Kim Davis Is Not A Thing. Ignore Her.

As more coal companies file for bankruptcy, it’s increasingly likely that taxpayers will be stuck with the very high costs of preventing abandoned mines from becoming environmental disasters. [H-L]

Oh, great, the NYC gays are trying to make Kim Davis a thing again. They apparently don’t realize that you’re not supposed to throw water on the damn Gremlins or whatever. CALM DOWN, BEYONCE, LET THE MONSTER STAY IN HER REDNECK CAVE! [HuffPo]

The GOP’s traditional resistance to having women register for a potential military draft is fading on Capitol Hill, where key Republican lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now support the idea. [C-J/AKN]

A Shell oil facility has leaked nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to federal authorities. [ThinkProgress]

Well, that’s fun! There’s no love lost for outside conservative groups in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s new memoir, which hits bookshelves next week. [H-L]

The weather has warmed, the kids are out of school and many families are wondering how to fill the summer months. However, if traveling to the beach or some other exotic locale is not an option, residents of the Madison County area are privy to many cool and interesting places that lend themselves to fun days of the “stay-cation” variety. [Richmond Register]

Most shootings with four deaths or injuries are invisible outside their communities. And most of the lives they scar are black. [NY Times]

Ask seventh-graders if they are aware streetcars once rumbled down Winchester Avenue, and their response is likely to be “What’s a streetcar?” [Ashland Independent]

Uhhh… [ThinkProgress]

Magistrate Ray White last week informed Rowan Fiscal Court that the E-911 Board may not be able to afford the next round of equipment upgrades to the system. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump, who in recent days has accused Bill Clinton of rape and suggested he and Hillary Clinton may have had a role in the death of one of their close friends, plans to focus next on the Whitewater real estate scandal. [Politico]

With two more weeks for consideration since the last meeting’s 7-5 vote, a second reading of an ordinance extending the portion of the city’s stormwater ordinance that establishes a fee to pay for stormwater management resulted in a 6-6 tie among Glasgow City Council members. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Hardin County Re­pub­lican Party of Kentucky will celebrate the women behind the scenes with this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner theme. [News-Enterprise]

Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark overruled a defense motion Wednesday that sought to exclude evidence from the upcoming trial of Robert Markham Taylor, who is charged with murder in the death of Alex Johnson. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) went all in on Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the head of the Democratic National Committee, on Saturday, saying he supports a primary challenger in her re-election bid for her House seat and would remove her from the DNC if elected president. [HuffPo]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it. Both CDMA and GSM options. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting]

Ting not your thing? Want to be on the AT&T network with unlimited talk and text and cheap data? Join Cricket and you’ll get a $25 referral credit, $50 port-in credit and another $50 if you’re leaving T-Mobile. [Cricket]

Bevin’s New KBE Appointees Are…

If anyone wondered whether or not Matt Bevin was going to take education seriously (spoiler: he’s not), here are his latest state Board of Education appointees:

  • Ben Cundiff, Cadiz, has been appointed for the remainder of a term expiring in April 2018. Cundiff is a chemical engineer and an attorney.
  • Gary W. Houchens, Bowling Green, has been appointed for a term expiring April 2020. Houchens is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research at Western Kentucky University.
  • Alesa G. Johnson, Somerset, has been appointed for a term expiring April 2020. Johnson is an electrical engineer and serves as associate dean for Workforce Solutions at Somerset Community College.
  • Rich Gimmel, Louisville, has been appointed for a term expiring in April 2020. Gimmel is chairman of Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc.
  • Milton C. Seymore, Louisville, has been appointed for a term expiring in April 2020. Seymore is retired from Ford Motor Company and currently serves as pastor of Energized Baptist Church.

It’s all tea people and church folks, apparently.

Way to go, Kentucky.

OxyContin Is Still A Kentucky Nightmare

The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours, more than twice as long as generic medications. [H-L]

In a blow to congressional transparency, the House Appropriations Committee voted against publicly releasing highly informative, taxpayer-funded reports that members use to educate themselves on the issues before Congress. [HuffPo]

Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless announced Monday that the overall number of homeless people in the city has dropped for the third year in a row — but those numbers don’t change local agencies’ disappointment in the federal government’s decision to cut their funds by 11 percent this year. [C-J/AKN]

A new study by the Pew Research Center spurred a rash of headlines last week about “the dying middle class.” But the word “dying” might be more appropriate if we were watching the regrettable-but-inevitable effects of natural forces at work. We’re not. We’re seeing the fruits of deliberate action – and sometimes of deliberate inaction – at the highest levels of power. The great American middle was never large enough, even at its height. It always excluded too many people – sometimes, shamefully, merely for their skin color. And now, instead of growing and becoming more inclusive, it’s fading away instead. [Bill Moyers]

