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RECYCLING-INVESTMENTS

China’s ban on scrap imports a boon to US recycling plants

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — China’s decision to restrict scrap imports created big challenges for U.S. recycling programs last year. But it has also spurred investment in plants that process recyclables no longer being shipped overseas.

The investors include Chinese companies that still need access to wastepaper or flattened bottles as raw material for manufacturing.

Dylan de Thomas of the nonprofit Recycling Partnership says about $1 billion in investment in U.S. paper processing plants has been announced in the past six months.

The Northeast Recycling Council said last fall that 17 North American paper mills had announced increased capacity to handle recyclable paper since the Chinese cutoff in January 2018.

De Thomas says Chinese companies are investing in plastic and scrap metal recycling plants in Georgia, Indiana and North Carolina.

DRUG CASE OVERTURNED-RELIGIOUS COMMENTS

New drug trial ordered after prosecutor’s religion questions

(Information from: Courier Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A federal appellate panel has ordered a new trial and reversed a couple’s drug convictions partly because a prosecutor cited their beliefs in a religious figure regarded as the patron saint of drug dealers and as the angel of the poor.

According to the Courier Journal , an opinion this week by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel said the attacks regarding beliefs in “Jesús Malverde” were “utterly irrelevant to the question of guilt.”

The opinion says Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West likely used Luis Morales-Montanez’s beliefs to paint him as someone steeped in drug culture. Morales-Montanez and Jessica Acosta were convicted in Eastern Kentucky federal court of distributing $20,000 worth of methamphetamine.

West and a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman didn’t respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.

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FLOODING-MISSISSIPPI RIVER BARGES

Flooding disrupts farm shipments on the Mississippi River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Historic flooding has left parts of the Mississippi River closed for business.

The river is a main conduit of shipping everything from agriculture products and construction material to petroleum and coal. Flooding also has affected shipping on the Missouri River and other waterways that feed into the Mississippi.

The shipping woes come at a time when farmers would normally be sending soybeans, corn and other grain from more than a dozen states in the Mississippi River basin down the river. And fertilizer shipments that normally travels up the river to communities from St. Louis to St. Paul, Minnesota, still haven’t made it through.

The interruption is hitting an agriculture industry that’s already suffering, including from trade disputes that have helped drive down commodity prices.

KENTUCKY DOWNBALLOT RACES

Former Miss America among 19 candidates seeking office

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Miss America is among 19 candidates running in down-ballot races in Kentucky that include secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, treasurer and auditor.

In several races where the candidates agree on most issues, biography likely will matter to voters.

Heather French Henry, who was crowned Miss America in 2000, has said her experience running the Department of Veterans Affairs, with its 900 employees and $100 million budget, has given her the experience she needs to run the secretary of state’s office. She’s a Democrat.

That open seat drew the most challengers for the May primary, with four Democrats and four Republicans seeking to succeed Democratic incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes. She can’t run again due to term limits.

Voters will also pick party nominees for agriculture commissioner, treasurer and auditor.

OPEN RECORDS-RULING

Court: University fails to follow open-records law

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An appeals court says the University of Kentucky failed to follow open-records law in a dispute with the campus newspaper over its pursuit of documents in a sexual harassment investigation.

A three-judge Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday that the state’s flagship university had failed to comply with the open-records law “in any meaningful way.”

The long-running case stems from the student newspaper’s pursuit of documents in a sexual harassment investigation involving a former professor.

The university had refused to release the documents.

The state attorney general’s office said the university had violated the open-records law. UK appealed to a circuit judge who sided with the university.

Judge Kelly Thompson, writing for the appeals court panel, said the public has an interest in the “investigative methods used by its public agencies.”

SCHOOL SHOOTING-KENTUCKY

Kentucky school shooting trial to be in different county

BENTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge has ruled that the trial of a teenager accused of killing two schoolmates will be moved to another county.

News outlets report Marshall County Circuit Judge James Jameson on Friday granted a request sought by lawyers for 17-year-old Gabriel Parker. Parker is accused of shooting and killing Preston Cope and Bailey Holt and injuring 14 others at Marshall County High School on Jan. 23, 2018.

Marshall County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust said the June 2020 trial will be held in Christian County, about an hour away.

Defense lawyers requested the change of venue, citing heavy publicity and “sensational” allegations. They said members of the community have contact with the high school and the victims and their families. Foust said he felt the change of venue was the right thing to do.

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