Education
11:11 am
Thu July 10, 2014

53 Kentucky School Districts Receive Grants to Raise Dropout Age

For some Kentucky school districts, the check is in the mail.  The state Department of Education is sending out this week $10,000 grants to 53 school systems that have raised the high school dropout age. 

The grant money will go toward programs to prevent students from leaving high school without a diploma and to enact the new policy for the 2015-16 school year, which is the first year the policy can be fully implemented.  The department made similar grants last year to the first group of districts to raise the dropout age. 

At the urging of Governor Beshear, the 2013 General Assembly passed a bill raising the compulsory school age from 16 to 18.  Under the measure, once 55 percent of the 173 school districts in the state, approved the change, the rest would have to follow suit.   The requirement was met just two weeks after the law took effect.

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Health
9:48 am
Thu July 10, 2014

WKU Regents Vote to Privatize Health Services Clinic, with Graves Gilbert Taking Control Aug. 1

Graves Gilbert will begin operating the WKU Health Services clinic on Aug. 1.
Credit WKU

The WKU Board of Regents has voted to privatize the campus Health Services center. Graves Gilbert Clinic will take over operations ahead of the fall semester.

The idea of giving up control of the health center was first announced by WKU President Gary Ransdell in March. Privatizing the health center that serves students, faculty, and staff gave the school nearly $1.1 million in relief for the budget that went into effect July 1.

None of the three doctors or one nurse practitioner currently employed by the school will be kept on after the health center changes management.

WKU Vice President for Finance and Administration said at Thursday morning's regents meeting that Graves Gilbert will make decisions on whether or not to retain the center's remaining employees within 10 days of the contract being finalized.

Mead added both parties have a lot to do in a short amount of time.

“We’ll be moving into helping Graves Gilbert transition to opening on Aug. 1. We want to facilitate Graves Gilbert’s family practitioners to be able to meet our leadership on campus, and start having the campus understand what services are going to be provided at our on-campus facility.”

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Regional
5:17 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Bowling Green UAW Leader Fired by GM

Long-time United Auto Workers Union President Eldon Renaud is out at the Bowling Green General Motors Plant. 

Spokeswoman Andrea Hales confirmed that Renaud is no longer employed at the plant.  Renaud had no comment when contacted Thursday morning by WKU Public Radio.  He served as the local UAW president since 1982 and had been a GM employee for more than 40 years. 

Renaud had been critical of Plant Manager Dave Tatman, who resigned abruptly in February.   In April, the union voted to authorize a strike if the plant didn’t resolve some safety and quality issues.  A strike never occurred.

Renaud also served as Bowling Mayor from 1996 to 2000. 

Summer Camp
4:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Photo Gallery: Aviation Camp in Bowling Green

Hannah Ward (left), 13 of Smiths Grove, and Megan Jones, 11 of Bowling Green, observe Kurt Jefferson, aeronautics instructor from Lexingon, during Aviation Camp at the Bowling Green Regional Airport on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.
Abbey Oldham

Dozens of kids from around the region are participating in Aviation Camp at the Bowling Green Regional Airport.

The instructors from the Aviation Museum of Kentucky travel to airports around the state during the summer exposing young Kentuckians to aviation. The campers are learning the basics of aeronautics, navigation, using flight simulators, and even flying airplanes with assistance from instructors.

Photojournalist Abbey Oldham photographed Aviation Camp on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. There are two Bowling Green camps, July 8-9 and 10-11.

Immigration Debate
4:46 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

In Bowling Green, Coalition of Eclectic Groups Speaks Out for Immigration Reform

Albert Mbanfu, Executive Director, Bowling Green International Center; Dalton Workman, Chairman, WKU College Republican; and H.H. Barlow, Owner, Barlu Farms, Presidential Appointee to US Board for International Food & Agriculture Development speak in favor of national immigration reform during the press conference at the International Center in Bowling Green, Ky.
Credit Abbey Oldham

A coalition of business, political, and refugee-rights groups in south-central Kentucky is calling on Congress to pass immigration reform.  

