State News in Brief


Bevin opposes taking college funding case to Supreme Court

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has opposed a request to bypass the state Court of Appeals in a lawsuit challenging his decision to cut the budgets of colleges and universities without the approval of the state legislature.

Earlier this year, Bevin reduced the allotments to the state’s public colleges and universities by $18 million. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued him, arguing Bevin overstepped his authority. Last month, a state judge ruled in Bevin’s favor.

In a court filing Thursday, Bevin’s attorneys said the case does not involve any issues of great and immediate public importance and should not be transferred directly to the Supreme Court. Beshear said in a news release he will continue to ask the Supreme Court to decide the case as quickly as possible.

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Bill would make targeting public safety workers a hate crime

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A state lawmaker from Louisville has introduced a bill that would make it a hate crime to target police officers, firefighters or emergency medical service workers.

Republican state Rep. Kevin Bratcher filed the legislation on Thursday. It comes after Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a similar law last month, making Louisiana the first state in the country to expand its hate crimes law to cover public safety workers.

Killing a police officer or firefighter is a capital offense in Kentucky. But by making targeting public safety workers a hate crime would give judges more leeway to impose tougher sentences. The state legislature will consider the bill when it convenes in January.

Kentucky state Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder and Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis were shot and killed while on duty in 2015.

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Black bear sighting prompts Danville school lockdown

DANVILLE (AP) — A Danville school was placed on lockdown after a black bear was spotted on the school’s grounds.

Danville Police Chief Tony Gray tells news outlets that the bear was seen at the Kentucky School for the Deaf Thursday morning.

Principal Will Begley tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that the school was immediately placed on lockdown, with students and staff already inside for summer programs. The bear eventually went to a wooded area near the campus.

Gray says bear sightings are not unusual for the area but it is rare to see a bear in the city limits.

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GM plans $290 million investment in Corvette plant

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Kentucky officials say General Motors Corp. plans to invest $290 million at the automaker’s Corvette plant in Bowling Green.

The company’s North American manufacturing manager, Arvin Jones, said Friday the investment includes technology upgrades to improve the Kentucky plant’s manufacturing process.

The investment announcement was made by Gov. Matt Bevin’s office in Frankfort.

Bevin’s office says the investment includes a $153 million project aimed at improving vehicle assembly line processes. The latest investment follows a series of upgrades and expansions in recent years at the Corvette assembly plant in south-central Kentucky.

To encourage the investment, Kentucky officials recently gave preliminary approval for GM to qualify for up to $3 million in tax incentives, based on the level of investment and job creation.

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Largest US Presbyterian denomination picks 1st black leader

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S. has elected its first African-American top executive.

The Rev. Herbert Nelson won an overwhelming majority of votes Friday during the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Portland, Oregon.

Nelson succeeds the Rev. Gradye Parsons, who served two terms in the position and declined to seek re-election.

Nelson previously directed the church’s public policy office in Washington. He’s a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and holds a doctorate from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He and his wife have one daughter.

Like other denominations, the Louisville, Kentucky-based Presbyterian church has been shrinking. It now has 1.6 million members and is overwhelmingly white.

Nelson urged Presbyterians to look beyond preserving the church toward reaching out more broadly and diversifying their membership.

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Wife of Hollywood producer to exhibit photos at state park

HENDERSON (AP) — John James Audubon State Park in western Kentucky is hosting a photo exhibit from Linda Bruckheimer, the wife of Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The exhibit is called “Kentucky Unseen: Roadside Views of the Bluegrass.” It features photos from winding country roads she took during a trip along Route 66 from Kentucky to Hollywood.

A fundraising event for the exhibit opening is July 9 at the state park in Henderson. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Kentucky State Parks Foundation, Preservation Kentucky and the Friends of Audubon. Tickets for that event are $45 per person and can be purchased at kentuckyunseen.eventbrite.com.

The free exhibit will be on display July 10 to Sept. 5.

Linda Bruckheimer was raised in Kentucky.

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Georgetown College accreditation placed on probation

GEORGETOWN (AP) — Georgetown College has been placed on a year’s probation by an accreditation association that says the school has failed to demonstrate financial stability.

A two-year warning from the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on College ended last week. The warning was given to the school after it cut faculty and dropped some majors in 2014 as it was facing a $4 million budget deficit.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the commission announced the probation this week.

Georgetown President Dwaine Greene wrote in a letter posted on the college website that after “huge enrollment declines” led to budget deficits, the administration put a “strategic renewal plan” in place and it has continued. College spokesman Jim Allison said the freshman class entering in August will be the largest in five years.

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Free HIV testing offered by Louisville public health agency

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville public health officials are offering free HIV testing on Monday.

Testing will be done at the headquarters of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. It’s in observance of National HIV Testing Day.

Dr. Joann Schulte, the Metro Public Health and Wellness director, says nearly one in eight people are living with HIV and don’t know they have it. Schulte says knowing your HIV status is a step to a healthier life.

The free testing will be done from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. It will be done using an oral swab method, which does not require a blood stick. Officials say test results will be available within 20 minutes. Testing requires that people not eat, drink or chew gum for 20 minutes before the test.

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Louisville Metro Council OKs $822M budget after adjustments

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville’s Metro Council has approved an $822 million budget after making about $9.8 million in adjustments from Mayor Greg Fischer’s initial proposal for the upcoming year.

News outlets report that the council unanimously approved the budget Thursday evening, opting to put more emphasis on public safety surveillance and on tackling the city’s infrastructure.

As part of the council’s changes, $23 million, rather than Fischer’s proposal of $18 million, will go toward paving and other road improvements.

The Courier-Journal reports that the council also voted to give $212, 000 more to the Louisville Metro Police Department for additional security cameras and possible investments for Shotspotter, a gunshot locator technology.

The mayor is expected to sign the budget before July 1.

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