Lexington/Richmond

2:20pm

Thu January 31, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Restaurant Scores Now Online

Credit Creative Commons

The Lexington-Fayette Health Department is making it easier to check the cleanliness and food safety practices at restaurants.   Inspection scores are now available on the internet. The scores given some 15 hundred eating establishments by inspectors are now posted on the health department web site.  But, Health Department Spokesman Kevin Hall says an eatery’s overall score is not the only number to look for.

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4:27pm

Wed January 30, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Senior Citizens Center Sites Evaluated

Lexington is in the market for a new senior citizens center.  The project’s been on the city’s wish list for years.  The search for a site has begun.  Lexington’s current Senior Citizens Center sits at the corner of Nicholasville road and Alumni Drive.   It’s an active spot during most days.  But, after three decades of wear and tear, city officials say modernizing it is not feasible.   And, if Lexington builds a new center, Social Services Commissioner Beth Mills says it should be built to last.

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12:15am

Wed January 30, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington Commission on Homelessness Report Reviewed

After months of review and investigation, a final report from the mayor’s commission on homelessness was delivered to city hall Tuesday.  20 years ago, as a Lexington council member, Debra Hensley helped write a report which made similar recommendations.   This time, Hensley, who also co-chaired this commission, has reason for optimism.   “Having chaired a similar report in the 90’s which produced a report with many of today’s findings, like most of the other members I believe that this report holds the most promise of getting real results, if it is acted upon,” said Hensley

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7:18am

Mon January 28, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Homelessness Report to be Discussed Tuesday

A much anticipated report on homelessness in Lexington is due out Tuesday.   The report, which was composed by members of a Mayor’s Commission, will include strategies meant to reduce the number of homeless people.  Commission Co-Chair Steve Kay says they hope to find funding, increase the number of affordable residences, and improve services available to people who could lose their homes.

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4:43pm

Thu January 24, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Fayette Jail Update

Lexington’s jail has been under new leadership for nearly a year.  Much of that time has been spent rebuilding morale and staff.   Rodney Ballard, with three decades of experience in law enforcement and corrections, took over as Community Corrections Director last spring.  Ballard has put many inmates to work in the center’s kitchen.  Once they do their time, he hopes many can find jobs as cooks.

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12:43pm

Thu January 24, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Homeless Fill Lexington's Shelters

Benjamin Bond, 67, dropped by Lexington's Catholic Action Center at noon Wednesday to savor a bowl of hot chili and just enjoy being inside. Too cold out on the street, he said. Lexington's low temperature Wednesday morning was 10 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, and the day's high barely topped freezing. Another shot of bitterly cold air is expected Thursday.

2:00pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Hemp Resolution Drafted at Lexington City Hall

Given the problems facing Kentucky agriculture, some city leaders in Lexington say it’s time to legalize hemp. The Lexington council will soon consider a resolution drafted in support of hemp legalization.  It calls on state lawmakers to act this session to allow hemp’s cultivation.  Council member Julian Beard believes it’s a good idea.  “For the farmers and the plight of the farmers, anything is an economic boost for them.  You know it will take some time.  It will never get up to the size tobacco was,” said Beard.

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10:58pm

Tue January 22, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Pensions, Capitol Projects Focus of Mayor's Address

In his annual speech on the condition of his community, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says ‘thinking and behaving like a mature city is our responsibility.’  During the ‘State of the Merged Government’ address, Gray indicated he thinks it’s occurring in central Kentucky.    Lexington is a maturing city in many ways, according to its mayor.  That includes its population.  Mayor Gray announced Lexington officially has over 300-thousand residents.  He also talked about job creation and efficient local government.  Just last Friday, the city and its union agreed to a plan that stabilizes  the underfunded police and fire pension fund.  Now, Gray said there’ll be more money for other projects.

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4:10pm

Mon January 21, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington's Martin Luther King Observance

  While President Obama was inaugurated for a second time, towns all over Kentucky observed Martin Luther King Junior Day.  Inspirational singing welcomed marchers as they gathered inside the corridor at Lexington’s Heritage Hall.  Just a few feet away from the song leader’s microphone, Tiffany Cooper swayed back and forth. “I’m just excited that we are coming together as one body and as different cultures and to experience this historic event.  And just to see everybody walking hand in hand, that’s awesome.  It just shows what God and can do and what Dr. Martin Luther King paved the way for,” said Cooper.

