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Man arrested in rape was foster parent, youth leader

A church youth leader arrested Tuesday in connection with the rape of a minor girl was also a licensed foster parent, officials confirmed Friday. Joseph Niemeyer, 54, worked with youth at the New Banklick Baptist Church in Walton. He was also a resource for Benchmark Family Services, a foster care service, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

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Friday 02/05/2016
Twentysomething and running for something
Posted: February 05, 2016

A group of young activists in Northern Kentucky weren't content voicing their opinions online and just voting. Last week they filed for office. On Jan. 26, the state's election filing day, at least seven candidates in Northern Kentucky 30 or younger submitted paperwork for offices from the congressional level down to city councils.

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Manhattan Harbour plans shrink
Posted: February 05, 2016

More houses and fewer businesses than planned will go in front of Dayton's floodwall in the massive Manhattan Harbour project. The size of the investment for the project has been scaled back from $932 million to $473 million, according to a memo for an amendment to a tax incentive approved in the past week by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

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Logan County man pleads not guilty in death of sister-in-law
Posted: February 05, 2016

A Logan County man accused of killing his sister-in-law was arraigned Thursday. George M. Walker, 20, of Adairville, appeared in Logan Circuit Court on charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence. Walker’s attorney, public defender Nathan Beard, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Authorities accuse George Walker of killing Allison Walker, 23, at the Conn Road residence they shared with Chris Walker, who is George Walker’s brother and was married to Allison Walker.

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Budget 'a long process'
Posted: February 05, 2016

Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is continuing to draw scrutiny and debate in Frankfort as lawmakers build House and Senate versions of budgets that will ultimately be merged and presented to the governor. While Democratic House Budget Chairman Rick Rand this week questioned all of Bevin’s proposed cuts in light of an expected $200 million state surplus, cuts to education are drawing much of the attention.

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County is asked to abandon lake as water source
Posted: February 05, 2016

The Board of Directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District were asked to participate in a different way to provide water for Letcher County residents at the board’s regular monthly meeting. Board member Fred Webb introduced David Owen, co-founder and board member of EverBlue Water Technologies, who said his company is confident that its technology can treat water from abandoned coal mines in a manner that removes toxins that leach into ground water and streams, making the water safe for human consumption.

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Officer rescues local teen from creek
Posted: February 05, 2016

A Spencer County teenager is recovering from her injuries and a former Taylorsville City Police Chief is being hailed a hero following a one-vehicle accident late Friday night in Elk Creek. Tayler Wilson, 17, was driving home when her car ran off the road and landed on its side in a creek that runs along Ky. Route 55, near Washburn Lane. Wilson suffered several serious injuries and she was trapped inside the vehicle, which was nearly invisible from the road.

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Magoffin man wanted in hit and run case
Posted: February 05, 2016

Local law enforcement looking for a Magoffin County man after he allegedly hit another man with his vehicle, then fled the scene. Magoffin County Sheriff’s Department was called to the Connelley Farm area in Magoffin at approximately 4 p.m. on Friday, January 29.

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More defendants possible in vote-buying case
Posted: February 05, 2016

Last week the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a response in the ongoing federal vote-buying case that alludes to the possibility of adding more defendants to the case. On November 19, 2015, a federal grand jury released an indictment of four Magoffin County residents on vote-buying charges regarding the 2014 primary and general elections. Magoffin County Magistrate (District 1) Gary “Rooster” Risner, along with Tami Jo Risner, Mason Daniels and Scottie Lyn McCarty, were charged with paying and offering to pay for votes in an election, broken down into 17 counts of felony offenses. A jury trial for the four was tentatively scheduled for February 9, 2016.

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Ky. Senate passes 'religious freedom' bill
Posted: February 05, 2016

The Kentucky Senate has voted overwhelmingly in favor of the so called ‘religious freedom’ bill. Among other things, the measure would allow students in Kentucky elementary and secondary schools, as well as universities, to voluntarily express religious viewpoints in class assignments. Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas cast an Aye vote Thursday. “We ought to have freely as a society here in Kentucky the ability to express our religious opinions in schools, on the sports fields, in plays and whatever,” said Thomas.

