Health insurance costs have caused headaches for employers, both private and public. Now, they're giving a big headache to city officials in Lexington. The city has failed to collect enough money from its workers for health care. As a result, Lexington has lost tens of millions of dollars. The news comes at a bad time. Leaders at Lexington City Hall have just balanced their budget for next year. Now they must find their way out of a ten million dollar hole that they are digging this year.
A former Lexington foster mother is taking her fight to be taken off the state's registry of people who have abused or neglected children to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Joyce Givens was a foster mother until a 15-year-old girl in her care failed to take medicine to maintain a transplanted kidney in 2008, prompting social workers to place Givens on the child abuse and neglect registry. She was never charged with a crime, and the girl later testified that she lied to Givens and others about taking the medicine.
Their conventional occupations as a retired school teacher, emergency room clerk and firefighter don't hint that in their spare time, Ron and Lori Coffey and Howard Hamilton investigate reports of ghost sightings. The trio are members of the Mount Sterling-based Gateway Paranormal Society, one of numerous teams statewide that investigate paranormal activity in private homes, historical sites and cemeteries. The groups say that as the pastime has become more popular, the stigma is beginning to end. Known as ghost hunters, they consider the searches not just a hobby but services to provide help to people.
A series of at least 30 car crashes in a short period closed Interstate 75 in Lexington on Friday afternoon. The northbound and southbound lanes were closed and heavily congested between mile markers 110 and 116, officials said. Police and fire officials warned motorists to stay away from the area, which is between exit 110, at U.S. 60/Winchester Road, and exit 115, at Newtown Pike/Ky. 922. That stretch of I-75 is likely to be congested well past rush hour, police said.
Members of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council have decided to let stand three budget vetoes by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. Mayor Gray made three line item vetoes to the council approved budget. Only one veto was challenged by the council Thursday night. Members were asked to over-ride the mayor’s action and restore funding for more than 20 outside agencies.
A battle is brewing over how much authority Lexington's Urban County Council should have over contract agreements reached through collective bargaining. Council members tussled for hours Thursday night over a resolution put forward by Councilman Ed Lane that would clarify the procedure for approving collective bargaining agreements. Lane and his supporters argued the resolution is needed because the police and fire pension system is unsustainable and the council deserves more input.
All three of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's historic line-item vetoes of the Urban County Council-approved budget will remain in effect. The council put up resistance to only one set of cuts. In what Councilman Jay McChord called a "heartfelt" decision, the body voted 11-4 to keep Mayor Gray's 10-percent across-the-board cut to the government's partner agencies intact, shaving close to 315-thousand dollars off the budget. Councilman Doug Martin, who voted against overriding the mayor's veto, said slashing the budgets of organizations like the Salvation Army and Hope Center in the midst of difficult economic times was painful.
Two new specialty license plates have been approved by the Transportation Cabinet. One tag supports the Alzheimer’s Association, while the second carries the slogan “In God We Trust” with a backdrop of the American flag. Kentucky already has a regular plate with the “In God We Trust” slogan”. But MaryAnn Gramig, who’s president of the ROCK Cares Foundation which sponsors the new plate, says it bolsters a spiritual message.
By Josh Kegley, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beverly Fortune, Lexington Herald-Leader
After receiving numerous complaints that Lexington sounded like a war zone during the Fourth of July weekend, at least one Urban County Council member wants stricter local restrictions on fireworks. There were 553 general noise complaints to Lexington's 911 call center Friday through Tuesday, said David Lucas, director of the Division of Enhanced 911. That's up from 308 complaints during the holiday weekend last year — before bottle rockets, mortars and firecrackers could be purchased legally in the state.
Tonight’s (Thursday) the night Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council members may attempt to override budget vetoes issued by Mayor Jim Gray. The mayor line item vetoed three areas of the council approved budget, including funds for disc golf facilities and a half-dozen jobs in the city's communications office. The mayor also imposed a ten percent funding cut on some 26 outside agencies that provide city services. David Barberie (BAR-ber-ee) with the city’s law department, Tuesday explained to council members their options.
A sign marking a Fleming County historic landmark has been replaced after a long absence. A historic marker sign at the Goddard Covered Bridge was installed Friday, July 1, in replacement of one stolen several years ago. The sign is located on Kentucky 32 where the covered bridge crosses Sand Lick Creek. The Goddard Bridge is one of three standing covered bridges in Fleming County and one of only 13 in Kentucky, which at one time was host to more than 400 covered bridges.
If the walls of the soon-to-be toppled Farmers Tobacco Warehouse No. 1 in Danville could talk, their stories would fill volumes. Owner Jerry Rankin has heard most of them over the years. “This has just been a special place,” Rankin said. Rankin confirmed Tuesday that a deal with Centre College is being finalized that will sell the landmark that has stood on the corner of Russell and Hope streets since 1927. He declined to discuss the specifics of the sale until it is finalized, only saying Centre paid a fair price for the property. Demolition is set to begin early next week.
Law enforcement officers attended more Fourth of July gatherings this weekend than in the past, but they weren’t there to celebrate. Fireworks complaints more than doubled this year, say Frankfort Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. “We were swamped,” said Frankfort Police Maj. Fred Deaton.
An attorney for Glenn Doneghy, who was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of Lexington police officer Bryan J. Durman on June 30, has filed a motion for a new trial. Attorney Sally Wasielewski, in the motion filed this week, says that jurors in the trial were allowed to walk freely around downtown Lexington during a June 30 lunch break — after deliberations had begun — when they should have been kept in a group and accompanied by a court bailiff. Wasielewski says this was a violation of Kentucky law.
