Associated Press

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Almost a month after announcing she would run for the U.S. Senate, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will kick off her campaign in her hometown of Lexington. Grimes' campaign said Gov. Steve Beshear will join her for the event, scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday. The 34-year-old Democrat is seeking to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will have served 30 years in the Senate when the election is held in November 2014.

Office of the Governor, Kentucky

Tennessee is, for a fourth consecutive year, ranked Number One in the nation for automotive manufacturing strength. Economic development publication “Business Facilities” has released its annual ranking, showing Tennessee as the top state. There are over 900 automotive plants in Tennessee.  They’ve created over 6600 new jobs and have generated investments of nearly $1.1 billion. 

Kentucky State Parks

A conference next month on Civil War sites in Kentucky will focus on the preservation and interpretation of battle sites. Organizers say the presenters at the conference in Danville will include representatives from nearly every Civil War-related federal agency and national nonprofit. It is designed as an educational forum for administrators, staff, docents, board members and volunteers.

Christian health program is doing business again in the Commonwealth. Medi-share pays medical bills for churchgoers who pledge not to smoke, drink or engage in extra-marital intercourse. Christian Care Ministry President Tony Meggs said Kentuckians are already rejoining Medi-Share.  It’s a less expensive alternative to traditional insurance plans because participants tend to be healthier.

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Kentucky corrections officials say they failed to take DNA samples from between 6,300 and 7,000 felons as required by law over a four-year period. Justice Cabinet Secretary and Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson said during a news conference Thursday in Frankfort that they are now trying to locate about 3,900 people no longer in state custody or on probation or parole to take samples from them.

City of West Hollywood

A Louisville couple on Friday challenged Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages, saying the state isn't putting them and other same-sex couples on equal footing with other married couples. Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon are asking a federal judge in Louisville to require the state to recognize valid unions from other states and countries.

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People heading to the Kentucky State Fair next month will have some new options for weekend parking, including one free lot. That location is the Green Lot at Cardinal Stadium off Floyd Street. The State Fair Board says shuttles will run continuously to the fair. Fair tickets can be purchased at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium or advance discount tickets can be presented before boarding the shuttle.

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The Kentucky Horse Park is offering two-day tickets for the price of one day's admission as part of its 35th anniversary celebration. The Lexington attraction says the offer will give visitors more time to explore the park. The deal means that guests who purchase a general admission ticket will receive free admission the following day.

Office of the Governor, Kentucky

Gov. Steve Beshear has unveiled a new name for the state's 75 unemployment offices. They've now officially been dubbed Kentucky Career Centers. Beshear said the new name reflects a new focus on services for both job seekers and job providers.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

A rare fish in central Appalachia called the diamond darter will soon be under federal protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that the diamond darter's protected status under the Endangered Species Act will become effective in 30 days.

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Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he's been surprised by the progress made in fighting prescription drug abuse in the year since a state law took aim at the problem. Beshear told reporters Thursday that the law has made some "swift changes" in combating a chronic state problem.

Blueridge Business Journal

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says his office and attorneys for nationally syndicated parenting columnist John Rosemond have agreed that Conway should be dismissed from a lawsuit.

Josh James / Kentucky Public Radio

A county clerk in southeastern Kentucky has asked the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to determine the propriety of a fundraising email sent to government email accounts by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes last week. Republican Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson filed the complaint on Thursday, a week after receiving the email from Grimes, a candidate for U.S. Senate.

The home of the Kentucky Derby is planning another round of renovations that would add more seating at Churchill Downs racetrack. Churchill Downs Inc., owner of its namesake track, has filed plans with Louisville planning officials for a project called Churchill Downs Rooftop Garden. It continues the company's strategy to maximize revenues from the track's premier events — the Derby and Kentucky Oaks.

Republican Matt Bevin will be in the tiny community of Fancy Farm next week when politicians gather for a heated afternoon of stump speeches. Bevin, a newcomer to the U.S. Senate race, will share the stage with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the top Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Aug. 3.

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Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will skip next week's church picnic in the western Kentucky community of Fancy Farm.  Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said Wednesday they're unable to go.

The Kentucky attorney general's office has asked the US Supreme Court to consider a case involving whether students must be informed of their rights before being questioned at school.

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Kentucky's renowned bourbon brands are offering up a bit of their whiskeys for a special blend to benefit efforts to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease in honor of longtime Heaven Hill Distilleries master distiller Parker Beam. The concoction is called Master Distillers' Unity. Bardstown-based Heaven Hill says a crystal two-bottle set of the one-of-its-kind blend will be offered at auction in New York City on Oct. 13. All proceeds will go to the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, which is raising money for research and patient care by the ALS Association.

Office of the Governor, Kentucky

The state has created a new agency to help small businesses grow and create jobs.  The Office of Entrepreneurship is intended to enhance similar initiatives already in place.

A panel appointed to review severe child abuse and neglect cases is considering a proposal that would require caregivers to submit to drug testing if a child died in their custody. Media reported the Kentucky Child Fatality and New Fatality External Review Panel met Monday and discussed the idea after reviewing the case of an infant who died while sleeping with his parents.

A tea party activist who has signaled that he intends to begin a campaign to take on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in next year's GOP primary in Kentucky has now removed all doubt. An aide to Louisville businessman Matt Bevin distributed a press advisory on Tuesday announcing stops on a statewide tour "announcing his candidacy" for Senate.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says a backlog of disability claims handled by the Veterans Affairs Department is a "national disgrace."

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A University of Kentucky assistant professor and a research team have received a $1 million grant from NASA to improve the heat shields for spacecraft as they enter the planet's atmosphere.

Kentucky's public television network KET will broadcast live from the tiny community of Fancy Farm when politicians gather Aug. 3 for a heated afternoon of stump speeches. Headliners for the Saturday afternoon event are Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his top Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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Inmates at a federal prison in northeastern Kentucky have refused two meals but officials say they aren't sure why. The inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution-Ashland in Summit turned away lunch and evening meals on Wednesday. The warden's executive assistant, David Brewer, told The Ashland Independent newspaper the prison is operating on a status just below lockdown, with inmates confined to their cells at all times other than for meals.

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ATLANTA, Ga. — Kentucky is among the states with the lowest life expectancy and healthy life expectancy numbers, according to figures released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A former Madison County Clerk has been formally accused of theft. William Gabbard is scheduled to appear in Madison Circuit Court in mid-August for arraignment. The state Attorney General says the investigation into Gabbard started in November 2009 after a state auditor's review of his office. Gabbard’s accused of changing social security numbers in the Automated Vehicle Information System. Allegedly, it allowed Gabbard to register his personal vehicles without paying taxes, interest and penalties.

Lexington Herald Leader

Another Democrat has announced a run for Congress in Kentucky's 6th District. Lexington businessman Joe Palumbo, who heads a lumber and building supply company, says in a statement he wants to fight partisan gridlock that is holding the country and central Kentucky back.

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams Friday, adding a second wild-card in each league.

The decision establishes a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

This is the only change in baseball's playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first added.