Attendees of this morning’s premiere of the short movie Building Bridges with Benny Breeze were asked to sign an oath saying they would listen to all sides of the debate over the Ohio River Bridges Project and be respectful of anyone with differing opinions. At the end of the movie, the star—Chris Saunders playing Benny Breeze—faced the camera and told the dozen people who signed the oath and stayed for the show that they were either for progress (meaning they were in favor of the bridges project) or against it. And if they were against it, they should “get the f*** out of this region.”
The Red Cross says a restructuring of its blood services division won’t have much of a local impact. The agency announced this week that 400 to 500 jobs will be cut nationwide under the plan. It says a drop in monetary donations and rising costs forced the restructuring. “Locally the impact of the restructuring has been minimal. Three positions in the River Valley Region were affected by restructuring,” said Katy Maloy,spokeswoman for the Red Cross River Valley Blood Services Region, which includes the Louisville area and parts of Indiana and Illinois.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is selling surplus state property again. This time it's a vacant lot in Frankfort. Since taking office in 2007, Gov. Beshear says his administration has generated nearly $7.5 million through surplus real estate sales. Included in that figure is nearly $79,000 Beshear says the state got for a vacant, two-acre industrial lot in Frankfort.
The head of Louisville's Sewer District says the fish kill on the Ohio River last night may have resulted from an algae bloom, rather than a chemical spill as was previously reported. The sheen on the Ohio River was noticed south of Rubbertown by cameras at Dow Chemical’s plant, and about 20 Asian Carp were found dead. It was initially thought to be a chemical release from somewhere upriver, but water sampling by three separate entities was negative.
Several colleagues of Officer Bryan Durman, the Lexington police officer killed in the line of duty last year, took the witness stand Thursday. It marked day two of testimony in the Glenn Doneghy murder trial. When Durman requested backup to assist with his call on a noise complaint the night of April 29, 2010, Officer Teri Gover (GOH'-ver) responded. By the time she arrived on the scene, she discovered Durman had been struck in a hit and run crash.
An unknown chemical leaked into the Ohio River last night, killing several fish. But water samples taken since then show no sign of any contamination. A sheen was noticed on the river’s surface by cameras at Dow Chemical’s plant, south of Rubbertown. The Lake Dreamland Fire Department first responded to the call and alerted the Coast Guard and Health Department.
Two Finchville residents are up on federal charges of embezzling nearly half a million dollars in employee benefits from a company they owned in Shelbyville. Officials from the Office of the United States Attorney say that William Kiser, 73, and Mary Sue Kiser, 70, owners of the now-closed Irotas Manufacturing Company in Shelbyville, were indicted Thursday in federal court for conspiring to defraud the United States and embezzling from an employee benefit fund.
Surrounded by urine specimens, chemicals and lab equipment, Martha Martinez works out of a small room in a Cave City doctor’s office to help health care providers sort through the people who truly need narcotic pain and other medications and the people who are simply looking for the next high. Martinez, who works for Russell Springs-based Nexus Labs, rents space from Dr. Todd Williams, a Nexus devotee since September.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement this morning challenging a call by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to send the two Bowling Green men arrested on terrorism charges to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of trying the men in federal court. “We are prosecuting these two alleged terrorists in federal court because it is the most proven method for keeping our country safe,” the Department of Justice statement said.
Most people have at least a notion of the things they want to see, do and experience before they die, aka their "bucket list": Climb a mountain, fall in love, see the Grand Canyon. But how should that list be tailored to Kentuckians? The Weekender/LexGo Central, has come up with "Kentucky's Bucket List," inspired by Parade magazine's recent cover story on "America's Bucket List." What are the things every Kentuckian should do, see or experience while living in our beautiful, often misunderstood state? What are the cultural touchstones that make Kentucky what it is and that would be a shame not to experience? What things go deep into the Kentucky experience? And how many of them can you accomplish this summer, which officially starts Tuesday? Here's our list of 50 experiences, in no particular order, compiled from suggestions offered by readers and staff members.
LexTran unveiled seven energy-efficient new buses Wednesday. Two operate on hybrid electric technology, and the five others run on diesel-powered engines that adhere to the 2010 Clean Air Act, featuring an additional air scrubber that produces cleaner exhaust emissons. Jill Barnett, spokeswoman for Lexington's public transportation agency, said the new buses were part of LexTran's efforts to "go green," coupled with the agency's need for new buses. There are more than 70 buses in the fleet. A bus lasts about 12 years, Barnett said. The money for the buses came from a $2.94 million 2009 earmark from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
The beach at Lake Barkley State Resort Park continues to be closed because of the presence of too much e. coli bacteria in the water, said Park Manager John Jordan. As required by health codes, the Health Department checks the water for bacteria every Wednesday, with the results published every Friday, and last week they found at least 240 percent of the threshold to close the beaches, Jordan said.
The former executive director of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association has been indicted by the Franklin County Grand Jury on charges of embezzling $78,000 from the agency. Gary Hall, 39 of Lexington, was indicted Wednesday on three counts of theft by deception over $500 and three counts of theft by deception over $10,000.
Many Americans Thursday left their car keys, and their cars, at home and took advantage of public transportation. It’s national “Dump the Pump Day.” Its purpose is to show commuters there are alternatives to driving and high gas prices. Melissa Gross with Richmond Transit says ridership on the four year-old bus system continues to pick up.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky questions a proposed hospital merger announced this week. The partnership involves University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Lexington’s Saint Joseph Health System. Catholic Health Initiatives is giving $320 million to support the new network. A Health Initiative spokesman says the system will not provide reproductive health services that are inconsistent with the church’s ethical and religious directives.
