State News in Brief

Ky., W. Va. partners to study toxic algae blooms

MURRAY (AP) — Researchers from Marshall University, Murray State University and the University of Kentucky are teaming up to study toxic algae blooms.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $3.8 million grant that will use sensors to monitor water chemistry, weather conditions and other factors. Murray State says in a news release that the four-year grant went to the university’s Hancock Biological Station. The grant will be used to train students and faculty.

Marshall says in a statement the grant will address both states’ needs to develop models that can better explain and forecast conditions leading to toxic algae blooms.

Marshall assistant engineering professor William Ford says the blooms have been identified as a water quality threat in Kentucky and West Virginia.


State officials to spread awareness of Zika at state fair

LOUISVILLE (AP) — State officials are raising awareness about the Zika virus at this year’s Kentucky State Fair.

Officials from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Department of Public Health and the state agriculture department are holding an informational event for the media on Thursday at the fair.

Their goal is promote awareness about the Zika virus. The officials involved include Dr. Ardis Hoven with the Department for Public Health and ag commissioner Ryan Quarles.

The informational session will be at the Health Horizons Area, South Wing B of the Kentucky Exposition Center.


Men freed in ‘satanic’ murder case

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Two men who spent more than 20 years in prison for a “satanic” murder in 1992 have been freed after their convictions were vacated by a Kentucky judge.

Garr Keith Hardin and Jeffrey Dewayne Clark were released on bond Monday, according to media reports. Meade County Circuit Judge Bruce T. Butler overturned their convictions last month in the murder of 19-year-old Rhonda Sue Warford.

The 1995 conviction was based in part on a prosecution claim that a hair found on her body was a “microscopic match” for Hardin. The Innocence Project fought for new testing, which revealed the hair didn’t come from Hardin.

Prosecutors also told jurors that items at the crime scene were part of a satanic ritual. Butler found no evidence Warford’s murder was inspired by Satanism.

Meade County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Michael Williams said he intends to retry the pair.


Deputies: Man fatally drags dog behind truck for miles

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — A Kentucky man has been arrested after deputies say he dragged his dog for miles behind his truck, killing the animal.

Edmonson County Deputy Jordan Jones told WBKO-TV on Thursday that Calvin Dennis of Grayson County is facing an animal torturing charge, along with DUI and drug charges.

Deputies say Dennis had been in an argument when he sped away from a parking lot with his dog attached to the back of his truck. The sight prompted authorities and drivers to follow him.

Authorities say Dennis eventually dragged his dog for 15 to 20 miles.

Deputies say Dennis admitted to authorities that he had taken prescription pills and methamphetamine and had forgotten his dog was tied to the hitch of his truck.


GOP airs radio ads against House leaders in E. Ky.

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Republicans are targeting the top two Democratic leaders in the state House of Representatives with a pair of radio ads.

The Republican Party of Kentucky began airing radio ads on Tuesday in the districts of House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. The Kentucky House is the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats. Republicans need to pick up four seats in November to win a majority.

The ad airing in Stumbo’s district criticizes him for his support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The ad airing in Adkins’ district criticizes him for, among other things, supporting the Common Core education standards.

Stumbo said the ad was full of “outrageous lies.” Adkins said the ad was “insulting” and said he has “never hesitated” to disagree with national Democrats.


2-year-old passenger killed in ATV crash in Owen Co.

OWENTON (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a 2-year-old child has died after an ATV crash in Owen County.

Media outlets report State Police say the incident happened Sunday evening.

Authorities say 27-year-old Spencer Lawson of Owenton was driving a side-by-side off-road vehicle when it overturned in the roadway. Twenty-four-year-old Cheyanne Fredrick of Corinth was a passenger in the vehicle along with the two-year-old boy.

Police say Frederick and the child were taken to the hospital, where the boy died. Authorities say Fredrick suffered serious injuries. Her condition is unknown.

Witnesses near the scene of the crash say the roads were slick and the ATV wasn’t moving fast before it overturned.

The incident remains under investigation. An autopsy for the child was scheduled and a toxicology report is pending for the driver.


Prosecutor points to momentum in fight against opioids

LEXINGTON (AP) — A federal prosecutor in Kentucky says a series of drug trafficking convictions is a sign of momentum for an initiative teaming federal and local authorities to combat the heroin and fentanyl scourge.

Kerry Harvey, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, on Tuesday credited law enforcement in Lexington and Woodford and Madison counties with helping prosecutors secure convictions a day earlier in three cases.

Harvey says the defendants are facing long prison sentences for their roles in drug pipelines that led to overdose deaths. He says those sentences could be a deterrent and sway some drug traffickers to assist law enforcement.

Jennifer Powell’s sister, Jolene Bowman, was an overdose victim in one of the cases. Powell says her sister was victimized by predators who sought to profit from her addiction.


Kentucky AG: Johnson Co. didn’t warn of female implant risks

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Attorney General is suing Johnson and Johnson and its medical device unit for deceptive marketing practices of a vaginal mesh implant.

The lawsuit is seeking thousands of dollars for each patient who had the procedure.

Attorney General Andy Beshear alleges in the lawsuit that the company concealed and mispresented to doctors and patients many of the risks associated with the devices.”

The devices, which are intended to treat common pelvic floor issues, are the subject of tens of thousands of lawsuits in the U.S.

Beshear says in a news release that more than 15,000 women in Kentucky had transvaginal mesh implanted without being provided with sufficient information about the hazards.

Johnson and Johnson said after Washington and California filed similar actions in May that the lawsuits were “unjustified.”


Police: Teacher had sex with students; faces rape charges

PADUCAH (AP) — Police have arrested a female substitute teacher in Kentucky accused of having sex with two male students.

The Paducah Sun reports that a grand jury indicted 27-year-old Kasey Warren on Friday on charges of third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy.

The charges came after Kentucky State Police received a report on June 28 that Warren had sex with two 16-year-old students in McCracken County. Warren turned herself in to police on Monday.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Michael Robichaud says Warren was charged with rape because she abused her position of power. He says Warren was hired by the Carlisle County school system in January, but is no longer employed there.

Warren is being held at McCracken County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond. Jail records don’t indicate whether she has an attorney.

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