A Kentuckian who now lives in Joplin, Mo. survived Sunday's massive tornado along with his family. Eric Polley said the roof was ripped from his house; meanwhile, his neighbors began running around, checking on people, assessing the damage. "It was crazy," he said. "It was worse than anything I've ever seen in a movie ... I don't ever want to go through it again, that's for sure."
A report released Monday by the Toyota North America Quality Advisory Panel criticized the company’s structure of operations, with all major decisions coming from Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan. “Toyota has erred too much on the side of global centralization and needs to shift the balance somewhat toward greater local authority and control,” the panel advises.
“Absolute, complete devastation” is how Georgetown firefighter David Raisor described the scene in Joplin, Mo., Wednesday morning. Raisor and three fellow firefighters, Capt. Revel Oliver and firefighters Matt Marshall and Wade Calvert, arrived in Joplin Monday night and got to work the next morning, assisting in search and rescue operations along with firefighters from about 50 other fire departments across the country.
Kentucky and eight other states may compete for $200 million in federal educational funds in a third round of the Race to the Top program, Obama administration officials announced Wednesday in Washington. All nine failed to win grants during two previous funding rounds. In addition to Kentucky, the eligible states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina. They could receive grants ranging from $10 million to $50 million, according to the administration.
Although Lake Barkley is down almost to normal levels, in many places the clean-up and repair work has only really begun after recent flooding. John Jordan, administrator of Lake Barkley State Resort Park, said the park lost about $100,000 in sales as the result of cancellations because of flooding. Jordan said the financial impact of flooding was worse this year than last year.
Joel Hatfield’s first impression Monday as he drove into Joplin, Mo., a place he called home for nine years, was that the streets he used to drive — and the homes and businesses that once were familiar — now are scattered everywhere. Trees stand snapped, two-level homes are flattened and vehicles sit after being tossed around like rag dolls. “It was catastrophic,’’ said Hatfield, who lives in Summit. “There’s no way to describe, really, what it looked like. It was like a big lawnmower came down from the sky and ate up everything in its path.’’
Less than a day after the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Governor Steve Beshear organized a meeting between state pension fund representatives and his political supporters, the Republican Party of Kentucky is pouncing on the scandal. GOP Chairman Steve Robertson questioned why Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway has made no inquiry into the scandal, which involves managing the commonwealth’s multi-billion dollar pension funds for state and county employees.
A Frankfort judge, in a price gouging case against Marathon Petroleum, has refused to force the oil company to roll back gas prices in Kentucky. The ruling comes in a case originally filed several years ago, in which the oil company was accused of price gouging following disasters.
Believing a public debate is longer overdue and that Congress has never provided proper oversight, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says he will vote against extending provisions of the Patriot Act when it comes before the House. The Senate is currently debating a four-year extension of the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance law, which was approved a month after the attacks of September 11, but has been criticized by many as unconstitutional.
At the request of the attorney general, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed an executive order to extend price gouging consumer protection laws by an additional 30 days. The initial protections implemented by Beshear in response to last month’s severe storms and flooding are set to expire May 26. The extension will allow state officials to investigate into any complaints of price gouging that may occur relative to gas, building supplies, hotels and other goods and services.
Several organizations are coming together to promote H-I-V Awareness in central Kentucky. The HIV Community Coalition is made up of the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, the Hope Center, Volunteers of America, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services, and AIDS Volunteers of Lexington, or AVOL. Each group does their own HIV awareness, but AVOL Executive Director Mark Royse says there is plenty of work to go around.
FRANKFORT — Unemployment rates fell in 97 Kentucky counties between April 2010 and April 2011, while 20 county rates increased and three counties remained the same, according to a press release from the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved an expansion of residential energy conservation and efficiency programs for Kentucky Power Co. In an order issued Wednesday, the PSC authorized Kentucky Power to expand programs that promote installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. The PSC also approved revised surcharges that will result in lower bills for residential customers, according to a PSC news release. Kentucky Power has about 176,000 customers in 20 Eastern Kentucky counties.
Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities are preparing to ask the Public Service Commission for rate increases that will take effect over the next five years. Company officials say the hikes are necessary to comply with environmental regulations. To comply with federal law, the utilities have to make their coal burning power plants pollute less. It’ll cost about $2.5 billion, and spokesperson Chip Keeling says that money has to come from customers.
