Thursday, February 20, 2003

Kentucky News Briefs



Reports of price gouging sought

FRANKFORT - Attorney General Ben Chandler is asking Kentucky residents to report incidents of weather-related price gouging.

"We have had several unconfirmed reports of dramatic price increases on various products and services in the wake of the ice storm,'' Chandler said Wednesday.

Kentucky's attorney general said that his office has received reports of increased prices being charged for hotel rooms, chain saw rentals, generators, firewood and plumbing services.

Residents can report what appear to be unfair increases in prices through the attorney general's Web site or by calling the attorney general's office/Better Business Bureau hotline toll free between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (888) 432-9257 and choosing option 3. Callers who encounter a technical difficulty should try again later. Consumers should provide as much detailed information as possible.

Chandler said that his office also is concerned about the potential for "fly by night'' contractors or "storm chasers'' coming in and taking advantage of people. Chandler said consumers should be cautious when hiring contractors for home or electrical repairs or tree removal.

Public hearing for Taylor Mill projects

TAYLOR MILL - Residents can offer their recommendations on street reconstruction and paving projects for this summer at a hearing next Wednesday.

The hearing will be at 6:45 p.m. at the Taylor Mill municipal building, 5225 Taylor Mill Rd.

The city expects to receive $80,987 through the Department of Rural and Municipal Road Aid during the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Information: (859) 581-3234.

Scholarships for engineering students

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hoping to turn at least 10 students into civil engineers. In celebration of National Engineer Week through Friday, the cabinet will offer the students an annual scholarship. In addition, students will be offered a job with the cabinet upon graduation. The scholarship application deadline is March 1 and can be obtained by most school counselors or by calling (877) 273-5222.

Emergency program funds go to 2 counties

The United Way will be administering a total of $79,340 in emergency food and shelter program funds to Kenton and Grant counties.

Kenton County organizations will receive a total of $66,126. These organizations include: Brighton Center, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky Inc., Women's Crises Center of Northern Kentucky Inc., Elohim Ministries, Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry, Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission and the Parish Kitchen.

$13,214 will be given to Grant County organizations including: Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry, Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, and the Women's Crises Center.

The United Way appoints a local volunteer board to each county to determine the agencies in need of funding.

Republican Women's Club plans meeting

The Kenton County Republican Women's Club is having its first meeting of the year and all registered Republican women and men are invited. The meeting will feature talks from Kentucky state Sens. Virgil Moore of Leitchfield and Hunter Bates of Louisville. It will be held at Five Seasons Country Club, 345 Thomas Moore Parkway, on Feb. 24 at 11:30 a.m.

Reservations are $10 per person and must be made by Feb. 21 by calling (859) 341-8526.

Agency starts therapy group for women

Family Service, a social service agency serving Ohio and Kentucky, is beginning a women's therapy group starting Thursday, February 27. The group is for women who wish to work on issues related to: relationships, self-worth, depressed or anxious moods and childhood sexual abuse.

The group will meet each Thursday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Covington office, 513 Madison Ave.

Family Service accepts a sliding fee, some insurances, and Medicare. For more information, contact Kelly Clasgens at (859) 547-5767.

Bill would clarify abuse investigations

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky House passed a bill Wednesday that would clarify how elder abuse investigations are handled.

The bill would clearly define the responsibilities of state agencies, law enforcement and prosecutors in investigating such cases, said Rep. Jimmie Lee, the bill's sponsor. He said the measure is meant to promote cooperation among the agencies to protect vulnerable adults.

The measure passed 56-36 and heads to the Senate.

Opponents said they backed the intent, but complained the bill's definition of abuse was too broad and could be misused.

The bill would require anyone who suspects someone of elder abuse or neglect to report it to the Cabinet for Families and Children. The cabinet would notify local police or Kentucky State Police, along with a local prosecutor, then conduct an investigation and report back with the findings.

A finding of abuse or neglect would automatically trigger a criminal investigation.

An investigation of a health care facility would be forwarded to the inspector general of the Cabinet for Health Services.

Such a system is already in place, Lee said, but his bill would take away discretionary powers for agencies in pursuing the investigations.

Budget bill passed with no tax increases

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky House passed a state budget bill Tuesday with no general tax increase or building projects but with plenty of speeches about what the state should do when it gets more money.

Proponents of tax increases - especially a higher tax on cigarettes - were disappointed.

"We have now postponed the pain until January of '04," said Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville, referring to the General Assembly's next regular session.

Gov. Paul Patton said in a statement that the proposed budget will not adequately fund education, Medicaid or many other governmental services.




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