News in Brief

State representative resigning effective Dec. 31

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Republican state representative in Kentucky is resigning after 20 years in the House.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says Rep. Marie Rader of McKee is resigning effective Dec. 31. Rader represents the 89th district, which includes Jackson County and portions of Laurel and Madison counties. Rader was first elected in 1997. She did not answer a call to her home seeking comment.

Bevin has called a special election for the 89th district on Feb. 27. The Republican and Democratic parties must nominate their candidates by 4 p.m. EST on Jan. 9. Independent candidates have the same deadline, but they must submit a petition signed by at least 100 voters. Write-in candidates must file declarations of intent no later than Feb. 16.

A load of baloney: Food bandit strikes

CROFTON (AP) — The unknown culprit behind a string of burglaries in one Kentucky town has been dubbed the “bologna bandit,” based on his predilection for the lunch meat.

A Christian County Sheriff’s Office spokesman tells WTFV-TV in Tennessee that deputies have stepped up patrols in Crofton, Kentucky, following an increase in burglaries targeting churches and homes within the last month.

Lt. Scott Noisworthy says the common factors in the burglaries are the items stolen: food and change. Authorities haven’t named a suspect, but have identified a person of interest.

The pastor at Lighthouse of Crofton Assembly of God Church, George Linton, says his church was broke into twice in five days.

The items stolen: bread, a block of cheese and four packs of bologna.

Cable reality star charged in toy store scam

LEXINGTON (AP) — One of the stars of a defunct TLC reality show has been charged with theft in Kentucky.

Fayette County Jail records indicate 28-year-old Mellie Jeanette Lee was arrested in Louisiana and booked Wednesday on charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument, theft by deception of $10,000 or more and unlawful access to a computer. Lee was known as Mellie Stanley on “Gypsy Sisters,” which ran from 2013 to 2015, and also appeared in “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.”

News outlets report her arrest citation states Stanley and others used counterfeit coupons to purchase $18,000 in items at Toys R Us and Babies R Us in October.

According to court documents, the charges were filed in Fayette County Nov. 27.

Stanley pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.

Snowy owl fights for life after freeway rescue

LOUISVILLE (AP) — As snowy owls have recently been spotted venturing further south than usual, the fate of one remains unclear following a freeway rescue in Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal reports an owl nabbed Tuesday from the side of a busy freeway interchanges in downtown Louisville is recuperating at Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky.

The nonprofit’s assistant director, Lauren Jackson, described the owl’s condition Thursday as touch-and-go. Jackson said the bird was starving and had singed feathers even before it was struck by a car. A bloodied eye is damaged beyond repair, but a lack of other major injuries means the bird can still recover and be released back into nature.

The bird’s rescuer, Ashley Abright, said an article about unusual owl migration from Monday helped her recognize the bird.

3 named for post left by judge against gay adoption

GLASGOW (AP) — A judicial nominating commission has chosen three attorneys for a vacancy left by a Kentucky judge who retired amid controversy over his objection to hearing adoption cases involving gay and lesbian adults.

The commission told the Glasgow Daily Times on Wednesday the nominees are Cheryl Berry Ambach, Mica Wood Pence and Traci Lee Peppers. Gov. Matt Bevin will appoint one of the nominees following the Dec. 16 retirement of former Judge W. Mitchell Nance.

The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publically reprimanded Nance on Tuesday saying he violated canons prohibiting judges from showing bias based on sexual orientation, race, religion and national origin.

Nance heard family court cases in Barren and Metcalfe counties. Bevin’s appointee will be interim judge until voters decide in the 2018 general election who finishes Nance’s term.

Priest convicted of sexual abuse denied parole

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Catholic priest convicted of sexual abuse charges that occurred at a summer camp he ran in Kentucky has failed to win an early release from prison.

The Kentucky Parole Board voted instead to give R. Joseph Hemmerle a 24-month deferment, meaning the board will consider his case again in two years.

Kentucky Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb said Thursday that the two-person panel unanimously agreed on the 24-month deferment.

Hemmerle was sentenced to seven years in prison in February in one abuse case, and was given an additional two-year sentence in June in another case.

Both victims say they were abused by Hemmerle at a summer camp about an hour west of Louisville, Kentucky. Hemmerle ran the camp for decades.

Hemmerle is being held at Green River Correctional Complex.

Man found competent to stand trial in roommate’s death

SCOTTSVILLE (AP) — A Kentucky man accused of killing his roommate at an assisted living facility has been found competent to stand trial.

The Daily News of Bowling Green reports that 37-year-old The Reverend, formally known as Robert Allen Reynolds, was found competent to stand trial Thursday.

He’s charged with murder in the 2016 death of 71-year-old Gary Glueck, his roommate at Scottsville Manor assisted living facility. Court records show Glueck died after being stabbed with a pen and a coat hanger, and strangled with an electrical cord.

Judge Steve Wilson found him competent after hearing testimony from two psychiatrists and a detective.

Dr. Eric Drogin, a psychiatrist retained by The Reverend’s lawyer, testified that he currently feels The Reverend is competent, and “medication is a significant factor in keeping him on track.”