Mike Razor, Executive Director of Enforcement with ABC, outside a Lexington watering hole.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Drunken college students are almost as common on campus as football games and Saturday night parties. The penalties for the providers and abusers of alcohol are tough, but some young people now pursue drunkenness with a new intensity.
The front entrance to the Lorillard Lofts, 201 Price Rd., in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, July 25, 2013. Homeless advocates want to turn the bankrupt Lorillard Lofts into a center that provides homeless services, healthcare and housing.
Credit Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald Leader
Efforts to turn an unsuccessful condo complex into a housing and service center for Lexington’s homeless residents continue. The Lorillard Lofts just off West Main Street sits less than half full. Several years ago, the one time tobacco warehouse was converted into condos. Both developers and the city hoped to attract young professionals downtown. Instead, the complex could soon serve Lexington’s street people.
UK researchers found a link between affordable, decent housing and safe public transportation.
Credit Keith Reed / Flickr, Creative Commons
A new funding formula for Lexington’s social service agencies is in the works. Millions of tax dollars go to organizations that provide services on behalf of the city. They provide assistance in areas like housing, employment, and health care. Social Services Commissioner Beth Mills believes a clear formula with specific requirements and a firm deadline creates a level playing field for all agencies seeking city funds.
Lexington city leaders will again consider domestic partner benefits for the city’s workforce. Benefits for same-sex partners and unmarried couples were last considered in 2003, when they were rejected by council. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton made the motion Tuesday that resurrected the benefits.
After months of discussion, Lexington city leaders have decided on a location for a new senior citizens center. The Council voted Tuesday to construct a facility on a portion of the Idle Hour Park off Richmond road. Chief Administrative Officer Sally Hamilton says it could be finished within two years.
Lexington's working to convert abandoned distilleries such as this one into entertainment, dining and drinking establishments.
Credit Travis Estell / Flickr, Creative Commons
Lexington’s city council hopes to accelerate progress in its new downtown distillery district. Lexington’s new distillery district, located along Manchester Street, already features a number of entertainment, arts, and cultural attractions. Still, some council member worry the pace of development is too slow. So, a council committee urged the city to accelerate work on the Town Branch Trail. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says the foot-and-bike path should be extended into the distillery district as soon as possible.
WEKU's Stu Johnson reports Council presses for easier access to distillery district.
A year after they gathered for a big sesquicentennial celebration, re-enactors return this weekend to Richmond Battlefield Park. The Civil War Battle of Richmond was fought in August of 1862. Battlefield superintendent Phillip Seyfrit admits last year’sreenactment will be tough to top.
Three major sewer projects get underway in Lexington within the next few weeks. Residents in the Century Hills neighborhood will see upgrades near Pimlico Parkway. Mark York, who’s with the City’s Division of Environmental Policy, says a second sanitary sewer project could complicate traffic along a major Lexington artery.
Lexington's street lights are funded by property taxes and a franchise fee levied on utilities.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Beginning this fall, utility customers in Lexington can expect slightly higher bills. For months, Lexington’s Council has wrestled over the best way to pay for street lights. Administrators say the property tax does not generate enough revenue for maintenance and new lights.
WEKU's Stu Johnson found practitioners want more restrictions on texting-while-driving.
Regardless of age, Kentuckians seem willing to accept tougher penalties for people who both text and drive. The state Wednesday made it easier to revoke the licenses of repeat offenders. Current state law prohibits sending text messages by a vehicle’s operator. This week, through executive order, the Governor made the revocation of a driver’s license easier. If they get enough points, the license is revoked. Lexington’s Curtis Gentry agrees with a stiffer approach.
A grand jury has indicted a Richmond, Ky., couple on various charges including murder in connection with the discovery of a child's body in southwest Ohio. The indictments against 26-year-old Whitney Johnson and 25-year-old Nathan Ritze include child endangerment and abuse of a corpse charges.
An inmate at Lexington’s Blackburn Correctional Complex says working with horses gets one ‘out of the prison state of mind.’ Anthony Smith says that’s what he likes about the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s program. It allows inmates to work with horses. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation focuses on taking care of retired racehorses, many who are not suited to new careers as riding or pleasure horses.
State Auditor Adam Edelen, with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray to his right, announced the results of an audit conducted on HealthFirst's finances during a press conference Thursday. The audit began in May at the request of Gray and amid concerns about construction of a clinic at 496 Southland Drive.
Credit Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald Leader
HealthFirst Bluegrass pre-selected developer Ted J. Mims as project manager for its $11.7 million clinic construction project and created a conflict of interest that could potentially jeopardize the federal grant for construction, according to a state audit released Thursday. HealthFirst also has cash-flow problems that threaten its financial viability, according to State Auditor Adam Edelen. The audit began in May at the request of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and amid concerns about construction of a clinic at 496 Southland Drive. Read more...
