State News in Brief

Bears woke up hungry: Officials advise securing food, scraps

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky officials say black bears are wandering around again after a winter in their dens and are looking for food.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says hungry black bears are roaming the mountains of southeastern Kentucky but may wander farther.

The agency says people can resolve most issues with bears by removing or securing sources of food such as garbage, food scraps, pet food and bird feeders. Residents in bear areas should wait until the morning of pickup before putting garbage out.

Fish and Wildlife bear program biologist John Hast says even in May, natural foods are still sparse and bears are looking for something to eat. Feeding bears is against Kentucky law.

Hast says bears that have been fed by humans lose their fear of people and may have to be captured and destroyed.


Beshear transfers $4.5 million to Kentucky State Police

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has transferred $4.5 million from his office to the Kentucky State Police to help eliminate the backlog in rape kit testing.

The state legislature approved the transfer last month. The money comes from the settlement of a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for misleading consumers about the antipsychotics drug Risperdal. Former Attorney General Jack Conway announced that settlement last year.

Kentucky has more than 3,000 untested rape kits, according to an audit last year by former state Auditor Adam Edelen.

Rape Kits contain physical evidence from victims collected in the hours after a sexual assault. Testing the kits can identify DNA and other evidence that can help authorities identify and prosecute suspects.


Staffer for Kentucky AG charged with DUI resigns

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Former state Rep. Don Pasley has resigned as an executive adviser to Attorney General Andy Beshear shortly after a newspaper informed Beshear’s office that Pasley was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in March.

The Courier-Journal reports that Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown said he knew nothing of the charge against Pasley before being informed of it Monday by the newspaper. Office spokesman Terry Sebastian said he was sure Beshear also didn’t know about the charge.

Later that afternoon, Sebastian said in a statement that the Democrat from Winchester had submitted his resignation.

Pasley has pleaded not guilty after having been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in Midway on March 31. He served as a state representative from 2001-10.

Pasley didn’t return requests for comment.


Former color guard instructor pleads guilty to sex abuse

OWENSBORO (AP) — A former color guard instructor at an Owensboro high school will be sentenced to five years in prison after having been accused of sexually abusing several male and female students over three years.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports 28-year-old Justin T. Graham, a former instructor at Apollo High School, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of felony first-degree sexual abuse and five amended counts of felony second-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.

Graham was indicted in June on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse. The indictment says the abuse occurred between 2011 and 2014.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Van Meter says there were initially five victims in the case, but one of the victims dropped out of the case.

Graham will be formally sentenced July 18.


Jefferson Co. Schools eliminates 25 jobs from central office

LOUISVILLE (AP) — More than two dozen Jefferson County Public Schools employees who work in the district’s central offices have been informed that their positions have been eliminated to save money.

The Courier-Journal reports that according to new organizational charts up for approval at Tuesday’s board meeting, several central office staffers may also end up with new job titles or in a different department.

Among the positions being cut are all eight of the district’s business machine technicians, as well as secretaries and custodians.

The district imposed a $2.4 million reduction in how much its departments were spending on job positions, and will cut nearly $3 million from central office in the 2016-17 school year once cuts to flexible spending are added.

District spokeswoman Jennifer Bislin says some employees with eliminated jobs will be able to apply to other positions.


Madison Co. house is 6th in series of burglaries, arson

RICHMOND (AP) — A house north of Richmond has become the sixth home in Central Kentucky that state police think were recently burglarized and then set on fire.

Trooper Robert Purdy tells news outlets that a Madison County home received a “fair amount of fire damage” Monday morning before firefighters extinguished the flames.

Purdy says the fire appeared to be connected to the string of rural house fires that have occurred in five different counties in the area, beginning on April 29.

In each case, no one was home at the time of the burglaries, which have all occurred on weekdays.

Purdy says investigators have noticed undisclosed similarities in all six fires that have led them to conclude that they are related.

Authorities are offering a $1,000 reward for information regarding the fires.


Kobe opening extrusion, fabrication plant in Bowling Green

FRANKFORT (AP) — An aluminum extrusion and fabrication facility is locating in Bowling Green, where officials say Kobe Steel Ltd. plans to invest $46.7 million and create 105 jobs.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office announced the facility on Monday. The Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. facility will be next to a sister aluminum-forging plant, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park.

A news release from Bevin’s office said Construction is to start next month, and product fabrication operations are expected to begin by December 2017. Kobe executive expect the plant’s melting, casting and extrusion areas will begin production by the following October.

The KAAP facility opened in Bowling Green in 2005 and produces forged suspension components for cars and sport utility vehicles, employing about 375 people. An announced expansion will add 112 jobs.

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