Associated Press


Updated at 8:37 a.m.: 

Police say the man accused of fatally shooting a Kentucky State Police trooper has been shot and killed after an hours-long manhunt.

Trooper Jay Thomas, a state police spokesman, says 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks of Missouri was shot by police Monday morning when he refused to drop his weapon. He died at a hospital.

Original post:

A Kentucky state trooper was killed in a shooting during a chase in western Kentucky and authorities are searching for a suspect.

In a news release, Kentucky State Police say 31-year-old trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night around 10:20 p.m. on Interstate 24 when the driver fled.

The news release says a chase ensued with the suspect stopping abruptly, causing the trooper's vehicle to "make contact" with the rear of the suspect's vehicle.

Authorities say the driver then fired several shots into Ponder's police cruiser, hitting him several times. Ponder was taken to a hospital in Princeton, Kentucky, where he died.

The suspect, who police say fled the scene on foot, has been identified as 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks. He's described as a black male who's about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds.

A Kentucky city has agreed to drop its lawsuit challenging the state auditor's authority to do special examinations of cities.

Assistant Auditor Libby Carlin says Auditor Adam Edelen's office will bill Somerset $50,000 to cover the costs of doing the exam that led to the suit.

The exam cited a number of problems in city financial and personnel practices.

Those problems included failing to get bids as required for some work, not having contracts in place for special deals on city natural gas and failing to follow the pay and job-classification plan.

Edelen's office referred findings to the state attorney general's office and other agencies.

Both sides issued a short statement Friday saying they had resolved the dispute.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is appearing in a pair of TV ads for his son as he seeks to follow his father's path by becoming Kentucky's attorney general.

Andy Beshear's campaign began airing the ads Monday on broadcast TV statewide. One ad features Andy Beshear's wife talking about her husband's plan to toughen penalties for child abusers, adding that he is "honest and caring like his dad."

Another ad shows Steve Beshear and his wife Jane walking hand in hand while Andy Beshear says his parents taught him family values. Andy Beshear then says "I'll stand up for Kentucky, just like my dad."

Steve Beshear was attorney general from 1979 to 1983. Polls show he is popular with voters as he prepares to leave office in December. He cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Kentucky lags behind national averages for ACT college-readiness benchmarks in core subjects, with the biggest deficit in math.

The best performance among Kentucky's 2015 high school graduates was in English, with 60 percent of students meeting the ACT college-readiness benchmark. The national average was 64 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the organization that administers the exam.

The report says Kentucky's lowest scores were in math and science. Thirty-two percent of Kentucky test-takers achieved the college-readiness measurement both in math and science. National averages were 42 percent in math and 38 percent in science.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, who is retiring, says the low math score should be a motivator for action. Holliday says it's time the state puts together a math task force and looks at teacher preparation.

It was more difficult and took longer than the first game.

There were some nerve-wracking moments. Sweetwater Valley received more than a little help from an opponent kicking the ball around and throwing it away.

Of course, too, there were some balls hit over the fence.

Sweetwater Valley beat Bowling Green East, 11-3, on Tuesday night, a result that was far more of a challenge to achieve than Friday's 14-2, 3½-inning rout of the same opponent.

How another Little league World Series victory came didn’t really matter. It did.

"As long as we can capitalize ... I'm OK," Sweetwater Valley manager Ward Lannom said. "A win is a win."

Sweetwater Valley at the Little League World Series

Sweetwater Valley took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning before it even really started hitting -- on two singles, a walk, two errors and a passed ball.

Levi Mendez swelled that lead to 5-0 with a two-out line drive over the left field fence in the second inning. That hit was made possible when Antonio Andrade beat out a slow roller to first base.

Bowling Green got on the board and threatened to do more in the bottom of the fourth. Nate Nankil relieved SVLL starter Dante Schmid with two outs and the bases loaded, and after a wild pitch brought home the inning’s second run, Nankil got out of the inning with a strikeout.

Andrade led off the fifth with a long blast to the grassy hill beyond right field to end a run of six straight Sweetwater Valley strikeouts and push the lead to 6-2, and it went to 7-2 after Nankil doubled, went to third on Walker Lannom’s single and scored on a passed ball.

A fifth-inning home run cut the lead to four runs, and Bowling Green had a runner on first when Andrade speared a hard grounder to third base and threw out the runner to end the inning. That was one of a handful of fantastic fielding plays by SVLL on Tuesday.

After Sweetwater Valley scored four runs on two walks, one hit and two errors in the top of the sixth, Nankil closed out the save. Schmid earned his second victory of the Series.

Eli Burwash scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning then earned the save pitching as Bowling Green, Kentucky, avoided elimination Monday at the Little League World Series by beating Taylors, South Carolina 4-3.

Red Land dropped South Carolina into the losers' bracket Sunday night with a 9-8 comeback win.

Bowling Green will play Tuesday night against the winner of Monday night's game between Cranston, Rhode Island and Bonita, California.

Burwash struck out two batters and allowed only a walk during the sixth inning to preserve the win. He hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth inning and scored the go-ahead run on Maddox Burr's infield single with two outs. Burwash also hit a leadoff home run in the first inning as Bowling Green built a 3-0 lead.

Taylors is the first South Carolina team to win a game at the series. Braden Golinski led the team with a two-run home run.

Bowling Green has won four straight elimination games since regionals.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials say they have investigated and can't say for sure how a mountain lion turned up on a central Kentucky farm last December.

A conservation officer responded to a complaint on Dec. 15 in Bourbon County and found the animal treed by a homeowner's dog in a populated area outside of Paris. The officer shot and killed the animal due to public safety concerns.

The lion was determined to be a 5-year-old male, weighing 125 pounds and in good condition. DNA analyses link the lion's genetic origin to a population in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The agency says there's no evidence the mountain lion made its way to Kentucky on its own and is believed to have been a released or escaped captive lion.

A southern Kentucky man who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the fatal shooting of a prominent defense lawyer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Clinton D. Inabnit  will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence imposed Monday in Somerset. Inabnit is in his early 40s.

Inabnit lived across the street from Mark Stanziano's law office in Somerset. Authorities said he ambushed Stanziano last summer as the attorney arrived at work, shooting him six times with a 9 mm pistol.

Inabnit had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. Police said he told them he received a message through the newspaper telling him to shoot Stanziano and that unidentified people told him ringing in his ears would stop if he shot the lawyer.

National Park Service

National Park officials are expecting a spike in traffic along the Appalachian Trail after the release next month of a Hollywood film about two hikers who attempt to conquer the 2,190-mile route.

The Daily Times in Maryville reports Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials saw a 60 percent increase in traffic in the area after the book, "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on The Appalachian Trail," was published. The movie is based on the 1998 book and stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

Christine Hoyer, backcountry management specialist for the park, says officials knew the movie was coming. She says the land managers with responsibility for The Appalachian Trail have been working with The Appalachian Trail Conservancy to deal with the expected increase in traffic.

Three Kentucky county clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples drew thunderous cheers from a crowd gathered at the state capitol.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis spoke at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. The crowd of a few thousand included churchgoers from around the state. Davis has been sued by The American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to gay couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing licenses for same-sex couples.

The three clerks have stopped issuing any marriage licenses from their offices.

Davis spoke briefly, saying "I need your prayers ... to continue to stand firm in what we believe." A federal judge has ruled Davis must issue the licenses, but her attorneys are appealing the decision.