Kentucky tobacco farmers stand to lose an estimated $12 million because of federal budget cuts related to the sequester. Those cuts are scheduled to hit the next round of price support payments sent to about 100,000 Kentucky tobacco farmers and quota holders.
Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney told WKU Public Radio the payments should be exempt from the federal spending cuts.
"This shouldn't even be considered for sequestration because it's actually a contract that was signed between the tobacco producers and the tobacco manufacturers. Really, the federal government was just holding the money and making the program work."
Haney says members of Kentucky's congressional delegation and farm lobby are teaming up with their counterparts in other states as the next tobacco quota payment nears.
A Warren County group dedicated to providing safe environments for all children hopes more families will consider adoption.
November is adoption awareness month, and the Family Enrichment Center is hoping to shine the spotlight on kids of all ages who are looking for what's known as "forever homes." The group's Board of Directors Chair, Jennifer Brinkley, says a new adoption resource center in Bowling Green is aimed at helping interested parties navigate the often complicated adoption process.
"There are over 120 children in our region who are currently waiting to be adopted," Brinkley told WKU Public Radio. "So it's an important resource when people don't know how to go about the process."
"The Family Enrichment Center, through that adoption resources center, can really help those families."
Brinkley says she often advises families interested in adoption to consider children other than newborns. She says there are many older children-including teenagers-who are eligible for adoption.
An estimated 7,000 Kentucky children are currently in foster care, residential homes, or detention facilities.
A published report says many school districts across the state are giving modest increases to superintendents, but some have boosted pay by double digits.
An analysis by The Courier-Journal found that about 30 of the state's 173 school districts increased superintendents' pay by at least 15 percent from 2009-2013. The average pay raise in that time span was 3.7 percent. The review found that 49 districts reduced pay for superintendents.
The larger pay increases were defended by advocates for administrators, who said the competition for good leaders is intense.
Critics say the pay hikes are hard to justify at a time when state funding for education has decreased, prompting cuts in other areas.
Behind the scenes at the Advanced Canine Academy in Scottsville
A few miles down a winding gravel road in Scottsville sits a brown building with the words Advance Canine Academy in block letters above the door. Behind that building are four vehicles sporting dusty windows and flat tires. They serve as part of the training ground for these future K-9 officers.
Gene England tosses a marijuana-scented tennis ball is tossed into the car and one of the dogs-in-training races in after it, searching high-and-low to find which crevice or under which seat the ball went.
When the dog emerges, England implores a handful of students to remember what they saw.
“Jumping, spinning, barking, licking, biting – every bit of that stuff – you’ll find more drugs off those indications than you’ll ever find off this one [scratching],” said England. “As of Day 1 when you write in your journal, you’ve gotta write how your dog behaved out here today, you log it.”
Law enforcement and government officials say drug trafficking is becoming more common in these parts, even though Kentucky is a long way from the Texas border with Mexico.
“We just recently had one of our dogs down in Ohio County hit eight pounds of crystal meth and a pound and a half of heroin. We’ve never encountered heroin in all my years in Kentucky until recently,” said England.
For over four decades, England has been training dogs. Law enforcement dogs in particular. His rural property in Allen County has plenty of space for the dogs and their handlers to learn the ropes.
A group of education organizations will meet in Lexington Thursday to prepare for their campaign to better fund public education in Kentucky.
Stu Silberman, the executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, says it's the first time the various groups that make up the Kentucky Education Action Team will rally around a single message
“Each group will a lot of times go in with their individual legislative agendas and they don’t always match up. So the legislators sometimes feel like, well you all don’t even know what you want.”
The Prichard Committee is one of several education groups that will participate in the fall summit, where members will discuss the funding requests being made. Silberman says representatives will take the information back to their regions and develop an action plan to reach community members and lawmakers.
The group will be asking for over $250 million dollars over the next two-year budget to restore funding levels to the 2008 school year.