Josh James, Kentucky Public Radio

Josh James / Kentucky Public Radio

February is National Children's Dental Health Month and hundreds of students at a local elementary school brushed their teeth in unison at an assembly this/Thursday morning as part of the first annual "Brush Off!" event. The rally at Booker T. Washington Academy was meant to urge kids to adopt good oral hygiene habits. But for student Samantha Wiggington, avoiding drills and fillings might be all the encouragement she needs. 

University of Kentucky students were treated to a crash course on the state budget and how it affects higher education, tuition, and university policy Tuesday night.

Transylvania University's first-ever local food fair attracted a larger crowd than expected Friday. There were three letters on the lips of nearly everyone at the fair: CSA. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Organizer Angela Dossett said CSAs are like Farmer's Markets, only they allow growers and buyers to forge a different kind of bond. "You invest in a farm at the beginning of the growing season and then all through the growing season you get beautiful boxes of produce every week," Dossett said.

Members of a heart transplant support group met for a special Valentine's Day celebration at UK hospital Tuesday. "Organ donation saves lives," Dr. Charles Shelton, a recovering heart transplant patient at UK, ended his speech at the Valentine's Day get-together of the Heart to Heart support group. They meet to share stories, update each other, and become part of a community.

Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt has taken an offer to run the Fayette County Detention Center off the table for now. The sheriff's office had difficulty finding an insurance company willing to take on the risk of covering the jail.

A candidate for the Urban County Council has withdrawn his name from consideration after failing to meet a signature requirement on his candidacy petition. Nine months away from the elections, the number of candidates seeking to replace councilwoman KC Crosbie has been narrowed to one, barring a write-in campaign by another resident.

The city of Lexington will have its first commissioner dedicated primarily to planning, if the Urban County Council approves Mayor Jim Gray's appointment next week. Dr. Derek Paulsen, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University, has been named as the city's first planning commissioner - a position Mayor Jim Gray envisioned as part of his "Fresh Start Plan" during his campaign. 

The city of Lexington will have its first commissioner dedicated primarily to planning, if the Urban County Council approves Mayor Jim Gray's appointment next week. Dr. Derek Paulsen, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University, has been named as the city's first planning commissioner - a position Mayor Jim Gray envisioned as part of his "Fresh Start Plan" during his campaign. Paulsen, who has a background in urban planning and crime analysis issues, says he's interested in bringing together Lexington's splintered planning and development agencies. 

Three Lexington parking garages in need of repairs could end up under the ownership of the Lexington-Fayette County Parking Authority if a new proposal is approved by the Urban County Council. The proposal, which will go before the council next week, argues that handing over control of the Annex garage on West Main Street, the Victorian Square garage on West Short Street, and the Transit Center garage on East Vine Street to the Parking Authority would ease the burden on taxpayers.

Though it may not have generated the political heat that accompanied state congressional redistricting, the redrawing of Urban County Council districts will also leave many in Lexington with new representation. Every ten years, council districts are redrawn to reflect shifts in population. This year's changes will affect about 33-thousand residents. 

Candidates for Lexington's Urban County Council had until four o'clock this afternoon to file to run in the November election and, as Josh James reports, a number of familiar faces have chosen to let that deadline expire. 

As most state agencies prepare for a round of painful budget cuts, the Kentucky Horse Park could see more state money this year. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Horse Park is slated to receive an increase of $3.5 million dollars this fiscal year, along with an extra $1.6 million dollars each year for the next two years - dollars state officials say are needed to cover operational shortfalls caused by utility costs incurred during the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

The University of Kentucky will unveil its latest medical advance next month, as the region's first hybrid operating room opening its doors. The room merges state-of-the-art imaging technology able to render 3-D pictures of human anatomy in seconds with the latest surgical capabilities to produce a unique operating environment. Dr. Zwischenberger, surgeon-in-chief at UK HealthCare, says the result is a combination of the best ORs in the country.

City leaders have reached an agreement with the union that represents the majority of corrections officers at the Fayette County jail. The old contract expired nearly a year and a half ago. Geoff Reed, Senior Advisor for Policy and Government Relations, said the government is pleased with the compromises in the deal.

A new center dedicated to student wellness has opened at the University of Kentucky. The Promoting and Achieving Wellness for Students Center, or PAWS, is intended for students with broad questions about their health. Fadyia Lowe, Health Education Coordinator for the University Health Service, says the center, which will provide health screenings and guidance for students, has been in the works for some time.

