State officials are optimistic that propane will be in better supply this winter. Last winter season, propane shortages across the state left many struggling to heat their homes.
Kentucky Propane Gas Association Executive Director Todd Griffin says one of the factors in last year’s shortage was an abundance of summer rain leading to a longer grain drying season in the fall.
“That really put us behind the 8-ball because right after the grain drying season we had bitterly cold weather that came into the state and hung around for many months," explained Griffin. "As everyone will remember, we had very, very cold weather with the polar vortex that came in. Quite frankly, the inventory and the supply levels just couldn’t keep up with the increased demand for heating.”
Griffin says suppliers encouraged customers to buy up propane earlier which in turn will stabilize wholesale and retail prices come winter. Griffin recommends customers sign up for automatic deliveries rather than a will-call basis which helps truck drivers prepare more efficient routes. Customers should also request to refill their tanks around the 25 percent mark rather than waiting for it to run down completely.
The House Ethics Committee in Washington is extending its investigation into actions by 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky. A federal ethics probe released Monday found there is "substantial reason to believe" that Whitfield and his staff had improper lobbying contacts with his wife. Whitfield's wife is a lobbyist for the national Humane Society and has pushed legislation before Congress.
The federal Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body, has provided its findings to the House Committee on Ethics, which is continuing to investigate and will make the final decision on whether to discipline Whitfield.
Craig Holman is a government affairs lobbyist for the non-partisan, non-profit organization Public Citizen.
He believes the panel will take the findings seriously.
“I consider this a very substantial, fact-finding report that the ethics committee cannot ignore,” said Holman.
Whitfield, a Republican from Hopkinsville, has previously denied the claims. He did not respond to requests for comment this week.
An area of cancer research at the University of Kentucky is focusing on exercise for mothers during pregnancy to help prevent cancer in their children.
Second year grad student Alyssa Jarrel is involved in conducting the study. She says the research has focused so far on mice, but could very well have implications for humans.
"Pregnancy is such a short term intervention and it can have long term benefits for the offspring. So, we're talking nine months for an intervention for the mom to have lifetime benefits for the child," Jarrel said. She adds the benefits could be seen with moderate exercise three to four times a week in a reduced risk for a high Body Mass Index, reduced risk for cardio-vascular disease and reduced risk for the development of types one or two diabetes.
Jarrel says the research has focused on skin cancer but investigators believe it can translate to a reduced risk of cancer in general. She says researchers are seeing reduced inflammation and increased anti-oxidant response in the offspring.
The researcher says a long term grant proposal would follow mother from pre-conception through pregnancy and then monitor the children for several years.
Greenville Representative Brent Yonts has sent a letter to the President of the Tennessee Valley Authority voicing his dissatisfaction with the transparency of the company’s decisions.
Yonts attended a November meeting of TVA board members to give testimony on the then-proposed closure of two units at the Paradise Steam plant in Muhlenberg County.
Yonts says as the meeting proceeded, it quickly became apparent board members only read from prepared motions and neglected to listen to or debate public comments before voting to close the plant.
“I just want to articulate to them that, as a representative in the Kentucky General Assembly, that I’m not happy with the way they treat such an important issue in Kentucky sort of in an isolated vacuum where they’re not sensitive to what the public thinks or the impact on the public which in this case will cause 2,700 jobs unless they’re absorbed into the regional economy," the Greenville Democrat said.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has also questioned the transparency of the TVA board meeting and sent his own letter last month.
Yonts says he’s requested data the board members reviewed as well as minutes from past meetings under the Freedom of Information Act and will decide if further action needs to be taken.
A Republican challenger has emerged to face embattled 6th District State Representative Will Coursey.
Keith Travis is the Vice President of Development for the Murray Calloway County Hospital. He is also a former state board of education chairman and has been named citizen of the year in Marshall County.
Coursey, the incumbent democrat, is facing charges that he retaliated against a state staffer when she complained about Coursey’s inappropriate behavior toward female interns. Coursey has filed a counter-suit.
