Kentucky News Content Service

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear has made numerous appointments to Kentucky boards and commissions.

Just before the federal government declared default, the U.S. Senate announced Wednesday afternoon it reached a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and get the federal government working again. But the Senate must still vote on the measure and so must the House of Representatives. Only then can a bill emerge that President Obama must sign -- before midnight tonight.

Unemployment rates decreased in 49 Kentucky counties between April 2012 and April this year, while 63 county rates rose and eight stayed the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the state at 5.4 percent. It was followed by Oldham County, 5.6 percent; Fayette County, 5.9 percent; Ohio and Shelby counties, 6 percent each; Daviess and Scott counties, 6.1 percent each; Franklin and Hancock counties, 6.2 percent each; and Boone, Henderson, Madison and Spencer counties, 6.3 percent, according to a state news release.

Beginning today and continuing through June 2, Kentucky State Police will be participating in the “Click It or Ticket” national, seatbelt enforcement campaign. The federal highway safety initiative focuses on seatbelt and child restraint enforcement as well as driver education.

Fifteen nominations to the National Register of Historic Places were approved today during a meeting of the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board at Metro Development Center in Louisville.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent in April from 8 percent in March 2013, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The preliminary April 2013 jobless rate was .3 percentage points below the 8.2 percent rate recorded for the state in April 2012.

Gov. Steve Beshear on Wednesday signed House Bill 207 that unites the state’s two Career and Technical Education (CTE) systems under the guidance of Kentucky’s Department of Education. The goal is to create a unified, more relevant and efficient system to educate and prepare students for the world of work in a real-life setting, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Officials at Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities estimate that they have conferred 61,472 degrees and credentials during the 2012‐13 academic year, with historic levels continuing at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and professional practice doctoral levels. The Preliminary 2012-13 Degrees Report, issued today by the Council on Postsecondary Education, shows declines for research doctorates and in undergraduate and graduate certificates. A slight overall decrease of less than one percent is estimated for total degrees and credentials conferred this year since last year’s historic total.

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate has passed bill which contains Sen. Mitch McConnell’s measure protecting access to critical Kentucky fishing waters, according to a news release from the Kentucky senator's Washington office.

Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald Leader

FRANKFORT – A ceremony of remembrance Tuesday marked the re-interment of the remains of 178 individuals that were exhumed in 2011 on the Eastern State Hospital Campus in Lexington, now home to a new Bluegrass Community and Technical College education facility.

ELKTON – Local, state and company officials in gathered in Elkton Monday to announce Glass Door Solutions LLC, a newly formed company, plans to lease a facility, create 110 new, full-time jobs and invest more than $3.5 million.

Frankfort - Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, in her capacity as chair of the State Board of Elections and the Kentucky Election Integrity Task Force, said she and her staff are closely monitoring compliance today with the state's election laws.

Five contractors were hurt this afternoon, three of them seriously, when an explosion and fire occurred at the site of Monday morning's trail derailment in southwest Jefferson County. As a result, a mandatory evacuation within 1.2 miles of the derailment has been declared. And Louisville MetroSafe has asked all residents within a 5 mile radius of the derailment site to remain indoors as a precaution. They have been asked to close doors and windows and to turn off their residential heating and cooling systems. Also, residents are asked to bring their pets inside, according to an announcement from MetroSafe.

The National Weather Service offices in Louisville and Paducah have issued freeze warnings for tonight and early Thursday. Most of the area affected is bounded by I-65 on the east and south of the Western Kentucky and Blue Grass parkways.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, predicts a statewide voter turnout for Tuesday's presidential election at between 62 and 64 percent. That could be a record turnout, she said. But the early onset of winter weather and its impact on Eastern Kentucky could affect turnout there, Grimes said.

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky Department for Public Health designated the first 10 hospitals as part of the Kentucky Trauma Care System at a ceremony last week at the Kentucky Trauma Symposium in Lexington.

The National Weather Service office in Jackson said a winter storm warning remains in effect for Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties until 8 a.m. Wednesday. Above 2,000 feet, snowfall will continue through much of the day today and through tonight. Below 2,000 feet elevation, rain will mix with and change to wet snow this morning changing back to rain this afternoon.

Eight rail cars of a 39-car Paducah and Louisville train derailed early today in extreme southwest Jefferson County forcing the evacuation of 34 homes in the vicinity of Abbotts Beach Road and Katherine Station Road. At least one of the derailed cars resulted in a chemical leak into the air and a Level 3 Hazmat Alert has been issued. That's the highest level of hazmat alert.

The National Weather Service has downgraded the winter storm watch for southeast Kentucky to a winter weather advisory for snow - which runs from 10 p.m. today through noon Tuesday.The weather service's Jackson office said rain will mix with and change to snow tonight and then change back to rain by noon Tuesday. Snow accumulations of up to 2 inches are expected in low-lying areas and 2-4 inches in elevations above 2,000 feet.

Attorney General Jack Conway Friday announced that Kentucky has joined with other states and the federal government to settle allegations that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns to promote some of its drugs.

Indian summer is over. At least for now. A cold front will move through Kentucky today and cause temperatures to plunge into the 50s by noon and even lower tonight. And it will start raining this afternoon and could continue through about midday on Saturday. Upwards of three-fourths of an inch could fall in some places, according to the National Weather Service. Highs on Saturday will hit the mid-50s.

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday announced $2.2 million in State Homeland Security Grants for 97 projects across the state that will be used for first-responder, communications and critical infrastructure equipment and training programs.