Davis switching parties to become a Republican
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a longtime Democrat, says she is switching to the Republican Party because she feels abandoned by Democrats in her crusade against same-sex marriage.
Davis made the announcement while in Washington, D.C., to attend the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit, said Charla Bansley, a spokeswoman for Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis in her legal battles.
“I’ve always been a Democrat, but the party left me,” Davis said, according to Bansley.
Davis will address the conservative group Friday night.
She sparked a national furor by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the licenses, but she refused, and opted to spend five days in jail rather than license a gay marriage. The ordeal propelled her to folk hero status among some on the religious right.
Davis was elected Rowan County clerk last fall as a Democrat. She replaced her mother, also a Democrat, who served as county clerk for 37 years.
CEO in deadliest US mine accident in 4 decades facing trial
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship heads to trial Thursday on numerous counts of conspiracy and lying to federal financial regulators. He’s the highest-ranking executive charged in the April 2010 underground explosion that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia.
Four investigations into the disaster found that worn and broken cutting equipment created a spark that ignited accumulations of coal dust and methane gas. Broken and clogged water sprayers allowed what should have been a minor flare-up to become an inferno.
Here is a timeline of major events in the Upper Big Branch disaster:
• April 5, 2010: A massive explosion ripped through the underground corridors at the Upper Big Branch mine, killing 29 men in the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years.
• April 25, 2010: In a eulogy, a somber President Barack Obama told the families of the workers that the nation would honor their memories by improving safety in the mines.
• May 14, 2010: Federal prosecutors announce criminal investigation.
Singer Eddie Montgomery loses 19-year-old son
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A spokeswoman for Eddie Montgomery, one-half of the country duo Montgomery Gentry, says the singer has lost his 19-year-old son.
Spokeswoman Alicia Jones said in a statement that Montgomery’s son, Hunter, died Sunday after an accident that had him on life support in a Kentucky hospital. Jones told The Associated Press in an email the details of what happened are being withheld “until the family is ready to release further information.”
Montgomery said in the statement that he appreciated the prayers from fans and for “giving us privacy as we grieve and say goodbye.”
Montgomery Gentry has had hits including “Something to Be Proud Of,” ”My Town” and “Gone.” The duo won CMA Vocal Duo of the Year at the Country Music Association’s awards in 2000.
Ky. awarded grant for education, workforce data access
FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky has been awarded more than $6.7 million in a four-year federal grant to expand access to education and workforce data.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said in a news release that the state is one of 16 states or territories to receive a grant in the sixth round of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant program.
The grant is from the U.S. Education Department and will be administered through the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, under the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
The release said the state will use the funds to improve access to its statewide repository of education data from early childhood through postsecondary and into training and employment.
The project will use the system to assess students’ college and career readiness and track outcomes.
Ky public workers’ paychecks to fall
FRANKFORT (AP) — Most public employees in Kentucky will see a bit less in their paychecks starting in 2017 when the Internal Revenue Service will begin applying Social Security and Medicare tax to the employees’ contributions to their retirement funds.
According to the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1LJoV3R) reports that a typical public employee who makes $40,500 per year will see $154.80 more withheld from his or her pay during 2017. That equates to $6.45 less in each of 24 paychecks. Some other employees with the same $40,500 salary could have as much as $11.62 per paycheck reduced, depending on retirement contributions.
Public school teachers are also affected by the change, but to a much smaller extent because teachers do not pay the Social Security tax but only the Medicaid tax.
UK wins grant for work on preventing military injuries
(AP) — University of Kentucky researchers have won a nearly $4.2 million grant to look for ways to prevent training injuries among elite U.S. military members.
UK officials said Monday the Defense Department grant will back research meant to optimize performance among members of the U.S. Special Forces.
The award is the largest ever received by UK’s College of Health Sciences. It coincides with the establishment of the UK Sports Science Research Institute on the UK campus in Lexington. The institute will focus on ways to prevent and treat sports injuries and concussions.
UK College of Health Sciences Dean Scott Lephart says researchers will look for ways to reduce risk factors for injuries.
In working with the military, UK researchers will identify common injury patterns among Marines training for Special Forces work.
Report: Transgender woman sues Louisville nursing college
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A transgender woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against a nursing college in Louisville, saying she was humiliated when she was allegedly excluded from using the women’s restroom though she identifies as a female, a TV station reported Sunday.
WHAS-TV reported that the lawsuit was filed Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court on behalf of Vanessa Gilliam and that it accuses Galen College of Nursing of discriminating against Gilliam for being transgender.
Gilliam, a U.S. Army veteran and a single parent, told the station in an interview that she began physically transitioning from a male to a female after she started classes at Galen, according to the report. Gilliam said she was studying for a lab test when two Galen employees approached her and asked to speak in private.
“They said the reason that they brought me in there was because that I’m a man dressed like a woman,” Gilliam added. “They talked to me about using the women’s restroom and how they have to look out for everybody else and their safety.”
Gilliam said she was humiliated, so much so that she began to question her own identity.
“I went from feeling really confident . to like, ‘Oh my God, I’m a guy in heels,’” said Gilliam, who no longer attends Galen. “I mean I’ve come a long way. From the military, to getting custody of my kids, to being a single parent. I’m not going to let somebody tear me down and I’m not going to let this tear me down.”
3 hikers severely injured in fall in Red River Gorge
FRENCHBURG (AP) — Three hikers have been rescued after falling nearly 50 feet in the Red River Gorge in Menifee County and suffering traumatic injuries.
Multiple media outlets report that the members of the trio were found lying in and near the Red River on Sunday morning. Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team Assistant Chief John May says the unidentified hikers sustained severe injuries, including head injuries and possibly broken bones. They were taken to area hospitals.
May says it took 35 volunteers from Wolfe, Powell and Menifee counties four hours to locate and rescue the hikers.
The hikers had been part of a group of about 10 people who were hiking late Saturday when the three people fell off a rock outcrop in the Douglas Trail area.