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News in Brief

State officials readying for fall wildfire season

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Division of Forestry is preparing for fall wildfire season. Each year, there are about 1,500 wildfires in the state, based on a 10-year average.

State officials say most of the fires are preventable. Last fall, there were 420 fires that burned about 52,000 acres. Most of the fires started in November.

The Division of Forestry says in a release it is against the law to do any open burning within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the fall and spring forest fire hazard seasons. Those seasons run from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15 and Feb. 15 to April 30.

Last fire season, 70 people were given citations for illegal burning and 14 were arrested and charged with setting fires.

Student leaves school without permission, falls into ditch

LEXINGTON (AP) — A Kentucky school district says a middle school student who left school without permission fell into a drainage ditch adjacent to campus.

News outlets report Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said the Leestown Middle School student was transported to the hospital as a precaution Monday. She didn’t have a precise description of the student’s condition.

Deffendall says preventative measures will be put into place with the student, and the school will review safety procedures.

No further details were released.

Police chase in Tenn. ends with fatal crash in Ky.

SMITHS GROVE (AP) — Kentucky authorities say a police chase that started in Tennessee ended after the vehicle involved crashed into a tree, killing two passengers.

Kentucky state police tell news outlets the pursuit began Sunday morning in Westmoreland, Tennessee, before ending in the collision off a Kentucky highway in Warren County. Two others who were inside the vehicle were critically injured and a fifth passenger was in stable condition.

Westmoreland police say an officer saw the vehicle driving recklessly and attempted a traffic stop. Speeds in the chase exceeded 100 mph (160 kph) and included Allen County Sheriff’s deputies after crossing state lines.

The names of those who died in the crash were not immediately released.

Middle school teacher faces child porn charges

PROVIDENCE (AP) — Kentucky State Police say they have arrested a middle school teacher on child pornography charges.

Police said in a statement that several photos depicting a minor in a sexual performance were found on a cellphone belonging to 48-year-old Lucia C. Jenkins of Providence, who is a teacher at Webster County Middle School. Police say Jenkins was arrested Monday and taken to jail.

She faces four counts of possessing or viewing matter portraying a sexual performance of a minor.

Online jail records don’t indicate whether she has an attorney.

Coroner: Woman found under bridge died from assault

LEXINGTON (AP) — The death of a woman found under a bridge in Kentucky is being investigated as a homicide.

News outlets report the victim found Sunday morning in Lexington has been identified as 37-year-old Meghan Lea Acord. The Fayette County Coroner’s Office says an autopsy conducted Monday in Frankfort identified the cause of death as multiple trauma from an assault.

Acord’s body was found near train tracks.

Further details have not been released.

Pinson named executive director at PSC

FRANKFORT (AP) — A panel that regulates utilities across Kentucky has a new executive director.

The Public Service Commission named Gwen R. Pinson on Monday to the role. Pinson previously served as executive director of the Office of General Counsel in the Finance and Administration Cabinet. She succeeds Talina Mathews, who was appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin to serve a four-year term on the panel.

The Public Service Commission regulates over 1,500 utilities around the state including companies that provide electric, gas, water and phone service. Some of the areas regulated by the commission include proposals for rate increases, boundary changes and plant construction. The panel also hears consumer complaints.

Pinson received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehead State and her law degree from the University of Kentucky.