News in Brief

Ex-Kentucky clinic doctor charged with fraud

LOUISA (AP) — A grand jury has charged a northeastern Kentucky doctor with defrauding Medicaid and illegally prescribing an addiction-treatment drug.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Monday that 57-year-old Curtis Edens was charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of improperly prescribing a controlled substance and five counts of theft by deception.

Media outlets report that in 2016, Edens operated a clinic in Louisa that prescribed Suboxone — a drug used to treat addiction to opioids, but is often abused itself.

Edens allegedly fraudulently charged people cash for services. Providers cannot bill cash for services covered by Medicaid.

Edens was arrested in South Carolina. He waived extradition on Monday and will be returned to Kentucky for arraignment. It’s unclear if Edens had an attorney.


Judge is under pressure; won’t hear gay adoptions

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Civil rights groups are seeking the removal of a Kentucky judge who won’t hear adoption cases involving gay adults.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups complained to Kentucky’s judicial disciplinary commission about W. Mitchell Nance, a family court judge in Barren and Metcalfe counties.

Nance announced he would recuse himself from adoption cases involving homosexuals because he believes it’s never in a child’s best interest to be adopted by a gay person.

Gay rights advocate Chris Hartman says Nance’s “inability to be impartial is a blight on his office.”

Nance declined comment through a court official.

Martin Cothran, with the Family Foundation of Kentucky, said Nance is following the law by recusing himself if he believes his views might bias a case.


Loretta Lynn starting rehabilitation after stroke

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country legend Loretta Lynn is starting rehabilitation after suffering a stroke more than a week ago.

An update posted on her website Monday said the 85-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter has been moved from a hospital into rehabilitation. She was taken to the hospital May 4 after having a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. But she is expected to make a full recovery.

The post said she wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and support.

The Grammy-winner had a string of hits starting in the 1960s with the biographical “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which was made into a best-selling book and movie, as well as songs like “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” ”The Pill” and “One’s on the Way.”


Officer who pulled man from United flight had been suspended

CHICAGO (AP) — A newspaper reports that one of the Chicago aviation officers who dragged a passenger from a United flight had recently returned to work after serving a five-day suspension.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that documents it obtained show that Officer James Long was suspended March 27 for violating five department rules on Jan. 29. Long’s suspension ended March 31.

Nine days later, Long was one of several Chicago aviation department officers who dragged David Dao from a full flight at O’Hare Airport after the Kentucky physician refused to give up his seat.

The records obtained by the newspaper don’t detail why Long was suspended. They state his violations included “inattention to duty,” ”incompetence or inefficiency” and “conduct unbecoming an officer or public employee.”

Long couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.


Man faces 100 counts of possessing child porn

GEORGETOWN (AP) — A Kentucky man has been charged with 100 counts of child pornography possession.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that 44-year-old Chad Arron Rickman of Georgetown was arrested Friday after investigators searched his home.

The office of Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says the arrest follows a cybercrimes investigation. Several electronic devices were seized from his home and employer.

No further details were available at the time. Rickman was scheduled to appear in Scott County District Court on Tuesday. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.


Ex-state official admits ethics violations, agrees to fine

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Lexington man who served in the Personnel Cabinet during former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration has admitted to ethics violations that allege he raised political contributions at work on state time.

The Courier-Journal reports Walter Gaffield of Lexington admitted to three violations Monday. The charges and a settlement of them were released during an Executive Branch Ethics Commission meeting.

Gaffield was executive director of the Office of Administrative Services.

The charges allege Gaffield used his position to solicit cabinet employees for campaign contributions to two different campaigns for governor and for a Jefferson County judicial campaign between 2010 and 2016.

The Ethics Commission didn’t identify which campaigns.

Gaffield, who’s no longer employed by the state, agreed under the settlement to pay a $6,000 fine and accept a public reprimand.


Officials install flags to communicate water conditions

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Officials in southcentral Kentucky have installed warning flags at two parks to communicate water conditions to kayakers and canoers.

Warren County Parks Department Director Chris Kummer said a red flag means water access is closed, yellow means use caution and green indicates calm waters.

Warren County Emergency Management Director Ronnie Pearson told The Daily News that the agency is trying to be more proactive after a record number of water rescues and other issues last year.

He said many people purchase kayaks or canoes without prior experience, resulting in users needing help or becoming lost or stranded. He said the flags communicate more information to the public in an effort to reduce emergency calls.

The flags were installed at water entry points at Phil Moore and Romanza Johnson parks.


Cities, counties to hear energy saving tips at workshop

MADISONVILL (AP) — Kentucky officials are joining with the University of Kentucky’s Center of Applied Energy Research to host a workshop on reducing energy costs.

The High Performance Public Facilities Workshop is geared toward helping the state’s local governments. City and county officials are encouraged to attenExperts will present energy saving strategies.

The goal is to help public officials understand how to save on their utility expenses, says Lee Colten, assistant director of the Department for Energy Development and Independence. Colten says city and county managers will learn how to translate energy efficiency into action in the day-to-day operations of their public facilities.

UK is teaming with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Department for Local Government to host the workshop.


Janitor convicted in co-worker’s slaying granted new trial

BURLINGTON (AP) — New evidence has granted a retrial in the case of a janitor serving life behind bars in Kentucky for the murder of his co-worker at a biotech company.

Media outlets report that Judge J.R. Schrand on Friday ordered a new trial for 43-year-old David Dooley, concluding that surveillance video footage was crucial evidence withheld from Dooley’s defense.

Dooley has maintained his innocence regarding the 2012 death of 42-year-old Michelle Mockbee who was found beaten outside her office at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Florence.

The video shows an unknown man trying to enter the Thermo Fisher building the night before the killing. Dooley’s attorneys argue the video shows someone else could have accessed the property and committed the murder.

Dooley is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference on June 10.


Popular Mammoth Cave trail now has safer footing for tours

MAMMOTH CAVE (AP) — Mammoth Cave officials say a popular trail tour has been running twice a day after a project making it safer finished.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports the two-year $5.8 million project to add concrete pavers on Historic Cave Trail completed in April.

Mammoth Cave National Park asset manager Scott Powell says the project was done to prevent people from tripping on the trail that previously had two different types of surfaces. He says the project was done by Ohio-based restoration specialist Tradesman Group.

Powell says the two-mile trail features nearly 11,000 pavers that provide secure footing and muffle noise.

Park spokeswoman Vickie Carson says the Historic Cave Trail is offered most during the summer schedule, which starts Memorial Day weekend. She says the park averages 400,000 visitors annually.

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