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Regional
5:37 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Noah's Ark Builders May Fight Kentucky Tax Break Rejection

Ken Ham
Credit Answers in Genesis

A Christian group building a massive wooden ark in Kentucky inspired by the biblical account of Noah is considering going to court to fight the state's rejection of the project's tax incentives.

President Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis says the loss of the tourism tax rebate would be costly for the Ark Encounter theme park project, but it will continue. Ham says in a statement that two public interest law firms would represent the group if legal action is taken. He says no decision has been made yet.

Kentucky's tourism secretary said Wednesday that the project isn't eligible for tax incentives because employees would be screened on the basis of religion.

Ham says federal and state laws support the group's intention to base hiring on applicants' religious preferences.

Regional
3:54 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Doughty Earns Sammy Baugh Award as College Football's Top Passer

Brandon Doughty (pictured center) was named the 2014 Sammy Baugh Award winner, one day after winning Conference USA MVP honors.
Credit WKU Athletics

WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty has collected another piece of hardware. 

The Touchdown Club of Columbus has named Doughty as the winner of the Sammy Baugh Award, given annually to the nation’s top passer.  Doughty will be presented with the award February 7th.  

It was announced Wednesday Doughty will return to WKU next year after the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility. 

He was also named the Conference USA MVP on Wednesday.

Regional
3:13 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Stivers Looks for Bipartisanship on Anti-Heroin Bill

Credit Kentucky LRC

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers says he hopes bills to combat heroin abuse and encourage investments by telecommunications companies can win bipartisan support in next year's General Assembly session.

But Stivers says Senate Republicans will also push more contentious proposals to rein in regulations and prohibit mandatory participation in a workplace union. He acknowledged such proposals would face strong resistance in the Democratic-led Kentucky House.

Senate Republican leaders spoke with reporters Thursday during a Senate GOP retreat in Owensboro.

Lawmakers will be in session for 30 days next year, but Stivers says they can take on big issues during the abbreviated session.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says next year's governor's campaign won't affect Senate action. But he says Senate Republicans will promote an agenda that a GOP governor could embrace.

Business
1:54 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Warren County Government Close to Approving Local Right-to-Work Law

One Kentucky county isn’t waiting on Frankfort to pass right-to-work legislation.

The Warren County Fiscal Court Thursday took the first of two votes required to approve a right-to-work ordinance.

The vote was 5-1 with Magistrate Tommy Hunt casting the lone “no” vote. 

The ordinance covers only private-sector workers, not teachers or other public employees.  A final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for December 19.

According to the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Warren County would become the first county in the nation to adopt a local right-to-work law, which means workers would have the right to choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues  without jeopardizing their employment.

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Kentucky Retirement Systems
11:09 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Kentucky Chamber Calls for Comprehensive Audit of K.R.S

KRS is facing $17 billion in unfunded liabilities.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce wants a full performance audit of the troubled Kentucky Retirement Systems.

Chamber President Dave Adkisson Thursday called on state Auditor Adam Edelen to look into KRS, which is rated as one of the most underfunded pension plans in the nation, with only about 45-percent of the assets needed to cover its retirement obligations.

Adkisson said his group is especially concerned about the burden placed on the actuary who advises the system.

“The assumptions they make lead to KRS recommendations, and a request for money that goes to the Governor,” Adkisson said during a conference call with reporters. “The Governor has to utilize that information to build his budget that goes to the legislature, and all of this is predicated on the assumptions of one actuary. And KTRS, the teachers’ retirement system, uses the same actuary.”

Adkisson says a KRS audit should also look into the amount of investment fees paid by the system, and how that compares to other states. An estimated 30-percent of KRS investments are held in hedge funds and private equity funds, which charge high fees and whose holdings KRS agrees not to reveal.

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Regional
11:00 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Bendix Spicer Plans Expansion of Bowling Green Facility

Credit Bendix

A company that makes brakes and safety systems for commercial vehicles is expanding its manufacturing operations in Bowling Green.  Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake says it’s making a nearly $8.5 million dollar investment to upgrade its facilities.

The expansion will include the hiring of 75 new employees and the addition of two additional machining centers. BSFB opened its Bowling Green facility in 2007 with 133 employees.  By next year the company expects to have 440 workers in Bowling Green.

Regional
10:30 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Scenery Plan For Land Between the Lakes Raises Concerns

Lighthouse Landing at Land Between the Lakes
Credit Emil Moffatt

A plan to manage scenery at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area has raised some concerns with some.

The park's area supervisor, Tina Tilley, told WPSD-TV that officials worked with a landscape architect to develop a plan for visuals that will attract more visitors. She says she wants to create "peek-a-boo views" where hikers can see lake views or wildlife habitats.

Ronnie Mardis, who says his family has ties to the land, told the station he is worried about how much more logging, cutting and clearing the plan will allow.

Tilley said she has been "surprised by the angst" the proposal has raised, but thinks there's some misunderstandings about the park's goals.

The forest service is taking public comments about their scenery plan through Dec. 31.

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Education
7:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Klauber Leaves Owensboro Community College for Alabama

Alabama's largest two-year college, Calhoun Community College in Decatur, has a new president with ties to Kentucky.

The chancellor for Alabama's two-year college system, Mark Heinrich, recommended James Klauber Sr. for the job, and the state school board approved the recommendation yesterday.

Klauber has been president at Owensboro Community and Technical College in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Regional
5:57 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Somerset Hotel Project Approved for Incentives

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has approved incentives for a 105-room hotel development in Somerset.

Somerset Center Hotel plans to develop a Courtyard by Marriott adjacent to the Center for Rural Development in the southern Kentucky city.

State officials said Wednesday that the $11.5 million project qualifies for incentives of $2.55 million in the form of a tax rebate over 10 years.

The officials said a consultant's report on the Somerset project found it met the requirements necessary to receive incentives.

The proposed hotel will have an indoor pool, business center and reception area.

Education
4:19 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Gender Neutral Restrooms Coming to WKU

WKU is preparing to add “all gender” restrooms to campus facilities in the coming months.  Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Richard Miller says the decision was made in response to the university’s changing demographics.

"You're going to have a very diverse group of students on any college or university campus, whether it's members of the LGBTQ community or members of our international community," Miller told WKU Public Radio.  "I think it's one of the responsibilities of an institution to try to address the needs of the various constituencies that they serve."

Dr. Miller stresses that the gender neutral restrooms will not be community restrooms.  They’ll be private, and as for signage, the university is planning to designate them as simply “restroom.”

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