News in Brief


Bevin appoints Democrat to lead Justice Cabinet

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed an influential Democratic lawmaker to be the next secretary of the Justice and Public Safety cabinet.

State Rep. John Tilley of Hopkinsville is a former prosecutor and the first Democrat Bevin has appointed to his administration. The move gives Tilley a significant salary increase while damaging Democrats’ efforts to keep control of the House of Representatives.

Republicans are just four seats shy of a majority in the House after Democratic state Rep. Denver Butler switched parties last month. The appointment will trigger a special election in Tilley’s district, where Republicans have a good chance of winning.

In a news release, Tilley said he was “honored” to serve in Bevin’s administration.

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Army sergeant sentenced in conspiracy case

PADUCAH (AP) — A Fort Campbell Army sergeant has been sentenced to two years in prison following his guilty plea to a charge of conspiring to take bribes from vendors seeking contracts in Afghanistan.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday that U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell also ordered 43-year-old Ramiro Pena Jr. of Fort Campbell to forfeit $100,000, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Rolex watch.

Prosecutors said Pena admitted to receiving bribe payments from vendors through his supervisor in 2008 and 2009. The supervisor pleaded guilty previously.

The prosecutor’s office said Pena and his supervisor procured supplies for the Humanitarian Aid Yard at Bagram airfield by issuing contracts to local Afghan vendors. The statement said Dennis and Pena processed more than 200 contracts worth about $30 million.

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Lexington realtor charged with stealing jewelry

LEXINGTON (AP) — A Lexington Realtor has been accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and later destroying it in an attempt to keep it from being identified.

Lexington police tell the Lexington Herald Leader 38-year-old Glenn Boadley “Bo” Howell III was arrested Friday and charged with theft by unlawful taking under $10,000 and tampering with physical evidence. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty in Fayette District Court.

A citation filed in district court says Howell “unlawfully exercised control over the moveable property of another.” The citation says Howell stole and sold “thousands of dollars of jewelry.” It says the jewelry was later found destroyed.

The citation doesn’t identify the victim, but lists the person as an “acquaintance.”

Howell’s attorney Edward Thompson did not comment to the newspaper.

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Police investigate after 2 found dead near Manchester home

MANCHESTER (AP) — Kentucky State Police are investigating after they say a man and woman were found apparently shot to death outside a home near Manchester.

Trooper Lloyd Cochran told media outlets that troopers found the two individuals Wednesday afternoon. Police have identified the victims as 64-year-old Leon Jackson and 65-year-old Shirley Jackson, both of Manchester.

No arrests have been made yet in connection with the shooting.

Cochran says the investigation remains ongoing.

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Actor Danny Glover speaking at King Day event in Lexington

LEXINGTON (AP) — Actor Danny Glover will be the keynote speaker for next month’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Lexington.

Glover will speak at 11 a.m. EST Jan. 18 in Heritage Hall following the Freedom March in downtown Lexington at 10 a.m.

The events are free and open to the public.

Glover is known for his roles in movies including the “Lethal Weapon” series, “The Color Purple” and “Places in the Heart.”

A news release from the city says Glover joined the Black Students Union at San Francisco State University and led a five-month student walkout to establish a Department of Black Studies.

The release says Glover has long been a union activist, has been a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Development Program and is a UNICEF ambassador.

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Whooping cranes confirmed in Hopkins Co.

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says five federally protected whooping cranes have been confirmed in Hopkins County, and the birds have been spotted in other counties as well in the last couple of weeks.

Wildlife biologists say hunters should watch for whooping cranes in their hunting areas since the bird is endangered and may not be hunted.

The agency says the migration corridor of the eastern population of whooping cranes takes them through west-central Kentucky.

Whooping cranes are solid white with black wingtips and have a red crown. Juveniles have patches of brown or tan mixed in.

The state’s sandhill crane hunting season begins Saturday. Whooping cranes are similar in silhouette and may associate with sandhill cranes, so the agency is advising caution while hunting sandhills.

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‘Zombie nativity’ back in Ohio yard a year after controversy

CINCINNATI (AP) — A “zombie nativity” that spurred complaints and zoning violation notices last year is on display again in a suburban Cincinnati yard, with a change to avoid fines.

Officials have concluded Jasen Dixon’s display complies with local zoning laws because he has removed its roof. Sycamore Township zoning administrator Harry Holbert says the issue was always about the structure and zoning rules, not the zombie figures.

The scene includes a sharp-toothed, grayish figure with black-ringed eyes sitting in the manger where the baby Jesus would be in traditional Christmas nativities.

Dixon was threatened with fines last year when officials said the display violated rules on size and placement of yard structures. WCPO-TV reports he removed it before being cited and didn’t have to pay fines.

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Victims of Gander crash being remembered at ceremony

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Saturday marks 30 years since a plane crash in Canada took the lives of 248 members of Fort Campbell’s 101st Airborne Division, and the post will hold a ceremony on the anniversary to remember the soldiers.

The soldiers were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, and were headed back to the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line from a six-month peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.

The plane crashed Dec. 12, 1985, in Gander, Newfoundland.

Fort Campbell says the 2nd Brigade Combat, 101st Airborne, will host the ceremony.

It is set for 9 a.m. CST Saturday at the post’s Gander memorial site.

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