Same-sex marriage fight turns to clerks who refuse licenses
MOREHEAD (AP) — Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis shut her blinds at work Tuesday to block the view of rainbow-clad protesters outside. They carried flowers and flags and signs saying “you don’t own marriage.” They chanted “do your job.”
Moments later, she told a lesbian couple who walked in asking for a license to try another county.
Davis is among a handful of public officials across the Bible Belt so repulsed by the thought of enabling a same-sex marriage that they are defying the U.S. Supreme Court and refusing to issue a license to anyone, gay or straight.
“It’s a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won’t allow me to do that,” Davis told The Associated Press. “It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.”
Some judges and clerks in Alabama and Texas have done the same, ordering their offices in the name of religious liberty and free speech to issue no marriage licenses at all.
Legal experts are dubious that religious freedom arguments will protect public officials who not only refuse to participate due to their own beliefs, but also decline to make accommodations so that others who don’t object can serve the public instead.
Appeals court denies request to halt minimum wage hike
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Court of Appeals will not stop a minimum wage increase in Louisville on Wednesday.
Monday, a state circuit court judge upheld the Louisville Metro Council’s decision to increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour by 2017, beginning with an increase of 50 cents to $7.75 per hour on Wednesday. But the Kentucky Restaurant Association wants the Court of Appeals to overturn that decision. Tuesday, the association asked the court to delay the minimum wage increase while it considers the appeal.
“Should the ordinance be upheld, affected employees can easily be made whole,” attorney Brent Baughman wrote to the court for the restaurant association. “The same cannot be said for employers who would not be able to withhold or deduct from future wages, if any, to recoup overpayments issued while complying with an invalid ordinance.”
But the court denied the association’s request late Tuesday afternoon.
“It would appear that if reconciliation is easy enough on employers if an underpayment is made, then it should be easy enough if an overpayment is made,” Judge Joy A. Kramer wrote for the court, adding that the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that factors of “inconvenience, expense, annoyance … do not constitute irreparable injury.”
The court could still strike down the minimum wage increase on appeal. But that ruling is likely months away.
After coal win, states seek similar relief for farms
FRANKFORT (AP) — They beat the EPA on coal, and now a group of state attorneys general hopes to score a similar victory on farming.
Attorneys general from nine states sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday over a new rule they say gives the federal government much more power to regulate farms and streams. The lawsuit comes one day after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an EPA rule for coal-fired power plants.
A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency did not comment on the lawsuit directly but said the rule was designed to protect people from unsafe drinking water.
The lawsuit will not be resolved for some time, but it will likely impact Kentucky’s race for governor. This is the second time Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, has sued President Barack Obama’s administration. Obama is deeply unpopular in Kentucky.
Trooper involved in crash that kills other driver
SOMERSET (AP) — A southern Kentucky woman has died in a crash involving a state trooper.
A statement from Kentucky State Police says Trooper Joshua Brainard was headed south on U.S. 27 in Pulaski County in a marked cruiser on Tuesday evening when a 2004 Toyota Corolla pulled out into his path. The statement says Brainard hit the vehicle, which was being driven by 56-year-old Denese L. Koval of Nancy.
Both drivers were taken to the Lake Cumberland Regional Medical Center in Somerset, where Koval was pronounced dead and Brainard was treated and released.
The crash remains under investigation.
Widow of prominent Ky. defense lawyer sues over his killing
LEXINGTON (AP) — A prominent Kentucky defense lawyer’s widow is suing psychiatrists and a hospital over their treatment of a patient who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the lawyer’s fatal shooting last year.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Bethany L. Stanziano filed suit Monday in Fayette Circuit Court against University of Kentucky Healthcare, doing business as Eastern State Hospital, and doctors Andrew T. Cooley, Charles Shelton, Muhammad Ashfaq and Judy A. Ognibene. The newspaper said no comment on the lawsuit was available from UK Healthcare.
The lawsuit said 41-year-old Clinton D. Inabnit shot and killed 57-year-old Somerset attorney Mark Stanziano on June 27, 2014, 44 days after Inabnit was released from Eastern State while “actively experiencing psychotic delusions.”
Inabnit pleaded guilty but mentally ill on a murder charge Monday and also pleaded guilty to wanton endangerment.
Traveling Vietnam Wall to be displayed in Ky.
FRANKFORT (AP) — People are being encouraged to leave mementos when viewing the Traveling Vietnam Wall that will soon be displayed in Lexington.
The state Department of Veterans Affairs says mementos may end up in a collection at the Center for Kentucky History.