The debate continues over whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to replace the chair of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board before his term expires. [WFPL]

On Friday afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new rule regarding the implementation of nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It guarantees that transgender people cannot be denied health care by professionals that receive federal funding, and also that it is discriminatory to refuse them access to transition-related services. [ThinkProgress]

With their legs folded in the yoga stance called Lotus pose, sisters Anayia and Armani Happy sat knee-to-knee on Anayia’s hospital bed, tapping the silver cylinders on sets of Indonesian xylophones. [Richmond Register]

The overdose death toll from opioids, both prescription drugs and heroin, has almost quadrupled since 1999. In 2014 alone, 28,000 people died of opioid overdoses, more than half from prescription drugs. [ProPublica]

The government wants to move the federal trial for Ashland cardiologist Richard Paulus to another city, and says it would be impossible to find a fair and impartial jury in Ashland. [Ashland Independent]

A powerful array of the Republican Party’s largest financial backers remains deeply resistant to Donald J. Trump’s presidential candidacy, forming a wall of opposition that could make it exceedingly difficult for him to meet his goal of raising $1 billion before the November election. [NY Times]

Painful meetings were underway this week at Morehead State University as several employees were notified that their jobs were being eliminated. [The Morehead News]

The Intercept’s first SIDtoday release comprises 166 articles, including all articles published between March 31, 2003, when SIDtoday began, and June 30, 2003, plus installments of all article series begun during this period through the end of the year. [The Intercept]

Kentucky officials are seeking proposals from local leaders for projects that will attract new industry and more jobs to Appalachia. [H-L]

House Republicans appear determined to advance an aggressive rollback of a program credited with helping low-income children get free school lunches. [HuffPo]

Still Holding On To Your Wigs, Folks?

Because here’s the deal regarding the fun from earlier.

I’m not even in Kentucky and was still able to get my hands on that Banta file before folks in the mainstream, apparently.

Here’s a taste of things within:

  • On January 7, 2016, Cummins met with investigators and Mr. Cleveland. She provided over 3 hours of information. She stated that she had been working for Banta as a prostitute since she met him when she was a cheerleader in 8th grade and he was a football coach. According to Cummins, Banta had numerous women that he would introduce to men for the purposes of providing sex for money. Cummins stated Banta required her to have sex with him on demand, for free, as a condition of her employment. Wyatt confirmed through the Commonwealth’s Attorney that no further investigation was done by the KSP.
  • Cummins advised that many times at Banta’s residence other individuals were present beyond just Banta who paid for the sexual performances and that Banta would digitally record the sexual acts either on his iPhone, on the cassette video camera he had set up in the past or by way of the numerous recording devices he has placed in and about his residence.
  • Cummins also specifically recalled that when she was 16 or 17 that she was advised by Banta to go to the Capital Plaza Hotel and take the elevator to the top floor and to have sex with a male, but not to ask any questions or engage in conversation. Cummings stated that she was paid $500 by Banta for this encounter and that she later saw the male with whom she had sex on television.
  • Cummins further advised that Banta and his customers also liked to watch young boys have sex with her and the other females. Specifically, Cummings identified REDACTED and REDACTED as being males who were recruited by Banta when they were still juveniles to have sex. Cummins recalls a particular time when Banta arranged for her to have sex with REDACTED when he was approximately 15 years of age. That Banta took them to the Bluegrass Inn where Cummins was given money by Banta to rent a room and Banta and REDACTED watched REDACTED and Cummins engage in sexual acts.
  • Cummins stated that Banta was the person who first arranged for her to be introduced to crack cocaine, that she believes was in an effort to gain control over her.
  • Cummins advised that Banta would arrange for her and the other girls to have sex with him as well as his customers. Cummins further advised that Banta and his customers also liked to watch young boys have sex with her and the other females. Specifically, Cummins identified OUR REDACTION and OUR REDACTION as being males who were recruited by Banta when they were still juveniles to have sex. Cummins recalls a particular time when Banta arranged for her to have sex with OUR REDACTION when he was approximately 15 years of age That Banta took them to the Bluegrass Inn where Cummins was given money by Banta to rent a room and Banta and Tim Huthens watched Moore and Cummins engage in sexual acts.
  • REDACTED stated she eventually quit working for Banta because he didn’t pay her what she was owed, or pay her on time, sometime in late 2014. About a year ago, she said Banta called her and confronted her about providing information to the Sheriff’s Office that he was running a prostitution ring. She denied providing any information. Banta stated he had it “pretty straight” that she was providing information. This was the last time she had contact with Banta.
  • In the afternoon of January 8, 2016, Det. Farmer spoke to Franklin County Constable Richard Sandifer who advised that he had heard about the search warrant executed regarding Tom Banta. Sandifer stated he had found out about the search warrant because he had received a phone call from REDACTED. REDACTED advised that Tom was a good friend of his and that there may be some pictures of women on the phone and some conversations, and that it could look bad, but that it was just a joke.


