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Latest Kentucky news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

Posted at 3:20 AM, Jun 18, 2019

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR-AIDE

Kentucky lt. gov. criticizes top Bevin aide for firing

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s lieutenant governor has criticized Gov. Matt Bevin’s chief of staff, saying he “overstepped his boundaries” in authorizing the firing of her deputy chief of staff.

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton ratcheted up her dispute with Bevin’s administration over Adrienne Southworth’s ouster. Hampton said Tuesday that Kentuckians should be concerned that an “unelected bureaucrat” appears to have power over the lieutenant governor’s office.

Bevin’s chief of staff, Blake Brickman, recently told the Courier Journal he authorized Southworth’s firing. Brickman says she repeatedly demonstrated poor judgment.

Bevin’s office didn’t immediately respond to Hampton’s statement.

Hampton says she intends to defy the firing, saying Southworth will continue to assist her, tracking her time until she’s officially reinstated so she can receive back pay.

Bevin dropped Hampton from his ticket in his reelection bid this year.

ALI MURAL VANDALIZED

Group seeks hate crime probe of Ali mural vandalism

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Muslim advocacy group wants Kentucky authorities to investigate vandalism on a mural of boxing champ Muhammad Ali as a possible hate crime.

The Kentucky chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations made the request in a news release Monday.

CAIR-Kentucky chair Waheedah Muhammad says “as Americans, we must continue to stand up and loudly say no to hatred and division.”

The words “racist,” ”antisemitic” and “homophobe” were painted in orange over Ali’s portion of the “Kentucky Rushmore” mural that features other icons from the state, including Abraham Lincoln. An employee at a nearby candy store first noticed the graffiti June 12.

The vandalism came days after Louisville celebrated Ali Week to honor the Kentucky native who died in 2016.

It’s unclear whether police have identified a suspect.

BODY IN CAVE

FBI: ‘No foul play’ involved in Kentucky national park death

PARK CITY, Ky. (AP) — FBI officials say they think no foul play was involved in the death of a woman found in Mammoth Cave National Park.

News outlets report the body of 23-year-old Mariah Amber Decru was discovered in a cemetery on park grounds in March.

Investigators said they had determined the cause of death to be related to “acute diphenhydramine intoxication.” In other words, she ingested too much of an antihistamine used in certain types of allergy and sleep medications, like Benadryl and ZzzQuil. The manner of death is listed as “undetermined” but authorities say no foul play is suspected.

Park rangers called in the FBI because the body was found on national park property.

BILLING SERVICE-JOBS

Medical billing company plans to expand in Kentucky

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — A medical billing services company is planning to expand operations in northern Kentucky, potentially creating 150 jobs.

CompMed Ltd. is planning the $1.1 million expansion in Campbell County. The company plans to lease an additional 2,000 square feet of office space “in response to growing demand from new and existing customers.”

A statement from Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says the project also includes new employee training and work spaces and new equipment.

CompMed President Mike Stearns says the company plans to use the majority of the funds retained through tax incentives to ensure employees continue to work in a favorable and professional environment.

The Newport-based company was founded in 1993 and provides billing services for over 25 different areas of medical need.

RECOMMENDED REGULATIONS-WILDLIFE COMMISSION

State commission recommends online hunter training course

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission has recommended changing current regulations to allow hunters to become certified through a free online course instead of requiring in-person training at a firing range.

News outlets quote the commission as saying the proposed change would make it easier for people already familiar with firearms to get their hunter education certification. The commission says similar courses in other states provide better convenience and customer service.

The commission also proposed license-exempt individuals born on or after January 1, 2002, be required to get hunter education certifications. Other recommendations include a 20-inch minimum size and one-fish daily creel limit on cutthroat trout in the Cumberland River from Wolf Creek Damn to the Tennessee border.

The changes would take effect in March 2020 if approved by legislators.

SWATTING HOAXES-INDICTMENT

Federal jury indicts Delaware man on ‘swatting’ hoaxes

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Delaware man accused of making hoax emergency calls to locations across the country, causing police and SWAT teams to respond.

An indictment handed down May 16 against 29-year-old Rodney Allen Phipps of Georgetown was unsealed Monday.

Prosecutors allege Phipps falsely reported shootings and other emergencies at locations in five states in a scheme known as “swatting.” Investigators say he also would threaten to shoot law enforcement officials who responded to those locations.

Authorities say Phipps made the swatting calls to authorities in New Jersey, Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida and Georgia from 2015 to 2017.

Phipps was charged with five counts of making interstate threats and one count of making a false threat involving explosives. He could face up to 35 years in prison.