WNBS NEWS, April 24, 2015

At last night’s Murray City Council meeting, it was learned that Murray city administrator Matt Mattingly’s position is being eliminated. Murray Mayor Jack Rose said he will take on many of the job’s responsibilities himself. Mattingly’s last day on the job will be May 7. Rose said that a mutual understanding was reached and he feels this action is in the best interests of the city. Elimination of the position should save the city around $80,000 in salary.

First District Congressman Ed Whitfield has announced that the Murray Fire Department will receive a FEMA grant of almost $263,000. This award is made under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and will be used to purchase new air packs and air tanks for the fire department’s firefighters. The FEMA Fire Grant Program has provided millions of federal dollars to First Congressional District fire departments since the legislation was passed by Congress over a decade ago and Congressman Whitfield was an original co-sponsor of this legislation. Whitfield said the make it possible for rural communities to have the very best technology and equipment for fighting fires and better protecting the public.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Murray Board of Zoning Adjustments denied a conditional use permit request to allow four non-related persons to occupy a home in a single family residential zone on Farmer Avenue. A complaint had been lodged about improper usage of the property and the owner had the option of bringing the property up to code standards or file a request for a conditional use permit. The board had previously denied similar requests and gave the owners several months to bring the property into compliance. The board is prohibited by law to refuse a hearing on a request. As a result of the vote, anyone unrelated to the owners must be out by August 1.

The week of May 4, the Kentucky Career Center in Murray was scheduled to begin its relocation to 3415 U.S. Highway 641 North from 503 N. 16th St. on the Murray State University campus. That move has been delayed until further notice. No reason was given for the delay.

A parole officer is facing misconduct and other charges following a State Police investigation. In December, Kentucky State Police was contacted by the Department of Corrections regarding Probation and Parole Officer, Bobby Johnston, engaging in misconduct, relating to a parolee and the administration of a field drug test to the parolee. KSP Detective Sergeant Dean Patterson began investigating the December 2nd incident and discovered that Johnston inaccurately reported the results of a field drug test on a parolee he was investigating in Marshall County. Earlier this month, Patterson testified before a Marshall County Grand Jury regarding his investigation and as a result, Johnston was charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence, Forgery, and Official Misconduct. Johnston resigned his employment with Probation and Parole during the course of the investigation.

The Murray-Calloway County Parks has a doubleheader of free activities in store for the community this Saturday as it hosts the Touch A Truck and Turn of the Century Social special events in Central Park. Both events begin at 10 a.m. with the Turn of the Century Social running till 2 p.m. and the Touch A Truck wrapping up at 1 p.m. The Turn of the Century Social is an historical event reenacting life from the late 1800s. The event is free to the public and put together by Murray State students in the Education and Human Services Department. The Parks Department is also presenting the 10th Annual Touch A Truck event in the Central Park front parking lot. The Touch A Truck event is produced with sponsorship help from CFSB, providing free food and beverages for families attending Touch A Truck.

State Auditor Adam Edelen has released the state mandated routine audit of the financial statements of the Marshall County Fiscal Court for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014. The report found that the financial statement is fairly presented in conformity with the regulatory basis of accounting, but the audit did find issues. The audit found that the Marshall County Fiscal Court lacks adequate segregation of duties over revenues and receipts due to a limited number of staff and the diversity of operations. The Auditor recommended that the County implement compensating controls to offset the lack of segregation of duties. The Audit also recommended that the Fiscal Court should strengthen controls over employee timesheets and recordkeeping. Another finding was that the Jail has a lack of segregation of duties over jail commissary operations. The audit recommended the Jailer separate the duties of collecting receipts, deposit preparation, bank reconciliations and other accounting functions.

The Homeplace 1850’s Farm will hold a Quilting Bee on Saturday and Sunday. Visitors will learn more about quilting and help complete a hand-made quilt started by the farm family. Visit with the blacksmith on the farm at 1pm both days. From 1-3pm, visit the Homeplace kitchen for sweet treats made on a wood stove. All activities will be held at the Homeplace 1850’s Farm. Visitors are encouraged to meet their new baby pigs and wander the farm with its period animals, crops, and gardens. Historic interpreters are available to answer any questions.

Murray State history professor, Dr. Duane Bolin, wrote a chapter for the recently published Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times on Linda Neville, The Lady Who Helps Blind Children See.” The chapter spans 22 pages on the Kentucky woman who was a pioneer in the struggle against eye disease in the state, and is based on Neville’s journal and other primary and secondary sources. The book is a volume in the Southern Women: Their Lives and Times series published by the University of Georgia Press. Bolin presented on the same topic two years ago at the Murray State University Hammack Banquet, where he was the keynote speaker. He also contributes to the Murray Ledger & Times as a columnist and published an article about Neville’s life in 2010.

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Chaired by First District Congressman Ed Whitfield, voted this week to approve the Ratepayer Protection Act by a vote of 17 to 12. The RPA is a commonsense solution to protect ratepayers from higher electricity prices, reduced reliability, and other harmful impacts of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. The bill extends the compliance deadlines until after judicial review is completed, and provides that a state would not be forced to submit an implementation plan if the governor finds it would have significant adverse effects on ratepayers or reliability.

