Reforms to Kentucky’s criminal justice system still concern some prosecutors. Lawmakers this week celebrated their success, saying the law reduced prison populations, cut corrections costs and enhanced drug treatment programs. While it’s a step in the right direction, Russell and Wayne County Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Leveridge has a problem with deferred prosecution. Leverage says it puts some accused drug possession offenders back on the street, without any penalty.
It’s just about crunch time as Kentucky’s trees take on their autumn colors. Big Bone Lick State Park Manager Dean Henson says the peak viewing period for fall foliage is almost always the second and third weeks of October. It’s been a good year for rainfall, but Henson says weather conditions now are key in helping to make leaf colors radiant.
Federal records show more than 100 bridges across Kentucky have advanced deterioration and are at risk of collapsing. The head of the state’s transportation agency blames the situation largely on more and heavier traffic than existed when the bridges were first built.
Kentucky’s Fish and Wildlife Commission is seeking fee increases for some licenses and permits. The request doesn’t impact basic hunting and fishing licenses for Kentucky adults. Among the changes being proposed by the Commission is to increase the deer permit for residents five dollars and the deer permit for non-residents one hundred dollars.
Officials with Kentucky’s Fish and Wildlife Department say federal authorities have confirmed a gray wolf was killed earlier this year in the Commonwealth. The state agency says wolves have been virtually gone from Kentucky since the mid 1800’s. It’s a mystery as to how the endangered animal wound up in Hart County in March.
The ex-wife of a former Kentucky lawmaker serving life without parole for murdering another woman is launching her book Wednesday. Tracey L. Damron was married to former Rep. Steve Nunn, the son of the late former governor Louie B. Nunn, while he served in state government. A news release says the book, "Trail of Feathers," covers "love, death, murder, political power, deception, the supernatural and ultimately spiritual consciousness."
Military aircraft takes off from Frankfort's Capitol City Airport.
Credit Kentucky National Guard
Three Kentucky airports are sharing more than $1 million in federal grants. The grants will go to the Fleming-Mason Airport in Flemingsburg, the Marion-Crittenden County Airport and Frankfort's Capitol City Airport. The money was awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration, and it will cover a large percentage of the project costs.
Racehorse rescued from slaughterhouse by American Humane Society.
Credit The American Humane Society
A federal judge in Albuquerque is expected to decide Friday whether companies in New Mexico and Iowa can begin slaughtering horses next week. The Humane Society of the United States and others are requesting a restraining order to block Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, from opening their slaughterhouses as planned on Monday.
A Kentucky judge is seeking input from the state attorney general's office before deciding whether a law exempting spouses from testifying against each other applies to two women in a civil union from Vermont. Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson says the attorney general's office should be given a chance to respond.
Far fewer Kentucky children are spending time in jail for such things as skipping school and running away from home. The Courier Journal reports Judges across the Commonwealth have cut in half the number of kids they are incarcerating for non-criminal offenses. The data comes from the Kentucky Youth Advocates. It shows the number of jailed juveniles fell from almost 23 hundred in 2007 to just under 11 hundred last year.
Licensed medical professionals in the military are offering free medical care to western Kentucky residents. The Paducah Sun reports the program ‘Innovative Readiness Training’ provides medical screening, non-emergency medical treatment, minor lab tests, optometry exams, and free glasses. The program will begin taking patients next week in Mayfield.
A Louisville couple on Friday challenged Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages, saying the state isn't putting them and other same-sex couples on equal footing with other married couples. Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon are asking a federal judge in Louisville to require the state to recognize valid unions from other states and countries.
Jim Obergefell (on right) and his attorney Al Gerhardstein exit the federal courthouse after presenting their case Monday.
Credit Holly Yurchison / WVXU News
Judge Timothy Black has granted the temporary restraining order. This means Ohio is now prohibited, in the event of John Arthur's death, from issuing a death certificate that doesn't indicate that he was married and name his spouse. Saying it's unconstitutional to single out a group of people just because the have differing views, Federal Judge Timothy Black promised to act expeditiously Monday in the case of a Cincinnati same-sex couple married in Maryland who want their marriage recognized in Ohio. Read more...
Heavy rains around the Fourth of July seriously damaged burley tobacco fields in the Bluegrass. Some fields were flooded when several inches of rain fell in just a few hours. Other fields, given the wet, cool weather, have struggled all season. Steve Pratt manages the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative.
Locally grown watermelons are about to make their first appearance this season at Kentucky’s farmers’ markets. Although not in the same league as watermelon growers in many southern states, the Commonwealth produces quite a few melons. University of Kentucky Horticulturalist John Strang says it’s a delicacy that Kentuckians crave.
Instead of fireworks, lightning will likely light up the skies over the Commonwealth this holiday weekend. Rain and thunderstorms remain a strong possibility. So far in 20-13, much of Kentucky has experienced cool, damp weather conditions. Still, on Wednesday of this week, University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Matt Dixon said it was dryer than it was in 20-11.
Weather permitting, most Kentuckians will enjoy a full array of fireworks this holiday weekend. For over a year, state law has permitted exploding and flying pyrotechnics. State Fire Marshall Bill Swope says the only exceptions are larger cities that have enacted tougher local ordinances.
