News Around the State

Blue Grass Airport continues flying toward improvements

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Blue Grass Airport has received an $11 million federal grant to expand its taxiways as ridership continues to grow at the Kentucky facility.

News outlets report that Blue Grass received the funds Thursday to aid in the facilities renovation projects. The grant will be used for a new 3,500-foot (1,067-meter) taxiway, completing the final phase of a five-part taxiway safety program set to finish in July 2020.

Executive Director of Blue Grass Airport Eric Frankl told news outlets, the changes are due to a 20% passenger increase over the last five years. Blue Grass set a passenger record for the seventh straight year, serving more than 1.3 million passengers.

Other changes include an overhauled parking area, new cellphone lots where drivers can wait for passengers and designated curbsides for rideshare customers.

Kentucky water utility granted interim emergency rate hike

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky water utility has been granted an interim emergency rate increase that will set a flat rate amounting to a 42 percent hike for typical residential customers.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission said in a news release it granted the increase Thursday to Southern Water and Sewer District in Floyd County. The utility said it has been losing $40,000 to $50,000 a month and couldn’t stay in business without an emergency increase.

The flat rate was set at $58.82 per month, an increase of $17.42 for a typical residential customer. Refunds could be issued if rates are lowered after an analysis.

The PSC said some of the utility’s meters register no usage, and it has no replacements.

The PSC rejected the utility’s increase request in January, citing lack of financial information.

Southern Water has about 5,450 customers.

Man sentenced to 23 years in machete attack

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man who pleaded guilty to attacking three people with a machete, killing one, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.

WLEX-TV reports that Cody T. Hall apologized for his actions in a statement read by his attorney during his sentencing Thursday in Pulaski Circuit Court.

Hall had previously pleaded guilty to charges of murder, assault and wanton endangerment in the 2017 attack that killed 50-year-old Scott Holbrook and injured two women.

A prosecutor says Hall was under the influence of meth and thought his son was in danger when he attacked the others.

Suit alleges racial discrimination against school workers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A lawsuit alleges racial discrimination against African American maintenance workers in Kentucky’s largest school district.

News outlets report the complaint was filed Thursday in Jefferson Circuit Court and says black workers at Jefferson County Public Schools face racial slurs from coworkers and are passed up routinely for promotions. Six employees are named as plaintiffs and the suit seeks to represent unnamed others in the district’s operation services division.

The suit filed by attorney Teddy Gordon names the district’s Chief of Operations Michael Raisor and two other operations employees as defendants.

The school district does not comment on pending litigation.

The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

2.4 earthquake reported in Kentucky, no damage

KEVIL, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 2.4 earthquake has occurred in Kentucky along the New Madrid fault line.

News outlets say the quake was reported northeast of Kevil shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday. There were no reports of damage.

The USGS at the University of Memphis said the quake was centered 4.1 miles northeast of Kevil and 12.7 miles west-northwest of Paducah.

The USGS says at 2.5, humans are able to detect the ground shaking, but there were some reports of the quake being felt in neighboring Marshall County.

A series of powerful earthquakes occurred along the fault line beginning in 1811, including one with an estimated magnitude of 7.7.

Hepatitis C program launches in West Virginia to fight virus

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — An initiative to combat the rise of hepatitis C infections has launched in West Virginia.

News outlets report a five-year program called HepConnect launched Wednesday at West Virginia University. It was created by California-based biotech company Gilead Sciences.

Gilead Executive Director of Government Affairs Derek Spencer says HepConnect has three purposes: improving hepatitis C detection, reducing harm through education and improving health care infrastructure.

The opioid epidemic is partially responsible for the virus’ spread. Spencer says 2.4 million people in the U.S. are living with hepatitis C and 50% aren’t aware they’re infected. He says the Appalachian region saw a 300% increase in the virus between 2006 and 2012.

About $11.3 million is being dedicated to HepConnect, which already launched in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s launching in North Carolina next week.

Teen arrested in deadly shootings at Kentucky party

WHITESVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police have arrested a Kentucky teenager on charges of killing two people and wounding a third during a party.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports the 17-year-old was arrested Thursday in Owensboro. His name was not released because he is a juvenile.

A warrant charged him with two counts of murder and one count of second-degree assault. Killed Saturday in Whitesville were 16-year-old Amarius Winstead and 18-year-old Jasper Brown. A 19-year-old, Tyler Glover, was also shot and underwent surgery.

Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain said the investigation is continuing.

Kentucky police officer charged with bribery, misconduct

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville, Kentucky, police officer has been indicted on charges of bribing a public servant, unlawfully accessing a computer and official misconduct.

The Courier Journal reports 30-year-old Officer William Garrett was indicted Thursday and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Specifies about what prompted the charges are unclear. An arraignment is set for Monday.

Spokeswoman Alicia Smiley says Garrett began working for the department in 2013 and has since resigned. She declined to give further details.

Garrett was charged in March 2018 with fourth-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment and intimidating a participant in the legal process. He pleaded guilty last year to twice violating an emergency protective order. He was charged in December with shoplifting and has pleaded not guilty.

New Muhammad Ali logo unveiled for Kentucky airport

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville, Kentucky, officials have unveiled new branding for Louisville’s airport to go along with a renaming to honor Muhammad Ali.

Mayor Greg Fischer and Ali’s widow, Lonnie, unveiled a new logo and designs at the airport during a ceremony on Thursday.

The Airport Authority Board voted in January to change the airport’s name to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.

The logo shows a silhouette of Ali with arms raised against a butterfly. Officials say the butterfly pays homage to Ali’s famous phrase, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and the context of flight for the airport.

The unveiling took place as part of the city’s Ali Week, which is held the first week of June to mark the passing of Ali, who died in 2016.

Historic Kentucky site to host 2nd Writers in the Park event

TOMPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The second annual Writers in the Park will be held this month at Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historic Site in Tompkinsville, Kentucky.

A statement from Kentucky State Parks says more than a dozen authors will participate in the event on June 15 including Kimberly Bartley and Connie Hughes Goodman.

Bartley is the author of “Until Death Parts,” ”Life Goes On,” ”Go Forth and Multiply,” and the newly released “Pickin’ Up the Pieces.” Goodman has written several fiction pieces, a biography, and numerous documentaries including “Monroe County Poor House” and “Tell Me a Tale.”

The event will include different writing genres and authors from around Kentucky and elsewhere.

Participating authors will discuss, sell and sign books. There will also be a workshop offered for budding writers.