Kentucky is trying to increase support for homeless military veterans.

The state is offering housing vouchers for homeless veterans in 87 counties, including Warren, Pulaski, Daviess, and Hardin.

Leslie Talley is with Community Action of Southern Kentucky, an agency helping veterans in the region apply for the vouchers.

She says the voucher program is run by the Kentucky Housing Corporation.

Kentucky lawmakers will be asked to restore cuts to higher education when they write a new, two-year state budget next legislative session. 

The state has cut campus budgets seven times in the last eight years.  In a budget recommendation approved Friday, the Council on Postsecondary Education is seeking more than $86 million for the state’s eight public universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.   

CPE President Bob Kings says education leaders realize only partial restoration of the cuts is realistic.

"We understand the state is facing some other extraordinary challenges in the pension systems and the growth of the Medicaid budget, but we also know that Kentucky is one of a handful of states that has not re-invested in higher education," King told WKU Public Radio.

Lawmakers will also be asked to tie higher education funding to certain performance standards at each school.  State money would be awarded to campuses based on metrics like closing achievement gaps and increasing retention and graduation rates.

Tuesday will be the first day back at school for Allen County students following the murder of a seven-year-old classmate over the weekend and school administrators are trying to put concerned parents at ease.

A few parents have said they will not send their children back to school out of fear for their safety.  Gabriella Doolin, a 2nd grader, was found dead in a creek Saturday night behind Allen County-Scottsville High School. 

Her killer has not been found, but Allen County Schools Superintendent Randall Jackson promises a safe and nurturing environment as students return to class.

"I think it will be good for children to get back to the learning environment, but also to be with their friends and teachers as they have questions about the horrible tragedy," Jackson told WKU Public Radio. 

Aside from school resource officers who regularly patrol the schools, the sheriff’s office will provide additional manpower.  Grief counselors from Allen County and neighboring districts will be there to meet the emotional needs of students.


In the wake of the deadly attacks last week in Paris, Sen. Rand Paul plans to introduce legislation that “would suspend visa issuance for countries with a high risk of terrorism.”

Paul’s intentions, announced Monday, join a chorus of Republicans seeking to take steps following the Paris attacks. About a dozen Republican governors — including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — have also announced they intend to block the intake of refugees from countries dealing with ISIS and other terrorist groups.

In September, Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the U.S. would take in 100,000 refugees from the war-ravaged Syria by 2017.

Paul’s proposed legislation would also “impose a waiting period for background checks on visa issuance from other countries until the American people can be assured terrorists cannot enter the country through our immigration and visa system,” according to a statement from his office released Monday.

The time has come to stop terrorists from walking in our front door,” Paul said in a statement. “The Boston Marathon bombers were refugees, and numerous refugees from Iraq, including some living in my hometown, have attempted to commit terrorist attacks.

Hundreds of people gathered in Scottsville’s square Sunday evening for a silent candlelight vigil for Gabriella Doolin.

Kentucky State Police say the death of that 7-year-old girl whose body was found in an Allen County creek is being handled as a homicide.

In a statement, state police said Gabriella Doolin was reported missing around 7:40 p.m. Saturday by her mother while they were at a football game at Allen County-Scottsville High School.

Authorities say police found Doolin's body at 8:05 p.m. in a creek in a wooded area behind the high school.

WKU is taking steps to boost the number of non-traditional students at its four campuses.  The school’s overall enrollment has been hurt by a drop in part-time adult learners.

A promotional campaign is using postcards, email, and social media in hopes of reaching 45,000 non-traditional students who want to finish their bachelor’s degree or start a master’s degree. 

Dr. Brad Kissell, director of Adult and Regional Campus Enrollment, says this particular segment has different challenges than the traditional college student, including work and family obligations.

"How do we provide courses in the evening, services they can connect with?  It's those kinds of things that we as a university need to wrestle with to help our adult learners," Kissell told WKU Public Radio.

The decline of non-traditional students isn’t the only factor behind WKU’s enrollment drop that began in 2012. Higher admission standards and an improving economy have also played a role.

The university is hosting informational sessions for prospective students this week in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Glasgow, and Owensboro.  A list of locations and times is available here.

Warren County Regional Jail

A 22-year-old Western Kentucky University student was arrested Nov. 12 and charged with terroristic threatening after another student alerted campus police.

Ryan Ashford of Fallon, Illinois was held in the Warren County Regional Jail following his arrest. 

WKU Police Captain Dominic Ossello says Ashford made violent threats online.

“The WKU police department was notified that there was a threat made on one of the anonymous social media sites and the threat was that it was going to shoot students on campus today Friday.”

State of Kentucky

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is warning his Republican successor against dismantling the state's health insurance exchange, which has added thousands to the insurance rolls in a state plagued by poor health.

Beshear says the state would have to spend about $23 million in taxpayer funds to scrap the exchange, known as kynect, and transition to a federal exchange. He says insurance providers and the state's business community support kynect, which offers health insurance plans in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

Beshear says kynect was "the most successful exchange in this nation." Last year, the state's uninsured rate dropped from just over 14 percent to 8.5 percent.

Gov.-elect Matt Bevin says kynect users can buy health insurance from the federal government's exchange. He says kynect "adds nothing of value."

Drone Helping to Map Pulaski County Cemetery

Nov 12, 2015
Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College is using a drone to help map a local cemetery. Professor Eric Wooldridge is helping the Pulaski County Historical Society take aerial images of Short Creek Cemetery.  ​He's using an 18-inch drone, also called an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.​ 

“Our primary objective with the UAV will be to fly it over top, sort of center it into quadrants, and take a good quality picture looking straight down,” said Wooldridge.

T​he idea​ is to preserve headstone locations and other historical information that could be worn away by weather and time.

“You’re dealing with markers and stones that are made of sandstone and deteriorating, so there’s no real way to keep that information unless it’s recorded in some type of legitimate format,” said Wooldridge. 

The drone will fly 20-to-40 feet over the cemetery and take images that will be used to map the property. The data recorded by the drone will be compared with notes about each headstone taken ​by a historical society volunteer.

The Kentucky Housing Corp. says several hundred veterans remain homeless in Kentucky, and it is offering vouchers for housing in many counties.

The agency says it wants to make sure all veterans know about the program known as Veterans Emerging Through Transition and don't assume they aren't eligible before contacting a participating agency. Preference is given to qualified veterans regardless of discharge status.

Officials say the process moves quickly once paperwork is finished, with veterans placed in housing in a few months.

The housing agency says it will continue the program until all 100 set-aside vouchers are used.

Meanwhile, the federal government has announced that the city of Louisville has become the first in the state to eradicate veteran homelessness.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development regional administrator Ed Jennings told a crowd gathered in downtown Louisville for a Veterans Day parade that the city housed more than 400 veterans in the last year.

Mayor Greg Fischer was the first in Kentucky to sign up for President Barack Obama's call to end homelessness among veterans.