Wednesday, the Northern Kentucky Health Department sent out the following release about the number shigella cases reported in Northern Kentucky. So far there have been confirmed closures of Taylor Mill Swim Club and the Florence Aquatic Center. For more information on the outbreak of shigella contact the health department at www.nkyhealth.org
The Kentucky Supreme Court will have the final say on whether former Boone Circuit Judge Joseph "Jay" Bamberger will be permanently disbarred. Bamberger presided over the scandalous fen-phen settlement that has already destroyed the legal careers of at least three lawyers, and chased him from the bench.
A federal judge has announced that he will sanction lawyer and radio personality Eric Deters for filing a lawsuit in January against Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton Jr. and the state bar association. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves will hold a hearing July 13 in Frankfort to determine the appropriate sanction for filing the suit, which was later withdrawn. The order said the sanction may take the form of something other than a monetary fine but didn’t specify what that might be.
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency faced the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today to discuss the EPA’s proposed air rules. Lisa Jackson also talked about the new air standards’ impact on public health. In March, after a 20-year political and legal battle, the EPA proposed its first-ever national standards for regulating mercury and other air pollution from power plants. Jackson told the committee that when power plants have to comply with the new standards, it’ll have an incredible effect on Americans’ health.
Tuesday night, the Berea City Council held the second and final public hearing on an ordinance that would protect gay and transgender individuals from discrimination. After hearing public opinion, the council will decide on Monday whether or not it will take a vote on the ordinance. The Louisville-based Fairness Campaign has been working for months to see the measure passed. Chris Hartman is the group’s director.
Time Warner Cable has agreed to buy New Wave Communication operations in western Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee. The 260 million dollar deal will transfer more than 70,000 customers to Time Warner. Company spokesman Alex Dudley says the only difference customers will notice at first will be sign changes. Dudley says service upgrades could come later, though he says Time Warner is happy with the current quality of the network. Dudley couldn’t comment on future employment shifts. He says none are planned for the short term. Dudley says the deal will close later this year.
A murder trial is underway in the death of a Lexington police officer. Glenn Doneghy,34, is accused of deliberately hitting police officer Bryan Durman in April of Last year. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lori Boling delivered an opening statement Tuesday for the prosecution. "After we present all of the evidence to you in this case, you will see that we have proven to you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving his car the night Officer Durman was struck and killed."
BOWLING GREEN – During the May 2011 summer term, Dr. Josh Durkee, Dr. Grady Dixon and eight meteorology students from Western Kentucky University traveled more than 7,200 miles across 12 states for another season of forecasting and verifying severe weather across the Great Plains. As with the previous year, the group was quite successful in its mission.
FRANKFORT - Regulations governing the state’s immunization schedule for infants, toddlers and school-age children have been amended, adding or altering the types of certain vaccines required for school, day care, preschool and Head Start entry and changing the vaccination schedule for others, the Kentucky Department for Public Health announced Wednesday. Immunization requirements were updated to better align Kentucky’s schedule with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new version of the administrative regulation adopts changes that put Kentucky in line with national pediatric standards.
Paying for vital upgrades, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., announced that the Louisville International Airport is receiving $6.6 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for a new construction project. The federal funds will go toward completing work on the Taxiway Alpha project, which is designed to ensure the terminal can handle the largest and newest long-range commercial and passenger aircraft.
After a contentious two year dispute, Louisville insurance giant Humana will retain a lucrative military contract. Humana held the military’s Tricare contract for years. It allows the company to provide insurance for active and retired members of the armed services and their families throughout the south. Humana lost the contract to Minnesota-based UnitedHealth in 2009, but quickly challenged the ruling and won the appeal the next year. That victory was then challenged by UnitedHealth. The company argued that Humana’s cost savings were built on low reimbursements to doctors. Reimbursements that were so low, they could deter healthcare providers from seeing Tricare patients.
No, you’re not seeing things. You really did see a Big Banana Car in downtown Dry Ridge. Steve Braithwaite, of Coopersville, Pa., pealed into town in a four-passenger banana shaped car and ended up at Dry Ridge Auto Parts to get directions to the I-75 Camper Village where they planned to spend the night. “It was neat, it was pretty cool, I didn’t know what to think when he pulled in the driveway,” said Gary Brockman of Dry Ridge Auto Parts. “ I knew it was a banana, but I couldn’t figure out why it had wheels on it. It was pretty awesome.”
Thanks to a grant from the state's Kentucky Pride Fund, both the Breathitt County and Wolfe County Fiscal Courts will share in nearly $143,000 to expand recycling, reduce the amount of solid waste going into their landfills and maintain environmental management programs in the two counties. The recycling grant going toward Breathitt and Wolfe counties was among 73 grants statewide – 59 recycling grants and 14 household hazardous waste grants – which totaled over $3.5 million.
A federal grand jury has indicted two Florida residents, charging them as the suppliers of thousands of pain pills that flooded Owsley County earlier this year. The June 9 indictment charges Elisa H. Alston (aka Leva, aka Lewit) and George Darden with conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone 30 mg. tablets. They join five Owsley County residents who are alleged to have transported and paid for the pills. They are Marvin Reed, Jason Reed, Thomas Little, Kristi Rae Davis and Donald W. Terry.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has ruled against Minnesota-based UnitedHealth in a protest over the awarding of the lucrative Tricare military contract. Humana previously held the contract, which allows the company to provide insurance and benefits to military members, retirees and their families in the south. Humana lost a renewal bid to UnitedHealth in 2009, but appealed the decision. In 2010, the GAO ruled that Humana’s bid had not been properly considered and, after another review, changed its decision. UnitedHealth then appealed that decision on the grounds that Humana’s proposed reimbursements to doctors were too low. On Tuesday afternoon, the GOA rejected the protest. The final decision is up to the Department of Defense.