News in Brief

Ex-Kentucky speaker out of hospital following resignation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s former Republican House speaker has been released from a hospital where he went for treatment days after resigning his leadership position amid sexual harassment allegations.

Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne said Tuesday that Rep. Jeff Hoover’s release from the hospital was confirmed by Hoover’s family. Osborne says Hoover is “doing well” and his family requests privacy as he recovers at home.

Hoover was hospitalized last week for a heart-related issue.

Hoover was the first Republican in nearly 100 years to serve as speaker when he was elected to the post in January.

He recently acknowledged being one of four lawmakers who settled a sexual harassment allegation outside of court with a staff member. Hoover denied the harassment allegation but said he sent inappropriate but consensual text messages.

Community mourns death of 4 in small plane crash

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) — A small Kentucky community is mourning the deaths of all four aboard a small plane that crashed last weekend on a flight from Tennessee.

State police Trooper Jeremy Hodges told the Bowling Green Daily News three men were pronounced dead at Sunday’s crash site of a Piper PA-32 in some woods in Barren County in southern Kentucky. The fourth victim, a boy, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The victims were identified by authorities as 41-year-old Kyle P. Stewart, 40-year-old Quinton “Doug” Whitaker, 41-year-old Scott T. Foster and his son, 15-year-old Noah Foster.

Mayor Eddie Girdler of Somerset, Kentucky, said the four had left Friday for a weekend hunting trip and were returning at the time, their deaths leaving a void in his community where flags were lowered to half-staff. Stewart was a dentist, Whitaker was Somerset police chaplain, Foster an attorney and Noah was a high school sophomore.

Reports said preliminary information indicate the plane left Union City, Tennessee, on Sunday for Somerset when the plane entered clouds and the pilot turned to instrument-only flying, according to National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator Brian Rayner. The investigator said the radar track of the aircraft became “erratic” before communications were lost. He didn’t identify who was piloting the plane.

The wreckage, which was found in some woods, was being moved elsewhere for examination, Rayner said Tuesday.

He said the NTSB was seeking to determine the cause of the crash.

UofL researchers to help child welfare workforce

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The University of Louisville says its Kent School of Social Work will play a role in a five-year, federally funded research grant to strengthen the country’s child welfare agency workforce.

The goal is to improve the lives of the children being served.

UofL says its portion is $2.1 million for the evaluation part of the grant, which is expected to total $15 million for a consortium of five universities and three national child welfare consultants.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration’s Children’s Bureau.

Facing high turnover rates, child welfare agencies report difficulty in retaining qualified employees in jobs that can be high-stress, low-paying and complex.

UofL says eight agencies chosen as study sites represent a mix of urban and rural communities.

Cut your own Christmas trees at Land Between Lakes

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (AP) — Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is offering free Christmas trees to those who want to visit and cut them down.

A statement from Land Between the Lakes says permits and guidelines can be obtained online Nov. 25-Dec. 24 or in person at the administrative office Nov. 25-Dec. 23. Land Between the Lakes is a 170,000-acre (68,798-hectare) recreation area along the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

A permit allows the cutting of one cedar tree less than 10 feet (3 meters) tall anywhere except within sight of the U.S. 68-Kentucky 80 highway, Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway, cemeteries, nature watch areas, campgrounds and other mowed areas.

Forester Dennis Wilson says cutting down a Christmas tree is a great family tradition and it helps Land Between the Lakes maintain open lands and promote diverse wildlife habitat.

Police: Boy, 3, accidentally shot himself in the head

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police say a 3-year-old accidentally shot himself in the head in Kentucky and is listed in grave condition.

News outlets report the boy shot himself with a gun that was inside a vehicle while his parents were at a used-car lot on Monday. The unidentified child was rushed to a hospital and immediately taken into surgery.

Louisville police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says the victim, his mother and a sibling were inside the car when he found the gun and accidentally shot himself.

Mitchell says the gun belonged to a parent. It’s unclear how the child got the gun or where it was found in the vehicle.

An investigation is ongoing.