The judge in the lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says the clerk will have to resume issuing marriage licenses by August 31 unless an appeals court says otherwise.

Earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning granted a temporary stay of a decision he levied against Davis. Bunning ruled that Davis’ religious beliefs couldn’t prevent her from carrying out her duties as a government official.

Davis has appealed that ruling. She has refused to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in June.

Reluctant Kentucky Clerk Gets Time for Gay Marriage Appeal

Aug 18, 2015

A Kentucky county clerk who objects to same-sex marriage will not have to issue marriage licenses while she takes her case to a federal appeals court.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is being sued by two gay couples. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis last week to issue the licenses despite her objections.

On Monday, he granted her request to stay his decision while she pursues her case before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Davis has refused to grant marriage license to anyone in Rowan County since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The federal government is making a bigger investment in the fight against heroin. 

Kentucky and other Appalachian states will share in a $2.5 million grant aimed at reducing the trafficking, distribution, and use of heroin. 

The Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area is one of five regional HIDTAs which help federal, state, and local authorities coordinate drug enforcement operations. 

According to Director Michael Botticelli in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the fight has shifted from prescription pills to heroin in many parts of the country.

"We have seen a leveling off of overdoeses related to prescription drugs, but what has been challenging is the dramatic increase in both heroin use and heroin overdoses," said Botticelli on Monday in a conference call with reporters.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell said multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency law enforcement efforts are crucial to the fight against heroin which is hitting the commonwealth particularly hard.

"I have no doubt that this new funding will enhance law enforcement’s ability to fight heroin in some of the areas, such as Kentucky, that have seen communities and families ravaged because of this drug," McConnell said in a statement.  "In this era of limited federal resources, we must use these interagency partnerships to maximize our return from the federal dollars we spend to combat this epidemic."

In addition to the $2.5 million federal grant, the Appalachia HIDTA will also receive nearly $400,000 to be used for programs to help prevent drug abuse in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia.

The Morehead News

A same-sex couple has been denied a marriage license in Rowan County one day after a federal judge ruled that the clerk there had to resume issuing marriage licenses to couples, no matter their sexual orientation.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June, saying doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

At least two county clerks in Kentucky are also refusing to issue marriage licenses as a result of the ruling.

Four Rowan County couples represented by the ACLU of Kentucky are suing Davis for denying them marriage licenses. U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ruled Wednesday that Davis’ religious convictions don’t excuse her from performing duties as an elected official.

ACLU attorney Dan Canon said Davis’ disregard of the judge’s ruling isn’t surprising.

Brian Rideout

At 9:00 p.m. on a recent Thursday, Henderson residents Brian Rideout and Jonathan Dickson are headed out on the Ohio River.  The men are on the hunt for Asian carp which Rideout had never heard of until about five years ago when some friends invited him to go bow fishing. 

"The first time they took me out, in 30 minutes, we’d already seen over a hundred fish that were over 30 pounds," said Rideout.

Asian carp aren’t supposed to be here.  Farmers brought them to the U.S. in the 1970s for algae control in their ponds, but the species eventually escaped into the Mississippi River and its tributaries. 

Asian carp have become a real menace.  Rideout says the fish are reproducing at alarming rates.  One large adult has the ability to produce up to one million eggs a year.

"The thing that’s so unique about these fish is how quickly they populate," Rideout stated.  "The fish have spread tremendously from all the tributaries around the Mississippi River basin to right here in Henderson where we have more than we know what to do with.”

Asian carp also eat too much and that threatens native fish, such as crappy, blue gill, and catfish.

"These type of fish go after, as we’re told by marine biologists, the plankton in the water, zoo plankton and phyto plankton, and that’s what the smaller, domestic fish feed off of," explained Rideout.

The fish can consume up to 25 percent of their weight a day.  Asian carp also don’t have a natural predator.

Judge Orders Kentucky Clerk to Issue Gay Marriage Licenses

Aug 13, 2015

A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same sex-couples.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was one of a handful of local elected officials across the country that stopped issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in June. She said issuing a marriage license to a gay couple would violate her Christian beliefs and argued the U.S. Constitution protected her religious freedoms.

Two gay couples and two straight couples in Rowan County sued her, asking a federal judge to order her to issue marriage licenses. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled Wednesday the couples should not be forced to travel to another county to get a marriage licenses. He said Davis should perform her assigned duties.

Kentucky firefighters have been dispatched to help combat wildfires in Washington, California and North Carolina.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says it sent 14 firefighters to be part of a 20-person crew fighting a fire in North Carolina.

Five KDF firefighters left on Aug. 1 to help deal with a fire in northern California.

Two other Kentucky firefighters were sent out west, one to deal with a fire in Washington and the other to help with another blaze in California.

State officials say that as Kentucky's fall fire hazard season begins Oct. 1, this might be the last opportunity for Kentucky to send aid to other states.

City Moves Forward with Lawsuit Against State Auditor

Aug 11, 2015

Although officials in Somerset are divided over a lawsuit challenging the authority of the state auditor to perform special investigations, the legal action will move forward.

City attorney Carrie Wiese said during a meeting on Monday that City Council members approved the action months ago.

Her comments came after Councilman Pat Bourne made a motion to drop the complaint saying it was unwarranted. Mayor Eddie Girdler ruled the motion out of order and a vote wasn't taken.