A poor review by Men's Health magazine has prompted a response by a member of Lexington's urban county council. The publication recently rated Lexington the nation’s most sedentary city. Council member Jay McChord suggests he, along with Lexington's mayor , the president of the University of Kentucky, and the Fayette County Schools Superintendent travel to Pennsylvania to meet with magazine representatives.
Two people suffered significant injuries from explosive devices during the Independence Day weekend, according to Nelson County EMS Director Joe Prewitt. Zack Bagwell, 25, Boston, was transported to University Hospital Sunday afternoon after losing at least one finger in an explosion near the Beech Fork River in the Boston area. The Boston Fire Department and EMS met Bagwell at Rust Funeral Home.
Three men from the same family died after they were swept away by the rain-swollen current during a Fourth of July outing on the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. Rescuers on Tuesday recovered the body of Tim Blevins about half a mile below a dam on the river, near Hyden. On Monday, Blevins' brother, Larry Blevins, 36, and Kendall Estep, 30, their brother-in-law, had been pronounced dead.
Reinstate emergency pull-over lanes. Reduce the speed limit. Ban trucks. Reroute traffic away from the bridge altogether. Less than two weeks after a stranded motorist was knocked to his death off the Brent Spence Bridge, the accident has revived a years-long debate about ways to make driving the span safer - now.
The fourth of July weekend is barely history and there’s already interest among some Lexington council members to change the city’s fireworks policy. Several Lexington area residents complained to city hall about fireworks activity in their neighborhoods. The new state law opened the nighttime skies to flying fireworks. Plus, the newly legal fireworks on the ground were quite a bit louder than usual. Council member Kevin Stinnett says he heard the blasts and got an earful from constituents.
A Bellepoint man who told sheriff’s deputies he made $2,000 a week selling out-of-state prescription painkillers has been sentenced to eight years in prison. John Shramm, 38, sold 30mg Percocet pills to a confidential witness Feb. 24 and March 6, court records show. He was immediately taken into custody.
Lexington police say an officer was bitten Saturday after chasing down a man who had been pulled over for reckless driving. Glenn Curtis Whittenburg, 40, of Lexington was arrested and charged with third-degree assault, third-degree criminal mischief, fleeing and evading police, resisting arrest, reckless driving and no operators license, according to police records. Lexington police Lt. Chris Van Brackel said the incident began with a traffic stop for reckless driving, and then Whittenburg "jumped out of the car and fled on foot." When the officer caught up with Whittenburg, Whittenburg bit him.
Lexington’s mayor has asked members of the urban county council to change their recently approved budget. The request came today (Friday) in a series of line-item vetoes.
Mayor Jim Gray vetoed three items in the new budget. Gray said no to the 400 thousand dollars the council wants to borrow for two new disc golf courses, lacrosse fields, improvements at the Charles Young community center, and a remodel of the Berry Hill pool. Another veto eliminates the jobs of seven people who work in government communications. And Gray's final veto reduced funding for outside agencies that provide services to the city by ten percent.
Lexington's Mayor has vetoed three items in the budget approved by the Urban County Council. Mayor Jim Gray's veto cut $400,000 in spending on disc golf, lacrosse, and other capital projects. Gray also vetoed the funding restored by the council for outside agencies that provide services to the city. The third veto, assuming it's not over-ridden by the council, means seven employees in government communications would lose their jobs.
After some 18 hours of deliberation, a jury has found 34 year old Glen Doneghy guilty of second degree manslaughter in the death of Lexington Police Officer Bryan Durman. The twelve member panel also convicted Doneghy on counts of leaving the scene of an accident, second degree assault, fourth degree assault, possession of marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.
A grand jury today indicted four individuals in Louisville and Lexington on charges of lottery fraud.The indictments are part of an undercover investigation by the Kentucky Lottery Corporation. KLC personnel visited various lottery retailers and presented tickets that, when scanned at a lottery terminal, would instruct the store clerk to award a prize.
After one trip to Africa, Clark County's Jennifer Watson knew she had to find a way to go back. A three-week trip to Kenya last summer has turned into a three-year teaching stint for the Hannah McClure Elementary School teacher. “Once I got back, I just loved the country, and I tried to figure out how to go back and support myself,” Watson said. Watson said that, since teaching is her career in America, it made sense that teaching also would be a way to live permanently in Africa. In January, she was accepted to teach for three years at Rosslin Academy, an international Christian school in Nairobi. However, Watson said she “wouldn’t be surprised” if her stint in Africa extended beyond the three years.
Fewer dollars for law enforcement means fewer drunk driving arrests in Madison County. In 2006, when Richmond police were working with a $70,000 federal grant, officers made 409 DUI arrests. The tally so far this fiscal year, with only $29,000 available, is 169 arrests. Major Bob Mott says it’s a simple matter of economics. “When you have a 70 officer base and you lose 15 officers, that’s a significant amount, and obviously when you lose a significant of folks trying to enforce and look for DUI’s, it’s going to have a toll on your numbers, and that’s what we’re seeing”, said Mott.
By Josh Kegley, Lexington Herald-Leader & Jennifer Hewlett, Lexington Herald-Leader
A 12-member jury deliberated late into Wednesday night whether Glenn Doneghy should be convicted of murder in the hit-and-run death of Lexington police officer Bryan Durman last year. Jurors had heard 60 witnesses — many with wildly conflicting recollections and interpretations of events — testify during the past 2½ weeks. After closing arguments from defense attorney Kate Dunn and Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson on Wednesday, the case was handed to the jury about 1 p.m.
The upcoming Fourth of July weekend is expected to be a little louder and flashier than usual across Kentucky. The number of fireworks stands across the commonwealth is way up over last year.
State Fire Marshall Bill Swope says 420 people received permits to sell fireworks last year. This summer, that figure has ballooned to 776 permits. Swope says the vast majority of those permits are for seasonal sales through July seventh.