Stu Johnson, WEKU

Reporter/Producer - Lexington

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7:20am

Tue July 10, 2012
Education

Council on Postsecondary Education Accountability Report

The 2010-2011 accountability report by the state’s Council on Postsecondary Education shows gains in degrees and credentials conferred.  The improvements were seen particularly at the undergraduate level.  The report measures 31 performance targets in college readiness, student success, research, economic and community development, and efficiency and innovation.

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6:57am

Tue July 10, 2012
The Commonwealth

KSP Begins Annual Eradication

Kentucky State Police is launching its annual outdoor campaign to eradicate cultivated marijuana.  The effort began with a two day training program which included aerial spotting and repel techniques along with G-P-S land navigation, ATV training, and booby trap awareness.  Cannabis Suppression Branch commander, Brent Roper says the seasonal enforcement campaign is a multi agency operation.

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12:48pm

Mon July 9, 2012
Faith and Values

Shelter Claims Religious Rights Violated

The Community Inn is used as a homeless shelter. The group that runs it says it also is a non-traditional church.
Matt Goins Lexington Herald Leader

Hoping to keep it operating, officials with a homeless shelter in Lexington have filed a suit in circuit court.  The city’s Board of Adjustment last month revoked a permit to operate the Community Inn on Winchester road facility.  It ruled the shelter is not operating under the conditions imposed when it opened more than a year ago.  Ginny Ramsey, who founded the Community Inn, rejects the argument.

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10:28am

Mon July 9, 2012
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Final Phase of Military Museum Project

The last phase of a two million dollar restoration project at the Kentucky Military History Museum begins later this month.  The museum closes to the public after Saturday, July 28th, and will remain closed until next March.  Marketing Coordinator Chelsea Compton says extensive renovation work will be done, inside and out.

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6:27am

Mon July 9, 2012
Business and the Economy

More Business Reports Still Due in Frankfort

 Kentucky’s Secretary of State has issued a good news-bad news report on business filings.  Some 192 thousand entities across Kentucky are required to file annual reports.  More than 155 thousand met the recent deadline.  That’s a higher percentage than usual.  But, almost 37 thousand businesses failed to file in a timely manner.

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11:54am

Fri July 6, 2012
Health and Welfare

Water Shortage Watch for 27 Counties

With temperatures predicted to top the 100 degree mark in many communities today, Kentucky has put 27 counties in a water shortage watch category.  Several counties in central Kentucky including Fayette, Madison, Scott, and Woodford are included in the watch.  While western Kentucky has experienced longer drought conditions, relatively few counties are on the watch list.  Bill Caldwell with the State Division of Water says that’s not surprising.  “Out in the western part of the state, most of the water is from very deep wells or from ground water aquifers that are very resilient when it comes to drought.”

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11:13am

Thu July 5, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington Homelessness Commission Named

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has named 31 people to his Commission on Homelessness.  There were some 116 individuals who had volunteered to be part of the commission.  In naming the membership, Mayor Gray said, “ A safe and caring community where basic human needs are met is essential to building a great American city.”    The mayor says the size of the group reflects the community response on the issue.  The commission members include homeless, advocates for the homeless, neighbors, faith community members, business leaders, and council members.

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12:00am

Thu July 5, 2012
Health and Welfare

Turning In Power Hungry Refrigerators

A refrigerator or freezer out in the garage can be a nice place for leftovers and beverages.  But, if inefficient, they can also be heavy energy consumers.  Kentucky Utilities is offering 30 dollars to anyone who wants to unload an old fridge.  K-U’s Cliff Feltham says modern refrigerators are much more efficient..

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1:01pm

Tue July 3, 2012
State Capitol

State Property Taxes Remain the Same

The state property tax bill delivered to homeowners this fall will look familiar.  This year’s tax rate of just over 12-cents per 100 dollar assessed property value has remained unchanged since 2008.  Decades ago, state lawmakers limited the size of property tax increases.   David Gordan with the State Department of Revenue says the state property tax rate was once 30 cents.

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12:56pm

Tue July 3, 2012
Energy

Public Service Commission Stresses Safe Generator Use

Portable generates could hum right into the weekend in eastern Kentucky.  Heavy weekend weather knocked out power to thousands of households.  A generator may be a short term source of electricity, but, Andrew Melynykovych of the State Public Service Commission warns improper use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.  “Don’t put it in your basement, don’t put it on a patio, don’t put it in your garage.  Just have it well away from any place where those fumes which contain carbon monoxide can get into a confined space and create a problem for whoever is in that place,” said Melnykovych.

