Magoffin County Can’t Catch A Break

Federal jurors have convicted two Magoffin County officials in a vote-fraud scheme in which the judge-executive also was implicated. [H-L]

Donald Trump has been making waves this week ― great waves, terrific waves ― after accusing President Barack Obama of creating ISIS. But earlier this year, he was saying something different: that the U.S. invasion of Iraq created the terrorist group. [HuffPo]

In the latest blow for Catholic Health Initiatives in Kentucky, a jury has returned a $21.2 million verdict against the company and its St. Joseph Hospital London for conspiring with cardiologists to perform unnecessary heart procedures. [C-J/AKN]

The “lock her up” chants started early and came often at Donald Trump’s campaign event near Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Wednesday evening. [BBC]

Eddie Sexton has always held a passion to become a school principal, and now, after 16 years as an educator, he gets to fulfill that goal as the new principal of Daniel Boone Elementary. [Richmond Register]

In 2011, Gene Sperling had a problem. He was working as President Obama’s chief economic advisor but his government salary did not cover his expenses. He and his wife lived in a Georgetown townhouse valued today at around $2 million, but did not have enough equity to qualify for a second mortgage or credit line. He didn’t want to sell the house and he wanted to keep working at a prestigious but relatively low-paid public service job. [ProPublica]

Former Elliott County Clerk Shelia Blevins and her sister, former Elliott County Deputy Clerk Jeannie Moore, were formally sentenced Friday in Franklin Circuit Court to complicity to commit abuse of public trust under $10,000. [Ashland Independent]

The Obama administration on Friday declared a public health emergency in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, saying the rapid and widespread transmission of the Zika virus threatens the health of infected pregnant women and their babies. [Reuters]

From what was described as a “strong pool of candidates from across the country,” the Board of Directors of the Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council, Inc., (EDC) has narrowed its search for a new executive director to three or four candidates. [The Morehead News]

Coal mining. Bad management. Runoff from cities and farms. These are all things that are creating major problems for America’s rivers, according to a new report. [ThinkProgress & American Rivers]

In an effort to better serve patients from the Cave City, Park City and Horse Cave areas, T.J. Regional Health has opened the T.J. Health Cave City Clinic. The new clinic at 440 Happy Valley St. provides walk-in medical and injury care. It is staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and technicians, and is one of several clinics owned by T.J. Regional Health. [Glasgow Daily Times]

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining firm by market value, reported a record $6.4 billion annual loss on Tuesday, hammered by a bad bet on shale, a dam disaster in Brazil and a commodities slump. [CNBC]

Kentucky’s Prichard Committee Student Voice Team has received national attention for its advocacy on issues such as increasing school funding in Kentucky. [H-L]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Grandmother) is not optimistic that he will be in charge of the Senate come November ― and Donald Trump, he implied, is not helping matters. [HuffPo]

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Anna Powell Was Terminated In Florida

Anna Powell, the illegally-hired wife of former Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell (himself fired), was terminated from her job in Florida in June. From the Santa Rosa County School District’s board meeting minutes:

And not for budgetary reasons.

The job was posted a month prior:

That will likely make you wonder how she was able to perform at the director level in Montgomery County but wasn’t good enough to get renewed at an easier job in the Florida panhandle.

The fascinating thing about Powell’s time in Florida is how she got her job. Any guesses? Her personnel file from the Santa Rosa County School District contained a wealth of information.

Phil Rison – long after being advised he was let go from the district – signed her employment verification:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

You’ll note that Cindy Kincaid, Joshua Powell’s former secretary and confidant, notarized the document. At the time a man named Donald Pace was acting superintendent in the district. It’s safe to assume, based on claims made by those working in central office at the time, Rison and Kincaid hid the Florida documentation from Pace or for whatever reason did not share it with him. In part because Pace made clear to Anna Powell in a scandalous letter that her leadership was ineffective, she was illegally hired, wasn’t a chance in hell she’d be allowed to remain in the district.

Doesn’t help matters that at the time the only person in the district who could provide professional references like this was the superintendent. That was a policy instituted by Joshua Powell.

Anna claimed she left Montgomery County Schools so she could relocate to Florida:

But you already know she was ousted, as illustrated in links above.

Here’s her entire application:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Interesting to note that her references included Phil Rison, Lisa Stone and Shannon White. Three of the people deeply involved in so much of the Powell world.

On top of it all, she attempted to file for unemployment benefits in Kentucky:

She was apparently unsuccessful.

Seems unfathomable that less than a year ago the entire circle was claiming she was the top pick to run a huge portion of a public school district.

