Saturday, September 14, 2002

Kentucky News Briefs

Florence man arrested on endangering charge

        FLORENCE - Police arrested a 20-year-old Florence man after he held a handgun to the heads of two men during an argument early Friday.

        Hector Juan Morel of the 7900 block of Dixie Highway is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. He was being held at the Boone County Jail Friday afternoon on a $10,000 cash bond.

        The arrest stems from an incident in which Mr. Morel pointed a handgun at two men in a parking lot outside of his apartment complex about 1 a.m. The three had been in an argument, said Lt. Tim Chesser, spokesman for Florence Police. No one was injured.

        The Florence Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team was called after Mr. Morel refused to come out of his apartment. Sgt. Don Baker was finally able to speak with Mr. Morel, who was arrested nearly four hours later.

        A .45-caliber handgun was found inside the home.

Police arrest two in three-hour theft spree

        FORT WRIGHT — Police arrested two men they say broke into up to a dozen vehicles during a three-hour crime spree Thursday morning.

        Delvin Walter Fleming, 23, of Mississippi and Richard Scanlon, 29, of Dayton, Ky., are each charged with one count of receiving stolen property valued over $300. Mr. Fleming and Mr. Scanlon are each being held at the Kenton County Detention Center Friday afternoon. Their bond is $2,500 each.

        Fort Wright Police said the pair admitted to breaking into 10 to 12 vehicles parked along West Henry Clay, West Crittenden and other adjoining streets for about three hours starting at 2:15 a.m. Thursday. Officers were able to recover a number of car stereos, compact discs and other items — including a Buddha ornamental lawn statue.

        Mr. Fleming was captured near the scene with help from a Florence Police dog and officers from Park Hills and Kenton County police. Mr. Scanlon was arrested at his home.

UK newspaper finalist for top prize

        LEXINGTON - The Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky's student newspaper, has been selected as a finalist for a Pacemaker, the nation's top student journalism award.

        The Pacemaker is annually given by the Associated Collegiate Press. Other finalists this year include the newspapers at Harvard, Tulane, Vanderbilt and Auburn.

        The winner will be announced at the ACP's annual convention, Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Orlando, Fla.

        The newspaper won a Pacemaker during the 1998-99 academic year.

        Seven editions are judged for writing quality and reporting, leadership on the editorial page, photography, evidence of in-depth reporting and graphics.

Man faces deportation after charges filed

        FORT WRIGHT — A 21-year-old man is facing deportation to Mexico for allegedly having sex with an underage girl.

        Faustino Ortega is charged with two counts of third-degree rape. He is being held at the Kenton County Detention Center. Fort Wright Police said he is an illegal alien and he faces deportation.

        Police said Mr. Ortega had sex with the 14-year-old last weekend at Fort Wright Days Inn on Dixie Highway. Florence Police said additional charges against Mr. Ortega are pending in Boone County because he allegedly had sex with the girl in her father's Florence apartment.

        Florence Police believe Mr. Ortega is an acquaintance of another man charged with five counts of second-degree rape for his involvement with the same girl. That man, Luis Perez, 24, formerly of Florence, is in custody in Mexico City on unrelated charges.

Ky. National Guard MPs to Guantanamo

        FRANKFORT - A company of military police from the Kentucky National Guard is being mobilized to help guard suspected terrorists being held at the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

        The Murray-based 438th Military Police Company, a unit of 124 soldiers, is to report to its armory on Oct. 1, to begin training.

        The company will then go to Fort Dix in New Jersey before arriving in Cuba in November, according to the Kentucky National Guard.

        The company was ordered into active duty in December.

New veterans cemetery planned

        HOPKINSVILLE - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is giving $5.8 million to help build a Western Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Hopkinsville.

        The grant, announced by U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning on Friday, will fund the development of 50 acres including 15,500 grave sites and a combined administration and maintenance building.

        The cemetery land was part of the property the university acquired to build its new facility until a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post gave $180,000 to buy the acreage for the cemetery.

        The site will have space for 26,000 to 27,000 graves. Construction is expected to be completed by late spring of 2003.

State: Knox County must close unsafe jail

        FRANKFORT - Despite pleas it would financially cripple the county, state Corrections Department officials have told Knox County it must close its jail because it is unsafe.

        Spokeswoman Lisa Carnahan said county officials were notified in a letter sent on Thursday.

        The closure must take place by Sept. 30. Ms. Carnahan said it is up to Knox County officials to determine where to place their inmates. The state does not house its inmates there because of the safety concerns.

        Jailer Preston Smith had argued in a meeting with the department in late August that the county could not afford to pay others to house its inmates.

        Corrections officials countered that Knox County could even less afford a catastrophe in which inmates were injured or killed.

        “Think of the cost to your county if there was a fire,” Deputy Commissioner Hazel Combs said. “The liability — you can't even calculate the cost.”

        The jail at Barbourville, built less than 20 years ago, was designed for 31 inmates. Mr. Smith said he regularly houses twice that number.


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