News Around the State

Published 12:09 pm Monday, March 26, 2018

Lawmakers wary of cost to fund state broadband project

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A project to bring high-speed internet capability to all of Kentucky’s 120 counties needs more than $100 million to keep it going, but state lawmakers seem wary of paying for it.

Officials with Kentucky Wired made their case Monday to a panel of Kentucky lawmakers who will decide how to spend more than $70 billion in state and federal tax dollars over the next two years. The project needs about $60 million over the next two years to meet its contractual obligations with its private partners. And it needs another $88 million to reimburse companies for their losses during the project’s many delays.

State officials say killing the project could lead to a $500 million loss for the state. Lawmakers discussed the issue Monday but made no decision.

Man accused of murdering ex to have jury trial

LONDON, Ky. (AP) — An inability to reach a plea agreement will result in an April jury trial in the case of a Kentucky man accused of killing his estranged girlfriend.

The Times-Tribune reports that both prosecutors and the defense say neither side could reach an agreement on a plea deal for 50-year-old Joseph Nestor on Friday. Nestor is charged with murder, abuse of a corpse through sexual intercourse, tampering with physical evidence and first-degree possession of a controlled substance in the death of 25-year-old Amber Decker, whose body was found inside a tote near Nestor’s home.

His attorney, Michael Brophy, said the proposed offer would have reduced the murder charge to first-degree manslaughter with a recommendation for 18 years in prison.

It’s unclear why the proposed plea agreement fell through.

Officials mull repairs after damage closes historic bridge

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Officials are trying to determine the best way to repair damage to a historic Ohio River bridge that connects Covington, Kentucky, to Cincinnati.

Media outlets report Kentucky transportation officials closed the 120-year-old Roebling Bridge last week, first to vehicle traffic and then to pedestrians, after a crash damaged a steel support structure.

Kentucky transportation officials said in a statement that engineers and consultants are working together to find the best and quickest way to fix the suspension bridge and reopen it. The statement said it was unclear how long it would take to complete repairs on the span.

Students lead rally in Louisville for stricter gun laws

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hundreds of students and their supporters marched in the drizzling rain in Kentucky’s largest city to speak out for stricter gun laws in the wake of the Florida school shooting.

Media reports say the marchers chanted “enough is enough” and “books not bullets” along the route that took them to a rally Saturday in front of Metro Hall in downtown Louisville.

The Courier Journal reports that Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth sported a button of his “F” rating from the National Rifle Association as he spoke to his fans.

Bill Smith of Clifton, Kentucky, wore camouflage and held a small, handwritten sign that read, “Hunter for assault rifle ban.” Smith, an avid deer hunter, says hunters pride themselves on precise shooting. He says assault-style weapons can’t be used to accomplish that type of shooting.

Police: Shots fired at officer, man sought

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say they’re seeking a man after a police officer in Kentucky was shot at following an attempted traffic stop.

News outlets report Ashland police are searching for 28-year-old Frank Jolliff Jr.

Authorites say Jolliff is wanted on charges of fleeing and evading and wanton endangerment as well as for questioning in connection in what they describe as the attempted murder of an Ashland officer. The officer wasn’t injured in the shooting.

Police say the officer attempted to make the traffic stop early Sunday, leading to a pursuit. During the ensuing foot chase, authorities say, two suspects fired shots at the officer.

Further details have not been released.

Ky. group to attend trade, business trip in Canada

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton will lead a state delegation on an aerospace trade and business trip to Canada next month.

Hampton announced in a news release Monday the trip will take place April 15 through 20 in Montreal and Quebec City.

The trip is being organized by the World Trade Center Kentucky and the Kentucky Aerospace Industry Consortium.

Participants will have the chance to attend the Aero Montreal Aerospace Innovation Forum 2018 and conduct individual business meetings. Last year’s event had more than 50 exhibitors.

World Trade Center Kentucky President and CEO Ed Webb says the trip is “a golden opportunity for Kentucky business owners to network with new buyers or secure more buyers in Canada.”

Ky. plastics plant to expand, add 79 jobs

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a plastics maker is expanding a Kentucky production facility and adding 79 jobs.

The Paducah Sun reports Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development President Ray Hagerman announced the expansion of the Berry Global Inc. plant at a Madisonville City Council meeting last week.

The company is expected to invest up to $50 million in equipment and other upgrades at the western Kentucky facility for the production of plastic packaging.

Don Ball, prominent home builder and philanthropist, dies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Don Ball, founder of a prominent home-building company and a major Lexington philanthropist, has died. He was 81.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Ball created Ball Homes in 1959 along with his wife, Mira. In recent years, the company expanded to Louisville and to Tennessee and is now ranked as one of the top 100 builders in the country.

Ball, who died Friday, also helped reshape lives in central Kentucky in 1993 with the founding of the Hope Center, which develops programs to address the causes of homelessness.

Ball served in the Kentucky General Assembly in the 1960s.

He also served as co-chair of the Recovery Kentucky Task Force, which established a network of residential recovery centers across Kentucky.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that Ball and his wife “touched countless lives with their kindness and generosity.”