Stu Johnson, WEKU

Reporter/Producer - Lexington

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Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Sights and sounds filled the state capitol rotunda Wednesday, all in the name of the arts across Kentucky.  The event included a visit by a 'cool' puppeteer named Johnny.

Leaders of both houses of the Kentucky general assembly remain committed to passage of legislation to address heroin problems.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers appeared Thursday on WEKU's Eastern Standard program.  Both men are confident that a heroin bill will be passed this session.

Efforts to pass heroin legislation last spring fell apart at the end of the session.  Neither leader is saying when final approval might come during the current session.

Crews are working this week at Lexington City Hall to repair damage following a recent sewer line break above the first floor ceiling.

Transylvania University is moving toward a test-optional admissions policy.

Stu Johnson

Universities must comply with numerous laws, regulations and policies. Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson says there are federal reporting requirements for everything from financial aid, to accounting, to on-campus crime statistics.

The director of Kentucky Youth Advocates says the most important challenge facing the state's children is poverty. 

Terry Brooks is responding to a report just released by WalletHub, a personal finance social network.  In it, Kentucky ranked 44th nationally in the percentage of children living in households with below poverty level income. 

Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald-Leader

A letter from the University of Kentucky President to the Chair of the Lexington Center Corporation is causing new debate about Lexington's Rupp Arena project.   Lexington Center Board Chair Brent Rice has been deeply involved in moving the Rupp/Convention Center project forward. 

In the letter dated May 20th, UK President Eli Capilouto expresses significant concerns about how financing for the 350 million dollar project has been handled. 

Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort Monday to consider any vetoes penned by Governor Steve Beshear. One of those vetoes focuses on capital construction strategies.  Beshear has vetoed a public-private partnership measure which gives state and local governments more leeway in using private companies to move forward with typically expensive construction projects.   The bill, approved by the General Assembly, would prohibit the use of tolls to help finance a bridge linking Kentucky and Ohio.

An early spring forest fire has led to the closure of a Southeast Kentucky state park.  The woodland fire fed by gusty winds forced the Sunday shut down of Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan and Letcher counties.    Local fire departments and about 50 Division of Forestry firefighters worked to contain the fire, which at one point covered about 465 acres including some state park property. Forestry officials set up an emergency command center at the park.

The University of Kentucky Wildcats are staying in St. Louis for the weekend for another game in the 2014 NCAA tournament.  It took some doing, but UK held fast in beating Kansas State by seven.  Eastern Kentucky University, meanwhile, brought a yeoman's effort against number-two-seeded Kansas before falling 80-69. 

Gina Clear / The News-Enterprise

Kentucky day care centers would be required to be tested for radon under legislation approved by a House committee.  Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says Kentucky ranks in the top ten nationally when it comes to radon levels.  “It’s a piece of legislation that requires where young children spend nine or ten hours a day, day care centers actually get a test from a licensed professional for radon which cause lung cancer,” said Riggs.

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Domestic violence victims could be given approval to carry concealed weapons sooner under legislation approved in the Kentucky House Friday.  If approved by a judge, individuals under court protective orders, could conceal a weapon without having to wait for a training session.

Kentucky Public Radio

Legislation that would require Kentucky schools to have personnel trained in diabetes management is headed to the House floor.  There were some questions raised in committee Thursday about the measure.  Western Kentucky representative Ben Waide asked about diabetes training slippage.

Legislation seeking to eliminate the state office of treasurer is making its way through the Kentucky Senate.  The Senate State and Local Government Committee easily approved the measure Wednesday.  Bill Sponsor Chris McDaniel says voter approval of the constitutional amendment would save taxpayers about two and a half million dollars each year.

Stu Johnson

Construction moves forward on a road project that’s changing the face of a Lexington neighborhood.  The Newtown Pike Extension Project is displacing many long-time residents of the Davis Bottom community.  It’s a low-income neighborhood, but there’s a plan designed to preserve the community and provide its residents with better housing. 

The Kentucky Senate has once again voted overwhelmingly to modify the state informed consent law regarding abortions.  As in years past, the senate approved a measure to require a face-to-face medical consultation at least 24 hours before an abortion is performed.  Lexington Senator Reginald Thomas voted no.

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Governor Steve Beshear says ‘harsh’ budget cuts to some state agencies are needed to move the Commonwealth forward in the areas of education and economic development.  The governor outlined his budget strategy last night during a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Lexington’s mayor would like the city to have the ability to support specific projects with dedicated tax funds.  This was one of many of items in Mayor Jim Gray’s state of the city address, delivered Tuesday during a luncheon sponsored by the Lexington Forum.

Stu Johnson

(Part 1 of 2) - One of Lexington’s poorest neighborhoods is waiting for a newly developed neighborhood.   Many homes were demolished to make room for a new road way…in return residents were promised better housing and a restored community.  However, tired of waiting, many residents have moved on.

Stu Johnson

Downtown Lexington is usually an active place on Martin Luther King Day.  And so it was this 20th day of 2014.  But, some participants in this year's annual march say more work is needed to further the efforts of the slain civil rights leader.  While special Martin Luther King festivities occur at places like the children’s museum and historic Kentucky Theater, the march through downtown remains the city's highest profile event.  

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Beginning this fall, utility customers in Lexington can expect slightly higher bills. For months, Lexington’s Council has wrestled over the best way to pay for street lights.  Administrators say the property tax does not generate enough revenue for maintenance and new lights.