News Around the State

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

Officials: City sees rise in flu activity in 2018-19 season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Health officials and federal data say flu activity in a Kentucky city is on the rise during the 2018-19 season.

Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness spokesman Dave Langdon tells the Courier Journal that Jefferson County had 570 flu cases reported during the last week of December, compared to 202 cases the week before and 36 cases two weeks prior. Langdon urged people who haven’t gotten a flu shot to get one.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that Kentucky is one of nine states that experienced high flu activity for the week ending Dec. 22. Other states included Alabama and Colorado.

The CDC says flu activity historically peaks in February in the United States, though different seasons have different peaks and the flu virus actually circulates year-round.

US judge ignores edict to stop civil cases during shutdown

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal judge in West Virginia is ignoring an edict that certain civil cases in his district be suspended during the U.S. government’s shutdown.

Judge Joseph Goodwin of West Virginia’s southern district ruled Wednesday he’s exempting cases assigned to him involving government agencies from an order by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger.

Berger last week ruled such cases will be stopped temporarily. She citing the “lapse of congressional appropriations funding the federal government” that required workforce reductions within the U.S. attorney’s office and other federal agencies.

But Goodwin says the government should not be given special influence or accommodation in cases where that is unavailable to other litigants.

Federal courts in some other states also have suspended work on civil cases involving government lawyers.

Mom indicted in drowning death of 4-year-old son

MORGANTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a Kentucky mother on a manslaughter charge in the death of her 4-year-old son.

The Daily News reports 41-year-old Leanna Cantrell of Morgantown was indicted Dec. 26 and arrested the next day in the death of Clark Cantrell. The indictment accuses the woman of wantonly causing her son’s drowning death on May 1 by leaving the child unsupervised.

Court records do not list an attorney for Cantrell. She is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Butler Circuit Court.

Krispy Kreme delivers doughnuts to officers over pastry loss

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Krispy Kreme has stepped in to comfort Kentucky police officers mourning the loss of a doughnut truck that caught fire.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the company and a police escort delivered dozens of doughnuts to the city police department Wednesday afternoon.

Officer Kyle Mounce says no one was injured when a Krispy Kreme truck caught fire in the city on Monday, but the truck’s doughnuts were ruined. The fire’s cause was unclear as of Monday.

Lexington police shared posts on social media of the burned truck and officers jokingly mourning the loss.

The posts were widely shared online and police departments across the country offered their condolences. The chief marketing officer for Krispy Kreme, Dave Skena, says the company wanted to comfort the department in their time of sorrow.

Braidy Industries says mill construction remains on schedule

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The company trying to build a $1.68 billion aluminum mill in eastern Kentucky backed in part by state taxpayers says it has spent $15.7 million on construction so far.

But Braidy Industries says it is on schedule “to meet its anticipated target of bringing the mill to full commercial operation in 2021.”

The Kentucky state legislature approved a $15 million investment in Braidy Industries in 2017. Company officials have said they expect the mill to create about 600 jobs for the economically depressed Appalachian region where Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio meet.

Company officials offered a status update this week, where it also announced it was extending a fundraising deadline by three months for potential investors.

Utility: 2018 was wettest year for Tennessee Valley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal utility that serves parts of seven southeastern states says 2018 was the wettest year on record in the Tennessee Valley.

Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Scott Brooks says the utility measured a basin average of 67.1 inches of rain across the valley in 2018, beating the previous record of 65.1 inches in 1973. A TVA rain gauge in Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, measured 118.8 inches last year.

TVA says the Tennessee Valley region normally averages 51 inches of rain a year. In addition to providing power for nearly 10 million people, the wide-spanning utility’s other duties include managing the 652-mile Tennessee River and its tributaries with a series of 49 dams.

Brooks says another 2 inches of rain is in the forecast as 2019 begins.

UVa Wise looking to boost enrollment with tuition discounts

WISE, Va. (AP) — The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is looking to boost enrollment by offering discounted tuition to out-of-state students from Appalachia.

The Daily Progress reports that the college is pushing a proposal for reduced tuition to counter declining enrollment.

The proposal would affect students from the federally defined Appalachian region, which stretches from New York to Alabama and includes all or parts of 13 states.

The College at Wise is close to the geographic center of the Appalachian region. Chancellor Donna Henry hopes the proposal would bring in about 100 additional students.

Del. Terry Kilgore has a bill that would reduce tuition for out-of-state Appalachian students that will be considered by lawmakers during this year’s legislative session.

Winter Adventure Weekend offered at Carter Caves

OLIVE HILL, Ky. (AP) — Winter adventures await outdoor enthusiasts this month at Carter Caves State Resort Park in eastern Kentucky.

A statement from the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet says the Winter Adventure Weekend will offer 220 activities from Jan. 24 through Jan. 27, including hiking, ice climbing, rappelling and cave tours.

Activities are available for various experience levels, from beginner to advanced, during the four-day event. There is a registration fee of $20 and some activities cost extra. Participants must register to attend.

New activities this year include trail running, a frozen foraging hike and star gazing.

7th barge sinks in Ohio River after breaking free from tow

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Another barge that broke free last week on the Ohio River has sunk as responders wait for salvage teams to raise the barges.

The Coast Guard said in a news release Wednesday that the company operating the tow that hit the Second Street Bridge at Louisville on Christmas Day has retained two salvage teams.

The release said a seventh barge sank when water at the McAlpine Dam rose some 3 feet in 24 hours.

The towing vessel Debbie Graham was pushing 15 loaded coal barges when it hit the bridge. Six barges were recovered, and nine are lying on the dam. The bridge was reopened after a safety inspection.

The Coast Guard opened the river to vessel traffic from Twelve Mile Island to McAlpine Lock and Dam, but traffic is only permitted during daylight.

School teacher accused of giving teens pot, alcohol at party

MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky school teacher has been accused of hosting a New Year’s party where children were smoking marijuana and drinking alcoholic beverages.

News outlets cite a Mount Washington police arrest report as saying 36-year-old Lindsey Lewis was taken into custody early Tuesday.

Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Renee Murphy says Lewis is a special education teacher at Phoenix School of Discovery in Lyndon, and the district is examining the situation.

The arrest report says officers were sent to the home after neighbors called complaining about “teenagers at a party next door” who “tore up” their property pulling in and out of the driveway. Police say Lewis told officers she was the adult presiding. At least 40 people were inside.

It is unclear if Lewis has a lawyer who could comment.

Friend: Police officer killed in crash ‘humanized the badge’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A friend of a Louisville Metro police officer killed in a crash on Christmas Eve says that officer “humanized the badge.”

Janelle Briscoe says Louisville loved Detective Deidre “Dee Dee” Mengedoht, who died at 32 when a semitruck hit her cruiser at a traffic stop.

The Courier Journal reports that friends, family and more than 3,000 fellow law enforcement officers from several states attended her funeral on Monday.

Police Chief Steve Conrad says she was the first in her family to go to college and had been on the force for more than seven years.

He read aloud some of her writings during the funeral, and quoted her as saying her first impulse is to love and trust people. She also wrote that her 9-year-old son, Preston, gave her life.