News Around the State

Deputy shot during wellness check at a home

WHITLEY CITY, Ky. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy who was shot in southeastern Kentucky while conducting a wellness check is reported in stable condition after surgery.

In a news release, Kentucky State Police say McCreary County sheriff’s deputy Dustin Watkins went to visit a home Tuesday around 8 p.m. when a man sitting in a vehicle fired several shots from a handgun.

The 28-year-old Watkins was struck at least once. State police say 48-year-old Mark L. Dungan fired several rounds and then fled in the vehicle, striking the patrol car of a county constable as he sped away.

Police later found Dungan at a nearby cemetery and arrested him without incident. He faces several charges.

Watkins underwent surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and was listed in stable condition Wednesday morning.

Matt Jones off TV show while he mulls Senate race

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A television station is pulling weeknight host Matt Jones from the show while he decides whether to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Tuesday that WLEX-TV general manager Patrick Dalbey said Jones was being pulled from the “Hey Kentucky” show.

Jones said he understands the decision but disagrees with it. He will maintain his radio show, “Kentucky Sports Radio,” but said if he decides to run for office, his level of involvement might change.

Jones has been publicly considering the race for more than a year. Former combat pilot Amy McGrath announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination last week.

Tick removed from man’s eye

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man who went to the doctor with an irritated eye got the unsavory news that it contained a tick.

WYMT-TV reports an optometrist used tweezers to remove the tick from Chris Prater’s eye.

Prater works for an electric company and had left a job site where his crew had removed a tree from power lines when his eye started bothering him.

He noticed a tiny spot on his eye and tried to flush it several times to no avail. Finally, he went to the doctor and admits he got “scared a little bit” at the diagnosis.

After numbing Prater’s eye, the doctor removed the tick. Prater was sent home with antibiotics and steroid drops.

Prater says he uses bug repellent before he starts each work day, “but you can’t spray your eyes.”

Man charged in rape now accused of killing woman

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man charged with rape is now charged with murder in the death of a woman whose body was found in a park over the weekend.

News outlets report 45-year-old Anthony Lewis was arrested Monday in the death of 37-year-old Marlena Holland, who was found apparently beaten to death Sunday. He was set to stand trial Wednesday on an unrelated charge of rape.

Court records say Lewis has an extensive criminal history, including a 1995 kidnapping conviction. WYMT-TV reports Lewis and another man were accused of robbing, kidnapping and killing someone in 1992.

Lewis was paroled in 2017 and accused in the rape just months later. He posted bail and was out of custody awaiting Wednesday’s trial when he was arrested Monday.

It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul blocks bill to boost 9/11 victims fund

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator has blocked a bipartisan bill that would ensure a victims’ compensation fund for the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul questions the bill’s 70-year time frame and notes that the federal government already faces a $22 trillion debt. He says any new spending such as the 9/11 bill should be offset by cuts.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (KEER’-sten JIHL’-uh-brand) of New York is criticizing Paul for playing what she calls “political games.”

The bill has 73 co-sponsors in the Senate and easily passed the House last week.

Gillibrand says 9/11 first responders and “the entire nation are watching to see if this body actually cares about the men and women who answered the call of duty” after the 2001 attacks.

Kentucky health officials won’t ban tattoos over scars

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A proposal to ban tattooing on scarred skin will fade away after Kentucky health officials backed off the proposed regulation.

State officials said Tuesday that updated regulations for tattoo studios will move forward without the proposed ban on tattoos over scars. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services says it received more than 600 public comments on the matter.

The cabinet says there’s a lack of “available evidence to support” the proposed ban. The proposal drew a backlash from groups that said the proposed rule was unwarranted and unfair.

In May, health officials said the issue needed more review.

Under the new rules governing tattoo parlors, a person registering as a tattoo artist will have to complete blood-borne pathogen training. The cabinet also updated the disinfectant and equipment sterilization process.

