Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers are being asked to make significant changes in the state’s criminal justice system. Much of the formal capitol rotunda announcement Tuesday focused on ways to reduce prison populations and save taxpayer dollars.

The Kentucky Association of Food Banks will benefit from a $10,000 grant from the S.L. Gimbel Foundation, a component fund of the California based “Community Foundation.” 

Association Programs Coordinator Sarah Vaughn says the money will help get produce from farms to hungry citizens in need. “We’re required by law to pay below wholesale prices to farmers, but the money that they receive is supposed to help to cover the cost of picking, packing, and transporting the produce to the food banks,” said Vaughn.


Gov. Matt Bevin has filed a lawsuit in response to a legal challenge over Kentucky’s new Medicaid work requirement.

Kentucky is the first state in the country to require people to work or volunteer in order to keep Medicaid benefits.


Record Breaking Warmth Possible This Month

20 hours ago
Stu Johnson

A warm period in February could break more than one record this week in the bluegrass state.  It’s too soon to say if these unseasonable conditions will affect crop growing farmers this spring.

Kentucky Health Exchange Defied Dire Predictions

Feb 19, 2018

The dire predictions of how the Kentucky Health Exchange would be impacted by a shortened enrollment period turned out to be wrong.

Some experts said enrollments could drop by as much as 30 percent, said John Watkins, the acting director of the Kentucy Health Exchange.

Instead, Kentucky was one of only two states in the country to see a double-digit rise in the number of folks obtaining health coverage.

He says his team implemented streamlined outreach using social media tools like texting.

Focus On Business: Tim Guthrie on Base 1-10

Feb 19, 2018

Today, Tom Martin talks with Tim Guthrie of Lexington's Base 1-10 about the growth of shared workspaces, an answer to the isolation of being among the growing number of independent contractors in today's economy.

Tim Guthrie will be Tom Martin's guest on the next Eastern Standard program, Thursday morning at 11 on WEKU.

Aaron Payne/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 Social Autopsy

RAHUL GUPTA: If you have heart disease or you may be at risk of having heart disease there are a lot of risk factors. The doctor might often say you’re a walking heart attack about to happen and we need to do a set of things to lower your risk for that event

Senate Resolution on Pornography Introduced

Feb 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

A Kentucky senator has introduced a resolution recognizing pornography as a “public health crisis.”  The resolution wording, brought by Greensburg Senator David Givens, also acknowledges the need for education on the harmful effects of pornography. 

Pipeline Safety Measure Advances in Kentucky Senate

Feb 19, 2018

Officials with Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet are asking lawmakers to bring the state in line with the federal government when it comes to pipeline safety.  A senate panel last week backed such legislation.

State Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely says the measure updates the state’s penalty process to match that of the federal government.  There is also language in the bill related to service interruption when digging cuts into pipes.

Another rainy weekend is probably the last thing residents in some nine southeast Kentucky counties want to see.  Citizens in counties like Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Knot, and Knox are still trying to recover from last weekend’s five inches of rain that came down in just 24 hours. 

Jackson Weather Service Meteorologist Kevin Sullivan says, at this point, no additional flooding is anticipated this weekend.  But, he admits, it wouldn’t take much slow moving rain to cause concern.

A popular TV cooking competition is coming to the commonwealth.

Bravo has announced that its next season of “Top Chef” will be filmed in Kentucky.

The show will focus on locations in Louisville, Lexington, and the Lake Cumberland region.

Bravo says filming will begin this spring, with the season airing later this year.

The network is still accepting applications from chefs to compete on the program.

Interested in showing off your culinary chops? Here is a link to the application.

Stu Johnson

Kentucky’s “home bakers” won a victory in a legislative committee in Frankfort Thursday.  If the vote in the House Health and Family Services Committee is any indication, these bakers should be able to keep the ovens on.

Lawmakers Consider Bill That Raises Marriage Age In Kentucky

Feb 16, 2018

Kentuckians wouldn’t be able to get married until they’re 18 years old, under a bill being considered by the state legislature.

Currently, Kentuckians can get married when they’re 16 if they have permission from their parents. Women can get married at younger ages if they’re pregnant — there is no lower limit.


Mental Health Advocates Rally at Kentucky Capitol

Feb 15, 2018
Stu Johnson

Advocates for mentally ill in Kentucky are lobbying to make those with serious mental illness ineligible for the death penalty.  Kentucky representatives for the National Alliance on Mental Illness staged a rally Thursday in Frankfort.

A central Kentucky lawmaker says he’s working to modify legislation which would allow so called ‘armed marshals’ at schools.  Paris Senator Steve West considered the initial filing proposal a ‘starting point’.  

West says re-working the measure could address concerns about proper training. “Right now I’m working on the training component, so I want to see that tightened down.  Make sure whoever is in these schools has the proper training.  We’re looking at studies.  We’re looking at all types of options,” said West.

Kentucky should establish an independent commission that oversees the state’s redistricting process, according to a new report from the Kentucky League of Women Voters.

Currently, state lawmakers have the power to draw new boundaries for legislative and congressional districts at least once every 10 years.

