State News in Brief

Ky. treasurer seeks intervention in pension board suit

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s state treasurer is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the former state retirement systems chairman against Gov. Matt Bevin.

Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball filed an intervening motion Monday in the suit to stop the retirement board’s former chairman, Thomas Elliott, from using $50,000 in legal funding from Kentucky Retirement Systems to sue Bevin.

Elliott is suing to overturn Bevin’s order removing and replacing him. Bevin has also issued an executive order that removed all the current members of the retirement system board.

Ball says in a release that Elliott’s use of the funding is inappropriate, since he is no longer on the board.

“After conducting an internal review, it is clear there is no legal authority for a removed trustee to use retiree pension money to pay for legal counsel, which is what Mr. Elliott is attempting to do,” Ball said in the media release.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has also sought to intervene in the suit in an attempt to overturn’s Bevin overhaul of the board.

The $50,000 in funds came to light in a report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, which obtained the legal bills through a public records request.

Elliott, a Louisville banker, sued Bevin on June 17 after he was removed in April.

Bevin has insisted he has “absolute authority” to disband any of the state’s boards and commissions. Along with the retirement systems board, Bevin has wielded his executive powers to reorganize the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, the Kentucky Racing Commission and the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission.


Man pleads not guilty in deaths of missing Kentucky couple

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A man charged with two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of a missing northern Kentucky couple has pleaded not guilty.

News outlets report 52-year-old Craig Pennington of Springfield entered his plea in court Monday.

Pennington was arrested Friday and charged with killing 38-year-old Robert K. Jones and 35-year-old Crystal J. Warner.

Warner and Jones, both of Florence, went missing July 3. Their bodies haven’t been found, but the couple’s car was discovered Friday in Scott County.

Kentucky State Police say Pennington rented a cabin in Washington County from Jones, and the two victims went to the cabin to discuss the property with Pennington before they disappeared.

Trooper Billy Gregory says the search for the bodies continues.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for July 18.


Defense Department awards U of L $848K for training program

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The University of Louisville says the Defense Department has awarded its College of Education and Human Development an $848,000 grant to expand a training program based at Fort Knox.

The program is for college-level educators, mostly military science instructors, who train soldiers. Jeffrey Sun, who is spearheading the Cadre and Faculty Development Course, said the Army wants to remake its ROTC program for the 21st century. He said the training program emphasizes skills such as creative thinking and problem solving.

U of L says 366 educators will complete the program this summer.


Search ongoing for soldier who was swept away

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Officials at Fort Campbell say a search is continuing for a 101st Airborne Division soldier who was swept away at the post by strong currents during severe weather.

The post said in a news release Monday that the soldier was at the low water crossing over Little West Fork Creek on Friday evening with two other soldiers from his unit before being swept away.

The release said civilian and military agencies are trying to locate the soldier, who hasn’t been identified.

Jerry Buchanan, emergency management director in Montgomery County, Tennessee, told The Leaf-Chronicle that the creek had been swollen by heavy rain.


U of L Hospital report finds deficiencies in patients’ care

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A state inspection prompted by allegations that University of Louisville Hospital staffing cuts have made the facility unsafe has found deficiencies in nursing services.

The Courier-Journal says the Cabinet for Health and Family Services office of inspector general report released Monday concluded that the hospital’s nurses are overloaded with patients and that patients who should be treated in intensive care are backed up in the emergency department.

Hospital staff told state inspectors that nursing and staff shortages put patients at risk.

Vice chair of surgery and American College of Surgeons President Dr. J. David Richardson said last month that the hospital faced a “major patient safety issue.”

Spokeswoman Lisa Shannon of KentuckyOne Health, which manages the hospital, says the hospital is safe and improvements have been made.

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