A battle over a Kentucky tax incentive for a religious theme park featuring Noah's Ark has ended in a win for the big boat. A state tourism board this week approved a sales tax rebate incentive worth about $18 million for the 510-foot long Ark Encounter attraction.
Kentucky officials in 2014 withdrew the project from the incentive program, which rebates a portion of sales tax collected by a tourist attraction.
State officials at the time said the incentive would be funding "religious indoctrination."
We begin with a call to the listener comment line from Phyllis from Prestonsburg. She's responding to a request for comments about the changes underway with A Prairie Home Companion now that Garrison Keillor is getting ready to retire, “I'm heartbroken that Garrison Keillor is leaving. My opinion on the replacement is still not formed yet but, when I heard the replacement host and program, it just wasn’t the same.
State officials are pressing the importance of easy access to voter registration. Recently, the Commonwealth launched GoVoteKentucky.com in attempt to do just that. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is optimistic about the new online system. On this week's Eastern Standard, we'll be discussing voter participation, and voter turnout. Why is voter turnout so low? How do we increase voter participation? We also venture into other topics about voting, including people's perceptions of voter fraud in elections.
A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis filed against the state for requiring her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples that included her name.
Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, arguing it violated her religious beliefs. The American Civil Liberties Union sued her on behalf of two gay couples and two straight couples. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the licenses. Davis sued then-Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and then-State Librarian Wayne Onkst, arguing the forms violated her religious beliefs.
We start with a call to the WEKU Listener Comment Line, “I have been listening to public radio for over 25 years and I’ve listened to a lot of great stations. But, I wanted to tell you that WEKU is my favorite public radio station, actually any radio station ever.”
The caller continues, “I love the thoughtful and interesting talk you have on all day. I learn things all the time and I am so grateful that you are a presence in our community.”
The City of Lexington has approved the relocation of its services for homeless persons. While the move has had some opposition from area businesses, the city’s Director of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention sees it as a major step forward, saying it will provide more convenience for service providers and clients and a higher quality of service.
Homelessness in Central Kentucky is our topic on this week’s Eastern Standard in this encore of a program originally aired on September 24, 2015.
Here’s a note by email from listener Virginia, “I just made a contribution and commented that I love the station. I did not say ‘…all but one thing - Dinner Party Download.’ I just turn it off. Thanks for making my life more interesting.”
From the Listener Comment Line, “Whoever the gentleman was that just made a reference to the Spoonbread Festival controversy in Berea, accidentally referred to it in the first phrase of the All Things Considered report that it was a decision made by the Berea City Council. That’s not correct. "
Here’s a message from listener Dave, who tells us he enjoys the station, especially while exercising every day, but he has a suggestion for announcers, “Ask your people to quit saying ‘First ever.’ First means it never happened before. ‘First ever’ means you don’t know what the word first means.”
A Kentucky professor was part of a team that analyzed fossils from what has been described as “a new human ancestor.” We’ll discuss this 2013 discovery with University of Kentucky paleoanthropologist Dr. Andrew Deane who was called to South Africa to join the team examining over 1,500 bones that were found. We’ll also meet biology professor Jim Krupa, also from UK, who teaches biology, ecology and evolution. It’s a special recorded version of our show but we’re still glad to have your comments at:
Melodie, from Lexington, emailed us, “This message concerns HB 269 which updated veterinary practice laws. One important omission in your report is that the language to allow veterinarians to release animal protection and health information to authorities without an owner's consent is deleted in the committee substitution.."
Melodie continues, "As the law now stands veterinarians are prohibited from notifying authorities of an animal's condition that are suspicious for abuse. Kentucky is the only state that does not allow this.
Here’s an email from Alan, presumably in the Prestonsburg area, “My wife and I have been consistent and faithful listeners and supporters of WEKU since our daughters attended EKU several years ago. WEKU, at 90.9 Hazard, has been part of our daily regimen for all that time."
