News in Brief

Beshear, Governor’s Cup visit Lexington to tout success

LEXINGTON (AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear says he’s taking the Governor’s Cup trophy that the state won recently for its economic development success on the road, in the same way Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari took the national championship trophy on tour a few years ago so fans could see it.

Beshear had the trophy in Lexington on Monday. It was presented earlier this year after Site Selection magazine recognized Kentucky as the top state for economic development projects per capita last year.

The governor’s office said since January 2008, the Fayette County area has announced 115 new and expansion projects projected to create more than 3,700 jobs and about $377 million in new investment.

Kentucky announced more than 350 new industry location and expansion projects last year, projected to create nearly 15,000 jobs and more than $3.7 billion in new investment.


Ky. women’s prison will be split to add men’s section

FREDONIA (AP) — State corrections officials are converting a western Kentucky women’s prison into two facilities to make room for male inmates.

The change at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex will create a 200-bed, minimum-custody facility for women and a 470-bed facility for men.

The Department of Corrections says the conversion is estimated to save more than $700,000 annually and increase the number of female offenders in jails eligible to work in community service.

The men’s side will have a perimeter fence, separating it from the women’s prison.

Corrections officials say reforms including substance abuse treatment and changes in sentencing guidelines have lowered the number of women serving prison time in Kentucky.

The prison was converted from a male prison to a facility for women in 2010.


Hundreds of state engineers get sizable raises

FRANKFORT (AP) — About 550 engineers in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet have received raises averaging 20 percent in a plan to curb high turnover and costly contracts for private engineers.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the pay increase took effect June 16 and will cost about $7.8 million a year.

The salary increase follows an order from Kentucky’s 2014 General Assembly for the state to make the Transportation Cabinet salaries more competitive with similar jobs in surrounding states and private businesses.

Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe says the money is expected to come from savings in personal-service contracts used to hire outside engineers.

Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says among the 11 categories of engineers who received pay raises, the departure rate in 2014 was 33 percent, compared to 22 percent throughout state government.


Whimsical Louisville Clock being moved to storage

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The whimsical Louisville Clock is being moved back to storage to make room for a construction project downtown.

The Courier-Journal reports the clock will be taken to a warehouse until a permanent location can be found.

It’s at least the fourth time the clock has been moved. It languished in disrepair for a decade before a nearly complete rebuild funded by businessman Adam Burckle and his Adam Matthews Foundation. But now it has been inoperative for months.

Burckle says the clock should be “cherished, preserved and proudly displayed.”

Louisville Downtown Partnership Executive Director Rebecca Matheny says she’s confident the clock can be safely moved.

The clock features five iconic figures — Daniel Boone, Thomas Jefferson, King Louis XVI, George Rogers Clark and the Belle of Louisville — that race around a tilted clock face designed by the late artist Barney Bright.


Fire breaks out in historic buildings in downtown Louisville

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Fire broke out Monday in Louisville’s historic downtown Whiskey Row, and dozens of firefighters worked to control the blaze in the vacant buildings.

No injuries were reported as a huge plume of dark smoke rose and flames were visible at the tops of the buildings near the KFC Yum Center.

Louisville Fire Capt. Salvador Melendez said several adjacent businesses were evacuated.

Lesley Bradshaw, a server at Impellizzeri’s Pizza across Main Street from the fire, said employees watched from inside the restaurant until they were told to leave.

Part of the roof of one building had collapsed, but the brick facades remained intact.

Melendez says the fire started in the basement or first floor of a building and involved three structures. Firefighters were called to Main Street about 4:30 p.m.


Big South Fork wants public input on rock climbing

ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) — Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area wants to hear from the public about rock climbing management issues at the recreation area on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

Park officials are holding two “listening sessions” to hear from the public.

The first session is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 16 at the Square Room Conference Room at 4 Market Square in Knoxville. The second session will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 23 at the Interpretation and Education Building next to Bandy Creek Visitor Center at 151 Stable Road, Oneida.

For more information, contact the park at 423-569-9778.


Conway launches first 2 TV ads in governor’s race

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic nominee for governor Jack Conway began flexing his financial muscle on Tuesday by airing a pair of TV ads statewide.

The ads are the first of the 2015 general election campaign and highlight Conway’s family history and his record as the state’s attorney general. In one 60-second spot Conway talks about his family history in western Kentucky where his father owned a seed business. In another 30-second spot he touts his efforts as attorney general to combat Medicaid fraud and his recent plan to bring jobs to the state.

Conway enters the race for governor in a much stronger financial position than Republican nominee Matt Bevin, who survived a brutal four-way primary in May. Disclosure records show Conway has about $1.4 million available to spend while Bevin has about $15,000.

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