News in Brief


Survey shows slight drop in retail food prices in Ky.

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A new statewide survey shows the average price of retail food items has dropped for the third straight quarter in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation says its latest Marketbasket Survey was taken in September. It says the quarterly survey showed the average total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $121.64. That’s down 3.5 percent, or $4.47, from the second quarter.

The third quarter survey indicated the lower prices were spread across commodities with the exception of poultry and dairy products.

The Farm Bureau says the continued drop in food prices across the state is in contrast to last year’s increases that were reflected in all four of the Marketbasket Surveys. The final quarter of 2014 showed the average price of surveyed items to be $129.14.

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FCC cuts cost of phone calls to Ky. inmates

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Federal regulators have cut the rates charged for phone calls between inmates and their families in Kentucky.

The Federal Communications Committee says the average cost is currently $4.50 in Kentucky for a pre-paid, long-distance phone call lasting 15 minutes within Kentucky from a family member to a relative in prison.

The FCC said Thursday its new rate cap cuts that cost by 63 percent to $1.65 for the same 15-minute call. The FCC says it also cut its existing cap on interstate long-distance calls by half. It says that brings the cost of a 15-minute interstate long-distance call to $1.65.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn led the effort to reform the inmate calling system. Clyburn says easing the financial burden on those families is the compassionate thing to do.

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Knott Co. man dead after confrontation with troopers

HINDMAN (AP) — A Knott County man is dead after a confrontation with two Kentucky troopers.

According to Kentucky State Police, the troopers were responding to a report of a man was walking a road in the Pine Top community with a gun, threatening to shoot anyone who came around his home.

Police say troopers attempted to negotiate, but the man refused to bring his hands into view. Then the man began threatening to kill the troopers. Police say one of the troopers opened fire after the man brought his right arm around “in an aggressive manner.” The man was hit at least twice and died at the scene.

Police have not yet released the names of those involved.

Both troopers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

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Covington bus driver reunites with man whose life he saved

COVINGTON (AP) — A Covington bus driver has shared a tearful reunion with the man whose life he saved one February night.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports 75-year-old William Rothell regularly caught the bus after working at a restaurant. If he wasn’t at the stop when driver Mike McCord arrived, McCord would wait a minute or two because he knew Rothell would be there shortly.

But one night Rothell didn’t appear. McCord found him lying on the ground nearby and called 911.

Later, at the Hyde Park Health Center Rothell told staff he wished he could thank McCord. Staff eventually tracked down McCord and he visited last month.

McCord had searched for Rothell at local hospitals but could not locate him because he didn’t know his full name. He plans to continue visiting.

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Democrats lead GOP in Ky. TV ad spending

LEXINGTON (AP) — Democrats appear to be winning the TV ad war in Kentucky with less than two weeks left until voters pick a new governor and choose a slate of statewide constitutional officers.

Democratic candidates and the outside groups that support them have outspent their Republican counterparts by $2.3 million on TV ads, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. That means Kentucky voters have seen more than 18,500 Democratic ads compared to just under 12,000 Republican ads.

Leading the way is Democratic nominee Jack Conway, who has spent more than $3 million so far compared to $1.48 million for Republican nominee Matt Bevin. The latest financial disclosures show Bevin trails Conway by $1.6 million in fundraising totals.

Bevin is getting some help for the final two-week-push from the Republican Governors Association, which returned to the state airwaves this week with an ad comparing Conway to President Barack Obama. The group had pulled out of the state last month, prompting speculation they did not believe Bevin could win. But RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said the group is committed to making sure Bevin is elected governor.

“Our families can’t afford four more years of the liberal policies of President Obama and career politicians like Jack Conway,” a narrator says during the RGA ad.

The new support is not enough to keep pace with Democratic spending. Kentucky Family Values, which gets most of its money from the Democratic Governors Association and unions, has spent $2.25 million on TV ads so far. They released three new ads this week featuring interviews with registered Republican voters explaining why they are not voting for Bevin.

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Government gives TVA license to operate new nuclear reactor

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP) — The Spring City reactor that will be the nation’s first new nuclear-generating plant of the 21st century has gotten the go-ahead from the federal government.

The Tennessee Valley Authority says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an operating license for Watts Bar Unit 2 on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference at the plant, TVA President Bill Johnson said the reactor will provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy. Nuclear reactors do not produce greenhouse gases, although some environmentalists dispute the “clean” label because reactors produce radioactive waste.

Standing in front of the plant’s two cooling towers with a white mist of condensation coming out of the tops of both, Johnson said, “If you’re in our business, this is a beautiful sight.”

Johnson said it will still be several months before Unit 2 begins commercial operation as workers begin the slow process of fueling, starting up and testing the reactor.

Watts Bar Unit 2 was begun in the 1970s but mothballed for years. TVA estimates the cost of finishing the plant will be somewhere under $4.5 billion. It is expected to produce 1,150 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 650,000 homes — and employ about 950 people.

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