Alan continues, "As of late however, we have been unable to listen to the station because of poor reception. Has your Hazard transmitter gone down or is there some other problem? We would like to regain the channel and to once again become donating partners with the station.”
Dozens of listeners posted on Facebook or Twitter in reaction to the news of the passing of NPR newsman Craig Windham.
Meg tweeted, “I’ll miss Craig reading the news in the morning. #RIPCraig.”
Rebecca commented on Facebook, “So sad to hear this.”
We’ve had a number of contacts regarding an apparent problem with one of the programs on our sister station, Classic 102.1. We’re told that the Sunday afternoon program Classical Guitar Alive has been repeating for a number of weeks. We apologize for that and will check it out and…most importantly…get it fixed.
Last week, a listener wrote in about my personal choice to go on the air before my voice had completely recovered from a sinus infection. I continue to stand by my apology for coming back a bit too soon.
Meanwhile, I want to acknowledge the messages of listeners reacting to Linda. At risk of seeming self-serving, here are a few excerpts:
Listener Linda wrote in at the end of last week, “It's unbelievable to me that you continue to go on air when you don't have the ability to read the news in a fluent or conversational manner. But the last few days subjecting us to your voice is in its current condition shows your inconsideration for the audience. Is there no one to fill in for hosts when they are clearly too sick to go on?."
All of our comments this week came along with donations to the station. For example, April from Lexington, wrote, “I love your morning line up! Morning edition to BBC news hour. Thank you for keeping me connected.”
Christie, from Orlando, tells us, she listens to 88.9 to 88.5 to 90.1 as she travels for work.
Harry, from Lexington, writes, “Love NPR especially WEKU, BBC, News, Tom Ashbrook On Point. Only complaint is classical music station doesn't have enough power to reach south Lexington.”
This year marks the first legislative session under Governor Matt Bevin, and the first budget year of his administration as well.
A lot of important issues affecting many Kentuckians are making their way into this legislative session. Significant budget cuts, and legislation aimed at addressing issues like abortion, coal, and heroin addiction as well as many other important issues.
This week’s program originates from the State Capitol in Frankfort and with us to discuss some of these issues will be:
Here’s a Thursday call to our Listener Comment Line from a listener choosing to remain anonymous,
“Your news broadcasts are skipping. The same thing has happened a couple of times in the last couple of days. I don’t know if you listen to your own stations or not but, it was very obvious that something was interfering with the broadcasting of the news. ”
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated ruling declaring that marriage can no longer be denied to same-sex couple anywhere in the U.S. Less than a week later, on Thursday July 2, WEKU's interactive public affairs program tackled the topic for an update on the status of same-sex marriage in Kentucky.
This entry includes ten minutes excerpted from the hour-long "live" program.
Following Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s announcement of his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Rand Paul, listener Tracey wrote to us on Facebook, “I would like to ask that the reference to Mayor Gray as Lexington's first openly gay mayor be stopped. It's irrelevant to his campaign. If the descriptor remains, then all the candidates should be described by their sexual identity also.”
Last year, Kentucky received a grade of "F" from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence for its firearm legislation. During the 2016 General Assembly, lawmakers have introduced multiple bills that defend the rights of gun owners in the Commonwealth.
On this week's show, we'll discuss Kentucky's Relaxed Stance on Firearm Regulation.
Joe Kalil, a former military officer & pilot and an NRA certified Concealed Carry Instructor, and the designer of the School POST Program which is designed to mitigate active shooter threats in schools.
From Joan, in Waco, Kentucky, Wednesday following a news update during Here and Now, “I must take exception to your brief account of school construction just reported. The reporter stated that legislators would no longer set wages for school construction projects under a bill that would exempt such projects from prevailing wage laws. This is a misleading misstatement of prevailing wage law and does a disservice to construction workers and the labor organizations that represent them. Please do a better job of explaining prevailing wage laws. That was not up to your standards.”