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3:54pm

Fri January 18, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington Police and Fire Pension Agreement Reached

A plan that stabilizes the pension fund for Lexington’s police officers and firefighters has been negotiated.   City and union leaders have signed off on the reforms.  The downtown meeting room was jammed with labor leaders, retirees, council members, and city administrators for the announcement.  Lexington Mayor Jim Gray told them the significance of the agreement can’t be overstated.  “It’s not extreme or extravagant to say that this historic agreement that we are announcing today will save the Lexington police and fire pension system and reclaim our city’s financial strength,” said Gray.

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5:02pm

Thu January 17, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Veteran Prosecutor on Mass Murder Prevention

The chief prosecutor in Fayette County hopes universal background checks can help prevent mass killings like those seen last year in Connecticut, Colorado and Wisconsin.   Still, prosecutor Ray Larson calls gun restrictions that limit the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves “disgusting.” Larson adds spotting a potential mass murderer is difficult.

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4:58pm

Wed January 16, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Working to End Brown Outs

Lexington fire officials are working on a staffing plan that should end the need for ‘brown outs.’   It may take about a year to fully implement a fix.  For several months, Lexington has used ‘brown outs’ to cope with staffing shortages.  Usually, it means taking fire trucks out of service.  It can leave some neighborhoods with partial protection.  Currently, Lexington has 482 firefighters.  When that number increases to 536, Chief Keith Jackson says the brownouts should end.

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10:32am

Tue January 8, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Lexington Mayor says Pension Costs Have 'Spiraled Out of Control'

For every $5 the city of Lexington spends, $1 goes to public pension obligations, proof that "our pension costs have spiraled out of control," Mayor Jim Gray said at a news conference Monday. Gray, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and other local government leaders spoke to urge the 2013 General Assembly to pass pension reform, which could include a reduction in retirement benefits and a massive infusion of extra state cash into the Kentucky Retirement Systems. The various pension funds of KRS have a $13.8 billion unfunded liability.

5:58pm

Wed January 2, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

2012 was Lexington's Second Warmest Year on Record

The New Year might have gotten off to a dreary start, with rain, sleet and snow overnight, but that's a contrast to 2012, which was the second-warmest year on record in Lexington, according to the National Weather Service. Last year's average temperature was 57.6, 2 degrees warmer than normal. Lexington's hottest year on record was 1921, at 58.5 degrees.

4:47pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Power Up or Down

The delivery of electricity to Lexington homes could travel a new route in the years ahead.  Instead of utility poles, some city leaders are more interested in underground power lines.  Council member Bill Farmer says it needs to be part of Lexington’s long term planning..  “Not just when a pole can go up or be changed, but for us to begin to think about when can one go down and be buried.  I think this is an opening discussion about how we think about it from a policy standpoint and then an action standpoint after that,” said Farmer.

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12:19pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Record Breaking Paving

This summer could seem like old times, times four, to Lexington’s motorists.  On average, Lexington spends  about three million dollars a year repaving city streets.    However, this summer the city will fund a four-fold increase in repaving projects in residential areas.   Council member Bill Farmer says many of those repairs are long overdue.

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9:47pm

Tue December 11, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Two and a Half Year Street Address Debate Settled

A two-year debate over assigning street addresses in Lexington appears to be resolved.  The discussion over how to re-number nearly 50 residences on Richmond Avenue centered on addresses with fractions.  Lexington E- 9-1-1 director David Lucas says fractions can confuse emergency responders.  However, some residents have fought city hall…hoping to maintain their unique addresses.

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6:15am

Mon December 10, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Efficient Road Salt Distribution Sought

Temperatures across Kentucky have been anything but winter-like recently, but preparation for clearing roads of snow and ice goes on.  In Lexington, city officials propose building a second salt storage barn on the east side of town.  Streets and Roads Director Sam Williams says a site just off interstate 75 near Athens is being eyed to build on two-to-three years down the road.  Williams says a interim salt barn might be set up near the Winchester-New Circle Road interchange.

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11:19am

Thu December 6, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

New Signs Point the Way to a Parking Spot

Restoration work on a popular Lexington parking garage has some motorists scrambling for parking spots.  The Annex Garage along Main Street was closed in early November.    Normally, Lexington Parking Authority Director Gary Means says over six hundred vehicles parked there each day.  “They come through the garage on a given day.  And then you have at least 300 employees or monthly parkers that could park there on any given day.  And there’s only 380 spaces so it was a busy garage before we had to close it,” said Means.

