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A virtual college fair with take place this week for students interested in transferring their credits or associate degrees to WKU. 

Transfer Madness will allow students to chat online with advisers and download information.

Chris Jensen, associate director of the Academic Advising and Retention Center at WKU, says the event is aimed at making the transfer process less intimidating.

"We will have representatives from advising, our distance learning programs, our financial aid office, as well as admissions online answering questions for students make it an easier process to be able to come to WKU to continue their degree."

The virtual fair will be held from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 26.  Registration can be completed online at www.transfermadness.org

WKU is waiving application fees for students who participate.

As temperatures begin to climb this spring, the number of highway work crews on Kentucky's roads will also increase. Proper attention to the road remains the key to safe travels.

Monday marks the beginning of Work Zone Awareness Week across the Commonwealth. The number of fatalities in highway work zones in Kentucky has dropped the last three years, but crashes have significantly increased. State Transportation Regional Safety Administrator Ronnie Johnson says too many drivers treat marked portions of the roadway like any other stretch of highway. "Folks are just not paying good attention," said Johnson. "They go through work zones as if they were on an open highway. They're engrossed in conversation on the phone or whatever and they blow through a work zone. They don't even know they've passed through it."

Johnson says many of the fatalities in work zones are Kentucky drivers, and not construction workers. He says there are national standards on how to establish road construction markings along the highway. Johnson says enforcement in work areas is important, but not the sole solution. "And you can ticket, ticket, ticket but it needs to be a cultural change rather than do it through ticketing or having blue lights there." he said. "The people should adhere to the signage and everything would be much better."

Johnson says too many motorists fail to slow down when speed limits are reduced from 70 to 55 miles per hour.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Shirley Li/Medill

The man who chaired the Federal Reserve during the most tumultuous time in recent memory is speaking Monday in Evansville.

Ben Bernanke, who served eight years as Fed chairman before retiring in January of 2014, will give a speech and answer questions at the University of Southern Indiana, as part of the Romaine College of Business Innovative Speaker Series.

The college’s dean, Muhammad Khayum, says he’s interesting is learning how the former Fed Chair handled the pressure of knowing that anything he said about the economy could have major ramifications.

“I’m just curious as to how they internally respond to that level of attention and the kind of sway they have over individuals in our society,” Khayum said.

Some of the questions that will be put forth to Bernanke will come from USI students.

“There’s a question, for example, that the students put forward about the issue of student debt, and whether that’s the next bubble in the economy due to the magnitude of that student debt.”

Bernanke’s talk will begin Monday at 6 pm at the University of Southern Indiana Physical Activities Center.

It’s free and open to the public, and overflow seating and a live feed of the event will be provided if regular seating at the facility runs out.

A judge has sentenced a former mayor and city clerk in central Kentucky to time served, and both have been released from custody.

The News Enterprise reports Nelson Circuit Judge Charles Simms on Thursday sentenced former Hodgenville Mayor Terry L. Cruse and former City Clerk MaDonna Hornback, according to their plea agreements.

Both were accused of using a city-issued fuel credit card to make personal purchases.

Cruse pleaded guilty in February to nine counts of abuse of public trust and two counts of complicity to theft. Former City Clerk MaDonna Hornback pleaded guilty to 54 counts of abuse of public trust and two counts of complicity to theft.

The plea agreement called for a probated three-year sentence with 30 days to serve in jail and restitution to the city.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate last month plunged to 5.2 percent, the lowest rate in ten years.  It was a decrease from January’s jobless rate of 5.7 percent. 

Seven of the state’s 11 job sectors saw gains in February.  One of the most encouraging signs is the rebound in the construction sector.

"Construction had gone down so much during the recession and we're seeing gains in that sector," says Kim Saylor Brannock, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. "We had 1.200 more jobs in February than we did in January.  If you look at February a year ago, we've got 5,700 more jobs."

The professional and business services sector had the most gains last month.  

February was the seventh straight month where jobless rates in Kentucky have been lower than the national average.

More Kentuckians are insured, protected from second-hand smoke and making healthier lifestyle choices, according to a recently released preliminary report on Gov. Steve Beshear’s kyhealthnow initiative.

The initiative was created to achieve by 2019 seven major health goals on issues ranging from insurance rates to obesity.