Josh James

Family, friends, and admirers of the late Gatewood Galbraith gathered in Lexington Thursday night to celebrate the man one supporter called "the greatest governor Kentucky never had." A standing-room-only crowd packed the Carnegie Center as speakers bid farewell to attorney, author, and political fixture Gatewood Galbraith. Supporters, decked out in old campaign buttons and shirts, tossed their hats into a ring on the floor, where they would be collected for charity.

U.S. Congressman Ben Chandler visited his district today and shared some thoughts on the redistricting debate in Frankfort and colleague Gabrielle Giffords. 

One family's fight to keep a playhouse built for their disabled child against the wishes of their local homeowner's association has made its way to the state capitol. The case of three-year-old Cooper Veloudis' playhouse has drawn national attention and sparked online petitions. On Thursday, state lawmakers officially weighed in on the dispute, with Democratic state representative Richard Henderson sponsoring a bill some have dubbed "Cooper's Law."

27 new Lexington police recruits began training Tuesday, but it will be another eleven months before they hit the streets on their own. One by one, the new recruits file past the mayor, police chief, and high-ranking staff. The process began with nearly 800 applicants. Now only 27 remain. Police Chief Ronnie Bastin says the recruits - men, women, African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans - represent a cross-section of the Lexington population.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is reacting to the sudden death of perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith. This morning Gray said Galbraith's campaigns were always genuine and born of conviction. "That represented the kind of democratic process, the kind of campaigning that is often something we don't see anymore. He brought color, he brought conviction. And an unfiltered, unvarnished way of looking at the democratic process," Gray said.

Questions about the proper relationship between school officials and education publishing companies are at the heart of a controversy involving Jessamine County's superintendent of schools and her connections to the Pearson Foundation. According to the New York Times, Jessamine County Superintendent Lu Young took a trip to Australia in the summer of 2010 - a trip paid for by the Pearson Foundation, a non-profit wing of the country's largest education publisher, Pearson.

As 2011 winds down, many charities are hoping an eleventh hour push for donations will keep their services up and running through new next. On average, charities receive about 41 percent of their donations during the last few weeks of the year. Erin Gold, Vice President of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, told WKYT that donations made to her organization are turned into cash, which helps put the jobless back to work.

A struggling economy, increased demand for services, and funding cuts are creating the perfect winter storm for the local Salvation Army. With just three days to go, the charity's annual red kettle campaign is running 20% behind."The kettle campaign has never been this far behind", said Major Debra Ashcraft.

An injured Kentucky lawmaker's wife is set to take his place in the state house of representatives. Regina Bunch says she's honored to be given the opportunity to serve in her husband's stead. 82nd House District representative DeWayne Bunch resigned from office after suffering a head injury in April while attempting to break up a fight at Whitley County High School.

The dispute over a playhouse built for a three-year-old with cerebral palsy in Lexington made national headlines earlier this month. Now, one Kentucky lawmaker is using the case to argue for a possible expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Cooper Veloudis's parents say the $5000 playhouse they built in their backyard is part of their son's therapy.

Health insurers offering individual plans in Kentucky will be required to allow open enrollment for children under 19 next month. The rule is the result of an early battle to implement national healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act began prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage due to an applicant's pre-existing health condition on September 23rd, 2010. Insurers in Kentucky offering "child-only" policies reacted.

 University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto told the UK Board of Trustees today that the university has launched negotiations with a Memphis-based company that could take over revitalization and expansion of the school's dorm operations. A Student Housing Developer Selection Committee has suggested that UK weigh the benefits of turning over the school's 6000-bed student housing system to a private company called Education Realty Trust. The announcement has raised a few eyebrows, including a few at the Wall Street Journal, which reported today that UK is one of the biggest schools in the country to consider privatizing its housing system and a successful move in that direction could spark a national trend.

In addition to announcing he won't support state funding for Rupp Arena's renovation or replacement, University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto also says he intends to hire professional consultants to examine questions of efficiency at UK.

Every year Commerce Lexington, an organization that advocates for Lexington business, releases a new public policy statement. The group's 2012 agenda includes calls for new development incentives and tax credits.

 Kroger may be building a gas station to its location in front of the Chinoe Village Shopping Center, but some area residents view the addition as anything but a convenience. The 10-pump gas station would sit just behind the Chinoe Pub. Kroger estimates that it could see a 2 to 5 percent increase in the roughly 13,500 customers that visit the location every week. Assistant Real Estate Manager for Kroger Todd Metzmeier says gas has become an integral part of the grocery's business, where customers earn 10 cents off the purchase of gas for every hundred dollars they spend in the store.

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