News in Brief
Man charged with killing 2 in eastern Ky.
LOUISA (AP) — Police say they have charged a man with killing two people in eastern Kentucky.
A statement from Kentucky State Police says 21-year-old Elden Shannon Muncy is facing two counts of murder in the fatal shootings of 35-year-old Randy Sherman Blevins and 50-year-old Mary Evans-Smith. Police say the two were fatally shot on Tuesday in Lawrence County, near the West Virginia border.
While investigating the deaths, police discovered evidence of previous interactions between the three and arrested Muncy. Police said more details about how and why the shooting occurred are not being released.
Muncy is being held at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, which did not have an attorney listed for him in online records.
Coal mine supervisor sentenced for falsifying safety records
GREENVILLE (AP) — A supervisor at a Kentucky coal mine has been sentenced for violating the Mine Safety and Health Act.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Daniel Couch Jr. was sentenced Friday to two years of supervised probation and fined $2,000 for falsifying a safety-inspection record.
Couch was chief of maintenance at the Ken American Resources Paradise No. 9 in Muhlenberg County. His job was to make a weekly inspection of electric equipment.
According to court records, a U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector checked a record book in 2016 and saw there had been no inspection of the belt drive at the underground mine during the week of May 1 through 7.
The inspector returned days later, and the book revealed Couch inspected the line on May 7 and saw no hazards.
National Weather Service: 2 people hurt in Ky. tornados
BRANDENBURG (AP) — The National Weather Service says two people were hurt in two moderate tornados in Kentucky.
The weather service says both tornados touched down Saturday and were rated EF-1.
The first happened shortly before 3:30 p.m. CST in Beaver Dam, Ohio County. The length of its path was 2 miles (3 kilometers) with peak winds estimated between 95 and 100 mph (150-160 kph). A person inside a shed suffered a minor head injury. Up to a dozen outbuildings were destroyed or heavily damaged.
Shortly after 4:30 p.m. EST another tornado near Guston in Meade County traveled nearly 2 miles with peak winds estimated between 100 and 105 mph (160-170 kph). A mobile home that had been anchored was destroyed after rolling several times. The homeowner inside crawled out afterward and suffered minor injuries.
Officer arrested, charged with assault
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a police officer in Kentucky who’s accused of assaulting a man has been arrested.
Louisville Metro police spokesman Dwight Mitchell told news outlets that 30-year-old Christina Gaddis was an officer when she was arrested and served with the department for three years.
According to an arrest citation, Gaddis was in a shouting match with a man outside an apartment. She’s accused of pushing him into a set of stairs as he began to walk away. She’s also accused of striking the victim.
The man complained of pain in his jaw and nose when officers arrived. He also had dried blood on his face.
Gaddis was arrested Sunday and charged with fourth-degree assault. She has been placed on administrative leave. It’s unclear if Gaddis has a lawyer.
Specialty plate to support Alzheimer’s Association
LOUISVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky Alzheimer’s Association says the state is now offering a specialty license plate supporting the organization.
A statement from the Alzheimer’s Association says Kentucky is among the first states to offer such a specialty plate, which includes a “forget-me-not” flower on a purple background with the words “Honor. Remember. Care. End Alzheimer’s.”
Beginning this week, drivers can select the plate when renewing tags at any county clerk’s office and will also have the option of donating $10 to help fund Alzheimer’s awareness and education activities in Kentucky.
The Alzheimer’s Association says almost 70,000 Kentuckians have the disease and that number is growing.
Christmas holiday events offered at Kentucky parks
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky State Parks system is gearing up for the Christmas season by offering candlelight tours, special meals and entertainment.
Parks officials say special Christmas tours are planned at such historic homes as Waveland, White Hall and My Old Kentucky Home.
Resort parks are planning special meals and events for children. Officials say the resort parks have restaurants, meeting areas and gift shops that offer unique gift ideas.
That includes Kentucky Unbridled Spirit gift cards, which are valid at Kentucky State Parks, the Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Officials say all resort parks will be open for lodging seven days a week this winter.
Many of those resort parks will also hold New Year’s Eve parties and dinners Dec. 31.
Ex-youth pastor pleads guilty to sexual abuse charges
COVINGTON (AP) — A former youth pastor and school volunteer has admitted to sexually abusing a young girl.
The Kentucky Enquirer reports 56-year-old Joseph Niemeyer pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree sodomy, all against a girl younger than 12 years old.
New Banklick Baptist Church pastor Tim Cochran says Niemeyer and his wife worked as youth pastors at the church in Walton, about 80 miles northeast of Louisville. He also volunteered at Independence’s Twenhofel Middle School.
Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders says he could spend up to 20 years in jail and must serve 17 years before being parole eligible. Sanders says he’ll appear in court again for a sentencing hearing.
Under the plea agreement, he’ll have to register as a sex offender for life.
Driver flees scene after 2-car crash kills woman
HODGENVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a driver ran away from the scene of a crash that killed a woman in Kentucky.
Kentucky State Police tell news outlets that 28-year-old Stephanie Jensen died in the head-on collision Saturday night. The News-Enterprise reports the LaRue County Coroner’s Office pronounced her dead at the scene.
Troopers were called shortly before 10 p.m. to help the LaRue County Sheriff’s Office investigate the two-vehicle wreck. Jensen’s 2010 Nissan Altima was struck by a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox that crossed into her lane for reasons unknown.
First responders from multiple agencies searched the area but were unable to find the Equinox’s driver.
Police are trying to identify a man who stopped responders on their way to the scene and provided information.
Trooper Dewan Kelly is investigating the crash.
Ky. priest named bishop of Nashville Diocese
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Kentucky priest has been named bishop of the Diocese of Nashville.
The Nashville Diocese said in a statement on Tuesday that Pope Francis named Father J. Mark Spalding to the role. Spalding currently serves as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish and Holy Name Parish in Louisville.
The 52-year-old Spalding is a native of Fredericktown, Kentucky. He was ordained in 1991 and has served in a number of roles in the Archdiocese of Louisville, including vicar general.
The statement says Bishop-elect Spalding will be ordained and installed as the bishop of Nashville on Feb. 2 at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The diocese covers 38 counties in Middle Tennessee and includes about 76,000 registered Catholics.
Former Bishop David Choby died on June 3.