News

Indiana health officials say more than 100 people have tested positive for HIV in an outbreak of the virus among intravenous drug users in southeastern Indiana.

The state’s Joint Information Center said Friday that as of Thursday there had been 95 confirmed HIV cases and 11 preliminary positive cases tied to the outbreak.

All of the HIV cases have been linked to needle-sharing among intravenous drug users.

Scott County — about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky — is the epicenter of Indiana’s largest-ever HIV outbreak.

Gov. Mike Pence declared a public health emergency in the county on March 26 that allowed the creation of a limited needle-exchange program that aims to stem the spread of the virus.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Vex Robotics

The Hardin County School System is preparing to host a group of international robotics teams ahead of a major competition next week in Louisville.

The VEX Robotics World Championships are being held Wednesday through Saturday at the Kentucky Expo Center and Freedom Hall. The competition features teams from elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges from all across the world.

Some Central Hardin High School robotics team members will get some special practice before they head to Louisville for the championships.

Jason Neagle, with the Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center, says fifteen teams from China and Singapore will spend Monday and Tuesday in Elizabethtown, where they will practice their robotics and engineering programs.

“Our students are going to get the opportunity to work alongside with them. The Chinese teams are some of the top-ranked teams in the world, and we have some Top-30 ranked teams as well.”

Kentucky LRC

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and The Courier-Journal have filed a motion to intervene in an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Legislative Research Commission by two former staffers of the agency.

The media organizations are trying to bring to light depositions of former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman and state Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat.

Overly is scheduled to be deposed on Monday and Sherman was deposed on Wednesday. They have tried to keep the depositions sealed, citing privacy concerns.

Sherman announced his resignation from the LRC in September 2013, following the conclusion of an internal probe into allegations that former state Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, sexually harassed statehouse employees.

According to documents filed in the lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court, Arnold also inappropriately touched Overly, who is currently running for lieutenant governor on the ticket headed by current state Attorney General Jack Conway.

Republican candidates for Kentucky governor say presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway isn’t fit to serve because he would not fight a challenge to the state’s same sex marriage ban.

Conway refused to defend the ban last year, saying the law is discriminatory. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside counsel to defend the law.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, one of four Republicans seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination, said not wanting to defend a law shouldn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with the constitution or not. When you take that oath to uphold the constitution, you represent the people of Kentucky,” Comer said.

Louisville businessman and Republican frontrunner Hal Heiner said that Conway should have been required to defend the constitutional amendment.

Abbey Oldham

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made no mention of the unarmed black man killed by a white police officer during a campaign stop just miles from where the shooting happened.

Paul often says that U.S. criminal justice isn't equally applied, a statement he repeated at his rally Thursday. But since launching his White House bid Tuesday, the Kentucky senator has sidestepped questions about the high-profile South Carolina case.

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager initially claimed he shot Scott in self-defense. Slager was later fired and charged with murder after a bystander's video showed him firing his weapon repeatedly as Scott fled.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford did not shy away from the case, telling Paul supporters it proves the senator is right about the importance of civil liberties.

In fact, Sen. Rand Paul's first days as a presidential candidate have not gone as planned.

The first-term Kentucky senator is no stranger to attention. But in opening his campaign, he betrayed a hot temperament that, by his own admission, needs some control.

After defensive and dodging press interviews about abortion, Iran and his shifting views on some issues, he's acknowledged he'll have to get better at holding his tongue and temper.

Paul skipped encounters with the media altogether after his rally in South Carolina on Thursday.

In his first 24 hours as a contender, Paul lectured an NBC reporter about how to ask a question and grew testy in an Associated Press interview when asked about abortion policy.

UK Athletics

A record seven members of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team announced they will enter the NBA draft.

The seven were UK’s top scorers during their 38-1 season that ended last weekend with a loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four.

At a press conference Thursday in Lexington, Junior Willie Cauley-Stein, sophomores Dakari Johnson and Andrew and Aaron Harrison and freshmen Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker all said they’ve decided to turn pro.

“I mean, of course it was a tough decision for all of us,” Guard Aaron Harrison said. “But I think this is all of our dreams so we just want to chase our dreams, really.”

