FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's Democratic attorney general has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to cut college and university budgets without the approval of the state legislature.

A state judge ruled last week that Bevin does have the authority to order public colleges and universities not to spend all of the money the state legislature gave them. Attorney General Andy Beshear is appealing the decision, arguing it gives the governor's office too much power.

Ky. Police Officers Killed in Service Honored

May 24, 2016
Ky. Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation

Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training held its annual Law Enforcement Memorial service Monday at the training facility in Richmond. 

Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley addressed the crowd of several hundred gathered at the Law Enforcement Memorial on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University, “We can gather on days like today, and honor the memory of those who have gone before us. We can say thank you, those are powerful words, not enough, but powerful.”

This week, a couple of calls to the Listener Comment Line.  First up, this one from listener Kendall, “I love WEKU and all the local NPR radio stations because they are typically so non-biased when it comes to reporting political events around the country. However, today I have heard several stories broadcast on WEKU about the violence at the Nevada Democratic Convention over the weekend but no comments as to what started them.” 

“One: The Alltech Ideas Conference” opens on May 22nd featuring keynotes by Apple computer developer Steve Wozniak, former Ford Motors CEO Alan Mullally and UK Coach John Calipari.  Alltech founder and president Pearse Lyons talked with Tom Martin about the unique annual conference his company will host for a 32nd year at the Lexington Center.

Mayor’s Fall U.S. Senate Bid Not Likely to Impact City Hall

May 23, 2016

    Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s Primary win in the U.S. Senate race will likely mean a heavy dose of speaking engagements across the Commonwealth the next five months.  Lexington’s vice mayor doesn’t expect that to impact his work at city hall substantially.


Lexington Bikers Urged to Try Cycling to Work

May 20, 2016


There is an effort in Lexington to increase bike traffic to and from the workplace.  It’s right in line with today’s ‘National Bike to Work Day’ observance.

Information from the American Community Survey in 20-14 showed just over 1 percent of Lexington residents biked to work. 

Sidesaddle Competition Part of High Hope Event

May 20, 2016

The 48th High Hope Steeplechase event at the Kentucky Horse Park this weekend will include two new lady sidesaddle races.  High Hope Racing Director Michele Primm says it will represent the third leg in a sidesaddle series and feature European World Champion Susan Oaks.  

Primm says steeplechase racing dates back centuries to when people in England raced from one church steeple to another church steeple.

It’s time for our weekly chat featuring weekend arts and cultural events with Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald-Leader. This week, Rich is joined by the newspaper’s music writer.   

They start by discussing the 3rd edition of the Moonshiner’s Ball in Berea.

Rich Copley & Walter Tunis cover arts, culture and music for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Lexgo dot com. 

Activists Demand Change From Bevin After Gynnya McMillen Death

May 20, 2016

In a demonstration at the state Capitol on Thursday, activists called on Gov. Matt Bevin to make reforms to the state’s juvenile detention system after the death of Gynnya McMillen, the 17-year old girl who died while in custody at a Hardin County detention center earlier this year.

Gynnya died in her sleep while at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center. As part of an internal state investigation earlier this year, officials found deficiencies in the teen’s care, as well as misconduct by employees at Lincoln Village.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says it could be several months before a final state court ruling in his lawsuit against Governor Matt Bevin. 

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled Wednesday the governor had proper authority in ordering a two percent reduction in current year funding for public universities and colleges. 

Fallen Law Officers to be Honored in Richmond Memorial Ceremony

May 19, 2016

Kentucky will honor four law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year during an annual memorial ceremony at the state's Department of Criminal Justice Training. 

A statement from the agency says the May 23 event in Richmond will honor the sacrifice of Kentucky State Police troopers Cameron Ponder and Eric Chrisman, Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis and Nicholasville Police Officer Burke Rhoads. Ponder and Ellis were fatally shot while investigating calls. Rhoads and Chrisman died in car crashes.

State Police Used to Prevent Ousted Retirement System Chair from Meeting Participation

May 19, 2016

Kentucky's Republican governor used state police officers to prevent the ousted chairman of the retirement system board from participating in a meeting.

Gov. Matt Bevin removed chairman Thomas Elliott from the board last month. But Elliott had refused to vacate his seat, saying Bevin could not remove him before his term expires.

Elliott attended Thursday's board meeting, but sat in the audience while state police officers stood nearby. Elliot said the governor's office told him he would be arrested and charged with disrupting a public meeting if he participated.

Group Depression Support Program Starting in Hazard

May 19, 2016

    Some eastern Kentucky women wrestling with depression could benefit from a new program taking place this summer.  It’s being developed in a region where treatment options are


Depression among rural women in Kentucky runs four times higher than the general rate of depression in the U.S.  Poverty and violence can be contributing factors.  This issue was one of many discussed at the Annual Research Day program in Hazard Wednesday. 

Zika Concerns Affecting Lexington Mosquito Spraying

May 19, 2016

Attention given to the Zika virus is affecting the Fayette County Health Department’s summer mosquito control program. Health Department trucks will take to Lexington streets in the early hours overnight in June. 

Environmental Health Supervisor Luke Mathias says routes could be modified during the spray season.  “If we do find areas that we find a lot of stagnant water, we may adjust the spray areas to be a little bit closer to certain roads, certain streets,” noted Mathias.

Judge Rules Bevin Can Cut College, University Budgets

May 18, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge has ruled Republican Gov. Matt Bevin can cut the budgets of public colleges and universities without the approval of the state legislature. 

Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate says two state laws allow Bevin to reduce allotments for public colleges and universities. Wingate ruled while the governor's powers are usually confined to the state constitution, the legislature can give the governor additional powers by passing laws. He said Bevin's cuts of nearly $18 million to colleges and universities this year are not improper.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Wins U.S. Senate Primary

May 18, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is hoping to move from City Hall to Capitol Hill.  The Glasgow native took the first step in the race for U.S. Senate Tuesday with a Primary win over six competitors.

Barr/Kemper Race Set for House Seat

May 18, 2016

    A Central Kentucky pastor is set to take on a two-term incumbent in the Sixth District Congressional race.  The contest pits a first-time candidate against a relatively young congressman with years of political involvement.

Nancy Jo Kemper bested retired state energy engineer Geoff Young.  She believes it’s important to send people to Congress who are not, as she puts it, "beholden to corporations or other institutions."  

The former director of the Kentucky Council of Churches says current Congressman Andy Barr fits in with professional politicians.  

Kentucky political reporters will join us to discuss Tuesday's Primary Election and other political matters on this week's Eastern Standard.  

Atypical May Weather Doesn’t Dissuade These Lexington Voters

May 17, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Rainy and cool conditions greeted many Kentucky voters today as they cast their ballots. 

In south Lexington, Claire Hundley said it’s important to make her voice heard.  And yet, she labeled this primary a "scary election."  “None of the candidates we’re voting for right now is liked by people.  Nobody seems to trust any of the candidates and yet, that’s what we are faced with.”

Debbie Morris, a native of Germany, and her husband Gary cast their ballots.  Gary says voter participation in Germany seems higher with more political parties.

Lexington Hosts Forum on Opiate Abuse

May 17, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Various issues related to problems with opiate addiction in Kentucky have been highlighted in a central Kentucky community forum.  A packed room listened to a panel discussion Monday at the “Bluegrass Forum on Opiate Use Disorders: A Time for Community Action.” Participants were told four Kentuckians, on average, die every day from overdoses.

Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins says projecting voter turnout in the Lexington area for the Primary Election is a difficult task.  He joins other experts in the field in projecting a light voter response as Democrats pick their presidential candidate and Republicans and Democrats both choose their U.S. Senate nominees. 

Here’s an email we received a few weeks ago during our Spring Fund Drive, from listener Ronda: “As a sustaining member, I still want to take the time to let you know of all the programs that you run that I really appreciate."     

"I listen mostly at work and in my car," continues Ronda.  "I listen in my car going to work and coming home, driving my daughter to ballet class/rehearsal, driving to run errands on the weekends, driving to and from church, driving to the ministry I am involved in after hours, driving to pick up my son from college in Columbia, KY.”

Bernie Sanders Supporters Pack Paducah Convention Center

May 16, 2016
Lance Dennee / WKMS Radio

Bernie Sanders supporters began lining up for his rally in Paducah before sunrise Sunday to secure a seat close enough for a handshake from the presidential hopeful.  

Sanders needs 65 percent of the remaining delegates to receive a nomination before the convention. The Vermont Senator believes if he can manage to win the majority, super-delegates aside, he can not only maintain the spirit of the democratic process “one person one vote” but he can also beat Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Twenty-nine year old Alia Clement is a “die hard Bernie fan.”

Democratic Presidential Candidates Focus on Kentucky

May 16, 2016

    Kentucky will experience a Primary Election slightly different than others Tuesday.  More eyes will likely be on Democratic races.

Republicans in the state conducted their primary caucus in March with Donald Trump taking the presidential nod.  On the Democratic side, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been visibly campaigning for the backing of the Bluegrass state. 

Lexington Forum to Focus on Opiate Abuse Planning

May 16, 2016

A Forum in Lexington Monday is aimed at a broadening understanding of health dangers associated with opiate addiction. 

The program is labeled “Bluegrass Forum on Opiate Use Disorders: A Time for Community Action.”  Dr. Alan Brenzel, medical director with the State Department for Behavioral Health, says opiated use disorder has been one of the most complex health issues facing Kentucky and the country. 

Online License Renewal Now Available in Ky. Counties

May 13, 2016

Motorists in most Kentucky counties can now renew their vehicle registrations online.  The application process allows motorists to renew standard, specialty, and personalized Kentucky license plates.  

Ryan Watts with the state transportation department says online registration will allow citizens to save on parking expenses, time lost from taking off from work or other engagements.”

WEKU News has produced a series of reports featuring the candidates competing for the Democratic and Republican nominations for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 6th District in Kentucky. Herald-Leader

It’s time for our weekly chat featuring weekend arts and cultural events with Rich Copley and Harriett Hendren of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

On their minds this week are season finales for the Lexington Philharmonic and Lexington Singers, a Studio Players production and the Great Day Race at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Rich Copley & Harriett Hendren cover arts and culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Lexgo dot com

Lexington Council Seeks Bus Service to City Park

May 13, 2016

Lexington’s mass transit administrators are being asked to consider expanding service to public parks.   The initial inquiry centers on one large area of green space, Jacobson Park.

The request came from a number of council members during this week’s work session meeting.  Among them, council member Jennifer Mossotti, “What we’re trying to do is instill people to utilize our parks and not only the shopping centers but let’s get out there and be a little healthy.”

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Central Kentuckians will go to the polls next week to select Republican and Democratic nominees for the Sixth District U.S. House seat.  Today we conclude our review of the four candidates with the thoughts of retired state energy engineer Geoff Young. 

Young, who is making his fourth run for political office since 2012, is straightforward about what he believes to be the most important issue in this congressional race.  He says it’s “war and peace.”