About 50 people attended a Whitley County UNITE Coalition forum Monday evening to discuss the impact of Kentucky's new 150-page penal code reform act, and whether the pros of the new law outweigh the cons of it. Proponents say the reform is Kentucky getting "smart" on crime, while critics say it is the state getting "softer" on crime sacrificing public safety to save money. The consensus of the group, if there was one, is that eventually the new law will probably help Kentucky's recidivism rate among criminals namely drug offenders, but that the crime rate might get worse under the new reforms before it gets better.
Five months after Lexington Mayor Jim Gray called for a review of the Fayette County Detention Center it appears there will be not one, but two groups looking for ways to make improvements. Sheriff Kathy Witt recently presented her findings on conditions at the jail, and Lexington Deputy Police Chief David Boggs delivered his report Tuesday. Boggs says the jail needs less micro-managing and more leadership. "Really the resounding theme came back that that needed to be an increased emphasis on communication so the employees in the organization felt heard."
Jail employees in Clay County strip-searched a Fayette County woman without justification and made racial slurs after she was arrested at a public pool with a biracial child, the woman has charged in a federal lawsuit. One female guard subjected Jennifer C. Philpot to a rough, painful body cavity search even though there was no cause to suspect she was hiding contraband, the lawsuit said.
Today marks the day that a new state law drastically rewriting Kentucky’s criminal code goes into effect. Local prosecutors and law enforcement believe that new law likely will worsen the drug problems in Harlan County. “The way it looks like the law is going to be implemented, it will make the drug epidemic worse,” said Commonwealth Attorney Henry Johnson. “They are taking away all the tools we have to fight the drug problem.”
It’s getting down to decision time as Lexington leaders write a new budget. Some spending decisions could come as soon as Thursday. Members were told today (Tuesday) that city revenues are higher than predicted. However, Council member Doug Martin worries about projections for the new fiscal year which begins in July.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park became only the fourth park in the Kentucky State Resort Park system to be a StormReady supporter. In addition to the state designation, the park and resort at Buckhorn Lake is only the fourth state park in the entire United States to get that designation by the National Weather Service. Officials of Buckhorn Lake, the Kentucky Department of Parks and the National Weather Service Office in Jackson were on hand at the park's Conference Center on Friday to make the presentation and present the plaque.
Former state representative Steve Nunn, who is in jail awaiting trial on a murder charge, was placed in protective custody in the Fayette County jail Monday after he allegedly was threatened by another inmate. It was the second such incident in a month. Nunn, accused of killing his former fiancée, Amanda Ross, was beaten up by an inmate while the two were playing basketball May 9.
Lexington police and attorneys for Glenn Doneghy, accused of murder in the death of Lexington police officer Bryan Durman, are looking for a videotape of a woman who allegedly says on the video that she was driving the vehicle that struck and killed Durman last year. The existence of such a tape was discussed Monday during a hearing in Doneghy's case in Fayette Circuit Court.
Construction began Monday night on a project intended to alleviate congestion at the Harrodsburg and New Circle Road interchange in Lexington. he project is the first in the state and one of only a handful in the nation that uses what's known as a double crossover diamond or diverging diamond design, which has motorists crossing over and driving on the left side of the road.
Fifty-two Harlan Countians, primarily residents of Benham, Cumberland and Lynch, have been indicted on drug charges. The indictments followed a year-long undercover investigation that primarily revolved around the sale of OxyContin, hydrocodone and Suboxone. A majority of the pills purchased during the investigation originated in Florida, officials said.
Many say the un-official start to summer is Memorial Day. If you agree with that premise, then it’s already been a pretty hot summer. A weather specialist at the University of Kentucky says it’s hard to say what comes next. Many Kentuckians may already be thinking about fall, dreaming about cooler temperatures. Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21st, but a great deal of hot humid weather has already come to many Kentucky communities.
It’s going to be easier for Kentuckians with associate degrees at an eastern Kentucky school to move into full-fledged Bachelor’s degree programs. On Monday (today) Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State and Hazard Community and Technical College announced details of a collaborative regional education program. EKU President Doug Whitlock says it’s called the Associate to Baccalaureate Degree Pathway
Starting tonight, construction of a new kind of interchange could slow evening traffic flow in Lexington. Work began last week on what’s called a “double cross over diamond interchange” along Harrodsburg Road.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has resumed rehabilitation work on part of Wolf Creek Dam in southern Kentucky. Officials began repairs in 2006 after determining the dam could fail, which would cause major flooding in several downstream cities, including Nashville. The dam’s condition also forced engineers to lower water levels on Lake Cumberland. Project manager David Hendrix says completion of the repairs is more than two years away.
Kentucky’s best known education advocacy group is examining new academic standards and what they may mean for both students and teachers. The annual spring meeting is taking place at a central Kentucky state park.