Land Between The Lakes and the West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers will host National Astronomy Day on Saturday from noon until 4pm at the Golden Pond Planetarium, located at the Golden Pond Visitor Center. Enjoy free, full-dome, digital, surround sound planetarium shows at 10 and 11am, and 1, 2, 3, and 4pm. A Star Party will take place at the Observatory after dark, weather permitting. At various times throughout the day, astronomy club members will explain how you can get started in astronomy. Visitors will learn tips on observing the night sky, buying your first telescope, and safely viewing the sun. National Astronomy Day promotes and encourages astronomy as a science and hobby.

A new National Park Service report shows that 1,828,192 visitors to national parks in Kentucky spent $114.7 million in the state in 2014. That spending resulted in 1,816 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $146 million. The national park sites in Kentucky are: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, and Mammoth Cave National Park.

James Comer leads all Republican candidates for governor with more than $800,000 raised from individual donors in the first four months of 2015. But the state agriculture commissioner has been outspent nearly 3 to 1 by Hal Heiner, the former Louisville Metro councilman who loaned his campaign more than $4 million last summer. Louisville businessman Matt Bevin has also been a big spender, loaning his campaign $1.25 million after filing for office in January and spending more than $1 million, mostly on TV commercials.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has announced a grant to address the issue of women who smoke while pregnant. The Anthem Foundation is supplying the $140,000 grant, which will help fund the Giving Infants and Families Tobacco Free Starts program. The program is aimed at decreasing the number of women who smoke during pregnancy and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. The funding will be used in Christian, Hopkins and Madison counties.

No charges have been filed but police in Henderson continue to investigate a stabbing yesterday on North Alves Street. Perry Willingham was treated for two knife wounds to the back. He told police he got into a fight with a co-worker, Cody McGaha, who allegedly stabbed him. Police found McGaha at Methodist Hospital, suffering from a serious head injury. Authorities said it did not appear to be life-threatening.

A Logan County grand jury has indicted a Russellville woman for a fatal crash. The arraignment for 26-year-old Rickie Bobbett is set for May 7th on a charge of reckless homicide in the two-car crash in Auburn in December that killed a 94-year-old Russellville woman, Lillie Young. Police said Bobbett failed to yield the right of way to a vehicle in which Young was a passenger.

Deborah Luken made her first court appearance in McCracken County yesterday and pleaded not guilty to 196 counts of animal cruelty. Animal control officers, acting last month on an anonymous tip, found almost 200 dogs, rabbits, chinchillas, exotic birds, and rats inside Luken’s home in Reidland. Her next court appearance is in two weeks.

A jury convicted a northern Kentucky woman of murder. They found Shayna Hubers guilty of killing her boyfriend Ryan Poston back in 2012. Hubers’ lawyers had argued that she shot Poston in self defense. The jury reached their decision last night after seven days of testimony.

Lexington police arrested a man wanted in connection to a homicide that happened in December. Police arrested Javon Magee in connection to the death of Joseph Parker. Police found Parker lying on a sidewalk with gunshot wounds. Detectives from the homicide unit and the U.S. Marshals Task Force located Magee. He faces murder charges.

Authorities are investigating a deadly fire in Floyd County. Firefighters were called to a home in the Little Mud Creek community yesterday afternoon. They discovered the body of a woman after the fire was extinguished. The exact cause of death has not yet been determined.

Corbin police are now using new body cameras. They have been using the new technology for about a month. The cameras cost about four-hundred-dollars each and have enough memory to last for an officer’s entire shift. The cameras are expected to benefit both police and the public.

A bus carrying Oldham County Middle School students caught on fire on the way back from a school trip. The fire happened early yesterday morning in Pennsylvania as students were returning from a trip to Washington, DC and New York City. School officials say most of the 55 people on the bus were asleep at the time of the fire. The bus driver noticed the fire and got everyone off the bus quickly.

A driver involved in a deadly crash in Hardin County entered a guilty plea. Michael Friedrich accepted the plea deal in connection to the crash that killed motorcyclist Richard Lawler back in July. Authorities say Friedrich was traveling at about 80 miles per hour when he crossed the center line and hit Lawler on KY 447. Friedrich pleaded guilty to charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment.

The attorneys for two alleged rape victims say they believe former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones is receiving special treatment in the case. The attorneys said that their clients were not informed that Jones, Tyvon Walker, and Jalen Tilford were released from jail. They say this is in violation of the Kentucky Crime Victims Bill of Rights. Prosecutors say Jones has received no special treatment. The case may be heard by a grand jury on Monday.

A Clarksville, Tennessee man is facing charges after a child pornography investigation. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says their detectives began following the online activities of Cecil Kendall back in August. They say Kendall had child pornography images on his computer and that he was also transmitting them. He faces three counts of exploitation of a minor.

Thousands are expected to participate in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon on Saturday in Nashville. About 30-thousand runners will take part in the 5K and half marathon. This is the fourth year for St. Jude’s to partner with the city of Nashville to raise money for the children’s hospital. Runners will start the marathon outside Bridgestone Arena and will finish at LP Field.

A nationwide home living fair is being held in Lebanon, Tennessee. The Country Living Fair is being held at the Ward Agricultural Center today through Sunday. The event is sponsored by Country Living Magazine. Organizers are expecting about 20-to-30-thousand people from 47 states to attend. Some HGTV stars are expected to make appearances at the event.