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Man suspected of killing cousin arrested in Indiana
 Justin Story  / 

A man accused of killing his cousin Thursday was located in Indiana later in the day and is now in custody.

Mach Sar, 35, of Elkhart, Ind., is charged with murder in the death of Somrhut Phan, 29, of Bowling Green.

Sar’s arrest was announced after 9 p.m. Thursday by the Bowling Green Police Department in a social media post.

Police were called about 5:05 a.m. Thursday to Wheel Mobile Home Park, 436 Dishman Lane, Lot 50, regarding a disturbance.

Phan was found dead inside the residence. Police haven’t released a manner of death.

BGPD spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said the homicide occurred inside the residence, and interviews with witnesses at the scene enabled investigators to develop Sar as a suspect.

“We have no reason to believe this is anything other than an isolated incident,” Ward said.

Detectives believe Sar left the scene with a woman and urged the public to look for a silver 2007 Suzuki XL7 with the Indiana license plate number 114RCN and damage to the back of the vehicle.

Within hours of arriving at the scene, an arrest warrant was issued for Sar charging him with murder.

Thursday’s homicide is the second criminal death investigation in as many weeks for the BGPD.

Two people were shot and killed Jan. 24 outside O’Charley’s restaurant on Scottsville Road.

Police arrested Terry Stice II, 44, of Bowling Green, on two counts of attempted murder and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. Stice is accused of firing multiple shots at an SUV that drove away from the scene.

Additional charges may be brought against Stice when the case is presented to a grand jury.

In a separate incident Wednesday, two men were hospitalized after an apparent argument at a Rock Creek Drive apartment. One man was stabbed and located on Rock Creek Drive and the other found by police on West 13th Avenue with a gunshot wound.

Criminal charges are anticipated in that case.

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

Indiana Tech moves into Stadium Park Plaza
 Aaron Mudd  / 

“Some college, no degree.” It’s a label that applies to about 36 million Americans who possess some postsecondary education but aren’t currently enrolled in college.

It’s also a population that Indiana Tech, a not-for-profit university based in Fort Wayne, Ind., is hoping to serve by opening a location at Stadium Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green.

“We started as a college that was serving the needs of our community,” Indiana Tech President Karl Einolf said during a grand opening event Thursday, referring to the university’s roots as an engineering school that opened in 1930.

It now offers career-focused undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in business, criminal justice, information technology, health care administration, engineering, psychology and more, mainly through online courses.

“We serve students where their needs are,” Einolf said, describing Indiana Tech’s aim to get plugged into the workforce demands of Bowling Green’s local economy. “We want to know what employers need. We want to know what students need.”

Boasting 18 regional locations across Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky and about 9,000 students, Indiana Tech blends online course offerings with the support brick-and-mortar locations can offer.

While most classes are online, it does also offer on-site evening and weekend classes.

The Bowling Green campus is the third location the school has opened in the state, behind others in Louisville and Fort Wright in northern Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati.

With views overlooking Bowling Green Ballpark, the roughly 4,000-square-foot space on the third floor of Stadium Park Plaza features classroom, computer, office and conference room space. Representatives said the space could be used by local businesses when classes are not in session.

Indiana Tech representatives estimated the Bowling Green campus has already drawn a few dozen students, with classes starting this month.

The school is making plays to attract students, from a 20 percent discount it offers to employees at AFNI, to a matriculation agreement it’s negotiating with Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Christy Biggs, a human resources coordinator for AFNI, said during the event that she was inspired to go back to school and pursue her bachelor’s degree after learning of the discount.

“I’m grateful for them being in Bowling Green, and I’m looking forward to being an alumni,” Biggs told a crowd of attendees, which included several local elected officials.

“Bowling Green is a natural next step for us,” Einolf said in an interview following the event.

Despite the presence of SKYCTC and Western Kentucky University, Einolf said the educational needs of working adults seeking to finish their degrees still aren’t being fully met.

