The Chronicle of Higher Education has been studying the education levels of state lawmakers in the United States. The state with the most college-educated lawmakers is California, with 90 percent. New Hampshire, with 53 percent, has the least. The national average is around 75 percent, slightly lower than Kentucky’s 77 percent.
The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has approved an employment agreement for incoming president Eli Capilouto. Board Chairman Britt Brockman says Capilouto’s compensation is based on recommendations from a consultant and a review of other universities.
After a day of negotiation, members of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council funded several city services eliminated in a budget proposed by Mayor Jim Gray. For instance, full funding was restored for 26 independent agencies that rely on the city for support. Council member George Meyers made the motion.
Today a group of US House Republicans introduced a series of bills to stream line renewable energy production, but Kentucky lawmakers say that still won’t help secure America’s energy future. Kentucky’s energy industry is up in arms over what they say are excessive regulations for coal. And a group of Republicans say that also extends to renewable energies on federal lands…such as geothermal and wind production. Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield says the Obama Administration needs to free up domestic energy production.
Community leaders in Lexington are rolling out a campaign they hope will cause a significant drop in cigarette litter. In a recent survey of one block in downtown Lexington, members of the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission counted more than 600 cigarette butts on the ground. Commission chair woman Patricia Knight says many smokers don’t take the time properly dispose of their cigarettes.
The University of Kentucky has landed a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health. The award is for $20 million over 5 years as part of the Clinical and Translational Science program. “This grant is in fact geared to bring new findings into the clinical environment, taking drugs from the bench to the bedside. But this grant also encourages taking things that have been brought from the bedside and analyzing them through clinical trials in an effective kind of way to see if they really do work,” said UK Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Karpf
Off-campus problems involving college students are well documented; rowdy parties, excessive noise and illegal parking. The head of an organization that works to improve relations between universities and their host communities contends their relationships are improving. Kim Griffo of the International Town and Gown Association says it’s in the interest of all parties to talk-out their differences.
Three major hospitals are joining forces to provide a statewide healthcare delivery system for Kentuckians. The partnership involves University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital in Louisville and Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington. They’re still working on a name for the joint effort, but James Taylor of U-of-L Hospital says the partnership means better healthcare for Kentuckians.
The state on Tuesday announced 59 recycling and 14 household hazardous waste grants to expand recycling, reduce the amount of solid waste going into landfills, and sustain the environmental management of household hazardous waste, which includes electronic scrap and mercury from homes throughout Kentucky.
Author Wendell Berry has long protested mountaintop removal, the controversial coal mining method. When Berry spoke at a rally in February in Frankfort, he urged others to continue protesting beyond just one day a year. Little did he know, a local group would take his message to heart – and two months later do just that. For the past eight weeks, environmental activists have set aside one day a week to stage day-long protests outside the governor’s office in the Capitol.
On July 1, the state gas tax will increase 1.9 cents from 19.5 to 21.4 cents per gallon. The gas tax is tied to the average wholesale price of gasoline, which increased according to a survey in April, said Greg Harkenrider, acting deputy executive director for the Governor’s Office for Policy Research. Chuck Wolfe, spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet, said the gas tax increase will generate about $57 million in additional revenue. The money will go into the state road fund that pays for road construction and repairs. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
Responding to the pending trial of two Iraqi nationals facing terrorism charges in Kentucky, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants the duo shipped to Guantanamo Bay. In May, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested in Bowling Green and have been accused of attempting to provide cash and weapons to al Qaida in Iraq. The two men have been indicted on 23 counts and if convicted they could face life in prison.
Officials say a police task force focused on curbing graffiti in Lexington is a success. Community leaders gathered at Woodland Park Monday afternoon to announce the arrests of several people on vandalism charges."Within the first three weeks of the task force, with all the task force members working very hard, we identified most of the graffiti in the city of Lexington to six people," says police officer Ricky Lynn. The task force documented more than $32,000 in damage to city and private property. Some of the offenders are doing community service and painting over the graffiti.
The administrator of the estate of murder victim Umi Southworth has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, claiming Lexington police acted in "a reckless, wanton and egregious manner" by failing to realize Southworth was still alive for several hours while they conducted a homicide investigation. After officials realized she was alive, she was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital, where she died the next day. Her husband, Don Southworth, was charged with her murder earlier this month.
A group of officers who enforce man's law called on a higher power Monday might to help with Eastern Kentucky's devastating drug problem. Several Christian police officers led a prayer meeting in Hazard, seeking God's help and urging Christians in the crowd to witness to their neighbors and co-workers in an effort to turn the tide of drug abuse one soul at a time. "I pray that the healing starts tonight," Joe Engle, deputy police chief in Hazard, said during a sermon punctuated by "amens" from the crowd.
Record high temperatures during recent weeks have done more good than harm to Hardin County crops. The heat hasn’t yet reached a point at which it is damaging crops, said Matt Adams, an extension agent for agriculture and natural resources with the Hardin County office. Warm and dry conditions allowed farmers to finish spring planting, which a wet April and early May postponed, he said. The area received more than 20 inches of rain over those months. The heat also helped late-planted corn grow faster than it would under cooler conditions, Adams said.
