State News in Brief

Bill advances to create statewide definition of bullying

FRANKFORT (AP) — A bill aimed at establishing a statewide definition of bullying in Kentucky’s public schools is headed toward the state House after clearing a committee.

The measure drew bipartisan support while being advanced by the House Education Committee on Wednesday. The bill’s lead sponsor is Republican Sen. Danny Carroll of Paducah.

Carroll says the standardized definition would provide schools with more guidance in identifying and stopping bullying. He says the definition would be incorporated into codes of conduct at schools, and would allow schools to accurately report the number of bullying incidents.

The House committee made no changes to the bill. The proposal has already passed the Senate. If it passes the full House with no changes, it would go to Gov. Matt Bevin.

The legislation is Senate Bill 228.


ACLU accuses Kentucky prison of illegal anti-gay mail ban

LEXINGTON (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a ban on letters, magazines and other mail sent to inmates at a Kentucky prison that contains material with gay-related content, news reports said Wednesday.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky ACLU legal director William Sharp has written to the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex to object to a policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving items that “promote homosexuality.”

Sharp was quoted as saying that the prison rejected mail for that reason on at least 13 occasions since August. He said the action is a violation of prisoners’ First Amendment rights.

“Kentucky prisoners cannot constitutionally be denied the right to receive mail just because the content relates to gay people or issues of interest to gay people … Doing so singles out particular individuals for unequal treatment on the basis of their sexual orientation, thus denying them the fundamental right to receive information protected by the First Amendment,” Sharp wrote in a letter to warden Kathy Litteral.

Sharp said safety concerns aren’t valid arguments for withholding items that mention homosexuality.

Rodney Ballard, the state’s newly appointed corrections commissioner, said he wasn’t familiar with the policy, but would investigate the matter.

“We are going to review all of the policies, both institutionally and system-wide,” Corrections Department spokeswoman Lisa Lamb said.

The facility is a medium-security prison for 1,706 men in West Liberty, Kentucky.


Cold Spring councilwoman arrested on assault, drug charges

COLD SPRING (AP) — A Cold Spring councilwoman has been arrested on assault and drug charges.

Cold Spring Mayor David “Angelo” Penque tells the Kentucky Enquirer that Councilwoman Lisa Cavanaugh called police to come to her home Sunday after a dispute with her husband. Penque says both were arrested for assaulting each other.

Cavanaugh is in her third term on the council after being elected in 2012.

Cavanaugh and her husband, John Cavanaugh, were arrested on charges of fourth-degree assault/domestic violence. Lisa Cavanaugh was additionally charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bond was set at $25,000 for both Lisa Cavanaugh and John Cavanaugh after they were arraigned Monday.

Both are scheduled to appear in court next month. It wasn’t immediately clear whether they have attorneys.


Trooper placed on paid leave after western Kentucky shooting

WHITE PLAINS (AP) — A Kentucky State Police trooper has been placed on leave after a shooting death in western Kentucky.

State police said on Tuesday that Trooper Curtis Crick, a five-year veteran of the agency, was placed on paid administrative leave.

Police said in a news release that an autopsy Monday indicated that 23-year-old Dylan R. Whitaker of White Plains in Hopkins County died of gunshot wounds.

Police said Crick was involved in a vehicle pursuit Saturday with an ATV, whose driver lost control of the vehicle. The ATV turned over, and the driver pulled out a handgun and fired at the trooper, who returned fire, hitting the man. Whitaker was pronounced dead at the scene. Crick wasn’t injured.

Whitaker was white, as is Crick.


Covington commissioners approve needle exchange

COVINGTON (AP) — The city of Covington has taken a step toward supporting its own needle exchange program.

News outlets report that city commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that supports the program, which would allow participants to anonymously receive clean hypodermic needles and syringes in exchange for used ones.

The program is still subject to approval of the Kenton County Fiscal Court.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department has been trying to establish the exchanges in its district at four health centers — Williamstown, Covington, Newport and Florence — in order to help curb soaring hepatitis C rates in northern Kentucky, which has a rate nearly 20 times higher than the nation.

An exchange opened last week in Williamstown, but none of the other locations have been approved for a site yet.


Search delayed for car that plunged off Ohio River bridge

CINCINNATI (AP) — Authorities say conditions are still too rough on the Ohio River to resume the search for a car that plunged off a bridge leading from Kentucky to Cincinnati.

Search efforts were suspended last week because of safety concerns related to the rising river.

Crews say they now hope divers will be able to get back in the water on Thursday or Friday at the earliest.

Authorities in Kentucky say they have been contacted by the family of a missing person believed to have been driving the car when it toppled over the side of the bridge a week ago after a pileup.

Investigators have said 12 vehicles were involved in accidents on the bridge that carries Interstate 275 from Campbell County, Kentucky, to Cincinnati.


Western Kentucky voters opt to have Marion stay dry

MARION (AP) — By a margin of 53 votes, Marion residents have opted to keep their city dry.

Residents of the western Kentucky city voted 298 to 245 during a special election Tuesday against legalizing by-the-drink alcohol sales.

The election marked the first time in 15 years that Crittenden County residents expressed their opinion on alcohol sales. The county has been dry since 1936.

Because the referendum would have legalized alcohol sales only in the city, voting was restricted to the 2,172 eligible voters living within the city.


Off-duty officers to begin patrols in Old Louisville

LOUISVILLE (AP) — In an effort to cut down on crime in the area, off-duty police officers are set to begin patrolling the streets of Old Louisville.

Louisville Metro Councilman David James tells WLKY-TV the patrols will start Wednesday. He says the police department is short about 200 officers, meaning there aren’t enough officers on the street.

A $5,000 grant aims to change that in Old Louisville. The grant will bring additional off-duty officers to the area.

The off-duty officers will work three shifts per week, three to four hours per night.

Howard Rosenberg, chairman of the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council, says he hopes the extra patrols will make people feel safe and will expand commercial uses of the area. James says he has received complaints of panhandling and vandalism in the area.


Group of boxers, trainers from Kazakhstan visits Louisville

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A delegation of 12 boxers and trainers from Kazakhstan is in Muhammad Ali’s hometown of Louisville this week as part of a two-week cultural exchange program.

Participants include seven men and five women from the Asian country who were selected by the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation in recognition of their leadership skills as youth athletes and trainers.

The participants are learning how communities in Louisville empower youth through sports education programs. The delegation is being introduced to the Muhammad Ali Center’s education curriculum, which is used in schools and youth boxing clubs.

In addition to visiting the Ali Center, the delegation will meet Louisville’s mayor and meet youth involved in community service through sports.

The cultural exchange program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

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