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Kentucky auditor, cabinet clash over access to child abuse database as new law takes effect • Kentucky Lantern

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Kentucky auditor, cabinet clash over access to child abuse database as new law takes effect • Kentucky Lantern


FRANKFORT — The legislature last year moved responsibility for a watchdog office and child support enforcement from the Beshear administration to Republican officeholders. 

Barely out of the gate, one of the transitions is stumbling over a disagreement about access to a child abuse database. 

Republican Auditor of Public Accounts Allison Ball on Tuesday sent what she labeled a “demand letter” to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander. In it she says the cabinet’s refusal to allow access to some electronic records is endangering vulnerable children and federal funding. She demands access to the iTWIST database “as clearly mandated by state and federal law.”

The letter also is signed by Jonathan Grate, the new ombudsman.

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In 2023, the legislature created the Commonwealth Office of the Ombudsman, an independent office attached to the auditor’s office, effective July 1 of this year. It replaced the Office of the Ombudsman and Administrative Review, previously part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

The ombudsman is responsible for investigating complaints about the cabinet and evaluating its performance and compliance with federal and state laws. The cabinet oversees a wide range of health, welfare and child protection programs.

A spokesperson for the cabinet told the Lantern that an older state law precludes the new ombudsman from receiving access to the records in dispute. That law specifies exceptions to confidentiality requirements for reports of child abuse and neglect; the new ombudsman is not one of the exceptions.

“The cabinet supports the auditor’s office desire to have full access to the system, but the current statutes passed by the General Assembly prohibit it. The cabinet supports changing the applicable laws in the next session to provide full access. 

“In the meantime, we have been working with the auditor’s office to provide them with the maximum access allowed under the current law, but they have refused,” said Stephanie French, a CHFS spokesperson. 

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Joy Pidgorodetska Markland, communications director in the auditor’s office, responded that the cabinet’s proposal is unacceptable because it would allow the cabinet to dictate what the ombudsman is “allowed and not allowed to see” and reveal identities of internal whistleblowers.

“In no world is the subject of an investigation allowed to dictate what the investigator can and cannot see,” Markland said in an email. “What is the Cabinet hiding?

In her letter, Ball says the cabinet did not raise objections to the new ombudsman’s access to the records until after the 2024 legislative session ended. 

The shifts in responsibilities from CHFS to the auditor and attorney general were enacted in 2023 in Senate Bill 48 which became law with bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled legislature but without Beshear’s signature.

The transfer of child support enforcement and services to the attorney general’s office does not take effect until this time next year but the AG this month assumed responsibility for administrative hearings previously conducted by CHFS.

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In a July 1 release, Republican Attorney General Russell Coleman says: “With over $1 billion in arrears, spearheading the Commonwealth’s child support services is a daunting task. Even though the transition is one year away, we are working with our partners around the clock to make sure we get this right. It’s a no-fail mission where vulnerable children and families are counting on us.”



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Kentucky

Man arrested in Kentucky after shooting of THP trooper – WNKY News 40 Television

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Man arrested in Kentucky after shooting of THP trooper – WNKY News 40 Television


(L-R) Trooper Adam Cothron with the Tennessee Highway Patrol (Source:Tennessee Highway Patrol); Braze Rucker, who has been arrested in connection with the shooting of Cothron. (Source: Christian County Jail).

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – A man has been arrested in connection with the shooting of a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper.

According to THP, the Kentucky State Police apprehended Braze Rucker in Princeton on Sunday morning after a trooper was shot on Interstate 40.

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During the incident Friday, authorities say trooper Adam Cothron was injured in a shooting that involved a vehicle occupied by two people. THP says one of those people, Rucker, was a passenger in the vehicle.

Early Sunday morning, troopers stated Cothron was in critical condition.

The search is ongoing for the other occupant of the Kia Forte involved in the shooting.

Rucker remains at the Christian County Jail.





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What channel is Kentucky TBT team on? How to watch La Familia in The Basketball Tournament

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What channel is Kentucky TBT team on? How to watch La Familia in The Basketball Tournament


LEXINGTON — Nearly 4,000 fans showed up at Rupp Arena Friday night to watch La Familia, a Kentucky basketball alumni team, face the 305 Ballers. The outfit flush with former Wildcats sent their supporters home happy, rolling to an 82-56 victory in the first round of The Basketball Tournament.

But in terms of attendance, the team is hoping for more come Sunday, when it squares off with The Nawf, a team comprised of players from the Atlanta area.

“We just want everybody to come out,” said Aaron Harrison, who had 13 points, five rebounds and two assists in Friday’s win. “We had a crazy crowd today. We expect it to be even crazier on Sunday. So we just want to encourage everybody to come out and have fun. I think we had a lot of fun in here today. We just want to fill Rupp.”

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Tyler Ulis hopes that comes to pass.

“This is an opportunity that I feel like we won’t get much,” said Ulis, a former UK star and La Familia’s head coach. “Some of these guys are at the end of their careers, so I feel like all the fans should come out and support (them).”

The Nawf clinched its spot in the round of 32 with an 87-76 win over WoCo Showtime on Friday.

The winner of Sunday’s La Familia/The Nawf game moves on to the round of 16. That contest will be Tuesday night against the winner of Herd That/War Ready, which play at noon Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know, whether you’re attending Sunday’s game in person or following along from home:

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La Familia’s matchup against The Nawf is slated to tip off at 2 p.m. Sunday at Rupp Arena.

La Familia vs. The Nawf will air on FOX.

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The La Familia/The Nawf game will be livestreamed on the official TBT website, which can be accessed here.

You also can stream FOX on Fubo, which offers a free trial here.

We occasionally recommend interesting products and services. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. USA TODAY Network newsrooms operate independently, and this doesn’t influence our coverage.

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at rblack@gannett.com and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.



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Body of a man recovered after search in Kentucky Lake

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Body of a man recovered after search in Kentucky Lake


By Brad Munson – West Kentucky Star

Jul. 20, 2024 | 05:48 PM
| BENTON

The body of a man was recovered after a search in Kentucky Lake on Saturday.

Marshall County Coroner and Rescue Squad Chief Kenny Pratt told West Kentucky Star that the 57-year-old man’s body was located and pulled from the water after about a two-hour search. Pratt said witnesses told them a group of three people camping in the Cozy Cove area had gone swimming when the man went under. When they could not locate him, they called for help just before Noon. The man’s body has been sent to the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville for an autopsy.

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The victim’s name will be released later, pending family notifications.

The Marshall County Rescue Squad was assisted in the search by East Marshall Fire, South Marshall Fire, Fairdealing-Olive Fire, Marshall Co Emergency Management, McCracken County Emergency Management, McCracken County Rescue, Marshall County EMS, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Marshall County Kentucky Coroner’s Office.

 



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