State News in Brief


Ky. House, Senate leaders to resume budget talks

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky House and Senate leaders are scheduled to resume budget talks at the state Capitol.

Republican Senate president Robert Stivers is in Frankfort on Wednesday. According to Stivers spokesman John Cox, Stivers plans to meet with Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Stivers and Stumbo are members of a bipartisan committee attempting to come up with a compromise on how to spend more than $65 billion of public money over the next two years. Republicans have a majority in the Senate while Democrats have a majority in the House.

The two sides have been unable to agree on how to spend money on colleges and universities. Republicans want to cut spending and use the savings on public pension plans. Democrats have refused to cut spending for any education programs.

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Staff to answer Ky. elder abuse hotline at all hours

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says staff members will now answer calls around-the-clock on a toll-free tip line that takes reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a patient or resident of a state care facility.

Previously, the tip line took after-hours messages from callers. The messages were then retrieved by staff the next business day.

Beshear says in a news release that it’s critical to connect family members to workers right away at night and on weekends.

The tip line also is available to Kentuckians wanting to report Medicaid provider fraud.

The number is 877-228-7384.

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Man pleads guilty in Clay Co. recycling plant scam

MANCHESTER (AP) — An official with a defunct company has admitted to helping steal $1.32 million from a construction company through false claims about construction of a recycling factory in Manchester.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports David R. Bennett pleaded guilty Tuesday to one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Bennett was a manager of Waste Not Technologies, and told local officials in 2009 that the company would build a recycling factory in Manchester.

Bennett’s plea says he hired Elza Construction to do work at the factory site. Bennett and others got Elza to pay $1.32 million as a guarantee that the company could complete the job.

Bennett told Elza that the company had the money to repay Elza. Instead, Bennett and others took the money.

Waste Not Technologies never built the factory, and Elza never got its money back.

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Company locating plant, 10 new jobs in Franklin

FRANKLIN (AP) — A press manufacturer is moving some of its operation to south-central Kentucky from Canada.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office said in a news release that Eagle Press plans to invest more than $1 million in Franklin to build and equip a new facility where it expects to employ about 10 full-time workers. The company makes industrial presses and stamping equipment.

Eagle will start out in a temporary facility this month and start construction of the new facility by 2017. It will be the company’s new manufacturing and service facility.

Parent company Eagle Press & Equipment Co. Ltd. was founded in 1959 in Windsor, Ontario.

The state has approved tax incentives up to $200,000.

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Kindred Healthcare selling long-term care hospitals

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kindred Healthcare announced it has signed an agreement to sell 12 long-term acute care hospitals to Curahealth LLC for $27.5 million.

Kindred President and CEO Benjamin A. Breier said in a statement Monday that the transaction creates both strategic and financial value for the Louisville-based health care giant.

The hospitals have 783 beds in six states: Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Breier said optimizing Kindred’s long-term acute care (LTAC) hospital portfolio “is a key element of our LTAC criteria mitigation strategy and this transaction is another important step forward in our efforts.”

Curahealth is an affiliate of a private investment fund sponsored by Nautic Partners, which Breier said has a successful track record in health care. For the full fiscal year 2016, Kindred projects the hospitals will generate combined revenues of approximately $215 million and earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization at approximately break even.

Kindred expects to realize cash proceeds after the closing of about $21 million, pending post-closing adjustments. The remainder of the purchase price would be paid upon satisfaction of financial and other post-closing conditions.

According to the statement, officials expect the deal with Curahealth to close in the third quarter of this year.

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Ohio man facing Ky. murder, theft charges

BLAINE (AP) — An Ohio man has been charged with murdering two family members in Kentucky and stealing a vehicle that belonged to one of the relatives.

Kentucky State Police said 47-year-old Stanley Webb Jr. of Logan, Ohio was arrested Sunday on charges of auto theft and possession of a firearm by a felon.

A day earlier, police responded to a report that 79-year-old Lois C. Gartin and 52-year-old Michael Gartin of Blaine had been found dead in their home. Police said both died of gunshot wounds. The Daily Independent in Ashland said Michael Gartin is Lois Gartin’s stepson.

On Monday, Webb was charged with two counts of murder. He is being held in jail in Columbus, Ohio, awaiting extradition.

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Ex-Greenup police officer faces sexual abuse, incest charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former Greenup, Kentucky police officer is in jail and facing multiple sex charges, including four counts of incest and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Media outlets report that Lowell Steven Waddell was arrested recently in Charleston, West Virginia on 11 charges.

Greenup Commonwealth Attorney Mel Leonhart says Waddell is accused of sexually abusing a relative who was younger than 16. The abuse allegedly happened between August 2012 and May 2013 after Waddell no longer served on the Greenup Police Department.

Greenup City Attorney Stephen McGinnis says Waddell was “let go” by the department more than 10 years ago, but says his departure had nothing to do with behavior related to the charges.

Waddell is due in court Wednesday in West Virginia.

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Police: 3 found dead after Beattyville fire

BEATTYVILLE (AP) — Authorities say the bodies of three people have been found after a fatal house fire in eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police said in a news release that crews responded early Tuesday to fight the fire, which had engulfed a Beattyville house that had been converted to multiple apartments.

Three people were reported missing, but firefighters say they could not get inside the home because the roof had collapsed. Crews discovered the bodies of the three unidentified victims on Tuesday night with the help of cadaver dogs. DNA tests will be used to determine the victims’ identities.

Police say the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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New Eggners Ferry Bridge expected to open to 2 lanes Friday

AURORA (AP) — State transportation officials expect the new Eggners Ferry Bridge in western Kentucky to open to two-lane traffic on Friday.

The Transportation Cabinet said in a news release that crews have been working to finish the $133 million bridge project.

Shifting traffic to the new bridge will allow planning to start for demolition of the old Eggners Ferry Bridge. The Coast Guard has asked that the main spans of the existing structure be removed as quickly as possible due to an offset of the navigation channel between structures.

Remaining work on the new bridge is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Finish work will continue along the eastbound lanes while the new bridge is open to two-way traffic on what will become the westbound lanes.

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