Weekend Freeze Could Snuff Out Allergies Temporarily

Apr 8, 2016

A family physician in the bluegrass says we shouldn’t think chilly weather will put an end to springtime allergies. 

University of Kentucky doctor Oscar Perez says warmer days to come could bring with them high pollen.  “If you’ve sort of sensitized everybody a little bit to the new pollens and then it drops down some for a couple of weeks because it gets very cold, and then surges back in a couple of weeks or three, then people are going to suffer horribly,” said Perez.

Kentucky University Presidents Meet with Governor Again

Apr 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Kentucky’s public university presidents remain in dialogue with Governor Bevin on funding matters.  College heads met at the governor’s mansion Wednesday evening to discuss the current budget impasse. 

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson says higher education funding was a bargaining chip when he presided over a college in Utah and so it remains in Kentucky.  “So happens this year that it’s a really big chip,” Benson said. “And it’s one that’s kind of, the analogy we use is kind of the ping pong ball getting knocked back and forth.”

Erik Liddell / EKU Chautauquah

This year’s presidential election appears to be one of the most interesting in U.S. history.

While the primaries and caucuses continue, there’s speculation about what might happen at both major party conventions this summer….and who will emerge as Republican and Democratic candidates.

Number of Tax E-filers Trumps Paper Returns in Kentucky

Apr 6, 2016

Officials with the Kentucky Department of Revenue are using safeguards to protect against growing concerns of fraud. Issues at the federal level earlier this year resulted in a break from processing state tax returns in Frankfort. 

Revenue Spokeswoman Pamela Trautner says the department is undergoing intensified reviews called ‘fraud edits.’  “It’s to try to match up information that’s from the return to make sure that that taxpayer and that return clearly is from the taxpayer and not somebody who is trying to file fraudulently,” said Trautner.

Longer Flu Season Expected Across Ky.

Apr 6, 2016

For nine straight weeks, widespread flu activity has been reported across Kentucky.  

State Public Health Deputy Commissioner Kraig Humbaugh says that’s not uncommon.  But, the veteran epidemiologist says the peak period for influenza is later than usual.  “Normally in April we are seeing fewer cases and our activity level is decreasing, but it seems to be sustained through February, March, and now April,” said Humbaugh.

Fewer Kentucky Workers Able To Help With Benefind Problems

Apr 5, 2016

Fewer people are able to help Kentuckians sign up for health insurance through the state exchange and Medicaid now that Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has rolled out Benefind, an umbrella portal for state benefits.

So-called Kynectors — state workers and volunteers tasked with helping Kentuckians navigate the health exchange — said new regulations require them to refer most applicants to the Department of Community Based Services, a state agency that manages Benefind, which has been plagued by confusion and long wait times.

Post Positions Drawn for Bluegrass, Ashland Stakes

Apr 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The 2016 spring meet at Keeneland opens this weekend with two high profile races. Post positions were drawn Tuesday for the Bluegrass and Ashland Stakes. John Servis is the trainer for horse Cathryn Sophia in the $500,000 Ashland Stakes this Saturday, “If she can get the job done here then I think that will certainly give her a lot more confidence going into the Oaks. It will give me a lot more too, I can tell you that.”  

Lexington Mayor Offers $345 Million Spending Plan

Apr 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the $345 million budget he’s recommending is a sign of a healthy and growing city. 

Before Gray even got into the nuts and bolts of his spending plan, he told his council audience there’s good give-and-take.  “We have lively debates and compromise,” Gray said. “We just do it Lexington style.  Like I said earlier, respectfully.”

Lexington Mayor to Unveil Budget Plan

Apr 5, 2016


The first week of April in the bluegrass brings a budget recommendation from the mayor of Kentucky’s second largest city.  As At least one Lexington council member isn’t expecting any major surprises from Mayor Jim Gray.