Bevin, Too, Sells Popular Board Seats

PEE ALERT! Andy Barr says people are poor because they receive assistance. The fact that the Kentucky Democratic Party can’t rustle up someone to beat this halfwit is a searing indictment of the Party’s inability to do anything other than conduct insurance fraud schemes these days. If you think Candy Barr isn’t out of his league and just as terrible as people like Tim Longmeyer, take a look at his anti-poverty proposal. It involves gutting public education and ending the requirement that financial advisers disclose conflicts of interest to their clients. [John Cheves]

Despite the world’s string high-profile terror attacks this year, the economy remains at the top of American voters’ minds, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. A 45 percent plurality name the economy as one of the two issues most important to them, ranking it first on a list of 10 topics. [HuffPo]

Surprise! A Kentucky Newspaper has finally realized heroin has taken over Eastern Kentucky. Growing up in the hardscrabble hills of Appalachia, Bobby Vaughn began popping painkillers at 15-years-old, sneaking them from his injured coal miner dad. That was the start of a three-decade-long addiction to any drug available: OxyContin, cocaine, meth – and beginning a year ago, heroin. [C-J/AKN]

Advisers say Donald Trump has lately been sullen and erratic in private and easily rattled by perceived slights, according to The New York Times. [The Hill]

After nine years of serving as director of the annual Ashland Independent School safety patrol trip, Maj. Mark McDowell is handing the reins over to Lt. Jason Moore. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday denied requests to stop classifying marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical use, leaving users and businesses in limbo after many states have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes. [Reuters]

Rowan County soon could be host to Eastern Kentucky’s first microbrewery. That’s according to local businessman Steve Williams, who says he plans to have Scoreboard Pub and Microbrewery at 101 West Main Street open by next spring. [The Morehead News]

Courts are scrambling to rule on state election laws in time for the elections being held later this year. [ProPublica]

When Kentuckyana “Tuck” Jones, who seeks out rare treasures, collectibles and antiquities across the country, decided to open a museum featuring artifacts from across the world in a building on Mammoth Cave Road, he had less than $50 to his name. To raise money to fund the opening of the museum, he began trading collectibles. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican insiders are more convinced than Democrats that Donald Trump is so far behind Hillary Clinton that he can’t win in November. [Politico]

GE Lighting announced Thursday that it plans to close its Lexington Lamp Plant and Somerset Glass Plant by August 2017. [WKYT]

Donald Trump believes that running for president has been good for his bottom line. He said so under oath during a deposition he gave in a lawsuit stemming from a dispute over his soon-to-open Washington luxury hotel. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin appointed three people Friday to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, including one of Kentucky’s top Republican fundraisers. [H-L]

Some Republicans have argued that conservatives skeptical of Donald Trump should vote for him anyway, if only to prevent Hillary Clinton from nominating liberals to the Supreme Court. But the right’s leading legal scholars reject that idea: the risks of a President Trump would outweigh his influence on the high court. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Is Still Ruining Everything

The Affrilachian Poets, a diverse Lexington-based collective of writers directly or indirectly connected to Appalachia, has rejected its 2016 Governor’s Award in the Arts, citing Gov. Matt Bevin’s positions on education, the humanities and other issues. [H-L]

This past Monday was supposed to be a turning point for Donald Trump. That was the day many Republicans hoped their presidential nominee, who was giving a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, would make his long-awaited pivot to the general election. More teleprompter, less Trump. [HuffPo]

The NCAA has not finished interviewing people in its investigation of the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is in danger of losing his grip on the Republican Party as fears grow that he’s headed for a landslide defeat in November that will wipe out GOP majorities in Congress. [The Hill]

Findings of a city probe into revelations about a Frankfort police major appear to conflict with some witness testimony in a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigation and a resulting court case. The State Journal’s attempts for more than a month to review information used by the city to reach its conclusions also leave some remaining questions about how the internal investigation was launched and how it was conducted. [State Journal]

Here’s Matt Bevin wasting your taxpayer dollars in favor of discrimination. Texas and a dozen other states asked a U.S. judge on Friday to block Obama administration guidance to public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice, saying it usurps the authority of school districts nationwide. [Reuters]

The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell, said this past week that maintaining his party’s control over the chamber is looking “dicey.” That’s primarily the product of an unfriendly 2016 map: 24 Republican senators are on this year’s ballot while Democrats must defend only 10 seats. Donald Trump isn’t making it any easier for McConnell either. [Ronnie Ellis]

New polls released Friday show Hillary Clinton with significant leads over Donald Trump in three key battleground states. [Politico]

Environmental attorney Tom Fitzgerald, founder and director of the Kentucky Resources Council, will address the Madison County branch of the Women’s Network at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Gillum’s in the Richmond Mall. [Richmond Register]

Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns, adding to the pressure on her Republican rival for the White House, Donald Trump, to do the same. [BBC]

His English is a little slow for now, but his bashful-seeming smiles come quickly and easily. Kohichi Haneda, 14, arrived in the United States from Japan on July 21 as part of the Labo International Exchange program with which 4-H youth organizations across the country team. The Labo students who are visiting around Kentucky stayed together for the first day or so, with a trip to the grocery to introduce them to American foods and a Louisville Sluggers baseball game. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The first nationwide study to ask high school students about their sexuality found that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers were at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers. [NY Times]

Former Bardstown police officer Nick Houck was served a search warrant Thursday afternoon in connection with the case of a missing local woman, Crystal Rogers. [H-L]

A spokesperson for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has blamed President Barack Obama for invading Afghanistan ― a foreign policy decision he never made. [HuffPo]

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Here’s Some Eastern Kentucky Justice

Remember Elliott County Clerk Shelia Blevins and her sister, former Deputy Clerk, Jeannie Moore? The two people I said were ill-prepared and too dumb to be prison material?

