State News in Brief


House Republicans to skip Tuesday meeting on pensions

FRANKFORT (AP) — House Republicans say they will not attend a special meeting called by Democratic Speaker Greg Stumbo.

The Kentucky House of Representatives adjourned for the year in May. They are not scheduled to reconvene again until January. But last week, Stumbo announced a special meeting of all House members on Tuesday to discuss the state’s public pension crisis.

Monday, House Republican leader Jeff Hoover sent Stumbo a letter blaming him for the pension problem. Hoover accused Stumbo of scheduling the meeting on the same day as a nearby Democratic fundraiser, ensuring members would have their expenses covered.

Legislators get $188.22 for each day they work. Stumbo said lawmakers who attend the meeting will be paid.

Stumbo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Restaurant operator responds to claims of worms in burgers

MAYFIELD (AP) — A McDonald’s franchisee says he’s been unable to substantiate claims by two customers who reported finding worms in food at the fast-food chain’s restaurants in two Kentucky communities.

Michael Love, owner-operator of the two restaurants, says inspections of the restaurants by health officials did not uncover any of the problems raised by the customers.

Mayfield resident Madison Stephens told WPSD-TV that she visited the local McDonald’s on Sunday and purchased food for her and her 1-year-old son. She says that as she was about to bite into her hamburger, a live worm fell out.

At the McDonald’s in Draffenville, about 25 miles away from Mayfield, Lacey Jo Lovett says she also found a worm in her burger on Tuesday.

Stephens says she contacted McDonald’s about the incident, and they sent her a $10 gift card.

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Indicted Clay Co. officials plead not guilty to charges

MANCHESTER (AP) — Clay County Judge-Executive Joe Lewis Asher and county road foreman Buford Jarvis have pleaded not guilty to charges related to public corruption.

Media reported that the two were in court Monday morning after being indicted earlier this month. They are charged with abuse of public trust, bribery of a public servant and criminal possession of a forged instrument

The indictment alleges that Asher and Buford charged some property owners a few hundred dollars apiece for improvements to private land using public resources. According to the indictment, the men installed tile and concrete barriers and purchase orders found in their possession had been altered.

Their next court date is Dec. 5.

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Victims of 2006 Ky. plane crash remembered

LEXINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered in Lexington to remember the 49 victims of Comair Flight 5191 that crashed during takeoff 10 years ago.

Media outlets report family and friends attended the memorial service Saturday at the University of Kentucky Arboretum.

Before the service, Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn placed a rose for each victim at the 5191 memorial sculpture. The artwork depicts 49 birds in flight.

Flight 5191 crashed on Aug. 27, 2006 in a field near Blue Grass Airport after trying to take off from a runway that was too short for commercial jets. The National Transportation Safety Board found the pilots failed to notice they were on the wrong runway.

Former NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman says the tragedy helped change aviation policy to improve flight safety.

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Ky. man arrested in fatal shooting at sleepover

GEORGETOWN (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a Georgetown man has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a teenager.

State Police spokesman Trooper Bernis Napier says in a news release that 27-year-old Michael K. Davidson is accused of discharging a firearm into a Scott County residence early Saturday.

The statement didn’t identify the victim. Media outlets report the 15-year-old girl was visiting the mobile home park for a sleepover.

Napier says a 911 caller provided a description of a vehicle leaving the scene, and Georgetown police arrested Davidson at a mobile home park in Franklin County.

The statement says additional charges are likely.

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Lawsuit claims age discrimination at Blue Grass Depot

LEXINGTON (AP) — Two men have filed a lawsuit accusing supervisors of discrimination and retaliation at Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond.

The plaintiffs worked as electronics mechanics at the depot, where they maintained and installed monitoring systems, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. James A. Bilski of Richmond and Charles M. Herald of Berea filed the federal suit in Lexington.

Defendants include Eric Fanning, secretary of the U.S. Army, and Col. Lee Hudson, commander of the depot.

Mark Henry, public affairs officer for the depot, said Friday that personnel there had no comment.

In 2014, Bilski, then 54, did not receive a promotion because supervisors chose to hire a younger co-worker, the suit said. Herald overheard two people who said the Army “wanted to go with the young guy because the other one (Bilski) was ‘close to retirement,’” it said.

When Bilski learned of this, he filed a discrimination complaint with the Army and later with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Herald was a witness in the complaint and in June 2014 submitted a statement about the conversation he’d overheard.