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Overdoses killed nearly 500 in East Ky. since 2011
Posted: February 05, 2016

Preliminary reports indicate that Eastern Kentucky’s battle with addiction has killed nearly 500 people since 2011, and most of those deaths in the surrounding eight-county area occurred in Floyd and Pike counties. Preliminary statistics provided by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center show that overdose caused the deaths of 463 people in eight surrounding Eastern Kentucky counties between 2011 and June 2015, the latest numbers available in the agency’s statewide database.

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KSP: Pharmacy robber caught in Floyd
Posted: February 05, 2016

While police were searching for the suspect believed to have robbed a pharmacy in Coal Run on Tuesday, a Pike County grand jury was indicting him on charges linked to other cases, including one in which he allegedly attempted to bring drugs into the Pike County Detention Center. According to court documents, Christopher R. Daniels, 33, of Billy Compton Branch, Pikeville, was arrested Tuesday evening following the robbery of Commonwealth Pharmacy in Coal Run.

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MIRED Clinton email issue becomes more serious
Posted: February 05, 2016

Last March we opined that Republicans who thought the controversy over Hillary Clinton's unsecure email server might be enough to keep her from winning the Democratic nomination were engaging in wishful thinking. We still believe that is the case, although that is not to say it should be. The controversy centers on a personal email server Clinton used to store official communications during her tenure as Secretary of State. More specifically, focus has been on whether some of those emails contained classified information, and if so whether Clinton broke the law by storing them on an unsecure server in her home.

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Financial advisers emphasize long-term strategy to weather volatile global market
Posted: February 05, 2016

While recent volatility in global financial markets may be causing concern for U.S. investors, local financial advisers say a long-term strategy is the best way to weather the storm. "In a general sense, this volatility is the result of uncertainty across a variety of areas, including China, oil prices, the election, interest rates, all of those things," said Hal Sullivan, branch manager with Hilliard Lyons in Paducah.

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Two bills to pass, two to kill
Posted: February 05, 2016

▪ House Bill 121, sponsored by Reps. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, and Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, would make state highways safer and more welcoming for cyclists. The bill requires a car or truck passing a bicycle to stay at least three feet away until safely clearing the bike. This may seem like government codifying common sense, but consider that cyclists account for about one percent of all vehicles on the road but two percent of traffic fatalities. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety figures that almost half of cyclist deaths involve unsafe passing.

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Grassroots feeding program is fine work
Posted: February 05, 2016

The story in Monday’s newspaper about a mobile feeding program started by two Hopkinsville women is one of the most encouraging examples we’ve seen in a good while of a grassroots response to a community problem. Every Tuesday, and sometimes more often, Pat Beliles and Nina Kay Shearon deliver about 65 hot meals to local residents. They started the effort with the backing of Micah Mission downtown, where the meals are prepared. They deliver the food in Shearon’s SUV.

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Expect 'bumpy road' without aid to projects
Posted: February 05, 2016

In the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, a broad-based coalition of associations that represent private and public businesses and agencies across Kentucky met to push legislation they say would promote private-public partnerships to fix this state’s crumbling infrastructure. They claim these partnerships will help improve other state services and facilities as well, while putting more Kentuckians to work. So far, engineers, contractors, manufacturers and chambers of commerce have supported the plan. And we’re receptive to learning more about it as lawmakers consider the measure in this year’s session.

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Animal composting facility in full operation
Posted: February 05, 2016

Since opening for business Jan. 25, the animal compost facility operated by Franklin County road department employees has received about 40 dead livestock animals, according to Road Superintendent Jon Mitchell. The composting site is made of a concrete platform and mulch. County crews transport dead livestock to the facility and cover them with the mulch to speed up the decomposition process.

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Counting heads that have no beds
Posted: February 05, 2016

Imagine what today would be like if you had no warm and secure place to sleep. Picture having a place of employment but having to leave that job to “couch surf” in a friend’s or family’s living room until the next shift, knowing at anytime you might wear out your welcome. Think of what it must be like to shelter overnight in a personal or borrowed vehicle. Now compound the stress that must weigh on an individual in these circumstances when children are involved.

