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News in Brief

Kentucky Chief Justice says judges need pay raises

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Chief Justice says he will ask state lawmakers to give judges raises of 10 percent over the next two years to bring their salary more in line with the national average.

Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. told lawmakers salaries for Kentucky’s judges rank 49th out of 50 states. State courts Budget Director Carole Henderson said the raises would increase the state’s ranking to 39th.

Minton’s comments were part of his annual State of the Judiciary speech given to lawmakers on the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary. Minton also urged lawmakers to redistribute the number of judges throughout the state to address unequal caseloads.

Lawmakers did not commit to the raises. State economists predict Kentucky is headed toward a $155 million shortfall this year.

KFC Twitter follows 11 Herbs and Spices, intrigues internet

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Twitter user has earned kudos online for discovering a subtle message on KFC’s account.

The KFC account follows just 11 users; five of them are former members of the Spice Girls and the other six are men named Herb, including Green Bay Packers cornerback Herb Waters and music legend Herb Alpert. It adds up to 11 herbs and spices, part of the famous secret recipe KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders touted for his fried chicken.

The connection was noticed on Twitter by a user who goes by “Edge.” His tweet about it has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on the platform.

KFC tells The Associated Press it has been following the 11 Herbs and Spices for about a month.

VA picks site for new VA hospital in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — After more than a decade of reviews and debate, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has formally selected the site for a new VA hospital in Kentucky’s largest city.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said Friday that the VA decided on a site off Brownsboro Road in Louisville. The new hospital will replace the aging Robley Rex VA Medical Center.

Yarmuth says he’s glad the review process is completed and the project can finally move forward.

The new hospital’s location has been discussed for years, and the debate included federal lawmakers and Louisville leaders. Other sites mentioned were downtown and in western Louisville.

The Courier-Journal reports the federal government bought the 35-acre site off Brownsboro Road five years ago for $12.9 million.

‘You are my slave:’ School ends Civil War dress-up activity

KENNESAW, Ga. (AP) — School officials say there will be no more Civil War-related student dress-up activities at a Georgia elementary school after its “Civil War Day” sparked conflict among students, parents and others.

Big Shanty Elementary School last month invited fifth-graders to dress up as characters from the war.

The mother of a 10-year-old black child says a white student dressed as a plantation owner approached him and said, “You are my slave.”

In a Thursday letter to the mother, Corrie Davis, a Cobb County assistant superintendent writes of the school system’s assurance that student dress-up activities related to the Civil War have come to an end at the school about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta.

With more than 110,000 students, Cobb County is Georgia’s second-largest school system.

$120m GM settlement aids Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A $120 million settlement between General Motors and 49 states and Washington, D.C. will bring more than $1 million apiece to Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

State attorneys general said Tennessee will receive $2.1 million, while Kentucky and West Virginia will receive $1.3 million each.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s office says the settlement concludes a multistate investigation into GM’s failure to disclose known safety defects in multiple vehicle models and years.

Slatery’s office says GM issued seven 2014 vehicle recalls for ignition switch and key rotation issues, affecting 9 million-plus U.S. vehicles. The defective switch could change positions and turn off power steering, power brakes and air bag deployment.

The states alleged certain GM employees knew as early as 2004 the switch could turn off air bag deployment.

Mountain bike trail opens at Kentucky park

LONDON, Ky. (AP) — State parks officials say Levi Jackson State Park in Kentucky has opened a new 7-mile mountain bike trail.

Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland says the Broken Spoke Mountain Bike Trail will help attract more tourists to the park at London. Holland attended the trail’s formal opening this week.

Parks officials say the city of London and the Friends of Levi Jackson State Park funded the bike trail, which can be expanded.

Levi Jackson State Park also features a campground, swimming pool, grist mill, museum and gift shop, hiking trails and the Tree Top Adventure aerial park.