News in Brief

Community gathers for funeral of boy killed in burglary

VERSAILLES (AP) — A central Kentucky community has gathered to say a final goodbye to a 6-year-old boy who was stabbed to death during a burglary.

News outlets report that on Friday, mourners filled the stands and the field at Falling Springs Recreation Center, where Logan Dean Tipton played football.

His white coffin was adorned by white and yellow flowers. His football jersey was mounted in a frame in front of it, and his helmet rested atop.

A Woodford County grand jury indicted 32-year-old Ronald Exantus on Wednesday with murder, first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree assault. Police say he stabbed Tipton Monday in the boy’s home while he slept.

Versailles police Lt. Michael Fortney has said detectives have found nothing to connect Extanus to the family or the town.


Tilley will not switch parties while working for Bevin

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic state Rep. John Tilley said he will not switch parties when he resigns his seat to go work for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Bevin named Tilley the new secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet on Thursday. The move means Democrats lose an influential member in the House and will be forced to win a special election in a Republican-friendly district as they try to hang on to their slim majority.

In an interview, Tilley said he was concerned what impact his decision might have on Democrats keeping control of the House. But he said his passion for public safety and criminal justice outweighed any political ramifications.

Tilley will make about $137,000 a year as a cabinet secretary. But Tilley said the salary did not factor into his decision.


Kentucky National Guard tuition aid falls short

LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky National Guard says a financial shortfall is causing hundreds of the state’s soldiers to lose college tuition funding.

Guard spokesman Walt Leaumont tells local media that with Kentucky Guard members no longer deployed as often to Iraq and Afghanistan, applications for the tuition assistance program spiked this year. That depleted the $5.3 million set aside by the General Assembly, leaving the Guard $2.8 million short.

As a result, the Guard last week had to deny 696 guard members funds for spring semester next year.

Officials are encouraging Guard members to try to fill the gap with federal military tuition assistance, though it’s not clear whether they can get funding in time for next semester.

Guard leads say they plan to lobby the General Assembly to increase funding.


Rep. Owens chosen as new House Judiciary chairman

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Louisville lawmaker has been chosen to fill the vacant chairmanship of the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee.

House Democratic leaders acted quickly on Thursday to award the high-profile role to Rep. Darryl Owens.

The selection was made just hours after the former Judiciary Committee chairman, John Tilley of Hopkinsville, was chosen by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin as his secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

Owens had been chairman of the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

Owens earned his law degree at Howard University. He has served as an assistant county attorney, assistant attorney general and was a juvenile court judge.


Soldiers take up collections to help homeless veterans

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Soldiers at Fort Campbell plan to collect items this weekend to help homeless veterans stay warm through the winter.

A statement from the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line says family, friends and soldiers assigned to Fort Campbell’s 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division will participate in the event on Saturday. They will be collecting blankets and cold-weather clothing for homeless vets.

The statement says the idea came from Spc. Justin Mucciolo, who wanted to find a way to help veterans without homes stay warm in winter.

The event is set to begin at 7 p.m. in front of Love Blood Inc. Tattoo Parlor.


2 top university officials on leave in ongoing investigation

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Two top University of Louisville officials have been placed on leave in an ongoing investigation.

The Courier-Journal reports in an email Wednesday, President James Ramsey announced that Dr. David Dunn and Priscilla Hancock will be on leave effective immediately.

Dunn is the executive vice president for health affairs and Hancock is the university’s chief information officer.

Ramsey said accusations of potential misconduct were brought to the university’s attention in summer 2014 after which the university police department began a review. Ramsey says during the review, the university sought assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Federal authorities joined the investigation this year.

The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office have declined to comment to the newspaper as well as Kent Westberry, who represents Dunn, and Christie Moore, who represents Hancock.


Police: Suspect fatally shot by county sheriff

LEITCHFIELD (AP) — Kentucky State Police have identified the law enforcement officer who fatally shot a suspect as a county sheriff.

In a statement on Thursday, state police said Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins shot 66-year-old Chris E. Higdon, who was advancing toward him and another officer with a firearm. The statement says Chaffins fired his weapon at Higdon three times.

Police said Chaffins and Maj. Corey Knochel responded to the home in Leitchfield on Wednesday afternoon after a domestic disturbance with a shot fired was reported.

Kentucky State Police say the shooting remains under investigation.


Longtime State Rep. Jim Wayne plans to seek another term

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A longtime state lawmaker from Louisville says he is cancer free and plans to seek re-election in 2016.

State Rep. Jim Wayne underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer of the larynx and lymph nodes.

Democrats attended an event in Louisville on Thursday to hear Wayne’s health update and his plans to seek another House term.

He used his health situation to defend the state’s Medicaid program that former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear greatly expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act. The expansion means another 400,000 people have government-funded health insurance, cutting the state’s uninsured rate in half.

Wayne says that uninsured, poor people with the diagnosis he received would have faced two alternatives — death or bankruptcy — because they could not have afforded the treatment.

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