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09-01-2017

District judges participate in judicial college Aug. 22-25 in Covington

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – District Court judges from across the state participated in sessions on criminal evidence, forensics, implicit bias, legislation and more at the 2017 District Judges College in Covington from Aug. 22-25. The Education Committee of the Kentucky District Judges Association and the Office of Judicial Branch Education at the Administrative Office of the Courts developed the college.

District Judge J. Kevin Holbrook left and John T. ChafinDistrict Judge J. Kevin Holbrook left and John T. Chafin

Johnson, Lawrence and Martin counties were represented at the event by 
District Court Judge John T. Chafin and District Court Judge John Keith Holbrook.

“District judges come from all over Kentucky to spend time together at our annual colleges,” District Court Judge John M. McCarty, who serves Butler, Edmonson, Hancock and Ohio counties and was elected president of the Kentucky District Judges Association at the college, said in a news release. “There’s tremendous value in sharing successes and challenges, learning best practices for District Court, getting updates on new legislation and being introduced to the latest technology. These colleges sharpen our skills and equip us to better serve those who come before our courts.” 

Among legislation covered at the college was Senate Bill 120, a criminal justice reform bill that took effect June 29. The legislation allows people convicted of felonies to gain work experience and wages while incarcerated, reduces probation and parole times for certain offenders and prevents people from being jailed for not being able to pay court costs. The session covered new rules and best practices. 

The judges also attended sessions on polygraph, search and seizure, family law, guardianship, social media and ethics, and substance abuse and mental health topics. The 2017 General Assembly passed Tim’s Law to let District Court judges order outpatient treatment for certain people with severe mental illness after receiving a petition from the person’s family, friends or legal guardians, or law enforcement or medical professionals. 

Another session covered “Alive at 25,” a defensive-driving program the Kentucky State Police and National Safety Council provide in Kentucky for citizens who are 16-24 years old. Judges heard about how they can help bring the program to their communities and use it in sentencing young drivers.

The judges also had the opportunity to meet with Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. and AOC Director Laurie K. Dudgeon.

The college included 15.5 hours of continuing judicial education credit for the district judges.

Salaries of Kentucky judges:

Supreme Court
Chief Justice $140,504

Justice $135,504
Court of Appeals

Chief Judge $133,044
Judge $130,044

Circuit/Family Court

Chief Regional Circuit Judge $125,620

Circuit/Family Judge $124,620

District Court

Chief Regional District Judge $113,668

District Judge $112,668

 

 

HURRICANE HARVEY - WE ARE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

By Dr. Glenn Mollette

Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast are devastated. Never has an area been so blasted by so much rainfall in such a short amount of time. Houston has received more rainfall than other city across the United States receivea in one entire year. So far over 51 inches of rain has fallen with more rainfall to come. Everyone in America and much of the world with a Television or computer knows about the suffering of Houston. Our prayers go out to them as well as our financial support, our manpower and anything we can do to help the millions of people who are homeless and suffering.

Experts are predicting Hurricane Harvey will cost the economy 25 - 30 billion dollars because of the rain. Most of Houston is closed down due to the storm. The oil and gas industry and thousands of jobs tied to other manufacturing such as the food service giant Sysco are closed. The Port of Houston, several hospitals and both major airports are closed.

Essentially the fifth largest economy in the United States is at a dead stop.

The infrastructure damage to Houston will be in the billions. Reports have come from all the national media outlets on the significant number of people in Houston who do not have flood insurance. Thousands of homes will either be impossible to salvage or will cost upwards of `12-15 billions of dollars to repair according to reports.

Oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico make up nearly half of the nation's refining capacity. If these refineries are flooded they will be difficult to repair and there will be extensive gasoline shortages in our country. We are already seeing prices go up at the pump and thus our entire economy will be impacted.

Most of us will know of someone directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. At this moment my wife's aunt and husband are still in their house in Houston and they are not flooded which is a miracle I think. Several times a day we have text messaged or called to see how they are doing. Once her aunt face timed their neighborhood to prove to us that water had not gotten to them yet.

Most likely the number of dead bodies will not be really known until days and maybe even weeks after Houstonians are into their cleanup.

While the devastation of Houston is like a very scary movie it's nothing like what we would face if one nuclear bomb fell on an American City similar to Houston. The loss of life, housing, industry and infrastructure would be far greater. Houston will be repaired and houses will be rebuilt. Rebuilding after a nuclear bomb would be a different story. Such a horrific act would create suffering across our nation like we have never felt before.

