The destruction of chemical weapons was completed in 2011 in Anniston, Ala., and Umatilla, Ore. Meanwhile, construction continues on a pilot plant in Madison County that will begin to destroy a stockpile of chemical weapons in about five years. Construction of the plant at Blue Grass Army Depot south of Richmond is 45 percent complete. The plant won't be finished until 2016, and destruction of the 523 tons of weapons won't be finished until 2021, according to current schedules.A major milestone in the plant's construction came in October when workers finished installing the vessels that will neutralize the chemical agents and explosive components inside the World War II-era rockets and projectiles.
Most of the men living on a campus of three aging homes off Versailles Road have mental illness or developmental disabilities. "I get the ones that nobody else wants," said owner Ralph Messner. He says he runs a good home and often works more than 65 hours a week to meet the needs of the residents. But Kentucky officials have been investigating allegations of poor living conditions and have expressed a concern about the lack of government oversight at the homes for at least the second time since 1996.
The dispute over a playhouse built for a three-year-old with cerebral palsy in Lexington made national headlines earlier this month. Now, one Kentucky lawmaker is using the case to argue for a possible expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Cooper Veloudis's parents say the $5000 playhouse they built in their backyard is part of their son's therapy.
A committee appointed to reimagine Rupp Arena and a new downtown arts and entertainment district voted unanimously Saturday to renovate Rupp, approving a design that would strip the arena's industrial siding and replace it with a glass and translucent covering. When architectural consultant Gary Bates asked the planning committee for its reaction to the design, chairwoman and former Lexington Mayor Pam Miller responded, "We're bowled over." Bates walked the committee through the master plan during a conference call Saturday morning.
While protesters in other parts of the country have been asked to move along, ‘Occupy Lexington’ remains in position on a short stretch of sidewalk just off Main Street. Members of the protest movement expect to be there throughout the holidays and well into 20-12.
Embattled Lexington Fire Chief Robert Hendricks is no longer seeking a disability pension from the city after calling off a re-hearing set for Wednesday with the Police and Fire Pension Board. "On the rehearing for Robert Hendricks, that has been cancelled. It has been withdrawn," Administrative Specialist Susan Combs told board members.
The University of Kentucky is negotiating with a Memphis-based real estate company to take over its student housing by slowly rebuilding, then managing, all of UK's dorms. Education Realty Trust could spend as much as $500 million during the next several years to tear down and rebuild most of UK's existing housing, with 6,000 beds, and build facilities with an additional 3,000 beds. The private company then would control and manage all residential areas of campus.
Firefighters were trying to determine the cause for an overnight fire that destroyed the New Opportunity School for Women. Berea Fire Battalion Chief Shawn Sandlin said the school was nearly a total loss. Sandlin said firefighters have not determined a cause, but surveillance video from a nearby church shows something that has caught the attention of fire officials.
Every year Commerce Lexington, an organization that advocates for Lexington business, releases a new public policy statement. The group's 2012 agenda includes calls for new development incentives and tax credits.
Bah, humbug! A 16-foot, natural Christmas tree recently installed in the lobby at Lexington City Hall has to go. The Lexington fire department advised city officials Thursday that the tree constitutes a fire hazard and violates a state regulation prohibiting live or natural trees in places of public assembly. Battalion Chief Marshall Griggs said his department received a complaint about the tree, insisting that removing it has nothing to do with firefighters' recent disagreements with Mayor Jim Gray over health insurance.
City officials in Lexington say they are ready for whatever Mother Nature might bring this winter. Sam Williams, director of the city's Division of Streets and Roads, says nearly 7,000 tons of salt is on hand and more is on order. "Historical projections are that we use about 12 to 15,000 tons in a typical winter. So we plan for that."
Lexington Police are hoping to get more tips on crimes and suspects with a new website. The website is called IDThisPerson.com. It is used by law enforcement agencies around the nation to identify suspects or persons of interest related to criminal activity.
Lexington police hope a web site coupled with a 25-dollar reward will help them catch financial criminals. The division of police has signed up with a web site firm which posts pictures of suspects, victims, and witnesses. Sergeant Jody Stowers hopes Lexington area citizens will peruse I-D-this-person-dot-com .
A former Richmond police sergeant was indicted by a Madison County grand jury on 10 counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, the state attorney general's office said Wednesday. James "J.J." Rogers, 36, was arrested Tuesday at his Richmond home. He was lodged in the Madison County Detention Center in lieu of a $200,000 bond, according to jail personnel.
