Kentucky officials say curtailing prescription-pill abuse will suffer a major setback if a wave of generic painkillers reaches the market without safeguards. OxyContin and Opana ER patents are set to expire next year allowing for generic versions of the powerful drugs. The brand-name painkillers were popular sources for abusers until tamper-resistant formulas were added.
Leaders from Fort Campbell’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade will speak with the media today about their first 100 days of deployment to Afghanistan. The brigade went overseas this year to provide helicopter support throughout two regions of the country, including areas where other Fort Campbell units are deployed.
The clock is ticking for Illinois legislators to come up with a law approving the concealed carry of weapons after a federal appellate court decided last week to throw out the state's ban on concealed guns. The legislature has 180 days to craft a new law and has the option of using a law already in place in one of the other 49 states.
Kentucky’s Public Service Commission will announce today whether or not it will create a new area code for the western part of the Commonwealth. The cell phone boom has resulted in using nearly all of the numbers available with the current 270 area code. The new area code would be designated as 364.
A McCracken Circuit judge has overturned the conviction of a woman accused of improperly euthanizing animals at a Paducah shelter. This past August, a jury deliberated only 30 minutes before returning the guilty verdict against Dalena Hall for actions taken last year at the McCracken County Humane Society. Police say she was not certified to euthanize animals but was doing so anyway. Hall appealed the conviction and Circuit Court Judge Tim Kaltenbach ruled in her favor.
A Fort Campbell woman accused of trying to collect on her Army husband's life insurance policy has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for setting fire to her home and killing two of her children. Billi Jo Smallwood maintained her innocence at her sentencing Thursday in Louisville. 39-year-old Smallwood could have been given life in prison. She was convicted in federal court of maliciously setting fire to the family’s housing unit in 2007 while her children slept inside. Prosecutors say her intent was to kill her husband and cash in his $400,000 insurance policy.
An ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture isn’t on the agenda of the Personnel Board’s last meeting for the year. Board members voted earlier this year to open an inquiry into personnel issues at the Department of Agriculture under former Commissioner Richie Farmer. Board Executive Director Mark Sipek says it could be months before the investigation is completed. A state audit accused Farmer of using state employees for personal business like hunting and shopping trips, yard work, and chauffeuring his dog.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is urging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to sponsor and pass legislation that would force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release water from the Missouri River to raise levels on the Mississippi. Drought conditions there could soon halt barge traffic. Beshear sent a letter to McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Wednesday asking them to take action quickly. If the Mississippi continues to drop there could be negative economic consequences.
A new National Weather Service forecast projects water levels on the Mississippi River will keep dropping over the next several weeks. The outlook comes amid worries barge traffic could soon be affected along the vital shipping corridor. NWS hydrologists say the Mississippi River at Saint Louis will fall to about 9 feet by the end of December, and, barring significant rainfall, another six inches in the first week of January. Months of drought have left levels up to 20 feet below normal along a 180-mile stretch of the river from St. Louis to Cairo, Ill.
Kentucky hunters killed 11 black bears last weekend, including one that set a record for its size. Doug Adkins of Jenkins killed the state-record bear estimated at more than 450 pounds in Letcher County. All the bears killed came from Harlan and Letcher counties. The hunting season was scheduled to continue through Monday but wildlife officials closed it down Sunday night because hunters killed the maximum number of bears.