As if orange barrels, speed traps and distracted motorists sharing the road weren’t stressful enough, drivers on southbound Interstate 71/75 Thursday morning were given another warning – beware of the undead. An electronic highway sign on the interstate near the Ky. 18 exit read: “Nightly lane closures, zombies ahead.” The sign was apparently hacked, said Nancy Wood, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman.
Unemployment rates fell in 99 Kentucky counties between May 2010 and May 2011, while 16 county rates increased and five counties remained the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
The City of Harlan plans to make drastic cuts and reduce staff levels to close a $200,000 hole in next year's budget. The cuts were presented at a special called council meeting Wednesday. "We will cut two positions in the street department, one position in the sewer department and one in the fire department," said Mayor Danny Howard. Besides the cuts in the staffing levels, the city is also proposing a 15 percent cut across the board in every department.
The National Weather Service storm survey crews have confirmed at least four tornados struck parts of Louisville Wednesday night. The first tornado struck around 8 pm, and Meteorologist Ted Funk says it was the most significant.
“Based on our storm survey,” says Funk “the heaviest damage was near the intersection of Floyd Street and Central Avenue, again there was a large industrial building that had heavy damage and estimates of wind in that area were 120 MPH.”
The authors of a new study are calling for major changes in hospital residency programs. An article published in the latest online journal Nature and Science of Sleep says resident fatigue, overwork and lack of supervision lead to serious, preventable medical errors. One recommendation is that all medical residents should work no more than 16 hours without sleep. The recommendations are not new but critics say they haven’t been implemented. But change is not easy, according Dr. Kevin Kavanaugh of Somerset. The longtime proponent of healthcare reform says any changes must be made carefully.
Pikeville College President Paul Patton served two terms as Kentucky's governor, but his first-term accomplishments likely will be his legacy. And the reason is higher education reform. In 1997, two years into his first term, Patton convinced lawmakers to approve a comprehensive package of post-secondary education reforms. The most controversial prong required the University of Kentucky to relinquish control of the state's community and technical colleges.
The National Weather Service says it was probably an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado that tore through Churchill Downs last night, damaging more than a dozen barns and other backside buildings, packing winds of up to 120 miles per hour.
Bluegrass Oakwood has cut about 200 jobs because of a dip in the number of residents at the Somerset facility for the developmentally disabled. Shannon Ware, CEO of Bluegrass Regional Mental Health and Mental Retardation, said Wednesday that 168 people were laid off, but the total number of positions eliminated was about 200. The remaining positions that were eliminated were open positions. The cuts were across all levels of the organization. The layoffs were announced Friday, and employees were given 30 days notice.
AT&T announced Wednesday it will add 200 new jobs to a call center in Carter County and also addressed concerns about its wireless network in the state by announcing new investment in cell sites.The call center, which first opened in 2001, currently has about 1,000 employees. AT&T will not ask for any state tax incentives for the call center expansion. The average pay for the new jobs will be between $10 and $14 hourly.
Only one establishment has applied for a license to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink, since the city of Harlan passed the ordinance in late February and started accepting applications. The sole applicant so far is the Harlan Center, a facility owned by the city itself.
A measure that would gut the nation’s Clean Water Act has cleared a House committee. House Resolution 2018 would basically allow states to set their water quality standards on their own. Right now, the federal Environmental Protection Agency administers the Clean Water Act. States can adopt stricter requirements, but the EPA sets the minimum bar.
Live racing and training are cancelled today at Churchill Downs, as damage assessment and cleanup continue from yesterday’s storms that caused heavy damage to numerous structures on the track’s backside. A suspected tornado tore through the grounds last evening, damaging or destroying nine barns, a chapel and a dormitory for track workers.
Unless delinquent property taxes are paid soon, Fayette County will sell that debt to a third party. If those third party purchasers cannot collect those back taxes debt from property owners, then they may face foreclosure. Property taxes were due the end of December and a tax sale takes place July 22nd. County Clerk Land Records Manager Linda Potter says landowners face a higher bill if they wait until their tax bill gets into the hands of a third party buyer.
On Tuesday night, the Berea City Council announced it will take longer than expected to come to a decision about the possibility of a city fairness ordinance. The council has held public forums on the ordinance, which would prohibit discrimination in the workplace and housing market due to sexual orientation and gender identity.
