A gas line explosion lit up the sky in Estill County on Monday night. The blast occurred about 7 p.m. along Ky. 89 about 7 miles outside of Irvine, Estill County Judge-Executive Wallace Taylor said. There were no initial reports of injuries, but 30 to 35 homes within a half-mile radius of the explosion were evacuated, said Melissa Jessie, public information officer for the Estill County Emergency Management Agency.
Randy Kelley has engaged in a frustrating and discouraging battle the past four or five years on his Henry County farm. His 200-pound foe: a wild pig. Actually, that should be plural because these pigs tend to run in herds. "They're just rooting my farm up," Kelley said. "They just go through your fields and tear it all to pieces. ... You never get it back like it was." Kelley's property in the Bethlehem community is just one example of what the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources calls a disturbing trend. An invasion of wild hogs in counties throughout the state is leaving muddy bogs of overturned ground and ruined crops in its wake. Feral swine have been in isolated areas of the state for decades, but in 2008, officials started an increase in reports of wild hogs in areas where they had not been seen before, said Steven Dobey, wildlife program coordinator for the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Wild hogs have now been reported in 37 counties.
So far, so good. That's the feeling of Mason County Judge-Executive James L. "Buddy" Gallenstein about the mild weather seen in the region coming into 2012. Gallenstein said on Monday the county has realized a savings of about $100,000 compared to the same time last year. "The mild weather thus far has been a blessing. No salt or cinders have been used so far," said Gallenstein.
Bonnie Mills had 35 years of memories in her old coal-camp house in Knox County, so she hoped she could make repairs and stay in it after it was damaged by flooding last June. Mills started clearing away gooey mud the day the water receded and kept at it for weeks while staying in a rented place nearby, but relief officials and others eventually convinced her the house couldn't be fixed. She used federal disaster aid to buy a new mobile home, 48 feet long by 14 feet wide, and had it set up a few yards from her old house.
Two groups with a history of environmental activism have taken aim at an Eastern Kentucky coal mine with a lawsuit asking that a court declare the coal mine is in violation of the Clean Water Act. In addition, the lawsuit, filed by the Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, asks that the court force Laurel Mountain Resources to install treatment facilities, pay civil penalties and conduct monitoring and sampling to prevent pollution at its Johnson County mine.
When noon EST rolls around today, the state Capitol in Frankfort could resemble a different Kentucky icon: the starting gate at a horse race. Once the House and Senate kick off the 2012 General Assembly Tuesday, the legislature will officially have 60 days to try to address 200 bills filed ahead of the session and craft a budget that takes into account a shortfall believed to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, they’ll need to find time to fulfill their constitutional obligation of redistricting congressional and senatorial lines, a process that could hinder the regular session or require a special session.
The crisis phase of the Low Income Heating Assistance Program begins tomorrow. This is the second and final phase of LIHEAP. Residents must be in danger of having their utilities cut off in order to receive assistance. The city began scheduling early appointments for assistance last week and those will continue tomorrow at government centers.
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., predicts the New Year will bring more partisanship to Congress as the presidential election heats up. Last year, Congress faced a possible government shutdown and a contentious debate to extend the payroll tax cuts among several other partisan debates. For most of the year the Republican-controlled House clashed with the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House until deadlines forced compromises.
Make a list of the world's most popular scientists, and Stephen Hawking's name will be near or at the very top of the list.
Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time and a professor at the University of Cambridge, is known as much for his contributions to theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity as for his willingness to make science accessible for the general public, says science writer Kitty Ferguson.
"It's not dumbing down [science]; it's really making it accessible, hopefully, to a lot of people," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.