News Around the State

Free hepatitis C screenings offered in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The University of Louisville Hospital will be partnering with medical volunteers to offer free hepatitis C screenings later this month.

A statement from the university says screenings will be offered in 18 locations in and around Louisville on World Hepatitis Day, Saturday, July 28. The screening involves a finger prick with results available in 20 minutes.

Officials say Kentucky has one the highest hepatitis C infection rates in the country. The blood-borne illness can damage the liver if left untreated.

In the past, treating hepatitis C was a difficult process that lasted nearly a year and had multiple side effects, but officials say it is now easily curable and relatively inexpensive to treat.

Lexington Center to break ground on expansion

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The city of Lexington is breaking ground this week on the expansion of the Lexington Convention Center, home to Rupp Arena.

The $241 million project will begin in August and finish in late 2021.

On Thursday, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and leaders from the state and the University of Kentucky will gather for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction. The ceremony will be in front of Heritage Hall on West Main Street.

The three-year project will be built in phases to allow Rupp Arena and much of the existing convention center to remain in operation.

It will include 100,000 square feet (9,290 sq. meters) of exhibit halls and a new ballroom.

Horse racing regulators approve sale of Kentucky racetrack

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky horse racing regulators have approved the sale of Ellis Park racetrack to a group that now has a minority ownership stake in the track.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, meeting Tuesday in Lexington, approved the sale of the western Kentucky track to the Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group. The group has had a minority stake in the Henderson track for several years.

The commission’s executive director, Marc Guilfoil, says a “seamless” transition is expected once the sale is finalized.

The track’s primary owner has been Ron Geary, who purchased Ellis Park from Churchill Downs Inc. in 2006.

Ellis Park overcame a devastating tornado more than a decade ago. The track is in the midst of its summer season of live racing.

Man pleads not guilty to slaying after counterculture event

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A man has pleaded not guilty in Kentucky to killing a woman he met at the massive “Rainbow Family” counterculture gathering in a Georgia forest.

News outlets report 20-year-old Joseph Bryan Capstraw was arraigned Tuesday in Hardin Circuit Court.

Authorities in Kentucky have said Capstraw confessed to killing 18-year-old Amber Robinson, who was found dead on July 7. According to the arrest citation, Capstraw said he blacked out after arguing with her and woke up to find her badly beaten.

Both Robinson and Capstraw were from Florida, where Robinson was in the foster care system and Capstraw was homeless in Jacksonville Beach.

Elizabethtown police spokesman John Thomas says they met at the gathering and hitchhiked from the Chattahoochee National Forest. The driver let them stay at his home.

The Rainbow Family describes itself as a loose knit group of people without leadership or organization. They have held gatherings every year since 1972 at different National Forests across the country. It’s known as a temporary community that gathers with the aim of practicing peace, love and respect.