Tuesday, January 02, 2001

Kentucky Digest

Local man dies in snowmobile wreck

The Associated Press

        LEBANON, N.Y. — A Fort Thomas, Ky., man missing since Sunday when he went out for a spin on a friend's snowmobile was found dead Monday, police said.

        Madison County Sheriff's deputies said Brian Gramstad, 21, drove through a barbed wire fence and hit a tree Sunday. His body was found in a creek in the town of Hamilton.

        Mr. Gramstad was visiting friends in the town of Lebanon when he took one of their snowmobiles out for a ride Sunday and never came back.

        Madison County sheriff's deputies and state forest rangers led the search for the Kentucky man. State police and Onondaga County sheriff's helicopters searched from the air.

        An investigation into the crash continues.

City says plan helped reduce crime

               LEXINGTON — A more organized public safety plan led to this city's lowest homicide rate since 1993, police said.

        Eleven murders were reported in Lexington in 2000, down from 25 in 1999 and 22 in 1998.

        The police force divided the city into three patrol zones in 2000, making officers more directly responsible for safety in those sectors.

        Each sector was further divided into eight beats and officers were expected to know the people, the businesses and the problems of their assigned areas, said Lexington police chief Larry Walsh.

        The plan was directly responsible for not only a drop in homicides, but an overall decrease in crime, police said.

        “Across the board, crime is down. Things are coming together well for us in terms of our staffing, in terms of how we use our resources. The homicide rate can be seen as just one part of that,” Chief Walsh said.

        A larger police force also contributed. Lexington had more officers on the street in 2000 than ever before, Chief Walsh said. There were more than 500 at one point, and there are now 475. In recent years, the number had been closer to 400.

Row across ocean
changed her outlook

               LOUISVILLE — Since she rowed 3,333 miles in 81 days, from the Canary Islands near Africa to Guadeloupe, a French Caribbean island, Tori Murden-McClure has barely had a moment to herself.

        And that's OK with her.

        A year after becoming the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, the 37-year-old adventurer is stopping to enjoy life.

        There is no challenging outdoor adventure on the horizon. Her work on a book about her rowing trip is coming in fits and starts and she has indefinitely extended her hiatus from the working world, following her resignation as development director of the Ali Center in 1999.

        Ms. Murden-McClure, who says she grew up with a need to “go out and make the whole world proud of me,” is evolving into a more satisfied woman.

        “I'm freer on just about every level — freer to say what I think, do what I feel like doing,” Ms. Murden-McClure said from the Louisville home she shares with Charles “Mac” McClure, a man she proposed to via satellite phone from her 23-foot boat, The American Pearl.

        Ms. Murden and the 57-year-old retired director of Bernheim Research Forest and Arboretum married last Jan. 7.

        “A lot of feeling freer has to do with Mac and just feeling security that I've never felt before,” she said.

        Fame has followed her rowing feat.

        “It's been a year of meeting some interesting human beings and being in good company,” Ms. Murden-McClure said.

Dixie Belle gets in shape for season

               LEXINGTON — The Dixie Belle will be shipshape when it returns to cruising the Kentucky River next spring.

        Contractors have been repairing the hull of the paddle-wheel excursion boat — operated by Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill for tourist trips — and its 50-foot mooring barge.

        Shaker Village does regular annual maintenance on the Belle, but the Coast Guard requires that it be pulled out of the water once every five years for an inspection of the hull, said Jim Thomas, chief officer at Shaker Village.

        In November, the Belle pushed the barge upriver from Shaker Landing in Mercer County to an access point at Camp Nelson. There, Woodland Marine on Herrington Lake, the contractor on the job, pulled both onto the riverbank, said owner Philip Woodard.

        Mr. Woodard said he found a couple of leaks below the waterline of the Belle. He also found that rust had weakened the hull.

        Shaker Village plans to have ultrasound tests performed on the hull soon to figure out what repairs are needed.

Nurses mobilized to help rape victims

               OWENSBORO — A new program aims to improve evidence collection in sexual assault cases by adding specially trained nurses.

        Coordinators of the plan, the Commonwealth Attorney's office and Owensboro Mercy Health Systems, hope the addition of 12 sexual assault nurse examinerswill ease the reporting process for victims and decrease the number of unreported attacks.

        Owensboro police investigated 23 cases of sexual assault in 1999, but for every one of those cases, another 10 acts of sexual violence go unreported, police say.

        “Our primary focus is to care for the patient, to make sure that they have no life-threatening injuries and to see that someone is there to handle the emotional side,” said nurse Lisa York.

Mother loses 2nd son to violence

               LOUISVILLE — A Louisville woman is mourning the second son lost to gunfire in less than two years.

        Shari Rudolph's 16-year-old son, Sedrick, was one of two teens found shot to death near downtown Louisville about 10 p.m. Saturday.

        The Jefferson County coroner's office identified the second victim as Joseph Epps, 15, of Louisville.

        Both youths died of single gunshot wounds, said Deputy Coroner Larry Austin, but he would not say where they had been shot. Both died before they could be taken to hospitals.

        Sedrick was a younger brother of Desmond Rudolph, who died at age 18 after being shot by two Louisville police officers on May 13, 1999, while trying to flee in a stolen Chevrolet Blazer. That shooting occurred in an alley close to where Sedrick's body was found.


3 dead, 1 hurt in gun, knife attack
Councilman wants cops rotated
First millennium baby dragged his feet
Police shoot home invasion suspect
Marathoner raises money for lung cancer research
Pilarczyk addresses concerns about doctrine oath
UC puts art online
100-year mural brightens inmates' work camp
Ex-official will repay village
Man slain at Avondale bar
- Kentucky Digest
Local Digest
Departure may bring change to public works procedures
Green Twp. gets trustee today
Habitat brings stability to high-crime area
Casino boat near Louisville has better year
Exiting insurance regulator rebuts critics
Fuel farms envisioned
Pesky zebra mussels spread