People wanting to make donations to help the victims of recent tornadoes and flooding are advised not to send clothing or building materials at this time. Dan Modlin of Kentucky Public Radio has this report. Although relief agencies trying to help storm victims appreciate the idea, they say gifts of money, not materials, are the most efficient way to help.
What started Monday afternoon as a case of tracking down a shoplifter in Elizabethtown turned into much more in Eastview. A meth lab was discovered buried in mud. “I’ve seen them everywhere,’’ said Detective Rob Green with the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force. “I’ve just never seen one buried in the mud from someone who was on the run.’’
FRANKFORT - The state has begun implementation of an initiative to combat the growing mosquito problem in Western Kentucky caused by recent floods. Treatments to kill adult mosquitoes will begin Wednesday night, weather permitting. “Last week I ordered the development of a comprehensive plan to reduce the current mosquito population in numerous western counties and to help diminish further outbreaks later in the summer,” Gov. Beshear said. “Today we begin implementation of that plan, and I hope our swift action will bring relief to thousands of Kentuckians as flood victims begin to recover.”
The Bowling Green Code Enforcement Board on Tuesday upheld the citation and fine against American Legion Post 23 for violating the city’s no-smoking ordinance. The veterans organization was cited April 28 and assessed a $25 fine for violating the ordinance that bans smoking in most indoor businesses. Attorney Alan Simpson of Bowling Green, who represents the Legion, appealed the citation, which was issued on the first day the ordinance went into effect. Four witnesses testified in a hearing that lasted about an hour Tuesday, and the Code Enforcement Board unanimously voted to uphold the citation and fine.
A Senior Petroleum Analyst says gas prices are expected to spike between ten to thirty cents going into the heavily traveled Memorial Day weekend. Patrick DeHaan, with GasBuddy.com which tracks gas prices in all fifty states and Canada, says despite a recent downward trend, a sudden jump in wholesale prices on Monday and Tuesday of this week is expected to drive up the cost of a gallon of gas this holiday weekend.
Looking ways to save energy and money, the City of Berea has joined in an Energy Cost Savings Plan. The project is a collaboration of Berea city government, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and Sustainable Berea. Mayor Steve Connelly says rising gasoline prices justify a change.
The former U.S. controller for Nicholasville-based Alltech is suing the international animal feed company for sexual harassment, alleging she suffered three years of salacious emails, calls and assault by her former boss. The lawsuit says top officials at the company ignored the complaints of Amanda Jo Wester, who started at Alltech in 2007, about Eric Lanz, Alltech's director of the Americas at the time, and then retaliated against her. Wester recently resigned from the company, according to her attorney.
Louisville has been named one of the most dangerous midwestern cities for pedestrians by the group Transportation for America. The organization looked at pedestrian deaths from 2000 to 2009 and concluded that Louisville is the 19th most dangerous metro area in the country, and second in the Midwest, behind Detroit.
State officials are moving forward with a plan to establish alcohol sales at four Kentucky state parks, including General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton. Also included in the plan are Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonburg and John James Audubon State Park in Henderson. The plan originally was announced last summer as part of a strategy to reduce costs generate revenue for the park system in light of state budget cuts.
Bondurant's Pharmacy owner Eric Brewer advised customers to pick up their prescriptions Tuesday, but he declined to comment when asked about media reports that the distinctively shaped pharmacy might be closing. Customers who called the pharmacy Tuesday were told it would be open until 6 p.m.; then it would close for good. When asked whether Tuesday would be the pharmacy's last day open, Brewer said he didn't know. The independent pharmacy was built in 1974 in the shape of a giant mortar and pestle.
Serving as Lynch’s first female mayor since being appointed in September, Darlene Monhollen resigned that position at a special called meeting of the Lynch City Council on Tuesday. Monhollen’s letter of resignation was read to council members by mayor pro tem Anne Carr. Monhollen cited health problems as the reason for her leaving. Council member Taylor Hall was appointed to fill Monhollen’s position until the November election.
A Brooksville family of eight is thankful for a sturdy house, after storm driven winds downed a large maple tree on their residence Monday night. Coletta and Charlie Tolley have been living in the home on Kentucky 10 near Bracken County High school for six years without incident, said Coletta Tolley. They live there with their son and daughter and four grandchildren and are now looking for temporary shelter until the tree can be removed.
Kentucky’s system for tracking prescription drug sales is “forward leaning” but it’s not enough to curb abuse. That’s according to U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske.Speaking to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Kerlikowske said the system, known as KASPER, and similar initiatives in other states work well, but they need to work together.