Still wondering why Frankfort is shaking in its boots?

It’s like Kent Downey: Part Deux.

Note: I’m not publishing the full 200-page file because someone screwed up and left a ton of sensitive material un-redacted. But if there’s anyone with a legitimate need to see it, get in touch with me.

Letcher Co Lives Up To EKY Stereotypes

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is requesting a recanvass in Kentucky’s presidential primary, where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. [WFPL]

Leave it to the backwater yokels of Eastern Kentucky to be dumb enough to pull a stunt like this. The Letcher County Fiscal Court is getting involved in the national debate over whether transgender citizens should be allowed to use bathroom facilities that match their gender identities. [H-L]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… A new species of horned dinosaur has been unearthed by scientists in southern Utah. [HuffPo]

We’re looking at you, Montgomery County Schools, for failing to report potential child abuse while Joshua Powell was superintendent and his illegally-hired wife was running the show. [C-J/AKN]

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has been accused of dog-whistling to white nationalists ever since he kicked off his campaign in the summer of 2015 and warned against “criminal” Mexican immigrants. [TPM]

After she completes a few other steps, Jaclyn West has big ideas she wants to implement that are partly inspired by her experience during the past three months. [Richmond Register]

This is one of the most disgusting stories you’ll ever read. [Reuters]

Blaine was once a town living off the fruits of a plentiful Ashland Oil production site. Now it consists of about 100 people, and a basically defunct city government. What happened to Blaine? [Ashland Independent]

I’ve written about tax loopholes for decades. But recently, I wrote about Schlupflöcher for the first time, in a venture that shows how journalists can be as multinational as investment banks. We just make a lot less money. [ProPublica]

A newly constituted workers’ compensation nominating committee will hold off on making recommendations for six vacant administrative law judges pending a court decision on Gov. Matt Bevin’s authority to revamp the commission. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump has dominated polling among Republicans for the better part of a year, as he has delighted in reminding people. But there’s one poll that you probably haven’t heard about and that he doesn’t talk about. [NY Times]

Unlike Vanmeter Contracting Inc., Scotty’s Contracting and Stone LLC was not successful in its attempt to be removed as a party in a wrongful death lawsuit against several employees of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. [Glasgow Daily Times]

More From the Department of Things Ken Ham wouldn’t understand… A tiny stone flake from north-western Australia is a remnant of the earliest known axe with a handle, archaeologists have claimed. [BBC]

One irony of Kentucky’s presidential primary election was that the only candidate with a specific plan for helping Appalachian coal country transition to a 21st century economy was trounced in that part of the state. [Tom Eblen]

Way to go, Republicans! A Louisiana lawmaker apparently keen on wasting people’s time and skeeving everyone out killed two birds with one stone during a Wednesday state House session by suggesting an age and weight limit for strippers. [HuffPo]

The Latest In The Frankfort Hemp Mess

Man oh man at the hemp shenanigans in Frankfort.

Take a moment to recall this specific moment with Veronica Carpio:

  • Scandalous Lawsuit Just Uncovered Could Rock Kentucky’s Hemp Program [February 11, 2016]

Caught up?

Here’s a letter that was sent to Carpio and others last month from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, headed by Republican Ryan Quarles:


How great is all that tip-toeing and backtracking? Seems Quarles and crew have come to the realization – finally – that they have to backtrack on nearly everything Jamie Comer tried to pull if they want to avoid a mountain of legal drama. So that’s fun.

But even more fun? Clint Quarles is Ryan’s brother. He may be a merit employee but I’d argue it’s beyond scandalous and a huge conflict of interest for him to be handling legal responses like this involving hemp. Especially when there are other attorneys at KDA working on hemp matters.

That smell? It’s called the appearance of impropriety. You’d think Quarles would have sense enough to avoid something like that when it comes to hemp. Particularly in light of all the issues related to Comer.

Meet the new Commish, just like the old Commish.