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Politics
1:15 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Former Kentucky Lawmaker's Request to Have Guilty Plea Withdrawn is Rejected

Steve Nunn

Former state lawmaker Steve Nunn has lost his bid to withdraw his guilty plea in the 2009 shooting death of his ex-fiancee.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Fayette County Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine rejected Nunn's motion to withdraw the plea. An order filed in the circuit clerk's office Monday shows she also denied his motion to vacate the sentence.

The 62-year-old former state representative and son of former Gov. Louie B. Nunn pleaded guilty in 2011.

Nunn contended his attorney at the time, Warren Scoville of London, Kentucky, gave him bad advice about pleading guilty.

Nunn, who spent about 15 years in the state legislature, was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to first-degree murder with an aggravating circumstance.

Politics
11:57 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Grimes to Run for Secretary of State, Putting Off Race for Governor, AG

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit WFPL News

Ending speculation about her immediate political future, former U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she will run for re-election as Kentucky’s secretary of state. Grimes announced her decision Monday at a press conference in Lexington.

“Today I come before you and I ask you to humbly give that same faith and trust to continue to be your voice. It’s with excitement, it’s with energy that I tell you today I will be filing paperwork for reelection as Kentucky’s Secretary of State.”

Grimes was also considering a run for Kentucky Governor and Attorney General in 2015.

Grimes lost to Sen. Mitch McConnell in a grueling race for his U.S. Senate seat last year. Democrats had initially hoped she would oust McConnell from his seat, which he has held for five terms.

Final polls before the election suggested a close race, however Grimes lost by more than 15 percentage points in the final returns. She won the Democratic primary for that race with 77 percent of the vote.

So far, Grimes is the only Democrat to file to run for Secretary of State. Republican businessman Stephen Knipper has also filed for the position. The filing deadline is Tuesday.

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Politics
10:58 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Heiner Third Republican Candidate to File for Governor

Hal Heiner is seeking the Republican nomination for Kentucky Governor.
Credit Kentucky News Network

Hal Heiner has officially filed to seek the Republican nomination for governor.

Heiner and running mate KC Crosbie filed their paperwork at the Secretary of State's office Monday morning.

Heiner made brief remarks to a group of supporters in the Capitol parking lot before filing for office, where he characterized himself as a Frankfort outsider who could reform state government.

James Comer, the Republican state agriculture commissioner, and former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott have already filed to run for the office. Scott on Monday announced a series of town hall meetings across the state where he said he would listen to people and offer them real solutions to their problems.

Candidates have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to file for governor.

Politics
8:43 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Transportation Advocacy Group Supports Freezing Gas Tax

Prices at the pumps have dropped considerably in recent months.

When they return to work next week, Kentucky lawmakers are expected to consider ways to stem a drop in state gas tax monies.

Significant declines in the price per gallon at the pump have led to a loss of revenue to maintain and build roads. 

Kentuckians for Better Transportation director Juva Barber hopes legislators can remedy the problem.

"That is a major concern for all modes of transportation,” Barber said. “Obviously, if you move freight here in the state of Kentucky, you need a very safe,dependable road network and we have to make sure we have funding for that road network to maintain it and improve it as needed."

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Regional
5:39 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana Expanding Mentoring Program

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana officials say a new mentoring program launched this school year has been a success and will be expanded next year.

It’s called School to Work, and spokeswoman Kristin Milosevich says it initially matched 15 Seneca High School students with mentors from Price Waterhouse Coopers and Humana.

“The whole concept of school to work is that it actually puts high school students who are, will benefit from a one-to-one mentoring relationship in the workplace on the path to getting their first job, going on to college.”

Milosevich says Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to match as many as 75 students from across Jefferson County Public Schools with mentors in the workplace for the next academic year.

Regional
4:24 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Wendell Ford Remembered in Capitol Memorial

Hundreds of mourners filled the state Capitol Sunday to pay tribute to Kentucky's 53rd governor.

