Friday, February 09, 2001

Kentucky News Briefs

Patton's new plan would clean dumps

        FRANKFORT — Gov. Paul Patton has abandoned the notion of curbside garbage collection for every Kentuckian and substituted a plan he said should lead to the cleanup of some 3,300 illegal dumps around the state.

        Mr. Patton said Thursday it was not a retreat, but just a different attack on the same problem of garbage winding up somewhere other than properly maintained landfills.

        “This is a proposal that will clean up Kentucky from the standpoint of open dumps,” he said.

        Mr. Patton already has had to dramatically scale back what he said is a $30 million annual plan to provide universal collection, clean up dumps, and institute statewide recycling programs.

[photo] I LOVE TO READ/I DO INDEED: Dressed as The Cat in the Hat, Highland Heights Elementary Principal Karen Cheser reads the Dr. Seuss classic Thursday. In her kindergarten audience are (from left) Rachael Smith, Phillip Beckerich, Luke Spradlin and Jacob Biery. Campbell County Schools are observing I Love to Read Week.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        He said there is no sentiment for passing any spending or tax bills during the current short session of the General Assembly.

        The proposal introduced Thursday by Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, gives counties two options.

        The counties can either institute universal, curbside collection — either by itself or through contracting with a waste hauler — or agree to clean up all the dumps in the county.

        Each year, the Natural Resources Cabinet would survey the county and identify dumps to be cleaned.

        If a county did not offer universal collection or clean up the dumps, the state could withhold road funds and other kinds of grants.

Economists say state revenues to fall short

        FRANKFORT — The panel of economists charged with predicting Kentucky's revenue receipts agreed Thursday the state will fall short of expectations in the General Fund and Road Fund this year.

        How much short will be left until March to determine.

        When the revisions are made, it will set in motion a series of events that will cut spending, withhold appropriations and delay highway construction projects.

        “Whatever they do is going to be a struggle,” budget director James Ramsey said before the Consensus Forecasting Group decided to delay a formal revision of its estimates.

        Initial indications are for a shortfall of perhaps $70 million to $100 million in the General Fund for the fiscal year that will end June 30.

        That still amounts to less than 2 percent of the nearly $7 billion General Fund budget.

        The Road Fund is in relatively worse shape, expected to fall some $42 million short this year out of a $1 billion budget.

        One of the reasons for the large margins in the General Fund is the recent ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court that a state law that provides a sales tax exemption for purchases of equipment used in manufacturing.

        The court said the exemption should apply to other equipment purchases.

        Revenue Cabinet lawyer Da na Madon said there have already been requests for tax refunds on purchases of items such as pizza ovens.

Bill would include grandparents in order

        FRANKFORT — A judge's order terminating parental rights would apply to biological grandparents under a bill approved Thursday by a House committee reacting to the jailing of a northeastern Kentucky couple.

        An exception would apply if the biological grandparents went to court to gain visitation rights prior to the relinquishment of parental rights.

        The proposal was criticized by some Judiciary Committee members who warned that it made a sweeping change in response to an isolated case.

        Rep. Rob Wilkey said his motivation for offering the proposal was a Greenup County case in which a couple were jailed for refusing a judge's order to let their 9-year-old daughter visit her biological grandmother.

        The judge arranged the couple's jail time to coincide with the time their adopted daughter was with her grandmother in Ohio.

        The grandmother is the mother of the girl's biological father, who died in an auto crash.

        The girl's birth mother surrendered parental rights in the early 1990s.

        Mr. Wilkey, D-Franklin, offered the proposal as an amendment to another bill dealing with grandparent rights.

        The amendment was added to the measure by an 8-4 vote. The bill then won committee approval.

White House rejected on miners' benefits

        WASHINGTON — A judge Thursday rejected a request by the Bush administration to suspend new federal rules aimed at making it easier for coal miners with black-lung disease to get benefits.

        U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he did not think he had the authority to overturn the rules, which took effect the day before Mr. Bush became president.

        “That's awesome authority you've asked me to exercise,” he said.

        Judge Sullivan said he might consider a more limited request, however.

        He ordered Justice Department attorney Gail Walker and Mark Solomons, an attorney for the National Mining Association, to come up with a new proposal and set a hearing for today.

        Judge Sullivan indicated the plan should allow for adjudication of long-standing claims.

        “I'm very concerned about those families,” he said.

        Black-lung disease impairs breathing and is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust. It can lead to other lung ailments and heart failure.

        Unlike other lung diseases, it does not show up on X-rays and generally is diagnosed by its symptoms. It can only be confirmed with an autopsy.

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Pickett passed gun check
RADEL: UC mansion
Ohio nursing homes may lose $250M
OxyContin maker gives $25K
Boss, I feel bad; I'll be recovering on the fairway
Dustin can hear again
3 N. Ky. music teachers honored
7 suspended in drug case at Little Miami
Agency's improvement impressive
Bill would reallocate money
Chabot among voices backing bigger tax cut
Double trouble: CG&E bills customers twice
End to tailpipe test may be costly
Man acquitted of assaulting police horse sues cops
Mayors may have to cite reasons for firings
Mich. man to face rape charge in Monroe
Middletown park to be reborn
New city housing in peril
New hire to focus on juvenile justice
Ohio trims university research
Police-fire hockey game to benefit crisis group
Student, 13, is arrested after two guns found
Teacher union wants redesign rule clarified
Turfway loves its female jockeys
Video encourages abstinence
- Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report