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Date: 08-24-2017

After 43 years, Fort Knox gold vault opened to civilians

Opening the Ft. Knox vaultOpening the Ft. Knox vault

Kentucky Press News Service

For the first time since 1974, the U.S. Treasury Department opened the Fort Knox gold vault Monday to a tour led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Ft. Knox gold barFt. Knox gold bar

With Mnuchin, were U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Congressman Brett Guthrie and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

A large part of the nation's gold supply is stored at Fort Knox under extremely heavy security by the U.S. Treasury Department. 

Those on the 1974 tour included local, state and federal officials as well as local journalists.

 

FT. KNOX, Ky. gold depository, the largest in the United States.FT. KNOX, Ky. gold depository, the largest in the United States.

August 16, 2017

ARC and AEP Invest in Business Training and Growth

SOMERSET, Ky. – A new business certification program is projected to create at least 30 new jobs, increase business growth and result in a $10 million in investment in Eastern Kentucky, by giving companies the training they need to compete nationally for federal defense contracts.

Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) will help 12 businesses earn key certifications that will give them a competitive edge, thanks to grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and American Electric Power (AEP).

The Eastern Kentucky Supplier Education & Economic Development (SEED) quality certification program is a partnership between SKED and Advantage Kentucky Alliance (AKA). Through this new competitive program, 12 businesses will receive assistance in paying for ISO 9001 or AS9100 quality certifications.

Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin announced the $200,000 ARC grant to SKED at the 2017 SOAR Summit held earlier this month in Pikeville, Ky.

“We have some of the best machinists in the country, and I believe we should be fueling our nation's military with our skills,” said Congressman Rogers. “The grant will help 12 companies become ISO certified, elevating our regional resume for better paying jobs and federal contract opportunities.”

AEP presented SKED a $60,000 Kentucky Power Economic Growth Grant (K-PEGG) grant in May, to assist in Eastern Kentucky SEED’s funding.
This program has been one of SKED Executive Director Brett Traver’s goals, since he began working for the regional, nonprofit economic development organization three years ago.

“The manufacturers across our region have been doing quality work for decades, but they didn’t have the certifications that proved that and would allow them to compete for federal contracts nationally,” Traver said. “Thanks to ARC, AKA, AEP and, of course, the confidence and guidance of Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Bevin, these hard-working folks will now have the tools they need to put them on the path to more growth and development and create more jobs here in Southeast Kentucky.”

As a part of this program, SKED will kick off the Eastern Kentucky SEED Defense Contracting Symposium on October 19 at the Corbin Center in Corbin, Ky. At the event, businesses will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from major national defense companies to learn what they’re looking for in defense contractors and market their products and services.

Business representatives interested in applying to be a part of the Eastern Kentucky SEED Quality Certification Program may access an application at SKED’s website: www.southeastkentucky.com. Click on the SEED logo at the top of the page.

Submit forms to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Eastern Kentucky SEED, 2292, S. Highway 27, Somerset, KY 42501. Deadline for submission of the one-page application is Sept. 6, 2017.

The applicant will contract with the AKA to provide ISO 9001 and AS9100 Quality Certifications to manufacturing businesses in Southeast Kentucky, thereby increasing their market opportunities for new customers. AKA is the US Department of Commerce NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program for Kentucky, and in the last year has increased sales at Kentucky Manufacturers by $10.8 million and cut costs in the amount of $12.1 million, helping create over 1,335 jobs in Kentucky.

Participating companies will pay 20 percent of the AKA MEP consulting fees. Total costs are anticipated to average $20,000 per company.

For more information about this program or other SKED services, contact Traver at (606) 677-6100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Date: 08-11-2017

Forty-one cadets graduate from Kentucky State Police Academy

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky State Police Academy presented diplomas to 41 new troopers at ceremonies held in Frankfort Friday. Their addition to the force brings the agency’s strength to a total of 866 troopers serving the state.

KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the addition of the newly graduated troopers will help with the current strength, but does not come close to resolving the agency’s shortage of personnel.

“Like other police agencies, we have been challenged with maintaining our strength of active officers in light of retirements and attrition,” Sanders said in a statement. “In 2000, the agency manpower was more than 1,000. Yet, we are doing more today with fewer personnel and resources than we had back then. To add to this dilemma, we are servicing a higher population while seeing new crime that we didn’t have in the past such as human trafficking, electronic sexual exploitation of children and the potential threat of terrorism.” 

Sanders went on to say that “the role of law enforcement has developed exponentially to meet the needs of an ever-changing society, and KSP is a significantly more specialized agency compared to the past. With more troopers working in specialized capacities that means fewer troopers available to respond to calls for service.” 

The new troopers are part of the agency’s 95th cadet class, which was the agency’s fourth Law Enforcement Accelerated Program, a condensed course for current officers who have two years of Kentucky Police Officer Professional Standards law enforcement experience.

