News Around the State

22 counties need volunteers to review foster care cases

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Officials say 22 Kentucky counties need volunteers to review cases of children in foster care.

Volunteers review the cases of children placed in care because of dependency, neglect or abuse to ensure they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.

The Administrative Office of the Courts says in a statement that potential volunteers can apply online and once approved must complete a six-hour initial training session. They do not have to live in the county in which they volunteer.

Counties needing volunteers to serve on foster care review boards are Barren, Bell, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Floyd, Grayson, Hardin, Harlan, Hart, Jefferson, Knott, LaRue, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Meade, Nelson, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Wolfe.

New company enters possible deal for idle Wyoming coal mines

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Another coal company has entered a potential bankruptcy deal that could allow two idle Wyoming coal mines to reopen.

Bristol, Tennessee-based Contura Energy announced Wednesday it has reached a tentative deal to pay Jasper, Alabama-based FM Coal $90 million to take the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines.

Milton, West-Virginia-based Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy July 1 and shut down the Powder River Basin mines, putting some 600 people out of work. Contura owned the mines previously and still holds their Wyoming permits.

A bankruptcy court in August approved the mines’ purchase by Contura but the deal has been held up while the U.S. government seeks payment of federal mineral royalties.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the new deal would need approval from a bankruptcy judge and Contura’s board of directors.

Coal mine electrician dies in accident at West Virginia mine

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia officials say a 40-year-old coal mine electrician has died in an accident.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training says Steven Vernon Keeney of Sylvester died of injuries from an apparent electrical shock.

The accident happened at 12:18 a.m. Tuesday at the Panther Creek Mining American Eagle Mine in the Kanawha County community of Cabin Creek. Keeney was a certified electrician at the mine.

The agency’s inspectors are investigating.

It is the third coal mining fatality in West Virginia this year and the 10th nationwide. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says four have occurred in Kentucky, two in Pennsylvania and one in Illinois.

Gov. Jim Justice said he and first lady Cathy Justice were sad to hear about the loss.

Beshear releases plan aimed at boosting Kentucky tourism

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andy Beshear on Thursday released a plan aimed at making Kentucky a bigger tourism destination as a way to build economic growth.

Beshear’s plan calls for a new marketing campaign focused on attracting tourists from nearby states. Those marketing efforts, he said, should emphasize Kentucky’s scenic attractions and its ties to bourbon and horses to promote itself as a world-class destination.

Beshear is challenging Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in the November election.

Bevin campaign manager Davis Paine responded that the governor has been “relentless” in promoting Kentucky, resulting in tens of thousands of new jobs and historically low unemployment.

The Democratic challenger said Kentucky has fallen behind Tennessee in attracting visitors.

Beshear’s plan calls for making workforce development a priority in the hospitality industry and working to attract new professional sports teams and events.

Beshear said his plan to legalize casinos would result in resorts that attract visitors.

The tourism plan is the latest in a series of policy positions from Beshear.

Wounded soldiers to embark on 101-mile bike ride

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — A group of wounded soldiers from Army posts in Kentucky and Georgia are biking 101 miles beginning at Fort Campbell later this month.

Fort Campbell says the event is called “Where Heroes Rendezvous” and will begin on Sept. 27.

The ride will include more than 70 wounded, ill and injured soldiers from Fort Campbell, Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Benning, Georgia, along with other veterans and volunteers.

Riders have been training for the ride since April. The route will run through Clarksville, Tennessee, and several counties in Kentucky.

Community members who want to support can cheer for riders at planned cheer points at Indian Hills Elementary School, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, the 101st Airborne Division’s headquarters and the Warrior Transition Battalion Headquarters.

Few seek Appalachian tuition break from Virginia college

WISE, Va. (AP) — A college in southwest Virginia is seeing limited interest in an inaugural program that offers discounted tuition to students from Appalachia.

The Roanoke Times reports that the University of Virginia’s College at Wise enrolled 23 students through the program that was created to boost enrollment. Officials previously have said they hoped the new discount would eventually bring in about 100 additional students to school.

Lawmakers passed a law this year granting in-state tuition at the college for students from the Appalachian region, which stretches from New York to Alabama and includes all or parts of 13 states. Yearly in-state tuition is about $18,000 less than the out-of-state price tag.

Police: Woman stops for gas, finds stranger in her trunk

MILLERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say a Kentucky woman stopped for gas while driving through Tennessee and noticed her trunk wasn’t closed all the way. Millersville, Tennessee, police tell reporters that’s when the driver inspected the trunk and found a stranger inside of it.

A police statement says the driver told the stowaway she was calling police, and the hidden woman leapt out of the trunk and fled on foot. The driver told authorities that the stowaway appeared to have been injured.

She was found early Tuesday. Authorities determined she had voluntarily crawled into the unsuspecting driver’s trunk. Bowling Green, Kentucky, police spokesman Ronnie Ward says detectives learned the woman had been injured while running through some woods, though it’s unclear where. Authorities say she’s a possible victim of assault and kidnapping in Kentucky.