New Around the State

Published 12:18 pm Monday, September 24, 2018

New, more secure Kentucky driver’s license designs unveiled

By Dylan Lovan

Associated Press

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky transportation officials say newly redesigned driver’s licenses will enhance security and make it harder for counterfeiters to duplicate.

State Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson showed off the design at a news conference Monday.

With the change, Kentucky will become one of the final states to comply with a federal travel law passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The state will begin issuing the new licenses in January.

The most striking difference in the new design is a grayscale photo of the subject, replacing the color photo from years past. The card will include an image of the state Capitol dome and background ink color that is harder to duplicate. Photos will be laser engraved and will more clearly display facial features “without the distraction of color,” transportation officials said in a release. The new card will also be more durable.

Henderson said those elements will make the cards more secure against fraud and counterfeiters.

Beginning in January, the state will offer two kinds of driver’s licenses: a voluntary travel ID, which will be valid for boarding a plane or entering a military base, and a standard ID which is not. People can only have one.

Some county clerks said offering different ID cards could cause some confusion when users go to get a renewal.

Jefferson County Clerk David Nicholson, who attended a news conference at the Louisville International Airport Monday, said he had preferred the state issue a single ID.

“Some citizens are under the impression they need one document to drive and one to fly,” he said. “They just need one, A or B.”

The voluntary travel ID will have a black star on it to signify that it complies with the federal rules.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, only people with the voluntary travel IDs will be allowed to board domestic flights or enter U.S. military bases. People with standard IDs after that date will have to show another form of identification, such as a passport.

The new standard ID will cost $43 and the travel ID will cost $48, an increase from the current $20 price for a license. Both new forms expire after eight years.

Water district sinks further into crisis, reservoir runs low

INEZ, Ky. (AP) — The reservoir supplying an already troubled Kentucky water district has fallen to a critically low level, prompting the declaration of a state of emergency.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Martin County Water District’s intake pump failed last month, and the district continued to take water out of the reservoir without replenishing it for more than week.

Water board chair Jimmy Kerr says the district spent around $100,000 trying to fix the pump, but was ultimately unsuccessful. So they’re renting two pumps at a cost of around $18,000 a month and sinking deeper into debt.

The district has been pursuing what would be the year’s second rate increase, in a bid to stave off financial collapse.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is investigating the district’s management.

Police: Trooper fatally shoots man during altercation

LONDON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a trooper has fatally shot a man who tried to assault him with a weapon.

Police said in a statement that the shooting happened early Monday when police were called to a Whitley County residence where 29-year-old Ronald W. Leach of Jellico, Tennessee, was threatening to harm his 1-year-old child.

The statement said a responding trooper gained entry into the home and Leach tried to assault the trooper with a weapon. The trooper then fired, killing Leach. Police didn’t say what kind of weapon Leach had.

Neither the trooper nor the child was injured.

The officer was placed on routine leave as police continue to investigate. No further information was immediately released.

Woman dies when floodwaters sweep car from roadway

PARIS, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky authorities say a Colorado woman died when her vehicle was swept away in floodwaters.

Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Michael Jones said 23-year-old Holli Pennington tried driving through water over the roadway Sunday afternoon when her vehicle got stuck and was swept away.

Jones said Pennington was on the phone with a friend, who reported it. When crews arrived, Jones said they found the vehicle completely submerged in about 15 feet (4.5 meters) of water. He said Pennington didn’t make it out of the vehicle.

News outlets report Pennington was from Lamar, Colorado, and was working as an intern at a horse farm in Paris.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Sharp says 3-5 inches of rain have fallen in areas of Kentucky since Friday. He said the rain is from a stalled front and wasn’t related to remnants from Hurricane Florence.

Coroner identifies 3 relatives who died in house fire

PARKSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities have identified three relatives who died in a house fire in Kentucky.

Boyle County Coroner Donald Hamner told news outlets that 10-month-old Layne Gastineau, 12-year-old Scarlett Cloyd and 24-year-old Haley Stratton were pronounced dead after being found inside the home. He said Stratton was the infant’s mother and Cloyd’s sister.

News outlets report that firefighters in Boyle County were called to the blaze along Highway 1108 at around 4:15 a.m. Saturday. Firefighters found the three bodies after the fire was extinguished. Hamner said they were the only ones in the home at the time of the blaze.

Kentucky State Police officials are investigating.

Participation in dual credit courses rising in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Higher education officials in Kentucky are reporting a big increase in the number of high school students taking dual credit courses through a college or university.

The Council on Postsecondary Education says nearly 35,000 high school students across Kentucky participated in the dual credit courses during the 2017-18 academic year. The council says participation is up 45 percent since the 2015-16 year.

The council says the Kentucky Community and Technical College System increased dual credit students by 47 percent during that time. The increase at public four-year universities was 41 percent.

Officials say dual credit courses are cost-effective ways for students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school. They say studies indicate those courses increase the likelihood of attending college and graduating on time.

Testing for Kentucky State Police academy begins this week

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police say testing starts this week for anyone who is interested in becoming a trooper.

A statement from the agency says testing dates run from Sept. 25 through Oct. 11 to be part of a training class that begins in May for the top 90 candidates. Minimum requirements for applicants include a high school diploma or GED and three years of full-time work experience.

Requirements also include two years of military or law enforcement service, or 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university.

To take the test, applicants must apply by Oct. 8. Along with a written test, applicants must pass a physical fitness test, an oral interview, a background investigation, and psychological and physical evaluations.

Police: 5 accused of theft, fraud in 2 states

GREENHILLS, Ohio (AP) — Police say five people accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of merchandise from vendors in southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky with an invalid credit card have been charged with theft and fraud.

Police in the Cincinnati suburb of Greenhills this month impounded three trucks filled with stolen furniture purchased with an inactivated credit card. Police say the suspects also fraudulently purchased alcohol, electronics and vehicles.

Greenhills’ police chief credited the arrests to Officer Zzachery Clark’s “good investigative instincts.” Clark followed up on a reported suspicious transaction at a furniture store. The suspects were arrested after hauling away the merchandise.

Investigators say the suspects pretended to call the card issuer when the card wasn’t accepted and an accomplice on the phone gave cashiers a code number for the transaction.