Kentucky State Capitol Evacuated for Possible Fire

Apr 24, 2015

The Kentucky state Capitol was evacuated Friday morning for a possible fire.

Firefighters searched the building before allowing people back inside. State workers and several elementary school tour groups huddled outside under clear skies while emergency crews showed up in one fire truck and two ambulances.

The Capitol reopened after about 15 minutes. Fire officials said it was a false alarm.

WKU Public Radio is counting on you to help us pay for the wonderful programs that make public radio a valued community asset!

During this week of spring fundraising, we're asking you to take time to reflect on how public radio impacts your life. The NPR news magazines, local newscasts and features, great music shows, and weekend entertainment programs are only possible because of listener contributions.

Without your generous gifts, we can't bring you shows like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Barren River Breakdown, and On Point.

Please renew your membership, or become a brand new member today, by calling 1-800-599-9598. Or you can give online here.

Thank you so much for your support!

Jonathan Meador, Kentucky Public Radio

James Comer leads all Republican candidates for governor with more than $800,000 raised from individual donors in the first four months of 2015.

But the state agriculture commissioner has been outspent nearly 3 to 1 by Hal Heiner, the former Louisville Metro councilman who loaned his campaign more than $4 million last summer. Louisville businessman Matt Bevin has also been a big spender, loaning his campaign $1.25 million after filing for office in January and spending more than $1 million, mostly on TV commercials.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott's report was not available.

Both Comer and Heiner have more than $1 million in the bank less than a month before the primary. Bevin has just over $286,000. The candidates are scheduled to appear together at the Rotary Club of Louisville on Thursday.

Officials in Middlesboro have given preliminary approval to a citywide smoking ban.

The vote Tuesday came after a request from a group of elementary school students involved with Destination Imagination, an educational nonprofit organization that tries to encourage and equip young leaders.

The Middlesboro Elementary School students proposed an ordinance that would ban smoking in all public places. Their presentation to the City Council last month included a petition with more than 400 signatures and information about the health effects of smoking.

The City Council's first reading of the ordinance to ban smoking passed unanimously. A second and final vote is set for May 19.

The Symphony at WKU stayed close to home in finding their new Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities. Dr. Brian St. John is currently Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra Activities at the University of Evansville, where he directs that University’s Symphony Orchestra and teaches courses in conducting, music technology and composition.

He’ll assume his new post at WKU this fall.

Besides leading the Symphony at WKU, Dr. St. John will also hold the Baker Professorship of Music, one of three endowed professorships in the Potter College of Arts & Letters.

St. John also served at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and in Colorado for what is now the Boulder Symphony Orchestra.

Rand Paul's Son Cited for DUI After Car Crash in Kentucky

Apr 22, 2015

A son of Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has been cited for driving under the influence of alcohol in Kentucky.

Police in Lexington say William H. Paul was driving a 2006 Honda Ridgeline at 11:24 a.m. on Sunday when he crashed into the back of an unoccupied parked car. Some people nearby heard the crash and alerted authorities.

Lexington Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Paul was treated at the University of Kentucky hospital for minor injuries to his face. She said a police officer cited Paul for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and failure of a nonowner/operator to maintain insurance.

Paul was alone at the time of the crash. He was not arrested, which Roberts said is standard for this type of case.

A campaign spokesman said Sen. Rand Paul does not comment on any private matters in regards to his family.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing on Tuesday on Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities’ proposed rate increase.

Instead, as WFPL reported, the utilities and all of the intervenors in the case reached a settlement, which is now subject to PSC approval.

Here’s a deeper look at the settlement, what LG&E/KU got—and what they didn’t get.

Monthly Service Charge

This was the most contentious part of the original proposal because it would affect every customer, regardless of how much energy they used. LG&E electric and gas customers would have ended up paying $37 a month, up from $24.25. KU customers would have paid $18 a month, rather than the $10.75 they pay now. Under the settlement, there will be no change to the monthly charge, but the rates of electricity and gas will change slightly. The company estimates that the average LG&E bill will increase by about $1.15 a month, while the average KU customer will pay $9 more each month.

Nine people have been indicted on charges of stealing what Kentucky authorities say was more bourbon whiskey than one person could drink in a lifetime.

The indictments were handed up Tuesday. Prosecutors allege the scheme led by rogue distillery workers lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of whiskey.

Authorities say two distilleries were targeted — the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries.

They allege the criminal syndicate operated since 2008 or 2009, and that the recovered whiskey alone is worth at least $100,000.

The indictments tie together two highly publicized heists in the world’s bourbon-producing hub — the theft of barrels of Wild Turkey bourbon earlier this year and the disappearance of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

Erica Peterson, Kentucky Public Radio

Federal officials have begun reviewing a proposal to "repurpose" a natural gas pipeline that runs through 18 counties in Kentucky and is taking public comment about it.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is preparing an environmental assessment and will take comments through May 18 on a proposal by Kinder Morgan to convert its Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry natural gas liquids instead of natural gas.

Some officials and residents in central Kentucky have raised concerns about the ramifications if there's a leak or an explosion, especially near rivers and lakes that supply communities with drinking water.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley has said the company plans upgrades and would thoroughly test the line before returning it to service.

Prices of retail food items in Kentucky fell during the last quarter, the first time since June 2013, in a survey of grocery costs.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation's latest Marketbasket Survey was taken in March. The organization says the average total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $126.22, or 2.3 percent lower than the figure reported in the previous quarter.

The federation said in a news release that the figure is still 4.6 percent higher than the total reported at the same time last year.

The release said five of the six food groups included in the survey reported reductions in average prices. Dairy was the greatest with an average price drop of 7.8 percent. Beef was the only category with an increase.

Pages