State News in Brief

Bevin claims ‘absolute authority’ to disband state boards

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican governor said Tuesday he has “absolute authority” to disband any of the states’ nearly 400 boards and commissions as the state’s Democratic attorney general hints at possible legal action.

Gov. Matt Bevin last week abolished the board of trustees at the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Retirement Systems, only to recreate them with some new members.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has called Bevin’s actions “unprecedented.” He has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to discuss Bevin’s decisions, potentially announcing a lawsuit against the state’s highest elected officer.

Beshear and Bevin are already in court, fighting over whether Bevin has the authority to cut $18 million from college and university budgets that were approved by the state legislature.


Lexington mayor resigns from Bluegrass ADD executive board

LEXINGTON (AP) — Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has resigned from the Bluegrass Area Development District executive committee.

According to The Lexington Herald-Leader, Gray’s resignation was submitted Friday and is effective immediately.

Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Gray, said Gray choose to resign from the executive board because he was frequently the only “no” vote on several issues.

“After a series of votes over several months where he cast the lone dissenting vote on a variety of issues, the mayor resigned from the Bluegrass ADD Friday and is focusing his attention on workforce services,” Straub said.

The Lexington-headquartered group oversees planning, aging and workforce training programs for a 17-county region that includes Fayette County.

In May, Gov. Matt Bevin notified Bluegrass that the state will end its contract with the agency on July 1 due to lingering questions about the agency’s oversight of millions of dollars in federal workforce training money.

In a letter, Bevin said that state Education and Workforce Cabinet officials completed a review of the agency’s 2015 spending and found “excessive travel expenses and questionable documentary support for use of program funds on authorized activities.”

The state has hired two Louisville organizations to oversee Bluegrass’s area workforce training programs beginning July 1.

David Duttlinger, the executive director of Bluegrass, said Clay City Mayor James Caudill, the chairman of the Bluegrass executive committee, will appoint a new member from Fayette County to serve on the executive committee at the board’s meeting in July.

“Nothing in a letter of resignation will affect the level of services provided to Fayette County through the Bluegrass ADD,” Duttlinger said.


Sheriff: Child dies after being hit by vehicle

SCIENCE HILL (AP) — Authorities say a 10-year-old boy has died after being hit by a vehicle in Pulaski County, and investigators are searching for the driver.

Media cited a statement from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office in reporting that deputies responded on Monday evening to a report of someone being hit along a road near Science Hill. Deputies found the boy, who wasn’t identified, unresponsive in the road and took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Greg Speck says investigators are now trying to find the vehicle that hit the boy. He says deputies are going door to door talking to people who live along the road to see if anyone witnessed the crash. Speck says anyone who traveled Rock Lick Creek Road on Monday should call law enforcement.


Police: Man confessed to fatally shooting ex-girlfriend

BEAVER, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a registered sex offender accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in western Pennsylvania confessed to the crime when he was questioned by investigators.

Twenty-six-year-old Edward Baker Jr. was held for court on charges of homicide, rape and related offenses during his preliminary hearing Monday in the slaying of 30-year-old Addaleigh Huzyak earlier this month.

Authorities say Huzyak broke up with Baker the week before she was killed, and he confessed to breaking into her Beaver apartment on June 5 and waited for her to return home. Investigators say he shot her twice and slit her throat when she returned.

He was arrested in Kentucky.

Defense attorney Steve Colafella says he plans to challenge his client’s alleged confession.


TVA seeks comment on Shawnee coal ash storage facility

PADUCAH (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking public comment on a plan to remove and recirculate water used in the coal ash management process at a Kentucky power plant.

TVA is proposing to build a dewatering facility for bottom ash at Shawnee Fossil Plant near Paducah. The proposal is part of TVA’s commitment to convert from wet to dry storage of ash and other coal combustion residual products across the TVA system.

TVA says the facility would include a recirculation system to recycle water used to move ash back into the powerhouse for continued use. The dry ash would then be stored onsite.

The utility is inviting the public to comment on a draft environmental assessment which considers the potential environmental impacts of several alternatives, including construction of the dewatering facility.


2 suspended Mayfield police officers resign

MAYFIELD (AP) — Two Mayfield police officers recently suspended without pay have resigned.

Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell said in a news release that Maj. Shannon Keller resigned on Monday after having been accused of violating department regulations.

The other officer, Lt. Chris Watkins, had resigned on Friday. Both had been suspended on June 6.

It is unclear what rules the two officers were accused of violating.

The mayor says the resignations mean neither officer will be investigated further.


MSU board approves tuition, residence hall fee hikes

MOREHEAD (AP) — Morehead State University’s Board of Regents has approved increases in tuition and residence hall fees beginning this fall.

The Daily Independent reported on Monday that MSU tuition will increase by 5.33 percent for undergraduate students, and residence hall rates will increase 4 percent.

The board approved the tuition hike in the 2016-17 operating budget totaling $150.9 million. That budget represents a decrease of $6.8 million or 4.3 percent, and does not include faculty and staff salary increases.

The budget decrease is due to a drop in enrollment and state appropriations, which are the university’s two primary revenue sources.

University president Wayne Andrews says the school is working hard to address the decrease in enrollment in MSU’s service area and rising fixed costs.


Body of kayaker removed from Kentucky River

FRANKFORT (AP) — The body of an 18-year-old Frankfort kayaker has been pulled from the Kentucky River.

Kentucky state police said in a news release that Keyan R. Wickers was found unresponsive in the river in Frankfort on Monday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

As of Monday night, authorities had not released a cause of death.


Woman found dead in Smiths Grove identified

SMITHS GROVE (AP) — Kentucky State Police are investigating the death of a 51-year-old woman found slain in her home in rural south-central Kentucky.

Police identified the woman on Monday as Dealynn O’Connor of Smiths Grove in Warren County and said she died of a gunshot wound. A police news release said the case was being investigated as murder and asked for anyone with information to contact the Bowling Green state police post.

The release said O’Connor was found dead on Friday.


Shoulders closed on Milton-Madison Bridge for plate project

MILTON (AP) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says shoulders are closed on the Milton-Madison Bridge across the Ohio River while cover plates are installed this week.

The agency says the work is already underway and is expected to help smooth access for bicycle traffic. Four plates are being installed, one at each corner.

The work won’t affect the pedestrian walkway. The project is expected to be finished by the end of the week.

The Milton-Madison Bridge Project is a joint effort between the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.


Mammoth Cave National Park wants to increase fees

BROWNSVILLE (AP) — Mammoth Cave National Park officials want to increase fees for tours and programs they offer.

Superintendent Tracy Stakely tells WBKO-TV that the fee increase would begin in January, and park officials want feedback before the changes are implemented.

The new fees include a $6 fee per student per student for the environmental education program, which was previously free. Fees on customized programs for the higher education group would be $15 to $25 depending on the hourly length.

There’s also a $1 increase on the existing educational cave tour rate, making it $6 per person.

Stakely says fees have funded renovations to the concessions facilities, backcountry repairs and other improvements.

The park is accepting comments on the proposed fee increase until July 18 through the National Park Service planning website and via mail.

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