News in Brief


Coal mine layoffs to cut nearly 200 jobs

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The owner of two southern Illinois coal mines says it’s cutting more than 200 jobs at those locations as well as additional positions at a Kentucky mine.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Alliance Resource Partners LP announced the layoffs at its Hamilton and White County coal mines on Friday.

Two hundred jobs have been eliminated at the White Oak mine in Dahlgren, along with about 35 more positions at the Pattiki mine near Carmi and 40 jobs at River View Coal in Waverly, Kentucky.

The company cites low natural gas prices and a saturated domestic coal market as well as “weak power demand” and “overreaching regulations.” It hopes to restore the jobs cut from the White Oak mine later this year.

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Bankrupt coal producer Alpha announces more planned layoffs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Bankrupt coal producer Alpha Natural Resources has announced planned layoffs in West Virginia for the third time in a month.

Media outlets report that Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha announced Friday that it sent 60-day layoff warning notices for more than 230 miners at four mines and one processing plant operated by Brooks Run Mining in Braxton and Webster counties.

Alpha cites tough market conditions that have dramatically reduced the demand for coal.

Last week Alpha announced the immediately layoff of 93 miners at Kingston Mining Inc. in Fayette County. Last month the company sent 60-day layoff notices for 831 miners and dozens more support staff at eight underground mines and two processing plants in Boone and Raleigh Counties.

Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August.

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New court ruling could mean possible parole for teen killers

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could mean two men convicted of murders in Kentucky as teenagers could become eligible for parole hearings or new sentencing hearings.

The Courier-Journal reports the court ruled Jan. 25 that its 2012 decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for virtually all juvenile killers must be applied retroactively.

Sophal Phon’s lawyer, Renee Vandenwallbake, recently asked the Kentucky Court of Appeals to apply the ruling to Phon’s case. Phon was sentenced to life without parole for a 1996 murder committed when he was 16-years-old.

In 2003, Gov. Paul Patton commuted Kevin Stanford’s sentence from death to life without parole for a 1981 murder committed when Stanford was 17-years-old.

Stanford’s lawyer, Tim Arnold, didn’t say whether Stanford would seek a parole hearing or a new sentence.

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Police respond to report of cockfighting, charge 22 people

LYNN GROVE (AP) — Police say 22 people are facing charges after state troopers responded to report of a cockfighting event in southwestern Kentucky.

A statement from Kentucky State Police says troopers were called to a building in Lynn Grove near the Tennessee border on Saturday night and found more than 30 dead gamecocks as well as 35 live roosters and hens. Police said 19 people from Kentucky and Tennessee were cited on a charge of second-degree animal cruelty. Three others at the scene were arrested.

The statement says the poultry at the scene was turned over to the Humane Society of Calloway County.

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Ky. nonprofit group wants to restore steam locomotive

NEW HAVEN (AP) — A nonprofit group hopes to restore a steam locomotive for passenger excursions.

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. wants to bring the locomotive from Nelson County to Lexington and is launching a fundraising campaign for its restoration.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the group’s fundraising goal is $1.3 million.

Group president Chris Campbell of Lexington says an inspection in November found the locomotive was in excellent condition, although some repair work needs to be done. The group hopes to have the engine moved to Lexington by 2017 and have it operating by 2020.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway locomotive built in 1943 is owned by the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven. The last time the engine ran on its own power was in 1996.

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Powerful, moon-bound rocket to carry MSU satellite in 2018

MOREHEAD (AP) — A satellite from Morehead State University will be on the most powerful rocket ever built when it blasts off on a planned mission in 2018 to orbit the moon, according to NASA.

The federal government agency made the announcement Thursday. NASA said the rocket, called the Space Launch System, will carry 13 small satellites, called CubeSats, along with an unnamed Orion crew capsule, The Independent reported.

Benjamin Malphrus, Morehead’s space science department chair and director of the Space Science Center at MSU, said the university’s satellite, dubbed Ice Cube, will orbit the moon and its instruments will search for and map water ice on the moon’s surface.

“It’s historic, the maiden voyage of the largest rocket ever built, and our satellite is on it,” Malphrus said.

