News Around the State

Published 11:12 am Thursday, November 1, 2018

Regulators OK revisions to home heating assistance program

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State regulators have authorized Kentucky Power Co. to provide additional assistance to low-income residential customers who are struggling to pay their home heating bills.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a joint proposal by Kentucky Power and Community Action Kentucky Inc. to revamp the company’s existing program. Community Action Kentucky administers assistance programs for Kentucky Power.

The plan is to revise the existing Home Energy Assistance program to provide greater benefits in the winter.

The applicants also proposed a new program aimed at customers who need more limited assistance.

The PSC says the changes will take effect prior to the upcoming winter heating season.

Kentucky Power has about 168,000 customers in 20 counties in eastern Kentucky.

AG’s office offering hotline to report election violations

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s attorney general says a hotline has been set up for people to report violations of state election laws.

Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office’s hotline is available during regular business hours and open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Eastern time) on Election Day next Tuesday. The hotline number is 800-328-VOTE (8683).

The attorney general’s office has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election law violations.

On Election Day, investigators from the attorney general’s office are located throughout the state and can immediately respond to complaints.

Beshear’s office says it will provide public hotline updates during Tuesday’s election. The updates will include the number and types of complaints received on the hotline leading up to the election.

Doctor convicted of fraud sentenced to prison

LONDON, Ky. (AP) — A doctor who implanted medically unnecessary pacemakers into dozens of patients and billed it to Medicare and Medicaid has been sentenced to 42 months in prison.

News outlets report U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove also ordered Dr. Anis Chalhoub to pay restitution of $257,515 and a $50,000 fine during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in eastern Kentucky.

The Department of Justice said Chalhoub implanted dozens of unnecessary pacemakers in patients at St. Joseph London hospital between 2007 and 2011.

Chalhoub was convicted of federal health care fraud after a 12-day trial in April.

2 more hepatitis A-related deaths reported in Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky health officials say they are investigating two recent hepatitis A-related deaths in Franklin County.

The Department for Public Health declared a hepatitis A outbreak last year.

Since August 2017, more than 2,275 outbreak-associated cases of acute hepatitis A have been reported in 94 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The agency says hepatitis A was a contributing factor in 16 deaths during the outbreak, including the two recent deaths in Franklin County.

Department for Public Health Commissioner Jeffrey Howard says the best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated.

Symptoms include jaundice, dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever.

Although cases in food handlers occur, officials say food or drinks have not been identified as potential sources of infection in the counties experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks.

Sentencing delayed for 2 ex-firefighters convicted of arson

CROFTON, Ky. (AP) — The sentencing of two former Kentucky firefighters has been delayed.

The Kentucky New Era reports a judge on Wednesday delayed the sentencing of former Crofton Volunteer Fire Chief Jeremy P. Marlar and firefighter Glen R. McGee to next week. The 29-year-old Marlar and 24-year-old McGee were convicted this year of arson.

Marlar, McGee, 19-year-old ex-firefighters Dylan M. Hodge and Dakota S. Oglesby are accused of burning an empty building in 2017. Hodges pleaded guilty as part of a deal that diverted his case in exchange for testifying at Marlar and McGee’s trial. Oglesby’s trial is set for January.

Commonwealth’s Assistant Attorney Maggie Gigandet requested the delay as the amount of restitution hasn’t been agreed upon. The judge pushed the sentencing in hopes an agreement could be reached.

Ky. parks offer discounts to military members, vets

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Parks are offering lodging discounts to current and former members of the military through the end of March.

A statement from the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet says the discounts begin Thursday and apply to active-duty military, veterans, National Guard members and reservists.

Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland said the discount is a way to show appreciation for those who have served their country.

With the discount, lodge rooms at most resort parks start at $59.95 a night and one-bedroom cottages start at $79.95.

There are 17 state resort parks that offer golf, fishing, hiking on scenic trails, beautiful scenery and restaurants.

Center to re-evaluate policies after Nazi, KKK displays

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Exposition Center is re-evaluating its policies after discovering that Nazi Christmas decorations and an authentic Ku Klux Klan robe were on display or for sale at a gun show.

Kentucky Venues spokesman Cody Patterson told news outlets that the Kentucky State Fair Board chairman will propose strengthening existing exhibitor policies at a Nov. 15 meeting. Chairman Mark Lynn said he will propose banning vendors from selling specific “offensive” items, such as Ku Klux Klan robes and memorabilia adorned with swastikas.

The Courier Journal reported the items were seen at the National Gun Day annual show in Louisville. Patterson says the venue is leased to show managers who then lease space to exhibits, which usually aren’t screened.