FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday in honor of Deputy State Fire Marshal Charles Sparks, who passed away on July 8 from a heart attack he suffered while battling a fire in Adair County.
Calling for a real debate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., went to the Senate floor Wednesday to defend his debt proposal to avoid the first-ever government default before the August 2 deadline. The McConnell option gives President Barack Obama new power to request increases of up to $2.5 trillion in three separate installments over the next year as long as they’re coupled with larger spending cuts.
Once again Kentucky mine safety officials are asking what could have been done to prevent a death on the job. 26 year old Ryan Thatcher of Salyersville died Monday while working at a Martin County mine. His was the third coal-related death this year. Kentucky Mine Safety and Licensing executive director Johnny Green says tools, technology and regulations are in place to prevent deaths and accidents in the mines. Green traces some problems to miners themselves and those people who supervise them.
The newly-formed group "Kentuckians For Progress" continues its public relations push to persuade the River Fields conservancy to drop is lawsuit that seeks to delay construction of an east end bridge. River Fields and the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed the federal suit two years ago, claiming the Federal Highway Administration did not follow federal law when it approved the Ohio River Bridges Project in 2003.
Speaking to WHAS-AM radio personality Mandy Connell on Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., defended his proposal to give President Barack Obama unilateral authority to raise the debt ceiling even if party leaders can’t agree on ways to reduce the debt moving forward. McConnell’s proposal gives the president the power to request increases of up to $2.5 trillion in three separate installments over the next year if they are coupled with larger spending cuts.
The U-S House is debating an energy spending bill that could be good for Kentucky’s coal industry, but it also has critics bristling. The legislation cuts one billion dollars from energy and water related spending… winding back investments in more fuel efficient vehicles and renewable energy programs. Those are intended to wean the nation off coal. Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield says undoing some of the president’s green energy investments is good.
For one spring night next year, the world of Bluegrass music will fix their focus on Jackson and Breathitt County, when the renowned six-piece band The Grascals will grace the Douthitt Park stage for a concert on Saturday, June 9, 2012.
With a little less than a month to go, organizers of “Breathitt County Day” in Frankfort are making final preparations to make this year's event – the seventh annual one – to exceed last year's record turnout. They hope to tie into this November's elections for state offices, by inviting Democratic and Republican candidates for governor to the festivities, which will be held on Friday, Aug. 5, starting at 10 a.m. at VFW Post # 4075, located at the corner of East Second Street and Capital Avenue in Frankfort, just five blocks away from the Kentucky State Capitol.
Completing Interstate 69 from Indiana to Texas is edging closer to reality, but advocates of the project want to keep it on the forefront in order to secure financing. Several speakers representing agencies and legislators championing the I-69 project talked about the importance of the roadway during a Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce After Hours-Hot Topic event held at the Eddie Ballard Convention Center on Tuesday night.
Clarice Floyd, a weekly correspondent with The Casey County News since the late 1950s, enjoys a moment in the home that she has shared for 71 years with her husband, Aaron, in the Mt. Olive community of Casey County.
A once-loved tradition where community news and events appeared weekly in the local newspaper is being kept alive, at least on a part-time basis. Up until about 20 years ago, nearly every small community in Casey County had a resident who collected local news and sent it each week to The Casey County News. Clarice Floyd was one of about 20 correspondents who did this, but as the years progressed, the correspondents faded away. Floyd, a spry and lively 92, is the last correspondent who still periodically gathers the news of her friends and neighbors in the Mt. Olive community. She became a correspondent in the late 1950s.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is urging the public to take steps to avoid injury and illness during this period of extreme heat, particularly dangers associated with leaving children in vehicles. According to Safe Kids, 49 children in the U.S. died last year from heat stroke while unattended in vehicles. From 1998-2010, at least 494 deaths are known to have occurred nationally. In Kentucky, there have been 13 deaths attributed to vehicular hyperthermia during the same time period and one death every year since 2004.
Work started this week on the new zipline at the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area. The $200,000 project represents a major investment for the Harlan County Outdoor Board Authority, and recently the board learned about the opening of a competing zipline in eastern Kentucky. A private developer has opened a zipline attraction at Red River Gorge in Wolfe County, but representatives of the outdoor board downplay the significance of that opening on their project
Lexington resident Carmen Davis has dreams of running a small business. She and a friend have been researching the possibility of opening a taxi cab company. Davis' efforts came to a screeching halt when she saw Fayette County's current taxi requirements. "I believe I started looking at the ordinance in early June and it was kind of overwhelming because to buy 25 vehicles at one time is a huge investment for a small business owner."
Members of the Louisville Orchestra’s musicians union say they will reject the latest contract offer from the Orchestra. The Orchestra proposal, which outlines specific expectations for rehearsal and performance attendance, was delivered last week. It names tomorrow as the deadline for members to respond. If they don’t, the orchestra says it “will be treated as a voluntary refusal to work and the Louisville Orchestra will take whatever steps are legally appropriate to fill your position.”