The Traveling Wall will be open to the public at the Kentucky Horse Park beginning at noon EDT on July 9.
The wall will be open to the public around the clock through 3 p.m. July 12.
Visitors are encouraged to leave photographs, flowers or other mementos to loved ones. Kentucky Historical Society staff will collect the mementos when the wall closes. They will determine which mementos are most appropriate for potential display and collection.
The Traveling Wall is an 80 percent scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
Tyson Foods adding jobs in W.Ky.
HENDERSON (AP) — Kentucky officials say Tyson Chicken Inc. plans to add 91 jobs with a project to increase capacity at its Henderson County plant.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says the project will upgrade equipment and add processing capacity for Tyson’s frozen chicken products.
The subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc. plans to invest $8.2 million.
The Robards facility plans to replace one of its freezers and increase processing capacity.
Tyson Chicken has been part of the Robards community since 1995 and currently employs 1,200 Kentuckians.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved Tyson for performance-based tax incentives up to $750,000.
Tyson Chicken also was approved for tax benefits up to $100,000 through a program allowing companies to recoup state sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures and equipment used in research.
Reports: School bus driver fired after student dragging
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Louisville area school system has fired a bus driver who inadvertently dragged a 7-year-old girl about 500 feet when her backpack got caught in the door, reports say.
Driver Melinda Sanders was fired in June by the Jefferson County Public Schools, which said she failed to follow proper procedures in the incident May 15, local media outlets reported.
Police said the first-grader was getting off the bus when the door shut on her backpack, trapping her alongside the bus as it drove away. Taken with minor injuries to a hospital, the child was released two days later.
A district letter to Sanders said she was distracted by talking with another student and failed to check the stairwell before shutting the door, the reports say.
Sanders couldn’t be reached immediately.
Judge disputes misconduct charges, will serve suspension
NEWPORT (AP) — A district judge in northern Kentucky has decided not to appeal a suspension from the bench for misconduct.
The Kentucky Enquirer reports that Campbell County District Judge Gregory T. Popovich said he would be off the bench for 15 days, beginning on Wednesday. He has been accused of violating five canons of the state Code of Judicial Conduct.
Popovich disputes the charges, but says he will not appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The charges against Popovich stemmed from a DUI case in which the judge said it appeared that the assistant prosecutor, Cameron Blau, was helping the defense with its case. The 2014 statements happened when Popovich was in a re-election race with Blau.
Popovich disagrees with the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission’s findings, and says Blau was being unprofessional.
Mayor: 2,500 teens employed through SummerWorks program
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A record 2,500 teens have been connected to a part-time job through the SummerWorks program.
The Courier-Journal reports Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday. The program partners with local employers to get more young people work during the summer break.
Companies participating in the program this year include Norton Healthcare, Thornton’s and Kroger.
Fischer says the program has been wildly successful in the city, growing from 200 employed youth when he first began the program in 2011. Local partners employed more than 400 additional teens this year compared with last.
The city received a $500,000 grant from Kentucky’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to specifically target youth from low-income families. Two hundred kids were placed with summer jobs through that funding
Lebanon planning first-ever Mayberry-themed festival
LEBANON (AP) — The city of Lebanon is launching a new festival built around the town of Mayberry from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
They’re calling it the Mayberry Pie Festival, and it will include two comedians who impersonate the show’s bumbling patrolman Barney Fife and the town drunk, Otis. The comedians, Michael J and Joey I.L.O., have a traveling comedy show called “Barney Fife Fully Loaded.”
Karen Knotts, the daughter of Don Knotts, will also be at the festival to talk about life with her famous father. Other events include a Pub Crawl With Otis, live music, a pie-eating contest, fishing tournaments and a screening of a moving starring Don Knotts.
The festival runs from Aug. 13 to 16. More details can be found at http://www.VisitLebanonky.com .
Bush Center displays rare Honus Wagner baseball card
DALLAS (AP) — One of the rarest, most valuable specimens of sports memorabilia is at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University.
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card went on display Wednesday. It’s regarded by collectors as the “Holy Grail” of baseball cards. An example recently sold at auction for $1.3 million.
Wagner was one of the first five players chosen for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in recognition of his long, stellar career as shortstop for the National League’s Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates.
His baseball cards were offered as premiums on cigarette packs until Wagner objected.
A Bush Center statement says the card will be displayed through Aug. 17 as part of its exhibit “Baseball: America’s Presidents, America’s Pastime.”