Opponents of a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline Thursday filed a lawsuit hoping to clarify whether eminent domain could be used for the project.
The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from drilling operations in the Northeast to processing plants on the Gulf of Mexico. For the past few months, pipeline company representatives have been approaching landowners, trying to purchase easements for the project. But while the company says it believes it has the power to condemn property if necessary, Kentucky legal experts have disagreed.
Penny Greathouse is a board member of Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain, the group that filed the lawsuit. She says the uncertainty is a problem for landowners considering whether to sign contracts with the pipeline company.
“I feel like there’s a lot of easements that have been signed because the person themselves have felt like they would rather be on the top end as opposed to on the lower end and they feel like they don’t know if [Williams] can take their property or not, so they’re just going to go ahead and sign, just to be done with it.”
By filing the lawsuit, the pipeline’s opponents are hoping to find out the court’s interpretation of the law before a landowner ends up in court over the matter. They’re hoping for a decision in January.
A national retailer for hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear will open a store in Bowling Green in 2014. Cabela's will build a 42,000-square-foot store, making it the second in Kentucky, joining one in Louisville.
Communications Specialist Wes Remmer told WKU Public Radio that the Cabela’s Outpost store will be among the company's smallest.
“The Outposts are about 40,000 square feet, whereas, some of our other retail locations can range up to 250,000 square feet," explains Remmer. "The Outposts are a way to get into those smaller markets.”
Cabela’s will open the Bowling Green store next fall and employ about 90 full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers.
Cabela's Outpost will be located at the intersection of Scottsville Road and Ken Bale Boulevard.
The approaching winter weather in Kentucky should cause concern for motorists. The forecast calls for a wintry mix of precipitation late Thursday through Friday.
Kentucky Transportation Department Spokesman Keith Todd says crews were not able to pre-treat the roadways, which will make for hazardous driving conditions.
“Anytime there’s rain and we pre-treat, the rain just washes the pre-treating material off the roadway, so we’re not going to be able to pre-treat," explains Todd. "We always like to do that when we can because that puts us out ahead of the storm and gives us a head start.”
Todd says it appears the weather system will arrive a few hours earlier than expected. Sleet and freezing rain is expected in far western Kentucky Thursday afternoon and will spread eastward in the evening.
Road conditions throughout the state are posted online at 511.ky.gov.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association says it’s monitoring the weather situation related to the six football championship games being played Friday and Saturday at LT Smith Stadium in Bowling Green.
A cold front is expected to hit the area Friday, with snow, sleet, and ice possible.
At this point, the KHSAA says its schedule remains the same, with game being played at 11 am, 3 pm, and 7 pm central time each day.
However, the group says a final determination will be made Friday morning concerning the evening game and the three Saturday contests.
Here is the current schedule for the six title games (all times central):
Friday, Dec. 6
11:00 am: Mayfield (13-1) vs. Williamsburg (11-2) in Class 1A championship
3:00 pm: Wayne County (13-0) vs. Belfry (13-1) in Class 3A championship
7:00 pm: Meade County (12-2) vs. Scott County (14-0) in Class 5A championship
Saturday, Dec. 7
11:00 am: DeSales (13-1) vs. Newport Catholic Central (10-4) in Class 2A championship
3:00 pm: Collins (12-2) vs. Ft. Thomas Highlands (13-1) in Class 4A championship
7:00 pm: Bowling Green (13-0) vs. Pulaski County (14-0) in Class 5A championship
The Federal Election Commission says the re-election campaign of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell accepted “apparent excessive contributions” from a dozen individuals and seven political action committees. The claims were made in a preliminary review of the campaign’s disclosure report covering the months of July, August, and September.
The Courier-Journal reports the FEC has told the McConnell campaign that the contributions in question appear to exceed the legal limits.
Under campaign finance law, an individual can give up to $2,600 per election, meaning a person could actually give $5,200 to campaign, with half designated for the primary, and the other half going to the general election.
In each of the dozen cases involving individuals cited by the FEC, the contributors gave the McConnell campaign multiple donations dating back as far as 2009. The most recent donations made last quarter pushed those contributors over the legal limit.
Some of the political action committees cited by the FEC as having made excessive donations include those run by the American Health Care Association, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and Clear Channel.
You can read the FEC letter sent to the McConnell re-election campaign here.
A Kentucky lawmaker is taking issue with proposed legislation aimed at tackling the state’s growing heroin problem.
Legislation from Republican Sen. Katie Stine would raise penalties for heroin traffickers and punish dealers by reclassifying overdose deaths as criminal homicide when there is sufficient evidence.
Although Stine says her legislation would also attempt to shore up drug treatment efforts, Sen. Perry Clark, a Democrat from Louisville, says it's another misstep in the failed War on Drugs.
“I’ve voted against it in the past, I’ll probably vote against it in the future. She’s using the same old law enforcement, criminal technique against drugs that don’t work.”
Clark says he does support the idea of a “Good Samaritan” law, in which individuals who bring an overdose victim to the attention of emergency services may be granted immunity. Stine has said her measure would include such a provision.
A report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says that heroin deaths in Kentucky have risen 550 percent between 2011 and 2012.
The city of Owensboro has embraced the Ohio River in recent years, hoping it will lead to a revitalization of the downtown area and now the city is awaiting the results of a study on whether a marina would help attract even more residents and visitors to the river.
“We’ve asked these consultants to come back and tell us about the possibility of building not a seasonal marina, but a year-round marina at English Park," said city manager Bill Parrish. "It would be just down the road from our downtown redevelopment."
The city recently built a convention center by the Ohio River and two hotels are under construction.
Parrish says that the study is expected to be complete by April 1. Part of that study involves a public comment session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the police department community room.
“This is a study to see if a marina makes sense and what the cost might be. We would be absolutely open to it being operated by the city, by a private entity or a public-private partnership of some type,” said Parrish.
A Franklin Circuit Court Judge will order depositions in a lawsuit against a Kentucky lawmaker.
Judge Thomas Wingate will order Rep. Will Coursey, a Democrat from Symsonia, to provide a deposition in the suit brought against him by Nicole Cusic.
Cusic is an employee of the Legislative Research Commission who has alleged Coursey and former LRC director Bobby Sherman retaliated against her after she complained to her superiors that Coursey was allegedly behaving inappropriately with female interns.
Coursey has filed a counter-motion. It accuses Cusic of slander and defamation. Attorneys are waiting to see if it will be added to this case.
A Kentucky nonprofit says a state earned income tax credit would help working families.
Kentucky Youth Advocates released an issue brief that says the credit would piggyback onto the federal earned income credit. That could yield up to $337 per applicant, with little to no administrative cost to state government.
The proposal could cost up to $134 million per year. But KYA Executive Director Terry Brooks says it would help pay for itself by putting money back into local economies.
“We know that families who get earned income credits are not going to take that refund and put it in their off-shore account. Instead, they’re going to be spending money at the local hardware store, at the local car repair shop, at the appliance store. They’re going to be taking their kids to the department store to buy them clothes for school.”
Neither Democratic nor Republican leadership is voicing support for comprehensive tax reform in the next year. But the earned income tax credit has bipartisan support on the federal level, and Brooks says the measure would likely enjoy the same in state government.