Eastern Kentucky flood victims can receive cleanup supplies and food this weekend at three different Red Cross distribution centers.  The sites have been established in Johnson, Rowan and Carter counties.  Joanna King with Red Cross says various items are being handed out including rakes, shovels, work gloves, bug spray and sunscreen. King says storage containers and food boxes that can feed a family of four for up to seven days will also be available.

King says there are other cleanup materials and hygiene kits available at the distribution centers. 

Flickr user ep_jhu /

An eastern Kentucky man has been sentenced to life in prison for the overdose death of a woman. 

Mickey Welsh /

The Kentucky Department of Parks will no longer sell merchandise featuring the Confederate battle flag at park gift shops.

Rich Copley: Lexington Theatre Co. Presents '42nd St.' & the Eagles Play Rupp

Jul 24, 2015
Rich Copley, via Twitter

It’s time for our weekly chat with Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader for a look at this weekend’s arts and cultural events.

Jack Brammer / Lexington Herald Leader

The state will pay $400,000 to settle two sexual harassment lawsuits against lawmakers and the state agency that runs administrative operations in the state Capitol.

When you hear that a new entrepreneurial business is coming to town, what comes to mind? How about a theater company with the aim of pairing Broadway and national touring talent with aspiring local and regional talents? That’s the aim of The Lexington Theater Company, set to stage its first production, 42nd Street, at the Lexington Opera House later this month. Tom Martin looked into the business side with co-founders and former Broadway professionals Lyndy and Jeromy Smith.

Greg Walker, along with his father, Randy, and his brother, Chad, has worked for years to rehabilitate and renovate what has been a nondescript collection of small industrial office and warehouse buildings bounded by Walton, National and North Ashland Avenues in Lexington. Lately though, the 13-acre “Warehouse Block” as it’s now called, has been springing to life with a growing collection of interesting entrepreneurial businesses. Tom Martin’s conversation with Greg Walker took place in a studio, Dynamix Productions, that is now into its 11th year on National Avenue.

In March of this year, the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado began destroying the United States’ largest remaining stockpile of chemical weapons, leaving Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky holding the remaining inventory.  Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass holds the Defense Department contract to operate and close a facility to destroy these weapons. Tom Martin talked with the man responsible, site project manager, Jeff Brubaker.

Focus On Business: Alison Davis on Rural Hospitals

Jul 24, 2015

A recent state audit found that 34 percent of rural hospitals were considered to be in poor financial health. According to the Kentucky Hospital Association, 70 of the state's hospitals have laid off more than 7,700 employees in the past two years. What’s happening to rural hospitals and the communities that depend on them? Tom Martin raised those questions with Dr. Alison Davis, University of Kentucky Professor and Executive Director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky and President of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals.

Abandoned Horse Database Established in Kentucky

Jul 23, 2015

State agriculture officials are hopeful the new Stray or Abandoned Equine Database will help with the proper care and upkeep of wandering horses.  The online database is one piece of a law approved earlier this year.  State Veterinarian Bob Stout says information about the horses is collected at county judges' offices.  "It certainly gives opportunities for people to legitimately claim their horse and we would hope then, when they recognize ownership of it, that they maintain responsibility that goes with owning a horse," said Stout.

In Debate, Bevin and Conway Tout Rural Roots, Clash Over Kynect

Jul 23, 2015
Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s major party candidates for governor squared off Thursday at a forum hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau, the first public appearance in which the two men directly responded to one another.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


One of Kentucky's best known bourbon makers is teaming up with one of the highest profile horse racing events in the country to raise money for charity.  The first of three charity events will occur the day before this fall's much anticipated Breeders Cup at Keeneland.

Keeneland Moves to Meet Anti-Doping Standard Adopted in Europe

Jul 22, 2015

A new condition of sale will be a part of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale.  It was established in response to the British Horseracing Authority's zero tolerance for anabolic steroids and other prohibited substances.  Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell says the Lexington track has had a testing program in place for seven years.  "Obviously there was a concern fromthe BHA because they have initiated this policy,” said Russell. “Since we introduced our anabolic steroid testing, we have never had a positive."

Cicadas Sounding Off in Big Numbers this Summer

Jul 21, 2015

Many trees in central Kentucky are alive with the sound of insects.  It's the call of the annual cicada.

The sound of cicadas is hard to miss when outside in many neighborhoods.  University of Kentucky Entomologist Lee Townsend says male cicadas are sounding off and those insect numbers appear to be up this summer.  "It is a mating call and they can get quite loud and they'll start to chorus together and kind of develop a rhythm in their song," said Townsend. / Annie E. Casey Foundation

A new report says poverty remains the biggest problem facing Kentucky children, a trend affecting all other aspects of child well-being.

Rowan Co. Clerk Testifies In Same-Sex Marriage Suit

Jul 20, 2015

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refuses to issue marriage licenses despite a Supreme Court lifted same-sex marriage bans throughout the U.S., testified in court on Monday that her stance is based on religious grounds.

Davis is being sued by four Rowan County couples, represented by the ACLU of Kentucky, who were denied marriage licenses.

Rowan County is one of at least two counties that has refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruling.

SOAR STEM Project Unveiled

Jul 20, 2015

Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers have announced an initiative aimed at enhancing math and science instruction in Appalachia. Several eastern Kentucky school districts are involved in the project. 

Beshear and Rogers, co-chairs of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative, gathered with educators from 22 eastern Kentucky school districts. 

