Red Cross Seeks Help for Mayfield Tornado Victims

May 12, 2016


Volunteers with the Western Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross are going door-to-door in Mayfield to assist families affected by this week’s tornado.  

The EF-3 storm ripped through western Kentucky devastating a section of Mayfield and leaving 25 individuals displaced. Graves County officials estimate $3 million in damages.

Chapter Executive Director Evelyn Miller says the Red Cross is distributing vouchers for food, clothes and hygiene products to those affected while they search for permanent housing.

37th Owensboro Barbeque Festival This Weekend

May 12, 2016

Organizers with the International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro are hoping to build on an increase in attendance over the past few years.  

The annual event is being held Friday and Saturday along the city’s riverfront area. Festival co-chair Sharon NeSmith says about 30,000 people showed up last year.

NeSmith, who has lived in Owensboro since they age of four, says she’s been attending the festival since it began in 1979.

She thinks the festival has managed to stay true to its roots.

    In advance of next week’s Kentucky Primary Election, WEKU is profiling candidates for the Sixth District U.S. House race.  Today we hear from a minister with a long history of social advocacy.

Running for political office may be a new experience for Nancy Jo Kemper, but keeping abreast of issues before politicians is not.  The Lexington native has for years spoken out on matters ranging from tax reform and racial justice to gambling expansion. 

Graves County Officials Assess Tornado Damage in Mayfield

May 11, 2016

Officials in Graves County are assessing the damage from a tornado that touched down north of Mayfield Tuesday. In a media conference Wednesday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Rick Shanklin says initial reports indicate the tornado peaked at the low end of EF3 on the sale, with 140 miles per hour winds. 

Undefeated Derby Winner Prompts Triple Crown Talk

May 11, 2016

Last year’s Triple Crown success of American Pharoah could cause increased interest in Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist’s chance of doing the same. 

Nyquist will enter the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, undefeated.  Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Director Chauncey Morris says trainers can be “hyper competitive” and learn from each other,  “If they have a good horse, every trainer is going to look at the career trajectory of American Pharoah and see exactly how Mr. Baffert did it and try to recreate that with their own special horse.”

The Lane Report

Kentucky Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo is asking a judge to throw out Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of the state's $68 billion operating budget.


Stumbo alleges Bevin improperly filed the vetoes with the House clerk last month. He said the state constitution requires the governor to deliver legislative vetoes to the Secretary of State's office when the legislature is not in session.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Two billboard companies have refused to display an advertisement by an atheist group to protest the Ark Encounter amusement park in Kentucky.  

Tri-State Freethinkers president Jim Helton tells news outlets the group recently raised $10,000 for a billboard. The proposed design depicts Noah's Ark with people drowning around it and the words, "Genocide and Incest Park: Celebrating 2,000 years of myths."

The advertisement has been turned down by billboard companies Lamar and Event Advertising and Promotions LLC.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Our examination of the Sixth District House race continues with the views of a first-time candidate.  There are two Republicans and two Democrats vying for votes in next Tuesday’s primary.  

67-year-old Roger Brill decided at the last-minute to challenge GOP incumbent Andy Barr.  Brill, who has owned a steel fabrication company for close to four decades, says he filed because it appeared no one else would take on Barr.

Lexington Council To Vote on $2.5 Million for Police Body Cameras

May 11, 2016

Lexington police are planning to roll out body cameras to some 400 officers this summer.  The $2.5 million dollar purchase must still win approval by the council. Members of the council’s planning and public safety committee got an update Tuesday. 

Assistant Police Chief Dwayne Holman says the money would go for 800 cameras, two for each user.  “We want officers to record from the initial contact throughout the conclusion of that encounter, whatever that law enforcement contact is, we want to record the start and end,” said Holman.

Hillary Clinton Talks Child Care During Lexington Visit

May 10, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Child care issues were on the agenda for Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton during a visit to Lexington Tuesday.  The former Secretary of State held an almost hour-long round table talk with parents and staff at Lexington’s Family Care Center.

