The Commonwealth

Local news

Stu Johnson

Kentucky Habitat for Humanity is launching a three-year initiative aimed at accelerating construction of affordable housing.  Habitat is joining about 50 non-profit housing providers.  The formal announcement of the 2020 Housing Vision project came Monday at the state capitol.

Governor Matt Bevin says the Commonwealth’s homelessness problem is troubling.  “Kentucky has more homeless students per capita than any state in America.  What a tragic and terrible statistic to lead the nation in.  This is why this matters.  Every single bit of it matters,” said Bevin.

A University of Kentucky Plant Pathology Specialist envisions a day when genetic engineering for certain crops will be expected and not questioned. Dr. Paul Vincelli participated in last week’s Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Lexington.

Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo retires the end of this week after 26 years of service to the state’s two appellate courts. The Floyd County native says the makeup of those courts changed significantly over the last two decades.

Many Kentuckians may see rain or snow this holiday weekend.  Jackson National Weather Service Forecaster Pete Geogerian says warm temperatures might mean as much as three inches of rainfall in some sections of the Commonwealth. 

But temperatures are expected to plummet heading into Christmas Day, and Georgerian says that could cause some black ice concerns.

“After all that rain we’re also going to be kind of concerned about wet areas refreezing on the roads so folks traveling Christmas Day or out and about Christmas Day want to be careful out there,” said Georgerian.

Mayfield Council Considers Prohibiting Bars

Dec 15, 2017

A Mayfield city council member hopes to enact a law prohibiting bars in the far western Kentucky town. 

Johnny Jackson received the council’s initial backing earlier this week. Jackson says he’s heard from constituents on the matter.  “I decided we’d go ahead and move on this thing to disallow any bars per se rather than risk something coming in that our citizens of this community would not be proud of,” said Jackson.


After the massacre at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas that killed 26 people and injured 20 more, churches across Kentucky and around the nation are struggling with the issue of increasing security, while still being welcoming.

Ministers in Somerset, Kentucky were already on high alert because a church caretaker had recently been murdered by a homeless man asking for food.

The murder of 70-year Carolyn New, widow of the former church pastor, inside Denham Street Baptist Church in Somerset in August put the town on edge.  Then the shooting at the Texas church made security a priority.

A man with ties to Lexington has been honored for his Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas. 

Zachary Dearing, who moved to Rockpoint, Texas from Lexington earlier this year, was recognized over the weekend as one of five Daily Point of Light awardees. 

Ky Circuit Court Clerks' Exam Period Underway

Oct 23, 2017

Prospective candidates for the office of circuit court clerk have two and a half weeks to register for the 2018 election qualifying exam. 

The elected office of circuit court clerk will be on the ballot for all 120 Kentucky counties next year.

Stu Johnson

A crowd of a few dozen gathered in Lexington’s Triangle Park  Wednesday evening to remember those who died in Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas. 

Mayor Jim Gray said people here mourn and grieve for those in Nevada who gathered together for a good time, a great American tradition, country music.

Sixth District Representative Andy Barr says Kentuckians and other Americans should be concerned about activities within the North Korean government. 

The Republican representative says those worries should be based on ten years of a U.S. policy of strategic patience toward the nation ruled by dictator Kim Jong-un. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

State transportation funds of $75,000 will be used to stabilize and support a historic Kentucky bridge damaged by floodwaters this summer.

More substantial repairs will be done later on Mason County’s Dover Covered Bridge.

Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition Takes Shape

Sep 6, 2017

More than 30 organizations representing interests from manufacturing to farming and engineering are coming together to form a new Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition. 

The aim of the group is to prevent the decline of the state’s multifaceted infrastructure system.

US Forest Service Extends Ban on Ginseng Harvesting

Aug 25, 2017

Federal forestry efforts to re-establish Kentucky’s wild ginseng population continue with a second year of harvest prohibition. 

The U.S. Forest Service is not issuing permits for taking ginseng from national forest land in Kentucky.

Lexington’s Planning Commission Thursday gave its approval for a zone change that will allow use of the campus of the Veterans Administration Hospital for new housing in the form of apartments and townhouses.

The 50 units will be offered first to military veterans and perhaps all low-income families.

A Maysville woman who died while trying to save her children from a house fire and a man who rescued a truck driver from a burning vehicle were honored in a ceremony Monday in Frankfort.

