News Around the State

Student checked for weapons brought loaded gun to school

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Officials in Kentucky say a student cleared by a hand-held metal detector brought a loaded handgun to school in his backpack.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Lexington High School principal Lester Diaz says the student was found to have a gun Wednesday. He said the student entered school late and so was checked with a hand-held metal detector, which Diaz says isn’t used on backpacks because they have metal on them.

School officials checked the student’s backpack later that day and found the gun. Diaz says school officials are revisiting search procedures. The district’s chief of high schools, Randy Peffer, says the student told them he didn’t plan to use the gun.

The student has been charged with possession of a weapon on school property and possession of a stolen handgun.

Screening slated for film that examines hillbilly stereotype

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A documentary film that examines the hillbilly stereotype will be given a free screening in West Virginia next week.

Marshall University is presenting the film “hillbilly” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Room 154 of Smith Hall on the school’s Huntington campus.

The film is directed by Sally Rubin and Ashley York. Co-producer Jon Matthews will attend the public event for a Q&A, and the directors plan to participate by video conference.

The university said in a news release that the documentary looks at the experience of rural voters and tries to expand understanding of Appalachia by featuring some of its diverse communities.

Heads or tails to drink? Coin flip to settle vote

BUCKHORN, Ky. (AP) — For at least the third time this year, a coin flip will be used to break a tied Kentucky vote.

A coin flip Thursday is expected to decide whether Perry County in Buckhorn Lake State Park is allowed to sell alcohol after a local referendum ended in a tie. The park and 1,200-acre lake is nestled in a dry precinct about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Virginia border.

The Tuesday vote was 155-155. State law allows tie votes to be settled with a coin flip.

Rosa Pollard, Perry’s deputy county clerk, says a board of election member will flip the coin on Thursday. Pollard, who has worked in the officer for 24 years, says it’s the first tie vote she can remember.

“I’ve never seen a tie,” she said.

Voters actually had two referendum questions on the ballot. The first one was a yes or no vote on whether the entire precinct should allow alcohol sales. That vote failed 199-114, Pollard said.

Coin flips settled two races Kentucky earlier this year.

In Martin County in a May primary, Margaret Sprague beat Hubert Spence for constable on a coin toss. They tied with 331 votes each. And in June, a coin toss decided a 127-vote tie in a magistrate race between Democrats Boyce Coles and Barry Perkins in Logan County. Coles won the flip.

The wet-dry vote might’ve been the closest race in Kentucky on election night, but a state House race with much higher stakes was too close to call Wednesday as Daviess County Democrat Jim Glenn led Republican D.J. Johnson by just one vote out of the 12,637 cast.

UK expands program to treat new moms for addiction

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The University of Kentucky is expanding a program to treat female addicts who have recently given birth.

A statement from the school says the Beyond Birth Comprehensive Recovery Clinic is moving to a facility on the Eastern State Hospital campus in Lexington. Officials say the move to a larger facility will increase access to comprehensive, evidence-based care through a partnership between UK, UK College of Nursing, UK HealthCare and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The program offers medical treatment for addition and mental health, educational groups, individual counseling, group counseling and peer support.

The school says the Beyond Birth program has helped more than 150 mothers since it began in 2014.

Ky. schools address autism services after kids dragged

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Following two reports of educators dragging autistic students, a Kentucky school district has outlined a plan to improve services.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Fayette County Public Schools board discussed the recommendations Monday.

The proposals include installing more classroom surveillance cameras, an independent audit of autism-related programs, structured teaching and therapeutic classrooms, new positions tailored to special needs, and partnering with a post-secondary institution to create after-school programs and other services.

District officials say 717 students with autism receive district services.

In September, security video recorded a middle school teacher and nurse trying to persuade a boy to leave a gymnasium, before ultimately dragging him through hallways. And an October state report found evidence that an elementary school aide in August dragged a boy by the ankles for not cooperating.

Ex-sheriff on trial over alleged role in drug ring

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky sheriff is on trial, accused of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute more than a ton of marijuana from a Mexican drug cartel.

The Courier Journal reports former Bullitt County Sheriff Dave Greenwell is in court this week on charges including obstruction of justice for allegedly alerting investigation targets. Former special sheriff’s deputy Christopher Mattingly pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and testified against him.

Mattingly testified Tuesday that he continued to distribute drugs while knowing he was under federal investigation because the sheriff “had my back.”

He said Greenwell alerted him to investigative efforts, but said he already knew and didn’t need Greenwell’s tips.

Greenwell’s defense says the sheriff was playing “good cop” to get information. Greenwell resigned in 2016 without explanation.

Basketball ‘escort queen’ says motel shared private data

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A woman who declared herself the “escort queen” of a sex scandal involving the University of Louisville’s basketball team says a motel posted her driver’s license online.

The Courier Journal reports Powell filed suit this week, saying a motel employee sent a copy of Powell’s driver’s license to someone who posted it online. It says Powell was a guest at the time and the post included her address, health restrictions and birthday.

The newspaper says the motel’s address in the lawsuit matches the address of Clarke’s Motel on Dixie Highway.

Powell is suing motel owners Cecil Romans and Susan Roszella and worker Tara Harmon. The lawsuit also accuses Brad Harmon, who is says may have been a motel employee.

The newspaper says the defendants didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Former officer accused in sex abuse scandal indicted

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Prosecutors say a former Kentucky police officer at the center of a sex abuse scandal has been indicted.

News outlets report former Louisville Metro Police Officer Kenneth Betts was indicted Tuesday. Betts is charged with offenses, including possession and distribution of child pornography.

Between 2006 and 2014, he’s accused of enticing or attempting to entice three males and one female, all under age 18. He’s already charged in state court with felony first- and third-degree sodomy charges, accused of abusing two different people.

Betts and former officer Brandon Wood were advisers in a program for teens interested in a law enforcement career. Woods was charged in state court with seven counts of sexual abuse. The program is being investigated.

An attorney representing Betts declined to comment.