News Around the State

Published 12:09 pm Monday, March 19, 2018

Police: 4 helped man charged in police officer slaying

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police in eastern Kentucky say four people are facing charges for helping a man wanted for killing a police officer.

Pikeville police officer Scotty Hamilton was shot while responding to a call in the Hurricane community of Pike County Tuesday. On Thursday, John Russell Hall, 55, of Pikeville, was captured and charged with murder of a police officer.

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Four people who knew Hall, Michael Slone of Lexington, Gregory Slone and Amanda Dotson of Pikeville, and Jeanne Blackburn of Harold, also were arrested Thursday. They have been charged with hindering prosecution.

Dotson provided a vehicle that she and Michael Slone used to pick up Hall when he called and asked for a ride, according to media reports. They allegedly drove to Gregory Slone’s house. State police say all four were at Slone’s house when he was arrested.

Calling hours, funeral set for Rep. Slaughter

(AP) — Calling hours and funeral services are set for longtime Rep. Louise Slaughter, who died last week after taking a fall at her Washington, D.C., home.

The Democratic congresswoman from the Rochester area was 88 when she died early last Friday at a Washington hospital where she was being treated after falling the week before.

Slaughter’s Washington office announced Monday that calling hours will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Miller Funeral and Cremation Services in Rochester.

Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester. The service will be open to the public.

Slaughter was elected to congress in 1986. The Kentucky native was the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee.

Detention center asks Ky. to lift state prisoner limits

CATTLETTSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky detention center has asked the state Department of Corrections to lift its restrictions on the number of state prisoners it can hold.

The Daily Independent of Ashland reports the Department of Corrections removed dozens from the Boyd County Detention Center last September after an inmate-led riot shut it down.

Kentucky jails receive about $31 from the state each day they house a state prisoner. State prisoner revenue funds around a third of the jail’s $3.6 million budget, but the restriction dropped expected revenue by about $175,000.

The jail has also worked to address infrastructure issues including escape pathways. Boyd Judge-Executive Steve Towler says it needs about $40,000 to fix the remaining flaws and security issues identified last month.

The jail hadn’t received an answer as of Friday.

Volunteers to pick up litter along state roads

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Thousands of volunteers are expected to pick up litter along Kentucky’s roadways this week.

State officials say it marks the year’s first roadside cleanup outing for Adopt-a-Highway volunteers. The Transportation Cabinet is reminding motorists that when the volunteers are working, roadsides are active work zones and drivers are expected to slow down.

The cabinet says the Division of Roadside Maintenance collects nearly 100,000 bags of highway litter each year. Kentucky’s Adopt-a-Highway program assists those efforts.

The program includes nearly 700 groups and volunteers. They remove thousands of bags of litter from about 3,400 miles of roadside. Groups are asked to adopt two-mile sections of road.

Officials say litter pickups are held at least four times per year or as many times as necessary to keep adopted areas reasonably litter free.

Ky. regulators OK hike for troubled water district

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An emergency rate increase for a Kentucky water district that is on the brink of collapse has been approved by state regulators.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission on Friday granted Martin County Water an annual revenue increase of about 26.5 percent. The commission said the average monthly residential bill will rise by more than $11, going from almost $40 to more than $51.

The increase includes an increase in base rates and a separate surcharge that will be used by the utility to reduce unpaid bills.

The PSC said in a news release that the district faces a dire situation and expressed sympathy for customers and the widespread opposition to increased rates. The order said without relief, the district wouldn’t be able to operate and there would be no water service.

Woman sentenced to 20 years for running over pedestrians

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A woman who admitted to driving drunk when she struck and killed a Louisville police detective and a University of Kentucky employee has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Suzanne Whitlow acknowledged that she was impaired when she struck Detective Jason Schweitzer and Timothy Moore in 2016.

In court in Lexington on Friday, Whitlow said, “I know I have to go to prison. I shouldn’t have done what I did.”

Whitlow was driving in Lexington when her vehicle struck Schweitzer, 37, and Moore, 56, who were standing by the street.

Whitlow entered a conditional guilty plea in February to driving under the influence and two counts of second-degree manslaughter with the understanding that she will appeal a judge’s decision regarding evidence collection in the case, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported .

Schweitzer was in town for a Fraternal Order of Police convention. He and Moore were hit as the two were talking near the entrance to a university building, according to Moore’s boss.

Jessica Schweitzer, Schweitzer’s widow, found little solace in Whitlow’s apology.

“It doesn’t really matter. It really doesn’t change anything,” she said. “It doesn’t change the fact that my husband’s gone and that both my kids don’t have their father here. …Her apology doesn’t change that.”

Whitlow’s conditional plea allows a challenge of police evidence collection. Her attorney has argued that police should have obtained a search warrant before having UK medical staff draw a blood sample from Whitlow. That issue will be appealed to a higher court.

Asbury hosting children’s literature conference

WILMORE, Ky. (AP) — Asbury University is hosting a children’s literature conference this month featuring four writers including “Arthur” creator Marc Brown.

The school says in a statement that the March 24 event is aimed at promoting awareness of new youth literature. Other featured speakers at the conference include Peter Catalanotto, who has written and illustrated more than 17 books; Marc Tyler Nobleman, who has written books for all ages; and Aaron Reynolds, who has written several books including the award-winning “Creepy Carrots.”

Asbury says the conference is open to the public and will include speeches by the writers and sessions on incorporating children’s literature into the school curriculum.

Conference coordinator Katrina Salley said the goal is to connect educators with authors in a way that inspires them to create literacy rich environments for students.