Houston is hurting and Americans are pulling together from non-profits, churches and helping hands from across America.

Once again it will be proven that the heart of America is helping each other. Americans do care about each other and want the best for our towns and our country. Media lately has been highlighting all the tension between a few groups of people and hatred displayed by these groups. The vast majority of Americans may disagree and argue quite a bit. However, while Hurricane Harvey Hurts our country, it will demonstrate once again that the majority of Americans want the very best for each other. We will pull together for Houston and the other neighboring towns. This is one reason why we are still The United States of America and the greatest country of all.

Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of twelve books.  He is read in all fifty states.

READ HIS NEW BOOK - UNCOMMON SENSE

 

Date: 08-27-2017

Kentucky's pension crisis: You're on the hook, and this is what you need to know

By Tom Loftus
The Courier-Journal

For hundreds of thousands of Kentucky public employees and retirees, and for the elected officials responsible for dealing with the state's pension crisis, the moment is nearly at hand.

Gov. Matt Bevin has promised to call a special legislative session this fall to tame the state's pension debt — which he estimates at a whopping $15,000 for each of Kentucky's more than 4 million residents. 

Anticipation is building because the governor is still developing — and has not revealed — his proposals.

The stakeholders include more than public retirees or current teachers and government workers who may be nervous about their benefits.

You are a stakeholder. That's because any solution will have a profound effect on funding for the services you receive. 

To help all of us understand the crisis, we've interviewed more than 20 people who are part of the debate. (State Budget Director John Chilton, the top Bevin administration official dealing with pensions, did not respond to several requests for an interview.)

The questions are complex and the answers aren't always simple, but here's what we can tell you:

To READ THE REST OF THE STORY click HERE

 

Aug. 29, 2017


FRANKFORT, Ky.  -- Two 20-person interagency fire crews made up of Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF), Division of Mine Permits, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), personnel are leaving today for the hurricane stricken areas of Texas.

Although KDF firefighters are best known for their wildland fire suppression skills, they also have experience responding to all types of hazards and emergency scenarios, including the aftermath of hurricanes and severe storms.

The KDF employees will primarily operate as chainsaw crews, clearing debris from streets and right-of-ways. However, they also could assist at emergency supply distribution centers or perform other duties as needs arise.

“Clearing roads is an essential element in relief efforts,” said James Wright, KDF Director. “This allows power companies access to their lines and expedites the delivery of critically needed materials and supplies.”

Kentucky is able to send aid as part of the Master Cooperative Wildland Fire Management Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to improving efficiency in addressing wildland fire, this agreement improves coordination when there is a natural disaster.

The KDF, USFS, and the Kentucky Interagency Center have been working closely this summer to support fire suppression efforts in the Western part of the country and find themselves again working together to make possible this hurricane relief effort.

 

Governor Bevin encourages Kentuckians to make their communities shine

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 25, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin today launched his new “Beautify the Bluegrass” initiative, calling on Kentuckians to come together to make their hometowns shine.

“I want to encourage people in every Kentucky community to figure how out they can become the most beautiful community in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Bevin. “The concept is simple: Identify a problem that needs attention, and then find a way to get involved in repairing, enhancing or beautifying it.”

Gov. Bevin invites citizens to form volunteer teams and set to work improving the aesthetics of a neglected area of their town. Projects can include removing litter, mowing, landscaping or other visual improvements.

Kentuckians who wish to participate in this contest are invited to take the following simple steps:

1) Find an area in your community that needs cleanup, repair or enhancement.

2) Recruit a team to help. Teams can consist of 1 to 200 participants.

3) Take several before, during and after photos to clearly display how your project made a difference.

4) Upload your photos and project information using the entry form on the “Beautify the Bluegrass” webpage (governor.ky.gov/services/beautify-the-bluegrass) by Sept. 20.

Note: Please ensure that your team has permission from property owners (or public officials in the case of public property) before beginning your project. And please work safely, using safety gear appropriate to the job.

The winning team will be notified in October, and Gov. Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton will host a catered barbecue (not provided at taxpayer expense) for up to 200 team members in that community.

Participants can also access the entry form and share project updates on the “Beautify the Bluegrass” Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BeautifyTheBluegrass).

The application was provided by Frankfort-based Kentucky Interactive, LLC (aka Kentucky.gov) via a public-private partnership at no cost to the Governor’s Office.