An eastern Kentucky official has announced a settlement in a lawsuit over the drug OxyContin.
The Appalachian News-Express cited a statement from Pike Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford in reporting that drug maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit over abuse of the narcotic.
Rutherford said he couldn't give further details about the settlement due to terms of the agreement.
The county initially filed the lawsuit in 2007 and asked for damages the community suffered after the company marketed OxyContin as a safer alternative to other pain medicine.
The drug became so pervasive in eastern Kentucky, it was dubbed "hillbilly heroin."
Rutherford indicated in the statement that he was pleased with terms of the settlement.
"Finally, Pike County Government will have the funds to make a difference in drug addiction," Rutherford said. "We can now establish the Pike County Re-Entry Partnership for people convicted of drug violations. It has taken years to get done. Our attorney, Gary C. Johnson, was passionate and brought this about."
The goal of the Pike County Re-Entry Partnership would be to rehabilitate people who are addicted to drugs.
Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators are upset that an industrial hemp measure will not be a part of a farm bill taken up next week. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul both say they will vote against the measure, calling it “regrettable” that different amendments including the Senator’s hemp addition won’t be considered.
The amendment supported by the Kentuckians would have exempted hemp with 0.3 percent less of THC from the list of banned drugs prohibited by the federal government. THC is the psychoactive compound present in marijuana that creates a high when the drug is smoked.
In a joint statement, Senators McConnell and Paul said they weren’t giving up on getting industrial hemp legalized, and would look at other ways to get federal law changed.
The actions follow this year’s vote by Kentucky lawmakers to create a regulatory framework for hemp production if the federal government legalizes the crop.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has made hemp legalization his number one legislative priority, and led a bi-partisan group to Washington D.C. in May to lobby lawmakers, White House officials, and others on the issue.
A newspaper's review of Nelson County court records shows that a slain officer arrested more than 350 people in his seven years on the force, but few involved violent crimes.
The Courier-Journal reported Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis had made 52 arrests that ended up as felony indictments in Nelson Circuit Court. There were some convictions for manufacturing methamphetamine that had long prison sentences, but only a few cases involved violent crimes and there were no homicides.
Investigators are pouring over those arrest records looking for clues into Ellis' murder. Kentucky State Police detectives have interviewed friends and family of a local gang, in part because of comments some members made on social media sites following Ellis' death. KSP Spokesman Norman Chaffins says the investigation is in no way limited to the gang.
"It doesn't matter if they're a member of a gang or a member of the AARP. We're going to follow up on every lead. If we receive a tip on somebody, we're going to come knocking on their door," says Chaffins.
This has become the largest investigation ever for the KSP Elizabethtown post. Chaffins says all eight detectives and 40 troopers at the post are working the case.
Ellis was gunned down in the early morning hours of May 25th as he removed debris deliberately placed on a Bluegrass Parkway exit ramp. Since KSP announced this week the debris was tree limbs, the public has offered more than 100 tips, but no information solid enough to name a suspect.
The president of the Kentucky Board of Education says new academic standards for science education in public schools include material on evolution that has been in place since 2006.
David Karem says Kentucky worked with 26 other states on the scientific standards, which were approved Wednesday by the state Board of Education on a 9-0 vote.
Karem told WKU Public Radio Thursday that the evolution teachings will more closely align Kentucky's curriculum with entry-level college requirements. And he says it's in no way an effort to step on anybody's religious beliefs.
"I think the point is that there is no intent in the scientific standards that are being adopted that go into a person's religious beliefs or interfere with them in any way," said Karem.
The President of Kentuckians for Science Education, Robert Bevins, said climate change and evolution may be politically controversial for some people, but they aren't scientifically controversial.
Furlough notices began going out this week to Defense Department workers in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. The furloughs are part of the across-the-board cuts required under a budget bill that took effect March 1.
For 11 days between July and September, it will not be business as usual at Army installations, although the most impacted will be those who work for the military in support roles. From custodians to school teachers, about four-thousand employees at Fort Campbell will work fewer days.
Funding for uniformed personnell and combat operations is exempt from the cuts. However, Fort Campbell Public Affairs Director Bob Jenkins says training will be impacted.
"Let's say we have one unit and they're only going to deploy a portion of that unit, the portion that's deploying will receive their training first," explains Jenkins.