Veterans Affairs Picks Site for New Hospital in Louisville

Oct 20, 2017
Veterans Administration

Capping more than a decade of reviews and debate, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday it has selected a suburban site for a new hospital in Kentucky's largest city.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin signed off on the location— a 35-acre tract off Brownsboro Road several miles east of downtown Louisville — in an order made public Friday.

The new 104-bed hospital would replace the Robley Rex VA Medical Center, which opened in the 1950s east of downtown. The VA said it expects the new hospital's design to be completed in 2018, but a construction timeline hasn't been finalized for the estimated $925 million project.

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Representatives of state employees, teachers and police officers aren’t happy with Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to offer less-generous retirement plans and tinker with state worker benefits in an effort to save the state’s ailing pension systems.

David Smith, executive director of the Kentucky Association of State Employees, said the organization will hold a “torches and pitchforks” rally at the state capitol if Bevin calls a special legislative session for lawmakers to vote on the proposal.

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The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools says the pension proposal unveiled by Kentucky’s Republican leaders is "second-rate" compared to the current retirement system. 

Dr. Nick Brake applauds GOP leaders for not raising the retirement age to 65 for teachers, but fears that other reforms, if enacted, would make it harder for the state to attract quality educators.

"Many people that go into teaching don't make, salary wise, as much as people in the market with the same level of education that might be going into other professions," Brake told WKU Public Radio.  "The trade off is that you have a handsome benefit package and a retirement program that you can count on."

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Kentucky’s children have experienced--on average-- more Adverse Childhood Experiences than children nationwide.

An Adverse Childhood Experience, or ACE, can be the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.

 

According to a recent report from The National Survey of Children’s Health, about 53 percent of children in Kentucky have had at least one ACE. That’s significantly higher than the national rate of about 46 percent. The report adds those experiences can increase the risk of smoking, alcoholism, depression and other illnesses or unhealthy behaviors.

Bowling Green Prepares to Host First Pride Festival

Oct 19, 2017
Creative Commons

The organization Bowling Green Fairness is hosting the city’s first-ever Pride Festival this Saturday, in an effort to bring awareness to the legal discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

The group wants city leaders to amend Bowling Green’s existing civil rights legislation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected categories in public accommodation, housing, and employment.

Elizabeth Sanders

Workers on a tobacco farm in Garrard County, Kentucky, are entering the third week of a strike over claims that they have not received the pay guaranteed by a federal work visa program. The strike is part of a movement across the South and Midwest to organize migrant laborers who enter the country legally to do seasonal work.

The farmers chanted in Spanish as they marched to deliver a letter to the farm owner.

“Que queremos? Justicia!”


Melanie Carter-Hack

Twelve percent of high school sophomores in Kentucky have a suicide plan and eight percent have attempted suicide. A report by Kentucky Incentives for Prevention says there’s also a disturbing national trend among younger children. The suicide rate for 10-to-14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014.

The tragedy of adolescents taking their own lives is a reality in Kentucky.  A Hardin County mom, Melanie Carter-Hack, talks about the bullying that she believes contributed to the suicide of her 12-year-old daughter, Reagan Carter.

"We were living in Bardstown, Kentucky in Nelson County and Reagan was a 7th grader at Bardstown Middle School. We had never had any issues in the primary school, the elementary school. I mean, these were kids she had grown up with. And then 7th grade year was just a little bit different.

Rick Howlett

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has fired athletic director Tom Jurich.

The action Wednesday afternoon came during a special board meeting. The board voted 10-3 in favor of firing Jurich for cause.

Jurich was placed on paid administrative leave last month after the school acknowledged that it was included in an FBI investigation of recruiting practices in men’s college basketball.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin and Republican leaders of the state legislature have released a proposal that would make major changes to the retirement plans for teachers and other state workers.

The proposal would phase out the state’s use of a defined-benefit pension system, which guarantees payments to state employees throughout their retirements.

Instead, nearly all future and some current employees would be moved into defined contribution plans like 401(k)s, which will require the state to put less money into employee retirements.

Bevin said the changes are necessary to keep the pension system alive.

“If you are a retiree, if you are working toward retirement and hoping to retire at some point, you should be rejoicing at this bill,” Bevin said.

Applications are now being accepted from those who want to participate in the next growing season for the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says he’s hoping the state can continue the progress it made this year, when participants grew more than 3,200 acres of hemp.

That’s the most ever grown under the state’s industrial hemp research program that began in 2014.

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LRS Replay: The Kentucky Acoustic Music Festival

The second annual Kentucky Acoustic Music Festival was held May 20th at The Capitol Arts Center in Bowling Green. It was presented by Lost River Sessions. The evening featured local favorite Mt. Victor Revue, Jenni Lyn and Lillie Mae.

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