Behind the scenes at the Advanced Canine Academy in Scottsville
A few miles down a winding gravel road in Scottsville sits a brown building with the words Advance Canine Academy in block letters above the door. Behind that building are four vehicles sporting dusty windows and flat tires. They serve as part of the training ground for these future K-9 officers.
Gene England tosses a marijuana-scented tennis ball is tossed into the car and one of the dogs-in-training races in after it, searching high-and-low to find which crevice or under which seat the ball went.
When the dog emerges, England implores a handful of students to remember what they saw.
“Jumping, spinning, barking, licking, biting – every bit of that stuff – you’ll find more drugs off those indications than you’ll ever find off this one [scratching],” said England. “As of Day 1 when you write in your journal, you’ve gotta write how your dog behaved out here today, you log it.”
Law enforcement and government officials say drug trafficking is becoming more common in these parts, even though Kentucky is a long way from the Texas border with Mexico.
“We just recently had one of our dogs down in Ohio County hit eight pounds of crystal meth and a pound and a half of heroin. We’ve never encountered heroin in all my years in Kentucky until recently,” said England.
For over four decades, England has been training dogs. Law enforcement dogs in particular. His rural property in Allen County has plenty of space for the dogs and their handlers to learn the ropes.
A group of education organizations will meet in Lexington Thursday to prepare for their campaign to better fund public education in Kentucky.
Stu Silberman, the executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, says it's the first time the various groups that make up the Kentucky Education Action Team will rally around a single message
“Each group will a lot of times go in with their individual legislative agendas and they don’t always match up. So the legislators sometimes feel like, well you all don’t even know what you want.”
The Prichard Committee is one of several education groups that will participate in the fall summit, where members will discuss the funding requests being made. Silberman says representatives will take the information back to their regions and develop an action plan to reach community members and lawmakers.
The group will be asking for over $250 million dollars over the next two-year budget to restore funding levels to the 2008 school year.
A new report measuring the level of equality given to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Kentuckians shows some signs of improvement.
The Human Rights Campaign released its second annual Municipal Equality Index, which examined laws and policies that foster LGBT equality in nearly 300 American cities.
Four Kentucky cities were included in the report—Bowling Green, Frankfort, Louisville and Lexington. Although the cities scored below the national average, Fairness Campaign executive director Chris Hartman says the numbers show a substantial improvement over last year.
“Lexington made a big splash; Louisville improved its score by a number of points; and Frankfort went from zero points the previous year, one of I think only three cities that achieved a zero score in 2012, to making it on the map in 2013," said Hartman.
Hartman acknowledges there’s room for improvement, but says a recent law passed by the General Assembly undermining local fairness ordinances has not hurt his group’s efforts.
Along with the privacy advocates and the national security establishment, there is another set of players with strong views on NSA surveillance programs: U.S. tech companies.
Google and five other companies weighed in on the surveillance debate last month, sending a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supporting legislation to reform National Security Agency surveillance programs.
The Kentucky Transpark in Warren County is gaining another tenant.
Horizon Steel will co-occupy a plant with the Bilstein Group. Bilstein, a German auto supplier, announced in October it would open its U.S. headquarters in the Transpark. Horizon will become Bilstein’s exclusive processor of steel products. Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson made the announcement in Bowling Green Tuesday.
“This community is part of the overall efforts by Governor Beshear and myself as we work toward trying to create, through the difficult financial times that we’re all living through, as economically vibrant a Commonwealth as we possibly can,” said Abramson. “Attracting companies like Horizon Steel is right in line, right in the sweet spot of where we want to be in terms of the future of Kentucky.”
Bilstein previously announced it would create 90 jobs while Horizon plans to add 30 positions.