New EKU Student Group to Hear from Violence Survivors

Apr 4, 2016

A new student-based organization at Eastern Kentucky University is looking to hear from survivors of violence. Organizers of Students Against Violence at EKU, or SAVE, are staging their first meeting Tuesday night. Sierrah Anderson, EKU sponsor for the student group, says it’s about increasing awareness and involving students in changing the campus climate. 

Focus On Business: Vincent Smith on SCORE

Apr 4, 2016

Tom Martin talks with Vincent Smith, chair of the Lexington Chapter of “SCORE,” an organization of volunteer business mentors helping small businesses and startups work through business issues.

Here’s a note by email from listener Virginia, “I just made a contribution and commented that I love the station.  I did not say ‘…all but one thing - Dinner Party Download.’  I just turn it off. Thanks for making my life more interesting.” 

From the Listener Comment Line, “Whoever the gentleman was that just made a reference to the Spoonbread Festival controversy in Berea, accidentally referred to it in the first phrase of the All Things Considered report that it was a decision made by the Berea City Council. That’s not correct. "

Bourbon Barrel Expansion in West Ky.

Apr 4, 2016

A company that produces bourbon barrels is expanding their operations in Kentucky, investing $12 million dollars in a new mill in Marshall County.

The American Stave Company is bringing around 48 full-time jobs to the area. The mill will produce wooden staves that will then be shipped to the company's cooperages to make bourbon and whiskey barrels.

Ky. General Assembly Backs Additional 9-1-1 Funding

Apr 4, 2016


The Kentucky General Assembly has taken action to help localities across the Commonwealth maintain emergency 9-1-1 services.  It comes with increased costs for some cell phone users.

State Budget Impasse Remains an Issue

Apr 4, 2016

Kentucky lawmakers are deadlocked on a state budget but have to come up with a compromise by April 15th—the last day the state constitution allows them to meet.  If the stalemate continues, state government could be partially shut down. 

Leaders of the Democratic-led House refuse to accept cuts to K-12 and higher education proposed by Senate Republicans and Gov. Matt Bevin. GOP leaders say the cuts are necessary to put more money into the state’s ailing pension system. 

Attorney General Tells Bevin To Rescind Education Cuts, Threatens Suit

Apr 1, 2016

A day after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin issued an order cutting the state’s current contribution to higher education by 4.5 percent, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear said that move is illegal.

In a news conference late Friday afternoon, Beshear — the state’s top law enforcement official — told Bevin to rescind his order, which made the cuts to state colleges and universities. He said if the governor did not do so within seven days, his office would file suit.

Rice Leach, Lifelong Public Health Professional Remembered

Apr 1, 2016
Fayette County Health Department

Lexington Commissioner of Health Rice Leach passed away Friday morning following a battle with cancer.   

A Kentucky native with public health professional experience at the federal, state, and local levels, Leach served as state public health commissioner from 1992 to 2004. 


Louisville State Representative and retired surgeon Bob DeWeese put Leach’s impact in six words.  “That was his life, public health."


Reaction to Governor Bevin's Higher Ed Funding Cut

Apr 1, 2016

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order cutting all state universities’ funding by four point five percent in the current fiscal year is drawing reaction from the higher education community.  That includes officials at Eastern Kentucky University.

Shaker's ‘Mammoth Bones’ Exhibit Opens This Weekend

Apr 1, 2016

Shaker Village in central Kentucky is opening an exhibit of mammoth proportions this weekend.  The brand new display brings attention to a Shaker find from the 1800’s.

J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

Thousands of Kentuckians have erroneously received letters notifying them that they would no longer receive state benefits like Medicaid or food stamps.

Meanwhile, access to the new state system that handles those programs has been restricted and service spotty in many instances, leading to long wait times, frustration and a loss of benefits for countless Kentuckians.

