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3:55 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Kentucky Says No State Tax Credits for Ark Encounter Park

An artist's rendering of a Noah's Ark-themed amusement park in northern Kentucky.
Credit Answers in Genesis

A planned amusement park in northern Kentucky featuring Noah’s Ark is not eligible for $18 million in state tourism tax benefits.

The Herald-Leader reports Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary sent the group Answers in Genesis a letter saying the commonwealth could not issue such tax benefits for projects with discriminatory hiring practices.

Answers in Genesis is the Christian group behind the Creation Museum, which seeks to explain the origins of the earth through the teachings of the bible. The group’s next project has been dubbed the Ark Park, and will feature a giant ship based on the story of Noah and the great flood.

But questions over whether the state should allow the park tourism tax benefits arose when Answers In Genesis refused to commit to not discriminating based on religion in the hiring process for park employees.

In his letter to a lawyer for Answers in Genesis, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart wrote “it is readily apparent that the project has evolved from a tourist attraction to an extension of AIG’s ministry that will no longer permit the commonwealth to grant the project tourism development incentives.”

Officials with Answers In Genesis were not immediately available for comment following news of the state's decision.

Regional
2:47 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Mesker Park Zoo Expansion Gets Financial Boost From Evansville CVB

Mesker Park Zoo
Credit Mesker Park Zoo

The Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau is pledging a $300,000 dollar grant to help build a carousel and aviary at the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.

The Courier & Press reports the board of commissioners at the CVB voted to award the matching grant. The money comes from the city’s "innkeeper" or hotel-motel tax. The zoo will have to raise $300,000 on its own to receive the grant. 

The project has an overall price tag of $3 million dollars and is expected to open sometime in 2016.

Around 175,000 people visit the Mesker Park Zoo each year.

Regional
2:14 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Beshear Asks Supreme Court To Rule On Same Sex Marriage Ban

Gov. Steve Beshear

In what some are calling an unusual move, Gov. Steve Beshear has filed a petition requesting the U.S. Supreme Court decide whether states can reject same-sex marriage.

It comes after a federal appeals court upheld Kentucky’s and several other states’ same-sex marriage bans.

Beshear says the nation’s highest court should decide whether states like Kentucky can prohibit same-sex marriage, and settle the question of whether Kentucky must recognize gay marriages performed out-of-state.

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Regional
12:45 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Tennessee Awarded $17.5 Million To Expand Pre-School Services

Tennessee is one of 13 states around the nation that’s receiving a federal grant to expand preschool services. 

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Wednesday that Tennessee will get $17 ½ million and will help serve as a model for expanding access to pre-school to low and moderate income families.  

Five other states are also receiving grants for pre-school development. The grants total $226 million.

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Regional
11:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Star Quarterback To Return For WKU Next Season

Brandon Doughty will return to the Hill in 2015 for another season with WKU after the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility on Wednesday.
Credit WKU Athletics

 Update: 12:31 p.m.

Brandon Doughty has been named the Most Valuable Player by Conference USA. The league's 13 coaches voted Doughty as the top performer.

Original Post

The NCAA has granted WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty a sixth year of eligibility, it was announced Wednesday. 

Doughty’s 2011 and 2012 seasons were marred by injury, but since returning to health Doughty has etched his name in the school record books, breaking WKU single-season passing records in both 2013 and 2014.  He also holds the school’s career touchdown record. He also holds the Conference USA single-game passing record

“My time at WKU has been very special and I am looking forward to the opportunity to come back for my sixth year to build on what we’ve started this season,” Doughty said. “Having to deal with injuries for two seasons was really tough and I never would have made it through without my faith in God and the support from my coaches, teammates and the athletic department staff.”

Doughty and his Hilltopper teammates begin full preparations Thursday for their Bahamas Bowl appearance December 24th.  The team takes on Central Michigan at 11 a.m. central that day.

Regional
7:37 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Some Post Offices Have Sunday Hours This Month

Several Kentucky post offices will be open on two Sundays in December to help holiday customers avoid long lines and take care of shipping.