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Few leads in murder investigation
Posted: February 05, 2016

More than a week has passed since Windell Maurice Jones was shot and killed inside his Westport Road townhouse in Eliza­bethtown and few leads have emerged in the case as police seek a suspect. Police were called to the 600 block of Westport Road at 12:24 a.m. Jan. 27 after a report of a man being shot. When police arrived, they found Jones in distress from a gunshot to his chest.

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Group aims to defend ‘unheard voices’
Posted: February 05, 2016

When M.L. Butler learned about the death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen, he wanted to fight for answers. Even thought he did not have any relationship with the Shelby County teen’s family, Butler felt moved and wanted to help them fight for answers. McMillen was found dead in a cell Jan. 11 at Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown. The cause of her death remains uncertain as the state medical examiner awaits toxicology, electrolyte analysis and histology report results to determine a possible cause.

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Earthquake hits Harrison County Tuesday morning
Posted: February 05, 2016

According to local Emergency Management Agency director Mike Palmer, Harrison County was hit with an earthquake about 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Palmer said he received an email from the EMA in Frankfort on Tuesday morning when he got to work, telling him of the earthquake.

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Motion for dismissal on the table in Kinman case
Posted: February 05, 2016

A response to a pre-trial motion seeking dismissal of the indictment against Carroll County Sheriff Jamie Kinman raises questions about the grand jury process based on a comment by its foreman and the credibility of a witness. In papers filed Jan. 29, the Commonwealth argues there has been no prosecutorial misconduct, much less a flagrant abuse of the grand jury process, which would be grounds for dismissing the indictment against Kinman. Special Circuit Court Judge Fred Stine will decide on the motion.

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Weapon at center of bank robbery case
Posted: February 05, 2016

An attorney representing a Lexington man accused of robbing a bank last year wants witnesses to refer to the alleged weapon as a BB gun. A motion filed by Lauren Hunter, who is representing Thomas Riley, is intended to exclude descriptions of the BB gun that referred to it as a handgun, semi-automatic weapon, Glock or pistol. Hunter, a public defender with the Department of Public Advocacy in Columbia, thinks describing it as anything but a BB gun would prejudice the jury.

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Legislators: Retirement programs ‘serious issue’
Posted: February 05, 2016

Saturday’s Legislative Town Hall meeting at the Trimble County Judge-Executive’s office was full of discussion about Governor Matt Bevin’s state budget, which lawmakers received from the Executive Office last week. Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, and Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, co-hosted the meeting to address issues under consideration by the General Assembly in the current legislative session. Both Hornback and Rand assured those in attendance that, despite their opposite political party affiliations, the two men have a great working relationship.

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No one should grieve alone
Posted: February 05, 2016

In 2015, Kentucky Health News and The Paducah Sun reported that Kentucky’s suicide rate was higher than the national average at 15.5 suicides per 100,000 people. Nationally, the average is 12.5. According to the report, and the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the state and the second-leading cause of death in people ages 15 to 34.

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Optimistic Pruitt confronts education budget cuts
Posted: February 05, 2016

Stephen Pruitt took on the job of Kentucky education commissioner four months ago amid great uncertainty. He didn't know then that Republican Matt Bevin would be elected governor and propose nearly $18 million in cuts to the Department of Education's (KDE) budget this fiscal year and double the cuts in years to come.

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Two killed in single-vehicle Graves wreck
Posted: February 05, 2016

Two people were killed early Thursday morning along a Graves County road when their vehicle crashed into a concrete bridge. According to the Graves County Sheriff's Department, 19-year-old Katylnn Suggs, of Metropolis, Illinois, and her 26-year-old passenger, Andrew McManus, of Paducah, died after their 2008 Kia Rio hit the bridge just after 3:30 a.m. on Ky. 97 just south of Tri-City.

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MSU president cites big impact of spending cuts
Posted: February 05, 2016

Murray State University President Bob Davies likes nothing better than to talk about the positive impact the college has on the region and did so Thursday morning in Paducah. Addressing the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce's breakfast at the Julian Carroll Convention Center, Davies touched on the school's growing enrollment, national rankings and successful partnerships within the region. But he also talked about the negative impact proposed state budget cuts will have on higher education. Gov. Matt Bevin last week proposed a 4 1/2 percent reduction for the remainder of this year and a 9 percent reduction next year.

