News in Brief

Applications for US jobless aid rise to still-low 271,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid rose slightly last week, but remained at a historically low level that signals an improving job market.

The Labor Department says applications rose 3,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 271,000. That’s not far from the 15-year low reached in April of 262,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined to 273,750.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the very low levels suggest that businesses are confident enough in the economy to hold onto their workers. The data also show that employers refrained from layoffs even as the economy contracted in the first three months of the year, a sign they saw the slowdown as temporary.

Nearly 2.25 million people received benefits, up 22,000 from the previous week.


MSHA results of May impact inspections

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that federal inspectors issued 176 citations during special impact inspections in May at 10 coal mines and seven metal and nonmetal mines.

MSHA conducted impact inspections at mines in Alabama, California, Kentucky, Illinois, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Monthly impact inspections began in force in April 2010 at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns.

MSHA inspectors have conducted 951 impact inspections and issued 14,422 citations, 1,247 orders and 56 safeguards since these inspections began.


Conway supports moving Davis statue

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky’s candidates for governor find themselves on the same side of an emerging issue in the state Capitol — whether the Jefferson Davis statue should be removed from its prominent place in the statehouse rotunda.

Democratic nominee Jack Conway said Wednesday the sculpture of the Confederate leader and Kentucky native belongs in a museum, not the Capitol in Frankfort.

Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee for governor, had already staked out his support for moving the statue. So had such other prominent Kentucky Republicans such as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and state Senate President Robert Stivers.

On Tuesday, Conway told reporters at a campaign event that he would “have to chew on that one a little bit” when asked about the Davis statue.

By Wednesday, Conway had taken a stand after speaking with some black leaders about the statue.

“I believe that the Jefferson Davis statue belongs in a museum, where history is taught, rather than in the State Capitol, where laws are made, where rights are upheld and where we strive for equal justice under the law,” Conway said in a statement.


Bevin backed pro-Confederate flag candidate in 2004

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin’s choice for president in 2004 was a third-party candidate who defended the Confederate flag and was supported by a racist group.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Bevin told National Review in a 2013 interview that he voted for Constitution Party candidate Mike Peroutka. Bevin told the conservative publication that he has a “Peroutka for President” T-shirt from 2004.

Peroutka was endorsed by the League of the South, a group described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a coalition of hard-line ‘neo-Confederates’ who espouse racist, anti-gay, anti-immigrant ideas.”

During the 2004 race, Peroutka said the Confederate flag stands for “justice, decency, integrity and honesty.”

On Tuesday, Bevin called for removal of the Jefferson Davis statue from the state Capitol rotunda.


Contractor dies at AK Steel plant in Ky.

ASHLAND (AP) — Officials are investigating after an electrical contractor died at an AK Steel plant in eastern Kentucky.

Ohio-based AK Steel spokesman Barry L. Racey confirmed the death at the Ashland plant in a statement to The Independent, saying an employee of the Siemens company died on June 23 while he was performing routine electrical maintenance work.

Siemens spokeswoman Christine Baumann identified the worker as 47-year-old Dwayne Walters of Hico, West Virginia. She said the company is working with local officials to determine how the death occurred.

Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond says it appears that Walters came into contact with a wire while performing testing work at a substation. He said an autopsy will determine the cause of death.


Pedestrian killed in Clarksville was Fort Knox soldier

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A 25-year-old Fort Knox soldier has died after being hit by a sport-utility vehicle while walking on a highway in Clarksville.

Clarksville police say Kenneth Ronald Berry of Parkersburg, West Virginia, was at Fort Campbell temporarily for training.

Police said Berry entered the southbound lanes of U.S. 79 for an unknown reason early Tuesday. Police said the driver of the SUV tried to avoid hitting Berry by driving to the left but hit him.

Police said Berry was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he was pronounced dead.


N.Ky. man in jail after shooting incident

CRITTENDEN (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a northern Kentucky man who was shot by a sheriff’s deputy is being held in jail after his release from a hospital.

Police told the Lexington Herald-Leader that 22-year-old Shane D. Propes of Crittenden is charged with attempted murder of a police officer and first-degree wanton endangerment.

Police said the Grant County deputy and a state trooper responded June 15 to a report of a suspicious person possibly carrying a gun, and the deputy located the man, who began to run and started shooting at the deputy.

Police said the deputy returned fire, and the man was hit. The deputy, who hasn’t been identified, wasn’t injured.

Propes is being held in the Grant County jail on $100,000 cash bond. Online jail records do not indicate whether Propes has a lawyer.


Company picks Ky. site for facility to build machinery

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials say a company that will design, build and install automated machinery for manufacturers will open a facility in Hodgenville.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said Wednesday that Karbec LLC plans to create 48 jobs and invest $1 million in the project in central Kentucky.

Karbec will mainly serve the automotive industry but will expand into other sectors as well.

Karbec officials say most of the company’s competitors are in Canada and the Detroit area. They say the increasing number of automotive manufacturers in Kentucky makes the commonwealth a good fit.

State officials say Kentucky is home to 465 motor vehicle-related establishments, including four major auto assembly plants.


Couple enter plea agreements in toddler’s death

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Two people charged in connection with the death of a toddler have entered pleas shortly before their cases went to trial.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports that 30-year-old Tiffany D. Sampson and 40-year-old Robert R. Dishman entered plea agreements in the death of Sampson’s 19-month-old son Adrian Maldonado. The Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office reported the toddler’s 2012 death was caused by multiple blunt force injuries inflicted on the child’s head, chest and arms.

Sampson, who pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal abuse on Monday, accepted an agreement that recommends a five-year prison sentence. Dishman, entered an Alford plea of no-contest to the same charges on June 18. Prosecutors recommended a 10-year sentence for Dishman.


Former Ashland supervisor charged in missing tires case

CATLETTSBURG (AP) — An ex-city employee has been charged in connection with at least $144,000 worth of tires that went missing from the city of Ashland’s garage.

Former mechanic supervisor Joseph A. Burriss, 56, was indicted Monday by a Boyd County grand jury on the charge of abusing public trust, The Ashland Independent reports.

Ashland police said Burriss turned himself in Wednesday morning. It was not immediately clear if he has hired an attorney.

Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice said Burriss manipulated the rules in the garage to make him the sole authority over tire purchases a few years ago.

City officials announced an investigation in December after noting that the city’s tire expenditures more than tripled last year.

An audit later revealed that about $144,000 of tire purchases by the city were unaccounted for. Since then, officials have said damages in unaccounted tire expenses have risen to nearly $223,000.

City officials say they still do not know where the tires went, and no other suspects have been identified in the case.

Ashland police are still investigating the disappearance, along with the Kentucky Office of Attorney General.

Burriss was placed on administrative leave a few months ago and later fired when he was suspected of being involved with the missing tires, Justice said.

The charge against Burriss carries a punishment of between 10 and 20 years in prison.


Hike to Yahoo Falls with ranger this weekend

ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) — People who want to learn more about the natural and geological features of Big South Fork can take part in a ranger-led interpretive hike to Yahoo Falls at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area this weekend.

The 113-foot-tall Yahoo Falls is Kentucky’s tallest waterfall. The hike will also feature a large rock cave and towering sandstone cliffs.

The national river and recreation area lies on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

Ranger Karen Thompson will lead the one-hour hike on Sunday. It starts at 11 a.m. EDT at the Yahoo Falls parking area near Whitley City, Kentucky.

The hike is free. The park advises wearing weather-appropriate clothing and shoes. The trail includes a long set of stairs and is considered moderately difficult.

For more information, call the Blue Heron Interpretive Center at 606-376-3787.


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