By Beth Musgrave and Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader
Larry Joe Lee was worried about his mother. Carolyn Lee was recovering from heart surgery at her Lebanon farm. When her son called her on Wednesday, Aug. 3, "he told me to take care of myself and that he loved me." Phone calls from her second-oldest child weren't always pleasant. Larry Joe Lee, 32, had a brain injury, was schizophrenic, bipolar and diabetic. Sometimes, he would get agitated and say hurtful things to his parents on the phone. But on that Wednesday, Larry Joe, as his family called him, was having a good day. It was the last time she talked to him.
Winchester is asking the Franklin County Circuit Court to issue a declaratory judgment that the state telecommunications tax is unconstitutional. Through the Kentucky League of Cities, to which Winchester belongs, the city, along with Greensburg, Mayfield and Florence, filed a lawsuit Sept. 23 because of millions in tax revenue lost since the Jan. 1, 2006, enactment of the legislatio
U.S. 68 in Jessamine County in the mid-1990s was a narrow, winding two-lane that 15,000 vehicles traversed daily, with more than its share of accidents. In response to area residents’ complaints, state transportation officials and legislators recommended and authorized replacing the worst section with 6.6 miles of modern, safer four-lane.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Russell ruled Tuesday that an Iraqi refugee accused of terrorism activities can be tried in a civilian court. Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, who had been living as a refugee in Bowling Green, is accused of terrorism activities in a 23-count indictment. Alwan’s attorneys argued in a July 19 motion that the rules of the Geneva Convention apply to him and had attempted to get the first two counts of the criminal indictment against him dismissed. Russell denied that motion Tuesday.
Spencer County Clerk Judy Puckett must pay back $64,717 for undeposited receipts, disallowed expenditures and personal non-sufficient fund checks, according to the 2010 audit report released by Crit Luallen, Kentucky’s auditor of public accounts, last week. “This is a serious issue,” Luallen told The Spencer Magnet. Luallen’s office has referred the report to Kentucky’s attorney general.
Hundreds of volunteer searchers played an instrumental role in locating a missing 7-year-old autistic child from Willisburg this week. The ordeal brought together an already closely knit community but not before so many endeared 45 hours of despair after little Randall Chesser disappeared from his home.
Since 2006, the state of Kentucky has used shock probation, the program that last year allowed for the release of admitted killer Tonya Nicole Brown from state prison, to send 10,006 convicted criminals back into public life. She was freed by Senior Judge Steven Mershon after serving 15 months and 14 days, benefiting from this unusual, decades-old program that grants judges wide latitude in dealing with first-time offenders. A study of state records acquired by The Sentinel-News shows that Brown’s release is far from a rare occurrence and that many who have been released on the same terms as she frequently find themselves back before a judge for new or related offenses.
An undocumented citizen living in Shelbyville has been sentenced to 38 months in federal prison for entering the United States illegally for the seventh time. U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves handed down the sentence to Raul Estrada-Chavez, 32, for illegal re-entry after deportation. On March 2, Estrada-Chavez was arrested by Kentucky State Police Trooper Trevor Harris for various traffic violations, including no operator’s license.
Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Special Prosecutions today announced the indictment of four people in connection with a check-kiting scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $840,000 by 172 Kentucky cattle producers and others in late 2010. The indictments follow a nine-month investigation by General Conway’s Department of Criminal Investigations that began when Eastern Livestock failed to pay nearly 800 producers nationwide an estimated $130 million.
The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) has awarded over $4.7 million to law enforcement agencies and highway safety organizations across the commonwealth to help bolster safety enforcement and education in local communities. The federally funded grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are administered by the KOHS, which is part of the Transportation Cabinet.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2011) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined Justice Cabinet leaders and KSP officials to offer the first public glimpse of how a former prison is now functioning as a modern training facility for the Kentucky State Police.
The Family Foundation of Kentucky is asking the Attorney General to step in and stop the operation of instant racing video machines at a southwest Kentucky racetrack Kentucky Downs in Franklin began operating instant racing video machines earlier this month. They allow gamblers to bet on previously run, anonymous horse races. The question of their legality is still before the state court of appeals. But, Family Foundation Executive Director Kent Ostrander says it’s time for the attorney general to 'roll up his sleeves and enforce Kentucky law'.
The investigation into a traffic fatality last week in Park City involving a Kentucky State Police trooper could take a few months to complete, state police spokesman Lt. David Jude said Tuesday. Trooper Jonathan Biven, public affairs officer for the state police post in Bowling Green, was driving south Thursday afternoon on U.S. 31-W north of Park City in a caravan with other troopers when his cruiser crossed the center line and struck a car driven by Nurcan Ceylan, 33, of Riverside, N.J. She died from her injuries.