Clinton told those gathered that she wanted to elevate the challenge of attaining quality child care, which is not typically a high profile presidential campaign issue. 

Candidates for U.S. Senate Weigh-In on Issues

May 10, 2016

Six of the seven Democrats vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Kentucky fielded questions Monday as part of a KET primary election forum.  Bill Goodman, host of Kentucky Tonight, began the show by asking each of the candidates about their political leanings. 

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray believes many Democrats are okay with taking a middle ground approach, “Sometimes we’ll go to the left and then sometimes we’ll go to the right, but through the center through time, the center is where most people land.”

Adam Potter

On this week’s Eastern Standard, NPR Science Correspondent, Joe Palca. 

Joe Palca joins us in a program recorded last week at WEKU’s annual Day Sponsor event and you can hear it Thursday morning at 11:00 and Sunday evening at 6:00.

More pictures from the 2016 Day Sponsor Event on the WEKU Facebook page

Focus on Business: Rodney Vinegar on Human Resources

May 10, 2016

During his 18-year professional career, Rodney Vinegar has been responsible for recruitment, training, professional development, human resources leadership, and labor relations with such global companies as UBS Investment Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsi and Scripps Network Interactive.  Rodney recently returned from New York to his home state of Kentucky and joined Tom Martin to discuss some HR issues common in today’s workplace.

Jobs Remains Key Issue for 6th Dist. House Incumbent

May 10, 2016


There are two candidates each in the Democratic and Republican primaries in the sixth congressional district.  Second-term GOP incumbent Andy Barr faces political newcomer Roger Brill. 

Although the Bluegrass is recognized for lower unemployment than many other sections of Kentucky, Andy Barr continues to hold job creation as a top priority.  He says growth in the area remains stagnant.

Ky. Officials Organize for Zika Prevention

May 10, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Kentucky officials in areas from public health to agriculture are launching a Zika virus awareness and prevention program.  The start-up, announced Monday, comes before any reported cases of local transmission of the mosquito-borne disease. 

Zika is known to cause birth defects in some babies born to infected women during pregnancy.

We have a couple of comments in reaction to last month’s Eastern Standard show with presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.  Both, by the way, are from a website visitor self-identifying as “Annie on the Trail.” 

She wrote, “This was a FASCINATING show! Thanks!”

Financial Training Part of Eastern Ky. Housing Program

May 9, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    An Eastern Kentucky non-profit is helping low-income residents with major home repairs while also teaching family financial management. 

Jason Benedict, President of Good Neighbors, says families are encouraged to use a jar to collect money daily, funds that would have gone for eating out or a sugary beverage.  

Charles Bertram

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The winner of the 142nd Kentucky Derby was the favorite Nyquist. Racing against 19 other horses Nyquist finished in front of Exaggerator. At 8-0 Nyquist is the eighth unbeaten horse to win the Derby.  

Nyquist was ridden by Mario Gutierrez and trained by Doug O'Neill.

The race was run in good conditions after a heavy rainfall about an hour before the race. It was seen by the second largest crowd ever at Churchill Downs, around 167,000.

Video courtesy of Lexington Herald-Leader/


This week’s speaker in the Chautauqua Lecture series at Eastern Kentucky University says he’s concerned about the state of liberal education in the U.S.

Dr. Michael Roth is President of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and author of “Why Liberal Education Matters.”     

The Kentucky Derby will be run for the 142nd consecutive year Saturday at Churchill Downs.  Two brothers from Louisiana will try to make history as the first trainer-jockey siblings to capture the Run for the Roses. 

Three time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Kent Desormeaux will be aboard Exaggerator, the early second choice in the 20 horse field, with odds of 8 to 1. Exaggerator is trained by Desormeaux’s brother, Keith. 

Copley/Hendren on Derby, Mayfest, Hairspray, UK Art Museum

May 6, 2016

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 the Kentucky Derby as well as Mayfest in Lexington as a performance of “Hairspray” and new exhibits at the UK Art Museum. 

