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.

U.S. Congress

Kentucky's 1st District U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has announced he is not running for re-election in 2016.

The announcement comes during Whitfield's 11th term representing the 35 counties of Kentucky's 1st Congressional district.

Whitfield's district director Michael Pape tells WKMS News in Murray he will be seeking the Republican nomination to fill the seat. 

Pape, 47, has been with the administration "since day 1" when Whitfield took office in 1994.  

Pape says a recent ethic investigation regarding the Congressman did not factor into his decision to not run again. 

Whitfield's office released the following statement regarding his decision not to run again:


Kentucky businesses will save about $165 million on federal unemployment taxes after state officials paid off a close to a billion dollar federal loan early.  

Gov Steve Beshear says the Commonwealth has paid off the $972 million federal loan needed to meet unemployment insurance benefit obligations during the Great Recession at least two years ahead of schedule.

The early payoff means employers will see a reduction of $105 per employee.   

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

Kentucky State Police have charged 45-year-old Michael Jack Higgs of Grants Pass, Oregon with third degree use of a weapon of mass destruction after an explosive device was found in his car Thursday morning during a traffic stop. The device was rendered safe by KSP personnel. 

The incident closed Interstate 24 in Lyon County for hours. Both west and eastbound lanes reopened to normal traffic before 1:30 p.m.

Kentucky LRC

The new co-chairman of the Kentucky legislature’s subcommittee on energy says he would support a lawsuit against the federal government’s new regulations on carbon emissions.  

House speaker Greg Stumbo has appointed State Representative Gerald Watkins (D-Paducah) to share the co-chairmanship with State Senator Jared Carpenter (R-Berea).  

Watkins says the subcommittee has plenty of issues on its plate, but one of the main concerns is the status of Kentucky’s coal industry and how it may be affected by new federal regulations on carbon emissions.

Rob Canning, WKMS

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King says Kentucky’s recent strides in economic recovery have not been reflected in its funding for higher education.

The CPE was at Murray State University Tuesday evening as part of its series of town hall debates to gather input on the new five-year strategic initiative plan.

An audience of about 100 educators, business leaders and local and state government officials were present for the forum in MSU's Freed Curd Auditorium.

One of the key challenges outlined in King's presentation was finding alternative funding.

State Funding

Since the 2008 recession, Kentucky colleges have had to cut budgets and raise tuition in light of reduced state appropriations. Although some state experts say the Commonwealth is now on an economic upswing, King says colleges are still struggling to maintain quality programs with reduced funding levels.

David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

Fort Campbell is closer to breaking ground on an alternative energy project that will build the largest solar array in the state. 

Last week, project coordinators received the green light to break ground in two weeks’ time which will see installation of 5,814 solar modules on 25 acres generating over 2,466 megawatt-hours of electricity annually.  

Ft. Campbell Resource Efficiency Manager Dewayne Smith says the base’s electric utility, Pennyrile Rural Electric Co-op, is fronting the capital costs which will be paid back through the energy savings.  The array will generate a 5 megawatts capacity, alleviating some of the base’s 31 megawatt average monthly demand.

It's also part of a initiative under the American Renewable Energy Act requiring 25 percent of government installations’ power to be produced by renewables by 2025.  For Fort Campbell, those renewables include the solar array as well as a 20 megawatt biomass-burning plant.


A business research magazine has released its annual list of the Best and Worst states as favored by business executives, ranking Tennessee at number 4.  

“Chief Executive” surveyed over 500 leading CEOs across the country making measuring in three categories: tax and regulation, workforce quality, and living environment. That last category includes education, cost of living, affordable housing and crime rates. 

Texas took the top spot, followed by Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, which was in the number 3 spot last year. 

CEOs say they picked the Volunteer state for its low taxes and Right-to-Work status calling it a hotbed for automotive manufacturers. 

Kentucky ranked in at 28 with CEOs noting a high-value living environment, but concern about tax and strong regulatory policies. 

Illinois maintained its rank amongst the worst states at number 48.  

See a full-listing of Chief Executive rankings here

Ft. Campbell

A two-state coalition of local governments and chambers of commerce is planning to lobby against looming personnel cuts at Fort Campbell.

The sprawling military base on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line is facing a potential reduction of half its 32,000 payroll as part of sequestration in the Department of Defense’s budget. The Fort Campbell cuts were one of the possible scenarios outlined in a June 2014 Army report.

The reduction would also have a strong negative economic impact on surrounding communities.  

In January, Hopkinsville's city council sent a letter urging Congress to block the possible reduction at the base.

The joint partnership includes the governments of Montgomery and Christian County, Clarksville and Hopkinsville city governments, the Hopkinsville Chamber of Commerce and the privately-funded Aspire Clarksville Foundation. The group has hired Cassidy & Associates to maximize Fort Campbell's exposure in Washington ahead of the DoD's decision.


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.