News

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., suggested that President Barack Obama is keeping a Nixonian-styled “enemies list” for backing a labor group’s complaint against Boeing.

It's been two months since Lexington Mayor Jim Gray relieved Bob Hendricks of his duties as fire chief, citing an inability to manage firefighter overtime and the division's budget. A current member of the fire department, Keith Jackson, was named the interim chief. Lexington Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason says he's been closely monitoring the fire department's transition.

For many Kentuckians, the key to a healthier life may start with a good set of teeth. The Commonwealth is one of the poorest states when it comes to oral health. In fact, it ranks second in the nation in the loss of natural teeth. That's one of the main reasons, according to State Oral Health Director Dr. Julie Watts McKee, the Kentucky Department for Public Health is holding a summit in Lexington on Wednesday.

Lexington Fire Chief Bob Hendricks says he has a total and permanent occupational disability. His request for a disability retirement came before the Police and Fire Pension Board Wednesday morning, while the embattled chief remains on paid leave. Hendricks was asked resign from his post two months ago amid overtime and budget problems within the Division of Fire. He refused to step down.

An environmental group is investigating a potential chemical spill in a waterway near Jenkins, Kentucky.  On Tuesday evening, Clary Estes with Headwaters Incorporated says she saw four to five feet of foam in a southeast Kentucky stream.

Flood waters have receded from some homes in western Kentucky’s river counties. Teams are assessing damage to determine whether some counties may be eligible for F-E-M-A individual recovery assistance. FEMA’s Nick Morici says it’s OK for people to start cleaning up before their homes have been assessed.

A central Kentucky high school club has been named the Outstanding History Club of the year. The award was given to Henry Clay High School in Lexington by the National History Club and the History Channel. Club sponsor Chris Snow says he wants the Henry Clay group to be proactive and hands-on.

Secretary of State Elaine Walker is predicting low voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Kentucky, even though voter registration numbers are up.  A record 2.9 million Kentuckians are now registered to vote. That’s 11,000 more than in the 2008 General Election, the previous record. But getting voters excited about Tuesday’s primary appears to be a tough sale, says Secretary of State Elaine Walker. She’s predicting voter turnout of around nine to ten percent.

The Louisville-based Presbyterian Church U.S.A. will soon allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy members. A majority of the denomination's regional governing bodies–called presbyteries–have agreed to lift the requirement that unmarried clergy remain celibate, which was previously part of the church's constitution.

Most of the seven candidates running for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner have one attention getting thing in common…they support legalizing industrial hemp.  WEKU’S Ron Smith reports on the growing political support for the once taboo plant.

Kentucky continues to show positive gains in state revenue receipts.  Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh has the latest tax collection numbers.

Many charitable groups across the region collect donations at traffic lights.  But,  Lexington’s prohibition of such fundraisers will continue.  The Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program and Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center thinks fundraising at busy intersections is a good idea.  They want to model their Lexington effort after a highly successful campaign waged in Louisville.  However, councilmember Bill Farmer joined the majority in rejecting the proposal.

Forecastle Founder JK McKnight has announced the headliners for this summer’s Halfway to Forecastle Festival. The Halfway to Forecastle Festival has been held annually since 2008 and focuses more on electronic music.   However, this year’s event is replacing the actual Forecastle Festival in anticipation of its 10th anniversary celebration in 2012.

At last count, the tourism business in Kentucky accounts for some 10-billion dollars to the state economy, and employs more than 160,000 people. Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet spokesperson Gil Lawson says that message is being emphasized during National Travel and Tourism Week.

Some of the western Kentucky residents who were forced to evacuate their homes due to severe flooding will be allowed to return soon. Governor Steve Beshear today authorized the move as the Ohio and Mississippi rivers recede. But while some residents will return to their homes, not all of them will stay. Lisa McManus left her McCracken County house and is going back only to retrieve what is salvageable.