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

You can also find listings of arts and cultural activities at the events calendar link at WEKU dot FM. 

Michael Benson, PhD

  It’s been a busy academic on the  campuses of Eastern Kentucky University. One major issue this winter and spring has been the adjustment of university finances to compensate for state budget cuts. 

On this week’s show, we’ll discuss university finances and other issues as we welcome EKU President Michael Benson.

We’ll talk about what’s been going on and his views of the future for the school serving Central and Eastern Kentucky and beyond.

Bernie Sanders Brings His Campaign to Vocal Lexington Crowd

May 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


A raucous crowd greeted Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Wednesday night in Lexington.  His almost hour-long speech was interrupted by loud outbursts throughout.

The opening line by the junior U.S. senator from Vermont set the tone for the political rally, “Are you guys ready for a political revolution?”

Higher Ed Court Case Receives Second Hearing

May 4, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

There was more testimony in Frankfort Wednesday regarding the state attorney general’s lawsuit against the governor.  Attorney General Andy Beshear argued Governor Matt Bevin didn’t have the authority to order funding reductions to the state’s universities earlier this spring.

The governor’s attorney Steve Pitt told Judge Thomas Wingate the chief executive does have the ability to decide how to administer funds.  Afterward both men felt good about a positive ruling. 

Former Deputy Ky. Attorney General to Face State Charges

May 4, 2016

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says a former top deputy in his office will face state charges. Tim Longmeyer has already pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge. 

Court documents unsealed Tuesday at the request of the Lexington Herald-Leader show Longmeyer arranged for illegal campaign donations to Beshear's campaign.

Beshear told reporters he’s not ready to say what state charges will be filed against Longmeyer. He expressed appreciation Wednesday to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office for its investigation of Longmeyer. 

Ky-based Refuge for Women Expanding

May 4, 2016

    A Kentucky-based program working to help sexually-exploited women is expanding.  An awareness and fundraising event for the program occurred last weekend in Lexington.

The-faith based Refuge for Women is described as “aftercare for the trafficked and sexually exploited.”  There are four safe houses in Kentucky. Other programs are forming in states such as Georgia and Illinois. 

Former Pres. Clinton Campaigns for Hilary in Lexington

May 3, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Former President Bill Clinton has laid out his wife’s presidential platform on issues like corporate wealth, health care reform, and clean energy Tuesday in Central Kentucky.  He also hit on a topic near and dear to the hearts of his Lexington supporters, that of the cost of a college education. The two-term president told the crowd of about 400, mostly students, “A college loan is the only loan in America you cannot refinance when interest rates go down.  And that is wrong.”

Lexington Officials Say Homelessness Down

May 2, 2016

Lexington officials say homelessness in the community has dropped by a quarter since 2014.  The annual “point in time” count conducted each January shows chronic homelessness has been cut in half.  Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Director Charlie Lanter says ongoing efforts need to focus on housing shelter residents. 

He says living in a homeless shelter is still considered homeless, “We’ve really had to put the emphasis on how do we help get people not just off the streets, but also out the shelter and into housing.”

EKU Faculty Task Force to Tackle Funding Cuts

May 2, 2016

Eastern Kentucky University’s effort to deal with state funding reductions includes formation of a “Faculty Efficiency Task Force.”  The issue was discussed during last week’s university Board of Regents meeting. 

Following the April 27 meeting, Faculty Senate Chair Shirley O’Brien wasn’t sure what formation of the task force would involve, saying,  “This has been the first that we’ve discussed it today and I’m waiting to further look for faculty representation and better understand where are efficiency needs are.”

Focus On Business: Rodney Vinegar on Human Resources

May 2, 2016

During his 18-year professional career, Rodney Vinegar has been responsible for recruitment, training, professional development, human resources leadership, and labor relations with such global companies as UBS Investment Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsi and Scripps Network Interactive.  Rodney recently returned from New York to his home state of Kentucky and joined Tom Martin to discuss some HR issues common in today’s workplace.