News in Brief

Published 10:48 am Friday, January 26, 2018

Ky. House GOP Caucus chief of staff resigns

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The chief of staff for the Kentucky House Republican Caucus has resigned amid fallout from a sexual harassment scandal involving four Republican lawmakers.

The Herald-Leader reports Ginger Wills resigned Friday. House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell confirmed her resignation but offered no details.

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Wills was chief of staff under former House Speaker Jeff Hoover. Hoover stepped down as speaker earlier this month after acknowledging he was one of four Republican lawmakers to sign a secret sexual harassment settlement with a woman who once worked for the caucus. Wills was also named in the settlement, accused of creating a hostile work environment.

Hoover remains in the legislature. The Legislative Ethics Commission is investigating the settlement and plans to have a public hearing soon.

Biotech device maker to locate in Greenburg, create 50 jobs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a biotech device maker will locate a new manufacturing operation in south-central Kentucky, creating 50 full-time jobs.

A statement from Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday says Hardin Scientific will open a new $11.6 million plant in Green County where it will make T3-i7 Cell-Culture incubators, which create conditions allowing for tissue cultures, stem-cell research and protein expressions used in diagnostic and forensic industries.

CEO Aaron Hardin said the Greensburg community offered hospitality and logistical advantages for the company.

Sen. David Givens of Greensburg said the company’s choice speaks to the workforce in the Greensburg region.

Ky. native confirmed to head Army Corps of Engineers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Senate has confirmed a Kentucky native to head the Army Corps of Engineers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said in a news release that R.D. James was confirmed Thursday as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.

James is a Fulton County native and 1971 University of Kentucky graduate. He currently resides in New Madrid, Missouri.

Former President Ronald Reagan appointed James to serve on the Mississippi River Commission, and he held the position for 36 years.

Trucker convicted in 2015 Tenn. wreck that killed 6

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee jury has convicted a Kentucky trucker of vehicular homicide and other charges in a 2015 wreck that killed six people on Interstate 75.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the verdict was returned Thursday afternoon for 42-year-old Benjamin Brewer. He was found guilty of six counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of reckless aggravated assault and single counts of speeding and driving under the influence.

Prosecutors said Brewer was impaired on methamphetamine, ignored construction signs and never tapped the brakes when his tractor-trailer slammed into slowed traffic near the Ooltewah (OOL’-teh-wah) exit.

Defense lawyers said Brewer, of London, Kentucky, fell asleep at the wheel, toxicology reports were contaminated and prosecutors were overlooking helpful information.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 12. Brewer remains in custody.