News Around the State

Ky. road crews starting fight against weeds

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — It’s a sign of spring in Kentucky — crews are being mobilized across the state to control the spread of weeds along state highways.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says crews will begin treating for noxious and nuisance weeds this month to control their spread along state highway rights of way. The cabinet says it targets Johnson grass, giant foxtail, Canada thistle, kudzu and other weeds.

Left uncontrolled, noxious weeds can grow so large that they interfere with a driver’s line of vision on highways. They can also damage pavement and embankments and clog ditches, causing drainage problems. Noxious weeds often invade and destroy the roadside turf grass, leaving these areas vulnerable to erosion.

Areas of Appalachia see up to 15 inches of snow

(AP) — Snow has blanketed areas of West Virginia and Kentucky, causing slick roads, school closures and power outages.

National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Edwards early morning snow showers on Monday dropped as much as 15 inches in a narrow band stretching from central Kentucky through southern West Virginia. Edwards said outside that band, other areas of southern West Virginia saw 1-4 inches of snow.

He says most snow showers should taper off by afternoon and temperatures are expected to rise above freezing in most of West Virginia. He says the snow likely won’t stick around for long because “the March sun will melt things off pretty quick.”

Meanwhile, National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Moulton says higher elevations of eastern Tennessee are expected to get 1-3 inches of snow.

Wife of lawmaker who killed himself withdraws from election

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The wife of a former Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself after facing sexual assault allegations has withdrawn from the GOP primary.

Rebecca Johnson says she made the decision to spend more time with her family and her ministry after “much prayer and deliberation.” Johnson had been trying to win the seat once held by her husband, Dan Johnson.

Kentucky secretary of state’s office spokesman Bradford Queen says Johnson’s name will still appear on the May 22 primary ballot, but any votes for her will not be counted. Thomas Huff is now the only Republican candidate in the race.

Rebecca Johnson was the GOP nominee in a special election last month to fulfill the remainder of Dan Johnson’s term. But she lost to Democrat Linda Belcher by nearly 37 percentage points.

Implosion: Tallest building in state’s capital demolished

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The tallest building in Kentucky’s capital city came crashing down in a controlled implosion Sunday, delighting thousands of onlookers who quickly scurried away to avoid the dust cloud that billowed overhead.

Sunday’s demolition of the 28-story Capital Plaza Tower will make way for a new modern five-story office building and its 1,100-spot parking garage. The tower opened in 1972 as a state office building and closed in 2016.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin did not push the ceremonial plunger to start the demolition. Instead, he auctioned off that right on eBay, with all proceeds going to benefit a charity started by his wife. The #WeAreKY Foundation supports the state’s foster children. It has no paid staff, and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission said it is not a conflict for Bevin to raise money for charity this way.

“It’s amazing that even as we are here to see a building come down, the dollars that are being generated in some measure from this are helping to build families up,” Bevin told the crowd shortly before the demolition.

The winning bid of $15,000 came from a Shelbyville resident, A.J. Stivers, who owns a company that provides on-site vision and hearing exams at schools across Kentucky.

Crosses hung from billboard advertising gun show

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Seventeen crosses with the names and ages of the victims killed in last month’s Florida school massacre have been hung from a Kentucky billboard advertising a gun show.

The Courier Journal reports it’s unclear who placed the white crosses on the front edge of the billboard advertising the gun show that occurred at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville in late February. The billboard along Interstate 65 shows a man holding two guns.

A spokeswoman for billboard owner Outfront Media said Sunday the crosses would be removed.

The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people. A 19-year-old former student has been charged in the shootings.

4 victims of mobile home fire identified

MORGANFIELD, Ky. (AP) — Authorities have identified four people who died in a mobile home fire in Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King said the fire was reported around noon Friday in Morganfield in western Kentucky. King said on Twitter Saturday that those killed were 40-year-old Brandy Hinson, 21-year-old Brennan Hinson, 21-year-old Mikaylin Price and 21-month-old Branson Scott Hinson.

All four victims were from Morganfield, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Evansville, Indiana.

King said investigators were checking to make sure no foul play was involved but there was nothing to indicate anything suspicious. The fire’s cause is under investigation.

City agrees to pay exonerated man $7.5 million

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A man who filed suit against a Kentucky city for wrongful arrest and imprisonment after being exonerated of murder has reached a settlement for $7.5 million.

Attorneys for Kerry Porter, who spent 11 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted in the slaying of Tyrone Camp, said in a statement Monday that the settlement against the city of Louisville was recently finalized.

The lawsuit said officers wrongfully conspired to convict Porter in 1996 by fabricating evidence, using improper identification procedures and hiding evidence that would have cleared him.

Josh Abner, a spokesman for the county attorney’s office in Jefferson County, told the Courier Journal that the settlement was finalized last week. He said there was no admission of liability.

The slaying remains unsolved.