Associated Press

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

A report written by an attorney for a special House committee says the panel couldn't prove that Gov. Matt Bevin stopped a road project in retaliation against a Democratic lawmaker who rejected the governor's request to become Republican.

The Courier-Journal  obtained a copy of the report from former House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who lost his bid for re-election last fall.

The 27-page report written by Nashville attorney Eli Richardson says the committee couldn't fully look at the issue. That was mostly because the Bevin administration wouldn't let Transportation Cabinet officials testify about the road project in Jessamine County and because the committee wasn't able to get testimony from the lawmaker, Rep. Russ Meyer, the newspaper reported Thursday.

The report did find that Bevin pressured Democratic Rep. Kevin Sinnette of Ashland to change parties. Bevin has strongly denied the allegation.

Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper did not respond to a phone message or email seeking comment on the report.

The report did question the state's payment of $625,000 in damages to the contractor for the delay.

U.S. Army Fort Campbell Facebook

Skeletal remains found in Tennessee have been identified as those of a missing Fort Campbell Soldier. Medical examiners say the remains found Monday off Highway 24 are those of Private First Class Shadow McClaine, who had been missing since last September.

 

The cause of death is still under investigation.Two Fort Campbell soldiers have been charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the case. Sergeant Jamal Williams-McCray and Specialist Charles Robinson remain in pre-trial confinement pending court-martial on charges related to her death.

WKU

Western Kentucky University is touting a new program aimed at easing students' transition into college.

The program on the Bowling Green campus is called WKU Summer Start. Campus officials say it offers a summer introduction to college for first-year students, connecting them to campus life while living in residence halls.

WKU officials say the program allows students to complete six credit hours and take advantage of tuition savings. They get to know other new students and staff through social events and activities.

WKU Summer Sessions Coordinator Alicia Bingham says the program encourages faculty-student mentorships and will allow students to find out about campus resources that can help them throughout their college careers.

Emil Moffatt

A Kentucky museum devoted to Corvettes had its second-highest attendance numbers in 2016.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green says it welcomed 228,363 visitors last year, up 3.5 percent from 2015.

Museum officials say the only year when the facility drew more visitors was in 2014, when attendance surged after a massive sinkhole swallowed eight prized sports cars. The sinkhole became an Internet sensation.

The University of Tennessee's Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously approved the appointment of Beverly Davenport as the first female chancellor of the public university system's flagship campus in Knoxville.

Davenport is a Bowling Green native who earned her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Western Kentucky University.

KSP

A Kentucky man has been convicted of reckless homicide in the death of his former girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter, whose body was disposed of in a well.

Barren County Circuit Court jurors also found Anthony Barbour guilty Thursday of tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. Barbour had been charged with murder.

Defense attorney Ken Garrett focused in his closing argument on shifting the blame from his client toward Kelsey Wallace, the mother of Laynee Mae Wallace, who died in May 2015.

Barbour testified Wednesday, giving a different story than he initially told police because, he said, he had been covering for Wallace. He testified that when he returned home after being gone a few hours, Laynee was already dead and her mother said it was an accident.

Republicans have added more than 77,000 people to their voter registration rolls since last year, easily outpacing Democrats while still trailing them in overall numbers.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced the new totals Thursday, less than a month before the Nov. 8 general election. The deadline to register to vote was last week.

Since November 2015, Republicans have added 77,242 voters while Democrats gained 11,385. Democrats still have a majority, claiming 51 percent of all registered voters compared with Republicans' 40 percent. The rest are registered as third party or independent voters.

Democrats fared better with new voters, signing up 44,712 since March compared with 46,328 Republicans. But it appears Republicans are benefiting from a number of registered Democrats deciding to switch parties.

Two of the Republican Party's top leaders have hesitated to support a bill that would preserve the pensions and health care benefits for thousands of retired union coal miners.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are both popular in Appalachian coal communities. But McConnell in the past has blocked a bill that would rescue the pensions and health benefits of more than 13,000 retired coal miners in Kentucky.