Student begins trial for threatening comments

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky police sergeant testified that a man accused of terroristic threatening owned ammunition that could be considered military grade.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Tuesday began the second day of Timothy Felker’s trial. He’s accused of saying he would “shoot up” his school.

Lexington police Sgt. Daniel Burnett testified that Felker’s ammunition had a “full metal jacket” and was designed to pierce things like light body armor.

Principal Betsy Rains said she received multiple tips about Felker making threatening comments.

A student testified that she was around Felker when he’d made the comments and Felkers’s tone became more threatening.

After his arrest, Felker bonded out of jail. Burnett said Felker could have legally bought another firearm after being released on bond. The trial is ongoing.

Man sentenced to prison for gun traced to teen’s death in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — A Kentucky man has been sentenced to 5 ½ years in federal prison for selling a gun that was used to kill a 15-year-old Chicago boy.

Investigators said Christopher Henderson of Louisville bought firearms in Kentucky and resold them at a big profit in Chicago. He pleaded guilty to dealing guns without a license.

Xavier Soto was fatally shot in a Chicago alley in 2017. A 16-year-old friend survived.

Henderson acknowledged his wrongdoing in court Tuesday but said he “didn’t mean to hurt anybody.” Separately, four gang members are facing charges related to Soto’s death.

Judge Edmond Chang told Henderson that illegal guns have contributed to Chicago’s violence. He says, “It’s a story told hundreds of times.”

Indiana man accused of labor trafficking minors in Kentucky

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A man is being accused of bringing 12 children from out of state into Kentucky to sell candy for him.

The Kentucky Attorney General told news outlets Tuesday that 54-year-old Shawn Floyd was being investigated for human trafficking of minors in several Kentucky counties over the past two years.

A statement from Attorney General Andy Beshear says Floyd was arrested Friday after a traffic stop. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and having a controlled substance prescription not in its original container.

Floyd and the 12 children are from Indiana with the youngest being 11-year-old. Floyd forced the children to share a hotel room with three adults and made them buy their own meals.

The investigation is ongoing. It’s unclear whether Floyd has an attorney.

Company to open CBD oil operation in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say a company that specializes in CBD oil extraction and distillation plans to build a $6 million-plus manufacturing plant in Boyle County.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says the venture will create up to 34 full-time jobs over a decade.

State officials say the announcement by International Farmaceutical Extracts is the latest sign that Kentucky’s hemp industry is flourishing.

Officials say the company plans to buy an existing facility in Danville for the operation.

They say the company will use its extraction and distillation technology to produce CBD oil from hemp flower pellets.

At full capacity, the plant will use hemp flowers from about 15,000 acres of local farms.

Hemp-derived CBD oil has become increasingly popular as a health product.

Kentucky has been at the forefront of hemp’s comeback.

Company says it has 4 months to raise $300M for new mill

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Braidy Industries says it has about four months to raise $300 million in equity capital for a proposed aluminum mill in Kentucky or risk losing a large investment.

The Courier Journal reports Braidy provided the details in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week about its agreement with United Co. Rusal. The Russian aluminum company has ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Rusal has been under U.S. sanctions until earlier this year. It recently announced plans to invest $200 million in Braidy’s planned $1.7 billion mill near Ashland.

According to Braidy’s SEC filing, a Rusal subsidiary on July 5 reached definitive agreements to invest $200 million in phases. The filing says the subsidiary can suspend or terminate its obligation if Braidy fails to secure its own $300 million contribution after four months have passed.

Body of missing Kentucky fisherman found in Alaska river

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska state medical examiner says a body recovered from the Susitna River was that of a missing 76-year-old Kentucky fisherman.

William “Bill” Hartlage of Louisville disappeared last month while fly fishing.

A family member on June 27 told Alaska State Troopers that Hartlage left to fish at the mouth of Willow Creek, which dumps into the Susitna, and did not return.

Two boat crews and a helicopter launched a search that night. A ground search followed the next day.

A boater on July 9 found Hartlage’s partially submerged body about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) upstream of Deshka Landing. State troopers recovered the body.