As the NBA lockout nears the two week mark, players, managers and owners are no longer in talks about their franchises. For over thirty years, Louisville attorney J. Bruce Miller has been in talks to bring an NBA franchise to the city. But his latest attempt will most likely be his last. Bruce Miller’s law office is a hybrid of two of his fascinations: Greek culture and professional basketball. Behind his desk sits a model of the Parthenon. Strewn around his office he has basketball jerseys and other basketball paraphernalia. Miller has white hair and speaks with a slight southern twang. When I spoke to him, he was wearing an NBA lapel pin on his suit.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission is sending out another warning in light of a recent uptick in attempted copper thefts from electric substations. Spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says thieves have been targeting utilities because of the perceived chance to make a big score.
Another group is coming forward to voice its concerns about Lexington's latest round of fireworks. Some wildlife advocates say this year's Fourth of July did more than frighten dogs and cats. Nora Ward has rescued eastern cottontail rabbits for the Kentucky Wildlife Center for three years now. In the past, the fireworks had little effect on her animals, but she says this year, with the larger and louder fireworks allowed by state law, things changed. In an emotional plea to the Urban County Council, Ward said the noise was too much.
It's one of the most basic services a government can provide: keeping the street lights on. But it isn't as easy as flipping a switch. Fluctuations in electric bills aren't just a problem for private homes and businesses. When Kentucky Utilities raises its rates, the government has to deal with higher bills too. The Urban Services fund, which, among other things, provides money for Lexington's street lights is running low. And Councilman Kevin Stinnett says a simple tax increase may not solve the problem.
Lexington's 3,064 insured city employees are on track to consume roughly 32 million dollars in health care this year. That's over four million dollars more than the same coverage would have cost just three years ago. Consultants also say Urban County Government has consistently underestimated the "true cost" of health care, offering more generous benefits than 99% of all public and private health insurance programs while incurring a 33-million dollar shortfall over the past three years.
After several contentious meetings on the subject, the Urban County Council voted Tuesday night to establish procedures for reviewing contract agreements reached through collective bargaining. For years the council has debated just what its role should be in agreements reached through collective bargaining. Traditionally, approval of the contracts fell to the mayor's office. But with unfunded pension liabilities mounting, some members of the council see it as their responsibility to review and ultimately agree to the contracts.
Journalist James Fallows is in Louisville today to speak at the Kentucky Chamber’s annual meeting. Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a former editor of U.S. News and World Report, and delivered a speech based on a recent article on the future of coal.
Like most juvenile crimes, cybercrimes are often the result of peer pressure. An article in this week’s American Journal of Criminal Justice concludes kids who commit cybercrimes usually have friends who also commit cybercrimes. Researchers surveyed 435 students in a suburban Kentucky school district. Helping with the study was Doctor David May, a professor of Criminal Justice at Eastern Kentucky University. May, who spoke with WEKU’s Charles Compton, says they studied four forms of internet crime.
A newly formed Early Childhood Advisory Council will help Kentucky create policies, standards, and goals which should improve the education given pre school children.
26 people have been named to a state council charged with seeking ways to improve early childhood education. They were named today (Tuesday) in an executive order issued by Kentucky's governor. Former C-E-O of United Way of Kentucky Terry Sims Tolan will direct the brand new Early Childhood Advisory Council. Tolan says consistency of care is the highest priority.
Focusing solely on his third presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election for a 13th term in the House of Representatives. Observers contend Paul, who is the father of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is an excellent fundraiser who would have easily retained his seat despite redistricting, but the 75-year-old congressman felt it was time to move on and put his energy into one last bid for the White House.
For the first time in three years, Kentucky’s general fund tax receipts have increased. The fiscal year, which ended last month, saw a six point five percent increase...that's the highest growth rate since 2006. State budget director Mary Lassiter says it’s a sign of economic recovery.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has taken steps to apply for federal education grants from the Race to the Top program. The commonwealth is eligible for a portion of the $500 million that will be made available later this year. Like the previous round of Race to the Top grants, states must put together lengthy applications for the money.
A team of state officials will soon meet with Kentucky Speedway representatives to discuss next year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Race. Gridlock Saturday meant thousands of ticket holders didn’t see the race. Governor Steve Beshear says his team will get together in the next few days. “I think everyone anticipated that we would have some problems. Obviously nobody anticipated that the parking situation would end up creating the problem that it did,” said Beshear
Doctors say the latest recipient of a hand transplant at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital is recovering and being prepared for physical therapy. Donnie Rickelman of Linton, Indiana, about a two hour drive northwest of Louisville, received a new left hand Sunday. Rickelman’s left hand was partially amputated in a factory accident 13 years ago. The mishap with a steel splitter also crushed his right hand. The transplanted left hand, from an anonymous donor, also came from Indiana.
Several politicians in recent weeks have called on the federal government to reimburse the City of Bowling Green for potential costs incurred should the trials of two suspected terrorists be held here. However, a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Daily News Tuesday morning reveals such calls might be unnecessary. “The federal government bears the costs of federal prosecutions and covers the bulk of expenses related to security,” said Dean Boyd, spokesman for the Department of Justice.
Officials are investigating another mining fatality in Kentucky. Twenty-six year old Ryan Thatcher of Salyersville died Monday while working at a mine near Inez in Martin County. According to the Energy and Environment Cabinet there were no apparent witnesses to the accident.