Stu Johnson, WEKU

Reporter/Producer - Lexington

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3:41pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Horse in Town

Laws governing livestock within city limits will undergo a review by Lexington officials.  The review is the result of reports that a horse has taken up residence in a Lexington neighborhood.  Council member Julian Beard says it’s just not an appropriate location for a large animal. “The excrement that is generated by some of these animals is huge.  I imagine the neighbors that are adjacent to, maybe even a little further than adjacent to, are getting a pretty good whiff of it,” said Beard.

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5:27pm

Wed September 28, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

City Tenants Face Rent Increases

All kinds of tenants can found in buildings owned by the city of Lexington.  Some, of course, house city agencies.  Others are occupied by non-profits that offer social services.  And, there are some used by private businesses.  Now, some council members may see those properties as a source of new revenue.

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5:21pm

Wed September 28, 2011
Business and the Economy

Less Building, More Training in Airport's Future

As the Bluegrass Airport makes plans for the future, they’re not thinking about construction.  Instead, they see themselves as possibly enhancing their training program.  Partly in preparation for the World Equestrian Games, the Lexington airport underwent a 66 million dollar improvement program.  It included the construction of a new general aviation runway and a renovated airport terminal.  As they write up new plans for the airport, executive director Eric Frankl says further expansion is not in the cards.

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6:28am

Wed September 28, 2011
Business and the Economy

Lexington Tax Revenues Up

Lexington city officials are seeing higher revenues than they expected.  Still, the city’s mayor advises don’t read too much into those figures. Revenue in the first two months of this fiscal year are one-point-three million dollars higher than expected.   City Revenue Director Bill Omara says Lexington businesses seem to be making more money and, as a result, are paying more taxes.

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10:55pm

Mon September 26, 2011
Education

Student Scores In

Lexington school officials react to just released test scores
Stu Johnson Weku

Kentucky has administered its last student achievement core content tests and the results are out today.  Also out are the results of tests mandated by the nearly-defunct ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act.  In Fayette County, the results were once again, a mixed bag. The overall score for the Lexington school district improved overall, increasing to a grade of 94….Lexington’s highest index ever.  It represents a one percent improvement over last year’s tests.  Rather than claim victory, Fayette County School Superintendent Tom Shelton is still processing the data.  “We had schools that had gains. We had schools that had losses.We’re gonna’ have to do a pretty comprehensive look to see what’s working and what’s not,” said Shelton.

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9:10pm

Wed September 21, 2011
Statehouse News

Family Foundation Asks A-G to Step In on Instant Racing

The Family Foundation of Kentucky is asking the Attorney General to step in and stop the operation of instant racing video machines at a southwest Kentucky racetrack  Kentucky Downs in Franklin began operating instant racing video machines earlier this month.  They allow gamblers to bet on previously run, anonymous horse races.  The question of their legality is still before the state court of appeals.  But, Family Foundation Executive Director Kent Ostrander says it’s time for the attorney general to 'roll up his sleeves and enforce Kentucky law'.

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11:33am

Wed September 21, 2011
Statehouse News

Human Trafficking Review

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.

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8:58am

Wed September 21, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Wellness Clinic Plan Approved

Wellness Clinic Presentation Tuesday at Lexington City Hall
Stu Johnson Weku

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.

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11:50am

Tue September 20, 2011
All Politics are Local

Candidates Discuss Homeless, Ex-Felon Voting Rights

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.

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4:39pm

Mon September 19, 2011
The Commonwealth

Gang Data Base Info Sought

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.

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7:57am

Mon September 19, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Veterinarian Experience in High School

Veterinarian Lynn McMaine with a handful of dogs at the Fayette Schools' clinic
Stu Johnson Weku

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.

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2:54pm

Sun September 18, 2011
The Commonwealth

Tile in the Bluegrass

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.

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9:24am

Fri September 16, 2011
The Commonwealth

Health-Wellness Clinic for Lexington City Workers

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.

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4:47pm

Thu September 15, 2011
The Commonwealth

Meth Labs on the Increase

Commonwealth's Attorneys from left to right: Lynn Prior, Chris Cohron, Jackie Steele testifying in Frankfort
Stu JOhnson Weku

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.

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10:30pm

Wed September 14, 2011
Statehouse News

Reforms Cut Prison Population

The meeting of the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act Task Force Wednesday in Frankfort
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.

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5:12pm

Tue September 13, 2011
Faith and Values

Ichthus Back in 2012

Ichthus 2011
Stu Johnson Weku

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.

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11:53am

Tue September 13, 2011
All Politics are Local

Treasurer Candidates Debate

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.

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10:04pm

Mon September 12, 2011
All Politics are Local

Galbraith's Growing Confidence

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.’

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10:01pm

Mon September 12, 2011
The Commonwealth

Clays Mills Road Widening Timeline Extended

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.

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12:01pm

Mon September 12, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Rain's Impact on Fall Fire Season

‘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.

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5:45pm

Thu September 8, 2011
Faith and Values

Prayer on the 9-11 Anniversary

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. 

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3:20pm

Thu September 8, 2011
All Politics are Local

Beshear, Williams Share Higher Ed Podium

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’.

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7:01am

Thu September 8, 2011
Science/Health

Dental Health Initiative in Appalachia

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.

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6:00am

Thu September 8, 2011
The Commonwealth

Restauranteurs Urged To Take Part In Menu Labeling Program

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.

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4:19pm

Wed September 7, 2011
Education

Higher Education Reform Review

Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King at the podium along with E-K-U President Doug Whitlock looking on during capital announcement
Stu Johnson Weku

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.

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4:10pm

Tue September 6, 2011
Science/Health

E-Health in Erlanger

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.

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6:16am

Tue September 6, 2011
The Commonwealth

Hearing on Power Rate Increase on Tap

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.

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6:25am

Mon September 5, 2011
All Politics are Local

Fall Campaign Season?

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.

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6:22am

Mon September 5, 2011
Sports

Issues Off the Field

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.

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12:37pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Boating During Disasters

National Association for State Boating Law Administrator Deputy Director, Ron Sarver on left with Mike Fields, Kentucky's boating law administrator.
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.

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