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Animal control seizes 44 dogs
Posted: February 05, 2016

Five people were charged Wednesday with animal cruelty after the Daviess County Animal Shelter seized 44 dogs from a home in the 6800 block of Pond River Road near West Louisville. Lashell R. Robinson, 24, of the 4000 block of Creekside Court, Arias-Barajas Nazario, 30, of the 800 block of Moreland Street, Rigoberto Jimenez Velazquez, 20, of the 6800 block of Pond River Road, Ana V. Jimenez Velazquez, 18, of the 6800 block of Pond River Road, and Jose V. Mejia, 36, of the 6800 block of Pond River Road, were charged Wednesday with second-degree animal cruelty, failure to have a license to breed and no proof of rabies vaccination.

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First responder issues before Kentucky House, Senate
Posted: February 05, 2016

Survivor benefits for EMS personnel and rescuers are the subject of two bills working through the Kentucky General Assembly branches this week. There is a misconception all first responders, fire, police and EMS are covered by a line-of-duty death benefit, officials said. Currently, fire and police are covered, but not rescuers and EMS personnel, officials said.

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Crofton gas station robbed at gunpoint
Posted: February 05, 2016

A man robbed the Hucks convenience store in Crofton at gunpoint just after 5 a.m. Friday. The robber, who wore a mask and gloves, entered the store armed with a handgun and demanded cash, said Christian County Sheriff's Department Detective Brandon Myers.

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Authorities searching for Webster escapee
Posted: February 05, 2016

Authorities are searching for a Webster County inmate who walked away from his work release site Thursday afternoon. The Kentucky State Police said William W. Adams, 40, left Sebree City Garage on South State Street, around 2:30 p.m.

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Teen dead, one charged with murder in Union County crash
Posted: February 05, 2016

A Morganfield man has been charged with murder after a crash Wednesday night in Union County left a teen dead. The Kentucky State Police said Steven Freeman, 22, Morganfield, was driving a Mitsubishi car near the U.S. 60 Bypass and Kentucky 2091 around 8 p.m. when he struck 17-year-old Damon W. Collins of Morganfield, who was riding a bicycle.

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NKY church youth leader accused of rape
Posted: February 05, 2016

A youth leader at the New Banklick Baptist Church in Walton was arrested Tuesday in connection with the rape of a minor girl. Joseph Niemeyer, 54, turned himself in to the Independence Police Department, where he was arrested Monday. He is facing first-degree sexual abuse, rape, and sodomy charges, all against a girl younger than 12, police said.

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Right-to-work lawsuit: County has 30 days to appeal
Posted: February 05, 2016

Hardin County Gov­ern­ment officials are con­­fident in their choice to appeal a U.S. District Court ruling banning local right-to-work laws. Ordinance 300 — which was passed by Hardin Fiscal Court in January 2015 — banned employers from mandating union membership or coercing employees to contribute part of their salary to an entity. A number of local unions and companies filed a lawsuit against the county following the 8-1 vote implementing the ordinance, claiming it was unconstitutional and against the National Labor Relations Act.

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St. E's accused of 'false imprisonment'
Posted: February 05, 2016

Imagine if you went to your local hospital's emergency room for chest pains, or if you took a suicidal family member there for treatment. The next thing you know, you're being kept overnight against your will, with hospital officials saying they think you are suicidal or a threat to others. That's what two women claim happened to them on separate occasions at St. Elizabeth Health Care facilities in Northern Kentucky in separate lawsuits filed in the Boone County Circuit Court.

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What are they saying about Rand Paul?
Posted: February 05, 2016

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's decision to quit the 2016 presidential race two days after the he garnered only 4.5 percent of the vote in the Iowa Caucus has set the country to talking about Paul's failed presidential bid and his decision to give it up and focus on his re-election in Kentucky. For instance, Politico reported that it's the Republican Hawks who benefit most from the decision.

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Child found not breathing at Jeff. day care dies
Posted: February 05, 2016

A death investigation is underway after a child was found not breathing at a Jeffersonville, Ind., day care Thursday morning and later died. Jeffersonville Police are investigating the infant's death, said spokesman Sgt. Isaac Parker.

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Man arrested in domestic violence murder
Posted: February 05, 2016

A man accused of gunning down the mother of his children in the middle of the street last month has been arrested. Corey Quantez Chapman, 34, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury last week on charges of domestic violence murder, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and being a persistent felony offender, court records show.

