When severe thunderstorms fire up around the Commonwealth, forecasters with the National Weather Service often make use of a network of automated weather observation stations around the state. The network, known as Kentucky Mesonet, has seen steady growth over the last eight years.
But the challenge now facing the network is long-term sustainability.
State climatologist and WKU professor Stu Foster says the automated reporting sites provide real-time data such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall amounts. The data is collected and uploaded to the Kentucky Climate Center every five minutes and is available for anyone to see.
He says it can give the weather service a better idea of what’s actually going on on the ground in addition to what they can see on radar.
A group of parents has appealed a decision by a Louisville high school to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sexual identities.
The Courier-Journal reports the Atherton High School site-based decision-making council will meet next week to discuss the appeal, which was filed by Louisville attorney Clinton Elliott, who is with the Christian-based legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.
The council voted last month to amend its policy after school Principal Thomas Aberli decided to allow a transgender student to use the girls' restroom and locker room. The student was born male but identifies as female.
The appeal says the school panel's decision was "inconsistent with state and federal law, inconsistent with concerns for safety and inconsistent with concerns for liability."
The WKU Board of Regents is delaying a vote to privatize the campus Health Services Center.
At a meeting Thursday morning, board members requested that the university provide them with more information about the proposed agreement with Graves Gilbert Clinic. Regents specifically asked for copies of the “request for proposal” that was submitted to those interested in bidding on the health services contract.
The university announced earlier this year it would seek to privatize its health services operation, in an effort to save nearly $1.1 million in the 2014-15 operating budget.
Regent John Ridley of Bowling Green says today’s move by the board should not be seen as a vote of no confidence in either the proposed contract or the school’s administration. Instead, Ridley says the regents want to make sure they’ve had time to thoroughly review the proposal and have any questions answered before a vote is taken.
“The issue is that we have a board responsibility when we’re about to enter into a contractual arrangement, and if anyone has a question we need to get it answered, and then everybody’s happy,” Ridley said after the meeting.
Faculty Regent Dr. Patti Minter said it’s important that the regents make sure any and all concerns are addressed before conducting a vote on such an important matter.
The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky., hosts nine different summer camps at no cost to their families.
They welcome up to 128 children who suffer from a different illness each week. The Center for Courageous Kids is a non-profit medical camping facility that has been open since February 2008. Since then, they have hosted over 16,500 campers from 40 different states. The Center sits on 168 acres on Scottsville and includes a bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, manmade lake, archery station, arts and crafts building, medical center, dining facility, and lodges for the campers.
Photojournalist Abbey Oldham visited the Center on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, and took photos of what the Center offers its young campers.
The Army has analyzed the impact of cutting 16,000 personnel from Fort Campbell, which would be about half of its current population.
This analysis was part of the Army’s Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment 2020 Force Structure Realignment,(SPEA) which studied the impacts of reducing the force from around 500,000 to between 440,000 to 450,000. The draft study found there would be no significant impact from the Army’s force reductions, though there are many factors to be assessed before reduction numbers are finalized for the 30 individual locations, including Fort Campbell.
The assessment indicates Fort Campbell is a major economic influence in Christian County, Kentucky, and Montgomery County, Tennessee, where the Armed Forces accounts for 23 percent and 14 percent of the workforce respectively. Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp says the SPEA is only a study and has not affected Hopkinsville’s planning. He says there was no impact on Fort Campbell after a similar evaluation was done two years ago.
“We don’t know if anything will happen but we expect that there would not be a significant reduction at Fort Campbell because Fort Campbell is one of the most strategic military posts in the country,” Kemp said. “We’ve been briefed at Fort Campbell by the command down there and we’ve endeavored to obtain as much information as we can.”
A new $150 million aluminum production facility in Bowling Green will create 80 new jobs.
Governor Beshear was on hand Wednesday morning at the Kentucky Transpark as ground was broken on the Japanese-European partnership. The joint venture between Contellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation will create finished aluminum body sheets for cars and trucks.
Construction on the 225,000-square-foot facility will begin this summer.
On August 1, the Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green will take over operations of the WKU Health Services Center.
WKU decided earlier this year to privatize the facility in a move that’s expected to save the university about $1 million a year.
Graves Gilbert Human Resources Director Debbie Diamond confirmed to WKU Public Radio that the three doctors and a nurse practitioner currently on staff were not retained.
"They have sent in applications and resumes to us. At this time, we're not hiring any physicians," said Diamond. "We're using our current family medicine physicians, but that could change down the road."
July 24 is the last day that doctors Patricia Blewett, Allen Redden, and Ray Rowland will see patients. According to Diamond, the campus health facility will continue to offer the same level of care, with additional expertise.
"We have 89 physicians and over 21 specialties, so if a patient needed more specialized care, we have the internal departments that can offer that care. I think everybody will have better access to health care," added Diamond. "We'll also be able to offer more access to insurance carriers just because of our size and capability of negotiating with the carriers."
Starting August 1, the campus facility will be open to the general public and have new hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Thursday to vote on a contract with Graves Gilbert.
Congressional inaction threatening the solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund may cost Kentucky $185 million for projects, drastically changing how the state pays for road construction, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday.
Beshear and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was visiting the state, criticized Congress for inaction that will reduce the amount the highway trust fund reimburses states for roadwork by 28 percent, affecting upwards of 700,000 jobs nationwide.
"Simply put, if you drive on Kentucky's highways, or if your business depends upon our roads to move your workers, your goods, your supplies or your customers, you will see a negative impact," Beshear said.
Of the $185 million in jeopardy, $150 million will affect the widening of I-65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman said. The remaining $35 million is slated for "pavement rehabilitation" projects across the state.
Neither Beshear nor KYTC Secretary Mike Hancock offered a figure of how many road contracting jobs in Kentucky could be affected if Congress doesn't shore up the fund.