State News in Brief


Judge hears abortion clinic case in Lexington

LEXINGTON (AP) — Awaiting a ruling from a judge, a Lexington abortion clinic will remain closed for at least one day longer than it was hoping to.

News outlets report that a judge heard arguments Wednesday but declined to rule immediately on whether the clinic should be forced to shut down.

Gov. Matt Bevin administration’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services filed a lawsuit two weeks ago, accusing the clinic of operating without a license.

Steve Pitt, Bevin’s general counsel, told Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone it was clear that the EMW Women’s Clinic performed only abortions and thus must be licensed by the state.

Clinic owner Ernest Marshall says he received a legal opinion years ago that it could operate as an unlicensed doctor’s office that performs abortions.

The clinic will remain closed through at least Thursday.

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Kentucky court rules in school bullying case

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Kentucky family that sued to hold teachers and school administrators liable for a student’s suicide over alleged bullying has lost its appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The court ruled unanimously Thursday that Stephen Patton’s family failed to offer proof that the shy 13-year-old kid with a stutter was bullied at school.

Patton’s family claimed that teachers and administrators knew, or should have known, of the bullying he suffered at Allen Central Middle School in Floyd County.

The eighth-grader shot himself to death in his bedroom in 2007.

The family had lost prior verdicts in a lower court and before the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

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Grimes promoting online voter registration

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS (AP) — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is touring Kentucky to promote the state’s new online voter registration system.

Grimes unveiled the voter registration portal, GoVoteKY.com, this week at the state Capitol.

Her first stop on the tour was a town hall Wednesday at Northern Kentucky University. Several students used the portal at the event to register to vote for the first time.

Kenton County Clerk Gabrielle Summe says online system will make voter rolls more accurate and offers a convenient way for Kentuckians to register.

Grimes’ tour includes stops at each of Kentucky’s public universities ahead of the April 18 deadline to register to vote for the May 17 primary election. She will visit the University of Louisville on March 31 before traveling to the state’s other institutions next month.

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Western Ky. bridge to soon be open to two-way traffic

AURORA (AP) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says a western Kentucky bridge could soon be open to two-way traffic.

District One Chief District Engineer Mike McGregor said in a news release Wednesday that the Eggners Ferry Bridge’s lanes could be opened as early as the last week of March or early April.

McGregor says construction of a multi-use path will continue despite vehicle traffic. Remaining work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The $133 million bridge is replacing the outdated span that carries U.S. 68/Kentucky 80 traffic over the Kentucky Lake-Tennessee River navigation channel and connects Aurora, Kentucky, to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

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Court: Judge can’t dismiss jury panels for lack of diversity

LOUISVILLE (AP) — An appeals court has ordered a Jefferson County circuit judge to stop dismissing jury panels he believes aren’t reflective of the community’s diversity.

Multiple media outlets report that prosecutors objected to Judge Olu Stevens’ Feb. 9 decision to agree with a black defendant’s public defender’s request and dismiss a jury panel of 41 that included only three African Americans.

In a Court of Appeals opinion Wednesday, Judge Irv Maze told Stevens the practice violates state law.

The court ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that there was systematic exclusion. The law requires a jury pool to represent a cross-section of the community, but the jury panel itself isn’t required to reflect the community.

A similar case in which Stevens dismissed a jury panel is pending before the state Supreme Court.

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Lexington building new fire station to replace 1953 facility

LEXINGTON (AP) — Lexington is breaking ground on a new fire station to replace its aging Station 2, one of the busiest stations in the city.

It will be the first new fire station in Lexington since 2005. It’s expected to open in the summer of 2017.

Built in 1953, Station 2, housed the county fire and police station, including jail cells, before the merger of local government.

But the city says it’s overcrowded and its location overlaps the coverage area of another station.

Construction costs of the new 14,000-square foot station are estimated at $5.5 million. It is designed to be energy efficient with geo-thermal heat and LED lighting.

The groundbreaking with Mayor Jim Gray and other city officials occurred on Wednesday.

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