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Regional
2:37 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Toyota Grant Teaches Rules of the Road to Kentucky High School Students

Kentucky State Police Trooper Jonathan Biven gives a safe driving presentation to students at Warren East High School.
Credit Toyota's Drew Mitchell

The Kentucky State Police agency is partnering with Toyota to educate high school students about the number one killer of teens: traffic crashes. 

“Alive at 25” is a defensive driving course that will be implemented statewide over the next two years with the help of a $150,000 dollar grant from Toyota operations in Kentucky. 

The program was taken to students at Warren East High School in Bowling Green on Thursday.  In the audience was 18-year-old Bradley Pearson who admits to texting while driving.

“I didn’t see it as that big of a deal, but after today, I know I need to stop," said Pearson.  "I text with other people in the car, and if I wreck it affects them just as much as it does me.”

Sixteen-year-old Patrick Burton considers himself a safe driver, partly because of the impact a distracted driving crash had on his family.

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Regional
12:44 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Stivers Faces Lawsuit Over Lack of Confirmation Hearing During Legislative Session

Senate President Robert Stivers
Credit Kentucky LRC

Campbellsville urologist Dr. James Angel is suing Senate President Robert Stivers, accusing him of blocking his re-appointment to the nine-member Fish and Wildlife Commission. A 2010 rule limits commission members to two terms, but Angel is grandfathered in.

Gov. Steve Beshear appointed Angel to a fourth term, but his appointment was never brought up for a confirmation hearing before the legislative session came to an end this week.

Angel says Stivers was behind the decision. In comments made to the Courier-Journal, Stivers called the legal action a “lawsuit of desperation”.   

Sports
10:28 am
Thu April 17, 2014

WKU To Host Opening Round of Women’s Preseason Basketball Tourney

Credit WKU Athletics

Fresh off an NCAA postseason appearance, the WKU women’s basketball team is looking forward to another tournament.  The school announced Thursday that Diddle Arena will serve as a host site for the opening round of the women’s preseason NIT tournament in November. 

“Not only being in the tournament, but having the chance to be one of the few schools to host is a sign of the national respect that our program has garnered in the women’s basketball world,” said WKU head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “I am so excited for our team and our fan base to have the chance to have this event in E.A. Diddle Arena.”

The Lady Toppers have a 6-3 record all time in the preseason NIT tournament, which began in its current form in 1994.

The WNIT preseason tournament begins November 14th.

Regional
6:46 am
Thu April 17, 2014

T.J. Samson Hospital Cutting Jobs

T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, Ky.
Credit T.J. Samson

T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow announced Wednesday that it will cut between 39 and 49 employees from all departments beginning immediately. The hospital released the news at a news conference in Glasgow.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports interim CEO Henry Royse said the difficult decisions were based on a costly roll out of an inadequate financial software program and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Besides the staff layoffs, senior management and salaried physicians will have their pay cut by 10% and employees making more than $10 an hour will see reductions of 2% to 6% beginning in September.

Despite the decisions that the hospital was faced with, the administration claims to be still encouraged by the hospital's future. The cuts won't impact the quality or access to care "that drives nearly 1,200 employees of T.J. Samson every day," according to a news release.

This latest news comes after the non-profit hospital offered employees early retirement last year. At least two dozen people, including then CEO Bill Kindred, accepted that offer.

Sports
4:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

WKU's Brohm: College Football Scholarship System Working Fine

New WKU head football coach Jeff Brohm on the sidelines in 2013.
Credit WKU Athletics

New WKU head football coach Jeff Brohm says he doesn’t think college football players should be paid. A recent court decision gave players at Northwestern University the right to explore the formation of a union. But Brohm says scholarships and a college education are quite valuable.

“Obviously, there are different opinions on that. But I think the scholarship is the best way to handle things.  You can debate back-and-forth on ‘do they need more?’ but I feel good about the situation as it is. I think they’re always continuing to try to improve ways to take care of athletes, but I feel like they’re taken care of pretty well, myself,” said Brohm.

