- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014
Comer says Ky. will have hemp crop this year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner predicted Wednesday that a small hemp crop will be planted this year in a state where the crop flourished until losing its legitimacy long ago due to its family ties to marijuana.

Congress took another step toward finishing work on a federal farm bill that includes language allowing the startup of pilot hemp-growing programs. The U.S. has a fast-growing hemp market, importing millions of dollars worth of legal products each year.

The U.S. House passed the farm bill Wednesday with the hemp provision intact, sending it to the Senate. Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, played a key role in inserting hemp language into the legislation.

In Kentucky, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said his department is hashing out issues, including how many hemp-growing licenses it would issue if the farm bill becomes law with the hemp provision.

Hemp was historically used for rope but has hundreds of other uses: clothing and mulch from the fiber, foods such as hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds, and creams, soap and lotions.

Comer, a Republican who has championed the hemp movement in Kentucky, predicted the crop’s comeback will become a reality - completing its journey from the political fringe into the mainstream.

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Police: Man surrenders in 2007 insulin overdose

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A certified medical technician is in the Louisville jail charged with murder in the death of a nursing home patient who died of an insulin overdose almost seven years ago.

Louisville Police Sgt. Donny Burbrink says 34-year-old David Satterfield called detectives on Monday and said he wanted to admit to giving the fatal injection to 86-year-old Marcelline Katherine Sommer Vale in July 2007.

Through a jail spokeswoman, Satterfield declined an interview request from The Associated Press on Wednesday. A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during an initial appearance on Tuesday. He is being held on $50,000 cash bond.

Burbrink says detectives are now combing through Satterfield’s past in Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida to see if there are any other similar incidents.

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Propane shortages prompting state officials to act

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Supply problems in several states where propane is a crucial heating source have prompted governors and other officials to take action against vendors, investigate claims of price gouging and increase aid to low-income customers.

The propane drain coincides with extreme cold temperatures in several Midwestern and Southern states where residents and business owners are struggling to keep heating tanks filled due to increased costs or supply cut-offs.

“The industry as a whole should have been prepared for this,” Missouri state Sen. Mike Parson said Wednesday. Parson is urging the U.S. Justice Department to investigate rising prices in his state. “We should be able to figure out what our supply and demand is.”

National supplies of propane were depleted by a late harvest that increased demand from farmers who needed to dry an unusually large amount of grain before storage. As colder-than-normal temperatures spread across much of the country, supplies dropped to the lowest level ever during the second week of January.

The national average price for a gallon of propane spiked this week to a little over $4, up from $2.96 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association. About 5.5 million homes are heated with propane, mostly in rural areas.

Kentucky’s attorney general was granted an injunction against a major propane supplier that had stopped delivering to commercial customers in several states. The court order allows customers of Paducah-based United Propane Gas to get their tanks refilled from other sources without seeking permission from the company. Calls to the company were not returned on Wednesday.

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House OKs bill to bolster school accountability

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky House has voted to strengthen accountability standards for public school districts in the wake of financial misdeeds among some school officials.

The measure requires school finance officers to make monthly reports to local school boards and provide an annual report to the state Education Department.

It would increase training for some school board members, depending on length of service.

That provision drew objections from a number of lawmakers who praised other parts of the bill. They worried the increased training would add more expenses for school districts.

The bill cleared the House on a 58-41 vote Wednesday and now goes to the Senate.

State Auditor Adam Edelen praised the House action. He said his office has found hundreds of thousands of dollars abused and misspent in school district audits in the past year and a half.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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