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News Around the State

Jobless rates fall in 94 Kentucky counties

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say unemployment rates fell in 94 of the state’s 120 counties between March 2018 and March 2019.

The Kentucky Center for Statistics says jobless rates rose in 19 counties and stayed the same in seven counties.

Officials say Woodford County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.3%. It was followed by Boone, Fayette, Oldham and Scott counties at 3.5% each. Campbell, Kenton and Shelby counties were next at 3.6%.

Officials say Magoffin County had the state’s highest jobless rate at 12.3%. Lewis County was next at 9.1%, followed by Carter County at 8.3%, Menifee County at 8% and Elliott and Wolfe counties at 7.6% each.

Authorities: Man booby-trapped porch with knives

LONDON, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say they have arrested a Kentucky man who booby-trapped his front porch with a knife-filled sheet of plywood designed to swing downward.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader , the Laurel County sheriff’s department arrested 56-year-old Raymond Jackson and charged him with possession of a destructive or booby trap device.

The sheriff’s department says deputies responded to Jackson’s home outside London on Wednesday after a report of a man allegedly drunk and waving a large knife at neighbors, cursing at them and creating a disturbance.

When they arrived, deputies say they found the booby trap, with the words “If this don’t kill you I will. Come on” written on it.

Jail records show Jackson is in Laurel County Detention Center. His bond is $10,000. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.

Police: Cash, drugs found after fatal plane crash

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police say a plane that crashed, killing two North Carolina men, was carrying drugs and cash.

Authorities believe the plane was stolen or used without permission from the owner. The Bellanca Viking 17-30A crashed early Wednesday or Tuesday night at the Henderson City County Airport.

The Gleaner in Henderson reports police searched the wreckage and found a duffel bag with cash and suspected cocaine.

The crash killed 47-year-old Barry Hill and 48-year-old George Tucker, of Sanford, North Carolina.

State Trooper Corey King says investigators believe Tucker was piloting the plane and they were looking for a place to stop for fuel when it crashed. Tucker was a student pilot.

The plane’s owner told authorities he had previously let Tucker test the plane because Tucker was interested in buying it.

Police: Argument over dog poop leads to shooting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky say an argument over dog poop ended with a man shooting a woman in the face and repeatedly shooting another man.

The Courier Journal reports 38-year-old Glenn Gholar Jr. has pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault in the Friday shooting. Louisville police say the two wounded people suffered serious injuries and were expected to survive as of Sunday.

Officers say Gholar and the two people were arguing about dog feces in a yard when he shot them. They say he fled in a vehicle and was pulled over by police, who then saw a revolver in “plain view” in the car.

Gholar was jailed as of Sunday night. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer. A hearing in the case is set for May.

Paul examines land ownership issue in national forest

WHITLEY CITY, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul hasn’t given up on a proposal to have the government sell some land in the Daniel Boone National Forest in McCreary County for potential commercial development.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Kentucky Republican held a meeting in McCreary County on Thursday to talk about the costs of federal land ownership.

Paul’s office says the meeting’s purpose included looking at how to ensure affected communities have the maximum opportunity to create jobs.

The issue resonates in a county where the federal government owns 81 percent of the land. Most of that is in the Daniel Boone National Forest, overseen by the U.S. Forest Service.

Paul put forth a measure in February aimed at getting the government to sell some of that land. The Senate didn’t approve the measure.

Ex-pediatric resident accused of watching child porn at work

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A former pediatric resident at the University of Kentucky is accused of watching child porn while at work.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports court records say 33-year-old Ryan Michael Keith was fired over the allegations and arrested on charges of possessing child pornography.

UK police Chief Joe Monroe said Thursday that the investigation into Keith has been ongoing for more than a year.

Court records say witnesses told authorities in 2017 that they saw pornographic images of children and nude photographs of Keith on his work computer.

He was fired that June and his state medical license to practice osteopathy with a specialty in pediatrics became inactive. UK police say they then searched Keith’s Google account and found a deleted file of child porn.

It’s unclear if Keith has a lawyer.

Teacher accused of putting video recorder in school bathroom

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — Police say a Kentucky teacher accused of placing a video recorder in a bathroom at a high school has been arrested.

News outlets report the Murray Police Department said in a release that officers responded Thursday to Murray High School after staff reported finding a recording device set up in the bathroom of the nurse’s station. Police spokesman Sgt. Brant Shutt said the video recorder captured the person putting the device in place.

Police arrested 53-year-old Mark Boggess, who is a teacher at the school as well as the track and field coach. He is charged with possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor and voyeurism.

Murray Independent School District Superintendent Coy Samons said Boggess has been suspended with pay.

Online jail records don’t indicate whether Boggess has an attorney.

Report: Kentucky on track to meet education goal

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A postsecondary education council says Kentucky is on track to reach its educational attainment goal of 60% of the working-age population having a certificate or degree by 2030.

The update came as Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education released an annual progress report on educational achievement rates.

It says the total number of undergraduate degrees and credentials conferred increased 2.9% in 2017-18 over the prior year. That beats the 1.7% average annual increase needed to stay on track toward the long-range goal.

The increase includes public and independent institutions.

The report shows undergraduate degrees and credentials increased 2.6% at both public universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Council President Aaron Thompson says the update shows efforts to improve teaching and learning, advising and student-support services are paying off.

Man accused of marrying 4 women pleads guilty

DOVER, N.H. (AP) — A man accused of being married to four women pleaded guilty Monday to bigamy in New Hampshire, but he will avoid jail time if he behaves for the next five years.

Michael Middleton, 43, married a Georgia woman in 2006, an Alabama woman in 2011 and a New Hampshire woman in 2013. That led to the bigamy charge in New Hampshire, but according to court documents, he also married a fourth woman in Kentucky in 2016.

Prosecutors say he used the marriages to gain access to the women’s assets. In court Monday, Assistant Strafford County Attorney Michael Rotman read a statement from Middleton’s New Hampshire wife, Alicia Grant, who blamed Middleton for her transformation from a compassionate person to someone with a “not-my-problem” attitude.

She said she was “satisfied” that he was facing consequences for his actions.

“When we got married six years ago, what I thought I had found in him was a life partner, someone that I could face life’s ups and downs with, someone my children could look up to,” Grant wrote. “Instead I got six years of pain and misery as I tried to free myself from the prison of his lies and manipulations.”

Middleton was arrested in Ohio in February. He also has faced domestic violence charges in Maine.

As part of his 12-month suspended sentence, Middleton was ordered to undergo screenings for domestic abuse and substance abuse, and comply with any recommended counseling or programs. Neither he nor his attorney spoke at the hearing other than to answer brief questions from the judge.

After the hearing, Middleton was asked if he was sorry for his actions. He told reporters he felt “compassion and understanding” for his New Hampshire wife, Grant, after hearing her letter.

“It was a good outcome,” he said. “I hope to move forward with my life and everything, and abide by everything that was handed down to me.”