News Around the State

Published 10:38 am Monday, June 4, 2018

Group protests Medicaid work requirements in Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A leader of a national anti-poverty group is in Kentucky for a protest against the nation’s first work requirements for Medicaid.

The Rev. William Barber is co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign. He said Monday that health care should be a human right and said it’s “just mean” to take away access to health care. Barber points to predictions from state officials that once the work requirements take effect, Medicaid will cover about 95,000 fewer people in five years.

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The group is planning a rally Monday at Kentucky’s Capitol. The group has been converging on statehouses nationwide as part of a campaign to call for new programs to help Americans who live in poverty.

Last week, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced a partnership with a health policy research group to help implement the Medicaid work requirements.

Eastern Kentucky hospital lays off 100 employees

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The largest hospital in eastern Kentucky has cut 100 employees as the CEO criticized the “poor business decisions” of the previous administration.

CEO Donovan Blackburn told the Herald-Leader that bad business decisions from 2014 to 2016 were to blame for the hospital’s financial problems. He says that includes the hiring of 480 employees that the hospital couldn’t afford.

The hospital hired many of those employees when it opened a clinic in 2015.

Blackburn says the hospital has eliminated about 250 positions by attrition over the past few months. He says the cuts will help turn the hospital’s finances around.

Blackburn said he hopes some of the employees laid off Friday will be rehired as expansions take place.

Roller coaster closed at Kentucky Kingdom park after cars bump

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials at a Kentucky amusement park say a roller coaster will remain closed until an investigation is complete into the collision of two of its cars.

News outlets quote Kentucky Kingdom officials as saying one car on the ride bumped into another that was waiting to enter an unloading station Saturday.

Officials say in a news release that five people went to a health clinic at the Louisville park to be evaluated. Four of them returned to the park and the other was taken to a hospital.

Kentucky Kingdom says it has notified state ride inspectors about the incident.

Milk crisis to close Dean Foods plant, cost jobs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The milk crisis at Dean Foods is forcing dairy farmers out of business and will eliminate more than 60 jobs at a Kentucky plant.

The Courier Journal reports union officials have confirmed the Louisville plant is one of seven closing after Dean was cut loose from Walmart. Walmart will no longer buy Dean’s milk for its Great Value brand.

In May, employees were notified of the closure this fall and 19 farmers were told contracts with Dean expired in June.

The newspaper reports waves of change in the milk industry have been building for years. Exports are leveling from a post-recession surge and alternatives like almond milk are gaining ground. But it says Walmart’s decision to open its own super-sized dairy processing facility in Indiana has triggered a tsunami-sized effect.


Information from: Courier Journal,

Man drowns in Ky. lake

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a man has drowned at a Kentucky lake.

WKYT-TV reports the man was unresponsive when he was pulled from the water Saturday at Laurel River Lake Spillway Beach in Whitley County.

Witnesses say the man went under the surface and didn’t come back up. He was found after about eight minutes, removed from the water and given CPR. A coroner pronounced him dead at a hospital and confirmed his identity as 42-year-old Alfonzo Sanchez-Gonzalez of Lexington.

The investigation is being handled by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Zip lines, similar devices must be registered in Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Operators of zip lines, climbing walls and similar devices must register them with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and make sure they comply with state law by July 1.

A new law was passed in 2016 directing the department to regulate aerial recreational devices. The agency said the law defines such devices as including equipment that simulates rock climbing, beams, bridges, cable traverses, climbing walls, nets, platforms, ropes, swings, towers, zip lines or jump systems.

More information is available online or by calling (502) 573-0282.

2 historical markers commemorate state’s LGBTQ history

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The first historical markers commemorating Kentucky’s LGBTQ history have been unveiled.

News outlets report two markers were dedicated Sunday in Lexington. One marker commemorates the 1992 state Supreme Court decision that decriminalized homosexuality in the state, while the other marker recognizes the oldest continuous LGBTQ gathering place in Kentucky. That marker stands outside an LGBTQ bar called The Bar, but that site has been home to multiple establishments, including one opened by two gay men in 1963, The Gilded Cage.

The marker commemorating Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Jeffrey Wasson is on the corner of Water and Quality Streets.

The markers were sponsored by a nonprofit dedicated to equality, JustFundKY, and the Faulkner-Morgan Archive, which has catalogued Central Kentucky’s LGBTQ history.