News

Polls Open, Record Low Turnout Expected

May 17, 2011

Kentucky elections officials are predicting the second-lowest voter turnout for a primary in more than 10 years. Secretary of State Elaine Walker predicts 10% of voters will go to the polls today.

A day before the May 17 primary, the Kentucky Democratic Party and Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams are trading barbs in a likely preview of the general election. Williams is the favorite in the race against Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. Hoping to clip his turnout, the KDP launched a 30-second YouTube video slamming the state Senate president for refusing to release his tax returns, suggesting he has something to hide.

Mayor Jim Gray, business and other community leaders helped cut the ribbon today at the Town Branch Market, a new corner grocery shop in downtown Lexington. Alan Lytle has details.

Nothing was resolved at a Frankfort hearing in Kentucky's price gouging case against Marathon Oil.  Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate is in the middle of a murder trial, and rescheduled the Marathon case for Thursday morning.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the debt limit debate presents “an opportunity” to take on federal spending.

Despite a drop in production and profits after the earthquake in Japan, Toyota Motor Company officials are optimistic about the automaker’s future. Toyota sales spokesperson Steve Curtis says the parts shortage that followed the earthquake has not been as long or severe as expected. Toyota profits dropped by 77 percent after the disaster, but Curtis says demand, at least in North America, remains high.

While media outlets are focused on U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s latest gaffe, few noticed he was passed over for a coveted committee slot by fellow Kentucky Republican and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who selected a junior colleague instead.

A report in the Lexington Herald-Leader reveals Governor Steve Beshear used a state plane to take his family to the 2011 NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Houston. The Kentucky Democratic Party reimbursed the state $6,105 for the flight and has spent almost $85,000 to cover the cost of similar flights since the governor took office.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition wants to change a family's life in Lexington. The ABC television show known for tearing down and completely rebuilding homes in a matter of days is seeking nominations in the central Kentucky area.

With the snips of several ceremonial scissors, a host of local, state, and federal dignitaries on Sunday, helped the University of Kentucky officially dedicate the new 12-story Patient Care Pavilion at UK Hospital. Alan Lytle has the story. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says UK's new facility marks a significant milestone in healthcare for the Commonwealth.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is working to collect photographs of all 1,058 Kentuckians whose names are on the memorial in Washington, D.C.  It’s part of a national effort to gather photos for an online exhibit and for an underground education center being built near the memorial.

The two Republicans vying for Secretary of State represent both the establishment and anti-establishment factions within the GOP. Kentucky Public Radio's Alan Lytle has this primary preview.

Highway construction is typically considered a part of the summer season.   This year is expected to be no different.  There are a number of projects in central Kentucky either underway or about to begin.  One which will begin in early June is the re-configuration of the Harrodsburg road-New circle interchange. 

Most politicians steer clear from discussions about ‘taxes.’ That’s particularly the case if the talk is about a new tax or a tax increase.  Still, ongoing concerns over Kentucky’s budget have some candidates in Tuesday’s primary talking about potential reforms.

An investigation is underway into what a Lexington city employee said about other employees in the Division of Waste Management. At an April meeting of the Urban County Council's environmental quality committee, employee Richard Miller said that some garbage truck drivers were hostile during a training session and that three drivers were illiterate.

The man most responsible for building a new hospital at the University of Kentucky says the facility’s ready for its “close up” this weekend. The one-point-two million square foot facility includes two patient-care floors with 128 intensive care and acute care beds.  Vice president for Health Affairs Michael Karpf says the new facility is much more adaptable than the old hospital.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is accusing Marathon Petroleum Company of price gouging during a state of emergency.  The legal brief has been added to an ongoing lawsuit against Marathon for alleged price gouging during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

It was reported today that Humana intends to stop hiring smokers, where the action is legally permitted. The company wants to encourage healthy behavior among workers and already has a policy of not hiring smokers in southwestern Ohio.

According to the United States Postal Service, 40 letter carriers in Louisville were attacked by dogs in 2010. That makes us 4th on the list of cities with the most attacks. The Postal Service says 5,669 postal workers were attacked nationwide in 2010. The announcement coincides with National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 15-21).  The annual event seeks to raise awareness for attack prevention and responsible pet ownership. Around 4.7 million Americans are bitten annually, most of them being children.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will visit Fort Campbell, Kentucky to sign copies of his New York Times best-selling memoir, Known and Unknown, later this month.

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees’ finance committee approved a six percent tuition increase Thursday. The measure will go to the full board in June and needs final approval from the State Council on Post-Secondary Education. Because state funding has been cut, Ramsey says U of L has few other options but to raise tuition.

Lt. Governors: Are They Expendable?

May 13, 2011

Imagine a job where the only function is taking-over if the boss quits, is fired, gets sick or even worse.  That pretty much describes Kentucky’s lieutenant governor.  Four people, one Democrat and three Republicans, are campaigning for that job.  And, as WEKU’s Charles Compton reports, their duties, will in large part, depend on who’s elected governor…

Final preparations are being made for what’s believed to be Lexington’s first downtown chicken coop tour.  It’s called ‘Tour De Coops’ and the Sunday afternoon event is sponsored by Cooperative of Lexington Urban Chicken Keepers or Cluck.

"Gypsy," "1776," Then Poof Go the Directors

May 13, 2011

Two central Kentucky theater groups are staging classic musicals this weekend.  And afterward, both will lose their directors.  With a preview of the Paragon Theater’s production of “Gypsy” and the Woodford Theater’s production of “1776” is Rich Copley, who’s an arts and cultural reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader newspaper.

There’s another encouraging sign on Kentucky’s economic front.  Tourism is up.  Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow says tourism had an $11 billion impact on Kentucky’s economy last year.  That’s an almost five percent increase over the previous year. 

A recently-formed group that aims to move the Ohio River Bridges Project forward is seeking to join, then end a lawsuit between conservation group River Fields and the Federal Highway Administration. Kentuckians for Progress filed a request to join River Fields’ suit against the government today. River Fields asserts that the federal government has not properly justified the case for a two bridge project, and the group would like to block an east end bridge from being built.

EKU Head Counts Fiscal Blessings

May 12, 2011

After a couple years of recession and state budget cuts, the president of Eastern Kentucky University says some bills are coming due.  Two new buildings are going on-line at EKU and President Doug Whitlock must figure out how to pay for their operation and maintenance. The state once provided funds for such expenses, but, now schools like Eastern must pay those bills.

Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler was given the opportunity to view death photos of Osama Bin Laden this morning. The Versailles Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee says they are images he won't soon forget.

 

Early next month, workers at Georgetown’s Toyota plant will be back on a full-time schedule.  The flow of supplies from Japan are moving now after a spring earthquake and tsunami slowed distribution. The March earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a break in the automotive company’s system for distributing parts.  The resulting shortage resulted in fewer hours on the job for employees at the Scott County Toyota Assembly Plant.

The race for Kentucky Secretary of State features four candidates - two Republicans and two Democrats -- who want the job of overseeing the Commonwealth's elections and business filings. Kentucky Public Radio's Brenna Angel takes a look at the two Democratic hopefuls, Elaine Walker of Bowling Green and Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington.

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