Coursey is in his third term and and had no primary or general election challenger in his last bid for re-election.
Travis says he wants to see more economic growth with less governmental intervention in Kentucky. He plans to file his papers with the Secretary of State on January 15.
Education Advocates are asking Kentucky college students to work harder and graduate within four years. It's a tradition few students now follow.
The statewide campaign '15 to Finish' urges full time college students to take at least 15 hours of credit each semester. The effort is a sponsored by the state’s colleges and universities and the Council on Postsecondary Education.
“Time is money when it comes to on time graduation," says CPE President Bob King. "Students by graduating on time can avoid the cost of extra semesters, incur less debt, and can get out into the workforce sooner to begin earning higher incomes."
Part of the effort's success will likely depend on the people who advise students. Betty Hampton directs Teacher Certification Student Services at the University of Louisville. She says delays can kill a student's dreams of a college degree.
“Life gets in the way and they never return to finish their degree or I see them 20 years later trying to finish that dream when it’s very complicated and they have families and mortgages and many other things that they need to take care of,” adds Hampton.
The Council on Postsecondary Education data show three quarters of full-time college students fall behind within two years.
Announcements pushing students into taking a full load of classes will run on radio and television throughout the spring. Kentucky campuses will also launch their own marketing efforts.
Republican Suzanne Miles claimed victory in a special election in Kentucky’s 7th House District Tuesday night.
Miles, an Owensboro field representative for GOP Congressman Brett Guthrie, tallied 3,548 votes in her race against Democrat Kim Humphrey, community affairs director for Alliance Coal. Humphrey amassed 3,436 votes.
Humphrey did not concede the race Tuesday night and the chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party says a re-canvass will be requested.
A Centre College spokesman says the lockdown has been lifted. There's no word on whether a suspect has been captured.
Update 11:36 a.m.
The Lexington Herald Leader quotes the Boyle County coroner's office as saying three adults died in the shooting.
Centre College's Danville campus is in lockdown. Centre spokesman Michael Strysick said in a news release that it’s linked to a double homicide near campus.
The Lexington Herald Leader reports the shooting was at a pawn shop a half-mile from the college, and the shooter was at large. It also says much of Danville, including public schools, are in lockdown.
Staff at the Danville police department would not comment on the case. An e-mail sent to Centre students asked them to seek shelter in a secure building and keep doors locked.
A developer behind a proposed pipeline that would run through parts of Kentucky is holding an open-house meeting in Hardin County Thursday night to explain their plans. Williams, a construction company based in Tulsa, OK., is hosting the meeting at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown from 5-7:30 p.m.
The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from sources in the northeast through northern Kentucky, and into several counties in our listening area, including Hardin, Nelson, Meade, Larue, and Breckinridge.
Pipeline opponents delivered a petition to Governor Beshear’s office Wednesday detailing their concerns about possible environmental damage and property rights concerns related to the project.
Governor Beshear has declined to add the pipeline issue to the agenda of a special legislative session that begins Aug. 19 in Frankfort. Beshear says he wants the sole item on the agenda to be legislative redistricting.
A group of professionals ranging from doctors to state lawmakers is reviewing cases of child abuse and neglect in an effort to improve Kentucky's child protection system. The Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Committee met Monday for the first time since a new state law took effect.
Dr. Tracey Corey said she would like to see mandatory drug and alcohol screening.
“I’ve noticed that over the years, many times when there is an accidental death of a child, it is reported that the parents have been intoxicated," said Corey.
Joel Griffith with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky agrees, but wants to be deliberate in how they approach collecting data.
“We don’t exactly know many cases of unexpected child deaths involve drugs so what we need to do is get some baseline data and then move forward from a data informed approach before we just make a jump that could be hard received for people who are going through the death of a child," remarked Griffith.
The group also discussed the need for more education, especially in hospital ERs so that signs of child abuse can be identified and treated more quickly.
A report with recommendations is scheduled to be submitted to lawmakers and the Governor by the end of the year.