They reported for duty on May 21 in a class that consisted of 63 cadets. Twenty-two resigned during the program.

The training included more than 500 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigations, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, land navigation, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials.

Several members of the class earned special recognitions including valedictorian Matt Parmley, of Monticello, and salutatorian Jerry Baker, of Viper.

Clayton Ellis, of Elizabethtown received the Ernie Bivens Award, an honor presented to the cadet who, in the opinion of the KSP Academy staff supported by input from the cadets themselves, shows distinction as a class leader, strives for academic excellence and has excelled in all phases of the academy’s physical and vocational training.

Justin Flannery, of Hazel Green, Ky., received the Commissioner’s Commitment to Excellence Award, which is presented to cadets who demonstrate leadership, the desire to get the job done and the determination to be the best every day.

The following is a list of the new troopers, their duty assignments and their hometowns or residences:

POST 1 – MAYFIELD
Jay D. Dunn, Mayfield
James B. Luckett, Louisville

POST 2 – MADISONVILLE
Richard Hunter Carroll, Hopkinsville

POST 4 – ELIZABETHTOWN
Joseph O. Beasley, Leitchfield
Richard C. Ellis, Elizabethtown
Tyler K. Lynch, Big Spring

POST 7 – RICHMOND
Neal M. Barnes, Richmond
Casey Y. Caudill, Winchester
Toney R. Dollins, Jr., Crab Orchard
Jack E. Lakes, Annville
Joshua S. Roaden, Berea
Carl B. Roark, Richmond
Jacob R. Shepherd, Lancaster
Adam R.G. Short, Mt. Vernon

POST 8 – MOREHEAD
Justin A. Flannery, Hazel Green
Christopher H. Ingram, Ewing
Justin T. Reynolds, Florence
Kyler B. Wright, Morehead

POST 9 – PIKEVILLE
Billy E. Holbrook, Paintsville
Darvin E. Marsillett, Auxier

POST 10 – HARLAN
Sidney K. Wagner, Corbin
Michael A. Wilson, London

POST 11 – LONDON
Shawn M. Boroviak, London
Keegan T. Bray, Somerset
Adam Cole Dodson, Monticello
Jordan P. Hopkins, London
Matthew Kyle Parmley, Monticello
Travis Lane Thompson, Somerset
Seath A. Whiles, Somerset
Logan T. Wolfe, Manchester

POST 12 – FRANKFORT
Bradley S. Gillock, Morehead
Andrew W. Lee, Lebanon
William C. Spears, Lawrenceburg

POST 13 – HAZARD
William W. Adams, Whitesburg
Jerry A. Baker, Hazard
Wilson G. Jones, Hazard

POST 15 – COLUMBIA
Dexter B. Colvin, Campbellsville
Ricky E. Cross, Edmonton
Daniel S. Forbis, Campbellsville
Allen D. Shirley, Columbia

POST 16 – HENDERSON
Shaun R. Schroader, Philpot 

Each new trooper will be supervised by a training officer for six to eight weeks after reporting to their post assignments.

 

 

ASHLAND, Ky., Aug.  15, 2017Small business owners and residential customers of Kentucky Power are among the latest targets of scam artists seeking to extort cash. The scam, which instructs customers to make immediate payment or have their service disconnected, has been used in other states. Victims often are directed to purchase prepaid debit cards.

Utility company scams, unfortunately, are too common. While there are instances when Appalachian Power will contact customers over the telephone, the company does not demand payment in this manner, said Del Borden, Kentucky Power’s director of Customer Service and Business Development. A non-profit agency in Prestonsburg was one of the more recent targets but did not fall for the scam.

“Scammers are targeting local businesses, senior citizens and other customers,” Borden said. “We’re sharing this information so customers can protect themselves from this fraudulent activity. We also want our customers to know our employees will never demand immediate payment, insist a payment be made with a prepaid card or ask you to meet us in a parking lot to make a payment. If customers receive suspicious, urgent, demanding phone calls from someone claiming to be with Kentucky Power or AEP, we suggest they hang up and contact us at the toll-free number on their bill, that’s 1-800-572-1113, or call local law enforcement.”

Thieves are calling Kentucky Power customers and:

*  Threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made;

*  Telling customers they need a new electric meter, but must make a payment before the new meter is installed;

*  Offering a discount on their Kentucky Power bill if they sign up for auto-pay;

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]Demanding a deposit is paid immediately.

More Red flags for scam activity

*  The thief instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to Kentucky Power.

*  The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.

*  The scammers often call from numbers that names Kentucky Power on the Caller ID. And they have a recording that sounds like Kentucky Power’s phone message.

How to protect yourself

*  Call Kentucky Power at 1-800-572-1113 to verify your account balance and the date your payment is due. Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person.

