This morning in Jonesboro, Ark., Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, known as the "West Memphis Three," will reportedly appear at a surprise hearing where many outlets are reporting that they — or at least Echols and Baldwin, with some reports saying all three — will be released after spending 18 years in prison for the 1993 murders of three young boys. Echols had been sentenced to death.
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency are in Kentucky, touring areas in the eastern part of the state and meeting with residents who are concerned about the effect of coal mining on their communities. At a community meeting last night in Whitesburg, the officials listened to residents describe their problems with coal dust, mountaintop removal blasting and the lack of state and local regulation enforcement.
Keeping up with his skills as a licensed ophthalmologist, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will briefly return to the operating room Sunday to perfom six free cataract eyes surgeries. Because Senate ethics rules prohibit Paul from receiving pay for performing those surgeries, he will work as a volunteer for Surgery on Sunday, a non-profit group in Lexington that provides outpatient services for those who can’t afford health insurance and do not qualify for government assistance. From the Herald-Leader‘s Bluegrass Politics:
For most of this week, WFPL Environment Reporter Erica Peterson has been following EPA officials around the state. Contrary to the rhetoric of politicians on both sides of the aisle in Kentucky, she reports residents are thrilled to see federal officials in their communities and want more regulations. Coincidentally it also happens to be Coal Miners’ Appreciation Week, which Paul issued a statement Thursday in recognition of while scolding the federal agency.
The 2011 Kentucky State Fair begins its ten-day run today in Louisville. As Rick Howlett reports, local organizers are answering questions about safety procedures following last week's tragedy at the Indiana State Fair. There will be ten outdoor concerts at Cardinal Stadium, and state fair spokeswoman Amanda Storment says officials are especially mindful this week of severe weather safety, in the wake of Saturday's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair--during a wind gust--that killed five people.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is traveling the state while congress is in recess. In his speech to the Rotary Club, Paul again sounded the call for smaller government, lower taxes, and the repeal of President Obama's health care reform law. As for the 12-member super-committee formed as part of the deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling, the senator said he's confident it will find the necessary 1.2 trillion dollars in cuts, but expressed skepticism that the deal will have much effect. Asked what he's been hearing from constituents, Paul said economic frustrations continue to top the list.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate continued to fall going from 9.6 percent in June to 9.5 percent in July, according to the Office of Employment and Training. The preliminary July 2011 jobless rate dropped .7 percentage point below the 10.2 percent rate recorded in July 2010 for the state. The state’s July 2011 rate is the lowest since the January 2009 rate of 9.2 percent.
Discussion about whether to enact a livestock ordinance was abundant at the Wilmore City Council meeting, but after talking for 40 minutes, the council voted to table the discussion until its next meeting on Sept. 12. Councilwoman Kim Deyer weighed both sides of the issue at the meeting, addressing protection of property values, safety and animal rights. Deyer said she’s not sure an ordinance is necessary but she does think the city needs some kind of boundaries for animal-owners.
Remediation work is being completed on the soccer field that was closed last week due to E. coli contamination, and the field could be ready for play as soon as Tuesday. A test sample of standing water at the East Jessamine soccer complex off Wilmore Road revealed a concentration of E. coli nine times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable risk criteria. The field was closed Aug. 10 after an engineering firm advised school officials skin contact with water was the only danger present.