News Around the State

State health officials aim to eliminate new HIV cases

FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) — Health officials plan to announce a new, collaborative effort to eliminate new HIV infections in Kentucky.

A statement from the Northern Kentucky Health Department says the University of Kentucky and the state Department for Public Health are set to announce details of the initiative on Wednesday at the Northern Kentucky Health Department in Florence. Along with eliminating HIV infections, the Kentucky Income Reinvestment Program’s goals include expanding education and care for persons living the virus.

The move comes following a cluster of HIV infections reported in northern Kentucky. Health officials said last month that 43 cases of HIV had been reported in the region as of Feb. 21.

She’s OK! First lady of Ky. falls off back of stage

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky First Lady Glenna Bevin fell off the speaker’s platform during the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Lexington, but she’s OK.

Governor’s office spokesman Woody Maglinger tells The Courier Journal that Glenna Bevin was shaken up but didn’t need any medical attention. Maglinger says her chair “just slipped off the back of the stage” on Monday morning. The newspaper says a photo of the event shows the stage to be about two feet high.

Maglinger says the governor’s office has been getting questions about the fall, but it was more startling than anything else. He says the governor quickly helped the first lady before returning to finish the event, which was focused on helping children in foster care. The Governor’s Prayer Breakfast has been held annually for five decades.

Ford shifting 550 jobs to boost SUV production in Ky.

(AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will shift 550 jobs to its Kentucky Truck Plant to boost production of its Expedition and Lincoln Navigator to meet growing demand for its large SUVs.

Growing sales for the Expedition and Navigator are driving a 20 percent production boost at the Louisville plant, the automaker said.

To boost the truck plant’s workforce, Ford said it will shift the jobs away from its crosstown factory — Louisville Assembly Plant, which makes the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC.

Growing demand for large SUVs is fueling the employment boost at the truck plant.

“Kentucky Truck Plant is home to two of Ford and Lincoln’s most successful vehicles,” said John Savona, Ford vice president, North American manufacturing. “After seeing a continued increase in customer demand for Expedition and Navigator, we are boosting production for a second time to meet it.”

Retail sales of the Expedition eight-passenger SUV surged 35 percent last year, Ford said. Navigator sales grew 70 percent in 2018, posting the vehicle’s best sales year since 2007, it said.

The truck plant’s production will increase after the summer shutdown in July, Ford said.

To produce even more Expeditions and Navigators, Ford said it has increased the line speed at Kentucky Truck Plant. After a production review by a group of salaried and hourly workers, the plant added more workstations and split up some tasks, the company said.

Ford also said it’s launching a new “Better Big” marketing campaign for the Expedition.

Ford’s announcement that it’s boosting production of its large SUVs is the latest signal of the auto industry’s shift to SUVs and trucks.

The last compact car recently rolled off the line at a massive General Motors assembly line in Ohio, part of a major restructuring in which the automaker plans to shed as many as 14,000 workers and shift its focus to making trucks, SUVs and electric and autonomous vehicles.

Toyota announced last week that its Georgetown, Kentucky, facility will get a $238 million investment to produce hybrid versions of Lexus ES 300 sedans starting in May and the RAV4 SUV starting in January 2020.

Former VP candidate Tim Kaine to speak in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine will be in Kentucky next month to speak at the University of Louisville.

Kaine, a Democratic U.S. Senator from Virginia, will speak as part of the McConnell Center’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Kaine ran on the ticket with Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has been a senator since 2012. He was also governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and university President Neeli Bendapudi will join Kaine on stage.

The free, public discussion begins at 9 a.m. in the Student Activities Center on April 1.

Visitors must request individual tickets online at McConnellCenter.org.

Sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah dies at 13

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — WinStar Farm says that stallion Pioneerof the Nile, sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, has died.

Owner Ahmed Zayat confirmed the death of the 13-year-old to the Associated Press on Monday and said he was “like a family member.” WinStar stated on its web site that Pioneerof the Nile had bred a mare and became uncomfortable after returning to his stall. He died on the way to the clinic. Zayat said he was awaiting results from an autopsy.

The Kentucky-bred son of Empire Maker and Star of Goshen by Lord at War earned more than $1.6 million and five wins, a second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and a third in 10 career starts. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile sired 2-year-old male Eclipse Award winners Classic Empire and American Pharoah — who became horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion winner and first since 1978 when he swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

WinStar’s Elliott Walden said on the web site that the farm is saddened and heartbroken over Pioneerof the Nile’s death and praised his “unique personality.” Zayat said he will cherish the horse’s sweet demeanor and talent that set a standard for his stable. He added, “He was a part of us, a part of me. Just very special.”

Company given $50K penalty for ethics violations

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A company with a long-running contract to manage Kentucky’s workers’ compensation claims has been assessed a $50,000 penalty by the state’s Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

The commission said Monday that Cannon Cochran Management Services Inc. agreed to not contest 14 counts of violating Kentucky’s executive branch ethics code.

A CCMSI executive testified at the bribery trial of former Democratic lobbyist James Sullivan.

The executive said the amount paid Sullivan’s consulting firm depended on whether the company won a state contract.

State law bans lobbyists from being paid in this way.

The commission assessed a $15,000 penalty against Sullivan, who agreed to not contest 20 counts of violating the ethics code.

Sullivan was convicted in federal court of bribing a top official in the Kentucky attorney general’s office and was sentenced to more than 2 ½ years in prison.