The four Kentucky locations will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday and Dec. 21. The locations are 5300 Scottsville Road, Bowling Green; 3525 Lansdowne Drive, Lexington; 7400 Jefferson Blvd., Louisville; and 4600 Shelbyville Road, Louisville.

Two southern Indiana facilities are also open during the same hours: 757 E. Lewis & Clark Parkway, Clarksville; and 802 S. Green River Road, Evansville.

The U.S. Postal Service says next Monday is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the season for cards, letters and packages. Officials expect more than 607 million pieces of mail to be processed nationwide that day.

Dec. 17 will be the busiest delivery day for cards and letters, while the following day will have the most packages delivered.

Regional
7:16 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Recent Kentucky Homebuyers Warned of Scam

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says recent homebuyers in the state are being targeted by solicitations that try to sell them copies of their property deeds for excessive fees.

The Kentucky Real Estate Commission and Kentucky County Clerks Association are joining Conway in warning homebuyers to be on the lookout for the official-looking mailings being sent by "Record Transfer Services."

Conway said Tuesday the direct-mail solicitations ask homebuyers to pay an $83 document fee to obtain copies of their current deeds. He says the mailings are confusing and misleading. Conway says property deeds and other public records are available at local county clerk's offices for a nominal fee.

Conway says the mailing -- which is titled as a "Recorded Deed Notice" -- attempts to look official.

Health
4:56 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Kentucky's Child Poverty Rate Up, Smoking Down In Latest Report

Kentucky ranks 47th in the nation in overall health in the latest America's Health Ranking, compiled by the UnitedHealth Foundation

Kentucky continues leading the nation in a dubious category: the percentage of children living in poverty.  A new report finds that level has gone up 36 percent over the past two years.

Dr. Guy Shrake says the still-recovering economy may be partially to blame for the number of children living below the poverty line

“As a pediatrician myself, it is possible that there still is some residual from the impacts of the recession a number of years ago,” said Dr. Shrake.

But he also cites another factor.

“In a general sense, we do know that more children are in one-parent family than there have been in the past and that that is definitely a cross-connection for having more children in poverty,” said Dr. Shrake.

In 2012, only 23 percent of children in Kentucky were living in poverty. In the most-recent America’s Health Rankings report released today by UnitedHealth Foundation, it’s at nearly 32 percent. 

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Regional
3:45 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Ark Park Creators Counter Criticism Through Billboards

An artist's rendering of the Ark Encounter theme park, planned for northern Kentucky.
Credit Answers in Genesis

The group trying to build a Noah’s Ark theme part in northern Kentucky has launched a billboard campaign to counter criticism over tax incentives and religious discrimination.   has this report.

The Courier-Journal reports that Answers in Genesis is putting up 16 billboards in Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, and in northern Kentucky that will direct people to the group’s website for more information about the project.  Answers in Genesis says it hopes to dispel myths about the use of tax dollars and future hiring. 

Over the summer, the state gave preliminary approval of tax incentives totaling $18 million.  Final approval is on hold until Answers in Genesis can assure state officials it will not discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion. 

Regional
3:17 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Senior Volunteers Being Sought to Help Southern Kentucky Organizations

Community Action of Southern Kentucky is headquartered in Bowling Green.
Credit C.A.S.K.

Southern Kentucky volunteers over the age of 55 are being sought out to help with a number of service-related organizations in the region.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program—or  RSVP—assists efforts such as food pantries, blood drives, and school mentoring campaigns in Allen, Barren, Logan, Simpson, and Warren counties. Kathy Trulock oversees the program, and says another way senior volunteers help is by getting people signed up for health coverage through the state’s benefit exchange, known as kynect.

“A lot of people don’t know they’re eligible for that. So we have that program here at our agency, and we need people to educate folks who qualify, and how they can sign up.”

RSVP volunteer coordinator Holly Vincent says the group has been critical in assisting a Thursday night soup kitchen in Bowling Green that serves 200-300 people a week. She says those involved in the effort often choose to assist agencies that reach out to other senior citizens.

But Vincent adds many older volunteers also want to help younger Kentuckians.

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