FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear has directed the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to undertake 19 emergency maintenance projects to repair sections of highway pavement damaged by severe weather last winter. The cabinet will use $13.6 million of contingency funds for the projects, most of which are on interstate highways and Kentucky parkways. The projects are being added to the cabinet’s 2011 highway maintenance schedule.
Two South Florida residents allegedly helped funnel 20,000 or more prescription pills to an Owsley County drug ring in April and May, according to federal court documents. George Darden, 44, and Elisa H. Alston, 40, are charged in federal court in Kentucky with conspiracy to distribute pills in Owsley County, court records show.
The Kentucky Department of Parks wants a license to sell alcohol at Lake Barkley State Resort Park, as well as state parks in other wet counties. State Parks spokesman Gil Lawson said the application is one of five involving state parks in wet counties and other territories, and that the application at Lake Barkley State Resort Park includes liquor by the drink in the dining room. Meanwhile, the parks department is also seeking beer licenses at two state park golf courses – Audubon in Henderson and My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown.
Many people might consider fireworks to be as much a part of the American fabric as apple pie, particularly during this time of year. In Kentucky, it’s likely you’ll be seeing more flashes and hearing more bangs. A new law opens the door to many fireworks previously deemed illegal in the commonwealth.
DNA evidence found on the steering wheel of the vehicle that hit and killed Lexington police Officer Bryan Durman last year matches the DNA of a woman whom police apparently ruled out last fall as a possible suspect in Durman's death, says a defense attorney for the man accused of murder in the case. The woman, who goes by the nickname "Juicy," is the same woman alleged to be on a recently made video recording admitting she was the driver who hit Durman.
Two Iraqi refugees facing federal terrorism charges have waived their rights to have a detention hearing at this time in U.S. District Court. Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, was brought into the federal courthouse in Bowling Green early this morning but decided to sign a waiver giving up his right to a detention hearing today. However, Alwan has reserved the right to ask for it at a later date, said U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Stephanie Collins. Alwan’s codefendant, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, signed a similar waiver that was filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
A new slate of laws that took effect Wednesday will change the way judges set bonds. Bonds will be issued based on the assessed risk of defendants. Under the new law, more people will be released on unsecured bonds or on their own recognizance, Hopkins District Judge Logan Calvert said. This part of the provisions was set forth by House Bill 463, which was passed into law earlier this year by the state legislature.
The crowd at Outlaw Field Airport erupted with cheers the second that Staff Sgt. Charles “Chaz” Allen’s plane touched the ground. Allen, a member of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky., was not able to come home from Afghanistan with the rest of his unit in April. Instead he was undergoing surgery and rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after stepping on an improvised explosive device in January that destroyed part of both of his legs and broke his right elbow.
Despite predictions that this summer would be milder than usual, Louisville has been experiencing temperatures reaching the mid 90s. The Climate Prediction Center made the original forecast, and the center still holds that the heat will plateau as the summer goes on. Ryan Sharp from the National Weather Service says Louisville residents should be thankful for this year’s wet spring.
Among the many new laws taking effect today is one whose purpose is to deter the growing problem of metal theft in Kentucky. House Bill 242 unanimously passed both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session and was signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear on March 16.
FRANKFORT – The state will receive a $4.27 million National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that will create about 317 temporary jobs for eligible dislocated workers to assist with clean-up and recovery efforts as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck Kentucky in April. “This money will help Kentucky communities rebuild after suffering extensive damage this spring,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release from his office. “The temporary jobs it will create will not only benefit current jobseekers but will provide much-needed assistance in those hard-hit areas.”
Senate Bill 110, which would allow optometrists to perform some uncomplicated medical procedures currently reserved for ophthalmologists, officially becomes law on Wednesday. The new law will allow optometrists to perform a variety of simple procedures, like removing non-malignant skin tags from eyelids or clearing lenses implanted by ophthalmologists in cataract surgeries. It would not, however, allow optometrists to perform LASIK surgery, which is used to correct poor vision. This is one of many laws that went into affect Wednesday.
Funeral arrangements have been set for former Kenton County Police Sergeant Brett Benton, who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday while working for a contractor. Visitation will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at First Church in Richmond. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 15, at the church with burial at Richmond Cemetery immediately following. Benton, 37, was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle near Alingar District, Langham Province.
Elizabethtown city officials are in the process of tweaking an ordinance regulating purchases made by junk, secondhand and scrap metal dealers through the Leads Online database, which can be accessed by the Elizabethtown Police Department as a tool to locate stolen items. Under the ordinance, dealers would be required to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle in which the registered item was transported, in addition to photo identification, the address of the seller, the date the property was received and an accurate description of the item.
Ladies and gentlemen, do not start your engines. There’s no need to drive out of state to buy fireworks to light up the summer sky. Starting Wednesday, you’ll be able to buy them legally in Kentucky. Roman candles, firecrackers and bottle rockets can be sold and used here, legalized by a bill passed during the last legislative session. Personal use of the larger versions of these fireworks, such as those used at public fireworks shows, will still not be allowed.
