Lexington's 3,064 insured city employees are on track to consume roughly 32 million dollars in health care this year. That's over four million dollars more than the same coverage would have cost just three years ago. Consultants also say Urban County Government has consistently underestimated the "true cost" of health care, offering more generous benefits than 99% of all public and private health insurance programs while incurring a 33-million dollar shortfall over the past three years.
After several contentious meetings on the subject, the Urban County Council voted Tuesday night to establish procedures for reviewing contract agreements reached through collective bargaining. For years the council has debated just what its role should be in agreements reached through collective bargaining. Traditionally, approval of the contracts fell to the mayor's office. But with unfunded pension liabilities mounting, some members of the council see it as their responsibility to review and ultimately agree to the contracts.
Journalist James Fallows is in Louisville today to speak at the Kentucky Chamber’s annual meeting. Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a former editor of U.S. News and World Report, and delivered a speech based on a recent article on the future of coal.
Like most juvenile crimes, cybercrimes are often the result of peer pressure. An article in this week’s American Journal of Criminal Justice concludes kids who commit cybercrimes usually have friends who also commit cybercrimes. Researchers surveyed 435 students in a suburban Kentucky school district. Helping with the study was Doctor David May, a professor of Criminal Justice at Eastern Kentucky University. May, who spoke with WEKU’s Charles Compton, says they studied four forms of internet crime.
A newly formed Early Childhood Advisory Council will help Kentucky create policies, standards, and goals which should improve the education given pre school children.
26 people have been named to a state council charged with seeking ways to improve early childhood education. They were named today (Tuesday) in an executive order issued by Kentucky's governor. Former C-E-O of United Way of Kentucky Terry Sims Tolan will direct the brand new Early Childhood Advisory Council. Tolan says consistency of care is the highest priority.
Focusing solely on his third presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election for a 13th term in the House of Representatives. Observers contend Paul, who is the father of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is an excellent fundraiser who would have easily retained his seat despite redistricting, but the 75-year-old congressman felt it was time to move on and put his energy into one last bid for the White House.
For the first time in three years, Kentucky’s general fund tax receipts have increased. The fiscal year, which ended last month, saw a six point five percent increase...that's the highest growth rate since 2006. State budget director Mary Lassiter says it’s a sign of economic recovery.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has taken steps to apply for federal education grants from the Race to the Top program. The commonwealth is eligible for a portion of the $500 million that will be made available later this year. Like the previous round of Race to the Top grants, states must put together lengthy applications for the money.
A team of state officials will soon meet with Kentucky Speedway representatives to discuss next year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Race. Gridlock Saturday meant thousands of ticket holders didn’t see the race. Governor Steve Beshear says his team will get together in the next few days. “I think everyone anticipated that we would have some problems. Obviously nobody anticipated that the parking situation would end up creating the problem that it did,” said Beshear
Doctors say the latest recipient of a hand transplant at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital is recovering and being prepared for physical therapy. Donnie Rickelman of Linton, Indiana, about a two hour drive northwest of Louisville, received a new left hand Sunday. Rickelman’s left hand was partially amputated in a factory accident 13 years ago. The mishap with a steel splitter also crushed his right hand. The transplanted left hand, from an anonymous donor, also came from Indiana.
Several politicians in recent weeks have called on the federal government to reimburse the City of Bowling Green for potential costs incurred should the trials of two suspected terrorists be held here. However, a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Daily News Tuesday morning reveals such calls might be unnecessary. “The federal government bears the costs of federal prosecutions and covers the bulk of expenses related to security,” said Dean Boyd, spokesman for the Department of Justice.
Officials are investigating another mining fatality in Kentucky. Twenty-six year old Ryan Thatcher of Salyersville died Monday while working at a mine near Inez in Martin County. According to the Energy and Environment Cabinet there were no apparent witnesses to the accident.
With heat indices expected to be in the triple digits again today, the city of Lexington is opening two cooling centers across town to help folks beat the heat. The Dunbar Community Center on Upper Street will be open until 8 p.m. The Lexington Senior Center on the corner of Alumni and Nicholasville Road will stay open until 6 p.m. Lextran is offering free rides for senior citizens to and from the cooling centers. For more information on the free rides, call Lextran at (859) 253-4636.
The Washington Post blog The Fix says the Republican Governors Association‘s attack ad targeting Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial election is meant to assess whether Republican challenger David Williams has a chance this November. On Monday, the group launched the 30-second commercial criticizing the governor’s record in an effort to buoy Williams, who is trailing Beshear by 21 points in the latest poll.
Lexington might not have experienced the 100-degrees-plus temperatures that swept the Midwest and Southern United States on Monday, but it felt like it. Lexington's heat index exceeded expectations and hit 112 degrees Monday, prompting the National Weather Service in Louisville to issue a heat advisory until 8 p.m. in Central Kentucky. Hot and humid weather was expected to continue into Tuesday, although scattered showers and thunderstorms could help cool things down late Tuesday afternoon, meteorologist Mike Crow said.
