State News in Brief

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.

Bevin’s press secretary, Amanda Stamper, said the governor’s office believes the ruling is wrong and is considering legal options, including possible appeal.

The commission nominates administrative law judges to be appointed by the governor and who decide if and how much employers have to pay workers who were hurt on the job. Last month 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.


Ky. woman dies in 100-foot fall in Ill. wilderness

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in southern Illinois say a Kentucky woman has died after falling at Garden of the Gods wilderness area.

The Saline County coroner pronounced the 37-year-old woman dead at the scene. The Evansville Courier and Press reports the woman fell about 100 feet near the Table Rock formation. She wasn’t immediately identified.

Garden of the God has several hiking trails and rock formations. It’s located in southeastern Saline County about 12 miles southeast of Harrisburg.

Authorities say the death doesn’t appear suspicious. The coroner, sheriff and the U.S. Forest Service are investigating.

Saline County Sheriff Keith Brown reminded wilderness visitors to wear appropriate shoes and clothing, have water and a fully charged cellphone.


Surgeon: Budget, staffing cuts make UofL hospital unsafe

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A leading University of Louisville surgeon says staffing cuts by KentuckyOne health at U of L Hospital have made it “unsafe” for the care of seriously ill and injured patients.

The Courier-Journal reports that in an email to the university’s top health officials, Dr. J. David Richardson, vice chair of surgery, says the hospital has “never been worse.”

Richardson says the hospital is poorly staffed at night, resulting in emergency room crowding. The Intensive Care Unit, he says, is understaffed as well. Furthermore, Richardson says it’s “virtually impossible” to do clinic research in the hospital.

He says the only solution is to cut ties with KentuckyOne Health, which took over hospital management in 2013 and laid off several employees shortly thereafter.

KentuckyOne responded in a statement that UHL is an “excellent hospital,” and that it’s committed to continuing the partnership.


Army ROTC celebrating 100th anniversary with Fort Knox event

FORT KNOX (AP) — Army ROTC is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week with a ceremony at Fort Knox.

The post said senior leaders from across the nation, members of the U.S. Army Cadet Command and people from the community will take part.

The former commander of Africa Command, retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, will be the keynote speaker during the event Friday. The post said in a news release that the Golden Knights Parachute Team will conduct a demonstration, and the command will induct over 300 people into the Army ROTC Hall of Fame.

The release said Army ROTC was created with the signing of the National Defense Act on June 3, 1916.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Brooks Field.


Texas man gets first hand transplant done in N.C.

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A Texas man is the first person to get a hand transplant in North Carolina.

Rene Chavez of Laredo, Texas, met with reporters at Duke University Hospital on Wednesday.

He had lost his left hand in an accident when he was 4 years old. Chavez got his new hand nearly 50 years after the accident.

The surgery comes after years of planning, including the development of drugs to help prevent his immune system from rejecting the transplant.

It took just a week to find a donor match once Chavez was ready. The 12-hour surgery was performed May 27 by 17 surgeons and 17 anesthesiologists, nurses, operating room staff and technicians.

Dr. Linda Cendales helped establish the nation’s first hand transplant program in Louisville, Kentucky, before coming to Duke in 2014.


Ohio Valley Commissioner Beth DeBauche receiving extension

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (AP) — Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche is receiving a contract extension.

The Ohio Valley Conference announced Wednesday that the league’s board of directors had approved extending DeBauche’s contract. DeBauche now has a five-year rolling contract that runs through the 2020-21 academic year.

DeBauche was named the conference’s seventh full-time commissioner on July 20, 2009, and she began her duties with the conference in September 2009. Previous Ohio Valley Conference commissioners included Art Guepe (1963-75), Paul Dietzel (1975-76), Bob Vanatta (1976-79), Jim Delany (1979-89), Dan Beebe (1989-2003) and Jon A. Steinbrecher (2003-09).

The conference also announced Murray State’s Bob Davies would chair the board of presidents and Murray State’s Allen Ward would chair the board of directors of athletics in 2016-17.


Bowling Green police increase synthetic drug arrests

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Bowling Green police say synthetic drug arrests have risen significantly.

Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving tells the Daily News that from January to June 2, Bowling Green police arrested 73 people on possession charges — 305 percent increase over the same period last year.

Synthetic drugs, also known as “spice,” are illegal, but are sold on the street in packages marked as incense. Police in Bowling Green don’t know exactly where locals are getting the drugs.

Medical Center EMS operations manager Jim Williams says the drugs can cause a gamut of symptoms, from lethargy to psychotic episodes. Synthetic drug ingredients are often unknown, so health professionals sometimes have difficulty treating people under the influence.

Loving says that thanks to legislation passed this spring, trafficking synthetic drugs is now a Class D felony.

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