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Education
7:59 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Beshear to Set Aside Decision by Lawmakers to Reject New Science Standards

Gov. Steve Beshear has the authority to override the decision to reject new science standards for Kentucky's public schools.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he will override a legislative committee’s decision to reject new science standards for public school students. 

The Kentucky Board of Education already approved the Next Generation Science Standards this year, but they were subject to legislative review. The regulation review committee shot down the new standards 5-1 Wednesday, following public criticism that they included teachings on evolution and climate change.

Committee co-chair Senator Ernie Harris rejected the standards, calling them  inferior to Kentucky’s current standards.

“I probably got 100 comments from people around the state to find these regs deficient, and I think I got may three or four in support of the regs," Sen. Harris said.

By law, the governor can override these types of legislative decisions. Beshear says he’s disappointed in the committee’s decision and will move forward with implementation anyway.

Politics
7:53 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Wants Review of Sexual Harassment Policies

State Rep. Sannie Overly is calling for an independent review of the Legislature's policies regarding workplace behavior in the wake of sexual harassment complaints against a western Kentucky lawmaker.

Overly, chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday she intends to file a bill next year to mandate the review and create a new personnel system that would ensure a harassment-free workplace.

The move is in response to sexual harassment complaints filed by two legislative staffers against Democratic state Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis.

A special legislative committee has been appointed to investigate those complaints. That committee could ultimately recommend Arnold's censure or expulsion from the Legislature.

Regional
2:08 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson Dies

Bourbon legend Lincoln Henderson, speaking in July
Credit Rick Howlett

A master distiller who helped create the Woodford Reserve brand for Brown-Forman and came out of retirement in 2006 to help launch Angel's Envy has died.

A statement from Angel's Envy says 75-year-old Lincoln Henderson died late Tuesday. It did not give a reason.

Henderson was well-known and respected in the industry and was named as an inaugural member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

A statement from Brown-Forman said Henderson worked for the company nearly 40 years and was a "titan of the Kentucky bourbon industry."  It said he tasted more than 430,000 barrels of bourbon to determine whether they were ready for bottling.

Regional
12:53 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

After Years of Debate, Toll Rates are Adopted for Ohio River Bridges Project

An artist's rendering of the Ohio River Bridges project, connecting Louisville to southern Indiana.

A committee of Kentucky and Indiana officials has approved toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project after years of research and debate.

The bi-state tolling body unanimously approved toll rates Wednesday of one to twelve dollars, depending on vehicle size and mode of crossing.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock says despite some strong opposition to tolling, they’re necessary to pay for the new End East and downtown bridges and reworking of Spaghetti Junction.

“This is where we wound up after months and months of intense studies so we’re comfortable that it’s certainly not going to be palatable to everyone but it’s an environment in which we can be successful," said Hancock.

Two regional business owners addressed the tolling body Wednesday. Both requested the states consider a discount for large trucks that will bear the highest costs.

But Hancock says the set rates are comparable to national averages.

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Regional
11:41 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Three Sept. 11 Firefighters and Fire Truck Honored Wednesday at Ft. Knox

Al Wallace, Dennis Young, and Mark Skipper are in Ft. Knox Wednesday, being recognized for their heroism at the Pentagon. The firefighters were assigned to the Fort Myer Fire Department in Arlington, VA on Sept. 11, 2001.
Credit Lisa Autry

The Fort Knox Army post is observing the twelfth anniversary of 9-11 by honoring some of the firefighters who responded to the Pentagon on the morning of the attacks.

One of those being honored is Al Wallace, who says he thinks about 9-11 every day. 

Wallace was assigned to the Ft. Myer Fire Department in Arlington, Virginia, on Sept. 11, 2001. He remembers getting a call from his chief alerting him about what had already happened in New York City.

Within minutes, Wallace and his comrades found themselves on the front lines at the Pentagon.

"Right there, up against the building--it was very difficult,” Wallace told WKU Public Radio Wednesday. “It was difficult to breathe, and we were already hypoxic from running. The smoke was coming out of the building along with the heat and the fire. And the more we worked, the more we got hurt."

