State News in Brief

Lawmakers say they’re deadlocked on Ky. budget deal

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers say they have reached an impasse on budget negotiations, putting a two-year spending plan in jeopardy and risking a partial government shutdown.

House and Senate leaders announced at about 10:30 Thursday morning they were unable to reach a deal. They have met secretly for several days trying to reach a compromise in time for the legislature to approve the deal on Friday.

House Democrats insist they will not allow budget cuts for education. Senate Republicans says the cuts are needed to pay down the state’s more than $30 billion pension debt.

Lawmakers could still pass a budget by April 15. But Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the only way he would agree to that is if Republican Gov. Matt Bevin agreed he would not veto parts of the budget.


Lawsuit: Health provider, pharmacies took part in fraud

WHITESBURG (AP) — Two people have accused a Kentucky health provider and several pharmacies of taking part in billing the federal government inflated prices for prescription drugs.

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that attorneys representing pharmacist William R. Hall and Jennifer Hall filed the federal lawsuit in July, but it was sealed until recently.

The lawsuit states that Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp. and nine pharmacies billed more than allowed for providing prescription drugs to people covered by federal insurance and charged people covered by federal programs more than they charged patients who paid cash.

L.M. “Mike” Caudill, chief executive officer of Mountain Comprehensive Health, says the company had not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment on allegations. He assured that the company followed rules and regulations at all levels.


Grand jury to review TV meteorologist’s drug charges

MAYFIELD (AP) — The charges against a former TV meteorologist accused of growing marijuana will be sent to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The Mayfield Messenger reports 32-year-old Victoria “Tori” Shaw Smoyer and her husband, 35-year-old Tyler Smoyer, face multiple drug charges and a felony firearm enhancement charge.

A Graves County District judge found probable cause for the charges Wednesday. A grand jury is set to review the case in April.

Tori Smoyer was a meteorologist for WPSD-TV in Paducah.

The suspects were arrested in February after Kentucky State Police say they received an anonymous tip and found five mature marijuana plants, six long guns, two pistols and ammunition inside the couple’s Mayfield home.

The Smoyers’ attorney, Kevin Bishop, questioned whether evidence gathered from his clients’ trash had been lawfully obtained.


Police: Woman blew heroin onto Lexington police officer

LEXINGTON (AP) — Authorities say a woman blew heroin on a Lexington police officer in an effort to tamper with drug evidence.

Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that the officer was driving 35-year-old Anjanette Halcomb to jail on drug charges on Wednesday afternoon when he heard a noise in the back seat.

Angel says the officer pulled over, at which time he discovered that Halcomb had dumped powder on the floor. Police say she then blew the powder everywhere, with some getting on the officer.

Angel says the officer had earlier performed a partial search, but not a full search, of Halcomb because the officer is a man.

Halcomb faces charges of possession of heroin, possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence. It’s unclear whether she has an attorney.


Fire shuts down state park’s lodge

PRESTONSBURG (AP) — A fire at the lodge at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in eastern Kentucky has shut the building down for a few days.

State officials say no one was hurt and sprinklers contained the Tuesday night blaze to the lounge area.

Fire investigators say it started at an electrical panel. The lodge has been temporarily closed while repairs are made.

Don Parkinson, Secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, says the lodge would reopen in a few days. Meanwhile, park officials said in a statement that they are checking for any additional issues.

The Prestonsburg park’s convention center and cottages remain open.


Kentucky National Guard to host Memorial Day event

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky National Guard plans to host its first annual Memorial Day event in Frankfort.

A statement from the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund says the event will be held at 2 p.m. on May 30 at the Boone National Guard Center. During the ceremony, 18 names will be added to the Kentucky National Guard Memorial bringing the total number of names on the monument to 251. The memorial includes the names of men and women who have fallen in the line of duty since 1912.

The event is free and open to the public. Relatives of the fallen guard members are encouraged to attend.


Kenton Co. approves Covington needle exchange program

COVINGTON (AP) — A needle exchange program in Covington has moved another step closer to reality.

Media outlets report that Kenton County Fiscal Court on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan for a mobile unit in the city.

The Northern Kentucky Board of Health must still approve the plan, which also includes a condition that Boone and Campbell counties be required to join the effort against needle sharing.

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.

So far, Williamstown is the region’s only health center to launch a needle exchange program.


History buffs looking for help keeping historic sites clean

LOUISVILLE (AP) — History enthusiasts are looking for volunteers to help this Saturday with cleanup at Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields and historic sites.

Activities vary from site to site and range from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and trail buildings.

The Civil War Trust has sponsored Park Day since 1996 to help make sure preserved sites are kept as neat and clean as possible.

The organization’s website gives details about projects taking place Saturday at local sites. The site is .

More than two dozen sites are listed in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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