Seven Million Dollar Gift Leads to ‘Named Department’ at UK

Apr 18, 2016

The University of Kentucky’s Department of Biomedical Engineering carries a new name, thanks to a $7 million dollar gift.  The department is named in recognition of UK alumnus Joseph Halcomb.  The gift, announced Monday will add one endowed chair and two endowed fellowships along with fully funded graduate fellowships.  College of Engineering Dean John Walz says this influx of money taps into one of the hottest engineering growth areas.  “Huge advances in fields like medical imaging, drug delivery, prosthesis devices.  And so, it really is at the interface between other engineering discipl

Baffert Pulls 'Cupid' From Ky. Derby

Apr 18, 2016

Trainer Bob Baffert says Kentucky Derby contender Cupid has a breathing problem and won't be entered in the Derby field. 

Baffert's decision came two days after Cupid finished 10th in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. 
Cupid came out of the race with an entrapped epiglottis, and Baffert says the gray colt would have surgery to clear the breathing passageway. 
The issue is not considered serious. Baffert said Cupid "should be OK in a week" and would be under consideration for the Preakness on May 21. 

State Budget Agreement Pleases Land Preservationists

Apr 18, 2016


The state budget adopted by the Kentucky general assembly last week maintains some funding for the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund.  Land preservationists are breathing a sigh of relief.

Focus On Business: Kathy Plomin on "100 Women"

Apr 18, 2016

What can be accomplished in a community when you pool the brainpower and resourcefulness of 100 businesswomen?  We’re about to find out.  Tom Martin talked with former United Way of the Bluegrass President Kathy Plomin, now one of three directors of the organization, “100 Women.”

We start with a call to the WEKU Listener Comment Line, “I have been listening to public radio for over 25 years and I’ve listened to a lot of great stations.  But, I wanted to tell you that WEKU is my favorite public radio station, actually any radio station ever.” 

The caller continues, “I love the thoughtful and interesting talk you have on all day.  I learn things all the time and I am so grateful that you are a presence in our community.”

Prichard Committee Officials Assess State Budget Agreement

Apr 15, 2016


The head of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence would like to see more flexibility in early childhood education spending.  The budget agreement reached in Frankfort maintains education funding for preschool through 12th grade.

Rupp Arena to Use Walk Through Metal Detectors

Apr 15, 2016

Beginning this weekend, a new level of security will be made standard at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.  About a dozen walk-through metal detectors will be in position at various entrances Saturday night for a Christian ‘Outcry’ concert.  Arena Management Director Carl Hall says leaving bags and purses in vehicles can help speed up the security check.  “You come up, the express lanes are marked and you’ll be able to walk right up to the express lanes," Hall said.

CPE Head Assessing State Budget Agreement Impact

Apr 14, 2016

The head of Kentucky’s Council on Post-secondary Education says the compromise state budget will have an effect on every college and university campus in the state.  Leaders from the House and Senate reached a compromise agreement early Thursday morning.  

Kentucky Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal; Over $1 Billion For Pensions

Apr 14, 2016

State lawmakers have come to an agreement on a budget that makes nearly across-the-board spending cuts, enacts performance funding for higher education and puts more money into the ailing state pension systems.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo called it “an adequate and effective blend” of the House, Senate and Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget priorities.

Senate President Robert Stivers said the bill was ready for a vote.

“I believe we have an agreement on all issues related to the budget,” Stivers said.

Kentuckians Are Still Having Trouble Affording Health Care

Apr 13, 2016

Kentucky adults still have a hard time affording health care, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

In 2015, one in five Kentucky adults either didn’t get care or delayed care due to cost, according to the report. That’s down from 2014 and 2009, when 22 percent and 32 percent, respectively, went without needed care due to cost.

Susan Zepeda, president of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said having insurance coverage is a great start, but it doesn’t always get the whole job done.

