State News in Brief

Bevin says he did not order education center name change

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican governor says he did not order officials to remove the name of former first lady Jane Beshear from the Capitol Education Center.

Bevin told reporters on Wednesday he has “no idea” why the sign was removed. A spokeswoman for Bevin’s Finance and Administration Cabinet said last week the administration plans to rename the center to honor Kentucky’s military heritage.

Bevin has been feuding with former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. Beshear launched a nonprofit group to oppose Bevin’s health care policies while Bevin has accused Beshear of corruption and launched an internal investigation.

Bevin said he did not wish to be disrespectful but said the center is “not even on my radar screen.” Bevin said he would be willing to put a plaque in the center acknowledging the private donations Jane Beshear raised.


Group says it’s warning schools about Noah’s ark attraction

WILLIAMSTOWN (AP) — A group opposed to a new Noah’s ark attraction in Kentucky says it is warning hundreds of public schools against visiting the Ark Encounter.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says ark field trips would expose children to religious proselytizing in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Lexington Herald-Leader that warning letters went to more than 1,000 school districts in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt sent a message to school districts Monday in response saying that neither outside groups nor state education officials should dictate field trip selection. A school’s site-based decision making council approves trips.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based group says it heard from parents concerned their districts will organize trips to the ark.


Boy, 16, pleads not guilty in slaying of Mercer Co. teen

HARRODSBURG (AP) — A Mercer County teenager has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery in connection with the April slaying of a 17-year-old boy.

News outlets report that the 16-year-old defendant appeared in Mercer Circuit Court on Tuesday to enter the plea about three months after Tristan Cole’s death.

The Harrodsburg teenager was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds the night of April 13 in a rural part of Mercer County.

Two other teenagers, 18-year-old Zachary Lay and 18-year-old Meagan Sims, have both been charged with tampering with physical evidence in the case. Both also entered not guilty pleas Tuesday.

Mercer County Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Bottoms says the 16-year-old defendant is being held in a juvenile facility. The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.


Breathitt County voters opt to allow alcohol sales

JACKSON (AP) — Breathitt County voters have chosen to go wet.

News outlets report that 58 percent of county voters on Tuesday opted in favor of allowing alcohol sales in restaurants and other businesses.

Businesses will need to acquire liquor licenses through the state before they can start selling alcohol.

Resident Trevor Terry tells WYMT-TV he was in favor of going wet because he says the county needs more tax revenue to rebuild its infrastructure.

In total, 2,323 residents voted in favor of the measure, while 1,717 voted against it.


Body of missing Fort Campbell soldier found

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — The body of a 101st Airborne Division soldier who was swept away by strong currents during severe weather at Fort Campbell has been found.

The post said Tuesday that the soldier was found less than a half-mile from the low water crossing over Little West Fork Creek on the post where he was swept away Friday evening.

The soldier’s name hasn’t been released pending notification of family.

Civilian and military agencies were called to help find the soldier.

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


Plan to protect pollinators to be reviewed at meeting

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is planning a second public forum on the state’s plan to protect pollinators such as honey bees.

State Apiarist Tammy Horn Potter and her team at the Agriculture Department will host the Wednesday evening meeting at the Warren County Cooperative Extension Office in Bowling Green.

State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is encouraging beekeepers and anyone else interested in pollinators to attend the forum. He says the state team will be receptive to public comments on ways to improve the pollinator protection plan.

The forum will include a presentation on the plan’s four main goals — best management practices, increased pollinator habitat plantings, better communications and more outreach.

The first forum on the pollinator protection plan was held Feb. 24 in Frankfort.


Popular 13-foot python euthanized at Louisville zoo

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A popular python snake named Monty that came to the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky in 1981 has been euthanized.

The 13-foot, 38-year-old Burmese python died Tuesday at the zoo. Zookeepers say they decided to have the python euthanized because it had not been eating well, was losing weight and was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Bill McMahan, supervisor of the HerpAquarium where Monty lives, says the python was a great ambassador for his species and had made appearances on local TV stations with its handlers.

Pythons are constrictors, so they have no fangs and are typically fed poultry, rodents and rabbits. They are native to southern China, Burma, Indochina, Thailand and the Malay Archipelago.

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