U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., questioned officials Wednesday as to how two Iraqi refugees made their way to Bowling Green before eventually being arrested on terrorism charges. In a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Paul said he believes the most serious threats of terrorism to the country come from travel, refugee and student visas.
Kentucky residents could feel the effects locally if Washington, D.C., politicians can’t come up with a solution to raise the debt ceiling by the beginning of August - although one state economist doubts the severity of the situation would be as bad as some have predicted. John Garen, the Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, said there have been temporary disruptions of government business in the past. In those events, which are typically very brief, some federal employees are furloughed and offices are closed, he said.
The $584 million foundation remediation project at Wolf Creek Dam is now more than halfway complete, according to David Hendrix, the Nashville Corps of Engineers project manager, and at 55 percent is still slated for a December 2013 finish. That word came late last week after the Corps invited several media outlets from Russell and surrounding counties as well as a TV news crew from Nashville to take a tour and view work progress on the giant structure.
A national survey measuring horse racing bettors' satisfactions with their tracks puts all Kentucky thoroughbred tracks in the top 20 nationally with Keeneland and Churchill Downs capturing the top two spots. Ellis Park was seventh and Turfway Park was eighth.
Nearly four years after state and local officials broke ground on the project in September 2007, work continues on the widening of a 5-mile section of U.S. 27 in northern Garrard County. Heavy equipment rumbles near Bryantsville as the two-lane road is widened to four lanes from Rocky Top to just south of Ky. 34. Construction costs amount to about $39 million of the $56 million project.
More than politicians on Capitol Hill are taking stock in the current U-S debt ceiling debate. University of Kentucky professor of economics, John Garren says finding a solution to long term debt can be a confidence builder for Kentucky business people.
Some University of Kentucky professors are questioning whether former President Lee T. Todd Jr. needs a campus office that will cost as much as the median price of a house sold in Central Kentucky. Renovations for Todd's office in UK's Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center Building will cost $143,828. The median sale price for a house in Central Kentucky was $145,000 in June.
Motorists need to mark their calendars for delays and closures on the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge. The structure connects Maysville with Aberdeen, Ohio. Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced Thursday an inspection is scheduled for Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 29 on the bridge on weekdays.
Two of the three gubernatorial candidates debated in Covington Thursday afternoon – Republican State Senate President David Williams and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith. Gov. Steve Beshear announced earlier in the week that a scheduling conflict would keep him from attending the debate at the joint conference of the Kentucky County Judge/Executives Association and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.
The Appalachian Youth Challenge Academy will open in July 2012 in Harlan at a former elementary school. The program will take volunteers between 16 and 18 years of age. Youth Challenge targets at-risk teens and teaches them life skills and physical fitness - all in a 22-week program in a military-like atmosphere.
Horse racing in Kentucky may be hurting, but it's not done fighting yet. The sport took an important step toward financial survival Thursday after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved the first expanded gambling at a state horse track. Kentucky Downs, a track on the Tennessee border, had requested permission to implement a game called Instant Racing, in which players bet on past horse races using slot-like machines. “This was a big step in moving instant racing toward Ellis Park,” owner Ron Geary said Thursday.
Lexingtonians got an up-close look at the latest designs for the CentrePointe block downtown Thursday night. Chicago architect Jeanne Gang presented the newly fleshed out CentrePointe designs to a packed house at the Kentucky Theatre Thursday night. The new vision for the block includes a 30-story tower made up of "bundled tubes" inspired by the coral in Kentucky limestone and five smaller structures designed by local architects. After viewing the model in the lobby, Robert Maras, a teacher who has visited other buildings by the architect, said he was excited to see what he considers a truly collaborative effort.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will sign an executive order this morning that will extend health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. The change will go into effect on July 1, 2012. According to the Courier-Journal, the city’s Human Resources Department estimates that as many as 400 of the city’s 5,500 employees will take advantage of the benefits, which would cost about $400,000.
A federal court has issued a permanent injunction against a Pike County coal mine in response to allegations from the Mine Safety and Health Administration that the mine was giving advance notice of inspections. When miners have advance notice, they can quickly rectify unsafe conditions to pass inspection. That’s what MSHA says was happening at CAM Mining’s Mine Number 28, where the agency went to investigate complaints that miners were smoking underground.
Louisville Gas & Electric has released a second study on coal ash. It follows another thatshowed the company is possibly in violation of pollution laws. LG&E says this secondreport is more accurate, but it might not matter in the long run. People who live near the Cane Run Power Station have complained that fly ash is leaving the landfill and contaminating their homes. The first report, released earlier this week by LG&E, confirmed there were high concentrations of fly ash on their houses.
Two people are dead from an early morning traffic crash in Madison County. The accident shut down lanes in I-75 southbound for hours. Kentucky State Police trooper Chris Lanham says the crash was caused by a vehicle going the wrong way.
