State News in Brief

Sheriff: Malnourished kids caked in feces living in filth

FRANKFORT (AP) — A couple is facing charges after Franklin County authorities say they found their children living in squalor with feces caked on their hands.

News outlets report 26-year-old Kimberly Powell and 25-year-old Andrew Powell were indicted Monday on criminal abuse charges after deputies found their children, ages 2, 4 and 6, extremely malnourished in a bug-infested Frankfort home that smelled of feces and urine in July.

Sheriff Pat Melton says the children, who hadn’t seen a doctor in years and were developmentally delayed, were routinely locked inside a bedroom alone. Investigators say the windows of the home were covered with black plastic, blocking out sunlight.

The children are in the custody of the state.

It’s unclear whether the couple have attorneys.


Judge will reconsider order reinstating pension board member

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Kentucky judge says he is reconsidering his order to reinstate the former chairman of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin removed board chairman Thomas Elliott earlier this year. Elliott sued, and Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily reinstated Elliott on the board.

But Elliott did not attend a special meeting of the board last week. His attorney said Elliott had scheduled work meetings. Shepherd issued his ruling two days before the retirement board’s special meeting. Shepherd called Elliott’s reason for missing the meeting “wholly inadequate.”

Shepherd said the retirement system, one of the worst-funded systems in the country, requires an “all hands on deck approach.” Shepherd invited Bevin to file a motion to change the court’s order.

A Bevin spokeswoman said the governor’s lawyers are reviewing their options.


New super PAC forms to support Gray’s Senate campaign

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democrat Jim Gray has received some help in his race for the U.S. Senate.

Kentucky Moving Forward, a new super PAC, announced its formation and said it would be supporting Gray’s candidacy.

Gray, who co-owns a construction company, has already loaned his campaign more than $1 million of his own money to keep pace with Republican Sen. Rand Paul. Paul reported more than $2.2 million in the bank in July, or $1 million more than Gray reported.

Steve Wilson, founder of the 21c Museum Hotels, is the group’s treasurer.

Gray has been mayor of Lexington, Kentucky’s second largest city, since 2011. Paul, who dropped out of this year’s presidential race in February, was elected to the Senate in 2010.

Gray has received $82,700 from political action committees, while Paul has received $609,050, according to the Federal Election Commission.


Family of girl who died in custody files lawsuit

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — The family of a teenager who died in a Kentucky detention center is suing, saying the girl was restrained with a martial arts technique for refusing to remove her hoodie and then left to die in her cell.

Kentucky’s Department of Juvenile Justice says Gynnya McMillan died in her sleep of natural causes. The department’s statement says medical examiners determined she died without any signs of distress that would have prompted medical attention.

WAVE-TV reports that the family’s lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center staff of falsifying records to cover up their failure to monitor the 16-year-old. Some of those records claim McMillan declined breakfast and a snack, and was non-compliant, when in fact she had already been dead for hours.


Buffalo Trace Distillery welcomes 1 millionth visitor

FRANKFORT (AP) — Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky has reached a milestone by welcoming its 1 millionth visitor.

The distillery in Frankfort says the unsuspecting visitor, from Lexington, was greeted with cheers, a balloon drop and a special prize pack at the Visitor Center on Wednesday. The celebration continued throughout the day with cupcakes and commemorative T-shirts for employees.

Distillery officials have been keeping track of visitations since the facility first opened for tours in 1999.

They say annual visitations have more than doubled in the past five years. Last year, the number of visitors increased by more than 23 percent. Visitors regularly come from all 50 states and a number of other countries.


Timber salvage sale proposed at Land Between the Lakes

GOLDEN POND (AP) — Officials at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area are accepting comment on a proposed timber salvage sale stemming from storm damage in July.

Land Between the Lakes supervisor Tina Tilley says more than 200 acres of woodlands were affected by the storm, which spawned a tornado. She said the proposal calls for removing dead and damaged trees along 120 acres hit by the twister. She said removing the storm debris would decrease the likelihood of insect outbreaks and wildfire.

The proposal also calls for using one area that was hit for educational purposes.

Much of the damage occurred in the Birmingham Ferry Backcountry Area on Kentucky Lake and in the Cravens Bay Campground on Lake Barkley.

Comments are due by Sept. 30.


Judge dismisses drug case after ruling evidence inadmissible

MAYFIELD (AP) — A judge has dismissed drug charges against a western Kentucky couple after ruling that evidence collected by state police was inadmissible.

The Mayfield Messenger reports Graves Circuit Judge Tim Stark dismissed the case Monday against Tyler and Victoria Smoyer, who had been charged with cultivating and possessing marijuana.

The Smoyers’ attorney, Kevin Bishop, had filed a motion to suppress evidence collected at the residence, saying troopers did not follow proper procedure to get a search warrant. The judge agreed and signed the order to suppress the evidence on Aug. 17.

After the ruling, prosecutor David Hargrove moved to dismiss the charges saying he couldn’t prosecute without the evidence from the search.

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