Council Rejects Motion on Streetlight Tax Hike

Aug 17, 2016

Lexington city leaders are beginning the annual process of setting property tax rates for taxpayers.  Once again the issue of paying for streetlights was debated Tuesday at city hall.

There are a number of property tax rates to consider this time of year.  For years, the assessment for city owned streetlights has not kept up with associated costs.  On the first meeting back after a summer break, council members considered a motion to raise rates. 

U.S. Attorney Outlines Overdose-Related Convictions

Aug 16, 2016
Stu Johnson -WEKU News


Attorneys in Lexington’s U.S. Attorney’s Office are noting the importance of minimum sentences for opioid trafficking convictions tied to overdose deaths.  Three convictions in federal court occurred Monday.

John Hingsbergen

As faculty and staff prepare for the Fall Academic Term, Eastern Kentucky University’s President gave his annual convocation address yesterday. Dr. Michael Benson projected an upbeat attitude about the school’s present and future.    

  With students returning to campuses across Kentucky, we’re hearing a new term, “Safe spaces.”  It’s something that began in the area of women’s rights and within the LGBT community and we’re wondering if it will tend to benefit or hinder the development of young people in college.

On this week's show: Matthew P. Winslow, PhD.: EKU Department of Psychology, Marieke Beck-Coon: Senior Program Officer of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and Dr. Meta Mendel-Reyes: Professor of Social Justice Studies at Berea College.

Social Workers to Receive Pay Raises

Aug 15, 2016


More than 37 hundred Kentucky social workers and those in Family Support will see an increase in pay, effective next month.  The $4.8 million appropriation in the current two year state budget also impacts corrections workers.

Flood Warning Signage Going Up in Eastern Kentucky Counties

Aug 15, 2016

10 flood warning signs are being placed in five eastern Kentucky counties.  Funding for the “turn around, don’t drown” signage comes from the National Weather Service.  Road signs have gone up in Bath County.   Jackson Meteorologist Tony Edwards says signs will also be installed in Breathitt, Johnson, Magoffin, and Owsley counties.  He says last year was the deadliest year for flood death in Kentucky  since 1997.  We had ten deaths across the state from flooding and those included deaths in Lee County, Madison County, and Johnson County,” said Edwards.

Here’s an email from Lisa in Berea,  “Hey! It's taken me a while to respond to something I heard during your last fund drive, but here I am now.  I noticed what seemed like a lot of negative comments about the development of the Prairie Home Companion's new format. I disagree." 



Lisa continues, "I like that they are trying something new with a new host. I like that they focused on his strengths and expertise. I hope they will continue to explore ways to do drama, storytelling and comedy, but I appreciate the shift in emphasis.”

Trade has emerged as a potent issue this election season, with the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a flash point in the political debate. The stakes are high for the Ohio Valley region, where thousands of workers and billions of dollars in goods could be affected by the outcome of this trade agreement.  

To learn more, I visited two manufacturing companies in the Bowling Green, Kentucky, area: conveyer-belt maker Span-Tech and auto parts maker Trace Die Cast.

Lynne McNees is vice president of the Lexington-based Associations International and president of one of its nine member organizations, the International Spa Association.  In this week’s Focus on Business, she talks with Tom Martin about the business of serving the many needs of a variety of interests.

Kentucky Schools Offered Opioid Blocker

Aug 15, 2016


With classes underway in many sections of Kentucky, school officials are considering stocking a life-saving drug.  It is being used to reverse the effects of an opioid related overdose.

State Police Crime Lab Opens Doors to Public

Aug 12, 2016

The public got a chance to see criminal forensic work up close this week in Frankfort.  The opportunity was part of ‘Kentucky Forensic Science Week’ 

The Forensic Science Week designation came through a proclamation by Governor Bevin.  Open houses were conducted Wednesday and Thursday at the KSP Central Lab.  State Police Sargent Michael Webb says there is increasing use of DNA evidence in lab work.  “These folks that are doing the DNA analysis are doing some very very critical work and making sure that the correct offender is identified in whatever situation.”

Ride Inspectors Busy Before State Fair

Aug 12, 2016


The Kentucky State Fair is set to open one week from today (next Thursday).  Two tragic amusement ride related incidents in Kansas and Tennessee are causing increased attention to public safety.

On this week's show, the annual summer production of UK Opera Theatre featuring over a dozen showtunes, "A Grand Night for Singing."  So many tunes that we're going to have to do it as a two-part production.   

Join us for Kentucky Summer Stage, Sunday August 14 AND August 21 at 8:00 pm on WEKU.

Crews Work to Re-Rail Train Cars in Falmouth

Aug 11, 2016

A representative of CSX Railroad is offering an apology to Falmouth residents for inconveniences related to Wednesday’s derailment.  24 cars left the track with four containing a hazardous material.  No leaks were found.  CSX Director of Communications Rob Doolittle says a community outreach center is open daily through Friday at eight o clock.  “We are happy to reimburse residents for out of pocket expenses or lost wages or interruption of their businesses that occurred as a result of this derailment.”

John Hingsbergen

Kentucky’s Secretary of State is encouraging eligible voters to register and participate in this year’s general election.  Secretary Alison Lundergran Grimes spoke Thursday at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. 

In addition to the very visible presidential election, every seat of the state’s House of Representatives, half of the Senate and some state Supreme Court races will be on the ballot November 8th.

Students Seek School Governance Spots

Aug 11, 2016
Rachel Belin-Prichard Committee Student Voice Team


As classes begin this week in many Kentucky schools, a student-led organization continues to seek an official role in school governance.  The group’s efforts are reflected in a report released this week.

