Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Vote buying conviction upheld

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has upheld the conviction of a Knott County man for conspiring to buy votes in the May 1998 primary election.

        Phillip Dion Slone, 33, of Pippa Passes, was convicted in June 2000 in U.S. District Court in Pikeville. Friday, the Sixth Circuit filed an opinion affirming his conviction.

        The appeals court concluded that U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood did not err when he refused to set aside the jury's verdict for lack of sufficient evidence.

        Mr. Slone was convicted of conspiring with three other people to buy the votes of Alice Lloyd College students. Judge Hood sentenced Mr. Slone to three years' probation.

        His sentence was held in abeyance pending the outcome of his appeal.

University president still without set salary
               KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A month after John Shumaker was unanimously elected president of the University of Tennessee, negotiations continue over how much he will be paid.

        “It is a complicated procedure, and I am not quite ready to present it yet,” UT trustees vice chairwoman Johnnie Amonette said Monday. “But hopefully in the near future.”

        UT trustees are scheduled to meet Thursday at UT-Chattanooga, and Mr. Shumaker, who was endorsed by the trustees on March 5, is slated to attend. But his pay package is not on the agenda.

        There still may be plenty of time. While his schedule is filling with UT-related events, briefings and visits, Mr. Shumaker is not expected to officially assume his new duties until late June or July.

        “God bless him, he is really doing two jobs right now,” said Cathy Cole, who as deputy executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission is helping coordinate Mr. Shumaker's Tennessee appointments.

        The problem: Mr. Shumaker already makes more money at the University of Louisville, where he has been president since 1995.

        Mr. Shumaker received $263,300 a year in base salary at Louisville. By comparison, UT Acting President Emerson “Eli” Fly receives $258,750, the same as former President Wade Gilley.

        In addition, Mr. Shumaker receives payments from the University of Louisville Foundation, a car and other perks that push his total income reportedly to near $600,000.

Anniversary of sting operation recognized
        FRANKFORT — House Majority Leader Greg Stumbo on Monday marked “a sad anniversary” for the General Assembly — the day a decade ago when FBI agents swooped through the Capitol, questioning legislators and handing out subpoenas.

        It was the public coming-out of Operation Boptrot, a sting investigation that ended with 21 defendants, including 15 legislators, going to prison or otherwise being punished for bribery or lying to the FBI.

        Mr. Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said in a floor speech that the General Assembly has reformed itself over the past decade. “When someone mentions Boptrot, you don't have to hang your head in shame any longer,” he said.

        Mr. Stumbo said he made the remarks because “it's part of our job as old-timers to serve as an institutional memory.'

Parents can legally give up newborns
        FRANKFORT — The General Assembly passed legislation Monday to let parents give up their newborn children without facing legal repercussions.

        Similar legislation has failed in recent sessions of the legislature because of a tug-of-war between Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate over whose bill should pass.

        The bill would allow babies to be dropped off at a hospital or with emergency medical services, fire department or police personnel within 72 hours of birth. So long as the baby does not indicate signs of neglect or abuse, the parents can give up the child without facing criminal charges for abandonment.

        Medical personnel can also provide care for the infants without parental permission.

        The contest over credit took an unusual twist. The bill that passed, Senate Bill 55, was sponsored by Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville. But the House added a provision naming the legislation after Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville.

Child drowns in flooded creek
        JACKSON — A 2-year-old boy died after he fell into a creek and drowned, the Kentucky State Police said.

        Police received a call at 4:05 p.m. Sunday that Charles E. Tharp Jr., of Jackson, was missing. The caller said they feared the child had fallen into a creek in Breathitt County that was flooded because of recent rains.

        About 20 minutes later police and rescue teams located Charles about a half-mile from where police believe he fell into the creek.

        Charles was transported to the Kentucky River Medical Center in Jackson, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Flood victims assisted by fund-raising efforts
               HARLAN — A fund-raising event Wednesday will help eastern Kentucky victims of March flooding.

        The American Red Cross Disaster expects to spend more than $1 million to help the victims, according to organizers.

        Eastern Kentucky radio stations will air educational messages as part of the one-day campaign, citing specific actions people can take to protect against disasters.

        People will be asked to make a telephone pledge or mail a check for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to the Harlan Federal Bank at 185 Finance St., Harlan, KY 40831. Toll-free calls can be made to (606) 521-5488, (606) 521-5489 or (606) 521-5490.


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- Vote buying conviction upheld