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An effort is underway in Kentucky to replace a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the Capitol Rotunda with a tribute to boxing legend MuhammadAli. 

Lexington attorney and former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller has begun an online petition seeking the change.  Miller says Ali’s recent death has more people talking about his place in history. 

"People have been reminded that he wasn't just a boxer, but indeed made a profound influence on American policy," Miller told WKU Public Radio.  "They've also been reminded that he's a Kentuckian.  He was born here, grew up here, and will rest in peace here."

So far, about 600 Kentuckians have signed the petition which Miller plans to deliver to Governor Matt Bevin and legislative leaders. 

While several lawmakers supported an attempt to remove the Davis statue from the Capitol last summer, the state Historic Properties Commission voted to leave the statue in place.

WKU Public Radio is carrying live coverage of Ali’s memorial service in Louisville Friday. You can hear that coverage from 1:00-3:00 p.m. central, 2:00-4:00 p.m. eastern time.

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The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over whether a judge can dismiss a jury panel based on its racial makeup.

The hearing stems from a Jefferson County Circuit Court case in which Judge Olu Stevens dismissed a nearly all-white panel of 41 potential jurors at the request of the public defender representing an African-American defendant.

The prosecutor in the case requested the court weigh in on whether Stevens abused his judicial discretion by dismissing the panel.

During arguments on Thursday, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dorislee Gilbert said defendants don’t have the right “to have someone who looks like you or sounds like you on your jury.”

“What you’re entitled to is a fair jury,” Gilbert said. “If you can’t show that somehow the process unfairly discriminated against people or somehow these people on this particular panel individually can’t be fair to you, then you have not shown that your constitutional rights have not been upheld.”

Daviess County Public Schools

Daviess County public schools are launching a ‘Newcomer’ program. 

“Newcomers are students who are brand new to an English-speaking school and often brand new to the United States. These students typically have had very interrupted or little or no formal schooling,” says Jana Beth Francis, who oversees the English language program for Daviess County schools.

She says the program is based on students who have arrived in the district in the past nine years.

In 2007, Daviess County Public Schools had 77 students who were English language learners. This year, that number stands at 461.

Teachers throughout the Daviess County school district will be trained this summer in strategies to help newcomer students succeed. The district is also instituting tuition reimbursement for high school teachers to get certification to teach English language learners.

Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gay and lesbian activists gather at the White House on Thursday for a celebration marking LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Pride Month. It's become an annual event, tied to the monthlong commemoration of the Stonewall riots, which helped launch the modern gay liberation movement.

President Obama's years in office have seen a flowering of gay and lesbian rights, culminating a year ago when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

"Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back," Obama said during a Rose Garden celebration hours after the high court's decision was announced. "And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt."

Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on some principles laid out in his recent autobiography — rebuking GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for comments made against a federal judge of Mexican descent.

In his book “The Long Game,” McConnell underscores his support for civil rights, saying he withdrew his support for Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election because of the Arizona senator’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

At a Washington press conference on Tuesday, McConnell told reporters that he disapproved of Trump’s comments against the judge.

“It’s time to stop attacking various people that you competed with or various minority groups in the country,” McConnell said.

U.S. Army

Army ROTC is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week with a ceremony at Fort Knox.

The post said senior leaders from across the nation, members of the U.S. Army Cadet Command and people from the community will take part.

The former commander of Africa Command, retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, will be the keynote speaker during the event Friday. The post said in a news release that the Golden Knights Parachute Team will conduct a demonstration, and the command will induct over 300 people into the Army ROTC Hall of Fame.

International Bluegrass Music Center

The city of Owensboro awarded the construction contract to build the new International Bluegrass Music Center to Peyronnin Construction of Evansville Wednesday. Peyronnin was the lowest of four bids for the project at $9.2 million.

Preconstruction is expected to begin within the next two weeks at the site on the corner of 2nd and Frederica Streets. Completion of the center is expected in the spring of 2018.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer quotes mayor Ron Payne as saying the project is good for the entire state of Kentucky, not just Owensboro. Payne said Peyronnin's bid wasn't a lot higher than original estimates which was surprising since a lot of construction projects underway in the area cause construction costs to rise.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and former Governor Steve Beshear are expected at a groundbreaking for the building on June 23rd. The Bluegrass Center received $5 million in state funding under Beshear's administration.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

A new, wide-ranging health poll shows that opinion remains split on the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, with most unfavorable opinions coming from northern and western parts of the state. Those areas also happen to have the highest rates of uninsured in the state.

Susan Zepeda is president of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which conducts the annual poll along with Cincinnati-based Interact for Health.

“Overall, what we’re finding with these reports is that an increasing number of Kentuckians have health insurance, but many are still delaying or simply can’t afford necessary health care,” Zepeda said.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll showed that just 41 percent of Kentuckians have a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act.

