Thursday, September 27, 2001

Kentucky News Briefs


Legislative forum on home building

        FORT MITCHELL — Proposed “smart growth” state legislation will be one of the topics discussed at an Oct. 9 legislative forum sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky.

        All members of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus have been invited to attend the forum, scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the home builders office, 209 Grandview Drive in Fort Mitchell.

        Gov. Paul Patton has said he plans to push “smart growth” legislation in the 2002 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, which begins in January.

        But members of the home builders, including president Jeff Erpenbeck, have said the legislation is not needed because census figures and other data indicate Kentucky is not growing too fast.

        The forum is free for members of the association and $25 for others. For information or reservations call Faith Reed at (859) 331-9500.

Area code 270 low on numbers

        FRANKFORT — Area code 270 is running out of available numbers faster than expected.

        The end could come in less than two years — three years ahead of schedule — at the current rate of number assignments, the Public Service Commission said Wednesday.

        At issue is not how many numbers are used but how many are set aside. Cellular and local telephone companies are given blocks of 10,000 numbers for new customers. The PSC has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to instead assign numbers in blocks of 1,000.

        At the same time, the PSC said it was asking phone companies to propose their own “number relief plan.”

        The 270 area code was established in April 1999 for roughly the western third of Kentucky. The state formerly functioned with two area codes — 502 in the west and 606 in the east.

Louisville, Lexington tie record lows

        LOUISVILLE — The National Weather Service reported that low temperature readings here and in Lexington on Wednesday morning tied the records for Sept. 26.

        It was 39 degrees in Louisville, tying a record low set in 1928 and matched in 1940, said meteorologist Van Dewald. The low temperature reading in Lexington was 38, tying the record low for the date that had stood unchallenged since 1940.

        Although it was nippy in Louisville and Lexington, it was near the freezing mark in Bowling Green and London, which reported morning lows of 34 degrees. Frankfort also had a low of 38, and Paducah recorded 37 degrees as the morning low.

6 indicted again on OxyContin charges

        PIKEVILLE — Six people indicted this week on OxyContin charges had previously been charged in the state's crackdown on the people who illegally buy and sell the powerful painkiller.

        State police Detective Dan Smoot said people usually stop selling drugs while waiting to go to federal prison. Things have been different with OxyContin, a prescription medication.

        “On OxyContin, they just won't quit until you get them in” prison, said Detective Smoot, who took part in both investigations.

        OxyContin was a key target of the roundup in February, called OxyFest 2001, which resulted in more than 200 arrests. Authorities arrested 16 people Tuesday as part of a continuing investigation targeting abuse of the drug.

        Most charges against the 16 people named in the new indictments involve OxyContin, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Gregory F. Van Tatenhove.

        His office confirmed that six people arrested in the February roundup face new charges. They are Steve Morris, Jim Smith, Hazel Williams, Bridgette Boggs and David Begley, all of Perry County, and Wendy Gayheart, who had a Breathitt County address.        

Governor wants direct ruling


        FRANKFORT — Gov. Paul Patton is asking a judge for a direct ruling in his lawsuit against the General Assembly's leadership over rulemaking powers.

        At issue is an obscure process by which the legislature, though lacking an outright veto, can effectively abolish executive branch regulations.

        In papers filed Monday in Franklin Circuit Court, Mr. Patton asserts that the issue was settled by the Kentucky Supreme Court in 1984.

        The Supreme Court ruled in a similar dispute that the legislature had unlawfully tried to seize powers the Constitution grants solely to the executive branch.

        “We're confident because the court already decided this issue, and nothing's changed since then,” said Sheryl G. Snyder, a Louisville lawyer who represents Mr. Patton in the suit.

        Robert Sherman, executive director of the Legislative Research Commission, said the General Assembly changed the way it reviews administrative regulations after 1984. The Supreme Court ruling has no bearing on the lawsuit Mr. Patton filed in June, Mr. Sherman said.

        Mr. Patton's lawsuit involves a series of Natural Resources Cabinet regulations about pollution from large-scale animal feeding operations.        

Marion bolsters City Hall security


        MARION, Ind. — City officials are barricading City Hall behind more than 100 one-ton boulders starting this week to stop potential attackers from driving up to the building.

        “We're doing our job, which is to protect the facility from any threat,” Mayor Bill Henry said.

        City Engineer Pat McCarty said no recent threats have been made against the city. Still, plans are to put the 3-foot wide boulders around the building.

        “Things like what happened on September 11 have happened and could happen again,” Mr. McCarty said. “You can't anticipate and stop everything, but you can take some steps. You can improve security.”

2 face charges after body found

        MANCHESTER — Authorities have arrested two people in Clay County on murder charges after an unidentified body was discovered in a burning building.

        Greg O. England, 27, of Mancester, and Clara L. Henson, 43, of Garrard, are being held in the Clay County Jail.

        The Manchester Fire Department notified police after finding a body while extinguishing the fire Monday. The victim hasn't yet been identified.

       



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