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Regional
12:32 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Owensboro Builds on Old Tradition With Dragon Boat Races

Teams line up alongside the Ohio River in Owensboro
Emil Moffatt

Emil's feature on the Owensboro Dragon Boat Festival

As early-morning fog gave way to a clear blue August sky, 30 teams dressed in bright-colored t-shirts climbed into narrow wooden boats, adorned with a dragon head in the front. The teams paddled out to the starting line in the middle of the Ohio River.  

Todd Petzold expressed cautious optimism as his team prepared to participate in the Owensboro Dragon Boat Festival for a second straight year.

“We’re team MPD, and we’re not going to sink this year. And we’re going to have fun,” said Petzold.

The teams were made up of between 15-20 people, including men and women. Their experience level ranged from veteran to novice.

They’re taking part in an athletic event and tradition whose origins date back to the year 278 B. C. in China and a man considered the father of Chinese poetry, Qu Yuan.

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Regional
9:52 am
Mon August 26, 2013

I-65 Northbound Lanes Closed in Hart County Following Accident

Update at 2:01 p.m. :
Cleanup continues on Northbound I-65 in Hart County.  The Kentucky Transportation cabinet estimates the work will take another four hours. Detour information below...

Update at 10:33 a.m.:

The closure of the northbound I-65 lanes in Hart County is now expected to last until 6:30 p.m central/ 7:30 eastern time:

Northbound Interstate 65 is now closed at Mile Point 56 in Hart County.  A semi crash occurred earlier, initially reducing the interstate to one lane.   The vehicle’s cargo includes used batteries.  Due to safety concerns, northbound traffic is now being detoured off of I65 at Cave City (Exit 53), onto KY 70 east, to US 31W north, to KY 218 west and rejoin the interstate at Horse Cave (Exit 58).

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Agriculture
9:50 am
Mon August 26, 2013

New Study in Kentucky Paints Mixed Picture for Hemp's Potential Economic Impact

Hemp supporters have made a strong push to get the crop legalized in Kentucky and at the federal level.

A study conducted by the University of Kentucky contains mixed results concerning the economic viability of growing hemp. Hemp supporters have been pushing to get the crop legalized at both the state and federal levels, saying it could create thousands of jobs and help boost the bottom lines of farmers.

The UK study says hemp could be a profitable option for some farmers in central Kentucky, but not everywhere.

The Chairman of UK’s agriculture economics department told the Courier-Journal that he didn’t want to portray the study as a “negative outcome”, saying the crop “should be viewed as one more opportunity amid many opportunities for farmers." Leigh Maynard said there would be a big “learning curve” for producers and processes to climb, given that growing hemp in the U.S. has been illegal for decades.

Maynard said it's likely hemp could become a niche crop for some farmers. Hemp seeds can be used to make fuel, foods, and personal care products.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has made hemp legalization his chief legislative priority, and says he’s optimistic about the crop’s future despite the study. According to Comer, it’s difficult to estimate the economic impact of an industry that doesn’t exist.

Politics
6:23 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Libertarian Candidate Enters Kentucky Senate Race

Libertarian David Patterson has announced his intention to run against incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The 42-year old Harrodsburg police officer said in a statement that he's making the bid to unseat McConnell because voters are looking for an alternative.

Ken Moellman, chairman of the Libertarian Party's state executive committee, said he's pleased Patterson wanted to get into the race. Patterson will seek the party's nomination in an internal primary on March 1.

McConnell is seeking a sixth term in office in next year's election. His chief rival is Democratic secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes. Republican Matt Bevin is challenging McConnell in next spring's primary.

Regional
5:46 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Police Investigating Deadly Armed Robbery in Bowling Green

Bowling Green police continue their search for a suspect following a deadly armed robbery in the city early Monday morning.

The shooting happened just after midnight at the Domino's on Stonehenge Avenue. WBKO-TV is quoting police as saying a black man came in the back door shortly after the store closed at midnight. Witnesses say there was a struggle and a lot of yelling. When police arrived, they say a white man was found shot to death by the side of the building.

His name has not yet been released.

Employees were inside the building during the robbery but there were no other injuries reported.

