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.

Former secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet Tim Longmeyer has been sentenced to 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges.  He will also have to pay about $200,000 in restitution.

U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell said that Longmeyer had damaged public trust in the government and hoped to sentence would deter future bad actors.

In April, Longmeyer pled guilty to accepting more than $212,000 in kickbacks in exchange for funneling state contracts to a consulting firm while he was Personnel Cabinet secretary under former Gov. Steve Beshear.

MC Squared conducted focus groups for Anthem and Humana, which managed the state’s employee health insurance plan over the period. Longmeyer arranged for the state to pay the firm more than $2 million in contract work in exchange for the kickbacks.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, the former governor’s son, hired Longmeyer to be a top deputy in his office. Longmeyer resigned from the position days before he was charged with bribery.

A report from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services shows most of the children who were abused or neglected in the past year suffered at the hands of adults. 

An annual report on child fatalities and near fatalities shows parents were the most frequent abusers.  Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says most of the children who died were in families that were under investigation or had prior involvement with the Department for Community Based Services.

"That is not to place blame on any individual worker because they have heavy caseloads and lots of pressures, but in a majority of these cases, they were not surprises," Brooks told WKU Public Radio.  "We have to speed up DCBS response and investigations.  We can't afford for kids to be in danger and action is so slow that a fatality results because of it."

At least nine Kentucky children died in the past year from abuse or neglect, but the number is preliminary because of pending cases. 

More than 40 children suffered life-threatening injuries.  Most of them were under the age of three.

Rick Howlett

Voters in Barren County and three Butler County have voted to allow alcohol sales.

In Barren County,  4,651 people to expand alcohol sales, while 4,418 voted against it. That's a difference of just 233 votes out of more than 9,000 cast.

The group Move Barren County Forward led the support for turning Barren County wet.  They said money being spent on liquor in other areas will now stay in Barren County.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Cave City had voted to go wet and alcohol sales by the drink were allowed in certain restaurants in Glasgow.

Metcalfe, Adair and Russell counties all voted to go wet this year.

It wasn’t a county-wide vote in Butler County, but the towns of Morgantown, Woodbury and Rochester all approved alcohol sales Tuesday night. Butler County voted to stay dry in January.

Lisa Autry

Following some high-profile rape cases across the nation, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says Kentucky’s college campuses have not been exempt from sexual violence. 

Beshear was at Western Kentucky University Monday to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.  He spoke of efforts underway to prevent sexual assault on the state’s campuses. 

Beshear's office, in May, transferred $4.5 million to the Kentucky State Police crime lab to ease a backlog of untested rape kits. Beshear called it the most profound moment yet during his nine months in office.

"Why?  Because that was every dollar, quarter, dime, nickel, and penny that they said they needed to hire more people, train them, and buy more equipment so that this commonwealth would never ever have a rape kit backlog again," remarked Beshear.

Beshear said his office is also providing training this week to circuit clerks on how to better handle domestic violence cases in the courts.  Next month, prosecutors, law enforcement, and victim advocates will be trained on how to help prevent domestic violence fatalities. 

Voters in Barren County will go to the polls Tuesday and decide whether to expand alcohol sales. 

Residents on both sides of the issue are working to influence voters ahead of the local option election.  Michael Richey formed a group called Citizens for a Drug and Alcohol-Free Barren County.   As a church pastor, Richey says he has seen the negative effects  alcohol can have on families and communities.

"Statistics are out there that show when alcohol comes into a community crime, tickets, and DUI are known to rise," Richey told WKU Public Radio.

Tim Brown, with the citizens group Move Barren County Forward, says county-wide sales will keep locals from driving to Bowling Green for alcohol and driving back home intoxicated.  Brown attributes a recent increase in local D-U-I's with a greater police presence--not relaxed alcohol sales.

"In Glasgow, a lot of restaurants are treated like bars.  People hang out there and have a good time, and the police watch those places," Brown commented.  "That's one of the reasons DUIs have gone up.  They know where people are drinking.  Before, we didn't know."

Certain restaurants in Glasgow already served alcohol while Cave City allows packaged sales in stores and by-the-drink in restaurants.

The Islamic Center of Nashville is suing the state in federal court after it says it was denied a tax exemption.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, argues the center's religious tax exemption for its Nashville International Academy school was denied because of a banking deal that allowed the center to follow its religious beliefs. The center was billed more than $87,000 in past-due taxes as a result.

