Kentucky Utilities, LG&E closing several coal ash ponds
LEXINGTON (AP) — Prompted by new federal regulations, the state’s two largest utility companies are closing several storage ponds that collect the coal ash burned by power plants.
Kentucky Utilities says it will spend $678 million to meet federal environmental requirements involving coal ash ponds. Louisville Gas & Electric will spend $316 million to do the same, by capping its remaining ash ponds at Mill Creek and Trimble County generating stations.
Kentucky Utility’s ponds at E.W. Brown and Ghent generating stations will be capped and closed, along with ponds at the retired Green River, Pineville and Tyrone plants.
The utilities say in a joint release that the environmental improvements would continue through 2023.
The details of the plans will be submitted to the Kentucky Public Service Commission on Jan. 29
Senate panel OKs update to informed consent law
FRANKFORT (AP) — A Kentucky Senate panel has approved a bill to require any woman seeking an abortion to have a face-to-face meeting with a medical professional before the procedure.
The measure cleared the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee on Wednesday. The bill is a priority for Senate Republicans.
The state’s informed consent law requires women to receive counseling and wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion. Abortion foes object to the information being provided by phone.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky opposes the bill. ACLU official Derek Selznick says face-to-face meetings burden women with additional expenses.
Similar measures have died in the House in past years. This year, new Gov. Matt Bevin opposes abortion and Democrats are struggling to hold their House majority.
‘The Mine Wars’ to premiere on PBS’ ‘American Experience’
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The struggles of coal miners in southern West Virginia a century ago are the subject of a film for public television.
“The Mine Wars” premieres on the PBS series “American Experience” on Jan. 26.
According to a news release, executive producer Mark Samels says the film shows a different side of the miners who worked in dangerous conditions but often were ridiculed by the rest of the country.
One focus of the film is the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain. Ten thousands miners who had been trying to unionize marched to the town of Blair and squared off against police and hired guns. At least 16 men died before the miners surrendered to federal troops.
The film includes archival footage along with interviews with authors, historians and miners’ descendants.
International Mentoring Day coincides with Ali’s birthday
LOUISVILLE (AP) — The importance of mentors will be highlighted on Muhammad Ali’s birthday.
The Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville says International Mentoring Day is set for Jan. 17. The boxing great will turn 74 years old on that day.
Ali’s wife, Lonnie, says mentors have the power to change lives and are “gifts to the world.” She says they encourage, motivate and guide others to reach their potential.
She says her husband is proud that International Mentoring Day is being launched on his birthday.
Ali Center spokeswoman Jeanie Kahnke says mentors and the people they support are invited to visit the center on Jan. 17 to show their commitment to the cause.
Lonnie Ali says she hopes more people will take the first step to mentoring someone in need of support.
Nursing home therapy provider settles lawsuit for $125M
BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors say the nation’s largest nursing home rehabilitation therapy provider has agreed to pay $125 million to resolve a lawsuit that alleged it knowingly had nursing homes submit false Medicare claims.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston says RehabCare and four nursing facility operators submitted Medicare claims based on therapy services that were “unreasonable, unnecessary … or that never occurred.”
The nursing home operators agreed to pay an additional $8 million.
RehabCare is now part of Louisville, Kentucky-based Kindred Healthcare.
The government’s complaint alleges among other things that RehabCare reported that therapy had been provided to patients who were asleep or unable to benefit.
The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.
The government investigation was prompted by whistleblowers.
Calls to Kindred Healthcare on Tuesday were not immediately returned.
Fire kills at least 40 animals at Indiana wildlife sanctuary
CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) — A barn fire has killed more than 40 animals at a southern Indiana wildlife sanctuary that’s facing federal scrutiny.
Wildlife In Need owner Tim Stark tells WAVE-TV 41 animals, most of them birds and reptiles, died in Tuesday’s fire at the Charlestown complex.
He says tigers and other large cats kept at the center about 15 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky, were not injured.
Inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last fall found unsanitary conditions for animals at the nonprofit center that’s known for fundraisers where people play with young tiger cubs.
Inspectors also found unsafe conditions for visitors.
Charlestown Assistant Fire Chief Andre’ Heal says all of the center’s animals were accounted for after the fire. The fire’s cause remains under investigation.