News in Brief

Study: Raising higher education rates would boost Ky.

LEXINGTON (AP) — A new study has concluded that Kentucky’s state coffers could be increased by $900 million a year if the number of people in the state with at least an associate degree were to increase to the national average.

News outlets are reporting that the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research estimated that increasing the percentage of working-aged Kentuckians with an associate’s degree or higher from 33 percent to 40 percent would generate $500 million a year in state tax revenues and save the state another $400 million spent on health care and anti-poverty programs.

Kentucky currently ranks 44th in the nation.

Council on Postsecondary Education President Robert King says the report underscores the benefits that college degrees have on both an individual’s earnings and the state’s taxpayers.


September US mine inspections result in 133 citations

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Federal inspectors issued 133 citations and 12 orders at U.S. mine operations in September.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the inspections were conducted at 10 coal mines and seven other mines in 10 states.

MSHA says 46 citations and 11 orders were issued to A&G Coal Corp.’s Preacher Creek strip mine in southwest Virginia and Dynamic Energy Inc.’s Coal Mountain No. 1 surface mine in southern West Virginia. Both are operated by the family of Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier resort.

The impact inspections began in 2010 after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 coal miners. Since April 2010, MSHA has issued 15,112 citations and 1,281 orders.

Mines targeted by the inspections are those that have compliance concerns or poor compliance history.


After shooting, all Prestonsburg officers must wear vests

PRESTONSBURG (AP) — On the heels of a shooting in which an officer was injured, an eastern Kentucky police department is requiring all officers to wear bullet proof vests while on duty.

Prestonsburg Police Officer Adam Dixon was shot in the chest last week while trying to catch a suspect who fled after a traffic stop. He survived and is expected to recover even though he wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest.

Assistant Police Chief Gerald Clark told media that the shooting “was a wake-up call.” He said wearing the vests had been optional before but now it is mandatory for officers to wear them.

The suspect accused of shooting Dixon, Robert Powers, pleaded not guilty on Monday to attempted murder of a police officer and flagrant non-support.


Beshear urges people to check out options on kynect

LEXINGTON (AP) — A new enrollment period is about to start for Kentuckians searching for coverage through the state’s online health insurance marketplace.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says depending on location, people signing up for coverage through kynect — the state’s health exchange — can choose from as many as seven insurance companies. Enrollment begins Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2016.

One of the largest insurance providers on the state’s exchange won’t offer plans for 2016. That insurer, Kentucky Health Cooperative, currently serves about 51,000 members.

Beshear made stops in Lexington and Louisville on Tuesday to encourage people in need of health coverage to check out options on kynect.

His office says kynect has added a shopping tool further helping consumers target the search for plans that best fits their needs.


Trains expected to run on new Carolina Line in February

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Trains are expected to be rolling again in February on a short line railroad linking Horry County, South Carolina, and Columbus County, North Carolina.

The R.J. Corman Railroad Co. in Kentucky bought the old Carolina Southern railroad earlier this year for $14 million.

Local media outlets report that one of the engines for the new Corman Carolina Line was put on display Tuesday. It’s been four years since an engine ran on the 100 miles of track linking the states.

Corman had hoped to have trains running by the end of this year.

But that date was pushed back because recent floods damaged some of the line. The company said it was also helping getting tracks in the Columbia area in operating order.


Lexington council to consider minimum wage increase

LEXINGTON (AP) — A proposed minimum wage increase could be voted on by the Urban County Council in Lexington in coming weeks.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the council voted 8-6 Tuesday to put the proposed ordinance on its Nov. 5 agenda. The proposal would increase the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over three years.

The proposal must get two readings, and a final vote could come in November.

The measure would not tie future minimum wage increases to the consumer price index and exempts tipped employees.

A previous proposal included both measures, but the council member who sponsored the ordinance, Jennifer Mossotti, said she didn’t think it would pass with the provisions.

“I thought keeping the $10.10 minimum was more important,” Mossotti said. “It was a concession that was made. I can’t say that I was real happy about it. But it was a concession that had to be made.”

Mayor Jim Gray would not say after Tuesday’s vote if he would veto the ordinance. He said the issue needs to be addressed by the federal government.

“I share the frustration with the council that this issue has not been addressed by Congress,” Gray said.

Some who voted against the measure said they don’t think the city has the authority to raise the minimum wage.

“I don’t think a local government can make this law,” council member Jennifer Scutchfield said. “We will see a lawsuit over this.”

Last year, the Louisville Metro Council voted to increase its minimum wage to $9 over the next three years.


Police: 1 dead, 2 injured in triple shooting in Richmond

RICHMOND (AP) — One person has died and two others have been injured in a triple shooting at a home in Richmond.

Multiple news outlets report 57-year-old Steve Thomas Martin of Richmond was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday.

Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock says officers were called to the home shortly before 1 p.m. for a report of multiple shots fired.

Brock says when officers arrived they found three people who had been shot.

A second man was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound. His condition is unknown.

A female victim, who police say had fled the scene but was found nearby, was taken to the hospital also for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

Police have not said what may have led to the shooting.

The incident remains under investigation.


Ky. man arrested after Texas man’s body found in box

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Police have accused a man of hiding the body of a heroin overdose victim inside a wooden box he built and leaving it in a wooded area in southern Louisville.

Media outlets report that 39-year-old Derek Roark of Morehead was arrested Tuesday on charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

Louisville Police Sgt. Emily McKinley says the victim, 55-year-old Jeffrey David Kingdon, and Roark were staying at a house in Louisville when the overdose occurred. Kingdon’s body was found Oct. 13 by people riding all-terrain vehicles. Kingdon’s last known address was in Fort Worth, Texas.

Police believe Roark performed CPR on Kingdon and was able to revive him, but refused to call 911.

McKinley says police found materials used to build a box at the Louisville house.


Tobacco manufacturer expanding in Ky.

OWENSBORO (AP) — Kentucky officials say a company that manufactures tobacco products is investing more than $3 million in its Owensboro facility.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said Tuesday that Swedish Match will expand its research and development department.

The addition will increase the Stockholm-based company’s capabilities to formulate new products in Daviess County in western Kentucky.

The project includes laboratories, offices and meeting spaces.

The company expects to complete the project in May and open the enlarged department in early June.

The company will expand its R&D department by eight employees with the expansion. The company employs 340 at its Owensboro facilities.

Swedish Match produces tobacco products including moist snuff, cigars and chewing tobacco.


Man files lawsuit over Louisville traffic school

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A lawsuit has been filed over a Louisville traffic school run by the Jefferson County Attorney’s office on the heels of a judge ruling that it is unconstitutional.

WDRB-TV reports Matthew Vaughn sued for a refund of the $179 he spent to go through the Drive Safe Louisville program. He is asking for class-action status on behalf of others who went through the online program to get their cases dismissed.

Judge Sean Delahanty ruled last week that the state law allowing the school is “constitutionally flawed” and that the program interferes with the state judiciary.

The suit cited the ruling as the reason participants should be refunded.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell said in a statement that his office looks forward to defending the program in court.

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