News

Michael Benson, PhD

It’s been a busy academic on the  campuses of Eastern Kentucky University. One major issue this winter and spring has been the adjustment of university finances to compensate for state budget cuts. 

On this week’s show, we’ll discuss university finances and other issues as we welcome EKU President Michael Benson.

We’ll talk about what’s been going on and his views of the future for the school serving Central and Eastern Kentucky and beyond.

Bernie Sanders Brings His Campaign to Vocal Lexington Crowd

9 hours ago
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    

A raucous crowd greeted Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Wednesday night in Lexington.  His almost hour-long speech was interrupted by loud outbursts throughout.

The opening line by the junior U.S. senator from Vermont set the tone for the political rally, “Are you guys ready for a political revolution?”

Higher Ed Court Case Receives Second Hearing

12 hours ago
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

There was more testimony in Frankfort Wednesday regarding the state attorney general’s lawsuit against the governor.  Attorney General Andy Beshear argued Governor Matt Bevin didn’t have the authority to order funding reductions to the state’s universities earlier this spring.

The governor’s attorney Steve Pitt told Judge Thomas Wingate the chief executive does have the ability to decide how to administer funds.  Afterward both men felt good about a positive ruling. 

Former Deputy Ky. Attorney General to Face State Charges

12 hours ago
ag.ky.gov

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says a former top deputy in his office will face state charges. Tim Longmeyer has already pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge. 

Court documents unsealed Tuesday at the request of the Lexington Herald-Leader show Longmeyer arranged for illegal campaign donations to Beshear's campaign.

Beshear told reporters he’s not ready to say what state charges will be filed against Longmeyer. He expressed appreciation Wednesday to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for its investigation of Longmeyer. 

Ky-based Refuge for Women Expanding

12 hours ago
twitter.com

    A Kentucky-based program working to help sexually-exploited women is expanding.  An awareness and fundraising event for the program occurred last weekend in Lexington.

The-faith based Refuge for Women is described as “aftercare for the trafficked and sexually exploited.”  There are four safe houses in Kentucky. Other programs are forming in states such as Georgia and Illinois. 

Former Pres. Clinton Campaigns for Hilary in Lexington

May 3, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Former President Bill Clinton has laid out his wife’s presidential platform on issues like corporate wealth, health care reform, and clean energy Tuesday in Central Kentucky.  He also hit on a topic near and dear to the hearts of his Lexington supporters, that of the cost of a college education. The two-term president told the crowd of about 400, mostly students, “A college loan is the only loan in America you cannot refinance when interest rates go down.  And that is wrong.”

Lexington Officials Say Homelessness Down

May 2, 2016
wtvq.com

Lexington officials say homelessness in the community has dropped by a quarter since 2014.  The annual “point in time” count conducted each January shows chronic homelessness has been cut in half.  Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Director Charlie Lanter says ongoing efforts need to focus on housing shelter residents. 

He says living in a homeless shelter is still considered homeless, “We’ve really had to put the emphasis on how do we help get people not just off the streets, but also out the shelter and into housing.”

EKU Faculty Task Force to Tackle Funding Cuts

May 2, 2016
libraryscience.edu.edu

Eastern Kentucky University’s effort to deal with state funding reductions includes formation of a “Faculty Efficiency Task Force.”  The issue was discussed during last week’s university Board of Regents meeting. 

Following the April 27 meeting, Faculty Senate Chair Shirley O’Brien wasn’t sure what formation of the task force would involve, saying,  “This has been the first that we’ve discussed it today and I’m waiting to further look for faculty representation and better understand where are efficiency needs are.”

Focus On Business: Rodney Vinegar on Human Resources

May 2, 2016

During his 18-year professional career, Rodney Vinegar has been responsible for recruitment, training, professional development, human resources leadership, and labor relations with such global companies as UBS Investment Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsi and Scripps Network Interactive.  Rodney recently returned from New York to his home state of Kentucky and joined Tom Martin to discuss some HR issues common in today’s workplace.

A listener from Frankfort emailed us with what she called some “observations about the WEKU stream vs. other Kentucky public radio streams.” 

