The Memorial Day Holiday weekend is often considered the kick off to the summer season. Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21st, but weather conditions now are more in line with a typical mid to late June. In fact, level one drought conditions are plaguing some western Kentucky counties. University of Kentucky agricultural meteorologist, Tom Priddy says it’s possible drought like conditions will move east across the state.
FRANKFORT - The Kentucky State Police announced the 2011 Trooper of the Year, Detective of the Year, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer of the Year and other awards for acts of bravery, life-saving, professionalism and dedication to duty Monday at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort. Williamsburg-resident Senior Trooper Clyde Dingess was named 2011 Trooper of the Year. An eight-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police, he is assigned to KSP Post 11 in London.
Frankfort - As voters cast ballots in today's primary election, Kentuckians are reminded they can help combat vote fraud by utilizing the attorney general's Election Fraud Hotline. Kentuckians who witness election irregularities or possible election law violations are encouraged to call the Election Fraud Hotline at 800-328-VOTE (800-328-8683).
Tobacco setting is under way across the state. About 30 percent of the expected crop has been planted, but we're missing a vital component: rain. Bob Pearce, a UK extension tobacco specialist in Lexington, said he was concerned about transplanted tobacco. "We had a tough situation with the greenhouses. When it was so warm early on, a lot of our greenhouses just got too hot, and we've had a lot of problems with uneven growth of the plants," Pearce said.
Polls across Kentucky opened today at 6 a.m. local time and remain open until 6 p.m. local time. State officials are predicting a low turnout in today's primary - perhaps down in the 10 percent range. Voters can cast ballots for races in their own political party and in nonpartisan races. Secretary of State and Chief Election Official Alison Lundergan Grimes is reminding voters of Election Day “do’s and don’ts” that will help avoid surprises and ensure a smooth trip to the polls on Election Day.
Children were put into Kentucky jails more than 1,330 times last year for running away, skipping school, buying tobacco products and other offenses. Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of incarcerating kids for status offenses – actions that are crimes for children but not for adults. It’s a situation that harms children, negatively affects communities and costs taxpayers, according to a new study by Kentucky Youth Advocates.
Don't look now but there's a new exotic animal making inroads on Kentucky farms. Ostriches are so 1990s; it's all alpacas now. Thousands of them, in fact. The Kentucky Alpaca Association has more than 50 members across the state, with devoted breeders who are "dyeing" to sell you some yarn. Except, and here's the beauty of alpaca "fiber" as they prefer to call it: It doesn't even have to be dyed.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems’ net assets have fallen $680 million in this fiscal year’s first nine months as investment income and contributions failed to cover rising retirement benefits and other expenses. Total assets in the KRS pension and insurance funds dropped from $14.8 billion July 1 to $14.1 billion as of March 31, KRS trustees learned at a board meeting Thursday. KRS collected more than $860 million in contributions and more than $44 million in investment income during those nine months, but paid benefits in that period totaled more than $1.5 billion with about $33 million in additional expenses, according to unaudited KRS financial statements.
FRANKFORT, Ky. Motorists who refuse to wear their seat belts – beware. The 2012 national “Click It or Ticket” Memorial Day seat belt enforcement mobilization kicks off May 21 to help save lives by cracking down on those who don’t buckle up. Despite a wealth of data showing that seat belts save lives – and also despite implementation of a primary seat belt law – Kentucky’s 82 percent seat belt usage rate lags behind the national rate of 84 percent.
Work to repair damage done by a massive landslide to Interstate 75 in northern Tennessee will continue through the weekend. It’s blocked the southbound lanes of that major artery and has changed the casual conversation at Kentucky’s welcome center. The man who supervises the Welcome Center operated by the Commonwealth just north of the state line takes a lot of questions. But since March 8th, when a landslide partially blocked I-75, David Cox says the nature of those questions has changed. Cox says the first question asked by many northbound motorists is ‘what’s wrong.’
A new report by Kentucky Youth Advocates is shining light on the state’s high number of incarcerated youth with low priority crimes. The report released this week, Ending the Use of Incarceration for Status Offenders in Kentucky, shows nearly one in every six incarcerated minorities is jailed for low priority offenses. The data comes from the Department of Juvenile Justice.
A replacement span for Eggners Ferry Bridge was lifted into place Tuesday after being transported 30 miles Monday through Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The 322-foot span was assembled at the Eddyville Riverport and began its journey to the bridge site around 12:30 p.m. Monday. It was transported using a three-barge flotilla, which also carried two cranes needed to move the span once it arrived.
Gov. Steve Beshear will address the families, friends and comrades of Kentucky’s fallen officers during the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s annual law enforcement memorial ceremony at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 22. The ceremony will honor two officers whose watch ended in 2011 – Alexandria Police Officer James P. Sticklen and Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Timothy Briggs.
Kentucky Labor Cabinet officials have recognized more than 40 companies that have taken the extra steps necessary to guarantee the health and safety of employees.The companies were honored during the Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition at Louisville’s Galt House East. The annual conference brings together nearly 600 professionals across the state to participate in safety training courses.