Running unopposed in the primary election, Republican candidate for attorney general and Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool raised an impressive $114,335, according to the latest campaign finance reports. The 15-day reporting period is the last filing before the May 17 primary and stretches from April 15 through May 1. Records show during that time P’Pool raised the second highest amount among any candidate seeking statewide office, behind only Governor Steve Beshear, who raised $200,627 since the last filing.

Fifteen jobs at the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper will be cut. Four of the positions are currently vacant, and the paper reports that the cuts are necessary to overcome year after year of negative revenue. The jobs cuts will be in various departments, including advertising, news and operations. Some of the employees were offered voluntary severance options. Others were not.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has decided to close a minimum security prison and make it a training academy for Kentucky State Police. Beshear says the state no longer needs the Frankfort Career Development Center, which houses 205 low-risk inmates.

 

The three Republican candidates for governor gathered for a KET forum last night.  There were a few instances of argumentative disputes,  but the candidates also sought to identify their strengths. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett says his tea party candidacy is different from Rand Paul’s, another tea party member, who now serves in the US  Senate.

An obvious modern impact of the Civil War shows through those who keep the history alive. Reenacting groups participate in organized events all over Kentucky. Kentucky Public Radio's Chris Taylor set out to learn more, and got a lesson in garb.

A structural engineer spent most of Monday morning at the corner of Vine Street and Hernando Alley in Lexington, trying to determine what caused a piece of concrete to fall from the Phoenix parking garage Sunday night. A 28-foot slab fell from the 2nd level of the garage, which is owned by the city.

"With the six garages that we've got, five of which are open, we're going to do whatever it takes to make sure they're all safe for the public. I can assure you that."

Lone Officer Honored at Police Memorial

May 9, 2011

The lone police officer killed last year in the Commonwealth was honored today.  His name was added to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial in Richmond.  WEKU’s Charles Compton reports…

The question of whether or not a registered lobbyist should serve on Kentucky’s State Board of Elections remains unresolved.  Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh says the ethics board that considered the question deferred action.

 

As temperatures warm, more motorcyclists are travelling Kentucky Roads.  Eastern Kentucky University played host Monday to the first International Rider Education Training System conference.

Name Change at Pikeville College

May 9, 2011

Pikeville College has changed its name. It will soon be the University of Pikeville. University President Paul Patton says it’s a name the eastern Kentucky school earned many years ago.

“Well, the definition of a university is a college that also offers graduate programs, which we do and have for many years.  And, the name should try to indicate to people the kind of institution that you are,” said Patton.

Besides hosting a school of osteopathic medicine, Patton says the university will soon offer a master of business administration.

The primary election is just over a week away.  So, expect aggressive campaigning this week by the three Republican candidates for governor.  It may begin tonight’s during a gubernatorial forum on Kentucky Educational Television.    Political scientist Joe Gershtenson, who teaches at Eastern Kentucky University, says the primary seems to be ‘creeping up under the radar.’

Officials in charge of fixing Fayette County’s sewer problems are discussing potential costs.   City officials are examining three different options with three different rate plans.

Rising costs have put the kibosh on the annual, state-funded Governor's Derby Breakfast at the State Capitol. Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeigh says it's now more of a festival, and the location has changed.

The publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader is retiring. The 63-year-old Timothy Kelly has been with the paper for 22 years, 15 of which as president and publisher. He will step down on June 3rd. On June 6th, Rufus Friday will take over leadership of the paper. Friday is currently publisher of the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Washington. Both the Tri-City Herald and the Herald-Leader are owned by the McClatchy Company.

Uncle Mo, one of the top contenders in tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby, has been scratched from the race. The colt’s owner, Mike Repole announced this morning that he won’t run Uncle Mo in the Derby because of a lingering gastrointestinal problem that was discovered about a month ago. Uncle Mo was the 9-2 second choice in the Derby. Dialed In is the morning line favorite at 4-1.

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