News Around the State

Published 11:57 am Monday, June 3, 2019

Police: Kentucky pastor tried to set up threesome with girls

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky pastor is accused of trying to set up a threesome with two underage girls.

The Courier Journal reports that 26-year-old Bobby J. Blackburn, pastor of the Elevate Church in Prestonsburg, was arrested last week and charged with using an electronic communication system to get a minor to commit a sex act. WYMT said Blackburn also owns a local Giovanni’s pizza place, which plays Christian music and puts Bible verses on receipts.

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An arrest citation says Blackburn’s business employs the girls, one of whom showed officers the sexual messages from Blackburn.

The citation also accuses the pastor of threatening to fire a third girl if she didn’t take the blame for sending the messages.

The newspaper reported that it tried to reach Blackburn for comment without a response.

Humana takes rare step of squashing Centene deal talk

Centene shares are tumbling after Humana took the rare step of publicly refuting reports that it’s interested in buying the company.

Centene Corp., based in St. Louis, is in the midst of a $15 billion takeover of WellCare, another insurer specializing in government funded health coverage.

Humana said in a prepared statement Monday that it will not make a bid for Centene, which specializes in running state-based Medicaid coverage programs. Humana is one of the nation’s largest providers of privately run Medicare Advantage plans.

Companies normally do not comment on potential deals. But Humana Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, said it made an exception due to “significant investor speculation and persistent market rumors.”

Centene shares dropped more than 8 percent in early trading while Humana’s stock climbed 5 perent.

Former federal prisons executive to lead corrections agency

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A former high-ranking official for the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been selected to serve as interim commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

State Justice Secretary John Tilley says Kathleen Kenney will join the department.

Kenney has more than 25 years of experience in criminal justice, particularly in the federal prison system, which oversees 122 prisons and 39,000 employees.

She served as assistant director and general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Prisons from 2004 to 2017 and managed the bureau’s legal operations and 300 staff members.

Kenney has worked for a consulting firm since then and focused on improving correctional cultures across the country.

Culinary trail back for second year at Kentucky State Parks

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Parks say its successful culinary trail is back for a second year.

A Kentucky Department of Tourism statement says the trail is being offered at nine parks across the state, each of which is offering a signature meal representing the region where it’s located. The trail opened for the first time last spring.

Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland said the Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail is a fun way for people to experience local dishes around the state.

State parks that offer the signature meals include Pennyrile Forest, Rough River Dam, Natural Bridge, Barren River Lake, Jenny Wiley, Pine Mountain, Blue Licks Battlefield, Lake Cumberland and Kentucky Dam Village.

The meals are available through Oct. 31.

Sheriff: Kentucky woman arrested for DUI twice in same day

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a Kentucky woman was arrested for DUI twice in the same day.

WBKO-TV cited the Warren County Regional Jail’s website and Sheriff Brett Hightower in reporting that 29-year-old Tiffany Henderson was charged with driving under the influence on Sunday morning and again that evening.

The station reports Henderson was booked the first time around 6 a.m. Sunday and released shortly after noon. Hightower says later that evening deputies received several complaints about a woman driving recklessly and found Henderson when they went to investigate. She was booked for the second time around 9 p.m.

According to the second arrest citation, deputies charged Henderson with DUI, public intoxication, domestic assault and wanton endangerment.

It wasn’t immediately clear if she has an attorney.

Former journalist Bill Goodman to emcee Fancy Farm picnic

FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — Former KET journalist Bill Goodman will emcee the political speaking event at this year’s Fancy Farm picnic.

The annual fundraiser for St. Jerome’s Parish is scheduled for August 3. The picnic includes the traditional “political speaking” beneath the shaded pavilion in Fancy Farm, a small farming hamlet in western Kentucky.

Goodman, currently the executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council, says the picnic is the state’s most important political event.

The picnic marks the traditional start of the fall campaign season. Candidates from both parties share the stage before a crowd of hecklers as their speeches are broadcast on statewide television. For more than 100 years, politicians from both parties have shared the stage and traded zingers while trying to keep their cool in the face of a raucous crowd.

Ex-psychiatric hospital chief files lawsuit over firing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky psychiatric hospital chief claims in a lawsuit she was fired without cause in March.

The Courier Journal reports among the defendants in the whistleblower lawsuit filed Friday by ex-Central State Hospital director Josie Goodman are Gov. Matt Bevin and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier.

The lawsuit says Goodman had been trying to address staffing concerns and was fired in retaliation for the Louisville hospital’s use of a 2017 law to assist patients. The law passed despite Bevin’s veto.

The lawsuit says the hospital’s control was essentially handed to its nonprofit staffing agency, Centerstone Kentucky, when Goodman was replaced by Centerstone employee Matt Mooring.

Family Services spokesman Doug Hogan says “we are confident that there has been no retaliation or discrimination.” Bevin’s office did not return a message from the newspaper seeking comment.