Matt Markgraf

Matt "McG" Markgraf joined the WKMS News Team in January 2007, while pursuing his bachelorâââ

Marshall County Circuit Court video screenshot

Marshall County Circuit Court has released previously sealed documents in the case of accused Marshall County High School shooter Gabe Parker.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals ordered Thursday that an arraignment video along with other documents involving the January 23 shooting be released.

Note: Watch Gabe Parker's previously sealed arraignment video below.

The presiding Judge Jamie Jameson had ordered that documents remain closed due to a defense attorney’s questioning of Parker’s due process in juvenile proceedings.  In the arraignment video Jameson, also urged confidentiality of the proceedings in the event that the case moves to trial.

Comer.House.gov

Congressman James Comer of Kentucky's 1st District says he is 'ok' after a chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck in Virginia. 

Comer tweeted that most of the members are also okay but said there are serious injuries.

In an interview with WKMS, Comer said he feels 'blessed' that he is okay. He said there was a 'massive impact' about two hours into the train ride and that the train came to a complete stop.

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

She wore black Converse shoes and Louisville Cardinals sweatshirts and loved classic rock. He played on the high school baseball team and enjoyed history and the outdoors. They were 15. They were Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope. They started school together and they ended school together. They were killed in a shooting spree at Marshall County High School on Tuesday, January 23.

Police say a 15-year-old student opened fire in the commons area as school began for the day. A total of 16 were shot and others were injured. Bailey Holt died in the school and Preston Cope died after being transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

Nicole Erwin, WKMS

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin asked families and friends of the victims of the Marshall County High School shooting gather on the stage of a local art center as he declared Sunday, January 28, 2018 'A Day of Prayer for Marshall County.'

Bevin offered words of encouragement and faith and called for prayer, while criticizing those who 'mock' the sentiment of "thoughts and prayers."

Police say a 15-year-old male student of Marshall County High School entered the school and fired a handgun, killing two - Bailey Holt and Preston Cope - and injuring 18 others. Police have not identified the shooter, but say he was nonviolently apprehended and that prosecutors are looking The shooting has drawn international attention and shaken rural Marshall County to the core.

Matt Markgraf

Prosecutors won't yet seek attempted murder charges against the 15-year-old suspect in a deadly shooting spree at Marshall County High School and will charge him with first-degree assault for now.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall told reporters Wednesday that the 15-year-old boy will face 12 counts of first-degree assault instead of attempted murder because they feel they have a better case for those charges right now. Darnall pointed out that the penalties for first-degree assault are the same as for attempted murder.

Kentucky Democratic Party

The Kentucky Democratic Party has named a new chair. The KDP State Central Executive Committee elected Ben Self to the position on Saturday. 

The Pike County native and Lexington resident is co-founder of West Sixth Brewing and the 'Bread Box' - a mixed-use development in which the brewery is located.

Self began his political work as an activist for the Democratic Party during former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's presidential campaign in the 2004 election. He then co-founded the progressive tech firm Blue State Digital with other former Dean staffers and later served as Technology Director of the Democratic National Committee.

comer.house.gov

U.S. Congressman James Comer of Kentucky said the investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia has been a national distraction.

The investigation headed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller led to the indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Monday. Manafort was charged with tax fraud and money laundering.

Comer said he supports the legal process but special investigations always go beyond the original intent. 

Matt Markgraf

Murray State University President Bob Davies said he hopes for a bipartisan Congressional effort to find a long-term solution for DACA recipients working towards university degrees and contributing to society.

DACA is the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for people known as "DREAMers" who entered the country illegally as children. The Trump administration announced this week it will end DACA and will work with Congress to address immigration issues.

Anthem Not Offering Health Insurance Plans in Half of Kentucky in 2018

Sep 7, 2017
feverpitched, 123rf Stock Photo

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield officials said on Wednesday the company will no longer offer health insurance plans in 61 counties in Kentucky in 2018. 

Anthem Public Relations Director Mark Robinson said the decision to scale back in Kentucky is based on a continuation of “market place uncertainties.”

Credit Photo corresponding to letter post via actionnetwork.org

Paducah area African American church leaders and the local N.A.A.C.P. are calling upon the city to remove the statue of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman on Fountain Square.

A letter published over the weekend suggests in its place installing a plaque that explains why the statue was removed and listing the names of slaves owned by Tilghman. The Lloyd Tilghman House Facebook page says he owned five slaves. The historic home is a museum in the city.

Members of the Paducah Area African American Methodist Episcopal Churches, local N.A.A.C.P., Community Clergy Fellowship and Community Coming Together signed the letter to the City of Paducah stating that "The vast majority of Black citizens in this city emphatically do not want to preserve the painful legacy of slavery and white supremacy" represented by the Tilghman statue.

CHANGE.ORG PETITION

A group called ‘Paducah Residents’ has started an online petition seeking the removal and replacement of Confederate monuments in the city and the renaming of a school named after the wife of a Confederate general. 

The Change.org petition says the monuments represent an era of African American oppression and slavery and gloss over historic violence. The letter also says the monuments serve to promote a “retelling of history that allows slave owners and bigots to be seen as heroes, and continues to embolden and empower racist and white nationalist event today.” 

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Hemp farmers and processors in Murray presented progress and problems in growing the crop to U.S. Senator Rand Paul on Thursday. Paul is in the region as part of a tour discussing healthcare options and made a stop in Murray to talk hemp ahead of visits to other communities. Afterwords, he also commented on North Korea and health care reform options.

Joseph Kelly operates West Kentucky Hemp LLC. and works with Kentucky 21st Century Agri. He led much of the presentation, briefing Paul on some of their processes and procedures, ambitions and challenges. Kelly and others involved in hemp described its various uses: leaves (producing CBD), floor material (buds) for extracting oil, seeds (as grain and pressed for oil) and other uses involving the fiber.

Alix Mattingly

Kentucky Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is skipping this year's Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County. 

In a statement from her office, Grimes said she will instead be attending her nephew's little league state championship game.

The list of confirmed Democratic speakers is now Attorney General Andy Beshear and House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins.

James Comer, Twitter

Kentucky’s First District Congressman, James Comer, is making good on a promise to file legislation to reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agriculture crop.

Comer filed the  Industrial Hemp Farming Act Friday. He says it is his attempt  keep the Department of Justice “off the farm.” Hemp is only legal in states with certified industrial hemp pilot programs like Kentucky.

The federal government currently classifies hemp as Schedule 1 substance due to its similarities to marijuana. Comer was instrumental in bringing the hemp industry to the state as the former agriculture commissioner.  Comer has said “We’ve proven it’s not a drug. The next step is to begin to deregulate.”

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner outlined his vision for broad education reform in the commonwealth, including providing at least some form of post-secondary education for everyone, improving outdated area technology centers, reconsidering the traditional school day and investing in career counseling.

Heiner delivered his remarks at Murray State University’s annual Harry M. Sparks Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday evening in Wrather Auditorium. In attendance were local educators, state legislators and city and county officials.

Citing the rapid pace of development of smartphones and computer chips, and Amazon’s ‘Kiva’ robots replacing human labor in distribution centers, Heiner said the ‘world of work’ is changing fast.

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