News briefs

'Francene Show' host dies after heart attack

Louisville: Francene Cucinello, the popular host of WHAS radio's Francene Show, has died after suffering a heart attack and aneurysm. She was 43. In a statement issued by the hospital Friday, her family said she suffered a heart attack Monday, followed by a brain aneurysm Wednesday and died at 3:15 p.m. Friday. She had hosted the show since October 2003 and worked in television in Ohio, Maryland and Tennessee. Her talk show gave her a chance to interview politicians and other newsmakers, and she was not uncomfortable challenging their views. Afternoon host Terry Meiners said the phone lines were "absolutely blowing up" with people calling to express their sympathy. A public memorial was scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Southeast Christian Church.

Judge says UK can keep star pitcher from playing

Lexington: A judge has ruled that the University of Kentucky can keep its star pitcher out of baseball games if he continues to refuse to answer questions from the NCAA. Fayette County Circuit Judge James Ishmael denied an injunction requested by James Paxton, the highest-drafted college baseball player to return to school this year. Lawyers for Paxton wanted Ishmael to prevent the university from keeping Paxton out of games over questions about his amateur status. Paxton says the school threatened to keep him out of games unless he submitted to an interview with NCAA officials. Although Paxton maintains he hasn't been told why they want to question him, the university's lawyer says Paxton knows it relates to his association with prominent sports agent Scott Boras.

Men charged in hotel robbery

Lexington: Two 19-year-old defendants were arraigned Friday in Fayette District Court on charges of first-degree robbery. Not guilty pleas were entered for both men. Tyler Gibson of Richmond and Joseph Hall of Lexington were charged in the knife-point robbery of the Days Inn Hotel on Athens-Boonesboro Road in Lexington. According to police reports, the men used large kitchen knives in the hold-up and made off with $600 to $700. The men were arrested early Friday, police said.

Arrest made in jail escape

Lexington: A man who escaped from jail during a weekly post-rehab session in June has been caught. Police arrested Quaynell King, 29, Thursday night at a residence on Roosevelt Boulevard. King had been missing since June 22, when he checked out of Fayette County jail to attend a recovery program. .

House bill reader dies at 63

Lexington: The man who read bills for the Kentucky House of Representatives for 31 years died Thursday. Richard "Butch" Stewart died at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington Thursday night. He was 63. Mr. Stewart grew up in Frankfort but left to attend Eastern Kentucky University. After college, he became a licensed funeral director and embalmer for Rogers Funeral Home. In 1979, he assumed the role of reading clerk for the Kentucky House of Representatives but maintained his position as funeral director and embalmer. He was a member of the Frankfort Elks Lodge No. 530. Mr. Stewart is survived by his wife, Darlene Stewart, his brother, Bob Stewart and his mother, Mildred Stewart. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Rogers Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

staff, wire reports