State News in Brief

Ky. Noah’s Ark attraction gets tax incentive approval

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A battle over a Kentucky tax incentive for a religious theme park featuring Noah’s Ark has ended in a win for the big boat.

A state tourism board this week approved a sales tax rebate incentive worth about $18 million for the 510-foot-long Ark Encounter attraction, tourism spokesman Garry Gupton said.

Kentucky officials in 2014 withdrew the project from the incentive program, which rebates a portion of sales tax collected by a tourist attraction. State officials at the time said the incentive would be funding “religious indoctrination.”

Answers in Genesis, the Christian group behind the ark, won a federal court ruling in January that said it could get the tax incentive, despite the park’s religious theme. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who took office in December, declined to appeal the ruling.


Third worker fired after death at juvenile facility

ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A third worker has been fired from an Elizabethtown juvenile detention center stemming from an investigation into the death of a teenage girl.

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet spokesman Mike Wynn told WFPL that Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center youth worker Christopher Johnson was fired effective April 15. Wynn said Johnson allegedly failed to perform bed checks and falsified logs. The findings came after an investigation into the death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen, who was found unresponsive in her cell on Jan. 11.

An autopsy report said the girl died in her sleep from a rare heart condition known as sudden cardiac arrhythmia. Officials have said workers’ actions did not contribute to her death.

Two others have been fired and face misdemeanor charges stemming from the investigation.


Airman found guilty of sex assault in Illinois court-martial

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AP) — An Air Force enlisted man assigned to an elite military unit has been found guilty of sexual assault in a court-martial at Scott Air Force Base.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Senior Airman John D. Gonzalez was sentenced to six years confinement and given a bad-conduct discharge after a four-day jury trial last week.

Gonzalez was assigned to the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was initially arrested in 2013 by police in Nashville, Tennessee. The 19th Air Support Operations Squadron is also known as the Blue Lightning.

A judge advocate with the 375th Air Mobility Wing, which is based in St. Clair County, charged Gonzalez after a state case against him failed to go to court.


Ohioan pleads no contest to charges after grandpa’s death

TROY, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman has pleaded no contest to charges including corpse abuse and evidence tampering in connection with the death of her grandfather, whose body was found in a sleeping bag in a Kentucky creek last summer.

Twenty-four-year-old Hope Earnshaw-York could face more than nine years in prison at her sentencing, set for June 7. The Tipp City woman entered her pleas Monday in Miami County court in Troy.

Richard Terrel, of Troy, also is charged in the death of 88-year-old William York Sr., of Tipp City. Terrel pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, felonious assault, corpse abuse, evidence tampering and receiving stolen property.

Police say the victim died of a blunt force head injury. His remains were found June 3 in a creek in Union, Kentucky.


Cops: Car full of people in PJs may mean ‘heroin rush hour’

FORT THOMAS (AP) — “Heroin rush hour” has some telltale signs in northern Kentucky, like a car filled with people in their pajamas around 9 or 10 a.m.

That’s what police in Fort Thomas say.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports they have launched a three-officer Heroin Interdiction Team to get heroin off the roadways

Sgt. Chris Goshorn says officers have noticed addicts tend to wake up and drive to nearby Cincinnati for their next fix around 9 or 10 a.m.

With many addicts pooling their gas money together for the trip north, Officer Derek Faught says a car full of people in their pajamas can tip investigators to check for an intoxicated driver at the wheel.

Fort Thomas police say their anti-heroin unit has made 143 drug charges since it was launched in February.


Police department to offer treatment option for addicts

JEFFERSONTOWN (AP) — A police department says it plans to begin helping drug addicts connect with treatment programs.

The Courier-Journal reports the Jeffersontown Police Department said on Monday that it would begin an initiative on Aug. 1 that allows addicts to come to police headquarters, hand over any illegal drugs and then get treatment without fear of arrest. The department says the new approach is an attempt to fight the heroin epidemic.

The program was inspired by a similar effort in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where police have started connecting drug addicts seeking help with treatment instead of arresting them. A nonprofit organization called the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative helps spread the strategy to other agencies.

The nonprofit says the Jeffersontown Police Department is the 100th law enforcement agency to join.


National Park Service opening center to maintain collections

ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) — The National Park Service is opening its Collections Preservation Center in East Tennessee next week to maintain items from five parks in Appalachia.

A ceremony is set for 10 a.m. May 6 at the center in Townsend. A public open house will follow. A five-park exhibit will also be open to the public at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center next door on the same day.

The 14,000-square-foot facility will allow the National Park Service to take care of more than 418,000 artifacts and 1.3 million archival records from the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River.

Included in the collections are household items, photographs and archaeological specimens.


Anderson Co. residents file lawsuit following crashes

LAWRENCEBURG (AP) — People living along a rural Anderson County road that has been the setting for dozens of accidents in recent years are taking legal action to try to force the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to limit the number of commercial trucks traveling on it.

WKYT-TV reports that a lawsuit filed Monday by two property owners says there have been 88 crashes along a 3-mile stretch of Kentucky Route 151 since 2012, many of them involving tractor-trailers.

The two men say they represent a group of more than 150 people who have signed a petition asking the state to limit the number of commercial tractor-trailers allowed on the road.

Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Secretary of the Cabinet Greg Thomas and the Department of Public Highways are named as defendants. The Transportation Cabinet declined to comment.


Louisville police investigate body found outside school

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Police are investigating after a body was found in the parking lot of a West Louisville school.

Louisville Metro Police tell local media that authorities received a call reporting that a body was found Tuesday evening outside Brandeis Elementary School.

The victim is a black man in his 30s to 40s. Police say the man has obvious signs of trauma and that foul play is suspected.

Police are working to clear the scene before kids arrive at school Wednesday morning.

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