We’ve had another major problem with our transmitter at 90.9 FM. It went off the air last Tuesday morning during a thunderstorm and our engineer worked two full days trying to get it back to full power. Sadly, Phil Hayes was unable to do so and apparently the outdated and elderly equipment has passed the terminal stage.


The signal is back on the air operating at very low-power until further notice. Thankfully, we are able to provide service once again to immediate Hazard/Perry County area and communities nearby.

  Former NPR newscaster Jean Cochran was our special guest at last years at May 7th reception for WEKU Day Sponsors at Lexington's Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa. Today we revisit that program, which was recorded in front of an audience of WEKU listeners. us for a show recorded before an audience of WEKU listeners.

Jean has been one of America’s most familiar voices to millions of radio listeners for decades as a newscaster on NPR’s Morning Edition.  Her newscasts have aired live on 849 member stations nationwide, heard by nearly 27-million listeners every week.

Performance-Based Higher Education Funding Possible in 2016

Jul 19, 2015

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is continuing to seek comments about its strategic agenda for the state's public universities.  The work is being done with an eye toward a new form of funding by 2016.

The aim of the statewide strategic agenda is to, over time, increase educational attainment, bolster job creation, and increase per capita income. 

Lexington Position to Oversee Construction Agenda

Jul 19, 2015

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the hiring of a project management director is aimed at bringing efficiencies to 100 million dollars budgeted for construction. The mayor says the local government currently has no common template for project management.  He cites a number of current projects including a plan to develop a linear park through the downtown area, "Town Branch Commons, for restoring and renovating the old courthouse, plans to design a city hall that would allow the existing city hall to be repurposed."

EKU Places Second in Preseason Football Poll

Jul 17, 2015

Eastern Kentucky University’s football Colonels have been tabbed to finish second in the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference race.  The ranking is certainly partly based on a returning EKU runner.

Equine Hobbyists Expected for Weekend Horse Park Event

Jul 17, 2015

More than 15 thousand people are anticipated for BreyerFest 2015.  It runs Friday through Sunday at the Kentucky Horse Park.   It's an event focusing on the model horse hobby focusing on equine entertainment and accessories. 

Also this weekend, the North American Young Riders Championship will include three to four hundred competitors.  Horse Park Deputy Director Darren Ripley says this marks the start of a big run at the facility,  "We start this week, these two shows, and this is kind of what my staff would call the six weeks of utter chaos.”

Paintsville Rec Center Providing Support to Flood Victims

Jul 16, 2015

The kitchen at the Paintsville Recreation Center is a busy place today.  Volunteers are there preparing meals for those affected by flood waters this week.  Bonnie Porter is director of the Paintsville Main Street Program.  "We're just working to try to help everybody, it's a very sad to see the devastation here and the T.V. stations don't do it justice how really bad it is up here," said Porter.

Mental Health Services Available for Flood Victims

Jul 16, 2015

Hundreds of families and emergency responders are coping with the aftermath of flooding in Eastern Kentucky.  Therapeutic counseling will also be offered.

Flood Victims Likely to Face Insurance Challenges

Jul 16, 2015

The focus in flood-stricken areas of Eastern Kentucky remains on immediate day-to-day needs of food and shelter.

Ichthus Festival 20-15 Featured Brothers and Sisters in Harmony

Jul 15, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    After making music for more than 40 years near Wilmore, Ichthus, a once nationally renowned Christian music festival made its debut last week at the Kentucky Horse Park. Bands with a sibling theme made up part of the inaugural lineup this year. 

'Bread of Stone' closed out the first night of the Christian music festival a week ago. The Sioux City band includes two brothers, Ben and Bill Kristijanto who are of Indonesian descent. After playing on Wednesday, the band did an acoustic set Saturday afternoon which included an Indonesian ditty. 

Response to Flash Flooding Focuses on Physical, Emotional Needs

Jul 14, 2015

   Flash flooding in eastern Kentucky has caused loss of life, major damage, and general disruption for hundreds of families. 

Rural communities in Rowan and Johnson counties are some of the hardest hit areas.  Joanna King is executive director of the eastern Kentucky Red Cross Chapter.  She says aid goes beyond meeting physical needs.  "The Red Cross offers mental health counseling for people who are having a rough time with the situation that is going on," said King. "We have volunteers who are trained to assist with that as well." 

Emergency Response to Flash Flooding in Eastern Kentucky

Jul 14, 2015

Flash flooding is being blamed for at least one death in eastern Kentucky.  Rescue teams are continuing to search for a number of other people who are reported missing.  Communities in Rowan and Johnson counties were especially hard hit.  Buddy Rogers with Kentucky Emergency Management says there's been a lot of structural damage as well.  "Those communities within those counties have reported dozens, if not hundreds of homes effected," said Rogers. "Some totally destroyed, some washed away.  Several rescues and evacuations took place in both of those counties." 

Heavy Rains are No Drought Defender

Jul 13, 2015

Following consistent rainfall across the commonwealth, the Kentucky River is riding high. The river acts as a water supply for communities up and down the channel. Kentucky River Authority Director Jerry Graves says although the state is experiencing steady rainfall and the river is high, that doesn't equate to protection from drought.    "You know the Kentucky River can be up 15 foot one day and 10 days later, be down to a normal pool, sort of like a yo-yo," Graves said. "This has no effect on the long term as far as drought is concerned."