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Brothers Todd and Tony Grantham run the Louisville defense together Sports 1C

FAMILY CONNECTION Brothers Todd and Tony Grantham run the Louisville defense together Sports 1C
HOME OF THE WEEK: Highlands condo features historical touch Home 1D FAMILY CONNECTION Brothers Todd and
HOME OF THE WEEK: Highlands condo features historical touch Home 1D FAMILY CONNECTION Brothers Todd and
HOME OF THE WEEK: Highlands condo features historical touch Home 1D FAMILY CONNECTION Brothers Todd and

S ATURD AY 4. 16.16




HOME OF THE WEEK: Highlands condo features historical touch Home 1D FAMILY CONNECTION Brothers Todd and


T he late Georgia Davis Powers, the first African-American in the Kentucky Senate,

was honored on the last day of the General Assembly when a state worker installed

a plaque on her desk on the floor. She is the first woman and first African-Amer-

ican to be honored this way. “We all understand the grace that resided in this individual, what she did, her accomplishments for all people,” said Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, who succeeded her. Above, her brother Phillip Montgomery holds the plaque, with Lawrence Montgomery, another brother, and Violet Montgomery, Lawrence Montgomery’s wife.

Stevens is suspended amid ethics inquiry

Judge to be paid as panel considers misconduct charges

Matt Glowicki

Courts & crime

  • @mattglo

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Louisville Circuit Court Judge Olu Ste- vens has been suspended from the bench as a state judicial disciplinary body con-

siders misconduct charges against him. Stevens and the Judicial Conduct Commission reached an agreement Fri- day in which Stevens agreed to a paid sus- pension until the resolution of the case.

“Judge Stevens determined that it was in the best interest of all of the parties and the community to enter into this agree- ment,” said one of Stevens’ attorneys Lar- ry Wilder in a statement. “Now we can all focus on the issues at hand regarding the

First Amendment and the alleged mis- conduct.” A hearing had been set for Tuesday to determine if Stevens should be tempora- rily pulled from the bench. The commission’s chair, Steve Wolnit- zek, said the body is meeting next week to schedule a hearing – ideally within 60 to 90 days – at which the misconduct allega- tions will be heard. Stevens and his counsel will be able to

See STEVENS, Page 10A

Ky. slow to act on waste dumping

Radioactive shipments are focus of concern

James Bruggers Environment @jbruggers
James Bruggers

The tip arrived in a phone call from a West Virginia bureaucrat to a staffer in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services — radioactive oil-and- gas drilling waste was headed our way. Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet officials were notified that same day, July 21, 2015, according to emails ob-

tained by the Courier-Journal under West Virginia’s open records law. But it took the Energy Cabinet seven months to alert Kentucky landfill opera- tors to be on the lookout for illegal ship- ments of radioactive drilling waste and that they should not accept any it. The Health Cab-

inet waited another three weeks — un- til March 4, two days after the Cou- rier-Journal first reported the dumping — to order the company

The Energy Cabinet took seven months to aler t landfill operators to be on the lookout for illegal shipments.

alleged to have qui- etly brought the waste into Kentucky to stop, and for landfills to stop accepting it. By then, from July through Novem- ber, state officials claim, more than 1,000 cubic yards of the waste from fracking operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia had made its way to Blue Ridge Landfill in Estill County, hauled in by Advanced TENORM Services of West Liberty, the records show. There, state officials feared that land- fill workers, customers and maybe stu- dents at two nearby schools, might have been exposed to dangerous levels of ra- diation, the emails show. Later, state offi- cials found out, even more radioactive waste had also been sent to the Green Valley Landfill in Greenup County, though they’ve said it wasn’t as “hot” as the concentrated waste sent to the Estill dump. The emails from West Virginia shed

See WASTE, Page 10A

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Vickie Yates Brown Glisson testifies before the Senate Health and Welfare committee.