After filing complaints, Bilski and Herald “experienced significant and persistent retaliation” that included reassignments and suspensions without pay,” the suit says. In November, Herald was notified that he was barred from the depot “until advised otherwise,” and he was escorted off the depot property.

The suit says the two men are currently suspended indefinitely without pay from their employment assignments.

Bilski claims the Army violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 by “failing to promote him while instead promoting a less-qualified, younger employee with less seniority and experience, and with poor disciplinary records.”

Bilski and Herald also allege the Army retaliated against them through an indefinite suspension.

The suit seeks compensatory damages including lost wages, reinstatement and promotion, trial by jury and recovery of costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees.

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Man killed by boat propeller at Lake Cumberland

JAMESTOWN (AP) — Officials say a man has died after falling into Lake Cumberland and striking an operating boat propeller.

The Russell County Coroner’s Office said in a statement that the 64-year-old victim was pronounced dead from his injuries Saturday night at the Lake Cumberland State Dock in Jamestown.

Officials have not released the man’s identity, pending notification of his family.

An autopsy in Frankfort is also scheduled.

Authorities have not released any additional details.

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Man pleads not guilty to killing woman found in container

GLASGOW (AP) — A south-central Kentucky man has pleaded not guilty to killing a woman whose body was found in a container floating in the Green River.

WBKO-TV reports 53-year-old Clark W. Smith of Cave City made an appearance Monday in Barren Circuit Court. He is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse in the death of 22-year-old Kristen Edwards of Barren County. Her body was found July 23 by someone fishing in the river in Hart County.

Smith was arrested Aug. 19 at his home. His next court appearance was set for Nov. 21.

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Astronaut to speak to southern seminary leader from space

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A NASA astronaut will speak live from space with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. this week.

Jeff Williams and his crewmates are staying 172 days aboard the International Space Station. They launched into space in March.

Williams is a supporter of the seminary and has done talks on campus.

The astronaut will speak to Mohler at 10 a.m. Tuesday during the seminary’s chapel service in Alumni Memorial Chapel. The event is open to the seminary community and will be livestreamed at www.sbts.edu/live .

A release from the seminary says Williams recently surpassed Scott Kelly’s record of 521 days to become the American with the most cumulative days in space. The current mission is Williams’ fourth spaceflight.

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Final lanes of Eggners Ferry Bridge set to open this week

AURORA (AP) — State transportation officials expect the final lanes of the new Eggners Ferry Bridge in western Kentucky to open to traffic this week.

The Transportation Cabinet said in a news release that the public is invited to walk along the finished eastbound lanes on Wednesday before a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon. Officials opened what will be the westbound lanes to two-way traffic in the spring. The statement says all four lanes of the bridge will open to vehicle traffic around 1 p.m.

The span carries traffic from Aurora to Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.

Crews have been working since early 2014 to finish the $133 million project. The statement says trail connections for a walkway along the bridge are still under construction.

The old span was demolished in July.

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Police: Child accidentally shot, killed by juvenile brother

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Authorities in Louisville say a 12-year-old boy was accidentally shot and killed by his juvenile brother.

Louisville police said in a news release that officers found Tremain Brown Jr. shot dead Sunday afternoon in the Hallmark neighborhood.

Jo-Ann Farmer of the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office says the child died of a single gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe the victim’s brother, who is also a juvenile, accidentally shot him. That child’s age and name has not been released.

Police say they don’t expect the brother will be charged in this case.

Authorities are working to determine how the child obtained the weapon.

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Police identify body found in creek as Bowling Green man

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Kentucky State Police have identified a body found in a creek near Bowling Green.

State Police spokesman Trooper B.J. Eaton says in a news release that the kayaker found submerged Saturday in Drakes Creek in Warren County was 30-year-old Victor Thomas of Bowling Green.

Eaton said foul play isn’t suspected, but police are continuing to investigate the death.

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2 caves reopened at Carter Caves State Resort Park

OLIVE HILL (AP) — Two caves at Carter Caves State Resort Park have been reopened to limited public use.

Park naturalist Coy Ainsley tells The Daily Independent that Laurel Cave and Horn Hollow Cave, which have been closed to the public since 2009, are now open for self-guided exploration.

The closure was part of a nationwide effort to halt the spread of white-nose syndrome, a disease that’s usually deadly to bats.

Those who wish to visit the two caves must obtain a permit first, which are free and available at the park welcome center. Ainsley says visitors must also follow decontaminating steps after exploring the caves to help stop the spread of white-nose syndrome.

Laurel Cave is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Horn Hollow Cave is open all year.

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