A Hart County grand jury has indicted a Berea man on charges of rape, kidnapping and incest, Kentucky State Police said Wednesday. Larry W. Hurley, 43, was indicted Tuesday in connection with an alleged Aug. 27 sexual assault involving an 18-year-old woman, said Detective Eric Salman of the Bowling Green post.
Forty Lexington fire department employees are expected to retire by the end of the year. That’s double the number which was anticipated just a few months ago. The news prompted some tense discussion Tuesday at city hall.
The Lexington firefighters' union has lost a court battle with the Urban County Government over changes to the health care plan for city employees. The Lexington firefighters' union had requested an injunction that would have prohibited the local government from instituting the new policy, which the union claimed violated collective bargaining agreements. City workers have expressed frustration with rate increases in the city's health plans for 2012. But Mayor Jim Gray says it's important that the city move ahead with some tough choices.
Hinako Regier was 9 years old, living with her family in Osaka, Japan, when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. "I thought we were all going to die," she said. The war left her family financially ruined. Regier moved to the United States in 1957, and she said she has spent much of her life working for peace.
Lexington has had the second-wettest year on record and is slightly more than 2 inches from tying the record for precipitation set in 1935, when the city received 65.76 inches. The rainfall helped break records for the wettest years in Louisville and Paducah.
Good communication is a critical element to ensure public safety. And it’s not just passing information from one police officer to another. It’s more important than ever as agencies are asked to respond to various types of emergencies. Lexington officials are preparing to make a sizeable investment in radio technology as required by the federal government.
A city-appointed task force is looking to resurrect the Charles Young Community Center on Lexington's east end. The group is recommending that the city retain ownership of the building but partner with local organizations to provide activities and programs.
After a two-year "dry spell" in which no new recruits were added to the police force, Lexington will hire a class of 30 trainees, Mayor Jim Gray announced Thursday. The Urban County Council approved the hirings on Thursday. The recruits are scheduled to begin training Jan. 3. Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said that Thursday "may be the happiest day that you've seen me have in a long, long time."
It’s difficult to wipe-away graffiti in public and sometime private locations for good. But, the city of Lexington does have a strategy for graffiti abatement. Workers in Lexington parks and recreation and sheriff’s departments are charged with graffiti cleanup. Parks and Recreation maintenance supervisor Tim Clark says the sooner they erase graffiti, the better.
At a public meeting Wednesday, a consultant unveiled ambitious preliminary ideas for reinventing Rupp Arena and the surrounding area in downtown Lexington. Architect and urban planner Gary Bates, hired by the city's Arena, Arts & Entertainment Task Force, proposed a route tying the University of Kentucky campus more closely to downtown, and a continuous commons area — a central park connecting public spaces from Cox Street to the East End.
Lexington’s mayor today asked state lawmakers to loosen their reigns on his city so it can enact pension reforms. Like most Kentucky cities and the Commonwealth itself, Lexington needs to fix its pension program. But unlike other Kentucky communities, the state must approve any pension reforms enacted by Lexington’s city leaders. “The headline in all that is we’ve got problems there…you all know about these problems…you’ve got them at the state level to…ours is unique because you have a special legislation associated with Lexington,” said Jim Gray.
Lexingtonians will have two chances this week to comment on a proposal to create a 46-acre Rupp Arena Arts & Entertainment District downtown. Former UK faculty member and master planner for the Rupp Arena project Gary Bates is set to discuss his ideas and take comments from the public at a meeting at 6 PM Wednesday night at the Lexington Children's Theatre. Bates will also attend a Q&A session with downtown merchants and property owners Thursday at 1:30 PM at Buster's.
Renovating Rupp Arena would cost less than half of what the city would spend to build a new arena, and at the same time would include the priorities that the University of Kentucky says it wants in a basketball facility, according to a new feasibility study. Renovation would cost between $110 million and $130 million, compared to $300 million to $325 million for a new arena, according to the technical study that looked at long-term needs for the downtown arena and adjacent Lexington Center.
Scores of postal workers and customers turned out Monday night to voice their opposition to a proposal to shift Lexington's mail-processing operations to Louisville or Knoxville. About 300 workers would be affected if the proposal to shut down operations at the Nandino Boulevard postal processing center is implemented. The post office has said that moving the operations out of Lexington would create more jobs in Louisville and Knoxville, but 103 positions would be eliminated entirely.