State News in Brief


Ky. regulators cite Justice-owned mine after mudslide

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky regulators have cited a company owned by coal operator Jim Justice for conditions that they say contributed to a mudslide and flooding that damaged six homes in Pike County.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura told The Courier-Journal that regulators learned on Friday about the damages and sent investigators to the Bent Mountain surface mining operation. The operation is part of Kentucky Fuel Corp., which is owned by Jim Justice, a billionaire coal producer running for governor as a Democrat in West Virginia.

Mura said violations on the citation issued Monday involve sediment control, off-permit disturbance, failure to notify, failure to pass water quality and a diversion ditch failure.

In a news release, Kentucky Fuel said it’s offering residents temporary housing, and providing large equipment and workers from nearby operations to help property owners with cleanup.

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Judge blocks Bevin’s executive order abolishing commission

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Kentucky judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order that abolished the Workers Compensation Nominating Commission and recreated a new one.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued the order Wednesday and said it will remain in effect until he issues a final ruling.

Kentucky’s administrative law judges decide if and how much employers have to pay workers who were hurt on the job. These judges are appointed by the governor, but Kentucky law says the governor can only appoint a judge that has been nominated by the Workers Compensation Nominating Commission. Last month —with an unprecedented six vacancies to fill — Bevin abolished that commission, rewrote the law that governed it and then re-created it with new members, all by executive order.

Two labor unions and four injured workers filed a lawsuit challenging the move.

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Toyota marking 30 years since ground broken in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN (AP) — Toyota is marking the 30th anniversary since work started on the Georgetown plant with a celebratory ceremony.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. unveiled additions to its visitor center at the ceremony Wednesday. Additions include the first Lexus produced in America, a new distracted driving simulator with a virtual reality driving experience and a music video creation experience using sounds and images from a Toyota production line.

The company is giving more than $100,000 to charitable organizations to celebrate the occasion.

Officials are reviewing a major plant makeover, including new technologies. A news release from the company touts construction of a new engineering building and addition of 300 engineers and a robot made by local students; and efforts to attract students to science, technology, engineering and math programs.

The Georgetown plant employs 8,000 workers and makes the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Lexus ES 350.

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Prisons drop ban on mail thought to promote homosexuality

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Corrections has dropped a policy that let wardens ban mail to inmates if they thought the items promoted homosexuality.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Corrections Commissioner Rodney Ballard sent a statewide memo to prison staff last week, issuing the revised inmate mail policy.

The policy previously allowed prison wardens to ban materials that depicted homosexuality, sadism, masochism, bestiality and sexual acts or nudity with children.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky challenged the policy’s reference to homosexuality in March, citing free speech and free press rights by the First Amendment. When the policy was revised, the specific reference to homosexuality was removed.

Legal director of the Kentucky ACLU William Sharp says the old policy was discriminatory.

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Boy drowns while swimming with family in McCreary Co. river

WHITLEY CITY (AP) — The body of an 11-year-old boy has been recovered from Big South Fork River after he drowned while swimming with family.

McCreary County coroner Tim Corder tells local media that Kaden Allen had been swimming back from the far side of the river Monday afternoon and didn’t make it across. His body was found the next morning after an overnight search.

Corder says Allen’s apparent cause of death is drowning, but an autopsy will be conducted.

Park Ranger Christopher Derman says the river can be inches deep in some places but quickly fall to 20 to 30 feet deep in other places, with little to no warning. He also says the water appears tranquil at the surface, but that there’s a strong current that flows underneath.

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Kentucky State Police seeking suspects in double slaying

MOUNT STERLING (AP) — State authorities are searching for two men they believe are suspects in a double shooting.

Media outlets report that the bodies of 25-year-old Brandy Davidson and 33-year-old Devin Payton were found over the weekend. Kentucky State Police have ruled their deaths a homicide.

State Police are searching for 36-year-old Eugene Wade Jr. and 24-year-old Devante Hall in connection to Davidson and Payton’s deaths. Both men are considered armed and dangerous.

Police have arrested Talmadge Branham and Carla Hunt for allegedly driving Wade and Hall to Lexington and then washing blood out of their rental car.

Anyone with information on Wade or Hall’s whereabouts is asked to call Kentucky State Police Post 8 at (606) 784-4127.

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Entries open for Kentucky State Fair judging

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky State Fair is looking for entries in thousands of categories leading up to the fair Aug. 18 to 28 in Louisville.

State Fair Board Executive Director of Expositions Steve Kelly says there’s no other place in Kentucky to show off so many hidden talents under one roof.

The general entry deadline for all categories is July 1, with postmark required by that date. Late entries will be accepted until July 11 with a late fee.

Additional deadlines are July 11 for open and 4-H/FFA youth livestock; July 18 for pigeon, poultry and rabbit entries; July 25 for late entries with late fee for open livestock; and Aug. 3 for extra late entries with additional late fee for open livestock.

To submit an entry online, visit http://www.kystatefair.org . Printed entry forms can be mailed or faxed.

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