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Sheriff: Deaths of couple result of murder-suicide
 Justin Story  / 

The couple whose bodies were found Saturday in the 1000 block of North Hewitt Lane died as the result of an apparent murder-suicide, according to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Stacy W. Smith, 45, of Bowling Green, is believed to have fatally shot his wife, Lorie L. Smith, 48, of Bowling Green, during a domestic dispute Friday before using the same gun to kill himself, a news release from the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives and crime scene processors from the sheriff’s office and Kentucky State Police conducted a joint investigation of the incident.

The sheriff’s office was notified about 9:30 a.m. Saturday of the deaths.

Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said Monday his office had no records of any previous calls from the North Hewitt Lane address that necessitated a response.

An online search of court records revealed no prior reports of domestic violence or emergency protective orders concerning either Stacy W. or Lorie Smith.

Barren River Area Safe Space, a Bowling Green-based organization that offers emergency shelter and other services to victims of domestic violence and their children in the region, admitted 360 people into its shelter during the 2018 fiscal year, according to data from the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. That total represents the third-highest number of admissions among 15 shelters in the state for the year.

During that time, BRASS housed an average of 30 people nightly, according to KCADV.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit

photos by Bruce Schreiner/AP  

Above: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders greets striking telecommunications workers Sunday in Louisville. Sanders spoke to the striking workers before attending a political rally. Below: Sanders speaks in Louisville.

Sanders calls on McConnell to end obstructionism

LOUISVILLE – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday branded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as an obstructionist for blocking Democrats’ efforts on gun laws, election security and the federal minimum wage.

In a speech to cheering supporters in Louisville, Sanders challenged McConnell in his home state to “have the guts” to debate those bills. Accusing McConnell of defending the interests of wealthy campaign donors, Sanders also challenged his Kentucky colleague to “listen to the pain” of his constituents struggling to get by on low-wage jobs.

By lashing out at McConnell, the Vermont senator took aim at the most powerful Republican in Congress and the second-biggest target for national Democrats, behind President Donald Trump. The president easily carried Kentucky in 2016 and remains popular in the state.

But in Sanders’ hard-hitting speech, Trump briefly took a back seat to the Kentucky senator.

“Senator McConnell, it is time for you to end your obstruction,” Sanders said. “It is time for the Senate to do its job and vote.”

McConnell has attached himself to Trump in positioning himself for his 2020 reelection bid. The senator has vowed to bury the House Democrats’ agenda and live up to the nickname that he’s embraced – the “Grim Reaper.”

Sanders touted Democratic measures to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, to enhance gun safety laws and to beef up protection for election systems from outside interference. He said efforts to deal with health care, criminal justice, immigration and the “rigged” tax system have been stymied in the Senate.

“Today I say to Senator McConnell, if you want to vote against any of that legislation, that’s fine,” Sanders said. “You have the right to come back to Kentucky and tell the people why you voted the way you did. But you don’t have the right to stop democracy in the Senate. You don’t have the right to prevent debate and votes on the most important issues facing the working people of this country. Stop your cowardice. Have the guts to debate the issues.”

He also challenged McConnell to allow a Senate debate on environmental legislation meant to curb climate change.

Three weeks after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Sanders urged McConnell to “listen to what the American people want” and not allow the National Rifle Association “to dictate gun policy in this country.”

Congress is on a summer recess, but McConnell has asked Senate committee chairmen to review possible gun bills for consideration when lawmakers return in September.

McConnell has defended his efforts to stymie Russian interference in U.S. elections, saying he helped steer more than $300 million to states to enhance voting systems before the 2018 election.

Some of Sanders’ harshest criticism came while making a pitch for a federal minimum wage increase. He called on McConnell to “stop turning your back” on constituents struggling with low-wage jobs.

“Today here in Louisville, I say to Senator McConnell, stop worrying about your billionaire friends,” Sanders said. “They’re doing just fine. And start worrying about the working families of your state and around this country who are struggling to keep their heads above water.”