Banks typically don't give money away, but one lender is doing just that to help Kentucky tornado victims. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati has a program in which homeowners and renters who were displaced or who suffered damage to their primary homes might be eligible for grants of as much as $20,000 toward the purchase, construction or repair of a home. Because these are grants, the money doesn't have to be repaid.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has appointed a new Public Service Commissioner to fill a spot that’s been vacant since December. Beshear’s office announced today that Linda Breathitt of Lexington is the newest commissioner. Breathitt served as a PSC commissioner in the 1990s. After that, she became a senior energy and regulatory advisor at a Washington D.C. law firm, and was appointed as a commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
April's General Fund tax receipts declined 0.7 percent compared to April 2011, a decrease of $6.3 million, according to the office of state budget director. Total revenues for the month were nearly $838 million, compared to $844.2 million during last April. Receipts have now grown 3. 7 percent for the first 10 months of Fiscal Year 2012, according to a press release from state Budget Director Mary Lassiter's office.
Attorney General Jack Conway announced Monday that Kentucky has joined other states and the federal government in reaching two independent settlements totaling $1.6 billion with Abbott Laboratories to settle civil and criminal allegations that the drug company illegally marketed the drug Depakote. “I am pleased that these settlements have been reached and that we are able to recover money for a vital state program and for taxpayers,” Conway said in a press release from his office.
The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky business community is taking the reins of the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge replacement project, business leaders announced Monday. The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Duke Energy, and the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments have formed a coalition to fast-track the project and devise a way to pay for it.
First lady Jane Beshear Monday visited West Liberty Elementary School in Morgan County to announce the overwhelming success of the Governor’s Office Tornado Relief Book Drive. To date, more than 11,000 books have been collected for schools affected by recent tornado damage, including a book contribution from Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.
Kentucky’s highway construction season moves into high gear in May. Crews are at work on I-64 in several eastern Kentucky counties. State Transportation Cabinet Spokeswoman Natasha Lacy says the moderate winter means there should be fewer road repairs. “It will be similar probably to last summer..there will be probably less pothole repair work, because we had a mild winter..therefore we don’t have as many potholes to of course give attention to in previous years when the weather was drastic,” said Lacy.
When Neil Gilreath drives streets in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, he sees things differently than a typical motorist. That’s because as a Covington police sergeant before his 2006 retirement, he headed the police traffic unit more than eight years. That group works to tame traffic in the Interstate 71/75 Cut in the Hill and on the overburdened Brent Spence Bridge. The Brent Spence Bridge conveys about 150,000 vehicles a day over the Ohio River, while the I-471 Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, also known as the Big Mac Bridge, carries more than 100,000 daily according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Gilreath’s ideas, along with other alternatives such as using Newport and Covington streets or an improved Ky. 9, are among the ideas to alleviate traffic issues.
Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, along with other state and local officials, broke ground Thursday morning on a long-awaited Ohio River bridge replacement linking the communities of Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Ky. “Few things promote regional growth, development and cooperation like safe, modern highways and bridges,” Beshear said in statement issued by his office. “Ironton, Ohio, and Russell, Ky., are separated by a great river.
Gov. Steve Beshear has announced the selection of a consultant team to assist his 23-member tax reform commission in studying how to better align the state’s tax code. The governor’s office has awarded the contract for the Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform to a three-person team of Dr. William Hoyt and Michael Childress, from the University of Kentucky, and Dr. William Fox, of the University of Tennessee, according to a statement from Beshear's office.
Hall Contracting of Kentucky is making progress on the Eggner Ferry Bridge repair project, and structural steel has been assembled at the Eddyville Riverport this weekend and earlier this week. That is what the Transportation Cabinet's Keith Todd said - and it should be ready to be transported to the bridge site in Aurora next week.
KSP reports that the National "Take Back" Initiative netted the agency 644 pounds of prescription drugs from those who wished to discard unwanted medications. Each of the 16 KSP post locations collected the drugs from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Saturday. The program, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is intended to give people a safe and convenient way to part with unneeded medications. KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said he was pleased with the turnout at post locations across the state.
Despite promises of transparency by Gov. Steve Beshear, state officials are refusing to release child-protection records about a man who was convicted of beating his 3-month-old son prior to the mysterious deaths of his two infant daughters. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services won’t release records about Jesse Allison, who is charged in Caldwell County, in Western Kentucky, with murder in the 2009 asphyxiation death of his 7-monthold daughter Ariel.
When Henderson Fiscal Court meets Tuesday it will consider giving away $720,000 in coal severance tax revenues — but it will be a joint effort with Union and Webster counties. The money comes from what are known as multi-county funds, and the fiscal courts of all three fiscal courts must pass resolutions supporting the request before the funds would be released by the state Department for Local Government.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that Kentucky has exercised its option to increase its citizens’ access to safe, high-quality anesthesia by giving more flexibility to providers in delivering anesthesia services. In a letter to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Beshear said Kentucky is exempting certain facilities from a federal requirement that certified nurse anesthetists be supervised by a physician. This change will give many hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers greater flexibility in the use of anesthesia providers and improve operating room efficiency without affecting quality of care.
Set up a permanent endowment to fund projects in Eastern Kentucky's coal counties. Improve access to broadband Internet service. Provide clean water to every resident. Use biomass grown on old surface mines to generate power. Those were a few of the ideas discussed Thursday at the annual East Kentucky Leadership Conference, held this year in Prestonsburg. It was an exercise in coming up with ideas to transform the economy of Eastern Kentucky, home to the largest cluster of counties in Appalachia classified as economically "distressed" by federal officials.