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.
Kentucky community colleges are looking for a tuition increase to offset a portion of a budget gap. Tuition rates for new students to Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, for example, will increase to $135 per credit hour from $130. The Board of Regents for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System approved the rate increases for the colleges as part of the 2011-12 budget last week.
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.
"We're going out every day inspecting fireworks establishments and tents, making sure that everything that they're selling is legal."
Given the high price of petroleum-based fertilizers, more farmers are considering sludge from sewage treatment plants. It’s free, but, many local governments worry about the safety of so-called biosolids. And, as Sandy Hausman reports from Virgina, it also makes some farm neighbors uneasy
Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman says he’s still hopeful that Kentucky Kingdom amusement park can be reopened in 2012. Workman told a panel of state lawmakers recently that the board and Louisville Metro Government are close to finalizing an agreement to re-open Kentucky Kingdom next year. He says it will take a total investment of about $50 to bring the park back to life.
A new study says babies born in counties where mountaintop removal mining is done may be more likely to suffer birth defects than babies born in counties with other types of coal mining. According to the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research, babies born in counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee where mountaintop removal mines were in operation were 26 percent more likely to suffer from some kind of birth defect. That’s compared to babies born in counties where there is no coal mining. The babies were also more likely to have birth defects than those born in counties where coal is mined other ways.
Employees at Gannett newspapers are taking to Facebook and Twitter to post their comments about today’s nationwide round of layoffs. The newspaper giant is cutting 700 employees nationwide, including at least 36 in Louisville. Among those laid off are several editors and staff writers in the Neighborhoods and Velocity sections. No official announcement has been made about what will happen to those sections, and Courier-Journal publisher Arnold Garson is unavailable for comment.
An Urban County Council panel has been told that those EPA-mandated improvements to the city's sewer system will result in a doubling, or even tripling of customer sewer bills over the next decade. The Lexington Herald Leader reports that estimates range anywhere from $540 million to $814 million to fix the city's overwhelmed storm-water and sewer systems.
More Kentucky firefighters are headed south, this time to help battle wildfires in southeast Georgia. Kentucky already has a crew in Florida. Several fires are consuming large tracts of timberland and threatening homes in and around the Okefenokee Swamp near Waycross, Georgia. Fire crews are stretched thin, so Kentucky is sending some help.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman could play the final game in his minor-league stint tonight with the Louisville Bats. Tomorrow, his 30-day rehab clock will expire and the Reds will have to decide whether to put him back on their roster or leave him in the minor league. Chapman is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the nation, and currently holds the record for the fastest pitch ever recorded in the MLB.
Several employees at the Louisville Courier-Journal are being laid off as part of a nationwide two percent staff reduction by parent company Gannett. In the largest round of layoffs since 2009, Gannett will cut 700 employees from newspapers across the country. The Gannett Blog is reporting confirmation that 36 Courier-Journal employees have been laid off. You can track the numbers here.
Many University of Kentucky staff members are facing a "use it or lose it" scenario with accrued vacation days that expire at the end of the month. The UK Human Resources Department is encouraging those people who won't be taking the time off to consider donating their hours to shared leave pools. Spokesperson Donna Cornet says at any given time, employees need to be away from the workplace for an extended period of time.
Breathitt County Judge Executive Harvey Jason Richardson declared a state of emergency in Breathitt County due to Monday's heavy rains and flash flooding, and has made the county's Emergency Management office available to help assist those who have suffered damage. Richardson said after an emergency meeting of the Breathitt County Fiscal Court on Tuesday morning that some 3,000 persons in the county were affected by flood damage to bridges and culverts, breaks and slips on county roads, downed trees and flooded roads. He also has written to Gov. Steve Beshear, asking for state assistance to help repair the damages.
This is no ordinary high school. The academy on Western Kentucky University’s campus might resemble a typical small school - students are constantly entering and exiting the tall white building, toting backpacks or chatting with friends. But the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is an above-average school for exceptional students, and now it’s been named the fifth best high school in the nation.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Russell granted a federal prosecutor’s motion Tuesday to declare a terrorism case against two Iraqi refugees as “complex,” which means that the trial against the two men will not have to be heard within the time frame of the Speedy Trial Act. Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, are in custody facing terrorism charges after a federal grand jury in Bowling Green returned a 23-count indictment against the men May 26. They were arrested May 25. Both entered the country legally as refugees.
The head of the Danville-Boyle County chapter of the NAACP says the group will investigate minority hiring practices in the Mercer County school district. In a letter sent last week to Mercer County Elementary School Principal Jennifer Meadows, the school board and interim superintendent Dennis Davis, Danville-Boyle County NAACP President Norman Bartleson said parents and residents had contacted him with concerns about the lack of diversity among the district’s faculty.
How many 50-year-old fathers take their 13-year-old sons with them on a cross country trip in an experimental electric hybrid bicycle? At least one. Pierce Hoover and his son, Nash, are making the trip from the East Coast to Oregon, showing off their homemade electrically assisted bicycle. They spent the weekend in Danville.