Faye Coakley took a phone call late Sunday night that she had been waiting a week to receive. On the line was her cousin, Robert Huff, calling from Joplin, Mo., to tell her his parents, Floyd and Martha Huff, and Coakley’s aunt, Cherry Huff, had all survived an EF5 tornado that ravaged the town on May 22. “I was so relieved to hear from them,” Coakley said. “It was a miracle.” Since the twister struck, Coakley had searched frantically for information on the Huffs’ whereabouts without much luck. Hopkins County Sheriff Frankie Latham assisted her in the search and “really got the ball rolling,” she said.
A heartfelt first meeting took place Tuesday at the Harlan County Courthouse, but the connection that brought the two together goes back over 65 years. Henry Lee Burkhart was one of many young men from Harlan County who fought in World War II. He was killed on Feb. 5, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge and was buried nearby. But Burkhart's family never knew where he was buried until they were contacted by a Belgian woman who told them she had been caring for Burkhart's grave. Now, the two families have met face to face.
Public radio station WEKU-88.9 FM has signed a three-year deal to launch its long-discussed classical music station in Central Kentucky. Beginning July 1, WKYL-102.1 FM in Lawrenceburg will be home to the genre that defined WEKU before the Richmond-based station's switch last year to news and talk, which irked some longtime listeners.
Enforcement of new regulations included in Madison County’s smoking ban begins next week. The local Clean Indoor Air Regulations now officially cover Hookahs and electric cigarettes. The Clean Indoor Air policy currently prohibits smoking in public places in Madison County. The smoking ban broadens Monday to include hookahs and electronic cigarettes and eliminates the exemption for retail tobacco stores. Christie Green with the Madison County Health Department says six inspectors will be monitoring the community.
FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday recognized the sacrifice of six Fort Campbell soldiers who died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. According to the Department of Defense, the soldiers died May 26 of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell.
The Fayette County School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to three individuals. The decision was made Tuesday night following a two hour closed door session. Names of the three finalists are expected to be announced today after they agree to interview for the position. The three were chosen from among 14 applicants coming from ten states including Kentucky.
Humid weather and mosquitoes can make summertime in the Bluegrass uncomfortable, but the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says the pesky bugs can be avoided. Spokesman Kevin Hall recommends getting rid of any standing water around your property.
The Kentucky Arts Council wants to help local communities showcase and market cultural amenities like museums, theatres, historic sites, and even farmers’ markets and festivals. Along those lines, the council is overseeing a statewide cultural district certification program announced by Governor Steve Beshear. Beshear says the designated districts will get focused training, as well as “assistance in planning, marketing, programming, identification of grant and incentive opportunities, developing art education components and developing and implementing signature events and activities.”
The dispute between the Louisville Orchestra and its musicians has reached a crucial stage. At a hearing Tuesday morning in bankruptcy court, a federal judge set a deadline of June 13th for the musicians to submit objections to the financial disclosure statement filed on Monday by Louisville Orchestra, Inc. The statement outlines how the orchestra will pay off its debts and structure its business to continue operating in the black.
The New York Times has weighed in on the debate over the Ark Encounter theme park planned for northern Kentucky. In discussing the tourism-based tax breaks the Genesis-themed creationist theme park will receive, the editors write:
Shareholders of Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources will vote Wednesday on a proposed merger. If approved, the deal would make Alpha the world’s third largest producer of metallurgical coal. The company has said it intends to retain five Massey executives, all of whom were in leadership positions during the Upper Big Branch explosion last year in West Virginia.
Praise is pouring in for former Kentucky Rep. Eddie Ballard of Madisonville, who died Tuesday at age 81. The Hopkins County Democrat, who retired from the legislature last year, had served in the Kentucky House since 1987. He was chairman of the Tourism, Development and Energy Committee and vice-chair of the State Government committee.
Two Iraqi men living in Bowling Green are facing charges that they tried to send stinger missiles, sniper rifles, and money to Al-Qaida in their home country. A 23-count federal indictment was unsealed Tuesday against 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan and 23-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi. Both have lived in Warren County since 2009. Authorities say their weapons and money didn’t make it to Iraq because of a tightly controlled undercover investigation. David Hale is the U-S attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. He says the men are not accused of any terrorist plot in the U.S.
The current Speaker of the US House along with three other former Speakers are scheduled to appear as part of the first Henry Clay week event in Lexington. The annual Student Congress, which attracts rising college seniors from across the country will also be held in June. Speaker of the House John Boehner, former speaker and current democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi plus former speakers Dennis Hastert and Jim Wright will all participate in a moderated conversation June 24th.
WILLIAMSTOWN – While honoring Kentucky veterans Monday at a Memorial Day ceremony in Grant County, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the 11-11-11 initiative, an event to honor the state's loyal and brave men and women. Veterans’ Day is Nov. 11, 2011– or 11-11-11. and Beshear and his administration plan to highlight and honor Kentucky’s veterans and active duty service members over the next five months, beginning with Memorial Day and capping off with a celebration on Veterans’ Day.
