Josh James, Kentucky Public Radio

Residents and business owners who live and work on Versailles Road have a chance to sound off Thursday night about the state of the road, which many say is badly in need of upgrades. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has allotted $25-thousand dollars to look for quick, practical solutions traffic issues on Versailles Road. Those who live along the corridor will have an opportunity to offer their input on possible road improvements Thursday night. Friends of Versailles Road chair Paula Singer says the challenges are many.

Memorial services are scheduled throughout the country this week to honor police officers who have died in the line of duty.  Here in Lexington, that solemn public ceremony takes place this evening in Phoenix Park. Police from the Lexington Bluegrass Lodge #4 will gather to salute their comrades-in-arms in a solemn ceremony.  Last year 166 police officers made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, including one from Kentucky.

United Airlines pilots stood at the front entrance of Blue Grass Airport Monday, but not to greet travelers or give directions. The pilots were distributing leaflets criticizing United management for giving employees the short shrift and compromising safety by outsourcing jobs. United Airlines pilots are taking their complaints and concerns out of the board room and straight to the passengers.

The annual Governor’s Derby Celebration is a long-running tradition and this year organizers say they anticipate ideal weather and a large turnout. It’s a tradition that goes back to 1936. Groups large and small have gathered at Kentucky’s capitol to celebrate Derby Day. Spokesperson for Governor Steve Beshear Kerri Richardson says a change in location has added some new flavor to the event.

The Urban County Council continued debating the merits of the city’s subsidizing of public golf courses Tuesday. City support for the sport has become a hot button issue this budget cycle. The council took another swing at golf funding Tuesday, with council member Jay McChord, a vocal proponent of examining the issue, again pushing for numbers. McChord brought up the topic the previous week, questioning why the city is experiencing brown outs at fire stations while spending $1.2 million dollars to keep its five golf courses open. General Services Commissioner Sally Hamilton gave a report this week showing progress toward lowering that number.

Josh James

Vendors eager to bring the mobile food truck trend to Lexington are taking over one downtown parking lot this weekend to show off their menus and gather support for their businesses. But a number of regulatory roadblocks need to be cleared before the trucks become a common sight downtown. It’s nearing lunch hour and business is starting to pick up at the Bluegrass Food Blast as passersby and employees at nearby businesses wander toward the trucks. Carol Ludwick, who made the drive from her house, is just finishing up her chicken wings.

Josh James

The fourth annual Disability Expo and Resource Fair filled Heritage Hall downtown Thursday. This year’s event featured a new campaign meant to keep citizens – both disabled and non-disabled – aware of where they should park around town. The Celebration of disAbility, that’s with a lower case "d" and an upper case "a," is intended to empower handicapped citizens by offering information and demonstrations on everything from transportation to how to vote.

Rosa Parks Elementary School in Lexington was one of three Kentucky schools awarded the federal Green Ribbon designation for its work on sustainability issues this week. But a trend toward environmental awareness is gathering momentum in schools across the county. When it comes to green issues, Rosa Parks Elementary is leading the way. Tresine Logsdon, Energy and Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator for Fayette County Public Schools, says earning a green ribbon takes a multifaceted approach.

If your medicine cabinet is filling up with old, unused, or outdated medications, you will have a chance to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way this Saturday. Lexington’s third annual MedToss allows Fayette County citizens to drop off their unwanted pill bottles to one of four locations: the Division of Police Roll Call Facility, Kentucky American Water, Dunbar High School, and WalMart in Hamburg. Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin says safely tossing old meds does more than help the environment.

The seventh straight special session in Frankfort has ended with agreements on a transportation budget and House Bill 1, dubbed the “pill mill bill.” The former survived after eleventh hour negotiations between the House and Senate produced a watered down compromise. The revised bill keeps KASPER, the state’s drug tracking database, under the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and does not move it to the Attorney General’s office, as was originally planned.  But the bill guarantees funding for KASPER’s expansion.


The first bit of dirt has been turned on the University of Kentucky’s first new residence hall since 2005. As Josh James reports, the hall is considered Phase I of a project that could become the largest public/private partnership of its kind at a major university. Only months after its proposal, UK’s New Central Residence Hall – a 600 bed, $30 million dollar investment that university officials hope will be the first step in a plan to revitalize the core of campus – is set to begin construction.

Josh James

University of Kentucky pharmacy students organized a bone marrow drive on campus Friday. In addition to adding new names to the registry, the drive also aimed to clear up some common misconceptions about the donation process. "We've been at it since about 8 o'clock and we've probably added 45 to 50 people already," says Kenneth Kennedy, a pharmacy resident is helping oversee the Be the Match Bone Marrow Drive. He says part of the challenge is updating potential donors on how the donation process has evolved.

 The field is set for the 2012 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes and the post positions have been drawn. Two-year-old juvenile Hansen is favored to win the final prep race before the Kentucky Derby.  The names were drawn Wednesday morning at Keeneland’s Limestone Café. 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen was picked first and will take position four in the $750,000 stakes race. Owner Kendall Hansen admitted, despite odds of 6:5, he’s nervous for his horse going into Saturday.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray presented his $289 million dollar budget for fiscal year 2013 Tuesday afternoon. The plan includes no broad-based tax increases, but relies on a projected three percent growth in employee withholdings over the next year. The mayor’s speech focused largely on two themes: shared sacrifice and creating what he called “a great American city.”

