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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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Politics
6:45 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Owensboro's Political Picnic Lineup Taking Shape

The Red, White & Blue Picnic takes place Aug. 26 in Owensboro
Credit Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

One of the candidates in the highly-contested Kentucky U.S. Senate race has agreed to take part in an event in Owensboro next month.  

Incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell confirmed he will appear at the Red, White & Blue Picnic on Aug. 26.  The event is sponsored by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. McConnell’s Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes has not said whether she’ll attend. 

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Politics
6:09 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Kentucky Senate Race Remains Tight, But McConnell Takes Small Lead

Credit Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

With just over three months to go until Election Day, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has a slim, two percentage-point lead over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. 

The figure comes from a new Bluegrass Poll released Monday evening, showing the five-term Senator leading 47 percent to 45 percent.  The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.7 percentage points and was conducted between July 18th and 23rd. In previous polls, Grimes had a four-point lead over McConnell in February.  That lead shrank to one point in May.

The Bluegrass Poll is conducted for the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader as well as television stations WHAS and WKYT. 

Regional
11:38 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Merits of Death Penalty Could Be Debated By 2015 Kentucky General Assembly

State Sen. Gerald Neal has pre-filed legislation for 2015 that would ban the death penalty in Kentucky
Credit Kentucky LRC

State Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat from Louisville, plans to introduce a bill in January to abolish the death penalty.

It’s legislation Neal has brought to Frankfort before. He tells the Messenger-Inquirer objections to the death penalty come from many different angles – including religious and constitutional concerns.  But he approaches it on a cost basis, arguing life in prison costs Kentucky less money and achieves the same objective of removing the offender from society.

A legislative committee on judicial issues is set to meet Friday in Paducah, and is expected to discuss the death penalty.

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Politics
4:13 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

House Ethics Committee To Investigate Rep. Whitfield

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield
Credit Office of Rep. Whitfield

Kentucky Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield will be the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation. The committee announced the investigation today, but, per usual did not say what it would be looking into.  Two recent investigative reports have examined Whitfield’s dealing with lobbyists through the years. One was reported by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the other was featured in Politico.   

In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, Whitfield said the complaint pertains to his work on behalf of animals. Whitfield's wife is a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

The Ethics Committee says the results of the inquiry will be released no later than Nov. 10.

Regional
2:24 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Kentucky Lawmakers Head To Little Rock For Southern Legislative Conference Meeting

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers
Credit Kentucky LRC

Tomorrow marks the start of the Southern Legislative Conference’s annual meeting in Little Rock, Ark. and Kentucky will be front and center. 

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers is expected to be nominated chair-elect, setting the stage for the Manchester Republican to be nominated as chairman of the SLC in July 2015. 

The following summer, in July 2016, representatives from the Southern Legislative Conference’s 15 states will meet in Lexington. That event is expected to bring 1,200 guests and generate $2 million in economic impact. 

This year's conference continues through Wednesday in Little Rock.

Regional
12:01 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Indiana's Right-To-Work Law Suffers Second Legal Defeat; Heading For State Supreme Court

Another judge has ruled against Indiana’s two-year-old right-to-work law.

Lake County Judge George Paras ruled this week the law forcing unions to provide services for workers who don’t pay dues, is against the constitution. The Evansville Courier & Press reports that led Indiana’s attorney general to request a stay of that ruling until the State Supreme Court takes up another judge’s ruling at a September 4th hearing. 

The right-to-work legislation was passed in 2012 by a Republican-dominated legislature.

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Regional
10:43 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Conservative-Leaning Appeals Panel Will Hear Kentucky's Gay Marriage Case

Kentucky’s gay marriage case will go before a GOP-leaning panel next month.  The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is made up of two Republican appointees and one Democratic. 

Appellate judges Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook were appointed by President George W. Bush.  The Courier-Journal reports Sutton’s nomination was adamantly opposed by liberal groups.  In March, he wrote in Harvard Law Review “Count me as a skeptic when it comes to the idea that this day and age suffers from a shortage of constitutional rights.” 

The other judge considering Kentucky’s case is Martha Craig Daughtrey, appointed by President Bill Clinton. 

Legal experts are quick to note that district judges from both parties have struck down gay marriage bans.  And Sutton, whose nomination was so fiercely opposed by liberals, wrote the first federal appeals court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. 

Lawyers for Governor Beshear are asking the appeals court to reverse rulings from U.S. District Judge John Heyburn that Kentucky must recognize out-of-state gay marriages and allow them to be performed in Kentucky. 

The same panel on August 6 will take up similar cases from Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan.

Regional
2:31 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Contract Awarded To Upgrade KY56 Interchange Near Sebree As Part of I-69 Preparations

Kentucky has awarded a $10 million dollar contract to a Missouri company to reconstruct the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway/Kentucky 56 interchange near Sebree.  The upgrade, to be completed by Dumey Contracting, will help bring the parkway up to interstate highway standards as the state continues work on completing the I-69 corridor.

“This is another important step toward completion of I-69 in western Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a written statement. “An additional interstate route means additional opportunity for economic development in western Kentucky and, indeed, throughout the Commonwealth. And the improvements being made in the I-69 corridor will result in safer, more efficient travel through the region.”

Work is expected to be complete on the Kentucky 56 interchange by October, 2015.  After that, Governor Steve Beshear’s office says, the only interchange left to upgrade on the Pennyrile will be at Morton’s Gap.

Fifty-five miles of highway in western Kentucky currently feature the I-69 shield.

Business
2:03 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Owensboro Native Hired as CEO of T.J. Samson Hospital

Bud Wethington
Credit T.J. Samson Community Hospital

T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow has hired an Owensboro native as its next chief executive officer. 

Bud Wethington returns to Kentucky from Texas where he is currently CEO at Tomball Regional Medical Center outside of Houston.  Wethington has more than 30 years of experience in the health care field. 

"Following a national search which began in February, Mr. Wethington was determined to be the best fit for our hospital," said Mike Bryant, board member and search committee chairman, in a news release.  "The health care industry is ever changing, and we need someone with Bud's experience and knowledge so that we can continue to grow and serve this community."

Wethington replaces interim T.J. Samson CEO Henry Royse, who took over when Bill Kindred accepted an early retirement offered by the hospital late last year in a budgetary move.

Regional
4:18 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Cave City OK's Package Liquor Sales

Voters in Cave City have approved package liquor sales in the Barren County town.

The vote was 230 for, 132 against in the two precincts that voted in the local option election. The result means that Cave City will now be allowed to have two full liquor stores.

Liquor sales by the drink have been allowed at several locations in Cave City, including the Convention center and two restaurants, since 2006.

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