Kentucky's 1st black statewide official touts outsider story

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Jenean Hampton made history earlier this month when she became the first black person to win a statewide election in Kentucky.

Hampton is the lieutenant governor-elect along with Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin. The two were elected together on the same ticket. Hampton joins U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina as the only black statewide officeholders in the south. Both are Republicans.

Hampton grew up poor in Detroit but says her experiences shaped her conservative views. She served in the Air Force for seven years before moving to Bowling Green 13 years ago with her husband. She lost her job in 2012 and decided to focus on politics. She lost a race for the state House of Representatives in 2014. Hampton says she wants to focus on education and entrepreneurship.


Noah's Ark religious attraction to open in July in Kentucky

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Construction on a Noah's Ark attraction in northern Kentucky is sailing along, and the builders say it will open next year.

Answers in Genesis, the Christian ministry leading the project, announced on Thursday that the attraction will open to visitors July 7, 2016.

The massive, 510-foot-long wooden boat is the $90 million first phase of a planned religious theme park. Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham says work on the bow and stern will begin soon.

The state had awarded an $18 million tax incentive to the project before withdrawing it last year over concerns of "religious indoctrination." The ark's builders are suing in federal court to get the incentive back.

Answers in Genesis built the nearby Creation Museum with $27 million in private donations. It opened in 2007.


Grayson moving forward with smoke-free ordinance

(Information in the following story is from: The Independent,

GRAYSON, Ky. (AP) — Members of the Grayson City Council are moving forward with the possibility of creating a smoke-free workplace environment in the city.

The Independent of Ashland reports that the city council unanimously passed a motion Tuesday to create an ordinance for Grayson to have a smoke-free work environment. The council plans to discuss the ordinance in more detail next month.

The vote came after Roger Cline from the Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition addressed the council to answer questions about the proposed ordinance.

Cline says many businesses in the city already don't allow smoking inside their facilities and that the ban wouldn't affect many other businesses.

Cline says the council must decide on its own how far away people would have to be from a building in order to smoke.


Parking problems? Pay tickets in canned food instead of cash

(Information in the following story is from: Lexington Herald-Leader,

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Parking tickets can be paid with donations of canned food instead of cash during a monthlong "Food for Fines" program in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the city's parking authority will accept cans for citations from Nov. 16 to Dec. 18.

Those who donate 10 canned food items will receive a $15 credit on citations. Customers with multiple citations may bring in 10 cans per citation for the credits.

LexPark Executive Director Gary Means says citizens brought in more than 6,200 cans of food as payment during last year's "Food for Fines" program.

The parking authority suggests large cans with vegetables and proteins. No out-of-date, damaged or open canned goods will be accepted.


Gov.-elect Bevin hires Blake Brickman as chief of staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has tapped a veteran of both politics and policy to help guide him through his first term as Kentucky's second Republican governor since 1971.

Bevin announced James "Blake" Brickman as his chief of staff on Thursday. Brickman is the former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning and a former law clerk to U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar in eastern Kentucky. Plus Brickman managed U.S. Rep. Andy Barr's successful re-election campaign in 2014 and was a key adviser to state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, the first Hispanic member of the Kentucky state Senate.

Brickman is the grandson of former Democratic Gov. Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt, who served from 1963 to 1967.

This is the second hire of Bevin's administration. Bevin announced M. Stephen Pitt as his general counsel on Tuesday.


Hodgenville adding 'In God We Trust' decals to police cars

(Information in the following story is from: WDRB-TV,

HODGENVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The police chief in Hodgenville says decals with the phrase "In God We Trust" will be added to patrol cars in the central Kentucky city.

Chief Marcus Jackson told WDRB-TV city officials approved the move, though reaction has been mixed since the department put an announcement on Facebook. Jackson said many people posted supportive remarks but others were opposed to the idea.

Hodgenville Mayor Kenny Devore said he supports the move and plans to personally pay for the decals.

Jackson said the five officers in his department won't be forced to put the decal on their vehicles; they can opt out.

Larue County Judge Executive Tommy Turner said he thinks a majority of people in the community support the decals.


Bridge connecting Kentucky, Ohio has reopened

(Information in the following story is from: The Independent,

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Highways says a bridge in northeastern Kentucky that was closed for a painting project has reopened.

The Independent reports the Carl D. Perkins Memorial Bridge reopened to traffic Wednesday after closing in April so contractors could paint the span's 600,000-square-foot steel superstructure. The structure spans the Ohio River and connects Greenup County, Kentucky, with Portsmouth, Ohio.

The Kentucky Department of Highways says the $7 million project is expected to help preserve the structure for about 35 years.


Authorities say man shot, killed in restaurant parking lot

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a man was shot and killed in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in Louisville.

Local media outlets report 48-year-old Alton David Crockett was found shot to death in a Taco Bell parking lot on Tuesday evening. Chief Deputy Coroner Jo-Ann Farmer says Crockett was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say Crockett was shot around 7:30 p.m.

Louisville Metro Police are continuing to investigate the case.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact police.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.