News in Brief

Grants available for alternatives to detention programs

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s juvenile justice department will soon begin accepting applications for a grant program that supports alternatives to detention for low-level juvenile offenders.

The agency says about $80,000 will be available through the U.S. Department of Justice. It says applications will be accepted starting April 1 for the Reducing Out-of-Home Placements Grant Program.

The funds have been earmarked for public and private non-profit organizations, or city and county governments, that provide emergency shelter services in the Fayette and Hardin juvenile detention catchment area.

Grant recipients must provide alternatives to secure detention for juveniles who have been released from law enforcement custody with supervision or have been released from court.

The deadline to apply is May 1.


Class offered for women who want to learn outdoor skills

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a class for women to learn basic skills for outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.

A statement from the agency says registration for the April 8 Becoming An Outdoors Woman class at the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort is open through March 27. The workshop will help women learn or develop skills in a variety of areas including basic fishing, shooting with air guns, beginner crossbow and bow hunting.

A special class that gives participants a behind-the-scenes look at how the Salato Center staff use animals to educate people about nature will also be offered.

Participants can register for the class online at .


Man accused in deadly bank holdup pleads guilty to charges

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — A man accused of fatally stabbing two Illinois bank workers and critically wounding a third during a botched robbery has pleaded guilty to charges.

James Nathaniel Watts pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted armed bank robbery resulting in death and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the May 2014 holdup at the First National Bank branch in Cairo. The 32-year-old Watts entered the plea in U.S. District Court in exchange for the prosecutor taking the death penalty off the table when he is sentenced on May 25.

Authorities allege Watts was armed with a gun and wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he confronted three female employees as they emerged from the bank after closing.

Killed were 52-year-old Anita Grace of Olive Branch, Illinois, and 52-year-old Nita Jo Smith of Wickliffe, Kentucky. A 23-year-old woman survived.


Groundbreaking set for final stretch of Ohio River Greenway

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A groundbreaking for the final stretch of southern Indiana’s Ohio River Greenway is set to bring that trail closer to completion following decades of planning.

Friday’s ceremony in Clarksville will toast the start of work on the 1.3-mile Lewis and Clark Trail. It will run between Clarksville and New Albany and include construction of a bridge over Silver Creek, an Ohio River tributary.

The Ohio River Greenway Commission calls the start of work on the trail “a major milestone” in efforts by local communities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to give the public riverfront access.

The News and Tribune reports the new trail will become the final link in the nearly eight-mile multi-use riverfront greenway that when complete will run between New Albany and Jeffersonville.


Jury recommends 55-year sentence in restaurant shooting

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A jury has recommended a 55-year prison sentence for a central Kentucky man who shot and killed his co-worker at a fast-food restaurant following an argument over sanitary work habits.

The News-Enterprise reports jurors returned the sentence Thursday for 28-year-old Joshua Ratliff of Elizabethtown. It comes a day after Ratliff was found guilty of murder but mentally ill in Ryan Birse’s death.

Witnesses testified Ratliff shot the 22-year-old victim multiple times at a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant in February 2016. An employee said Birse and Ratliff had days earlier gotten into an argument when Birse told Ratliff to stop touching chicken after taking his hands out of the dishwater.

Defense attorney Wesley Durham had entered a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.

Formal sentencing is set for May 23.


Driver pleads not guilty in former official’s cycling death

PADUCAH (AP) — A driver has pleaded not guilty in the death of a former McCracken County official who was hit while riding his bicycle last fall.

The Paducah Sun reports that 68-year-old Willie G. Holsapple appeared in court Thursday on multiple charges, including second-degree manslaughter, in former Judge-Executive Van Newberry’s death.

Newberry was killed Oct. 13 when his bicycle was struck by a SUV driven by Holsapple. Holsapple told authorities he was passing Newberry when the bicycle veered in the path of his vehicle. Sheriff Jon Hayden says there was no evidence suggesting that happened.

Investigators say Holsapple had serious vision problems at the time and had ignored doctors’ warnings that he should not drive.

Holsapple was indicted March 3. He’s scheduled to appear in court June 8.

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