State News in Brief

Former KRS chairman set to argue against removal in court

FRANKFORT (AP) — The former chairman of the beleaguered Kentucky Retirement Systems is heading to court to challenge his removal by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Thomas Elliott has sued Bevin for removing him as chairman of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees. Bevin’s attorneys say he has the authority to remove Elliott. But Elliott says his term is set by state law and cannot be altered by the governor. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m.

The lawsuit is one of several challenging Bevin’s reorganization of state boards and commissions. Labor unions are challenging the makeup of the Workers Compensation Nominating Commission and Attorney General Andy Beshear is challenging Bevin’s decision to replace the University of Louisville board of trustees.

The Kentucky Retirement System has unfunded liabilities of more than $19 billion.


Panel: ‘Abuse’ was cause of autistic student’s broken legs

LOUISVILLE (AP) — An outside panel has concluded that physical abuse was the cause of injuries to an autistic teenager whose legs were broken when a teaching assistant physically restrained him.

Earlier investigations by Louisville police and state child protection officials into the 2014 near-fatal incident had been inconclusive over whether abuse had occurred.

But news outlets report that on Monday, members of the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel announced physical abuse is the only viable explanation.

Witnesses said Brennan Long was being disruptive before a teaching assistant lowered him to the floor in November 2014.

Long nearly died, needing blood transfusions to survive.

The Jefferson County school district paid Long’s family $1.75 million earlier this year to resolve the case.

In a statement, the district disputed the panel’s finding, saying prior investigations were thorough.


Sentencing delay sought in Longmeyer bribery case

FRANKFORT (AP) — Attorneys on both sides of the bribery case involving Attorney General Andy Beshear’s former deputy have asked that sentencing be postponed by about a month.

News outlets report the prosecutor handling the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew T. Boone, filed for the delay last week, citing a scheduling conflict Aug. 18.

The motion asks for a sentencing date in “mid-September,” saying the defendant also needs more time to prepare for the hearing.

Former Deputy Attorney General Tim Longmeyer pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge in April, admitting to using his influence as the state Personnel Cabinet secretary to steer contracts to a public relations firm in exchange for kickbacks. He also directed some of that money to Beshear’s 2015 campaign for attorney general.

Longmeyer was released until his sentencing.


Police: Woman used heroin in Ky. library bathroom

RICHMOND (AP) — Richmond police have arrested a woman they say was using drugs in a library bathroom.

Media outlets report 31-year-old Lavada Jones of Richmond was arrested Saturday on charges of public intoxication and wanton endangerment.

Police said Jones took two small children to the Madison County Public Library’s main branch, where she was found unresponsive in a bathroom after allegedly using heroin.

Police say she also had used oxycodone before coming to the library.

Jones was lodged in the Madison County Detention Center.


Former inspector who took bribes from lawmaker fined $4,000

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has fined a one-time state mine inspector $4,000 for accepting bribes from a former lawmaker.

According to a news release, Kelly Shortridge has admitted to four counts of violating the state ethics code. Shortridge agreed not to issue citations against a coal mine owned by former Democratic state Rep. Keith Hall in exchange for bribes of about $46,000. According to a settlement agreement, Shortridge agreed to pay a $4,000 civil fine and will never again seek employment with the state.

Shortridge pleaded guilty to federal charges last year and was sentenced to two years in prison. Hall was also indicted, but denied the charges. Shortridge testified against Hall and a federal jury convicted him last year. A judge then sentenced Hall to seven years in prison.


University lowers tuition for high schoolers

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Western Kentucky University says it is reducing tuition rates for high school students taking college courses.

Beginning this fall, the dual credit classes at the university in Bowling Green will be reduced from $210 to $156 for three credit hours.

In addition, the university says a new scholarship initiative announced by Gov. Matt Bevin pays for up to two dual credit courses per academic year or nine total hours throughout high school.

The university partners with 79 high schools and home school programs throughout Kentucky to offer college credit courses for eligible high school students.

Applications for the scholarship are not required. Students must enroll through the university’s admissions department.


Police investigating after man found dead on train tracks

SHELBIANA (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a Shelbiana man whose body was found on railroad tracks in Pike County.

Kentucky State Police say in a news release that the body of 39-year-old Shannon Robinson was found on Monday.

A preliminary investigation at the scene indicated that Robinson suffered fatal injuries after being struck by a train.

Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts pronounced Robinson dead at the scene. The body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

The investigation is ongoing.


U of L awarded grant for alcohol research center

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The University of Louisville says researchers at the school have received a nearly $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for an alcohol research center.

The statement says the center at U of L will be one of 20 in the country designated as a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcohol Research Center. It will be the only such facility to focus its research on nutrition.

Dr. Gregory C. Postel, interim executive vice president for health affairs at U of L, says the school plans to look at both benefits and detriments to using alcohol with a focus on how it affects organs in the body.

The research team includes 13 departments in six colleges at the university.

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