More than 3,000 Kentucky nonprofits recently lost their tax-exempt status with the IRS and a few are working to reverse that. The thousands of nonprofit organizations that lost their tax-exempt status with the IRS represent a wide range of interests, including county fair associations, American Legion chapters, and religious groups. Danielle Clore of the Kentucky Nonprofit Network says the groups were affected by the 2006 federal Pension and Protection Act.
A Kentucky attorney who has worked extensively in employment litigation says he agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in a sexual discrimination case against Wal-Mart. The court ruled this week that the case involving more than 1.5 million plaintiffs cannot proceed as a class action.
Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville is among a bi-partisan group of House lawmakers who signed a letter to President Obama urging him to begin a “significant and sizable” reduction in U.S. forces in Afganistan starting next month. The president will detail his troop drawdown plan in an address to the nation tonight. Defense officials have said that Mr. Obama plans to call for an initial withdrawal of 5,000 troops, followed by 5,000 more by the end of the year.
Law enforcement conducted a sweeping roundup of drug offenders Tuesday that so far has netted 19 people in Mercer County. Sheriff Ernie Kelty said officers from his agency and Harrodsburg and Burgin police departments got an early start, executing warrants stemming from 34 sealed indictments on drug-trafficking charges. The raids started about 5 a.m., and all those arrested were in custody by 10 a.m.
A Harrodsburg police officer indicted on 146 counts related to an alleged three-year sexual relationship with a juvenile pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in Mercer Circuit Court. Jason Elder, 31, entered the not guilty plea in his first appearance before Judge Darren Peckler, who set a $10,000 bond releasing Elder on his own recognizance and prohibiting him from any contact with the girl or her family.
Temperatures climbed to 90 degrees Tuesday, but the heat didn’t stop nearly 100 motorcycle riders from showing up for the fourth annual “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Event” in Frankfort. In the parking lot of the Kentucky State Police headquarters, police, vendors and citizens gathered to spread the word about motorcycle safety. Officer Larry Farris, with KSP’s commercial vehicle enforcement division, shared his personal story about the dangers of motorcycles with those gathered.
Members of Kentucky’s agricultural sector are keeping a close eye on the progression of a Senate bill on Capitol Hill. Last week, the Senate voted 73-27 in favor of an amendment to the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011 that would eliminate ethanol subsidies and protective tariffs. Should the economic development act become law - which many political analysts say is highly unlikely - the amendment would go into effect immediately and could mean trouble for Kentucky corn growers.
The Lexington Divisions of Fire and Building Inspection are busy leading up to the July 4th holiday. This time last year, businesses applied for around 12-15 permits to operate fireworks stands in Lexington. Now thanks to a new state law, that number has more than doubled. Marshall Griggs is a battalion chief with the Lexington fire department.
An attorney with ties to Xenia, Ohio, near Dayton, and a law practice in Lebanon, Tenn., has died along with two other people when the small plane he was piloting crashed Saturday near Huntsville, Ala. The Dayton Daily News reports that Robert "Tim" Hatton, 52, practiced law in Kentucky at one time. Later, he put his legal career on hold and wrote books. But later he returned to the law and opened a practice near Nashville, the Ohio paper reported.
Prospective caregivers for some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens may soon be subject to extensive criminal record searches, thanks to a $3 million grant to establish a comprehensive statewide system for thorough background checks.
Larry Yaden, 74, looks over his Casey County grape crop. It consists of 34 rows of grapes - each row is 400 feet long. But it will be next year before his grapes are ready for harvest and the trip to a winery. As Yaden will tell you, this has been a project of research, determination and a fair amount of trial and error.
Manchester voters approved package alcohol sales in the city in a special election Tuesday. The measure passed by a margin of 381 votes to 249, according to County Clerk Michael Baker. Turnout for the controversial measure was about 42 percent — 630 of 1,495 eligible voters went to the polls.
The Harlan Tourist & Convention Commission on Tuesday approved new guidelines and rental contracts for catered events at the Harlan Center. Earlier this month, the Harlan Center became the first establishment licensed to serve alcohol by the drink in the city.