- Associated Press - Thursday, January 22, 2015
Highway work to resume after deadly Ohio overpass accident

CINCINNATI (AP) - Highway construction work was resuming in Cincinnati even as investigations continue into the deadly collapse of an overpass exit ramp that was being demolished, Ohio transportation officials said Wednesday.

The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 re-opened Tuesday night, nearly 24 hours after a worker was killed in the overpass collapse, which covered the lanes with tons of concrete and steel.

The Ohio Department of Transportation had postponed other bridge work Tuesday night, but it scheduled all northbound lanes for overnight closure from 11 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday in a section north of downtown. Other lane closures on the interstate this week will be made as needed for continued work that’s part of a three-year project scheduled to end in June 2016.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators have been at the site and other authorities are also probing the accident.

Transportation Department spokesman Brian Cunningham said the contractor, Kokosing Construction of Westerville, Ohio, cleared the debris more quickly than expected, allowing inspections Tuesday evening that found only a small pothole that needed repair.

“There was very little damage to the roadway,” he said.

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Woman in sexual harassment case loses job, attorney says

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The newest member of the state House Democratic leadership team has terminated a woman who has a pending sexual harassment case against a former Democratic lawmaker.

Yolanda Costner’s attorney, Thomas Clay, said she was notified of her dismissal on Wednesday. Costner worked for former House Democratic whip Tommy Thompson. But state Rep. Johnny Bell ousted Thompson earlier this month in a leadership election.

Bell did not return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

It is not uncommon for new leaders to hire their own staff. But Costner was at the center of a high profile sexual harassment lawsuit against former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold. Clay said he intends to add Bell as a party to Costner’s lawsuit.

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Chao resigns from Bloomberg Philanthropies over coal issues

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife has resigned from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ board of directors after the charity announced plans to expand its efforts to shutter coal-fired power plants.

Elaine Chao joined the board one year after it announced a $50 million, four-year commitment to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative. Alison Lundergan Grimes made Chao’s membership on the board an issue during her failed bid to unseat McConnell last year.

At the time, McConnell defended his wife’s position on the board and said she would not resign. But a McConnell spokesman said Wednesday Chao decided to resign after learning the charity planned to expand its Beyond Coal commitment, saying her service on the board was incompatible with her commitments to Kentucky.

About 90 percent of Kentucky’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants.

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Authorities hope to identify mystery remains

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) - Authorities are hoping that technology can help them identify the remains of a woman found more than 40 years ago on Pine Mountain.

The Harlan Daily Enterprise (http://bit.ly/1Cb0CGP) reports her remains were exhumed recently and her bones were sent to a Texas lab that tests DNA for NamUs, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice which keeps databases of information on missing and unidentified persons.

Todd Matthews, who is the director of communications and case management for NamUs, says a book by local author Darla Jackson called “Harlan County Haunts” helped bring about the latest effort to identify the remains.

“The book by Darla is what brought the case to my attention years ago,” Matthews said. “I interviewed her on a radio show I was doing at that time.”

Matthews said he hopes the DNA testing will help authorities identify the woman, who was stabbed to death, sometime this year and possibly even help police develop a suspect in her slaying.

He said there are three possible outcomes to sending off a DNA sample.

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