Politics
6:56 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Pence Says GOP Should Seek Limits on Federal Government

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Mike Pence says Republicans must dramatically limit the federal government's role in education, welfare programs and transportation. Pence says that state leaders, not the federal government, should be responsible for those areas.

Pence made the comments Thursday night in a speech to political donors in New York City. He was in New York to help boost his national profile ahead of a possible presidential bid.

The former Congressman isn't as well known on the national stage as some other potential candidates, such as Kentucky senator Rand Paul, but Republican operatives suggest he could emerge as a major player should he decide to run.

It was Pence's second meeting with New York donors in as many months. He's also been bolstering his policy resume at home and abroad.

Education
3:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Federal Money to Boost Broadband Capacity of Kentucky's Schools

Kentucky is poised to receive federal grant money to improve broadband speeds in public schools.

The Federal Communication Commission’s E-rate program provides $2.4 billion dollars annually to schools across the country to modernize Internet accessibility. 

Now that the FCC has pledged an additional $2 billion for the next two years, Kentucky educators are poised to get a $22 million slice of that pie.

Associate Commissioner of the state’s Office of Next Generation Learners, Amanda Ellis, says the money will improve connectivity to wireless devices that can download video lessons for students to watch at home.

“Students have the opportunity to watch videos in the evening, or after school. And when they go into their classrooms, and their teachers work from what they learned online. That’s not accessible to a lot of people even in the school setting, because it’s not fast enough.”

The FCC is expected to make a decision on the funds next month.

Bourbon
2:50 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Bardstown to Add Fifth Bourbon Distillery in 2016

Bourbon distilling contributes nearly $2 billion in gross state product each year in Kentucky.
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s bourbon capital is set to grow even stronger.

The Bardstown Bourbon Company announced Thursday plans to build a new distillery in the Nelson County town that will create 35 jobs and represent an investment of $25 million. The company says it will also build a visitor’s center and warehouses, in addition to the 45,000-square-foot distillery.

The company will produce bourbon as well as other spirits using local ingredients. Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer, with the facility opening in 2016.

It would mark the fifth distillery in Bardstown, joining Barton 1792, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, and Willett. Maker's Mark is also close by, in the town of Loretto.

The Bardstown Bourbon Company has hired Steve Nally to serve as its first master distiller. He has over 40 years of experience in the industry and is a member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame.

Sports
5:42 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Kentucky Proud Foods on the Menu at Kentucky Speedway

Kentucky grown food will be served up at Kentucky Speedway for the auto race on Saturday. State agriculture commissioner James Comer says "Kentucky Proud" foods will be served to fans at Saturday's Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and for the remainder of the racing season at the track in Sparta.

Comer says the partnership with the Speedway brings the "Kentucky Proud" program to a wider audience.

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Education
5:25 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Humana Co-Founder Gives to Catholic Foundation

The co-founder of Humana Inc. is giving $1 million to the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville to help students attend catholic schools.

The gift from David A. Jones and his wife, Betty, will provide financial assistance to families who can't afford the full cost of catholic school tuition.

Louisville archbishop Joseph Kurtz says the couple has been among the most generous donors to the foundation, which started in 1996. Foundation president Richard Lechleiter says the gift will allow more families to get help with catholic school tuition. He says about 20,000 students attend catholic schools in Louisville.

The foundation says the funding of the gift will occur over a four year period.

Regional
4:08 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Corvette Sinkhole Will Be Preserved for History

The sinkhole and the eight damaged cars will remain as-is through the end of August. The museum celebrates its 20th anniversary with an event August 27-30.
Credit National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green has decided to turn its unintended attraction into a permanent one. 

The board of directors met Wednesday and discussed repairs options for the Skydome, the site of a February 12 sinkhole that swallowed eight cars on display. 

Preliminary plans include keeping a small portion of the hole open and building over it a bridge.

"We don't know yet if we will do that, but we hope that it can be a part of it so people can walk over it and look down, and possibly place one or two of the sinkhole cars back in there to give people an idea of the depth and what it looked like when it happened," says Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.                                

The sinkhole has attracted lots of gawkers with the museum reporting a 59 percent increase in visitors since March compared to the same time period last year. 

