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Nine people have been indicted on charges of stealing what Kentucky authorities say was more bourbon whiskey than one person could drink in a lifetime.

The indictments were handed up Tuesday. Prosecutors allege the scheme led by rogue distillery workers lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of whiskey.

Authorities say two distilleries were targeted — the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries.

They allege the criminal syndicate operated since 2008 or 2009, and that the recovered whiskey alone is worth at least $100,000.

The indictments tie together two highly publicized heists in the world’s bourbon-producing hub — the theft of barrels of Wild Turkey bourbon earlier this year and the disappearance of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

Erica Peterson, Kentucky Public Radio

Federal officials have begun reviewing a proposal to "repurpose" a natural gas pipeline that runs through 18 counties in Kentucky and is taking public comment about it.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is preparing an environmental assessment and will take comments through May 18 on a proposal by Kinder Morgan to convert its Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry natural gas liquids instead of natural gas.

Some officials and residents in central Kentucky have raised concerns about the ramifications if there's a leak or an explosion, especially near rivers and lakes that supply communities with drinking water.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley has said the company plans upgrades and would thoroughly test the line before returning it to service.

Prices of retail food items in Kentucky fell during the last quarter, the first time since June 2013, in a survey of grocery costs.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation's latest Marketbasket Survey was taken in March. The organization says the average total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $126.22, or 2.3 percent lower than the figure reported in the previous quarter.

The federation said in a news release that the figure is still 4.6 percent higher than the total reported at the same time last year.

The release said five of the six food groups included in the survey reported reductions in average prices. Dairy was the greatest with an average price drop of 7.8 percent. Beef was the only category with an increase.

Fort Campbell

Dozens of Fort Campbell soldiers are returning to the post along the Kentucky-Tennessee border this week from deployment to Afghanistan.

The military says about 160 soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are expected to arrive Friday morning.

The soldiers have been in Afghanistan advising and assisting the Afghan National Army.

The 1st Brigade is known as "Bastogne", a name commemorating the brigade's defense of the town of Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Pointing to strong tax collections, state budget officials say Kentucky will likely avoid another budget shortfall. 

Revenues are expected to increase more than three percent in the budget year that ends June 30.  The state ended the 2014 budget year $90 million shortfall. 

While the revenue picture this year is much brighter, House Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards of Bowling Green says there are a lot of pent up needs.

"We've not be able to fund public education properly and we certainly haven't been able to fund our universities properly," Richards tells WKU Public Radio.  "The retirement systems are very challenging."

Starting in 2017, the state must also start contributing to the cost of expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law. 

Despite more revenue, Richards says it will be difficult to balance all the needs as lawmakers form a new two-year budget next session.

A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of former Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton on two counts of witness tampering. 

Eaton was convicted in 2013 sentenced to 18 months in prison following his trial on civil rights violations. 

A federal jury acquitted two co-defendants on all charges.  The law enforcement officers were tried for allegedly beating suspect Billy Stinnnett in February 2010 and engaging in a cover-up.  Jurors found Eaton guilty of directing two deputies to write false incident reports for the FBI. 

The U. S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard Eaton’s appeal in June 2014 and issued a ruling Monday upholding the conviction. 

Kentucky's four Republican candidates for governor will meet on statewide television one week before the May 19 primary.

KET's "Kentucky Tonight" program will host the four Republican candidates for governor at 8 p.m. EDT May 11 for what could be the only statewide televised debate before the primary. Host Bill Goodman will quiz Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott.

The candidates' running mates will debate on a separate program one week earlier.

Democratic candidate Geoff Young will appear on the program next Monday along with running mate Jonathan Masters. Attorney General Jack Conway will not participate. Conway leads Young by a wide margin in fundraising and public polling.

A new whitepaper released by Kentucky regulators in draft form last week quantifies the economic effects of rising electricity prices on jobs in the state and around the country.

The paper uses a hypothetical 10 percent across-the-board increase in electricity prices around the country, and measures the effects of that increase on various states and industries. The most vulnerable states seem to be those similar to Kentucky: ones that have both a carbon-intensive energy portfolio and electricity-intensive industries.

Overall, the paper estimates a 10 percent rise in the real price of electricity would result in the loss of more than a million jobs and $142 billion in the American economy. But despite these losses, the research found that most of the nation’s industries would be relatively unaffected by the increased cost of electricity.

Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters—who also co-authored the paper—said this information will help regulators decide what policies need to be pursued to protect the economy as electricity prices increase—whether that’s due to environmental regulations or market factors.

“We want to understand the dynamics, and we want to understand at least semi-quantitatively what the implications are,” he said. “We are using these analyses to guide us in directions that we think we should be going.”

QuiltWeek returns to Paducah this week, and organizers expect more than 30,000 to attend the four-day event.

The American Quilter's Society said more than 700 quilts will be on display, and prizes totaling $125,000 will be awarded. There will also be a series of workshops and displays by national and local vendors.

The event begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. QuiltWeek is open to the public.

Kentucky’s Republican elected officials in Washington are asking Republican candidates for governor to unite behind whoever’s elected in the primary next month.

The GOP nominee will likely face off against Attorney General Jack Conway, who doesn’t have serious competition in the Democratic primary.

In a letter signed by Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul as well as four Republican members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, the candidates were asked to show up to an event in Lexington a week and a half after the May 19th primary.

Louisville businessmen Hal Heiner and Matt Bevin as well as Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott are all seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

The candidates are working to set themselves apart from one another ahead of the primary election, which historically has low voter turnout.

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