Todd Hatton hails from Paducah, Kentucky, where he got into radio under the auspices of the late, great John Stewart of WKYX while a student at Paducah Community College. He also worked at WKMS in the reel-to-reel tape days of the early 1990s before running off first to San Francisco, then Orlando in search of something to do when he grew up. He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Murray State University. He vigorously resists adulthood and watches his wife, Angela Hatton, save the world one plastic bottle at a time.

Kentucky Associated Press Awards 2011

2nd Place - Best Enterprise/Investigative Reporting - "Difficulty with BP Boycott"

Kentucky Associated Press Awards 2010

Regional
9:12 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Glasgow to Receive Federal Funds for Sidewalks, Pedestrian Bridge

The city of Glasgow is receiving federal funding to improve transportation options in part of  the community. The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is providing $776,815 to expand residential sidewalks and the city’s shared-use path in the Carnation Drive neighborhood.

The goal is to increase the opportunities for residents to walk or bike to grocery stores, parks, and businesses. A proposed pedestrian bridge would link the neighborhood to the South Fork Creek Path, providing a direct connection to the west that’s currently unobtainable because of the wide span of the creek.

Glasgow Mayor Rhonda Trautman says many details still need to be worked out.

“We’re in the initial phase,” Trautman said. “We’ll have a design phase to complete, and then we’ll get items and services procured. It won't be quick, because federal money has a lot of rules and regulations. I’m hoping by late fall we’ll have our plan ready to go.”

TAP provides funding for communities that is used for transportation improvements, such as pedestrian and biking pathways, scenic routes, and beautification. The city of Glasgow is expected to commit $194,204 in local funding toward the project.

Business
6:51 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Century Aluminum Reaches Five Year Deal With Union

A Webster County aluminum smelter and its workers have reached a new, five-year collective bargaining agreement covering about 400 hourly workers.

The deal between Century Aluminum Sebree LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Century Aluminum Co., and the United Steelworkers Local 9443-00 is effective through October 28, 2019.

Sebree's plant manager, Jason Young, says the deal will keep the plant competitive in the aluminum market.

Century acquired the smelter in June 2013 from Rio Tinto Alcan.

Regional
6:43 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Escaped Inmate Caught in Daviess County

An escaped inmate has been arrested and three other people have been charged with assisting him in Daviess County.

Kentucky State Police says tips led them to Troy Lyons at a home in Owensboro Tuesday. Police say Lyons walked away from custody in Hopkinsville on July 19th. Troopers also charged Sara Lyons, Dawn Fulkerson and Eric Fulkerson with hindering prosecution or apprehension on Tuesday.

All were in the Daviess County Detention Center.

Regional
4:18 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Cave City OK's Package Liquor Sales

Voters in Cave City have approved package liquor sales in the Barren County town.

The vote was 230 for, 132 against in the two precincts that voted in the local option election. The result means that Cave City will now be allowed to have two full liquor stores.

Liquor sales by the drink have been allowed at several locations in Cave City, including the Convention center and two restaurants, since 2006.

Regional
5:23 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

$1.3 Billion In State Contracts Not Unusual, Says Lawmaker

State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello
Credit Kentucky LRC

Amid a $91 million state revenue shortfall, the Kentucky legislature’s Government Contract  Review Committee approved $1.3 billion worth of contracts this month. Outgoing Republican Sen. Sara Beth Gregory is a co-chair of the committee. She says the high dollar figure comes at the beginning of a new fiscal year, when  large numbers of contracts are typically renewed -- about 1,700 contracts in July alone.

But Gregory says that there are still contracts that creep into the committee that warrant more scrutiny from the public and the media.

 “It is somewhat surprising how much is overseen by this committee and how much comes before this committee or has the potential to come before this committee with relatively little press coverage,” said Gregory.

Gregory  says  the committee’s decisions can be overruled by the secretary of the finance cabinet, and that the best they can do is try to draw attention to contracts that award more money than they should.

The Legislative Ethics Commission reports that despite a reduction in contracts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the amount swelled to $3.4 billion from 2007 to 2011.

