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Flickr/Creative Commons/Daniel Wetzel

A Medal of Honor winner is seeking joint custody of the child he had out of wedlock with Bristol Palin, a former reality television personality and daughter of 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Dakota Meyer filed a lawsuit against Bristol Palin in Alaska Superior Court on Monday seeking joint custody of their child, Sailor Grace Palin. The child was born Dec. 23.

Meyer, a former marine living in Greensburg, Kentucky, was engaged to Palin, and the wedding was abruptly called off a week before it was to have been held last May.

Meyer is seeking joint custody and shared physical custody of the child. His lawyer, Kimberlee Colbo of Anchorage, says he wants to be a part of his daughter's life.

Attempts to reach a spokesman for Palin, who was twice on "Dancing with the Stars" and had her own reality show on cable, weren't immediately successful.

Fort Knox

The aging Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox is being replaced with a new medical clinic.  It’s one of several wins for the Hardin County post contained  in the latest defense bill passed by Congress.

During a visit to Fort Knox Tuesday, Senator Mitch McConnell announced $80 million in federal funding for the project.  The current hospital was built nearly 60 years ago, making it one of the oldest in the Army.  Area residents had been advocating for a new facility for several years, including retired army officer Bob Roush.

"We've grown exponentially in size and number of retirees in the community, and Fort Knox continues to have a good population of active duty soldiers," Roush told WKU Public Radio.

Fort Knox is home to more than 40,000 service members, their families, and army civilians who rely on the hospital for their medical care. 

Other improvements are coming to Fort Knox.  The recently approved National Defense Authorization Act also contains $23 million for school renovations on the post.

Washington’s top Republican is warning against pulling all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky spoke at Fort Knox Tuesday.

Senator McConnell urged President Obama not to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan like he did in Iraq.  After visiting the country twice last year, McConnell said it was the wrong decision for American soldiers to leave Iraq entirely.  He added history shows that keeping a residual force in a country following combat leads to more stability.

"Look at Germany today.  Look at Japan today.  Look at Korea today," remarked McConnell.  "I hope the president won't make the mistake in Afghanistan that he made in Iraq, which was leaving entirely, and we've seen the results of that."

Senator McConnell said coming home will reverse the gains made in Afghanistan over the past 14 years.  He suggested that 10,000 to 15,000 American troops need to stay there to provide more training to the local military and to confront the ongoing threat of what he called “radical Islamic terrorism.” 

Last fall, President Obama announced plans to keep 9,8000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through most of this year, before dropping the number to 5,500 in late 2016.

Lisa Autry

Tennessee will soon maintain an online registry of convicted animal abusers. 

The effort will start January 1 and will be similar to a sex offender registry where people can check to see if they live near someone who has harmed animals. 

Spokeswoman Amber Mullins with  the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley says the registry also gives shelters more information in the adoption process.

"This registry will be an extra step in making sure the animals we have are going to the best homes possible," Mullins told WKU Public Radio.

Mullins says the registry may help communities on a larger scale since there is often a link between animal abuse and human violence.

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill this year that created the animal abuse registry, the first of its kind in the country.  First-time offenders will remain on the list for two years, while the names of multiple offenders will stay on the registry for five years.

The state auditor’s office has completed its investigation of a commercial development in downtown Bowling Green. 

The audit released Tuesday shows that a lack of oversight fueled many of the project’s problems.

The audit said both the city and county failed to properly oversee the project that included businesses in a part of the downtown parking garage formerly known as Hitcents Park Plaza. 

The development has created a host of legal and financial troubles, including lawsuits and liens on the property. 

The audit found that lack of oversight and confusing contracts helped create a $4.5 million deficit.  The report also cited the developer’s lack of experience in construction and the use of funds for expenses not permitted by project agreements. 

The audit did not reveal whether any of the issues were criminal in nature.

Coal Industry on Track for Record Low in Mining Deaths

Dec 29, 2015
Flickr/Creative Commons/John Karwoski

The U.S. coal industry is close to setting a record low for on-the-job deaths in coal mines.

There were 11 deaths in coal mines nationwide for the year by late December, putting the industry, which is mired in a period of layoffs and idled operations, on track to best the record low of 16 set in 2014.

Pennsylvania is leading the nation with three deaths, the most in that state since 2008. If the numbers hold it would be the first time since 2009 that West Virginia did not record the nation's most coal mine fatalities.

So far, West Virginia has had just two mining deaths, tied with Kentucky and Illinois, which had the most recent on Dec. 8. An equipment crash underground at the MC #1 mine in southern Illinois killed 20-year-old Tyler Rath, who had been mining for two years.

At a specially called meeting Tuesday night, the Bowling Green Daily News reports Butler County magistrates approved Sheriff Scottie Ward's 2016 budget. The move enabled Butler County's five deputies to be paid and ended a week-long work stoppage that the sheriff called a strike.

The deputies stopped patrolling last week when fiscal court tabled approval of the sheriff's budget and it wasn't clear when their next paychecks would be issued.  State regulations require the money for that paycheck must come from the 2016 budget.

WBKO-TV reports Butler County Judge-Executive David Fields opened the meeting by apologizing for the way things were handled last week.

The sheriff's half million dollar budget was approved last night 4 - 1, with fiscal court voting to add about $192,000.

