Regional

Century Aluminum is planning to keep at least a portion of its Hawesville Smelter in western Kentucky open after announcing plans to close the plant in August.

The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro reports in a statement Wednesday, the company said that the plant will continue operating at about 40 percent capacity after Oct. 24. Company officials had originally planned to shut down the smelter on that date, citing a stagnant aluminum market and low prices for Chinese aluminum.

The company now says it will keep two pot lines operating at the plant.

There are about 565 employees at the Hawesville plant. The company didn't say how many workers would be retained for the two pot lines.

Century Aluminum's spokesman Kenny Barkley couldn't be reached for comment by the newspaper Wednesday.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's lawyers are using the words "absurd," ''forlorn" and "obtuse" to describe the legal arguments a county clerk has used to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis filed a lawsuit against the governor, alleging he violated her religious freedom by asking clerks to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that effectively legalized gay marriage across the nation. Beshear reiterated a request Tuesday that a judge toss the suit.

Davis spent five days in jail for defying a series of federal court orders to issue the licenses.

She has blamed Beshear for her legal woes, alleging that he "commandeered" her office when he instructed clerks to follow the court's decision.

Beshear's lawyer, Palmer G. Vance, described Davis' continued legal battle as a "meritless assault on the rule of law."

Bowling Green Police are warning area residents of a phone scam. 

Someone is contacting customers of Bowling Green Municipal Utilities and claiming their power will be disconnected unless they pay a fee. 

Bowling Green Police Public Information Officer Ronnie Ward says these types of scams are fairly common. 

"The Warren County electric department has also had this happen," Ward told WKU Public Radio.  "I had one person tell me their phone company told them they were going to cut their service off it they didn't pay the late fee."

Ward says if anyone receives such a call, hang up and contact the company the caller claims to be representing to verify the information. 

According to BGMU, the utility does not contact customers by phone and all correspondence is done through the mail.

The Morehead News

The Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples says Pope Francis told her to stay strong when the two met briefly during his visit to the United States last week.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome he had no comment on it.

In an interview with ABC, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis says they hugged during the meeting last Thursday and the pope thanked her for her courage.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In the ABC interview, which aired Wednesday morning, Davis said knowing the pope agreed with her validates her efforts.

Kentucky State Police say a 5-year-old boy has been fatally struck by a school bus in Butler County.

State police spokesman B.J. Eaton said that police were called around 3:20 p.m. CDT Monday to the scene on Kentucky 70 about four miles west of Morgantown.

Eaton says the child was hit at his scheduled stop after the Butler County school bus stopped in front of a residence to let children exit.

Butler County Coroner Marty Jones says the child was pronounced dead about 15 minutes later. The boy was identified as five year old Jayden Hawkins of Morgantown.

A statement from Butler County schools said the driver of the school bus has been employed by the school system for 18 years and has "an exemplary driving record with the district."

Dylan Lovan,AP

Kentucky firefighters who died in the line of duty will be honored at a memorial service this week in Frankfort.

The annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Juniper Hills Park.

Kentucky's Fallen Firefighter Memorial includes more than 200 names of firefighters who died in the line of duty. Two more names of fallen firefighters will be added to the wall this year. They include Anthony Grider of the Campbellsville Fire Department who came too close to power lines during an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last summer on Campbellsville University's campus and Malcolm Jenkins of the Fern Creek Fire Department.

The service will include a wreath-laying to honor fallen firefighters.

The annual Red Helmets Courage Ride, a motorcycle tribute to firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice, will begin at Frankfort Fire and EMS Station Number 3 prior to the service.

RGA Stops Running TV Ads in Kentucky Governor's Race

Sep 28, 2015

The Republican Governor's Association has stopped running TV ads for Matt Bevin in Kentucky with a little more than a month to go until Election Day.

The association has spent $3 million on six ads for Bevin, mostly attacking his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, for supporting the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama. Association spokesman Jon Thompson said the group is evaluating its strategy and could go back on the air before November.

The move is a blow for Bevin, who has aired just one TV ad after spending more than $1 million of his own money to win a four-way Republican primary in May. A spokeswoman for Bevin said the campaign plans to start running a second TV ad on Wednesday and is in production for a third.

Overnight travelers on Interstate 65 in southern Kentucky to the Tennessee state line may find they need additional travel time this week.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says rolling roadblocks will be used over a 54-mile stretch so that pavement markers can be replaced and repaired.

The rolling roadblocks will start Monday night and continue for about a week, starting at 10 p.m. and lasting until 7 a.m. each day.

