Kentucky officials collected more than $1 billion in state taxes and fees in April for the first time in state history.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell predicted Kentucky will end the budget year on June 30 with a $46.1 million surplus. The state ended last year's budget with a $90 million shortfall.

The state's general fund is made up mostly of state income and sales taxes. Collections grew 23.3 percent compared with April of last year. With just two months left in the fiscal year, Driskell said revenues can fall up to 7.8 percent and the state would still meet its budget forecast.

Kentucky's road fund, however, will likely have an $11.1 million shortfall. Gas tax revenues dropped 12.8 percent in April.

A new statewide survey shows the Kentucky Republican primary for governor is a tossup between the top three candidates.

The Survey USA poll found Matt Bevin with 27 percent support, James Comer with 26 percent, and Hal Heiner with 25 percent. Will T. Scott trailed with just 8 percent support.

The poll describes the difference between the top three contenders as “not statistically significant”, and says the trio could finish one, two, and three in any order.

The survey polled 517 respondents who said they were registered Republicans and certain to vote in next week’s primary.

The GOP voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The survey was conducted for The Courier-Journal, WHAS-TV, the Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV.

Three people are under arrest for drug trafficking on or near the WKU campus. 

Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving said the arrests followed a two-month investigation. 

"We were able to work a confidential informant in and make multiple drug purchases," Loving told WKU Public Radio.  "One was selling psychedelic mushrooms.  The other two were actually portraying the drug as LSD, but it turned out to be a synthetic hallucinogen."

Twenty-two-year-old Jonathan Springer was arrested at the Farm House Fraternity where he lived.  Nineteen-year-old Justin Vandusen was a resident of Zacharias Hall, and 20-year-old Natasha Jacobs lived in Pearce Ford Tower. 

All three students were indicted by a grand jury and remain in the Warren County Regional Jail.

About 570 union workers at a western Kentucky aluminum smelter have been locked out of the plant after voting down a company contract offer. 

A statement on Century Aluminum’s website says the lockout was to begin at 8:00am today. 

Workers at the Hawesville plant rejected a fourth offer from the Century on Monday. 

A press release from the company says its final offer included pay increases, fixed costs for health insurance, and new language on overtime.  United Steelworkers Local 94-23 simply stated on its website the union had rejected the company’s offer. 

According to Century, the lockout will allow other personnel to operate the plant uninterrupted.

Office of the Attorney General

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is suing Marathon Petroleum in federal court for allegedly inflating gas prices in parts of the state.

Conway accuses the company of engaging in anti-competitive practices that have led to higher gas prices in parts of the state. The suit alleges that Marathon’s acquisition of Ashland Oil in 1998 allowed the company to keep gas prices 12 to 20 cents per gallon higher on average, with the Louisville and northern Kentucky regions impacted the most.

According to Conway, per-gallon prices in Louisville are 20 to 30 cents higher than the rest of the commonwealth.

The Kentucky Attorney General in 2011 took the company to court for allegedly illegally inflating wholesale prices following flooding in parts of the state.

The company denied the charges and said its prices were based solely on market conditions.

Conway is a Democratic candidate for Kentucky governor, and is considered the heavy favorite to win his party's nomination next week.

Abbey Oldham

Matt Bevin has done laps around Kentucky in a messy black suburban, searching for his big political break.

The search started last year with an unsuccessful  bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. It started anew this year with a campaign to be the party’s gubernatorial nominee.

“This is the campaign-mobile in all its splendor,” Bevin said during an interview in his SUV crammed with the candidate’s belongings.

“I’ve got suits for later tonight and stuff I’ve got signs and all kinds of things. This is where it’s at. This thing’s got 186,000-plus miles on it and a lot of lovin’—this is the family truckster.”

After all those miles, Bevin is hoping that big break finally come as the presumed Republican front-runners—former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer—duke it out in a nasty political fight.

An 11-year-old Hardin County girl and her father are dead following what police are calling a murder-suicide.

Kentucky State Police says the girl died at the hands of her father, 49-year-old John Jonas. Both were found dead outside their home in Vine Grove.

Hardin County Schools spokesman John Wright says grief counselors will be available for students and staff at Vine Grove Elementary, where the girl was a fifth-grade student.

“The most important part is that we’re letting students express themselves. If they need to visit with a counselor, or teacher, or friend, we’re allowing them to do that today.”

A police investigation into the deaths is ongoing. Autopsies are scheduled today in Louisville.

The name of the girl who was killed has not been officially released by the school or police.

One week from Kentucky’s primary election, the four Republican candidates for governor still have some convincing to do.

A survey conducted last week by Public Policy Polling shows only three points separate three of the four GOP contenders.  The poll puts James Comer in the lead with 28 percent support, followed by Hal Heiner at 27 percent, and Matt Bevin at 25 percent.  The survey did not include former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott. 

Despite accusations that he abused his college girlfriend, Comer maintains the highest favorability rating of the three candidates.  While he emphatically denies the abuse allegations, 50 percent of voters have a positive opinion of him.  Bevin is close behind at 48 percent.   Heiner is in last place with his 44 percent favorability rating. 

The poll questioned 501 Republicans and was funded by the Democratic PAC Kentucky Family Values.  The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

The winner of next Tuesday’s primary will likely face Democratic frontrunner Jack Conway in the November election.

EVINE Live Expands in Bowling Green

May 12, 2015

The digital commerce company will double its size and add 150 new jobs over the next three years.

The expansion project, which began last year, includes the addition of more than 300,000 square feet at their Nashville Road distribution and call center. Over the next three years, the project will bring in a total capital investment of $25 million and create up to 150 new, full-time positions. That will bring the total number of employees to over 500.

The total economic impact of the expansion project will be more than $100 million over the next ten years.

EVINE Live merges entertainment with shopping in an interactive experience. It's available in more than 88 million U.S. homes in addition to on-line, mobile and social media availability.

Bowling Green High School principal Gary Fields has been chosen as the new superintendent of the Bowling Green city school district. The city’s board of education chose Fields last night from among four candidates to replace the retiring Joe Tinius. Fields starts July first.

Fields has been principal at Bowling Green High since 2002. Before that he was the principal of Potter Gray elementary school and a teacher at the high school.

He did his undergraduate work at Centre College, received his Master’s from U-K and his Rank One and Principal Certification from WKU.

The Board hopes to have a new principal at Bowling Green High by June 30th.