*  Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative. If you have any concerns, tell the caller that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller’s identity and information.

*  Kentucky Power will notify customers by mail that their account is past due and their electric service will be disconnected – never a single notification one hour before disconnection. 

*  Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers, or any other personal identification numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or emails requesting information.

*  Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Lock the door and contact police if you become concerned about your safety.

*  Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves should hang up and call the local police and then Kentucky Power at 1-800-572-1113. Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.

On average, more than 90 percent of customers who receive a call and report it to Kentucky Power indicate they did not fall for the scam. In the initial stages of the scam activity, it is estimated that at least 50 percent of customers contacted were tricked.

 #######

Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, Ky., provides service to about 168,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties. It is an operating company in the AEP system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system. AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

 

Date: 08-11-2017

Supreme Court votes unanimously on state court’s new Open Records Policy

Kentucky Press News Service

The Supreme Court of Kentucky has approved an Open Records Policy that guides how the public accesses the administrative records of the state court system. The seven Supreme Court justices voted unanimously to adopt the policy, which will take effect Aug. 15.

This is the first open records policy for the Administrative Office of the Courts, the operations arm of the court system. The policy is in the form of an Administrative Procedure of the Court of Justice, which carries the weight of law under the Kentucky Constitution, according to an AOC news release.

The news comes in conjunction with the announcement that the AOC will offer CourtNet 2.0 subscriptions to media outlets statewide starting Sept. 1. CourtNet 2.0 is an AOC program that provides near real-time, online access to Kentucky civil and criminal case information. With CourtNet 2.0, reporters can search court documents from their computers without making a trip to the courthouse.

The AOC invited several media outlets to subscribe to CourtNet 2.0 during a pilot project and is now ready to offer the service to media outlets throughout Kentucky. The AOC will email an invitation to subscribe to CourtNet 2.0 to media outlets throughout the commonwealth on Sept. 1.


Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr.

“...Transparency and accountability are bedrock principles in maintaining trust in state government,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “While the Judicial Branch has long complied with the spirit of the Open Records Act, it was time to formalize our commitment into written policy.”


KPA General Counsel Jon Fleischaker


“...This is an important step for the Supreme Court,” said Jon L. Fleischaker, an attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl’s Louisville office who has more than 40 years of experience in media law and First Amendment cases. “By establishing its own policy, the Judicial Branch demonstrates its commitment to transparency while preserving the separation of powers in state government. I’ve been looking forward to the day the public has definitive guidance on how to access the court system’s administrative records.” 

The head of the Kentucky Press Association also welcomed this news.

“On behalf of our member newspapers across the commonwealth, I want to commend the Supreme Court for ensuring public access to records of the AOC,” said David T. Thompson, longtime executive director of the KPA.

Process to Submit an Open Records Request

The Open Records Policy describes how to submit an open records request to the AOC’s records custodian. Individuals can email a request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The AOC will respond within three business days regarding its decision to comply with or deny the request.

As part of its efforts to be accountable to Kentucky taxpayers, the AOC also provides Judicial Branch salary data and financial expenditures on transparency.ky.gov, the commonwealth’s government spending website.

Court Case Records Already Public Documents

Court case records have always been considered public record unless made confidential by statute or ordered to be sealed by a judge. Therefore, the Open Records Policy for the AOC does not apply to records of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Court or District Court. Court records for the trial courts – Circuit Court and District Court – are available from the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each of the 120 counties. Kentucky Court of Appeals court records are available from Clerk of the Court Samuel P. Givens Jr. at 502-573-7920. Supreme Court of Kentucky court records can be requested from Clerk of the Court Susan Stokley Clary at 502-564-5444.

About CourtNet 2.0

CourtNet 2.0 was developed in-house by programmers in the AOC Department of Information & Technology Services. The staggered statewide implementation of CourtNet 2.0, which replaced CourtNet 1.0, began in 2013. Today CourtNet 2.0 has nearly 6,000 users and is available to members of the Kentucky Bar Association; justices, judges, circuit court clerks and court personnel in the Judicial Branch; and all agencies in the Executive and Legislative branches. Law enforcement agencies will be the last group of CourtNet 1.0 users to transition to CourtNet 2.0. 

Kentucky Judicial Branch

The chief justice of Kentucky is the administrative head of the state court system and is responsible for its operation. As the administrative arm of the court system, the AOC supports the activities of nearly 3,400 court system employees and 404 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The AOC also works closely with the chief justice to fulfill the Judicial Branch’s statutory duties, which include serving as the fiscal agent for the courts; providing oversight and management of court facilities; maintaining data processing systems; dispersing supplies and equipment; administering personnel policies and payroll; overseeing statewide programs such as Juvenile Services, Pretrial Services and Specialty Courts; and offering educational programs for judges, circuit court clerks and support staff.