Trump has been silent on the bill, which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has endorsed.

The miners say the federal government owes them pension and health care benefits, stemming from a promise made by former President Harry Truman in the 1940s to end a costly strike.

McConnell says he hopes "we can find a way forward" after the election.

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is calling on Donald Trump to step down as the party's presidential nominee for his recently released comments about women.

Haslam issued a statement Sunday calling on Trump to remove himself and clear the way for Trump running mate Mike Pence to face Democrat Hillary Clinton next month.

Trump has said he has no plans to quit. Haslam says if that's the case, he plans to use a write-in vote for president from the Republican Party.

Haslam says "character in our leaders does matter" and decisions made by any president "have too many consequences to ignore the behavior we have seen" from Trump.

Haslam says his concerns with Trump's policy positions and statements made during the campaign that have kept the governor from endorsing him.

Kentucky LRC

GOP state Representative David Floyd declined an appointment to a special committee to investigate Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Floyd was one of two Republicans placed on the committee by Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat.  

The committee is assigned to look into whether Bevin broke the law when he tried to convince some Democratic lawmakers to switch parties.  

In a letter to Stumbo, Floyd said he must decline the appointment because of "pressing family concerns."

The Kentucky Supreme Court plans to convene next week to hear oral arguments in six cases including one about free speech.

A statement from the high court says justices will hear a case out of Fayette County asking them to decide whether an ordinance that bans begging and soliciting on public streets is a violation of free speech.

Justices will also hear cases out of Hardin, Jefferson, McCracken and Rockcastle counties that deal with a variety of issues including questions about medical malpractice and imminent domain.

The Supreme Court proceedings will take place on Oct. 13-14 at the state Capitol building in Frankfort and are open to the public.

U.S. Army Fort Campbell Facebook

Federal prosecutors have charged six soldiers from Fort Campbell with conspiring to steal sensitive Army equipment including sniper telescopes and rifle accessories, machine gun parts, grenade launcher sights, flight helmets and night vision helmet mounts.

U.S. Attorney David Rivera announced that more than $1 million in restricted equipment was ultimately sold and shipped, mostly to anonymous eBay bidders, including some in Russia, China, Ukraine and other foreign nations.

A news release said five of the soldiers were arrested, and one other is still being sought, along with two civilians in nearby Clarksville, Tennessee,who are accused of buying the equipment from them.

Each defendant faces up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiracy. The two civilians face charges including wire fraud.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is visiting Kentucky to announce a program to reduce rural poverty nationwide.

The project involves a partnership with 26 community development organizations to give long-term, low-interest financing to local entities for community facilities and services, such as education, health care and infrastructure.

The Agriculture Department said in a news release the partnership will provide $401 million of Community Facilities program funds.

Kentucky News Network

A Kentucky Republican, shunned even by his own party for posting images on Facebook depicting President Barack Obama as a monkey, held a defiant press conference during which he declined to apologize or suspend his campaign for the statehouse.

Dan Johnson, a Bullitt County preacher running for a seat in the state House of Representatives, maintained on Tuesday that the images were not racist.

Johnson is running against incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in the state's 49th district, which includes part of Bullitt County just south of Louisville.

The Republican Party of  Kentucky had asked him to drop out of the race, saying his posts "represent the rankest sort of prejudice present in our society."

Johnson said black pastors and black legislators have voiced their support for his candidacy, though he refused to name them.

State health officials are pointing to more progress in efforts to reduce Kentucky's youth smoking rate.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services says the latest smoking rate among Kentucky high school students is 16.9 percent, down from 26.2 percent a decade ago. That's according to the 2015 Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Youth smoking rates in Kentucky remain higher than the national average. Officials say the nationwide rate was 10.8 percent in 2015.

Officials from the Kentucky Department for Public Health attribute the state's decade-long decline, in part, to tobacco-free school policies, which encourage districts to create environments where tobacco and alternative nicotine products are prohibited.

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