News Around the State

Published 1:47 pm Thursday, June 28, 2018

Officials: State’s hepatitis A outbreak now worst in US

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The hepatitis A outbreak in Louisville and other parts of Kentucky is now the worst in the country.

The Courier Journal reports state health officials confirmed Wednesday at least 969 people have contracted the liver disease. State Public Health department Commissioner Dr. Jeff Howard says the outbreak is the worst on record across the nation and in Kentucky.

Three of the outbreak’s six deaths were in Louisville. Louisville Metro Public Health department spokesman Dave Langdon says officials confirmed 482 cases.

The virus was first detected in Louisville last fall and can be spread through contact with surfaces, food or drinks contaminated by feces from an infected person.

The disease mostly affects drug users and homeless people, and officials are working to get funding for vaccines and coordinate with local agencies.

Judge: City must release info on its surveillance cameras

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A judge ordered that a Kentucky city must release information about its surveillance cameras and the policies surrounding their use after it sued an activist to stop the release of documents.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Monday that Fayette Circuit Judge John Reynolds ruled Lexington incorrectly relied on exemptions in the Open Records Act to shield themselves from releasing the requested information.

Activist Mike Maharrey made an open records request asking for information related to Lexington’s surveillance technology. Lexington claimed policies outlining how the cameras can be used didn’t have to be disclosed under Kentucky’s Open Records Act.

The organizer for “We See You Watching Lexington” appealed to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office, which ordered Lexington to turn over the documents.

Lexington has 30 days to appeal, or else it must release Maharrey’s requested documents.

Weather service says tornado touched down during storms

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The National Weather Service says at least one tornado touched down as storms moved through Kentucky on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service in Louisville tweeted Wednesday that a preliminary damage survey indicates an EF-1 tornado with winds of 88 mph touched down in eastern Jefferson County.

News outlets report severe storms toppled trees in some areas, but there was no widespread damage.

The weather service said it was continuing to survey areas that had damage from the storms.

Lottery to test new game based on horse racing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Lottery officials have approved trying out a new game based on the results of live horse racing.

A statement from the lottery says officials plan to test the game “Win Place Show” for about 90 days beginning in March 2019 in stores in Louisville, Lexington and the northern Kentucky region. The game will cost $2 and be available at approximately 45 stores.

Kentucky Lottery Corporation CEO Tom Delacenserie says market research shows the game could appeal to existing players and draw in new ones. He says it’s exciting to offer a game based on horse racing, one of Kentucky’s signature industries.

Brewing, distilling operation opening in eastern Ky.

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A company based in Kentucky’s bluegrass region is opening a $15 million brewing and distilling operation in Appalachia.

Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery will produce craft beers and moonshine in Pikeville. Officials say the venture by Alltech will create 13 full-time jobs. The project included construction of a nearly 30,000-square-foot facility and the purchase of equipment, including fermenters and copper pot stills.

Alltech’s late founder, Pearse Lyons, saw the distillery as a way to promote tourism in eastern Kentucky. Lyons and his wife, Deirdre, founded Alltech in 1980 to research and deliver products for the sustainable nutrition of plants, animals and people.

The family-owned company, based in Nicholasville, has seven production facilities in Kentucky employing about 700 people. Alltech has more than 100 production facilities and four bioscience centers globally.

Lake at historic site lowered due to leak in dam

UNION, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say the water level is being lowered at a lake at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site in Boone County because of a leak in the dam.

Officials say drawing down the water is intended to reduce the chance of a sudden failure of the dam at the 9.6-acre lake. It also will give state parks officials a chance to assess the damage.

Officials say the dam is classified as a low-hazard dam. That means failure would cause little or no damage to other structures, public utility services, roads or railroads. The dam was last inspected in July 2017, when no leaks were observed. It was built in 1966 to create a recreational lake and is owned by the Kentucky Department of Parks.

Officials are monitoring the dam daily.

Mobile needle exchange planned for northern Ky.

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — The Northern Kentucky Health Department says it will begin operating a mobile needle exchange program in Campbell and Kenton counties.

A statement from the agency says the mobile unit provided by the Kentucky Fire Commission will begin operating next month at St. Elizabeth Healthcare locations in Newport and Covington. The unit’s first day of operation in Newport will be July 24 and its first day in Covington will be July 26.

Officials say nurses will provide sterile needles in exchange for used ones, overdose reversal kits and HIV tests. The will also provide referrals for other health care services including addiction treatment.

Authorities say the aim of the program is to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV through shared used needles.

Man convicted in 1996 double killing resentenced

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man convicted in a 1996 double killing that he committed when he was a teenager has received a new sentence that would allow him to be considered for parole after serving 25 years.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports Warren Circuit Judge John Grise signed an order Monday imposing the new sentence on 38-year-old Sophal Phon after the Kentucky Supreme Court found life without parole couldn’t be imposed on juvenile offenders.

Phon had admitted to two murder counts and other offenses. A jury fixed his sentence at life in prison with no chance at parole.

Phon was the triggerman in a home invasion by Asian Boyz gang members that resulted in the execution-style shooting deaths of Khamphao Phromratsamy and Manyavanh Boonprasert. The couple’s daughter was also shot, but survived.