Well… from the Attorney General:

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced former Elliott County Clerk Shelia Blevins and her sister, former Elliott County Deputy Clerk Jeannie Moore, were formally sentenced today in Franklin Circuit Court to complicity to commit abuse of public trust under $10,000.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd gave the pair five years of probation each and entered them into a felony diversion program.

The cases were investigated by the Department of Criminal Investigations within the Office of the Attorney General in connection with misuse of public funds in 2014. Beshear’s Office of Special Prosecutions prosecuted the case.

“Kentuckians have a right to expect that public officials follow the law and uphold public trust,” Beshear said. “I appreciate the hard work of my investigators and prosecutors on this case, and I thank the Auditor’s Office for our ongoing partnership on this and other audit referrals. Working together we can hold accountable those public officials who seek to defraud taxpayers.”

The Attorney General’s office began investigating the clerk’s office during the 2014 annual audit of the clerk’s fee account by the state auditor. Once the audit was complete, it was referred to the AG’s office for a finding involving four missing daily deposits totaling $15,680 from the fee account.

Beshear’s office took the case to a Franklin County grand jury based on its investigation that uncovered that $8,990 of the $15,680 daily deposits was missing funds. The remaining amount reported missing in the four daily deposits was the result of a deposit error, not missing fund. A Franklin County Grand Jury indicted Blevins and Moore June 9 with complicity to commit abuse of public trust under $10,000 in connection.

Blevins and Moore have repaid the $8,990 to Elliott County.

“We greatly appreciate the investigators with Attorney General Beshear’s office following up on the data uncovered by our auditors in their review of the Elliott County Clerk’s office for 2014,” Auditor Mike Harmon said. “Today’s plea agreement should be viewed as a positive for those of us who strive for greater transparency and accountability in government across the Commonwealth, and it shows that those who fail to practice good government will be held accountable.”

As part of their sentencing, Blevins and Moore were ordered to resign from office and issue apologies and admissions of guilt. They issued written apologies Aug. 10 to the Elliott County Fiscal Court.

They got off with apologies. In part because they weren’t like Morgan County’s Tim Conley – a man sitting in federal prison for taking advantage of poor people in the aftermath of unbelievable tornado devastation.

Fascinating to watch Eastern Kentucky corruption play out like this.

Note: Wanted to share the entire press release from OAG so members of the general public can read it without having to rely on media accounts.

Louisville Has A Big Pollution Problem

Fayette County Public Schools would start the school year almost a week later in 2017-18 under a proposal presented to the school board Monday night. [H-L]

Without significant policy reform in America, it would take 228 years for black families to amass the wealth that white families have today, according to a new study. [HuffPo]

Tighter federal clean-air rules could save the lives of at least 48 people a year in the Louisville metro area over a year, according to a new study released Wednesday morning by a medical association. [C-J/AKN]

Waste people. Rubbish. Clay-eaters. Hillbillies. Two new books that reckon with the long, bleak history of the country’s white poor suggest their plight shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country off guard. [ProPublica]

A western Kentucky man who spent several days in jail for posting violent song lyrics to Facebook has settled a lawsuit against the county where he was jailed. [WLKY]

One of Obamacare’s major provisions — which is bitterly opposed by most Republicans — has helped improve patients’ insurance coverage, financial situation, and overall quality of life, according to a new study. [ThinkProgress]

A study of drinking water systems found 6 million Americans, including people in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, are living with drinking water containing chemicals linked to a host of health problems. [WFPL]

Remember this guy? A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday upheld the 14-year prison sentence for ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich despite his emotional plea for leniency after an appeals court set aside part of his public corruption conviction. [Reuters]

Surprise! The thing we’ve been writing about for a decade is still happening! The $14.9 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems lost money on its pension investments during the fiscal year that ended June 30. [John Cheves]

CNN media reporter Brian Stelter said that Fox News arranged for a young staffer to date him in order to collect information while he was in college. [The Hill]

LG&E is closing its coal ash ponds at its power plants in Louisville and Trimble County. [WDRB]

You can’t fix this kind of awful. Donald Trump has hinted at the assassination of Hillary Clinton by supporters of gun rights. [The Guardian]

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is giving people more time to comment on his proposal to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program that insures more than 25 percent of the state’s population. [H-L]

Sinking precipitously in national polls, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday promoted a conspiracy tying Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to the state execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist. [HuffPo]

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