The Commonwealth

Local news

Kentucky Civil Rights Pioneer Georgia Powers Dies

Jan 30, 2016
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Former Kentucky state Sen. Georgia Powers has died at the age of 92.

Powers was the first African-American and first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate, where she served for 21 years beginning in 1968. 

Powers was born in Springfield in Washington County, but she grew up in Louisville. She became involved in social justice work during the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1964, Powers helped organize a 10,000-person march on the state Capitol building in Frankfort, demanding a ban on discrimination against African-Americans in restaurants and hotels. She was joined in the march by Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson and folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary.

Noah Day

  During 2015, Kentuckians elected and inaugurated a new governor.

The Commonwealth stood at "ground zero" during a struggle over the implementation of same-sex marriage.

Our nation's response to terrorism and the 2016 presidential race dominated national news.

Monday Is Busiest Mailing Day of Year In Kentucky

Dec 14, 2015

    As usual, this time of year is a busy one for mail carriers of all types.  The contents of packages have undergone a bit of a transformation.

Although Christmas is almost two weeks away, the start of this week signals the heaviest mail day of the year.  For decades it was greeting cards which filled up mail bags and trucks.  David Walton with the U.S. Postal Service in Kentucky says now it’s more often boxes.  “Even though the internet has actually caused a bit of a dent in our letter mail volume, it’s actually caused a package volume to go up,” said Walton.

Officials with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security say they are seeing an uptick in requests for terrorism related workshops.  Public Information Officer Martin Riggs says there have been three requests for active shooter workshops since the San Bernardino mass shooting last Wednesday that claimed 14 lives.  “We’ve also been in constant contact with our liaison to the department, the federal department for homeland security, and that’s ongoing all the time to keep updated with trends and current trends,” said Riggs.

Workplace Injuries, Illnesses at All-Time Low in Kentucky

Nov 25, 2015

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet announced this week that the state has reached its lowest rate ever for workplace injury and illnesses.

In 2014, Kentucky’s incidence rate was 3.8 per 100 equivalent full-time workers. That’s the lowest rate in Kentucky since 1996, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording the data.

Gov. Steve Beshear has ordered nursing homes and other health care providers to run national background checks on all new employees or risk losing their license to operate in the state.

Beshear signed the emergency regulation on Friday. It takes effect on Jan. 1 and will apply to about 1,300 providers, including nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, adult day health care programs and assisted living facilities.

Governor Steve Beshear believes Kentucky should be willing to accept Syrian refugees as long as they are screened. 

Beshear comments came during a stop Monday in Lexington.  Governors from several states across the U.S. are expressing concern about accepting refugees. 

Beshear says the plight of these families deserves attention.   “If folks are truly refugees and not terrorists and truly are just looking for a safe haven, then truly Kentucky ought to step up with everybody else and do the Christian thing and that is to be your brother’s keeper,” said Beshear.

Kentucky Joins Electronic Tolling Consortium

Nov 13, 2015


Kentucky is preparing to move into the electronic tolling age to help pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project near Louisville.  Tolling will begin about a year from now.

The aim is to keep traffic moving along all three crossings. The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year.  Area motorists can purchase a transponder, costing  about $15 , and have tolls automatically taken out of an account.  Those drivers without transponders will have their vehicle license plate photographed and sent a bill in the mail.

Kentucky motorists could soon see more electronic LED billboards along area roads.  The Legislative Transportation Committee on Thursday reviewed an administrative regulation on the matter.  That was the last step before it officially became effective.  It sets a policy for erecting electronic billboards, including provisions for cutting vegetation around the signs.

Kentucky Jobless Rate on the Decline

Oct 15, 2015

Kentucky’s unemployment rate fell in September to five percent, down from 5.2 percent from the month before. 

According to the Office of Employment and Training, the state’s jobless rate hasn’t been that low in 14 years.  State Economist Manoj Shanker says Kentucky has outperformed the U.S. average in 13 of the last 14 months.

There's been much attention over the past week given to Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  Other related issues could come before state lawmakers.

Mickey Welsh /

The Kentucky Department of Parks will no longer sell merchandise featuring the Confederate battle flag at park gift shops.

Cicadas Sounding Off in Big Numbers this Summer

Jul 21, 2015

Many trees in central Kentucky are alive with the sound of insects.  It's the call of the annual cicada.

The sound of cicadas is hard to miss when outside in many neighborhoods.  University of Kentucky Entomologist Lee Townsend says male cicadas are sounding off and those insect numbers appear to be up this summer.  "It is a mating call and they can get quite loud and they'll start to chorus together and kind of develop a rhythm in their song," said Townsend.

Rowan Co. Clerk Testifies In Same-Sex Marriage Suit

Jul 20, 2015

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refuses to issue marriage licenses despite a Supreme Court lifted same-sex marriage bans throughout the U.S., testified in court on Monday that her stance is based on religious grounds.

Davis is being sued by four Rowan County couples, represented by the ACLU of Kentucky, who were denied marriage licenses.

Rowan County is one of at least two counties that has refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruling.

A northern Kentucky social worker is facing possible termination by her employer after she says she helped a neglected and abused 7-year-old girl.

The Frankfort State Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 26, 2015) – “The fractured laws across the country concerning same-sex marriage had created an unsustainable and unbalanced legal environment, wherein citizens were treated differently depending on the state in which they resided.  That situation was unfair, no matter which side of the debate you may support.


Lexington is playing host to the 32nd annual Kentucky Public Retirees meeting.  A big crowd with a vested interested in the issue gathered Thursday.

The hotel conference room was full of former state workers including George Hoffman, who worked for three decades in state transportation.  He's optimistic the legislature will continue to monitor pension fund issues.  "I've got hope that they won't let it just crumble, because there are people that really depend on it," said Hoffman.

Jacob Ryan |

About a hundred protesters blocked streets in downtown Louisville to demand the president of the police union be fired for calling activists "liars and race-baiters" and writing that law enforcement supporters might soon have to rise up against them.

Tim Massey / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

State social service officials in Northern Kentucky say they lost track of nearly 100 cases involving possible child abuse or neglect, with some languishing for months before being recently rediscovered.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that a private utility in eastern Kentucky is subject to the open records law because it receives all its revenue from local governments.


U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers says a suspension of federal disability benefits for 900 recipients in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia is being lifted.

A former security guard accused of looking the other way as thieves spirited away thousands of dollars' worth of whiskey from a Kentucky distillery was indicted Tuesday.

Jonese Franklin / WEKU News

Disaster recovery centers opened Thursday in Madison and Lawrence counties for people affected by April storms in Kentucky.

Kentucky’s case before the Supreme Court started with a conversation between attorneys Shannon Fauver and Dawn Elliott.

Kentucky State Police Dedicate New Training Academy Complex

Apr 27, 2015
Kentucky State Police


A new fully operational state police training academy is now up and running in Frankfort.  The official dedication Monday marked the transition from incarceration to law enforcement instruction.

Kentucky residents can sign up for a new license plate showing support for an initiative to diversify eastern Kentucky's economy.

President Barack Obama will visit Louisville on Thursday for an event on the economy, the White House announced Monday.

Kentucky National Guard soldiers are firing up Humvees to make emergency medical runs and rescue motorists stranded by a winter storm that has dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the state.

The nonprofit group Shaping Our Appalachian Region Inc. has received approval for a $200,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Gov. Steve Beshear has declared a statewide emergency after a massive winter storm buried the state under 10 inches of snow in some areas.