News in Brief

General fund increases as road fund decreases in September

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky state officials collected $24 million more in taxes last month than they did a year ago, keeping pace with official estimates.

Revenue for the state’s general fund, mostly made up of income and sales taxes, grew 2.6 percent in September. State revenue has grown 4.5 percent in the first quarter of the budget year that ends June 30.

But Kentucky’s road fund did not fare well. The fund made up mostly of gasoline taxes fell 20.5 percent in September, mostly because of a drop in the tax rate. Lawmakers had planned for the fund to increase 2.1 percent this year. But for that to happen, collections would have to increase 5.8 percent for the rest of the year.

The Consensus Forecasting Group meets Tuesday to revise official forecasts for the next biennium.


Deputy: Woman put boyfriend’s dead body in freezer

SOMERSET (AP) — A deputy has testified at a hearing involving a woman who put her boyfriend’s body inside a freezer.

WKYT-TV reports Pulaski County Sheriff Deputy Joseph Johnson testified Monday that authorities found the body of Gary Jenks on Sept. 29 in a freezer of the home he shared with his girlfriend, Teresa Owens.

Authorities say Owens told investigators that Jenks died on Sept. 5 and that she put his body in the freezer the following day.

Johnson says Owens told investigators she thought Jenks died of a stroke. Johnson testified that Owens “panicked” when she put the body in the freezer and that a preliminary investigation showed no signs of foul play.

Owens was charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.


Woman charged with attempted murder during traffic stop

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) — A woman was arrested after authorities say she dragged an officer whose arm was stuck in her car window.

The Kingsport Times-News reports 36-year-old Karen Smither of Frankfort, Kentucky, faces several charges, including attempted murder.

A Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office release says Smither rolled down the side window a few inches when the officer stopped her about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. It says the officer asked Smither to roll down her window the rest of the way and she refused, speeding away.

Authorities say when the car was stopped a second time, the officer reached into the vehicle to open the door and Smither accelerated, dragging the officer, who suffered minor injuries.

Another officer stopped Smither’s vehicle with his cruiser.

It isn’t clear if Smither has an attorney.


AG candidates wrangle over clerk and same-sex marriage case

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Republican attorney general candidate Whitney Westerfield took aim at his opponent’s close family ties to Kentucky’s governor Monday night, summing up the race as “experience versus inheritance.” Democrat Andy Beshear fired back by criticizing Westerfield’s record as a prosecutor and his reliance on outside money to prop up his campaign.

The candidates for attorney general squared off during an hourlong joint appearance on Kentucky Educational Television in Lexington.

The two also wrangled over how state leaders responded to the headline-grabbing case of a county clerk who chose jail time over issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In doing so, Andy Beshear defended his father’s handling of the contentious issue in socially conservative Kentucky.

The joint appearance came three weeks before Kentucky voters choose a new attorney general on Nov. 3.

The incumbent attorney general, Jack Conway, is the Democratic nominee for governor this year, facing Republican Matt Bevin.

Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, touted his experience as a lawyer and promoted his plans to combat child abuse, drug abuse and scams against older Kentuckians. He said that legal background makes him best qualified for the job as Kentucky’s chief law enforcement official.


Ky. development fund offers grants for economic impact

PRESTONSBURG (AP) — The Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development Fund is now available to give local organizations opportunities to create regional economic impact.

The Independent reports the KARD fund is offering eastern communities the opportunity to apply for a maximum of $250,000 in grant money for projects including job creation and retention, entrepreneurship, tourism and economic diversity. Projects that present the greatest likelihood of economic impact in the region will be given priority.

The state legislature appropriated $2 million and the Shaping Our Appalachian Region Executive Board approved funding criteria and an official application process on Oct. 5.

KARD will be administered through the Department for Local Government. The first round of applications is due Dec. 18.


Bevin’s wife featured in latest TV ad in governor’s race

FRANKFORT (AP) — The wife of Republican nominee for governor Matt Bevin is defending him in a new 30-second TV ad that began airing Monday.

Glenna Bevin says attack ads against her husband by Democratic nominee Jack Conway are wrong, misleading and false. She says Kentucky has many career politicians and it’s time for a fresh start with Bevin. She calls Bevin an outsider with a servant’s heart.

Conway has run ads attacking Bevin for failing to pay taxes on both his personal property and property his various businesses have owned. And Conway has ridiculed Bevin for refusing to release his individual income tax returns to show Kentuckians how he gets his money.

Glenna Bevin does not specifically refute Conway’s ads but says Bevin will lead Kentucky in new direction.


Couple fatally hit by limb while trying to trim tree

OLYMPIA SPRINGS (AP) — An eastern Kentucky couple have died while trimming a tree on their property.

Kentucky State Police say 66-year-old Ralph C. Davis and 56-year-old Dorothy J. Davis of Wellington were trying to trim the tree when a limb fell on them, fatally injuring both. No foul play is suspected.

The accident happened around 10 a.m. Monday in the Olympia Springs community of Bath County.


Ohio hiker who fell ill rescued from dense Indiana forest

HENRYVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Rescuers navigated heavily wooded terrain before carrying an Ohio woman to safety after she fell ill while hiking in a southern Indiana state forest.

Twenty-year-old Jordan Rooney of Lebanon, Ohio, became incapacitated with severe abdominal pain late Friday while hiking in Clark State Forest with a group of fellow hikers.

An Indiana conservation officer reached her Saturday afternoon along the park’s Knobstone Trail and guided fellow officers and medics to Rooney.

The News and Tribune reports the difficult, densely wooded terrain severely hampered their progress. The site is about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.

Rescuers carried Rooney about a half-mile on a backboard. She was then moved the remainder of the way on an all-terrain vehicle before being taken by ambulance to a Louisville hospital.


Voting rights symposium being held at UK

LEXINGTON (AP) — Figures from the media, politics, the judiciary and more are speaking Tuesday at the University of Kentucky during a daylong symposium on voting rights.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham will deliver the first Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Lecture at 7 p.m. EDT. The event honors the late U.S. senator and Kentucky governor who sponsored the 1993 National Voter Registration Act that is sometimes called the “motor voter” act.

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, retired U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman and Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen will also participate in the program, which begins at 1 p.m.

UK’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and others are hosting the afternoon and evening program, and Kentucky Educational Television will televise the event live and air highlights later this month.


Hiker dies after falling about 200 feet at Red River Gorge

CAMPTON (AP) — A deputy coroner says an Ohio man is dead after falling about 200 feet while hiking at Red River Gorge.

Wolfe County deputy coroner Gary Sparks said 30-year-old Michael Hacker of Goshen, Ohio, died of blunt force trauma.

Wolfe County Search and Rescue Deputy Chief John May said team members were called late Saturday night after a report that a hiker had crossed a railing at an overlook on Chimney Top Rock and fallen. He said some hikers try to jump from one rock ledge to another but don’t make it.

May said it is the second fatality at the location in the last year.

He said a nurse who was camping in the area was able to confirm the man’s death before crews headed out to the scene.

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