News in Brief


Jobless rates down in 109 counties in October 2015

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials are reporting lower unemployment rates in 109 of the state’s 120 counties between October 2014 and October 2015.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training says jobless rates rose in seven counties and stayed the same in four others.

The agency said Thursday that Woodford County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 percent. It was followed by Fayette County at 3.1 percent; Oldham, Scott and Spencer counties at 3.2 percent each; and Owen and Shelby counties at 3.3 percent each.

It says Magoffin County had the state’s highest jobless rate at 11.3 percent. Owsley County was next at 9.2 percent, followed by Letcher County at 9.1 percent, Harlan County at 9 percent, Wolfe County at 8.6 percent and Leslie County at 8.5 percent.

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Gov. Beshear boosts child care reimbursement rates

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has given child care providers a raise in one of his last acts as governor.

Beshear announced Thursday he was increasing reimbursement rates by 5 percent for providers in Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program. The program pays for child care for parents who have low incomes or who participate in education or other training programs.

The current reimbursement rate is $10.23 per child per day. Beshear said most child care providers would see increases of $1 per child per day, while some could see increases of as much as $2 per child per day depending on the providers’ rating in the voluntary evaluation system.

The increase will take effect Jan. 1 and is paid for 100 percent by federal dollars.

Beshear’s term ends Monday.

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$144.1M Powerball prize claimed in Tennessee by trust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A $144.1 million Powerball prize has been claimed in Tennessee, a month after the ticket matched the lottery game’s winning numbers, but the purchaser of the ticket remains unknown.

A news release from the Tennessee Lottery said Avondale Revocable Trust claimed the prize on Thursday in Nashville, choosing to receive the lump sum of $89.7 million rather than annual payments.

The ticket was purchased at Hobson Tobacco and Beer in Nashville. The owner of the store received $25,000 for selling the ticket.

The release says it is the second largest prize and fourth Powerball jackpot won in Tennessee. A Mega Millions jackpot has also been won in Tennessee.

Powerball is played in 44 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Bevin appoints Hal Heiner as education, workforce secretary

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has appointed one of his former rivals to work in his administration.

Hal Heiner will be the next Education and Workforce Development Cabinet secretary. Heiner finished third in the Republican primary for governor in May. Heiner was critical of Bevin during debates, and a super PAC that supported Heiner paid for TV ads attacking Bevin for his tax problems.

But Heiner and Bevin reconciled after the election, and Heiner endorsed Bevin and campaigned with him just days before the Nov. 3 election. Heiner also serves on Bevin’s transition team.

Bevin has said he wants to reform how Kentucky trains its workforce. A survey by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce found the state spends $900 million a year on workforce training yet just 8 percent of employers said Kentucky’s workers had “good skills.”

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Louisville ex-felons may get chance at Section 8 assistance

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville residents with a history of drug or violent felony offenses may no longer be barred from receiving federal Section 8 housing assistance.

Louisville Metro Housing Authority Director Tim Barry tells WFPL-FM (http://bit.ly/1LSg5Mf) the change would need approval from the housing authority’s board before taking effect next year.

Barry says removing the additional level of scrutiny allows Section 8 recipients to be “treated just like everybody else who’s renting.”

Housing Authority spokeswoman Cathy Hinko says sometimes families in which one member is a felony offender must live in separate residences because of the Section 8 policy. Therefore, the rule change could help reunify families.

Certain caveats still exist. Lifetime registered sex offenders will remain ineligible for federal housing assistance.

Public comment on the policy will be accepted through Dec. 14.

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