News Around the State

Published 11:55 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

Wildlife agency to discuss hunting, fishing proposals

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission plans to discuss proposed hunting and fishing regulation changes at its spring meeting this week.

A statement from the commission says members will meet Friday in Frankfort and discuss proposals that include creating new hunting zones for black bears, removing some restrictions and adjusting the harvest quota.

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The commission also plans to set waterfowl season dates and discuss changes to its hunter education program and carcass disposal requirements for taxidermists.

Proposed changes in fishing regulations on the agenda include setting a 10-inch size limit on crappie in Barren River Lake and removing some restrictions on catching and selling Asian carp.

The meeting will be held at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s campus in Frankfort and is open to the public.

Sinkhole opens at zoo; no animals or people hurt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky zoo has closed while engineers study a newly discovered sinkhole nearly as large as a football field.

Louisville Zoo spokeswoman Kyle Shepherd told news outlets the sinkhole was found Wednesday in an undeveloped area away from any zoo animals. She said no people or animals were reported injured and no buildings damaged.

Louisville Metro Emergency Services Director Jody Meiman says officials estimate the sinkhole is about 50 yards by 85 yards (45 meters by 75 meters) and about 50 feet (15 meters) deep in spots.

The nearby Louisville Mega Cavern also said Wednesday it is temporarily closed because of a 3.4 earthquake reported Tuesday in neighboring Tennessee.

Officials said they haven’t determined whether the earthquake caused the sinkhole. Meiman says causes could include rain or “natural occurrences” underground.

Records request response is 485 pages, but 466 redacted

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky newspaper says its request for emails between state Chief Information Officer Charles Grindle, Gov. Matt Bevin and top members of his administration resulted in a mostly redacted response.

The Courier Journal reports the Kentucky Finance Cabinet sent it 485 electronic pages of records, but 466 were completely blacked out.

Newspaper attorney Michael Abate says it appears the agency blacked-out entire pages without releasing non-exempt portions, which is required by law.

The Finance and Administration Cabinet said Tuesday that it stands by its determination of what it can and cannot disclose.

Courier Journal Editor Richard Green says the newspaper has raised numerous questions about Grindle’s hiring and salary and says the state should give a better explanation of why it blacked out so many pages.

Teacher protests close state’s largest school district

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Teacher protests in Kentucky appear to be continuing as the state’s largest school district shut down because of too many absences.

Jefferson County Public Schools closed Wednesday because the district said it did not have enough substitutes to cover the large number of teachers who called in sick. Last week, Jefferson County was one of six districts that closed after a grassroots education advocacy group urged teachers to call in sick.

But Wednesday, the group KY 120 United said it had not asked for teachers to protest. The Jefferson County Teachers Association also said it did not ask teachers to call in sick.

Educators are concerned about several bills in the legislature, including scholarship tax credits for private schools and changing who manages the pension fund.

University initiative aims to decrease use of antibiotics

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The University of Louisville says it is launching a campaign aimed at decreasing the use of antibiotics.

A statement from the school’s health sciences department says overuse of the drugs that treat bacterial infections can lead to drug resistance. University of Louisville School of Medicine clinical pharmacist Bethany Wattles says that occurs when antibiotics no longer cure infections that they should treat.

The Kentucky Antibiotic Awareness campaign plans to provide education and resources to Kentucky health care providers and the public. It is led by health professional researchers at the UofL Department of Pediatrics Antimicrobial Stewardship Program in collaboration with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department of Medicaid Services.

Wattles said if antibiotic overuse continues, minor infections could become untreatable.

Gov. Bevin signs organ donor law

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican governor has signed a bill into law giving people more options to register as an organ donor.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 77 on Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Julie Raque Adams, would give people the option of registering as an organ donor when they log in to the Kentucky Online Gateway, a website where people can sign up for state services.

Most people register as an organ donor when they renew their driver’s license. But beginning this year, Kentucky drivers can get licenses that expire after eight years instead of four years. Organ donor advocates worried this would reduce the number of people signing up for the registry.

Bevin said he was honored to sign a law that will save lives.

Distillery warehouse fell last year, now 120K gallons spill

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Roughly 120,000 gallons (454,000 liters) of would-be bourbon have spilled at a Kentucky distillery.

News outlets report two people were injured in the fermented mash spill Tuesday at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, where a storage collapse last year left thousands of barrels in a mountainous heap. They’ve been released from a hospital.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura says a leg of a 55,000-gallon (208,000-liter) tank gave way and flipped a container holding the mash. He says 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) ran in a storm drain to a tributary, but officials don’t believe there’s a threat to drinking water.

Amy Preske, a spokeswoman for Barton 1792’s parent company, Sazerac, says they’re working to secure the area.

Some syringe exchanges provide fentanyl drug tests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Syringe exchange sites in the metro area of Louisville, Kentucky, are now providing test strips that can detect the presence of fentanyl in drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

WLKY-TV reports the Department of Health and Wellness’ Syringe Exchange Program began handing out the tests last week. The community liaison for Louisville Metro’s Syringe Exchange program, Matt LaRocco, says the tests allow people to make informed decisions about their drug use.

A University of Louisville doctor, Martin Huecker, says fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that can be fatal at doses as small as two milligrams. LaRocco says the tests may lead to people changing their drug use behavior to prevent an overdose.

The distribution of the test strips was made possible by a federal grant.