When it comes to finding a job, teens have it rough right now. As workers ages 16 to 19 fill out applications, they will likely find less “help wanted” signs and more competition for available jobs. A decade ago, it was fairly common for teens to be employed at their first job or a summer employment position. According to an employment study released by Northeastern University, during the summer of 2000, 45 of every 100 teens held a job in the country.
GREENVILLE — The Muhlenberg County Sheriff’s Department arrested 29 people on drug-related charges last week during a countywide roundup. A Muhlenberg County grand jury indicted 49 people in May on drug-related charges, the majority of whom were arrested Thursday, according to a press release from the Muhlenberg County Sheriff’s Department. Officers with the Sheriff’s Department, Central City Police, Greenville Police, Powderly Police, Kentucky State Police and Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force took place in the roundup. All agencies working together reflects an aggressive and ongoing effort to combat drug problems in Muhlenberg County, according to the press release.
The Kentucky Equality Federation says it is planning a public protest because two gay men with intellectual and developmental disabilities were kicked out of a recreational center run by the city of Hazard on Friday. The federation, which advocates for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, says the two were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The city's attorney, however, said the facility does not discriminate, and "there is a dispute as to the facts of what transpired."
For a few weeks, the fingers of Chris Spicer and many of who work with YouthBuild of Jackson were crossed for good luck. The organization had applied for a federal grant through the U. S. Department of Labor which would continue to fund them for three years. However the odds were stacked against them, as they were one of approximately 880 applicants nationwide. But the good luck wishes and federal funding did come true for YouthBuild last Friday, when they were told they would receive the $700,000 grant for the first two years, then a “follow up” grant for the third year.
FRANKFORT – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has granted Gov. Steve Beshear's request for disaster assistance to Kentucky farm families in 29 counties, due to severe weather conditions that occurred beginning April 17. “The severe storms and flooding impacted all facets of Kentucky’s agricultural industry" Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release, "and assistance from the USDA will help offset resulting income losses.” Counties covered in the declaration include:
The United States Supreme Court has declined to consider a case that would have changed the fees coal companies pay for their exported coal. Right now, coal companies pay what’s called an “Abandoned Mine Land” fee on each ton of coal. A decade ago, Consol Energy and other companies, including subsidiaries of Massey Energy and Arch Coal, filed a lawsuit against the government, claiming that they shouldn’t have to pay the fee for coal that’s being exported from the United States.
On Tuesday night, the Berea City Council will hold the second and final public hearing on an ordinance that would protect gay and transgender individuals from discrimination. After the forum, the council will decide whether or not they will take a vote on the ordinance. The Fairness Campaign has been working for months to see the measure passed. Chris Hartman is the group’s president.
A former campaign volunteer for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., entered an Alford Plea in the case that he assaulted a liberal activist during last year’s general election. Bourbon County resident Tim Profitt was accused of wrestling MoveOn.org activist Lauren Valle to the ground before stepping on her neck and head outside the Kentucky Educational Television studios. Profitt said he thought the 23-year-old activist was trying to attack then-candidate Paul, who was headed to a debate with Attorney General Jack Conway.
New statewide, end-of-course, assessment exams begin this coming school year for Kentucky high school students. The tests were authorized in education reforms approved by Kentucky lawmakers in 2009. The statewide tests measure student achievement in graduation-required courses of English, Algebra, Biology and U.S. History.
The coal industry and politicians have done a good job labeling Kentucky as a coal state. But not all coal is equal. Not chemically, not geologically and not financially. As Kentucky Public Radio's Erica Peterson reports, some types of coal are much more valuable than others.
Lexington's urban county council members are getting down to the wire in a passing a budget for the next fiscal year. Plans for spending cuts within the division of police remain a concern. Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin has twice reported to council members in recent weeks on how the division is handling a proposed 7 percent reduction in funding. Police plan to cut community service units nearly in half; those affected include the DARE program, mounted patrol, and the Community Law Enforcement Action Response unit, also known as CLEAR.
The 2011 Great American Brass Band Festival has marched through Danville, and once again organizers are pleased with the event. Niki Kinkade, director of the brass band festival, said, “It was a perfect festival, and we’re looking forward to it next year.” The crowd was better than it has been in the last several years, according to Kinkade, giving some credit to “fantastic” weather. Even the short rain shower Saturday afternoon helped to cool things off and didn’t dampen the event.
One governor was assassinated more than a century ago, and his killer remains a mystery even today. Another governor died soon after being sworn in. A third tried to impose a sales tax and instead caused riots. Theses stories of Kentucky’s governors as well as artifacts from their terms are now on display at the Toyota Kentucky Hall of Governors at Frankfort's Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Among the artifacts are pocket watches, walking canes, a wedding ring and the bloody undershirt worn by Gov. William Goebel when he was assassinated.
One day late last week, a teenage girl and a young woman were adrift on a boating tube at the opening of one of the busiest channels on Barren River Lake. The craft that had been towing them was a mile away. “This is one of the most dangerous things I’ve seen in 16 years,” said Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officer Sgt. Brett Zalla. He then turned his patrol boat and asked the young women to board and point out the boat that had been towing them. Once he caught up to the boat’s driver, he explained that the girls were floating and helpless if a boat had coming zipping around the corner. A boater might not have seen them drifting on top of the water.