News in Brief

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Official: State prisons to run out of space by 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s top public safety official says the state’s prisons will run out of space by May 2019, possibly forcing the early release of thousands of nonviolent inmates as the state continues to grapple with the effects of a nationwide opioid epidemic.

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley told state lawmakers Tuesday the state’s prison population is expected to grow by more than 4,400 inmates over the next decade. He said 79 percent of that increase could be eliminated if lawmakers change the state’s criminal code to put fewer nonviolent offenders behind bars.

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Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said changes to the state’s criminal code are possible but not probable. He said he’d like to see progress on some of the state’s other criminal justice reforms before taking that step.

Attorney general talks opioid scourge during Ky. visit

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Kentucky to tout a new program that targets doctors who overprescribe opioids.

Sessions visited the U.S. attorney’s offices in downtown Louisville Tuesday morning to discuss efforts to curb drug abuse in areas where overdose deaths are surging.

Sessions says an estimated 64,000 Americans died of overdose in 2016. Sessions says that’s about the population of Bowling Green. The new program will focus on opioid-related health care fraud by using data to find out which doctors are prescribing the most drugs and whose patients are dying of overdoses. He says the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit will also target “hot spot” districts, including Kentucky.

Sessions also praised the police response to the fatal school shooting last week at Marshall County High School.

Student hospitalized with probable meningitis

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The University of Kentucky says a student has been hospitalized with a probable case of bacterial meningitis.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the university announced in a tweet on Monday that the strain of meningitis has not been confirmed but that anyone on campus with symptoms such as sudden fever and neck stiffness should seek medical attention immediately.

The university says the area where the student lives is being professionally cleaned and anyone who may have been in close contact with the student is being provided with information and resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says bacterial meningitis is potentially fatal but can be treated with antibiotics. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion.

Ky.’s health secretary launches congressional campaign

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s top ranking health official, who led the state’s effort to impose the nation’s first-ever work requirements on Medicaid, has resigned from Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration to challenge the state’s only Democratic congressman.

Vickie Yates Brown Glisson filed Tuesday as a Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, which covers most of Louisville. The seat is held by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth. Glisson announced her candidacy shortly before the filing deadline for this year’s elections.

Glisson is the secretary for Kentucky’s Health and Family Services Cabinet, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program. Yarmuth was first elected to Congress in 2006. He has been a staunch advocate for former President Barack Obama’s health care law and has easily won his re-election campaigns.

Two other Republicans have filed for the seat — Mike Craven and Rhonda Palazzo.

Louisville breaks ground on tunnel to keep sewage from river

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District has broken ground on a $200 million tunnel that will direct rainwater and sewage away from the Ohio River.

The Courier-Journal reports the initiative is part of a nearly $1 billion waterway cleanup plan required by state regulators and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Construction began Jan. 10 is expected to be finished by Dec. 31, 2020.

Officials say the tunnel will be more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) long, 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter and 200 feet (61 meters) below the surface. It will collect around 351 million gallons of raw sewage and rain annually from nearly two dozen downtown-area locations that now go into the Ohio River.

The sewage and stormwater will be pumped and treated after the rain stops.

Ky. distillers’ group opens office in Bardstown

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has opened a satellite office in the town that proclaims itself the “Bourbon Capital of the World.”

The trade group says it made sense to open an office in Bardstown since KDA employees are spending more time in the central Kentucky town.

KDA President Eric Gregory said his staff will rotate office hours in Bardstown. The office is at Spalding Hall, on the second floor above the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History.

The organization is headquartered in Frankfort and has a satellite office in Louisville at the Frazier History Museum on historic Whiskey Row.

KDA has five member distilleries in Nelson County — with more on the way — and several in neighboring counties. Bardstown is an official “Trailhead” sponsor of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tourism attraction.