News Around the State

Police: Man tried to kill officer with knife, shotgun

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) — Police say a Kentucky man stole from a tractor supply store and then tried to kill an off-duty police officer who attempted to detain him.

WKYT-TV reports 45-year-old Allen Combs was arrested on charges including robbery and attempted murder of a police officer. A Hazard police release says Officer Johnny Begley noticed Combs leaving the store without paying Wednesday afternoon.

It says Begley told the store, followed Combs outside and identified himself as a police officer. It says Combs then armed himself with a knife and Begley used “force necessary to disarm” him. It says Combs then tried to grab a sawed-off shotgun from his truck, but Begley was able to detain him until on-duty officers arrived.

It’s unclear if Combs has a lawyer.

Authorities: 2-year-old fatally shot by sibling

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a 2-year-old who was accidentally shot by a sibling has died.

News outlets report a Barren County Sheriff’s Office release says the child was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday morning.

The release says investigators determined the child was accidentally shot when a sibling was handling a loaded rifle.

This shooting follows the shooting deaths of two other toddlers in the past few weeks. A 2-year-old boy shot himself in the head and died in mid-August, and a 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself in the head on Friday.

Audit: District inappropriately punished disabled students

JACKSON, Ky. (AP) — An audit says a Kentucky school district removed mentally disabled students from classrooms or suspended them, while recording the absences as voluntary.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Kentucky Board of Education voted Wednesday to keep Breathitt County Schools under state management for a seventh year. The decision follows audits that Interim Kentucky Commissioner Wayne Lewis said revealed a pattern of “significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness.”

The special education management audit found the district violated a federal act that requires taking disabilities into account when disciplining students. One student received 63 ½ out-of-school suspensions.

A district management audit found the school board didn’t have an understanding of “who was accountable to whom.”

The school board has decided not to fight the continuation of state management, which began because of corruption.

AFP backs 6 GOP state House candidates in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky chapter of Americans for Prosperity is supporting six Republican members of the state House of Representatives for re-election in November.

The group announced Thursday it is endorsing Richard Heath in district 2, Jim Gooch in district 12, DJ Johnson in district 13, Brandon Reed in district 24, Kevin Bratcher in district 29 and Phil Moffett in district 32.

AFP-Kentucky state director Andrew McNeill said the group will help candidates by canvassing, phone banking and targeted direct mail.

Of the six Republicans, five are facing challenges from current or former teachers running as Democrats, part of a wave of educators seeking seats in the state legislature.

McNeill said the group’s evaluation was solely focused on the candidates’ legislative leadership and not who their opponents were.

McGrath ends boycott of Sinclair TV stations

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Democratic Congressional candidate in Kentucky has ended her boycott of Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Amy McGrath pulled her TV ads from Sinclair stations in April amid a Democratic primary after it was revealed the company required its local news anchors to read a statement decrying the “troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing the country.” McGrath said the statement mimicked propaganda efforts in authoritarian countries.

McGrath is now the Democratic nominee challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr. Her campaign now has ads on Sinclair station WDKY in Lexington, Kentucky.

McGrath campaign manager Mark Nickolas said the boycott was out of concern the FCC would let Sinclair purchase 42 stations from Tribune Media. He said they ended the boycott when the deal collapsed.

Kentucky names new Medicaid commissioner

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A health care executive is Kentucky’s new Medicaid commissioner.

Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Adam Meier announced Tuesday that Carol H. Steckel is the state’s new commissioner for the Department of Medicaid Services. Steckel has led WellCare Health Plans’ development of Medicaid policy for the past five years.

Steckel is replacing Jill Hunter, who is becoming the senior deputy commissioner. Meier said Hunter’s new role will focus on redesigning the home and community based services waiver programs. These are programs that serve Medicaid recipients in their homes instead of an institution.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is one of Kentucky’s largest state agencies, with more than 8,000 employees.

Kentucky tire recycler to expand with new facility

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An off-road tire company is set to build a new $6.6 million facility in Glasgow, Kentucky that is expected to create 75 jobs.

Brad Ragan Recycling Inc., known as BR Retreading, will construct the new building in Glasgow’s Highland Glen Industrial Park, providing additional capacity for the company’s growth. BR Retreading already employs 89 workers in Glasgow.

A release from Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says the company provides tire remanufacturing and retreading products and services to the mining, agricultural, construction and other industries that use off-road tires and equipment. The company was founded in 1996, and also owns a retreading facility in North Carolina.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $500,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

Safe Place now operating in Morehead

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s newest Safe Place is offering services in Morehead.

The Daily Independent reported this week that the Mountain Haven Emergency Shelter became the fourth organization in Kentucky to offer the Safe Place program.

Program Manager Teresa Forman said the program focuses on helping youth and teens, typically ages 12-18. She said the organization offers a variety of aid including crisis care.

In order to get help, children can go to sites such as businesses, fire stations, police stations and community centers that have been approved as Safe Places. They can ask for help and workers will ask a few basic questions before contacting Mountain Haven.

Depending on what the teen needs, Mountain Haven can offer services including shelter, rides, mentoring and referrals to other agencies.

Son of Kentucky lawmaker hospitalized after fall

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky lawmaker’s son is in a medically induced coma following a fall from an apartment balcony last week near the University of Kentucky campus.

House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins said Corbin Harris, son of state Rep. Chris Harris, is still in the hospital. Adkins led the Legislative Research Commission in a moment of silence during its Wednesday meeting in Harris’ honor.

WKYT-TV reports Lexington police have ruled out any criminal activity in connection with the fall.

Chris Harris is a Democrat who represents District 93 in the Kentucky House of Representatives, which includes Martin County and a portion of Pike County. Harris is running for re-election in November against Republican challenger Norma Kirk McCormick.

Mammoth Cave reopens Nolin River to paddlers

CAVE CITY, Ky. (AP) — Mammoth Cave National Park has reopened Nolin River for paddle boats, but with a warning that the waterway can be unpredictable.

Mammoth Cave National Park management analyst Molly Schroer tells the Daily News officials are calling it “a wild and dynamic river” that’s not the best option for novice paddlers.

The park closed the river in 2016 after the failure of Lock and Dam No. 6, which led to decreased water levels, unstable banks and trees toppling into the water.

Park staff partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to clear several hundred trees from the waterway. But staff say there may still be debris, and the river is flowing faster now.

Schroer cautioned paddlers to be careful and check river levels before launching a boat into the water.