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Regional
5:56 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

AG's Office Closing Case on Campaign Contributions

The state attorney general's office has decided there's not enough evidence to bring charges against a former official in Gov. Steve Beshear's administration following an investigation into whether cabinet employees were targeted for campaign contributions.

The Courier-Journal obtained a copy of the letter through an open records request. The letter from Attorney General Jack Conway's office to former Deputy Justice Cabinet Secretary Charles Geveden Sr.'s attorney said Conway's office "considers the matter closed."

Geveden attorney Guthrie True of Frankfort said he and his client are "very pleased."

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has charged Geveden with violating state government's ethics code over fundraising and is scheduled to begin hearing the case Feb. 5.

True said he doesn't believe Geveden violated the state ethics code.

Regional
12:31 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Kentucky's Unemployment Rate Falls in November

Kentucky construction jobs fell by 2,100 in November

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training is reporting a slight improvement to the state's unemployment rate in November.

Economist Manoj Shanker said Thursday that the jobless rate stood at 8.2 percent in November, down from 8.4 percent in October.

The rate remains higher than the 8 percent recorded in November 2012.

Employment boomed in November in the state's professional and business services sector, which added 5,200 jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector expanded by 1,200 positions.

The financial activities sector grew by 900 jobs. The government sector also added 900 positions.

The biggest loser was the construction sector, which shed 2,100 jobs in November. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 300 jobs.

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Regional
5:27 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Kentucky Officers File Suit Over Wages

A group of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement employees has filed suit against the Kentucky State Police claiming wage discrimination.

The civil suit filed in Franklin Circuit Court Monday claims that vehicle enforcement officers are "compensated at a substantially lower rate of pay than Kentucky State Police troopers and cadets" despite performing similar duties. Commercial Vehicle Enforcement is a division of Kentucky State Police.

The State Journal reports that 107 plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

The lawsuit comes after Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer denied a grievance filed by the plaintiffs asking for higher wages.

In his response to the grievance, Brewer said troopers have different qualifications, requirements and duties than commercial vehicle enforcement officers.

Regional
5:39 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Beshear Says Education is Top Priority for Session

Gov. Steve Beshear

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he wants to pump more money into education and is willing to make budget cuts elsewhere to free up the money.

The governor also says he'll urge lawmakers to consider expanded gambling and a state tax overhaul in the General Assembly session that begins in January. But he won't include any assumed revenue from gambling or tax changes in the budget plan he presents to lawmakers.

Beshear talked to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday about his priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

The governor listed education as his top priority and said he's determined to put more money into education.

He says the state risks losing its progress in education unless it reinvests money in schools.

Beshear didn't mention any specifics about possible budget cuts but said "everything is on the table."

Regional
2:11 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Child Panel Won't Make Recommendations to 2014 Kentucky Legislature

A panel reviewing child deaths and severe abuse cases has approved its first annual report without including recommendations on how to improve Kentucky's child protection system.

Media reported that the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel said Monday that it needs more time to review case files before recommending specific changes.

The panel was tasked by the governor with reviewing case files of children who died or nearly died from abuse or neglect and making recommendations to improve the state's child protection system.

Retired Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden, who heads the group, said statutory or regulatory revisions will likely be proposed by 2015.

Regional
3:56 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Reward Offered in Case of Missing Bourbon

Kentucky authorities are dangling a $10,000 reward for information that helps solve the disappearance of some sought-after bourbon. 

It's become a compelling mystery in a state that produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon. What happened to 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and nine cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye? The whiskey was taken from the Buffalo Trace Distillery at Frankfort in mid-October.

The missing whiskey is valued at more than $26,000.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said Monday the reward could provide "a heck of a Christmas" for someone who helps crack the case.

Melton says a crime stopper's group put up $1,000, but he declined to identify any other donor.

The sheriff says his detectives have interviewed more than 100 people.

Around the Nation
11:52 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

'Fast & Furious' Star Dies In Car Crash

Actor Paul Walker in March.
Joel Ryan AP

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

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Regional
4:21 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Limited Kentucky Whiskey Sells for Nearly $4,000 Per Bottle

A new whiskey created in Kentucky features a blend of age and scarcity that spiked demand -- and its price.

Whiskey fans including celebrities and CEOs are angling to snatch up the fewer than 300 bottles of Michter's Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey at nearly $4,000 per bottle.

Limited-edition offerings with heftier prices are common as American whiskey-makers dabble in new flavors to lure more customers. But this latest offering by Louisville-based Michter's Distillery is bringing the high end of the American whiskey business closer to the rarest bottles of Scotch, cognac and brandy.

The Michter's product reaches shelves Monday in select liquor stores, restaurants, bars and hotels in a handful of U.S. cities.

Regional
2:25 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

GE Hitachi, Energy Dept. in Talks Over Kentucky Uranium Plant

A rendering of a GE nuclear plant
Credit General Electric

The U.S. Department of Energy has started negotiations with General Electric's nuclear division on a proposal to replace Paducah's aging uranium enrichment plant with a new one.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy wants to build a laser enrichment facility that would make use of the depleted uranium kept at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The Energy Department announced Wednesday that it has selected the company to begin exclusive negotiations for the sale of the uranium inventory.

U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, along with Rep. Ed Whitfield, said in a news release that the new plant would create hundreds of permanent jobs at the site.

The Paducah plant had been a major employer for two generations but is being mothballed. Layoffs began earlier this year.

Regional
11:15 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Judge to Rule Soon in Sexual Harassment Case

A judge could rule by the end of the month on motions to dismiss two of the defendants in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said Monday he may decide next week whether to drop the state and House Speaker Greg Stumbo as defendants in the case.

That would leave the Legislative Research Commission and former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis as defendants.

The case involves two legislative staffers who filed sexual harassment complaints against Arnold and later filed the lawsuit.

Arnold denied the allegations but resigned shortly after they were made.

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