Human trafficking is an activity in Kentucky which authorities admit is another under-reported crime. The issue was recently discussed before a corrections panel in Frankfort. Aundria Burkhart is a detective with the Lexington police department. She says there was a case out of Memphis which had a tie to the central Kentucky area.
Profiling a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide after years of alleged anti-gay taunts at school, CNN’s Anderson Cooper covered opposition to bullying legislation in Kentucky by highlighting state Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Danville, who believes homosexuality is a sin.
A Radcliff man and former PNC Investments employee was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to 41 months in prison on charges of bank fraud. William T. Hernandez, 41, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Louisville to two counts of bank fraud June 21 for executing a scheme to defraud PNC and its customers. In addition to prison time, the court also ordered Hernandez to pay $453,819.21 in restitution to the bank.
After hundreds of people complained that Lexington sounded like a battlefield during the Fourth of July weekend, the city has taken the first steps toward stricter controls on the sale and display of fireworks in Fayette County. The law department has drafted an ordinance to limit when and where fireworks may be set off.
FRANKFORT - Kentucky has been awarded nearly $1.7 million in federal funding to improve program integrity and technology in the state’s unemployment insurance system. The funding will help Kentucky develop new or enhanced systems to reduce unemployment insurance fraud.
First District Sen. Ken Winters is hoping to help in a Graves County dispute over requiring Amish residents to display a florescent triangle on buggies contrary to their religious beliefs. Winters, R-Murray, says he has asked his staff to review how laws in other states deal with highway safety concerning buggies. Kentucky law requires display of driver-alert signage such as a yellow-orange triangle with a reflective border that is dark red. Several Amish residents of Graves County have been ordered to jail for refusal to post the signage because they consider the colors a violation of religious beliefs, according to news reports.
Although it’s early, it appears reforms made to Kentucky’s penal code is cutting prison populations. Members of the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act Task Force got a report Wednesday. Laurie Dudgeon directs the Administrative Office of the Courts. "Of the 40 thousand approximate defendants our pre-trial officers interviewed in jail, we have a release rate of those folks, an increase of two percent. So two percent more of those folks have been released than in the previous time period,” said Dudgeon.
A Frankfort man charged with organized crime planned and financed road trips to Florida for prescription pills, a detective said in court testimony Tuesday. Detective Matt Brown, speaking on behalf of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said 36-year-old Neil Clark was “ringleader” of the trips, which may have involved as many as 15 people over the course of several trips. Clark sold the pills after they arrived in Frankfort, Brown said.
The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security reminds citizens to be particularly vigilant as Kentuckians observe the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In many cases terrorist plots have been detected and attacks thwarted based on the timely reporting of observations of ordinary citizens.
For the first time in 15 months, Kentucky's General Funds tax receipts failed to increase over the prior year. General Fund taxes in August hit $623 million - down 3 percent over year-ago figures, according to state Budget Director Mary Lassiter.
After the death of a personal care home resident who was brain-injured and a state ward, a leading advocate is calling on Gov. Steve Beshear to take emergency action to address the lack of staffing requirements for long-term care facilities. Bernie Vonderheide, founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, said he is asking Beshear to call an emergency session of the General Assembly or to issue an emergency executive order to establish minimum staff-to-resident ratios for all long-term care homes, including personal care homes and nursing homes.
The Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority has rejected a proposal to create a Safer 65 Project Authority, but proponents of the plan are not giving up on the concept. Under the Safer 65 Proposal, the final unimproved 38-mile stretch of Interstate 65 that runs from about the Park City exit north to Elizabethtown would be widened. By defining the work as a single megaproject and bidding it at one time, the entire stretch could be complete in roughly five years.
Kentucky voters could be choosing in November 2012 whether to allow expanded gambling. If Mike Nemes, a Louisville Republican, has his way, all counties in the commonwealth would be doing just that in 14 months. He has filed two bills for the 2012 session that, if approved, would allow the vote on expanded gambling.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling against Bowling Green Police Department Sgt. Shawn Helbig in his whistle-blower lawsuit against the city. A three-judge panel of state appeals court judges unanimously affirmed the Warren Circuit Court ruling dismissing Helbig’s complaint that he was demoted from the rank of BGPD captain after raising concerns about the city’s overtime policy.
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has made a number of recommendations to tighten the code of ethics for state lawmakers. In its annual report, the panel calls for 16 changes to state laws that apply to the conduct of legislators, lobbyists and political candidates. Among the recommendations is a repeal of the provision allowing lobbyists to spend a total of $100 annually on food and beverages for each legislator and their family members.