Efforts are underway to determine what can be done to salvage artwork damaged by the Thursday morning fire at Bowling Green's Downing Museum at the Baker Arboretum.
The museum houses numerous paintings by the late artist and Hart County native Joe Downing. WKU President Gary Ransdell says the Downing Museum art is now at different parts of the school's campus.
"All of the artwork has now been transported to the Kentucky Building, and is in storage and is protected," said Dr. Ransdell. "The art that has been damaged by smoke and water is over in the services supply building where the art restoration experts will look them over and determine what needs to be done immediately, and what needs to take place over time. Only a few pieces were damaged by the actual fire--I'm guessing maybe 30 or 40 pieces."
The fire started before 7 a.m. and was discovered by estate staff members. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Officials on the scene of the blaze this morning told WKU Public Radio the fire was likely started by an electrical malfunction or a lightning strike.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has suggested that Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage will move the country closer to accepting marriages between people and animals.
A spokeswoman for the Bowling Green Republican insists the Senator was being sarcastic.
Paul’s comments came during an appearance on Glenn Beck’s radio program. Beck asked the Kentucky Senator if the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act would eventually lead to the legalization of polygamous marriage. Paul responded by saying, “I think it’s a conundrum. If we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further, does it have to be humans, you know?”
Kentucky's Second District U.S. Congressman says he's hopeful the military will find a replacement for the infantry brigade that will leave Ft. Knox by 2017. Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie represents the Hardin County region, and told WKU Public Radio he has been in contact with area leaders since Tuesday's announcement by the army.
"If this happens, are there other opportunities to strengthen Ft. Knox in other areas? I don't think it will replace 3,600 permanent soldiers, but there are ways to make this easier, and possibly bring some other military units on to Ft. Knox," said Guthrie.
The loss of the lone infantry brigade combat team at Ft. Knox is part of the army's plan to cut active-duty personnel by 80,000.
Rep. Guthrie says he's concerned that those in Washington making decisions on the size of the military are doing so based mostly on budget concerns, as opposed to what missions America's armed services should be asked to accomplish.
Interview with Brad Richardson, president of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
A wide-ranging plan by the U.S. Army to thin its ranks by 80,000 will lead to the loss of the infantry brigade combat team at Ft. Knox.
Ft. Campbell will also lose a brigade, which typically consists of about 3,500 soldiers, but can total up to 5,000 for certain heavily armored units.
The plan announced Tuesday by U.S. military leaders would decrease the overall number of active-duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, and would also impact Army installations in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Kansas and Washington.
The military downsizing would dissolve the lone infantry brigade combat team stationed at Ft. Knox by 2017. However, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson told WKU Public Radio that there are discussions ongoing about the possibility of Ft. Knox landing some other type of Army brigade.
Richardson stresses any such discussions are very preliminary and in no way set in stone.
The army downsizing in no way impacts the thousands of civilian workers employed at the Human Resources and Recruiting centers at Ft. Knox. Still, Richardson says the loss of 3,300 active duty soldiers and their families would hurt the region's economy. He points out about 70 percent of the military personnel stationed at Ft. Knox live off the post, in communities like Radcliff, Vine Grove, and Elizabethtown.
The WKU Board of Regents has passed a nearly $394 million budget for the 2013-14 academic year. In a special meeting Friday, regents voted 7-2 for the spending plan that raises tuition three percent. Resident undergraduate tuition will increase $250 per year to $8,582.
Chief Financial Officer Ann Mead said that while the $393,959,000 budget has increased 1.4 percent, building the budget was challenging.
“In order to fund projected fixed costs and ongoing commitments, the administration is implementing a budget balancing plan of more than $2.1 million,” she said.
WKU President Gary Ransdell praised the unified effort across campus to achieve a balanced budget in a trying financial climate.
Faculty Regent Patty Minter cast one of the dissenting votes over a capital project. The budget calls for issuing bonds for construction of a $22 million building for the Honors College and International Student Services.
"It is very risky to take on more bond debt for a long-term project which, while very much a want, is not a need," said Minter.
Forty-six percent of the budget revenue comes from student tuition and fees. State funding makes up only 18 percent of the WKU budget.