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The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.

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Rick Howlett

Voters in Barren County and three Butler County have voted to allow alcohol sales.

In Barren County,  4,651 people to expand alcohol sales, while 4,418 voted against it. That's a difference of just 233 votes out of more than 9,000 cast.

The group Move Barren County Forward led the support for turning Barren County wet.  They said money being spent on liquor in other areas will now stay in Barren County.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Cave City had voted to go wet and alcohol sales by the drink were allowed in certain restaurants in Glasgow.

Metcalfe, Adair and Russell counties all voted to go wet this year.

It wasn’t a county-wide vote in Butler County, but the towns of Morgantown, Woodbury and Rochester all approved alcohol sales Tuesday night. Butler County voted to stay dry in January.

Creative Commons

A new $700 million power generating plant in Henderson is expected to create as many as 500 temporary construction jobs.

Thirty permanent jobs will be created once HenderSun is up and running.

HenderSun will burn natural gas to produce electricity.

Construction on the 100 acre plant will begin next year. An opening date of 2020 is planned.

WKU Public Affairs

Western Kentucky Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates has filed a formal protest against the way Western Kentucky University went about bringing a new sports medicine complex to campus

The Bowling Green Daily News reports the orthopaedic group cites violations of procurement laws and regulations for the 99 year, $22 million deal with the Bowling Green Medical Center.

WKONA's protest claims the deal was done in secret, without an open, competitive process they say could have brought better health care and more money to WKU. It claims WKU gave the Medical Center multiple contracts through the deal.

WKU’s vice-president for finance Ann Mead sent the Daily News an email Sunday night saying the university felt the project needed approval because it was built on state property and there was no need to accept other bids.

Glasgow Independent Schools

The Glasgow Independent School Board has finalized a contract with its new superintendent.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports current Glasgow High School principal, Keith Hale, will take over as superintendent on July 1, 2017.

His salary will be $115,750.

The start date next summer allows Hale time to finish out the academic year at the high school without disruption for students. It also gives the school district time to search for a new high school principal.

The school district is currently run by interim superintendent Larry Hammond, the former superintendent of Rockcastle County Schools.

Creative Commons

Voters in the small Daviess County community of Maceo  have voted to allow the sale of alcohol.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports only about 12% of eligible voters cast a ballot Tuesday with the final result being 63 for and 51 against.

Ironically, voting was held inside the Maceo Baptist Church whose pastor, Rev. Scott Ford, led the opposition to the local option. Supporters were led by a businessman whose family owns nine convenience stores in Daviess County.

Maceo was the second precinct in the county to go wet this year. Whitesville voters passed a local option in June. Daviess County spent more than $6,000 for both elections.

Daviess County now has just 15 dry precincts out of a total of 85.

The next wet-dry vote can’t be held until December at the earliest.

WKU

Western Kentucky University police are investigating a complaint that threatening notes containing racist language were found in a school employee’s office.

Michelle Jones is the assistant dean of the University College.

The WKU College Heights Herald reports Jones says she found three separate messages that appeared to be slid underneath the door of her South Campus office. Jones says the documents were typed and targeted her for being African-American.

A WKU Police sergeant told the paper the department is conducting an investigation, and plans to interview employees who work near Jones’ office to see if they saw anything related to the messages.

Jones says she hopes whoever is responsible for the threatening notes is found and punished.

She says it’s important for the school to send a message that the kinds of language and threats made in the notes won’t be tolerated.

Metcalfe Co. Schools/Facebook

An accident involving a Metcalfe County school bus has left the driver of another vehicle dead.

None of the 34 children aboard the bus or the bus driver appear to have suffered serious injuries.

A statement released from the Metcalfe County School District says the accident took place Thursday around 3 p.m. on Highway 1243, about two miles outside Edmonton. The bus was traveling northbound when a van driven by Alicia Thurmond, 31, hit the bus head-on.

Thurmond was later pronounced dead.

The statement says bus driver David Holley was able to get all of the children safely off the bus.

Sixteen students were transported by ambulances to TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow.  Eighteen students were picked up at the scene by parents or guardians. Some parents chose to transport their child to the hospital by private means. 

The statement issued by Metcalfe County Schools thanked Penny Groce, a Metcalfe County resident who helped care for the students before first-responders were able to arrive.

Glasgow Police Dept.

Glasgow police are saying an unidentified man acting strangely in their town Wednesday morning was the same man who robbed the Midwest American Federal Credit Union in Scottsville later that day.

