Saturday, January 11, 2003

Kentucky News Briefs

Staff and news service reports

Butler man injured in single-car accident

GRANTS LICK - A 19-year-old Butler man remained in serious condition Friday evening after the car he was driving went over an embankment and crashed into a tree earlier in the day.

Dallas Pennington apparently fell asleep at the wheel just before 5 a.m. on U.S. 27 near Clay Ridge Road, according to Campbell County Police. Mr. Pennington's car veered off the highway, hit a guard rail and went over the embankment.

Mr. Pennington was taken to St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas and later to University Hospital in Cincinnati, according to a nursing supervisor. Police said Mr. Pennington was not cited, and alcohol was not a factor.

Genealogists invited on trip to Salt Lake City

COVINGTON - The Kenton County Public Library is sponsoring a genealogy excursion to Salt Lake City April 10-13.

The trip will offer genealogy enthusiasts a chance to conduct research at the Family History Library, which holds more than 2.2 million rolls of microfilmed records from 110 countries, 742,000 microfiche, 300,000 books, and 4,500 periodicals of genealogical records and research. The trip will include a preflight workshop by Kenton County Public Library staff, a nonstop Delta flight, three nights at the Little America Hotel, a tour of the Temple area, and an orientation by Latter Day Saints staff

For a registration form or information about the excursion contact the Kenton County Public Library at (859) 962-4060, ext. 4233.

Property owners can learn about Section 8

COVINGTON - The city will hold its first Section 8 Department Owners Association meeting Wednesday.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in Covington's City Hall Commission chambers, 638 Madison Ave.

Owners and/or managers of property in Kenton County can learn more about the benefits of the Section 8 rental assistance program. Property owners now participating in the Section 8 program will be updated on rules, regulations and changes to the program.

Contact Marshall Hacker or Nancy McQueen at (859) 292-2188.

Interfaith group holds annual celebration

NEWPORT - The Northern Kentucky Interfaith Commission is sponsoring its 16th annual Valentine Celebration Sunday Buffet and Chocolate Delights Feb. 9.

The event, marking 33 years of the interfaith commission, begins at 12:30 p.m. at The Point Pavilion at 620 Scott Blvd. in Covington. There will be live and silent auctions with all donations going toward the work of the commission, a group that brings together people of varied cultural and religious traditions for dialogue.

Monetary donations and items for the auctions are being sought. Call the interfaith office at (859) 581-2237 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday to drop off a donation or have one picked up.

Firefighters to induct slate of officers

The Northern Kentucky Firefighters Association will swear in new officers at its Jan. 28 meeting at the Burlington Fire Department.

The president will be Chief Bill Birkle of the Petersburg Fire Department and the Belleview-McVille Fire Department. The vice president will be Public Education Specialist Joe Stambush of the Edgewood Fire Department, the Fire Department of Bellevue-Dayton, and the Point Pleasant Fire Department. The secretary will be Deputy Chief John Daley of the Fire Department of Bellevue-Dayton. The treasurer will be retired Chief Val "Bud" Lederer of the Alexandria Fire Department. The trustees will be Capt. Ed Webster of the Erlanger Fire and EMS, Deputy Chief Randy Steinhauer of the Campbell County Fire District No. 1 and Chief John Horton of the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati International Airport Fire Dept.

Million-dollar awards to inspectors upheld

FRANKFORT - The Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a jury award to two former Agriculture Department inspectors who said they were punished for blowing the whistle on misconduct.

Donald R. Vinson and Charles Anderson, inspectors who have since retired, said they tried to enforce state regulations on some politically connected pest control companies.

The jury awarded $1,000,001 to each man in 2001, an amount also upheld by the unanimous three-judge panel.

It was the second trial and appeal of the judgment. A jury in 1997 awarded each man $500,000. But the department appealed, and the Kentucky Supreme Court ordered a retrial.

The justices upheld the Whistleblower Act itself - a law designed to protect public employees who expose wrongdoing. But they said Mr. Vinson and Mr. Anderson had to prove their claims of reprisal under the law as it existed when they sued the department in June 1993.

By the time their suit went to trial in 1997, the law had been changed to make it easier for public employees to win whistleblower cases.

Mr. Vinson and Mr. Anderson were demoted from supervisory jobs but not fired. Their salaries remained the same, so the department argued that they were not entitled to damages.

The two men said they were punished for refusing to go easy on Terminix and other companies whose executives were political campaign contributors.

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Kentucky News Briefs