Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Kentucky Digest

Program helps parents locate child care

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A new state program is being tested to help parents find “four-star” child care.

        The Stars for Kids Now program will set standards and award stars to encourage quality at day-care centers. The program will spark employees at 90 volunteer centers to learn “best practices” for child care and will help parents to evaluate the centers, said Kim Towleny, executive director of the Early Childhood Development office.

        The Star system will be based on staff-to-children ratios, staff training and education levels, and activities planned for children and parents.

        The centers in the pilot project will receive technical assistance from local child-care resources and referral agencies and, depending on their rating, will be able to apply for one-time, cash, achievement awards.

        At the end of the pilot in June, the centers will provide the state with comments and ideas about the rating system. None of the first centers is based in Northern Kentucky, but the plan is to roll out the program statewide in July.

        Kid's Now is part of Gov. Paul Patton's Early Childhood Initiative, which was approved by the 2000 General Assembly.

Drug-store workers thwart holdup

               FLORENCE — A robber wore a stocking over his head and face as he stood in line Monday at the Walgreens pharmacy at U.S. 42 and Mall Road.

        The store was packed at 3:25 p.m. Before he even reached the counter, though, several customers already had called police.

        He told a pharmacist he had a gun, and ordered him to give him Zanax and Vicodin, two prescription medicines. The pharmacist gave him Vicodin, but store employees tackled the suspect and subdued him. He was not armed.

        When police arrived, Josh Garland, 18, of Williamstown, Ky., had sustained minor injuries. He was charged with first-degree robbery — which packs a similar prison sentence to armed robbery — because he said he was armed, said Lt. Tim Chesser of the Florence Police Department. Typically a first-degree robbery conviction nets a 10- to 20-year prison sentence, he said.

Store clerk snookered by bogus $200 bill

               DANVILLE, Ky. — The bill, in a denomination of $200 and bearing the likeness of President Bush, is such an obvious fake that police say it can't be considered a counterfeit.

        But police are seeking the person who used it to buy $2.12 worth of food at a Danville Dairy Queen, and drove away with $197 returned as change.

        In addition to the Bush portrait on the front, the treasury seal is marked with “The right to bear arms.”

        The back shows an oil well and derrick pumping oil, and several yard signs on the White House lawn.

        Police were notified shortly after the woman who passed the bill drove away.

Florida escapees captured in Kentucky

               ARCADIA, Fla. — Two convicted burglars who escaped from a Florida jail during the weekend were back in custody Monday after they were caught driving a stolen van in Kentucky, police said.

        James Edward Bailey, 19, and Richard Trueland, 20, were detained on felony charges after being caught Sunday night by police in Sheperdsville. Mr. Trueland and Mr. Bailey were thought to have made their escape from the DeSoto County Jail at about 5 p.m. Saturday, going through the roof, DeSoto Sheriff's Capt. Rick White said.

        Mr. Bailey was serving time for two counts of burglary, grand theft and fraudulent pledge to a pawnbroker. Mr. Trueland was convicted of attempted burglary, two counts of armed burglary, grand theft and two counts of grand theft with a firearm.

Trooper helps deliver baby by phone

               STANTON, Ky. — A baby girl was born on the Mountain Parkway in Powell County during the weekend, with a Kentucky State Police trooper giving grandma an assist via cell phone.

        Sonya McMullen and her newborn daughter, Sydney Lynn Paige McMullen, are in good condition after the birth Sunday morning.

        Ms. McMullen went into labor about 9 a.m. Sunday at her Beattyville home. She, husband Jason R. McMullen, Sonya's mother Mary Lunsford and Mr. McMullen's mother Debbie piled into Ms. Lunsford's car to drive the 40 miles to Winchester for the birth.

        “But about the time we got onto the Mountain Parkway, Sonya's water broke,” said Debbie McMullen, who was driving. “I told Mary, "We're going to be delivering a baby right here,' and I just pulled the car over to the side of the road.”

        Ms. Lunsford used her car phone to call the Kentucky State Police post at Morehead, where Trooper Marvin Kelly gave directions for delivery.

Agencies can't ask reason for records

               FRANKFORT — Public agencies cannot demand to know the reason for inspecting public records or base their decision to release documents on whether they like the reason, according to an attorney general's opinion.

        The Open Records Law “does not authorize public agencies to inquire into a requester's motives in seeking access to public records, or to consider those motives in determining whether the records should be released,” Assistant Attorney General Amye Bensenhaver said.

        Chris Henson of Covington asked the Covington Police Department for reports on a number of crimes. Mr. Henson said Assistant Chief Tom Schoneker asked why he wanted the documents and Mr. Henson said he was researching crime patterns in the city.

        Assistant Chief Schoneker said he turned down the requests also because providing the documents would have been a burden on the department.

High-security jail ready for juveniles

               COLUMBIA, Ky. — A new $10 million maximum security facility for juveniles is about to open in Adair County to replace an antiquated facility closed since May.

        The 80-bed facility will house youths convicted of murder and assault and those who pose an escape risk.


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