State News in Brief


Authorities release details of Derek Willis’ arrest

BURLINGTON (AP) — The Boone County Sheriff’s Department says Kentucky senior forward Derek Willis was found lying in the street and stated that he had “a lot” to drink when he was arrested for public intoxication.

The arrest citation obtained Monday by The Associated Press says that a deputy observed Willis lying outside the open driver’s side door of a car and had to awaken him Saturday morning in Union, Kentucky. The citation adds that the deputy noticed a “strong odor” of alcohol coming from Willis and the car and said he had extremely slurred speech.

Willis was arrested for a first and second offense and later released after paying a $50 bond. A Kentucky athletics spokeswoman said the school is aware of the situation and gathering information and won’t comment.

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Suspect pleads not guilty in former coal executive’s death

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A suspect has pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of a former coal chief executive at a southern West Virginia cemetery.

News media outlets report that 18-year-old Brandon Fitzpatrick of Louisa, Kentucky, entered the plea to first-degree murder and conspiracy charges at his arraignment Monday in Mingo County Circuit Court. He was ordered held without bond.

Another suspect, 20-year-old Anthony Arriaga of Delphos, Ohio, was arraigned May 26 on a first-degree murder charge.

The body of 59-year-old Bennett Hatfield was found May 25 at a cemetery where he had been visiting his wife’s grave. His SUV was found nearby. Authorities believe Arriaga and Fitzpatrick plotted to steal Hatfield’s SUV and sell its parts.

Hatfield resigned in 2015 as president and CEO of Patriot Coal.

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Ky. Attorney General to serve on anti-drug committee

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has been named co-chairman of a group of law enforcement officials that battles substance abuse.

Beshear will serve on the Substance Abuse Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General.

A release from the Attorney General’s office says the committee works with law enforcement, prosecutors and community leaders to battle the drug epidemic.

Beshear will co-chair the committee with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. His term begins July 1. He calls Kentucky’s drug epidemic “the biggest issue facing our state, families and communities.”

Beshear recently spoke at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta about Kentucky’s fight against the scourge of drugs.

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Diocese suspends pastor after sexual abuse allegations

OWENSBORO (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Owensboro has suspended a pastor after allegations that he sexually abused a juvenile in the 1980s.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports that the diocese suspended the Rev. Freddie Byrd after being notified of the allegation June 2. The Diocesan Review Board reviewed the complaint and recommended the suspension.

The diocese said in a statement Monday that the complaint accused Byrd of engaging in inappropriate conduct with a then-17-year-old in 1983. Byrd was not a priest at the time. Diocese spokeswoman Tina Kasey says the diocese has no connection with the alleged incident.

The diocese added that it is conducting its own investigation and has alerted law enforcement about the allegations.

Kentucky State Police Public Information Officer Corey King says authorities aren’t conducting an investigation.

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Minn. bear center takes in orphaned bear from Ky.

ELY, Minn. (AP) — The North American Bear Center in northeast Minnesota has taken in an orphaned 18-month-old black bear from Kentucky.

Curator Sharon Herrell tells WDIO-TV that the bear was found nursing on her dead mother after the mother was hit by a truck. She says someone found the bear, took her in and raised her for about 10 months, but the caretaker didn’t have a license or permit so authorities took her away.

The 95-pound bear, named Tasha, arrived at the center in Ely last Monday after a couple of volunteers from Wisconsin drove down to Kentucky the day before and brought her back there.

Tasha is being held in her own den while she gets acclimated to all of the staff, volunteers and interns.

Staff expect to release her in early July.

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UK to develop concussion protocol for jockeys

FRANKFORT (AP) — The University of Kentucky is developing the first ever concussion protocol for jockeys.

The university announced a three-year study on Monday in partnership with the Jockeys’ Guild and several thoroughbred organizations. Carl Mattacola, director of the graduate athletic training program at the university’s College of Health Sciences, will oversee the study at all of Kentucky’s thoroughbred racetracks: Turfway Park, Keeneland Race Course, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs.

Jockeys at these tracks will be tested before races. After a fall, they will be tested again to compare the two scores. Most major sports in the U.S. have protocols for managing concussions.

Mattacola said he wants to give jockeys who suffer head injuries the best science has to offer. He said gathering the data is the first step to developing a concussion protocol.

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50 years later, paper apologizes for ignoring Ali’s new name

LOUISVILLE (AP) — For years after boxing great Cassius Clay adopted the Muslim faith and changed his name, his hometown paper refused to call him Muhammad Ali.

Fifty years later, The Courier-Journal, Louisville’s daily paper, apologized for continuing to call him Cassius Clay after he changed it in 1964. It did not consistently refer to him as Muhammad Ali until 1970.

Ali died June 3 and an estimated 100,000 people lined the streets of Louisville to say goodbye to the city’s most celebrated son during his funeral Friday.

Executive Editor Neil Budde wrote Monday’s editorial that chronicled how the paper for years either ignored Ali’s preferred name or outright mocked it.

“We won’t even try to speculate what the motives of the editors in that era were,” he wrote. “The CJ was certainly an early champion of civil rights and desegregation. Yet we took what in today’s light is an oddly hostile approach on the specific issue of Ali’s name, which did little to help race relations in a turbulent time.

The paper was among many newspapers and magazines across the country that continued to call him Cassius Clay for years after he changed his name in keeping with his Islamic faith.

Budde said reporter Joe Gerth researched the newspaper’s history and editors debated the proper way to address it after Ali’s death, as a series of planned memorials and spontaneous celebrations consumed the city for a week. The editors decided to issue a belated apology.

He compared it to the Lexington Herald-Leader’s front-page clarification in 2004, in which the paper apologized for having failed 40 years earlier to properly cover the civil rights movement.

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Coalition to offer free naloxone kits, training sessions

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition plans to offer free naloxone kits and training sessions this month at the health department in Metro Louisville.

A statement from the coalition says the kits and training will be offered to opioid users or to those who have loved ones with an opioid addiction on June 14 and June 28 at the health department’s administrative headquarters.

Naloxone can prevent overdose deaths by reversing the effects from heroin and other opioid drugs.

Officials say participants don’t have to register to attend the sessions.

Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition co-founder Arlene Rice says the group is trying to get the kits to “people in crisis.”

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Kentucky State Police: 2 die in 2 separate residential fires

PIPPA PASSES (AP) — Kentucky State Police say two people have died in two separate residential fires.

Police say 59-year-old Gene Spencer Burden of Pippa Passes in Knott County died Monday after being awakened by a blaze in the apartment where he lived. Police say his wife, Carol Burden, was able to get out of the building but he wasn’t. Police say they are still investigating the blaze, but no foul play is suspected.

Meanwhile, state police in Pikeville say they are investigating after being called to a house fire early Sunday in which a body was found.

Police say the victim has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy and identification.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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