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.
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.
Many cities in central and southeast Kentucky draw water from the Kentucky River. Other communities tap into the Big Sandy, Ohio, Licking and Mississippi Rivers. Still, wells remain the chief source of drinking water for many rural towns. Joe Burns, with the Kentucky Rural Water Association, says well water is often cleaner and cheaper.
Muslims of all ages across Kentucky and around the world today mark the end of Ramadan and celebrating Eid. The Eid festival ends 30 days of dawn to sunset fasting. It’s also a time to reflect on the last month, a period many Muslims say is the most moving of the year. The timing of Ramadan shifts each year, but its purpose remains constant. It allows Muslims to commemorate the first verses of the Qur’an, which were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Muslims not only fast from dawn to sunset. They offer up prayers and share their wealth with people who are less fortunate.
The last of the septic systems inside the city Lexington will almost certainly become history someday. First though, city officials must find the necessary funds.
Septic tanks were once commonplace in Lexington. The concrete containers, which were normally buried, use a system of pipes to safely distribute waste water underneath a backyard. But, Division of Engineering section manager Bob Bayert says the central Kentucky topography sometimes works against the process.
Lexington’s Greek Festival presents an annual opportunity this weekend to experience the European country’s culture. The three day event at the Red Mile Clubhouse is hosted by members of the Greek Orthodox Church. Many Kentuckians know relatively little about the Christian faith.
Several female police officers from around the world Thursday were tested on their driving and shooting at a Lexington police range.
A small group of officers at this week’s International Association of Women Police Conference underwent training mandated by the United Nations. Comfort Miah from the west African nation of Ghana worked on her driving skills. Such driver education would have been helpful in Darfur, Africa….where Officer Miah served previously.
A project meant to connect community leaders in nine central Kentucky counties is being launched Friday. The ‘Bluegrass Connector Project’ hopes to collect the e-mail addresses of some 40 thousand movers and shakers who work ‘under the radar.’ United Way of the Bluegrass President Bill Farmer says it’s all about getting key people together.
The debate over whether a portion of major artery through downtown Lexington should offer parking or a bike lane has been decided…at least for now. A striped bike lane, that runs along one block of Maxwell Street between Woodland and Kentucky Avenues, will be erased. The short stretch had offered parking, but was accidentally painted over as a bike lane. Richard Sexton, who owns both business and residential property in the neighborhood, says they need parking spots.
The interim director of the Fayette County Detention Center has lots of ideas for moving forward. Former director Ray Sabbatine) was called back into a leadership role earlier this summer. Sabbatine says a ‘fish eye’ type camera at the booking area of the jail could enhance ‘transparency’ by streaming video and audio on a web site.
It takes a bit more effort to get inside Lexington’s city hall these days. Work crews are moving ahead with the final phase of cosmetic improvements along Main Street. For possibly another week, most workers and visitors to city hall must use a side door. Project manager George Milligan says their excavation uncovered some surprises.
“We found basements that came all the way out under the sidewalk. We found coal chutes that had just been concreted over that required some additional work to clear those types of problems,” said Milligan.
Monday found fairly a consistent flow of students into Richmond’s book stores. Classes resume this week at a number of state universities across the Commonwealth. The job market is on the minds of many of the college students. If all goes as she plans, Lancaster Junior Sarah Elliot will graduate next year from Eastern Kentucky University with a nursing degree. Then, Elliot hopes to work for a Lexington hospital. Despite the slow economy, the health industry is relatively health. Still, Elliot worries job seekers may soon flood the healthcare professions.
Female police officers from close to 60 nations are in Lexington for training. Among them are officers with the United Nations police division. U-N gender officer Lea Biason says some of the training is for international peacekeepers. “These are the minimum requirement skills needed for police officers to be deployed in international peace keeping operations,” said Biason.
An innovative highway interchange in Lexington remains a ‘work in progress.’ Work on the ‘Double-Cross-Over-Diamond’ interchange at Harrodsburg and New Circle is backing-up traffic, especially during peak driving times. Opening a third lane in each direction will help, but, Site engineer Tony McGaha can’t say when that will happen.
“At this time we don’t have a real firm date. Like any construction project, there are way too many variables to really give you a date. As soon as we feel that third lane is safe for the public and we’ve got the work completed so the workers are protected, we will open it with no delay on it,” said McGaha
A cultural center that celebrates Lexington’s Black community now also sets a standard for energy efficiency
The Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center is the first city owned building to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certification. LEED certified buildings are designed to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and improve indoor air quality. For example, architect Susan Hill says the theater will benefit from solar power generated by the Fayette County School System
Hoping to fight identity theft, an organization known for its anti-scam advice offers consumers a counter-measure
The Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky is coordinating a free document shredding event Saturday at Lowes in Lexington’s Hamburg Pavilion. Spokeswoman Heather Clary says there’s no need to remove staples, clips, or rubber bands from the documents.
Parents and educators involved in Kentucky’s Head Start program are watching Washington warily. The federally-funded pre-school program could lose funding if Congress cannot agree on a budget reduction plan. If there’s no deal, Kentucky Head Start executive director Bob Wilcher says it would mean a serious cutbacks.
An advocate for early childhood education says more attention needs to be paid to existing programs in rural communities. June Widman serves on the Early Childhood Advisory Council. The panel met for the first time Wednesday in Frankfort. Widman says sound quality child care should not go un-noticed.
“If we want to increase the availability of quality programs for young children, let’s look where young children already are…instead of saying it could only be done at school or could only be done under the auspices of Head Start,” said Widman.
The proposed merger of three hospital systems prompted questions from a panel of Kentuckylawmakers Wednesday.
Under the plan, the University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital, along with St. Mary’s Healthcare and St. Joseph Healthcare would merge. Most of the questions asked by lawmakers centered on the availability of reproductive health care. Since Roman Catholics oppose procedures like tubal ligations, they would no longer be offered at these medical facilities. Instead, hospital officials say such treatments would be offered at facilities not involved in the merger
A long time Lexington businessman worries a relatively short stretch of bike lane could have a large impact on area retailers.
Mike Courtney, the owner of ‘Black Swan Books,’ has been a part of Lexington’s Woodland triangle for more than a quarter century. Saying he has a number of bicycling customers, Courtney is still concerned about a striping for a bike lane running along Maxwell street from Woodland to Kentucky
It’s not just the students in the classrooms across Kentucky who are learning new subjects this year. Classes are underway in many sections of the state. It’s also a time of learning for many educators from Kindergarten through college. The last in a series of workshops designed to orient college faculty and staff on recently enacted education reforms is scheduled Monday in Williamsburg
Guaging public sentiment on a wide variety of issues is common practice today. But, political surveys may top the list. And, assessing Congressional performance is a question routinely put before likely voters.
“Congress tends to be unpopular and has been for decades really since we’ve done polling…there’s some ups and downs, but this we’re reaching new lows every day at this point,” said Joe Gershtenson