Josh James

Kids and families eager for some fun in the sun this summer will have a large new playground at Masterson Station Park to visit. Elementary school kids bussed in to help Lexington Mayor Jim Gray officially open the new Masterson playground wasted no time trying out all the new equipment. Jett Pennington’s favorite? "So far, it's that thing," he says, pointing to an upright circular piece of equipment, "it's the spinny thing, that spins around and you have to hold on and it goes upside down."

Josh James

UK Wildcat fans showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday afternoon, as thousands welcomed home their NCAA champions with a sea of blue. With cameras in hand and adrenaline still running high, fans packed Rupp Arena for a glimpse of Coach John Calipari and his national champions Tuesday afternoon. Cheers erupted as the team’s tour bus pulled into the arena and the players emerged, many capturing video of the crowd on their own cell phones.

At a time when the shirt sales are big business, one Lexington t-shirt maker is operating under fire after turning down an offer to print shirts for the city’s summer Gay Pride festival. The controversy has drawn in city leaders, the University of Kentucky, and Fayette County Public Schools. Since the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization or GLSO filed a discrimination complaint with the city’s Human Rights Commission, Hands On Originals has seen a backlash – including a boycott page on Facebook with more 13-hundred members and a protest set for Friday morning in Triangle Park.

A group that supports the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund is rallying tonight in Lexington. The organization hopes to sway city leaders to get behind the idea. BUILD, or Building a United Interfaith Lexington Through Direct Action, a group comprised of 17 area congregations, has been pushing for an Affordable Housing Trust Fund for years now. The trust funds are dedicated sources of revenue meant to help low and moderate income citizens attain affordable housing. Pastor Adam Jones is with BUILD.

This Saturday representatives from Keep Lexington Beautiful will be keeping an eye out for litter, illegal signs, and graffiti as they tour the city. It’s part of their annual Community Appearance Index process. Once a year, Keep Lexington Beautiful members get in cars with city employees, Bluegrass PRIDE staff, and community volunteers to rank the city’s cleanliness. Patricia Knight, KLB chair, says there’s a system.

Schools across the Commonwealth found out Friday whether they were selected for Gear Up grants. Gear Up is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Jennifer Kendall, principal of Leestown Middle, the only school in Fayette County to receive a Gear Up grant, says the money enable schools to get a quick handle on how students might perform in a college setting.

Kentucky may seem like an unlikely breeding ground for human traffickers, but the problem is growing nationally and one area college is hoping a conference will shine a light on the issue. Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of Anthony and Kathy Hart, a Madison County couple accused of trafficking their young daughters in Richmond, KY.

Of the problems facing the nation's health care system, one rarely discussed factor helping up drive up costs is something called "health literacy." Like many health care-related issues, it’s a problem that affects not just patients but medical professionals."You could have a PhD and be very health illiterate," says Deborah Murray, associate director of the Health Education Though Extension Leadership program and organizer of a Health Literacy Summit taking place in Lexington.

Josh James

A coalition of organizations is rallying Wednesday to urge lawmakers and citizens to take a stronger stance against smoking in the Commonwealth. “Kick Butts Day” is focusing on preventing young people from taking up the habit. Evidence of the 17th annual “Kick Butts Days” is on display at the YMCA of Central Kentucky in Beaumont Circle Wednesday, as the lobby is filled with pamphlets, displays, and organizers such as Betsy Janes with the American Lung Association.

The fifth annual Bluegrass Local Food Summit begins Thursday, March 22nd, and promises a wide array of events centered on the theme “Eating From Our Own Soil.” Each day of the summit will focus on a different topic – with Thursday highlighting the role of local government in creating programs to support local food systems, Friday spotlighting community partners, and Saturday emphasizing building community skills through school gardens and youth gatherings.

Josh James

Keeneland and Maker’s Mark unveiled the 16th entry in their signature charitable bottle series this morning. The bottle will feature a likeness of UK football great Tim Couch, who said he’s humbled to have been chosen. "So many people before me -- Coach Cal, Coach Hall, Coach Brooks -- have been featured. I'm honored, I really am. It's for a great cause and that's the best thing about it.

Lexington’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities are expanding this year. Lexington’s St. Paddy’s Day revelers will have one more day this weekend to celebrate the holiday. Events begin at the CentrePointe block at 1 PM Saturday. Highlights include the Alltech St. Patrick’s Day parade at 3 and plenty of traditional food and music. Organizer Liza Hendley-Betz says Sunday will be largely dedicated to the Rose of Tralee personality competition for young women of Irish descent.

The Sweet Sixteen tournament comes to Rupp Arena today – bringing with it scores of high school basketball players, boosters, and a sizable economic impact for Lexington. City officials are eager to keep it that way. 

Ten regional oral history projects are that much closer to completion thanks to grants awarded by the Kentucky Oral History Commission. One of those projects explores the history of Lexington’s underground music scene. Sarah Milligan with the Kentucky Oral History Commission says narrowing down the grant requests is no easy task. "It is a really, really difficult job to try and choose which applications get funding," she says.

According to the Lexington Police Department, metal thefts account for more than $6 million dollars in damage in Fayette County since late 2010. Now two measures are currently making their way through local and state government that would tighten restrictions on buyers and sellers. A bill requiring registration for commercial recyclers who purchase scrap metal passed the House in Frankfort last week.

41 Kentucky high schools will soon be receiving grants, but the money won't be going to teachers or administrators. Students will be deciding how the money is spent. The program is called Students Taking Charge, which is part of Kentucky Action for Healthy Kids. It distributes $500 grants to schools in the hopes that students will take the reins, explore projects that might improve health and nutrition, and use the funds to implement effective changes.