News in Brief

Powerball jackpot climbs to estimated $675M

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A lottery official says the estimated prize for this weekend’s Powerball drawing is the largest jackpot of any lottery game in U.S. history.

Texas Lottery spokeswoman Kelly Cripe says Saturday’s drawing will be worth about $675 million. That’s because no one matched the numbers drawn for Wednesday night’s estimated $500 million jackpot.

Wednesday’s numbers were 2, 11, 47, 62 and 63, and the Powerball was 17.

The previous record was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot won in March 2012.

Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.


Letcher Co. teenager pleads guilty to killing baby

PIKEVILLE (AP) — A 17-year-old Letcher County boy has entered a plea deal in which he admitted to killing an infant.

WYMT-TV reports that Keaston Taylor pleaded guilty Tuesday in Pike County Circuit Court to an amended charge of second-degree manslaughter.

Prosecutors say Taylor killed 4-month-old Blayze Alexander Smith by throwing the baby down an embankment in June 2014. Smith’s body was found about 50 feet away from his home.

After consulting the victim’s next of kin, Letcher County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tyler Ward recommended a seven year prison sentence for Taylor, followed by five months of probation. Taylor is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 19.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the court could order additional psychiatric treatment if Taylor continues to pose a threat to himself or others after his sentence.


Ex-Danville youth minister pleads not guilty to sex charges

DANVILLE (AP) — A former Danville youth minister pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts related to illegal sexual activities with minors.

Media outlets report 28-year-old Bobby Cassady’s attorney entered the plea Tuesday in Boyle Circuit Court.

Cassady is charged with three counts of first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, promoting a sexual performance by a minor and possession of material portraying a sexual performance by a minor.

He previously served as youth director at Gethsemane Baptist Church. He also volunteered with high school football teams and was a substitute bus driver for Danville schools.

The investigation began after a 17-year-old boy said Cassady asked him to send a sexually explicit video to him.

Commonwealth Attorney Richie Bottoms says there are multiple victims involved in the case.


No hoverboards allowed at University of Kentucky

LEXINGTON (AP) — Students, faculty and staff returning to the University of Kentucky for the spring semester can leave the hoverboards they got over the holidays at home.

The university says it has temporarily banned the use, possession or storage of all such devices, citing reports that some have caught fire.

UK said in a news release Wednesday the ban includes residence halls, university apartments, Greek houses, academic buildings and all other campus buildings and grounds. Also included are off-campus properties that UK controls.

The ban is effective immediately.

Several other schools have implemented similar bans.

UK said its ban will remain in effect until more information is available and better safety standards are in place.

The release said UK will provide temporary storage for students who can’t get hoverboards home safely.


Woman charged in father’s death in central Minnesota

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A central Minnesota woman missing after her father’s body was found in their home is in jail in Kentucky.

The Stearns County Attorney’s office charged 38-year-old Lisa May Kearney with second-degree murder Wednesday.

Kearney is charged in the death of her 66-year-old father, Jeffrey Eugene Schilling. Schilling’s body was found Monday in his St. Cloud home, and his daughter was arrested Tuesday in Louisville, Kentucky.

According to the complaint, a neighbor called police because he saw Schilling lying on a couch with a blanket over his head and not moving. Police arrived and found blood near Schilling’s head and a maul propped against a wall.

The St. Cloud Times reports Kearney was found in Kentucky with her father’s wallet, keys and tablet. She’s refused to waive extradition to Minnesota.


Group seeks to honor US Navy’s fist black Master Diver

RADCLIFF (AP) — A veteran’s group is spearheading an effort to rename the Radcliff Veterans Center after a U.S. Navy officer who was the first African-American to become a Master Diver.

Bob Casher of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association tells the News-Enterprise he started an online petition to rename the center after Command Master Chief Carl Brashear a couple of weeks ago.

Brashear grew up in nearby Sonora and retired from service in 1979 as a Master Chief Petty Officer and Master Diver. Casher says he was told by Brashear’s son, Phil, that if the center is renamed he will donate memorabilia belonging to his father for display.

The idea has gained support from Dave Jarett of the Joint Executive Council for Veterans Organizations, who will be helping Casher draft a letter to present to the state legislature.


Former teacher sentenced to 42 years in child porn case

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A former Catholic high school teacher and coach who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges has been sentenced in Louisville to 42 years in prison.

The Courier-Journal reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Jo Lawless said in court papers she would have asked for a harsher sentence if 33-year-old Patrick Newman hadn’t pleaded guilty.

Newman was sentenced Wednesday. He was fired from Trinity High School in Louisville after being charged in June. He pleaded guilty in August to producing, transporting and possessing child pornography and online enticement of a minor.

Prosecutors say the charges involved 16 boys ages 12 to 17 from Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and the United Kingdom.

Newman’s lawyer, Brian Butler, has said none of the boys were Newman’s former students.


Senate president’s wife hired as deputy cabinet secretary

FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration says the wife of Senate President Robert Stivers has been hired as a deputy cabinet secretary.

Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said Thursday that Regina Stivers will serve as deputy secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

Ditto says Regina Stivers will start work on Monday.

Regina Stivers has worked with several of the state’s most prominent Republicans.

She currently works in the Lexington field office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Ditto says Regina Stivers also worked in Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration and as a member of former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning’s staff.

The Courier-Journal first reported the story.


Small plane crashes into ditch; 2 men treated for injuries

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — An airport official says two men were treated for injuries after a small plane crashed into a ditch at a southeast Georgia airport.

Airport spokeswoman Lori Lynah says the plane crashed at the Savannah-Hilton Head Airport at 8:32 a.m. Wednesday. Lynah says the plane was departing for Lexington, Kentucky, before the pilot realized there was some engine trouble.

Lynah says the pilot turned the plane around and attempted to land. Lynah says the plane skidded in the grass and into the ditch adjacent to an airport taxiway.

Lt. Col. David Simons of the 165th Airlift Wing Public Affairs says both men were standing outside the plane when responders arrived.

Lynah says both men were taken to Memorial University Medical Center. The condition of both men is unknown.


Graves Co. students to work from home during wet-dry vote

MAYFIELD (AP) — Some students in western Kentucky will be trying out a new program that allows them to study from home as an alternative to missing school.

Graves County is having a wet-dry election on Jan. 26, and four of the county’s seven elementary schools serve as election polling locations.

The Kentucky Department of Education had already approved Graves County for the project, and the county district said in a news release the agency approved using the special election day as the county’s first “non-traditional instruction” day.

The district’s news release said teachers will deliver content in a digital or hard-copy format for students to use while schools are closed. Students and parents will be able to reach staff by phone or email.

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