Brohm spoke Wednesday at the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club. Spring practices for the ‘Toppers football team culminate this Saturday with the Red vs. White scrimmage, which is open to the public and begins at 1 p.m.  The regular season begins in late August and will be WKU's first in Conference USA

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Regional
4:09 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Electronic Tracking Having No Impact on Meth Production in Warren County

The inside of a meth lab discovered by police in Barren County, Kentucky.
Credit Barren County Drug Task Force

The head of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force says a methamphetamine bust this week is a perfect example of why Kentucky needs stronger laws concerning meth’s key ingredient. 

Four Bowling Green residents were arrested this week for “smurfing” pseudoephedrine, which is a meth precursor found in most over-the-counter cold and allergy drugs. 

"They were defeating the electronic tracking by using false identifications and hitting both states, which is exactly what we tried to tell the legislature two years ago, that electronic tracking really doesn't work, explained Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force.

Loving says to really curtail the crime, lawmakers should make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. 

Kentucky's electronic tracking law has led to a 20% drop in meth labs statewide, but according to Loving, the law has had no effect in Warren County. 

Efforts to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine have failed in recent legislative sessions due to a strong lobby from the pharmaceutical industry. 

Under current Kentucky law, consumers are prevented from purchasing more than seven grams of pseudoephedrine per month without a prescription.  

The limit is higher in Tennessee, which Loving says, sends Kentuckians across the state line.

Regional
3:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

FAA Awards $1 Million Grant to Owensboro-Daviess Co. Airport

Owensboro-Daviess Co. Airport
Credit Courtesy

The Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport has received a one-million dollar grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. Airport director Bob Whitmer says they’ve actually spent the money already to expand the airport’s terminal, but will use the grant to repay a loan from the Kentucky Finance Cabinet. 

Whitmer says the million-dollar grant is unusual for smaller airports, but Owensboro-Daviess County earned the money by reaching the 10-thousand mark in "implanements" paid boardings.

“On our Allegiant Airlines and Cape Air Airlines flights, we were well-above 10,000, so we got awarded a million dollars, whereas most airports that are below 10,000 'implanements' only get $150,000.”

The grant will cover 90 percent of the terminal improvements. Whitmer says the airport is also relocating a beacon to improve visibility for income aircraft.

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Politics
10:35 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Kentucky Senate Leaders Ask for Special Session on Heroin

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said he will ask Democratic Governor Steve Beshear to call a special session so lawmakers can strengthen penalties for heroin dealers.

The Kentucky General Assembly adjourned for the year at midnight Tuesday without passing a heroin bill that had the support of both parties and statewide elected officials.

A spokeswoman for Beshear said the governor was traveling on Wednesday and that it was too early to decide if a special session was needed. State officials estimate a special session would cost taxpayers about $60,000 per day.

The Senate passed a bill in January that would make high-volume heroin dealers serve longer sentences. It also would have required the state to pay substance abuse treatment and education programs. The House never voted on the bill.

Regional
8:13 am
Wed April 16, 2014

After Late Night, Lawmakers Wrap Up Legislative Session

Greg Stumbo (left) and Jeff Hoover earlier in the 2014 General Assembly Session
Credit Kentucky LRC

This year's Kentucky legislative session is now over. Though many bills failed due to lack of compromise or attention, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says lawmakers did what was expected of them from taxpayers by passing a two-year state budget.

But that chamber’s highest ranking Republican, Jeff Hoover, decried tactics by Democrats to amend bills at the last minute without giving Republicans enough time to study them. Lawmakers debated new amendments and legislative procedure right until the stroke of midnight.

Among the failed bills was a measure that would raise penalties for heroin traffickers and legislation that would restore voting rights for felons.

Regional
5:38 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Lawmakers Reach Deal To Fund Roads and Bridges Projects

Update 5:38 p.m.

House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a $4.1 billion road spending plan on the Legislature's final day that, if approved, would avoid an expensive special session.

The plan includes $5.2 billion worth of projects throughout the state. But as much as 25 percent of that money will not be spent. Lawmakers said they like to include a cushion in case some projects are delayed because of environmental concerns or problems acquiring land.

The state Senate is scheduled to vote on the road plan first before sending it to the House of Representatives. Lawmakers have until midnight to pass the bill. 

Original Post:

State lawmakers say they are close to an agreement on how to spend $1.2 billion in state tax dollars on road construction.

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