Benefind called costly experiment

Delays in launch cost state an additional $7 million

Deborah Yetter

Social Services @d_yetter
Social Services
HOME OF THE WEEK: Highlands condo features historical touch Home 1D FAMILY CONNECTION Brothers Todd and

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A new public bene- fit system, envisioned as an innovative, one-stop shop for aid from programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, instead is turning into a flawed and costly experi- ment for Kentucky — the first state to at- tempt to launch such a project, according

to the state’s top human services official. “They bought into something that no other state had ever done,” Vickie Yates Glisson, secretary of the Cabinet for

Health and Family Services, told legisla- tors, referring to the Beshear administra- tion. “I don’t understand why Kentucky does this sometimes.” Speaking before a legislative commit-

tee, Glisson also said that a two-month de- lay in launching the system known as ben- efind has already cost the state $7 million in additional payments to Deloitte Con- sulting, the company that built benefind under a contract struck by the administra- tion of former Gov. Steve Beshear. Originally scheduled to launch Dec. 28, the $101 million benefind system instead

was launched Feb. 29 under Gov. Matt Bevin, who took office Dec. 8. The delay, Glisson said, was mainly to avoid conflict with open enrollment for health coverage through kynect, the state health insurance exchange. But Glisson discovered that under the contract, the state must pay Deloitte $3.5 million a month for any delays. “The fact that we waited two months cost us $7 million,” Glisson said. “I would say the previous administration pretty much tied anybody’s hands from doing anything but being able to go forward.” The human cost also has been signifi- cant as state officials struggle to fix mas-


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10A Saturday, April 16, 2016 The Courier-Journal



Continued from Page 1A

new light on how Ken- tucky regulators first learned of the dumping. They provide a window into how they eventually responded, and their level of concern — which was significant. They show a months-long gap between the first warning of a po- tential problem, and the eventual regulatory ac- tion by Kentucky agen- cies charged with safe- guarding the public. “It’s not a matter of blame,” said Louisville at- torney Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, which has also been looking into the dumping. “It’s a mat- ter that the process is ob- viously broken. The agen- cies were not effectively communicating, and the bottom line is you have a bunch of exposed work- ers.” When asked about the lack of a response in July, agency officials now point fingers at each other. In a written statement from spokesman Doug Hogan, Health Cabinet of- ficials said they respon- ded to that July 21 call by telling West Virginia offi- cials that the waste was not allowed in Kentucky, and then informing Ener- gy Cabinet officials “so that they could take action as needed, as this particu- lar issue related to their landfill licensees.” Only after a detailed in- vestigation starting in January, Hogan said, did the Health Cabinet have the legal authority to is- sue cease and desist let- ters to Advanced TEN- ORM Services and the two landfills. For their part, Energy Cabinet officials reiterat- ed what they’ve said in all along — that it’s the Health Cabinet that has the responsibility for ra- dioactive wastes through an agreement with the state of Illinois. “Should the Division of Waste Management have done more? I suppose one can argue maybe we should have,” Tony Hat- ton, the division’s direc- tor, said. “I don’t know. But the reality of it is, this material is managed by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and they told the West Vir-





10A Saturday, April 16, 2016 The Courier-Journal #IN#Indiana# Waste Continued from Page 1A new light on


Estill County High School is across the road from the Blue Ridge Landfill.

regulations dealing with the control and disposal of (radioactive) waste gen- erated in the oil and gas in- dustry from hydraulic fracturing.” Pendergrass, however, also told Frame that Ken- tucky does have laws on the books banning the im- portation of those waste materials stemming from an agreement between Kentucky and Illinois.

Kentucky eventually takes action

Eventually, however, the Energy Cabinet found a way to issue notices of violations to the two Ken- tucky landfills. Those violation notices sent March 8 claim the landfill operators failed to accurately characterize the waste for what it was, allowing what’s consid- ered an illegal release of a hazardous material into the environment. They were also cited for poor record keeping and other violations. For their part, the land- fills have insisted they were not informed by any- one of any illegal radioac- tive waste shipments. Health Cabinet assis- tant counsel Jennifer Wolsing’s March 4 letter made public on March 8 claims BES LLC, doing business as Advanced TENORM Services, im- ported, collected, trans- ported and/or deposited radioactive oil and gas drilling waste in several Kentucky counties since at least June 2015. The

Health Cabinet has threatened $100,000 per incident fines, and poten- tial criminal charges and sent its order to Cory Hos- kins of West Liberty. About two weeks later, Kentucky Attorney Gen- eral Andy Beshear said his office has opened an investigation. The Courier-Journal has been unable to reach Hoskins. Secretary of State business records show he recently worked with attorney W. Logan Wilson of Bingham Gree- nebaum Doll in Lexing- ton. Wilson did not imme- diately return a request for comment. That first July 21 email from Keffer to Pender- grass identified a third lo- cation where workers may have been exposed to the radioactive waste. State officials have said West Virginia-based Fairmont Brine Process- ing produced the waste in a method that increased its radioactive intensity. Keffer’s email said it was to be sent to an unidenti- fied location in Ashland where the waste was to be solidified, before being sent to Estill County. Hatton on Thursday declined to identify the business, other than to de- scribe it as the location of a trucking company, and that it had been inspected jointly by his agency and the Health Cabinet. The emails show West Virginia’s Jason Frame decided to check back in with the Health Cabinet

on Jan. 19, telling Pender- grass the hauler might still sending waste to Ken- tucky. Since then, Hogan said, the Health Cabinet “has been actively engaged in a whirlwind of activities,” including radiological surveys at the landfills, schools and trucking com- panies, along with inter- views. The Health Cabinet, Energy Cabinet and its West Virginia counter- parts “continue to piece together details on this situation,” Hogan said.

