2:06pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Commonwealth

Arson Suspected in School Bus Fire

A burned-out Pike County school bus sits in the Pike County Schools transportation lot in Pikeville after catching fire early Thursday morning. School district officials believe the fire was intentionally set.
Chris Anderson/Appalachian News-Express

Pike County Schools officials believe arson may be to blame for a Thursday morning fire which gutted a school bus at Turkey Creek. Pike Schools Superintendent Roger Wagner said the bus, number 0369, was parked in its normal overnight space near the bus driver’s residence when a fire broke out inside the vehicle at about 6 a.m. Thursday. The bus was unoccupied at the time of the fire and no one was injured in the blaze, Wagner said, adding that he believes the fire was no accident.

1:29pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Commonwealth

Dollar General Distribution Center Adds Jobs

Dollar General will add 100 new jobs at its distribution center in Scottsville, bringing total employment for the center to more than 650. The company announced the new jobs Thursday and has been recruiting for the positions. The Scottsville distribution center supplies goods for Dollar Generals in Kentucky and parts of Tennessee and Alabama.

1:27pm

Fri December 16, 2011
State Capitol

Bank Forecloses on State Office Buildings

The Fair Oaks office buildings are off Wilkinson Boulevard in Frankfort.
Tricia Spaulding/The State-Journal

State government will be paying rent to U.S. Bank this year after the bank foreclosed on three office buildings in Frankfort. The buildings, near Buffalo Trace distillery, house offices for state agencies, including the Department of Revenue, Division of Air Quality, Division of Water and Department of Public Advocacy. The bank took action against the buildings’ Floirida-based owners in 2010 after the companies defaulted on a $31 million loan from 2005 to buy the office buildings.

1:27pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Citing Eurozone Crisis, Fitch Threatens Downgrade Of 6 EU Countries

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:29 pm

Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.

The AP reports:

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1:17pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Commonwealth

Blood Drive to Support Injured Hunter

Kinney Noe has used 42 pints of blood in the fight for his life. During his first surgery at the UK Chandler Medical Center alone, doctors transfused 32 units to keep him alive. “That means that there’s 42 people who had to go in and give blood to give what he needed,” daughter Kindra Witak said. “Had those people not given blood, he would have died the first day.” But Kinney Noe has now survived longer than a month since falling from a tree stand onto a limb that impaled him, damaging his liver, lungs and diaphragm Nov. 13.

1:11pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Kentuckians at War

Veterans React to End of Iraq War

The U.S. this week closed a chapter in its War on Terror, officially ending its mission in Iraq after nearly nine years of combat. The pullout of U.S. troops from the embattled country drew mixed opinions among Hardin County veterans, some of whom have been directly affected by the conflict. Ronnie Thompson Jr., an Elizabethtown resident who was injured in late 2004 when an IED struck his Humvee, had his military career end after the roadside bomb put him on a challenging road to rehabilitation. On Thursday, Thompson said he feels the close of the Iraq War is long overdue and it is time to trust that the Iraqi government can rise up and take care of its own without falling prey to insurgent forces.

12:39pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Family Of Agent Killed By 'Fast And Furious' Rifle Demands Accountability

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:19 pm

A year after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by a weapon lost in a failed gunwalking operation, his family is calling on the U.S. government to hold those responsible accountable.

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12:32pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Remembrances

For Hitchens, In Life And Death, An Unaware Cosmos

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 10:29 pm

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
David Levenson Getty Images

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.

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12:18pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Planet Money

Why Airlines Keep Going Bankrupt

Scott Olson Getty Images

The airline industry consistently breaks the number one rule of business: The job of the company is to make money.

"The industry in aggregate has lost about $60 billion over the 32 years since deregulation, " says Severin Borenstein, an economist at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkley.

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11:52am

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

'Layaway Santas' Are Spreading Cheer This Year At Kmarts

We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:

"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."

We're seeing stories about this happening in:

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