Glasgow police say an employee at the Citizens First Bank at the South Gate Plaza called them Wednesday after a man wearing an obviously fake beard and latex gloves entered the bank. He stayed in the bank a few minutes before leaving.

Police say he was the same man seen in the parking lot of the Monticello Bank on Happy Valley Road about an hour earlier.

The same man, wearing a similar disguise, entered the credit union in Scottsville, displayed a gun, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Anyone with information is asked to call their local police department.

Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons

A former presidential candidate and publishing executive is speaking on the campus of Western Kentucky University Thursday afternoon.  

Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-In-Chief of Forbes Media. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.

Forbes is giving a lecture called, “How Capitalism Will Save Us”.

Sponsors of the talk include the WKU BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

The event begins at 3:30pm Thursday, in the Grise Hall Auditorium. It’s free and open to the public.

Kentucky State Police

A Morgantown man is facing two murder charges in the case of an elderly couple found dead in their Butler County home in August.

Kentucky State Police report that 34-year-old Kevin Dye was indicted by a Butler County Grand Jury Wednesday. He's charged in the murders of 71-year-old Kenneth Neafus and his 70-year-old wife Dorothy Neafus. 

Kenneth Neafus had been a pastor at Little Muddy Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Morgantown.

Dye is also charged with possession of handgun by a convicted felon, receiving a stolen firearm and being a persistent felony offender. He's being held in the Butler County Jail.

Republicans in Kentucky's 1st Congressional District have nominated James Comer for a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield.

The GOP held a nominating meeting in Franklin Tuesday night.

Whitfield announced his resignation last week, about one year after announcing he would not seek re-election this year.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesady called a special election for Nov. 8 to elect someone to fulfill the remainder of Whitfield's term, which expires in January.

Comer is the former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner who's already on the Nov. 8 ballot as he seeks a full, two-year term in Congress.

He told WKU Public Radio he's confident whoever wins the full two-year term will join a House still in Republican control, even though as many as eight or ten seats may shift to the Democratic side.

He faces Democrat Sam Gaskins, who is likely to be the Democrats' nominee for the special election.

A former chairman of the University of Kentucky's Board of Trustees is charged with raping a woman in July. 

Seventy-six-year-old Billy Joe Miles was indicted by a Daviess County grand jury on Tuesday for charges of rape, sodomy and bribing a witness. The 29-year-old victim told investigators that Miles raped her at his home sometime around July 2.

The Daviess County Sheriff's Department confirmed the defendant is a former UK board member.

Miles was arrested, but was later released on a $150,000 cash bond.

He served three terms on the board between 1995 and 2013 and was chairman from 1999 to 2002. 

Captain Bill Thompson with the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department said the alleged victim is a 29 year old woman who was an employee of a home health-care business that had been hired to care for Miles in his home.

The Owensboro Messenger – Inquirer reports that after  the woman told investigators she had been sexually assaulted, evidence was collected both from her and from Miles’ home.

Barren County Detention Center

Police are looking for an inmate who walked away from a work detail Monday morning in Barren County. 

Amber Franks escaped near the Glasgow town square around 7:15 a.m.  Police say she may have been picked up by Jeffrey Franks, also known as Jeffrey Mitchell, and may be in the Olive Hill area of Carter County.  

Franks was last seen wearing an orange inmate shirt, gray pants, and pink tennis shoes.  She's described as  being 5'4", 140 pounds with strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes.

Mitchell is described as a white man with shoulder-length hair and a sleeve tattoo on one of his arms.

Franks was being held for second-degree robbery. 

BRADD

The Barren River Area Development District will no longer provide workforce services for the southern Kentucky region.

The South Central Workforce Development Board voted Wednesday to terminate its contract with BRADD.

The Development Board’s Chairman, Ron Sowell, said his group was primarily concerned about the amount of workforce development money that has been returned to the state because it wasn’t used by BRADD.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports that number is estimated to be around $500,000.

Kentucky LRC

A second Democratic state lawmaker now says Kentucky’s Republican governor asked him to switch parties.

Representative Russ Meyer says when he refused, he was threatened with political retaliation by Governor Bevin’s chief of staff.

Meyer, a Democratic House member from Nicholasville, says Bevin and his chief of staff, Blake Brickman, asked him to become a Republican shortly after Bevin was sworn into office. The alleged request came at a time when the GOP was hoping to win control of the Kentucky House.

Meyer told the CNHI news service that he informed Bevin he wouldn’t switch parties, and that the Governor responded politely. But Meyer says Brickman threatened to pull state-funding from projects in Meyer’s district, and called the Democrat an “Obama-loving baby killer.”

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