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4:00 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Join WKU Public Radio for Our 2014 Lineup of Holiday Programs

We hope you'll make WKU Public Radio's lineup of Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's programs a part of your holiday tradition!

Thursday, Dec. 24

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (live at 9 am central/10 eastern): Hosted by Michael Barone, this is a live stereo music and spoken-word broadcast from the chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England. The 30-voice King's College Choir performs the legendary Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service of Biblical readings and music.

The Messiah (11 am central/noon eastern): Each year the Cathedral’s annual Messiah performances during the first weekend of December attract an audience of some 6,000 from the greater Washingtonarea. With a team of the finest international soloists, coming from the US and abroad, these performances are perfect for the holiday season.

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Regional
9:08 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Tennessee's Gas Tax Time May Have Come

Momentum is mounting for a possible proposal to raise the state's gas tax for the first time in 25 years.

Gov. Bill Haslam told says that he thinks a legislative proposal on the issue is close, and could be introduced in the next General Assembly, which convenes in January.

The push comes as a group representing 40 mayors in Middle Tennessee sent a letter urging Haslam and state lawmakers to find new sources of revenue to pay for transportation needs. Chambers of commerce also are pushing the idea of increasing the gas tax.

In addition, the Tennessee Farm Bureau no longer lists opposition to a gas tax increase as among its legislative priorities.

Still, the newspaper reports any proposal to increase the tax would face hurdles.

Regional
9:04 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Waiting To Repair Northern Kentucky Bridge Costly

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear says it will cost taxpayers $7 million every month lawmakers do not take action to replace the Brent Spence Bridge connecting northern Kentucky with Cincinnati.

The 50-year old bridge has no emergency shoulder and now carries twice the amount of traffic it was built to handle. But the $2.6 billion project has languished for years because northern Kentucky state lawmakers have adamantly opposed using tolls to pay for the bridge.

But Beshear told the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce on Monday that waiting five years will cost the state an additional $400 million, using a 3 percent inflation figure from the Federal Highway Administration.

Beshear says he plans to meet with Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich in January to come up with a plan to pay for the bridge.

Arts & Culture
8:41 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Kentucky's Henry Clay Leads A "Dream Team" To End The War of 1812

The Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812 officially on Christmas eve of 1814. Still, despite a so-called "Dream Team" of American diplomats representing our interests, including three future Secretaries of State, the young United States came away with a historically bad deal.

Joe Corcoran speaks with WKU historians Dr. Jack Thacker and Dr. Glenn LaFantasie.

Regional
2:30 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Tennessee Joins Multi-State Lawsuit Over Immigration

Tennessee is joining a multi-state lawsuit seeking to halt President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery on Monday notified the parties in the lawsuit that Tennessee will become the 25th state to join the legal challenge filed in federal court in Texas.

Slatery said in a statement that Tennessee "cannot sit on the sidelines of this case, when unlawful directives of this magnitude grant lawful presence and other rights like work permits to such a large number."

Obama traveled to Nashville earlier this month to tout his decision to extend deportation relief and work permits to 4 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally. His action would affect those who have been here more than five years and have children.

Politics
9:35 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Paul Tries To Distance Himself From Isolationist Past

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Credit WKU Public Radio

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is taking online digs at potential GOP presidential rival Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida over President Barack Obama's new Cuba policy.

In posts on Twitter, Paul on Friday accused Rubio of acting like an "isolationist" who wants to retreat to the nation's borders and "build a moat."

Paul wrote, "I reject this isolationism."

He was responding to Rubio's comments in an interview Thursday night with Fox News, in which Rubio said Paul had "no idea what he's talking about" when it comes to Cuba.

Paul says the U.S. embargo against Cuba hasn't worked and he's supportive of opening trade with Cuba.

Rubio has been critical of Obama's push to establish ties with Cuba, saying it amounts to appeasing the Castro regime.

Environment
9:22 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Kentucky PSC Approves Solar Power Project

The Public Service Commission has approved a solar power project planned by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric in Mercer County.

A statement from the PSC says it authorized the utilities on Friday to build a 10-megawatt solar array at the E.W. Brown Generating Station, which would produce enough power to supply about 8,000 homes. It will consist of about 260 solar panels.

The statement says it is the first utility-scale solar power project in the state.

According to the PSC, the $36 million price of the solar array will be partially offset by tax credit and other factors, so it will have a "relatively minor" impact on rates.

LG&E serves 397,000 electric customers in the Louisville area and KU has 543,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties.

Regional
5:53 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Kentucky Health Official Says State Prepared For Potential Outbreak, Despite Low Ranking

Kentucky meets only 3 of 10 key indicators in a new report involving readiness to handle an infectious disease outbreak.

Kentucky’s readiness to respond to an infectious disease outbreak ranks in the bottom half in the nation according to a new report compiled by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The report shows Kentucky meets just 3 of 10 key indicators.

“I think it’s good because it helps to highlight strengths and weaknesses,” said Kentucky's Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh.  “On the other hand, I think we have to consider that we can’t really compare year-to-year because last year or the year before, they didn’t have the same metrics. And the other thing is, it may not be representative of the state’s preparedness as a whole.”

Dr. Humbaugh says, in general, Kentucky is prepared to handle an outbreak.

One of the categories in which Kentucky did make the grade was vaccinating young children.  Dr. Humbaugh says vaccination is critical for people of all ages.

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Environment
2:27 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

EPA Sets First National Standard For Coal Waste

The Obama administration has set the first national standards for waste generated from coal burned for electricity. The regulation treats it more like household garbage rather than a hazardous material.

Environmentalists had pushed for the hazardous classification, citing the hundreds of cases nationwide where coal ash waste had tainted waters. The coal industry wanted the less stringent classification.

The rule issued Friday ends a six-year effort that began after a massive spill at a power plant in Tennessee.

The EPA said that the regulation addresses the risks posed by coal ash sites and that the record did not support a hazardous classification.

The rule does not require all sites failing to meet the standards to close. Sites at shuttered power plants also are not covered.

Regional
12:20 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Warren County Government Approves History-Making Right-to-Work Law

Chip White (left) and Alton Haycraft of the Carpenters Local 175 in Louisville were in the audience as Warren County Fiscal Court approved a local right-to-work measure.
Credit Lisa Autry

Against the advice of Kentucky’s attorney general, Warren County Fiscal Court has passed a local right-to-work law, becoming the first county in the nation to do so.

In a 5-1 vote Friday morning, magistrates gave final approval to a measure that would allow private sector workers to choose whether to join a union and pay dues.  The atmosphere was tense as union members from all over the state packed into the courtroom.  An overflow crowd stood outside the chambers, many of them holding signs and wearing union garb.

"Right-to-work is right-to-work for less," said Alton Haycraft with the Carpenters Local 175 in Louisville.  "It's a right to lose your job and be fired for no reason."  Every right-to-work state last year reported a billion dollars or more in lost income taxes due to falling wages."

Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan expressed disappointment after the meeting.

"It was a disrespectful thing they did to the workers of this community who work so hard to build cars and products here," Londrigan told WKU Public Radio.  "Why don't they go after the folks who are shipping our jobs overseas?  Why don't they talk about raising the minimum wage?  Why don't they talk about doing good things instead of interfering with the rights we have to collectively bargain with employers like General Motors?"

Supporters believe right-to-work laws make the state more competitive in attracting jobs.  Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson spoke in favor of the ordinance before the vote was taken.

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