Cleanup Underway Following Falmouth Derailment

Aug 10, 2016
Screen capture from WKYT-TV

Citizens in the northern Kentucky city of Falmouth are breathing a sigh of relief following a train derailment involving cars that carried hazardous materials. 

A CSX train headed from Cincinnati to Atlanta came off the track Wednesday at mid-morning in the Pendleton County city of 2500.

24 cars derailed, including four containing sulfuric acid.  There were no injuries and CSX Spokeswoman Melanie Cost says there were no hazardous materials released. 

Richard Turner

While Americans have access to the best medical care in the world, some choose to ignore that care, relying on their faith to take care such needs, sometimes with tragic results. On this week’s show we'll discuss the conflict between the religious beliefs of some Americans in Conflict with Modern Medicine.

Emergency officials spent part of the day investigating a train derailment in the central Kentucky town of Falmouth.

The CSX railroad says 24 cars came off the track this morning (Wed).  Four tank cars contained sulfuric acid but the railroad and local officials confirm that none of the hazardous materials were released.

Local officials issued a “shelter in place” order for the area within a half-mile of the derailment.

Governor Creates New Claims Commission

Aug 9, 2016


Governor Matt Bevin has issued an executive order that will consolidate three separate claims boards into a single administrative body. The Governor hopes the new organization will be both more efficient and more cost effective.

The new agency, called the Kentucky Claims Commission, will handle crime victim compensation, tax appeals, and negligence claims against the state.

Kentucky’s Farmers Markets Grow ‘Double Dollars” Program

Aug 9, 2016


The “Double Dollars” program offered through several farmers’ markets across Kentucky is growing.  Word of the expansion came during Tuesday’s celebration of Kentucky Farmers Market Week in Frankfort.

“Double Dollars” allows families receiving government nutritional assistance to double their spending power up to ten dollars daily by shopping at certain farmers markets.  The program began in 20-14 with private backing at six markets. 

Lexington Police Accreditation Hearing Draws Small Crowd

Aug 9, 2016
Stu Johnson-WEKU News

A public meeting in downtown Lexington to solicit comment about the Division of Police attracted a relatively small group of people.  It was all part of a voluntary national accreditation process.

The two assessors, both police representatives from outside Kentucky, heard from five people during the hearing at city hall.  One of them was Don Fishback, who believes citizens might benefit from more information about police training.  “What kind of training do the police go through in high stress situations which is when it seems that things kind of go sideways,” said Fishback.

51fifty at the English language Wikipedia

Beginning this week doctors fighting the region’s opioid addiction crisis will have a little more to work with. The federal government will allow doctors to treat more patients with a drug called Buprenorphine.      

Third Highest Rainfall Average Recorded in July

Aug 8, 2016 2016 flooding

It’s been a damp summer in many portions of Kentucky, particularly during the month of July.  University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Matt Dixon says much of Kentucky averaged almost nine inches of rainfall for the month, while west Kentucky averaged more than a foot of rain.  “Officially, it’s the third wettest July that Kentucky has seen on record.  Now, that record goes back all the way back to 1895.”

Local Expert Weighs in on Rio Attendance

Aug 8, 2016

Amidst issues such as the threat of Zika, theft, and corruption, the Rio 2016 Olympics are officially underway. A local expert has insight as to why many empty seats are attracting attention early on in the troubled city and country hosting the summer games.

Demolishing Case Hall Does not Destroy Memories

Aug 8, 2016
Stu Johnson

What was once women’s dormitory housing thousands of women is now being dismantled.  Case Hall on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus is being torn down amidst floods of memories from those that lived and studied there.

Public Comment Sought in Lexington Police Accreditation

Aug 8, 2016

Lexington citizens will have an opportunity to offer their thoughts about local police Monday night.  It’s all part of the national accreditation process.  The city hall meeting will include members of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.   Sargent Ann Welch is with the Lexington Division of Police.  “We feel like we do have a good relationship with our community and we’re very proud of that.  But again, there’s always room for improvement.  So, that is why we do like the commission come in and review our practices,” said Welch.

GOP Dominates Fancy Farm 2016

Aug 6, 2016

Democrats were heavily outnumbered onstage this year at Fancy Farm, which used to be dominated by the party. Republicans also made up most of the audience, taking a victory lap after a big year politically. 

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear declined his invitation to Fancy Farm this year. Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear wasn’t in attendance either.

During his speech, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin pounced on the opportunity. “Do we really miss papa bear and baby bear up here, spewing their anger?”

Fancy Farm Emcees Try To Keep Peace - Fan the Flames

Aug 5, 2016


In videos of Fancy Farm, the annual political throwdown in southwestern Kentucky, you’ll usually see little white ceiling fans spinning furiously above the speakers, who are all shouting and sweating profusely with their sleeves rolled up.

It’s one of the few events in U.S. politics where speakers address an audience made up of both supporters and opponents.

Unlike a debate, Fancy Farm attendees are allowed to heckle or cheer those on the stage — a practice that organizers, politicians and beyond have tried to limit, to little effect.

Ribbons Cut for Lexington Schools

Aug 5, 2016
Stu Johnson WEKU News

With the start of school fast approaching in Lexington, proud Fayette administrators and parents celebrated two new elementary school ribbon cuttings today.  Student growth is ongoing in the central Kentucky community.

As the Bryan Station High School  Brass Quintet played the national anthem, the school’s JROTC’s cadets raised the Coventry Oak Elementary Flag for the first time.