There’s no need to trade your kingdom for good drama this summer weekend. Summerfest begins in Lexington with Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” Studio Players recaptures past glory with a revival of “Forever Plaid,” and actor-comedian Adele Givens, who’s a Lexington native, performs at the Lyric Theater. Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader has this preview.
A battle is brewing over how much authority Lexington's Urban County Council should have over contract agreements reached through collective bargaining. Council members tussled for hours Thursday night over a resolution put forward by Councilman Ed Lane that would clarify the procedure for approving collective bargaining agreements. Lane and his supporters argued the resolution is needed because the police and fire pension system is unsustainable and the council deserves more input.
All three of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's historic line-item vetoes of the Urban County Council-approved budget will remain in effect. The council put up resistance to only one set of cuts. In what Councilman Jay McChord called a "heartfelt" decision, the body voted 11-4 to keep Mayor Gray's 10-percent across-the-board cut to the government's partner agencies intact, shaving close to 315-thousand dollars off the budget. Councilman Doug Martin, who voted against overriding the mayor's veto, said slashing the budgets of organizations like the Salvation Army and Hope Center in the midst of difficult economic times was painful.
Starting today at 5:oo this afternoon, Ford will begin hiring 1,800 workers for the newly re-tooled Louisville Assembly Plant. The plant recently underwent a $600 million renovation project to prepare it to build several new types of vehicles, including variations on the popular Escape. Ford says the plant is the most modern and flexible in the company. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer praised the move as an important step in his plans for the city.
Come this fall, a large percentage of Kentucky's Medicaid patients will enter a managed care program. Governor Steve Beshear hails the change as a major cost saver that ensures quality care The Governor says the statewide expansion of Medicaid managed care will save taxpayers more than a billion dollars over three years. Beshear announced the state has awarded three contracts to firms which will manage the care given thousands of Medicaid recipients.
The 131st annual Fancy Farm Picnic is coming up Saturday, Aug. 6 with a full slate of candidates running for office in Kentucky scheduled to speak. Mark Wilson, political chairman for the event at St. Jerome Catholic Church, says he expects close to 100 percent participation among the Commonwealth’s Washington delegation as well as among candidates running for state offices in the November General election set for Nov. 1.
Tears streamed down Wendy Henson’s face Wednesday when Franklin and Simpson County leaders voted to outsource her job to Bowling Green. Henson is the interim supervisor for the Simpson County 911 Dispatch Services center. County leaders in a joint special called meeting Wednesday with the Franklin City Commission voted to terminate their agreement with the city of Franklin for dispatch services. Then, within minutes, both the city commission and county fiscal court voted unanimously to examine an agreement with the state to provide emergency dispatch services through Kentucky State Police Post 3 in Bowling Green. The switch is expected to save thousands in taxpayer dollars.
The booms, bangs and bright flashes of fireworks over the weekend have given way to an acknowledgment by the Bowling Green Board of Commissioners that it must revisit the recently passed fireworks ordinance. Similar concerns about safety and noise have been expressed in Louisville and Lexington.
The stately marble staircase at the Franklin County Court House is now lined with ragged pieces of cardboard. Dark, wooden gallery seating from the circuit courtroom on the second floor has been removed, and dust blankets the judge’s bench as the empty building awaits renovation. Yet the picturesque courtroom is still alive and well in the pages of attorney Stephen Van Zant’s first novel, “Far From Good.” Van Zant, an Elizabethtown lawyer, has practiced in courtrooms across the state, and Franklin County’s stood out.
Two new specialty license plates have been approved by the Transportation Cabinet. One tag supports the Alzheimer’s Association, while the second carries the slogan “In God We Trust” with a backdrop of the American flag. Kentucky already has a regular plate with the “In God We Trust” slogan”. But MaryAnn Gramig, who’s president of the ROCK Cares Foundation which sponsors the new plate, says it bolsters a spiritual message.
A former Magoffin County school principal pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal drug and gun charges. Darrell B. Patrick, 46, admitted selling pain pills to an undercover informant several times in 2009, possessing pills for the purpose of distribution and possessing guns in furtherance of a drug crime, according to a court document. Police found more than 100 shotguns, rifles and pistols, as well as a bulletproof vest, when they raided Patrick's home near Salyersville in October 2009.
Sept. 11 survivor Tony Rose held back tears on a hot Wednesday morning as he described the symbolism of a twisted piece of metal delivered to the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central in Radcliff. “Today, this piece comes to us as a result of evil, There’s no other way around it,” he said. The piece in question was a pair of beams formed into the shape of a “distressed cross” — wreckage found and retrieved from the World Trade Center in New York City after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It will be erected as part of a larger 9/11 memorial later this year.
By Josh Kegley, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beverly Fortune, Lexington Herald-Leader
After receiving numerous complaints that Lexington sounded like a war zone during the Fourth of July weekend, at least one Urban County Council member wants stricter local restrictions on fireworks. There were 553 general noise complaints to Lexington's 911 call center Friday through Tuesday, said David Lucas, director of the Division of Enhanced 911. That's up from 308 complaints during the holiday weekend last year — before bottle rockets, mortars and firecrackers could be purchased legally in the state.
Speakers for the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic have been scheduled and organizers have confirmed candidates seeking statewide office and departing public officials will be in attendance. Time has even been set aside for any GOP presidential nominees running in 2012, but none are on the list—yet.
Tonight’s (Thursday) the night Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council members may attempt to override budget vetoes issued by Mayor Jim Gray. The mayor line item vetoed three areas of the council approved budget, including funds for disc golf facilities and a half-dozen jobs in the city's communications office. The mayor also imposed a ten percent funding cut on some 26 outside agencies that provide city services. David Barberie (BAR-ber-ee) with the city’s law department, Tuesday explained to council members their options.
