Mon March 19, 2012
The Commonwealth

Public Corruption Risk High in Kentucky

As is often the case with government reform efforts, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted ethics laws in response to an embarrassing scandal. “BOPTROT” was a federal investigation of the Kentucky legislature in the 1990s, so-named because it involved a powerful legislative committee, Business Organizations and Professions, and horse racing. It exposed 15 state lawmakers who sold their votes, some for as little as $100.

Following BOPTROT, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted laws restricting interactions between legislators and lobbyists. The reforms also required financial disclosure by legislators and detailed disclosure by lobbyists of their spending, whom they represent and how they are compensated.

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Mon March 19, 2012
State Capitol

General Assembly Winds Down

Kentucky’s General Assembly is heading down the stretch in the 2012 legislative session. Lawmakers have ten legislative days left to pass budget and road plan bills, in addition to any other matter. Many important topics that were priorities for some lawmakers—like raising the dropout age, fixing the state’s problems with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and drug abuse legislation—has yet to pass both chambers in the same form. This means for the bills to become law, legislators will have to form conference committees and reach an agreement.

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Sun March 18, 2012
Presidential Race

Just Who Is Leonard Wood, Anyway?

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 11:18 am

Leonard Wood was a U.S. general and doctor who ran for president in 1920. He lost the nomination to Warren Harding.
Public domain image

Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has been calling his opponent Mitt Romney the weakest front-runner in modern times.

On CNN, he clarified it when he said the former Massachusetts governor is probably the "weakest front-runner since Leonard Wood in 1920."

So, who was Leonard Wood?

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Sun March 18, 2012
Presidential Race

GOP's Delegate Race A Game Of 'Political Moneyball'

There's a number hovering around the GOP presidential race: 1,144. That's the magic number of delegates needed to secure the party's nomination.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a little less than half that number right now, but he's still ahead of his closest rival, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

Santorum is a threat, however, so the two candidates seem to be sharpening their math skills.

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Sun March 18, 2012

'A Salesman' Lives On In Philip Seymour Hoffman

Bridgette Lacombe

When Philip Seymour Hoffman took the stage on March 15 in the new revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, he became the fifth actor in 63 years to walk the boards of Broadway in the shoes of the blustery, beleaguered salesman, Willy Loman. In the last six decades, each incarnation of the play has resonated with a new generation of theatergoers.

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Sun March 18, 2012

Years Later, He Brought Her Passport Back

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:57 am

Betty Werther's passport photo from 60 years ago.
Courtesy Betty Werther

Typically, college newsletters aren't thrilling reads, but an article in a recent University of California, Berkeley, newsletter tells the story of two alums who connected in way fit for a movie.

It starts in 1949, after Betty Werther graduated from Berkeley. As a graduation gift, her grandmother sent her to Europe with a friend. They traveled to Paris, ostensibly to study at the Sorbonne.

Their studies didn't last long. Werther and her friend strapped on backpacks and hit the road.

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Sun March 18, 2012

After Ownership Drama, Dodgers Want To Play Ball

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 5:50 pm

Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
Christian Petersen Getty Images

Things are looking pretty good at the Dodgers spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz. They have Cy Young Award winning Clayton Kershaw anchoring their pitching staff and at the plate, the National league MVP runner-up, Matt Kemp.

"Hopefully, we can start out the way we finished last year and be consistent throughout the whole year," Kemp said.

Everyone has had enough of what's been happening off the field.

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Sun March 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

New Clark Medical Center Dedicated

Ninety-five years after the original Clark County Hospital opened on Wainscott Avenue, local and state officials gathered with community members to celebrate the completion of the new Clark Regional Medical Center on Lexington Road. “Boy, what a project it’s been,” hospital CEO Kathy Love said. “We’ve had incredible partnerships, incredible vision and incredible foresight.” LifePoint Hospitals purchased Clark Regional Medical Center in May 2010 and construction began in September 2010. The facility is licensed for 100 beds and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, allowing staff to expand medical services.


Sun March 18, 2012

Schools Bridge Language Gap

Trang Nguyen (left) and Juana Ortega, third-graders at River Ridge Elementary School, share a laugh during English Language Learners class. The class is for students who are not native speakers of English.
Patrick Reddy/The Kentucky Enquirer

The main office at River Ridge Elementary School is identified by a sign that says “office” and “oficina” for English- and Spanish-speaking students and parents. If the school wanted to cover all of the students whose native language is not one of those two, they’d need to add 18 more translations. Though the vast ethnicity may surprise some people, River Ridge is not unique in that sense in Northern Kentucky. There are 64 languages spoken by students in the 18 public school districts in Boone, Campbell, Kenton, Gallatin, Grant and Pendleton counties, and 100 languages spoken statewide.


Sun March 18, 2012

Domesticated Foxes: Man's New Best Friend?

Ceiridwen Terrill, Ph.D.
Courtesy of CTAS/Concordia University

For thousands of years, dogs have been our companions. After countless generations of selective breeding, they've become hard-wired to follow human commands: sit, lie down, jump, even shake.

So far, most other animals don't come close. But what if they could?

In 1954 a Russian geneticist named Dmitry Belyaev wanted to isolate the genes that make dogs so easy to train. He started a fox farm in Siberia and set out to do with foxes in one lifetime what took dogs thousands of years.

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