News Digest: April 3, 2013

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By Steve Doyle

Mobile system reduces

backlog of warrants

A backlog of warrants for arrests has dropped dramatically during the past three years thanks to an electronic warrant program started in 2009, state officials say.

The service rate for warrants had gone from an estimated low of about 10 percent in areas where they were dependent solely on paper-based warrants to a statewide average service rate of more than 80 percent, according to Attorney General Jack Conway's office.
That's largely because police now can access warrants electronically. The attorney general's office has used more than $3.94 million in federal grant money to implement the electronic warrants program statewide. The bulk of the money has been used to buy mobile data units – similar to laptop computers – that are placed in officers' patrol cars.

The distribution of the units is the final phase of the electronic warrants program rollout, the attorney general's office said.

Officers can know instantly whether a person has an outstanding warrant during a traffic stop or after responding to a scene by accessing the information from the data units, officials said.

Although cities and counties more flush with cash have been able to purchase the mobile data units, smaller jurisdictions have not, which has slowed the serving of warrants.

Seventy-eight rural law enforcement agencies will receive the mobile data units.


School testing calendar

When students from Shelby County Public Schools return to school Monday following spring break, the Spring MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing window begins. It ends May 17. During May, students will take the K-PREP (Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress) assessments.
Parents are asked to make every effort to avoid out-of-school appointments for their children during the testing dates. Also they are encouraged to help their children to get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast.

Dates to remember:

§  Spring MAP Window- April 8 – May 17.

§  Elementary K-PREP- May 6 – May 10.

§  Middle School K-PREP- May 6 – May 10.

§  High School K-PREP (grades 8, 10 and 11)- May 2 – May 8.

§  High School (End of Course)- May 8 – May 21.

§  High School (Advanced Placement)- May 6 – May 17.


AG’s ruling opens medical records

The University of Kentucky violated the state Open Records Act by refusing to release documents about surgeries at Kentucky Children's Hospital, the state attorney general's office has ruled.
In December, UK announced that the hospital had stopped performing pediatric cardiothoracic surgeries pending an internal review. But UK has provided no further information.
Brenna Angel, a reporter at WUKY-FM 91.3 in Lexington, submitted a records request to UK on Dec. 11 for performance and payment documents for Dr. Mark Plunkett, chief of cardiothoracic surgery, who performed the surgeries; mortality data for the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program; and evaluation and accreditation records for the surgery program. UK refused to provide Angel with some of the requested documents, citing federal patient privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, The Herald-Leader reported.
However, UK was wrong to cite HIPAA because Angel did not request individual patient information, Assistant Attorney General James Herrick wrote in his ruling in favor of Angel. Even if she had, Herrick wrote, "This office has repeatedly ruled that HIPAA does not pre-empt the Kentucky Open Records Act....We have consistently held that HIPAA defers to the state Open Records Act and is therefore no obstacle to the public's access to public records under the act."
The attorney general's opinion carries the weight of law in open records cases, although it can be appealed to circuit court. UK spokesman Jay Blanton said Monday that the university was reviewing its legal options. The hospital's internal review of the surgery program continues, Blanton said. 


Shelby Democrats to meet

The Shelby County Democratic  Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. April 16 at Stratton Center, 215  Washington St. in Shelbyville.

State Rep. Jim Wayne will be guest speaker and will address proposed tax reform.

Paper goods will  be collected for the Dorman Center.


VFW holds class on how to sell on eBay

An instructional class in how to sell items on eBay will be held at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Shelbyville VFW Post 1179 at 617 Main St. The class is free and open to the public.


Optimist speech contest set

The Shelby County Optimist Club is asking area students to speak their minds about the topic “Why My Voice Is Important” as part of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest for 2013.

The Optimist Club will judge the local students’ speeches based on content and presentation to determine the top winners. Winners will receive medallions at the club level, and the winning speeches will be presented at the district level for the opportunity to win a $2500.00 college scholarship. These speeches are only 4-5 minutes long, and students of all ages are encouraged to participate.

High school students under the age of 19 as of December 31, 2012, are eligible to participate.  “As they prepare for their future, many of our local students need experience expressing their thoughts and opinions to an audience,” Club Oratorical Chair Lise Sageser said in a release.  “The Oratorical Contest challenges them to do just that and also offers an opportunity for scholarships.  In this way, our club hopes to bring out the best in each of them and help them achieve their goals for the future.”

The contest will be at 6:30 p.m. April 22 at the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency, 207 Washington Street. For more information, contact Sageser at 502-321-1805 or lise2@insightbb.com.


Final Kindergarten registration set

Shelby County Public Schools’ kindergarten registration is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23 at the county’s six elementary schools. Parents should bring their child for an assessment while they complete required paperwork. To enroll in Kindergarten, the child must be 5 years of age on or before Oct. 1 as verified by a state-certified birth certificate.

Shelby County Public Schools’ Kindergarten Program focuses on building learning skills in a climate that enhances each child and working closely with families to meet the academic and social needs.

Certain documents that are needed for registration include state-certified birth certificate, child’s social security card, current immunization records on Kentucky form, physical exam, eye exam, dental exam, proof of residence and student registration form.

Proof of current immunizations (vaccines) is required by the Kentucky State Department of Health is required to be presented at the time of registration. The registration process is not complete until all immunizations are current. 

Proof of residency is required at the time of new student registration. Proof of residence is the child’s home address verified with a copy of a current utility bill. Two proofs of residence are needed. A parent/guardian driver’s license will not be accepted.

Bus transportation is available for all students as well as breakfast and lunch.

Shelby County elementary schools operate on a regular schedule beginning Aug. 7. The regular school day is 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

If you have questions, contact 633-2375.


I-64 lane closures possible

Lane closures and delays are possible on Interstate 64 from the Welcome Center to a half-mile east of KY 55 because of the roadway-widening project. Lane closures are scheduled 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) is closed for several months because of ramp construction. Motorists can use Exit 32B to access both KY 55 North and South. 


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.