin that would allow employees represented by unions to opt out of paying union fees.

Bevin’s plan for job growth also calls for revamping the state’s tax code.

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Louisville protesters call for union chief’s dismissal

LOUISVILLE (AP) — About a hundred protesters blocked streets in downtown Louisville to demand the president of the police union be fired for calling activists “liars and race-baiters” and writing that law enforcement supporters might soon have to rise up against them.

The Louisville Metro Police Department closed its downtown headquarters during the Monday afternoon protest, riling the activists there to chant for police accountability.

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says the department locked the doors because it received information that protesters might try to occupy the building. But the protest remained peaceful.

Dave Mutchler, president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police and a sergeant in the police department, distributed the divisive letter last week, days after an officer shot a Sudanese refugee who attacked him with a flagpole.

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AG rules UK should release records in 2 cases

LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky Attorney General’s office says the state’s flagship university should release records in cases dealing with animal research and cancer statistics.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the opinions released Monday dealt with two separate requests for information from the University of Kentucky.

One was a 2014 request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seeking “approved protocols for the use of animals in teaching exercises.” The other was a March request from an attorney seeking statistics from the Kentucky Cancer Registry, which is housed at UK.

The rulings carry the weight of law unless they are appealed to Circuit Court.

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2 charged in death of man found in sleeping bag in Ky.

TROY, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man and woman accused in the death of the woman’s grandfather whose body was found in a sleeping bag in a Kentucky creek have been indicted in Ohio.

The Miami County prosecutor’s office says 35-year-old Richard Terrel of Troy was indicted Monday on charges of murder, felonious assault, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in 88-year-old William York Sr.’s death. The prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Hope Earnshaw-York was indicted on charges of gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in her grandfather’s death.

Both are in jail in Troy. It could not be determined immediately whether they have attorneys.

Police say York died of blunt force head injury.

York’s remains were found June 3 in a creek in Union, Kentucky.

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Prosecutor: Former lawmaker had inspector in his back pocket

PIKEVILLE (AP) — A federal prosecutor told a jury that a former Pike County lawmaker secretly paid tens of thousands of dollars to a state mine inspector.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the trial for Keith Hall began on Monday. The 55-year-old Hall, who is accused of bribery, served 14 years as a Democratic state representative from Phelps until a 2014 primary defeat.

Prosecutors say Hall, who owned coal mines, paid about $46,000 in bribes to mine inspector Kelly Shortridge in 2009 and 2010.

Shortridge has pleaded guilty to soliciting a bribe, saying he agreed to ignore violations at Hall’s mines. Shortridge is expected to testify against Hall.

Hall’s attorney Bryce Caldwell says Hall’s payments to Shortridge were for legitimate business deals.

Hall could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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Lexington Humane Society needs new A/C for dogs

LEXINGTON (AP) — Donations are pouring in to the Lexington Humane Society for a new air-conditioning unit for its dog kennels.

The center set up a donations pages on Monday, and hours later more than $20,000 was collected.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports they are seeking $35,000 to replace the 20-ton unit. Fayette Heating & Air Conditioning is covering $10,000 of the cost.

A spokeswoman at the humane society says meanwhile, workers are there around the clock checking on the dogs every few minutes.

She says there is a six-week turnaround once the order for the new unit is placed.

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