Coal industry on track for record low in mining deaths

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. coal industry is close to setting a record low for on-the-job deaths in coal mines.

There were 11 deaths in coal mines nationwide for the year by late December, putting the industry, which is mired in a period of layoffs and idled operations, on track to best the record low of 16 set in 2014.

Pennsylvania is leading the nation with three deaths, the most in that state since 2008. If the numbers hold it would be the first time since 2009 that West Virginia did not record the nation's most coal mine fatalities.

So far, West Virginia has had just two mining deaths, tied with Kentucky and Illinois, which had the most recent on Dec. 8. An equipment crash at an underground mine in southern Illinois killed a 20-year-old man who had been mining for two years.


Company expanding Lexington operation, adding 30 jobs

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A forklift truck manufacturer is expanding its Lexington facility, creating 30 full-time jobs.

Gov. Matt Bevin and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced the expansion on Tuesday in a news release from Bevin's office.

Clark Material Handling Co. will invest nearly $4.8 million in the project. The state has approved tax incentives up to $500,000.

The release said Clark opened its Lexington facility in 1974 and moved its company headquarters there in 1985.

Clark's Lexington campus will cover more than 162,000 square feet after the expansion. The company plans to begin producing its four-wheel electric ECX and its three-wheel TMX forklift trucks in Lexington in May. Those models were previously produced in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.


Off-highway vehicle area closed at Land Between Lakes

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (AP) — Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area says the Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area and Trails is temporarily closed following heavy rain.

A news release from Land Between The Lakes said the area received several inches of rain recently, and freeze-thaw conditions are in the forecast. The release said Turkey Bay will reopen when soil conditions improve.

Because of saturated soil conditions, Land Between The Lakes urged all visitors to use caution, especially while hiking trails and driving back roads.

For updates, call (800) 525-7077 or (270) 924-2000 and press 1, or visit and click on "Alerts."

Land Between The Lakes manages more than 170,000 acres in western Kentucky and Tennessee.


Yum Center in Louisville to increase security measures

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials say they plan to implement more security measures at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville next month.

Media cited a statement Tuesday from the center that said the arena will put in walk-through metal detectors at entrances and limit the size of purses. The statement said the arena will open 90 minutes before most events and encourages patrons to arrive early for the additional security screening. Backpacks and briefcases remain prohibited.

KFC Yum Center General Manager Dennis Petrullo says the additional measures will help provide a safe and secure atmosphere at the arena.

The new security measures will take effect on Jan. 14.


Inmate charged in Rockcastle County Detention Center arson

MOUNT VERNON, Ky. (AP) — A Rockcastle County Detention Center inmate faces an arson charge after being accused of starting a fire in the facility.

Kentucky State Police officer Lloyd Cochran says 23-year-old Justin Bishop has been charged with one count of arson and 19 counts of wanton endangerment.

State police tell local media that 13 inmates and two staff members had to be taken to a hospital for treatment after the fire Wednesday. Their injuries weren't life threatening. Seven agencies responded to the fire, which forced an evacuation.

Cochran says the Rockcastle jail has not been reopened.

It's unclear if Bishop has an attorney.


State audit of Morgan Fiscal Court finds 'abuse of power'

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. (AP) — A state audit has concluded that hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal disaster aid are unaccounted for in Morgan County.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, outgoing state Auditor Adam Edelen's report, released Monday, found evidence of "waste, fraud and abuse" in the aftermath of a 2012 tornado that devastated West Liberty.

The audit accuses former Judge-Executive Tim Conley of abusing his power and the Fiscal Court to create a situation in which there was minimal oversight.

Conley, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to mail fraud in a scheme in which he took $130,000 in kickbacks from a contractor, declared a state of emergency in Morgan County after the March 2012 tornado.

The audit found the possibility of abuse was so high it couldn't rely on the county's financial records.


Kentucky parks offers eagle viewing cruise for students

AURORA, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky State Parks is giving students the chance to take a cruise on Kentucky Lake to observe bald eagles and other wildlife.

According to the parks, the 2-hour cruise takes place on Jan. 29, departing from the marina at Kenlake State Resort Park at Aurora.

The program will be led by staff from Kentucky State Parks and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources It is designed to align with Kentucky academic standards.

A 9:30 a.m. cruise is for public and private school students. A 1 p.m. cruise is for home school students.

The fee is $15 per student and the registration deadline is Jan. 20.

More information is available from Lisa Deavers at 502-564-8110, ext. 246 or


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.