Stu Johnson, WEKU

Reporter/Producer - Lexington

Ways to Connect

It’s getting down to decision time as Lexington leaders write a new budget.  Some spending decisions could come as soon as Thursday. Members were told today (Tuesday) that city revenues are higher than predicted.  However, Council member Doug Martin worries about projections for the new fiscal year which begins in July.

Many say the un-official start to summer is Memorial Day.  If you agree with that premise, then it’s already been a pretty hot summer.  A weather specialist at the University of Kentucky says it’s hard to say what comes next.  Many Kentuckians may already be thinking about fall, dreaming about cooler temperatures.   Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21st, but a great deal of hot humid weather has already come to many Kentucky communities.

 

Starting tonight, construction of a new kind of interchange could slow evening traffic flow in Lexington.  Work began last week on what’s called a “double cross over diamond interchange” along Harrodsburg Road.

 

Kentucky’s best known education advocacy group is examining new academic standards and what they may mean for both students and teachers.  The annual spring meeting is taking place at a central Kentucky state park.

Trail maintenance is an ongoing need in natural areas all across Kentucky.  In response,  Saturday has been designated National Trails Day.  Volunteers in eastern Kentucky will work on a couple of trail projects. Workers will gather near the Cumberland Falls area to re-route a quarter mile portion of trail along Bark Camp Creek in Whitley County.  Steve Barber is executive director of the Sheltowee Trace Association.

It’s the beginning of June but the thermometer seems to be reading like a day in mid July.  High heat and humidity this early in the summer can make it uncomfortable.  But, Bourbon County Extension Agent, Glenn Mackie says many farmers welcome this weather.  “The heat is good for our crop people because we’ve been cool and wet.  It’s dried the soil out where we can get in and finish our planting.  We’ve finished up corn pretty much.  Planting soybeans and making hay.  This is good weather to make hay in,” said Mackie.

Enforcement of new regulations included in Madison County’s smoking ban begins next week.  The local Clean Indoor Air Regulations now officially cover Hookahs and electric cigarettes. The Clean Indoor Air policy currently prohibits smoking in public places in Madison County.  The smoking ban broadens Monday to include hookahs and electronic cigarettes and eliminates the exemption for retail tobacco stores.  Christie Green with the Madison County Health Department says six inspectors will be monitoring the community.

The Fayette County School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to three individuals.  The decision was made Tuesday night following a two hour closed door session.  Names of the three finalists are expected to be announced today after they agree to interview for the position.  The three were chosen from among 14 applicants coming from ten states including Kentucky.

The current Speaker of the US House along with three other former Speakers are scheduled to appear as part of the first Henry Clay week event in Lexington.   The annual Student Congress, which attracts rising college seniors from across the country will also be held in June. Speaker of the House John Boehner, former speaker and current democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi plus former speakers Dennis Hastert and Jim Wright will all participate in a moderated conversation June 24th.

Tuition at state owned colleges will go up at least four percent this fall, and university presidents say further increases are likely.  It can give heartburn to students, parents and university presidents.  Students and parents must pay the additional costs, but, administrators must also contain costs.

High gasoline prices, high food prices and concern over the environment have Kentuckians more interested in home gardens.  More people want to buy, grow and eat locally.  It’s all in the name of sustainability.

 

The University of Kentucky’s new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is better prepared now to tackle the next ‘surprise’ disease in animal agriculture.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday at the renovated lab in Lexington.

High gasoline prices, high food prices and concern over the environment have Kentuckians more interested in home gardens.  More people want to buy, grow and eat locally.  It’s all in the name of sustainability.

Lexington city officials are expected to take up new noise related regulations later this summer.  The report comes in the form of a draft ordinance developed by a special task force.

 

 

 

Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith says he couldn’t be any happier with Tuesday’s primary results.  Galbraith is mounting a petition drive to secure a spot in the fall race as an independent.

