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Regional
9:36 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Corbin Student to Represent Bluegrass State at National Geographic Bee

A Corbin eighth-grader will be traveling to Washington, D.C., next month to represent Kentucky in the national finals of the National Geographic Bee.

Nikhil A. Krishna, who attends Corbin Middle School, won the 2014 Kentucky Geographic Bee in Bowling Green. Louisville Farnsley Middle School student Andruw T. Stewart took second place, and third place went to a student from Lexington's Winburn Middle School, Zsombor T. Gal. They were among 82 students competing Friday.

The winner received $100 and a paid trip to Washington for the national finals May 19 to 21.

First prize in the national competition is a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands, with $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships to the next two finishers.

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Regional
6:26 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Conservative Group Says Kentucky Could Repeal Death Penalty Within 5 Years

Republican Rep. David Floyd of Bardstown introduced legislation this year that sought to repeal the state's death penalty
Credit Kentucky LRC

A national conservative group says the effort to get rid of the death penalty in Kentucky is picking up substantial bipartisan support.  But legislation to repeal capital punishment failed to gain much traction in this year’s legislative session.

In the House, a bill to ban the death penalty was introduced by Republican David Floyd of Bardstown; in the Senate, Democrat Gerald Neal did the same. But neither piece of legislation received a hearing.  

Marc Hyden with the group “Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty”, says while progress may be slow, he says within five years, the death penalty could be gone in Kentucky.  He says it’s a rare issue on which Republicans and Democrats can work together.

Hayden rejects the notion that the death penalty is a deterrent.

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Education
2:45 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

General Counsel: New State Budget Doesn't Fix Pension Woes for Kentucky Teachers

The $20 billion budget passed by Kentucky lawmakers underfunds teachers’ pensions, giving the system hundreds of millions of dollars less than requested to keep it afloat.

Public school teachers in Kentucky don’t get Social Security benefits. They can’t even claim their spouses’ either. So that makes their pensions all the more important. 

But the already tight-as-a-snare-drum budget passed by lawmakers continues to underfund the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System by about half the amount they need to bring the system -- which is currently about $13 billion short -- into the black.

Beau Barnes is general counsel for the KTRS. He says that changes in federal accounting laws will only compound the problem.

“The sooner the funding issue can be addressed, the better, because the longer it takes, the more difficult it’s going to be to address because the funding status will continue to decline,” said Barnes.  “The GASB accounting measure of unfunded liability would have the pension fund running out of money in about 2036.”

Barnes says he’s optimistic the situation won’t come to that, and is looking forward to working with the governor and the legislature to address a problem to which, so far, they’ve given little more than lip service.

Regional
9:54 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty in Murder of Pregnant Jamestown Woman

Sarah Hart was murdered during an early morning run in June 2012.

The man charged with murdering a pregnant Russell County woman will avoid the death penalty.  

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Christopher Allman entered a guilty plea Thursday to raping and strangling Sarah Hart of Jamestown in 2012. 

The 31-year-old pharmacist was jogging along U.S. 127 when Allman grabbed and pulled her into a wooded area where she was murdered. 

Allman, a convicted felon, told police he attacked Hart in order to rob her.  Hart was ten weeks pregnant with her fourth child. 

Allman’s plea agreement calls for him to serve life in prison with no parole.  The deal spares him a possible death sentence.

Agriculture
6:37 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Kentucky AG Jack Conway Gives the OK to Begin Growing Hemp

Six universities in Kentucky may now begin growing legal hemp this year. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told Kentucky Public Radio his office has received the go-ahead from the Attorney General's office to begin pilot projects with the plant.

Those projects were made possible by last year's state legislation providing a regulatory framework and a provision inserted in a recent federal farm bill. Comer says his office will begin immediately to finalize regulations concerning the growth and production of hemp.