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Arrest made in store clerk killing near U of L
Posted: February 05, 2016

The suspect in an early morning fatal shooting of a liquor store clerk near the University of Louisville campus was arrested after police say he fled from the scene, wrecked his car and ran off on foot. James Spaulding, 32, entered the Stop-N-Go Smokes and Liquor store around 2 a.m. Thursday and soon began fighting with employees, Louisville Metro Police said in an arrest report.

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Bevin's proposed university cuts draw fire
Posted: February 05, 2016

Proposed 9 percent funding cuts to state universities is the latest part of Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget to draw fire from House Democrats who say the cuts will put higher education out of reach for many Kentuckians. "For every dollar we cut higher education, approximately 70 cents has been charged in additional tuition," Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, said at a meeting of the House subcommittee on postsecondary education Thursday. "For hardworking Kentuckians and some middle income Kentuckians and low income Kentuckians, that's particularly daunting."

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Lawyer nearly falls prey to jury-service scam
Posted: February 05, 2016

Cindy Harrington Napier is a licensed attorney who has practiced for 32 years. But she said she is not “all that cynical” and as a family lawyer, things like warrants are “totally out of my bailiwick.” So when she got a phone message Tuesday from a “Lt. Yates” who said he worked for the sheriff’s department and needed to talk to her about a warrant, she called him right back.

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Gas thieves take 1,000 gallons from FAA, company in EKy
Posted: February 05, 2016

Kentucky State Police are investigating a string of diesel fuel robberies in Eastern Kentucky. In two thefts in two weeks, 655 gallons of fuel, valued at around $2,300 was stolen from the Federal Aviation Administration radar tower on Black Mountain near the Virginia state line, police said.. The most recent theft of 55 gallons was reported Monday.

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Georgia Powers, self-described advocate for the ‘voiceless,’ honored at Capitol memorial service
Posted: February 05, 2016

Dignitaries, family members and friends filled the august Capitol Rotunda Thursday afternoon to memorialize civil rights leader and former state Sen. Georgia Montgomery Davis Powers of Louisville, who died Saturday at the age of 92. Renee Shaw of Kentucky Educational Television, who emceed the more than hour-long ceremony, called it a “celebration of a long life lived well.”

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Prevailing wage bill struck down by House
Posted: February 05, 2016

Sen. Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) has sponsored a prevailing wage bill for two years and he’s prepared to do so again next year as a House committee struck down the bill again Thursday. The bill would have exempted schools from paying construction workers the average benefits and wages on construction projects of $250,000 or more for educational facilities, which was a sticking point for House Democrats on the committee and a stalemate in the legislature for years.

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Speed limit will drop from 35 mph to 25 mph on some downtown Lexington streets in spring
Posted: February 05, 2016

Speed limits on many downtown Lexington streets will drop from 35 miles per hour to 25 mph in coming months in an effort to make downtown more pedestrian-friendly. The Urban County Council voted unanimously Thursday night to pass a resolution making the change. The issue has been debated by the council for several months. A council committee voted unanimously in December to back the proposal and send it to the full council for a vote.

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Daughter’s illness led to Floyd’s decision to retire
Posted: February 05, 2016

State Rep. David Floyd’s announcement Monday that he would not seek a seventh term in the Kentucky House of Representatives surprised many friends and associates, but it was something he had been thinking about for some time. However, it was a family medical issue that precipitated the Bardstown Republican’s decision last week to withdraw from the race after he had filed for re-election.

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Citizen Foster Care boards seeking volunteers
Posted: February 05, 2016

Citizen Foster Care Review boards in 22 counties are seeking volunteers to make a difference in the lives of local children in foster care. The boards are in need of volunteers to review cases of children placed in foster care because of dependency, neglect or abuse to ensure they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.

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Governor Bevin appoints judge to 41st Judicial Circuit
Posted: February 05, 2016

Governor Matt Bevin has appointed Clint Jeffrey Harris of Manchester to serve as Family Court Judge for the 41st Judicial Circuit, Division 2. Harris’ name was one of three submitted to Gov. Bevin by the Judicial Nominating Commission.

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