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Bowling Green's little league team may not still be alive in the Little League World Series for this weekend's championship games, but Joe Corcoran reports they couldn't hold the tournament without a big Bowling Green presence.

Celebration Planned for Little League Team's Return

7 hours ago

The Bowling Green Little League team will finally be coming home.

After winning two games in the Little League World Series and being on the road for more than a month, the boys will be returning home from Williamsport, Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon

They’ll fly into Nashville about 1:00, then have a police escort up to Bowling Green. A celebration is planned for Kereiakes Park beginning at 2:30.

There’ll be food and activities for the kids and they’ll be showing Saturday afternoon’s  Little League World Series championship game beginning at 2:00 Central time.

The Kentucky Department of Education has released the names of the five candidates under consideration for commissioner. The list includes one candidate from Kentucky. 

  • Buddy Berry, superintendent of Eminence Independent Schools in Eminence, Kentucky.
  • Kathleen Airhart, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Tennessee Department of Education 
  • Christopher Koch, interim president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Lloyd Martin, chief executive officer for Universal School Solutions, an education consultancy firm
  • Stephen Pruitt, senior vice president at Achieve, Inc., an independent, nonprofit education reform organization. 

The Kentucky Board of Education will meet Friday and Saturday in Lexington to conduct second interviews with each of the five candidates.

The new commissioner will replace current Commissioner Terry Holliday, who is retiring next week.

The board has selected Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin Brown to serve as interim commissioner starting Sept. 1 until a new commissioner can begin.

The Morehead News

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to resume issuing marriage licenses while she is being sued by four local couples who were denied licenses, according to a ruling Wednesday from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Davis’ defense team is appealing that decision.

In its ruling, the three-judge appeals court panel said there was “little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

Davis’ defense lawyers say they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Davis is represented by Liberty Counsel, a non-profit law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, says that even though she’s a government official, Davis’ religious freedoms should be upheld. “The implication is that if you work at a government agency you don’t have any religious freedom rights. If that’s the implication that’s staggering and that’s a startling proposition.”

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage.

Kentucky LRC

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear had a vision of bringing casino gambling into Kentucky to generate new revenue for state coffers, as he has often said. But the issue has never taken hold in the legislature.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, reignited the expanded gambling debate on Tuesday, announcing that during next year’s legislative session he would propose a constitutional amendment to allow as many as seven casinos to open in the state. Counties would have to approve new casinos in a local option vote before they could be built.

But after voters elect a new governor in November, advocates of expanded gambling will lose their biggest ally. And it’s unclear whether Beshear’s replacement will support the cause — at least as forcefully as he has.

Last summer, Democratic candidate for governor Jack Conway said he would campaign for expanded gaming, but the issue hasn’t become a major point of contention during the gubernatorial race so far. Spokesman Daniel Kemp said Conway still supports the policy.

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will introduce a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling when the General Assembly convenes next year. 

Outgoing Governor Steve Beshear has pushed casinos as a way to generate revenue throughout his two terms in office. 

He blames the failed attempts on the Republican-led Kentucky Senate and infighting in the horse industry.

"Many in the horse industry want it limited only to racetracks and they're afraid free-standing casinos will somehow make the racetracks less profitable and there would be less people who would want to go to them," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.

Beshear is hopeful the question of whether to allow casinos will be placed on the ballot for voters to decide in November 2016.  Casino legislation must first clear the Kentucky House and Senate. 

Under Stumbo’s proposal, seven casinos could open statewide and 70 percent of proceeds would benefit education.  Twenty percent would go to the state retirement system, and the remaining 10 percent would go to racetracks.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Pete Prodoehl

The Hancock County Judge-Executive says he feels “helpless” following the announcement that a major employer plans to sharply reduce operations in late October.

Century Aluminum announced Tuesday that it will idle its smelter in Hawesville unless there is a major rebound in the price of aluminum on the open market.

The smelter employs 565 people. In an email Wednesday, Century Aluminum Human Resources Manager Kenny Barkley said the company would keep “around a dozen” workers at the Hawesville plant if it’s idled this fall.

Hancock County Judge-Executive Jack McCaslin said there’s nothing anybody in the region can do about the market forces impacting the price of aluminum.

“It’s a commodity. Metals are just like soybeans and corn and everything else. So the markets dictate how much stuff is worth. I can’t change the markets.”

Innovation is Key at New Owensboro High School

Aug 26, 2015
Rhonda J. Miller

Students are changing classes at the new regional high school, Owensboro Innovation Academy. There’s a lot of “change” and a lot of “new” at this school. 

First of all, it’s not in a typical high school building. It’s in the Owensboro Centre for Business and Research.

The principal, Beth Benjamin, says she’s called the “director.”  And Benjamin says teachers aren’t called teachers.

“They’re called facilitators. And that is because we want students to take ownership of their own learning. So they kind of determine what they need to know and then the teachers are there to facilitate that learning and then to provide any direct instruction that’s needed. But it’s definitely a team effort.”

Superintendent of Owensboro schools Nick Brake says the facilitator role encourages respect for students.

“It’s not so much the sage on the stage where everybody bows to the teacher. It really allows more of an adult-to-adult, peer-to-peer type of relationship and the students have to respect that, in the same way they would respect any other adult relationship.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/BES Photos

Foiled in state court, a Jefferson County Public Schools teacher filed a federal court suit Monday claiming the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System illegally raised teachers’ share of pension contributions to shore up a retirement plan that is only half-funded.

Randolph “Randy” Wieck, a history teacher at DuPont Manual High School, launched the legal battle last November by filing suit in Jefferson County Circuit Court. The case was dismissed with a recommendation that it be refiled in Franklin County, he said.

Instead, Wieck filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Louisville. As before, Wieck is asking that the roughly 141,000 teachers and school system retirees in Kentucky be allowed to participate in the suit. He is joined in the suit by Manual English teacher Betsey Bell and retired Manual librarian and English teacher Jane Norman.

Kentucky’s active and retired teachers are apprehensive about the solvency of their state-funded retirement. As of its last audited annual financial report on June 30, 2014, KTRS was only 53.6 percent funded with $16.2 billion in assets and $30.2 billion in obligations. A bill calling for the sale of $3.3 billion in bonds, which would have raised the KTRS funding level to 66 percent, failed in the 2015 legislative session.

Jacob Ryan, WFPL

Jim Wathen has been selling military merchandise at the Kentucky State Fair for nearly a decade.

By noon on a recent weekday, he had already restocked a rack of Confederate flags. He said the 3-by-3-inch Confederate flag, his top seller, is a piece of military history.

“It’s not anything to do about any racism or anything like that,” said Wathen, who also sells sock hats, stickers and patches with the Confederate battle emblem.

But the flag won’t be Wathen’s top seller at next year’s Kentucky State Fair.

The Kentucky State Fair Board voted this summer to ban the sale of the Confederate flag emblem at the fair. Several state agencies throughout the South removed Confederate symbols following a mass shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina.

The fair board’s full ban won’t go into effect until 2016; nearly every vendor this year had already signed a contract and paid as much $500 in deposit fees prior to the fair board’s vote.

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