News in Brief

Kentucky Derby season draws warnings of human trafficking

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky’s attorney general is urging people to pay attention to more than the horses as the Kentucky Derby approaches.

Authorities are seeking help in cracking down on sex traffickers trying to cash in on the huge crowds converging for the world’s most famous horse race.

Attorney General Andy Beshear is hosting a three-day training session for law enforcement, prosecutors and others as a way to combat human trafficking.

Beshear says the victims are among “the most marginalized in our society.”

Authorities point to some successes in their efforts. A Michigan man convicted of sex trafficking in Kentucky was recently sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison. The man was swept up in a prostitution sting operation about the time of the Derby.

This year’s Kentucky Derby is May 6.


Frederick Smock named as Kentucky Poet Laureate

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Arts Council says poet, author and teacher Frederick Smock has been named as Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2017-2018.

A statement from the council says Smock will be inducted during a ceremony on May 1 at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort. The Louisville native is a professor at Bellarmine University.

Smock says he is thrilled by the appointment and wants to make poetry relevant to all Kentuckians during his two-year term.

An author of 10 books of poems and essays, Smock has earned several awards, including the 2002 Henry Leadingham Poetry Prize, the 2003 Jim Wayne Miller Prize for Poetry and the 2008 Kentucky Literary Award for Poetry.

The Kentucky poet laureate promotes the literary arts at community and educational events around the state.


Candidates sought for community college boards

FRANKFORT (AP) — Officials are seeking qualified candidates to serve on boards that oversee colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

A statement from Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says there is an immediate need for applicants to serve these schools: Ashland, Big Sandy, Bluegrass, Elizabethtown, Gateway, Hazard, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Jefferson, Madisonville, Maysville, Owensboro, Somerset, Southcentral, Southeast, and West Kentucky.

In addition, the Office of Boards and Commissions is accepting applications for potential trustee and regent positions at the state’s public universities.

Applications are due by April 30. Those interested in serving can apply online at


Civil rights icon John Lewis to speak at Berea commencement

BEREA (AP) — A Georgia congressman who joined Martin Luther King Jr. in the historic Selma march will speak at Berea College’s commencement ceremony next month.

Rep. John Lewis helped organize the march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 that demanded an end to voter registration discrimination.

He endured attacks and beatings alongside hundreds of other peaceful protesters.

Lewis has served in Georgia’s 5th District since 1987. He will address Berea’s graduating students on May 7 at the school’s Seabury Center.

Also addressing the students will be the Rev. Debra Wallace-Padgett, a Berea graduate who serves as an elected Bishop of the United Methodist Church in the North Alabama Conference.

Tickets are required to attend Lewis’ 2 p.m. address. Wallace-Padgett will speak at morning’s baccalaureate ceremony.


4 men indicted in killing of pregnant woman during robbery

LEXINGTON (AP) — A grand jury has indicted four men in the killing of a pregnant woman who was hit by a stray bullet during a robbery.

Media outlets report 22-year-old Maryiah Coleman was walking her dog at night outside her Lexington apartment last Sept. 7 when she was shot. She and her unborn son, Jakobe, later died at the hospital.

Lexington police say 21-year-old Skylar Stigall and 20-year-olds Demetrioun Boaz, Joseph Fain and Saquan Freeman were trying to rob a man nearby when the victim ran, shots were fired, and the innocent bystander was struck.

The men are scheduled to be arraigned April 27 on charges of murder, fetal homicide and first-degree robbery. It’s unclear if any have attorneys.


Ex-Carlisle teacher pleads not guilty to sex charges

BARDWELL (AP) — A former Carlisle County teacher has pleaded not guilty to having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

The Paducah Sun reports 29-year-old Zachary Sims pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activity, tampering with physical evidence and first-degree official misconduct.

Police say they received a tip March 11 that Sims, who was a teacher at Carlisle County middle and high schools, was involved in a relationship with a 17-year-old student. An investigation began and Sims resigned from his teacher’s position shortly thereafter.

Police say they uncovered evidence that Sims and the student had exchanged sexually explicit text messages over the course of several months.

Sims turned himself in to police April 4.


Boxer Adrien Broner arrested on warrant in Cincinnati area

CINCINNATI (AP) — Police say boxer Adrien Broner was stopped in a bullet-riddled car then arrested on an outstanding warrant in Kentucky.

The 28-year-old boxer from Cincinnati was stopped Thursday after reports of shots fired. Broner had crossed into Kentucky and told police an unknown person fired several rounds at his vehicle.

Broner wasn’t hurt, but police arrested him on a warrant for failing to appear for a 2014 court case in Covington, Kentucky, on charges of alcohol intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct.

He was released from Kenton County jail in Covington after posting bond.

His attorney William Welsh said Thursday he hadn’t heard from him.

Last year, Broner served jail time after being tardy for his trial on charges of assault and robbery that were later dismissed.


Bowling Green man pleads guilty to 3 robberies

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — A Bowling Green man has pleaded guilty to robbing three businesses in less than two months.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports that 30-year-old Lee Matthew Rector accepted a plea agreement recommending a 20-year sentence for three counts of second-degree robbery Monday.

Rector admitted in court to robbing three businesses between July and September 2016. He was arrested Sept. 12 and confessed to robbing the businesses using an airsoft gun before being advised of his rights. He continued to speak with detectives after being informed of his rights, according to his citation.

The plea agreement opposes probation but downgrades a grand jury’s indictment of three counts of first-degree robbery, which would have carried a 50-year prison sentence recommendation.

Rector will be sentenced May 23.


Body of missing man found in Kentucky River

FRANKFORT (AP) — The body of a missing man has been recovered from the Kentucky River.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton tells news outlets that authorities found the body of 26-year-old Will Rawlings on Wednesday in the Kentucky River near Frankfort. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Rawlings was an employee of United American Securities Company and guarded the Buffalo Trace Distillery at night. His vehicle and flashlight were found near the river, and he was known to fish from a particular spot behind the distillery when he was off duty.

At some point on the night of April 13 and into early Friday, family members were unable to contact Rawlings and went to check on him. They reported him missing about 2:45 a.m. Friday.

The investigation into the death is still active.


No charges for 3 former university officials

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Attorneys say federal prosecutors aren’t seeking charges against three former University of Louisville executives who were being investigated for possible misuse of federal funds.

The Courier-Journal reports that attorneys for Dr. David Dunn, Dr. Russell Bessette and Priscilla Hancock all said that Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Calhoun told them Wednesday that the government was declining to pursue charges and was closing the case. U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Stephanie Collins declined to comment.

Federal officials had investigated whether the three had spent any federal money on their private company, Health DataStream.

Attorneys for the three said they agreed with the prosecutor’s decision.

Dunn had been executive vice president for health affairs at the university, Bessette had worked under him and Hancock was the university’s chief information officer.


Inmate found unresponsive dies on way to hospital

VANCEBURG (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a jail inmate has died en route to a hospital after employees found him unresponsive.

Police said in a statement that 40-year-old Chris Helphenstine of Vanceburg died Tuesday while being transported from the Lewis County Detention Center.

Police say foul play isn’t suspected. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.


Thousands expected for Spring Paducah Quilt Week

PADUCAH (AP) — More than 30,000 people are expected to visit Paducah this month for the Spring Paducah Quilt Week event.

The event begins April 26 and runs through April 29 at the Schroeder Expo Center.

Organizers say nearly 700 quilts will be on display, and $125,000 in prizes will be awarded. Workshops will be held with experts in quilting, and local and national vendors will display their goods.

An American Quilter’s Society show is also held in Paducah in September.

For more information, visit

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