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4:23pm

Mon July 2, 2012
Health and Welfare

Fireworks Ban Imposed in Lexington

The city of Lexington has banned the use of common and consumer fireworks this week.  The decision comes in light of the extremely dry conditions found in the bluegrass.  The ban will remain in place until the Division of Fire and Emergency Services lifts the outdoor burning ban.  The announcement came from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray this afternoon.   The mayor says the ban will not affect the five fireworks public displays which already have permits.

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4:22pm

Mon July 2, 2012
Health and Welfare

Thousands Could Be Without Power All Week

Power outages across Kentucky have prompted Governor Beshear to direct the Transportation Cabinet to issue a state of emergency.  It allows for the suspension of registration requirements for out of state utility vehicles coming to Kentucky to help restore power.  A series of storms since Friday have knocked out electricity for more than 60 thousand homes and businesses.

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3:54pm

Mon July 2, 2012
Health and Welfare

Lexington Bans Consumer Fireworks

The city of Lexington has banned the use of common and consumer fireworks this week.  The decision comes in light of the extremely dry conditions found in the bluegrass.  The ban will remain in place until the Division of Fire and Emergency Services lifts the outdoor burning ban.  The announcement came from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray this afternoon.   The mayor says the ban will not affect the five fireworks public displays which already have permits.

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2:25pm

Mon July 2, 2012
Health and Welfare

Drought After the Rains

Experts are keeping their eyes this week on the widespread drought conditions affecting much of Kentucky.  State Climatologist, Stuart Foster, made the drive from western Kentucky to Louisville recently.  “Driving up to Louisville the other day that looked like an oasis… compared to western Kentucky..and yet the entire state is in some level of drought,” said Foster.  Many areas, especially in the central and eastern parts of the state, received some rain during thunderstorms Sunday night.  Still, Foster says a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico might provide the best remedy.

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12:00am

Mon July 2, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington Noise Ordinance Due Back This Fall

Lexington city leaders could get another look at a ‘noise ordinance’ proposal this fall.  Members of the Urban County Council’s Planning Committee reviewed the task force report earlier this year and opted not to pass it on to the full council.  The proposal called for the establishment of a ‘noise board’ to help mediate sound issues.  Council member Tom Blues brought the report before the council.  “We need to have a better mechanism for dealing with noise issues within our community…one that’s fair to everybody…so we do intend to bring it back,” said Blues.

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3:05pm

Fri June 29, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Richmond Water Status

Drought conditions across many sections of Kentucky are prompting some local officials to consider ways to save water.  Voluntary restrictions are in place in Richmond.  City officials hope residents opt not to water lawns or wash cars this weekend.  Richmond Utilities General Manager, Scott Althauser says the level of the Kentucky River continues to drop.

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12:41pm

Fri June 29, 2012
Business and the Economy

700 Jobs Coming to Northern Kentucky

Word today of a new e-commerce center in Boone County which is bringing 696 full time jobs to the northern Kentucky region.  Elovation Services’ move amounts to a 13 point seven million dollar investment in the commonwealth.  The firm will lease a 150 thousand square foot facility in Boone County to serve as its parcel grading and processing center for e-commerce.

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12:39pm

Fri June 29, 2012
Business and the Economy

Racing Fans Bracing for the Heat

Traffic congestion created some serious problems for last year’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway.  This year’s event may be remembered for the high heat along with the competition.  The racing is scheduled in the evening, but qualifying does take place during the day.  Spokesman Tim Bray says visitors to the track can find shade on site.  “We are practicing and qualifying during the day…so we encourage fans to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…and in addition to that…there are places underneath the grandstands and Kentucky tower and the Ohio tower so they can get out of the heat,” said Bray.

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6:12pm

Thu June 28, 2012
Health and Welfare

Selling Fireworks During a Drought

While temperatures continue to heat up across Kentucky, so does anticipation regarding an annual mid-summer tradition. There are additional precautions being offered about Fourth of July activities.  Fireworks stands sit ready for Fourth of July customers all over the bluegrass region.  Amanda Dixon helps customers at one such sales tent in Lexington.  She says the blistering hot weather may keep a few patrons away during the heat of the day.  But, Dixon believes most fireworks fans will find a suitable time to set them off.

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3:35pm

Thu June 28, 2012
Health and Welfare

Water Supply Update

The near 100 degree temperatures coupled with no immediate chance of significant rainfall poses a threat to water supplies across the Commonwealth.  Western Kentucky is in the midst of a severe drought.  Those conditions are beginning to make their way across the state.  Bill Caldwell, with the Division of Water, says most all Kentucky community could face water supply issues.