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Sports
11:05 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

New Hot Rods Season Ushers in Changes In and Around Bowling Green Ballpark

Bowling Green Ballpark's new neighbor features multiple restaurants, a parking garage and apartments
Emil Moffatt

A crowd of over 3,000 fans turned out for the Bowling Green Hot Rods season opener, a 5-2 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks Thursday night. The game marked the beginning of a new era for Bowling Green’s minor league baseball team and the area around its downtown ballpark.

It’s the team’s sixth year at Bowling Green Ballpark, which now has a new neighbor:  a multi-restaurant, parking garage and apartment building next door known as Hitcents Park Plaza.  One of the restaurants named "6-4-3", after the scoring notation for a double play, features a distinct baseball feel.

It was also the first game since the new ownership group, led by Stuart and Jerry Katzoff, took over in December.

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Regional
5:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Fruit of the Loom To Shutter Jamestown Plant; 600 Layoffs Expected

Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday it will close the company's Jamestown, Ky. plant, laying off hundreds of workers. 

The clothing manufacturer says 600 employees will lose their jobs.  The layoffs will begin in phases starting in June and the plant will be closed by the end of the year.  Production at the Jamestown plant will transition to facilities in Honduras, according to a press release.

The company says global competition and cheaper production overseas forced the plant to close.  State Representative Jeff Hoover of Jamestown posted on Twitter that he is "devastated" by the news. 

Fruit of the Loom is the largest employer in Russell County. The company is headquartered in Bowling Green.

Regional
3:21 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Kentucky To Offer Bourbon Tax Credit

Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

State lawmakers have effectively eliminated a tax on aging barrels of bourbon in a move to protect one of the state's signature industries.

Kentucky spends that tax money on public education, making it difficult to eliminate the tax completely. This week lawmakers approved a tax credit that would offset the cost of the tax. Public schools would still get their tax money, but overall state revenues would decrease by about $14 million in five years once the tax credit is fully implemented.

Kentucky distillers have increased their inventory of aging bourbon by more than 1 million barrels since 1999. State tax collections have more than doubled since then.

The law requires Kentucky distillers to spend the savings from the tax on improving facilities in Kentucky, including remodeling to promote tourism.

Regional
10:08 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Corvette Extraction: Seven Down, One to Go

A crane lifts what's left of the 2009 1.5 Millionth Corvette from the sinkhole Thursday morning.
Credit National Corvette Museum

The 2009 1.5 Millionth Corvette is now out of the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. 

The milestone car becomes the seventh Corvette to be retrieved from the 50-foot sinkhole that swallowed eight cars on display February 12. 

The 1.5 Millionth had not been seen since the collapse, and excavation and metal detectors had been unsuccessful in locating it.  Crews found signs of the car during the retrieval process of the Spyder earlier this week.

Initial attempts to pull the car free were to no avail as a large rock appeared to be wedging the rear of the car in the dirt. “Originally, we thought we had to remove the boulder itself to free the vehicle,” Zach Massey, Project Manager with Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction said in a news release.  “But we were able to free the 1.5 without addressing the boulder as it turned out it was not directly resting on the car, which was a great advantage to us.”

The 1.5 Millionth built in Bowling Green in 2009, is a white convertible with red interior.  It was patterned after the first 300 Corvettes built in 1953 in Flint, Michigan.

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Kentucky Budget
8:01 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Money for Rupp Renovation Included in Kentucky Budget Approved by Lawmakers

Rupp Arena in Lexington
Credit UK Athletics

The budget Kenutcky lawmakers approved this week will give $1.5 million to a costly renovation of the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.

The money would be used to finance architects' and engineering fees and other planning costs for the $310 million project.

Republican lawmakers got few answers from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who lobbied House and Senate leadership for $65 million for the project during marathon budget talks held in Frankfort over the weekend.

Gray said the project would create thousands of jobs in Lexington, and failing to provide the amount would “drive a stake through the heart of the project.”

Details of the project remain scarce, as Gray and other officials are under a verbal non-disclosure agreement with the university.

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