News Around the State

Ky. has more than 3.4M registered voters

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has more than 3.4 million people are registered to vote on the Nov. 6 elections.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced the number on Thursday. She said 49.6 percent of registered voters are Democrats while 41.7 percent are Republicans. About 8.6 percent are registered with another party or listed as “other.”

Kentucky added about 35,000 registered voters since the May 22 primary elections. The 6th Congressional District, which has a tight contest between Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr and Democrat Amy McGrath, had an additional 9,100 registered voters.

Earlier this year, registered Democrats dipped below 50 percent of statewide voters for the first time in memory. Since Republican President Donald Trump took office, Republicans have added 72,029 registered voters while Democrats have added 1,167 registered voters.

2-headed snake going on display at wildlife center

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky wildlife center says it plans to display a rare find: a two-headed copperhead.

A statement from the Department of Fish and Wildlife says the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort will exhibit the snake for the public, barring any complications in the reptile’s health, after Thursday.

Officials say a Leslie County couple donated the snake to the facility for educational purposes after finding it in their yard this month.

The Salato Center is open Tuesday through Saturday until Nov. 24, when it closes for the winter.

Kentucky sees progress in ACT benchmarks

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — More Kentucky high school students in the class of 2018 have met state college readiness benchmarks as measured on the ACT.

The Kentucky Department of Education announced Wednesday 57 percent of 2018 graduates met the benchmark in English compared with 56 percent in 2017. It said 44 percent met the benchmark in math compared with 42 percent the year before. For reading, 53 percent met the benchmark in reading compared with 51 percent the previous year.

The benchmark represents minimum scores required to guarantee students entry into credit-bearing courses at Kentucky colleges and universities without needing additional work.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said he was pleased with the progress, but said the results show significant disparities among students by race and ethnicity. He said the state must prioritize eliminating those disparities.

Worker killed in machine accident at W.Va. coal mine

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia regulators say a coal mine employee has died in a machinery accident.

The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training says 33-year-old Roger W. Herndon of Rainelle was struck in the side by a piece of steel auger drill. The accident occurred Wednesday at the Princess Polly Anna and JCT Enterprises surface mine in Greenbrier County. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Herndon was an auger helper at the mine.

State inspectors are investigating.

Herndon is the fourth coal mining death in West Virginia this year. According to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, eight miners have died nationwide. Two deaths were in Indiana and there was one each in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Kentucky Power seeks solar projects in eastern Ky.

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — An eastern Kentucky utility says it is looking to add up to 20 megawatts of solar energy to meet growing customer interest in solar options.

Kentucky Power says it’s also looking to diversify its electric generation mix.

The company is seeking bids for solar resources to be purchased. As part of the process, Kentucky Power says it may buy solar facilities from winning bidders meeting certain economic and operational criteria.

To qualify for consideration, projects must be located within Kentucky Power’s service territory. Qualifying projects must be operational by Dec. 31, 2021.

Currently, Kentucky Power generates about 81 percent of 2,240 megawatts of electricity supplied to its customers using coal and about 19 percent with natural gas.

Kentucky Power provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties.

Video: School staffers drag autistic student through hall

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A school district in Kentucky has released a video that shows a teacher and a nurse dragging an autistic student with a service dog through the halls of a middle school.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said Friday that the teacher is no longer employed by the district. A spokesman for the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, Kevin Hall, says the nurse is on paid leave pending an investigation.

The boy’s mother, Jo Grayson, says her son suffered cuts and bruises from the incident in September. The security video shows the staffers trying to persuade the child to leave a gymnasium at Tates Creek Middle School, and ultimately dragging him through hallways when he refuses to comply.

Authorities investigate death of inmate

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a Kentucky inmate who was found unresponsive at the Fayette County jail.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the jail said in a statement that 62-year-old Larry Richard Young was found unresponsive Monday and taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The statement said Young was arrested Oct. 10 on a charge of failure to appear and was awaiting trial.

Police, the Lexington coroner’s office and the jail are investigating, which officials say is routine when an in-custody death occurs.

State settles child support lawsuit with Floyd Co.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State officials in Kentucky have settled a lawsuit involving child support payments in Floyd County.

Earlier this year, Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley sued Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration for ending a contract to collect child support payments. Officials with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services later said they ended the contract because Bartley threatened to burn down Bevin’s home and “choke to death” a state employee.

Bartley’s attorney denied those allegations, saying they were politically motivated. Last month, the parties settled the lawsuit. The county attorney’s office in Madison County now runs the program. It is contracting with an attorney based in Floyd County to run the program.

State officials had been investigating Bartley, but agreed to drop that inquiry as part of the settlement.

Ex-teacher sentenced to 2 years in jail

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has been sentenced to two years in jail.

Boyd County prosecutor Rhonda Copley told The Daily Independent that a judge handed down the sentence last week for 53-year-old Michael Sammons, who pleaded guilty in August to using an electronic communications system to procure a minor.

Court records say a rape charged was dropped as part of the plea deal with the ex-Boyd County High School teacher and coach.

Police started investigating after a student told school officials in March that a female student was seen getting out of Sammons’ car one night.

It was Sammons’ first year teaching in the county and he was fired after the allegations.