Zika Infection Confirmed in Kentucky Infant

18 hours ago
Creative Commons

Public health officials in Lexington say the Zika virus has been confirmed in an infant born to a woman who traveled during pregnancy to an area where the virus is circulating.

According to news media reports, test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the infant was exposed to the virus in the womb. Health officials say neither mother nor child is capable of spreading the virus to others or to mosquitoes in the area.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says even though the infant's mother never described symptoms of illness, antibodies against Zika found in her infant suggest maternal infection during an early stage of pregnancy.

Health officials say the infant doesn't have obvious physical abnormalities, but close follow-up and testing is recommended.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is Hillary Clinton's choice for her vice president, giving her a running mate with experience at all levels of government to round out the Democratic ticket.

Clinton told supporters the news in a text message and a tweet on Friday evening just after 8 p.m. ET. According to a Clinton campaign official, the former secretary of state called Kaine this evening to make the formal offer.

In recent days, Kaine had emerged as the favorite — albeit safe — pick for Clinton, over other finalists such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

According to the Clinton campaign official, their vetting process first began back in April with more than two dozen potential running mates. Kaine and Clinton campaigned last week in Northern Virginia as a tryout of sorts, and Clinton walked away impressed and comfortable with him as a partner. The two met with aides and then one-on-one for a total of about 90 minutes that night.

Last Saturday, the Kaine and Clinton met together with their families for lunch at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, N.Y. She remained comfortable with Kaine as someone who could do the job, and the alliance was made.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

It has been said that "to cleave" is the only verb in English that connotes one specific action and its direct opposite. To cleave sometimes means to hold together, and it can also mean to split apart.

That's why Cleveland was the perfect city to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Because this week, in this town, the GOP demonstrated both its persistent divisions and its instinct for overcoming them.

The bottom line result of four nights in the Quicken Loans Arena was the consummation of the party's union with Donald J. Trump, its new master and presidential champion. The coming together was never going to be easy or smooth. It was a match made not in heaven, but in the hot flames of the party's debates, primaries and caucuses.

Trump emerged from that crucible with 14 million votes, a fact with which he began his acceptance speech on Thursday night. It was more than any Republican contender in history, a fact that Trump also happened to mention.

Trump then reviewed the greatest hits from his campaign rally speeches, but in an LP format. He took the stage a little after 10:15 p.m. and spoke until about 11:30. C-SPAN clocked it at 73 minutes and said it was the longest since at least 1972.

Kentucky Mesonet

If you’ve been outside lately, you know it’s hot.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for most of our area through the weekend.

High temperatures will be in the mid-to-upper 90s. Those temperatures are not the only thing to be concerned about, says Patrick Collins, a meteorologist for the statewide weather monitoring system called Kentucky Mesonet.

“Be careful of the temperature, as well as the heat index, which is the temperature added to the amount of humidity in the air."

Over the next few days, that combination will produce a heat index that feels more like 105-to-110 degrees. A heat index of 105 or higher is especially dangerous for children, the elderly and people who work outside. 

It’s been an intense summer in Kentucky weather-wise.  Before the heat wave, Kentucky had heavy rains that broke records in at least one location in the state.

Megan Schargorodski is operations manager for  Kentucky Mesonet, which has  66 weather stations.

“Earlier in July we had an event in western Kentucky, in Marshall County, that experienced about 8 inches of rain in 5 hours. According to climatological charts, that's about a 1,000- year event.”

That means the area is only expected to get that much rain in that amount of time only about every 1,000 years. 

Lisa Autry

A group of Kentuckians will witness history being made next week at the Democratic National Convention.  Hillary Clinton is expected to officially become the nation’s first female presidential nominee. 

Kentucky is sending 55 delegates and five alternates to the convention in Philadelphia.  Among them is Michele Thomas of Bowling Green who knows a thing or two about her party’s national conventions.  She was an alternate delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and a delegate for Barack Obama in 2012.  Her face lights up just talking about the experiences.

“There’s just a poignancy in the air.  There’s exhilaration," says Thomas.  "You’re there with a lot of people excited about their candidate and who want their candidate to win.  It’s similar, but not the same as a football game like if Louisville plays UK.”

A corner of her home is a museum of sorts for Democratic politics.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will speak to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

Grimes was one of dozens of speakers added to the agenda on Thursday. The secretary of state is in her second term in office, having narrowly won re-election in November.

Grimes gained national prominence in 2014 for her challenge to veteran U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. McConnell won the race and would go on to become Senate majority leader.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned for Grimes several times in her Senate campaign. The Clinton family is close with Grimes and her family, including Jerry Lundergan, Grimes' father and former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Grimes' mother, Charlotte Lundergan, is a superdelegate pledged to support Clinton.

University of Louisville

A judge on Thursday grilled the attorney defending Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order that abolished and then reorganized the University of Louisville board.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd didn’t rule on whether to temporarily block the overhaul, as requested by Attorney General Andy Beshear, but said a decision would be forthcoming.

Beshear’s office says that Bevin had no authority to disband the school’s governing board and that state law protects university trustees — who serve for six-year-long staggered terms — from termination without cause and due process.

“[Bevin] gave them no process whatsoever in this case,” said Mitchel Denham, assistant deputy attorney general, after the hearing.

A Bowling Green organization that provides treatment for youth suffering from alcohol and drug dependency has received additional state dollars. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear presented Necco with a $700,000 check Thursday.  Beshear said early intervention is key to breaking the cycle of addiction.

"If you can get somebody successfully through recovery, not only are they not going to use, but their kids and their kids' kids are less likely to use," stated Beshear.  "By investing in adolescent treatment now, we increase our chances of reducing future costs of law enforcement, incarceration, and health services."

Necco received the funding from an Oxycontin lawsuit filed by the attorney general’s office against Purdue Pharma.  The settlement dollars are going to drug treatment and recovery facilities throughout Kentucky. 

Necco has ten offices statewide, including locations in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, and Somerset.

Benefind Homepage-screenshot

After the troubled rollout earlier this year of Benefind — Kentucky’s new online portal for welfare services — state officials say they are still working out the kinks in the program.

“The system is working much, much better now than at roll out,” said Tim Feeley, deputy secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “We’re going to continue working on problems until we do this right for the citizens of Kentucky.”

The $100 million program, launched in late February, erroneously sent out about 25,000 notices to people saying that their benefits had been canceled. The state also had to work through a backlog of about 50,000 cases created from conflicting information from newly merged systems. The administration says it cleared the backlog in mid-May.

Now officials say they are trying to fix logistical issues like how to revive elements of the old system that allowed for one-on-one relationships between caseworkers and clients.

Judge Says Beshear Can Sue Bevin over U of L Board

Jul 21, 2016
Ryland Barton

A state judge says Kentucky's Democratic Attorney General can sue the state's Republican governor over his decision to abolish the University of Louisville board of trustees.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin abolished the board and replaced all of its members last month, saying the university needed a "fresh start." Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Bevin, saying the governor's order is illegal.

But last year, former Attorney General Jack Conway issued an advisory opinion saying the governor does have the authority to reorganize the university's board. Chad Meredith, one of Bevin's attorneys, argued Beshear's lawsuit directly contradicts that opinion and violates the state's code of ethics for attorneys.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Thursday morning there was no basis to disqualify the attorney general's office from suing the governor.

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