FRANKFORT - Gov. Steve Beshear Friday announced funding for water supply projects in several Eastern Kentucky counties. Residents living along or in KY HWY 476 (Breathitt), Mudlick/Franks Creek (Johnson), Paintsville Lake area (Johnson), Dry Creek/Clear Creek (Knott), Treadway Road (Lee/Owsley), Trace Fork/Spicy Ridge (Martin), Whoopflarea (Owsley/Perry), South Perry (Perry) and Vicco (Perry/Letcher) should be noticing the construction of a water supply project funded by the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands in their communities.
FRANKFORT – The state announced Friday the awarding of nearly $75 million in highway projects. They include funding for bridge deck repair, road maintenance, highway safety improvements and a new, state-of-the-art “double crossover diamond” interchange in Fayette County. All the contracts were awarded on the basis of competitive bidding. The Transportation Cabinet received and announced the bids on May 20, according to a press release.
After initially fighting one of its key provisions, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday aimed at cracking down on clinics that frivolously dispense pain pills, feeding a nationwide prescription drug abuse epidemic. "Florida will shed its title as the Oxy Express," Scott said at a bill signing ceremony in Tampa, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear reacted to the news by issuing a statement:
When Sajad Alzuhairi, owner of the International Market in Bowling Green, heard about the arrests of two local Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges, he was shocked. One of the men, Waad Ramadan Alwan, had often worked for Alzuhairi at the store. “I could not believe it,” said Alzuhairi, who is from Iraq and lives in Nashville. “He didn’t look like the kind of person who would do anything like that.” Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, both of whom have lived in Bowling Green since 2009, are charged with plotting to send explosives, guns and missiles to al-Qaida in Iraq, according to a federal indictment that was unsealed Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., plans to ask for Senate hearings to find out how two Iraqi refugees living in Bowling Green and recently charged with terrorism were able to gain entry into the country. In a news conference today, Paul complimented the FBI for its “good work” in apprehending the two men. Alwan is accused of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals living abroad. Alwan and Hammadi are accused of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al-Qaida in Iraq.
Bargain hunters across the state took to the road Thursday for the 400 Mile Sale. The annual event, which continues through Sunday, features yard sales in dozens of communities across the state, following U.S. 68 as it stretches west from Maysville to Paducah. The four-day event has grown in popularity since it was first held in 2004, bringing attention to U.S. 68 itself, which has been designated as a State Scenic Byway, and the antique shops and other destinations along the road.
Federal inspectors issued 30 citations at an underground coal mine in Letcher County during a special inspection last month, according to a news release. Among other things, the citations allege that the operator of Vision Coal Inc.'s Mine No. 2 failed to follow the approved plans for supporting the mine roof and drilling test holes, exposing miners to potential injuries from roof falls and the danger of being inundated by water and harmful gases, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said.
WEBstaurant Store Inc. has chosen Madisonville as its second location to operate a distribution center. WEBstaurant will hire 25 employees this summer, who will start to work within the next few weeks. Employment will eventually increase to 100, according to the company’s president, Dave Groff. The announcement was made during a news conference at the Madisonville/Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. on Thursday morning.
Evidence indicating former state lawmaker Steve Nunn engaged the services of prostitutes less than a week before he is alleged to have killed his former fiancée will be allowed at his murder trial, Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine ruled Thursday. The judge said prosecution evidence showing contacts between Nunn and women from an online service in August and September 2009, just before the Sept. 11, 2009, shooting death of 29-year-old Amanda Ross, was relevant to the case. Defense attorneys had sought to have the information excluded from the trial.
You pull up at a bank. You need to go inside. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Your two children, both younger than 5, are in the backseat. You don’t want to take them in, but it is 93 degrees outside. What do you do? Children and animals are more susceptible to heat than adults. Leaving them in the car while you run inside for a few minutes could lead to heat exhaustion and even death.
Trauth Dairy’s Newport plant will cease production by the end of August, ending more than 90 years of making dairy products in Newport. The plant will remain a distribution and administration center for the dairy company, Trauth’s owner, Dallas-based Dean Foods announced Thursday. The company said 80 people will lose their jobs at the plant by the time production ceases on Aug. 26.
Environmental activist and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance Robert Kennedy Jr. was on The Colbert Report on Wednesday to discuss mountaintop removal (or, as Colbert calls it, ‘flatland enhancement’) and his new movie The Last Mountain. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is coming to Louisville on Sunday June 12 for the Flyover Film Festival. It focuses on Coal Mountain, in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia, and the attempts of citizens to stop mining on the mountain and replace it with a wind farm.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed a new law that aims to boost revenue and beautify neighborhoods. When a property is vacant and falls into a state of disrepair, city governments often cut grass and board up windows, then fine the owner for the work. In Louisville, Metro Government has spent millions keeping up empty houses, but only $800,000 has been repaid. That’s because the city couldn’t collect from property owners until banks and other creditors got their share.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is pushing for criminals serving jail time or possession of crack cocaine to have their sentences reduced, but his efforts are unlikely to affect one of the most famous local cases involving crack cocaine. Holder’s recommendation is related to the Fair Sentencing Act. Previously, possession of the more expensive powder form of cocaine carried a lighter penalty than possession of crack. Holder argues that anyone sentenced under the harsher guidelines should have the chance to serve less time.
