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.
About 3,000 tons of salt is stored at a barn at the Streets and Roads maintenance facility on Old Frankfort Pike.
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.
Credit Pablo Alcala / Lexington Herald Leader
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.
Link Gregory waited Monday under his umbrella for a LexTran bus to arrive at this stop near Fire Station No. 9 on Richmond Road. The city received another heavy dose of rain, pushing it toward a record year.
Credit Lexington Herald-Leader
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.
Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said he was the happiest he has been in a long time with Thursday's announcement that 30 new police officers will be hired. The new recruits will begin training on Jan. 3.
Credit Greg Kocher / Lexington Herald-Leader
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.
This is a view from Oliver Lewis Way Bridge looking toward Rupp Arena. This rendering of the area around Rupp Arena was presented at a public meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
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.
When fingers started pointing, David Kleckner started worrying. Guests at a Keeneland buyers’ dinner were sampling lamb legs with his homemade barbecue sauce for the first time and fidgeting to find its creator. “They were asking about who’s responsible for the sauce,” Kleckner, 58, said. “I just thought, ‘Man, I hope nothing’s wrong.” But Kleckner’s concern dissipated as one person after another complimented his flavorful concoction and asked to buy some for themselves — by the gallon.
The first big shopping weekend of the holiday season has come and gone. It’s also a busy season for thieves. Police remind shoppers there are steps they can take to protect themselves. Lexington police spokesman Bige Towery says social networks are fun, but they can also provide useful information to criminals. “Checking in on Facebook…we let everyone know where we are…and we’ve got to be very careful about that because as soon as you check in somewhere, you’re letting everyone know that your friend or perhaps based on your privacy settings everyone know that your not at home,” said Towery.
The Louisville Fairness Campaign has released a study that says it would not cost Richmond, Kentucky taxpayers any additional money to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents from discrimination. Richmond has a human rights commission, but the city does not ban discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Fairness Campaign has sought to extend those protections, but opponents say it would cost too much money to enforce. The study from the state human rights commission has found that enforcement would be budget neutral. (Read the study here.)
An 18-year-old Berea resident has been charged with complicity to murder and attempted murder because he allegedly didn't do anything to stop a man from shooting two others Monday morning after a fight, police said Tuesday. Randall J. Burgess Jr. was charged Monday night in connection with the killing of Zackary Flower, 25, and the wounding of Kevin Price in an apartment building at 301 Chestnut Street. Burgess also was charged with first-degree burglary. Matt Denholm, 27, had been charged earlier Monday with murder in the double shooting along with assault and burglary. Police said roommates Flower and Price intervened Sunday night to help an unidentified man with whom Denholm was fighting in the apartment's parking lot. Denholm subsequently lost the fight but vowed to return. He broke through a door to get into the apartment Monday morning.
The state Transportation Cabinet says copper thieves recently disabled about 450 street lights along interstates and other major roads in Fayette and other Central Kentucky counties. The damage could total up to $500,000, depending on how many lights have to be completely replaced rather than simply repaired, according to a news release. Many of the lights that are affected are on the ramps for interstates 64 and 75. The state says it plans to fight the problem by installing surveillance cameras and a monitoring system that will detect instances of tampering with a lighting circuit. It will also have people periodically driving through affected areas to check for suspicious activity.
The future management of Fayette County Community Corrections continues to be a topic of keen interest at city hall. Interim jail director Ray Sabbatine went before the Urban County Council Tuesday. He was quizzed on personnel matters including over-time costs. “We’re wearing people out by doing that…because we’re having people work 16 hours three times a week…which is creating even more problems from the standpoint of turnover issues,” said Sabbatine.
By Greg Kocher, Lexington Herald-Leader and Jennifer Hewlett, Lexington Herald-Leader
UPDATED: Berea police are looking for a suspect possibly armed with rifles and other equipment after a Monday morning double shooting that killed one man and wounded another in a building across from city hall. The shooting victims have not been identified, said police spokesman Capt. Ken Clark. Berea College and some schools in Berea and Madison County are locked down as police look for the suspect, he said.