FRANKFORT - Gov. Steve Beshear Friday announced funding for water supply projects in several Eastern Kentucky counties. Residents living along or in KY HWY 476 (Breathitt), Mudlick/Franks Creek (Johnson), Paintsville Lake area (Johnson), Dry Creek/Clear Creek (Knott), Treadway Road (Lee/Owsley), Trace Fork/Spicy Ridge (Martin), Whoopflarea (Owsley/Perry), South Perry (Perry) and Vicco (Perry/Letcher) should be noticing the construction of a water supply project funded by the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands in their communities.
Federal inspectors issued 30 citations at an underground coal mine in Letcher County during a special inspection last month, according to a news release. Among other things, the citations allege that the operator of Vision Coal Inc.'s Mine No. 2 failed to follow the approved plans for supporting the mine roof and drilling test holes, exposing miners to potential injuries from roof falls and the danger of being inundated by water and harmful gases, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said.
Hundreds of Lexington citizens took the opportunity to view and discuss new plans for a large grass field in the middle of downtown. More than three hundred people crowded into the old courthouse inside the Lexington History Center for a public meeting on the long-delayed CentrePointe project. Chicago Architect Jeanne Gang and her firm, Studio Gang, presented their re-imagined ideas for the lot which has been vacant for nearly three years.
Trail maintenance is an ongoing need in natural areas all across Kentucky. In response, Saturday has been designated National Trails Day. Volunteers in eastern Kentucky will work on a couple of trail projects. Workers will gather near the Cumberland Falls area to re-route a quarter mile portion of trail along Bark Camp Creek in Whitley County. Steve Barber is executive director of the Sheltowee Trace Association.
Lexington's Police and Fire Pension Fund was the hot topic at Thursday's meeting of the Lexington Forum. Brenna Angel reports on what both sides had to say. Councilmember Doug Martin came armed with a packet of information about the Lexington Police & Fire Pension Fund, which has an unfunded liability of $200 million. Martin says the fund should be closed to new employees and benefits should be adjusted.
The FBI special agent who headed a watershed investigation into public corruption in Clay County has died. Timothy S. Briggs, 46, apparently suffered a heart attack while jogging with another agent Tuesday near the FBI office in London. Briggs was a dogged, hard-working investigator who was passionate about rooting out corruption and other crimes, said officials who worked with him.
Work on the Fox Valley Dam project is once again under way after inclement weather put a damper on progress. The Fox Valley Dam was found to be "partially incompliant" by the Kentucky Office of Dam Safety nearly two years ago because several structures were built in its "breach zone."
When members of the Patrick family took to their yard for a Memorial Day weekend picnic, little did they know their gathering would be crashed by an unwanted visitor - a five-foot tall black bear. The bear raided the family's grill, helping itself to hamburgers, hot dogs, buns and other goodies. The animal was eventually shot by a state wildlife officer.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has released the results of its April impact inspections, and two Kentucky coal mines were among the eight cited. MSHA began conducting impact inspections after last year’s explosion in a West Virginia coal mine, and the agency targets mines with a history of compliance problems.
A heartfelt first meeting took place Tuesday at the Harlan County Courthouse, but the connection that brought the two together goes back over 65 years. Henry Lee Burkhart was one of many young men from Harlan County who fought in World War II. He was killed on Feb. 5, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge and was buried nearby. But Burkhart's family never knew where he was buried until they were contacted by a Belgian woman who told them she had been caring for Burkhart's grave. Now, the two families have met face to face.
Enforcement of new regulations included in Madison County’s smoking ban begins next week. The local Clean Indoor Air Regulations now officially cover Hookahs and electric cigarettes. The Clean Indoor Air policy currently prohibits smoking in public places in Madison County. The smoking ban broadens Monday to include hookahs and electronic cigarettes and eliminates the exemption for retail tobacco stores. Christie Green with the Madison County Health Department says six inspectors will be monitoring the community.
The Fayette County School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to three individuals. The decision was made Tuesday night following a two hour closed door session. Names of the three finalists are expected to be announced today after they agree to interview for the position. The three were chosen from among 14 applicants coming from ten states including Kentucky.
Frankfort developer Michael Davenport returned today from Joplin, Mo., where he and his family helped distribute supplies and gave $100 bills to survivors. A tornado struck the area on May 22 killing 146, and 29 are still missing. Davenport said he felt called to help the survivors and left Friday in his motor home to deliver supplies to a church there. “God put it on my heart,” he said.
Jean Miller celebrated Memorial Day at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville in honor of her husband and brother-in-law, who are both buried there. She and friend Dottie VanWinkle, both of Lexington, braved the early afternoon heat to be part of the annual memorial service that included stories from veterans and music by the West Jessamine High School Band.
Two Vietnam veterans are helping a third who’s been living in his garage since his home burned down six years ago. Dennis Quisenberry was an Air Force mechanic from 1966 to 1969, including 16 months in Vietnam. His house on Cardwell Lane burned down in 2005, and he’s been living in his garage since. For the last eight months, Larry Arnett, deputy commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, and Carlos Pugh, former state commander of the VFW, have been trying to help Quisenberry. Arnett was a helicopter pilot and Pugh was a combat engineer – both served in Vietnam.