The World Health Organization still isn’t sure where the rare strain of E. coli that’s spreading across Europe came from, but some believe it may have been spurred by the overmedication of cattle. And there are lots of cattle in Kentucky—more than any other state east of the Mississippi. At a farm in Oldham County, cows are lying in the shade with their calves to escape the midday sun. Foxhollow Farm has 250 cattle which are fed grass, not grain, which cows can’t properly digest and is often laced with antibiotics. All of the meat Foxhollow sells is antibiotic-free.
Power rates will rise. That’s the bottom line of testimony in Frankfort on the costs of meeting new federal environmental standards for coal-fired utilities in Kentucky. Representatives of several coal-fired utilities in Kentucky say meeting federal clean air standards already in the pipeline will require investments of billions of dollars. John Voyles of LG&E and KU says their capital costs could rise by four billion dollars over the next ten years
Hundreds of Lexington citizens took the opportunity to view and discuss new plans for a large grass field in the middle of downtown. More than three hundred people crowded into the old courthouse inside the Lexington History Center for a public meeting on the long-delayed CentrePointe project. Chicago Architect Jeanne Gang and her firm, Studio Gang, presented their re-imagined ideas for the lot which has been vacant for nearly three years.
Adventurous dramas dominate the footlights this weekend in Lexington. A play produced by the Actors Guild of Lexington has one of the community’s most famous prostitutes looking back at her life. Another production, by the “On The Verge” theater company looks at the end of life with a performance at an actual funeral home. And a take-off on “The Importance of Being Earnest” is staged by the Kentucky Conservatory Theater. With previews is arts and cultural reporter Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader.
Trail maintenance is an ongoing need in natural areas all across Kentucky. In response, Saturday has been designated National Trails Day. Volunteers in eastern Kentucky will work on a couple of trail projects. Workers will gather near the Cumberland Falls area to re-route a quarter mile portion of trail along Bark Camp Creek in Whitley County. Steve Barber is executive director of the Sheltowee Trace Association.
The first HIV diagnosis was made 30 years ago. Since then, it’s spread to epidemic proportions in the United States. As Fast Company writes, “it’s probably more prevalent in your neighborhood than you think.” To prove that point, the company profiles the creators of AIDSvu, an interactive map that shows a county-by-county breakdown of adults and adolescents with an HIV diagnosis. You can look at the map here.
Lexington's Police and Fire Pension Fund was the hot topic at Thursday's meeting of the Lexington Forum. Brenna Angel reports on what both sides had to say. Councilmember Doug Martin came armed with a packet of information about the Lexington Police & Fire Pension Fund, which has an unfunded liability of $200 million. Martin says the fund should be closed to new employees and benefits should be adjusted.
W.D. “Billy” Stokes, who served as Todd County’s sheriff through the end of 2010, owes the county $11,769 in penalties and interest he accrued by paying taxes late, the state auditor’s office determined. The county may have the option of suing Stokes to collect the debt. But Stokes believes the tax penalties resulted from a misunderstanding with the IRS.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health Obesity Prevention Program has awarded $54,000 in grants to several Kentucky counties. The awards were given as part of the Farm to School program, which connects schools and local farms with the goal of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias while also supporting local farmers.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Public Service Commission Thursday told state lawmakers how it reviews the coal-related environmental compliance costs that electric utilities in Kentucky are entitled to pass on to their customers.
Proposed changes to the Ohio River Bridges Project would result in larger savings than previously expected. In January, Mayor Greg Fischer, Governor Steve Beshear and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels proposed several cuts to the project, including rebuilding Spaghetti Junction in place and making the east end bridge four lanes wide instead of six.
Two Iraqi refugees facing federal terrorism charges are scheduled to be back in federal court in Bowling Green at 11:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday for a detention hearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Robert Goebel. Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, are in custody facing terrorism charges after a federal grand jury in Bowling Green returned a 23-count indictment against the men May 25. They were arrested here May 26. Both entered the country legally as refugees seeking asylum.
Plans for the long-stalled Centre-Point project are the focus of a meeting this afternoon in Lexington. The downtown site’s original buildings were razed back in 2008 over the protests of several preservation groups. Hayward Wilkirson, who led the opposition, is now a board member for Progress Lexington. Wilkirson says the new plans resemble the original vision of preservationists.
When Lexington theater group On The Verge Productions opens its latest play this weekend, it won't be performed on a traditional stage. The venue for "Three Viewings" plays a significant role for the cast, the audience, and the show's sponsor. Jeffrey Hatcher's "Three Viewings" is not your typical play. It has three acts - each a monologue from characters carrying on after death of someone important in their life.
Fishing enthusiasts can test the waters for free this weekend as the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources sponsors the annual free fishing weekend. State residents and nonresidents can fish in any body of water Saturday and Sunday without a license. The weekend is part of a program to get more people familiar with fishing in Kentucky.