News Around the State

Higher education forums planned across the state

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The president of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education plans a statewide listening tour.

A council statement says President Aaron Thompson wants to talk with students, community members, business representatives and educators about college access, student success, workforce quality and career transitions. The first forum will be Friday at the Eastern Kentucky University campus in Clay County.

Thompson said he wanted to start the tour in his hometown of Manchester since that’s where his education journey began.

Six other forums are scheduled through May. Thompson will visit Murray State University next month, Owensboro Community and Technical College in March and Western Kentucky University in April. He’ll also visit Kentucky State University, Morehead State University and the University of Louisville in May.

More forums will be scheduled in the fall.

Jury awards U.S. Sen. Rand Paul more than $580K in damages against his neighbor for attack

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky jury awards U.S. Sen. Rand Paul more than $580,000 in damages against his neighbor for attack.

Recount set for Saturday in disputed Ky. House district

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Local election officials have scheduled a recount for a Kentucky House race decided by one vote.

The Daviess County Board of Elections will recount results from House District 13 on Saturday. Local election officials say they plan to finish the recount in one day.

Democrat Jim Glenn defeated Republican DJ Johnson by one vote in November. Kentucky does not have an automatic recount law, but it does allow candidates to contest election results to the state legislature. Last week a panel of state House lawmakers voted 6-3 to order the recount. All three Democrats on the panel voted “no.”

Daviess County election officials estimate the recount will cost $10,200. Johnson has agreed to pay for the recount, regardless of the results.

Security guard sought in armor truck theft captured

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The FBI says an armored truck guard suspected of fleeing with cash taken from a truck in Kentucky has been arrested in Connecticut.

The FBI said Wednesday that Mark Espinosa was arrested near Hartford on a federal warrant stemming from the Dec. 5 robbery of a Garda armored truck in Louisville.

An FBI affidavit says Espinosa and another employee were doing a pickup at a mall the day of the theft. The other employee went inside, and when he came out, the truck was gone, the affidavit states. It adds the truck was moved to another location at the mall and Espinosa had disappeared.

The FBI affidavit says “hundreds of thousands of dollars” were missing from the truck.

It wasn’t immediately known if Espinosa had a lawyer who could comment.

Police: Ky. Hindu temple vandalized in hate crime

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky say a Hindu temple in Louisville has been vandalized in a hate crime, its windows broken and walls covered in hateful messages.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad tells The Courier Journal that “repugnant messages of hate” were spray-painted on its walls during a break-in this week.

He says xenophobic and sexist messages were scrawled along with images of crosses and phrases such as “Jesus Is The Only God.” Someone spray-painted the eyes of a Hindu religious figure, with black paint dripping down the image’s face.

Swaminarayan Temple officials say there is no video recording of the crime. The chief says an investigation is ongoing and officers will be at the temple on Sunday to ensure the community’s safety.

Ex-officer pleads guilty to trying to entice minor

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky police officer has pleaded guilty to trying to entice a minor into sexual activity through the Louisville Metro Police Department’s program for teens interested in law enforcement.

The Courier Journal reports 32-year-old Brandon Wood entered the plea Monday and is now the second ex-officer charged in connection to sex abuse in the now-dissolved program.

His plea agreement says Wood was a program adviser and counselor. It says he met the teen at camp and continued to contact the teen through social media while attempting to persuade the teen into sexual activity. His sentencing is set for May.

Wood was indicted on charges of sexual abuse in 2017 and subsequently fired. He’s pleaded not guilty to those charges and is set to appear in court next month.

Lambert to be sworn in as Supreme Court justice

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A new Kentucky Supreme Court justice will be sworn in to office next week.

A statement from the Administrative Office of the Courts says Debra Hembree Lambert will be formally sworn in as a justice on Feb. 4 at the state Capitol in Frankfort. She was elected to the court in November and will serve the 3rd Supreme Court District, which includes 27 counties in southern and south-central Kentucky.

Before her election to the Supreme Court, Lambert served as an appellate judge for four years and before that was a circuit judge for Lincoln, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties.

Lambert succeeds retired Justice Daniel Venters.