Still fairly new to his job, Simpson County Jailer Eric Vaughn, who took office Jan. 3, hopes to learn from his veteran counterparts across the state at the 29th annual Jail Improvement Conference that the Kentucky Jailers’ Association is holding this week at Bowling Green's Sloan Convention Center. “I’m learning a lot from veteran jailers,” Vaughn said during a break between classes. He looks forward to talking to other jailers about practices and ideas that could help his facility run more efficiently. Barren County Jailer Matt Mutter, elected last year, agrees that the conference is a great place for networking with other, more experienced jailers.
After calling Kentucky home for 71 years, the transition of armor functions from Fort Knox to Fort Benning, Ga., will pass another milestone this week when units with the U.S. Army Armor School case their colors at Brooks Field. The colors casing and departure ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday and is open to the public. The Armor School’s primary training units — the 194th Armored Brigade and the 316th Cavalry Brigade — will roll up their flags and case them in a green sheath, a rite of passage for the Army, said Col. Michael Wadsworth, deputy commandant of the Armor School.
Starting Wednesday, small amounts of marijuana or prescription pills may not land a violator in jail. Under provisions of House Bill 463 set to take effect this week, law enforcement officials will issue citations instead of making arrests on many misdemeanor offenses. Hopkinsville Chief of Police Guy Howie said his department has already been issuing citations for some misdemeanor offenses. Still, he admitted any time there is a new procedure there is also an adjustment period. “It’s going to be a change,” Howie said. “It’s going to take some getting used to.”
FRANKFORT — Officials from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Friday announced that six additional Kentucky counties have qualified for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, bringing the total to 17 counties. Kentuckians in Ballard, Daviess, Henderson, Lawrence, McLean and Pike counties who have lost work or whose businesses were damaged due to severe weather that occurred beginning April 22 may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
FRANKFORT – The state announced Friday the awarding of nearly $75 million in highway projects. They include funding for bridge deck repair, road maintenance, highway safety improvements and a new, state-of-the-art “double crossover diamond” interchange in Fayette County. All the contracts were awarded on the basis of competitive bidding. The Transportation Cabinet received and announced the bids on May 20, according to a press release.
After initially fighting one of its key provisions, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday aimed at cracking down on clinics that frivolously dispense pain pills, feeding a nationwide prescription drug abuse epidemic. "Florida will shed its title as the Oxy Express," Scott said at a bill signing ceremony in Tampa, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear reacted to the news by issuing a statement:
When Sajad Alzuhairi, owner of the International Market in Bowling Green, heard about the arrests of two local Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges, he was shocked. One of the men, Waad Ramadan Alwan, had often worked for Alzuhairi at the store. “I could not believe it,” said Alzuhairi, who is from Iraq and lives in Nashville. “He didn’t look like the kind of person who would do anything like that.” Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, both of whom have lived in Bowling Green since 2009, are charged with plotting to send explosives, guns and missiles to al-Qaida in Iraq, according to a federal indictment that was unsealed Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., plans to ask for Senate hearings to find out how two Iraqi refugees living in Bowling Green and recently charged with terrorism were able to gain entry into the country. In a news conference today, Paul complimented the FBI for its “good work” in apprehending the two men. Alwan is accused of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals living abroad. Alwan and Hammadi are accused of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al-Qaida in Iraq.
Bargain hunters across the state took to the road Thursday for the 400 Mile Sale. The annual event, which continues through Sunday, features yard sales in dozens of communities across the state, following U.S. 68 as it stretches west from Maysville to Paducah. The four-day event has grown in popularity since it was first held in 2004, bringing attention to U.S. 68 itself, which has been designated as a State Scenic Byway, and the antique shops and other destinations along the road.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is pushing for criminals serving jail time or possession of crack cocaine to have their sentences reduced, but his efforts are unlikely to affect one of the most famous local cases involving crack cocaine. Holder’s recommendation is related to the Fair Sentencing Act. Previously, possession of the more expensive powder form of cocaine carried a lighter penalty than possession of crack. Holder argues that anyone sentenced under the harsher guidelines should have the chance to serve less time.
W.D. “Billy” Stokes, who served as Todd County’s sheriff through the end of 2010, owes the county $11,769 in penalties and interest he accrued by paying taxes late, the state auditor’s office determined. The county may have the option of suing Stokes to collect the debt. But Stokes believes the tax penalties resulted from a misunderstanding with the IRS.
Proposed changes to the Ohio River Bridges Project would result in larger savings than previously expected. In January, Mayor Greg Fischer, Governor Steve Beshear and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels proposed several cuts to the project, including rebuilding Spaghetti Junction in place and making the east end bridge four lanes wide instead of six.
Two Iraqi refugees facing federal terrorism charges are scheduled to be back in federal court in Bowling Green at 11:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday for a detention hearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Robert Goebel. Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, are in custody facing terrorism charges after a federal grand jury in Bowling Green returned a 23-count indictment against the men May 25. They were arrested here May 26. Both entered the country legally as refugees seeking asylum.
Fishing enthusiasts can test the waters for free this weekend as the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources sponsors the annual free fishing weekend. State residents and nonresidents can fish in any body of water Saturday and Sunday without a license. The weekend is part of a program to get more people familiar with fishing in Kentucky.