News Around the State

Published 10:51 am Thursday, June 13, 2019

First chemical weapon destroyed at Kentucky Army facility

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — Officials have begun destroying Cold-War era chemical weapons that have been stored at a Kentucky Army depot for decades.

The facility at the Blue Grass Army Depot successfully destroyed a mustard-agent munition on Friday in Richmond.

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It marked the beginning of the facility’s static detonation chamber operations, which will handle munitions that are unsuitable for automated destruction at the depot’s pilot plant.

Last month, officials including U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin gathered at the depot to ceremonially mark the beginning of the destruction of the weapons.

The depot has a stockpile of about 523 tons of mustard, GB and VX nerve agent. The pilot plant was finished in 2015, but operators and staff trained for years to prepare for the destruction operations.

Report: Kentucky counties have inconsistent bail policies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A new report says Kentucky counties have “wildly inconsistent” bail practices.

The Courier Journal reports the study was released Tuesday by the Berea-based Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a nonprofit research group and says where people live determines whether they will stay in jail due to high bail.

The study found that the number of defendants released before trial last year without having to post cash bail ranged from 5 percent in McCracken County to 68 percent in Martin County. It also found that only 17 percent of defendants in Wolfe County could afford to pay cash bail when it was required compared to 99 percent in Hopkins County.

Study author Ashley Spalding said defendants “should not have their freedom contingent upon their income or where they are arrested.”

Meth found inside camper and children’s playhouse

CORBIN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky police found marijuana, guns and about 3 pounds of methamphetamines hidden inside a children’s playhouse.

New outlets report that John Helton, Nursilla Anita Helton-Fox and Patsy Hopkins were arrested on first-degree trafficking of a controlled substance Sunday.

Knox County deputies went to Helton and Helton-Fox’s camper to serve Helton an arrest warrant. Deputies found a plastic bag containing suspected methamphetamine and secured a search warrant. Officials say the search recovered a pound of crystal meth and information connecting Hopkins’ residence to the case.

Laurel County authorities say they found about 2 pounds of meth, syringes, guns and money inside the children’s playhouse. Officials say four children were inside the home and had easy access to the playhouse.

News outlets say 63-year-old Hopkins was also arrested on first-degree wanton endangerment.

Army education aid now for Fort Campbell, others in Kentucky

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — An education assistance program has been expanded to include soldiers at Fort Campbell as well as Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers throughout Kentucky.

The Army Credentialing Assistance Program provides funding for training and classes that lead to certificates, licensures and credentials in more than 1,600 occupations. Testing of the program began last year at Fort Hood, Texas, and it is now available at Fort Campbell and to Kentucky National Guard and Reserve soldiers who live in and actively drill with a unit in Kentucky.

Soldiers may receive up to $4,000 a year in combined tuition assistance and credentialing assistance funds.

The program is planned to expand again next year to include soldiers throughout the Army. The program is administered under Army Human Resources Command, located at Fort Knox.

Nursing home, pharmacy to pay nearly $13M in judge’s death

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A nursing home and pharmacy agreed to give nearly $13 million to the family of a retired judge who died after they say he was not given his necessary medication.

The Courier-Journal reports both companies and the judge’s estate came to an agreement Monday, one day before the dispute was set to go to trial. Retired Jefferson County Circuit Judge Dan Schneider died in 2013.

Attorneys for Schneider’s estate say the judge received antibiotics at a hospital two weeks before moving to the Louisville campus of the Masonic Homes of Kentucky. The attorneys say Schneider was supposed to receive antibiotics from Med Care Pharmacy for four more weeks at the nursing home, but he never received a single dose. He later died.

Attorneys for the nursing home and pharmacy hadn’t returned requests for comment as of Tuesday.

Churches, businesses to buy supplies for school district

MARION, Ky. (AP) — Parents in one western Kentucky school district won’t have to worry about purchasing school supplies for students in the fall.

News outlets report churches and businesses are teaming up to supply everything students attending Crittenden County Schools will need, other than backpacks. The donation covers all students from pre-kindergarten to high school seniors.

Family Resource and Youth Services Coordinator Crystal Wesmoland announced the collaboration in a statement Monday and said it is meeting a need and making things easier for students and teachers.

She says shopping for school supplies can be costly and removing that obstacle will allow parents to focus on other needs and work with children to ensure their success.

Neighbor convicted of assaulting Rand Paul sells his home

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — The neighbor convicted of attacking U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has sold his home next door to the senator.

Rene Boucher pleaded guilty last year to assaulting Paul. Paul also won a civil verdict against Boucher for more than $582,000 in January.

Court records in the civil case show Boucher sold his Bowling Green home in May and delivered the proceeds of the sale, about $482,000, to the court. The records say the money will be held in an account until the civil proceedings are resolved.

Paul testified during a three-day trial this year that he feared for his life after Boucher, an anesthesiologist, slammed into him in their upscale neighborhood in late 2017.

The jury awarded $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus more than $7,800 for medical expenses.

Man accused of severely beating his 2-month-old son

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man is accused of severely beating his 2-month-old son who’s now on life support.

News outlets report 28-year-old Donnie E. Rowe was arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal abuse. He’s set to appear in court Thursday morning.

A Louisville police arrest citation says Rowe has admitted to abusing his son last week. Police say the baby suffered multiple skull fractures and other injures consistent with abusive head trauma. They say the infant still is on life support.

It’s unclear if Rowe has a lawyer.

Accidental crash won’t stop gay bar’s Pride

HIGHLANDS, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky say there was no evil intent involved when a van driver crashed into the front patio of a popular gay bar during Pride Week.

The Courier Journal reports no one was injured as the van swerved off the street on Wednesday, bursting through a fence and knocking over tables and chairs.

Louisville Metro Police Department spokesman Lamont Washington says it was just an accident and there was no ill will. The driver told police he swerved trying to avoid hitting a car and lost control of the vehicle.

The bar says it’s open for business and all Pride Week events will continue.

Tennessee probes park monitoring system after child death

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee regulators say they are investigating why a planned monitoring system has not been implemented at Cummins Falls State Park, where fast-moving water swept away and killed a toddler this weekend.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Kim Schofinski said Wednesday that the falls and gorge area and trails leading there will stay closed pending the investigation. Other trails will stay open.

Authorities said the body of 2-year-old Steven Pierce of Eddyville, Kentucky, was recovered Monday after heavy rains on Sunday made conditions dangerous and led to more than 60 people being rescued at the popular swimming spot.

Gov. Bill Lee told reporters Wednesday that his administration is trying to figure out what has been done, what needs to be done and how quickly they want to move forward.