The Commonwealth

10:59am

Tue January 24, 2012
The Commonwealth

Tornado Touches Down in West Kentucky

A roof on Murray Paris Road was damaged Sunday night by high winds during a severe thunderstorm. Debris from the roof were blown across the property, into trees and across the road onto another field.
Hawkins Teague Murray Ledger & Times

The National Weather Service in Paducah has confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down near Hazel in Calloway County Sunday night. NWS surveyors Rick Shanklin and Ken Ludington were on site Monday, and found that the tornado touched down at 11:03 p.m. Sunday at Hazel and traveled 5.6 miles to northeast of New Providence. Surveyors measured the average width of the tornado’s path to be 100 yards.

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9:36am

Mon January 23, 2012
The Commonwealth

Hickman Mayor Fatally Shot

The mayor of Hickman, in Fulton County, in far Western Kentucky, has been shot and killed at his home, the Hickman police chief said early Monday.  Police chief Tony Grogan said Mayor Charles Murphy was shot and killed at his home. A suspect identified by police as Tommy Lattus, 30, gave himself up at the police station after the shooting.

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4:45pm

Tue January 17, 2012
The Commonwealth

50 Killed in Sandhill Crane Hunting Season

Kentucky’s first sandhill crane hunting season is over, and only one-eighth of the state’s quota was met. Kentucky’s recent sandhill crane hunting season was the first time the birds have been legally hunted in Kentucky. It also marked the first time the eastern population of the birds had been hunted in over 100 years. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife set a quota of 400 birds for the inaugural season, but only 50 sandhill cranes were taken. Spokesman Mark Marraccini says the department considers the season a success.

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1:36pm

Tue January 17, 2012
The Commonwealth

Stormy Weather Tuesday

This winter's roller coaster weather did a number on the Louisville area today. High winds ripped down trees and power lines and left nearly 14,000 residents in the dark, according to WHAS-TV in Louisville.
In addition, high winds reportedly knocked at least two tractor trailer trucks over on their sides on the Gene Snyder Freeway in eastern Jefferson County. That resulted in the highway being closed for a time.
But no injuries have been reported.

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2:35pm

Mon January 16, 2012
The Commonwealth

Wrecked Cruise Ship Passenger Happy to Be Home

It's Sunday night at Louisville International Airport, and Sarah Moore of Bowling Green is waiting as patiently as she can. She's standing still, occasionally rising on her toes to peek through a security checkpoint. Behind her are friends and family holding signs and flowers and waiting patiently, too.  Finally, Sarah Moore sees her, and Lauren Moore walks straight to her mother. The daughter carries only a small Nike bag from a retail store. Mother and daughter embrace. Hugs are exchanged. The relief is evident on the face of the concerned mother - Lauren Moore, 28, of Bowling Green is home.

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2:28pm

Mon January 16, 2012
The Commonwealth

More Up and Down and Up Weather

The weather forecast is a mixed bag this week, offering everything from sun and mild temperatures to rain and snow.  There’s a 40 percent chance for rain on Monday with a high near 43 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. New rainfall will be less than a tenth of an inch. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm are likely Monday night. The low will be around 40. Up to three quarters of an inch of rain is possible.

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1:34pm

Thu January 12, 2012
The Commonwealth

A Little Taste of Winter

The National Weather Service office in Louisville has issued a winter weather advisory for much of Kentucky. It will remain in effect until 9 a.m. EST on Friday. A cold front is marching through Kentucky and causing rain to change over to snow showers.

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1:42pm

Wed January 11, 2012
The Commonwealth

Thefts at Walmart

Monday’s early morning theft of Apple iPads and other electronics from Winchester’s Walmart was not an isolated incident.  Police believe the suspects, a man and woman, have robbed four other Walmarts in the region in recent days.  The suspects, who have not been identified, entered Winchester’s store around 5 a.m. Monday, Winchester Police Detective Dennis Briscoe said. They went to the electronics section, opened one of the cases and took approximately $4,000 in merchandise including iPads, he said, but the exact list of what was taken has not been finalized.

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4:17pm

Mon January 9, 2012
The Commonwealth

Winter's Cold Looms Later this Week

So far, this winter hasn't behaved much like a typical winter. But all that is about to change later this week. Tuesday and Wednesday will remain mild with highs in the mid-40s to low 50s, according to the National Weather Service's Louisville office.

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4:10pm

Mon January 9, 2012
The Commonwealth

Potatoes from I-64 Spill Donated to Charity

Chris Skaggs hands bags of potatoes to Sherman Brinkley as they load them onto a truck.
Hannah Reel The State-Journal

Nearly 500 pounds of potatoes were distributed among several Franklin County shelters and food pantries Saturday after an accident on I-64 Tuesday involving a semi carrying 40,000 potatoes left local emergency crews with about 50 bags of spuds to get rid of.