Wallace was reunited Wednesday with two of his former fire department colleagues, and the fire truck they drove to the Pentagon on 9-11.

The truck--known as Foam 161--was damaged by the fire and destined for demolition. But last year Ft. Knox acquired the truck for its permanent collection at the George Patton Museum and Center for Leadership.

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Business
11:37 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Daviess County Leaders Drum Up Interest in I-67 Plan

Business leaders in Indiana and Kentucky are joining forces to drive interest in a cost-effective interstate proposal that would use existing infrastructure to link the states.

The Interstate 67 project would tie into Interstate 69 near Washington, Ind., and eventually link up with Interstate 65 in Bowling Green, Ky.

Washington Mayor Joe Wellman says the ability to tie into I-69 in Washington has spurred interest among Daviess County officials.

The Washington Times-Herald reports a $200,000 study shows the road would draw at least 16,000 vehicles a day and could ease congestion on I-65 near Louisville.

Coalition member Hank Menke says there's no money for the project right now. But he hopes the study has sent a strong message to state transportation officials that the idea is worth considering.

Education
8:19 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Education Panel to Review Kentucky's New Science Standards

A legislative subcommittee is expected to weigh in on the state's new science education standards on Wednesday.

The Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee meets at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Annex to either approve or reject the standards that have proven especially controversial in Kentucky.

Robert Bevins, president of Kentuckians for Science Education, said rejection of the new standards would be a horrible embarrassment for the state. Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, said the standards should not be approved because they neglect basic science knowledge in favor of some of the hottest new theories.

The standards, developed through a consortium of states with input from educators and scientists across the nation, were adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education in June.

Regional
7:59 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Replica, The Wall That Heals, Now on Public Display in Grandview

The Wall That Heals is being displayed at the Grandview Ball Field in Spencer County, Indiana, through Sept. 15.
Credit Barbara Richey

A traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is now on public display in Spencer County, Indiana.

The Wall That Heals contains the names of every U.S. military member killed in the Vietnam War. It can be seen at the Grandview Ball Field through Sept. 15.

Bringing the replica memorial to southern Indiana was the idea of Vietnam veteran and Spencer County resident Frank Richey, who told WKU Public Radio that he hopes those who haven't been able to see the Vietnam Memorial in Washington will come see The Wall That Heals.

"Not everybody gets the chance to go to Washington, D.C., and see the real wall. And a lot of kids don't get a chance to go. This way, I'm bringing the wall to the people in my community of Spencer County," Richey said.

Health
3:08 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Beshear Says Most Uninsured Kentuckians Will Qualify for Subsidies for Exchange-Based Plans

Governor Beshear says most of Kentucky’s uninsured residents would qualify for discounts on health insurance purchased on the state’s new health exchange. Speaking Tuesday in Frankfort, said at least 80 percent of the commonwealth’s uninsured would get some kind of financial assistance to help them get insurance coverage.

The new health exchange was put into motion following the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. It serves as an online marketplace where consumers can choose state-approved insurance plans and compare coverage and costs.

Enrollment in the Kentucky exchange begins October 1.

Government officials have said an estimated 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be eligible to receive coverage through the new exchange. The Courier-Journal reports Beshear said Tuesday that a family of four earning $70,000 a year could buy a health plan for a little over $400 a month.

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Regional
11:19 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Debate Over Ohio River Bridges Tolls Continues as Bi-State Committee Meets

Progress is being made on the Ohio River Bridges project.
Credit OxBlue

After delaying action on toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project last week, the bi-state committee in charge of setting rates will meet Wednesday to finish the job.

It was a surprise to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock last week, when Indiana officials said they weren’t ready to approve tolls.

Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield said the delay shouldn’t be considered opposition to the suggested tolls rates, ranging from one to twelve dollars. He said it was just a matter of getting paperwork together.

Hancock was concerned though, and said Kentucky needs to set toll rates to find investors for  its portion of the project’s cost.

“As interest rates go up obviously over a 35 year term of a financing deal that amounts to serious money, whether that’s millions I’m quite sure probably is," said Hancock.

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