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5:03pm

Wed December 5, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

UK and City Team Up on Social Service Review

Hoping to get a better handle on Fayette County’s need for social services, Lexington leaders are turning to student-researchers with the University of Kentucky.    Some 21 agencies in Lexington were surveyed by three social work students from U-K.  The first phase of their research was turned over this week to city leaders.  They talked to representatives of the organizations supported by the city.  Research supervisor Diane Loeffler says their aim is not to measure the number of people served by specific agencies.   Loeffler predicts the data gathered will help the council reach out to more people in need.

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6:36am

Mon December 3, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

HUD Investigates Homeless Shelter Dispute

Credit Matt Goins / Lexington Herald Leader

There’s movement in Lexington’s dispute with a downtown homeless shelter.  The operators of the Community Inn have dropped a lawsuit against the city.  And the Lexington leaders are helping them find a new location. But, a resolution is likely still months away.   City officials have given the operators of the Community Inn a list of new locations for the shelter.   Lexington’s Board of Adjustments revoked the Inn’s permit in June….saying the facility violated zoning requirements.  Initially, the Inn had until this Saturday to move.  But, the city has extended the deadline until April and is now providing assistance.

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2:22pm

Wed November 28, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Leaf Collection Debated

Lexington’s vacuum truck began collecting leaves this week.  It’s the start of a collection period that runs into December.  Since leaves don’t necessarily drop on a schedule, city Arborist Rob Allen says setting pick-up times can create a challenge.  “We’re trying to impose kind of a calendar deadline on an organic issue.  For example, this year we had a drought followed by some pretty cool early fall weather, well that affects the timing of when the leave drops off the tree,” said Allen.

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4:02pm

Tue November 27, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

'In the Black' Report at Lexington City Hall

With the Lexington’s books “in the black,” city leaders are celebrating.  During a meeting today Mayor Jim Gray took the unusual step of offering formal comments.  The mayor says the city collected nine-million dollars more than their original predictions.  “In the financial world, in the private sector, a business would say, well we’ve turned it around.  We’ve made a profit ” said Gray.

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4:29pm

Mon November 26, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Tuesday Giving Call

A leading voice in on-line charitable giving welcomes Tuesday’s national emphasis on donations.  Now, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, it’s time for Giving Tuesday.  Charitable organizations in central Kentucky hope to tap into the holiday spirit  Among the groups soliciting on-line gifts is the Blue Grass Community Foundation.

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9:17pm

Tue November 20, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Street Tree Issues in Lexington

Lexington is losing a lot of trees to disease and poor placement near streets.  City Forrester Tim Queary says too many trees are squeezed between sidewalks and the road.  “We need seven feet at a minimum between the sidewalk and the curb if we want the tree to live a long healthy life.  But right now in a new development, we only have five and a half feet,” said Queary.  Council member Kevin Stinnett says trees can be costly.  Their leaves clogs storm sewers while low hanging limbs can block sidewalks and mailboxes.

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12:35pm

Tue November 20, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

New Circle Road to be Widened

An $80 million project will widen parts of New Circle Road in northwest Lexington and create a double-crossover diamond at Leestown Road. Those changes are part of a project that would alter some of Lexington's major arteries to "reduce traffic congestion and operational deficiencies on New Circle Road" and its interchanges, said Rob Sprague, design section supervisor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Sprague said the project is expected to begin in the fall of 2013 and continue through the summer of 2016.

10:09pm

Tue November 13, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Piles on the Curb Discussed at City Hall

Inspectors in Lexington’s Code Enforcement Department keep a busy schedule…inspecting thousands of structures annually.  Code Enforcement Director David Jarvis told city leaders some 85 hundred properties were inspected in 2011.  Some of the most nagging problems revolve around U-K students at the beginning and end of the semester in the disposal of items.  Jarvis says any solution lies with their landlords.

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4:12pm

Tue November 13, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

Car Stereo Crackdown

Lexington’s Council appears ready to lower the boom on car stereos.  Earlier this year, members rejected a comprehensive noise ordinance package.  Now, the provision governing loud car stereos has been resurrected.  The council’s Public Safety Committee approved the proposal this afternoon.  Its sponsor is council member Tom Blues.  “The principal addition here is to clarify the nature of the noise and also to reduce the distance over which the sound has to travel in order to be cited as a violation from 50 feet to ten feet,” said Blues.

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6:21am

Wed November 7, 2012

11:35am

Tue November 6, 2012

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