Kentucky news briefs

2 men are arrested in early-morning break-in

Lexington: Two men suspected in a Lexington break-in were arrested Friday morning at their home, Lexington police spokesman Lt. Doug Pape said.

Negotiators talked Jeremy Hersey, 23, and Christian Cox, 18, out of two separate apartments at 2101 Fontaine Road where the men had retreated for about four hours after the break-in. Hersey's brother, Justin, was released, police said. Jeremy Hersey and Cox were charged with first-degree burglary. Pape said Lexington police's emergency-response unit went to the scene, but negotiators got the men to surrender and they were arrested. Traffic near Richmond Road was tied up until the men were arrested.

Police say that at 4:30 a.m., the two men broke the door of Thomas Henke's home on Pleasant Ridge Way in Lexington. Henke told police that one man was armed with a gun. The victim knew the suspects, which led police to the Fontaine address, Pape said.

Nothing was taken during the break-in, but Henke was hit in the head with the handgun. He was taken to UK Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Fayette flu clinic this weekend

Lexington: If you're in one of the groups at high risk from H1N1 flu, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will offer another opportunity to get a vaccination this weekend. Health department crews will hold clinics from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until supplies run out Saturday at the Lexington Christian Academy, 450 West Reynolds Road, and at Bryan Station High School, 201 Eastin Road. The shots are free. The clinics will target pregnant women; healthy people ages 6 months through 24 years; those who live with or care for children under 6 months of age; individuals ages 25-64 who have chronic health problems or compromised immunity; and health-care and emergency services workers. If you have a fever or you are allergic to eggs, you can't get a shot on Saturday.

Consultant pleads guilty

Magoffin County: A consultant for a natural gas plant in Magoffin County has pleaded guilty to forging a state air quality permit for the plant.

Peter Grimes, who worked for Energy Management and Services Co., delivered an air quality permit to the owner of Newpoint Midstream plant, when in fact the Division of Air Quality had not issued any permit, said a press release from the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

The state recommended that Grimes be sentenced to three years, with pre-trial diversion possible, and restitution of $5,000 to the plant. Also, prosecutors recommended that for five years, Grimes may not work for anyone seeking state permits or operating natural gas processing facilities, and he may not hold himself out to be a licensed engineer.

Rural Development leader

Washington, D.C.: A veteran government official has been named Kentucky director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the White House announced Friday.

Thomas Fern headed the office from 1993 to 2001 and worked a total of 36 years for USDA, according to a news release.

Fern worked at the Kentucky Department of Parks from 2001 to 2003 and is on the Kentucky Water Resource Development Commission and the Kentucky Appalachian Commission.

Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community-development programs. "Thomas Fern will be an important advocate on behalf of rural communities throughout the state and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

Accused of assaulting infant

Lawrenceburg: A Lawrenceburg man has been arrested in connection with the abuse of a 2-month-old, state police said. Derek N. Heartley, 26, was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree assault, state police said in a news release.

The arrest stems from an investigation that began Nov. 4 when state police received a complaint about abuse against the baby. The alleged abuse was first reported by the Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington to the Anderson County office of the Cabinet for Families and Children. The child is now in the care of relatives, state police said. Heartley was being held in the Fayette County jail.

State Christmas tree donated

Frankfort: A Lawrenceburg family has donated a 30-foot Norway spruce to serve as Kentucky's official Christmas tree. Jackie and Joyce Gritton provided the tree in honor of their late son, Kevin.

Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear have scheduled a lighting ceremony for Nov. 30.

The administration caused a stir last month by soliciting for a "holiday tree" instead of a "Christmas tree." Some Christian leaders protested. Beshear later said the evergreen would be called a "Christmas tree" and placed on the front lawn of the Capitol.

staff, wire reports