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12:12pm

Thu August 18, 2011
Statehouse News

International Attention on State Website

Gov. Steve Beshear’s nationally recognized e-transparency website, Open Door, is serving as a model not just for other states, but also for international journalists and government leaders. Nineteen media professionals from Africa will meet Thursday with representatives from the Finance and Administration Cabinet to learn about the searchable portal that enables taxpayers to explore how government money is being spent.

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11:25am

Thu August 18, 2011
Education

Head Start Funding Worries

Parents and educators involved in Kentucky’s Head Start program are watching Washington warily.  The federally-funded pre-school program could lose funding if Congress cannot agree on a budget reduction plan.  If there’s no deal, Kentucky Head Start executive director Bob Wilcher says it would mean a serious cutbacks.

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10:50am

Thu August 18, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Kentucky Among Worst in Coal Ash Handling

A new study faults Kentucky regulators for their lax oversight of coal ash.  There are more than nine million tons of coal ash generated in Kentucky every year. The ash, left over after coal is burned, is stored in ash ponds and dry landfills. The report says the combination of lots of ash and little regulation earns Kentucky the rank of the fifth worst in the United States.

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10:43am

Thu August 18, 2011
All Politics are Local

Williams Won't Hire New Campaign Manager

A week after his campaign manager quit, Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams announced plans to move forward with a committee of consultants for the remainder of the race.  Last week, Luke Marchant, who joined the campaign in May to help garner Tea Party support, stepped down to pursue other professional opportunities. Opponents have pounced on the resignation as a sign of Williams’s weakness as Democratic Governor Steve Beshear holds a commanding 24-point lead.

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10:40am

Thu August 18, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Festival Connects Kentucky and Japan

When one thinks of Japan and Kentucky, Toyota is often the first partnership that comes to mind. But a local festival aims to show that the connections run much deeper.  In a few days, Jacobson Park will be transformed into a celebration of Japanese culture. Visitors will be sampling authentic Japanese cuisine, trying on kimonos, and shopping for Japanese goods at a flea market. David Carpenter, Japan/America Society of Kentucky president, says the annual gathering is also a reminder of how connected our two cultures have become.

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10:33am

Thu August 18, 2011
Business and the Economy

Mayors Gray and Fischer Explain Joint Plan

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer provided more details regarding a new Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement that will require the two cities to collaborate rather than compete.  The two executives spoke during the Commerce Lexington Public Policy Luncheon on Wednesday. Mayor Gray says the Brookings Institution, a public policy think-tank, has identified Lexington and Louisville as communities uniquely positioned to create advanced manufacturing jobs for the region.

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10:28am

Thu August 18, 2011
Education

New Program Helps Explore Career Goals

Every eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grader in Kentucky would get a chance to consult with an adult next year about career goals and the education courses needed to reach them under a plan announced here Wednesday. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said Operation Preparation is intended to reach about 150,000 students statewide from March 12 to 16 next year.

10:26am

Thu August 18, 2011
Education

ACT Scores Rise, Still Need Improvement

Scores on the ACT test taken by juniors in Kentucky's public high schools in the spring improved slightly over last year in most subject areas, according to results released Wednesday by the state Department of Education. The composite score for Kentucky juniors this year was 18.8, up from 18.5 in 2010.

10:22am

Thu August 18, 2011
The Commonwealth

Mason Bypass Nears Completion

Workers are hoping to complete the bridge over Clark's Run Road in the next four weeks.

The idea of a limited access bypass was first introduced to Mason County citizens in September 1999. The project was one of the last accomplishments under the tenure of the late State Rep. Pete Worthington and stirred opposition among landowners affected by the proposal. Nearly 12 years later, the footprint of the bypass is visible and construction is expected to be complete in late summer or early fall 2012, a project 13 years in the making.

10:16am

Thu August 18, 2011
Education

Georgetown College Lands on Top 10 List

Georgetown College has landed in a top 10 list compiled by a well-known news magazine, highlighting decisions made by the class of 2009. U.S. News and World Report put Georgetown No. 10 on a list of colleges and universities with the highest percentage of students that go on to pursue graduate studies. Sixty-five percent of the private, faith-based college's 2009 graduates went on to graduate school within a year after completing Georgetown.

