News in Brief

Corbin house explodes as man gets out of shower

CORBIN (AP) — A Corbin man sustained minor injuries when his house exploded just as he was getting out of the shower.

Corbin Fire Department Capt. Jack Partin tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that the man was in the bathroom starting to dry off Saturday evening when the single-story house exploded.

Firefighters arrived into the house to rescue the man, who had minor burns on his arm.

Partin says the cause of the blast was not known Sunday, but foul play was not suspected.

Partin says the house would probably have to be razed.


Applications sought for prospective 2016 hemp growers

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for farmers and processors who would like to participate in industrial hemp pilot projects next year.

Multiple media outlets report that applications are being taken through Nov. 5 by the state agriculture department for the new growing season.

Doris Hamilton, who runs the industrial hemp program for the department, tells the Bowling Green Daily News that the amount of hemp grown in Kentucky has continued to climb. In 2015, 922 acres were approved for industrial hemp growing, up from 33 acres in 2014.

The department received 326 applications last year and approved 121. No projections have been made about how many acres could be planted with industrial hemp in 2016.

Applications and instructions are available on the department’s website at


E.Ky. whitewater race a challenge for paddlers

ELKHORN CITY (AP) — State tourism officials say a whitewater river race in eastern Kentucky later this month will attract paddlers from around the world.

The Lord of the Fork race will be Oct. 24 on the Russell Fork River in Pike County.

The race features heavy rapids that run alongside boulders, the kind of conditions that only experienced paddlers can handle. Most competitors use kayaks.

The race is part of the Kentucky Outdoor Adventure Games being held during October. The Russell Fork runs through Breaks Interstate Park, which is in Kentucky and Virginia, and into Elkhorn City.

For more information about the games, visit:


Trial to begin in Ohio for man charged with killing woman

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A Kentucky man is set for trial in southwest Ohio on an aggravated murder charge in the slaying of an 87-year-old woman found in the trunk of her car.

Daniel French pleaded guilty last week to lesser charges, but not on the count that could carry the death penalty with conviction. Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser (MOH’-sur) says he rejected an offer of a plea that would bring a promise of life in prison.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday.

The 56-year-old Berea, Kentucky, man pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse in the 2012 slaying of Barbara Howe of Monroe. Authorities say he got into her retirement community home by claiming to be there for a maintenance repair.


Organs of deceased 15-year-old boy given to 4 people

PRINCETON (AP) — The parents of a deceased 15-year-old boy say they receive some comfort in knowing his donated organs have possibly saved the lives of four people.

The Times Leader (Princeton) reports Joseph Asher of Princeton, Kentucky, died in August. His parents, Steve and Cheyenne Asher, decided to donate his organs.

They recently got a letter from Tennessee Donor Services stating their son’s heart went to a 42-year-old man; his liver was given to a 54-year-old woman; a 52-year-old woman received his left kidney; and his right kidney was given to a 38-year-old man, a father of two who was disabled because of his illness but can now enjoy time with his children.

“He is a hero in the eyes of these families and ours here at the Tennessee Donor Services,” the letter said of Joseph Asher.

The Ashers say they find comfort in their time of grief knowing that their son lives on in those individuals.

Since his death, the Princeton community has rallied around the Asher family.


Body of man found in Knox Co. river

BARBOURVILLE (AP) — Kentucky State Police are investigating the body of man found in a Knox County river.

According to WKYT-TV, the body was discovered on Saturday in the Cumberland River off KY 11, just outside of Barbourville.

The man has not been identified, and the cause of death has not been released.

The body was taken to Frankfort for an autopsy.


Saving ‘sang’: New label aims to conserve wild ginseng

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Denny Colwell fires up a weed whacker and makes quick work of his prized American ginseng patch, a fall ritual that helps hide the slow-growing, long-lived perennials from poachers keen on digging them up.

Colwell has been planting, growing and harvesting ginseng in the forests of western Pennsylvania for four decades, producing a root that’s virtually indistinguishable from, and every bit as valuable as, its wild counterpart.

That makes him a juicy target for thieves. But it also means he’s helping to conserve a plant deeply rooted in American history and commerce.

As wild populations continue to be thinned out by poaching, habitat loss and an overabundance of deer, backers of a new labeling program are encouraging landowners like Colwell to cultivate ginseng where it grows natively — on shady hillsides in the eastern U.S. — and to get it certified as “forest grown.”

Their goal is to take some of the pressure off a coveted botanical that retails for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per pound in Asia, where very old, distinctive wild roots are often given as gifts and put on display, and less expensive roots are widely used as a tonic in traditional medicine. Diggers of wild American ginseng received more than $60 million for their roots in 2013, according to the American Herbal Products Association.

“What we’re trying to get some momentum around is this whole idea of growing ginseng to conserve it — conservation through cultivation,” said Eric Burkhart, a Penn State University ginseng expert involved in the program.


Project brings improvements to Lincoln historic site

HODGENVILLE (AP) — Visitors are getting a chance to see improvements made at the site of Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home at Knob Creek in Kentucky.

The site’s reopening comes after a year-long project at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park near Hodgenville.

Officials say visitors at the Knob Creek site will find a new restroom facility along with new sidewalks, improved landscaping and expanded parking.

The Knob Creek attraction is open to visitors every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Officials say it will be staffed by park rangers on Saturdays and Sundays only during October.


Toyota Georgetown to unveil US-built Lexus

GEORGETOWN (AP) — The Toyota plant in Georgetown is unveiling the first-ever Lexus model that will be built in United States.

The plant, which makes Toyota Camrys, Avalons and Venzas, will be adding the Lexus ES 350 to its production lineup.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and other officials are visiting the plant on Monday for the event. The company invested $360 million in a new dedicated assembly line for the Lexus.

The Herald-Leader reports Toyota in Georgetown will build 50,000 of the sedans a year. An additional 750 employees were hired at the Georgetown plant. Toyota says that 1.5 million hours of training took place before the first Lexus came off the line.

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