Alpha founder, other retirees object to benefits termination
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Alpha Natural Resources founder, chairman and CEO Michael J. Quillen and other retirees are objecting to the coal operator’s plan to terminate their health care and other benefits.
In a Tuesday filing, the retirees say they haven’t been provided sufficient time to analyze Alpha’s plan and respond. They asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond on Tuesday to delay a Nov. 17 hearing.
Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha asked the court on Nov. 3 to allow it to terminate the non-pension benefits of more than 4,500 non-union retirees, eligible spouses and dependents.
Quillen says in a news release that eliminating the benefits “goes against the values the company was built on.”
Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 3. The company has operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Officer killed in line of duty remembered for kindness
RICHMOND (AP) — A central Kentucky police officer who was gunned down last week while investigating a robbery was remembered Wednesday for his kindness and his dedication to the community he served.
Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock said 33-year-old Daniel Ellis was an ideal officer who helped stranded motorists, gave an elderly woman rides home from work because she was afraid to walk and treated a person with mental illness as a human being instead of a problem.
“He treated people with compassion, dignity and respect, and that included those that he had to arrest,” Brock said.
Ellis died at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington on Friday, two days after being shot in the head while searching an apartment for a robbery suspect. A second officer returned fire and struck 34-year-old Raleigh Sizemore Jr., who was treated at a hospital and handed over to police.
Sizemore pleaded not guilty Monday to charges including murder of a police officer, attempted murder, unlawful imprisonment and possession of a handgun by a felon.
Ellis’ service began Wednesday morning with three officers saluting his flag-draped coffin at Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum in Richmond.
Drug treatment programs for inmates receive state grants
FRANKFORT (AP) — More than $3 million has been awarded to provide heroin and prescription drug abuse treatment for Kentucky jail inmates and for an injectable treatment designed to prevent relapse as offenders leave custody.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said this week the funds are part of the $10 million authorized by the legislature this year to curb the rise in heroin use and opioid addiction.
Programs receiving funding include Boyd, Casey, Daviess, Fayette, Kenton, Laurel, Mason, Montgomery and Pulaski counties and Louisville Metro.
Some of the jails will launch new substance abuse treatment programs, with others expanding existing treatment programs. Some programs will also provide the injectable treatment.
A total of $1.5 million will be allocated to the jail programs. Another $1.5 million will be used for injectable treatment in state prisons.
Noah’s Ark religious attraction to open in July
WILLIAMSTOWN (AP) — Construction on a Noah’s Ark attraction in northern Kentucky is sailing along, and the builders say it will open next year.
Answers in Genesis, the Christian ministry leading the project, announced on Thursday that the attraction will open to visitors July 7, 2016.
The massive, 510-foot-long wooden boat is the $90 million first phase of a planned religious theme park. Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham says work on the bow and stern will begin soon.
The state had awarded an $18 million tax incentive to the project before withdrawing it last year over concerns of “religious indoctrination.” The ark’s builders are suing in federal court to get the incentive back.
Answers in Genesis built the nearby Creation Museum with $27 million in private donations. It opened in 2007.
Kentucky Housing Corp. offers housing vouchers for veterans
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Housing Corp. says several hundred veterans remain homeless in Kentucky, and it is offering vouchers for housing in many counties.
The agency says it wants to make sure all veterans know about the program known as Veterans Emerging Through Transition and don’t assume they aren’t eligible before contacting a participating agency. Preference is given to qualified veterans regardless of discharge status.
Officials say the process moves quickly once paperwork is finished, with veterans placed in housing in a few months.
The housing agency says it will continue the program until all 100 set-aside vouchers are used. For more information or to apply for assistance, visit http://www.kyhousing.org/Specialized-Housing/Pages/VETT-Vouchers.aspx .
Gov.-elect Bevin clarifies website to take job applications
FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has updated his transition website to clarify that everyone is welcome to apply for jobs in his administration.
The website, http://bevintransition.comhttp://bevintransition.com , originally said Bevin wants to hire people who “share his traditional values.” Bevin opposes same-sex marriage and supports Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who is seeking a religious exemption from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The website now says Bevin wants to hire people who “share his conservative values.” Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said Bevin’s team made the change after a reporter asked about the language. She said Bevin wants to be “abundantly clear” that his administration will be “inclusive, transparent and dedicated to the betterment of our state.”
The website also invites people registered as Democrats or independents to apply, adding they will be reviewed for their qualifications.
Bridge connecting Kentucky, Ohio has reopened
FLEMINGSBURG (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Highways says a bridge in northeastern Kentucky that was closed for a painting project has reopened.
The Independent reports the Carl D. Perkins Memorial Bridge reopened to traffic Wednesday after closing in April so contractors could paint the span’s 600,000-square-foot steel superstructure. The structure spans the Ohio River and connects Greenup County, Kentucky, with Portsmouth, Ohio.
The Kentucky Department of Highways says the $7 million project is expected to help preserve the structure for about 35 years.
Louisville announces end to veteran homelessness
LOUISVILLE (AP) — The federal government has announced that the city of Louisville has become the first in the state to eradicate veteran homelessness.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development regional administrator Ed Jennings told a crowd gathered in downtown Louisville for a Veterans Day parade that the city housed more than 400 veterans in the last year.
Mayor Greg Fischer was the first in Kentucky to sign up for President Barack Obama’s call to end homelessness among veterans.
Gov.-elect Matt Bevin, a Republican who bashed Obama’s presidency during his campaign, praised the Democratic mayor’s success in implementing the program and pledged to spread it across the state.
Bevin said he plans to make Kentucky “a beacon to the rest of America” and “honor veterans like we have never honored veterans before.”
Residents can pay off Lexington parking tickets with food
LEXINGTON (AP) — The Lexington Parking Authority is giving people the opportunity to pay off parking tickets with food.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the parking authority will be accepting cans of food instead of cash for parking citations from Nov. 16 through Dec. 18.
Those who donate 10 canned food items will receive a $15 credit on any parking citations issued by either LexPark or the Lexington Police Department. Customers with multiple citations may bring in 10 cans per citation to receive the discount.
Gary Means, LexPark executive director, says citizens brought in over 6,200 cans of food as payment during last year’s “Food for Fines” program.
The parking authority suggests large cans of items such as vegetables and proteins. No out-of-date, damaged or open canned goods will be accepted.
Grayson moving forward with smoke-free ordinance
GRAYSON (AP) — Members of the Grayson City Council are moving forward with the possibility of creating a smoke-free workplace environment in the city.
The Independent of Ashland reports that the city council unanimously passed a motion Tuesday to create an ordinance for Grayson to have a smoke-free work environment. The council plans to discuss the ordinance in more detail next month.
The vote came after Roger Cline from the Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition addressed the council to answer questions about the proposed ordinance.
Cline says many businesses in the city already don’t allow smoking inside their facilities and that the ban wouldn’t affect many other businesses.
Cline says the council must decide on its own how far away people would have to be from a building in order to smoke.
KFC to deliver buckets of fried chicken on demand
NEW YORK (AP) — Colonel Sanders wants to come to your home: KFC says it will start delivering its buckets of fried chicken to customers in two U.S. cities.
It’s the first time the chicken chain has delivered in the U. S. Starting Thursday, people in Los Angeles and San Francisco will be able to have food delivered. KFC said it expects to expand the delivery service into Houston by the end of this year. More cities may come later.
KFC is working with online delivery company DoorDash to deliver its chicken, biscuits and coleslaw. Customers will have to make orders through DoorDash’s app or website.