Midway University to Offer MBA in Bourbon Tourism

Apr 13, 2016


Midway University will begin offering Master of Business Administration courses this fall with a focus on the bourbon industry.  Midway officials believe it’s a unique MBA program.

Fayette PVA Adopting New Ag Classification Procedure

Apr 13, 2016

Fayette County’s Property Valuation Administrator is implementing a new agricultural classification taxation process.  David O’Neall detailed changes before the Lexington council Tuesday.  Current law allows property owners to receive property tax deferment for ten acres or more that’s used for agriculture.  O’Neall says requests must now come from current property owners.  “As properties sell, the new property owner will receive a letter from me saying, essentially, the ag classification is not transferable.  You’ll need to request it if you believe you qualify for it,” said O’Neall

With Budget Talks Near Deadline, Bevin Says No Special Session

Apr 12, 2016

If lawmakers fail to pass a state budget by the end of the legislative session on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin says he won’t call a special legislative session to give them more time.

If a two-year budget doesn’t pass by June 30, the state will be thrown into a partial government shutdown. Nonetheless, Bevin is adamant that he won’t give lawmakers more time.

“I will not reward the inability to do the job that people were sent here for by paying them extra money,” Bevin said. “The job can get done. I believe the job will get done because the job should get done.”

UK Officials Want to Permanently Close Section of Rose Street

Apr 12, 2016


The University of Kentucky is asking Lexington officials to permanently close a portion of Rose Street.  Representatives made their case Tuesday at Lexington City Hall. 

Eastern Standard

The City of Lexington has approved the relocation of its services for homeless persons. While the move has had some opposition from area businesses, the city’s Director of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention sees it as a major step forward, saying it will provide more convenience for service providers and clients and a higher quality of service. 

Homelessness in Central Kentucky is our topic on this week’s Eastern Standard in this encore of a program originally aired on September 24, 2015.


Ky. Attorney General Sues Bevin Over Education Cuts

Apr 11, 2016

Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Monday he has filed suit against Republican Gov. Matt Bevin over the governor’s recent order imposing an immediate 4.5 percent funding cut to state colleges and universities.

The cut amounts to some $41 million in spending reductions from what the General Assembly had agreed to in a previous budget.

Beshear said Bevin’s current-year cuts to higher education violate the separation of powers between the three branches of government and are unconstitutional.

Budget Negotiations Still in Play in Frankfort

Apr 11, 2016

Kentucky House and Senate leaders have announced they will resume budget talks Tuesday and have moved the final day of the legislative session to Friday. 

Lexington City Leaders Eye More Park Cameras

Apr 11, 2016

Lexington’s city council is considering upgrading security at area parks.  It was a topic of discussion during last week’s committee meeting.


There are currently about 50 security cameras at Lexington Parks and Recreation facilities.  Police Lieutenant Mike Wright says cameras can have an effect on crime in any given area.  “It may lower the property crime at that location where the camera is, but citywide stats, it may just displace it to where the cameras aren’t,” said Wright.


Hundreds Expected for 18th Reforest the Bluegrass

Apr 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Hundreds of people are expected to help plant trees this weekend for the 18th Reforest the Bluegrass. Lexington Natural Resources Program Manager John Saylor says 7,000 seedlings are ready to be planted near Interstate 75 in the Deep Springs Greenway.  “It flushes chemicals and stuff into our creeks and streams and our waterways and so trees are our little bio-filters, they’re gonna capture a lot of that for us,” said Saylor.

Weekend Freeze Could Snuff Out Allergies Temporarily

Apr 8, 2016

A family physician in the bluegrass says we shouldn’t think chilly weather will put an end to springtime allergies. 

University of Kentucky doctor Oscar Perez says warmer days to come could bring with them high pollen.  “If you’ve sort of sensitized everybody a little bit to the new pollens and then it drops down some for a couple of weeks because it gets very cold, and then surges back in a couple of weeks or three, then people are going to suffer horribly,” said Perez.

