Regional

A commercial vehicle crash has closed I-65 Northbound near Mile Point 73 between Bonnieville and Sonora. 

Motorist are being detoured off at Exit 71 via 728 to KY 357 to continue north.   Temporary detour signs are installed to direct motorists back to I-65. 

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the estimated time for the closure is 3-4 hours.

Traffic is very heavy.  Please consider an alternate route in advance of Exit 71.

Union workers at a western Kentucky aluminum smelter have ratified a new contract which ends a month-long work stoppage. 

About 560 employees of Century Aluminum have been locked out of the Hawesville plant because of a contract dispute between Century and the United Steelworkers Local 9423.  

The union posted on its website that its members voted 68 percent in favor of the five-year agreement on Thursday.  The contract includes pay raises and fixed insurance premiums, among other things. 

Union members will report back to work at the plant Monday morning.

Death Row Inmates Lose Appeal Challenging Clemency System

Jun 11, 2015

Two men awaiting execution in Kentucky have lost their appeal challenging the clemency powers given to the governor.

Robert Foley and Ralph Baze claim the governor's absolute clemency authority violates their due-process rights. Kentucky's Supreme Court rejected their argument in a unanimous ruling Thursday.

The two condemned inmates claim most states require clemency hearings. In Kentucky, no recommendations or hearings are needed for the governor to decide whether someone should not be put to death. Foley and Baze say that could lead to arbitrary life-and-death decisions.

In writing for the court, Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson said the presumption is the governor would abide by state and federal constitutional requirements when deciding on requests by inmates for a commutation or pardon.

Foley and Baze are awaiting execution for multiple killings.

A tentative agreement has been reached to end a work stoppage at a western Kentucky aluminum smelter. 

About 560 employees of Century Aluminum have been locked out of the Hawesville plant for nearly a month because of a contract dispute between Century and the United Steelworkers Local 9423.  A previous labor contract expired in April followed by several rounds of failed negotiations. 

In a news release, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service says an agreement was reached with the help of federal mediators.  The agency declined to comment on details of the agreement. 

Union members will vote on the agreement Thursday.

The attorney for a former Pulaski County preacher charged with three counts of murder has withdrawn from the case.

Attorney Bethany Stanziano filed a motion on Monday, saying she was not in the state of mind to provide effective assistance in the wake of her husband's fatal shooting a year ago.

Public defender Sandra Downs replaces Stanziano and Brad Coffman as the attorney for 49-year-old Kenneth A. Keith.

Keith is accused of shooting and killing three people in 2013 at a Danville pawn shop. He could face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Stanziano took over Keith's defense after her husband, lawyer Mark Stanziano, was killed outside of his Somerset office last June.

Bethany Stanziano also cited her lack of experience in death penalty cases.

Fifteen sites have been approved in Kentucky for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and the National Park Service will consider the nominations for eligibility.

The Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board approved the sites late last month. A decision on their designation is expected in 60 to 90 days.

The sites approved were W.G. Swann Tobacco Co. in Murray, C.A. Baldwin Farmstead in Christian County, Peabody-Fordson Historic District in Clay County, Kentucky Buggy Co. in Owensboro, Roscoe Goose House in Louisville, First Vineyard in Jessamine County, Frank Duveneck House and Studio in Covington, Gardner Farmstead in Magoffin County, Stearns Golf Course in McCreary County, Ceralvo Masonic Hall and School in Ohio County and Versailles Elementary School.

The Charles M. Moore Insurance Co. in Bowling Green and a multiple-property nomination for houses of architect James Ingram in Bowling Green rounded out the list.

Abbey Oldham

Work crews are prepping the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green for reopening in July. 

Construction began last November in an area where eight prized cars fell into a massive sinkhole in February 2014. 

The hole was filled with crushed limestone and flooring supports were added underneath to prevent future collapses.

"If there were ever a future collapse of any kind, the floor is not going to go anywhere, it will stay in place," says NCM Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.  "After that, they've been installing guardrail around the perimeter of room, cleaning, and painting."

The $5 million project converted the Skydome from two levels to one and added more display space. 

Once complete, all eight Corvettes will return to the Skydome.  Three of the cars were restored by General Motors.  The other five were too mangled for restoration.

A new sinkhole exhibit will open in the fall.

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.

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