State News in Brief

5 injured, Walmart damaged in Lawrence Co. storm

LOUISA (AP) — An emergency official says five people have been injured and a Walmart has been damaged in severe storms that have moved through northeast Kentucky.

Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Michael Woods said strong straight-line winds or possibly a tornado damaged the roof of a Walmart in Louisa on Monday. Woods said the inside of the Walmart “is pretty much unusable now.”

Woods also said several vehicles were overturned in the storm. He said some witnesses reported seeing a tornado on the ground.

Woods said five people suffered minor injuries but no deaths have been reported.


4 hospitalized after Renfro Valley fireworks show mishap

RENFRO VALLEY (AP) — Officials say multiple people received minor injuries after a firework landed in the middle of a crowd during a Rockcastle County fireworks show.

Renfro Valley “Blast in the Valley” organizer Bentley Cromer tells news outlets that a vehicle shielded a majority of the crowd from the blast late Sunday as one of the fireworks misfired.

Four people were taken by an ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. Cromer says all four have since been released from the hospital.

The state fire marshal’s office is expected to visit the county this week to investigate the incident.


Christian Noah’s ark attraction ready to open in Ky.

WILLIAMSTOWN (AP) — A Noah’s Ark attraction built by Christians who say the biblical story really happened is ready to open in Kentucky.

The long-awaited theme park based on the story of a man who got a warning from God about a worldwide flood will debut in central Kentucky this week. The Christian group behind the 510 foot-long wooden ark says it will demonstrate that the stories of the Bible are true.

Its construction has rankled opponents who say the attraction will be detrimental to science education.

Ken Ham, president of the group Answers in Genesis, is welcoming media and some VIP guests to the big boat on Tuesday. The ark will open to the public on Thursday. Ham says up to two million could visit the ark in its first year.


Fort’s soldiers sent overseas could be counted as residents

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Soldiers from Fort Campbell who are sent overseas for temporary operations could be counted as residents of the region surrounding the base beginning in 2020.

According to the Kentucky New Era, the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday published a proposed rule change on the Federal Registry for criteria it plans to use in the next decennial census.

The rule change is expected to more accurately reflect the number of soldiers who live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and other communities surrounding the Army installation, including those in Tennessee.

“We’ve been working on this for several years,” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told the newspaper.

Hopkinsville officials have argued the local population number is inaccurate because the census fails to count a significant number of soldiers and dependents.

In the 2010 census, thousands of soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan were not counted as residents of local communities. The Census Bureau’s policy has been to count them as residents of the town they listed when they joined the military.

Paul, R-Kentucky, introduced legislation last year that would require the Census Bureau to count soldiers in the communities where they lived just before deployment. But his proposal hasn’t gained enough support for passage.

Paul said he hasn’t decided if he’ll continue to seek a rule change through legislation. For now, he’s satisfied with the Census Bureau’s proposed rule change. It is the same language he sought in legislation.

In a news release from Paul’s office, Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks and Christian County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelli Pendleton thanked the senator for his work on the census policy.

Hendricks called the rule change “critical, as these are the very communities that provide the support necessary for the men and women of the U.S. Army to succeed in their mission at hand when they deploy.”

The Clarksville, Tennessee area also stands to benefit from the rule change. Clarksville, population 142,357, has more soldier residents than Hopkinsville, population 32,582.


Kentucky Lottery chief dies in fall

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky Lottery says its longtime president and CEO has died.

In a news release, the Kentucky Lottery says Arch Gleason died Friday from injuries sustained in a fall.

Gleason spent nearly 23 years leading the Kentucky Lottery. He took over in the fourth year of the lottery’s existence, and he served under five governors.

Gleason had announced his retirement from the organization less than a month ago. At the time, he said he was proud to have built the lottery into a “a powerful economic engine for our state.” The lottery generates dollars for Kentucky education.

Before joining the Kentucky Lottery, Gleason served two separate terms as director of the West Virginia Lottery. He is also a former secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation.


Bevin appoints new judge-executive for Webster Co.

FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed a new judge-executive for Webster County in western Kentucky.

Bevin selected Stephen Henry of Providence to replace the county’s longtime judge-executive, James Townsend, who resigned.

Bevin’s office says Henry is a lifelong Webster County resident who became the county’s first 911 coordinator while working for the local fiscal court. In 1994, he began working in the coal industry, where he has been a manager for the past 10 years.

Townsend, a Democrat, has stepped forward to challenge longtime state Rep. Jim Gooch in the upcoming November election. Gooch switched parties to become a Republican late last year.


Louisville man charged in daughter’s death

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Police say a Louisville man has been charged in the death of his 3-year-old daughter.

News media outlets are reporting that 31-year-old Spindle Johnson is being held on a murder charge after his daughter was found unresponsive in an apartment Monday morning.

Louisville Metro Police say Johnson called authorities and said the child was unconscious. Police say Johnson acknowledged causing the girl’s death.

Police say it appears the child died from blunt force trauma.

Police said the parents of the girl are estranged. Police say Johnson was taking care of the child.

It was not immediately clear if Johnson had a lawyer Monday.


Dramatic changes planned at Kentucky Downs racetrack

FRANKLIN (AP) — Officials say dramatic changes are expected at Kentucky Downs as the racetrack undergoes renovations.

Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs senior vice president and general manager, told the Daily News ( that some changes including knocking down walls in the building to make it a more open environment and enclosing the back of the building that faces the track in glass.

In addition to live racing in the fall, the track in Franklin offers pari-mutuel betting, bingo and instant racing machines.

Dan Ware, director of the Simpson County Tourism Commission, said Kentucky Downs is among the biggest tourism draws in the area.

Nicholson said the estimated $4 million renovation project began in June and officials hope to complete it before live racing starts in September.

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