September 30, 2016

A day after the Calloway County School System earned a District of Distinction rating and was ranked 16th in the state in the most recent state assessment scores, Southwest Elementary yesterday was named a National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education John King. The award is based on the school’s overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Calloway County Superintendent Tres Settle said he was exceedingly pleased that the school was honored at the national level for their continued excellence in academic growth and their determination to eliminate achievement gaps within student subgroups. He added that only a handful of schools across the country are selected for the prestigious award, and he is honored that Southwest has brought the Blue Ribbon distinction to the Calloway County School District. Southwest Principal Josh McKeel said it was the hard work and dedication of their students, faculty, staff, parents, district, and community that made the recognition possible, adding that the acknowledgement validates their efforts and commitment to excellence.

In a release to faculty and staff on campus, Murray State University has asking everyone to change their email passwords on their university issued accounts. MSU says the reason for the request is due to several recent email scams and phishing attacks. A phishing attack is an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

The ninth annual celebration of Play Day will be held tomorrow from 10 am to 2 pm in Central Park in Murray. Family fun for children of all ages will be provided that includes a complimentary lunch, game events, and inflatables. Supported by the Community Education Advisory Council, Play Day is a CEAC trophy event that bumps up against Murray/Calloway County being recognized as “A Most Playful City,” nine years in a row by KaBOOM. Usually hosted yearly in September, the annual event draws a crowd of approximately 150 community families and their children to Murray’s Central Park.

At 1:47 pm Wednesday, Murray Police responded to a collision on Highway 641 North at Northwood Drive involving a vehicle versus motorcycle. 30-year old Blake Hunter of Murray was traveling northbound on a motorcycle and 70-year old Jeanette Furches of Murray was turning southbound onto HWY 641 North off of Northwood Drive. Hunter could not avoid the SUV and his motorcycle struck the driver side of the vehicle. Hunter was transported to the MCCH Emergency Room for treatment of injuries sustained in the collision.

48-year old Gregory Sallee of Ledbetter turned himself in to the Kentucky State Police on Thursday. Sallee had warrants for numerous drug trafficking and firearm related charges. Late last week, the Kentucky State Police along with The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department Drug Division, executed a search warrant at Sallee’s residence in Ledbetter in reference to an ongoing investigation involving large amounts of methamphetamine trafficking. During the search, detectives located over 4 ounces of crystal methamphetamine, a semi-automatic handgun, an assault rifle, and a large amount of cash believed to be proceeds from drug trafficking. Also located were numerous types of drug paraphernalia along with prescription medications. Sallee was charged with Trafficking in Controlled Substance, Possession of a Firearm and a Handgun by a Convicted Felon, Trafficking in Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Sallee was lodged in the McCracken County Jail.

Public land hunting opportunities in Kentucky just grew by more than 4,600 acres. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources announces the opening of six new properties ranging from Ballard County in the west to Bath County in the east. Newly opened properties include one new wildlife management area in Nelson and LaRue counties, plus additions to five existing wildlife management areas, including 217 additional acres in Ballard County. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gregory K. Johnson said the acquisitions are an outgrowth of the department’s sportsmen-centric philosophy. Hunting regulations for each addition are the same as the main wildlife management area.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday the award of a contract to Mid-America Conversion Services for the Operation of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion Facilities at Paducah and Portsmouth, Ohio. The contract includes cost-plus award fee and firm-fixed-price contract line items. The total value of the contract is 319 million dollars with a five-year period of performance. The work to be performed under the contract is for operation of the conversion facilities and management of the cylinder yards located at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant Site with some management functions performed at an office located in Lexington.

The Paducah Convention and Expo Center announced yesterday that Baptist Health is the naming sponsor of the ice skating rink, “Baptist Health Ice in the Expo,” coming to Paducah this winter. The 60’x120’ indoor ice skating rink will be open to the public, as well as available for private events, November 18-January 21 in the Schroeder Expo Center. Director of operations for the Paducah Convention and Expo Center, Chuck Tate, said the ice skating rink is one of Paducah’s most popular holiday attractions. The center has contracted with Magic Ice, of Miami, Florida to install the rink in mid-November.

FRANKFORT—State Auditor Mike Harmon says a review of the Department of Criminal Justice Training and the public fund that supports it has revealed unnecessary and excessive spending along with improper contracts with a public university designed to circumvent state law. The department provides training to law enforcement officers throughout the state. It is paid for by the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund, which is comprised of a 1.8 percent assessment on property and casualty insurance premiums. Harmon said the assessment was set too high, which led to surpluses in the fund that were used for purposes other than law enforcement needs. He also said the department used a contract with Eastern Kentucky University to get around state procurement laws. In its official response, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley blamed the prior administration.