Coach John Calipari said he did not to try to convince anyone to stay or leave, but arranged meetings with the players, their families and NBA team officials early this week to discuss their pro prospects.

“I’m not convincing anyone to stay and I’m not pushing anybody out the door,” Calipari said. “This is their choice with their family.”

Karl-Anthony Towns could be the first player chosen overall on June 28. Cauley-Stein and Lyles could soon follow, with both projected as possible lottery selections. Booker is also a potential first-rounder, with the rest projected to go in the second.

A research group that compiles political fundraising invitations from around the country found that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s fundraising efforts provide a snapshot into the junior senator’s campaign that is different from his rhetoric.

According to Political Party Time, an arm of the Sunlight Foundation, “Paul has thrown 26 get-togethers to benefit his own campaign coffers…. [and] of that tally, more than half have taken place in Washington, D.C.”

During his presidential run announcement on Tuesday, Paul portrayed his candidacy as an effort to change Washington from the outside. He criticized D.C. politics and said special interests hold too much power in the nation’s capitol.

“We have come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank, the special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare,” he told a large room of supporters in Louisville this week.

Paul assured the crowd his campaign would be different.

“Too often when Republicans have won, we have squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine,” he said. “That’s not who I am.”

The nation's drug czar was in Kentucky Thursday to tout needle-exchange programs as a way to reduce the spread of disease and to steer heroin users into treatment.

Michael Botticelli, the director of National Drug Control Policy, visited northern Kentucky, which has been hard hit by heroin abuse addiction. He was invited to Kentucky by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

During his speech, Botticelli said needle-exchange programs are a way to reduce the spread of hepatitis and HIV by discouraging use of dirty needles by multiple people.

He said the programs reduce the risk that law enforcement officers will be infected by accidental needle sticks. Kentucky lawmakers last month passed sweeping anti-heroin legislation.

One component allows local governments to set up needle-exchange programs where addicts can swap dirty needles for clean ones.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a newly declared Republican presidential candidate, is dodging a central question about abortion: What exceptions, if any, should be made if the procedure were to be banned?

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman's rights begin and those of the fetus end.

"The thing is about abortion — and about a lot of things — is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you're this or this or that, or you're hard and fast (on) one thing or the other," Paul said.

In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother's life. At other times, he has backed bills seeking a broader abortion ban without those exceptions.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Paul told the AP that people get too tied up in these details and it's his conviction that "life is special and deserves protection."

Paul entered the GOP race Tuesday and is this week campaigning in the first four states to vote in the nomination contest.

Exceptions in any abortion ban are a politically sensitive topic for Paul and some of his rivals. They want to nudge the party away from a focus on such social issues, but know that winning the nomination requires some backing from religious conservatives who press for strict, if not absolute limits on abortion.

In Iowa, where Paul will campaign Friday, Rev. Terry Amann of Walnut Creek Community Church near Des Moines said he saw no place for equivocation on the issue.

Kentucky LRC

With a little more than a month to go before Kentucky’s primary, gubernatorial candidates are rolling out the attacks and ramping the rhetoric.

This week, a super PAC tied to Republican front runner Hal Heiner released television commercials accusing opposing candidates of not being conservative enough because they take handouts from the government.

One commercial claimed that Agriculture Commissioner James Comer advocated against government funded farm subsidies, but receives $87,000 in subsidies for his own farms.

At a debate Wednesday, Comer fired back, accusing Heiner of being hypocritical by not denouncing the ad.

“What he didn’t mention in the ad is that even though he has a very small farm, he has received farm subsidies, in fact he’s received significantly more farm subsidies than I have per acre,” Comer said.

The ad was sponsored by Citizens for a Sound Government, which the Courier-Journal reports, supports Heiner and will spend about $640,000 on TV ads over the next two weeks.

During the Louisville Forum debate, Heiner refused to renounce the ads and denied any connection with them.

“Well Jamie, those are not my ads. I want to be judged in this campaign by what I say. I want to be judged by what the Heiner-Crosby campaign, the policy ideas and those ideas that we put out across Kentucky as we’ve traveled over the last 57 months,” Heiner said.

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