Malphrus said the mission is important to the future of manned space travel. Previous moon missions have established the presence of water ice, mainly in deep craters in the polar regions that are permanently covered in darkness.

The Orion launch will mark the university’s first mission beyond Earth’s orbit. Work is just beginning at MSU on building the satellite.

“We are well along the way in design and we have two years to build and test it,”?Malphrus said.

MSU?also will provide tracking and communications for the satellite using its 21-meter radio telescope.

Malphrus said NASA?has selected the telescope, which is slated for upgrades that will prepare it for even more remote missions, as the first non-NASA?instrument for inclusion in the Deep Space Network.

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Grandfather to serve 18 years for shooting teenage boy

FRANKFORT (AP) — A 56-year-old grandfather has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for shooting a 14-year-old boy who he believed had a sexual encounter with his 12-year-old granddaughter.

The State Journal reports that Samuel Isaacs was sentenced Friday in Franklin County Circuit Court in connection with the August 2014 shooting of the boy. A jury found Isaacs guilty of first-degree assault in April 2015.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland says the unidentified teenager has since recovered physically from being shot multiple times.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton has said Isaacs had become upset after Isaacs’ granddaughter, who had been staying with him, sneaked out of the home during the night.

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Louisville celebrates Edison’s birthday

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Celebrated inventor and scientist Thomas Edison is being remembered in his old Kentucky home.

A daylong birthday party is planned for Saturday, Feb. 13 at the historic Thomas Edison House in the Butchertown neighborhood in Louisville. Edison was born 169 years ago this February.

Organizers say the party will include refreshments and a cake shaped like a light bulb. The party will begin at 10 a.m. and last until 2 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and is free for children under 12.

The Edison House is located at 729 E. Washington St.

Edison lived and worked in Louisville as a telegraph operator in 1866 and 1867.

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Fort Campbell soldier charged in fatal accident

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Fort Campbell soldier has been charged in a drunken driving accident that killed another motorist in November.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports that during its January session, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted 26-year-old Jacob Ryan Clark on eight counts, including vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.

According to an investigator’s accident report, Clark drove his pickup truck into a car driven by 28-year-old Roshawnda Dolson of Clarksville. A passenger in her car was injured.

The indictment says Clark’s blood-alcohol level was 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

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High school loosens up dress code, OKs pajama pants

LAWRENCEBURG (AP) — Teachers and parents at a Lawrenceburg high school have voted to allow students to wear a variety of clothing that were previously banned, including pajama pants.

The Paducah Sun reports that an Anderson County High School council last week voted in favor of altering the school’s dress code on a trial basis.

Principal Chris Glass says the council, which also includes four teachers and three parents, wanted to make the dress code a bit more casual. He expects students to like the changes.

Pajama, yoga and stretch pants were all previously banned but are now considered acceptable.

The Anderson County changes received no objections from council members during their meeting.

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Shoe collection in Louisville to raise money for Flint kids

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville is launching a community-wide effort to raise money for children in Flint, Michigan, who have been impacted by that city’s drinking water crisis.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the effort will serve the long-term needs of children impacted by the high levels of lead in drinking water.

During the month of February, the city, Louisville Water Foundation and other agencies are asking for the community’s help in filling a semi-truck with shoes. The shoes can be used and of any size, style or condition. The group WaterStep will collect the shoes and dedicate the proceeds from shoe collections to the Flint effort.

Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of WaterStep, says he’s hopeful the effort will raise $30,000 for the children in Flint.

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Body of woman found in trailer fire identified

NICHOLASVILLE (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a woman killed in a house trailer fire in Jessamine County.

Media outlets report Jessamine County Deputy Coroner Lance Roe identified the victim as 63-year-old Jane Ellen Poirer. Roe says she was widowed and lived alone.

The cause of Saturday’s fire that destroyed the home remains undetermined.

Neighbor Tim Kelly says he was watching television when he looked out a window and saw flames coming out both sides of the victim’s home. Kelly says he unsuccessfully tried to enter the home.

Kelly says Poirer had not lived in the neighborhood for very long.

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