News in Brief


Mining company cuts 200 workers in E.Ky.

HAZARD (AP) — A mining company says it has cut about 200 jobs from sites in eastern Kentucky.

Blackhawk Mining Vice President Jesse Parrish told WYMT-TV that market-driven conditions led to the decision to idle the Blue Diamond Buckeye Prep Plant and two supporting mines in Perry County. He said some employees at another operation also were affected.

Parrish said some of the workers could be hired back if conditions change.

A company website says Lexington-based Blackhawk Mining LLC operates five mining complexes with more than 1,600 employees.

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In Ky., Clinton promotes plan to protect miner benefits

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is promoting her plan to protect health and pension benefits for retired coal miners during a visit to Kentucky on Friday.

Clinton has proposed a $30 billion plan to ensure retired miners get their benefits as more coal companies seek bankruptcy protection. Clinton said in a statement Friday that more than $110 million in benefits paid to Kentucky miners in 2014 could be at risk. Clinton was holding a private fundraiser in Louisville Friday morning.

Republican National Committee spokesman Raffi Williams criticized Clinton for supporting President Barack Obama’s emission restrictions on coal-fired power plants. State officials say the new rules would prevent new plants from being built.

Clinton said as president she would make “smart new investments” in coal communities to “unleash their economic potential.”

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Ky. jobless rate drops to 4.9 percent in October

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials say the state’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since the spring of 2001.

The state Office of Employment and Training said Thursday that last month’s preliminary jobless rate was 4.9 percent, down from a 5 percent rate in September. The statewide rate in October 2014 was 5.6 percent.

Last month’s statewide rate matches the 4.9 percent rate in May 2001.

Manoj Shanker, an economist with the agency, says hiring has been brisk across major sectors of Kentucky’s economy. He says that despite a faltering global market, job growth in Kentucky’s private sector has been strong.

State officials say employment gains occurred in a broad range of sectors, including manufacturing, professional and business services, educational and health services, financial activities, construction and leisure and hospitality.

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Report: Homeless rate down in state

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal agency is reporting a sharp drop in Kentucky’s homeless rate since 2010.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says communities in Kentucky reported a total of 4,538 people who experienced homelessness on a given night in January 2015. It says that rate is down 31 percent since 2010.

It says the statewide homeless rate was down 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Meanwhile, the report issued Thursday says homelessness among military veterans has fallen by 7 percent in Kentucky in recent years. It says that on a single night this past January, 591 veterans were homeless and 8 percent of them were on the streets.

The report says that since 2010, chronic homelessness in the state has declined by 45 percent.

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Hospital: Conjoined twin girls successfully separated

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Doctors at a Kentucky hospital have successfully separated conjoined twin girls.

Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville said in a statement that the eight-hour surgery was performed on the 7-week-old girls on Nov. 11. While both remain on ventilators, the statement said they are getting stronger each day.

The girls were joined at the chest and abdominal cavity. They shared some heart structures and their livers were connected, according to the statement.

Doctors waited as long as they could to perform the risky procedure, making the decision to move forward because both girls needed increased breathing support.

Although their long-term prognosis is unknown, chief cardiovascular surgeon Erle H. Austin III says doctors are “cautiously optimistic” about their future.

Experts say conjoined twins occur once in about every 200,000 pregnancies.

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Funeral held for 7-year-old girl whose body found in creek

SCOTTSVILLE (AP) — The funeral has been held for a 7-year-old girl whose body was found shortly after she went missing from a football game.

Multiple media outlets report Gabriella Doolin’s funeral was held Thursday at Scottsville Baptist Church.

Authorities say Doolin was killed Saturday. Her mother had reported her missing about 25 minutes before her body was discovered in a creek in a wooded area behind Allen County-Scottsville High School. They were at the school attending a youth football game.

An autopsy conducted Sunday ruled the girl’s death a homicide.

Kentucky State Police Trooper B.J. Eaton said the Bowling Green post’s entire detective staff is investigating the slaying. The cause of death hasn’t been released.

On Sunday, hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in downtown Scottsville to show support for Gabriella’s family.

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Ex-teacher to spend 5 years in prison after sex charges

PADUCAH (AP) — A former Paducah middle school teacher accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student will be spending five years behind bars.

The Paducah Sun reports that former Reidland Middle School teacher 25-year-old Chelsea Rose made her final appearance in McCracken County court Thursday for sentencing.

Having already received a five-year sentence earlier this month for a related case in Marshall County, Rose pleaded guilty to one count of prohibited use of an electronic communication device to procure a minor in a sex offense.

She received a sentence of three years in prison and a five-year conditional discharge period. The sentence will run concurrently with the Marshall time, but consecutive to any other sentences she could receive if she were to get in trouble again within the next five years.

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Gov.-elect Bevin opens inaugural church service to public

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has moved his inaugural church service to the Frankfort Convention Center and has opened it to the public.

The service was originally scheduled to be invitation-only at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort. Thursday, Bevin’s transition team said in a news release they have moved the service to the convention center because of an “overwhelming response from the public.”

The service will begin at 8 a.m. on Dec. 8 and include Kentucky native and gospel singer Larnelle Harris and the Kentucky State University concert choir. Bevin’s team said ministers from across the state representing a number of faith traditions will also participate.

Other inaugural events include a parade, a public swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol and a party at the Kentucky History Center.

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National Office Furniture expanding Danville operation

DANVILLE (AP) — National Office Furniture Inc. is expanding its Danville facility, creating 40 jobs and investing $530,000.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office announced the plans Wednesday. The company is a subsidiary of Kimball International Inc. Beshear said in a news release that Kimball has been making furnishings at the plant for more than 15 years.

National Office Furniture President Kevin McCoy said in the release that the facility has grown from fewer than 70 employees to 190 while seeing double-digit growth in the last five years.

The company also has an operation in Fordsville.

The state has preliminarily approved the project for tax incentives up to $500,000.

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Police: Autopsy shows 2 adults found in fire shot to death

MURRAY (AP) — Kentucky State Police say preliminary autopsies show two adults found in the aftermath of a suspicious residential fire had been shot to death.

In a statement Thursday, police say the autopsies reveal that 29-year-old Bulmaro Arellano and 24-year-old Marisol Hernandez died as a result of gunshot wounds. Their bodies and the bodies of two children were found Tuesday after authorities responded to a report of a fire at a home in Murray.

Police say it’s believed both children, identified as a boy about 5 years old and a girl about 1 year old, had succumbed to smoke inhalation, pending further testing.

Police say the investigation shows that the fire was intentionally set to cover up the killings. The investigation continues.

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Few days left to see bobcat kitten at Salato Center

FRANKFORT (AP) — A young bobcat at Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort is growing, and officials say there are only a few days left to see her as a kitten before the season ends.

Acting Manager Brent McCarty says the bobcat isn’t likely to still be kitten-sized when the center reopens March 1.

The kitten will remain on display from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST Tuesdays through Saturdays until Salato closes for the season at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Once the bobcat reaches adult size, she will be placed on permanent exhibit.

The center closes through the winter to allow for maintenance and upgrades to exhibits, trails and enclosures.

The center is operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources off U.S. 60 about 1 ½ miles west of the U.S. 127 intersection.

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