Construction plans also call for converting the Skydome from two levels to one, which would enlarge the display area and make it easier to get the cars in and out of the structure. 

Repair work will start in September.   

Politics
3:25 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

KRS Chief: State Could Be Stuck with Paying $2.5 Billion in Unpaid Pension Liabilities

Kentucky lawmakers are mulling over ways to deal with a lawsuit between quasi-governmental agencies and their financial relationship to the beleaguered Kentucky Retirement System.

Last year, Seven Counties Services, a mental health nonprofit that contracts with state government, filed for bankruptcy over its pension debt. When a federal judge ruled last month that the nonprofit didn’t have to pay those obligations to the Kentucky Retirement System, KRS executive director Bill Thielen said his organization would appeal the decision.

If that effort fails, the remaining employers in the pension system could foot a $2.4 billion tab to cover the cost of the added liabilities. 

Thielen says he supports legislation like that crafted by Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel that would require groups like Seven Counties who voluntarily withdraw from the retirement system to pay off their pension obligations.

“They would only be able to withdraw having fully paid their obligation, and that’s what we believe should be the case, otherwise all the other participating employers are going to have to pick up the tab,” Thielen told lawmakers Wednesday.

McDaniel’s bill died in the House this year, but lawmakers say they’ll continue studying their options as the appeal in the case drags on for the next couple of years.

Politics
2:56 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Kentucky GOP Group Hires Former Romney Staffer

A state political action committee focused on helping Republicans take control of the state House of Representatives has hired a former Mitt Romney staffer to be its executive director.

Bowling Green native Kathryn Breiwa will lead AmeriGOP's fundraising efforts and run its day-to-day operations. Breiwa was the deputy director for external relations for the Romney for President campaign and is a former regional field director for the Republican Party of Kentucky.

AmeriGOP Chairman Richard Knock said he hopes to raise $500,000 for the November elections. He wants to use that money to target individual voters in the 2nd Congressional District.

Democrats have a 54-46 majority in the state House of Representatives. Republicans have not had a majority in the state House since 1920.

Arts & Culture
2:49 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Hines Book Documents Bowling Green-Native's Influence On The Way America Eats On the Go

Duncan Hines exhibit at the Kentucky Museum on the campus of WKU
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Author Louis Hatchett discusses his book, which details the life of Duncan Hines

Louis Hatchett was a graduate student in search of a master’s thesis when he came upon a book called “Adventures in Good Eating”.  The author was Duncan Hines and the book would transform the course of Hatchett’s professional life.

“Duncan Hines is probably a kindred spirit,” said Hatchett. “When I read that he would travel from Chicago to Detroit for lunch, I said ‘this man is just like me’, because I’ve traveled 200 miles to eat a steak and gone back home the same day.”

We visited recently with Hatchett at the Duncan Hines Exhibit at the Kentucky Museum on the WKU campus.

After compiling reams of research, the Henderson, Kentucky author eventually produced a 750-page manuscript.  He whittled the content down to 75 pages for his thesis and 300 pages for a book called “Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the Most Trusted Name in Food”.  The book was originally published under a slightly different title in 2001, but was republished this spring.   

In the book, Hatchett contends that Hines created a revolution when it came to roadside dining. He says more people died from food poisoning in the 1930s along American roadways than they did in car accidents.   

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Regional
2:42 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Kentucky Judge Affirms Sanctions Against National College

A for-profit college with six locations in Kentucky will have to pay penalties for not cooperating with an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. 

Attorney General Jack Conway issued a subpoena to National College in 2010 as part of his probe of some for-profit colleges operating in the Commonwealth.  National refused to respond to the subpoena and instead filed suit to block the investigation.  Franklin Circuit Court ruled the attorney general was acting both lawfully and in the public interest.  National College appealed to the Court of Appeals and Kentucky Supreme Court, but the appeals were denied. 

Franklin Circuit Court affirmed its previous ruling requiring National College to pay $147,000 for failing to comply with the subpoena.  The court also affirmed at $10,000 fine levied on the school’s attorneys for their role in delaying the investigation.

National College has campuses in Danville, Florence, Lexington, Louisville, Pikeville, and Richmond.

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