Craig Williams

The chemical weapons used in last week’s attack in Syria are the same type stored and scheduled for destruction in Madison County, Kentucky.

The sarin that’s stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot near Richmond will be destroyed starting in 2020. The job will be completed in three years, barring any delays. Craig Williams, with The Kentucky Environmental Foundation Chemical Weapons Working Group, said while the chemical weapons used in Syria didn’t come from the Bluegrass Army Depot, they’re the same as those scheduled to be destroyed.

“Somewhat depressing to know that Syrian people have been affected by these materials. Particularly since Syria recently signed onto the treaty banning such use,” Williams said.

John Blair/Valley Watch

The plume of polluted water was black. In the satellite images, it snaked from the coal ash landfill at the D.B. Wilson Power Plant in Western Kentucky, about 40 minutes south of Owensboro. The water went through a ditch, until it reached a sediment pond. There, the images showed the black plume spreading through the murky green water, before it dissipated.

The black water — which state regulators described as having a “very pronounced unpleasant odor” — had arsenic levels that exceed the federal standard by nearly a thousand times. Regulators say it’s possible the pollution has been seeping from the landfill for more than a decade, eventually making its way into the Green River and potentially contaminating the groundwater.

Toyota

Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.3 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company's flagship Camry sedans are built.

No new factory jobs are being added, but Toyota says the upgrades amount to the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the United States. The retooling also will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota's largest plant, where nearly one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made, the automaker said.

"This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky," said Wil James, president of the plant, which also assembles the Avalon and the Lexus ES 350.

Wikimedia Commons

Farmers in the Ohio Valley are waiting to see how President Trump’s choice to lead the Agriculture Department might affect their fortunes. Concerns over trade have held up a confirmation vote for nominee Sonny Perdue, and trade is also on the minds of regional growers.

Farmers here have been big winners under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while farm country voted overwhelmingly for Trump, his talk about scrapping NAFTA has farmers like Jed Clark nervous.

Clark and his father farm 5,000 acres in western Kentucky’s Graves County, where they grow corn, wheat, soybeans and tobacco. Right now, Clark is thinking mostly about corn. Yellow corn is used mostly to feed livestock and the white corn is for human consumption. One of every four rows of it will go to Mexico.

City of Radcliff

Radcliff Mayor Mike Weaver is working with some local entrepreneurs to put together a proposal to build a new veterans hospital in Hardin County. 

Weaver says a new law allowing public-private partnerships would reduce the cost and expedite the construction schedule. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated its preferred location in Louisville would cost around $900 million and construction would take ten years.  Weaver says some veterans don’t have that long to wait.

"The youngest World War Two veteran is 90, the youngest Korean War veteran is 80, and the youngest Vietnam veteran is 62," Weaver told WKU Public Radio.  "You know and I know that those people can't wait ten years for a hospital."                

Weaver says investment groups would build the hospital under budget and within four years. 

Ashley Lopez

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has dropped its efforts to shut down Kentucky’s last abortion clinic pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit aimed at preventing its closure.

An agreement between lawyers for the Republican governor and the Louisville clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, has been submitted to U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers, who has not yet signed off on it.

As part of the agreement, Bevin’s administration agreed to renew EMW’s license until the federal suit is resolved.

Lost River Sessions

This month's Lost River Sessions radio show features Jeffrey Foucault and The Other Years. Foucault performed his set at the Derby Piano Bar in Bowling Green along with Billy Conway and Eric Heywood. 

In the second half of the show, Heather Summers and Anna Louise, The Other Years, play at South Union Shaker Village. 

This episode of Lost River Sessions is airing during the WKU Public Radio spring pledge drive, so you'll hear a conversation with LRS producer Darius Barati about the origins of the show. 

Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Kentucky has 700,000 residents who are deaf or hard of hearing. Community forums in Somerset April 11-13 and in Bowling Green May 16-18 will  offer families, friends, schools and employers a chance to find information and resources to better serve those with hearing issues. 

The three-day programs are sponsored by the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Somerset program kicks off April 11 with a ‘Community Connect’ forum from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott. Staff from the commission will also be available from 3 to 7 p.m. on April 12 at the same location. Intrepreters and captioning will be available at the program. Anita Dowd is executive staff advisor for the commission. Dowd is deaf and said the population of Kentucky residents with hearing issues is often under-served and under the radar, partly because of the difficulty in communication. 

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear's office says training sessions planned this month will focus on the backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence kits.

The three-day training sessions are for law enforcement, prosecutors and victim advocates. The sessions are set for April 11-13 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington.

Beshear says prosecutors have requested the training to help them prosecute cases from the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits. Beshear's office says the training is another step toward helping sexual assault victims receive justice.

Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron says the training will be invaluable for prosecutors across Kentucky.

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

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Cheryl Beckley

Photo Gallery: Caroline Spence and Eva Ross Play LRS LIVE!

Americana artist Caroline Spence and singer-songwriter Eva Ross played Lost River Sessions LIVE! on Thursday night at the Capitol Arts Center in downtown Bowling Green. Lost River Sessions LIVE! is made possible by Mike Simpson, the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau and WKU Public Broadcasting.

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