State News in Brief

Beshear seeks investigation of Bevin as feud escalates

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general has asked the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to investigate whether the Republican governor has used campaign contribution records as grounds for firing state workers.

The request is the latest escalation in the feud between Attorney General Andy Beshear and Gov. Matt Bevin.

Bevin took office in December and replaced Beshear’s father, two-term Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear’s letter to the commission requesting an investigation came days after Bevin announced he would hire a private law firm to investigate whether the former governor violated procurement laws and coerced state workers to donate to campaigns.

Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Andy Beshear said the ethics commission should investigate allegations about political donations.


Report: 135K Kentucky kids have had parent in jail

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A new report has concluded that Kentucky has the highest percentage of children in the nation who have had a parent in jail.

Citing a report released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Courier-Journal reports that 13 percent of Kentucky children — 135,000 — reported in 2011-12 that they had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives. That percentage is nearly double the national average of 7 percent.

Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks says parental incarceration exacts a devastating toll on families and society at large by creating an “unstable environment” for children, with the effects being long-lasting.

The report uses data from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health, the latest available.


Visitors to national parks in Ky. spent $113.5 million

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A National Park Service report shows that more than 1.7 million visitors to national parks in Kentucky spent $113.5 million in the state last year.

The report says that spending resulted in 1,784 jobs and had a cumulative benefit of $145 million to the state’s economy.

The report says at Mammoth Cave National Park, visitor spending totaled $47.3 million, resulting in 738 jobs. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park had visitor spending of $48.3 million, resulting in 737 jobs.

At Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, visitor spending of $8.5 million resulted in 143 jobs. At Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, visitor spending of $6.3 million led to 90 jobs.

The report says most spending was for lodging, followed by food and beverages, gas and oil, admissions and souvenirs.


Inmate escapes from Kentucky River Regional Jail

HAZARD (AP) — Hazard police are searching for an inmate who escaped from the Kentucky River Regional Jail.

Media outlets report that 27-year-old Samantha Campbell escaped Sunday morning from the jail. Campbell had been jailed for escaping home incarceration.

Hazard Police Department spokesman Ronnie Burke says Campbell was taking out the trash when she ran to a nearby parking lot and got into a silver Pontiac G6 with a black front bumper. Campbell was last seen in the Lost Creek area in the silver Pontiac G6.

She was wearing white shorts and a white short.

Hazard police ask anyone with information to call 606-436-2222.


Jay Leno presents gifts to slain Ky. officer’s widow

RICHMOND (AP) — Comedian Jay Leno has attended a fundraiser for a central Kentucky police officer killed in the line of duty.

The event was held Saturday at St. Mark Catholic Church in Richmond, WKYT-TV reported. The fundraiser also benefited the church.

Leno presented Officer Daniel Ellis’ widow, Katie Ellis, with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World for her and her 3-year-old son, Luke, along with $10,000 for the boy’s college fund.

“I’d like to see him go to college,” Leno said. “Police officers don’t make enough money anyway and when you lose the bread winner of the family, it’s the saddest thing in the world.”

Katie Ellis described the event as “very surreal.”

“We’re just regular people that have unfortunately been put in this position and we lost Daniel and we’re very honored that someone like Jay Leno would care just a little,” she said. “It means the world.”

On Friday, which would have been the officer’s 34th birthday, a ceremony was held to rename the Richmond Police Department building the Daniel N. Ellis Municipal Building. The Richmond Register ( reports a plaque bearing Ellis’ name was unveiled at the building’s entrance by Katie Ellis, her son and Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock.

“He’s still with us in our hearts and minds and we are here, not to mourn, but to embrace and celebrate the man who gave his life in the line of duty,” Brock said.

Ellis died Nov. 6, two days after he was shot while searching an apartment for a robbery suspect. Thirty-four-year-old Raleigh Sizemore Jr. has been charged with murder and 25-year-old Gregory Ratliff has been charged with complicity to murder.


Husband arrested after wife’s body found in well

MONTICELLO (AP) — Authorities have arrested the husband of a woman whose body was found in a well in south-central Kentucky.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office tells news outlets that 29-year-old Joseph Jones was arrested Saturday on charges of murder-domestic violence and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of 28-year-old Rachel Jones.

Rachel Jones’ body was found at the bottom of a well in the Jonesville community near Monticello on Friday morning.

It is unclear how the woman died. Authorities have not said how long the victim’s body was in the well.


Sherwood Bedding to locate mattress factory in Ky.

WALTON (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says Sherwood Bedding will locate a mattress production factory in northern Kentucky, creating up to 150 jobs.

A statement from Bevin’s office says the Sherwood Midwest facility in Boone County would become the company’s fourth factory in the U.S. The independently owned manufacturer plans a 174,000-square-foot facility.

Company owners cited logistical advantages, the local labor pool, local and state laws, taxes and economic incentives as reasons they chose to locate in Walton.

State Sen. John Schickel of Union said the company’s plans “will further energize our regional economy and provide 150 additional jobs for hard-working Kentuckians.”

The Florida-based company also has manufacturing facilities in Phoenix, Orlando and Dallas.


Ky. man killed in tree fall

DRY RIDGE (AP) — Kentucky State Police are investigating a man’s fatal fall from a tree.

Trooper David Jones says in a news release that 26-year-old Isizro Castrillo lost his balance, fell between two branches and suffered a broken neck Saturday morning in Bourbon County.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The statement says foul play isn’t suspected.


Ohio woman fatally struck by train in Ky.

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Authorities have released the identity of a woman who was fatally struck by a train on a trestle in Louisville.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jack Arnold on Sunday identified the victim Sunday as 26-year-old Roquel Bain of Dayton, Ohio.

Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley tells media outlets that Bain and a man were walking on the trestle Saturday. Bain was struck by a Norfolk Southern train and fell off the trestle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was uninjured.


Police: 4 killed in Grayson Co. crash involving 2 pickups

LEITCHFIELD (AP) — Authorities say a two-vehicle crash in Grayson County has left four people dead.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeff Gregory says the crash involved two pickup trucks Saturday on Kentucky 54 just west of Leitchfield.

Gregory says a pickup driven by 18-year-old Dylan Fleener of Leitchfield crossed the center line and struck a pickup driven by 88-year-old Christine Walton of Falls of Rough.

The trooper says Fleener and Walton were killed, along with two passengers in Fleener’s pickup: 42-year-old Thomas Davis of Radcliff and 18-year-old James Vincent of Leitchfield. Another passenger in Fleener’s pickup was taken to a Louisville hospital with serious injuries.

The accident remains under investigation.


Jefferson District Court judge publicly reprimanded

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Jefferson District Court judge who jailed a witness without a hearing has been given a public reprimand.

The Courier-Journal reports that the Judicial Conduct Commission has voted 4-1 to publicly sanction Judge Sheila Collins for interrogating a witness without counsel and jailing her after the witness withdrew an allegation that she was a domestic violence victim. One member voted for a private reprimand.

The commission said in a release Friday that Collins “should never have directed the Sheriff to take this witness into custody and to charge the witness with a crime … That is the role of the duly elected prosecutorial authorities.” The witness was later released by another judge.

Her lawyers, retired judges Martin Johnstone and Steve Ryan, have asked the commission to reconsider its findings.

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