News in Brief

State officials declare hepatitis outbreak

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky health officials say they are seeing a dramatic rise in hepatitis A cases compared to recent years.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has identified hepatitis A with cases in multiple counties in Kentucky.

The office says 31 cases of acute hepatitis A have been reported this year. It’s a 50 percent increase over the average of 20 cases per year reported over the past 10 years. The acute cases mean the patients are showing signs of illness.

Jefferson County has had 19 confirmed cases. No deaths have been attributed to the outbreak.

The disease has also been reported in Shelby, Bullitt, Hardin, Henry, Anderson, Mason, Christian, Madison, Fayette, McCracken, Hopkins, and Leslie counties.

Rand Paul’s wife speaks out on ‘blindside attack’ on husband

WASHINGTON (AP) — The wife of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says her husband hasn’t taken a single breath without pain since what she calls “a deliberate, blindside attack” by a Kentucky neighbor earlier this month.

Authorities say the Republican was attacked Nov. 3 by Rene Boucher while mowing his lawn. Kelley Paul writes in an essay published by CNN that her husband suffered six broken ribs and fluid in his lungs. Paul says he was diagnosed with pneumonia after returning from Washington last week.

Boucher is charged with misdemeanor assault. His attorney blames the attack on a “trivial” dispute and says it wasn’t politically motivated.

Kelly Paul says neither she, nor her husband, have spoken to Boucher in 10 years. She writes that “the only ‘dispute’ existed solely in the attacker’s troubled mind.”

Man sentenced for supplying fentanyl, carfentanil

MT. STERLING (AP) — A Kentucky man has been sentenced for supplying the potentially deadly painkillers fentanyl and carfentanil that led to several overdoses and one death.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Wesley Hamm was sentenced Monday to 35 years in federal prison for several charges, including conspiring to distribute fentanyl.

A dozen fentanyl- and carfentanil-related overdoses were reported in Mount Sterling on Aug. 24 and 25 last year. Thirty-seven-year-old Lonnie Kevin Willoughby died. Hamm later told investigators that he’d bought fentanyl from another man in Cincinnati, and took the drug back to Mount Sterling.

Hamm was supplied money by a woman who later said she’d delivered “heroin” to several victims, including Willoughby. According to court records, she was unaware of whether the heroin she sold to the victims included fentanyl, but Hamm did know.