News Around the State

Published 10:38 am Friday, July 20, 2018

State’s jobless rate rises slightly in June

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say the state’s unemployment rate increased slightly in June.

The Kentucky Center for Statistics says the state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.2 percent.

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The preliminary statewide figure is up slightly from the 4.1 percent rate reported for May.

Officials say the June rate was down from the 5.1 percent unemployment rate in June 2017.

One official, Mike Clark, says the increase in the June 2018 jobless rate is the result of more people entering the workforce and looking for work rather than a decline in the number of people employed. Clark is associate director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

Clark says Kentucky’s unemployment rate fell to a low of 4 percent in March and April but has inched up since then.

Police take down immigration protest camp in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville police have taken down a downtown encampment set up by a group protesting federal immigration enforcement and family separations.

The group Occupy ICE had set up tents and had been staying overnight on a street corner outside a federal building since July 2.

Courier Journal reports no arrests were made but officers tore down tents and set up barricades. Police say the protest was out of compliance with state law and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Police say the protesters were given a 15-minute warning at 6 a.m. Thursday to come into compliance.

In a statement, the protest group accused Mayor Greg Fischer and police officials of not caring about the treatment of the immigrant community. They say police “raided” the camp and took their property as protesters slept.

Board approves tax increase to make schools safer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky school board has approved a property tax increase to fund a $13.5 million initiative to help prevent school shootings.

The Fayette County Public Schools board voted 4-0 Wednesday to add a 5-cent property tax for every $100 of property values, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported .

The tax increase will pay for several safety upgrades that include placing law enforcement officers in every school, hiring more mental health professionals and installing metal detectors in every middle and high school.

The increase will cost about $88 per year for the average homeowner who has about $175,000 worth of property.

Superintendent Manny Caulk said “the world began to change” in January with a fatal shooting at Marshall County High School, followed by the Valentine’s Day massacre at a Florida high school and copycat threats in Lexington.

“With changing times our values must remain constant,” said Caulk, explaining why he convened a safety council that held hearings and made the recommendations in the $13.5 million plan.

Crawford Middle School Principal Mike Jones, a member of the District Safety Advisory Council that made the recommendations, said Wednesday that “we cannot continue to cut instruction to provide safety so we are going to have a steady source of revenue in order to provide the safety measures that the council recommended.”

The increased amount would be on this fall’s tax bill and the taxes would be collected in October and November. The safety improvements will be implemented soon after.

The new tax is a done deal unless opponents can come up with around 13,000 verified signatures in the next 45 days to put the tax increase to a county-wide vote, WTVQ-TV reported .

Soaring temperatures, humidity bring dangerous heat in south

ATLANTA (AP) — Scorching heat is spreading across much of the south, where temperatures are expected to soar over 100 degrees.

The National Weather Service posted heat advisories and warnings Friday from the New Mexico-Texas border eastward to parts of Alabama.

Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and west Tennessee were all under heat advisories or warnings Friday morning.

Forecasters say the hot temperatures will combine with high humidity, which could be lethal to some people. They warn that children, older people, those without air conditioning and outdoor workers will be particularly at risk.

There’s also a threat of severe storms, which could spawn tornadoes in parts of the South. The national Storm Prediction Center says the area at greatest risk of storms Friday includes parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.