The Islamic center first appealed the denial to an administrative law judge and the Assessment Appeals Commission. In May, the commission said a transfer of title — which was a part of the banking agreement — disqualified the center from exemption. It also sympathized with the mosque and suggested they take legislative action.

A state spokesman said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Emil Moffatt

Kentucky transportation secretary Greg Thomas has issued an emergency order to help ease the gas shortage in the state

Stations have been reporting reduced deliveries of gas or no deliveries at all since that massive fuel spill in Alabama earlier this month.

The new emergency order would temporarily waive the hours of service for commercial drivers delivering gas to the state. It would relieve drivers from restrictions on hours behind the wheel while they’re making deliveries. Drivers are required to have a copy of the order in their cabs if they’re working overtime.

The September 9th leak at a Colonial Pipeline operation in Helena, Alabama spilled more than 6,000 barrels of gasoline. That pipeline runs from Houston to New York and provides gasoline to about 50-million people on the east coast daily. It's expected to reopen Wednesday but it's expected to take several days for gas to reach stations.

Fort Campbell is hosting a job fair this week for service members who are retiring from active duty.  About 450 soldiers leave the military post each month. 

Harold Riggins is with the Soldier For Life Transition Assistance Program which works with veterans to find education and career opportunities.  He says veterans have skills that make them valuable employees.

"Every soldier is on a team in the military from the day they join to the day they leave, and that's huge in the civilian sector," stated Riggins.

A federal law that took effect in 2012 requires military installations to provide exiting service members with education and job assistance.  Since then, the unemployment rate among vets under age 24 has dropped from 30 percent to six percent.

Barren County Detention Center

A Cave City dentist and former Barren County magistrate was in federal court in Bowling Green on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers agreed to allow Chris Steward to undergo a mental competency exam before he is sentenced.  That evaluation will be done in the next 60 days.  Alan Simpson of Bowling Green, one of the attorneys representing Steward, declined to say if he has a mental illness.

"Dr. Steward's been through a lot in his lifetime, the most of which, since he began being prosecuted, he's been going through, an acrimonious would be a nice way of putting it, divorce," Simpson stated.

Steward entered a guilty plea in May to multiple federal charges , including prescribing controlled substances outside the course of a professional medical practice.  Prosecutors say he conspired with patients to obtain pain and anti-anxiety drugs.  The scheme involved Steward writing prescriptions in patients’ names and instructing the patients to fill the prescriptions, which would them be given to him.  

Steward faces up to 30 months in prison.  He is due back in court in November.

Larue County High School website

A Kentucky high school basketball coach has resigned after being accused of sexually assaulting a student.

The News Enterprise reports LaRue County High School girls' basketball coach Simon Ford resigned Monday, the same day officials say he was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree sexual abuse involving the female student.

The newspaper says Ford was suspended with pay earlier this month after district officials were made aware of the allegations by the parent of a student.

School officials also notified Kentucky State Police.

LaRue County Schools Superintendent Sam Sanders said in a statement that the district continues to cooperate with police in the investigation and is committed to ensuring the safety of all students.

Ford is scheduled for arraignment October 4. It was immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Ryland Barton

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky says lawyers for the couples who sued to be issued marriage licenses in Rowan County are seeking to recover more than $233,000 in legal fees and costs.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued in 2015 after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples could marry.

Davis was jailed for several days after refusing to comply with a court order to stop denying qualified applicants a marriage license. Her deputy clerks issued licenses while she was incarcerated.

The state eventually changed marriage license forms so that clerks' names did not have to appear, and the case was later dismissed.

Creative Commons

A new $700 million power generating plant in Henderson is expected to create as many as 500 temporary construction jobs.

Thirty permanent jobs will be created once HenderSun is up and running.

HenderSun will burn natural gas to produce electricity.

Construction on the 100 acre plant will begin next year. An opening date of 2020 is planned.

City of Owensboro, KY

Kentucky State Police are continuing their investigating into the shooting death of a knife-wielding man by two officers in Owensboro.

State police say 29-year-old Lucas Anderson died from gunshot wounds in the incident Friday night.

Police say Owensboro Police Department officers responded to a domestic argument call. Police say the officers saw Anderson grab a woman's hair and put a knife to her throat.