A crime drama based in Appalachia continues to earn praise from critics. This week, “Justified” netted four Emmy nominations. Rich Copley, who’s an arts and culture reporter for the Lexington Herald offers an explanation. He also says the final installment in the “Harry Potter” series can pose competition to events take place in Kentucky. Among those events is a dramedy based in Danville at the end of World War Two.
After denouncing the State Board of Elections for telling county clerks to approve voter registration cards that have “homeless” listed under the address, Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson has filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the panel and Secretary of State Elaine Walker.Last week, the Todd County businessman called on Walker to resign and has made the issue of homeless voters a centerpiece of his campaign against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who supports the right of the homeless to list “place-to-place” under the address portion of the application.
FRANKFORT – At Gov. Steve Beshear’s direction, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has taken action to speed the emergency response to neighboring states hit with widespread electrical outages earlier this week. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock signed an official order to waive special registration and permit requirements for utility repair vehicles headed to stricken areas.
The cost of health care threatens to break the finances of cities like Lexington. Last year, providing coverage for city worker cost 11-million dollars more than predicted. Other cities are in better shape, but, the executive director at the Kentucky League of Cities says it’s still a struggle. Jon Steiner says increasing health care costs makes it hard to write a budget.
A man who built a 25 year career at the Lexington jail is back in a leadership position there. Ray Sabbatine was announced Thursday as the interim director of Community Corrections. He will take over for retiring director Ron Bishop on July 25.
Louisville is among five cities chosen to receive money and assistance from the philanthropic arm of the Bloomberg company. Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving a total of $24 million to Louisville, Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans. The money will essentially pay for brain power, through what the charity is calling innovation teams. They’ll work with local governments to address pressing issues identified by city leaders.
A television drama set mainly in Harlan and Lexington, Kentucky is in the running for a number of Emmy awards. The nominations were revealed early Thursday morning. Timothy Olyphant, who stars as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givins in the critically acclaimed FX series Justified, has received a best lead actor nomination. Margo Martindale, who last season portrayed the criminal matriarch Mags Bennett, got a best supporting actress nod, and Walton Goggins, who plays Givins' frenemy Boyd Crowder, is up for a supporting actor award.
Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered an ultimatum to congressional leaders and the American people when he stressed the far-fetched idea to pass a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution in order to address the nation’s growing debt. The White House has already rejected the Tea Party-backed idea as part of debt ceiling negotiations, but McConnell pitched it as the only way to ensure the federal government has fiscal order.
For the past few years, American Electric Power has been working on a carbon capture and sequestration project at their Mountaineer Power Plant in New Haven, West Virginia. The plant used a chilled ammonia process to remove the carbon dioxide from the gas emitted from the plant, then the carbon was injected underground for storage in porous rock. Here’s a documentary I produced while at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which describes the technology at Mountaineer.
An open records ruling from the attorney general’s office says Kentucky State Police must turn over photos from the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire even if they are in possession of a former employee. Attorney General Jack Conway‘s office said KSP, which refused to give copies of photos of the deadly 1977 fire in northern Kentucky to a survivor of the blaze, must comply. David Brock, 52 of Florence, who was an 18-year-old busboy at the supper club the night of the fire, made the request. Brock wants to see the photos because he says he believes they will show the fire was caused by arson.
Newly released jobs numbers show thousands of Kentucky’s construction workers may have to hang up their tool belts unless Congress can find more money for road construction. If the House passed budget becomes law, the Federal Highway Administration says nearly eight thousand construction workers in Kentucky would lose their jobs. Kentucky Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie says Democrats tried to create jobs with their $787-billion stimulus package and proved government spending cannot salvage an economy.
Robert George, whose body has been in the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital morgue for more than three months, finally will be laid to rest, possibly on Thursday, in Burnside Cemetery in Pulaski County. It's not likely that any of George's relatives, including his children — four sons and a daughter — will be there when his coffin is lowered into the ground, George's son, Robbie George of Texas, said Wednesday. "He's done a lot of very bad things, and the family is not so forgiving," the son said.
Nineteen defendants from Adair, Butler and Russell counties have been sentenced in United States District Court for their role in a crack cocaine and controlled substance distribution ring operating in and around Adair County, according to David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. According to evidence presented in court, the drug trafficking organization operated between July 2007 and May 2009 and was responsible for the distribution of at least 300 kilograms of crack cocaine and prescription pills with an estimated street value in excess of $10 million, in and around Adair County.
When Damon Dunson and Melanie Stamper of Berea woke up one morning last week, they said they couldn't believe that someone had used spray paint and markers to write racial slurs on their vehicles. "I was angry, but at the same time I knew whoever did it was ignorant," said Dunson, who is black. "They spelled the n-word three different ways," said Stamper, his girlfriend, who is white. The message left on Stamper's Jeep, she said, told her to get out of the neighborhood.