President Donald Trump is supporting new legislation that would restrict who can immigrate to the U.S. legally. The measure focuses on “merit-based” immigration, giving skilled workers who can speak English preference over others, such as family members of those already in the U.S.

Trump has thrown his support behind the measure, claiming American workers shouldn’t have to compete with immigrants for unskilled jobs.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Kentucky native Kelly Knight Craft as the next ambassador to Canada.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the confirmation on Thursday. Craft was previously a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. She has also been a prominent Republican donor and fundraiser.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative shows Canada is the second largest goods trading partner with the United States with $544 billion in total goods trade between the two countries in 2016.

After years of dwindling returns, revenue into Kentucky’s road fund was higher than expected during the fiscal year that ended on June 30.

But state officials say that won’t happen again this year because money gleaned from motor fuels is due to be flat and vehicle registration taxes aren’t expected to surpass projections again.

Kentucky transportation officials continue in their efforts to reform the popular specialized and personalized license plate programs. 

The primary emphasis is to reduce subsidizing the vehicle plate programs with state road fund dollars.

Kentucky 'Ag Tag' Donations at Record Level

Aug 1, 2017

Kentucky’s voluntary “Ag Tag” donation program has hit a record level.

Funds raised through this effort benefit three different agriculture-related entities.

A $200,000 homeland security grant is expected to help ensure safety around scores of dams across Kentucky. 

The federal funds will help state officials begin research into new monitoring and flood warnings for people downstream.

President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement - on Twitter - that transgender men and women will no longer be allowed to serve in the armed forces has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Dennis Cain of Bowling Green says the president’s decision signals a step backward - to more of the type of discrimination he experienced as a gay man in the military.

Cain served for eight years during the 1980s. He was  a medic and with an F-16 fighter squadron for four of those years.  Cain says he had to keep his personal life as a gay man hidden, and it discouraged him from having a longer career in the Air Force. 

State Moving Forward With Capital Plaza Demolition

Jul 27, 2017

State officials are moving forward with a plan to demolish the Capital Plaza, including the tallest building in Frankfort, to make way for a new complex where about 1,500 state employees will work.

Bill Landrum, the secretary of the state’s finance cabinet, said during a committee hearing Tuesday that the Capital Plaza is falling apart.

Cheri Lawson

Since July 1, visitors to the Ark Encounter biblical theme park in Grant County have been paying an extra 50 cents per ticket.

The “safety assessment fee” is for increased police and fire services.  

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Attorneys for President Donald Trump want a federal appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit by protesters accusing him of ordering his supporters to rough them up at a campaign rally in Louisville last year.

Some 2000 county government officials including many from Kentucky have participated in the National Association of Counties conference in Ohio. 

A northern Kentucky judge says participants spent a significant amount of time on health related issues.

Cheri Lawson

UPDATED 7/25/17 - Officials with the Ark Encounter attraction in Grant County have transferred ownership of the property for the second time in a matter of weeks.  

The transfer is expected to restore the property to its previous for-profit status.

Lisa Gillespie | WFPL

It was surprisingly quiet outside of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville Saturday.

Hundreds of anti-abortion activists were expected in front of Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic Saturday as far-right fundamentalist Christian group Operation Save America began its weeklong conference with the stated goal of shutting down the clinic. U.S. District Judge David Hale granted a temporary restraining order on Friday establishing a buffer zone around the clinic to keep protesters from blocking its entrance.   

As Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, Franklin and other Kentucky cities in prime viewing area prepare for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, NASA is issuing a warning.

NASA has been alerted that some unsafe eclipse glasses are being sold to consumers. Special eye protection is needed for safe viewing of the astronomical event.   

NASA says the only glasses that should be used are produced by four companies – American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, TSE 17 and Thousand Oaks Optical. 

The safe glasses must also have the reference number ISO 12312-2.

NASA has details on safe eclipse viewing glasses and on the solar eclipse on its website

The path of the eclipse runs across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Locations nearest the center line will experience darkness for two-minutes-and-43-seconds.

Ky Tourism Suspends Tax Break for Noah's Ark Attraction

Jul 22, 2017
Cheri Lawson

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's tourism agency has suspended a tax break worth up to $18 million for a Noah's ark biblical attraction after the park transferred its main property to a nonprofit affiliate.

Media outlets report the Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet said the park's action breached the incentive agreement, which would refund a portion of sales tax collected at the site.