She says, “The broadcast volume is about 30% of what some other stations broadcast. For example, to hear WEKU at the same volume as other stations, I have to put my speakers at 20-30% volume vs. 5-10% for others.” 

WalletHub Study Ranks Kentucky Low in Gambling-Related Issues

May 2, 2016
bustle.com

With the Kentucky Derby just days away, much attention this week will focus on which horse to wager on.  A recently-released national study on gambling ranks Kentucky low in gambling related problems.

The study by the personal finance website WalletHub focused on what the site calls “gambling friendliness” and “gambling problems and treatment.”  Kentucky ranked 43rd overall. 

Chelsea Clinton Campaigns For Hillary In Lexington

Apr 29, 2016
kentucky.com

Ahead of Kentucky’s May 17 Democratic presidential primary, Chelsea Clinton stopped in Lexington on Friday to stump for her mother, Hillary Clinton.

Speaking to about 200 people crowded into Clinton’s storefront field office, the younger Clinton called this year’s presidential election the most important of her lifetime.

“If I think about healthcare or education or our economy or women’s rights, I worry that all of that is currently under threat,” she said.

Walk-In Absentee Voting Opens Statewide

Apr 29, 2016
kentuckycountyclerks.com

Friday marks the required opening day for in-person absentee voting at Kentucky’s county clerk offices.  But, the president of the statewide county clerks association doesn’t expect an increase in foot traffic in her Danville office.

EKU Board Grants Contract Extension for Benson

Apr 29, 2016
president.eku.edu

Eastern Kentucky University’s Board of Regents is extending President Michael Benson’s contract by two years.  The school’s governing board approved the extension Wednesday.

It’s time for our weekly chat featuring weekend arts and cultural events with Rich Copley and Harriett Hendren of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

On their minds this week are performances by comedian Amy Schumer and the postponed show by Hal Holbrook plus some other shows and concerts.

Rich Copley & Harriett Hendren cover arts and culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Lexgo dot com. 

State Dedicates Workers To Cut Benefind Backlog

Apr 28, 2016
Ryland Barton Capitol Reporter

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is bringing 91 field workers from around the state to Frankfort to help deal with the backlog of applications in Benefind, the new umbrella portal for Kentucky’s welfare programs.

Since the February rollout of Benefind, people trying to get benefits have had to deal with long wait times at local Department for Community Based Services offices and over the phone. The system also erroneously sent out notices to some people that their benefits had been canceled.

Olympics Focus at ‘Three Day Event’

Apr 28, 2016
examiner.com

The Kentucky Horse Park is again hosting thousands of equestrian competitors and fans.  The 36th Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event runs through Sunday.  Event Spokesman Marty Bauman says the focus on dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping is even more keen this spring.  “And this year being an Olympic year we have added importance because this event will help determine which horses and riders will ride on the U.S. team at the Olympic Games at Rio this summer.”

EKU Board of Regents Acts on Budget Reductions

Apr 28, 2016
eku.edu

    Eastern Kentucky University officials are implementing short and long-term strategies to help cope with state funding reductions.  It was a day-long task for the school’s governing board.

The EKU Board of Regents backed reducing the tuition waiver benefit and modifying the school’s cell phone policy for employees plus shortening the vacation accrual time benefit for workers who leave the university. 

Bevin Vetoes 7 More Bills, Including Parts Of State Budget

Apr 28, 2016
courier-journal.com

Gov. Matt Bevin has issued seven more vetoes, delaying a free community college scholarship program, cutting out parts of the state budget and killing a new driver’s license bill.

Bevin has now vetoed all or part of 14 bills in the wake of his first legislative session as governor.

“Today’s action will create economic opportunity and provide benefits to generations for years to come,” Bevin said in a statement.

Northern Ky. Police Target ‘Rush Hour’ Heroin

Apr 27, 2016
cincinnati.com

The Fort Thomas Police Department is running what it terms a "heroin rush hour" enforcement program. 

The anti-drug unit, comprised of three northern Kentucky officers, is tasked with working to get heroin-affected drivers off highways. 

