News in Brief

CSX to close Huntington, W.Va. administrative offices

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — CSX is closing its Huntington administrative offices amid the downturn in the coal industry.

In a news release Monday, the railroad company said 121 management and union employees in the Huntington division will continue working in the area for several months in transitional roles.

The release says many employees can fill positions in other areas afterward.

The Huntington division will be split among Atlanta, Baltimore, Florence, Great Lakes and Louisville divisions.

CSX says its coal revenues have declined $1.4 billion over the last four years.

The release says the move follows other coalfields changes, including the reduction of train operations at Erwin, Tennessee, and the closing of mechanical shops at Corbin, Kentucky.

Trains will still run through the Huntington area. Other regional facilities, including Huntington’s locomotive shop, will continue operating.


Woman, 95, dies from exposure in Laurel Co. after fall

LONDON (AP) — A 95-year-old woman has died of hypothermia after she walked away from an assisted living facility in London.

Laurel County Coroner Doug Bowling tells local media outlets that Dorothy McKnight died of exposure and was found outside of a neighbor’s home Monday morning.

Bowling says McKnight left her Laurel Village assisted living apartment early in the morning and walked about 100 feet to a neighbor’s porch, but fell off the porch and wasn’t dressed for the cold.

It is unclear how long McKnight was outside before her body was discovered.

The assisted living facility, Laurel Village, said in a statement that McKnight had lived there for almost 10 years and an investigation is underway into her death.


Man charged in burning of 8-year-old boy’s hands

LONDON (AP) — Police in eastern Kentucky have charged a man with wanton endangerment and assault for allegedly burning an 8-year-old boy’s hands.

WKYT-TV reports the boy was sent to school with just a band-aid, but staff at the school noticed the burns and called police and the boy’s grandfather, Brad Crow.

Crow says the man charged, 27-year-old James Stark III, was in a relationship with the boy’s mother.

London Police say Stark admitted that the boy’s hands were burned during a game they were playing Thursday night. Starks admitted to lighting the fire.

Stark was currently being held at the Laurel County Detention Center. Crow said the boy’s mother also did not get the boy checked out by a doctor after he was burned.

Crow says his grandson will make a full recovery.


Bevin fills job in Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy

FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed a veteran farm policy official to the job as the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy.

Bevin’s office says Warren Beeler assumes his new assignment after spending 16 years working for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, most recently as director of agriculture policy.

The governor says the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund is crucial for the state’s agriculture sector and rural economic development, and says he’s excited to have Beeler lead that effort.

Beeler is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where he majored in animal science.

His roles at the state Agriculture Department also included director of livestock marketing, director of the Shows and Fairs Division and livestock marketing specialist.


156K chickens added to list of birds being euthanized

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Animal health officials investigating a bird flu strain that affected 10 turkey farms in southwestern Indiana have added 156,000 chickens to the list of thousands of birds being euthanized.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health says the egg-laying chickens are at a high risk of contracting the H7N8 virus because they’re housed at one of the 10 farms in Dubois County with infected turkeys.

Crews already were working to euthanize more than 245,000 turkeys to prevent the virus’ spread. With the added chickens, the outbreak will bring about the deaths of about 401,000 birds.

Officials also have also added a precautionary 6-mile “surveillance zone” beyond the 6-mile control area created last week around the first turkey farm where the virus was found.


Lexington parents don’t want portable classrooms

LEXINGTON (AP) — Some public school parents are uneasy about Lexington’s use of portable classrooms to ease overcrowding.

The parents say they want the district to come up with a long-term plan for overcrowding, rather than the portables becoming permanent solutions.

Parent Maggie Draus told The Lexington Herald-Leader she is concerned about the news that Cassidy Elementary School is one of several in Fayette County likely to get portable classrooms in the fall. She says she doesn’t want her child learning in a portable building, which resembles a mobile home.

The school district expects to allocate $430,000 in the current budget and $1.4 million in the 2016-17 budget for portables.

Cassidy, along with four other elementary schools are expected to get portable units.

Rosa Parks Elementary School has one portable now and would get a second in the fall, said Myron Thompson, acting senior director of operations and support.

Several other schools also have portables because of overcrowding. The new portables will cost about $80,000 each as they are set up and about $500 to $800 a month to lease. A portable with two classrooms will seat 50 students.

Melanie Gabbard, Cassidy’s PTA president, said the school’s population next fall is projected to be more than 800 students, which she views as an excess of about 150.

Sarah Cordle, another Cassidy parent, said the district needs an alternative to overburdening schools.

“Once portables are put into our school, I don’t foresee them leaving,” Cordle said.


Western Ky. ferry to Missouri reopening

HICKMAN (AP) — The Dorena-Hickman Ferry on the western tip of Kentucky will be reopening after weeks of high water.

The ferry that connects Hickman, Kentucky to Missouri near Dorena will reopen Tuesday at 7 a.m. CST.

It has been closed for several weeks since floodwaters covered the ferry landing on the Kentucky side.

The ferry is the only direct route from Missouri to Kentucky, since the two states are the only in the U.S. that are not directly connected by a road.


Max & Erma’s closes 13 restaurants in the Midwest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Restaurant chain Max & Erma’s is closing 13 Midwest locations as it streamlines operations and deals with underperforming outlets.

The owner, Nashville, Tennessee-based American Blue Ribbon Holdings, says senior managers went to the restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana on Monday morning to deliver the news.

The chain’s website listed 51 locations in 10 states.

The restaurants serve burgers and beer. The first one opened in 1972 in Columbus, Ohio. The chain filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. American Blue Ribbon bought it the next year.

The parent company also owns O’Charley’s and other casual-dining chains.


Appeal filed against Henderson County Schools’ ‘nickel tax’

HENDERSON (AP) — A complaint has been filed against the Henderson County Board of Education alleging the school system’s “nickel tax” is fraudulent and was applied retroactively.

The Gleaner of Henderson reports plaintiffs Robert Pruitt and Dean Spooner filed the complaint in Henderson Circuit Court last month.

The school board approved passing a recallable nickel tax, which generates revenue exclusively for construction or renovation projects, in April. A court-verified public petition placed the issue before the public vote. Voters narrowly approved the tax.

Among the plaintiff’s allegations is that the 2015 property tax bills reflect a tax of .059 cents on each $100 valuation, not like the nickel stated in the public question that was voted on.

Superintendent Marganna Stanley denies the allegations in the complaint, saying the school system follows state guidelines.

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