It’s been 20 years since N-B-A star Magic Johnson revealed he tested H-I-V positive. Over those two decades, the HIV-AIDS landscape in Kentucky has changed greatly. Magic Johnson was proof, in a high profile way, that an early diagnosis of H-I-V positive didn’t always end in disease and death. In the early-1980s, when AIDS was first identified, the mortality rate was virtually 100 percent in Kentucky. In 2009, Fayette County H-I-V coordinator Sarah Alleyne says the mortality rate stood at five percent. Alleyne adds early diagnosis allows for early treatments that keep H-I-V in check.
All you have to say is the word ‘immigration’ today and it’s likely to spark some debate. The growing population of immigrants, both legal and illegal, has also prompted lengthy discussions inside Kentucky’s churches. Many believe they should welcome strangers into their communities Many congregations across Kentucky may be divided when considering the proper response to illegal immigration.
A move to create a more cohesive regional economy connecting Lexington with Louisville continues to churn along. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher are talking about ‘advanced manufacturing’ opportunities. It’s called the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement. Successful Lexington businessman Jim Host is project chair. He offered his thoughts to members of the Urban County Council Tuesday.
The state budget, the economy and health care dominated a candidates’ forum last night between Kentucky’s gubernatorial candidates. For only the second time, Democrat Steve Beshear, who’s asking for another four year term, debated G-O-P Challenger David Williams and Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith. The three gathered in the Lexington studio of Kentucky Educational Television.
The economy dominated an often contentious gubernatorial debate hosted last night by Kentucky Educational Television. For only this second time this year, all three candidates appeared together in a forum. Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear repeated Kentucky’s economy may pick up quicker than other states.
Officials in the Fayette County Clerk’s office are gearing up for next Tuesday’s election. But, even after the vote is counted, the work there will continue. Many voters casting a ballot November eighth may find themselves in a different precinct in the next election. Local and state officials are redrawing district boundaries for city councils, school boards and the state legislature. When it comes to representation in the state legislature, Fayette County Clerk Don Blevin already knows some people will find themselves represented by someone new.
The just completed fall meet at Keeneland saw the largest number of race fans ever. Over its 17 days, just over 250-thousand spectators visited the Lexington track. The previous high mark was set in Spring, 2006 with slightly more than 244-thousand patrons for 15 days of racing. Keeneland spokeswoman Julie Balog adds the among of money gambled was up nine percent.
Whitley County state lawmaker Dwayne Bunch resigned his seat in the state legislature. The high school teacher suffered a serious head injury last spring while attempting to break up a fight between students. Dwayne Bunch's wife Regina released a statement Wednesday. It said, "After much soul searching and prayer, we, as a family, decided it is in the best interest of his constituency if he resigned as state representative.
Upon entering Patti A. Clay Hospital in Richmond, visitors today may have met a gas-masked attendant. The Richmond hospital was taking part in an emergency response drill. The drill, which involved first responders throughout Madison County, rehearsed their response to an accident at the Bluegrass Army Depot. As part of the exercise, hospital spokeswoman Jill Williams says they treated three victims of nerve gas.
A large group of city employees, many in public safety, came to city hall Tuesday upset about proposed health insurance rates. Many went home feeling better, even without seeing a doctor. One week ago, health consultants and the mayor’s office revealed health insurance options. In an effort to bring stability to a what has been a heavily government subsidized health insurance program, city employees were asked to pay much more. In some case, individual and family monthly premiums for high benefit insurance would double.
For the first time in this fall campaign season, the three candidates for lieutenant governor shared a ‘debate’ setting. It came during a series of forums broadcast statewide by Kentucky Educational Television. Taxes and jobs dominated much of the discussion.
This political season, the topic of jobs is a high priority talking point. The three people running for Kentucky lieutenant governor answered questions about jobs and other topics on Kentucky Educational Television last night.
Just over a fourth of registered voters are projected to cast ballots in next month’s election. Secretary of State Elaine Walker predicts between 25 to 28 percent of eligible voters will turn-out for the November 8th election. While Kentucky’s six-statewide campaigns are in the final stretch, there’s also a great deal of media attention focused on next year’s presidential race. Walker’s says it may be distracting voters. "You know, I’m not sure if the presidential race is having an impact on the local….it could…but…my feeling is more that people are not really angry with the state of the commonwealth,” said Walker.
Immigration is the focal point of this week’s 64th annual assembly of the Kentucky Council of Churches. Delegates gather Thursday and Friday in Georgetown. Council Executive Director Marian Taylor says the organization, comprised of 12 distinct Christian traditions, has already adopted a statement on immigration. She says it calls for a path to legalization for people who already live in this country. “It lays out the value of family re-unification….that we need to do more to be humane to people who are separated from families….we have talked about the need for a solution that is fair to all workers including those who are already here and are not immigrants,” said Taylor.
Copper thefts, large and small, have lawmakers considering a change in state law. Among the ideas floated by legislators is one that does away with a cash for copper option. Copper thieves have targeted everything from outdoor air conditioning units to electric power substations. State police lieutenant David Jude says it create a major financial hardship, especially for individual Kentuckians.
The annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conference, better known as TED, has expanded its reach around the globe in recent years - and that includes Lexington. Josh James attended this year's event and filed this report. "Here was my seemingly obvious eureka. I don't know when it happened..." Dr. Dorothy Edwards, author of the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy, is speaking to a crowd at the Kentucky Theatre today, spreading her ideas at the second annual TEDxLex.
End of life care known as hospice has changed a great deal over the centuries. The clinical type of caring for the dying and their families began in the 17th century. Hospice relies on a team of care-givers and may include a doctor, nurse, social worker, and chaplain. Hospice of the Bluegrass chief medical officer Todd Cote says the approach may seem simple, but can be complicated.
A Richmond man credited with linking Libya to the 1988 bombing of downing of Pan Am flight 103 says the death of Moammar Gaddafi may bring closure to the victims’ families. Former FBI agent Tom Thurman’s investigation connected a small piece of circuit board found at the crash site in Lockerbie, Scotland to Libya. 270 people on the jet and on the ground were killed. Now, almost 23 years later, Thurman says Gaddafi’s death could be an ‘emotional ending point’ for victims’ families. And the E-K-U professor of Fire Safety says the threat of terrorism directed from Libya is probably less likely.
A strict fireworks ordinance will go before Lexington city council. The proposal easily cleared the council’s public safety committee Tuesday. The ordinance is in response to a new state law which legalized many flying fireworks and powerful pyrotechnics. Council member Kevin Stinnett says this proposal provides more protection to the general public.
A proposed ‘chronic nuisance’ ordinance has received a hearing at Lexington’s city hall. But, it’s difficult to say when any action might be taken on the proposal. Officials with Lexington’s Catholic Action Center worry such a law could impact, if not curtail, their services for needy citizens. A number of homeless individuals appeared before members of the urban county council’s public safety committee.
The first debate between the candidates for Kentucky attorney general repeated many themes of the campaign. Democratic incumbent Jack Conway and Republican challenger Todd P’Pool squared off on KET last night. Conway continued touting his accomplishments as the state’s chief prosecutor fighting cyber crime, child pornography and prescription drug abuse. P’Pool, meanwhile, continued his efforts to nationalize the race and said Conway should join other state attorneys general in a lawsuit against President Obama’s healthcare overhaul law.
Property owners in Lexington would be more accountable under a proposal going before a city council committee Tuesday . If approved, owners could be cited for poorly maintained yards, unsafe conditions and illegal activities on their property. Part of the debate over the proposed ‘chronic nuisance’ ordinance is who it might govern.
Even in a sluggish economy, people still put some money aside for travel. Some 400 people who work in tourism-related industries are in Lexington for the annual meeting of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association. Kay Berggren (BER-gren) is the group’s president. “We consider travel one of the things that is our…something that we all work for….so that we can get away….we can take our vacation and we can go visit. That’s one of the first things that will come back when people….when the economy starts to get a little bit better,” said Berggren.
Lexington’s mayor and the president of the city’s firefighters union say their new contract won’t reduce serviced offered by the department. The three year agreement was officially signed today by Mayor Jim Gray and union president Chris Bartley. The agreement, overwhelming ratified by firefighters, saves four point seven million dollars over three years, but, Mayor Gray says Lexington’s firefighters won’t allow a reduction in services.
For the first time in this year’s race for Kentucky governor, the three candidates appeared together in a debate. The hour long political event at Eastern Kentucky University featured, as predicted, produced accusations, assertions, and rebuttals. Within the brand-spanking-new, E-K-U Center for the Arts, Governor Steve Beshear, Republican David Williams, and Independent Gatewood Galbraith each stood at a podium beneath three oversized American flags.
The three candidates for Kentucky governor have different reasons for seeking the state’s highest office. Steve Besheaer, David Williams and Gatewood Galbraith stated their views in a statewide debate last night at Eastern Kentucky University. It was the first time this fall all three candidates were together for a debate.
More and more bikers are likely to make their way across Kentucky’s landscape in the years ahead. It’s an issue which is foremost on the minds of the state’s Bike and Bikeway Commission. The group’s annual meeting is coming up later this fall in Lexington. State transportation engineering branch manager, Lynn Soporowski says each new stretch of pavement receives cycling attention.
Kentucky, along with all other states in the U.S., will participate in a national emergency alert system test a month from now. The presidentially directed emergency alert system drill is set for the afternoon of November ninth. Buddy Rogers, with Kentucky Emergency Management, says the call will go out to broadcasters all across the commonwealth.
Perhaps the most important policy statement made by a legislative body is the budget it passes. And, members of Lexington’s Urban County Council appear eager to be more involved when a city budget is written. It’s been a recurring idea at city hall. When she campaigned for vice mayor, Linda Gorton promised more collaboration between the mayor’s office and the council when a city budget is written.
The changing colors of leaves don’t just signal the onset of fall. They’re mark the beginning of flu season in Kentucky. State health officials are urging everyone over six months of age to get vaccinated this fall. State epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh says there is no reported case of flu yet in Kentucky. That is likely to change in the coming weeks. The H1-N1 flu pandemic a couple of years ago resulted in thousands of deaths worldwide. Humbaugh says H1-N1 is expected back this year, but flu shots offer protection against the virus.