News briefs: Dec. 21, 2012

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By The Staff

Legislators say tax reform

not likely this session

State legislators will return to Frankfort next month with several issues to be debated.

However, they are not confident that tax reform will make the cut in the short session.

““I do not expect tax reform to be completed this session,” Rep. Ryan Quarles (R-Georgetown) told the Georgetown News-Graphic. ““The two main reasons are the short session and the tax reform committee just this week released its recommendations, many of which I do not think are viable.”

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform issued recommendations this week, including lowering individual and corporate tax rates, raising the cigarette tax and expanding the sales tax to certain services.

“The changes would position Kentucky to create more jobs, further grow our economy and fund many of the services the commission heard were needed all across the commonwealth,” said Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, who headed the group that spent months studying the state’s tax code.

“I think that, as a policy-making body, we need to absorb the report of the tax committee and start building a consensus by striking the bad parts and developing the good parts and move forward,” Quarles said. “I think Kentucky can learn a lesson from some of our neighbors who have enacted tax reform and swallowed that bitter pill.”

Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) was even more pessimistic.

““I think the citizens of Kentucky need to prepare themselves for the likelihood of a special session,” Thayer said.


Beshear establishes Center for Education and Workforce Statistics

Gov. Steve Beshear has signed an executive order establishing the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics. Its work will provide a broader view of the education to workforce process. The center will serve as one independent source of quality data that links early childhood, K-12, teacher certification, postsecondary, adult education, workforce and other data to provide a better picture of the overall impact of state policies and programs.

“Data gathered by individual agencies offers only one piece of the puzzle,” said Beshear. “The Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics puts all of the pieces together to provide the big picture that will help everyone – policymakers, educators, parents and students – make more informed decisions about the future. We can use this data to build stronger connections among schools, workforce programs and other agencies so our students get a seamless and adaptable path to success.”

Charles McGrew will serve as the center’s executive director where he will oversee the release of numerous reports and respond to data requests. The center will release a report on the employment outcomes of college graduates in January 2013. It will also provide a follow up to the High School Feedback report, released by the P-20 Data Collaborative earlier this year, which will focus on the success of students who went to college. That report is expected to be released in the spring 2013. For more information about these reports and other data, visit http://kentuckyp20.ky.gov/.



Arrested Spencer teacher had a record

The Spencer County Middle School teacher and coach arrested Dec. 7 had at least three drug convictions, a disorderly conduct conviction and an attempted domestic violence conviction on his record in Cincinnati prior to being hired in the Spencer County school district, the Spencer Magnet is reporting.

Todd Andrew Bonds, 36, faces charges of first-degree burglary and unlawful imprisonment stemming from an incident on Dec. 6 in Spencer County.

A search of the Hamilton County (Ohio) Clerk of Courts website yielded a host of traffic offenses as well as five misdemeanor charges against a Todd A. Bonds, who had the same birth date and was the same race as the Todd Andrew Bonds in question in this case.

As part of the proceedings in the disorderly conduct and attempted domestic violence cases, temporary protective orders were issued and then canceled, according to the clerk’s website.

Only one of the charges showed in the background check done by Spencer County school district.

“The system failed,” said Chuck Adams, Spencer County superintendent. “What we had and what you have — it’s nowhere close.”


I-64 fatality

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatality that occurred Wednesday night on Interstate 64, according.

Rico Turner, of Louisville, was reported dead after deputies responded to a call at approximately 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Frankfort State Journal reported.

Turner, the only person in the vehicle, was driving a red 2008 Pontiac when he crashed at about the 50-mile marker of the westbound lane.


Flu level rising

Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) officials reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week that the flu activity level in the state has increased from regional to widespread. Widespread activity is the highest level of flu activity, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state, according to a DPH news release. The activity levels for states are tracked weekly as part of the CDC’s national flu surveillance system.

 “We are strongly urging anyone who hasn’t received a flu vaccine, particularly those at high risk for complications related to the flu, to check with local health departments or other providers,” Stephanie Mayfield, M.D., commissioner of DPH, said in the news release.

The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are especially encouraged to receive the flu vaccine, because they may be at higher risk for complications include: children age 6 months to 19 years; pregnant women; people 50 and older; people with chronic health problems; people who live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities; health care workers; people who live with a person at high risk for complications from the flu; and out-of-home caregivers of or people who live with children less than 6 months old.

Between 20,000 and 40,000 deaths are attributed to flu and pneumonia nationally each year, with more than 90 percent of those deaths occurring in people age 65 and older.


Lane closures possible on I-64 work

Lane closures and delays are possible on Interstate 64 from just east of Simpsonville to a half-mile east of KY 55 because of the widening project. Lane closures are possible Sunday through Friday from 7 each evening until 5 the following morning and on Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday. The eastbound exit to KY 55 South (Exit 32A) remains closed for several months because of ramp construction.  Motorists can use Exit 32B to access both KY 55 North and South. 


SBDM meeting

  • Collins High School will have an Site-Based Decision-Making council meeting at 4 p.m. today at the school.


Leaf pickup in Shelbyville

The Shelbyville Department of Public Works will offer leaf pickup through Dec. 30 within the city limits. Leaves must be bagged in strong garbage bags and tied with a 50-pound weight capacity. They should be placed on the curb, not blocking the sidewalk or street. Residents must call this department, 633-1094, to get on the list for pick-up.


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.