Stu Johnson

County clerks across Kentucky are expected to have a busy day Tuesday as citizens cast their ballots for president, congress, the state General Assembly, local governments, and school boards.   Election officials in Richmond, Lexington, and Hazard don’t anticipate any major problems.

Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins says heavy voter turnouts are typical for presidential elections. He’s expecting as many as 75 percent of registered voters in the Lexington area.  Officials in Hazard and Richmond expect about 60 percent.

Stu Johnson

With Election Day finally upon us, it doesn’t take much prodding to get commentary about the presidential race.  That includes those with roots in other nations.

Nana Turkson operates the African and Carribean Market in Lexington’s Eastland Shopping Center.  She has lived in the U.S. for over a decade.  Turkson expects to become a citizen next year. 

EKU Prof Assesses Voters’ Thought Process

Nov 7, 2016

After a long campaign season, Kentucky voters will make their political choices Tuesday. Making their decisions on specific issues like education, health care, defense, social security, and others can be a challenge for some voters. 

Eastern Kentucky University Psychology Professor Matthew Winslow says it’s often all the other information about candidates, especially in this presidential race, that gets a lot of attention. 

Jeff Young/Ohio Valley ReSource

The opioid epidemic is on the agenda for political campaigns from the presidential race down to the local level in the Ohio Valley region. Election Day could shape the response to the crisis in states with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdoses.

Marisa Hempel

A few weeks ago, we had a panel of reporters gives us a preview of this year’s election.  This week, they’ll be back for a post-election reporter’s roundtable.

After the dust of the 2016 election settles, we will discuss the results with the journalists and get feedback from listeners.

Progress is being made in fighting wildland fires in southeastern Kentucky.  As of late Sunday, there were 21 fires burning in nine Kentucky counties. 

Division of Forestry Spokesman Mark Wiedewitsch says, over the last several days, there have been as many as 30 fires.  He expects about 400 firefighters to be working the fires Monday. 

Wiedewitsch says that's a substantial number of people trying to contain the fires, "The state is handling it now with as much of the resource we have available at our fingertips."

Today, Tom Martin talks with Lonny White, chief operations officer at Piramal Pharma Solutions Incorporated-Lexington, formally known as Coldstream Laboratories. The company, part of an international conglomerate, provides sterile drug product development and manufacturing services.

Politics and the election have certainly brought out some comments this week. First, from Mary Pat who commented about the Eastern Standard show on voter values, “The election?...values?...partisan spokespersons to start it off? ....really?!  I had to turn it off. A very lame show with poor conception.”

Despite over 200 firefighters battling wildland fires in some eight Kentucky counties, the effort is expected to continue into next week.

State Division of Forestry Spokesman Mark Wiedewitsch says large fires in Pike County and the Pine Mountain area are contained.  But, he worries sun and wind could result in more new fires today.  Wiedewitsch says overnight rains helped only so much, “It really wasn’t enough.  To really make a dent in it, we really need a good inch or more.”

Lexington city leaders are exploring establishing a youth mentoring program within local government.  It would allow employees paid time to meet with those they are advising.

Copley/Hendren on Weekend Events Including Book Fair

Nov 4, 2016

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 a variety of events, concerts, exhibits and the Kentucky Book Fair.

Ongoing woodland fires across Kentucky are prompting Governor Bevin to declare a statewide emergency.  It means local officials can request state resources in their firefighting efforts.

State forestry officials report more than three dozen wildland fires have burned 3800 acres so far. 

J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

Donald Trump will likely win big in Kentucky on November 8.

The FiveThirtyEight poll aggregator predicts the Republican nominee has a 99.6 percent chance of winning Kentucky’s eight electoral votes.

But what’s still unclear is how his popularity will affect the down ballot, especially in races for the hotly-contested state House of Representatives. Republicans are trying to win a majority in that chamber for the first time in nearly a century.

Face of State Capitol Getting a Makeover

Nov 3, 2016
Stu Johnson

It’s been nearly a half century since the Frankfort home of Kentucky's government got the kind of attention it’s getting this fall as power washing crews tackle the front of the Capitol Building. 

Project Manager Bernie Engelman says this type of thorough cleaning and mortar joint work hasn’t been done for 40 to 50 years. 

He says it’s needed to help protect against weather-related damage,  “If water were to get into the cracks or into the mortar joints, and start getting in there, it could freeze and thaw and pop parts of the limestone off.”

Stu Johnson

More than two dozen Lexington residents chose to experience for one day what being homeless is like.  Included in that group was Lexington Council Member Susan Lamb.

During the noon hour Wednesday Lamb was at Lighthouse Ministries where well over a hundred homeless and low income citizens got lunch.  Lamb participated in the 24-hour “Give Kids a Home” homeless experience and fundraiser.  She slept on the ground downtown and met many homeless people.

Wildland fires in southeastern Kentucky forests involving thousands of acres are keeping firefighters busy this week.  The situation is complicated by the fact that inadequate rainfall is expected to help douse the fires.

