State News in Brief


Advocates criticize Bevin’s plan to overhaul Medicaid

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Health care advocates and consumers say Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program would disastrous and urged him to significantly alter his proposal or abandon it.

Several hundred people packed an auditorium at Western Kentucky University on Tuesday to attend the first of three public hearings on Bevin’s proposal. Kentucky expanded its Medicaid program under former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to include able-bodied adults who meet certain income requirements. About 400,000 people got health insurance because of those changes.

Bevin says the program is too expensive. He wants to make beneficiaries pay a small monthly premium and hold down a job or do volunteer work in order to receive benefits.

None of the 22 people who spoke at the hearing supported the proposal.

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Kentucky Power converts coal plant to natural gas

LOUISA (AP) — Kentucky Power says it has converted a coal plant in eastern Kentucky into one that uses natural gas.

Company president Greg Pauley said in a statement on Monday that the successful conversion of Unit 1 at the Big Sandy Power Plant in Louisa “is a significant accomplishment.”

The plant had operated as a coal-fired operation until last year, when officials retired Unit 2 to comply with environmental regulations and began converting Unit 1.

Pauley said long-range plans include removing Unit 2 and redeveloping part of the site into an industrial park.

Kentucky Power, which serves about 169,000 customers in eastern Kentucky, is a division of American Electric Power.

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Lawyers for former Massey CEO file appeals brief

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Lawyers for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are arguing that his conviction related to the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades should be reversed, saying the government’s prosecution theory and proof fell short.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Blankenship’s legal team filed a 94-page opening brief Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief urges “close appellate scrutiny” of Blankenship’s conviction and complains that the jury pool was biased against him, the prosecution was politically motivated and the trial controlled by rulings unfair to the defense.

Blankenship reported to a California prison May 12 to begin serving a one-year sentence for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch coal mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

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Eastern Ky. police chief suspended following DUI arrest

ELKHORN CITY (AP) — Elkhorn City police chief has been suspended after being accused of driving drunk at the time of a crash in Pike County.

Multiple news outlets report Police Chief Crystal Davis is facing a DUI charge following her arrest Sunday night. She was not on duty at the time of the single-vehicle crash.

Kentucky State Police troopers say in an arrest report that they noticed Davis smelled of alcohol. They say Davis admitted to drinking four to five drinks before the crash.

The 32-year-old pleaded not guilty on Monday.

Davis has been the Elkhorn City Police Chief for about six months, and has been a police officer for nearly 14 years.

Mayor Mike Taylor says Davis has been suspended without pay.

It isn’t immediately clear if she has an attorney.

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Remaining overflow space, gyms to be used for excess inmates

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Metro Corrections is preparing to make use of every bit of available space to house its steadily rising inmate population.

Steve Durham, assistant director at Metro Corrections, tells The Courier-Journal that a broken pipe delayed the Monday opening of the only remaining unused space in the 1950s-era jail above Louisville Metro Police headquarters.

Nearly 100 inmates are already housed in the overflow area, and Durham says the final unopened area can hold about 30 people.

That jail space closed in 2008, amid safety concerns. It was reopened in April when there were about 2,050 inmates in custody.

As of Monday, Metro Corrections reported 2,146 inmates in its custody, well above the 1,793-bed design capacity.

Jail staff is also working to convert two gymnasiums with temporary bathrooms, showers and beds.

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Herald-Leader moving printing operation to Louisville

LEXINGTON (AP) — The Lexington Herald-Leader has announced it will move its printing and packaging operations to Louisville and will put the newspaper office and production and packaging facilities on the market.

The McClatchy-owned newspaper on Monday published a statement from President and Publisher Rufus M. Friday that said the change will affect 25 full-time and four part-time jobs in Lexington.

The statement said the newspaper is transferring printing and packaging to Gannett Publishing Services LLC in Louisville and said the move “will focus the Herald-Leader’s resources on its rapidly growing digital news, information and advertising operations.”

Friday said the newspaper would look for “new space in downtown Lexington that better meets the needs of a 21st century media company.”

The statement said Gannett prints The Courier-Journal, The State Journal of Frankfort, LEO Weekly, USA Today and various printing for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

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State closes Green River ramp due to concrete damage

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says the Old Eastwood Ferry Boat Ramp on the Green River in Webster County has closed because of damage to the concrete.

A recent drop in the river level made damage to the last several feet of the ramp apparent.

The ramp is known locally as the Sebree Boat Ramp. It is about 2 ½ miles east of Sebree.

The damage includes broken concrete, exposed steel reinforcing bars and significant holes. The agency said it closed the ramp because of the public safety issue and is assessing repair options. No timetable is set for the ramp’s reopening.

For a list of launch ramps statewide, visit http://fw.ky.gov . Click the pull-down menu on the “boat” tab, then select “where to boat.”

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