News in Brief

Rewards offered to solve Ky. copper wire thefts

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Transportation Cabinet is offering rewards as part of efforts to crack down on theft of copper wire from highway lighting systems.

The cabinet, in cooperation with Kentucky State Police, offers a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to prosecution of anyone responsible for taking copper wire from highway lights.

The agency says the reward is open to anyone who provides necessary information and their identities can be confidential.

The reward is paid from the Transportation Cabinet’s maintenance funds.

The cabinet says a Clark County man and woman were indicted this week on felony charges involving the theft of copper wire from highway lighting systems on Interstate 64 and two parkways. Investigators say about 34,300 feet of wire had been cut and removed for sale to metal recyclers.


School cuts Bible references from Christmas play

PAINTSVILLE (AP) — Johnson County Schools have cut Bible passages referenced in an upcoming performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports when students perform the play at W.R. Castle Elementary School Thursday, the scene in which the character Linus quotes from the Bible is set to be deleted.

Principal Jeff Cochran said all Biblical references were removed from the play after receiving a message Friday from Superintendent Thomas Salyer.

Salyer told the newspaper Tuesday that Christmas programs across the district were being reviewed for possible modifications of religious references after receiving a complaint.

Protesters upset about the decision gathered outside the school board’s office Monday and Tuesday.

Salyer says he made his decision based upon the advice of his attorney and state officials.


Bevin removes another Democrat from House via appointment

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has removed another Democrat from the state House of Representatives as he tries to help his party seize control of the chamber for the first time since 1920.

Bevin has appointed Democratic state Rep. Tayna Pullin to an administrative law judge position in Bowling Green. She will replace William J. Rudloff of Bowling Green, whose term has expired. Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear had already appointed Tyra Latrice Redus to the position. But Bevin rescinded that order at Redus’ request and replaced her with Pullin.

Last week, Bevin appointed Democratic state Rep. John Tilley as secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. Both moves will trigger a special election, where Republicans will try to take the seats. They need to gain four seats to win a majority.


Richie Farmer to move to Ky. halfway house

FRANKFORT (AP) — Former state agriculture commissioner and University of Kentucky basketball star Richie Farmer is scheduled to leave a federal prison in West Virginia for a halfway house in Kentucky.

Farmer is serving a 27-month sentence for misappropriating government resources while in office, including having state workers build a basketball court for him at his house. Farmer was a member of the 1991-92 University of Kentucky basketball team nicknamed “The Unforgettables.”

Farmer’s father told WLEX-TV his son will go to a halfway house in Lexington on Friday. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross confirmed Farmer is transitioning to a halfway house. Ross said Farmer will be under strict supervision but will be allowed to go out into the community to work or find a job.

Farmer is scheduled to be released in March.


Board to decide parole for woman convicted in 1986 slaying

FRANKFORT (AP) — The full Kentucky Parole Board will decide whether to free a woman convicted in a notorious Lexington slaying after nearly 30 years in prison.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the two-person panel of the board didn’t make a decision Tuesday after meeting with Karen Brown, deferring the decision to the full board.

Brown is one of three people convicted in the 1986 stabbing death of 22-year-old Michael Turpin. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. She was denied parole in 2011.

Turpin’s wife, Elizabeth Turpin, and Keith Bouchard were also convicted in his death. Prosecutors say Elizabeth Turpin enlisted Brown and Keith Bouchard to kill him so she could collect from insurance policies.

If granted parole, Brown would be released in February.


Bullitt Co. sheriff threatens to stop patrols

SHEPHERDSVILLE (AP) — The Bullitt County sheriff is threatening to cease law enforcement patrols unless the county’s Fiscal Court provides an additional $250,000 in funding.

Local media outlets report that Sheriff Dave Greenwell has given the Fiscal Court 90 days to chip in the extra money he says his office needs to stay afloat. If that need is not met, the county would be left to find a new law enforcement provider. The sheriff’s office estimates it serves about 45,000 of the county’s 78,000 residents.

Online records state the Fiscal Court increased its contribution to the sheriff’s office from $300,000 to $600,000 last year.

Magistrate Joe Laswell says Greenwell “needs to manage his budget.” He says the Fiscal Court can’t afford to give the sheriff’s office the amount Greenwell is requesting.


Humanities projects in Tenn., Ky. receive grants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some Tennessee and Kentucky humanities projects will receive part of $21.8 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities announced this week.

Nationwide, the funding will go to 295 projects.

In Tennessee, the awards range from $6,000 to $50,400 and go to projects at Birthplace of Country Music Alliance in Bristol; University of Tennessee, Chattanooga; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, associate history professor Paul Kramer plans to look at the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and immigration policy since the 1890s.

Two projects in Kentucky will receive about $6,000 each. One will assess preservation at the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University. The second is at Eastern Kentucky University for a preservation assessment of digital collections at the university library.

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