News in Brief

Kentucky engineer picked to head surface mining agency

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Trump administration has nominated the head of a Kentucky engineering firm to run the federal agency that regulates and cleans up former surface mines.

Steve Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Lexington consulting and engineering firm ECSI, has been nominated for the top job at the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says in a release Gardner is “highly regarded in the mining industry for his extensive experience and insight.” Gardner, a longtime coal industry advocate, has served on the University of Kentucky’s Mining Engineering Foundation and the Kentucky Geological Survey.

The mining office is responsible for establishing the program to reclaim surface coal mining operation by restoring the natural environment altered by blasting and surface mining.

Kentucky confident Trump will approve Medicaid request

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say they expect the Trump administration to approve the state’s request to overhaul its Medicaid program.

It’s been more than a year since Republican Gov. Matt Bevin first asked the federal government for permission to overhaul the program, which pays for the medical expenses of about one-third of the state’s population.

Bevin originally said he thought the approval process would take a few months. But the presidential election, combined with multiple efforts in Congress to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, have slowed things down.

Thursday, Deputy Medicaid Commissioner Veronica Cecil told lawmakers she is “very confident” the proposal will be approved.

Kentucky is one of five states with pending Medicaid proposals.

Univ. of Louisville researcher to lead stem cell summit

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A University of Louisville researcher will lead a summit on stem cell science at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association next month.

Dr. Roberto Bolli is chief of the university’s division of Cardiovascular Medicine and director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology.

He was asked by the association to organize its stem cell research event this year in Anaheim, California.

The summit on Nov. 14 takes place during the association’s four-day meeting that attracts about 25,000 clinicians and researchers from around the world. Experts will present the latest and most exciting work in stem cells, cell therapy and cardiac regeneration.

Last month Bolli and his team at UofL received a $13.8 million award from the National Institutes of Health to study a new type of adult cardiac stem cell.

Clinical research company opens Kentucky headquarters

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials have welcomed a clinical research company that moved its headquarters to northern Kentucky in a $36.4 million project, creating up to 500 jobs.

CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services relocated its headquarters from Blue Ash, Ohio, to Covington, Kentucky.

CTI specializes in clinical research, working with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to plan, manage and analyze clinical trials. It’s a critical step in bringing new drugs, therapies and medical devices to market.

To encourage the investment and job growth, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority last year preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $14 million. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

University violated law by denying newspaper’s request

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A ruling by Kentucky’s attorney general says the University of Louisville violated the state’s open records law by denying a newspaper’s request for emails on the former university president’s hard drive.

The Courier-Journal requested emails between university officials in June, which the school rejected, citing an ongoing investigation. The Oct. 17 ruling states there’s nothing in the record to indicate how the release of the evidence would have negatively impacted the investigation.

University spokesman John Karman says the university will continue to study the ruling before determining any next steps.

Former President James Ramsey’s hard drive was the focus of auditors who were looking into his alleged misspending. The computer was wiped clean by the school’s information technology department despite an order to preserve the hard drive and other records.

Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

Slain Las Vegas police officer’s mother dies after funeral

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The mother of a Las Vegas police officer and U.S. Army veteran who was among the 58 people killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history died during the weekend, after his memorial service.

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg (FYOU’-den-berg) said Wednesday that Sheryl Stiles died Sunday at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, after family members said she collapsed Friday on an escalator at the South Point hotel in Las Vegas.

She was 56 and lived in Louisville, Kentucky.

The coroner says her cause of death will be determined by examinations and tests.

Her brother, Lewis Stiles, told KVVU-TV Fox 5 that his sister had been in Las Vegas for memorials to Charleston Hartfield.

He was killed in the Oct. 1 shooting at an open-air music concert on the Las Vegas Strip.