- Associated Press - Saturday, June 14, 2014
Indiana boys beat Kentucky 104-94 in All-Star game

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - James Blackmon Jr. put on quite a show Friday night, pouring in 41 points to lead Indiana’s boys’ All-Star team over Kentucky for a 104-94 victory.

Blackmon, an Indiana signee and son of former Kentucky guard James Blackmon, scored 23 points in the first half as Indiana claimed its 12th straight victory in the series.

Blackmon became just the fourth player in the history of the series to score more than 40 points, joining George McGinnis, Jim McDaniels and Oscar Robertson.

Blackmon made 13 of 25 shots, including 4 of 9 behind the 3-point arc, and also made 11 free throws on 13 attempts.

“The coaching staff told me to be aggressive the whole game from the start and that’s what I did,” Blackmon said. “There was definitely a lot of pressure. We just wanted to keep the winning streak going.”

Indiana coach David Benter wasn’t surprised by Blackmon’s performance.

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McConnell urges assistance to Iraq

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging President Barack Obama to assist Iraq’s beleaguered government to repel Islamic militants.

The Kentucky Republican warned Friday that failing to do so jeopardizes gains made by U.S. soldiers during the long war in Iraq.

McConnell did not specify what assistance the U.S. should provide.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging McConnell in the November election, said she would not support sending U.S. troops back to Iraq. Grimes said the United States should play a supportive role by providing useful intelligence.

The new fighting in Iraq brought foreign policy to the forefront of their Senate race, among the most closely watched in the country.

Islamic militants once linked to al-Qaida have taken Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and have vowed to advance on Baghdad.

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Rand Paul says Labrador would be ‘a great leader’

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is offering words of support for Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, who has announced a longshot bid to become U.S. House majority leader.

Paul was the keynote speaker at Idaho’s Republican Convention on Friday. The 2016 GOP presidential prospect was joined by Labrador and said, “I think Labrador would be a great leader.”

Paul also spoke of the need for the various factions in the Republican Party to put aside their differences in the November election.

Labrador announced his candidacy for the leadership position earlier Friday. House Republicans will be picking a new majority leader to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor, who was defeated this week in Virginia’s GOP primary.

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is thought to be the front-runner to replace Cantor.

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Former Kentucky GOP official dies

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Nelda Barton-Collings, the first woman to lead the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the state’s longtime Republican National Committeewoman, has died, a funeral home director said. She was 85.

Barton-Collings was Kentucky’s Republican National Committeewoman for 28 years. She spoke at the 1980 Republican National Convention and called to order the 1996 convention in San Diego. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointed her to two national advisory boards.

Born in Providence, Barton-Collings graduated from Western Kentucky University. She took over the family’s nursing home business after her husband died and grew it into a network of nursing homes across the state. She was a founder of several community banks that, in 2007, were consolidated into Forcht Bank based in Lexington, according to Mike Duncan, Kentucky’s Republican National Committeeman and the former chairman of the RNC.

“She was a great good will ambassador for the state of Kentucky,” Duncan said. “Politically, professionally she was a great role model for women in Kentucky.”

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers called Barton-Collings “a woman ahead of her time.” And State Senate President Robert Stivers called her “a true stateswoman.”

“Nelda’s passion for public service and her determination to improve the Commonwealth will serve as her legacy. She was always gracious and kind. There simply will never be another like her,” he said.

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