Depending on what happens next on the weather front, mosquitoes could find prime habitat in central Kentucky.  Record rainfall last month could also help increase numbers. The cool weather has slowed the emergence of mosquitoes, but once temperatures regularly reach into the 80s, Luke Mathias with Fayette County Environmental Health says mosquitoes will return.  A warm spell a week or so ago even probably had a few people scratching themselves.

Two of the most politically powerful men in Frankfort begin their battle for the governor’s mansion today.   Last night’s primary election results made it official. It was a given incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear would campaign to maintain his position as governor.  Beshearr had no primary opposition.  But, the other piece of the political puzzle...his Republican opponent... fell into place last night.

Highway construction is typically considered a part of the summer season.   This year is expected to be no different.  There are a number of projects in central Kentucky either underway or about to begin.  One which will begin in early June is the re-configuration of the Harrodsburg road-New circle interchange. 

Most politicians steer clear from discussions about ‘taxes.’ That’s particularly the case if the talk is about a new tax or a tax increase.  Still, ongoing concerns over Kentucky’s budget have some candidates in Tuesday’s primary talking about potential reforms.

Final preparations are being made for what’s believed to be Lexington’s first downtown chicken coop tour.  It’s called ‘Tour De Coops’ and the Sunday afternoon event is sponsored by Cooperative of Lexington Urban Chicken Keepers or Cluck.

 

Early next month, workers at Georgetown’s Toyota plant will be back on a full-time schedule.  The flow of supplies from Japan are moving now after a spring earthquake and tsunami slowed distribution. The March earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a break in the automotive company’s system for distributing parts.  The resulting shortage resulted in fewer hours on the job for employees at the Scott County Toyota Assembly Plant.

During next week’s primary, as they have done for decades, members of the Democratic Party will choose their candidates and Republicans will do the same.  The system is called a ‘closed primary.’  It excludes voters without a party affiliation.  It also means voters registered in one party cannot vote in another party’s primary.  Now, there’s been discussion in one statewide office race about the pros and cons of opening up the Kentucky primary a bit.

An environmental group is investigating a potential chemical spill in a waterway near Jenkins, Kentucky.  On Tuesday evening, Clary Estes with Headwaters Incorporated says she saw four to five feet of foam in a southeast Kentucky stream.

Many charitable groups across the region collect donations at traffic lights.  But,  Lexington’s prohibition of such fundraisers will continue.  The Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program and Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center thinks fundraising at busy intersections is a good idea.  They want to model their Lexington effort after a highly successful campaign waged in Louisville.  However, councilmember Bill Farmer joined the majority in rejecting the proposal.

 

The three Republican candidates for governor gathered for a KET forum last night.  There were a few instances of argumentative disputes,  but the candidates also sought to identify their strengths. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett says his tea party candidacy is different from Rand Paul’s, another tea party member, who now serves in the US  Senate.

 

As temperatures warm, more motorcyclists are travelling Kentucky Roads.  Eastern Kentucky University played host Monday to the first International Rider Education Training System conference.

The primary election is just over a week away.  So, expect aggressive campaigning this week by the three Republican candidates for governor.  It may begin tonight’s during a gubernatorial forum on Kentucky Educational Television.    Political scientist Joe Gershtenson, who teaches at Eastern Kentucky University, says the primary seems to be ‘creeping up under the radar.’

Officials in charge of fixing Fayette County’s sewer problems are discussing potential costs.   City officials are examining three different options with three different rate plans.

Picking a winner from among the 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby is always a tough task.  This year is no different.  Keeneland’s President offered a little insight to Lexington Rotarians on Thursday.  He also talked about surprisingly high attendance figures during the just completed spring meet.

In April, over 12 inches of rain fell on parts of central Kentucky.  That runoff, on 22 occasions, flooded the city’s pump stations for 24 hours or more.  And the city says some of that raw sewage backed up into over 20 homes.  Lexington is working on a permanent fix but it could take another decade. Urban County Councilmember Doug Martin says some homeowners can’t wait that long.

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