State News in Brief

Sheriff: Injured infant dies, more charges expected

LONDON (AP) — A Kentucky sheriff says a 7-week-old girl hospitalized with critical head trauma has died and additional charges are expected to be filed in the case.

Laurel County Sheriff John Root says the girl was pronounced dead Thursday evening at the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington. He said an autopsy would be conducted Friday and more charges are expected.

Detectives have charged both parents, 34-year-old Gary Nicely and 31-year-old Jessica Nicely, on counts of assault and wanton endangerment.

The sheriff’s statement says the child was taken to a hospital in London on Tuesday and transferred due to the extent of her injuries. The statement says her twin was examined and found to have injuries. The twin remains hospitalized.

Online jail records don’t say whether the parents have attorneys.


Assistant AG retires after reprimand for talking to reporter

FRANKFORT (AP) — A longtime assistant attorney general says she has retired after getting reprimanded for talking to a journalist without permission.

Amye Bensenhaver told Kentucky Today that she made her decision to retire on Wednesday “under considerable duress” after being reprimanded in July.

Attorney General Andy Beshear’s spokesman, Terry Sebastian, said the communications policy is long-standing and applies to everyone who works in the office. He said Bensenhaver has been a valued member of the office who was welcome to stay.

Bensenhaver is widely respected as an authority on open records and open meetings laws in Kentucky. She has written about 2,000 open records and open meetings opinions in the last 25 years.


AG: University of Louisville violated open records law

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky attorney general’s office has determined the University of Louisville violated state open records law by not providing records related to a ban on postseason play for the men’s basketball team.

Dr. Peter Hasselbacher requested the documents in February, a few days after then-university president James Ramsey announced the one-year ban. Ramsey said an investigation revealed violations occurred when the school reviewed allegations by an escort that a former Louisville staffer paid her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

The Courier-Journal said Hasselbacher is a UofL medical school professor emeritus and blogger who writes about the university at the Kentucky Health Policy Institute.

An NCAA investigation is ongoing.


Slain nuns being honored in funerals in Ky., Wis.

BARDSTOWN (AP) — Two nuns who devoted their lives to helping the needy are being remembered in funerals, a week after they were stabbed to death in their home in a poverty-stricken Mississippi county.

The funeral for Sister Paula Merrill will be Friday near Bardstown, Kentucky. Sister Margaret Held’s funeral is also Friday in Milwaukee. Held was a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee. Merrill was with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky. Both were 68.

They were found stabbed to death in their home in Durant, Mississippi, after they failed to show up to work last week at a medical clinic, where they were nurse practitioners.

Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, is charged with two counts of capital murder in their deaths.


UK Center on Aging gains $8.25M grant

LEXINGTON (AP) — A multimillion-dollar grant has been awarded to the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging to continue its Alzheimer’s disease work.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the $8.25 million, five-year grant will continue the center’s designation as an Alzheimer’s Disease Center. The center is one of only 30 in the country to carry that designation and was among the first 10 designated in 1985. It has been continuously funded since that time.

Sanders-Brown director Linda Van Eldik says the center specializes in detecting early changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementias.

University President Eli Capilouto says the center is an outstanding facility at UK, with the National Institutes of Health funding “another acknowledgement of its excellence.”


Kentucky State Fair draws 564,000 in 11-day run

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Officials say this year’s Kentucky State Fair drew 564,937 people during its 11-day run in Louisville.

The Kentucky State Fair Board says in a statement that good weather, free concerts and special offers, like a day of free admission for members of the military, helped draw crowds.

Kentucky State Fair Board president Mark Lynn says the goal is to attract people with lower prices and a high-quality experience.

Officials say automated scanners with improved software makes this year’s count of fairgoers the most accurate in history. Last year, about 600,000 people attended the fair.

Next year’s state fair is set for Aug. 17-27.


UK president releases recommendations for covered mural

LEXINGTON (AP) — University of Kentucky officials plan to unveil a controversial mural and surround it with other works of art that provide more context of the school’s history.

News outlets report that President Eli Capilouto announced the plans for the artwork Thursday.

Last November, the university ordered that the Great Depression-era mural that features black workers toiling in a tobacco field to be covered up. The action came after students made their opposition known. Capilouto appointed a task force to decide its future.

The task force has recommended that the mural be unveiled and surrounded by other works of art that Capilouto says will provide a larger narrative of the university’s history.

Capilouto also released five “pillars” to improve campus diversity, which include creating a core class on race and ethnicity.


Mercy killing likely in elderly couple’s murder-suicide

BOXVILLE (AP) — Autopsies have confirmed that an elderly couple in Kentucky was a murder-suicide, and the coroner believes it was probably a “mercy killing.”

Union County Coroner Stephen Shouse says 73-year-old Garland Springer likely shot his wife, 68-year-old Jane Springer to end her “insurmountable pain” from a disabling illness. The coroner says Garland Springer then turned the gun on himself.

Neighbors say she was a well-respected elementary school teacher and he was a former coal miner.

Local news organizations report that the couple’s bodies were found Tuesday in their home near Boxville. The autopsies were performed Wednesday at the Western Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Madisonville.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Union County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate.

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