Regional

A former Buffalo Trace Distillery guard pleaded guilty today to aiding a theft ring that allegedly sold thousands of bottles of bourbon illegally.

Thirty-five year old Leslie Wright of Frankfort is accused of taking payments from members of a crime syndicate in exchange for allowing them to steal 11 barrels of bourbon from Buffalo Trace.

The Courier-Journal reports Wright has agreed to a plea deal that could allow her to avoid jail time. She has agreed to testify against others, and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of facilitation to receive stolen property over $10,000.

Wright is one of ten people charged in what prosecutors have described as an organized effort to steal and sell bourbon and steroids. Nine others were indicted in April, including a Buffalo Trace employee accused of running the operation since 2008.

Office of Rep. Rogers

Congressman Hal Rogers says a suspension of federal disability benefits for 900 recipients in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia is being lifted.

The Somerset Republican says he urged Social Security Administration officials this week to lift the suspension, saying the benefit payments were a matter of "life and death" for residents in the region. The Social Security Administration has said it is in the process of “redetermining” benefits for 1,500 people represented by a Kentucky attorney who was under investigation for suspected fraud.

Benefits were recently suspended for 900 of those people before Rogers intervened.

Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a conference call Thursday that the disability recipients were "innocent bystanders" to the alleged fraud conspiracy.

Lisa Autry

The two surviving members of a 2014 Muhlenberg County house fire are filing a lawsuit against a construction company.

The fire killed LaRae Watson and eight of her children after an electric heater ignited combustible materials inside the home. Chad Watson and his daughter, Kylie, are suing Owensboro-based Jagoe Homes, claiming the company hasn’t fulfilled its promise to build the Watsons a new home at no cost.

The lawsuit was first reported by WFIE-14 TV in Evansville. The suit claims the Watsons suffered “severe emotional harm and distress” when they didn’t receive the home they say they were promised.

Owensboro attorney Travis Holtrey is representing Jagoe Homes, and says a response to the lawsuit will be filed soon.

“We have full confidence that after that answer is filed, and after the matter is presented in the proper format, it will be determined that Jagoe Homes did not violate any law," he told WKU Public Radio Wednesday.

Holtrey wouldn't comment on whether or not Jagoe had made a promise regarding the building of a new home for the Watsons.

Kentucky State Police investigators are asking the public for information related to a Logan County arson case.

The fire that destroyed a residence on Spring Street in Auburn has been ruled intentional by the Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Anyone with information related to case is asked to contact the state’s Arson Task Force at 1-800-27-ARSON.

More Charges Expected Against Barbour

Jun 3, 2015

A news release from the Barren County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office indicates charges will be filed against Anthony Barbour for the death of Laynee Wallace. The release says the investigation is still open and plans are to present charges against Barbour to a grand jury at their next meeting at the end of the month.

WBKO-TV quotes unnamed sources as saying police were back at the farm owned by the Barbour family Tuesday afternoon. Two year old Laynee's body was found in a well near there last month.

Barbour is being held in the Barren County jail under a $1 million bond on charges of kidnapping, burglary and resisting arrest for his actions leading up to the discovery of Laynee's body.

Autopsy results on the child are expected in four to six weeks.

The owner of the Bowling Green Hot Rods is in final negotiations to take over development of the commercial wrap of the downtown parking garage. 

Jerry Katzoff laid out his plans to the Warren County Fiscal Court on Tuesday.

Katzoff, who has experience in real estate and restaurants, said he wants to reopen the famed Mariah’s restaurant and possibly the 643 sports bar.

"I think five restaurants in this small town and in the same market is tough," Katzoff told WKU Public Radio.  "I think a sports bar and a family-oriented restaurant could work really well around the stadium."

Katzoff believes Mariah’s can reopen in the next month.  He envisions the other restaurants being replaced with new tenants.  Katzoff is considering retail offices, apartments, and condominiums.

Financial problems closed the restaurants in recent months and resulted in liens on the property, although a settlement agreement has been reached. 

Once Katzoff takes over development of the wrap, Hitcents Park Plaza would be renamed Stadium Park Plaza.

An on-site medical clinic for Bowling Green city employees and their family members is expected to open by the end of this year. 

Funding for the clinic is included in a nearly $103 million budget for next fiscal year.  City commissioners will hear first reading of the budget Tuesday.  A second vote is required for passage. 

Brentwood, Tennessee-based CareHere would manage the clinic that would be staffed initially with a part-time physician.  Human Resources Director Mike Grubbs said the city could save up to $700,000 over three years.

"The primary purpose of this is obviously to save the city money, but a side benefit is that it will save the employees some money," Grubbs told WKU Public Radio.  "One way to attract employees to go is that there's no copay."

The clinic would be located in the city hall annex.  Similar clinics are run by a few local governments in northern Kentucky, which Grubbs says, have resulted in savings for those cities.

The man considered a suspect in the death of a two-year-old Monroe County girl was in court Monday. 

Anthony Barbour pleaded not guilty in Barren Circuit Court to charges of kidnapping, burglary, and resisting arrest.  His bond was set at $1 million. 

Barbour allegedly broke into the Monroe County home of Brenda Woods on May 25 and forced her at gunpoint to drive him to an unknown location.  He was arrested the next day during a traffic stop.  At the time, Barbour was wanted in the disappearance of two-year-old Laynee Wallace, the daughter of his girlfriend. 

The toddler was found dead in a well not far from her Monroe County home.  So far, Barbour has not been charged in Laynee’s disappearance or death.  Autopsy results on the child are expected in four to six weeks.

The former Glasgow police chief is suing the city and the interim chief.

Guy Turcotte stepped down from the police chief position at the end of 2014 and was appointed to another post within the department by then-Mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman. Her successor, Dick Doty, appointed officer James Duff as interim police chief, with a search currently underway for a permanent successor.

The Glasgow Daily-Times reports that Turcotte claims in his suit that he has been subjected to unfounded criticism, micromanagement, harassment, and belittlement. Turcotte claims that despite being one of the highest-paid officers on the force, he has been treated like a “rookie police officer.”

A statement released by Glasgow city attorney Rich Alexander said the city welcomed the scrutiny that will now be placed on Turcotte’s employment history, and that the former police chief will "be required to explain his actions and conduct relative to the Glasgow Police Department.”

"The city is confident in its position and perhaps these recurring issues will be finally resolved and the police department can then get on with the business of protecting and serving its citizens," the statement concluded.

A Monroe County man is facing multiple charges for allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter.

However, Anthony Barbour has not been charged in the toddler's murder. 

The body of Laynee Wallace was found Monday in a Barren County well not far from where she went missing May 17. 

The girl and her mother lived with Barbour in his home near the Barren-Monroe county line. Barbour was arrested Monday afternoon during a traffic stop.

Barbour is charged with custodial interference, kidnapping, burglary, and resisting arrest. He also had two outstanding warrants from Barren County for theft by deception. 

An autopsy was performed Tuesday on Laynee Wallace and the results are still pending. 

Kentucky State Police say additional charges related to the case are anticipated.  He is being held at the Barren County Detention Center.

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