News Around the State

Gov. Bevin heartbroken over shooting, blames culture

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican governor says he’s heartbroken over a school shooting in Florida weeks after a similar shooting at a high school in his state.

Gov. Matt Bevin told talk radio hosts his heart is truly broken for the people of Florida and the community has been shattered in a similar way that Kentucky was in January. He said guns are not the reason for increase in school shootings, but blamed a culture that delegitimizes life through violent video games, TV shows and music lyrics.

Bevin called video games where people kill others “garbage” and said “it’s the same as pornography.” He said “freedom of speech” has been abused by allowing things that are “filthy and disgusting and have no redeemable value.”

Accused Ky. school shooter to be arraigned

BENTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky teenager accused of fatally shooting two classmates and wounding several more is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

A grand jury met on Tuesday to consider murder and assault charges against the 15-year-old, who has not been named by authorities because he is a minor. The grand jury decides whether the teen will face charges in adult court.

Assistant County Attorney Jason Darnall says the teen will be arraigned at 1 p.m. Darnall says the arraignment is “tentative.”

Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope, both 15, were killed and another 18 people were injured in the shooting at Marshall County High School near the western tip of Kentucky on Jan. 23.

Eric Conn permanently disbarred by Kentucky Supreme Court

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Supreme Court has permanently disbarred a disability attorney who pleaded guilty to bribing judges and doctors in social security cases and then fled the country to avoid going to prison before being captured in Honduras.

An order signed by Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said Eric Conn’s actions make him unfit to practice law in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Bar Association had filed disciplinary charges against Conn in September. But Conn didn’t answer them. At the time, he was on the run from law enforcement after removing his electronic monitoring bracelet shortly before he was scheduled to be sentenced.

Conn eventually acknowledged the charges against him via his attorney. Conn is back in now back in federal custody and faces a potential life sentence.

Morehead State University to offer buyout before budget cuts

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Morehead State University has announced voluntary employee buyouts in response to budget cuts and rising pension costs.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports MSU is the first Kentucky regional university to cuts its workforce in the face of the impending funding loss. President Jay Morgan wrote in a Friday email the university needs to make “a significant reduction” in the employee workforce through hour reduction or leaving entirely by spring.

Morgan said Tuesday his goal is for 20 to 25 employees to transition to part-time. He also says the school will no longer cover dental benefits or buy six months of unused sick time from retiring employees.

Under Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed state budget, MSU will see a $2.5 million decrease in state funding and a $2.7 million increase in pension payments.

State leases ‘Stephen Foster’ amphitheater to county

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An amphitheater that has hosted the musical “The Stephen Foster Story” for 60 years has been leased to a local government in Kentucky that will make repairs to the facility.

The state said in December that the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheater in Bardstown had been closed due to structural and electrical issues. Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts said the county will repair the theater to meet code requirements, allowing the musical to be performed this year.

Watts said in a news release from the state on Wednesday that after the season, the county plans to renovate the entire stage area.

The state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said the lease, which includes no financial terms, is for five years with the option for two additional five-year terms.

Glasgow approves needle exchange program for drug users

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) — A south-central Kentucky community has approved a needle exchange program for intravenous drug users.

The Glasgow Daily Times reports the Glasgow Common Council gave final approval Monday to a municipal order that will allow the Barren County Health Department to give drug users clean needles in exchange for dirty ones.

Councilman Wendell Honeycutt said he thinks the initiative will keep needles out of parks and playgrounds and could help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Councilman Freddie Norris said he was voting no because he was unsure whether providing clean syringes would provide the type of help addicts need.

After the measure passed, Barren River District Health Department Director Dennis Chaney said the program would be an opportunity to help addicts make better choices about their health.