News Around the State

Published 10:38 am Thursday, July 19, 2018

Gov. Bevin extends contract to investigate predecessor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has extended a contract with an Indiana law firm to investigate corruption in his Democratic predecessor’s administration.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the potential cost to Kentucky taxpayers for Bevin’s investigation of former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration has doubled to reach $1 million.

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Bevin’s administration approved a two-year, $500,000 extension in June of its contract with the Indianapolis office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister to search for corruption in Beshear’s administration. It had awarded the contract to the firm in 2016 through the state Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner said Tuesday the renewed contract is for investigative and legal services.

Beshear says Bevin “has now decided to waste another half a million dollars and another two years to continue his fruitless search.”

Federal program to help employers with tough hires

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Career Center has a new plan to help employers hire hard-to-place applicants, such as those with substance abuse problems or a criminal record.

The center is offering a $5,000, six-month fidelity bond through a U.S. Department of Labor program.

The federal program allows employers to insure their business against theft, forgery, larceny or embezzlement if they hire at-risk job seekers who cannot get private coverage. The bond covers the first six months of employment at no cost to the employer.

Job-seekers with poor credit, criminal backgrounds and economically disadvantaged youth and adults are some of those eligible for the program.

A release from the Kentucky Education & Workforce Development Cabinet says the program has helped about 40,000 workers around the country.

Church revokes memberships for nonattendance

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky pastor is drawing criticism for kicking out members of his congregation who failed to attend church regularly and contribute.

The Rev. Ryan Broers of Cave City Baptist Church told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he notified 70 people by letter that their church membership had been revoked.

The letter said members are expected to attend church regularly and to “give regularly” to its support.

The newspaper reported that some congregants were upset. Beth Gentry Carder said she stopped attending around a year ago due to work reasons. She says she no longer feels welcome at the church and has no plans to return.

Broers has been the church’s senior pastor for about a year. He said the letter is part of the church’s effort to rebuild.

Jail to get program for opioid-addicted inmates

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Opioid-addicted inmates at a Kentucky jail will soon have access to a medical treatment and comprehensive therapy program in partnership with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, officials said.

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation officials think the Start Strong program announced Monday might be a blueprint for opioid-addicted inmates throughout the country, news outlets reported.

Jason Merrick, addiction services director at Kenton County Jail, said he believes the addition care is needed to make a substantial impact on overdose deaths, opiate use and the influx of drugs in their community. Merrick said the program uses “the best evidence-based tools we have to engage inmates with addiction for longer periods of time.”

The concept involves giving medication not only to quell cravings or ease withdrawal symptoms, but to stabilize patients getting therapeutic care in jail. They will then have the option to stay on a medication-assisted track during and after their incarceration.

Strong Start will include life skills from the Life Learning Center in Covington, which helps with job training and other social services that those re-entering society after jail often lack.

The program is expected to start in September, and the jail and partners have requested federal grants of $2 million to cover its costs. The money is not yet in hand but Merrick said the partners, which include the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, are confident they will secure the funding.

Printer company Lexmark plans about 1,000 layoffs

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Lexmark says it’s planning to lay off about 1,000 employees — about one-ninth of its global workforce — over the next year in the latest restructuring of the printer company.

The Kentucky-based company said Wednesday the restructuring is needed to align its workforce with its strategy to ensure the company’s future success.

It’s the latest downsizing of Lexmark’s workforce. Last year, it announced layoffs of about 700 employees.

Lexmark said Wednesday it would not provide any “location-specific numbers” on where the latest job cuts will occur. The company says it currently has about 9,000 employees globally.

The company was acquired by a consortium of investors in late 2016.

JBS USA suspends shipments from Kentucky farm after video

DENVER (AP) — JBS USA, the U.S. branch of the world’s largest meat producer, says it has suspended shipments from a pig farm where workers were shown hitting, kicking and throwing pigs on undercover video.

The Colorado-based company said it made the decision based on an initial review of the Mercy for Animals video at a Tosh Farms site in Simpson County, Kentucky, and will investigate the allegations.

The video also shows sows being held in individual metal pens, a controversial but common practice.

Tennessee-based Tosh Farms says several actions shown in the video violate its policy, and it will re-train its staff immediately. It says a veterinarian found no problems at the site Tuesday.

Mercy for Animals wants JBS to require changes in how animals are raised by its suppliers.

Markers planned for Revolutionary War veterans in Ky.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Nearly two dozen markers are planned for Revolutionary War veterans who settled in south-central Kentucky.

The Daily News reports the Simpson County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution said the group will put up a marker in the Old City Cemetery for 22 known Revolutionary War veterans who died in Simpson County.

The group’s vice regent, Lu Ann Ferguson, says records show a few of the soldiers have old headstones, but it’s unclear where most are buried. She says records weren’t kept very well before 1900, but the group is still looking for information.

She hopes to have the markers installed next year in time for Simpson County’s bicentennial.

The Franklin City Commission has approved installing the markers.

Former state police officer to head Workplace Standards

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Acting Kentucky Labor Secretary David A. Dickerson has appointed Dwayne Depp as the commissioner of the Department of Workplace Standards.

Depp is an 18-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police. He retired in 2009 as the commander of Post 8 in Morehead. After that he served on the state parole board from 2011 to 2015 and was most recently was acting director of enforcement at the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Dickerson says Depp has extensive background in managing employees, budgeting and achieving organizational goals.

The Department of Workplace Standards enforces Kentucky’s occupational safety and health laws, wage and hour laws, and child labor laws.

Woman found dead at Barren River Lake State Park

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) — Officials in Kentucky say a woman has been found dead at Barren River Lake State Park.

News outlets report a conservation officer responded to the scene and found the body of 50-year-old Angela Dunagan on Monday afternoon. Lt. Jeremy McQueary with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife says the woman was on the lake with another person when the incident occurred.

Officials say a 911 call was made to report a possible drowning near Narrows Marina at the lake. A death investigation is ongoing.