News in Brief

Gay former student of Pope Francis’ speaks out

WASHINGTON (AP) — An openly gay former student of Pope Francis’ who visited with the pope during his recent trip to Washington said Saturday he was surprised Francis had met with the Kentucky county clerk who gained attention for refusing to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses.

The pope’s meeting with Washington resident Yayo Grassi, his boyfriend and a few others came to light Friday as the Vatican was distancing itself from claims the pope’s meeting with the clerk, Kim Davis, was an endorsement of her stance on same-sex marriage.

Grassi, 67, met Francis more than 50 years ago when the future pope taught at his all boys school in Argentina. They reconnected in 2008, and since becoming pope Francis has since met him and his boyfriend of 17 years twice, once in Rome and most recently in Washington, Grassi said.

Grassi, who came to the United States in 1978 and runs a catering business, spoke with The Associated Press at his home Saturday.


Pulaski man’s body found in freezer, girlfriend in jail

SOMERSET (AP) — A Pulaski County woman is under arrest after her boyfriend’s body was discovered in a freezer inside the couple’s living room.

WLEX-TV reports a missing persons report was filed on 68-year-old Gary Ray Jenks last Tuesday. Fifty-one-year-old Teresa Owens was arrested the following day after deputies searched the couple’s home.

The arrest citation says Jenks’ arms were tied with pieces of string. And it says Owens had poured lye and fertilizer over Jenks’ body to dispose of it.

The Pulaski County Coroner positively identified the body but has not yet determined the cause of death.

Owens is charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. She is in custody at the Pulaski County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond.

She declined an interview with the television station.


Competition brings awareness about breastfeeding in public

COLD SPRING (AP) — It is safe to say Cold Spring did not win a recent international competition to see which site could gather the most moms breastfeeding their babies at the same time.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports only three mothers showed up for Northern Kentucky’s Breastfeeding Challenge on Saturday morning. But organizers said winning wasn’t the point.

Nancy Merk, of the Northern Kentucky Health Department, said the event was a fun way to celebrate breastfeeding moms and to bring awareness to breastfeeding.

Alison Montoya spoke at the event to share her concerns as a first-time mother. She said she still feels uncomfortable breastfeeding in public.

“It’s frowned upon when women breastfeed in public, which is a shame because we see that women’s body parts, women’s breasts, are everywhere,” Montoya said. “It’s weird that there is a double standard.”

Kentucky is consistently in the bottom 10 ranking of states with the lowest percentage of breastfeeding moms, said the health department’s Gayle Johnson.

Many mothers struggle with breastfeeding because they were not taught how to do it and don’t know where to go for help, Johnson said.

“Breastfeeding has become a lost skill in society because for so long, it wasn’t encouraged,” she said.


Prison worker accused of taking bribes to provide tobacco

LEXINGTON (AP) — A prison employee is Lexington is accused of taking more than $22,000 in bribes to smuggle tobacco to inmates.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a federal grand jury indicted Michael Hardin on one count of taking bribes and one count of supplying contraband to inmates between July 2014 and Aug. 11, 2015.

The indictment issued Thursday seeks a judgment of $22,429 against Hardin if he is convicted. That represents the amount the Federal Medical Center prison employee allegedly made from the illegal activity.

A magistrate judge issued a summons for Hardin to make his initial court appearance Oct. 26.

The bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.


Versailles to consider drafting LGBT Fairness ordinance

VERSAILLES (AP) — Versailles might be the next central Kentucky city to consider an ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Versailles City Council on Tuesday will hear from a member of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission who will encourage the city to adopt the ordinance.

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott says he will ask the city’s administrative and legal committee, chaired by council member Carl Ellis, to draft the ordinance.

On June 1, Midway became the eighth city in the state to adopt an anti-bias ordinance. Other cities that have passed similar laws are Lexington, Louisville, Covington, Danville, Frankfort, Morehead and Vicco in Perry County.


School employees challenge mandatory union fees

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Eleven employees in the Jefferson County public school district have filed a lawsuit saying they shouldn’t be forced to pay union fees if they don’t want to be part of the union.

The employees filed the federal suit against the district and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, The Courier-Journal reported. The suit alleges the requirement that nonmembers pay a “fair share” fee to the union is unconstitutional.

A fair share fee is the amount that a nonmember of a union must pay to support collective bargaining activities. The fee is lower than the dues paid by union members because it does not include money the union would use for political activities.

The plaintiffs object to many of the public policy positions that the union advocates, the suit says. They also object to being represented by them since they believe the union’s actions “do not reflect their best interests or the interests of other Job 1A classified employees,” it says.

Job 1A classified employees include clerical workers, secretaries, bookkeepers and librarians.

The suit says the compulsory fee collection infringes on the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights “because compulsory fee requirements compel employees to support speech and petitioning against their will, and to associate with a union against their will.”


Former inmate sues Boyle Co. jail over injuries

DANVILLE (AP) — A former inmate at the Boyle County Detention Center has filed a lawsuit, saying he received “significant bodily injuries” while being detained at the jail.

The Advocate-Messenger reports that Jack C. Hill II filed the complaint last week in Boyle Circuit Court naming the detention center, Boyle Fiscal Court, Jailer Barry Harmon and unnamed deputy jailers as defendants.

The lawsuit does not state how Hill was injured but claims his injuries occurred during his time of incarceration at the jail, which ended Oct. 31, 2014.

Hill says jail personnel ignored his repeated requests for medical attention following his unspecified injuries, which he says got worse because aid was not rendered in a timely fashion.

None of the defendants has yet responded to the lawsuit.


Paul: Kentucky needs gov to stand up to federal government

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul says his home state of Kentucky needs a governor who stands up to the federal government he wants to lead.

The libertarian-leaning Paul said Saturday that too much power has been consolidated in the presidency, and that the states should play a role in curbing that power.

Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, made a pitch for the state’s GOP gubernatorial nominee, Matt Bevin, at a campaign event in Frankfort. Bevin is running against Democrat Jack Conway.

The joint appearance came days after Bevin snubbed Paul by saying during a debate he would vote for Ben Carson for president. Bevin quickly backed away from the remark, and on Saturday he said Paul would make an “extraordinary” president.

Democrats say it’s the latest example of flip-flopping by Bevin.


Southern Baptist Seminary to discuss transgender issues

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A conference hosted by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will focus on what it calls the “present crisis” of gay and transgender issues.

The conservative seminary says it’s their first-ever conference on transgender issues. Heath Lambert, a speaker at the conference, says in a release that issues like cross-gender bathrooms and children choosing their gender require an urgent Christian response. Lambert is executive director of The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

He says the goal of the conference is to “help the church respond in the present crisis with the wisdom and love of Jesus Christ.”

The conference titled “Transgender Confusion and Transformational Christianity” begins on Monday.

The Fairness Campaign, a Louisville gay-rights advocacy group, has announced plans to protest across the street from the conference.

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