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9:21am

Fri June 3, 2011
The Commonwealth

Fair Sentence Ruling Won't Affect KY Case

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.

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9:18am

Fri June 3, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Antibiotics on Farms may Toughen Bacteria

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.

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6:31am

Fri June 3, 2011
Statehouse News

Coal Rules Blamed for Power Rate Hikes

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

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5:49am

Fri June 3, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Centre Point Revisited

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.

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12:00am

Fri June 3, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Two Shows Look Back on Life

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.

4:15pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Taking on Trails in Kentucky's Backwoods

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.

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4:10pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Science/Health

Mapping the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

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.

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3:59pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Pension Funds Could "Bankrupt" Lexington

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.

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2:15pm

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Opponents Welcome Bridge Changes

f a plan put forward by the mayor of Louisville and the governors of Kentucky and Indiana becomes reality, the Ohio River Bridges Project will cost $1.2 billion less than previously expected. And critics of the project are celebrating that news.

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1:56pm

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Sheriff Owes Back Taxes, Fines, Interest

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.

1:51pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Education

Local Food Grants go to Schools

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.

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1:49pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

PSC on Legality of Environmental Surcharges

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.

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1:04pm

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Changes to Bridges Could Save $1.2 Billion

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.

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1:01pm

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Terror Suspects Back in Court

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.

12:57pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Business and the Economy

CentrePointe Again Center Stage

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.

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12:24pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Funeral Home as Theater

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.

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10:32am

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Kentucky Waters Open to All this Weekend

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.

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10:20am

Thu June 2, 2011
All Politics are Local

East Kentucky City may be Dissolved

Residents in the city of Wallins will soon be faced with a petition to dissolve their long defunct city. It is the county that plans to go door-to-door to gather signatures. The petition will mark the start of a legal process to formally dissolve the city by circuit judge’s order. “No one ran for anything in the city during the last race for offices in the county,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop. “That is telling of where people are. They have accepted the fact that Wallins can not go back to what it was.”

10:16am

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

Flooded Lands Sprayed for Mosquitos

Following the successful completion of aerial spraying to treat adult mosquitos, state and local officials are ready to begin the second phase of an effort to rid more than 700,000 acres of western Kentucky of a growing pest problem caused by last month's flooding.

9:59am

Thu June 2, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Agent who led Corruption Case Dies at 46

The FBI special agent who headed a watershed investigation into public corruption in Clay County has died. Timothy S. Briggs, 46, apparently suffered a heart attack while jogging with another agent Tuesday near the FBI office in London. Briggs was a dogged, hard-working investigator who was passionate about rooting out corruption and other crimes, said officials who worked with him.

9:55am

Thu June 2, 2011
The Commonwealth

African-Americans Reflect on Civil War

For 46 years, Dorothy Tolliver has lived down the street from the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Fairview. When her two children were young, Tolliver, who is black, remembers playing with them on a swing set next to the site’s monument on sunny afternoons. Tolliver acknowledged the irony of having so many happy moments near a monument commemorating an oppressive figure to some African-Americans. The park was established by Confederate veterans in 1924. In 46 years, Tolliver had never seen an event or program focused on African-American life there.

9:50am

Thu June 2, 2011
Education

Nonacademic Measures Generally Stable

FRANKFORT – Data from the 2009-10 school year show that nonacademic indicators for Kentucky's public school students remained at levels similar to those reported for the 2008-09 school year. The overall high school dropout rate increased less than one-half a percentage point, from 2.89 percent in 2009 to 3.19 percent in 2010, according to a state Department of Education press release.

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9:47am

Thu June 2, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Weather Hinders Work on Fox Valley Dam

Work on the Fox Valley Dam project is once again under way after inclement weather put a damper on progress. The Fox Valley Dam was found to be "partially incompliant" by the Kentucky Office of Dam Safety nearly two years ago because several structures were built in its "breach zone."

5:52pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Business and the Economy

Alpha Acquires Massey in $7 Billion Deal

Massey Energy is no more. A vote today by shareholders approved the coal company’s acquisition by Alpha Natural Resources. The $7.1 billion merger means Alpha now controls the second-largest coal reserves in the country. The company will also control more reserves of metallurgical coal, which is in demand overseas to make steel. The new Alpha Natural Resources will operate more than 180 coal mines and processing plants throughout Appalachia and Wyoming.

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5:49pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Education

Finalists Picked for LOU Schools Chief

The two finalists for the superintendent’s job at Jefferson County Public Schools will visit Louisville next week. The school board selected them today from a field of five semifinalists. They are: Dr. Donna Hargens, Chief Academic Officer for Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina, which has more than 143,000 students; and Dr. Christine Johns-Haines, who’s superintendent of Utica Public Schools in Michigan. It has an enrollment of more than 29,000 students. JCPS board Chairman Steve Imhoff says both candidates have impressive credentials.

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5:47pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Compromise Hard for Orchestra Contract

The Louisville Orchestra’s contract with its musicians expired at midnight Wednesday. That means the players are not being paid, they do not have insurance and do not have any guarantee they’ll have jobs when the next season starts. There’s hope for a new contract, but amid contentious negotiations and ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, that hope is diminishing.

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5:44pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Statehouse News

Six Random Counties Selected for Audits

Six Kentucky counties have been chosen at random for mandatory, post-primary election audits. Attorney General Jack Conway conducted the drawing, and the counties chosen at random to be audited are Wolfe, Boyd, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Estill and Clark. Pendleton County was drawn before Clark, but disqualified, because it was audited in the previous election. Conway says investigators will now be dispatched to the six counties drawn.

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5:42pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Industry at "War" with EPA

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell knows which side he's on in the "war on coal." Speaking before the Kentucky Coal Association in Lexington Wednesday, McConnell said the Environmental Protection Agency has defied logic and operated outside the scope of its authority with a permitting process that leaves coal operators in limbo.

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2:02pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Education

Three Finalists Named for LEX Schools

After deliberating for more than two hours behind closed doors Tuesday evening, the Fayette County School Board settled on three finalists to succeed outgoing Superintendent Stu Silberman. The finalists are: Elaine Farris, Superintendent of Clark County Public Schools in Winchester, Tom Shelton, Superintendent of Daviess County Public Schools in Owensboro, and Lu Young, Superintendent of Jessamine County Public Schools in Nicholasville.

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2:00pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Business and the Economy

Alpha-Massey Merger Approved

Shareholders have approved an $8.5 billion merger between Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources. Alpha’s acquisition of Massey will make it the second-largest holder of coal reserves in America. We reported yesterday on some shareholder concerns about Alpha’s plans to retain several Massey executives who were in oversight positions during the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.

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