News in Brief


Hundreds of ‘Rakkasans’ returning to Fort Campbell

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Hundreds of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division will be returning to Fort Campbell over the next few days.

The post on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line says the soldiers are from multiple battalions of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans.”

More than 600 soldiers are returning from deployment in support of contingency operations. Welcome ceremonies are planned for Friday and Sunday.

The Rakkasans’ nickname came after World War II from a Japanese translator who used the word that translates to “falling down umbrella men” for the paratroopers.

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Search in Red River Gorge area for 2 missing boys

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Two young cousins wandered away from a campground in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky, setting off a search in rugged terrain that continued Friday after the boys spent the night missing in the popular recreation area.

The boys disappeared Thursday from the Koomer Ridge campground in eastern Kentucky, said State Police Trooper Joe Veeneman.

One boy was identified as 5-year-old Michael Esposito of Batavia, Ohio. His cousin, 7-year-old Adrian Ross, is from Indiana, the trooper said.

The boys had gone to the campsite with the younger boy’s father and a grandfather of both boys, Veeneman said. The men were setting up the campsite when the boys disappeared, he said. The men and boys had gone ahead of other family members who were to join them, he said.

Search teams combed the woods through the night, the trooper said.

“No luck as of this morning,” Veeneman said.

Overnight lows dipped into the mid-50s. Highs Friday were expected in the upper 70s with showers and thunderstorms possible in the afternoon and evening.

At least nine search and rescue agencies were assisting, the trooper said. Searchers were using dogs to try to track the boys. A helicopter flew over the area Thursday evening as part of the search.

The local sheriff’s office was notified about 6 p.m. EDT Thursday that the boys had disappeared, he said, adding the terrain is treacherous in the area where the boys disappeared.

The Red River Gorge is a heavily wooded, rocky destination popular with hikers, campers and rock climbers.

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US bankruptcy judge plans approval of Patriot Coal assets

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge plans to approve the sale of West Virginia-based Patriot Coal’s assets.

A federal website says a hearing could be held in Richmond on Friday if parties in the case don’t agree on language in the judge’s confirmation order.

Scott Depot, West Virginia-based Patriot says most of its operating assets will be sold to Lexington, Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining LLC. The Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund plans to use Patriot’s other mines and mining permits for purposes of water quality improvement and reclamation.

CEO and President Bob Bennett says the sale represents “the best possible outcome for Patriot and its stakeholders.”

Patriot said earlier this week that it expects the sale to result in the layoffs of more than 2,000 workers in West Virginia.

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Charges dropped against Ky. gay rights activists

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Prosecutors dismissed charges Thursday against three gay rights activists arrested this summer for standing silently in matching orange T-shirts in protest of an event at the Kentucky State Fair.

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign in Louisville, was among those arrested in August while demonstrating at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Country Ham Breakfast, which draws many of the state’s political heavyweights. The Fairness Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union have protested the event for years in opposition to the insurance company’s political arm, which opposes same-sex marriage and lobbies for other conservative causes.

Hartman said he felt vindicated that the criminal charges again him were dismissed. A dozen supporters with him chanted in the courthouse hallway, “justice is served.” The activists’ attorneys say they plan to file a lawsuit saying the arrest was unconstitutional.

Around two dozen activists bought tickets to the breakfast for $28 each, Hartman said. They sat at tables in the back of the event. As the program began, they stood in matching T-shirts that read “no hate in our state.” They planned it to make a statement without risking arrest, he said.

Kentucky State Police Sgt. Michael Webb defended the arrests Thursday. He said the Kentucky State Fair Board notified the state police several days before the event that they expected protesters. The board designated an area where the protesters were allowed to gather and set guidelines for activities on the property, which is owned by the state.

Troopers met with the protesters before the event and laid out the parameters, Webb said, and warned them that if they violated them they would be removed.

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Gubernatorial candidates make pitches to coal group

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway tried to reinforce his friend-of-coal credentials Thursday, pledging to promote the industry and look for tax incentives to boost production as he distanced himself from a president routinely blamed for coal’s downturn.

Conway boasted of the multiple lawsuits that he has joined as Kentucky’s two-term attorney general, challenging federal environmental regulators.

Meanwhile, Conway’s Republican opponent, Matt Bevin, said Kentucky should defend its constitutionally protected sovereignty to resist anti-coal federal regulations.

“What can be done?” Bevin said. “Tell the EPA and every other regulatory agency that has no legal authority or recourse to enforce regulations, mandates and edicts upon us to ‘pound sand.’”

The rivals made separate appearances before the Kentucky Coal Association, less than a month before Kentuckians choose a new governor on Nov. 3. Reporters listened to the candidates’ comments through a live stream that the coal group made available on the Internet.

Kentucky is the nation’s third-leading coal producer, and both candidates touted their support for the industry.

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States to determine Ohio River mercury testing, panel says

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A commission monitoring pollution in the Ohio River says testing for mercury released into the water will be determined on a state-by-state basis, instead of a comprehensive plan.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the multistate Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission decided Thursday that states along the waterway will decide where and how companies do testing to gauge discharged mercury.

The commission says that won’t increase levels of the neurotoxin in the river, but some environmental advocates disagree.

Mercury has been pumped into the water for years from steel factories, power plants and other sources and can make fish unsafe to eat. The amounts of mercury released are subject to regulatory limits based on tests by the companies, which sometimes do their testing in areas where pollution can be diluted.

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UK announces training on prescription use of naloxone

LEXINGTON (AP) — The University of Kentucky has announced an initiative to train pharmacists on the use of a drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

The UK College of Pharmacy announced the statewide naloxone initiative Thursday.

Pharmacists acting under a physician-approved protocol are allowed to fill naloxone orders without a physician’s prescription.

UK says a coalition of prominent pharmacists is offering the training during a statewide tour in October and November.

Trish Freeman, director of the UK College of Pharmacy’s Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Practice, says the prescription use of naloxone is an important public health advancement. Parts of Kentucky have been hit by a heroin abuse scourge.

Freeman says the initiative will help ensure pharmacists have proper training in providing naloxone.

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Milton-Madison Bridge wins award from state group

MILTON (AP) — The Ohio River bridge between Milton, Kentucky, and Madison, Indiana, has picked up another award.

The bridge attracted attention when it was slid laterally into place from temporary piers onto refurbished permanent piers in April 2014.

Kentucky and Indiana transportation officials said in a news release that the bridge received the American Public Works Association state chapter award in the bridge competition Thursday in Louisville.

The bridge is the longest in North America at 2,428 feet to be slid laterally into place. It is 40 feet wide and has12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders, making it twice as wide as the original 1929 structure. There is also a 5-foot-wide cantilevered pedestrian walkway.

The bridge previously won an award from the Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for innovation.

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