News Around the State

Ky. has paid $2.6 million to relative caregivers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say they have paid $2.6 million to relatives taking care of children in state custody since November to comply with a federal court ruling.

A federal appeals court ruled last year Kentucky had to pay relatives caring for children in state custody just as they do foster parents. Since then, the state has received more than 23,100 inquiries from relatives seeking assistance. But the chief of staff for the Department for Community Based Services, Lesa Dennis, says most do not qualify for payments.

To qualify, children must have been in state custody and relatives cannot have permanent custody.

Kentucky stopped accepting people into its kinship care program in 2013. DCBS Commissioner Eric Clark said lifting the moratorium would likely cost the state $39 million a year.

Walmart to open e-commerce center in Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say Walmart will create 400 full-time jobs at a new center near Louisville that will fulfill online orders.

Gov. Matt Bevin says the retail giant’s $41 million investment in Bullitt County will open a facility that fulfills online orders from Walmart.com and Walmart subsidiary Jet.com.

Officials say Walmart will lease a building off Interstate 65. Besides the full-time workers, the facility will eventually employ several hundred temporary workers. Officials say the company plans to open the center this fall.

As part of the investment, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.

Discovery of rabid bat on school playground prompts closure

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A rabid bat has been found on a Kentucky elementary school’s playground, prompting the school to close and check for more bats.

The Courier Journal reports Franklin County Schools officials say Hearn Elementary School will reopen Sept. 4. A district statement says the Frankfort school closed Thursday following the Tuesday discovery of the rabid bat.

No students are believed to have been exposed. However, Franklin County Health Department spokeswoman Brittany Parker says a person was exposed to rabies and vaccinated.

Another district statement says three dead bats were found in the school Thursday, and one tested positive for rabies. The statement says the school will be cleaned Friday.

Parker says this is the county’s first positive case of rabies in an animal since 2006.

Trucker seeks new trial in deadly 2015 crash

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A Kentucky trucker sentenced to more than five decades in prison for a crash that killed six is seeking a new trial, with defense attorneys arguing the state of Tennessee concealed crucial evidence.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports 42-year-old Benjamin Brewer’s attorneys want information on a chemical the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added to his blood sample, asserting they’d never heard of the “contamination” until witness testimony.

Citing that and a second test showing lower levels of illegal drugs in Brewer’s system, his attorneys say he should be acquitted or given a new trial. They’ve subpoenaed prosecutors for communications with the TBI about the substance.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston says the defense hasn’t proven the materials sought are relevant. TBI spokeswoman Leslie Earhart says the chemical didn’t affect test results.