News in Brief


Clerk who opposes gay marriage: ‘I am a soldier for Christ’

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky clerk who found herself at the center of a heated national debate when she refused to license same-sex marriages described herself in an email as a “soldier for Christ.”

Davis’ emails, obtained by the Associated Press under the Kentucky open records law, offer some insight into her state of mind in the weeks leading up to her five-day stint in jail for defying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

“The battle has just begun,” Davis wrote in the email to a supporter in July, hours after four couples filed a federal lawsuit against her. It was the start of a monthslong legal fight against licensing same-sex marriages.

“It has truly been a firestorm here and the days are pretty much a blur, but I am confident that God is in control of all of this!!” she wrote to the supporter on July 2, the day the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against her on behalf of the couples. “I desire your prayers, I will need strength that only God can supply and I need a backbone like a saw log!!”

Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses when a Supreme Court ruling in June effectively legalized gay marriage.

A man wrote to ask where to get a marriage license and she told him to go to a neighboring county. She turned away a series of couples, both gay and straight, and a federal judge held her in contempt and sent her to jail in September, sparking a fiery debate about religious freedom in public service.

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Pain clinic owner pleads guilty to money laundering

HAZARD (AP) — A physician who owned a Hazard pain clinic has pleaded guilty to money laundering.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Dusty Chaney said in a plea agreement that he deliberately ignored another doctor’s improper prescribing at Clarion Health and Wellness LLC.

The plea agreement said Chaney opened Clarion in late 2010 with the intent of running a legitimate clinic, but he could not recruit qualified doctors. Chaney acknowledged he did not pay close enough attention to activities at the clinic, which he sold in 2012.

Chaney entered his guilty plea on Tuesday. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, but his sentence will likely be far less. He also agreed to forfeit $40,000 to the government.

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Ky. citizen’s group developing plan to cut carbon emissions

LEXINGTON (AP) — With U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell urging a boycott of a federal rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants, a Kentucky citizen’s group is coming up with its own plan.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has set up a survey on its website to gather suggestions and also plans to hold a series of public meetings around the state.

The goal is to come up with a plan that satisfies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Kentucky’s target under the plan is to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2012 levels by the year 2030.

McConnell and some other Kentucky politicians have questioned the rule, saying it will hurt the coal industry and Kentucky’s economy.

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Former Navy sailor stabbed to death in Bourbon Co.

PARIS (AP) — A woman’s boyfriend has been accused of fatally stabbing her estranged husband in Bourbon County.

Police tell local media that 27-year-old Jonathan Scalf, a former Navy sailor from Berea, was stabbed in front of a Paris home on Tuesday night.

Twenty-nine-year-old Daniel Martin is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Scalf’s family tells WKYT-TV the victim was attacked when he was visiting his daughter at his estranged wife’s home. Scalf later died inside a hospital.

According to court documents, Scalf admitted to hitting his wife in July and was barred from contacting the woman or visiting her home.

Police say Martin was captured early Wednesday morning when a Lexington police K-9 unit found him hiding under a truck less than a mile away. Online jail records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney.

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UK plans Honors College with $23 million gift

(AP) — The University of Kentucky has received its single largest gift, a $23 million donation that will be used to create an Honors College.

Officials at the Lexington campus said Thursday the gift is from longtime donor Thomas W. Lewis and his wife, Jan.

UK officials say participation in the school’s honors program has nearly doubled, from 750 to 1,400 students, in the past five years.

Creating the new Honors College is subject to faculty review and endorsement through the University Senate.

Campus officials say some of the nation’s top honors programs have been reviewed in preparation for the new college.

Thomas Lewis, a Lexington native, graduated from UK with an engineering degree in 1971. He launched a home building enterprise in Arizona in 1991.

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Fort Campbell soldier honored as USO’s Soldier of the Year

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Fort Campbell’s Christian Sheers is the United Service Organization’s Soldier of the Year.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports Sheers recognition comes from his bravery while working security for a U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan.

