News in Brief

Photo on social media leads sheriff’s deputy to resign

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a photo on social media has led a sheriff’s deputy in Kentucky to resign.

WYMT-TV reports the photo, captioned, “Another day at work,” shows a deputy giving a thumbs-up next to a car with an unconscious woman in the driver’s seat. Knox County Sheriff Mike Smith was made aware of the photo Tuesday morning and began an internal investigation.

The investigation indicated John Luttrell took the photograph and posted it to social media. Smith accepted Luttrell’s resignation during the investigation.

Police: Man carjacked Kentucky teacher who stopped to help

STANTON, Ky. (AP) — A man is accused of carjacking a teacher who police say stopped to help crash victims on her way to work in Kentucky.

Powell County sheriff’s deputy Mike Townsend tells WKYT-TV a Powell County High School teacher was driving to work around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday when she passed a wreck in Irvine and stopped to see if she could help. Townsend said a passenger from a car involved in the crash jumped into her car, and forced her to drive him to a home in Powell County.

Townsend said the woman escaped and investigators arrested 28-year-old Freddie Reed Jr., of Clay City.

Reed is charged with kidnapping. Investigators say he was already under indictment in a separate case. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

Tuition freeze approved for Eastern Kentucky University

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents has approved a tuition freeze for the 2018-19 academic year.

News outlets report the freeze was approved following a request from university president Michael Benson on Wednesday.

Benson said at the meeting the freeze “is a calculated, informed risk that we’ve got to take.”

While discussing the university’s goal of providing affordable education Board chair Craig Turner said, “I hope this is a game changer and sends a message.” Student Regent Laura Jackson called the freeze a “recruitment tool,” and predicted it’d improve retention rates saying current students are excited about it.

Benson said despite near-record enrollment the past three years, this fall had a decline of 321 students. The decrease has equated to an approximate loss of $2 million for the university.

No public money used to settle sexual harassment case

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The head of Kentucky’s Legislative Research Commission says no public money was used to settle sexual harassment claims against four state lawmakers.

LRC Executive Director David Byerman said no taxpayer money has been used to settle sexual harassment claims in the two years he has been in the position. He said no such money could be spent without the approval of the commission in an open meeting.

Former GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned his leadership position earlier this month after acknowledging he settled a sexual harassment allegation made by a member of the House GOP Caucus’ staff. Three other Republican lawmakers were also involved in the settlement.

House GOP leaders have hired a law firm to investigate. A Democratic lawmaker has asked the Legislative Ethics Commission to investigate.

Terminally ill Catholic priest released from prison

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky priest convicted of sexual abuse has been released early from prison due to a terminal illness.

James Schook was granted early medical parole and released from prison on Tuesday. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb says Schook will be supervised by a parole officer.

In order to receive that type of release, Lamb says, an inmate “must have a medical diagnosis of being within a year or less of death.”

The Louisville priest was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April 2014 for sexually abusing a teenage boy in the 1970s. At the time of his trial, Schook’s attorney noted the priest’s poor health, saying he had skin cancer.

Lamb said Schook can have no contact with the victim or victim’s family as a condition of his release.

Southern Lights Holiday Festival returns to horse park

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A holiday tradition resumes this week when the annual Southern Lights holiday festival opens at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

This year’s event runs from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31.

Festival officials say more than 120,000 people in more than 30,000 vehicles attend Southern Lights each year from Kentucky and beyond.

The holiday driving tour features a variety of holiday, equine-themed and pop culture displays. Officials say one of the new displays this year features an animated horse-drawn sleigh.

Following the driving tour, visitors are invited to visit the horse park’s main campus to see holiday festival attractions, which include holiday crafts, a petting zoo and pony and camel rides.

The driving route is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31.