Kentucky University Presidents Meet with Governor Again

Apr 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Kentucky’s public university presidents remain in dialogue with Governor Bevin on funding matters.  College heads met at the governor’s mansion Wednesday evening to discuss the current budget impasse. 

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson says higher education funding was a bargaining chip when he presided over a college in Utah and so it remains in Kentucky.  “So happens this year that it’s a really big chip,” Benson said. “And it’s one that’s kind of, the analogy we use is kind of the ping pong ball getting knocked back and forth.”

Erik Liddell / EKU Chautauquah

This year’s presidential election appears to be one of the most interesting in U.S. history.

While the primaries and caucuses continue, there’s speculation about what might happen at both major party conventions this summer….and who will emerge as Republican and Democratic candidates.

Number of Tax E-filers Trumps Paper Returns in Kentucky

Apr 6, 2016

Officials with the Kentucky Department of Revenue are using safeguards to protect against growing concerns of fraud. Issues at the federal level earlier this year resulted in a break from processing state tax returns in Frankfort. 

Revenue Spokeswoman Pamela Trautner says the department is undergoing intensified reviews called ‘fraud edits.’  “It’s to try to match up information that’s from the return to make sure that that taxpayer and that return clearly is from the taxpayer and not somebody who is trying to file fraudulently,” said Trautner.

Longer Flu Season Expected Across Ky.

Apr 6, 2016

For nine straight weeks, widespread flu activity has been reported across Kentucky.  

State Public Health Deputy Commissioner Kraig Humbaugh says that’s not uncommon.  But, the veteran epidemiologist says the peak period for influenza is later than usual.  “Normally in April we are seeing fewer cases and our activity level is decreasing, but it seems to be sustained through February, March, and now April,” said Humbaugh.

Fewer Kentucky Workers Able To Help With Benefind Problems

Apr 5, 2016

Fewer people are able to help Kentuckians sign up for health insurance through the state exchange and Medicaid now that Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has rolled out Benefind, an umbrella portal for state benefits.

So-called Kynectors — state workers and volunteers tasked with helping Kentuckians navigate the health exchange — said new regulations require them to refer most applicants to the Department of Community Based Services, a state agency that manages Benefind, which has been plagued by confusion and long wait times.

Post Positions Drawn for Bluegrass, Ashland Stakes

Apr 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The 2016 spring meet at Keeneland opens this weekend with two high profile races. Post positions were drawn Tuesday for the Bluegrass and Ashland Stakes. John Servis is the trainer for horse Cathryn Sophia in the $500,000 Ashland Stakes this Saturday, “If she can get the job done here then I think that will certainly give her a lot more confidence going into the Oaks. It will give me a lot more too, I can tell you that.”  

Lexington Mayor Offers $345 Million Spending Plan

Apr 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the $345 million budget he’s recommending is a sign of a healthy and growing city. 

Before Gray even got into the nuts and bolts of his spending plan, he told his council audience there’s good give-and-take.  “We have lively debates and compromise,” Gray said. “We just do it Lexington style.  Like I said earlier, respectfully.”

Lexington Mayor to Unveil Budget Plan

Apr 5, 2016


The first week of April in the bluegrass brings a budget recommendation from the mayor of Kentucky’s second largest city.  As At least one Lexington council member isn’t expecting any major surprises from Mayor Jim Gray.

New EKU Student Group to Hear from Violence Survivors

Apr 4, 2016

A new student-based organization at Eastern Kentucky University is looking to hear from survivors of violence. Organizers of Students Against Violence at EKU, or SAVE, are staging their first meeting Tuesday night. Sierrah Anderson, EKU sponsor for the student group, says it’s about increasing awareness and involving students in changing the campus climate. 

Focus On Business: Vincent Smith on SCORE

Apr 4, 2016

Tom Martin talks with Vincent Smith, chair of the Lexington Chapter of “SCORE,” an organization of volunteer business mentors helping small businesses and startups work through business issues.