A rookie Democrat will represent Woodford, Franklin, and Fayette Counties in Frankfort. The election of Attorney James Kay also maintains his party’s majority in Kentucky’s lower house. Three candidates vied for the vacant seat in Tuesday’s special election. James Kay defeated Republican Lyen Crews and Independent John Mark Hack. The 30 year old Kay believes his youth was an advantage.
Governor Beshear is calling lawmakers back to Frankfort the end of this summer to tackle legislative and judicial redistricting. The session will begin on August 19th in Frankfort. Governor Beshear says leaders in both chambers have indicated a willingness to use the same census numbers for redrawing legislative and judicial boundaries as were used for Congressional redistricting in 2012. So, the governor is not including Congressional redistricting on the agenda for the upcoming special session.
Kentucky is receiving more than six million dollars for its efforts to curb unregulated online gambling across the state. The court settlement comes following action taken in 2008 when the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet filed suit. The legal action was aimed at seizing 141 domain names used to conduct unauthorized and unlicensed internet gambling in Kentucky. It was the first lawsuit of its kind in the country.
Interstate ramp maintenance in Madison County could impact traffic and businesses along I-75 over the next week or so. Crews are working to mill, resurface, and restripe ramps at three interstate exits. Jack Wyatt has operated a gas station at one exit for 33 years. He says most previous repair work hasn’t carried as big an impact. “I mean they widen the roads out front, put a new bridge in, but they didn’t, it didn’t slow traffic down that much, cause they always had lanes of traffic they were working on, but they had other lanes of traffic that was open,” said Wyatt. Kentucky Transportation Department Spokeswoman Natasha Lacy says ramps will not be shut down for extended periods of time. She says the plan calls for three to four closures during each day of work.
In the wake of the killing of one of their own officers, Bardstown Police are now dealing with threats against other cops. Police Chief Rick McCubbin said this morning that his department received multiple threats — by letter, phone and social media. "They were non-specific threats," he said, explaining that they did not name particular officers. McCubbin said police have no suspects as to who sent the letter. "The specific language, I can't put out, but the basic gist of them was that there were more to come," he said. "We're going to treat them as if they're credible." Read more...
BARDSTOWN — On the seventh anniversary of taking the oath as a Bardstown police officer, Jason Ellis was laid to rest Thursday after a funeral that drew law enforcement officers from surrounding states. Police from Chicago, Pennsylvania, Ohio and all over Kentucky were among those who attended the funeral at Parkway Baptist Church, just off Blue Grass Parkway in Bardstown. Hundreds of police cruisers and other emergency vehicles made the 20-mile procession to the rural cemetery in Chaplin where Ellis was buried. The route was lined with American flags flapping in the breeze. Read more...
Summer-like heat continues today before we cool down and see some rain this weekend. It will be partly sunny later with a high of 87 degrees. There’s a slight, 20 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight before 9 p.m. The overnight low will hover around 69. The chance for rain and thunderstorms increases to 50 percent on Friday. It will be partly sunny with a high of 86. More rain could fall Friday night into Saturday morning. Saturday will remain balmy and in the mid-80s. We could see severe thunderstorms develop Saturday afternoon and night. The main threat will be winds gusting up to 60 mph and quarter-size hail. Read more...
An artists rendition of the new downtown Louisville crossing.
Credit Ohio River Bridges Project
Over the next several weeks, construction on the Ohio River Bridges Project will accelerate. Here's what the Louisville area needs to know about where this project has been, where it stands now and what is to be expected in the future. Kentucky and Indiana officials broke ground Wednesday on the East End section of what will be a years-long overhaul to the region’s interstate system. What comes next will be more workers taking to the sites, traffic changes, final decisions on tolling and more. Read more...
One year ago, life returned to the normal in the area known as the Lakeland. With the sound of vehicle engines from both the Marshall County and Trigg County sides, the venerable Eggners Ferry Bridge returned to its duty of supplying a route over Kentucky Lake between those counties. This came just 121 days after the massive cargo ship The Delta Mariner tore a 322-foot span away from the bridge when it crashed into it on the night of Jan. 26, 2012.
Widespread showers and thunderstorms will strike today, with the worst expected mid-afternoon.Winds could gusting up to 58 mph with quarter-size hail anytime after 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. Tornadoes cannot be ruled out, but the threat for them to develop is small, said meteorologist Scott Hickman. The high temperature will peak near 80 at 5 p.m.
Beginning today and continuing through June 2, Kentucky State Police will be participating in the “Click It or Ticket” national, seatbelt enforcement campaign. The federal highway safety initiative focuses on seatbelt and child restraint enforcement as well as driver education.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, transportation agencies and highway patrols across the area are gearing up for a busy time on the roads. With that, comes an emphasis on seat belt safety. AAA announced their commitment to joining the “Click It or Ticket” effort Thursday, holding an event at their Florence location. Read more...
Louisville Zoo officials say the zoo's oldest polar bear passed away today from unknown causes. Arki was 28 years old, and came to Louisville in 2011 from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. According to Polar Bears International, the bears live an average to 15 to 18 years in the wild, but in captivity can live into their mid- to late 30s. The oldest known polar bear in captivity--Debby, who lived in a Canadian zoo--was 42 years old. Read more...