Lexington Council Backs $345 Million Budget

Jun 16, 2016

    Lexington’s city council has overwhelmingly given final approval to a $345 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  One item Thursday night did generate significant discussion prior to the vote.

Several council members offered high marks for the budget and the budget building process.  Council member Kevin Stinnett says significant gains are seen in funding for paving, police and fire, storm water, and code enforcement.  “Really worked with council before the budget came out to make sure we had in there what the citizens are calling us for,” said Stinnett.

Lexington Council Appears Ready to Act on Recreational Zoning

Jun 16, 2016

    Lexington leaders appear ready to move forward with a recreational zoning text amendment.  It’s been a point of discussion for the past few years.

The establishment of a zipline service in a rural section of Fayette County a few years ago started the discussion about permitted recreational uses.  Members of the council’s Planning and Public Safety Committee voted this week to make uses like canopy tours, hiking trails and canoeing conditional. 

Proposed Lexington Sports Complex Draws Opposition

Jun 15, 2016

Proposed funding to construct a multi-sport complex near the Versailes-New Circle road area is drawing criticism from residents living close to the site under consideration.  Tom Creech told city council members Tuesday the 130 acre site had been considered for a traditional park project.  “We’re kind of thrilled to see that you all are gonna put seven million in the budget. We just like to see this kind of park for all the people instead of a commercial development,” said Creech.

    Today’s ribbon cutting to recognize the renovation and expansion of Madison County’s Emergency Operations Center attracted military, local government, business, and interested citizen representation.  The scheduled disposal of chemical weapons stored nearby played a key role in the development of the center.

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — An official says it is expected to cost about $20 million to make repairs at a central Kentucky chemical weapons destruction plant. 

Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, the general contractor for the plant in Madison County, said it is seeking compensation from General Atomics of San Diego for the cost to replace piping with deficient welds since the welds were done by a subcontractor for that company.

New Drug Treatment Program Planned for Lexington Jail

Jun 9, 2016

A new long term substance abuse treatment program is being implemented at Lexington’s jail.  Members of a Lexington city council committee were briefed on the initiative this week.   Substance Abuse and Violence Intervention Program Director Amy Baker says the plan calls for a 20 bed six month treatment format for male inmates.  “To receive long term treatment in hopes that the issues that brought them there will be addressed in jail and when they get out of jail, the cycle will be broken.”


    Lexington officials are searching for a new tenant to locate in a historic building in the city’s downtown Gratz Park.  The hope is to have a resolution by this fall.

Public Reading of Council Ordinances, Resolutions to Continue

Jun 7, 2016

Another attempt to modify the Lexington Council’s rules and procedures to eliminate formal readings of certain ordinances and resolutions during meetings has failed to move forward.  The issue, brought forward by Vice Mayor Steve Kays, was before the council’s General Government and Social Services Committee Tuesday. 

Lexington Bikers Urged to Try Cycling to Work

May 20, 2016


There is an effort in Lexington to increase bike traffic to and from the workplace.  It’s right in line with today’s ‘National Bike to Work Day’ observance.

Information from the American Community Survey in 20-14 showed just over 1 percent of Lexington residents biked to work. 

Sidesaddle Competition Part of High Hope Event

May 20, 2016

The 48th High Hope Steeplechase event at the Kentucky Horse Park this weekend will include two new lady sidesaddle races.  High Hope Racing Director Michele Primm says it will represent the third leg in a sidesaddle series and feature European World Champion Susan Oaks.  

Primm says steeplechase racing dates back centuries to when people in England raced from one church steeple to another church steeple.

Lexington Council Seeks Bus Service to City Park

May 13, 2016

Lexington’s mass transit administrators are being asked to consider expanding service to public parks.   The initial inquiry centers on one large area of green space, Jacobson Park.

The request came from a number of council members during this week’s work session meeting.  Among them, council member Jennifer Mossotti, “What we’re trying to do is instill people to utilize our parks and not only the shopping centers but let’s get out there and be a little healthy.”

Lexington Council To Vote on $2.5 Million for Police Body Cameras

May 11, 2016

Lexington police are planning to roll out body cameras to some 400 officers this summer.  The $2.5 million dollar purchase must still win approval by the council. Members of the council’s planning and public safety committee got an update Tuesday. 

Assistant Police Chief Dwayne Holman says the money would go for 800 cameras, two for each user.  “We want officers to record from the initial contact throughout the conclusion of that encounter, whatever that law enforcement contact is, we want to record the start and end,” said Holman.

This week’s speaker in the Chautauqua Lecture series at Eastern Kentucky University says he’s concerned about the state of liberal education in the U.S.

Dr. Michael Roth is President of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and author of “Why Liberal Education Matters.”     

WEKU is joining the Richmond Register, The Downtown Richmond Association and the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Government in hosting an early debate among candidates for Richmond City Commission Monday evening, April 25.

Helping the Homeless, Focus of Lexington Awareness Campaign

Apr 25, 2016

A public awareness campaign on the best ways to help homeless persons is in the early stages of development in Lexington.  The campaign begins with a recommendation to not give cash to street corner solicitors.