Anti-Violence Advocates Applaud Passage of Kentucky’s SAFE Act

Mar 31, 2016

Advocates of survivors of sexual assault are hailing passage of the SAFE Act during the current Kentucky legislative session.  The Sexual Assault Forensic Exam measure addresses a backlog of more than 3,000 untested rape kits and calls for more training and data collection.  Gretchen Hunt is director of the Attorney General’s Office of Victim Advocacy.  “So many rape cases are truly acts of serial rapists and the sooner we can identify those individuals and bring about justice, the more sexual assaults we can prevent in the future,” said Hunt.

Ky. Workgroup to Review State Water System

Mar 31, 2016

    Tom Fitzgerald with the Kentucky Resources Council will support the workgroup. Fitzgerald says the most recent evaluation of Kentucky’s water systems shows no major problems.  “There’s no particular issue that I’m aware of that drove creation of the group,” said Fitzgerald.

J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

State lawmakers have once again called off budget negotiations, hoping to hammer out a compromise on Thursday.

Lawmakers met in small groups privately on Wednesday afternoon, but they provided no indication that they were any closer to an agreement by the end of the day.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, offered no details of which parts of the budget lawmakers still couldn’t agree on.

EKU Announces Plans for Football Stadium Upgrades

Mar 30, 2016

Work is expected to begin this summer on a $10 million upgrade to Eastern Kentucky University’s Roy Kidd Football Stadium.  In addition to 3,000 new bleacher seats, the facility will also feature a new locker room, equipment room and game day training area.  EKU Deputy Athletics Director Matt Roan says total capacity will be about 15,000.  “It’s one thing to have a stadium that holds 40,000 people, but it’s a quarter of the way full," Roan said.

Kentucky Budget Negotiations Coming Down to the Wire

Mar 30, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin/WFPL

Lawmakers are still trying to produce a compromise budget to delineate $22 billion in state spending over the next two years.

Leaders from the Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate have spent much of the last week trying to come up with a final version of the budget.

Partisan squabbling and disagreements over how to fix the state’s ailing pension systems and whether to cut higher education spending have complicated negotiations at the closure of the legislative session.

College Tuition Rates Featured During State Budget Talks

Mar 30, 2016


Budget talks this week in Frankfort have focused quite a bit on funding for the state’s colleges and universities, and the impact on tuition rates.  

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Members of the Kentucky House and Senate will not meet in session Wednesday, but budget negotiations will continue.  After talks came to a standstill this week, leaders from both chambers decided to work on the spending plan Wednesday and likely Thursday, and then call members back into session on Friday.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo was asked if this strategy would work.  “If it doesn’t work, it won’t be because we didn’t try,” Stumbo said.  “This is pretty normal in the closing days of a lot of sessions, there is a little bit of confusion.  We are working very desperately to get a budget,

Kentuckians who have committed certain felony offenses would be able to clear their records under a bill that passed the state Senate Tuesday. The bill’s passage marked a milestone for the Senate, which has largely ignored the issue for more than a decade.

The new policy would apply to 61 Class D felonies, which constitute about 70 percent of Class D felonies committed.

Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Republican from Hopkinsville, shepherded the bill through the Senate.

Governor Calls Out Stumbo, Democrats on State Budget Impasse

Mar 29, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Republican Governor Matt Bevin and GOP legislative leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to address the state budget standoff. Bevin said House democrats are unwilling to compromise on the spending plan. He maintained that all parts of the budget are up for negotiating.  “We are here, we are in session,” Bevin said.  “We will be here at any hour, on any day for the next two weeks to meet at any time to talk about this issue.”

Omnibus Alcohol Bill Moves Toward Final Approval

Mar 29, 2016

Legislation impacting Kentucky’s bourbon, beer, and wine industries appears headed for final passage.  The omnibus alcohol measure won House approval by a vote of 76 to 20 on Monday.   

Wilder Representative Dennis Keene says the bill supports growing businesses.  “This bill will expand current licensing and provide for new ones, and provide needed support for our bed and breakfasts, our distillers, our brewers, and most of all our small farm wineries,” said Keene.