Rob Canning

Rob Canning is a native of Murray, KY, a junior at Murray State University and a news writing intern at WKMS. He majors in TV Production and splits most of his time between class and serving as team captain of the Murray State Rowing Club. Rob's goal is to become a screenwriter, film director or producer and looks to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie for inspiration. He appreciates good music, mainly favoring British rock n' roll, and approves of anything with Jack White's name on it. When not studying, rowing or writing, Rob enjoys spending his free time with a book or guitar.

TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority experienced record-breaking power demand Thursday morning. At 6 a.m. central time, demand was at 32, 109 megawatts, the highest the utility has experienced for the month of February in 82 years.

The all-time power demand record is 33,482 megawatts set in the summer of 2007.

TVA is still asking consumers to conserve power where possible through noon tomorrow as temperatures are expected to remain in single digits tonight.

TVA sells electricity to Kentucky utilities powering more than 204,000 households in 28 western and central Kentucky counties.

Sunday at midnight is the deadline for Kentuckians to sign up through Kentucky’s health care exchange, in order to get coverage for 2015. The Governor’s office reports more than 150,000 people have signed up for health care coverage since the current enrollment period began November 15.

Those without a plan after February 15 could face a tax penalty when filing this year that could exceed the annual cost of insurance.

More than 521,000 Kentuckians signed up for coverage during kynect’s first enrollment period.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded a $128.3 million contract for a new bridge over Lake Barkley to Denver-based PCL Civil Construction.

The new Lake Barkley Bridge will carry US 68/KY 80 over Lake Barkley joining Trigg and Marshall counties and serve as the eastern entrance to LBL. 

“Replacement of the bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley has been a priority of my administration, and it’s a great pleasure to see the awarding of the culminating contract,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The importance of these bridges to the tourism industry of Western Kentucky cannot be overstated.”

The new bridge will place the 83-year-old Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge and is part of the larger Lakes Bridge Project.  

The current bridge has only two lanes, each 10 feet wide with no shoulders.  The new bridge will feature a unique basket-handle tied arch design with four travel lanes, each 11 feet wide, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle path.

kcjea.org

Two former Ohio county officials are alleging illegal activity by Judge Executive David Johnston.

Former county magistrates Brandon Thomas and Michael McKenny have filed a complaint with Kentucky’s Attorney General saying Johnston violated county project procurement laws and misused emergency funds on private property.

Thomas ran unsuccessfully against Johnston for county’s top post and then filed the complaint after his loss, but he says the accusations are not just sour grapes.

“Sure, I wish I had won the election but does not mean that I wouldn’t have followed through with this? Absolutely not. I still feel it was wrong. It was wrong then, it was wrong now, and it’s going to continue to be wrong until someone looks into this," Thomas replies.

Thomas says he had appealed to the county attorney and fellow magistrates on multiple occasions, but failed to raise much concern. A spokesman for Attorney General Jack Conway says the complaint is under review. Calls to Johnston and the county attorney were not returned Wednesday.

Credit Cynthia Goldsmith / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As the number of measles cases across the nation grows, a vaccination exemption for Kentucky students could allow for cases to emerge in the Commonwealth.

The highly contagious viral disease is especially susceptible to children resulting in rashes and pink eye and could lead to more serious illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea.

A recent outbreak is believed to have started at a Disneyland theme park in southern California, but now 13 other states are reporting cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 102 measles cases have been reported in 14 states, more than half of those were in California. No cases have yet been reported in Kentucky or Tennessee.

Kentucky Director of Health Planning Dr. Kraig Humbaugh says the majority of the people that contract the virus each year in the U.S. are unvaccinated. Every state requires children entering public or private schools and day cares to receive a vaccination before entering. However, 48 states have clauses for exemption.

Patriot Coal will idle two large coal mines in Western Kentucky, beginning today. As many as 650 workers could be affected.

Patriot warned layoffs could be coming earlier this month, when it issued WARN notices to employees at its Highland and Dodge Hill mines. 

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is looking to restructure its presence nationwide by merging some of its smaller chapters, which could mean the closure of some offices in Kentucky.  

A recent memo from Red Cross leadership indicates that the non-profit humanitarian organization providing emergency assistance, disaster relief and health education will be undergoing a transformation to create a stronger and more cost-efficient Red Cross by 2017. The plan includes consolidating smaller chapters into larger ones to cover a greater geographic area.

But Regional Communications Director Amber Youngblood says decisions on specific closures within Kentucky haven't been finalized.

"For any and all chapters, many discussions have been had with local community partners, and board members and division leadership to best see what we can allocate and what can do best moving forward," Youngblood said. "Right now the plans are underway but there has been no final organizational decision that has been reached at this time for the chapters across the state in Kentucky."

Kentucky has 13 Red Cross chapters, including locations in Bardstown, Bowling Green, Fort Campbell, Glasgow, and Madisonville.

Madisonville Community College has reached a fifth of its goal towards a Murray State University Postsecondary Education building on campus. 

The city of Madisonville isn’t taking any chances this winter by stocking up on extra salt in preparation for icy roads and it's costing extra. 

Lance Dennee

Same-sex Kentucky couples are heading to the commonwealth's only contiguous state that allows same sex marriage to make their unions legal.  

Illinois began issuing marriage licenses for the first time officially on June 1.

Massac County Clerk John Taylor says the office has been busy, issuing at least 20 licenses in May, ahead of the state deadline, most of which he says came from out of state.

“It’s busy because we’re getting a lot of questions, a lot of phone calls," said Taylor. "We have issued a bunch about 14 or 15 marriages and we already issued six yesterday, from Tennessee, Kentucky, we’ve had some from Florida.”

Taylor said the office issued six this morning, including Kentuckians Hunter Fawks and Seth Stewart who drove over six hours from Ashland to pick up their licenses.

Pages