WEKU's Stu Johnson reports series explosions frighten neighbors, as Bluegrass Army Depot detonate obsolete munitions.
Residents of Madison County heard a disturbing wake-up call Thursday morning. They heard explosions coming from the Blue Grass Army Depot. It was a typical summertime detonation of obsolete munitions at the Madison County Army installation. But what wasn’t typical, says Depot Public Affairs Officer Mark Henry, was the number of calls from worried neighbors.
A former Madison County Clerk has been formally accused of theft. William Gabbard is scheduled to appear in Madison Circuit Court in mid-August for arraignment. The state Attorney General says the investigation into Gabbard started in November 2009 after a state auditor's review of his office. Gabbard’s accused of changing social security numbers in the Automated Vehicle Information System. Allegedly, it allowed Gabbard to register his personal vehicles without paying taxes, interest and penalties.
Anti-Heroin Task Force announces its early findings during a news conference this morning in Lexington.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
WEKU'S Stu Johnson reports on early findings of Heroin Task Force
New strategies will be tried as police attack Lexington’s problem with heroin. Lexington’s problem with heroin can be measured in the number of users who die from an overdose. Police Lieutenant Scott Blakely says heroin related deaths have gone from five in 2011 to 28 fatalities so far this year. And, heroin accounts for nearly 70 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2013. Blakely says many pushers are from other cities.
One of the bridges that pass over New Circle Road in Lexington.
Credit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
A busy stretch of New Circle Road in south Lexington will likely see increased congestion over the next several weekends. Repair work will be done on eight bridges. The overpasses carry traffic over Richmond Road, Tates Creek, Lansdowne, and Chinoe. State Transportation Department Spokeswoman Natasha Lacy says it will involve extensive work.
The architects and construction firm that will reinvent Rupp Arena and develop a convention center have been named. NBBJ Group along with local architects will do design work and Hunt Construction Group will rebuild Rupp and a separate convention center. Financing for the project, which could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is not yet firm. Lexington Center Board Chair Brent Rice says an online capital drive could collect contribution for the projects.
For the first time in recent memory, time restrictions may be placed on door-to-door sales in Lexington. Council Member Peggy Henson says the original proposal banned door-to-door sales between 9:00 pm and 9:00 am.
Instead of a high rise residential and commercial complex, the site in downtown Lexington set aside for CentrePointe remains a grassy field.
Efforts to revive a commercial-residential development in the heart of downtown Lexington continues. The Centre Point Project was first proposed in 2008, but stalled when sufficient financing couldn’t be obtained. Since then, the high rise hotel-condo-retail-and-office structure has been scaled down. Developer Dudley Webb now needs the council’s help as he seeks additional state and local tax breaks.
One of Lexington’s most-used public parks got a little scrutiny this week. Some city leaders say they would like to see a wider distribution of recreational sports leagues. Masterson Station Park is a popular location for youth soccer, and, for years, has been the primary home for the Lexington Youth Soccer Association.
Downtown Lexington's Phoenix Park is a gathering place for homeless Kentuckians, even during winter weather.
A refurbished Phoenix Park in downtown Lexington should complete by this time next week, just in time for Independence Day. Now, the city hopes to reduce the number of homeless residents who gather there.
Elderly activists this week pushed Lexington leaders for their own, brand-new senior center. An active search is underway for a new location, but, the Y-M-C-A has also offered to expand its facilities. Tony Higdon would prefer a center specifically designed for senior citizens. The elderly Lexington resident says expanding the YMCA won’t be good enough.
Lexington’s biggest festival of the year offers an opportunity to grow the local economy. The four day Fourth of July event the first week of July attracts thousands of visitors from beyond the Bluegrass Region. Lexington Downtown Development Corporation President Renae Jackson says hopefully it won’t be a one-time visit.
A well- known fitness and social activity organization is proposing a way to help the city of Lexington meet the needs of its senior citizens. The plan was heard, but not immediately endorsed by city leaders. There’s general agreement Lexington needs at least one new senior citizens center. The aging center on Nicholasville road just can’t meet all the service demands today. City leaders have been considering sites for building a new larger facility. Now, the YMCA of Central Kentucky is offering a different plan.
Lexington city leaders are working to finalize a new budget. Tuesday afternoon they were surprised to find just over three million dollars in additional funding is needed to cover police and fire pension obligations. Finance Commissioner Bill Omara says the need for more funding comes because pension reforms are not fully in place yet.
Lexington’s City Council has completed the tedious process of last minute budget refinements. The panel of 15 council members spent the better part of Tuesday considering additions to the Mayor’s spending play. In the end, the Council opted to borrow almost two million dollars more and spend another $885,000 in cash. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton said late in the afternoon the end product is good.