News in Brief


Bill would exempt school projects from prevailing wage

FRANKFORT (AP) — State officials would not decide how much to pay construction workers on public school projects under a bill approved by a Senate committee.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Will Schroder of Wilder, would exempt school construction projects from Kentucky’s prevailing wage law. The law sets construction wages for publicly funded projects based on local surveys. But a 2014 study from the Legislative Research Commission found the law increased workers’ pay by about $8 per hour more than they would have been paid in the private sector.

Democrats dispute that study, noting it only looked at wages and not the total cost of construction projects. Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Louisville voted against the bill.

It is the first bill to make it to the Senate floor this year.

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Bill allowing some distilleries to serve cocktails advances

FRANKFORT (AP) — Bourbon tourists could sip cocktails and purchase more bottles from Kentucky distilleries in wet territories under a bill that has won approval from a state Senate committee.

The bill cleared the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee on a 9-1 vote Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer says it could be voted on in coming days by the full Senate.

Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, says the legislation would help distilleries reach their full potential as tourist attractions.

The measure drew criticism from some in the liquor business.

Bardstown liquor store owner Guthrie McKay says letting distilleries sell more bottles to visitors would hurt retail stores. He says liquor stores already have difficulty getting some specialty products from distilleries.

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New state veterans home dedicated in Clarksville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State officials have dedicated a new state veterans home in Clarksville.

Gov. Bill Haslam and other state officeholders and lawmakers dedicated the new Brig. Gen. Wendell H. Gilbert Tennessee State Veterans Home on Monday.

Officials say the facility includes 108 beds in nine separate homes. Each home includes separate cottages with individual kitchens, fireplaces and a central lounge area.

The 103,000-square-foot campus also features an industrial-sized kitchen, bistro and large dining area. It also has a library, physical therapy resources, chapel, barber shop and salon as well as multiple patios and walking areas.

The home admitted five residents in late December.

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Authorities: Man dies of hypothermia in downtown Lexington

LEXINGTON (AP) — Authorities say a man who was found dead behind a University of Kentucky apparel store had died of hypothermia brought on by cold overnight temperatures in downtown Lexington.

The Fayette County coroner’s office said in a news release that 41-year-old Robert E. Johnson’s death was an accident caused by exposure-related hypothermia.

Johnson’s body was found Monday morning behind Wildcat Warehouse near the school’s campus, where temperatures reached as low as 10 degrees early Monday.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn tells WLEX-TV that Johnson was a known panhandler.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of the heart and respiratory system and to death.

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Bevin promoting Ky. at auto show

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is promoting the state’s automotive industry at the North American International Auto Show in Michigan.

Bevin’s office says the governor is traveling to Detroit on Tuesday to speak with auto industry leaders at the event. It’s Bevin’s first official trip outside the state as governor since taking office. Bevin says the show is an opportunity to promote Kentucky to some of the auto industry’s most influential leaders.

The event is considered by industry experts to be the largest and most prestigious automotive showcase. The event features more than 750 vehicles and interactive displays by suppliers.

Kentucky ranks near the top nationally in auto production. Ford has two production plants in Louisville, Toyota has a production facility at Georgetown and General Motors makes Corvettes at Bowling Green.

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Teenage inmate found dead in juvenile detention center

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A 16-year-old female inmate has been found dead inside her cell at an Elizabethtown juvenile detention center.

The News-Enterprise reports officials discovered the girl unresponsive in her cell Monday morning at Lincoln Village Youth Development and Regional Juvenile Detention Center. She was pronounced dead at the center.

Kentucky State Police Post 4 spokesman Jeff Gregory says officials are investigating the death and an autopsy was planned Monday. He says foul play is not suspected.

No additional details have been provided.

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1 found dead after residential fire in Flemingsburg

FLEMINGSBURG (AP) — A 76-year-old man has died and a woman injured after a residential fire in northeastern Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police said the fire was reported Monday afternoon in Flemingsburg.

Authorities found Kenneth Wayne Hester of Flemingsburg deceased inside. Police said in a news release that 67-year-old Lena Hitch of Flemingsburg was taken to a hospital for treatment.

University of Kentucky Medical Center spokesman Andrew Shooner said Hitch was in fair condition Monday night.

The release from police said the incident remains under investigation.

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