The Louisville Orchestra has taken the next step in the Chapter 11 process. On Monday, the Orchestra filed a disclosure statement and a reorganization plan for how it might emerge from bankruptcy and keep on playing. At a hearing this morning in court, a federal judge set a hearing date of June 28th to review the disclosure statement, which is essentially a cataloguing of the orchestra’s finances and outstanding debts.
Frankfort developer Michael Davenport returned today from Joplin, Mo., where he and his family helped distribute supplies and gave $100 bills to survivors. A tornado struck the area on May 22 killing 146, and 29 are still missing. Davenport said he felt called to help the survivors and left Friday in his motor home to deliver supplies to a church there. “God put it on my heart,” he said.
From Jan. 1 to April 30 of this year, nearly $7 million was spent lobbying Kentucky's lawmakers, according to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission. In its monthly report, "Ethics Reporter," KLEC reports more than $6.1 million was spent as compensation to 630 lobbyists during the first four months of 2011. Reports filed by employers and legislative agents are compiled at the Legislative Ethics Commission’s website at: http://klec.ky.gov/reports/employersagents.htm.
After 13 years, another life cycle of the periodical cicada, classified by entomologists as Brood XIX, sing their shrill tunes in western Kentucky. According to Douglas Johnson, University of Kentucky extension professor of entomology, this brood of cicadas emerged in Hopkins County around May 16 and will continue through June. Johnson is a resident of Princeton. The insects feed on sap in the roots of trees for 13 years during the nymph stage, and then come out of the ground, shed their shells and become adults. After breeding, they die.
If you've had trouble mowing your lawn this rainy spring, you can relate to what Northern Kentucky's grape growers have been going through in tending their vineyards. Something that can harm a grape yield is fungus, which thrives on moisture. The wetter it is, the more growers feel compelled to spray their vines with fungicides to keep away problems like black rot and mildews.
Jean Miller celebrated Memorial Day at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville in honor of her husband and brother-in-law, who are both buried there. She and friend Dottie VanWinkle, both of Lexington, braved the early afternoon heat to be part of the annual memorial service that included stories from veterans and music by the West Jessamine High School Band.
After completing his first city budget, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has warned Metro Council and non-profit groups about painful cuts to come. The mayor addressed city lawmakers last week, outlining how his administration filled a $22.5 million shortfall using a number of stopgaps. But in the future, the city faces tough choices as Metro Government expenses outpace revenue and present officials with tough choices on the horizon.
A stolen work of art will be on display at the Speed Art Museum this month before the U.S. government returns it to Italy. The Speed purchased the three-panel painting, or triptych, of the Virgin Mary and child in 1973 for $38,000. Recently, however, it was discovered that the art had been stolen from an Italian villa in 1971. The Speed obtained the work through an art dealer, and court records show the museum cooperated with U.S. and Italian officials to verify and relinquish the art. But before the art is returned, it’ll be the centerpiece of an exhibit that showcases its theft and sale.
Days after filibustering on the U.S. Senate floor against an extension of the USA Patriot Act last week, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., reflected on a busy week. “I was worn out,” Paul said Friday. Paul filibustered for two days last week, one of which was spent silently, sitting at his desk on the Senate floor.
Two Vietnam veterans are helping a third who’s been living in his garage since his home burned down six years ago. Dennis Quisenberry was an Air Force mechanic from 1966 to 1969, including 16 months in Vietnam. His house on Cardwell Lane burned down in 2005, and he’s been living in his garage since. For the last eight months, Larry Arnett, deputy commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, and Carlos Pugh, former state commander of the VFW, have been trying to help Quisenberry. Arnett was a helicopter pilot and Pugh was a combat engineer – both served in Vietnam.
In the age of high-definition, we’re used to the media offering us an almost literal window to the world. But what about our window to the past? What did things look like, say, 70 years ago? Newsreels and iconic photos – such as the Times Square V-J Day kiss and the Iwo Jima flag raising – lack a certain quality of “being there” because there’s no color.
Lexington has recorded its second case this month of a missing ambulance. Lexington police said in a news release that it received a report at 6:52 a.m. Sunday that a Rural Metro Ambulance had been stolen from its parking lot on Versailles Road.
After nearly 20 years of planning, the state is transforming the two-lane Ky. 16 that runs through much of Kenton County into a wider, more direct route that officials say will improve safety for thousands of daily commuters and trigger major development. The reconstruction is Ky. 16's first since its 1935 opening.
The Louisville Orchestra is due in court again tomorrow for a bankruptcy hearing. Under the ensemble’s Chapter 11 filing, orchestra management has to submit a plan for reorganizing operations. Officials have declined to comment on the content or status of the plan, but the management had previously sought to reduce the number of full-time musicians.
The newest player in the conflict over the Ohio River Bridges Project is gaining support. Kentuckians for Progress began earlier this year to stop the conservation group River Fields from blocking the construction of a bridge in eastern Jefferson County. The group, like several others, wants the east end bridge and a downtown bridge built. Other groups want only an eastern span or a staggered construction that begins with the east end bridge.