2:28 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

U.S. House Majority Leader-Elect in Bowling Green to Raise Money for GOP Efforts to Win State House

Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green (left), and the U.S. House Majority Leader-elect, Kevin McCarthy of California, spoke to reporters Saturday in Warren County ahead of a fundraiser.
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Republican efforts to win control of the Kentucky House got a boost from a national figure Saturday.

The incoming U.S. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, was in Bowling Green to raise money for the Republican Party of Kentucky House Trust. McCarthy visited the commonwealth at the request of the state’s 2nd District Congressman, Brett Guthrie of Warren County.

Speaking to reporters before the fundraiser, Rep. McCarthy said what happens in state legislatures can often trickle up to the nation's capital.

“I feel states are able to show and be a generator of ideas greater than Washington--that you can do the pilot programs,” the California Republican said. “The whole concept of welfare reform came from states. States don’t get to print more money. States have to balance a budget. States have to move forward. They carry out agencies they didn’t create.”

Democrats have controlled the Kentucky House for over 90 years, and the party’s state leaders say they will continue to hold the chamber despite the amount of GOP money being raised ahead of the November election. Republicans would have to win a net gain of five seats this fall to take control of the House.

Multiple super PACs have been created by Republicans this year to boost their party’s efforts to win the chamber, including a group founded by GOP gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner, and a PAC run by a Kentuckian who served as a top aide to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Broadening the Republican Party’s Appeal?

During his visit to The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, McCarthy said he agreed with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent statements about Republicans needing to expand the party’s appeal to groups that haven’t recently voted for the GOP in large numbers, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people.

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5:25 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Portion of Hardin County Highway Named For Fallen Soldier

Spc. Nathaniel Garvin

A new stretch of highway connecting Kentucky Routes 220 and 313 in Hardin County has been named in honor of Specialist Nathaniel D. Garvin. 

Garvin, a Radcliff native, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan two days shy of his 21st birthday in July 2010.  He repaired electronics and avionics systems for the Army and had been assigned to Fort Campbell. 

When he died, he left behind a wife and two children.

A dedication was held Friday to mark the occasion after the Kentucky General Assembly passed a joint resolution honoring Garvin earlier this year.

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4:55 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Anti-Smoking Campaign Gears Up for 2015 Push

Anti-smoking advocates are gearing up for another push to pass a statewide smoking ban with a statewide tour leading up to August’s Fancy Farm political picnic.

The Smoke-Free Coalition announced that it will make several stops across Kentucky to rally supporters and engage legislators to help pass a statewide smoking ban during the 2015 General Assembly.

A previous effort sponsored by Lexington Democrat Rep. Susan Westrom died in the House amid speculation that tobacco lobbying and election year concerns contributed to its demise.

Kentucky is one of 26 states that lacks a statewide smoking ban, which polls show has a plurality of support in the state.

The tour begins July 28 in Ashland and features stops in Campbellsville and Bowling Green July 31 and Owensboro Aug. 1.

2:52 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Western Kentucky's Chance For Earthquake Reduced 20 Percent

Kentucky ranks in the top third in the country as far as earthquake probability, but the chances for the western part of the state have dropped dramatically
Credit United States Geologial Survey

A new assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey puts part of Kentucky among 16 states with the highest risk of an earthquake.

Despite that ranking, the risk of an earthquake happening has actually come down.  Zhen Ming Wang heads the hazards section with Kentucky's Geological Survey.

"In Kentucky, particularly in western Kentucky, the level they put out is reduced by about 20 percent.  They reduced it.  It's good for us," said Wang.

Wang says there is no change in risk of earthquake activity in Central Kentucky.  Eastern Kentucky is seeing a slight increase, but not significantly.  The U.S. Geological Survey this week updated its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008.

Wang says federal officials had initially calculated Kentucky's risk too high.

"We argued all along, compared to California, the movement in the New Madrid is far less than San Andreas fault in California."

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1:14 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Indiana Student Among the Dead in Malaysian Plane Crash

Karlijn Keijzer
Credit Indiana University

A graduate student from Indiana University is among the victims who died Thursday when a Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down by a missile in Ukraine. 

