News Around the State

Memorial Day ceremonies set at veterans cemeteries, centers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Memorial Day ceremonies are planned at five state veterans cemeteries as well as veterans centers around the state.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Kentucky Veterans Cemetery South East in Hyden, Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown and Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville will have ceremonies Monday. Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central in Radcliff is also holding a ceremony Monday.

Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North East’s ceremony is Tuesday in Greenup County.

Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson and Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore will hold their ceremonies Friday. Carl M. Brashear Radcliff Veterans Center is hosting BBQ & Bikes on Monday, the same day the Paul E. Patton Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center is hosting a ceremony in Hazard.

Public meeting set for proposed ban of tattooing over scars

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Health has proposed banning artists from tattooing on scarred skin and is holding a public meeting on the proposal next week.

News outlets report the proposed regulation is part of a routine review of current state health rules for tattoo businesses and the public hearing is set for May 28 in Frankfort. The state agency declined to explain the motivation behind the ban, which doesn’t define what constitutes a scar.

Beth Fisher is a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees the department of public health. She says related regulations haven’t been updated for 15 years.

Public comments on the proposal are being accepted through the end of the month.

Kentucky is training veterans for aerospace, aviation jobs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A new program in Kentucky is training veterans with aviation or power plant mechanics experience to become Federal Aviation Administration certified.

The new Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations initiative offers certifications for veterans and transitioning military members looking for jobs.

Stewart Ditto, director of the Kentucky Aerospace Industry Consortium, says Kentucky’s aerospace and aviation industry is facing critical workforce shortages.

A release from Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says the program is a collaborative effort. It includes the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, the state’s technical college system, the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs.

It condenses an 18-month certification program to one semester.

Somerset Community and Technical College and Jefferson Community and Technical College are offering the accelerated program to eligible military veterans.

Paducah council weighing religious liberty, civil rights

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Paducah officials are debating possible amendments to an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect religious liberty.

The Paducah Sun reports , the ordinance that passed in January 2018 added protections for residents who encounter discrimination based on age, gender identification and sexual orientation.

Earlier this month, City Commissioner Richard Abraham proposed an amendment that reads, “A private business owner, individual or nonprofit shall not be forced to violate his or her sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Mayor Brandi Harless proposed a different amendment based on state law. It says in part that “government shall not substantially burden a person’s freedom of religion.”

Harless says the goal is to find a balance between religious freedom and civil rights protections.

The ordinance governs the Paducah Human Rights Commission.

Judge rejects plea deal for ex-officer who abused minors

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a plea deal for a former Kentucky police officer who admitted to sexually abusing minors in the Louisville police department’s now defunct youth program.

News outlets report U.S. District Court Judge David Hale said Thursday that the proposed 15-year sentence for ex-Louisville police Officer Kenneth Betts was too lenient. The deal called for Betts to serve 10 to 15 years on federal charges of enticement and child pornography. Hale said federal guidelines call for a 27-year sentence.

Hale told Betts he could proceed with his guilty plea and be sentenced, though he may receive a “less favorable” sentence. He said Betts could also withdraw his guilty plea. Betts attorney, Brian Butler, declined to comment.

Another hearing date was set for Aug. 14.

Pilot charged in triple slaying pleads not guilty

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A pilot charged in the 2015 shooting deaths of three people in western Kentucky has pleaded not guilty.

News outlets report Christian R. Martin was silent during his arraignment Wednesday in Christian County Circuit Court while his attorney, Michael Thompson, entered the plea.

Thompson said later that Martin maintains his innocence and “wants the case to move forward to find out hopefully who really did it.”

Martin was arrested this month at the Louisville airport, a day after he was indicted. He’s charged in the deaths of Calvin and Pamela Phillips of Pembroke, Kentucky, and their neighbor, Edward Dansereau.

A pilot for an American Airlines subsidiary, Martin was living in North Carolina at the time of his indictment.