Human trafficking is an activity in Kentucky which authorities admit is another under-reported crime. The issue was recently discussed before a corrections panel in Frankfort. Aundria Burkhart is a detective with the Lexington police department. She says there was a case out of Memphis which had a tie to the central Kentucky area.
Lexington leaders have given the go ahead for a wellness and health clinic for employees, their families, and retirees. City Council members heard words of support from the risk management director for Chattanooga, Tennessee. Madeline Green says a wellness center, an on-site pharmacy, and a fitness facility have reduced her city’s health care related costs by five million dollars a year. The plan calls for Lexington city workers to have access to a wellness clinic early next year. Marathon Health representative David Demers cautions against expecting savings to be immediate.
The voting rights of Kentucky’s homeless citizens and convicted felons were key points of contention during last night’s election forum on Kentucky Educational Television. KET hosted candidates in the race for secretary of state, who supervises the Commonwealth’s elections. As WEKU’S Stu Johnson reports, they differed over the rules that govern voters.
With gang activity seen in communities across the Commonwealth, a western Kentucky prosecutor says it requires their full attention. Prosecutors across Kentucky could benefit from a statewide data base that tracks the members of criminal gangs. Police are already at work, expanding their existing criminal information network to include such gangs. Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor says the expanded system would only monitor confirmed gang members.
The practice of veterinary medicine is changing all the time. It’s more than just new technology in the animal operating room. The Fayette County School System features a ‘one of a kind’ full service vet clinic on its new agri-science campus. The clinic opened Friday. Students can get an up close look at various procedures. On site vet, Dr. Jim Martin says not all students will end up at an animal clinic in the years ahead.
A national tile company is completing a move from the Sunshine State to the Bluegrass State. Florida Tile will expand its corporate headquarters, which are in Lexington. 25 new hires will handing information technology, marketing and financial services. It’s expected to grow to 50 over the next several years. Florida Tile also has a factory and distribution center in Lawrenceburg that employs over 100 workers. These days, marketing director Sean Cilona says they’re making large porcelain tiles for commercial businesses.
Lexington officials are looking at a variety of ways to reduce health care related costs. Plans for a new health and wellness center for city workers, their families, and retirees were spelled out Thursday. It would be a voluntary and no co-pays would be required. Health consultant, David Dermers says the service would not take business away from doctors.
Prosecutors maintain methamphetamine production in Kentucky is up and deserves further legislative attention. Last year, the legislature refused to enact restrictions on the sale of a prime ingredient. Chris Cohron, who’s president of the Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association, reports the number of meth labs is up 20 percent this year. And, the Warren County prosecutor says that figure only reflects four-fifth of Kentucky’s counties.
The meeting of the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act Task Force Wednesday in Frankfort
Credit Stu JOhnson / Weku
Although it’s early, it appears reforms made to Kentucky’s penal code is cutting prison populations. Members of the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act Task Force got a report Wednesday. Laurie Dudgeon directs the Administrative Office of the Courts. "Of the 40 thousand approximate defendants our pre-trial officers interviewed in jail, we have a release rate of those folks, an increase of two percent. So two percent more of those folks have been released than in the previous time period,” said Dudgeon.
The longest running contemporary Christian music festival in the United States will keep on running in 2012 . Despite financial challenges, Ichthus organizers have committed to another festival. Attendance at Ichthus dropped dramatically when the Christian Rock festival moved from April to June several years ago. Once unique in the nation, Ichthus also faces competition from numerous Christian rock festivals. This summer, the bleak financial picture prompted the concert’s organizers to put its property near Wilmore on sale. Nevertheless, with some belt-tightening, Ichthus CEO Mark Vermillion says they can host another festival.
The incumbent with a well known political lineage, an outspoken Lexington government official, and a Libertarian with computer skills are vying to be Kentucky’s next treasurer. The three made their positions known last night on Kentucky Educational Television. One of the responsibilities of the state treasurer is to return unclaimed property to taxpayers. The office has long published lists on-line of such misplaced funds and property. But GOP candidate K.C. Crosby claims returning those assets to the rightful owners still takes too long.
With election just under two months away, the man with the most experience ‘running for governor’ sees himself moving into second place. Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith is making his fifth attempt at the state’s highest office. Although never a true contender in the past, the independent candidate thinks this year is different. Galbraith’s confident of moving ahead of Republican David Williams. Williams and incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear are establishment candidate, so , Galbraith hopes to win support from voters who still want to ‘kick out the political establishment.’
Work to widen a major artery in southwest Lexington is proceeding, but slower than commuters, construction workers and government officials had hoped. Crews have worked since the first of the year on the Clays Mill Road project. The relocation of utility lines occupied the first few months of 2011. After that, Lexington project manager Keith Lovan says wet weather slowed progress. Now, Lovan says they’re working to catch up.
‘Dreary’ might sum up last week’s weather in most Kentucky communities. However, the ongoing drizzle didn’t necessarily put a damper on the upcoming fall fire season. Kentucky’s forest land can dry up rapidly, particularly when fallen leaves are added into the mix. The two to, in some cases, four inches of rain which fell on parts of the Daniel Boone National Forest eased fire threats for now. But, Assistant Fire Management Officer E-J Bunzendahl says a couple of weeks of dry weather can renew the risk of fire. Although poorly extinguished campfires account for about ten percent of wildfires, Bunzendahl says the rate’s higher in the Red River Gorge.
