State News in Brief

Marshall Health buys Patriot Coal headquarters

SCOTT DEPOT, W.Va. (AP) — The former corporate headquarters of Patriot Coal in Scott Depot has been sold.

Marshall Health expects to start converting the three-story office building into medical offices this summer. Marshall Health is the faculty practice plan of Marshall University’s medical school.

Media outlets report Marshall Health paid $5.3 million for the building.

The university says in a news release that the purchase will allow Marshall Health to locate its existing Hurricane offices under one roof and start offering more specialty services in Putnam County by early next year. It also will increase the capacity for medical students and residents to train in an outpatient setting.

Patriot filed for bankruptcy protection last year. Many of its coal assets were acquired by Lexington, Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining.


Clinton weighs in on Ky. fight over higher education

FRANKFORT (AP) — Hillary Clinton has jumped into the feud between Kentucky’s Republican governor and Democratic attorney general over funding cuts to higher education.

The Democratic presidential front-runner’s campaign released a statement Tuesday saying Gov. Matt Bevin’s $41 million cuts to colleges and universities are “shortsighted, wrong and may, in fact, be illegal.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Bevin’s authority to chop the budgets without approval from the legislature. Bevin has said cuts are necessary to pay down the state’s pension debt.

Clinton’s policy adviser Ann O’Leary wrote that “filling budget shortfalls on the backs of students and their families puts our future at risk.” Both Clinton and her rival Bernie Sanders have campaigned on promises to make higher education more attainable.

Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary is May 17.


Fulton Co. jailers arrested after prisoner escape

HICKMAN (AP) — Two deputy jailers have been arrested for their alleged involvement in an inmate escape from the Fulton County Detention Center.

Fulton County Jailer Rickey Parnell tells local media that deputy jailers Monica Mayes and Jason Smith were arrested after authorities learned they were involved in 40-year-old inmate Michael Shane Hunter’s escape.

Hunter escaped Sunday night and was captured early Tuesday morning in Hardin County. He was serving time for theft, fleeing police and flagrant non-support.

Parnell says Mayes and Smith have been fired. The two are charged with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree escape. It’s unclear whether Mays or Smith have attorneys.


Panel approves more charging stations for electric vehicles

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials have approved a proposal to increase the number of public charging stations for electric vehicles.

A statement from the Public Service Commission says the panel agreed on Monday to allow a proposal by Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities to add up to 20 new charging stations. The proposal includes the possibility of the utility companies operating charging stations in public places such as parking garages and of allowing non-residential customers — such as a shopping mall — to host charging stations.

The utilities said in their application that there are about 30 public charging stations in Kentucky.

The PSC said in its order that there is a need for more stations to serve the growing number of electric car owners.


State investigates Martin Co. water system

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Public Service Commission has launched an investigation on the Martin County Water District.

PSC announced the investigation Monday following concerns of water quality, loss of water and service interruptions, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.

The agency said it has identified chronic problems including routine maintenance and failure to follow management practices.

According to the agency, the district’s water-loss rate has topped 60 percent in recent years. PSC has identified leaks in distribution lines as one of the common causes for the water loss.

PSC launched the investigation after a citizen complaint.

Gary Ball, who filed the complaint, said the district routinely failed to notify customers of outages and failed to issue boil-water advisories. He also complained that the district shuts off service or reduced pressure to customers in order to refill storage tanks.

“I just got sick and tired of it,” Ball said.

Water district business manager Joe Hammond said the system faces challenges because of a lack of money and employees. He added that the system is committed to making improvements.

The agency said that it has investigated the district twice before and has ordered changes. PSC said the district didn’t complete many of the changes that were ordered.


School bus carrying about 50 students crashes into house

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A school bus driver has been taken to a hospital and about 50 students are being checked out after their bus left the road and crashed into a house in central Kentucky.

The News-Enterprise reports a Hardin County school bus carrying students from Lakewood Elementary School in the Stephensburg community ran into the home Monday afternoon.

The bus driver was taken to University of Louisville Hospital. Schools spokesman John Wright said students on the bus were to be checked for injuries. Another bus was sent to take students back to Lakewood where they could be picked up.


TVA worker electrocuted at dam in northwest Alabama

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a Tennessee Valley Authority worker was electrocuted at Wilson Dam, a hydroelectric facility in northwest Alabama.

TVA officials identified the worker as 51-year-old Wendell Smith of Florence, who died Monday.

The TimesDaily reports that Colbert County Coroner Carlton Utley pronounced Smith dead at the scene. Utley said Smith died from accidental electrocution.

TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said it happened in the powerhouse, and that TVA officials are investigating the cause.

Brooks said Smith worked 26 years as a hydro technician.

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