Moms Demand Action Rally Comes to State Capitol

Feb 14, 2018
Stu Johnson

Red clad men and women gathered in the Frankfort Capitol Rotunda Wednesday, voicing concerns about gun violence.  Rally participants met with lawmakers lobbying against some already-filed legislation.

Connie Coartney with Kentucky’s chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense led the event, which featured a number of family victims of gun violence. “We refuse to believe that nothing can be done.  We refuse to give up,” Coartney said to an applauding rally crowd.

Fracking Waste Disposal: Still A Hot Mess

Feb 14, 2018
Bill Hughes

The slogan for Estill County is “where the bluegrass kisses the mountains.” But since 2015 the county, population 15,000, is widely known as the place where radioactive material generated by the oil and gas industry in a process known as fracking was dumped near some schools.

New Pension Bill Expected to Be Dropped This Week

Feb 14, 2018
Stu Johnson

Republican leaders of the state legislature say a new proposal to overhaul the state’s public retirement systems will be unveiled later this week.

The toll of winter-time freezing and thawing on area roads is making itself seen and felt throughout the Commonwealth.  Potholes are popping up along interstates and secondary roads at this time of year. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Public Affairs Director Naitore Djigbenou says it’s been an active season of freezing and thawing within the pavement. “This year has definitely been a harsher winter than the previous year, so anecdotally yes we’ve seen more potholes.  We’ll be able to know that conclusively at the end of our snow and ice season,” said Djigbenou.

Stu Johnson

Legislation to codify a current state regulation on how many retail alcohol sales outlets locate in a wet city or county is headed to the full senate.  The matter attracted much attention in the Senate Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee.

Kentucky university leaders continue to remind lawmakers of the significance of their academic programs while hoping for some relief from significant budget cuts.  A veteran lawmaker believes some better funding news could come in the final budget. Kentucky university leaders continue to remind lawmakers of the significance of their academic programs while hoping for some relief from significant budget cuts.  A veteran lawmaker believes some better funding news could come in the final budget. 

Southeast Kentucky Communities Weigh Flood Damage

Feb 12, 2018

Citizens in nine southeast Kentucky counties are beginning to assess the impact of widespread weekend flooding.  Damage estimates may available by midweek.

Five inches of rain fell over a 24 hour period in portions of  Kentucky.  One of the harder hit counties was Harlan.  County Judge Dan Mosely estimates water got into more than ten homes.  He says residents of the Tremont community were affected. “Basically the tile that goes from a community to the river, the water couldn’t get out because the water was so high,” said Mosely  “And, it create like a dam affect.”

Mary Meehan

There is a fundamental disagreement over how radioactive waste at an Estill County landfill should be handled.  

Resident Mary Farmer spoke at Tuesday’s press conference at the Estill County Fair Grounds. She says Advanced Disposal knew it was placing citizens at risk by bringing the material into the county.  Farmer says the landfill operator should be responsible for taking it out.


As the country struggles through one of the worst flu seasons in a decade, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is offering free flu shots as there have already been nearly 5,300 flu cases across the Commonwealth, including 102 deaths.

Health department spokesman Kevin Hall says although flu season peaks in February, cases pop up as late as April or May. So it’s not too late to minimize exposure.

Meeting Planned On Radioactive Dumping In Irvine

Feb 9, 2018
Google Earth

A citizen's group will hold a public meeting Monday to discuss the proposal  from state environmental officials  for cleaning up radioactive waste dumped in an Estill County landfill in 2015. 

Members of Concerned Citizens of Estill County will explain their preferred methods of dealing with the waste at the Blue Ridge Landfill and answer questions.

Second Chance Employment

Feb 9, 2018

Join our new host, Tom Martin as he discusses the hardships of finding gainful employment for anyone with a criminal record, or disability, and the companies that are available to help in that process. With him in studio is David Boggs the President and CEO of O.W.L. (Opportunities for Work and Learning), and on the phone with Robert Perez, owner and operator of DV8 Kitchen in Lexington. 

This week on Eastern Standard, Second Chance Employment. Aired Thursday, 02-08-2018, rebroadcast Sunday , 02-11-2018.

Another weekly news conference on a proposed dollar increase in the state’s cigarette tax was held Thursday at the state capitol.  The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has been sponsoring a series of events, designed to raise awareness about the tax proposal.  Speakers this week talked about the high percentage of people with mental illness who smoke.  

Ramona Johnson is CEO of Bridgehaven Mental Health Services in Louisville. “Helping them to break that addiction and stop smoking then gives them some disposable income that they’ve not had before,” said Johnson.

A Kentucky House panel has reviewed state tax credits tied to private investments for businesses in the Commonwealth. A leading state economic official also spoke of future business growth   in eastern Kentucky.

The agenda item pointed to discussion about the so called “angel” investor program, and modifications found in legislation filed this session. 

Deal Keeps Cats At Rupp Through 2033

Feb 8, 2018

A deal signed today insures that the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team will be playing at Rupp Arena through the 2033 season.

The agreement was signed today by Lexington Center Corporation and university officials. It details that Big Blue Madness, Blue/White Games, some women’s basketball games and Winter and Spring Commencements will also be at the downtown arena.