News in Brief

Bill would ensure insurance coverage of special formula

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky House has passed a bill aimed at helping children who need a special formula due to a chronic immune system disease.

The measure would ensure that insurance companies cover the formula needed by those afflicted with the disease, which prevents them from eating most foods.

House members voted 92-0 Friday to pass the measure.

A similar Senate bill is also winding its way through the General Assembly.

The bills stem from the plight of 9-year-old Noah Greenhill. Early in his life, doctors struggled to diagnose why he was ill and why he weighed only 25 pounds at age 5.

He now receives the special formula four times a day, at a daily cost of more than $40. But his family’s insurance company has denied coverage for the formula.


Bevin’s proposed cuts include government watchdog agency

FRANKFORT (AP) — As part of his proposed budget cuts, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin exempted what he considered to be key government services. Not protected: The government agencies charged with holding him and his administration accountable.

The executive director of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission said the proposed 4.5 percent budget cut this year and the 9 percent cut over the next two years will devastate the agency. She said it would force her to lay off the agency’s sole investigator and auditor, two employees who already work part time.

Bevin defended the cuts as necessary to help fix the state’s multi-billion dollar pension shortfalls for state workers, public school teachers, police and firefighters. He said the commission should be able to find other ways to cut its budget.


Beshear, sheriffs warn of phone scam in Ky.

LEXINGTON (AP) — Kentucky’s attorney general says Kentuckians are being targeted by over-the-phone scams featuring people claiming to be county sheriff’s deputies.

Attorney General Andy Beshear says the callers are claiming they can help residents resolve a federal warrant that has been issued against them — but for a price.

Beshear joined a group of central Kentucky sheriffs on Thursday to raise awareness about the issue.

Beshear and the county sheriffs are urging consumers to hang up on the callers and to contact the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection or their local sheriffs’ office.

The group said law enforcement does not contact Kentuckians over the phone concerning federal warrants and would never ask for money.


Grant proposals sought to promote use of waste tires

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet is accepting grant proposals for projects promoting the use of recycled waste tires for landscaping.

The cabinet says grant funds can be used to purchase crumb rubber mulch for landscaping projects.

Grant funding comes from the Waste Tire Trust Fund, an endowment established by state lawmakers to receive fees collected from new tire sales.

The applicant will provide match funding equal to at least 25 percent of the project cost.

The cabinet says that to a limited degree, it will also consider research and development proposals that further the purposes of the waste tire program or help develop a market for Kentucky waste tires.

Applications must be received by March 28 at the state Division of Waste Management’s central office in Frankfort.


Louisville Zoo unveils $180M expansion plan

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Louisville Metro Council will consider a resolution for a $180 million expansion at the Louisville Zoo that could include an African savanna park, shark tanks and a re-creation of an earlier Kentucky complete with flatboat rides and wild animals.

News outlets report that zoo officials presented the plan Thursday, saying they hope to turn the site into the region’s leading resource for zoology and botany, as well as the “top choice for quality, family fun.”

One plan would include a network of overhead tunnels to connect different areas and allow the animals to roam from one section to another.

Officials say some projects could be finished in 2018, while others will be in the works through 2027, most of it covered by private money.


KCTCS president picked for new board

VERSAILLES (AP) — The president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has been picked for a new board that will advocate for community colleges at the federal level.

Jay K. Box will serve on the board to be named Reclaiming America’s Middle Class. A release from the community college system says the boards mission is “to rebuild America’s middle class” by increasing student access to community college by lobbying elected officials.

Box says a key issue is advocating for the expansion of Pell Grants for summer classes. He says community colleges are crucial to building a stronger workforce.


Massive Lexington stockyards fire ruled accidental

LEXINGTON (AP) — Investigators say a preliminary investigation has found that a construction worker accidentally started a massive fire that destroyed a beef cattle auction business in Lexington.

Media cited a statement released Friday by the Lexington Fire Department that says sparks from a construction worker’s circular saw ignited combustible materials at the stockyards, which is operated by the Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Group. No one was injured.

The fire on Jan. 30 churned up a plume of thick, black smoke that darkened the skies for miles. The flames also consumed several nearby businesses.

Interim Fire Chief Harold Hoskins said in the statement that the blaze has been ruled accidental, but the investigation is continuing.

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