State News in Brief

University of Louisville to remove Confederate monument

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Officials say a Confederate monument will be removed from near the University of Louisville campus.

University President James Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Friday that the monument at Third Street would be taken down and moved to another yet-to-be determined location. Officials said in a statement that the monument would be disassembled and cleaned while it is in storage awaiting a new home that would be “an appropriate historical venue.”

The statue was given to the city in 1895 by the Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association to commemorate those who fought and died for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Governments and universities across the country have re-evaluated displays of Confederate symbols following the racially motivated slayings last summer of nine black parishioners at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.


Clinton to campaign in Appalachia next week

FRANKFORT (AP) — Hillary Clinton will campaign in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio next week.

The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination is scheduled to visit Ashland, Kentucky, and Williamson, West Virginia, on Monday. She will visit West Virginia and Ohio on Tuesday, but details of those stops are not yet available.

In a news release, the campaign said Clinton will meet with voters and discuss her plans to raise incomes for people in overlooked or underserved communities. The Appalachian region has been economically devastated by the decline in the coal industry.

Republicans have criticized Clinton for her comments earlier this year that her policies would put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. Clinton later said she was mistaken and said she is committed to coalfield workers and communities.


Officials set up temporary center to solve Benefind issues

FRANKFORT (AP) — State officials have created a “tactical operations center” meant to improve the flow of aid to Kentuckians in need.

The Courier-Journal reports that on Feb. 29, the state launched the computer system, “Benefind.” The system was meant to be a one-stop shop for public benefits, but instead caused a massive disruption. Thousands of letters went out in error telling people their benefits had been canceled.

To resolve these problems, the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services established a temporary center in Frankfort where nearly 100 state workers work eight hours a day to speed up the claims system.

Brandon Carlson, a retired Army major now employed by the cabinet as project manager, says he modeled the center after tactical operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Health advocates say they’re beginning to see some improvements with access to benefits.


Man charged with stealing $23,000 from woman on social media

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (AP) — Maryland State Police have arrested a man they say fraudulently obtained $23,000 from a woman he contacted on social media.

The agency said in a news release that 28-year-old Justice Ezuokeaba was arrested Wednesday during a raid at his New Carrollton home.

Officers say last year, investigators with the Lexington, Kentucky, Police Department received a report about alleged fraudulent transfer of funds to an account in Maryland. Police say Ezuokeaba contacted a woman on social media asked her for money to ship a package from London to Maryland.

Ezuokeaba is charged with theft and theft scheme. He was also charged on a warrant from Kentucky.


Louisville tool lets residents map, compare internet speeds

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville is launching a free tool that will let the city’s internet users record and map their connection speeds.

WFPL-FM reports it’s currently nearly impossible who know who is getting good, reliable service and who isn’t. Private internet providers aren’t required to release much data on their connectivity speeds.

Ted Smith is chief of innovation for Louisville Metro, which developed the tool with PowerUp Labs and help from officials in Seattle, which has a similar tool.

Smith says Speed Up Louisville will let users compare their connection speeds with people across the city. He hopes it will spur providers to move into struggling areas and meet the needs of residents.

Smith says the citizens will win if the providers compete to provide the best service.


Champion Homes to bring up to 150 jobs to Marshall Co.

BENTON (AP) — Champion Home Builders Inc. will bring up to 150 jobs to Marshall County after deciding to invest $6.3 million in a production facility in Benton.

The Paducah Sun reports state and local officials praised the Michigan-based company’s decision Thursday.

The company will lease the 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to produce modular, mobile and manufactured housing for distribution to retailers in Kentucky and other states.

Champion CEO Keith Anderson says access to skilled labor in the Benton area played a major role in the company’s decision to open a new operation there.

Gov. Matt Bevin welcomed Champion to the state, calling it a “great day” for western Kentucky and the state.

Founded in 1953, Champion operates 28 manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S. and Europe and employs more than 4,200 people worldwide.


Officials vote Boyle County-wide ‘dog’ ordinance into law

DANVILLE (AP) — A Boyle County-wide “dog” ordinance has been voted into law following months of discussion and several revisions.

The Advocate-Messenger reports the magistrates unanimously approved the ordinance’s second reading Tuesday. It’ll cover the entire county after a city dog ordinance was repealed several weeks ago.

The new ordinance imposes stricter regulations for those who abuse animals; provides new regulations for kennels and pet stores, stipulations for owners of “aggressive animals;” and provides financial provisions to protect the animal shelter.

Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell says several revisions were made after discussions with an attorney for the state’s humane society, who suggested changes to better align with Kentucky animal control statutes.

Campbell said Boyle was bound by laws already in place by the state and couldn’t usurp Kentucky animal control laws.


Marshall ceramics event raises $17K for food pantry

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Marshall University ceramics students have raised $17,000 for a food pantry.

The university says the 2016 Empty Bowls event raised enough money to allow the Facing Hunger Foodbank to provide 127,500 meals.

A check presentation was held Thursday at the university in Huntington.

Through the work of Marshall ceramics students and local potters, more than 1,000 bowls were sold April 15. For a $15 donation, patrons received a handcrafted ceramic bowl and a modest lunch meant to emulate a soup kitchen meal.

The Facing Hunger Foodbank serves more than 115,000 people in 17 counties in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southern Ohio.

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