Associated Press

WKU Athletics

Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm has agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2019 that boosts his base annual salary from $600,000 to $800,000.

Brohm is 20-7 in two years at WKU after last fall's 12-2 finish that included a Conference USA championship, second straight bowl win and No. 24 ranking. He's the only Hilltoppers coach to win 20 games his first two seasons and one of just four with double-digit victories.

Brohm's success led to him being mentioned as a possible candidate for other coaching vacancies, but he reiterated his desire to stay at WKU. Athletic director Todd Stewart said it was "imperative that we reward that loyalty" in Wednesday's statement announcing the deal.

The coach added that he believes, "We can do special things on The Hill."

One of Kentucky's top elected Democrats said Monday he is concerned the struggling party will not be able to field a viable candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in November.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville said he has been working with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to recruit potential candidates. He said some viable candidates are thinking about running for the seat but would not say they were likely to run. He said Democrats would have to nominate someone who is already well known to voters and has the ability to raise lots of money.

Former Democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen was the most likely Democrat to challenge Paul. But Edelen lost his re-election campaign to Republican Mike Harmon in November.

The filing deadline is Jan. 26.

The Kentucky Republican Party's presidential caucus next year will not be the first in state history.

State records unearthed by Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes show both parties held presidential caucuses in the 1984 presidential election cycle. State party officials had previously said the 2016 caucus would be a first for the party.

A 1989 report from the Legislative Research Commission noted the caucuses were "met with dissatisfaction among the voters" and the state returned to a presidential primary in 1988.

Kentucky Republicans are holding a caucus to allow U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to run for president and re-election at the same time without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election.

Kentucky ranks in the top 10 nationally for its high school graduation rate.

The state's 2013-14 graduation rate of 87.5 percent ranks Kentucky ninth overall and beats the national graduation rate of 82.3 percent.

The figures come from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt says a culture has taken hold that a high school diploma is "absolutely necessary" to achieve success.

The statistics show there are gaps in graduation rates among various student groups.

But for the most part, the gaps in Kentucky are smaller than in many states and in the nation as a whole. State education officials say the gaps narrowed and improvement occurred in graduation rates among black and Hispanic students and those who qualify for free/reduced-priced meals.

Matt Bevin has taken the oath to become the 62nd governor of Kentucky during a private ceremony just after midnight in the state Capitol.

Bevin succeeds Democrat Steve Beshear, who could not seek re-election because of term limits. Bevin is only the state's ninth Republican governor in its 223-year history and the second since 1971.

In brief comments after taking the oath of office, Bevin said, "It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to be the tip of the spear for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, it really is. If Republican and Democrat alike, if we rise to the occasion that has been presented to us for a fresh start, for a new day then the greatest days of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are yet to come."

A full day of events is scheduled for Tuesday, including a worship service, a parade and a public swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps.

An investment manager from Louisville, Bevin has never held public office. He started his political career by losing badly to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Senate primary.

But Bevin came back to win the Republican primary for governor by just 83 votes. He defeated Democrat Jack Conway in November.

Science Hill Police Chief Robbie Gossett has been suspended from his position following a state indictment against him.

City commissioners voted three to two in favor of the suspension Saturday morning.

Gossett turned himself in to authorities Thursday after being indicted on two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property and two counts of abuse of public trust.

The indictment says Gossett obtained funds and property belonging to the city and failed to make the required disposition of them. The charges stem from incidents in 2008 and 2009 and involve totals of at least $10,000.

Gossett's attorney, Scott Foster, says the charges against his client don't make sense, calling him an honest man and the "pillar" of the Science Hill community in Pulaski County.

The Army is grounding all aircraft in active-duty units across the country for the next five days in order to review safety and training procedures in the wake of two deadly helicopter crashes over the past two weeks.

Gen. Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., ordered the safety stand-down Thursday. He said soldiers will review flight planning, operations standards, aircraft maintenance training and supervisory responsibilities in order to avoid any future accidents.

Two Army pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near Fort Campbell in rural Tennessee Wednesday evening. And four soldiers were killed early last week when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a routine training exercise at Fort Hood in Texas.

The cause has not been determined in either crash.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he's asking a Roman Catholic archdiocese to not bring a Syrian refugee family to the state.

Pence met for about an hour Wednesday at his Statehouse office with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin amid a dispute over the Republican governor's order blocking state agencies from assisting Syrian refugees bound for the state.

The archdiocese says it has a Syrian refugee family expected to arrive in Indiana later this month after a two-year vetting process.

Pence said after the meeting that in wake of the Paris attacks he can't justify the making an exception for the family. He pointed out that refugees from other countries have continued arriving in Indiana.