Rhonda Miller

Gardening season at one Kentucky jail means more than the physical and mental refreshment that comes with digging, planting and enjoying fresh vegetables. 

A Western Kentucky University sociology course is bringing students from the Glasgow campus to dig side-by-side with students who are inmates at the detention center. More than asparagus and potatoes are taking root at the jail garden.

Some of the students are growing new lives.  

Two dozen college students recently shoveled a mountain of mulch into wheelbarrows at the Barren County Detention Center. They could be any group of college students enrolled in this hands-on course from Western Kentucky University called The Sociology of Agriculture and Food. But five of the young women are wearing bright orange T-shirts .

They’re the inmates.

Aide to Read Letter from Obama at Ali Memorial Service

Jun 8, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

President Barack Obama won't be attending Muhammad Ali's memorial service, but he and first lady Michelle Obama are sending a letter with a close aide to be read at Friday's service.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett will represent the president at the service in Louisville, Kentucky. The White House says Jarrett knew Ali personally.

White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman says the Obamas are unable to attend because they'll be at their daughter Malia's high school graduation ceremony in Washington.

Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell says Ali's widow, Lonnie, and Obama have spoken by phone and that she appreciated the president's "kind words and condolences."

Gunnell says two of Ali's daughters, Rasheda and Maryum, will speak at the service, as well as Islamic studies scholar Timothy Gianotti. Former President Bill Clinton, a longtime friend, will deliver the eulogy.

Activists File Suit Challenging Tennessee Counseling Law

Jun 8, 2016
Creative Commons

Two gay rights activists have filed a lawsuit challenging a new Tennessee law that lets therapists decline to see patients based on religious values and personal principles.

Bleu Copas is an Anderson County man who says he was discharged from the Army under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Caleb Laieski is an activist from Virginia. Their lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Anderson County Chancery Court. It claims the new law targets gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, violating the right to equal treatment guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.

Gov. Bill Haslam's spokeswoman, Jennifer Donnals, says the governor's office is unaware of any lawsuits challenging the counseling law and has not seen the Anderson County suit.

The American Counseling Association last month canceled a planned conference in Nashville because of the law.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"This is the way the world ends," mused the poet T.S. Eliot, "not with a bang but a whimper." It may be said that the world of 2016 presidential nominating contests is ending with a bit of a bang and a whimper.

Six states held primaries or caucuses on the last big Tuesday (only the District of Columbia remains to vote on June 14), and the results closed out the season with an exclamation point and a question mark — for each of the remaining three candidates.

On the most obvious plane, it was Hillary Clinton's night. She became the first woman to be the presumptive presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party.

"We've reached a milestone," said Clinton, recalling how her mother was born on the day in 1919 when Congress approved the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was ratified by the states the following year, granting women the right to vote.

"Tonight's victory," said Clinton, "belongs to generations of women."

Ryland Barton, WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s transportation cabinet has announced that it will pause new road projects over the next fiscal year starting July 1.

According to the cabinet, the “Pause-50” initiative will halt about $145 million in projects to help the state recoup lost revenue, pay current expenditures and rebuild the state road fund.

During a legislative committee hearing on Tuesday, Transportation Cabinet Secretary Greg Thomas said major projects will still move forward.

“We went to the districts, we determined what the priorities were; we also looked at projects that hadn’t fully developed or fully started in terms of the right of way and utility phase, and those were the projects that came up,” he said.

Road resurfacing projects, the Louisville bridges project, construction of the I-69 corridor and bridge replacement projects will still progress.

Kentucky Arts Council Awarded $746,500 in Funding

Jun 7, 2016
Kentucky Arts Council

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to the Kentucky Arts Council.

A news release from the state council says its funding is included in the latest round of state partnership agreement grants and is for the 2017 fiscal year budget. The $746,500 award represents a 5 percent increase from 2016 funding.

The federal agency will award $125,000 to several Kentucky projects.

They include $70,000 to the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman for two projects, $10,000 to Western Kentucky  University's Kentucky Folklife Program and Cumberland Gap National Park to place a folklorist in the park, $20,000 to Appalshop in Whitesburg, $10,000 to Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington and $15,000 to Pioneer School of Drama in Danville.

The Washington Post/Washington Post/Getty Images

The primary season isn't quite wrapped yet (six states hold Democratic contests Tuesday), but Hillary Clinton has now secured the number of delegates needed (2,383) to become the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee.

Speaking Monday night, Clinton said, "according to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment. But we still have work to do, don't we?"

It wasn't easy for Clinton to emerge from this campaign season victorious — she got there by applying lessons from her failed 2008 bid and forming strong alliances with Democrats, President Obama and voters of color. And by surviving an epic 11-hour congressional hearing.

Here's a look back at the Democratic primary and 10 steps Clinton took to climb to the nomination:

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