According to a news release, on April 8, Sheers was helping conduct security operations with the provincial governor in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. A member of the Afghan National Defense Security Force opened fire on them with a mounted heavy machine gun.

According to the release, Sheers eliminated the threat before dragging a wounded soldier to cover. He provided life-saving treatment to one soldier, limb-saving treatment to two more and first aid to five others.

Sheers has also been nominated for the Bronze Star with Valor.

He was recognized by the USO at a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday.

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Louisville agency seizes nearly 80 cats and dogs from home

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville Metro Animal Services has seized almost 80 cats and dogs from a Jefferson County home.

WAVE-TV almost all of the 66 dogs and 12 cats found have internal parasites or mange and many have bite wounds on their ears, legs or faces.

Animal Services officials say the animals weren’t abused, but they were neglected, with feces in their fur and throughout the house.

The agency’s Daisy Blakeman says officials are also concerned for the people living in the home.

The dogs are being kept in a garage area while they are tested for diseases. That testing will determine the level of neglect and any possible charges against the owners.

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Prosecutor: Man choked 87-year-old woman, cut her throat

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A prosecutor says a Kentucky man posed as a repairman to get into an 87-year-old Ohio woman’s house, then shocked her with a stun gun, choked her and cut her throat.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser (MOH’-sur) told jurors Wednesday in opening statements of 57-year-old Daniel French’s trial in Hamilton that French killed Barbara Howe in 2012 after telling her he was there to repair a medical alert system.

Gmoser says French then put Howe’s body in the trunk of her car and poured peroxide on her.

Defense attorney Lawrence Hawkins III says French caused Howe’s death but didn’t purposely kill her. He says French only planned to steal from Howe.

French has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder. It could carry the death penalty with conviction.

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Fish and Wildlife holding surplus, confiscated items auction

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is holding its fall auction of surplus and confiscated items next week.

The auction will be Monday at department headquarters in Frankfort.

The agency said in a news release that surplus items to be auctioned include boats, motors, trucks, a backhoe, mowers, tractors and various farm and office equipment. Confiscated items include shotguns, rifles, pistols, tree stands, bows and more.

Anyone may bid on surplus items, but under state law, only qualified Kentucky residents may bid on confiscated items.

A list of items is available online at http://fw.ky.gov .

Viewing starts at 8 a.m. EDT, with bidding beginning at 9 a.m.

The department’s headquarters complex is off U.S. 60 in Frankfort, about 1 ½ miles west of the intersection with U.S. 127.

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Cigar statue to be unveiled by Kentucky Horse Park

LEXINGTON (AP) — A memorial statue of thoroughbred champion Cigar will be unveiled by the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington next week.

The horse park says the statue will be placed at Cigar’s gravesite at the Hall of Champions.

The statue features Cigar with jockey Jerry Bailey winning the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The statue honoring one of the world’s top thoroughbred racehorses will be dedicated next Tuesday afternoon. It was created by Kentucky artist Douwe “Dow” Blumberg, who is a former professional horse trainer.

Cigar died last year at age 24. In 1999, Cigar was brought to the Kentucky Horse Park to live out his retirement.

He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Beshear makes minority appointment to UofL board

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear on Wednesday appointed a former Louisville deputy mayor to the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees, filling a vacancy created due to backlash against minority underrepresentation on the school’s governing board.

William E. Summers IV, a longtime civic leader, replaces businessman Steve Wilson on the board. Summers is African-American.

Wilson, who is white, said last month he was resigning to clear the way for an additional minority appointment to the board.

State Attorney General Jack Conway’s office weighed in on the matter last month. Conway’s office issued an opinion that said Beshear’s administration violated state law with his appointments that had left racial minorities underrepresented on the UofL board.

When Wilson resigned, Beshear signaled his intention to fill the vacancy by appointing an African-American trustee.

Beshear said Summers will bring four decades of experience in government and business to his role as a trustee.

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