News Around the State

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pension arguments to be aired on statewide television

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Arguments before the Kentucky Supreme Court about the future of the state’s public pension system will be broadcast live on statewide television.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Supreme Court is partnering with Kentucky Educational Television to broadcast the arguments on Sept. 20th. It will be the second time in the court’s history its proceedings will be aired live on TV.

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The Republican-controlled legislature passed a law earlier this year making changes to the state’s struggling public pension systems. Thousands of teachers closed schools to protest at the state Capitol. A state judge struck down the law in June, ruling lawmakers used an unconstitutional process to pass the law. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin appealed the ruling.

Arguments are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept. 20th.

Lexington recommends all residents get Hepatitis A vaccine

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Amid a growing hepatitis A outbreak, health officials in Kentucky’s second-largest city are recommending all residents get vaccinated.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department announced the update Tuesday. It comes two months after health officials in Louisville made the same recommendation.

Officials say there have been 1,620 cases reported across 86 counties in Kentucky, with 12 cases in Lexington. A total of 13 deaths have been reported.

Officials say they have targeted the vaccine to high risk populations such as those who use illegal drugs and the homeless since the outbreak began. They say they now are recommending it for all residents of Fayette County.

Hepatitis A is transmitted by oral contact with fecal matter. It attacks the liver and causes symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice.

Ky., W.Va. offer lodging discounts during storm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Kentucky and West Virginia are offering discounted rates on lodging at their state parks for people seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence.

The Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said the discounted nightly rate for lodge rooms is $49.95 for residents of any East Coast state seeking shelter from the hurricane. One-bedroom cottages are $69.95, and two bedrooms are $79.95. The rates are good until Sept. 30.

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice said state parks will offer a 55 percent discount on rooms, cabins and campsites through Tuesday.

West Virginia’s Agriculture Department also said it will waive movement entry requirements for animals taken to West Virginia because of the hurricane. Also, the State Fair of West Virginia is offering temporary shelter for equine and can accommodate 100 horses.

Court: Free speech protects Trump comments at Ky. rally

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump incited a riot during a 2016 Kentucky campaign rally that led to assaults of three protesters.

Kentucky residents Kashiya Nwanguma (kah-SHY’-ah wan-GOO’-mah), Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau filed the lawsuit in 2016. They attended Trump’s campaign rally in Louisville on March 1, 2016. Security officers removed them after Trump said from the stage: “Get ‘em out of here.” The protesters were pushed and shoved on their way out. A 26-year-old white nationalist was later fined and given a suspended jail sentence for his actions.

The lawsuit sought damages against Trump for inciting a riot, which is a misdemeanor under Kentucky law. But the court ruled Trump’s comments are protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

Neighbor appeals order to stay away from Sen. Rand Paul

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor has appealed a court order to stay away from Paul and his family while a lawsuit is pending.

The Daily News in Bowling Green reports that Rene Boucher’s attorney filed paperwork Monday with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Special Judge Tyler Gill issued a temporary injunction last month against Boucher (boo-SHAY’), who served 30 days on a federal charge of assaulting a congressman after Paul was tackled outside his house last fall.

Paul sued Boucher in state court for damages related to the assault. Boucher has filed a counterclaim alleging yard waste by Paul constituted a private nuisance.

Boucher’s attorney argued against the injunction, saying his client has complied with a separate order issued in the federal criminal case that forbids contact with Rand Paul.

Woman sentenced in crop insurance fraud case

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky woman has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $1.6 million in restitution for crop insurance fraud.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Lexington said 63-year-old Debra Muse of the Wallingford community in Fleming County was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Muse pleaded guilty in April, admitting she helped farmers file false tobacco crop insurance claims and created false documents to help farmers hide their crop production. The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that the documents led to inflated payments from crop insurers, which are reinsured by the federal government.

Judge Joseph M. Hood found that Muse caused the federal government to pay out $5.9 million in indemnity payments to producers who weren’t entitled to them.

Metals processing company to double investment

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say a metals processing company plans to double its originally planned investment in Warren County.

Gov. Matt Bevin says Precision Strip Inc. now plans to boost its investment to nearly $32 million and create 31 full-time jobs.

Bevin’s office says the company’s facility in a Bowling Green industrial park will double with an addition to its facility. The plant opened in 2017 and currently employs 14 people. When originally announced, the project included a $15.5 million investment and 15 new jobs.

Precision Strip processes, stores and delivers steel and aluminum for several markets, including the automotive, appliance, industrial products and beverage can industries. The company has 13 locations in six states.

Man awaiting murder retrial charged with child porn offenses

BURLINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A man awaiting a new trial in his co-worker’s death in Kentucky has now been charged with child pornography offenses.

News outlets cite Boone County court records as saying David Dooley is accused of possessing or viewing material portraying a sexual performance involving someone younger than 16. Dooley was charged with the new offenses last month, and a judge denied his motion to seal the file Tuesday.

Dooley was granted a retrial last year after a judge concluded surveillance video was new, crucial evidence withheld from his defense attorneys. The janitor was convicted of murder in the 2012 death of 42-year-old Michelle Mockbee. She was found beaten outside her office at a biotech company.

Records say Dooley remains jailed. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer who could comment.

Penny Chenery’s 1973 Kentucky Derby program sells at auction

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The 1973 Kentucky Derby program that belonged to the owner of Triple Crown Winner Secretariat has been sold at an auction.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday that Penny Chenery’s 1973 Kentucky Derby program and her personal 1973 Kentucky Oaks clubhouse box ticket stub sold for more than $11,000. President Mike Heffner says the sale price of the program is absolutely stunning, and that they are thrilled to continue working with the Chenery-Tweedy family to bring these one-of-a-kind Secretariat-related offerings to the collecting public.

In 1973, Secretariat captured the imagination of racing fans worldwide when he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Chenery died last year at the age of 95.

Ky. official elected to VP post in agriculture group

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has been elected to a top position in the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Quarles was elected second vice president during the group’s annual meeting Wednesday.

A release from the agriculture commissioner’s office says Quarles is the first Kentucky agriculture commissioner to hold office in the association since Billy Ray Smith in the early 2000s. Quarles has also served as secretary-treasurer in during the 2017-18 term.

Quarles says it’s important for Kentucky to have a seat at the table when national agriculture policy is being crafted.

Quarles was elected Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner in 2015. He served as a state representative for six years prior to his election as commissioner.

Ex-school employee pleads guilty to rape, sodomy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a former Kentucky school employee accused of having sex with an underage student has pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy charges.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports 28-year-old Lindsey Banta Jarvis entered the plea Wednesday in Woodford Circuit Court. She also faces rape charges in Lexington involving the same student. That case is still pending.

Authorities have said she was a social studies teacher in Woodford County before taking a job as a para-educator in Fayette County. She resigned after charges were filed.

Police said the investigation began in 2016 when a Versailles officer found Jarvis and the boy, then 15, in a car at 1:17 a.m. at a Woodford County park.

Jarvis faces a recommended sentence of 18 months in prison. The judge set sentencing for Dec. 5.