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News Around the State

Lawmakers advance bill to lessen secretary of state’s duties

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky Senate committee has advanced a bill that would remove the secretary of state as chairperson of the state Board of Elections and revoke her access to the state’s voter registration database.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Senate State and Local Government Committee voted 8-2 on Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 34. Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Damon Thayer said the bill is in response to allegations that Grimes and her staff accessed the state’s voter registration database for political purposes.

Grimes has said she and her staff did nothing wrong. Wednesday, she called for the immediate release of all searches of the database, a move she said would show her office acted appropriately.

The bill would add two county clerks, one Democrat and one Republican, to the elections board.

Ky. school district votes to close, merge with neighbor

SILVER GROVE, Ky. (AP) — The school board of Silver Grove, Kentucky, has voted to close and merge with the school district in Campbell County.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Silver Grove board voted for the merger Monday. The board also approved a tentative merger agreement requiring the county district consider Silver Grove’s qualified personnel for vacant positions.

The agreement also requires Silver Grove board members to relinquish their seats upon the merger’s finalization. The board says member Melanie Pelle says she won’t relinquish her seat.

County Superintendent David Rust says his school board will vote at its next meeting on whether to accept the merger.

The state education department says Silver Grove had about 160 students in one school in the 2017-18 school year, while Campbell County had about 4,800 students in eight schools.

101st Airborne Division to welcome new commander

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell is welcoming a new commanding general.

The Army says in a statement that Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas relinquished command of the air assault division to Maj. Gen. Brian Winski in a Feb. 14 ceremony at the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line.

Under Poppas’ leadership, the 101st Airborne Division deployed soldiers around the world for combat, contingency and peacekeeping missions.

Winski served in the 101st Airborne Division for more than 12 years including as a division operations officer. His most recent assignment was in the Army Secretary’s office as chief legislative liaison.

Suspect’s weapon matches bullet that killed Ohio woman

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Investigators in Kentucky say a woman taken from an Ohio college campus was fatally shot with a weapon carried by the man suspected of abducting her.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders spoke Wednesday about the Monday afternoon shooting in Oldham County, Kentucky.

The shooting occurred after a police chase. Authorities say 24-year-old Ty’rell Pounds stopped his vehicle and a trooper fired after hearing gunfire from the vehicle.

Sanders says it wasn’t until Tuesday night that police determined 20-year-old Skylar Williams was shot by the weapon carried by the suspect. Williams was a student at Ohio State’s Mansfield campus.

Pounds was fatally shot by Trooper Joey Brown, a five-year veteran of the state police. Sanders said Brown is on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

Sanders said it’s not clear when Williams was shot.

Tenn.woman, dog killed while walking Ky. highway

FRANKLIN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a Tennessee woman walking her dog on Interstate 65 near the border between the states was killed when she ventured into the path of an oncoming bus.

News outlets report police say 38-year-old Penny Lane, of Cross Plains, was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday night. Her dog also died.

Police say she and the dog entered the northbound lanes and crossed directly in front of the charter bus, which was driven by an Indiana man and carrying nearly 20 people.

State police say no injuries were reported by the bus driver or passengers. An investigation is ongoing.

Prosecutor: Death penalty to be sought in triple slaying

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky prosecutor says he’ll seek the death penalty for a man charged with murder in the “execution-style” shootings of three people.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Kuegel said Tuesday that he’ll be seeking death for 30-year-old Arnett B. Baines.

Owensboro police Detective Todd Wilkerson told the court during a preliminary hearing that the January attack was captured on surveillance video. He said Baines shot the victims while another man, 31-year-old Cylar L. Shemwell, was smoking nearby and watched. A fourth victim was critically wounded.

The prosecutor says he’s not seeking the death penalty at this time for Shemwell, who also is charged with murder.

A pretrial conference in Baines’ case is set for April.

UofL LGBT health center hires new director

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A New York health care specialist has been hired to lead The LGBT Center at the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center.

A release from the university says Blaz Bush brings a skill set attuned to the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

He had served as the director of care coordination of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in Manhattan, one of the largest LGBT community health centers in the country.

Bush also served on the Health and Human Services HIV Planning Council of New York’s Integration of Care subcommittee. There he worked with city leaders to develop HIV/AIDS programs, housing, opioid-use reduction, food and nutrition and care coordination programs.

He starts as the center’s director on Feb. 25.