FRANKFORT—A former high-ranking Kentucky official at the center of a kickback scheme has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Tim Longmeyer pleaded guilty in April to a federal bribery charge for using his influence as head of Kentucky’s Personnel Cabinet to steer contracts to a public relations firm. Longmeyer admitted receiving more than $200,000 in kickbacks. He served as personnel secretary during former Governor Steve Beshear’s administration. Beshear’s son, Attorney General Andy Beshear, hired Longmeyer as his top deputy but he resigned days before the case against him became public. An affidavit from an FBI agent said Beshear had no knowledge of the scheme.

FRANKFORT—Students in Kentucky’s high schools are a bit better prepared for college or a career this year. New scores from the state’s standardized test show 68-and-a-half-percent of high school students are college or career ready. That’s up about a point and a half from last year. Kentucky’s Department of Education says there’s still a large gap between rich and poor schools. But officials are happy with the results.

OWENSBORO–Hockey fans in Owensboro should know by the end of the day whether they’ll have a team next year. The IceMen are supposed to let city leaders know later today if they have enough money to cover the cost of renovations at the Sports Center. Mayor Bill Parrish says the city has to have an answer today.

LOUISVILLE—Seneca High School’s cheerleading coach is still off the job as Jefferson County Schools and the Louisville Metro Police Department look into claims he touched a cheerleader. JCPS officials suspended Demont O’Neal in mid-August after getting a complaint he grabbed a cheerleader in his car. No one is saying when they expect the case to be wrapped up.

LEXINGTON—A Lexington day care worker is off the job after police say he smacked kids with a ruler at snack time. Jamar Hall is facing second-degree assault charges. Police say Hall would smack the children as they lined up for a snack. Investigators say Hall called it a “game” and named it “Smack for a Snack.” Parents went to the police after they say their kids came home with red marks on their legs.

MONROE COUNTY—Authorities are searching for a man wanted out of Monroe County. Kentucky State Police say they’re looking for 36-year-old Corey Page of Tompkinsville. He’s wanted on charges of assault and terroristic threatening for an incident that happened in Monroe County earlier this month.

SHEPHERDSVILLE—Police in Shepherdsville are asking for the public’s help in their search for a missing 15-year-old who was last seen in Louisville. Police are looking for Skyla Fields. Fields was last seen near the area of New Cut Road and Candle Glow Lane on Wednesday. She’s described as five-feet-two with blonde hair and green eyes.

KNOTT COUNTY—Authorities are investigating a deadly crash in Knott County. State police say 41-year-old Violet Ritchie of Fisty died on Tuesday following the accident that happened on Monday. Her car slid into a truck on Highway 80 near Emmalena. No charges have been filed at this time.

RUSSELL COUNTY—A vigil is being held for the anniversary of a missing person case in Russell County. Authorities have been searching for Whitney Copley of Dunnville. She was last heard from on September 30th of last year and some of her items were found in a barn in Casey County a few weeks later. The vigil will be held at 6 o’clock tomorrow night at the Russell Springs First Baptist Church.

TENNESSEE—Police are searching for a suspect after a deadly shooting in Jackson. The shooting happened at a home on Dupree Street on Wednesday night. Thirty-two-year-old Darius Austin died of his injuries suffered in the shooting.

TENNESSEE—Authorities are investigating after 15 people were found in an SUV in Dickson County. Police pulled over the vehicle for a traffic stop on I-40 on Tuesday. The adults and two juveniles in the SUV told police they were not being held against their wills. The vehicle had Arizona plates.

TENNESSEE—An eastern Tennessee man is facing charges after sending a lewd picture to a minor. Phillip McGhee of Dunlap was indicted recently on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. McGhee is a volunteer firefighter in Dunlap and is currently suspended pending an investigation.

TENNESSEE—A man is facing aggravated assault charges after allegedly stabbing a man with a screwdriver at the Benton County Fair. WBBJ-TV is reporting the incident happened yesterday afternoon. Police arrested Matthew Levi a short time later. He was a worker at the fair.

NASHVILLE—Police are searching for two men who shot a man during a home invasion. WKRN-TV is reporting that the shooting happened at a home on May Drive in Madison last night. The men demanded medication from the home owner then grazed him with a bullet in the back of the head. The man was alert before being taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

TENNESSEE—A high school teacher in Hendersonville is facing several charges including solicitation of a minor. Police arrested Patrick Bruce after an investigation involving communications through social media. Bruce is a social studies and government teacher at Beech High School. He allegedly made inappropriate comments and tried to get pictures from a minor at the school.

TENNESSEE—A woman is charged with DUI after causing a three-car crash in Franklin. Police arrested Anna Leitschuh after the accident that happened on Murfreesboro Road near I-65 on Tuesday. She rear-ended a car that hit another vehicle. One was person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

TENNESSEE—An Overton County man is facing charges including statutory rape by an authority figure. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says that Travis Puckett of Monroe surrendered to authorities yesterday. He’s linked to the abuse of a minor in 2007 and was indicted on Monday.