Magistrate David Whittinghill, who moved to table the sheriff's budget last week, voted against it. He was quoted as saying the sheriff's department already gets enough money, including what the county pays in.

Interstate 65 southbound in Hart County will be closed for several hours starting Wednesday night for water drainage work.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the closure at mile point 67 will begin at 10 p.m. and continue through 6 a.m. Thursday.

Through traffic should use Exit 91 and take the westbound Western Kentucky Parkway to Exit 77A onto the southbound William Natcher Parkway, rejoining I-65 in Bowling Green.

Other traffic must use Exit 76 or Exit 71 to U.S. 31-W and rejoin I-65 in Munfordville. The cabinet advises not using exits before Exit 76 due to bridge work on U.S. 31-W that will cause additional delays.

After Butler County Sheriff Scottie Ward's budget was tabled until December 28 by the county's fiscal court Monday night, Ward said all his deputies will be on strike until a budget is approved. In a Facebook posting after the meeting, Ward wrote, "I'm truly sorry but I can't force my guys to put their life on the line for no money."

Ward said he gave each court member a copy of his budget to look over November 10th. But after an hour of questioning, a motion was made by court member David Whittinghill to table the document. Sheriff Ward called the meeting "a circus".

The sheriff's office will remain open to collect taxes and for court security.

Ward said he cut his budget five thousand dollars from last year and, still, no one in his department got a raise while all other Butler County employees got a 2% raise.

The sheriff, in a separate posting, also listed the home phone numbers for all fiscal court members and urged residents to call them to support the sheriff's department.

Lisa Autry

A Scottsville man charged with raping and killing a young girl was indicted Friday by a special grand jury in Allen County. 

Timothy Madden was formally charged with kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and murder in the death of seven-year-old Gabriella Doolin. Madden is scheduled to appear in Allen Circuit Court for arraignment on January 13.

Doolin’s body was found November 14 in a creek behind Allen County-Scottsville High School.  The cause of death was determined to be strangulation and drowning.  According to an arrest warrant, Madden’s DNA matched evidence recovered from Doolin’s body. 

Madden and the girl’s parents were acquaintances.

Police: Suspect Fatally Shot by Kentucky County Sheriff

Dec 10, 2015

Kentucky State Police have identified the law enforcement officer who fatally shot a suspect as a county sheriff.

In a statement on Thursday, state police said Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins shot 66-year-old Chris E. Higdon, who was advancing toward him and another officer with a firearm. The statement says Chaffins fired his weapon at Higdon three times.

Police said Chaffins and Maj. Corey Knochel responded to the home in Leitchfield on Wednesday afternoon after a domestic disturbance with a shot fired was reported.

Kentucky State Police say the shooting remains under investigation.

Arrest Made for Glasgow Car Dealership Thefts

Dec 9, 2015
Glasgow Police Department photo

A Cave City man, described as a "person of interest" in connection with seven car thefts from a Glasgow dealership, has been taken into custody in Allen County. Glasgow police say in a news release that 34 year old Kyle Joseph Mize is lodged in the Allen County Detention Center.

Glasgow police were originally called to Signature Motors on Happy Valley Road in Glasgow Tuesday morning to investigate a Monday night break-in and burglary there. An employee noticed one of the glass doors to the office had been broken out and the office had been ransacked.

Besides missing computers, printers, a fax machine, an air conditioner and a small amount of cash, an inventory showed seven vehicles missing from the lot. Three have now been recovered.

The Allen County Sheriff's Department received a call of a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Scottsville Tuesday evening. Mize was the driver. An information check showed the 2008 Infiniti G35 was one of the missing vehicles from Glasgow.

Mize was charged with receiving stolen property over $10,000. He'll be extradited back to Barren County for prosecution.

Science Hill Police Chief Robbie Gossett has been suspended from his position following a state indictment against him.

City commissioners voted three to two in favor of the suspension Saturday morning.

Gossett turned himself in to authorities Thursday after being indicted on two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property and two counts of abuse of public trust.

The indictment says Gossett obtained funds and property belonging to the city and failed to make the required disposition of them. The charges stem from incidents in 2008 and 2009 and involve totals of at least $10,000.

Gossett's attorney, Scott Foster, says the charges against his client don't make sense, calling him an honest man and the "pillar" of the Science Hill community in Pulaski County.

The Army is grounding all aircraft in active-duty units across the country for the next five days in order to review safety and training procedures in the wake of two deadly helicopter crashes over the past two weeks.

Gen. Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., ordered the safety stand-down Thursday. He said soldiers will review flight planning, operations standards, aircraft maintenance training and supervisory responsibilities in order to avoid any future accidents.

Two Army pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near Fort Campbell in rural Tennessee Wednesday evening. And four soldiers were killed early last week when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a routine training exercise at Fort Hood in Texas.

The cause has not been determined in either crash.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he's asking a Roman Catholic archdiocese to not bring a Syrian refugee family to the state.

Pence met for about an hour Wednesday at his Statehouse office with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin amid a dispute over the Republican governor's order blocking state agencies from assisting Syrian refugees bound for the state.

The archdiocese says it has a Syrian refugee family expected to arrive in Indiana later this month after a two-year vetting process.

Pence said after the meeting that in wake of the Paris attacks he can't justify the making an exception for the family. He pointed out that refugees from other countries have continued arriving in Indiana.

Tobin said he'll be considering what steps to take next.

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