News Around the State

Published 11:16 am Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Churchill hiring up to 200 workers for new gaming venue

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs Inc. says it will hire up to 200 employees ahead of opening its new Louisville gaming facility.

The Derby City Gaming facility will feature 900 historical racing machines. The electronic gaming machines allow people to bet on races that have already taken place. The games typically show video of condensed horse races.

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Churchill officials say construction of the $65 million entertainment venue is nearly complete. The grand opening is set for September.

They say job fairs for Derby City Gaming will take place on July 28 and July 31 at the Crowne Plaza Expo Center in Louisville.

Churchill officials say the facility is hiring both hourly and salaried employees in operations, marketing, finance, food and beverage, information technology, human resources, security and administration.

13 evacuated from boat ride at Kentucky Kingdom

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials at a Kentucky amusement park say a boat on a water ride became stuck, leading crews to evacuate 13 people on board.

Louisville news outlets cited a statement from Kentucky Kingdom that said the boat was part of the Mile High Falls, a shoot-the-chute water ride. The statement said the boat was headed back to the station Saturday evening when it got lodged along the side of a water-filled trough.

Park officials said riders were evacuated from the boat within 10 minutes. Five passengers went to the park’s Health Services Center for evaluation. Officials said one declined treatment, two were treated for minor injuries and the other two requested transport to a local hospital.

Park officials say the ride will remain closed until an investigation is complete and state inspectors recertify it.

Appeals board sets value of Bevin’s home at $2M

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An appeals board says the home Gov. Matt Bevin purchased from a friend and campaign donor last year is worth $2 million.

Bevin paid $1.6 million for the home in March 2017. But the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator says the property is worth $2.9 million. That discrepancy has prompted criticism from Democrats that Bevin got a sweetheart deal.

Bevin appealed the value to the Board of Assessment Appeals. His attorney argued the property was worth $1.39 million. The board ruled Tuesday the home was worth $1.2 million and the land was worth $800,000.

Both sides could appeal the ruling. Bevin’s attorney Mark Sommer did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Pharmacist charged with supplying pill mills in 2 states

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A Kentucky pharmacist is accused of making custom pills to supply to two pill mills in West Virginia and one in Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail cites court documents that say Karl O’Dell met with the managers of an unnamed pain clinic with locations is Charleston, Raleigh County and Wytheville, Virginia, in late 2013 or early 2014. O’Dell is the owner and operator of Boyd County Pharmacy in Ashland, Kentucky, which was licensed to compound pharmaceuticals.

The criminal complaint says the clinic’s patients were having problems getting prescriptions filled, as they weren’t written for actual medical purposes. O’Dell agreed to make oxycodone and hydrocodone pills if the physicians wrote prescriptions for amounts not typically available commercially.

O’Dell is charged with federal conspiracy, misrepresenting medications and interstate commerce violations. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.

State offers largest school system way to avoid takeover

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s interim education commissioner says he’s offered the state’s largest school district a settlement to avoid a takeover, but has yet to receive a response.

Wayne Lewis told the Courier Journal on Monday he gave Jefferson County Public Schools a proposal July 16, and met with Superintendent Marty Polio and school board Chair Diane Porter a few days later. He says the proposal would give the state “enhanced oversight,” like veto authority, without taking full management away.

Lewis had announced the state takeover April 30, citing low-performing schools, achievement gaps and abuse. The district’s board voted unanimously in May to appeal to the state Board of Education in September.

With a deadline of Aug. 1 to respond to Lewis’ proposal, district spokeswoman Allison Martin says it remains under review.

US student goes missing while swimming in Mediterranean Sea

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The University of Kentucky says a student studying abroad went missing while swimming with friends in the Mediterranean Sea.

A statement from the school says 19-year-old TeNiya Elnora Jones of Fort Myers, Florida, was swimming with two other Kentucky students when they got caught in a strong current and were pulled out to sea. Officials said the other students were able to make it back to the shoreline.

A spokesman for Israeli police confirmed that a person was reported missing in the sea on Saturday and a body was found Monday. He said the body has not yet been identified.

The university says Jones was part of a group of students studying the Arabic language. The school is sending a representative to Tel Aviv and is making travel arrangements for Jones’ mother and grandfather.

Jail inmates moved after riot damages cell

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a riot at a central Kentucky jail led to several inmates being moved to another facility.

A statement from Kentucky State Police said that about 30 inmates were involved in the disturbance early Tuesday at the Taylor County Detention Center. The statement said police helped jailers get control of the situation quickly and no injuries were reported.

Police say several inmates in one cell covered cameras, detached a steel bedframe from the floor and began destroying items and trying to breach the door. Officials said there was significant damage to the cell and several inmates were moved to the nearby Marion County Detention Center.

WKU implementing stricter admissions

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — An official at Western Kentucky University says the school will have stricter admission policies next year.

The Daily News cited an email from Provost David Lee that says the school will no longer accept students with a cumulative, unweighted grade-point average that’s below 2.0. Lee said enrollment in 2019 may dip due to the new policy, but he expects better retention and student success rates in the long run.

He said the school hopes to serve underprepared students through either a new college prep program or by referring them to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Lee told the newspaper that the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education voted in June to establish minimum admission requirements, which necessitated the change.

Herman Webb dies; brother of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — The brother of country singers Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle has died at a Kentucky hospital.

Phelps-Son Funeral Home Inc. said Herman Webb died Saturday at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland. He was 83.

Gayle posted a tribute to her brother on Facebook, saying he died surrounded by his children and will be missed.

Webb had lived in Van Lear and was known for being the curator of the Butcher Hollow homestead, where the siblings grew up. The cabin was made famous in Lynn’s song “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and Webb gave tours to the thousands of fans who visited each year.

County attorney sues state for ending child support contract

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky county attorney has sued the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services for ending its contract with him to collect child support payments.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley filed the lawsuit last Friday in Franklin County Circuit Court.

Bartley says in his lawsuit the state canceling its contract with him to collect child support in Floyd County is unlawful. The suit says it will result in limited or no support for families who need money to feed and clothe their children or require other services for an undetermined period of time.

Bartley’s administration of the Floyd County program includes collecting and distributing child support. It serves more than 3,000 people.

Cabinet spokesman Doug Hogan says officials are reviewing the lawsuit but cannot address specifics.