Saturday, March 30, 2002

Kentucky News Briefs

Anti-cloning bill tabled in Senate

        FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Senate dealt a potential death blow to anti-cloning legislation Friday, shelving the bill after a sometimes wrenching debate about how it would affect medical research.

        The focus of the debate was an amendment, backed by the state's top research universities, to exempt medical researchers from an outright cloning ban.

        The amendment was approved 22-16. The bill's core supporters said it gutted the legislation. After the showdown vote, Senate Republican leaders moved to table the bill indefinitely. That motion was approved.

        The amendment specifically permitted therapeutic cloning done in accordance with federal regulations. In therapeutic cloning, scientists create “stem cells” for research.

        Opponents of the amendment said no such federal regulations exist, so cloning would be unfettered. They also cited philosophical reasons, saying the procedure amounts to killing an embryo.

R&B singer to be arraigned in stabbing

        SHELBYVILLE — A popular R&B singer has been indicted on assault charges for allegedly stabbing her husband with a steak knife on Christmas Day.

        Ketara “KeKe” Wyatt, who scored a hit with “Nothing in this World,” was indicted on one count of second-degree assault by a Shelby County grand jury on Monday. The singer could get 10 to 20 years if convicted.

        Rahmat Morton, her husband, is also Ms. Wyatt's manager.

        Shelbyville police responded to a domestic violence call Dec. 25 at the couple's home. Police found Mr. Morton with stab wounds on his chest, arms and hands,

        Ms. Wyatt's arraignment is scheduled for May 9 in Shelby County Circuit Court.

        “Nothing in this World,” featuring Avant, reached a peak position of 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Her debut album “Soul Sista” has spent 19 weeks on the Billboard 200. She was 20 years old when it was released last fall.

Racing museum acquires collection

— The National Museum of Racing has acquired its largest-ever collection of trainer materials, after beating out museums from Kentucky and Missouri for the items.

        The Saratoga Springs museum has acquired the collection of Jimmy Jones and his father, Ben, who dominated racing during the 1940s and '50s, winning eight Kentucky Derbys and two Triple Crowns with Citation and Whirlaway.

        The Kentucky Derby Museum and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, among other museums, were also vying for the collection.

        Lori Fisher, a curator, said it's rare for the Saratoga Springs museum to purchase items for its collection but these were too important to let go.

        The collection includes several sets of silks, six trophies, 15 blankets, numerous horseshoes, 77 programs, about 890 photographs, Ben Jones' trademark Stetson hat and a pair of binoculars that belonged to Jimmy Jones.

Foster parent abuse debated in Senate

        FRANKFORT — A bill to specifically prohibit sexual offenses by foster parents against the children in their care prompted a long debate in the Kentucky House on Friday about the prosecution of sex crimes.

        The debate started when Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, called for an amendment to prohibit a first-degree rape charge being bargained down to a misdemeanor.

        “What that does to a victim is horrible,” especially if the victim is a child, Mr. Riner said. He also made a dig at “lazy prosecutors.”

        Opposing sides quickly formed. “You vote against this measure today and you're voting soft on crime,” said Rep. Howard Cornett, R-Whitesburg.

        The bill itself, which first passed the Senate, would expand the offenses of third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy to cover sexual relations between a foster parent and a foster child under 18. The bill passed 93-0 and was sent back to the Senate for action on a previous House amendment.

Bill exempts some from mineral taxes

        FRANKFORT — A bill to exempt some property owners from paying taxes on unmined coal and other minerals beneath their land passed the Senate on Friday despite objections from some coalfield lawmakers.

        The intent is to give tax relief to small farmers with mineral wealth under their land, said Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.

        Another lawmaker warned the bill had larger consequences that would deprive eastern Kentucky schools of badly needed money.

        Despite the complaints, the measure passed the Senate 25-7 and goes to Gov. Paul Patton.

        The bill would assess the property at its agriculture value, which is generally far less than an ordinary valuation. The special designation would require that ownership of the minerals has not been severed from the surface ownership, the surface owner is not involved in mineral extraction and the land is used for agriculture purposes.

Rights lawyer Dees speaks on hate crimes

        LEXINGTON — A well-known crusader against hate groups told an audience of about 300 at the University of Kentucky that there are great divisions in the United States over race, sexuality, age, religion and class.

        “You've got to give everyone here an equal opportunity. Don't be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters,” civil rights lawyer Morris Dees said Thursday, paraphrasing the Biblical prophet Amos.

        Mr. Dees, 65, is best known for his lawsuit against the Ku Klux Klan for inciting violence. The $7 million judgment against the Klan set a precedent. He is co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

        After the publicized dragging death of a black man in Texas, the beating death of a gay man in Wyoming and various hate crimes against Arabs after Sept. 11, Mr. Dees thinks people are reaching a point where they will no longer tolerate violence against people who are different.


Race cases near deals
Opening Day marks start, end
Call her Cinci Freedom
Good Friday a time of hope
Terror colors Cross march
Mideast situation worries those with relatives there
UC teacher, students fear Mideast eruption into more bloodshed
Hometown Hero: Advocate for mentally ill
Hometown Navy man welcomed
Tristate A.M. Report
Victim's father struggles to cope with stabbing
MCNUTT: Neighborhoods
RADEL: Opening Day
SAMPLES: Storytellers
THOMPSON: Faith Matters
Judge orders community service
Springfield to lose its only taxi service
Change in Ohio tax law haunts state
Lima city workers ready to strike over contract
Motorist shot and wounded by gun dropped by officer
Ohio stamp stars Cleveland
Priest asked to leave his duties after accusation
Ex-deputy guilty of drug charges
Former bridge inspector admits soliciting bribes
Girl drowns in hotel indoor pool
- Kentucky News Briefs
Lawmaker suggests subs to sink casinos
Six accused of counterfeiting
Superintendent named
Tax issues occupy both houses of Ky. legislature
Way smoothed for car plant