Police say they're not sure if the suspect took any money. Surveillance video shows the man to be about 6'1" tall but his face was covered.

Business
5:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Kentucky Congressmen Hold Field Hearing on ObamaCare

Two Republican Congressmen from Kentucky will host a field hearing in Lexington Tuesday titled "Health Care Challenges Facing Kentucky's Workers and Job Creators. 

"This is an official Congressional hearing where witnesses will offer testimony that will become part of the Congressional record," says U.S. Representative Andy Barr of Lexington.

Representative Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green is also hosting the hearing that will focus on the Affordable Care Act.  The federal health care overhaul requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health insurance or pay penalties.  Last month, the Obama administration pushed back implementation of the employer mandate until January of 2015.

Education
7:00 am
Sun August 25, 2013

Beshear Announcing $41 Million Race to the Top Grant for Co-ops

Governor Beshear is announcing a major Race to the Top educational grant to several Kentucky school district cooperatives. The governor will be joined by state education commissioner Terry Holliday, the leaders of several educational co-ops, the Hart County Schools superintendent, and other education leaders.

A news release issued by the Governor’s office said Beshear will announce in Shelby County Monday morning $41 million in Race to the Top grant money to be shared by Kentucky school district co-ops.

Those groups include the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, which includes districts across south-central Kentucky, and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, a consortium of school districts in north-central Kentucky.

Twenty-two districts from those two co-ops joined in an application and were awarded one of the nation’s two largest District-Race to the Top grants.

Race to the Top is a federal education program created to spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K through 12 education.

Economy
5:00 am
Sun August 25, 2013

Bowling Green Mayor Sees Gains, Pains for Manufacturing in the Region

Trace Die Cast is a Bowling Green manufacturer constantly looking for workers with high-tech skills.
Credit Kevin Willis

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson says that while it feels like "slogging through mud", the area economy is slowly starting to turn around.

However, Wilkerson told WKU Public Radio the city is still subject to manufacturing job losses that can have a big impact on its labor force.

"In a community our size, when something like Eagle Industries shuts down and puts 275 people out of work, we feel that hit. Fruit of the Loom has decided to reduce its workforce by close to 100 this year, and those are 100 good-paying jobs that are very meaningful to our economy. So when they're gone, we notice it," Wilkerson said.

Recent data compiled by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet show the Bowling Green Metropolitan Statistical Area with a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for the month of July, which is two-tenths of a percentage point below the national jobless figure.

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Politics
10:11 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Paul: GOP Can Court Minorities and Support Voter ID Laws

Rand Paul, R-KY

As new voter ID laws take effect across the county, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is maintaining his position that asking voters to produce identification before casting their ballot has no racial overtones. Paul told WKU Public Radio that voter ID provisions are needed to combat voter fraud and not doing so is a disservice to those who fought for the right to vote.

"Forty, 50 years ago when people were fighting for the right to vote, there were people beaten with clubs, there were people who fought for the Voting Rights Act, and at that time, African Americans weren't voting and weren't allowed to vote," said the Bowling Green Republican.

More states are enacting voter ID laws since the U.S. Supreme Court in June gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that gave the federal government oversight of states with a history of voter discrimination. Sen. Paul says he hasn't seen any evidence that minorities are facing obstacles in voting.  In fact, he says in the last election, African Americans voted at a higher percentage than White Americans in states that were under special provisions of the federal government. 

His comments come as he urges the GOP to do more to attract minorities, and as opponents of the Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act point to various voter ID laws they say are designed to discourage election day turnout in minority communities.

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Education
2:05 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Kentucky Education Chief Affirms Enrollment Cap Decision for Bowling Green, Warren County

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is affirming a decision to allow 750 Warren County students to attend Bowling Green city schools this academic year, according to a posting on the city schools' website.

Earlier this year, the Warren County school board lowered the cap on the number of county-zoned students allowed to attend city schools.  The city appealed the county’s decision to the state education commissioner. 

Following a three-day hearing last month, the hearing officer recommended to Holliday that the student cap be increased to 750 in the 2013-14 school year and the 2014-15 school years. 

Holliday’s order received Friday by the city school system only addresses this year.

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