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3:57pm

Mon January 9, 2012
The Commonwealth

Memo To Taxpayers: Remember Earned Income Tax Credit

 Last year thousands of low and middle income Kentuckians qualified for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, but did not claim the benefit. State and local officials want to change that situation this year. Monday morning at the United Way of the Bluegrass headquarters, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear encouraged eligible Kentuckians not to leave that money 'on the table'.

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10:48am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Commonwealth

State Fire Marshal Seeks Public Help

A startling increase in suspected arson fires around several central Kentucky communities has prompted Kentucky State Fire Marshal William Swope to seek the public’s help in solving the crimes. Since December, nearly a dozen fires of suspicious origin have been set in Fayette, Jessamine, Lincoln and Pulaski counties, prompting state and local officials to ramp up efforts to get information from the public, according to a state press release.

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1:59pm

Thu January 5, 2012
The Commonwealth

Free Surgery to Reduce Unwanted Horses

In an effort to help reduce the number of unwanted and inconvenient horses being bred in Kentucky, the Kentucky Horse Park is hosting its second Free Gelding Clinic on Saturday, March 10. This free clinic is being provided by the Kentucky Horse Park in partnership with the Kentucky Horse Council's Save Our Horses fund and the American Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Coalition.

2:53pm

Tue January 3, 2012
The Commonwealth

WEKU Off-Air Today for Maintenance

Here's a special announcement for listeners of 88.9 in the Richmond and Lexington areas:   For some time this morning after 9 o'clock, our transmitter will be off the air due to necessary work on the transmission tower at Clay's Ferry.

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11:11am

Tue January 3, 2012
The Commonwealth

41-vehicle pileup on Icy I-75

A 41-car pileup shut down Interstate 75 in southern Kenton County about a mile north of the Crittenden exit on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. Icy conditions were blamed. Six people were injured; none seriously.
Patrick Reddy Kentucky Enquirer

Icy conditions caused 41 vehicles to pile up in a chain reaction just after noon Monday on southbound Interstate 75 in southern Kenton County. Six people were hurt, none with life-threatening injuries. Kenton County Police Sgt. Ben Wilson said the accident occurred at 12:22 p.m. about a mile north of the Crittenden exit. About 20 vehicles were disabled and hauled away on flatbed trucks from the scene.

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11:04am

Tue January 3, 2012
The Commonwealth

Herds of Feral Pigs Go Wild in Kentucky

Feral hogs in a Kentucky field.
Chad Soard Lexington Herald-Leader

Randy Kelley has engaged in a frustrating and discouraging battle the past four or five years on his Henry County farm. His 200-pound foe: a wild pig. Actually, that should be plural because these pigs tend to run in herds. "They're just rooting my farm up," Kelley said. "They just go through your fields and tear it all to pieces. ... You never get it back like it was." Kelley's property in the Bethlehem community is just one example of what the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources calls a disturbing trend. An invasion of wild hogs in counties throughout the state is leaving muddy bogs of overturned ground and ruined crops in its wake. Feral swine have been in isolated areas of the state for decades, but in 2008, officials started an increase in reports of wild hogs in areas where they had not been seen before, said Steven Dobey, wildlife program coordinator for the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Wild hogs have now been reported in 37 counties.

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11:02am

Tue January 3, 2012
The Commonwealth

Mild Weather Equals Savings for Governments

So far, so good. That's the feeling of Mason County Judge-Executive James L. "Buddy" Gallenstein about the mild weather seen in the region coming into 2012. Gallenstein said on Monday the county has realized a savings of about $100,000 compared to the same time last year. "The mild weather thus far has been a blessing. No salt or cinders have been used so far," said Gallenstein.

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10:47am

Tue January 3, 2012
The Commonwealth

Crisis Phase of Heating Assistance Program Begins

The crisis phase of the Low Income Heating Assistance Program begins tomorrow. This is the second and final phase of LIHEAP. Residents must be in danger of having their utilities cut off in order to receive assistance. The city began scheduling early appointments for assistance last week and those will continue tomorrow at government centers.

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12:43pm

Sun January 1, 2012
The Commonwealth

Tobacco Operation Puts Down New Roots

The owners of one of the few remaining independent tobacco warehouses operating in the state have moved on from one historical site in Danville to another building used by another former tobacco auction mainstay during the fall selling season. Growers have come from as far away as Indiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana, and owner Jerry Rankin said about 2 million pounds of tobacco have been sold at the two warehouses.

9:10am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Commonwealth

Bridges Project Talks Tolls

The possibility of using highway tolls to pay for a Brent Spence Bridge replacement is once again being raised. Thursday, Kentucky and Indiana transportation officials announced a plan to jointly build and pay for a massive road project in Louisville that includes two new bridges across the Ohio River. Revenue from tolls is expected to generate up to $1.3 billion of the $2.6 billion price tag; the rest will come from state and federal funding. “We believe the toll revenue bonds and the committed traditional funding together will see both of these bridges through to completion,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said Thursday.