Media report the complaint was filed July 31 after the city received a preliminary copy of an audit that cited several issues, including problems in the city's bidding process.

Kentucky League of Cities deputy director J.D. Chaney told the Lexington Herald-Leader that while state law does not explicitly authorize special municipal exams, it strongly implies the auditor can perform such work.

Crews Searching for Man at Barren River Lake

Aug 11, 2015
Kentucky Department of Parks

Crews are searching Barren River Lake for a man who went underwater while swimming and didn't resurface.

Glasgow-Barren County Emergency Management Director Tracy Shirley told media that the man was reported missing Sunday while cliff diving with friends at an area known as the Narrows.

Meanwhile, the bodies of two other men reported missing in waterways in the region over the last few days have been recovered.

The Daily News in Bowling Green reports 59-year-old Joe Hartman was pulled on Monday from Nolin Lake. Deputy Grayson County Coroner Larry Holeman said it appears he lost his balance and fell from his boat.

On Sunday, crews pulled the body of 42-year-old Phillip Leedy of Bowling Green from the Green River, where he had been canoeing.

The Tennessee prison system is at a capacity level that could allow the governor to declare an overcrowding emergency, giving him and other state officials the power to reduce the number of inmates to a lower level, according to data obtained by The Tennessean.

As of June 30, the prison system was operating at 98.5 percent capacity, with 95.1 percent of total beds filled. State law says if the in-house prison capacity exceeds 95 percent for more than 30 days, the commissioner can ask the governor to declare an overcrowding emergency.

Tennessee Department of Corrections spokeswoman Neysa Taylor says the department isn't required to declare an emergency based on current data.

Gov. Bill Haslam has said recently that prisons should operate near full capacity.

Efforts are underway to make Elizabethtown the ninth Kentucky city with a fairness ordinance.

The city council will hear a presentation later this month from the Fairness Campaign. Director Chris Hartman says a similar effort failed three years ago, but he’s still optimistic.

"Often times it is a tough road to convince elected officials to pick up what they imagine is a controversial issue," Hartman said.  "It's a different city council than the one in place in 2012 so we expect the response might be different now."

The ordinance would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accomodations based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Midway became the most recent city to approve a fairness ordinance in June.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Killed in Crash

Aug 7, 2015

Kentucky State Police say a trooper has been killed after crashing on a rain-soaked roadway in the central part of the state.

Police said in a statement that 42-year-old Sgt. David Gibbs of Campbellsville lost control of his cruiser while going around a sharp curve on Kentucky 210 Friday morning in LaRue County, near the Green County line.

The statement said Gibbs' vehicle traveled into the oncoming lane, where it was hit by a Jeep driven by 63-year-old Patrick Judd of Louisville. Judd was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The LaRue County coroner pronounced Gibbs dead at the scene.

Kentucky State Police say weather conditions contributed to the crash, which remains under investigation.

State transportation officials say the highway is expected to be closed the rest of the day.

Update 8/10 5:54 a.m.

Services have been set for a Kentucky State Police sergeant killed in a crash.  

42-year-old Sergeant David Gibbs, of Campbellsville, died on Friday after an accident on a slick roadway.  

His visitation will held today beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Visitation will begin again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. with services following at 1:00 p.m.  

Visitation will be held at Brown Funeral Home and services will take place at the Severns Valley Baptist Church, both in Elizabethtown.

A Kentucky man has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Top Ten Most Wanted List.

Authorities are searching for Benjamin Brewer of London, KY.  He is wanted in connection with a DUI crash that happened near Chattanooga in June that killed six people.

Police say he was driving an 18-wheeler that crashed into vehicles that were stopped in a construction zone.

The indictment against Brewer was handed up earlier this week.

Update 8/10 6:12 a.m.

Police in Kentucky have arrested a truck driver accused of causing a multi-vehicle crash that killed six people at a construction zone near Chattanooga.

   Benjamin Scott Brewer was arrested Friday night in Lexington after being indicted this week on six counts of vehicular homicide.

   Lexington Police say the 39-year-old Brewer was found in a parking lot around 8:30 p.m.

   Sgt. Joe Anderson says Brewer tried to kick out a window when he was put into a police cruiser. He will be jailed in Lexington until he can be extradited to Tennessee.

   His arrest came a day after he made Tennessee's "Top 10 Most Wanted" list.

   Federal investigators say Brewer had been driving for 15 consecutive hours before the June 25 crash on Interstate 75.

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

Kentucky State Police have charged 45-year-old Michael Jack Higgs of Grants Pass, Oregon with third degree use of a weapon of mass destruction after an explosive device was found in his car Thursday morning during a traffic stop. The device was rendered safe by KSP personnel. 

The incident closed Interstate 24 in Lyon County for hours. Both west and eastbound lanes reopened to normal traffic before 1:30 p.m.

Updated at 9:20 p.m.

Three people were slightly injured at a movie theater in Antioch, Tenn., Wednesday in an attack by a man, who police say had a hatchet, pepper spray and a pellet gun. Officials identify the man as Vincente David Montano, 29, of Nashville. He was fatally shot by police.

Murfreesboro, Tenn., police say Montano was arrested there in 2004 and had four commitments for psychological incidents in 2004 and 2007. Murfreesboro police had considered him a missing person since Monday.