A six-to-one Kentucky Supreme Court ruling Thursday struck down minimum wage increases in the state’s two largest cities.  



Lexington’s minimum wage increased 95 cents in July to eight $8.20 an hour.  The rate was scheduled to go up two more times over the next two years before resting at $10.10.

Lexington Mayor Seeks Input on Gun Violence

Oct 19, 2016
Stu Johnson

Lexington city leaders are asking police how local government can help to reduce gun violence.  The issue came up for discussion at Tuesday’s council work session in reaction to the shooting death of Lexington Lafayette High School Sophomore Trinity Gay.  She died after being hit in an exchange of gunfire in a restaurant parking lot.  

Police Chief Mark Barnard says some of the best help could come from citizens who have information about those involved in violent crimes.


Lexington Council members now have updated information about private fundraising strategies for a major downtown park project.  Blue Grass Community Foundation’s Allison Lankford offered a report on the Town Branch Park Tuesday. 

The aim is to raise $31 million over a five-year period.    Lexington Businesswoman Ann Baakus is chairing the philanthropic portion of the drive.  She expects officials with the Lexington Center to honor previous verbal agreements about land for the park.  “Cause, they know, if their word isn’t good, they got trouble with me,” said Baakus.


Lexington is combining its public safety operations into one facility.  The move is expected to create more efficiency for day-to-day police and fire calls and disaster response.  The official ribbon cutting was Thursday. 

About a million calls annually come to emergency 9-1-1 and government assistance LexCall workers.  Staff at the new 15 million dollar Public Safety Operations Center will now handle all those calls.  Plus police, fire, and emergency management officials can be side by side.  


New regulations for distributing unsolicited materials in Lexington neighborhoods is advancing within the city council.  Proposed standards received committee approval Tuesday.  

Many households receive the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Community News publication.  Since it includes news and advertisements, publisher Rufus Friday told Council its distribution is constitutionally-protected.


A new snow removal law for residential sidewalks in Lexington could be in place this winter.  The ordinance got initial approval Tuesday.

The proposal would require homeowners to clear sidewalks within 48 hours after a snowfall of four or more inches.  The law would only effect properties on already-cleared streets.  Council member Peggy Henson cast one of the 11 votes in favor of the ordinance, saying, “I do not want to see another year of people walking in the middle of the street, trying to get to their bus stops or to work."

Stu Johnson

Lexington’s newest council member would like to see future growth restricted to inside the city’s current urban service boundary. 

Kathy Plomin was sworn in Wednesday during a city hall ceremony.  She hopes the city boundary stays put. “There’s a lot of acreage inside that’s underutilized,” noted Plomin.  “So, let’s take a look at that and perhaps look at regulations and make it easier for developers to build within the urban service boundary.”


Lexington police are developing informational material for the public about proper response to “stops” by law enforcement officers.  It will be included in a pamphlet that will soon be released.

The brochure is expected to include information on how to act when stopped in a car, on the street, or if an officer comes to a residence. 


Lexington council members will be asked to set aside money for infrastructure improvements that could bring new jobs.  Budget committee members discussed the details of the program Tuesday.  Funds could be used for road, sewer, sidewalk, streetscape, and public transportation improvements. 

Planning Commissioner Derek Paulsen says such improvements could encourage economic development.  “I think it’s one of those things we don’t want to make it just a downtown issue,” said Paulsen.

Leaders Discuss Snow Plan During Hot September

Sep 21, 2016

The thermometer may still be reaching into the upper 80’s this week, but Lexington city officials are talking snow at city hall.  A council committee took a look at the city’s snow plan Tuesday.

Stu Johnson

A ribbon cutting ceremony at a Lexington park to recognize a road widening project and park improvement included praise for two women who played a big role in the green space arena.  Several speakers remarked on their behind-the-scenes influence.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

A credit card ‘skimmer’ has been removed from a Richmond service station.  It was discovered earlier this month during a routine inspection by workers with the State Department of Agriculture.

The discovery of the credit card skimmer potentially saved customers thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges which could have been made with data stolen through the use of this device.  

Lexington Council Discusses Diversity Recruitment

Sep 13, 2016

Lexington public safety officials are working to increase the number of minorities in policing, fire protection, corrections, emergency management and emergency 911.  A number of barriers to increasing diversity were discussed during a council committee meeting Tuesday.

Public Safety Commissioner Ronnie Bastin told members of the General Government, Social Service Committee that agencies are reaching inside and outside the community to recruit employees. 

UPDATE AS OF 5:00 PM 9/9/16 

EKU officials say it could be three weeks before Lancaster Ave between Barnes Mill Rd. and Crabbe St. is re-opened.

- - - 

An accident has seriously damaged the pedestrian walkway over Lancaster Ave on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.

The incident, which occurred around noon Friday has shut down Lancaster between Barnes Mill Rd and Crabbe St. University officials say there were no injuries but the roadway is expected to remain closed for an extended period of time.


Lexington city officials are moving forward with an economic development initiative with grants aimed at businesses, non-profits and educational institutions.  Council members got an update last week during a committee meeting. 

Lexington Establishing Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Aug 31, 2016


The city of Lexington is about to launch a search for someone to head up diversity and inclusion efforts in local government.  A description of the position and responsibilities were offered to city leaders Tuesday.