As part of a so-called national “Day of Action”, representatives from various backgrounds spoke Wednesday in Bowling Green about the need for Congressional  leaders and the Obama Administration to get reform passed this year.

Barren County dairy farmer H.H. Barlow, a presidential appointee to the U.S. Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, said many Americans don’t understand the impact immigrant labor has on sectors such as the agriculture industry.

“I hate the word ‘criminals’, or ‘illegal aliens’—I don’t like that term. They’re workers. They’re performing an essential service to our country,” Barlow said.

The Barren County farmer said he speaks to his elected representatives about the need for immigration reform each time he sees them. Barlow believes that reform will not only benefit immigrants, but also the U.S. economy.

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Regional
3:05 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Indiana Agencies Told to Ignore Gay Marriages

Indiana Governor Mike Pence's office is telling state agencies to act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

The memo from the governor's chief counsel tells executive branch agencies to execute their functions as though the June 25 court order had not been issued.

A federal judge in Indianapolis struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional that day, leading to hundreds of same-sex marriages around the state. But an appeals court stayed that ruling three days later after an appeal from the state attorney general's office.

The governor's office told agencies to recognize the out-of-state marriage of Amy Sandler and Nikole Quasney of Munster, in line with the appellate court order. Quasney is dying of ovarian cancer.

Health
2:57 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Report: Kentucky Ranks 10th Lowest for Uninsured

A new report finds  that Kentucky’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured people in the state.

The report, released Wednesday by the personal finance website WalletHub, finds that Kentucky now ranks 10th in the nation for the lowest number of uninsured individuals, at just under nine percent of the population. That number was over 17 percent before the ACA became law, reflecting an 8 percent drop in the rate in one year’s time.

It also found that about 30 percent of Kentuckians under 65 are enrolled in Medicaid.

Nearly 83,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in new private health insurance plans, and 265,000 have enrolled in  Medicaid as of April 2014.

Politics
2:42 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Koch-Tied Group's Arrival Points to Increased Interest In Kentucky State-Level Races

Credit Kevin Willis

The well-funded non-profit Americans for Prosperity's hiring of a Kentucky state director signals to many political observers outside donors' intense interest in this fall's state House races and beyond.

In a news  release on Tuesday, Americans for Prosperity announced that Julia Crigler, a former political director for the Kentucky House Republican Caucus, would lead its efforts in Kentucky.

Democrats maintain a narrow majority over Republicans in the state House, 54-46.

AFP was founded in 2004 and originally helmed by—and maintaining ties with, David Koch—a billionaire libertarian industrialist known for his political and financial support for conservative causes alongside his brother, Charles.

The organization is known for supporting traditionally pro-corporate and conservative issues, and has been a fervent critic of the Affordable Care, climate change and, more recently, net neutrality.

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Arts & Culture
1:59 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Harris, City of Danville To Receive Governor's Awards In The Arts

Larnelle Harris
Credit Larnelle Harris

WKU alumnus Larnelle Harris is among the winners of the 2014 Governor’s Awards in the Arts.  The honorees were announced Wednesday by the Kentucky Arts Council.  Harris has won five Grammy awards and is a member of the Gospel Hall of Fame. 

The City of Danville will be honored with the Government award for its contributions to the arts. Danville hosts the annual Great American Brass Band Festival each June.   

The awards will be presented in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort in October.

Regional
1:18 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Judge Concerned About 1-Drug Execution Method

A Kentucky judge has expressed concerns about the state's plan to use a single drug to carry out lethal injections after the same method resulted in problems in neighboring Ohio.

The issues raised Wednesday by Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd could further delay Kentucky's ability to carry out death sentences and prolong the decade-long legal fight over how the state puts condemned inmates to death.

Shepherd told attorneys during a brief hearing in Frankfort that he may set a hearing about the state's proposal but didn't immediately set a date.

Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire repeatedly gasped and snorted and took 26 minutes to die during an execution in January.

Kentucky is seeking to implement both one- and two-drug lethal injection methods. Shepherd halted all executions in the state in 2010.

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