Kentucky to open more offices to issue Real ID licenses

FRANKFORT — Kentucky will ramp up its Real ID program by opening more regional offices to issue the special licenses many people will need to board domestic flights, state lawmakers were told Monday.

In a race against a looming deadline, the state has opened four regional offices — in Frankfort, Bowling Green, Paducah and Somerset — to issue Real ID licenses. The state is “on the cusp” of opening three or four more offices in coming weeks, with more to open after that, said Sarah Jackson, who recently assumed the role as Real ID project manager.

“I feel very confident that a large number, if not all, of those 12 or 14 offices are going to be open by late spring, early summer, if not sooner,” Jackson told a House budget review subcommittee.

Kentucky lagged behind many other states in complying with a federal travel law passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005, requiring states to upgrade the security of driver’s licenses.

Pressed about the state’s timetable, Jackson said: “I am very confident that those who want a real ID will be able to obtain a Real ID before the enforcement deadline of Oct. 1.”

Event to salute African American contributions to military

FRANKFORT — A black history month celebration at the Kentucky Capitol on Tuesday will highlight contributions that African Americans have made to the U.S. military and the nation’s defense.

The event is being hosted by the Black Legislative Caucus. It will include a special award presentation by Gov. Andy Beshear, remarks by legislative leaders and a keynote speech by Navy veteran Charles Blatcher III, who is chairman of the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations.

“We’re eager to share stories of heroism and show appreciation for African Americans who served our nation throughout its history,” said Rep. Reginald Meeks, Chairman of the Black Legislative Caucus.

Sen. Gerald Neal, a member of the Black Legislative Caucus, said the event will pay tribute to national heroes.

“African Americans have played pivotal roles in our nation’s military history all the way back to the American Revolution,” Neal said. “We want to salute their service and share stories of their service and sacrifice.”

The event begins at 11:30 a.m. and is open to the public.

Woman, great-grandson die in Kentucky house fire

HOPKINSVILLE — A western Kentucky woman and her great-grandson died in a weekend house fire, officials said.

Crews responded late Saturday to reports of heavy fire and smoke at home in Hopkinsville, fire Capt. Michael Pendleton told the Kentucky New Era.

The victims were identified as Alvin Davidson, 10, and Martha Anne Harris, 87, Christian County Coroner Scott Daniel said. He said it appears both died of smoke inhalation.

“They were both in the back bedroom,” he said. “The fire appears to have started in the front of house living room.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Pendleton said.

Associated Press

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