7:37 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Arkansas Pastor is New Southern Baptist President

An Arkansas megachurch pastor is the new president of the Southern Baptist convention. The Rev. Ronnie Floyd received 52% of votes from delegates to the annual meeting of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Floyd beat out the Rev. Dennis Kim, the Korean-American pastor of a bilingual Maryland church, who received 41% of the vote. Floyd has been pastor at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas for 27 years. About 8,500 people worship each week at one of the church's several locations. He was nominated by the powerful head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Rev.  Albert Mohler.

Mohler told the crowd of 5,000 meeting in Baltimore that Floyd is the person who can lead the Nashville-based denomination at a time of "horrifying moral rebellion" in the nation.

7:22 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Pension Board To Discuss Bankruptcy Ruling

The Kentucky Retirement System Board of Directors will have a private meeting today to discuss a recent bankruptcy ruling that could threaten the financial future of the system and its 300,000 participants.

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled last month that "Seven Counties", a private community mental health center that has filed for bankruptcy, is free to leave the Kentucky Employees Retirement System. State officials fear the decision will allow other community mental health centers to also leave the system and require taxpayers to cover the cost.

The Kentucky Employees Retirement System is the worst funded major public pension system in the country, according to Fitch Ratings, with an unfunded liability of $17.1 billion.

4:46 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Arnold Appeals Commission's Verdict on Sexual Harassment Claims

Former State Rep. John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador

Former Kentucky state Rep. John Arnold has filed an appeal in an ethics case in which he was found guilty of abusing his office by sexually harassing three female state House employees.

Arnold’s attorney filed an appeal in Franklin Circuit Court on Monday asking a judge to rescind a public reprimand and $3,000 in fines levied against the former lawmaker by a state ethics panel last month.

The appeal claims that the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission acted outside of its jurisdiction when it ruled against Arnold because he was not a sitting member of the legislature at the time of the trial.

3:45 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Kentucky Officials Expect Budget Shortfall

Kentucky officials said Tuesday the state will likely end the 2014 fiscal year with a multimillion-dollar shortfall.

Gov. Steve Beshear will have to make budget cuts to balance the budget. House budget chairman Rep. Rick Rand said the governor would likely not call the legislature back for a special session.

State officials won't know the size of the shortfall until next month. But with state revenues falling 2.1 percent in May, Kentucky would need an 11.7 percent increase in June to avoid a shortfall. The fiscal year ends June 30.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell blamed the shortfall on individual income tax collections. The state's largest source of revenue has grown by 0.5 percent this year. State officials expected it to grow by 2.4 percent.

1:40 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Former Therapist at Barren County Clinic Pleads Guilty to Theft, Fraud

A former co-owner of a Barren County mental health treatment center has pleaded guilty to theft and fraud. 

Earlier this year, a Barren County grand jury indicted 36-year-old Jeremy Catron on charges of unlawful taking over $10,000 and engaging in a scheme to defraud the Kentucky Medicaid program.  Catron pleaded guilty Monday to both charges. 

Catron is the former co-owner of Alliance Counseling Associates.  As a therapist, Catron submitted claims to Medicaid for services that were not performed. 

At sentencing in July, prosecutors from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office will recommend five years of probation on the condition Catron pays more than $24,000 in restitution to the Medicaid program.

1:15 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Trial Date Set for Ex-Sheriff of Simpson County

Former Simpson County Sheriff Chris Cline will go on trial next February 3 on charges that he illegally obtained prescription drugs. 

The Daily News reports Cline entered Warren Circuit Court Monday for a pre-trial conference wearing a neckbrace and walking with a cane.  Attorney Alan Simpson contends his client suffers work-related health problems dating back to his time as a state trooper. 

Cline is charged with 41 counts of obtaining or attempting to obatin controlled substances by fraud.  He resigned from the sheriff’s post in last December, citing medical reasons.

12:32 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Report: Grimes Did Not Talk Coal in DC Speech

Credit Office of Sec. Grimes

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes did not mention coal in a speech at a Washington fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to a recording obtained by Politico.
Grimes' campaign said last week she planned to use the event to demand the Senate take action to invest in clean coal technology. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign criticized Grimes for not mentioning coal and questioned her commitment to the state's coal industry.

Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton said Grimes did not break her promise because she spoke to Reid privately about the issue. Reid said in a statement that Grimes has spoken with him many times about her opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's new emission standards for coal-fired power plants.

9:19 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Danville Approves Gay Rights Ordinance

The Danville City Commission has approved a gay rights ordinance, though it includes an exemption for religious organizations.

Media report officials voted 4-1 on Monday in favor of the ordinance that makes it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It was the seventh city in the state to approve such a measure.

Despite some objections, officials adopted the amended version that includes an exemption for "faith-based" institutions after Sunrise Children's Services said it would move its child care center out of Danville without one.

The Baptist-affiliated agency receives a significant portion of its funding from the government, but it refuses gay job applicants.

The ordinance will become law after it is published by the local newspaper.

3:47 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Black Bear Sightings Reported in South Central Kentucky

Credit Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

If you live in south central Kentucky and recently thought you saw a black bear, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. They are, in fact, roaming the region but one expert says it’s perfectly normal.

"This is the time of year when young bears are getting kicked out of the nest and striking out on their own.  Probably what people are seeing are young male bears, 110-130 pounds, and a year-and-a-half old," explains Mark Marraccini with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Black bears are more common in eastern Kentucky, but sightings are becoming more common in other parts of the state. Marraccini adds that the bears are likely traveling north from Tennessee.

There have been recent sightings in Allen and Logan counties. 

Bears tend to have a natural fear of people, and if left alone, they pose no risk to humans. Kentucky law prohibits feeding bears.

"Don't do things to cause these bears to become nuisance bears, let them be wild bears. Kentucky has plenty of cover and natural foods for bears to sustain themselves and they will do so," adds Marraccini.  "People have a tendency to want to feed them to hold them in an area because they enjoy watching them, and that's understandable, but it's easy for them to see people as an easy source of food handouts and then start ignoring their native foods, the forest foods."

When bears become a nuisance, Fish and Wildlife officials have to step in, which most often, results in euthanasia. 

1:26 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Four Tennessee VA Facilities Face Added Scrutiny

Veterans Affairs facilities in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and McMinnville have been flagged for further review following a nationwide audit of the agency's troubled appointment process.

The audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics around the country found that a 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA has since abandoned that goal.

Tennessee facilities in Memphis, Johnson City and Nashville were unable to schedule appointments within 30 days for about 7,000 veterans, or 3 percent of the total. 

Revelations of long wait times and falsified records forced the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki last month.