“We definitely see that need here,” he said.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

Trump trial could end soon; Alexander says no to witnesses

WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee will oppose calling more witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, all but dashing Democratic efforts to hear more testimony and pushing the Senate toward a vote to acquit Trump as soon as Friday.

A vote on witnesses, which is expected Friday, could lead to an abrupt end and assured acquittal in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. Trump was pressing for action in time for his State of the Union address, and that now seems likely.

As the Senate adjourned late Thursday, it set the date for Tuesday night’s speech.

Despite the Democrats’ push for more witnesses after revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, the numbers are now falling short. It would take four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats to demand more testimony.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

Alexander said in a statement late Thursday there was “no need for more evidence,” giving the Trump team the likelihood of a Senate vote in its direction.

The House impeached Trump last month on charges that he abused his power, jeopardizing Ukraine and U.S.-Ukraine relations. Democrats said Trump asked the vulnerable ally to investigate Joe Biden and debunked theories of 2016 election interference, withholding American security aid to the country as it battled Russia at its border. The second article of impeachment said Trump then obstructed the House probe in a way that threatened the nation’s three-branch system of checks and balances.

Before Alexander’s statement, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said late Thursday she would vote to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial, briefly raising Democrats’ hopes for a breakthrough.

But Alexander minutes later said that “there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the U.S. Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.”

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation,” Alexander said.

But, he said, “the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”

Collins, Alexander and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska played an outsized role in the final hours of debate with pointed questions. Another Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, made clear he will vote for witnesses.

Murkowski was expected to announce her decision Friday, ahead of voting.

Democrats built pressure on senators for testimony, but Trump’s lawyers argued it would take too long as they sped forward, even after Bolton’s account of Trump’s actions detailed in a forthcoming book brought uncertainty.

Bolton’s forthcoming book contends he heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump denies saying such a thing.

Thursday’s testimony included soaring pleas to the senators-as-jurors who will decide Trump’s fate, to either stop a president who Democrats claim has tried to cheat in the upcoming election and will again, or to shut down impeachment proceedings that Republicans insist were never more than a partisan attack.

“Let’s give the country a trial they can be proud of,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor for House Democrats. He offered to take just one week for depositions of new witnesses.

Trump attorney Eric Herschmann declared the Democrats are only prosecuting the president because they can’t beat him in 2020.

“We trust the American people to decide who should be our president,” Herschmann said. “Enough is Enough. Stop all of this.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was toiling to keep Friday’s vote on schedule even as the trial was unearthing fresh evidence from Bolton’s book and raising alarms among Democrats and some Republicans about a Trump attorney’s controversial defense.

In a day-after tweet, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, complained about the portrayal of his Wednesday night testimony when he said a president is essentially immune from impeachment if he believes his actions to be in the “national interest.”

That idea frustrated some inside the White House, who felt Dershowitz’s claim was unnecessary and inflammatory – irking senators with a controversial claim of vast executive powers. But those officials left it to Dershowitz to back away, wary that any public White House retreat would be viewed poorly by the president.

“I said nothing like that,” the retired professor tweeted Thursday.

His words Wednesday night: “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected is in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

The president has argued repeatedly that his dealings with Ukraine have been “perfect.”

Republicans Collins, Romney and Murkowski all have expressed interest in hearing from Bolton and the others in the trial and captivated attention during the final hours of questions.

Murkowski drew a reaction when she asked simply: “Why should this body not call Ambassador Bolton?”

Alexander, who was influenced by the late Howard Baker – who broke with his party over Richard Nixon – also captured attention when he questioned partisanship in the proceedings thus far.

In response to Alexander and others, Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a House prosecutor, told the senators the Nixon impeachment also started as a partisan inquiry before a bipartisan consensus emerged. She told them while the House acted on party lines against Trump, the Senate – “the greatest deliberative body on the planet’’ – has a new opportunity.

Alexander is also close allies with McConnell, and after his question Thursday night he consulted with a key staff aide to the leader. As the senators broke for dinner, Alexander and Murkowski met privately.

Senators dispatched more than 100 queries over two days. The questions came from the parties’ leaders, the senators running for the Democratic nomination against Trump and even bipartisan coalitions from both sides of the aisle.

