News Around the State

Probation and parole officers to receive pay hike

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say probation and parole officers are the first state employees to see their salaries increase due to an adjustment in the state’s salary schedule.

Gov. Matt Bevin and his personnel secretary on Wednesday announced the first adjustment to the state’s salary schedule in more than a decade.

State Personnel Secretary Thomas Stephens says hundreds of probation and parole officers are getting pay raises. He says the salary bumps will help recruit and retain the officers. He says the agency has been hit by high turnover rates.

Other state agencies can apply to personnel and budget officials in seeking salary adjustments. Stephens says high turnover rates will be a key factor in reviewing requests.

Bevin was flanked by a number of probation and parole officers in making the announcement in Lexington.

Flight makes emergency landing in Tennessee; smoke reported

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say an American Airlines plane flying from North Carolina to Kentucky made an emergency landing in Tennessee because crew members reported smoke in the cockpit.

News outlets report the plane landed safely Wednesday morning in Blountville. Tri-Cities Airport says 52 passengers and four crew members were on board. First responders had already arrived by the time the plane landed. No injuries were reported.

Flight 4890 was traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Lexington, Kentucky.

American Airlines says it rebooked passengers because of a “mechanical issue.” Neither the airline nor the airport gave further details on what caused the smoke.

Council lowers priority on marijuana possession

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Louisville Metro Council has passed an ordinance declaring marijuana possession a low priority for officers.

The Courier-Journal reports the ordinance passed Tuesday in a 15-9 vote. It says small amounts of marijuana on a person 21 years or older will be low priority for Louisville Metro Police.

Councilman Mark Fox voted against the ordinance. He says it raises confusion surrounding possession punishment.

Councilman Brandon Coan co-wrote the ordinance. He says it isn’t advocating for marijuana legalization but instead is a simple way to reform the justice system by making it less discriminatory.

The newspaper says in a review of over 21,500 cases of serious marijuana possession charges, African Americans accounted for two-thirds of those charged but make up less than one-fourth of Louisville’s populations.

Country music singer donates $10K for housing

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Country music singer Chris Stapleton and his wife have donated $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity in Lexington.

WKYT-TV cites a statement from the agency in reporting that Stapleton made the donation through his charitable fund, Outlaw State of Kind. Stapleton is a native of Paintsville in eastern Kentucky.

Lexington Habitat CEO Rachel Childress says the check was “completely unexpected” and would go to help build safe, affordable housing in the city. She says every dollar helps and the organization is “so grateful.”

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee administers Stapleton’s charitable fund, which supports a variety of causes that are important to the singer.

Man pleads guilty to posing as woman to get boys’ photos

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a Kentucky man who volunteered at a high school has pleaded guilty to posing as a young woman in text messages to get underage boys to send him sexually explicit photos and videos.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports 32-year-old Bobby Cassady has been ordered to surrender to federal custody on July 31. He’s been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Court records state Cassady had been a mentor and character coach at Danville High School. He was also a family friend of at least one of the juvenile male victims. Investigators found at least 99 images of child pornography on his electronic devices.

After his release from prison, authorities say Cassady will be on supervised release for the rest of his life. He’s also ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution.

Scholarship at Murray State honors school shooting victim

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — A new scholarship has been established at Murray State University to honor a school shooting victim.

A statement from the school says the Preston Cope Memorial Scholarship was established through fundraising and gifts from the 15-year-old boy’s family and friends. Cope was one of two teens killed during a shooting last year at Marshall County High School.

The scholarship will help students from Marshall County who “share in Preston’s enthusiasm for life and service to others” while attending Murray State.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be full-time, first-year freshmen who graduated from Marshall County High School with at least a 3.0 grade point average and who were active in extracurricular activities and community service. Preference will be given to students majoring in history or education.

Louisville plans to clear 2 more homeless camps

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s largest city plans to clear two more homeless camps in the coming weeks.

Eric Friedlander is the director of Resilience and Community Services in Louisville and he told The Courier Journal on Tuesday that the city had given notice to dozens living under highway overpasses along Brook Street 21 days to vacate. He cited “health and safety concerns.”

The city has closed four other homeless camps this year and railroad company CSX evacuated a large camp on its property in April.

The newspaper reports the city doesn’t have enough shelter beds and affordable housing, so displaced people have moved to other homeless campsites around the city.