Ahead of Sanders’ visit to Kentucky, McConnell’s office referred to a recent op-ed by the senator that denounced the agenda of progressives. The Republican leader referred to the Green New Deal – the sweeping Democratic proposal to combat climate change – and “Medicare for All” as “job-killing” and “dangerous” ideas.

“They would raise your taxes and give the federal government vast control over your life,” he wrote. “That’s why President Trump and I are fighting hard to stop them. As long as I’m Senate majority leader, these socialist schemes will never become law.”

While McConnell’s office didn’t immediately weigh in on Sanders’ speech Sunday, other Republicans came to the senator’s defense.

“Bernie Sanders is running on a platform which would devastate Kentucky: skyrocketing taxes on families and businesses, the elimination of its coal industry and throwing millions off their current health insurance plan,” Republican National Committee spokesman Kevin Knoth said in a statement.

The tongue-lashing from Sanders is part of a turbulent August congressional recess for McConnell. He was heckled at the start of the month at his home state’s annual Fancy Farm political picnic and seemed stung by a nickname his detractors hung on him, “Moscow Mitch.”

The day after the picnic, McConnell fractured his shoulder when he fell at his Louisville home, an injury that later required surgery. Protesters gathered outside his house to demand Senate action on stronger gun laws.

The protest became profanity-laced, and Twitter temporarily shut down his campaign account for posting video of it online. McConnell’s campaign accused the social media giant of hypocrisy, noting that threats against the senator have trended nationally on Twitter.

10 Questions with ... Martha Sales
 Aaron Mudd  / 

Current job title: Executive director of the George and Cynthia Nichols Intercultural Student Engagement Center & WKU TRIO programs.

Hometown: Franklin.

Family members: Shawn Sales (husband), Seth Sales (son) and Kiah Sales (daughter).

The one thing no one knows about me is ... I highly value ALONE time.

My dream job is ... president of a historically black college.

My first job was ... cashier at Save-a-Lot grocery store.

The best advice I ever got was ... trust God.

My heroes (and why) are ... My parents – they taught me how to trust God and loved me unconditionally.

If I could do it all over again, I ... would have saved more money.

The part of my job I could do without is ... those who doubt what we can do together.

The one thing I always carry with me is ... my phone.

The best meal I ever had was ... in Cancun, Mexico.

At the top of my bucket list is ... to go to Vegas – going in September.

Outdoor pickleball courts coming to Griffin Park
 Don Sergent  / 

Pickleball enthusiasts have spoken, and Warren Fiscal Court listened.

On the heels of a feasibility study for an indoor tennis facility that also showed enthusiasm for the arcane sport of pickleball, fiscal court voted Friday to spend $24,600 on transforming one of the outdoor basketball courts at Basil Griffin Park into four pickleball courts.

Reynolds Sealing and Striping will seal and stripe the asphalt to create the area for pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis.

“The feasibility study showed a lot of interest in pickleball,” said Chris Kummer, the county’s parks and recreation director. “It’s a growing sport, and it’s a lot of fun. Now is the right time to offer this opportunity.”

Kummer said adult pickleball leagues have been playing indoors at Living Hope Baptist Church and at the new gymnasiums at Ephram White and Buchanon parks.

Several local pickleball enthusiasts showed up for the fiscal court meeting, and one representative said putting in the outdoor courts will be a good investment.

“I think it will be a fantastic addition to what Warren County already offers,” Doris Scannell said.

Kummer agreed, saying the pickleball courts will give the park on Three Springs Road a more diverse mix of recreational opportunities.

“This is good for our recreational mix at Griffin Park,” he said. “We already have inline hockey, basketball and tennis.”

Kummer said local residents won’t have to wait long to play this growing sport. He thinks Reynolds can finish the striping and sealing with a sport sealant similar to what is on the inline hockey rink in a matter of weeks.

“We’re hoping to get this done in the next 30 days,” Kummer said. “It will be really nice.”

Once the courts are ready, Kummer said the parks and recreation office at Griffin Park will have the paddles and balls used for pickleball available to be checked out.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit