John Null

John Null, a native of Benton, KY, is a senior at Murray State University and newswriting intern at WKMS. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in film studies. John's goal is to become a magazine columnist, film critic or screenwriter. Neither a borrower nor a lender-be, John enjoys deductive reasoning, not owning animals and regaling friends with his Tracy Ross impression.

State Representative Richard Heath of Mayfield will seek a recanvass after narrowly losing his bid for theRepublican nomination for agriculture commissioner in Tuesday’s primary.

With more than 180,000 votes cast in the race, State Representative Ryan Quarles came out ahead of Heath by less than 1,000 votes. Jean-Marie Lawson Spann of Bowling Green was unopposed for the Democraticnomination for agriculture commissioner.

Incumbent commissioner Republican James Comer opted to run for governor rather than seek re-election.

John Null, WKMS

Kentucky State Police troopers are not using body cameras yet, but some western Kentucky law enforcement agencies have already embraced the technology.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department has been using body cameras for years. So has the Cadiz Police Department. But in March, all nine CPD officers got an upgrade with the latest TASER AXON body cameras. CPD Major Duncan Wiggins says the new cameras cost around $400 each.

“They have a wider view,” Wiggins said. “They also are a low-lux camera, which doesn’t mean they can see at night, but they see much like the human eye sees. So if a person is using a flashlight, it picks up really well. Also, the audio is impeccable.”

The cameras require a server to store the video that officers upload at the end of their shift. Wiggins said the server cost the city under $1,000.

CPD public information officer Scott Brown said that he’s a fan of the cameras.

A growing social media campaign is aimed at reopening an investigation into a car crash that killed a Hopkins County teenager earlier this year.

UPDATE: The bill's sponsor, state Sen. C.B. Embry tells Kentucky Public Radio the Senate will vote Friday on Senate Bill 76. The Fairness Campaign previously indicated the vote would be Thursday.

Director of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign Chris Hartman says he anticipates the Republican-controlled Senate will pass a bill requiring students to use school bathrooms corresponding with their biological sex, but that it will stall in the Democrat-held state House of Representatives.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Facebook

Citing a need for docking locations on the Ohio River between Louisville and Paducah, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded the city of Owensboro a $1.5 million grant toward the building of a new 500 foot dock for traveling boaters.

City attorney and assistant city manager Ed Ray says the intended location for the transient dock is in front of the city’s convention center.

TVA

With the National Weather Service calling for a low of 4 degrees Wednesday night, the Tennessee Valley Authority is preparing for power consumption levels comparable to last January when the utility saw record winter demand.

Spokesman Scott Brooks said TVA expects a demand load of 31,000-33,000 megawatts during the coldest part of this week. Brooks said the high demand could prompt TVA to invoke interruptible service contracts to cut power consumption.  

“That is always one of our options available to us," Brooks said. "We are under a conservative operations alert right now, which means we’re stopping any maintenance activities that might impact our generation for the next couple of days.”

Brooks said this scenario is a little different than last year because this arctic blast is relatively short compared to multiple days last winter where temperatures bottomed out in single digits.

TVA's generating capacity has not increased or decreased in any significant way since winter 2014, according to Brooks.

Seven-year-old Sailor Gutzler survived a plane crash this weekend in Lyon County, Kentucky, but lost her parents, Marty and Kimberly; her older sister, Piper and cousin Sierra Wilder.

Kentucky State Police Lt. Brent White says when Sailor emerged from the upside-down twin-engine to find help, she was in the middle of the woods, with no houses – or help – in sight.

Wednesday, December 31 is the deadline for Kentucky voters to change political parties for next May’s primary election. 

Kentucky’s primaries are closed meaning voters can only cast ballots for candidates representing the party for which their registered. 

According to Calloway County Clerk Antonia Faulkner, the process only takes a few minutes and can be completed in person at the courthouse or by mail.

“If it’s put in the mail and postmarked December 31st, we’ll take care of that for you," explained Faulkner.  "It’s a fairly simple process, it’s just the time limit. You have to get that done by that date to get to vote in May.”

The marquee 2015 contest in Kentucky is the race to replace term-limited Governor Steve Beshear. So far, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway is facing a primary challenge from Geoff Young. The Republican gubernatorial primary has Agriculture Commissioner James Comer facing off against former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner. 

Primary election day is May 20.

Missouri voters have narrowly passed an amendment to the state’s constitution instituting a so-called "right to farm" and the chair of the Kentucky House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Small Business says a similar action could be coming in the commonwealth.

The much-anticipated 134th Fancy Farm Picnic has come and gone, setting an attendance record in the process, according to organizers. But while the caustic stump speeches get national media attention, many forget its original purpose: raising funds for St. Jerome Catholic Church.

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