The crews will start in the northbound lanes at the Tennessee state line and work north until about mile marker 54. When that section is complete, workers will start southbound and continue back to the state line.

The cabinet says Kentucky State Police will be present during the roadblocks. Officials advise using caution while the work is underway and say the rolling roadblocks could add travel time.

Kentucky LRC

A Louisville lawmaker says she is crafting legislation that would help curb the state’s backlog of untested rape kits and reform the system of reporting the kits.

Sen. Denise Harper-Angel, a Democrat from Louisville, introduced the bill that required state Auditor Adam Edelen to tally up the total number of untested rape kits in the state. Edelen released a report Monday that revealed more than 3,000 are sitting untested in Kentucky’s state and local law enforcement offices.

The report partly blames the problem on a lack of funding for the Kentucky State Police Forensics Lab, which conducts the DNA testing of kits.

Harper-Angel said she’s working on legislation to ensure the swift and proper handling of the kits.

“I’m going to fight hard for additional funding for KSP and the crime lab,” said Harper-Angel, who sits on the Senate’s appropriations committee. “I’m going to rely on many of the recommendations in the report.”

Edelen’s report detailed local law enforcement agencies routinely failing to send along rape kits to the state forensics lab. In the report, he proposed requiring local law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits within 10 days of receiving them. He also recommended requiring the state forensics lab to test the kits within 90 days.

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is once again being accused of hampering the processing of marriage forms, according to new court filings.

The court documents, filed by the American Civil Liberty Union attorneys who are representing couples who sued Davis, state that she is not complying with a court order that prohibits her from interfering with deputy clerks when they issue licenses to eligible couples. Davis' actions "render their validity questionable at best," the documents say.

The father of a slain Kentucky State trooper has urged state lawmakers to retrofit the fleet of patrol cars with bullet resistant glass.

Cameron Ponder was shot and killed in his patrol car last week following a high speed chase in western Kentucky. The shooter, Joseph Johnson-Shanks, was later shot and killed after officials said he raised his weapon at another state trooper and ignored orders to lower it.

Joe Ponder, Cameron Ponder's father, told reporters Tuesday he believed his son would still be alive had his patrol car been outfitted with bullet resistant glass.  Kentucky Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo pledged to find money in the upcoming budget to retrofit all of the State Police's 600 front line patrol cars.

Stumbo said he hoped the program could also be extended to other law enforcement agencies.

Archdiocese of Louisville

Pope Francis will make his first trip to the U.S. this week and an Elizabethtown native will have a front row seat. 

Sean McKinley is studying at the Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington.  He and fellow ordained deacons have been invited to help serve communion at a mass the pope will attend at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C.

McKinley isn’t sure what he will say if he gets to meet the pope.

"I don't speak too much Spanish, but I just think it will be really exciting to hear the pope speaking about America, our generation and our time," McKinleny told WKU Public Radio.

McKinley praises Pope Francis for being charismatic and compassionate.

McKinley hopes to become an ordained priest next spring and begin work with the Archdiocese of Louisville.

WKMS

The Missouri man whom police say shot and killed a Kentucky state trooper had pleaded guilty to drug charges in southern Illinois several months earlier.

Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks of Florissant, Missouri was charged with possessing drugs and guns after he was pulled over on Interstate 57 on Christmas 2014.

He spent nearly a month in the Franklin County Jail before pleading guilty to a charge of intent to deliver marijuana. Johnson-Shanks was sentenced to 30 months of probation.

Thirty-one-year-old Cameron Ponder was shot to death late Sunday in western Kentucky after a high-speed chase that reportedly began after the trooper pulled over Johnson-Shanks for speeding.

Police say Johnson-Shanks was shot to death by other Kentucky troopers after he refused to surrender.

Kentucky Considering Roadside Driver Drug Tests

Sep 17, 2015

State officials are evaluating a roadside drug test that could help police counter the growing number of drivers who are high behind the wheel.

The Courier-Journal reports that state Office of Highway Safety is partnering with authorities in Louisville, Paducah and Madison County to test portable kits that police officers could eventually carry into the field to test drivers for controlled substances.

If the tests prove reliable, lawmakers say they will consider legislation next year to expand their use.

Louisville defense attorney Larry Forman says the tests could lead to invasive searches or give officers false pretense for arrests.

According to Kentucky State Police, authorities suspected that drugs were a factor in nearly 1,600 traffic collisions across the state last year, resulting in 939 injuries and 214 deaths.

Classes at WKU-Owensboro Canceled Wednesday Night

Sep 16, 2015

The WKU Owensboro campus has experienced a major network and phone system outage due to a fiber cut in the area.  All Wednesday night classes are canceled.

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