News in Brief


KCTCS cuts more than 500 jobs to close budget gap

LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky Community and Technical College System has eliminated more than 500 positions and suspended some college programs, all in an effort to close a $26 million gap in its budget.

KCTCS spokeswoman Mary Hemlepp tells local media that 505 positions have recently been eliminated system-wide. She says 191 of those positions were faculty and 315 were staff, but because many of the positions were vacant or were vacated through retirements, only 45 faculty and 125 staff were actually laid off.

Hemlepp says the college system’s financial problems stemmed from seven years of state appropriation cuts and an additional 4.5 percent in the next biennium. Several years of declining enrollment also led to tuition shortfalls.

KCTCS President Jay Box announced earlier this month that next year’s tuition is being increased by 6.1 percent.

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Pike Co. says tourism spending up nearly $6M

PIKEVILLE (AP) — Tourism dollars are flowing into Pike County as officials there report an increase of nearly $6 million in visitor spending in 2015.

A release from the county’s tourism board says the influx of spending is good news as the region’s coal economy continues to slump.

Pike tourism executive director Tony Tackett says marketing efforts have focused on bringing in “group travelers, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts.”

Numbers from the state say direct tourism spending in Pike County for 2015 was $69.4 million, an increase of $3.8 million from 2014. Add to that an increase in indirect spending of $2 million over the same time period and the county has seen a boost of about $5.8 million. Indirect spending represents the recirculation of the direct spending dollar in the community.

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Priest in western Ky. suspended over abuse allegation

OWENSBORO (AP) — The Diocese of Owensboro has suspended a western Kentucky Catholic priest after church officials received an accusation that he sexually abused a juvenile.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports 59-year-old Gerald Baker was suspended on May 6.

Owensboro bishop William Medley said Wednesday that personnel at St. Mary of the Woods Church reported the accusation on May 3. Baker led services at that Whitesville church and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ohio County.

Medley says Kentucky State Police have been notified. A state police spokesman confirmed the agency is investigating the complaint. Baker has not been charged.

Medley said the diocese has no record of any other abuse allegation against Baker.

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Search goes on for missing dog after Mayfield tornado

MAYFIELD (AP) — A Murray State student who lost most of his belongings in a tornado earlier this month is continuing his search for his beloved dog, who was torn from his arms during the twister.

The Paducah Sun reports that Matt James, his girlfriend Brie Keyes and her mother Lisa have been following up on about 20 reported sightings of Ruger from Mayfield to Paducah. Ruger is a 2-year-old male blue heeler.

The three of them have teamed up with Jamie Katz, a Florida-based pet detective, to strategically place signs across western Kentucky to raise awareness about the dog.

James was injured by a tornado near Mayfield on May 10 while seeking shelter with Ruger and his girlfriend inside his garage.

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officers who died last year to be honored at ceremony

RICHMOND (AP) — Kentucky will honor four law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year during an annual law enforcement memorial ceremony at the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Training.

A statement from the agency says the May 23 event in Richmond will honor the sacrifice of Kentucky State Police troopers Cameron Ponder and Eric Chrisman, Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis and Nicholasville Police Officer Burke Rhoads. Ponder and Ellis were fatally shot while investigating calls. Rhodes and Chrisman died in car crashes.

The ceremony also will recognize five others killed in the line of duty between 1893 and 2013, but whose names were not added to the national memorial until recently.

Gov. Matt Bevin will serve as the keynote speaker.

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Wozniak, Mulally to receive awards at conference in Ky.

LEXINGTON (AP) — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and former Ford Motor Co. top executive Alan Mulally will receive awards at a conference in Kentucky later this month.

Wozniak will receive the Alltech Humanitarian Award at the conference in Lexington. Mulally, the former president and CEO of Ford, will receive the Alltech Medal of Excellence.

The annual conference is aimed at inspiring innovation. It’s scheduled for May 22-25.

Now in its 32nd year, the event is expected to draw more than 3,000 people from 71 countries to discuss world-changing ideas about business, science and agriculture.

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