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Regional
7:09 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Tennessee Opposes Supreme Court Gay Marriage Hearing

The Tennessee attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a ruling last month that upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Instead, it wants the high court to let that favorable ruling stand.

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals marked a rare victory for gay rights opponents. But because it conflicts with gay marriage decisions in other circuits, legal observers believe it could push the Supreme Court to take up the issue of gay marriage.

In a Monday court filing, Tennessee argues that there is no need for the Supreme Court to review the case because both the 6th Circuit's opinion and Supreme Court precedent recognize the inherent power of the states to define marriage.

Regional
6:54 am
Wed December 17, 2014

State Officer Kills Mountain Lion in Bourbon County

A Kentucky Fish and Wildlife official shot and killed a mountain lion after a concerned caller spotted it in northern Bourbon County.

A spokesman for the agency says officials hope to determine whether the lion was a captive animal that got loose, or a free-ranging wild lion.

An officer went to the area on Monday afternoon after a woman reported seeing the animal in a tree.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Mark Marraccini says the lion roaming free was a public safety issue.

Marraccini says the state agency periodically gets reports of people seeing mountain lions, but he doubted that Kentucky has a population of the animals.

Regional
7:57 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Kentucky Police Officers Honored for Efforts to Curb Impaired Driving

Hundreds of police officers at the local and state level are being honored for their efforts to stop impaired driving in Kentucky. 

The Office of Highway Safety's annual awards ceremony was held in Lexington Tuesday.

Bill Bell, director of Kentucky's Office of Highway Safety, says the number of highway fatalities is on the decline.  He says the state has seen about a three percent drop over the last three years.  Bell says 400 officers are being honored for their enforcement efforts. 

"You know, they don't get paid a whole lot of money and it's a dangerous job, so we want to recognize them for doing the work they do," said Bell.

While police tactics are being scrutinized nationally, keynote speaker Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen says many officers are doing what's right. 

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Regional
5:24 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Coal Miner Killed On Job In Union County

State officials say a coal miner has died after being struck by a coal-hauling car at an underground mine in western Kentucky.

The Kentucky Division of Mine Safety has identified the miner as 34-year-old Eli Eldridge of Sturgis.

It was just the second mining fatality in the state this year.

Eldridge was hit by a ram car, a long flat motorized car that hauls coal to the feeder. The accident occurred Tuesday at the Patriot Coal Company Highland No. 9 mine near Waverly around 11 a.m. CST.

The first Kentucky fatality occurred Oct. 8 at a surface mine in Bell County.

Regional
3:21 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Simpson County on the Verge of Passing Local Right-to-Work Law

Simpson County has become the third Kentucky county to give preliminary approval to a right-to-work law. 

The Simpson County Fiscal Court voted unanimously Tuesday on a local ordinance that allows workers to decide whether to join a union and pay dues without fear of losing their job.  Simpson County borders Tennessee which has a right-to-work law.  For Judge-Executive Jim Henderson, it’s an economic development issue.

"It is perceived by many new and expanding businesses throughout the country that Kentucky is not as business-friendly because we don't have right to work," Henderson told WKU Public Radio.  "Whether it's real or perceived doesn't really matter because when those companies are looking at locating a plant somewhere in the country, many of them simply won't look at Kentucky."

Eldon Renaud, president of the United Auto Workers Union in Bowling Green, spoke out against the ordinance at the fiscal court meeting, arguing right-to-work laws drive down wages and benefits for employees.

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Regional
2:20 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

New Government Spending Bill Tries To Prevent Tug-of-War Over Hemp Pilot Projects

A shipment of hemp seeds was the subject of a standoff between Kentucky and the U.S. Justice Department earlier in 2014.
Credit Kentucky Department of Agriculture

The new spending bill that made its way through Congress last week contains language that forbids the federal government from getting in the way of industrial hemp pilot projects being conducted in three states, including Kentucky.

Several universities in Kentucky harvested hemp crops this year, but it came after a standoff between Kentucky and the Justice Department involving a shipment of hemp seeds from overseas.