Ky. Ranks Above Average in Health Emergency Preparedness

Apr 27, 2016
whitleycountyhealthdepartment.com

    

Kentucky is one of 18 states scoring above the national average when it comes to preparedness for health-related emergencies.  The national index program is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Measures like flu vaccination rates, number of hospitals, and presence of food inspection programs are all used in charting the National Health Security Preparedness Index. 

answersingenesis.org

A battle over a Kentucky tax incentive for a religious theme park featuring Noah's Ark has ended in a win for the big boat. A state tourism board this week approved a sales tax rebate incentive worth about $18 million for the 510-foot long Ark Encounter attraction.               

Kentucky officials in 2014 withdrew the project from the incentive program, which rebates a portion of sales tax collected by a tourist attraction.

State officials at the time said the incentive would be funding "religious indoctrination."

Richmond Commission Candidates Debate Issues from Safety to Parks

Apr 26, 2016
city-data.com

Five candidates for Richmond city commission participated in a debate at Eastern Kentucky University Monday night.  The event, which was streamed “live” on YouTube, began with questions about downtown revitalization. 

Incumbent commissioner Jason Morgan believes there are possibilities for the historic yet long-vacant Glyndon Hotel,  “We can have Eastern rent out some space for college kids and have flats and then have the first floor as retail business.”

Lexington Needle Exchange Offers Referral Counseling

Apr 26, 2016
wkyt.com

Lexington’s needle exchange program is adding an on-site rehabilitation referral service beginning this Friday.

The Fayette County Health Department’s needle exchange program runs every Friday afternoon.  Starting this week, Substance Abuse and Violence Intervention Program Administrator Amy Baker will be available from 1:30 to 3:30 on Fridays. 

kentuckytourism.com

Businesses in a southern Kentucky tourist-rich area are hoping a National Park Service report released this week is an indicator of a strong upcoming summer season.  That report showed visitors to the state’s national parks spent over $113 million in the Commonwealth last year. 

Adam Phillips is McCreary County’s Tourism Director.  He says the area recently had a large trail race that had over 400 racers and others who accompanied them. “Obviously,” said Phillips, “That got us kind of off to a good start as far as the spring season goes.”

  WEKU joined the Richmond Register, The Downtown Richmond Association and the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Government in hosting an early debate among candidates for Richmond City Commission Monday evening, April 25.  The program was streamed "live" on YouTube  and will be repeated in its entirety as a special edition of our show.

WEKU is joining the Richmond Register, The Downtown Richmond Association and the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Government in hosting an early debate among candidates for Richmond City Commission Monday evening, April 25.

Helping the Homeless, Focus of Lexington Awareness Campaign

Apr 25, 2016
kentucky.com

A public awareness campaign on the best ways to help homeless persons is in the early stages of development in Lexington.  The campaign begins with a recommendation to not give cash to street corner solicitors.

Lexington Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Director Charlie Lanter says giving money can be a way of supporting a drug or alcohol addiction.  Lanter says such well-intended generosity can also serve to undermine existing agencies assisting the homeless.  “Giving them cash may actually be keeping them on the streets,” says Lanter.

East Ky. Leadership Conference Looks at Reshaping Regional Economy

Apr 25, 2016
lanereport,com

This week’s East Kentucky Leadership Conference will continue the discussion about redefining the Appalachian economy.   Sessions Thursday and Friday in Morehead will cover topics ranging from broadband to 3D printing and drones. 

Eastern Kentucky University Regional Stewardship Coordinator Melissa Newman says the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative is causing some introspection, “Because our economy is not just regional any more, it is becoming global.”  Newman emphasizes that there’s a need to consider new ideas and see what’s working and what’s not working.

We begin with a call to the listener comment line from Phyllis from Prestonsburg.  She's responding to a request for comments about the changes underway with A Prairie Home Companion now that Garrison Keillor is getting ready to retire, “I'm heartbroken that Garrison Keillor is leaving.  My opinion on the replacement is still not formed yet but, when I heard the replacement host and program, it just wasn’t the same.   

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