Tobin said he'll be considering what steps to take next.

Fort Campbell

The Army says two pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near Fort Campbell in rural Tennessee.

A news release from the Army's 101st Airborne Division says the two crewmembers were flying a two-seat AH-64D Apache during a routine training mission when the helicopter went down around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency Director Jerry Buchanan told The Tennessean the helicopter was found in a river bottom and was on fire when first responders arrived.

The Army news release says the cause of the crash hasn't been determined and is being investigated. The names of the pilots haven't been released, pending notification of next of kin.

A group of central Kentucky residents is planning a tribute for veterans at a center under construction near Fort Knox.

Clint Meshew, Gary Broadway, Jerry Howard and Greg Barnes formed a nonprofit to raise money and create a tribute outside the Radcliff Veterans Center, which is expected to open next year.

Two displays on either side of the center's administrative building are planned. One will depict an elderly veteran with a shadow background of him as a soldier. The other will depict the family of a soldier welcoming him home.

Howard said the tribute is meant to show veterans that they are honored and respected.

The center is expected to begin accepting veterans in March 2016. Barnes said they hope to unveil the tribute later in the year.

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has decided to cover a campus mural from 1934 that shows scenes from state history, including black workers in a tobacco field and a Native American with a tomahawk.

Capilouto wrote on the school's website Monday that he met with a group of students recently and understood their frustrations over the mural.

Capilouto says he'll have the Memorial Hall fresco shrouded until a more permanent solution is found. The mural was painted directly into the plaster, making its removal difficult. He says an explanation of the cover will be placed nearby.

In 2006, senators of the University of Kentucky's student government passed a resolution to remove the mural, but then-President Lee Todd said he thought the artwork was an important historical and artistic artifact.

The Kentucky fire marshal's office is offering some tips to prevent home fires while making Thanksgiving dinner.

The office says the National Fire Protection Association reports Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

State Fire Marshal William Swope and the national organization have this advice:

—Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.

—Stay home when cooking a turkey, and check it frequently.

—Keep children away from the stove, make sure they stay away from hot foods and liquids and keep knives out of children's reach.

—Make sure electric cords aren't dangling, keep matches and lighters high in a locked cabinet and don't leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.

—Make sure smoke alarms are working.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is being sued over his decision to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the state.

The lawsuit was filed Monday night by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration. It accuses Pence of violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees from other countries but not those from Syria.

The lawsuit comes about a week after Pence objected to plans for refugees to arrive in Indiana following the deadly attacks in Paris. A family that fled war-torn Syria was diverted from Indianapolis to Connecticut on Nov. 18 when Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities.

Gov. Bill Haslam says fears about terrorists settling in Tennessee while posing as refugees from the fighting in Syria have reached new heights following the attacks in Paris.

In the Republican governor's words: "People in Tennessee are scared — maybe as scared as anything I've seen."

Haslam last week called on the federal government to halt the settlement of Syrian refugees in Tennessee unless state agencies can become involved in the vetting process. But the governor said there's been no indication so far that President Barack Obama's administration has any interest in giving states a role in background checks.

Haslam said conversations with the White House and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have allayed some of his concerns about the vetting process that can take two years to complete.

The Kentucky Housing Corp. says several hundred veterans remain homeless in Kentucky, and it is offering vouchers for housing in many counties.

The agency says it wants to make sure all veterans know about the program known as Veterans Emerging Through Transition and don't assume they aren't eligible before contacting a participating agency. Preference is given to qualified veterans regardless of discharge status.

Officials say the process moves quickly once paperwork is finished, with veterans placed in housing in a few months.

The housing agency says it will continue the program until all 100 set-aside vouchers are used.

Meanwhile, the federal government has announced that the city of Louisville has become the first in the state to eradicate veteran homelessness.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development regional administrator Ed Jennings told a crowd gathered in downtown Louisville for a Veterans Day parade that the city housed more than 400 veterans in the last year.

Mayor Greg Fischer was the first in Kentucky to sign up for President Barack Obama's call to end homelessness among veterans.

Authorities say a central Kentucky police officer who was shot in the head while searching for a robbery suspect has died.

In a statement, Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy says 33-year-old Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis died early Friday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Ellis had remained in the hospital after suffering life-threatening injuries following the shooting Wednesday morning.

Ellis and another officer went to a Richmond apartment, where police say the suspect, 34-year-old Raleigh Sizemore Jr., opened fire on Ellis. The second officer returned fire and struck Sizemore. He was treated at the hospital and released to police custody.

Sizemore was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and unlawful imprisonment first degree.

Two others in the apartment during the shootout were also arrested.

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