The Courier-Journal reports Rep. Thomas Massie put the hemp-specific language in an amendment attached to the spending bill.  The commonwealth is currently accepting applications for farmers who want to plant a hemp crop in 2015.  Hemp had been banned in the country for decades.

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Politics
12:52 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Richards Seeks Return to Kentucky House Leadership

Kentucky State Representative Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green
Credit Jody Richards' Facebook

Veteran State Representative Jody Richards is aiming for a return to House leadership as Speaker Pro Tem.  The Bowling Green Democrat is among four others vying for the number two post. 

Richards, who spent 14 years as House Speaker, has been out of leadership since 2009, and says some things have changed since then.

"There are a lot of new members since that time and I'm having to talk to them about my style of leadership and what I can mean to our House of Representatives," Richards told WKU Public Radio.

Richards made history by becoming Kentucky's longest-serving House Speaker before he was defeated by current Speaker Greg Stumbo, but Richard says there are no hard feelings.

"The speaker and I have a very good relationship," he added.  "After all, we served in House leadership together for many years.  I think I have a good chance of winning."

Others running for Speaker Pro Tem included Representatives Jeff Greer of Brandenburg, Jim Glenn of Owensboro, Dennis Keane from Wilder, and Darryl Owens of Louisville. 

The Pro Tem position became vacant when Representative Larry Clark of Louisville announced he’s stepping aside from the post he’s held since 1993. 

Leadership elections will take place on January 6, the first day of the 2015 legislative session.

Regional
12:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

New Bill Would Enhance Safety for Fast Pitch Softball Players

Kentucky lawmakers are expected to considering legislation in 2015 that would make it mandatory for pitchers and corner infielders to wear protective face masks in girls high school softball.

Members of the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly will be asked to toughen safety standards for girl's high school fast pitch softball.  The proposed measure would require the pitcher, plus players at first and third base to wear protective masks. 

The issue was discussed last week during a legislative meeting in Frankfort. Meade County Softball Coach Mike Harreld testified before the Interim Education Committee. 

"It doesn't make sense to me that they made a rule that the batters had to wear a face mask because the pitchers were throwing 60 and 65 miles an hour and some of them were getting hit," said Harreld.  "Yet, the ball is being hit back at these pitchers and corners at 100 to a 120 mile an hour."

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Regional
10:52 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Edwards Named Interim KCTCS chancellor

Longtime educator and administrator George Edwards will assume the role of interim chancellor for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System starting next month.

As the system-level chief academic officer, the chancellor provides leadership for academic affairs, workforce development, distance learning initiatives and professional development.

KCTCS President-elect Jay Box announced Edwards' selection as interim chancellor on Monday.

Edwards retired recently from Big Sandy Community and Technical College, where he served as president for 14 years. Edwards has 35 years of teaching and administrative experience at four community colleges in Kentucky and Virginia.

Edwards begins his interim stint as chancellor on Jan. 26.

KCTCS officials hope to name a new chancellor by April 1.

Box served as chancellor for five years and begins his new role as president on Jan. 16.

Arts & Culture
3:39 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Gray Stepping Down as Head of Owenboro's Bluegrass Music Museum

The International Bluegrass Music Museum is located in downtown Owensboro.
Credit Kevin Willis

The executive director of Owensboro’s International Bluegrass Music Museum is stepping down after a 12 year run.

However, Gabrielle Gray will maintain her presence in the region’s bluegrass community.

Gray will keep her position as the Executive Producer of ROMP, the annual bluegrass music festival in Daviess County, and she will also remain the museum’s primary grant writer.

Assistant Director Carly Smith, who has been at the museum since 2011, will serve as interim director while the search for a permanent replacement gets underway. That search will be led by Yale University President Peter Salovey.

A news release issued by the museum quotes Gray as saying that nothing gives her greater pleasure than helping to present ROMP at Yellow Creek Park each summer.

The Museum recently announced that legendary singer-songwriter John Prine will be one of the headliners during next year’s festival.

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