The  Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services  set the goal of reducing the state’s uninsured rate to 5 percent or less. With the implementation of Kynect and the expansion of Medicaid, Kentucky’s uninsured rate is currently 9.8 percent.

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, the state’s public health commissioner, said she’s optimistic that the goal will be reached.

“If we continue to do what we’re currently doing, we feel that we’ll get there because in a year or so we’ve taken it down to 9.8 percent from a baseline in 2013 of 20.4 percent,” she said.

Although, the proposed smoking ban bill passed the House earlier this year, its future looks grim. And so does the future of the proposed heroin bill.

But, Mayfield said, “the session is not over yet.”

KFC Yum! Center

Because melting snow and heavy rain have caused flooding around the Louisville waterfront, city officials are urging fans heading to the KFC Yum Center for NCAA Tournament games this week to arrive early.

“There are still a number of parking spaces that are flooded. A number of roadways that are blocked or closed and construction as well,” said Sandra Moran, Yum Center marketing director.

The parking garages underneath the arena and at the Galt House are open for business, she said. And if fans aren’t parking in either of those lots they should try to avoid west Interstate 64’s Third Street ramp, which reopened Tuesday after flooding, because traffic congestion is expected in that area, said Moran.

“Have a plan and look at a couple of different garages that you might try to park at because there will be limited space during the day with the business traffic that’s going to be downtown as well,” she said.

Kentucky LRC

Kentucky lawmakers say they’ve come a long way in coming up with a legislative solution to the state’s heroin epidemic, but no consensus has emerged on the biggest sticking point—how to punish heroin traffickers.

The House wants to keep the state’s current law that gives low-level heroin traffickers lighter prison sentences. The Senate wants strict sentencing across the board.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Taylor Mill Republican and candidate for lieutenant governor, said strict sentencing guidelines would still allow prosecutors to use discretion and provide reduced charges for “peddlers.”

“We believe that we need to trust our prosecutors locally to make these decisions and we trust our prosecutors,” he said.

On Thursday, a conference committee made up of six representatives and six senators attempted to hammer out final details of the bill. To get heroin legislation passed in this session, both the state House and Senate would have to vote on a final version of the bill on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Rep. John Tilley, a Hopkinsville Democrat and author of the House version of the bill, said lawmakers need to “legislate to the bad” prosecutors—to prevent low-level traffickers and addicts from entering the prison system.

Tilley said current law already has tough penalties for traffickers, and he pointed out that low-level drug dealers would receive a Class C felony if they received a second trafficking offense.

Senators also took issue with a House proposal to add $10 million dollars for drug treatment to the bill.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, said House lawmakers need to identify the source for the additional funding.

“I think we all have to take a realistic look: where are those monies coming from,” Stivers asked.

The provision for additional money had been proposed by Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat and candidate for lieutenant governor.

Kentucky LRC

Once-dead legislation that would allow Kentucky restaurants to claim a tax break for charitable food donations has been resurrected in the final days of this year’s legislative session.

The bill would provide restaurants with a tax refund worth 20 percent of the fair market value of food donated to charities.

It’s unclear how much the state would miss in revenue lost from the tax break. Jason Bailey, director for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said that’s a problem.

“The bill has not been heard in committee so there’s been no public discussion on how much it costs and whether it’s worth the lost revenue,” Bailey said. “Any amount if we’re not having an open discussion about it is problematic.

The bill failed to land a committee hearing in the Democratic-led House earlier this year. Now the language has been tacked on to a different bill that is already poised to pass the state legislature.

The Courier-Journal reported that Louisville-based Yum! Brands had pushed for the bill earlier in the session and was responsible for its late revival.

Amber Cronen, intake coordinator with the Hope Center in Lexington, said restaurant donations are readily accepted at her organization.

The Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will recognize same-sex marriage for all of its congregations.

The top Presbyterian legislative body endorsed the new wording last year, but amending the church’s constitution required approval from the majority of regional bodies, called presbyteries. That majority was reached Tuesday with a favorable vote by New Jersey’s Presbytery of the Palisades, according to the Associated Press.

The denomination will expand its definition of marriage in the church constitution to say that marriage is a “commitment between two people.”

The Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, made up of more than 50 congregations, voted earlier this month in favor of the change. As WFPL reported, not everyone is expected to be happy about the decision.

Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, associate general presbyter for the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, said at the time: “We have a lot of congregations who, this will upset them if this passes. We have other congregations wondering why it’s taken this long.”

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