Official “floored”

West Virginia did not provide a response to that email, but in January and February, after Hatton said he said he learned about the alleged dump- ing from a new and differ- ent unidentified tipster, both cabinets were inves- tigating, the records show, and Frame was be- ing thanked for his assis- tance. Sometimes the emails expressed alarm. On. Feb. 11, George Partridge in the waste management division wrote to the Health Cab- inet’s Pendergrass, warn- ing that exposure could eventually give people cancer. Local and state of- ficials have since said there is no current risk to students at Estill County High School and Estill County Middle School — and that they don’t believe there ever was, based on monitoring this winter.

But the waste contains radium 226, with a half- life of 1,600 years, the time it takes for half its ra- dioactivity to decay. Municipal landfills typi- cally have protective lin- ers guaranteed for 30 or 40 years. West Virginia of- ficials have said the waste might have had a radioac- tive intensity of 1,900 pi- cocuries per gram, or a level nearly 400 times as high as the U.S. Environ- mental Protection Agen- cy generally sees as safe. The emails indicated West Virginia didn’t want the stuff, and that another waste hauler had rejected it as too radioactive. By the end of January, Partridge was preparing for field inspections at the landfills. “I was so floored with the news,” Partridge wrote to Frame on Jan. 29, “I want to be sure I con- firmed the understanding we have of the situation before we move forward with site visits.

Reach reporter James Bruggers at 502-582-4645.

strictly forbidden.”

W.Va. didn’t

block waste

The Energy Cabinet has, since January, coor- dinated its investigation with the Health Cabinet. It declined to make its cor- respondence available, citing exemptions under the Kentucky Open Rec- ords law involving ongo- ing investigations. That correspondence from West Virginia puts a big burden on the Health Cabinet, FitzGerald said. “I’ve not seen any evi- dence that (the health cab- inet) told Advanced TEN- ORM Services that what they were planning to do was illegal,” he said. “That to me is inexcus- able.” FitzGerald said the En- ergy Cabinet also could have done more early on, as could have West Vir- ginia. West Virginia’s Bureau for Public Health “does not regulate where haul- ers dispose of material out of state,” countered Toby Wagoner, spokes- man for that agency. “Our notification to Kentucky was as a professional courtesy only.” The emails also show how Kentucky officials acknowledged being handicapped by a lack of regulations for a type of waste generated by hy- drologic fracturing in oil- and-gas-rich areas north- east of Kentucky. For example, Christo- pher J. Keffer, the radia- tion health specialist in the Health Cabinet, took that first call on July 21 from Jason Frame, a radi- ation specialist with West Virginia’s state radiation program, alerting Ken- tucky to the pending ship- ments of waste. That same day, Keffer bumped the matter up the ladder to Curt Pender- grass, a radiation health supervisor, detailing Frame’s understanding of Advanced TENORM Ser- vices Kentucky dumping plans — and telling Pen- dergrass he had told Frame about Kentucky’s lack of regulations for the waste. Hours later, Pender- grass wrote to Frame, copying three Energy Cabinet officials — one with an incorrect email address — acknowledg- ing that Kentucky “does not currently have any