Turnout for broadband meeting bodes well for expansion
 Don Sergent  / 

The packed bleachers in the Phil Moore Park gymnasium and the spillover crowd in an adjacent conference room Thursday evening were enough to put a smile on the face of Johnny McClanahan.

“This turnout exceeded our expectations,” said McClanahan, president and CEO of Lafayette, Tenn.-based North Central Telephone Cooperative, as he surveyed the 300 or so Warren Countians who turned out for an informational meeting on the plans of NCTC and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. to bring broadband internet service to a “pilot project” area in and around the Boyce community.

The meeting was designed to provide information to residents in the September Lakes subdivision and the Boyce area about the timetable and costs of the rollout of internet service with speeds of up to one gigabit per second.

It also provided some useful information to McClanhan.

“I think we’re going to be successful,” he said. “Based on the turnout tonight, chances are good that we can roll it out to other areas of the county.”

McClanahan noted that even before Thursday’s meeting, the response to NCTC’s entry into Warren County had been positive.

“Several hundred people have already gone to our website and said they would sign up for our service,” he said. “We’ve had people who aren’t even in the test area sign up.”

That hunger for broadband service was evident in the response of “pilot project” area residents such as Cory Glass.

“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Glass, who lives on Mount Lebanon Road in the Alvaton area. “I have DSL (digital subscriber line) internet at my house, so anything will be an upgrade.”

Glass and others in his part of the county learned Thursday what that upgrade will cost.

Piggybacking off fiber optic cable run by WRECC, NCTC will offer four levels of internet service: 100-megabit for $64.95 per month, 300-megabit for $74.95, 500-megabit for $84.95 and one-gigabit for $94.95.

NCTC, which signed in 2017 a franchise agreement to provide internet service in Warren County and has already started servicing Alvaton’s Drakes Ridge subdivision and other areas along the Scottsville Road corridor, is also offering telephone service for $34.95 a month.

Dozens of those at Thursday’s meeting signed up for the service, taking advantage of discounts being offered by NCTC. The company waived the $75 installation cost for those who signed up for the one-gigabit service Thursday.

Ron Cummings, Sixth District magistrate on Warren Fiscal Court, said the interest in NCTC’s service is no surprise.

“For every call I’ve gotten from people in the pilot area, I’ve probably gotten 20 from people outside that area,” Cummings said. “There’s a lot of interest.”

Cummings would like to see the service extended beyond the pilot area, but McClanahan said the “take rate” – or percentage of homes signing up for the service – will determine if it goes further.

“We’d like to get to 60 percent of the homes taking it,” he said during an October 2019 event when the NCTC-WRECC partnership was announced.

NCTC is already putting some infrastructure in place to prepare for a broader rollout, making plans to put a Fiber Optics Electronic Hut next to the Alvaton Volunteer Fire Department near Scottsville Road.

That hut, NCTC Marketing Manager Amy Phelps said, “puts us closer to the pilot area and any future expansion if the project is successful.”

The prospects for success could be affected by an added expense for some potential customers that was revealed Thursday.

WRECC’s build-out plan for the pilot project has been broken down into seven categories, based on the amount of fiber needed to reach individual homes.

Homes in some of those categories will be required to pay an “aid-to-construction” fee. For the first six categories, the fee will range from zero to $1,115, according to an information sheet provided at the meeting.

The seventh category is for “unusually long installations” and will require an individual cost estimate.

“One of the key challenges is that there aren’t enough customers per mile to cover the cost in some areas,” said Butch Massey, WRECC’s vice president of engineering and operations.

According to the information sheet, 63 percent of the homes in the pilot area will have an aid-to-construction cost of $100 or less. Those with a fee of $250 or more will have the option of breaking it up into monthly payments.

Massey said construction of lines to the September Lakes area will begin in February, and NCTC should start connecting customers in March.

Total construction in the pilot area is expected to be completed in June.

– More information and updates on progress can be found at the fiberforwarren.com website.

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

Mach Sar