Wendell Ford died Thursday at his home in Owensboro. He was 90. Ford is the only Kentuckian to win consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. Senator.

Governor Steve Beshear offered a prayer to begin the service. "He listened, he cared, and he brought people together. Give us the courage to follow his examples," said Beshear.

Tommy Preston, who served as Ford's press secretary when he was governor in the early 1970's, delivered the eulogy. "Years in the grand edifice didn't change him one iota, neither could the ensnaring and beguiling of Washington, a place where underserved status is sought constantly," added Preston.

Preston recounted how Ford showed up for the ground breaking of the Kentucky Horse Park on a mule drawn plow. "And he plowed the earth in symbolic fashion behind a team of mules and onlookers loved it. That was Wendell Ford," said Preston.

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Education
5:51 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Ransdell: Little Chance Free Community College Plan Will Become a Reality

WKU President Gary Ransdell
Credit WKU

WKU President Gary Ransdell believes a White House plan to make community college free has little chance of becoming reality.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Obama announced a plan to offer two years of tuition-free community college to students who maintained certain academic standards.

The effort would cost about $60 billion over ten years, with the federal government picking up three-quarters of the cost, and states paying for the rest.

Speaking to WKU Public Radio during a break in Friday's Board of Regents meeting, Ransdell said that’s an unsustainable model. 

“There’s no way I can be advocate for Kentucky putting money into that and continuing to cut higher education for the public universities."

Ransdell said he understands that the technical and associate’s degrees that many community college graduates earn help drive the manufacturing sector. 

“But the reality is, it’s bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees that drive the economy, and those are the people who are the decision-makers with the intellectual skills that go into driving the economy.”

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Agriculture
5:44 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

USDA Proposes New Standards to Reduce Salmonella in Chicken Parts

Credit Credit Katie Brady / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found about half of ground chicken is contaminated with salmonella, and the agency is proposing new standards to reduce the bacteria by 30 percent.

The new rule would mean more testing, which John-Mark Hack says is more expense for the processor. He is a co-founder at Marksbury Farm Market in Garrard County.

“As a company that employs 36 Kentuckians, any additional expense is significant to us,” Hack said. “We’re not a mulit-million dollar, multi-national poultry processor that can easily absorb those kind of expenses.”

The USDA increased standards for whole chickens in 1996, but now knows the chance of salmonella increases as chicken is processed. The further processed meat like chicken wings and breasts make up 80 percent of the chicken available for purchase.

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Politics
5:34 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Stivers: Lawmaker Charged with DUI Not Immune From Prosecution

Kentucky Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard)
Credit LRC Public Information

Kentucky’s Senate President says a GOP colleague does NOT have legal immunity from being charged with drunk driving.

The Courier-Journal reports that Robert Stivers made the comments after an attorney for Senator Brandon Smith of Hazard filed a motion seeking to dismiss charges against his client.

The lawyer says Smith, who was arrested for DUI on the first day of the legislative session, has immunity under a provision in the state constitution that prohibits lawmakers from being arrested while the legislature is in session.

But Senate President Stivers publicly disagreed with Smith’s interpretation, issuing a statement that said “no member of the General Assembly is above the law.”

Stivers said that while the state constitution afforded some degree of immunity, it clearly didn’t apply in the Smith’s DUI case.

Regional
2:12 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Fatal Western Kentucky Plane Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on a deadly plane crash earlier this month in western Kentucky.  The accident killed everyone on board except for a young girl. 

The report released Friday shows the pilot of the twin-engine plane, Marty Gutzler, radioed to air traffic control that he was having "problems" with both of the plane’s engines.  He was instructed to land at the nearby Kentucky State Dam Airport.  Minutes later, Gutzler reported he had lost sight of the airfield.  There were no further radio communications from the plane. 

The January 2 crash killed Gutzler, his wife, their nine-year-old daughter and her cousin.  The NTSB report says the victims were found strapped in their seats.  The family was returning from Florida to their home in Nashville, Illinois. 

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