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Elections
6:12 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Cave City Set For Alcohol Vote

Voters in two precincts of Cave City are set to vote up or down on alcohol sales. A special option election is scheduled for July 22 for the 2,685 voters registered at the two precincts. The question on the ballot is "Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in cave City?"

The effort to bring packaged liquor sales to cave City was spearheaded by the "Cave City Forward Committee". which began circulating petitions in November to get the referendum on the ballot.

Cave City has been "moist" since 2006, when restaurants were allowed to sell liquor by the drink if they meet certain state law requirements.

Agriculture
5:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Test Hemp Crop Grows With Arrival of More Seeds

Kentucky's first experimental hemp crop has grown with the arrival of another shipment of imported seeds that immediately went into the ground.

The state's agriculture department says nearly 950 pounds of Canadian seeds cleared customs without any legal drama. An earlier shipment from Italy was detained for a time by customs officials in Louisville, setting off a legal fight between the state agency and the federal government.

Adam Watson, the agriculture department's hemp coordinator, said the Canadian seeds were planted last week. He said seeds put into the soil in late May have already sprouted into leafy plants that are six feet high or taller.

Test plots across the state will help researchers and farmers determine the crop's potential in Kentucky.

Regional
5:22 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Pair Of Farmer Employees Reach Deal With Ethics Panel

Richie Farmer

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has reached settlements with two brothers who worked in the state Agriculture Department under former Commissioner Richie Farmer.

The Courier-Journal reports Bill Ed Mobley admitted claiming pay for times he didn't carry out his job duties. He also admitted violating the ethics code by claiming mileage reimbursement for trips he didn't take. He was reprimanded and fined him $3,000.

The commission found that Steve Mobley violated the ethics code for processing his brother's time sheets and mileage reimbursement claims and for failing to report a gift. He was reprimanded and fined $2,500.

The commission already reached settlements with Farmer and four other employees, and one case is still pending.

Farmer also pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and is serving 27 months in prison.

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Regional
4:41 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Kentucky Works To Make Driver's Licenses Compliant with 2005 Law

Efforts continue to make Kentucky driver's licenses compliant with the 2005 Real ID Act
Credit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says it is working toward compliance with the federal REAL ID Act from 2005.  The law sets 39 standards that must be met in order for a state-issued driver’s license to be accepted at certain high-security locations. Kentucky is one of 10 states currently not in compliance.  That means Kentuckians trying to access restricted areas at federal facilities will have to present a passport or military ID beginning July 21. 

Lisa Tolliver with the Transportation Cabinet says the state has completed a key step needed for an extension and is waiting to hear back from Homeland Security.

“What we’re doing is just working toward it. We don’t have a timeframe as to when we’ll be completely finished,” said Tolliver. “But once we get an extension – that will allow Kentucky driver’s licenses – they won’t be compliant, but they will be acceptable.”

As early as 2016, non-compliant driver’s licenses may prevent someone from boarding a commercial airliner unless they have a second form of ID.  But that provision can't be enacted until after Homeland Security has evaluated states’ progress early next year.

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Transportation
4:05 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Corridor Connecting Southern Indiana to Natcher Bridge in Owensboro Could be Toll Road

An Indiana transportation panel is making recommendations that could lead to the start of a new corridor linking southern Indiana with Daviess County, Kentucky, within five to ten years.  

The road will be called the Mid-State Corridor, and will run from Pike County, Indiana, to the Natcher Bridge east of Owensboro. That road was formally known as I-67, but the name was dropped because only federal officials can create a new interstate.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports the Indiana Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure also believes construction should start on the proposed Interstate-69 bridge at Henderson within five years. Funding concerns are a major issue for the projects, however, with the federal Highway Trust Fund running out of money.

If a creative solution isn’t found, blue ribbon panel member Hank Menke told the paper that the Mid-State Corridor might have to be built as a toll road.

The corridor is expected to cost Indiana $444 million, with Kentucky chipping in $177 million.

The Indiana panel’s recommendations now go to Governor Mike Pence.