Politics
4:06 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Beshear: Health Rulings Won't Affect Kentucky

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says rulings Tuesday on President Barack Obama's health care law won't affect enrollees in Kentucky's state-run health exchange.

Beshear said in a statement released by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that premium assistance that Kentucky enrollees have qualified for also won't be affected.

Within hours of each other Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on the subsidies that help low- and middle-income people afford premiums.

Beshear said the confusion highlighted by the rulings just reiterates that Kentucky was in the right by creating a state-based exchange rather than going with the federal exchange. 

One court said the federal government was right in issuing credits for consumers in all 50 states, but the other court said that aid was only available to people in states that set up their own exchanges.

Regional
3:33 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Kentucky Families Impacted by Impasse Over Adopted Children in African Nation

Malachi Meacham, at his orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bethany and Jon Meacham of Louisville adopted Malachi over a year ago, but he remains in the DRC.
Credit Meacham Family

Bethany Meacham talks about her family's efforts to bring their adopted son Malachi to the U.S.

A decision by the government of an African nation is having a big impact on U.S. families trying to bring home adopted children, including at least 20 families in Kentucky. Citing concerns about the health and well-being of children previously adopted children, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last fall cancelled the exit permits needed by adopted children to leave the country and join their new families abroad.

Bethany Meacham of Louisville is one of the mothers caught in limbo due to the decision. Bethany and her husband, Jon, decided to look into adoption after a miscarriage made them think they might not be able to have a child naturally. Bethany has since given birth to two children, now ages 4 and 1. But after learning about the conditions of orphans in the DRC and doing further research, the Meachams decided to adopt a son from that country.

“So we started the paperwork process to adopt from there, three-and-a-half-years ago before we ever set foot in Congo. Since then, my husband was able to go last November for the first time and meet our son, who was legally adopted and who was ours at that time.”

“His orphanage had actually just burned down, so my husband took supplies to the orphanage.”

The Meachams named their son Malachi, and he became their legally adopted son last July. But the Meacham’s hopes of bringing their son to Kentucky were derailed when the Congolese government announced it was halting the issuing of exit visas for foreign adoptions. Since then, Bethany Meacham says she has had to be content with getting bits and pieces of information about Malachi, the son she’s never really gotten to know.

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Regional
2:58 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Hardin County Works to Stave Off Fort Knox Cuts

As the U.S Army works to downsize, thousands of jobs are at risk at Fort Knox.  The community around the central Kentucky post is mounting a campaign to save more than 4,000 military and civilian jobs that could be lost by 2020.   

The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce has organized a letter-writing campaign in hopes of influencing the Army’s decision.  Chamber President Brad Richardson says the state has made a strong commitment to Fort Knox since the 2005 base realignment and its related growth. 

"The state stepped up more than any state in the nation to support the growth so we feel the Army needs to look at us more as a growth installation rather than contracting the installation," Richardson told WKU Public Radio.

Richardson cited $251 million in new schools, roads, and other infrastructure around the post. 

The cuts the Army is considering at Fort Knox would be on top of the 3,500 positions already eliminated with the inactivation of the Third Brigade Combat Team.  Under a worst case scenario, 4,100 hundred jobs would be cut, resulting in a $500 million loss in payroll.

Regional
1:17 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Kentucky Bourbon Inventory Tops 5 Million Barrels

Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky bourbon makers are churning out larger volumes of whiskey being stored for aging.

The Kentucky Distillers' Association said Tuesday the state's bourbon inventory has topped 5 million barrels for the first time since 1977.

It says Kentucky bourbon distilleries filled 1.2 million barrels last year, the most since 1970.

Production has soared by more than 150 percent in the last 15 years, resulting in nearly 5.3 million aging barrels at the end of 2013.

KDA President Eric Gregory says the surging production comes amid big financial investments by distillers that are creating jobs and attracting record numbers of tourists. Gregory says the bourbon resurgence shows no signs of slowing down.

The KDA's Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour logged more than 630,000 visits last year, a new record.

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