House OKs $48 ‘Real ID’ driver’s licenses Bill now goes to Gov. Bevin to sign
House OKs $48 ‘Real ID’ driver’s licenses
Bill now goes to Gov. Bevin to sign
bill to create a new Ken-
tucky driver’s license to
conform with the federal
“Real ID” law won final
passage in the House of
Representatives on Friday
and now goes to Gov. Matt
Bevin for his signature.
The new driver’s li-
cense would cost $48 and
would be good for eight
years compared to the cur-
rent license that costs $20
and is good for four years.
But Rep. Lewis Ni-
cholls, a Greenup Demo-
crat who presented Senate
Bill 245 to House members
Friday, said that Kentuck-
ians who fly often would be
better off getting the new
driver’s license that re-
quires additional docu-
“This is a good bill,” Ni-
choll said. “It protects the
After January 2018, un-
der the federal law, anyone
on a domestic flight with-
out one of the new driver’s
licenses would have to pre-
sent a U.S. passport as well
as a driver’s license. A
passport costs $135 and
takes up to six weeks to ob-
To obtain the new li-
cense, Kentuckians would
have to provide a birth cer-
tificate and two proofs of
residency. Kentucky now
requires these documents
to obtain a license but not
to renew it.
The cost of a regular
driver’s license also will in-
crease to $48 under SB 245
and would still be avail-
Nicholls said Kentucky
needs to adopt the measure
to comply with the federal
law passed in 2008, meant
to upgrade security nation-
If the state fails to pass
the law, Kentuckians could
risk being unable to pre-
sent driver’s licenses as a
form of identity to board a
plane and would be re-
quired to obtain a passport,
he said.
Contact reporter Debo-
rah Yetter at 502-582-4228
or at dyetter@courier-jour-
mission, arguing the group
was seeking to punish his
free speech in violation of
his First and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. A pos-
sible sanction could have a
chilling effect, according to
the suit, silencing judges
who want to speak out
about institutional racism
and other public concerns.
“A judge does not check
his First Amendment
rights at the courthouse
door, …” reads the suit.
Earlier this week, Ste-
vens and his attorneys
sought a restraining order
against the commission,
asking the federal court to
prevent the disciplinary
group from suspending
him, federal court records
show. They argued a sus-
pension would be “punitive
and retaliatory” and had no
legitimate purpose.
It was also announced
Friday that Stevens’ attor-
neys from his federal court
lawsuit, Larry Wilder and J.
Bart McMahon, have
joined attorney Kimberly
Bunton and Baltimore at-
torney Jon Wyndal Gordon
in representing the judge
before the disciplinary
The misconduct allega-
tions Stevens now faces
originate from his com-
ments that the commission
argues violated various
parts of the state’s judicial
conduct code.
Specifically, the com-
mission said, Stevens broke
ethical rules instructing
judges to not show bias or
prejudice, to refrain from
commenting on pending or
impending court proceed-
ings and to avoid in their
conduct outside of the
courtroom demeaning the
judiciary or casting doubt
on their ability to be impar-
Four of the charges are
connected to Stevens’ so-
cial media or in-person
comments about his dis-
agreement with Wine’s de-
cision to ask the state Su-
preme Court if a judge has
the legal power to dismiss a
jury panel if there isn’t evi-
dence of systemic or inten-
tional exclusion.
Wine went to the higher
court after Stevens dis-
missed a nearly all-white
jury panel of 41prospective
jurors at the request of a
defense attorney who rep-
resented an African-Amer-
ican defendant.
Stevens said on Face-
book that he dismissed the
jury panel because it was a
“substantial departure
from the racial make-up of
the average jury panel” and
also accused Wine of being
a racist who supported all-
white juries.
That case is still pending
before the state Supreme
Court. The National Bar As-
sociation, Kentucky Asso-
ciation of Criminal Defense
Attorneys and the NAACP
have filed briefs in support
of Stevens in that matter.
Multiple Facebook posts
authored by Stevens in fall
2015 are cited by the com-
mission that both criticized
Wine’s motives and also dis-
cussed the pending state
Supreme Court case.
Stevens has countered,
saying those comments
were private, not public
Other misconduct
counts stem from Stevens’
in-court and Facebook
statements that criticized a
victim impact statement
written by parents on be-
half of their 3-year-old who
Continued from Page 1A
which the commission
could dismiss the charges
or impose a sanction.
While Stevens is sus-
pended, other Jefferson
Circuit Court judges will
take on his caseload.
The Judicial Conduct
Commission publicly an-
nounced last week it was
charging Stevens with six
counts of misconduct stem-
ming from both an ongoing
public dispute between Ste-
vens and Jefferson Com-
monwealth’s Attorney Tom
Wine as well as from a Feb-
ruary 2015 sentencing hear-
ing in which Stevens
criticized the parents of a
child who said she was trau-
matized by black men after
a home invasion by black
Stevens filed a federal
suit April 1 against the com-
were victims of robbery
and burglary. The parents
wrote that the child was in
constant fear of black men,
the same race of the defen-
Stevens explained that
action on both Facebook
and in his federal lawsuit
that he would be “without
integrity to condone such
language with silence.”
Central Music Est. 1954
Reporter Matthew
Glowicki can be reached at
502-582-4989 or mglow-
115 S. Hubbards Ln.
Louisville, KY. 40207
(502) 896-2009