State News in Brief

Coal mine supervisor pleads guilty to safety violation

PINEVILLE (AP) — A former supervisor of a coal mine near Pineville, Kentucky, has pleaded guilty to violating a mandatory safety standard that led to the death of an employee.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Anthony Tyler Cornett pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Federal records state that Cornett allowed the employee, 31-year-old Justin Mize of Tennessee, to crawl into an auger hole at the Commonwealth Mining LLC Tinsley Branch HWM 61 mine in 2014. The auger hole had no support for the roof.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration states that a slab of rock fell from the roof, crushing Mize. Mize later died while being transported to a trauma center.

Cornett is scheduled to be sentenced in August. He faces up to one year in prison and a $250,000 fine.


Gov. Bevin announces dual credit scholarship program

FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin has announced $7.5 million in scholarships that will pay for Kentucky high school seniors to take dual credit classes.

Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner announced the Dual Credit Scholarship Program on Wednesday at Russell County High School. Dual credit courses allow students to earn high school credits and college credits at the same time. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority will run the new program.

The state legislature approved $7.5 million for the program this year and next year. Money is set aside for each high school based on that school’s proportion of seniors. The Kentucky Department of Education estimates there will be nearly 46,400 high school seniors in the class of 2017. More than 9,300 students took dual credit courses this past school year.

“We think that any support for dual credit in the state is positive, so we were really, really energized and glad to see that the governor and the General Assembly incorporated the money for it,” said Jay Morgan, vice president of academic affairs at the Council for Postsecondary Education, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I think there’s still operational details, we need to flesh some details out on billing and operations.”

Barbara Veazey, president of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, told The Paducah Sun that the funding will provide opportunities for more students.

“I’m very excited about this because finance is the No. 1 barrier to a student taking these dual credit classes,” Veazey said. “This will be a huge help.”


Lawyers: Appalachian Trail was client’s ‘road to redemption’

CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys for a Kentucky accountant who embezzled $8.7 million before going on the run say hiking the Appalachian Trail for six years as a fugitive put him on “the road to redemption.”

A sentencing memorandum filed Friday by lawyers for James T. Hammes (HAM’-uhs) seeks a three-year prison sentence. That’s less than half of what the federal government is recommending.

Hammes will be sentenced June 22 in Cincinnati. He pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and agreed to pay back millions diverted from his employer, a Pepsi-Cola bottler.

The U.S. attorney’s office seeks more than seven years in prison, citing the amount Hammes embezzled and the fact that he fled.

His attorneys say he has no criminal past, is remorseful and has spent years contemplating his wrongdoing.


Boyd County High School JROTC instructor accused of rape

CATLETTSBURG (AP) — A former Boyd County High School teacher and Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor has been accused of raping one of his female students.

Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods tells news outlets that 45-year-old Howard Faber of Ashland was arrested Wednesday on charges of rape and prohibited use of an electronic device to procure a minor.

Woods says Faber over the past two years raped a student under the age of 16 and sent inappropriate messages to another girl under the age of 16.

Faber, a retired Naval aviator, was hired by the school system in 2014. Boyd County schools superintendent Brock Walter says Faber submitted his resignation in April, with his resignation date being changed to immediate once the investigation started.

It is unclear whether Faber has an attorney.


Morehead State space science students find missing satellite

MOREHEAD (AP) — Two Morehead State University Space Science Center students have tracked down a miniature satellite built by Virginia elementary schools students that was thought to have been lost in space.

The Independent of Ashland reports that Cody Robinson and Maria LeMaster used the university’s 21-meter radio antenna to hunt for the STMSat-1 satellite, whose frequency had not been detected since it was released from the International Space Station on May 16.

Robinson and LeMaster discovered that the signal had shifted down to a lower frequency. The discovery of a faint signal on May 24 meant that students at Arlington, Virginia’s St. Thomas More Elementary School could finally hear and receive images from the satellite they had built.


TVA seeking comment on dry ash landfill near Bull Run

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking public comment on plans for a new dry ash storage landfill next to the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Anderson County.

TVA’s long-range plans include converting the handling of coal combustion residuals from a wet system to a dry system at Bull Run and elsewhere.

The draft environmental impact statement is available at . The utility will accept written comments electronically and by mail until July 12.

TVA says the project isn’t related to a proposal for coal combustion residual impoundment closures at Bull Run and nine other sites announced earlier this year.

TVA is the nation’s largest public utility, serving more than 9 million people in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.


Memorial planned for troopers who died last year

HICKORY (AP) — Kentucky State Police plan to dedicate a memorial to two troopers who died last year in the line of duty.

A police statement says a monument will be unveiled and dedicated on Monday afternoon at Post 1 in Hickory. It will recognize troopers Joseph Cameron Ponder and Eric Keith Chrisman. Both were stationed at the western Kentucky post near Mayfield and had graduated from the police academy in January 2015.

Chrisman, who was 23, died in June in a collision with a tractor-trailer near Grand Rivers while responding to a reckless driving complaint.

Ponder, who was 31, was fatally shot in September after stopping a driver with a suspended license.


Police: Debris is from missing plane, body recovered

FALLS OF ROUGH (AP) — Kentucky State Police say debris spotted from a helicopter is from a plane that’s been missing in western Kentucky since Monday and a body has been recovered from the plane.

Police said in a news release Wednesday night that officials have not been able to positively confirm the body is the 70-year-old missing pilot, Robert C. Dalzell Jr., but have notified the family. An autopsy was scheduled.

A news release from police said the site is in thick woods in the Fordsville community of Hancock County. The Federal Aviation Administration will be at the scene Thursday to investigate.

Police said earlier that Dalzell left the Owensboro Regional Airport on Monday morning and landed at Falls of Rough in Grayson County about 35 minutes later. The statement says he departed later from the Falls of Rough, but never returned to the Owensboro airport.


2 Fort Campbell soldiers receive Distinguished Flying Cross

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Two Fort Campbell soldiers have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, given for heroism or extraordinary achievement in an aerial flight.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Woodward and Capt. Lindsay Gordon were awarded the cross on Wednesday for their actions while flying an AH-64 Apache helicopter during a mission in Afghanistan last December.

Woodward and Gordon are with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. They were flying along with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and guided their aircraft between U.S. troops and enemy forces as an extraction began.

Part of the ground commander’s report was read during the Fort Campbell ceremony, saying he had “never been pulled from a more dire situation.”

Gordon and Woodward said they were “humbled” by the recognition.


Newport to install $10M Ferris wheel along Ohio River

NEWPORT (AP) — Newport on the Levee, the city of Newport and a St. Louis-based company have reached a deal to build a Ferris wheel along the Ohio River.

News outlets report that Koch Development expects to spend more than $10 million to build the 235-foot-tall SkyWheel attraction at the northern Kentucky riverfront destination and begin operating it in the summer of 2017.

The SkyWheel will feature 30 six-person, glass-enclosed gondolas, including one VIP gondola. Passengers will take three to four rotations during their 10-to-12-minute ride.

Koch Development Managing Director Matthew Stack says construction on the Ferris wheel can begin after the company receives final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which regulates all construction projects along the river.

Stack estimates the attraction could draw about 500,000 riders annually.

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