Last updated: July 31. 2014 2:38PM - 347 Views

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Coal dust limit to try to combat black lung

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Obama administration’s push to reduce black lung disease by limiting coal dust in mines is taking effect.

Initial requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor’s coal dust rule become effective Friday. It was proposed in 2010.

New requirements include increased dust sampling in mines and citations when coal operators don’t take immediate action for high levels.

In February 2016, better monitoring equipment will be required. In August 2016, the allowable concentration of coal dust will drop.

Ohio-based Murray Energy and the National Mining Association sued separately over the rule.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

It is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by coal dust exposure, where particles accumulate in the lungs.

Homebuilt plane crashes in Wisconsin; 2 injured

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Oshkosh authorities say a small plane crash has left two people injured.

The Oshkosh Fire Department says the homebuilt plane crashed Wednesday when it lost power as it was attempting to land.

The pilot and passenger are brothers from Kentucky. Fire officials say the men had to be removed from the wreckage. Their injuries aren’t life-threatening.

The cause of the power outage is unclear. The plane crashed in a small air strip just south of the state prison.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the plane was a single-engine, two-seater that was built from a kit.

Authorities say it’s likely the two men were coming to the area to attend the annual Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture.

Appeals court upholds conviction in pain pill case

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the 15-year prison sentence of a Louisiana businessman for distributing oxycodone and methadone in eastern Kentucky illegally through pain clinic patients.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday ruled that 48-year-old Michael Leman of Slidell, Louisiana, had raised no grounds to overturn the conviction.

A jury in Lexington convicted Leman in March 2012 of using pain clinics in three states to distribute medications to bogus patients in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.

The court also upheld an order for Leman to pay $1 million in restitution to an agency handling crime victim compensation and one dealing with substance abuse.

Leman is housed at Forrest City Correctional Complex in Forrest City, Arkansas.

State Fair looking for temporary workers

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky State Fair is hiring more than 750 temporary employees starting Monday.

The Kentucky State Fair Board says jobs include ticket sellers, gate attendants, maintenance, grounds, housekeeping and tram drivers.

Applicants have to be at least 18 years old, with proper identification, such as a photo ID and a Social Security card.

Wages start at $7.25 per hour. Applications must be given in person.

Hours and locations to apply vary. For details, visit http://www.kystatefair.org/employment/fairemployment.aspx or call the employment office at (502) 367-5235.

The 2014 Kentucky State Fair runs from Aug. 14 to 24.

Feedback sought on education initiative

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s Department of Education is asking for feedback on efforts by schools to prepare students for college or the workplace.

The department’s Unbridled Learning College/Career-Readiness for All Accountability Model has been in place since the 2011-12 school year. The model includes multiple measures for determining school success.

Between now and Aug. 20, an online survey will be available for stakeholder input on various components of the system and how determinations of school and district successes are made.

The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UnbridledLearning .

The department says the feedback will inform the state’s education commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education on any future action that may be taken regarding the accountability system.

Humana 2Q profit falls 18 pct on higher costs

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Health insurer Humana Inc.’s second-quarter net income fell by 18 percent as investments in health care exchanges and state-based contracts along with higher specialty drug costs more than offset continued membership growth in its Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.

The company’s results, released Wednesday, matched analysts’ expectations, and it reaffirmed its 2014 earnings estimate of between $7.25 and $7.75 per share.

Humana said membership in its individual Medicare Advantage business reached 2.36 million as of June 30, up 16.4 percent from a year ago and 14.2 percent higher than at the end of 2013.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company is among the nation’s largest providers of Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run versions of the government’s Medicare program for elderly and disabled people.

Membership in Humana’s individual stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans totaled nearly 3.89 million at the end of June, up 20.5 percent from a year ago and 18.6 percent higher than at the end of 2013. Humana promotes its Medicare prescription drug offerings and other plans at Walmart stores.

The company’s individual commercial medical membership increased to 1.12 million as of June 30, up 134.5 percent from a year ago.

Storytelling event set by Big South Fork

ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) — A storytelling event at an abandoned coal mining camp is planned by Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in September.

The fourth annual Blue Heron Ghost Train Storytelling begins around 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Blue Heron Mining Community Interpretive Center near Stearns, Kentucky. Park staff and volunteers will lead visitors by lantern light to hear traditional tales from around the region by local storytellers.

Visitors can arrive at the camp by rail or road. For information on the train, contact Big South Fork Scenic Railway at (800) 462-5664 or (606) 376-5330, or visit the website at http://www.bsfsry.com to obtain train tickets. There is a fee, and reservations are recommended.

To attend for free, visitors may drive by following directional signs from Stearns.

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