A University of Kentucky cheerleader was seriously injured in Rhode Island on Thursday when he fell 44 feet while teaching a gymnastics class. His father credits his training in tumbling with saving his life. Dylan Smith, 19, had been tumbling when "he kinda lost his balance" at the end of a series of moves and landed against a door that had been nailed shut, his father, Hugh Smith, said in a telephone interview. The door, on the fourth or fifth floor of the building, led only to open air. It gave way, and Dylan Smith fell out backward, Hugh Smith said.
The Kentucky Speedway offered tickets to future NASCAR races to thousands of fans who missed Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series race because of massive traffic jams that ensnared them for hours outside the racetrack. The ticket offer came Monday as a top Kentucky state lawmaker called for legislative hearings and Gov. Steve Beshear said he’ll assemble a team to explore the cause of hours-long gridlock that tarnished what should have been a triumphant day for both the track and the state.
The memo from the state board of elections about the process for homeless voter registration will factor in the race to become the next Kentucky secretary of state. Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson said he plans on filing legal action to challenge the state instructing county clerks to accept voter registration with an incomplete or non-existent address and place them in the precinct of the county clerk's office. A memo written by Kentucky Board of Elections Executive Director Sarah Ball Johnson to all county clerks on the procedure for the registration of homeless voters drew the objection of Boone County Clark Kenny Brown, who felt registering someone without a distinct location and precinct was illegal and could lead to voter fraud.
More than 20 cities and counties in Kentucky have passed bans on smoking in public places and one more may soon be added to that list. Mayor Marty Voiers and city council are considering a municipal order prohibiting the use of any form of tobacco products "throughout the entire workplace on all city properties with no exceptions, including city owned vehicles." A notice on the city's website reads, "this policy applies to all employees, consultants, contractors, customers and visitors," and lets citizens know that there will be signs posted at entrances of buildings as well as within the premises.
FRANKFORT – Kentucky mining investigators worked overnight to determine the cause of Kentucky’s latest mining fatality. Ryan K. Thatcher, 26, of Salyersville died Monday when he suffered head injuries while working at the Voyager No. 7 mine near Inez in Martin County. The mine is owned by Martin County Coal Corp.
A doctor at a Paintsville pain clinic conspired to illegally distribute drugs by writing prescriptions without a real medical need to do so, a federal grand jury has charged. Richard W. Albert saw dozens of patients a day, issuing them prescriptions for pain pills and other narcotics with little or no examination at times, an investigator said in a court document.
The fastest growing areas in Kentucky are just outside cities. Trouble is, as population grows so does pressure to fill up those open spaces. It’s a tough balancing act. WEKU’s Jacalyn Carfagno reports.
A broken water main at the University of Louisville campus has caused some flooding across part of the campus. The break occurred near Floyd and Warnock Streets, causing that intersection, and much of the campus, to flood. According to MetroSafe Communications, some people are trapped in buildings as portions of the flooding have reached almost five feet deep. According to witnesses, some tennis courts are under water at the Bass-Rudd Tennis center and the Papa John’s across the street is surrounded by water.
Health insurance costs have caused headaches for employers, both private and public. Now, they're giving a big headache to city officials in Lexington. The city has failed to collect enough money from its workers for health care. As a result, Lexington has lost tens of millions of dollars. The news comes at a bad time. Leaders at Lexington City Hall have just balanced their budget for next year. Now they must find their way out of a ten million dollar hole that they are digging this year.
A gay elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) says the recent rule change that removes any doubt over the legitimacy of her position makes the church more accepting, though intolerance still exists in many areas. Beth Van Sickle was ordained in her Ohio congregation in the 1980s and faced challenges to her post. But yesterday , the church’s constitution was changed to allow unmarried, noncelibate clergy. Van Sickle says it makes the church appear more accepting to young people, who may be questioning the conflict between their religion and their sexuality.
Last month, researchers at Washington State University and West Virginia University released a study that found a correlation between mountaintop removal mining birth defects. A law firm with ties to the National Mining Association has refuted the study’s findings, but in the process, insulted many Appalachians. Inbreeding in Appalachia is one many stereotypes, perpetuated by movies and even Vice President Dick Cheney in 2008 at a National Press Club Event:
Kentucky Speedway, which is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Monday issued the following statement regarding the fan experience at Saturday’s “Quaker State 400.” Kyle Busch won the 2011 Quaker State 400. “To those fans that were not able to attend the Quaker State 400, we offer our sincerest apologies,” said Mark Simendinger, general manager, Kentucky Speedway. “We’d also like to apologize to all of our fans who endured challenging conditions during our event weekend. As we said earlier, we’re committed to working with NASCAR, state and local officials and traffic experts to address Saturday’s traffic issues to ensure that we never have this type of experience again.”
Speaking at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts in downtown Louisville Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams told reporters Democratic Governor Steve Beshear needs to “man up” and stop dodging him at joint appearances. The governor has passed on attending two other forums with his GOP challenger that are scheduled for later this week. Beshear’s staff told the Lexington Herald-Leader he is unable to attend a panel discussion Tuesday at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting due to prior commitments.
Organizers of the Spotlight Lexington Festival have officially canceled this year's event citing a lack of corporate support. Spotlight Chair Kip Cornett says while the festival proved a very popular aspect of the World Equestrian Games last fall, continuing it this year proved cost-prohibitive.