News in Brief
GOP US Rep. Guthrie files for re-election in Kentucky
FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie has filed for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Guthrie was first elected from Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional district in 2008. He won contested re-election campaigns in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2016, Guthrie was unopposed in the general election. The district covers some of the western and central parts of the state, including Bowling Green, Owensboro and Elizabethtown.
Guthrie has more than $2 million on hand in his campaign account, according to records with the Federal Election Commission.
Two Democrats have also filed for the seat: Brian Pedigo from Glasgow and Grant Short of Owensboro. The filing deadline is 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2018.
Guthrie is on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is chairman and vice chairman of two other subcommittees.
Thoroughbred champ Point Given heads to Kentucky Horse Park
LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions is getting a new resident. Point Given is retiring from stud duty and joining the Horse Park in the spring.
Point Given is the fifth Horse of the Year to occupy the spot. He won the 2001 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes and is a 19-year-old son of Thunder Gulch.
Point Given won $3.9 million with nine wins and three second-place finishes from 13 starts. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2010.
He retired from racing in September 2001 to stand at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway and was relocated to Calumet Farm in 2013.
Point Given will be available for viewing in April, as the park celebrates its 40th anniversary season.
Indiana fines company $224K for violations after plant death
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — State regulators have fined a southern Indiana auto parts plant $224,000 for alleged safety violations discovered following a worker’s death.
The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the order Nov. 15 against Autoneum North America Inc. The Swiss-based company must either pay the fines or contest the violations.
The fines follow the Oct. 21 blunt force trauma death of 44-year-old Melissa Stephens at the Jeffersonville plant.
IOSHA spokeswoman Molly Deuberry tells The News and Tribune two of the five safety violations the agency found carried a “high probability of death or serious harm.”
One violation involved a failure to protect workers from loose clothing being caught in rotating machine parts.
Deuberry says IOSHA believes “that had the appropriate safety precautions been in place” Stephens’ death would not have occurred.
Fired state worker sent personal emails to women
FRANKFORT (AP) — A former University of Kentucky basketball player was fired from his job in the state’s Labor Cabinet last month after sending personal emails from his government computer to women who work in the cabinet, commenting in his messages on their appearance and calling one “too hot to trot.”
The Courier Journal obtained the emails under the Kentucky Open Records Act. The newspaper said in one email, Winston Bennett told a cabinet employee she was “Too hot to trot. Especially on those skirt and dress days, lips stick matching. Lord have mercy. LOL!!! Not too old by a long shot.”
He regularly referred to another woman as “Princess.” And he told another, “I just want to say you are a wonderful lady and I enjoy speaking with you. I also want to say you look very nice today. I hope my saying this does not mess up your shape, kind like eating a cup cake. You are very impressionable. Have a wonderful day.”
On Oct. 10, he had an email conversation that lasted more than an hour with one woman where Bennett commented on what she was wearing the day before, said he liked it when she called him “Winnie,” and asked what she did after work “for excitement.”
The woman answered that question this way: “Not a lot. On a serious note. Delete these email, because from time to time they check people’s mail.”
Bennett was given no reason for his firing two days later after 10 weeks as director of the Labor Cabinet’s Division of Apprenticeship. The job paid $73,500 annually.
He didn’t return the newspaper’s phone messages seeking comment and wasn’t at home when a Courier Journal reporter went to ask about the firing.
J. Brooken Smith, chief of staff for Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey, declined to comment on personnel matters, but when asked later if any female cabinet employees complained about unwanted touching, inappropriate comments or possible sexual harassment by Bennett, Smith replied, “No written complaints were filed with the Labor Cabinet. As soon as we became aware of a potential issue with Mr. Bennett, it was addressed immediately and he was terminated.”
Seven women who work in the cabinet declined to comment and referred questions to Ramsey.
Bennett, 52, was a standout basketball player at Male High School in Louisville and at Kentucky. He played three years in the NBA and in the late 1990s was an assistant coach to Rick Pitino with the Boston Celtics.
Bennett was the men’s basketball coach for Kentucky State University from 2000-03 and for Mid-Continent University from 2007-13. Mid-Continent shut down in 2014, and Bennett worked as an associate for a Louisville insurance company until he joined the Labor Cabinet in August.