- Associated Press - Sunday, February 16, 2014
Gay-marriage foes scrambling after court setbacks

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Opponents of same-sex marriage are scrambling to find effective responses, in Congress and state legislatures, to a rash of court rulings that would force some of America’s most conservative states to accept gay nuptials.

Some gay-marriage foes are backing a bill recently introduced in both chambers of Congress that would leave states fully in charge of their marriage policies, though the measure stands little chance of passage. In the states, they are endorsing a multitude of bills - some intended to protect gay-marriage bans, others to assert a right, based on religious freedom, to have nothing to do with gay marriages should those bans be struck down.

In Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, federal judges have voided part or all of the bans on same-sex marriage that voters approved between 2004 and 2006. Each of the rulings has been stayed pending appeals, and a final nationwide resolution may be a few years away in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The trend is unsettling to the activists who oppose gay marriage, and some have called for extraordinary measures in response.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, known for fighting to display the Ten Commandments in a judicial building, has written to all 50 governors urging them to support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between only a man and a woman.

In Missouri, where voters approved a gay-marriage ban in 2004, eight Republican House members filed articles of impeachment against Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon after he ordered his administration to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples who were legally married in other states. The Republican House leader has yet to schedule the matter for public hearings, but some GOP sponsors insist they are serious.


TVA plans to open $1 billion gas plant in Ky

GREENVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority is hoping to open a $1 billion gas plant within three years in western Kentucky to replace its two oldest coal-fired facilities.

TVA board members learned this week that construction on the high-efficiency, combined-cycle natural gas plant will begin later this year, with a targeted completion date of summer 2017. The new facility is expected to have the capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of power, comparable in scope to the two coal-fired plants that were built nearly 60 years ago.

TVA spokesman Scott Brooks told The Daily News (https://bit.ly/1hl7w3W) the new plant will ensure power stability on the northern end of the energy cooperative’s power grid and meet federal environmental regulatory requirements.

“It’s important that we try to maintain capacity,” Brooks said. “This is still an investment in Muhlenberg County and central Kentucky where coal is going to remain an important part of our portfolio. We’re trying to achieve a balance of nuclear, coal, gas and hydro power.”

TVA provides power to 9 million consumers in a seven-state area.

When finished, the gas plant will have three combustion turbines through which hot gas and exhaust will expand and turn a generator.


Transylvania University plans to replace 2 dorms

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Transylvania University in Lexington plans to tear down two aging dorms and build at least two new ones -and possibly a third - as part of a modernization effort aimed at attracting more students to the liberal arts college.

University Vice President Marc Matthews told the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/1dTe9SYhttps://bit.ly/1dTe9SY ) the Clay and Davis dorms are “basically barracks” and not up to the standards of a 21st Century living facility.

The dorms house 150 men each and have communal showers on each floor. That’s not what many students now expect in student housing, Mathews said.

“I don’t think anyone has not come here because of the dorms, but I don’t think anyone has come here because of the dorms either,” Mathews said.

Plans for the new residence halls include suites, with two rooms sharing one bathroom. That’s the trend in student housing and is similar to most of the on-campus housing on Transy’s campus. The university applied to the city Board of Adjustment late last month to tear down two halls on campus - Clay, a freshmen dorm, and Davis, an upperclassman dorm.

University officials said this week that the prospective third dorm is years away. If the application for a special use is approved by the Board of Adjustment at a Feb. 28 meeting, an internal campus committee must approve the plans, then the issue must go to the Transylvania Board of Trustees.


Ex-Toyota contractor found guilty of hacking

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A computer programmer from central Kentucky who once did contract work for Toyota remains in federal custody after being convicted of hacking into and damaging computers used by the automobile maker.

A federal jury this week found Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed guilty of intentionally sabotaging and crashing Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s supplier computer network.

The five-day trial concluded Tuesday in federal court in Lexington.

Prosecutors say Shahulhameed, a citizen of India, did more than $5,000 in damage to the company’s computers on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24, 2012 at the Scott County Camry plant. Prosecutors say Shahulhameed rendered the system in operable in some cases and, in others, prevented other Toyota employees from accessing the system.

Shahulhameed is scheduled for sentencing May 8.

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