Lexington Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Director Charlie Lanter says giving money can be a way of supporting a drug or alcohol addiction.  Lanter says such well-intended generosity can also serve to undermine existing agencies assisting the homeless.  “Giving them cash may actually be keeping them on the streets,” says Lanter.

Lexington Looking to Increase Recycling Fees

Apr 21, 2016

The city of Lexington is moving toward increasing fees for public and private entities using the recycling center.  The matter came before City Council’s Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee Tuesday. 

Lexington Water Improvement Projects Under Review

Apr 20, 2016


Lexington city leaders appear ready to change prioritization for select water drainage projects.  The issue came before the city council’s Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee Tuesday. 

Fayette PVA Adopting New Ag Classification Procedure

Apr 13, 2016

Fayette County’s Property Valuation Administrator is implementing a new agricultural classification taxation process.  David O’Neall detailed changes before the Lexington council Tuesday.  Current law allows property owners to receive property tax deferment for ten acres or more that’s used for agriculture.  O’Neall says requests must now come from current property owners.  “As properties sell, the new property owner will receive a letter from me saying, essentially, the ag classification is not transferable.  You’ll need to request it if you believe you qualify for it,” said O’Neall

UK Officials Want to Permanently Close Section of Rose Street

Apr 12, 2016


The University of Kentucky is asking Lexington officials to permanently close a portion of Rose Street.  Representatives made their case Tuesday at Lexington City Hall. 

Lexington City Leaders Eye More Park Cameras

Apr 11, 2016

Lexington’s city council is considering upgrading security at area parks.  It was a topic of discussion during last week’s committee meeting.


There are currently about 50 security cameras at Lexington Parks and Recreation facilities.  Police Lieutenant Mike Wright says cameras can have an effect on crime in any given area.  “It may lower the property crime at that location where the camera is, but citywide stats, it may just displace it to where the cameras aren’t,” said Wright.


Lexington Mayor Offers $345 Million Spending Plan

Apr 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the $345 million budget he’s recommending is a sign of a healthy and growing city. 

Before Gray even got into the nuts and bolts of his spending plan, he told his council audience there’s good give-and-take.  “We have lively debates and compromise,” Gray said. “We just do it Lexington style.  Like I said earlier, respectfully.”

Lexington Mayor to Unveil Budget Plan

Apr 5, 2016


The first week of April in the bluegrass brings a budget recommendation from the mayor of Kentucky’s second largest city.  As At least one Lexington council member isn’t expecting any major surprises from Mayor Jim Gray.

Chilton Named Lexington's New Fire Chief

Mar 24, 2016

The city of Lexington has a new fire chief.  The announcement came Thursday from Mayor Jim Gray. 

Kristin Chilton is Lexington’s first female fire chief. She has more than two decades of firefighting experience in the bluegrass.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Fire investigators are continuing to comb through debris at the former Blue Grass Stockyards in Lexington, searching for a cause for a massive weekend fire.  Governor Matt Bevin toured the scene Monday and talked to those impacted.

Lexington To Seek Proposals for Fiber Optic Network

Jan 22, 2016

Lexington is moving forward with plans to develop a much faster internet system throughout the urban community.  Members of the Council’s Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee were updated this week.  Chief Information Officer Aldona Valicenti says the aim is to get faster internet service out to neighborhoods.  “Businesses that will be part of doing, that’s the cost of doing business," said Valicenti. "The opportunity for individual citizens to have this capability in their home is really sort of at the heart of what we’re trying to do."

Lexington Mayor Urges Citizens to Stay Inside

Jan 22, 2016


Lexington officials are asking citizens to stay in today if at all possible.  Mayor Jim Gray says road crews have been preparing for this snowstorm for about a week.

The mayor says extra help to clear roads will be called in from several divisions along with private contractors.  

Citizens are being reminded not to park along marked snow emergency routes.  Emergency shelters will be open continuously through the weekend and the Catholic Action Center’s Compassionate Caravan will be out looking for people. 

Lexington Alpha League Offering Lessons in Leadership

Jan 20, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


This week’s Martin Luther King Junior event in downtown Lexington included an appearance by participants of the Alpha League, a program that involves primarily lower income black males.

Just over a dozen finely dressed middle school young men stood upright against the wall outside Heritage Hall.  One-by-one each stepped forward to make an announcement.

Lexington Mayor Spells Out City Gains in State of City Speech

Jan 19, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the Bluegrass community is “firing on all cylinders.”  Gray offered his annual State of the City speech before a large group of business and civic leaders Tuesday.

CentrePointe Project Questions Persist at Lexington City Hall

Jan 19, 2016

New developers took over downtown Lexington's CenterPointe project last August, but still no firm construction plan has been released.  The high profile venture came under scrutiny Tuesday at City Hall.  Council member Richard Moloney says he questions the city’s strategy at this point.  “The developers have already given us their recommendation," said Moloney. "I have decided, mayor, this is y’all’s hole."

Thousands Brave Biting Cold to Take Part in MLK Day Activities

Jan 18, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Frigid temperatures greeted citizens in the bluegrass who participated in Martin Luther King, Jr holiday activities on Monday.  The bitterly cold weather didn’t seem to diminish the number of marchers in downtown Lexington.