Although it will be years before vehicles cross it, the cost to pass over a new Ohio River bridge near Louisville is being discussed now. A consulting firm announced Tuesday toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project include a likely one dollar fee for frequent users. Other assumed rates are two dollars for other two axle vehicles, five dollars for medium trucks and ten dollars per heavy loads. Official toll rate setting will be the job of a Kentucky-Indiana Joint Tolling Board.
The state is offering a new program to educate and train skilled minority and female workers for careers in construction. ‘Bridges to Opportunities’ is a training program aimed at filling a need for women and minority workers in the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project. Governor Beshear notes the Ohio River Bridges will be finished in a few years. He adds ‘those who complete our program will be armed with the skills for a lifetime career.’
Their lives are delineated by a great divide: Before the tornado, and after the tornado. Yet survivors of the storms that tore through Eastern and Southern Kentucky on March 2, 2012, causing 25 deaths and millions of dollars in damages, have refused to allow personal tragedies to define their lives. They remember, but they move on. They grieve, but they live. Here are the stories of some survivors, one year after their lives were turned upside down.
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of severe weather which took the lives of many Kentuckians and caused millions of dollars in structural damage. The March second, 2012 tornadoes caused vast devastation with the bulk of the damage in communities like West Liberty, Salyersville, East Bernstadt, and Piner. Statewide, 25 people were killed and more than 45 hundred homes impacted. 671 of those houses were destroyed.
Kentucky's incarceration rate for youth has decreased in the past several years—but not by as much as the national average, said an Annie E. Casey Foundation report released Wednesday. And Kentucky and two other states are responsible for 60 percent of the nation’s juvenile incarcerations because of court order violations for status offenses—crimes applied to youth such as truancy and alcohol consumption.
Joined by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, the Kentucky Habitat for Humanity foundation celebrated their 20th year of service in the commonwealth with a Capitol rally. Founded in 1993, Kentucky Habitat for Humanity works with affiliations across the state to build homes in much needed areas. They also have helped rebuild West Liberty and other affected areas from the March 2012 tornadoes.
The Kentucky Senate approved a bill Tuesday designed to improve school safety, hours after a House member unveiled a similar bill he said was "a common-sense approach" and "cost-effective." The proposals do not call for new spending, although state funding for school safety has dropped by 60 percent in recent years, Gov. Steve Beshear said in his State of the Commonwealth speech last week. Only 241 Kentucky schools, or 19 percent, have a trained law enforcement officer on staff, according to Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety.
WEST LIBERTY – Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers Monday joined federal, state and local officials to announce a unique $29.3 million funding effort to help Morgan County rebuild from the disastrous storm and tornado damage suffered in March 2012. The funds, supported by both public and private sectors, will support the reconstruction of five major building projects in the county – projects that are critical to stabilizing services and restoring a sense of permanency to the community.
Kentucky is one step closer to enacting a statewide smoking ban after legislation sailed Thursday through the House Committee on Health and Welfare. House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, a Democrat of Lexington, would prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment.
Many Kentucky county leaders would say having sufficient funds to maintain government services remains one of their biggest worries. County officials from across the Commonwealth are in Lexington for the 31st Kentucky County Judge Executive Association Winter Conference. ‘County Consolidation’ is a term which has been uttered at the state capital, but never gotten much traction. Mason County Judge, James Gallenstein believes some regionalization would produce savings.
A recently released poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians favor the expansion of gambling in the state. Sixty percent of Kentuckians said they support expansion when asked a broad yes or no question about it, The Courier-Journal’s Bluegrass Poll said.
Sheriffs in southcentral Kentucky have varied positions on President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals. Some, such as Simpson County Sheriff Chris Cline, completely oppose the proposals, saying such laws would infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The intention behind Obama’s gun control proposals was to ensure people are safe, Warren County Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines said. “Different people will go to extremes about what the president has said,” Gaines said. “But I think he’s just trying to protect the people.”
A bulldozer moved coal at a processing tower at an Arch Minerals facility in Knott County on Wednesday. The company closed the underground mine at the site, but still uses a coal-processing facility and a tipple to load rail cars.
A sharp drop in Eastern Kentucky coal production has created million-dollar budget shortfalls that could bring layoffs and tax increases to some coal counties. In Knott County, the fiscal court appointed a committee last week to recommend ways to deal with a projected shortfall of $1.2 million in budgeted coal severance tax receipts. "You can't pay your bills at this point," Andrew Hartley, staff attorney for the state Department for Local Government, told officials at the fiscal court meeting.