The mayor of Bowling Green, Kentucky believes the two Iraqi nationals being held in his city on terrorism charges are secure and American courts can handle terror suspects. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a letter that the decision to treat Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi as civilian defendants in federal court was “ill-advised.” However, the city commissioners disagreed and voted by a three-to-two margin against a resolution asking Holder to move the trial.
After spending 40 years at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, a stolen 14th century work is going home. The Speed Art Museum bought the piece from a New York Gallery in 1973 for 38 thousand dollars, not realizing the Italian art was stolen from a home in Italy two years earlier.
Some parts of Louisville sounded like a war zone last weekend as fireworks laws were relaxed and residents celebrated the Fourth of July holiday. But all of those fireworks contributed to some of the area’s air quality problems. There are two main kinds of air pollution: fine particle and ozone. Louisville has been having a number of problems with ozone lately, but this weekend there was also a higher amount of particle pollution in the air from fireworks. Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District spokesman Matt Stull says the high level isn’t necessarily caused by the city’s official fireworks, but it seems the sheer number of people lighting explosives over the weekend helped push the reading over the threshold.
The initial state-wide numbers are in on highway fatalities over the Fourth of July weekend. Six people died in six separate crashes between Friday afternoon and midnight Monday. Alcohol is a suspected factor in one crash. Four fatalities involved motorists not wearing their seatbelts. Lieutenant David Jude with the Kentucky State Police says to date, 321 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways.
A sign marking a Fleming County historic landmark has been replaced after a long absence. A historic marker sign at the Goddard Covered Bridge was installed Friday, July 1, in replacement of one stolen several years ago. The sign is located on Kentucky 32 where the covered bridge crosses Sand Lick Creek. The Goddard Bridge is one of three standing covered bridges in Fleming County and one of only 13 in Kentucky, which at one time was host to more than 400 covered bridges.
If the walls of the soon-to-be toppled Farmers Tobacco Warehouse No. 1 in Danville could talk, their stories would fill volumes. Owner Jerry Rankin has heard most of them over the years. “This has just been a special place,” Rankin said. Rankin confirmed Tuesday that a deal with Centre College is being finalized that will sell the landmark that has stood on the corner of Russell and Hope streets since 1927. He declined to discuss the specifics of the sale until it is finalized, only saying Centre paid a fair price for the property. Demolition is set to begin early next week.
Law enforcement officers attended more Fourth of July gatherings this weekend than in the past, but they weren’t there to celebrate. Fireworks complaints more than doubled this year, say Frankfort Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. “We were swamped,” said Frankfort Police Maj. Fred Deaton.
After more than 80 years, Farmers Bank’s run as the depository for Kentucky’s state government is officially over. J.P. Morgan Chase, with regional headquarters in Louisville, won the contract earlier this year to provide depository-banking services to state government between July 2011 and June 2013 at a cost of $1.3 million. Frankfort’s Farmers Bank held that contract since 1928 and was one of four other firms that unsuccessfully vied for the chance to handle billions in taxpayer dollars. Although they scored highly on technical requirements and in an oral presentation, Farmers asked for more than $900,000 above J.P. Morgan’s price.
While the Bowling Green Board of Commissioners didn’t pass a resolution asking the Department of Justice to move the trial of two suspected terrorists, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continued his efforts Tuesday. McConnell, the Senate minority leader, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking Holder to reconsider his decision to hold civilian trials for Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, both arrested on terrorism charges in Bowling Green in May.
FRANKFORT – Five individuals were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Lexington last week on charges related to an investment fraud scheme through a company called Target Oil and Gas. The Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions was instrumental in assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in investigating the case. . District Judge Joseph M. Hood handed down these sentences:
Kentucky’s first Nascar Sprint Cup Race isn’t until Saturday. But, the racing frenzy is being felt far ahead of the competition and far away from the northern Kentucky track.
It wasn’t the roar of the nascar vehicles that race car fans heard in the parking lot.. It was the sound of idling trucks that transport race cars as they waited Wednesday in a Lexington parking lot. Daytona, Florida native Ron Utter works on the cars and drives the truck which holds the Toyota driven by Tony Raines. Utter says actual race cars rarely leave their trucks…and are only seen at the track.
An attorney for Glenn Doneghy, who was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of Lexington police officer Bryan J. Durman on June 30, has filed a motion for a new trial. Attorney Sally Wasielewski, in the motion filed this week, says that jurors in the trial were allowed to walk freely around downtown Lexington during a June 30 lunch break — after deliberations had begun — when they should have been kept in a group and accompanied by a court bailiff. Wasielewski says this was a violation of Kentucky law.
A poor review by Men's Health magazine has prompted a response by a member of Lexington's urban county council. The publication recently rated Lexington the nation’s most sedentary city. Council member Jay McChord suggests he, along with Lexington's mayor , the president of the University of Kentucky, and the Fayette County Schools Superintendent travel to Pennsylvania to meet with magazine representatives.
A civil rights organization known for monitoring right-wing hate groups nationwide has listed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on its list of “extremist” candidates who ran for public office in 2010. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiled the list of 23 candidates, which includes prominent neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, white supremacists, Klu Klux Klansmen, militiamen and Holocaust deniers.
Two people suffered significant injuries from explosive devices during the Independence Day weekend, according to Nelson County EMS Director Joe Prewitt. Zack Bagwell, 25, Boston, was transported to University Hospital Sunday afternoon after losing at least one finger in an explosion near the Beech Fork River in the Boston area. The Boston Fire Department and EMS met Bagwell at Rust Funeral Home.