News in Brief

US employers add solid 280k jobs, rate inches up to 5.5 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a solid 280,000 jobs in May, showing that the economy is back on track after starting 2015 in a slump.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in April. The strong job growth suggests that employers remained confident enough to keep hiring even after the economy shrank during the first three months of the year.

Workers found jobs at an average pace of 207,000 over the past three months, a decent gain though down from last year’s average of 263,667.

Construction firms and the health care industry drove job growth, while cheaper oil prices led the energy sector to shed workers for the fifth straight month.

Average hourly wages in May rose only 2.3 percent from a year earlier.


Girl, 11, dies after crashing ATV in her yard

FANCY FARM (AP) — An 11-year-old western Kentucky girl has died after being injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident in her yard.

The Paducah Sun reports that Sidney Erwin of Fancy Farm, Kentucky, died Wednesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to the Graves County Sheriff’s Office, Erwin had been riding the ATV earlier that day when she lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree, causing the ATV to flip over.

Deputies say Erwin was rushed to a local hospital and later flown to Vanderbilt.

Authorities say Erwin was wearing a helmet and was riding the ATV under parental supervision when the accident occurred.


Judge rules ex-lawmaker’s estranged wife can’t testify

LEXINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a former lawmaker’s estranged wife won’t be allowed to testify at his trial about a conversation with him because of spousal privilege.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports U.S. District Chief Judge Karen Caldwell said at a motion hearing Thursday in Lexington that if former state Rep. Keith Hall’s case goes to trial, the jury won’t hear Stephanie Hall testify about a 2010 conversation in which she said he told her he was paying money to the state mine inspector assigned to his coal mines.

Prosecutors say Keith Hall paid about $46,000 in bribes to Kelly Shortridge, who was then a state mine inspector. Shortridge, who pleaded guilty in March, has said he agreed to ignore violations at Hall’s mines in Pike County.


Tourists being welcomed to Noah’s Ark attraction site

PETERSBURG (AP) — The Christian ministry building an attraction based on the huge ark that was built in the biblical story of Noah is inviting the public to the construction site in central Kentucky.

Answers in Genesis says tourists can come and watch the work going on at the site in Grant County. Workers have completed the foundation and wood for the giant ark is beginning to arrive at the site.

A viewing spot has been set up in the area. Answers in Genesis is charging $20 per vehicle or $10 for members of its nearby Creation Museum in Petersburg.

The Christian group is currently suing state officials over the loss of a tourism incentive that was denied for the $70 million ark project.

The attraction is scheduled to open next year.


Ex-sheriff convicted of witness tampering reports to prison

GLASGOW (AP) — A former south-central Kentucky sheriff has reported to prison after a federal appeals court confirmed his conviction on two counts of witness tampering.

The Glasgow Daily Times reports former Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton was in custody Thursday at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, Louisiana, where he will serve an 18-month sentence.

A federal jury in Bowling Green convicted Eaton in 2013 of directing two deputies to write false incident reports for the FBI. Federal investigators were probing accusations of civil rights violations during a 2010 arrest.

Eaton was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley allowed him to remain free on bond while appealing the verdict.

Eaton, who has maintained his innocence, resigned as sheriff on the eve of his sentencing.


Prosecutor suspended due to discriminatory remarks

LOUISVILLE (AP) — An assistant county attorney who previously received a reprimand for deriding Korean-Americans as “foreigners” has been suspended without pay.

Multiple news sources report Jefferson County prosecutor Karl Price was suspended Thursday after a review of arraignments in April and May.

In arraignment court, Price was documented making fun of crime victims, women, immigrants, disabled people, and even African Americans, even though Price himself is black.

Jefferson County attorney Mike O’Connell recently reprimanded Price for a letter he sent to a Korean family concerning a contract dispute with Hwang’s Martial Arts Academy. On Tuesday, O’Connell had ordered that Price undergo sensitivity training.


Ground is broken on Four Roses expansion in Lawrenceburg

LAWRENCEBURG (AP) — Officials have broken ground on an expansion at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg and announced an expansion of warehouse facilities in Bullitt County.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says the expansion in Anderson County involves a $34 million investment as Four Roses adds two new buildings and new equipment, doubling the size of the distillery and annual production. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2018 and to add 15 new jobs.

Five more jobs will be added in a $21 million investment as Four Roses builds four new warehouses at the company’s facility in Cox’s Creek. The new warehouses are expected to be operational by 2022.

Four Roses previously announced plans to build a new bottling facility in Bullitt County, expected to be running by spring 2018.

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