Approval of a new lease agreement today by the Kentucky State Fair Board moves the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom to as early as spring 2014. The investors, Kentucky Kingdom LLLP, now must secure the final private loans – worth $25 million - before the park can open, according to a news release from the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
A trio of film creators has been hitting the streets, the courts, the jail and public officials’ offices, asking questions about Northern Kentucky’s heroin problem. Lucy Treadway, a Los Angeles freelance producer and director, Ameer Mabjish, a public defender for Kenton County, and Julian Starks, a Los Angeles filmmaker and Mabjish’s uncle, are in town making “the heroin documentary,” an as-yet untitled film.
Gov. Steve Beshear says he approves of a plan to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom theme park. The final details of a plan may change depending on negotiations between state officials and the lone group — led by businessman Ed Hart — to respond to the state's request for proposals. Beshear says he's behind the deal and he expects the fair board to approve. “Assuming that the group can get their private financing, the state's ready to go and I think the fair board's ready to go," Beshear told WFPL on Wednesday. "When that lease is approved, we're ready and waiting.”
Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign leaders say they plan to use the small eastern Kentucky city of Vicco as a model for grassroots movements pushing fairness ordinances in other cities. Last week, Vicco became the fourth Kentucky city and the smallest city nationwide to adopt a fairness ordinance. The law protects all residents from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion or age.
By Kentucky Press News Service & Kentucky Press News Service
PIKEVILLE – The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet’s Division of Fire Protection Tuesday announced a partnership with the Kidde Co. and the Pike County Firefighters Association to install 250 smoke detectors in homes throughout Pike County. The Kidde Co., located in Mebane, N.C., is a manufacturer of fire safety products including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers and has donated the smoke detectors.
The scene is the same at many gun stores: shelves that once held semiautomatic rifles, boxes of ammunition and high-capacity magazines are barren. Concealed-carry training classes are filled to capacity. And shooters have hit the gun ranges to pop off dozens of practice rounds. In Kentucky, like other states with lenient gun laws and an entrenched gun culture, people are rushing to stock up on rifles, handguns, spare clips and ammunition. Prices are rising to meet the demand.
A special edition of Kentucky Tonight features Bill Goodman and Renee Shaw examining the causes and possible solutions of poverty in Kentucky. The program which airs Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television, will be re-broadcast Tuesday morning at 11:00 on the WEKU Stations.
Strong winds and a possible tornado damaged two churches and a grain silo in Western Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, according to the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. A gym at North Livingston Baptist Church was destroyed, and the steeple was blown off of Hampton Methodist Church in Livingston County. In Hickman County, a grain bin was blown over in Clifton, and U.S. 51 was closed from Martin Road to Ky. 780. In Carlisle County, Ky. 80 was closed between Arlington and Columbus in the Arlington West End area. The storms flooded roads and caused minor damage in other counties as
Low-income Kentuckians who work in other states would be exempt from paying bridge tolls under a new bill filed in the General Assembly. House Bill 129 would allow any Kentuckian who commutes across state lines and who qualify for the earned income tax credit to seek reimbursement for tolls they pay going to and from work.
By Scott Wartman & The Kentucky Enquirer & Scott Wartman
The Newtown, Conn., tragedy and other shootings across the nation have sharply increased debate about stricter gun laws, but they won’t likely change Kentucky’s status as one of the most lenient states for gun laws. Both Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky said they don’t foresee anyone proposing any stricter gun laws in the upcoming session starting Jan. 8. Some, however, want to discuss the issue of allowing teachers to carry weapons in schools or increasing the number of school resource officers.
It hardly seems possible that 2012, the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s 220th year, has come to an end. As with most years, there was good news and bad news, joy and sorrow, beginnings and endings. What will we remember most? Wildcat basketball fans will remember 2012 as the eighth year of nirvana for Kentucky’s secular religion. The University of Kentucky men’s team beat Kansas 67-59 to win its eighth NCAA crown and the first since 1998.
The next round of winter weather will arrive later today and likely continue for about 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service office in Louisville. Northcentral Kentucky will see rain this afternoon and it will begin to change over to a mix of rain and snow after sunset tonight. Around midnight, the mix will turn to all snow. Northcentral Kentucky will probably see 1 to 3 inches of snow by Saturday morning, the weather service said. Scattered snow showers could bring an additional inch in spots by Saturday afternoon.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky State Police, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, will be out in full force during the New Years Eve holiday. The official holiday enforcement period begins today at 6 p.m. and will continue through Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 11:59 p.m. Last year, traffic crashes across Kentucky claimed the lives of six people during the New Years Eve holiday period. There were 1,314 crashes reported for that time frame and 63 of those involved alcohol.
FRANKFORT - Kentucky continues to make progress in limiting retail sales of tobacco to minors, according to a recently released survey from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The 2012 Annual Synar Buying Survey of Kentucky retail tobacco outlets showed that 94.4 percent of retailers complied with the law barring tobacco sales to anyone under the age of 18. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted the survey during the summer to measure the rate of illegal sales of tobacco to Kentucky youths.