There were prayers offered on September 11th, 2001. And, there will be prayers on September 11th, 2011. Some religious leaders in central Kentucky have offered their thoughts on the shape of those 9-11 prayers. People of various faiths will pray this weekend, ten years after the worst terrorist attack on U-S soil. Those prayers will come from within Kentucky’s Muslim community.
Two months from today, Kentuckians choose their next governor. A pair of candidates stood together Wednesday during a higher education event in Frankfort. Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear believes his lead in the polls is a ‘reflection of how he’s tried to lead’.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is joining with Kentucky’s higher education community, in hopes of improving dental health in eastern Kentucky. In addition to the A-R-C, the partnership involves the University of Kentucky, the University of Pikeville, and Morehead State University. The main goal is to increase the number of practicing dentists in Appalachia through better training, recruitment and educational assistance.
Twenty-nine Louisville restaurants at 46 locations have signed up so far for a voluntary program to list calorie and other nutritional information on their menus. Department of Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt says the program is aimed at smaller establishments, and as many as 1,300 of them are eligible.
A just released study on the progress Kentucky’s made in reforming higher education prompted a celebration today in Frankfort. But, the party was tempered by a realization of what lies ahead. The study, which was done by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, measured the effectiveness of reforms enacted by the General Assembly in 1997.
The debate over sharing medical records via the internet continues tomorrow during a summit in northern Kentucky. A deputy director with the Governor’s Office of Electronic Health Information says a quick exchange of information can save lives and money.
One of the Kentucky Public Service Commission’s public meetings on proposed utility rate increases is scheduled for tonight in Louisville. Commissioners will give an educational presentation about the request, then take testimony from the public. Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities have requested that the PSC allow them to raise utility rates to pay for environmental upgrades to their power plants. LG&E estimates total electric bills will rise by about 19 percent by 2016 for their customers, and KU customers will see bills increase by about 12 percent.
In a little over two months, Kentucky voters decide who will hold a series of statewide offices, including governor. But, between now and then, there will likely be a whole lot of politics to sort through. Traditionally, the political season begins with Labor Day. But, that’s changing. Political ads are now common in the summer.…Governor Steve Beshear launched a new one just before the holiday. Republican challenger David Williams is also advertising. These days, Transylvania University political scientist Don Dugi says campaigns start whenever the candidate things the timing is right.
Coaches at the collegiate level have responsibilities that extend beyond instructing players on the x’s and o’s of their specific sport. Coaches are asked to help mold and shape the character of team members. Eastern Kentucky University football coach Dean Hood admits that comes with challenges.
National Association for State Boating Law Administrator Deputy Director, Ron Sarver on left with Mike Fields, Kentucky's boating law administrator.
Credit Stu Johnson / Weku
A national boating safety organization based in Lexington can play a key role during disasters. The National Association for State Boating Law Administrators has been headquartered in central Kentucky since the 1980’s. Deputy Director Ron Sarver says the association often works with emergency managers.
“Here in Kentucky in fact, the boating law administrator works with the emergency operations center very closely because..and this seems to be the case around the nation…our folks tend to have the equipment for water related events,” said Sarver.
The Eastern Kentucky University Colonels head west to take on a different breed of Wildcat Saturday. Eastern goes up against Big-12 foe Kansas State Saturday night. Kansas State was eight and six last year, beating the likes of UCLA and Texas. EKU finished last season with four straight wins. So, Colonel coach Dean Hood says a ‘huge upset’ is always ‘in play’.
The recognition of the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks has also focused attention on emergency preparation. September has been proclaimed ‘preparedness month’ at both the national and state levels. Over the last ten years, Lexington director of the division of emergency management Pat Dugger says central Kentucky has built a good line of communications.
The unofficial summer boating season ends this weekend. Boating activities may change with the season, but the need for safety on the water doesn’t. Kentucky boating law administrator Mike Fields offers advice that’s always good…wear a life jacket and watch out for other boaters. But, some dynamics do change with the season. Field says there seems to be fewer conflicts between boats and personal watercraft, like jet skis, but caution is still important.
Thursday will be the first official day on the job for new Fayette County School Superintendent Tom Shelton. The former Daviess County school administrator has spent the last few months settling into the Lexington community. The goal now is to get acquainted with teachers and students.
Kentucky Speedway and state officials unveiled their plans Tuesday to correct the traffic and parking problems experienced at last month’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Speedway Motorsports Inc., the company that owns the Gallatin County track, is investing an estimated $7.5 million. That amount includes the $1.5 million the speedway paid last week to acquire 142 acres of land across Ky. 35 from the track. The added land will allow the speedway to park about 10,000 more cars, general manager Mark Simendinger said. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet projects it will spend $3.6 million on road improvements to improve access to parking areas at the speedway.
FRANKFORT – DARE America (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) has re-accredited the Kentucky State Police as the official DARE. Training Center for the anti-drug and violence program in Kentucky. The program is a police-officer-led series of classroom lessons that teach children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.