News briefs: Jan. 6

UK president Todd to meet with Obama

Lexington: University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. will be part of a delegation of university leaders who will meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and pledge to help reduce the nation's deficit of math and science teachers.

Todd and three others are scheduled to deliver to Obama a letter signed by 79 university leaders in which they pledge to "substantially increase the number and diversity of high-quality science and mathematics teachers we prepare," and work with other schools, state governments and businesses to develop those teachers.

Specifically, 39 institutions and three university systems — including UK — say they plan to at least double the number of math and science teachers who graduate by 2015, according to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Ruling on tobacco restrictions

Bowling Green: A federal judge overturned two of the marketing restrictions in a new tobacco law, including a ban on color and graphics in most tobacco advertising. Several tobacco makers sued in August to block the restrictions, and U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley in Bowling Green agreed that two violated tobacco companies' free speech rights.

Congress could have exempted certain types of colors and images instead of banning all color and graphics in advertising that children might see, McKinley ruled. He also said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can't bar anyone from saying the agency's regulation of tobacco makes it safe.

But he upheld most of the new marketing restrictions, including a ban on tobacco companies sponsoring athletic, social and cultural events or offering free samples or branded merchandise. McKinley's ruling, recorded Tuesday, also upholds a requirement that warning labels cover half the packaging on each tobacco product.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law in June, lets the FDA limit but not ban nicotine. It also lets the agency ban candy flavorings and marketing claims such "low tar" and "light," require warnings be emblazoned over carton images, regulate what goes into tobacco products and publicize those ingredients.

Paper seeks Nunn records

Attorneys for the Courier-Journal have filed a motion to vacate an agreed protective order in the murder case against former state Rep. Steve Nunn.

According to a motion filed Tuesday, the newspaper wants to intervene "solely for the purpose of asserting its and the public's constitutional and common law rights of access to court records and its constitutional right to gather news." The Herald-Leader will join the Courier-Journal's filing.

The agreed protective order, filed Dec. 21, is in reference to items in the commonwealth's inventory and four items of evidence from Lexington police. The order does not provide details about any of the items. Nunn, 57, is accused of killing his former fiancée, Amanda Ross. Ross, 29, was shot to death Sept. 11 outside her home in downtown Lexington. Nunn has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and violating an emergency protective order.

Rapist posed as taxi driver

Lexington: Police are searching for a man who posed as a taxi driver and raped a woman in a church parking lot. Police say a woman was walking in the area of Mill and High streets at about 1:30 a.m. Jan. 1 when a man in a dark-colored, four-door sedan offered her a ride.

Instead of taking the woman where she asked, the man drove her to a church parking lot near the Fayette County line where he assaulted and raped her, according to police. The driver left the parking lot, and the woman went to a location nearby and called for help.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 200 pounds with short dark hair and a short beard, police say. He is also described as having chubby cheeks, a belly and an overall unkempt appearance.

Martin to run for council seat

Lexington: Doug Martin announced Tuesday he will seek election to his 10th district seat on the Urban County Council. Martin said in a statement that the city must increase its commitment to economic development, urban planning and the arts to foster a creative economy.

Martin, 46, a Lexington native, was appointed to council by Mayor Jim Newberry in January 2009 after Don Blevins Jr. resigned to become Fayette County clerk.

Martin, an attorney, has an extensive arts background. He was a music major at the University of Kentucky and earned a master's degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Lexington Singers and served six years on the board of the Lexington Philharmonic.

New inspector general

Frankfort: Mary R. Begley, ombudsman of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, has been named the cabinet's inspector general. The Office of Inspector General regulates more than 2,200 day care facilities, almost 500 long-term care facilities and 2,550 other health facilities. Begley joined the cabinet in January 2009 after leaving Ephraim McDowell Health, where she had served as vice president of customer and physician relations since 2006.

Lexington native in 'Bachelor'

Only one of the two Kentuckians competing for a pilot's affections on The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love made it past Monday's initial elimination round. Kathryn, 25, a Los Angeles corporate flight attendant who is originally from Lexington, is one of the 15 bachelorettes still competing to marry Jake Pavelka of Dallas on the popular ABC reality series. (ABC doesn't give out last names and doesn't list much more information about Kathryn.)

Not so lucky was Elizabeth, 29, who is originally from Union, in Northern Kentucky but now lives in Washington, D.C. The Air National Guard captain was among the 10 women eliminated in the first "rose ceremony."

staff, wire reports