Kentucky News Now – December 4th 2015
Bevin taps health insurance lawyer to lead Medicaid program
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has appointed a Louisville health care attorney to lead the state's Medicaid program.
Vickie Yates Brown Glisson will be the next secretary of the Health and Family Services Cabinet. The agency operates the state's Medicaid program, which outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear greatly expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Bevin has vowed to repeal that expansion, saying the state cannot afford to pay for it. About 25 percent of the state's population is on Medicaid, with more than 400,000 of them coming in through the expansion.
Glisson is a health insurance lawyer with the Louisville law firm Frost Brown Todd. She is a past chairwoman of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association and has served on the advisory council for the Human Genome Project.
MINE EXPLOSION-TRIAL-THE LATEST
The Latest: Labor secretary applauds Blankenship conviction
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez says the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on a misdemeanor charge sends a message that "no mine operator is above the law."
Perez made the statement in a news release Thursday after the verdict was announced in Blankenship's criminal trial in Charleston.
Perez said there "must be accountability when people lose their lives because of the neglect of their employer."
Blankenship was convicted of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards. The misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in prison. He was not found guilty of a more serious conspiracy charge. He was also acquitted of making false statements and securities fraud.
The case centered on West Virginia's Upper Big Branch Mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.
Bevin inauguration to feature parade of 300 veterans
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin will lead a parade of about 300 veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars on Tuesday to help celebrate his inauguration as Kentucky's next governor.
Bevin's inauguration committee detailed the parade and other events on Thursday. Bevin and Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton were both in the military and have decided to dedicate their inaugural festivities to veterans.
Kentucky native and gospel recording artist Larnelle Harris and Heather Payne from the contemporary Christian music group Point of Grace will perform at the church service. Country singer Lee Greenwood and tenor Gregory Turay will perform at the public swearing-in ceremony.
Bevin will end the day with an invitation-only concert for about 2,000 of his supporters. The committee would not say who would perform, citing contractual obligations.
Farm cash receipts down in Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — After a period of record cash receipts, Kentucky farmers are feeling the squeeze from lower commodity prices and sluggish exports.
University of Kentucky ag economists predicted Thursday that statewide farm cash receipts will drop to $6 billion in 2015. That would be down 8 percent from last year's record $6.5 billion. Crop receipts are expected to decline 16 percent and livestock receipts are forecast to be down 3 percent.
The economists say Kentucky's net cash farm income — the amount left after expenses — will likely drop below $2 billion in 2015. They say next year's amount looks to approach the $1.4 billion average early in the decade.
The state's net farm cash income peaked at $2.75 billion in 2013.
Another factor behind lower receipts is the end of tobacco buyout payments.
HELICOPTER CRASH-TENNESSEE UPDATE
Army: 2 pilots killed in helicopter crash in rural Tennessee
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Army says two pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near Fort Campbell in rural Tennessee.
A news release from the Army's 101st Airborne Division says the two crewmembers were flying a two-seat AH-64D Apache during a routine training mission when the helicopter went down around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Fort Campbell spokesman Maj. Allen Hill says the crash occurred in a rural field near the Cumberland River. He says the helicopter was on fire when found.
The Army news release says the cause of the crash hasn't been determined and is being investigated. The names of the pilots haven't been released, pending notification of next of kin.
Fort Campbell is on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, about 60 miles northwest of Nashville.
Black lung data elusive as new coal dust rules take effect
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Federal mine safety officials are touting new regulations that will increase monitoring for the coal dust that causes black lung disease. They're concerned because new cases of the disease are being underreported.
Beginning Feb. 1, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration will require coal operators to increase the number of air samples taken in underground mines, among other measures.
Black lung kills about 1,000 coal miners each year.
According to the mine safety agency, companies reported about 700 cases in a four-year span ending in September. But from 2010 to 2014, about 3,600 miners were awarded black lung benefits from the government.
Joe Main, the head of the mine safety agency, says there are many reasons for the underreporting, and mine operators aren't entirely to blame. He says it underscores the need for the new regulations.
Police: 2 bodies found in possible murder-suicide at home
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police say they are investigating a possible murder-suicide at a home in Anderson County.
State police spokeswoman Trooper Kendra Wilson tells media outlets that two bodies were found inside the home after a special response team entered the residence on Wednesday.
Police say the Anderson County Sheriff's Office, along with state police, responded to a request for a welfare check.
Anderson County Coroner has identified the two people as 39-year-old Michael Todd Stines of Lawrenceburg and 35-year-old Barbara Ann Lewis of Taylorsville. Both bodies were sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.
Authorities are continuing to investigate.
Grand jury to hear case against man charged in deaths of 4
(Information in the following story is from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com)
MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — A Calloway County grand jury will hear the case against a man charged in the deaths of four relatives whose bodies were found after a house fire in Murray.
The Paducah Sun reports 21-year-old Pascasio Y. Pacheco Arellano of Mayfield is charged with four counts of murder and one count each of first-degree burglary, first-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence.
Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship says prosecutors will most likely seek the death penalty.
Police say Arellano's uncle, 29-year-old Bulmaro Arellano, was found dead inside the home that burned Nov. 17. Bulmaro Arellano was found with his wife, 24-year-old Marisol Hernandez, and their 5-year-old and 1-year-old children.
Preliminary autopsy results indicate Hernandez and Arellano died from gunshot wounds. It's believed the children died of smoke inhalation.
It's unclear whether the suspect has an attorney.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.