State Division of Forestry Assistant Fire Chief Mike Harp says crews are working about twice as many fires compared to this time last year.  Woodland fires in sections of Pine Mountain and Letcher County exceed 1000 acres. 

Kentucky Secretary of State's Office

Kentucky's top election official estimates 60 percent of the state's registered voters will cast ballots on Tuesday.  Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said that's on par with the turnout from the 2012 presidential election.

As he campaigns for a second term in the U.S. House, Lexington Republican Representative Andy Barr is seeking to continue an involvement in politics that stretches back into the 1990’s.  

While in college, he served as an intern for Senator Mitch McConnell. He later worked in former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher’s administration and was first elected to represent Kentucky’s 6th congressional district in 2012.  As he seeks a third two-year term, Barr is being opposed by Democrat Nancy Jo Kemper.

Nancy Jo Kemper has weighed in political issues much of her adult life.  But, her civic activities took a different turn last January when she filed as a Democratic candidate in the Sixth congressional district.  The pastor of nearly 50 years, who’s spoken out on issues like health care and tax reform, abolition of the death penalty, environmental stewardship, and gambling expansion is seeking to unseat Republican Andy Barr. 

Kemper returned to Frankfort last Thursday for the annual Democrats “get out the vote” picnic.

Lexington Pilot Project Focuses on Park Cameras

Nov 2, 2016

Members of a Lexington Council committee are suggesting a pilot camera program for a neighborhood park.

General Government and Social Services Committee members voted 8 to 1 to spend $30,000 for four high resolution cameras to be located in Berry Hill Park on Lexington's South Side.  They are being proposed as a tool to help ensure a safer park environment. 

The Kentucky Humanities Council Tuesday named a new Executive Director.  As WEKU’s John Hingsbergen reports, the new head of the non-profit is a person whose name and face are familiar to many Kentuckians.  

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates met Monday night on statewide television for the only debate of the 2016 campaign. Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Democrat Lexington Mayor Jim Gray appeared together on KET's "Kentucky Tonight.”

Lexington Council to Review Curfew

Oct 31, 2016

Lexington council members will study the city’s 21-year-old curfew law in the months ahead.

Council member Fred Brown has called for an update to the ordinance that requires anyone under 18 to be in by 1:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and 11:00 p.m. the rest of the week.  There are a number of exceptions. 

The Values Behind Your Vote on Eastern Standard

Oct 31, 2016
Marisa Hempel

Have you made up your mind about your vote for the Presidency, the US Senate seat and your representative to the U.S. House?  What about state legislators and county and local races.

On this week’s Eastern Standard, Why are you voting the way you are voting?




One look at the recent arrivals shelf at Carmichael’s Books, in Louisville, and I knew something was up. 


Titles like “White Rage,” “White Trash,” and “The End of White Christian America” were piling up.

“And then this has been the surprise,” Carmichael’s co-owner Michael Boggs said, picking up another hardcover. “This actually hit the Timesbestseller list: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ by J.D. Vance.”

Boggs has been in the book business nearly four decades, so he’s seen publishing trends come and go. This trend is built on something that hits close to home.

John Hingsbergen

Lexington’s annual public celebration of Halloween brought thousands into the city’s downtown Saturday. 

As WEKU’s John Hingsbergen reports, this year marked the 15th annual re-creation of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”  

Listener Clay emailed us, “Please create a pronunciation guidebook for your announcers, primarily containing area street and place names.  Your morning guy continually mispronounces "Tiverton" and "Aristides", street names in Lexington.  But other WEKU announcers also struggle in this area.  Nothing makes an announcer sound more amateurish than continually mispronouncing local names.”

Police on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University are investigating an attempted burglary on campus that caused a campus-wide alert.

EKU officials say the call came in around 2:30 yesterday (Sun) morning of a person trying to break into the Grand Campus apartments at the corner of Lancaster Ave and Barnes Mill Rd.

A safety alert was sent out telling students to stay in place and seek shelter.

A few minutes later, another alert was sent out saying a person tried to break into the apartments with a gun, then threatened to shoot through the door before leaving.

Seth Tuska

A Lexington man’s effort to preserve the artistic legacy of his father got a boost this month with an exhibit in Brooklyn, New York.  As WEKU’S Mary Meehan reports, it’s another step in the 18-year journey of Seth Tuska and a way of taking his father “home.”

Although born in the coal fields of Pennsylvania, John Tuska grew up in New York. The libraries and streets of the city fueled John Tuska’s creative spirit.

Wicked Wonders Art Comes to Lexington for Halloween

Oct 28, 2016
Stu Johnson

Halloween-related events continue to grow in downtown Lexington.  New this weekend will be booths to highlight local artists.

The Wicked Wonders Art Market will join the Farmer’s Market Saturday in Cheapside Park.  Parks and Recreation Cultural Arts Manager Amber Luallen says 15 visual artists will display their works starting at 11:00 a.m.  She says a lot of artists have work that is very in keeping with the Halloween spirit wither either a “spooky feel or whimsical or magical theme.”