News Around the State

Published 12:09 pm Thursday, May 31, 2018

Explosion damages UPS freight hub

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — An explosion damaged a UPS freight hub Wednesday morning in Kentucky’s second-largest city, sending multiple people to the hospital in what fire officials described as an accidental blast.

Lexington Battalion Chief Jason Wells said a truck and trailer with an acetylene tank exploded in the building, news outlets reported. The cause of the explosion was not yet known, but the blast wasn’t suspicious.

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“Nothing leads us to believe this is anything other than an accidental explosion,” the fire department tweeted.

The building on Blue Sky Parkway sustained significant damage, which was visible in the back of the building. The facility had been evacuated and everyone was accounted for, fire officials said.

Eight people received medical attention following the blast, Wells said. Two people taken to the hospital suffered from burns and possible concussions, and six others in the vicinity of the explosion were taken to the hospital for observation as a precaution, Wells said. Fire officials initially said about a dozen people received medical attention.

Lexington fire department spokeswoman Jessica Bowman said the building’s structural stability was being checked as part of an effort to determine what happened and how.

Businesses near the site reported a loud explosion shortly before 8 a.m. EDT. Emergency crews rushed to the scene and restricted access to the area.

The blast was felt inside other buildings.

McConnell: Premature to talk of Trump winning Nobel Prize

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Senate’s top leader says it’s “premature” to tout President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in pursuing a peace deal with North Korea.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chuckled as he mentioned the “chagrin” it would cause the Nobel committee to award Trump the world’s most coveted diplomatic prize.

The Republican senator made the comments this week to WHAS-AM in his home state of Kentucky.

U.S. and North Korean officials are continuing talks aimed at salvaging a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. McConnell says the U.S. should always be “skeptical” when dealing with North Korea, but says it’s good that Trump and Kim could meet.

Court hearing canceled in abortion case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal court hearing scheduled for next week on Kentucky’s newest abortion law has been canceled, and the case will proceed to a trial set for the fall.

A hearing had been planned for Tuesday on a request by the American Civil Liberties Union for a preliminary injunction to block the law.

The case will now move on to a trial set for Nov. 13.

A joint consent order that put the law on hold temporarily remains in place.

The ACLU is challenging the law, which is being defended by Gov. Matt Bevin’s legal team.

The law would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation.” The law bans those procedures performed 11 weeks after fertilization.

Kentucky’s GOP-led legislature passed the measure overwhelmingly earlier this year.

Farmer disciplined for failing to pay foreign workers

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) — Federal labor officials say a Kentucky farmer has been disciplined for failing to properly pay foreign workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday that Christopher Lee Smith has been barred from applying for certification to request temporary foreign workers under visa program for three years. He also has been fined more than $35,000.

Investigators say Smith, who owns a farm in Glasgow, failed to reimburse workers for transportation and for their visa expenses. Investigators said Smith did not pay workers the required minimum wage and failed to pay them on time.

Investigators found Smith owed $58,820 in back wages to 14 employees.

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows employers who anticipate a domestic worker shortage to bring non-immigrant foreign workers to the U.S. on a temporary or seasonal basis.

Event to offer link to the past at Fort Boonesborough

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — People wondering if they have family ties to the pioneers who passed through or settled at Fort Boonesborough in Kentucky will have a way to do some checking.

An event dedicated to descendants of the settlers who lived at the fort in the late 1700s is planned for June 23 at Fort Boonesborough State Park.

Officials say the park will have information about some of the fort’s earliest residents, contacts for early Kentucky cemetery locations and property records.

There will be museum exhibits of artifacts from the original fort site and authors on hand to sign books about the fort’s early days. Another feature will be historical interpretations of the daily lives of those who came to Fort Boonesborough.

The event is open to the public and free with paid admission to the fort.

Lawyer leaves department ahead of school takeover hearing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Education’s chief attorney has resigned in a move that comes weeks before a hearing on the proposed state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools.

Department spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez says Kevin C. Brown’s final day with the department was Wednesday. Brown had served as associate commissioner and general counsel.

The Courier Journal reports that as the department’s main attorney, Brown likely would have been involved in the state’s arguments supporting a takeover of JCPS.

Rodriguez did not say why Brown resigned. She says his departure will not affect the hearing.

The Jefferson County school board voted to appeal a recommendation for the district to be placed under state control.

The state and school district are expected to present their arguments for and against a takeover, respectively, to the state education board in late June.