News Around the State

Published 11:32 am Friday, March 1, 2019

Program aims to get adults into workforce faster

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s community and technical college system has launched a program allowing the state’s adults to earn a GED and a college credential at the same time.

Education officials say GED Plus will help students earn a tuition-free certificate through co-enrollment in the Skills U GED program and short-term community and technical college courses.

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The officials say that within four months, participants will have the opportunity to earn their GED plus a college certificate. Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Jay K. Box says the goal is to quickly prepare people for the workforce and to meet employers’ needs.

Kentucky has invested $15.9 million in scholarship funding to fast-track skill certifications. It’s aimed at high school graduates and people who have earned or are working to obtain a GED but have not received a college degree.

Ky. lobbying spending hit record high in January

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky legislature only met for four days in January, but it was enough for lobbying spending to set a record.

The Legislative Ethics Commission reports 742 businesses and organizations spent $2.2 million lobbying state lawmakers in January, a record for the first month of a legislative session in an odd-numbered years

Kentucky legislative sessions last for 60 legislative days in even-numbered years, when lawmakers must pass a two-year spending plan. Sessions last 30 legislative days in odd-numbered years.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was the top spender with $40,972. Tobacco company Altria was second with $30,500, followed by the Kentucky Hospital Association and the Kentucky Bankers Association.

Mike Pence to attend fundraiser for Gov. Bevin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence will appear at a fundraiser for Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

A copy of an invitation obtained by The Associated Pres shows Pence will attend an event on March 8 at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky in Lexington. It will cost $1,000 to attend, or $2,000 to attend and be listed as a host.

Pence was governor of nearby Indiana when Bevin was first elected in 2015. Bevin has called Pence a “good friend.”

Kentucky is one of three states electing governors in 2019, including Louisiana and Mississippi. Bevin was elected with Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton in 2015. While Hampton said she wanted to run with Bevin again, he replaced her with Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado.

DOJ: Ky. jail uses excessive force on inmates

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice says an investigation found evidence that a Kentucky jail routinely uses excessive force against inmates through the use of chemical agents, restraint chairs and electronic control devices.

News outlets report a Thursday letter by the agency to the Boyd County Detention Center warns a lawsuit could be filed if conditions don’t improve within 49 days. It says the investigation found reasonable cause that jail conditions violate inmates’ Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

State police have said a jail inmate was found dead in a restraint chair in November and five deputy jailers were charged with manslaughter.

Boyd County Jailer William Hensley took over in December and says the issues predate him. Hensley says he and county officials have made several improvements including additional training for officers.

Ex-husband pleads guilty in female soldier’s slaying

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — A Fort Campbell soldier has admitted to having his ex-wife killed and to helping hide her body.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray entered into a plea agreement during a hearing Wednesday at the Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. Williams-McCray pleaded guilty to charges including premeditated murder in the death of Pfc. Shadow McClaine. In exchange, he won’t face the death penalty.

Another soldier, Spc. Charles Robinson III, pleaded guilty previously to charges including murder in the case and was sentenced to 25 years. Robinson said McClaine’s ex-husband offered to pay him $10,000 to kill her and help hide the body.

McClaine disappeared in September 2016. Her remains were found the following January and flown home to Yuba City, California.

McClaine’s mother, London Wegrzyn, says the family is “glad we are getting justice finally.”