- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Basketball star Farmer gets 2-plus years in prison

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Richie Farmer left his rural upbringing to pursue basketball fame with the University of Kentucky and two terms as the state’s agriculture commissioner, but it was a sense of entitlement that brought down his political career.

Farmer was sentenced Tuesday to more than two years in prison for abusing his public office, hiring friends and having them do little to no work and using state employees to build a basketball court at his home, prosecutors said.

Farmer will head to federal prison March 18 to being serving 27 months behind bars. U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove recommended that Farmer, 44, be allowed to serve his time at the minimum-security facility near his home in Manchester, the seat of Clay County in southern Kentucky where he grew up.

If the Bureau of Prisons allows the assignment, Farmer would be near his family, including three sons who are in or nearing their teenage years.

“It’s pretty easy to be a hero to your kids when your jersey hangs in Rupp Arena,” Van Tatenhove said. “Your chance to be a dad and a good dad to your kids is exponential because now you get to tell them what to do when you fail.”

Farmer pleaded guilty in September to two counts of misappropriating government resources. He was also ordered to pay $120,500 in restitution.

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2 eastern Ky. officials arrested by local sheriff

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - An eastern Kentucky sheriff accused of mismanaging his office’s finances arrested his county’s judge-executive and treasurer on Tuesday, accusing them of committing a host of crimes, including tampering with public records.

A state audit last year found that Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman’s office had a deficit of $112,889 in 2012. The county’s fiscal court took control of the office’s budget in fall 2012, though Peyman remained sheriff.

Peyman arrested Judge-Executive William O. Smith, the county’s top-elected official, as the fiscal court was preparing to go into a closed session. He arrested County Treasurer Beth Sallee a short time later.

“I’ve got the proof,” the embattled sheriff said in a phone interview. “Obviously these are pretty serious charges. They’re not just frivolous charges.”

Peyman, in his first term as sheriff, said the arrests were not motivated by disagreements with any county officials.

“Politics has nothing to do with it,” he said.

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Law requiring Confederate street names questioned

McLEAN, Va. (AP) - Alexandria, a Northern Virginia city steeped in Civil War history, is considering repeal of an old law requiring certain new streets to be named for Confederate generals.

City Councilman Justin Wilson introduced legislation for Tuesday night’s council meeting to do away with a 1963 law requiring that any new “streets running in a generally north-south direction shall, insofar as possible, bear the names of confederate military leaders.”

Wilson’s bill also would eliminate a requirement that new east-west streets be named for persons or places prominent in American history.

Wilson said he wants to remove a series of anachronistic laws, and his proposal also would repeal a ban on “lewd cohabitation” and laws regulating a bygone fad of “rebound tumbling,” a form of trampolining.

As a practical matter, there is little likelihood that the city will be naming new streets any time soon. The city, inside Washington’s Capital Beltway and separated from the nation’s capital by the Potomac River, is essentially built out. In fact, the street grid of the city’s Old Town section dates to Colonial times.

Wilson said that symbolically, he believes it’s a good thing to strip from the code a provision that in some ways glorifies the Confederacy. But he made clear he is not proposing that the city change existing street names, some of which honor Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, whose Dred Scott decision denied citizenship and constitutional protections to blacks before the Civil War.

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Ky. senators offer bill aimed at rural lending

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s Republican U.S. senators say they have introduced legislation aimed at helping rural counties being hurt by restrictive lending practices.

Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul said Tuesday their proposal is a response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its practices.

The senators say their bill would give counties a voice when the CFPB incorrectly labels them “non-rural.”

They say several Kentucky counties, including Bath County, have gotten the “non-rural” designation, preventing them from certain rural lending practices that are helpful to farmers and small businesses.

Kentucky Bankers Association President and CEO Ballard Cassady says the bill would help rural communities to have access to the credit they need to survive.

The proposal has been introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican.