Road projects delayed because of federal shortfall
FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state has postponed $185 million worth of construction projects because of a looming shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund.
The delayed projects include the widening of Interstate 65 and various highway repaving projects. Beshear blamed Congress for the shortfall and said he hopes they can pass a bill fixing the problem so the projects can begin this fall.
Kentucky receives about $650 million each year from the federal Highway Trust Fund. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx appeared at a news conference with Beshear on Wednesday at the Capitol and said unless Congress acts, states can expect cuts of 28 percent on average.
Foxx said Congress could make up the shortfall by taxing overseas profits of American corporations. But Republican lawmakers oppose that idea because it would raise taxes.
Long-running Baptist Homes lawsuit ends
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal judge’s order has ended a long-running lawsuit in Kentucky over public funding of faith-based organizations.
In a settlement agreement reached last year, Kentucky officials agreed to monitor state-funded child care agencies to ensure they’re not proselytizing or pushing religion on the children in their care.
U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson signed an order on Monday approving the settlement and dismissing the suit, which was filed in 2000.
The suit was filed by three citizens and a lesbian who claimed religious discrimination in her firing from her job with Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. The Baptist-affiliated agency has since changed its name to Sunrise Children’s Services.
The worker’s claim against Sunrise was dismissed in 2009, but a challenge over public funding of religious groups was allowed to proceed.
Ex-Teamsters president charged with embezzlement
LOUISVILLE (AP) — The former head of the Teamsters Local 783 in Louisville has been charged with embezzling funds from the labor union, making illegal loans and criminal record keeping violations.
A federal grand jury in Louisville charged 53-year-old Jerry Thomas Vincent Jr. on Tuesday.
The indictment alleges that from Oct. 5, 2009, through about Aug. 17, 2011, Vincent embezzled approximately $17,272.84 in union funds from the union; arranged $23,760 in illegal loans from the union local to himself from Nov. 11, 2009, through July 28, 2011; and committed 13 criminal violations related to union records from Oct. 5, 2009, through June 17, 2011.
Court records did not list an attorney for Vincent.
Vincent is scheduled to appear for arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin on July 22.
Roads reopened at Land Between The Lakes
GOLDEN POND (AP) — A new bridge has been completed at Land Between The Lakes and maintenance is also finished on two other roads there.
The national recreation area says the new bridge over Smith Creek on Newby Cemetery Road, or Forest Service Road 130, provides access to fishing, hunting, cemetery visitation, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing. An emergency relief fund of the Federal Highways Administration paid for design and construction costs.
The bridge is 64 feet long and 16 feet wide.
The Highways Administration also replaced large culverts on Forest Service Road 108 to Demumbers Bay and Forest Service Road 134 to Energy Lake.
Land Between The Lakes manages more than 170,000 acres in western Kentucky and Tennessee and has more than 1.4 million visitors annually.
For more information, visit http://www.landbetweenthelakes.us.
Sunrise to fight judge’s ruling in 2000 suit
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Sunrise Children’s Services is planning to challenge a ruling from a federal judge this week that settled a 14-year-old lawsuit over public funding of faith-based organizations.
U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson on Monday approved a settlement and dismissed the suit, which was filed in 2000 against Kentucky Baptist Homes, now known as Sunrise.
Sunrise attorney John Sheller says the agency will appeal Simpson’s ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sheller says the Supreme Court ruling this week on the religious rights of corporate organizations like Hobby Lobby could provide guidance in Sunrise’s case.
Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says Sunrise doesn’t have “much of a substantive objection” to the settlement approved by the court.