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Will we be walking
in Winter Wonderland?
Will our days after Christmas be white?
A strong winter story powering across the Midwestern United States threatens to bring some measureable snow to Shelby County on tonight or Thursday.
Forecasters were predicting several inches for states approaching the region, but it was not clear whether the heavier parts of the storm’s output where going to dip far enough south to cross the Ohio River and impact north-central Kentucky.
More likely, perhaps, was more heavy rain to add to the soaked soil already present.
Kentucky best for animal abusers
A nonprofit animal legal rights group has ranked Kentucky, for the sixth year in a row, as the best state to be an animal abuser. The reasons include the absence of numerous laws – such as one making cockfighting a felony – to a statute on the books that prevents veterinarians from reporting suspected cases of animal cruelty without permission from the animal’s owner, a court order or a subpoena.
“No meaningful change in the status of the law in Kentucky precipitates the same result,” Scott Heiser, an attorney with the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund, which released the report last week, told The State Journal.
There are also seemingly odd stipulations in the laws. Torture a dog or cat once: misdemeanor. Torture a dog or cat twice: a weak, or Class D felony. Torture a dog or cat once causing physical injury or death: a weak felony. But torture any other animal any number of times: always a misdemeanor under state law.
“If you go set a horse on fire, you won’t get a felony offense,” Heiser said.
Kentucky’s ranking comes amid continued and numerous failed efforts by several state legislators and the Humane Society of the United States to increase penalties on animal abuses. Certain groups have lobbied against proposed laws, including the Kentucky Houndsmen Association, which represents hunters who use dogs.
Pam Rogers, the Humane Society’s Kentucky director, said the limited laws make it “very difficult to get justice.” For instance, she said that because there is no state law against having sex with an animal, when she gets reports about bestiality she has to see if it caused any bodily injury so another charge can be applied.
Hardin County bans concealed weapons
Hardin Fiscal Court unanimously approved an ordinance Friday tightening regulations on the possession of concealed weapons in county government buildings. The ordinance, which can be read online on county government’s website, says areas where the possession of concealed weapons is prohibited or limited will be marked by signs.
As defined by the ordinance, a government building is “any portion of any building owned, leased or controlled by Hardin County Government or Hardin County Government agency.” This “expressly includes” all agencies owned or operated by Hardin Memorial Hospital, according to the ordinance.
In August, a patient shot and killed himself in the hospital’s intensive care unit on the second floor.
Approved during fiscal court’s last meeting of the year, the ordinance does not apply to “any existing or future building used for public housing by private persons, highway rest areas, firing ranges or private dwellings owned, leased or controlled by Hardin County Government.”
People found in violation of the ordinance will be denied access to the building or asked to leave, officials said.
Centre professor calculates crime
When most people think of crime’s cost they immediately think of stolen valuables, cops on the street and the ever spiraling fortune spent keeping large portions of the population behind bars. But what about the burden of locking and unlocking your front door? Centre College Economics Professor David Anderson took into account both direct and less obvious financial hardships caused by criminal activity in his attempt to put a price tag on crime in the United States each year. His estimate was staggering: $1.7 trillion.
Anderson, who has studied the economic impact of criminal activity in the past, published his article, “The Cost of Crime” earlier this year in the journal Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics. Although many reports are produced each year on what is spent for specific crime-related purposes, such as law enforcement or the court system, Anderson’s may be the most comprehensive estimate of the burden for the country as a whole.
Anderson notes the country’s expenditures on policing, corrections and the criminal justice system, for which America annually spends in excess of $113 billion, $81 and $42 billion respectively. He also cites figures that show the number of individual victimizations declined dramatically between 1995 and 2010, going from 40 million to 18.7 million.
Supreme Court to review records case
The Kentucky Supreme Court recently granted the Kentucky New Era’s motion to review a Court of Appeals decision in the newspaper’s open record lawsuit against the city of Hopkinsville.
Last April, the Court of Appeals ruled against the New Era in the civil lawsuit that stems from a dispute over Hopkinsville Police Department records. In the decision, the court ruled in favor of the city on three key points – allowing HPD to withhold the names of victims, witnesses and defendants on police reports that local media use to write stories about crime and accidents.
The dispute hinges on an interpretation of the Kentucky Open Records Law.
Leaf pickup in Shelbyville
The Shelbyville Department of Public Works will offer leaf pickup through Sunday 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.