News Around the State

Published 12:09 pm Friday, April 6, 2018

Railway company sues workers over train crash

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A railway company is suing two men it says failed to prevent a train crash and derailment.

The Norfolk Southern Railway Co. lawsuit says locomotive engineer Kevin Tobergte and conductor Andrew Hall failed to reduce a train’s speed and prevent its collision with another train.

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The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the March 18 crash in Georgetown destroyed two Norfolk Southern locomotives, derailed 13 cars and caused a fire and temporary evacuation. The lawsuit says the men are liable for damages to railway property and costs related to removing spilled fuel.

The Herald-Leader says lawyer Robert Cetrulo filed the suit Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky, and declined to comment. It also says Tobergte and Hall could not be reached.

Warrant: Suspect in officer’s death escaped halfway house

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — An arrest warrant says a man suspected of shooting a police officer in Kentucky last week had escaped from a halfway house nearly two months earlier.

The Kentucky New Era obtained an arrest warrant that says 35-year-old James K. Decoursey had left Louisville’s Dismas Charities-St. Patrick’s without consent in early February upon being informed he would be transferred back to prison.

Kentucky State Police said Decoursey fatally shot Hopkinsville Officer Phillip Meacham on March 29. He was shot and killed in an encounter with law enforcement officials in Tennessee the next day.

According to the warrant, he was serving a 29-year sentence and due to be released in September 2039.

Christian County Sheriff Livy Leavell says his office was never notified of the outstanding warrant for Decoursey’s arrest.

2 more tornadoes confirmed during storms

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The National Weather Service says survey crews have confirmed two more tornadoes in Kentucky, bringing the total to five that occurred during widespread storms.

The weather service said an EF-2, or significant, tornado hit around Burna in Livingston County in western Kentucky at 6:54 p.m. CDT Tuesday, damaging one home, snapping or uprooting dozens of trees and killing a horse when a tree fell on it. Four vehicles and a few outbuildings were destroyed.

About 1 ½ hours later, an EF-1, or moderate, tornado touched down west-southwest of Danville. The weather service said the twister damaged a couple of houses, damaged or destroyed barns and fencing and snapped trees.

Earlier, crews determined that three other EF-1 tornadoes had touched down in Kentucky on Tuesday, two near Clinton in western Kentucky and another near Hanging Rock in Grayson County.

Report: lawmaker gets off Twitter after tweet about teachers

LEITCHFIELD, Ky. (AP) — Reports say a Kentucky lawmaker has apologized for a tweet that appeared to criticize teachers.

News outlets report state Sen. Stephen Meredith responded Wednesday to a tweet from WKYT Political Editor Bill Bryant, who had shared the station’s story on the “unprecedented” 40 teachers running for office in Kentucky.

Meredith’s responded: “40 percent of high school grads can’t read or do math. Yes, let’s see what they can do with state government.”

It’s unclear where he got those statistics from.

Meredith told WDRB by phone Wednesday evening that he regrets leaving the impression that he doesn’t respect teachers. The Republican from Leitchfield later deleted his Twitter account, saying social media was “getting too toxic.”

Century Aluminum to invest $116.5M, add 250 jobs

HAWESVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A company that produces aluminum is adding more than 250 jobs and investing over $100 million to improve one of its smelters in Kentucky.

The Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro reports Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday that Century Aluminum will invest roughly $116.5 million for improvements to the smelter in Hawesville and bring back more than 250 full-time jobs. In the fall 2015, Century closed three potlines and laid off about 320 workers at the smelter in a dispute over electricity prices.

Hancock County Industrial Foundation Director Mike Baker says the jobs will pay around $60,000 a year.

Bevin’s announcement says Century will upgrade its smelting technology and train new and existing employees to use the new equipment.

The Hawesville plant produces metal required for defense, aerospace and electrical industries.

Barrel manufacturer plans new $66.5M cooperage with 220 jobs

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — A Missouri-based barrel manufacturer says it will create more than 200 jobs in Kentucky as it plans to build a $66.5 million cooperage.

News outlets report Independent Stave Co. announced the 220 jobs for the new operation in Morehead. The company already has a stave mill in Morehead, and WKYT-TV reports the governor’s office says the cooperage announcement is a result of strong demand in the bourbon and whiskey industry.

Independent Stave CEO Brad Boswell says the company decided on land in Rowan County because of proximity to its stave mills and access to cooperage-quality white oak in the surrounding area.

Independent Stave will receive performance-based incentives up to $3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program and up to $500,000 from the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.

Kentucky State Fair Board names its next president

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky State Fair Board has a new president following a succession of leaders over the past two years.

WDRB-TV reports the board named David S. Beck its next president Thursday. The 63-year-old has served as CEO of the Kentucky Farm Bureau since 1994 and has 40 years of agriculture and government affairs experience.

The board president oversees the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center. Beck says in a statement he looks forward to enhancing the properties and working with partners to attract more national and international events.

The position has been vacant since September 2017, when Jason Rittenberry resigned. He had replaced Rip Rippetoe, who left in 2016.

The board will vote to approve Beck’s contract with a July 1 start date at an April meeting.