News Around the State

Published 12:26 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

2nd Kentucky resident killed in Wisconsin crash identified

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (AP) — Authorities have identified a Kentucky woman who died when a semitrailer went off a bridge, down a cliff and into a Wisconsin lake.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says 24-year-old Devenna Patterson of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, was a passenger in the semi that plunged into Mirror Lake near Wisconsin Dells on Feb. 17.

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The crash also killed the driver, 39-year-old Timothy Green, of Elizabethtown.

Authorities say the semi went off the bridge on Interstate 90/94, dropped about 100 feet and went through the ice on the lake. The cause isn’t clear.

University of Kentucky to assess student well-being services

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — University of Kentucky officials say a task force is being formed to assess mental health counseling and services related to student well-being on campus.

The officials at the state’s flagship university in Lexington say the committee will work quickly to assess the current range of support services and make recommendations.

The announcement was made by UK President Eli Capilouto and Provost David Blackwell.

They say the task force will remain in place over the long term to gather feedback and provide input to senior administrators.

Leading the task force will be College of Public Health Dean Donna Arnett and Margaret Pisacano, who directs risk management at UK HealthCare. Officials say the committee will include faculty and others from across campus with expertise in mental health and well-being issues.

Center for homeless veterans set to open in southern Indiana

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — A new housing center that’s set to open in southern Indiana will provide shelter to homeless veterans trying to get back on their feet.

Liberty Place opens Friday in New Albany, with space for 16 homeless veterans or those facing the prospect of becoming homeless.

Kaiser Home Support Services, Inc., which helps provide home care for seniors and people with disabilities, will operate the housing.

The News and Tribune reports that Liberty Place will be a safe place for veterans working to turn their lives around. Their monthly fees will be paid through pension or disability payments.

One of the first residents will be U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Shannon Roberts Jr. The 43-year-old with Huntington’s disease says “just being here, it just shows how much you are loved.”

Fired Amazon worker with Crohn’s sues over bathroom breaks

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Amazon employee in Kentucky with the inflammatory bowel condition known as Crohn’s disease has sued the company over his dismissal for what he says was a need for more bathroom breaks.

The company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act with “unyielding and inhuman policies regarding bathroom access,” according to the 18-page complaint filed in federal court in Lexington.

The former employee, Nicholas Stover of Lexington, says Amazon was aware of his illness when he was hired at a Winchester call center in November 2016. The suit says the condition can “lead to life- threatening complications.” Crohn’s inflames the digestive tract and is capable of causing stomach pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss. The illness has no cure but symptoms can be lessened with treatment.

An Amazon spokesman said by email Friday that the company doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.

The suit, filed Feb. 15, seeks a minimum of $3 million in damages for lost past and future wages and a “significant amplification of the symptoms” of Stover’s disease.

Employees at the call center were given two 15-minute breaks and an hour for meal time, along with 20 minutes a week of personal time, the lawsuit said. Stover’s supervisor “accused Mr. Stover in writing of using ‘too much personal time’ and later told him orally that he was engaging in ‘time theft’ from Amazon because of excessive bathroom breaks.”

Despite requests, Stover’s supervisors did not give him any options for unscheduled bathroom breaks and they did not offer to move his work station closer to a bathroom, according to the lawsuit. His desk was a one- to two-minute walk to the bathroom.

Stover said he also was receiving intravenous treatment for Crohn’s, and the company would not accommodate his treatment schedule.

Stover was fired Dec. 21, 2017, with an “involuntary termination” letter. It cited no grounds for the firing, the suit said, but a supervisor told Stover that the reason for his firing was “time theft.”

Last year, ranked Amazon at the top of its list of the best places to work in the U.S., and the company has about a half-million employees worldwide.

The lawsuit was first reported by The Seattle Times.

Ky. woman accused of faking cancer for cash

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky woman is accused of faking cancer for donations.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Thursday that 25-year-old Jessica Marie Krecskay has been arrested on felony theft charges. Kenton Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders says Krecskay’s co-workers and employers gave her more than $10,000 to help with her diagnosis between 2013 and 2017.

He says she never updated the donors on her treatment or how the donations helped, and their suspicions led to her arrest last week. He says reports of former North Kentucky University Kelly Schmahl faking cancer for money led to people calling police about Krecskay.

Krecskay has since posted bail and been released from custody. She’s set to appear in court March 4. It’s unclear if she has a lawyer.

Ky. board probes safety, health issues at Deaf school

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Board of Education is investigating reports of issues ranging from bed bugs to bad food at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday that the agency says it’s investigating allegations parents sent to state school board members last week. Department spokeswoman Jessica Fletcher says the agency can’t comment on specific allegations as many involve personnel issues and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

One parent wrote that some students have been taught for months by a worker who’s not certified by the state. Another parent wrote that bed bugs were found in her daughter’s dorm. That parent also said students responsible for a death threat and sexual harassment were allowed to return to school, and parents weren’t notified in a timely fashion.

Hemp processor starts building new Ky. facility

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — A hemp processor has broken ground for a processing facility being built in Kentucky.

GenCanna officials say the facility outside Mayfield in western Kentucky will employ more than 80 people. Officials say the plant will be able to process 10,000 acres of harvested hemp into CBD oil. Proponents say CBD offers health benefits, including relieving pain and anxiety.

GenCanna officials say the plant will be completed in time for this year’s hemp harvest.

The facility will become a market for hemp farmers in the area.

Congress legalized hemp production as part of the farm bill passed last year.

Kentucky lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. James Comer led the pro-hemp push.

Prescribed fires planned at Big South Fork’s Ky. areas

ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) — Fire crews at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area are planning two prescribed fires in the Kentucky section of the park.

The park says the locations are at the Bald Knob and Bear Creek areas and will occur during the spring months.

The park says fire crews are working on preparing the areas to burn safely and effectively. The fires will be located within the park boundaries. Local communities can expect minimal smoke and visibility impacts.

The areas include about 1,000 acres along the end of the Ledbetter multi-use trail and about 120 acres along Bear Creek Road. Some park roads and trails may be closed temporarily for visitor safety.

The park says prescribed fires are used to release and recycle nutrients from vegetation and organic soil layers and to improve plant and animal health.

Mentorship program to close, citing lack of funds

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A mentorship program that serves about 100 children in southcentral Kentucky is shutting down.

Cindy Payne is president of the board of directors overseeing Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Kentucky. She told the Daily News last week that the organization would close its doors immediately due to a lack of funding.

Payne said the decision to close was made locally and officials decided to make the announcement before an upcoming fundraiser because it didn’t want to take contributions and still have to close.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Kentucky had offered one-to-one mentoring for children between the ages of 6 and 17 years old who were facing adversity for more than 40 years.