Town Branch Commons Items Come Before Lexington Council

Aug 30, 2016

While construction is not slated to begin until 2018, Lexington’s Town Branch Commons trail and park project continues to get attention downtown.  It’s on Tuesday’s agenda of the Urban County Council. 

Jonathon Hollinger is senior administrative officer in planning, preservation, and development. He says council is being asked to approve a memorandum of understanding with the city, Bluegrass Community Foundation, Lexington Center, and the Downtown Management District. 

Effort Focuses on Tree Protection in Lexington

Aug 29, 2016
Stu Johnson WEKU News

A renewed effort is being made in Lexington to protect trees at city funded construction sites.  Members of the council’s Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee heard an update last week. 

Susan Plueger, Environmental Services Director, says the aim is to get all city departments on the same page when it comes to vegetation during capital construction.  “So, if you’re doing a construction project and you’re planning to keep certain trees, those trees need to be protected during construction so they’re not damaged,” 

Lexington Council to Review Police, Fire Disciplinary Notices

Aug 26, 2016


Lexington leaders are being asked to modify city council’s notification procedure for police and fire disciplinary reports.  The item will be considered in a special meeting.

Council acted Tuesday to include the matter on a special "committee of the whole" agenda.  Council member Susan Lamb wants to discuss including notification of routine disciplinary reports on council dockets. 

Lexington Council Debated Expanding Boundary

Aug 24, 2016


As the city of Lexington prepares to update its comprehensive plan, at least one council member believes it could include expansion of the urban service boundary.

The matter surfaced during council’s weekly work session.  The city’s plan for where development occurs is updated every four years.  The process starts in earnest in January.  The last time the boundary was expanded to any significant degree was 1996.

The Madison County Sheriff's department is investigating an incident that caused Eastern Kentucky University officials to issue multiple emergency alerts during the weekend. EKU sent out a campus alert shortly after 2:30 Sunday morning. 

The initial alert sent by email, text and voicemail to students, faculty and others in the Richmond area, reported a “dangerous situation” involving a “possibly armed individual.”

15 minutes later, university safety officials said four persons were detained by police on the EKU following an incident in which shots were fired off campus.

Lexington Charles Young Center Earns Historic Designation

Aug 17, 2016
Stu Johnson WEKU News


A Lexington community center, known for its cultural significance, especially among African Americans, now holds new historical prominence.  The Charles Young Center is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

The community center in Lexington’s East End opened in 1935.  It carries the name of Charles Young who born in Mays Lick Kentucky and the third African American to graduate from West Point. 

Council Rejects Motion on Streetlight Tax Hike

Aug 17, 2016

Lexington city leaders are beginning the annual process of setting property tax rates for taxpayers.  Once again the issue of paying for streetlights was debated Tuesday at city hall.

There are a number of property tax rates to consider this time of year.  For years, the assessment for city owned streetlights has not kept up with associated costs.  On the first meeting back after a summer break, council members considered a motion to raise rates. 

Lexington Police Accreditation Hearing Draws Small Crowd

Aug 9, 2016
Stu Johnson-WEKU News

A public meeting in downtown Lexington to solicit comment about the Division of Police attracted a relatively small group of people.  It was all part of a voluntary national accreditation process.

The two assessors, both police representatives from outside Kentucky, heard from five people during the hearing at city hall.  One of them was Don Fishback, who believes citizens might benefit from more information about police training.  “What kind of training do the police go through in high stress situations which is when it seems that things kind of go sideways,” said Fishback.

Library Director Weighs in on Possible Move

Aug 3, 2016

Officials with the city of Lexington are beginning to study the feasibility of buying the building that currently houses the downtown Public Library.  the move could be advantageous for both parties.

Accessibility Focus of Lexington’s Newest Playground

Aug 3, 2016
Stu Johnson-WEKU News


The official unveiling of Lexington’s newest destination playground includes a focus on accessibility.  A ribbon cutting for the half million dollar complex at Jacobson Park took place Tuesday morning.

Central Library Under Consideration For New City Hall

Aug 2, 2016


Lexington city officials are talking with Central Library administrators about a potential move for city hall.   It’s considered a ‘very early’ discussion.

A joint statement comes from Public Library Director Ann Hammond and Lexington Chief Administrative Officer Sally Hamilton.  It reads that the city and library are exploring the possibility of the city buying the Central Library building for a new city hall. 

FoodChain Kitchen Project Moves Forward

Aug 2, 2016


FoodChain, a Lexington based nonprofit, has announced plans to build a Processing Kitchen in Downtown Lexington. The kitchen is meant to both educate and possibly provide employment.

Rains Impact Tobacco Production This Summer

Aug 1, 2016

Although tobacco production in central Kentucky has fallen steadily over the last decade, local yields could be up this fall.  Steady rain showers over the next week could increase stress in the fields.

Lexington Police to Activate Body Cameras in August

Jul 28, 2016

A few weeks later than originally anticipated, the first shipment of body cameras is now in the hands of Lexington police.   


Earlier this spring, police officials thought body cameras might be incorporated gradually in June.  


They say a high demand for this type of body camera pushed back the start-up.   Officers will now begin using the video technology in mid August.  Initially 75 officers will each be issued two body cameras.