News in Brief


Ky., Tenn. receiving grants for unemployment aid

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky and Tennessee are receiving assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor to help unemployed residents find work and determine eligibility.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says the grants are intended to help the newly unemployed reduce time between jobs and prevent improper payments to preserve benefits for those who are eligible.

The Labor Department says the grants will fund services such as in-person assessments at American Job Centers.

The agency has awarded grants through the initiative for 11 years.

The department awarded $1 million to Kentucky and $2 million to Tennessee out of a total $80 million that is going to workforce agencies in 44 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

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State panel accepting comments about Davis statue

FRANKFORT (AP) — A state panel has updated its website to take public comments about the Jefferson Davis statue in the Kentucky Capitol.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission says its website includes a comment form for anyone wanting to offer input on the statues in the Capitol Rotunda. The form is available at http://historicproperties.ky.gov in the upper right-hand corner.

The state commission says it will take public comments until July 29. The panel plans to meet Aug. 5.

Several state leaders have endorsed moving the statue of the Confederate leader in response to a shooting rampage that killed nine black people in a South Carolina church.

The FBI is investigating a possible link between the suspect in the killings and an online manifesto that professes allegiance to white supremacy and displays the Confederate battle flag.

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Man pleads guilty to killing prominent Ky. defense lawyer

SOMERSET (AP) — A south-central Kentucky man accused of gunning down a prominent defense attorney last year has entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill.

Local news outlets report Clinton Inabnitt entered the plea Monday to charges of murder and wanton endangerment in the death of Somerset attorney Mark Stanziano.

The move came a week before he was scheduled to stand trial. Previous testimony has indicted that Inabnitt was schizophrenic and delusional.

Prosecutor Eddy Montgomery said he’s recommending a 20-year prison sentence on the murder charge followed by three years of probation on the wanton endangerment count. Montgomery said Stanziano’s wife and daughter were “heavily involved” in the decision.

Stanziano was known for defending people accused in high-profile cases including a triple slaying at a pawn shop and the fatal shooting of a sheriff.

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Police offering $5,000 reward for information in 2014 deaths

RICHMOND (AP) — Richmond police have issued a reward offer in the deaths of a couple in their home last year.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports police said Monday they are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction in the slayings.

The victims are 46-year-old Karen Rollins Simpson and 42-year-old Avery “Boochie” Evans. They were found dead June 27, 2014. Authorities said the couple had been dead for a few days before a relative went to check on them.

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Sheriff: Girl shot by brother, 5, after gun left on counter

CADIZ (AP) — A 4-year-old girl has been injured after authorities say she was accidentally shot by her 5-year-old brother in Trigg County.

The Kentucky New Era reports that the girl was shot in the abdomen by a pistol on Sunday night in Cadiz. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Trigg County Sheriff Ray Burnam says the girl was flown to an Evansville, Indiana hospital to be treated.

Following the incident, 19-year-old Brandon N. Fowle was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. Authorities say Fowle left the gun on a counter where the children could get it.

Authorities have not explained what Fowle’s relationship with the children is. It was not immediately clear if Fowle has hired an attorney.

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Vermont inmates move from Ky. to Mich.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The planned move of 280 Vermont prison inmates from a private prison in Kentucky to one in Michigan has been completed.

Mike Touchette, director of facility operations for the Vermont Department of Corrections, tells The Associated Press the move was completed Monday and went off without a hitch.

Touchette says the inmates were transferred on two flights, moving from the Corrections Corporation of America’s Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky to a facility operated by the GEO Group in Baldwin, Michigan.

Vermont Corrections officials say the GEO facility has several advantages: It costs less, is more modern and secure and is about 160 miles closer to Vermont than the Kentucky facility.

For almost two decades, Vermont sent hundreds of inmates to prisons and jails out of state to save on costs and overcrowding.

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Social worker faces firing after helping 7-year-old

FRANKFORT (AP) — A northern Kentucky social worker is facing possible termination by her employer after she says she helped a neglected and abused 7-year-old girl.

The Courier-Journal reports that Boone County social worker Karey Cooper could be punished by the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services for assisting the girl because another worker had already closed the cabinet’s case on the girl’s family.

Cooper says she did not know about the girl’s closed file when she saw the girl at school looking hungry and unkempt.

For the past six weeks, Cooper has been removed from her field duties and assigned to type case notes while her supervisors consider what action to take.

Cabinet officials declined to comment on Cooper’s situation, saying they don’t comment on pending personnel actions.

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Rand Paul 1st major-party candidate to court pot donors

DENVER (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul held a groundbreaking fundraiser in Denver Tuesday afternoon.

The Kentucky senator is holding a fundraiser with the new marijuana industry, which is holding an industry convention this week.

Paul becomes the first major-party presidential candidate to publicly court donations from the pot industry. Though legal weed businesses owners have been active political donors for years, presidential candidates have shied away from holding fundraisers made up entirely of marijuana-related business owners.

Paul has joined Democrats in the Senate to sponsor a bill to end the federal prohibition of marijuana for medical reasons. The senator also backs a federal drug-sentencing overhaul.

Tickets to the pot fundraiser started at $2,700.

Marijuana advocates say political candidates at every level are more publicly courting marijuana entrepreneurs for political donations.

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Louisville’s minimum wage hike survives first court test

FRANKFORT (AP) — Some Louisville workers will get a raise Wednesday after a state judge upheld the city’s new minimum wage standards in the first of a series of legal challenges that could define how much power local governments have over private businesses.

The Louisville Metro Council’s decision to raise the minimum wage does not conflict with state law, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman ruled. The decision, which could be appealed, clears the way for Louisville’s minimum wage to increase 50 cents on Wednesday to $7.75 per hour. It is set to increase to $9 per hour by 2017.

“The Metro Council and I took this step year to provide working families a higher minimum wage because we know that many struggle to pay for housing, food, clothing and medical care,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Today’s favorable ruling will have a real impact on many Louisville families.”

McDonald-Burkman dismissed arguments from the Kentucky Restaurant Association that the increase violates state law and would be too burdensome for business owners to implement.

“What is legal in one county may be illegal in another, such as indoor smoking and alcohol and fireworks sales,” she wrote. “A business owner must comply with the laws and ordinances in the various locales in which it chooses to operate, even if variances exist.”

An attorney for the Kentucky Restaurant Association did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

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Auditor finds district used general fund money on activities

ASHLAND (AP) — State Auditor Adam Edelen has released a report that finds a northeastern Kentucky school district transferred $360,000 to school activity funds over three years with little or no knowledge by the school board.

Edelen’s office said in a news release Monday that excessive spending on the Fairview Independent School District’s football program may have resulted in violation of Title IX requirements by spending more on boys’ sports than on girls’ athletics.

The release said the 63-page examination will be referred to law enforcement and the Education Professional Standards Board.

Calls to the school district office went unanswered late Monday afternoon.

Edelen’s office said 70 percent of the district’s fewer than 900 students qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch, and teacher salaries and benefits as a percentage of total spending are the lowest among Kentucky 173 public school districts.

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