State News in Brief

Beshear asks Supreme Court to hear college funding case

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to cut college and university budgets without the approval of the state legislature.

A state judge ruled last week that Bevin does have the authority to order public colleges and universities not to spend all of the money the state legislature gave them. Attorney General Andy Beshear is appealing the decision, arguing it gives the governor’s office too much power.

The case would normally go to the state Court of Appeals. But Beshear is asking the state Supreme Court to take the case because of its “great and immediate public importance.”

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


Officials: Man drowns in Laurel River Lake

WILLIAMSBURG (AP) — A man has drowned while swimming in Laurel River Lake in Whitley County.

Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley tells news organizations that 21-year-old Zachary Anderson died Monday night after swimming with his friend.

The two were swimming near the lake’s spillway when Anderson went under the surface and never came back up.

Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses says the two walked around a cove and decided to swim, but Anderson didn’t make it.

Several crews assisted at the scene, including Whitley County EMS, Oak Grove Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Woodbine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and a Louisiana dive team.


Attorney general: UK violated Kentucky’s open records law

LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky attorney general’s office has ruled that the University of Kentucky violated state law when it denied a request for details of a committee’s meetings.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office determined on May 19 that the UK HealthCare Compensation Planning Committee failed to conduct “an adequate search for requested meeting minutes.” The attorney general had asked for the search method the cabinet used to locate records in response to a request by a newspaper.

UK General Counsel William Thro’s previously argued the attorney general isn’t authorized to review a denial of records based on their stated nonexistence. The attorney general’s office rejected Thro’s argument.

UK officials have not yet decided if they will appeal.


Priest abuse victim sentenced for child pornography

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Kentucky newspaper reports a man who was abused by a Catholic priest in Louisville as a child has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using two boys to produce child pornography.

The Courier-Journal reports that 47-year-old Michael Mudd, of Bullitt County near Louisville, was sentenced Wednesday to the 30 years sought by prosecutors.

Mudd pleaded guilty in June to two counts of producing child pornography. His attorney had requested a 15-year sentence, saying Mudd’s case “justifies a degree of mercy not otherwise warranted.”

Mudd says he was molested at age 11 by the Rev. Daniel C. Clark. Clark pleaded guilty in 1988 to abusing Mudd and another boy.

Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell said that while Mudd’s own abuse was unfortunate, the public still must be protected.


Fire school in Lexington to attract hundreds of firefighters

VERSAILLES (AP) — Hundreds of firefighters from Kentucky and other states will be in Lexington next week for a training conference.

The first responders will have a chance to sharpen their skills at the 87th Annual Kentucky State Fire School beginning June 1. Classes will be held at the Lexington Convention Center and Cox Street parking lot.

Visiting firefighters will be able to choose from more than 40 courses that offer hands-on and classroom training. Some of the courses are urban search and rescue, violence intervention and a workshop for public safety divers.

Kentucky Fire Commission Executive Director Ronnie Day says firefighters today must have multiple skills, since the types of situations they’re asked to respond to are ever-changing.


Indiana historic church’s missing steeple to be replaced

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — A historic southern Indiana church is getting a new steeple more than a century after a lightning strike destroyed its original spire.

Crews will lift the 65-foot steeple into place Thursday atop the Town Clock Church in New Albany and top it with a gold finial.

The News and Tribune reports the steeple was paid for with donations and built by volunteers. It will replace one destroyed by a 1915 lightning strike.

The original steeple was visible in Kentucky, across the Ohio River, and was a beacon of hope for slaves seeking freedom before and during the Civil War period.

The 1850s-era church was built by an abolitionist Presbyterian congregation that aided fugitive slaves along the Underground Railroad.

It’s now used by the predominantly black Second Baptist Church.

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