Karlijn Keizer was pursuing her doctorate in chemistry at Indiana University in Bloomington.  The 25-year-old student from the Netherlands was also a decorated member of the women’s rowing team at I-U during the 2011 season. 

"On behalf of the entire Indiana University community, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Karlijn's family and friends over her tragic death," Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said in a written statement. "Karlijn was an outstanding student and a talented athlete, and her passing is a loss to the campus and the university."

Keizer was described by school officials as a talented and diligent researcher whose projects all related to improving human health.  The last piece of research she completed before heading out to catch her flight for a summer vacation involved a promising drug candidate for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

11:12 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Report: Former Senator and Kentucky Governor Wendell Ford Battling Lung Cancer

Wendell H. Ford

Wendell Ford, who represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate for more than two decades following a term as governor, has announced he’s been diagnosed with lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in his hometown of Owensboro.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Ford’s son, Steve delivered a press release to the newspaper’s office Friday morning.  In the statement, the 89-year-old says doctors recently diagnosed a malignant tumor in one lung. He says that malignancy has started spreading.

Ford says he is maintaining a “very positive outlook” and has “complete faith in my doctors”.

He says his scheduled public appearances have been put on hold indefinitely.

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10:43 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Kentucky Retail Food Prices Rise in Second Quarter

A survey shows average retail food prices in Kentucky supermarkets made a small but steady climb in the second quarter of this year.

The Marketbasket Survey by the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation shows the total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $122.23. That was $1.53, or 1.3 percent, higher than the cost for the same items in the prior quarter. It amounts to an overall 1.8 percent increase in grocery prices so far this year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent increase in food prices this year.

The Marketbasket Survey tracks prices for several food groups -- beef, pork, poultry, dairy, grains and fruits and vegetables. The latest survey found that pork had the largest increase with an average price jump of 8.2 percent.

10:09 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Kentucky Prosecutor Accused of Affair with Defendant

A prosecutor in south-central Kentucky has been accused by his estranged wife and a defense attorney of having an affair with and impregnating a defendant whom he prosecuted for felony drug trafficking.

In court records in a divorce case and a criminal case, Russell County Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Leveridge is alleged to have carried on a two-month long sexual relationship with Lashley Sartain, then filing a motion to end her probation after she told his wife about the affair.

Leveridge declined to comment to the Lexington Herald-Leader about the allegations.

Leveridge cited a pending misdemeanor shoplifting charge as his reason for revoking Sartain's probation in the drug case. After filing the motion, Leveridge disqualified himself. Wayne County Attorney Thomas Simmons took over the case and withdrew the motion.

8:39 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Gas Line Rupture Forces Evacuations on WKU's Campus

Updated at 9:48 a.m.: Atmos Energy has sealed off a leak in a two-inch gas line, according to university spokesman Bob Skipper.  Evacuations have been lifted.

Original post:

A WKU Alert says a gas line has been hit at College Heights Boulevard near Parking Structure 1. Emergency personnel are on the scene at this hour and as a precaution Rodes-Harlin, McCormack, Gilbert and Schneider Halls have been evacuated along with Parking Structure 1.

WKU and emergency officials are telling people to avoid the area until the scene is cleared.

6:13 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Beshear Cuts Kentucky Budget to Balance $90.9-Million Shortfall

Gov. Steve Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear issued a pair of executive orders this week reducing state spending levels to plug a $90.9-million hole in Kentucky's budget.

The Office of the State Budget Director announced the shortfall last week, which is due largely to an unexpected $63-million decline in income related to capital gains. 

Beshear's cuts cover the $90.9-million gap.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Beshear said the state was "somewhat limited" in its approach to filling the budget hole.

“But as in previous reductions, two goals guided our decisions—to take steps to make government as efficient and as lean as possible, and to protect as best we can the core services that offer help and hope to our people and represent important long-term investments in Kentucky’s future: education, health care and public safety," Beshear said in the released statement.

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