10:14am

Thu August 18, 2011
The Commonwealth

Northern KY Receives Transportation Grant

A key Northern Kentucky transportation artery will get a major safety fix and a much-needed facelift, thanks to a federal transportation grant awarded Wednesday. Interstate 471 will be rehabilitated and repaved. The rehabilitation of I-471 will benefit tens of thousands of drivers. The 30-year-old interstate connects U.S. 27 in Highland Heights to I-71 in Cincinnati. I-471 is just 5.75 miles long, but average daily traffic is roughly 90,000 vehicles.

10:09am

Thu August 18, 2011
Science/Health

Dealing with Bedbugs in College

Michael Potter, a professor of entomology at UK, and other bedbug experts released a report Wednesday that detailed the dramatic growth in college dorm eradication treatments
Charles Bertram Lexington Herald-Leader

A word of caution for the tens of thousands of students who will lug their belongings back to the University of Kentucky and other state schools this weekend: beware of blood-sucking bedbugs. Michael Potter, professor of urban horticulture and medical entomology at UK, is among the bedbug experts who on Wednesday released a study saying that a bedbug resurgence continues to gain steam from coast to coast. The report — titled The 2011 Bugs Without Borders Survey — said college residence halls experienced explosive growth in bedbug eradication treatments in the last year.

10:05am

Thu August 18, 2011
Statehouse News

State Accused of Withholding Records

A lawyer for Kentucky's two largest newspapers told a Franklin Circuit Court judge Wednesday that the state was "thumbing its nose at the law" by withholding records relating to the deaths of abused and neglected children. "They are acting illegally and they are doing it in a brazen fashion," said Jon Fleischaker, a lawyer representing the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal of Louisville.

9:24am

Thu August 18, 2011
Education

First Meeting of Early Childhood Panel

An advocate for early childhood education says more attention needs to be paid to existing programs in rural communities.  June Widman serves on the Early Childhood Advisory Council. The panel met for the first time Wednesday in Frankfort.  Widman says sound quality child care should not go un-noticed.

“If we want to increase the availability of quality programs for young children, let’s look where young children already are…instead of saying it could only be done at school or could only be done under the auspices of Head Start,” said Widman.

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5:51pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Statehouse News

Hospital Merger Before Lawmakers

The proposed merger of three hospital systems prompted questions from a panel of Kentuckylawmakers Wednesday.

Under the plan, the University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital, along with St. Mary’s Healthcare and St. Joseph Healthcare would merge. Most of the questions asked by lawmakers centered on the availability of reproductive health care.  Since Roman Catholics oppose procedures like tubal ligations, they would no longer be offered at these medical facilities. Instead, hospital officials say such treatments would be offered at facilities not involved in the merger

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1:25pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Business and the Economy

No Immediate Changes for Insight Customers

It will probably be six months before Insight Communication customers notice a difference in their service, following Time Warner Cable’s $3 billion purchase of Insight on Monday. Now, all regulatory approvals will be sought on the federal level and with local governments, according to Jason Keller, a spokesman for Insight in Louisville. Once the sale is complete, Time Warner will be the largest cable provider in Kentucky.

1:19pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Education

Western Reinstates Banned Freshman

Avid planker and incoming Western Kentucky University freshman Tyler Webster tweeted Tuesday that “It’s all over, i’m going to #WKU !!!” Webster, who was banned last week from WKU’s campus after a story about his activities was published by the Daily News, will now be allowed on campus - and presumably to enroll in classes - for the fall semester.

1:11pm

Wed August 17, 2011
The Commonwealth

Danville City Manager Resigns

John Bowling

UPDATE: Interim City Manager John W.D. Bowling stepped down from the position Tuesday, saying he feared for his safety after a threat was made on his life, but an attorney who said he represents the man accused of making the threat claims his client is innocent. Attorney Ephraim Helton of Danville, who also represented Paul Stansbury during his dismissal as city manager earlier this year, said late Tuesday that the perceived threat in question was actually only banter between employees.

12:14pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Elk Tours Offered at Two KY State Parks

Two Kentucky State Parks in Eastern Kentucky will offer guests a unique wildlife viewing opportunity this fall and winter – elk tours.  Visitors to Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake can choose a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and arise early to enjoy one of these unique tours. Participants should bring their cameras – there should be great photography opportunities. The largest elk herds are located on privately owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the greatest number of elk.

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11:06am

Wed August 17, 2011
Statehouse News

Bombing Hoax Suspect Awaits Extradition

A 50-year-old Australian man was arrested yesterday in a Louisville suburb. Over the next two months the Australian government will try to extradite the suspect.  Paul "Douglas" Peters has been accused by the Australian government of breaking and entering a home near Sydney, Australia and hanging a fake bomb around the neck of a young woman.

