Associated Press

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.

School officials will be offered special training following several threats that have shut down or caused evacuations at public schools in Kentucky.

Director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety Jon Akers tells media outlets that he estimates there have been at least 17 such threats this school year.

Akers says in the past two months, "it's risen to the level where there's immediate concern."

Akers says he'll offer workshops to school district officials in December and January in four regions of the state.

Akers says he expects to bring in a retired captain from the state police and a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official to help with the training.

Lincoln County Schools were canceled Monday after a graffiti threat was found over the weekend.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Kentucky Republicans view Tuesday's election results as a mandate to dismantle one of the country's most heralded health care programs in the name of fiscal responsibility.

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear used an executive order to expand the eligibility requirements of Kentucky's Medicaid program, insuring an additional 400,000 people and reducing the state's uninsured rate from 20 percent in 2013 to 9 percent by the middle of this year.

But those 400,000 people were more than twice what state officials had originally projected. Combined with the existing Medicaid program, Kentucky taxpayers now pay for the health insurance of a quarter of the state's population. The state will begin paying for the expansion in 2017, and costs could surpass $300 million by 2020.

Bevin's lopsided victory underscores how politically divisive the law remains.

Kentucky voters have elected just the second Republican in four decades to hold the governor's office.

Republican businessman Matt Bevin waged a campaign to scale back the state's Medicaid expansion that was made possible under the federal health care overhaul. Some 400,000 lower-income people who gained health coverage under the expansion could be affected.

Bevin ran as an outsider, emphasizing his Christian faith along with his support for Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

His Democratic opponent, two-term Attorney General Jack Conway, embraced Obama's health care reforms, saying hundreds of thousands of residents could lose access to taxpayer-funded insurance if Bevin won.

Republican victories for governor and three other statewide offices in Kentucky severely crippled one of the few remaining viable Democratic parties in the South.

Kentucky is still the only Southern state where Democrats control the House of Representatives. But Republicans now control four of the six statewide constitutional seats, including the governor's office. And they have a supermajority in the state Senate.

Democratic Auditor Adam Edelen — who lost his re-election bid — says the national Democratic Party is out of step with mainstream residents of Kentucky, making it difficult for the party's candidates to win statewide. Other Democrats, including Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, say the party must begin to rebuild.

Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin called for unity and vowed to work with politicians from both parties when he takes office.

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