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Last week’s collapse of an Interstate 85 bridge in Atlanta will likely affect hundreds of spring break travelers from Kentucky.  State transportation officials are urging motorists to check all traffic routing sources before making the trip through Georgia's capital city.

 

More than 80 Kentucky school districts were scheduled to observe spring break this week.  The I-75 path to Florida is a popular one for many Kentuckians. 

John Hingsbergen

A crowd of about a hundred gathered in Berea Monday to show support for a lesbian couple targeted by vandals.  Organizers also used the event to draw attention to the need for a fairness ordinance in the Madison County community.   


A group of students and other youth is sponsoring meetings in southeastern Kentucky aimed at helping workers move into jobs in technology while staying close to home.  Whitesburg hosted one of the meetings this past weekend.  

The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition is sponsoring the Solution Spotlight sessions. 

Marisa Hempel

The Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up this past week, and not only were there overrides to the Governor’s vetoes, but the new Republican super-majority successfully passed quite a bit of new legislation in what seems to be record time.


On this week’s Eastern Standard, our panel of reporters joins us for a roundtable to discuss all legislative news that occurred in Frankfort this year.

 

We received the following email from listener Betty one morning last week during the WEKU Spring Fund Drive. She wrote, “I thought I ought to let you know, before your pledge day is over, that I had a problem trying to make a donation by phone call before 7 a.m. this morning." 


Lexington Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com - File photo Mark Cornelison

Human rights and LGBTQ advocates are organizing in Berea Monday evening. They’re reacting to  an incident in which a lesbian couple were targeted with graffiti.

Bereans for Fairness and the Madison County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are sponsoring a rally followed by a march to a meeting of the city’s Human Rights Commission.

CVI

When President Donald Trump visited Kentucky for a recent rally he returned to a common theme from his campaign: environmental regulations are job-killers.

“I have already eliminated a devastating anti-coal regulation,” he said, referring to a measure he recently signed overturning a Department of Interior stream protection rule. “And that is just the beginning,” the president continued, pledging to turn the Environmental Protection Agency “from a job killer into a job creator.”

Cheri Lawson

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

 

The state of Arkansas may soon put to death eight convicted murderers in 10 days. The state is executing death warrants at an unprecedented rate because it's supply of one of the drugs that's used for lethal injections is reaching its expiration date. Officials are concerned it won't be available later. Dr. Allen Ault has been a commissioner of corrections in three states, including Georgia, where he presided over five executions. Dr. Ault has written a piece in Time magazine in which he implores the Arkansas government to reconsider its plans for executions. Dr. Ault joins us now from member station WEKU in Lexington, Ky. Dr. Ault, thanks for being with us.

ALLEN AULT: Thank you, sir.

Federal Judge Halts Closing of Kentucky's Last Remaining Abortion Clinic

Mar 31, 2017
Lexington Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com

A federal judge has halted the impending shutdown of the only clinic in Kentucky that performs abortions.

As WEKU’s John Hingsbergen reports, a U.S. District judge issued a restraining order today that prevents state officials from revoking the license of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville. 

Matt Goins, Lexgo.com

It’s time for our weekly chat featuring arts and cultural activities with Rich Copley and Harriett Hendren of the Lexington Herald-Leader.  This week they tell us of a production of the hit musical based on an iconic album by the rock band Green Day.    


lrc.com

Kentucky House lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to override Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of two bills.

As WEKU’s John Hingsbergen reports, the bills concern regulating drones and deciding who gets to spend up to $100 million from a legal settlement with Volkswagen.


Kentucky lawmakers Wednesday wrapped up work on an education bill that would gradually repeal Common Core standards.

As WEKU’s John Hingsbergen reports, it would give school districts more control in how to turn around low-performing schools.   


Trump Undermines Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Mar 29, 2017
Kenn W. Kiser, morgueFile.com

Coal country’s economic woes took center stage at the Environmental Protection Agency as President Donald Trump signed an executive order to undo parts of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy.

The president was flanked by coal workers and industry figures and defenders, such as West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Ohio-based coal operator Bob Murray, filled the room during the signing ceremony. 

In recent years, Lexington’s headlines have been filled with the results of gun violence.

On this week's Eastern Standard, we will be talking about gun violence, live from Lexington City Hall with Mayor Jim Gray and Police Chief Mark Barnard. We will also have Laura Hatfield, Executive Director of Partners for Youth on the show as trends show many gun-related homicides involve young adults.

Focus On Business: Jill Barnett on LEXTRAN

Mar 27, 2017

LEXTRAN, the transit authority in Lexington, Kentucky, recently received funding to purchase a small fleet of battery-powered electric buses and related equipment. Tom Martin discussed the details with LEXTRAN assistant general manager, Jill Barnett.

Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

Danny Ferguson didn’t like what he saw happening in Lincoln County, West Virginia, where he grew up. The downturn in the coal industry had hit hard, and young people had few job options beyond some fast food places.

“We don’t have nothing else for them to be employed,” Ferguson said. “Lincoln County is in bad shape and Coalfield seemed like the only one willing to take a chance in that area.”