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11:42am

Thu June 28, 2012
The Commonwealth

McConnell Weighs in on Supreme Court Ruling on Healthcare

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pledges to continue to work to repeal the federal health care law.  The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of the law including the mandate for health insurance.  McConnell reacted quickly to the court ruling.  His statement begins with “Today’s decision makes one thing clear…Congress must act to repeal this misguided law.”  The Kentucky republican has delivered 110 floor speeches prior to and after passage of the health care law.

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5:31pm

Wed June 27, 2012
The Commonwealth

Heat's On

Temperatures could soar close to the century mark this afternoon in many Kentucky communities.  It’s like going from the frying pan into the fire.  The high temperature Thursday may be some ten degrees warmer than Wednesday.  University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Tom Priddy says that kind of jump is a little unusual, even in the summer months.

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5:29pm

Wed June 27, 2012
The Commonwealth

Heat Up-Power Up

Preparation for temperatures approaching 100 began weeks ago for crews at Kentucky Utilities.  The high use of air conditioning coupled with the usual daily consumption of electricity could drive the demand near a peak level.  Kentucky Utilities’ Cliff Feltham says company officials knew this time might come.  “We’ve really been working on our system for a couple of weeks…a month…back..making sure everything is ok and all of our generation equipment is running as it ought to be running…even the ones that will turn on..as the peaking units when the temperature gets to the mid to upper 90’s,” said Feltham.

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3:13pm

Wed June 27, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington Police Crackdown on Unlicensed Drivers

 

Lexington police are working to reduce crashes on area roadways by cracking down on unlicensed and suspended drivers.  Officer Alvin Cook says a safety checkpoint will be set up along Liberty road at Star Shoot Parkway Thursday night.  “The problem of unlicensed and suspended drivers is a very bad one here in Fayette County..last year in 2011 we had 684 crashes involving drivers who were either unlicensed or were driving on a suspended drivers’ license…these collisions resulted in 276 injuries…so we’re trying to reduce our collisions and injury rates,” said Cook.

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3:12pm

Tue June 26, 2012
All Politics are Local

Electoral College Debate

Much of this year's national political attention is focused on the race for president.  But, how Americans elect a president is also a topic of debate.  The discussion of keeping the tradtional electoral college system or moving to a popular vote for president persists.  During a Monday discussion on K-E-T’s Kentucky Tonight,  Gary Gregg, Director of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, says there’s what he calls a ‘stealth’ campaign to make it a state issue.

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1:12pm

Mon June 25, 2012
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Record Breaker At Stephen Foster Camp

It’s another record breaker for a summertime music program at Eastern Kentucky University.  This is the 77th consecutive year for the Stephen Foster Music Camp, ranking it among the oldest in the nation.  Ben Walker is director of the music camp program.  “This is not only, you know, we’re the second oldest…this is also our largest camp ever in our history of camps,” said Walker.

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1:09pm

Mon June 25, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Clays Ferry Bridge Repairs

Seasonal maintenance on a highly traveled interstate bridge could slow traffic Tuesday.  State Transportation Department Spokesman Ryan Watts says they’ll repair pot holes on two lanes of Interstate-75 on the Clay Ferry bridge.  “Well construction crews will close down two southbound lanes at the Clays Ferry bridge…at the Fayette Madison county line..and we’re closing the bridge for bridge deck repairs,” said Watts.

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8:29am

Mon June 25, 2012
The Commonwealth

Breathitt County Shooting

State police continue to investigate a fatal shooting incident in Breathitt county which injured six people including three police officers.  Kentucky State Trooper Paul Blanton says the shooting began at a residence in Jackson Sunday..  “The initial complaint that troopers were responding to was that two people has been shot as they drove by a residence," said Blanton.

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8:26pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Edible Plant Tour on Tap Friday

The Kentucky landscape is very picturesque but it also can sustain its inhabitants in ways few realize.  In that vein, The Waveland State Historic Site in Lexington hosts an edible plant tour this Friday afternoon.  The tour of the grounds will be led by Chris Prope.  Prope took WEKU’s  Stu Johnson on a walk around Waveland earlier this week

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7:59am

Tue June 19, 2012
The Commonwealth

U.S. Supreme Court Talk

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on federal issues of health care and immigration before it completes its term this summer.  A health care ruling is expected soon.  The subject was discussed on KET’s Kentucky Tonight Monday.

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