3:26pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Kentucky and Indiana Finance Bridges Project

A financing mechanism has been decided for the Ohio River Bridges Project, putting the project on track to start construction next year. Both Indiana and Kentucky have agreed to oversee and pay for half of the $2.6 billion project. Kentucky will be responsible for building a new I-65 bridge, and improving the existing Kennedy Bridge and Spaghetti Junction. Indiana will oversee and pay for the East End portion of the project.

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2:24pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Money Directed to Research Fatal Bat Disease

Congress is directing an additional four million dollars to researching a disease that is killing bats all over the southeast, including many in Kentucky. White-nose Syndrome is a fungus that has infected and killed more than a million bats since it was discovered five years ago. Nina Fascione is the executive director of Bat Conservation International. She says extra funds for fighting the mysterious disease will definitely be useful.

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1:04pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Comer Supports Hemp Farming

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner-elect James Comer is planning to support legislation to allow industrial hemp farming. The bill has been pre-filed in the General Assembly to legalize the controversial practice. Comer supports the measure and says he will make it part of his legislative package once he takes office next week. But a federal waiver would still be required before hemp farming could begin.

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1:01pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Kentucky Goodwill Sets Job Placement Record

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky has placed a record number of people into jobs this past year. The 2,500 jobs represent a 36 percent increase over last year and that’s the highest number of job placements in Goodwill’s history, said vice president David Cobb. But, the organization’s growth didn’t happen overnight, he said.

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12:53pm

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Harlan Seeks to Build Hydroelectric Turbine

The city of Harlan is getting ready to advertise for bids to install a hydroelectric turbine at the city’s sewer plant. The project would be the first of its kind in the state. Harlan Mayor Danny Howard said that the plan is for the turbine to be put at the plant’s water outlet where the treated water runs back into the river. The electricity generated by the turbine would then be transferred into the power grid, for which city officials expect to receive a payback from Kentucky Utilities. “Initial estimates indicated that the turbine would generate $7,000 a year worth of electricity, but that was before the rate increase. It should be more than that. They won’t actually pay us, instead this would come in form of a credit on our KU bill,” said Howard.

11:34am

Thu December 29, 2011
The Commonwealth

Kentucky Public Radio Stations Partner with KET

Next week, KET will begin a partnership with public radio stations in Kentucky to air KET series and programs. This partnership will launch initially with WEKU and WKMS. WEKU, based in Richmond, reaches nearly all of Eastern Kentucky and the Bluegrass/Central Kentucky region. WKMS, based in Murray, reaches Western Kentucky and the Four Rivers Region.

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4:23pm

Wed December 28, 2011
The Commonwealth

Fort Knox Officials Reduce Jobs

Fort Knox officials are in the process of reducing the post’s workforce in a manner officials hope will remove redundancies without leading to significant job loss. The directive to reduce staffing is part of a planned civilian workforce reduction of around 8,700 positions throughout the U.S. Army by Sept. 30, 2012, that, at Fort Knox, primarily is expected to affect U.S. Army Accessions Command and Garrison Command. Garrison Command has been tasked with trimming its 715 civilian positions to 582, which would result in the elimination of more than 130 positions, according to the Fort Knox Public Affairs Office.

1:18pm

Wed December 28, 2011
The Commonwealth

Kentucky Gas Prices Rise

Average retail gasoline prices in Kentucky have risen 19.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.28 per gallon on Sunday. On average, national gas prices have increased 8 cents per gallon in the last week, according to the gasoline price website KentuckyGasPrices.com. In Kentucky, prices on Sunday were 27.5 cents per gallon higher than they were the same day in 2010 and 11.2 cents higher than a month ago.

1:15pm

Wed December 28, 2011
The Commonwealth

Petition for Alcohol Vote Approved

A vote that would allow packaged alcohol sales in Corbin will likely take place Feb. 21. Citizens for Economic Progress filed the petition on Dec. 12 at the Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz's Office. Schwartz said Tuesday morning that 544 signatures were certified from the Whitley County side of Corbin, and that Knox County certified 148 signatures.

1:09pm

Wed December 28, 2011
The Commonwealth

Autistic Student’s Mother Plans on Addressing Board

A Kentucky woman who has accused a Mercer County school teacher of putting her autistic son into a bag as punishment plans to address the school board next month. Sandra Baker was called to the Mercer County Intermediate School a couple weeks ago after her 9-year-old autistic son was misbehaving. She said she found him in a bag meant for therapeutic purposes, but the staff was instead using the bag as punishment. This week, Baker said her son has been unusually quiet since the incident.

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