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Fort Campbell is closer to breaking ground on an alternative energy project that will build the largest solar array in the state. 

Last week, project coordinators received the green light to break ground in two weeks’ time which will see installation of 5,814 solar modules on 25 acres generating over 2,466 megawatt-hours of electricity annually.  

Ft. Campbell Resource Efficiency Manager Dewayne Smith says the base’s electric utility, Pennyrile Rural Electric Co-op, is fronting the capital costs which will be paid back through the energy savings.  The array will generate a 5 megawatts capacity, alleviating some of the base’s 31 megawatt average monthly demand.

It's also part of a initiative under the American Renewable Energy Act requiring 25 percent of government installations’ power to be produced by renewables by 2025.  For Fort Campbell, those renewables include the solar array as well as a 20 megawatt biomass-burning plant.

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Kentucky’s Republican gubernatorial candidates disagree specifically on what evidence proves that, according to them, climate change isn’t happening or influenced by human activity. During a debate on CN2 last month, candidates Will T. Scott and Hal Heiner prefaced their statements with “I’m not a scientist, but…” and Matt Bevin called climate science “fluff and theory.” But Agriculture Commissioner James Comer offered the most specific example.

“I do not believe in global warming. I’m the one person whose business and livelihood depends on Mother Nature, so I understand weather patterns,” he said, citing his farming experience. “We’ve had a very severe winter this year with 12-inch snows, so there is no global warming.”

Putting aside the science behind climate change, and the fact that nearly all climate scientists agree both that it’s happening and is influenced by human activity, it was a severe winter this year. Louisville got 27 inches of snow, which is 15 more inches than usual. But there are some key differences between weather and climate, especially as pertains to agriculture, and these nuances are missing in Comer’s remarks.

“Climate determines where we grow crops, weather determines how much we grow,” Jerry Hatfield said. He’s the director of the National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment, which is run by USDA.

He said  the climate is definitely changing. One of the manifestations of that changing climate is weird weather patterns.

A traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is coming to Hardin County this week as part of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the war.

The traveling wall contains all of the names of U.S. military personnel killed during the war, and will arrive in Radcliff on Thursday. Event organizer and Vietnam veteran David Cowherd says the replica wall offers a chance for those who haven’t seen the Washington memorial to pay tribute to those who died, as well POWs and MIAs.

“They served there with us, and they are in some case family members and really close friends. So it helps with some of the healing, in my view,” said Cowherd, who served in the Navy during the war in southeast Asia.

The replica wall will be on display in Radcliff from Thursday through Sunday. Area schools are bringing students to see the wall, and a candlelight service honoring Hardin County natives killed in the Vietnam War is being held Saturday night.

Vietnam War veterans are invited to a Sunday afternoon group photo shoot in front of the traveling wall.

The Bowling Green Independent School District is close to naming its next superintendent.  The board of education is expected to make the announcement Monday night at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. 

The hiring follows interviews with four finalists, including Allen Barber from Eagle Point, Oregon, Bowling Green High School Principal Gary Fields, Hart County Assistant Superintendent Wesley Waddle, and Mark Owens, Director of Personnel for Daviess County Public Schools. 

Current Superintendent Joe Tinius is retiring June 30.

Heroin Overdose Deaths are Down in Three Kentucky Counties

May 11, 2015

New statistics indicate heroin-related overdose deaths declined in 2014 in three northern Kentucky counties hard hit by the drug epidemic.

Citing the latest statistics from the Kentucky Medical Examiner's office, The Kentucky Enquirer reports that Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties had a combined 64 heroin-related overdose deaths in 2014, down from 72 in 2013.

Leaders of the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response Task Force say the drop shows community efforts are beginning to yield results.

Dr. Tracey Corey, Kentucky's chief medical examiner, released to The Enquirer the latest count of overdose deaths statewide that included heroin in the bloodstream. Her analyst noted that the medical examiner does not get all heroin-related overdose deaths cases, however.

The medical examiner had 233 such deaths in 2014, up from 230 in 2013.

Nationwide, a majority of emergency room physicians report an increase in the number of patients since the Affordable Care Act took effect. 

The law was intended to cover the uninsured and steer more of them into primary care rather than the ER, but that hasn’t happened, according to a report issued last week by the American College of Emergency Physicians. 

"We're seeing many more people coming in now with coverage needing service," said Michael Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association.  "A lot of the folks are having access issues in areas of the country and state where there's not enough primary care physicians to handle everyone that has new coverage."

Kentucky had a doctor shortage even before the ACA took effect.  Compounding the situation is that most of the newly insured in Kentucky are on Medicaid, and some physicians won’t accept Medicaid because of its low reimbursement rates.

John Null, WKMS

Kentucky State Police troopers are not using body cameras yet, but some western Kentucky law enforcement agencies have already embraced the technology.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department has been using body cameras for years. So has the Cadiz Police Department. But in March, all nine CPD officers got an upgrade with the latest TASER AXON body cameras. CPD Major Duncan Wiggins says the new cameras cost around $400 each.

“They have a wider view,” Wiggins said. “They also are a low-lux camera, which doesn’t mean they can see at night, but they see much like the human eye sees. So if a person is using a flashlight, it picks up really well. Also, the audio is impeccable.”

The cameras require a server to store the video that officers upload at the end of their shift. Wiggins said the server cost the city under $1,000.

CPD public information officer Scott Brown said that he’s a fan of the cameras.

Kentucky hospitals have cut their workforce by 10 percent since 2013 as they prepare for an estimated $7 billion in federal cuts by 2024 because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Kentucky Hospital Association detailed the numbers in a new report released Friday. President Michael Rust praised Kentucky officials for implementing the Affordable Care Act and reducing the number of people without health insurance. But the report by the consulting firm Dobson/DaVanzo says Kentucky hospitals will lose more money than they gain from the expanded health insurance coverage.

The report seems to contradict a study from Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear in February that said Kentucky added 12,000 jobs because of the Medicaid expansion. But that report included jobs outside of hospitals.

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A business research magazine has released its annual list of the Best and Worst states as favored by business executives, ranking Tennessee at number 4.  

“Chief Executive” surveyed over 500 leading CEOs across the country making measuring in three categories: tax and regulation, workforce quality, and living environment. That last category includes education, cost of living, affordable housing and crime rates. 

Texas took the top spot, followed by Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, which was in the number 3 spot last year. 

CEOs say they picked the Volunteer state for its low taxes and Right-to-Work status calling it a hotbed for automotive manufacturers. 

Kentucky ranked in at 28 with CEOs noting a high-value living environment, but concern about tax and strong regulatory policies. 

Illinois maintained its rank amongst the worst states at number 48.  

See a full-listing of Chief Executive rankings here

Motorists heading north on I-65 in Hardin and Bullitt counties will be impacted by road work starting Sunday evening.

The interstate will be reduced to one lane between mile markers 104 and 102 starting at 7 pm eastern Sunday as crews make concrete repairs. The project should be complete by Wednesday night.

Delays are likely during peak volume hours in the mornings and afternoons, and motorists may want to consider alternate routes.

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