Cheri Lawson

Police  in Cincinnati continue to investigate a mass shooting at a  nightclub early Sunday morning  WEKU’s Cheri Lawson reports one person was killed and at least 15 were injured.

Gunfire broke out in the early morning hours inside the Cameo Nightclub in Cincinnati’s East End. Police are looking for more than one shooter. 

Copley/Hendren on 'Translations' at Woodford, Other Events

Mar 24, 2017

It’s time for our weekly chat featuring arts and cultural activities with Rich Copley and Harriett Hendren of the Lexington Herald-Leader.  This week they tell us that, although St. Patrick’s Day is over, Woodford Theatre is opening a very Irish play.  

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

You can find many listings of arts and cultural activities at the events calendar link at WEKU dot FM. 

Lexington council member Jennifer Scutchfield voiced concerns during Tuesday’s work session about repeated panhandling requests directed at one person.  She said she received a call from a citizen who was approached and asked a number of times for assistance.

“If people feel like they’re being intimidated or harassed when they are going from one business to their car or going to a night out for dinner.   You know, we want people to feel welcomed in our city,” said Scutchfield.

'Living With Animals,' Focus of Conference at EKU

Mar 23, 2017

Eastern Kentucky University is hosting its biennial "Living with Animals" conference.  The international conference includes presenters and attendees from countries like Germany, France, Denmark, and Sweden.    

WKYT

2017 started in the Lexington community with an uptick in unemployment.  Lexington’s Finance Commissioner sees no reason to sound an economic alarm. 

The jobless rate for Fayette County jumped almost a percentage point from December to January, going from 3.1 percent to 4 percent. 

Finance Commissioner Bill O’Mara says more study may lend more answers, but he says there’s typically less employment past the holiday period.  Plus more people are likely looking for work.

More than 30 Kentucky county and state prosecutors are undergoing intensive trial advocacy training this week in Lexington.  The Kentucky Prosecutor's Institute is designed for those who've pursued fewer than five trials.

On this week's special edition of the show, we'll hear from: former NPR newscaster Jean Cochran; political correspondent Don Gonyea; science correspondent Joe Palca; and Wait Wait..Don't Tell Me's Peter Sagal.

It's a recorded edition of the show but you don't want to miss it!

Lexington Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com

As "March Madness" continues for many people in the Lexington area, law enforcement officials are gearing up for what could be extensive crowd control this coming weekend.   

The University of Kentucky will battle UCLA in a "Sweet 16" NC double A match-up Friday night.  While both Lexington and UK police have experience in dealing with large numbers, especially students in the State Street area, Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard says growth in housing around campus can contribute to the size of the gatherings. 

Avian Flu Found in Western Ky Poultry Flock

Mar 21, 2017
WKMS, Murray, KY

Federal and state agriculture officials are confirming a case of low pathogenic Avian Flu in a western Kentucky commercial poultry flock. This type of influenza doesn't typically pose a fatal threat to chickens.  

Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert Stout says the presence of low pathogenic avian influenza came from samples taken at a Christian County operation.  

This poultry flu may cause no disease or mild illness.  Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza can cause severe disease with high mortality.  

Lexington Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com

President Donald Trump will be in Louisville, Kentucky Monday  evening.  As Cheri Lawson reports, the trip comes as the president is in what the White House calls ‘sell mode’ for the Republican healthcare bill, with a vote in the House planned for this week.  

Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul has been outspoken in his opposition to the replacement bill because it doesn’t go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats are planning a protest outside Louisville's Freedom Hall.

 

Todd Lappin via Flicker

Note: Some readers may find this subject matter disturbing.

When Beth Jacobs was 16 years old, she needed a ride home. She had missed her bus after work again after promising her father she was responsible enough not to make it a habit. She asked a man she thought was a friend to give her a lift. He offered her a drink from his car’s cup holder. She took a sip and woke up in a parking lot hours later.

The Perry County Adult Drug Court is set to receive $1.3 million in federal support.  The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance will be used to expand treatment services.  The funds are intended to help people who struggle with employment issues, mental health problems or a lack of basic education.

 

Wells says the funds will also provide a peer support specialist, who can relate to what drug court participants are going through. 

President Trump’s first effort at a federal budget calls for elimination of funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission.  The director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College worries, if enacted, the president’s spending plan would have negative impacts on southeastern Kentucky.  

   

The "skinny budgets" offered by first-term presidents often include wish lists of spending requests and basic economic projections.  The Trump proposal includes funding cuts to a number of agencies including the Appalachian Regional Commission. 

We've had a couple of calls to the Listener Comment Line to share this week.

First up, a self-described longtime listener and supporter, choosing to remain anonymous.

“I just wanted to comment about how hard it is for me to contribute since I don’t have Internet. It’s hard for me to reach you when you’re running the advertisements about your “upcoming fund drive or you can go ahead and support the station early even before the fund drive begins. It’s very hard to call in and do that.  Nobody answers.

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