State News in Brief

Bevin voicemail warns of ‘impact’ of not switching parties

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic Kentucky state Rep. Russ Meyer says Republican Gov. Matt Bevin left him a threatening voicemail after Meyer declined to switch political parties ahead of the legislative session.

Meyer released the 42-second voicemail on Tuesday. In the recording, Bevin identifies himself by name and says he wants “to make sure you understand” the decisions Bevin will make and “I want you to be very aware of the impact of those decisions as it relates to you, your seat, your district.”

Meyer said he interpreted the voicemail as a threat to pull transportation projects in his legislative district, which includes parts of Fayette and Jessamine counties. Bevin did not mention any projects in his message.

Bevin described the voicemail in a statement as “polite and personal” and said his comments were being misconstrued.


Ex-Knox County School Board chairman indicted on perjury

BARBOURVILLE (AP) — A grand jury has charged that the former chairman of the Knox County school board gave false information to try to win back the seat.

News outlets report that the grand jury has indicted 59-year-old Dexter Smith on one charge of second-degree perjury.

According to the indictment released Monday, Smith quit the Knox County school board in April as state police investigated whether he had someone else take the GED test for him in order to qualify for office. He filed on Aug. 9 to run for his old seat.

Smith was required to make a sworn statement that he had the proper educational qualifications. The grand jury said Smith gave a false statement about his level of education.

Smith will be arraigned Tuesday. His attorney, David S. Hoskins, says he will plead not guilty.


Report: Number of nesting bald eagles in Ky. on rise

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A survey by Kentucky biologists has found that the number of bald eagles nesting in the state rose sharply in the last year.

The Courier-Journal reports the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources counted 151 occupied nesting territories in 2016, which is a 14 percent increase from last year and a 51 percent from 2012.

Kate Slankard, an avian biologist with the state agency, said nest numbers depend on weather patterns. She said the numbers were likely elevated this year because there weren’t many extreme weather events during nesting season.

Slankard said the state counted 20 new territories for nesting, which is more than in years past.


Woman dies after being found unresponsive in church

BEREA (AP) — An investigation is underway after a South Carolina woman was found unresponsive inside a church in Berea.

Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison tells news outlets that 33-year-old Lindsay Poole of Anderson, South Carolina, was pronounced dead Saturday after being taken to a hospital from the Oklevueha Native American Church of the Peaceful Mountain Way.

Berea police spokesman Lt. Jake Reed says authorities were called to the church that night. Cornelison says investigators were told the woman had fallen.

Investigators have not said what caused the death.

Cornelison says they are awaiting autopsy results.

The church’s website says the group offers ceremonies for members to “explore their inner consciousness.”

No further details have been released.


Defense asks for venue change in ex-preacher’s murder trial

DANVILLE (AP) — Attorneys for a former Kentucky preacher accused of killing three people are seeking a change of venue for their client’s trial.

News outlets report that during a Monday hearing on a request to move the trial, attorneys for 51-year-old Kenneth Allen Keith cited a telephone survey as evidence that Keith can’t receive a fair trial in Boyle County.

Of the 401 surveyed by a Louisville polling firm, 65 percent said they thought Keith was guilty of the crimes.

Prosecutors said the survey also showed that 74 percent of respondents said they think Keith can receive a fair trial.

Keith has pleaded not guilty to burglary, robbery and murder in the 2013 shooting deaths of Michael Hockensmith, Angela Hockensmith and Daniel Smith at a Danville pawn shop.

Judge Darren Peckler hasn’t yet ruled on the request.


New part of Ky. 9/11 memorial nearly complete

RADCLIFF (AP) — The final pieces of the Kentucky Sept. 11 Memorial are being set in place.

The News-Enterprise reports that the memorial, which is located on the grounds of the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central in Radcliff, was dedicated on the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Thanks to an $85,000 grant from the Radcliff-Fort Knox Tourism and Convention Commission, the site will have new black granite wings in time for the 15th anniversary.

Project chair Sam Young says the right wall of the memorial will feature images of the four attack sites. The left wall will be inscribed with the names of 111 Kentuckians who have died overseas serving the country since the events of 9/11.

A dedication of the memorial is planned for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11.


Lt. gov. announces entrepreneurship competition

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton is hoping to encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs with a competition for students.

Hampton announced the start of the Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge on Monday. The contest will consist of a business plan proposal and a live pitch competition. It will include two components next year — a regional competition and a state competition.

Hampton says all high school students from public, private and home-school settings are eligible.

Student teams will be required to work with adult advisers who can help guide teams as they develop business ideas.

Teams will be evaluated on both their written business plans and pitch presentations.

Prizes will include scholarships for post-secondary institutions in Kentucky, cash winnings for adult advisers and in-kind business services from entrepreneurs across Kentucky.


Last steel section lifted into place on East End Bridge

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A crane has lifted the last steel section into place on the East End Bridge, marking another milestone in construction of the Louisville-area span that will be another link between Kentucky and Indiana.

Project director Rob Morphonios tells The Courier-Journal that work on the structure is heading into the home stretch.

The new cable-stayed span over the Ohio River will connect the Prospect area in Kentucky and the Utica area in Indiana.

The bridge is expected to open to traffic in December.

It’s part of the $2.3 billion Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project, which includes two new bridges and their approaches, an improved Kennedy Bridge and reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange, where three interstates join in downtown Louisville.


Pikeville construction workers get new boots for free

PIKEVILLE (AP) — Nearly 200 construction workers in Pikeville have received new boots for free.

WYMT-TV reports that Wolverine representatives came to the city Monday to give a free pair of boots and socks to workers constructing a new building for the University of Pikeville’s Kentucky College of Optometry.

Officials with the company, which makes work boots, say the giveaway is part of their “Project Bootstrap” campaign.

Wolverine spokesman Michael Boss says the effort is a way of thanking the construction crews for what they’re doing by building new sites for the future.

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