Regional
11:58 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Sen. Paul, Gov. Beshear to Speak at Ohio Conference Next Week

Gov. Steve Beshear

Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and a top executive of the world's largest retailer are in the speaker lineup for the upcoming National Urban League Conference in southwest Ohio.
 
The civil rights organization expects some 8,000 participants at the meeting in downtown Cincinnati. The theme of the July 23-26 conference is "One Nation Underemployed."

The group says Biden will give the plenary speech. Other speakers will include Paul, R-Kentucky; Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear; civil rights activist and TV commentator Al Sharpton; and Bill Simon, president and CEO of the U.S. stores division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
 
Panel discussions will include progress and unfinished business 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and celebrations of African-American culture and music.

Regional
10:40 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Advocates for Veterans Want Long-Term Care Facility Built in Warren County

Dignitaries broke ground last year on a new long-term care facility for veterans in Radcliff.
Credit Kevin Willis

Some retired military veterans are asking Kentucky lawmakers to commit funding for a new long-term care facility for veterans that would be located in Bowling Green.

The commonwealth currently has only three such facilities, with a fourth veterans nursing home scheduled to open next summer in Hardin County.

Dr. Ray Biggerstaff served in Vietnam as a Captain with the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell. He told state lawmakers in Frankfort that the number of veterans in the south-central Kentucky region makes Warren County a logical location for a long-term care operation.

“When we take a look at the demographic data for Bowling Green and the Barren River Area Development District, we’re looking at a total of 20,000 veterans in that particular area. Surrounding the area, we have an additional 22,000 veterans that are in the perimeter,” said Biggerstaff.

Biggerstaff said he also thought a long-term care facility for veterans in southern Kentucky could attract veterans who live in northern Tennessee.

In testimony before a joint committee on State Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Biggerstaff said backers of the proposed veteran’s nursing home in Warren County have identified a 30-acre site off I-65 near the Kentucky Transpark as a possible location for the facility.

The nursing home being built in Hardin County will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department, and feature a dozen ten-person homes providing full nursing services to 120 veterans. It’s scheduled to open next June.

Kentucky’s three nursing homes for veterans currently in operation are in Hopkins, Jessamine, and Perry counties.

Politics
8:17 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Bill Battling Heroin May Have New Life in 2015 Kentucky Legislature

Parts of Kentucky have seen a surge in heroin abuse in recent years.

A renewed effort to pass legislation to combat Kentucky’s heroin epidemic is gaining traction in the state legislature.

The chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary committees are in talks to revive the bill, championed by outgoing Republican Sen. Katie Stine, whose Northern Kentucky district has been hit especially hard by heroin abuse. 

Stine’s bill died in the final moments of the 2014 session over constitutional concerns about its homicide provision, which would have charged dealers for murder in the event of an overdose, and GOP dissension over the bill’s needle exchange program.

“We are discussing ways to curb the addiction, get it off our streets; to deal more harshly with those whom are dealing in the misery; and to save lives, ultimately,” said Rep. John Tilley, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “And that’s what we as public servants need to be doing.”

Tilley says all options -- including the homicide provision -- are still on the table, and that several bills will likely take shape soon.

Gov. Steve Beshear remains undecided on whether he’ll call a special legislative session to revisit the issue.

Regional
5:37 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Fundraising Falling Short for Grandpa Jones Marker

A group raising money to put up a historical marker honoring country music entertainer Louis "Grandpa" Jones at his Henderson County birthplace says it's been disappointed in the response so far.

The Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society had hoped to have the needed money in hand by now. Society vice president Linda Hallmark says the group is thankful for the $700 that's been raised so far, but the project's cost is $2,500.

The Kentucky Historical Society authorized the marker in February.

Regional
5:21 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Ohio County Native Wins Miss Kentucky

Ramsey Carpenter took the crown over the weekend in Lexington and will compete in the Miss America Pageant in September. The 23 year old Hartford native is a University of Kentucky graduate. Her platform as Miss Kentucky is raising awareness of multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 2010.

Carpenter competed against 32 other hopefuls Saturday night at the Singletary Center for the Arts at UK.

She'll head to the Miss America Pageant with her fiddle and renditions of bluegrass classics like "Orange Blossom Special", which she played in the talent competition.

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