- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014
Bill Clinton to campaign for Grimes in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes will get a campaign boost from a family friend - former President Bill Clinton - in her bid to win the seat held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Grimes said Friday that Clinton will campaign with her Feb. 25 in Louisville.

“I was elated when he called and said he wanted to make this race his top priority,” Grimes said.

Clinton carried Kentucky in both of his successful campaigns for the White House in the 1990s. He’s the last Democratic presidential candidate to win the Bluegrass state.

McConnell was a frequent critic of Clinton during the Democrat’s presidency.

Grimes‘ father, former state Democratic Chairman Jerry Lundergan, has been friends with Clinton for years. Clinton offered a video statement in support of Grimes at her campaign’s launch last summer.

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Judge calls for trial in Ky. lethal injection case

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd has called for a trial to resolve disputed aspects of Kentucky’s lethal injection method of execution.

In a three-page order issued Friday, Shepherd set a pretrial conference for September, at which time he plans to set a date for a full trial.

Kentucky is barred from executing any inmates under an injunction issued by Shepherd in 2010.

Shepherd previously ruled that Kentucky’s plans to use one or two drugs to carry out an execution appeared to pass constitutional muster. But the judge took issue with how the state assesses condemned inmates’ mental abilities in the weeks leading up to an execution.

Multiple death row inmates challenged Kentucky’s use of three drugs to carry out a lethal injection. As a result, the state has switched to using one or two drugs.

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Slain soldier’s family receives his Silver Star

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) - Army Spc. Shannon “Doc” Chihuahua scrambled from soldier to soldier as enemy fighters in eastern Afghanistan sent volleys of bullets and rocket-propelled grenades in the direction of his battalion on Nov. 12, 2010. As Chihuahua reached his last wounded soldier, a rocket-propelled grenade struck the 25-year-old combat medic, killing him instantly.

For those actions, the U.S. Army on Friday awarded Chihuahua a Silver Star - the third highest military award for valor - during a ceremony with his family and fellow soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky.

“I’m always humbled and amazed by our young soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Stammer, the acting senior commander of Fort Campbell, during the ceremony.

Chihuahua’s wife, Kristin Chihuahua of Thomasville, Ga., and several of his young children accepted the honor on the slain medic’s behalf. The family did not speak during the ceremony, but released a statement before the proceedings.

Kristin Chihuahua said her husband was “the best person to be around” and “always kept a level head.”

“He would always joke that he knew how to save lives,” Kristin Chihuahua said.

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Minimum wage bill draws Senate criticism

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Senate’s top leader ridiculed a proposed higher minimum wage on Friday as a “small ball” approach to jobs, saying the focus should be on creating more work at the upper end of the wage scale.

Senate President Robert Stivers declined to handicap the proposal’s chances in the Senate, one day after the House passed a measure that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour in July 2016. The bill is a top priority of House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

“Truly to me, that is small ball,” said Stivers, R-Manchester, adding that the issue reflects differences between the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-run House.

“Our goal is … how we create good-paying jobs,” Stivers told reporters. “And if they want to keep a very narrow approach of how are we just going to keep minimum-wage jobs around there, that’s their prerogative. We want to look at a much broader, more optimistic picture.”

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said job growth is a priority of his, too. He said a higher minimum wage would help people struggling to make ends meet at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. He has noted that people working full time for $7.25 an hour make barely more than $15,000 a year before taxes.

“If they want to play partisan politics with the bill, they can do that,” he said of Senate opponents. “But they’re really hurting people who are not deserving to be hurt. I hope that they’ll see the light.”


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