News Digest: Dec. 31, 2013

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By The Staff

Armstrong, Dutton study

in judges college classes

Shelby County District Judges Linda Armstrong and Donna Dutton participated in the 2013 District Judges Fall College that took place last month in Lexington.

The Administrative Office of the Courts provided the judicial education program for the state’s district judges. The judges attended courses about Veterans Treatment Courts, juvenile justice, human trafficking, cybercrime, substance abuse, court technology, and court interpreting for individuals who are deaf or non-English-speaking.

The judges also heard from Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. about trends in the state court system.

“Much about how the courts operate is different from when I took the bench 15 years ago,” District Court Judge Donald E. Armstrong Jr., who was elected president of the Kentucky District Judges Association at the college, said in a release announcing the transition. “Changing demographics, the budget crisis and new technology are affecting how judges carry out our work. It’s important for us to adapt to better serve the public and the legal community.”

The college also covered emergency protective orders and domestic violence orders, the bail schedule under House Bill 463 and new legislation and case law.


Stats may boost smoking-ban effort

Kentucky has the highest percentage of adult smokers in the U.S., and one of the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy. To reduce the health problems associated with those statistics, Kentucky Youth Advocates – a statewide children’s advocacy group – is among a growing number of organizations and businesses lobbying for a statewide comprehensive smoke-free law in 2014.

Kentucky Youth Advocates is particularly focused on reducing smoking during pregnancy and reducing the number of babies born with low birth weights, Terry Brooks, the group’s executive director, told the Kentucky Enquirer. He said children and pregnant women in 85 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are not protected from the health risks associated with secondhand smoke.

“We need to protect all children, not just those lucky enough to be born in a smoke-free community,” Brooks said.
Unlike past attempts to get a statewide, comprehensive smoke-free law in Kentucky, this time the issue is now in the forefront, largely because of the federal Affordable Health Care Act.

In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, nearly one in four Kentucky births, or 23 percent, were to mothers who smoked, Brooks said. That year, low birth weight babies, or infants weighing less than 5.5 pounds, made up 8.1 percent of all live births in the U.S., compared to Kentucky’s rate of 9.1 percent, 43rd out of the 50 states.


Many have filed for state elections

Today (Dec. 31) is the deadline for candidates to change their party affiliations, and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced that more than 400 candidates have filed with her office to run in the 2014 elections. Candidates who wish to be placed on the ballot for the May 20 Primary Election must file their candidacy papers by 4 p.m. local time at the place of filing on Jan. 28.

Those who must file with the Secretary of State’s office are U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator (even-numbered districts), State Representative, Justice of the Supreme Court (districts 1, 2, 4 and 6), Judge of the Court of Appeals, Circuit Judge and District Judge.
“We anticipate many more candidates will file with my office leading up to the deadline next month,” Grimes said in a news release. “I recommend candidates file in advance of the deadline in case filing papers need to be corrected.”
Kentucky law does not provide an opportunity to correct or re-file paperwork after 4 p.m. on Jan. 28. Candidates may access the filing forms required to run for offices that file with the Secretary of State at http://app.sos.ky.gov/ElectionsDYC/.


Young leaders to address Rotary

Keighgen Bradley and Ailey Harriss, who attended the Rotary youth conference, will address the Shelbyville Rotary Club at its regular meeting today.

Rotary meets at noon at the Centenary United Methodist Church, at the corner of Washington and 5th streets in Shelbyville. Programs are open to the public, but there is a small charge for the luncheon.


Holiday closings

Post offices in Shelby County will be open New Year’s Eve but will shorten retail lobby hours and close at noon. Regular mail delivery will be unaffected by the change. Commercial customers are asked to check with their business mail entry units for specific information regarding holiday hours of operation.

Post Offices will be closed New Year’s Day, when only Priority Mail Express will be delivered.

Government offices, the Shelby County Public Library and banks will be closed New Year’s Day in observance of the holiday. Shelby County Public Schools resume on Monday.


Christmas tree removal

The Public Works Department will be picking up discarded “live” Christmas trees between Thursday and Jan. 31. You must have all lights and decorations removed from the tree, or it will not be picked up.

To arrange for pickup, call the Public Works Department at 633-1094 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and provide your address. The tree must be placed by the curb (not blocking the sidewalk or street.)


SBDM council meetings

  • Heritage Elementary’s Site-Based Decision-Making Council will meet at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14 for its regular monthly meeting in the conference room.
  • Wright Elementary’s SBDM will meet at 4 p.m. Jan. 14 for its regular monthly meeting in the media center.
  • Collins High School’s SBDM will meet at 4 p.m. today and on Jan. 15 for regular monthly meetings in the conference room.


Roadwork, closings:

  • Interstate 64:Lane closures and delays are possible from the Welcome Center to half-mile east of KY 55 (mile points 27.9 to 32.8) because of roadway widening. Lane closures are possible Sunday through Friday from 7 p.m. each evening until 5 the following morning and on Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sundays. A 12-foot width restriction is in place for the eastbound lanes of I-64 in this work zone.
  • KY 1848:Shoulder closures and construction delays possible at the I-64 interchange (mile points 4.6 to 6.4) because of roadway widening. One lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction. The speed limit is reduced to 35 MPH in the work zone.


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.