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11:03am

Wed August 17, 2011
Statehouse News

Kentucky Ranked 48th in Child Well-Being

Kentucky continues to rank low in children’s well-being, according to the 2011 Kids Count Data Book. The annual report measures various indicators like socioeconomic status and health.  For the past seven years, it’s ranked near the bottom ten states for the overall well-being of children. This year, more than a quarter of Kentucky children live in poverty. The poverty rate in both the commonwealth and the nation rose 18 percent. Now, Kentucky ranks 48th out of 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

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10:57am

Wed August 17, 2011
Education

Lexington Opens Montessori High School

Starting Thursday, Lexington will have a high school for Montessori students. The new Montessori High School of Kentucky, based at St. Augustine's Episcopal Chapel on the University of Kentucky campus, is the first such school in the state, organizers say.

10:55am

Wed August 17, 2011
Education

Mixed Results on Kentucky ACT Scores

The percentage of Kentucky high school graduates reaching benchmark scores on the ACT test improved in some subjects this year, but educators still have much work to do, results being released Wednesday show. For example, more than 35 percent of Kentuckians who graduated from high school this spring failed to achieve any benchmark score on the ACT. The benchmark scores indicate likely success in college.

10:51am

Wed August 17, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Berea Group Forsees Less Discrimination

Based on its population and the experience of larger cities, Berea could expect one complaint about sexual orientation or gender identity every two years if it were to create a human rights commission including those categories as protected classes, a group contended at Tuesday's city council meeting. Bereans for Fairness, a group that supports the inclusion of gay and transgender as protected categories, presented that information in a "fiscal impact statement" to the council.

10:48am

Wed August 17, 2011
Education

Plans Unveiled for Washington Co. School

Monday was quite a day for the Washington County School District. After officially closing the purchase of land for a new high school earlier in the day, the school board also approved a schematic design for the new school later that evening at its regular monthly meeting.

10:46am

Wed August 17, 2011
The Commonwealth

Shelby Co. Bridge Fails Inspection, Closes

Historic Who Da Thot It Bridge, shut down Monday for safety reasons, may now be closed to vehicle traffic forever. Magistrates voted Tuesday morning at the meeting of Shelby County Fiscal Court to call a public hearing to close the bridge after discussing the merits of trying to get the structure repaired or replaced. Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger said he got a call two weeks ago from state officials informing him that bridge inspectors judged the bridge was unsafe and that the county needed to either repair it, replace it or close it.

10:38am

Wed August 17, 2011
Business and the Economy

Tobacco Farms Continue Decline

Henry Stevens, left, and Marlon Waits helped hang tobacco at a barn off Ashgrove Lane in northern Jessamine County on Thursday, Aug. 11.
Mike Moore Jessamine Journal

A federal tobacco reform in October 2004 has changed the landscape of Jessamine County tobacco farming in 2011, Jessamine County Extension Agent Rob Amburgey said. “The tobacco buyout has significantly decreased the total amount of tobacco raised in Jessamine County,” he said. “It went from about 2,600 acres down to 400 acres now. We went from many, many tobacco farmers to about a dozen left in the county.”

10:33am

Wed August 17, 2011
Business and the Economy

Gas Company Considers Harlan Location

Magistrates gave Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop approval to sign a lease agreement Tuesday with a Texas-based gas company, which has expressed interest into moving into a county-owned building in Coldiron. “This will bring somewhere between 50 and 60 jobs, and they plan on adding anything from 10 to 20,” said Grieshop. “This would become their headquarters and workers from four counties would be coming to Harlan."

10:31am

Wed August 17, 2011
The Commonwealth

Radcliff Opts Out of Unified Government

Radcliff City Council plans to draft a resolution opting out of plans for a unified local government in Hardin County. A majority of the council provided vocal support to the resolution, proposed by Councilman Don Yates, after several residents urged the council Tuesday night to reject unification efforts.

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10:29am

Wed August 17, 2011
The Commonwealth

Northern Kentucky Leaders Address Issues

The judge-executives of Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties Tuesday morning touted regionalism, warned against the dissolution of the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, talked of possible 911 dispatch mergers and urged the need for the federal government to fund a new Brent Spence Bridge. They spoke to hundreds of business leaders Tuesday morning during the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce "State of Northern Kentucky" address in Erlanger.

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