State News in Brief


Ky. chamber launches pension awareness campaign

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says it will pay for billboards and newspaper ads to raise awareness about Kentucky’s public pension debt.

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said Kentucky’s $36 billion public pension debt would require every Kentuckian to pay $8,268 just to pay it off. He said the campaign will call for an audit of all of Kentucky’s public pension systems.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed cutting state spending by $650 million over the next two years and putting the savings toward the pension debt. Adkisson said the campaign will not urge support of Bevin’s budget proposal, which has caused controversy for its cuts to state colleges and universities among other programs.

The chamber’s campaign also includes social media outreach and a website.

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Ky.’s auto sector delivered more growth in 2015

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s automotive industry produced more vehicles and increased its employment in 2015.

The Kentucky Automotive Industry Association says the state maintained its status as the nation’s third-largest producer of cars and light trucks. The group says new statistics show production of passenger vehicles rose by 2.4 percent in Kentucky last year to more than 1.3 million cars and trucks.

It says the auto industry employed nearly 90,000 people statewide last year, up from 85,552 in 2014.

In another sign of growth, it says the industry announced 79 new projects last year totaling $2.8 billion in investments.

The growth spread to the state’s suppliers of automotive parts, services and technologies. That sector announced 75 investments in new or expanding locations last year, which are projected to create 2,593 jobs.

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Website lets Ky. drug addicts find treatment help

LEXINGTON (AP) — A new online tool can help Kentucky drug addicts find treatment.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports information on 130 Kentucky providers can be found on the website http://GetHelpLex.org.

The website takes visitors through questions to help provide a list of treatment services and narrow the list based on several factors.

It is spearheaded by Voices of Hope, a Lexington nonprofit group that includes family members of addicts, medical professionals and people working in the field of drug abuse prevention.

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Sen. Thayer’s ex-fiancee says he threatened her

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky State Majority Leader Damon Thayer’s ex-fiancee has alleged in a lawsuit that he threatened to use his political power against her.

The couple are involved in a legal battle concerning a home they own, and the allegations are part of lawsuits Thayer and his former fiancee Tonya Branham have filed against each other, the Georgetown News-Graphic reported Saturday.

After an argument in which police were called to the home Dec. 14, Branham claims Thayer said he would prevent a police report from being created. Georgetown police told the News-Graphic no report was generated because there was no allegation of physical violence and no crime was committed.

Branham also claims in the lawsuit that Thayer threatened to get the Administrative Office of the Courts to no longer allow her to serve as a Families in Transition counselor and to try to keep her from volunteering with the Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The couple first became engaged in July 2014. Thayer ended the engagement in November, according to legal documents.

Thayer filed a lawsuit against Branham over the ownership of their home in Georgetown this month and has sought to keep her from entering the house, a request a judge denied last week.

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Pollinator plan seeks to reduce Ky.’s honeybee losses

FRANKFORT (AP) — Officials say Kentucky’s first pollinator protection plan seeks to reduce the state’s honeybee losses.

WFPL-FM reports the plan outlines best management practices for beekeepers, landowners, government agencies and pesticides applicators to help slow the rapid die-off of honeybees and other pollinators.

In the 1970s, beekeepers recorded honeybee losses of about six percent. Last year, it was more than 30 percent.

State Apiarist Tammy Horn says complying with the pollinator plan is voluntary, although federal mandate requires the state to create one.

The plan does not include a mandatory hive registration.

Nearly two dozen stakeholder groups, including beekeepers, environmental groups, researchers and farmers, provided input for the plan.

A public form on the draft of the plan will be held Feb. 24 at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in Frankfort.

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Man charged in vehicle pursuit involving wrecks

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — An Alvaton man has been arrested on more than a dozen charges after leading Kentucky State Police on a pursuit that resulted in collisions with two other vehicles.

State Police say in a news release that 50-year-old Robert Wayne Ford was being held in the Warren County Regional Jail following his arrest Saturday night.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports after police stopped Ford’s pickup truck in Warren County, Ford got back into the vehicle and fled.

During the pursuit, the pickup truck hit two other vehicles. State Police say three people reported minor injuries but didn’t seek treatment.

Ford’s truck eventually stopped on the Natcher Parkway and he was arrested.

Among the charges against him are operating a motor vehicle under the influence, reckless driving and evading police.

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Toddler’s death in central Ky. under investigation

HARRODSBURG (AP) — A toddler’s death is under investigation in central Kentucky.

Mercer County Coroner Sonny Ransdell says a 22-month-old girl was pronounced dead at Haggin B. Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

Ransdell says the body was sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort for an autopsy.

The Advocate-Messenger reports the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death.

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