State News in Brief

Parents charged with murdering twin in southern Ky.

LONDON (AP) — A couple have been charged in southern Kentucky with murder in the death of one of their 7-week-old twin daughters.

Laurel County Sheriff John Root said in a news release Wednesday that 31-year-old Jessica Nicely was also charged with two counts of first-degree criminal abuse, and her 34-year-old husband, Gary Nicely, was charged with one count of first-degree criminal abuse.

The Nicelys are being held in the Laurel County jail.

Root announced last week that the girl was pronounced dead Thursday evening at University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Her twin suffered leg fractures.


Painting of Ten Commandments removed from courthouse

CADIZ (AP) — A painting of the Ten Commandments in the Trigg County Courthouse has been removed.

Kentucky New Era reports that Trigg County Clerk Carmen Finley originally hung up the painting, but removed it after being contacted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The foundation says in a news release that the painting breaches the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It also says the painting violates a Supreme Court ruling which states that a display of the Ten Commandments in courthouses violates the Constitution.

Finley says she originally hung up the painting five months ago. She says she put it up because the courthouse is a place of law and the commandments are the oldest laws she knows.

The painting is currently sitting in her office.


Judge considers changing order in retirement board case

FRANKFORT (AP) — The former chairman of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board has asked a state judge to allow him to continue to participate in its meetings.

Thomas Elliott testified during a court hearing on Wednesday in front of Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd. Elliott angered Shepherd last month when he did not attend two retirement board meetings after Shepherd ordered he be allowed to participate.

Tuesday, attorneys for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin filed a motion asking Shepherd to dissolve his previous order. Elliott sued Bevin after Bevin issued an executive order earlier this year removing Elliott from the board.

Shepherd said he hopes to have a ruling by the end of the day Thursday. The retirement board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday. Elliot said he plans to attend.


5 soldiers injured in hard landing during training

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Fort Campbell says five soldiers have been injured in a training exercise.

A statement from the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border says the soldiers were injured when a helicopter made a hard landing. The statement says the soldiers were in the middle of a routine training exercise Wednesday evening when the incident happened.

All five soldiers were taken to medical treatment facilities, according to the statement. The Army declined to release the nature of their injuries or their conditions.

No further information was available.


AG sues home improvement business

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit accusing a home remodeling company of violating the state’s consumer protection laws.

Beshear says the suit responds to complaints the company failed to complete work or fix defective work, misrepresented products and services and failed to get building permits.

Beshear said Wednesday his suit, filed in Fayette County Circuit Court, seeks civil fines and restitution against American Home Design Inc., which does business as Sunrooms and More LLC.

He says the company does a range of home remodeling projects in central and northern Kentucky. It specializes in sunroom additions.

The company’s owner did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. An attorney identified by Beshear’s staff as representing the company did not immediately respond to a call and email.


Trial set for hacker who called attention to Ohio rape case

LEXINGTON (AP) — A Kentucky man accused of helping to hack a website to draw attention to an Ohio high school rape case is scheduled for trial in November.

Deric Lostutter is charged with conspiring to gain illegal access to an online account and making false statements.

He appeared in U.S. District Court in Lexington court Wednesday to plead not guilty to the charges. Lostutter remains on supervised release while awaiting trial, said his attorney, Tor Ekeland.

An indictment says Lostutter, known online as KYAnonymous, and another man in 2013 hacked a website dedicated to sports at Steubenville High School in Ohio. They posted a video there showing a student from the school joking about the rape case. Two football players from the school were later convicted of raping a West Virginia girl at a party.


FBI reaching out to high schools to combat drug problem

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The FBI is reaching out to high school students in Kentucky as part of the strategy to combat the state’s illegal drug scourge.

FBI officials said Thursday they hope to visit Kentucky high schools to show a 45-minute documentary film showcasing the ravages caused by heroin and prescription drug abuse. The video profiles the plight of drug abusers, in their own words.

Howard S. Marshall, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Louisville Division, says the goal is to show the dangers of drug use at a time when teenagers are tempted to experiment with drugs. He calls it “a life-and-death decision.”

The initiative comes as health officials call drug overdoses a public health crisis.

Marshall says drug organizations are proving to be formidable adversaries as law enforcement tries to dismantle them.


Coroner: Body was in cave for ‘significant period of time’

MONTICELLO (AP) — A body has been found inside a cave in Monticello.

Wayne County Coroner Forrest Hicks tells news outlets that the Monticello police contacted his office after the body was discovered Tuesday morning on Trails End Road.

Hicks says the body appeared to be that of a male, but the person’s identity remains unknown, as well as the cause of death.

An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday in Frankfort.

Hicks says the body had been there for a significant period of time, and was visible from the entrance to the cave, which is similar to a sinkhole.


Black leaders call for change in school hiring practices

PADUCAH (AP) — A group of African-American leaders in Paducah are calling on the local school system to change their hiring practices after a white woman was hired as food service director instead of a black woman who had applied.

The Paducah Sun reports Pastor Alfred Anderson said minorities at Paducah Public Schools are overlooked and underrepresented.

Superintendent Donald Shively defended the district’s decision. In a statement, he said he reviewed the hiring process and each applicant was vetted according to policy.

The Sun reports that Paducah Public Schools is tied with Jefferson County Schools for having the highest percentage of minority staff members in the state at 25 percent. The school system is also one of the most diverse, with about 60 percent of students belonging to a racial minority.

Diversity is an issue across the state, according to a recent report from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. The report found that 79 percent of students are white compared to 95 percent of teachers.


Forestry division accepting orders for tree seedlings

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentuckians planning to plant trees can order seedlings from the state Division of Forestry.

The agency says there are more than 50 species of trees from which to choose, including bald cypress, black walnut, white oak, yellow-poplar, dogwood and redbud.

It says tree seedlings will be available for shipping from January through April. They are shipped in bundles of 10, 50 or 100 and range in price from $35 to $95 per bundle.

The forestry division says more than 1 million acres in Kentucky could benefit from tree planting to produce future timber crops, improve wildlife habitat and protect from soil erosion.

In urban areas, tree plantings improve the environment by reducing the effects of heat, wind, dust and noise, providing privacy screens and beautifying urban landscapes.


Man charged with murder in deaths of Butler Co. couple

MORGANTOWN (AP) — A Morgantown man has been indicted in the deaths of a retired pastor and his wife last month in southcentral Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police Trooper B.J. Eaton said in a news release that 34-year-old Kevin Dye was charged with two counts of murder and one count each of handgun possession by a felon, receiving stolen property and being a persistent felony offender in the second degree.

A Butler County grand jury indicted Dye on Wednesday. Dye was served at the Butler County jail, where he was held Wednesday.

Police said previously that a family member found 71-year-old Kenneth Neafus and 70-year-old Dorothy Neafus dead inside their home on Aug. 9.

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