Hopkinsville

Kentucky Mesonet

The Kentucky Mesonet dramatically increased data collection at its 68 weather and climate monitoring stations during the solar eclipse. 

Melissa Griffin is responsible for data quality for Kentucky Mesonet, which is based at Western Kentucky University. She says the data that came in during the eclipse provides almost a real-time collection of atmospheric conditions.

Lisa Autry

Every first Saturday in May, Kentucky is home to the most exciting two minutes in sports.  On August 21, the state will be home to the most exciting two minutes in astronomy…two minutes and 40 seconds to be exact. 

Hopkinsville, Kentucky will be the epicenter of the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the United States in 99 years.  For a town of just over 30,000 people, it’s a really big deal.

Dubbed "Eclipseville,” at least 50,000 visitors from around the globe are expected to descend on Hopkinsville.  Local parks will become campsites.  The National Guard will mobilize for crowd control.  Schools will close.

Jonell Edwards has lived in Hopkinsville since 1953 and has never seen her hometown this excited about anything.

"People from overseas are coming. I think everything is going to be crowded," stated Edwards.  "It’s only going to last a few minutes, but everybody’s coming to see it.”

NASA

A total solar eclipse will race across the U.S. this month from Oregon to South Carolina, offering a once-in-a-lifetime celestial show. 

On Aug. 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow across all of North America.  All of Kentucky will see a partial eclipse, but many places in the commonwealth will experience a total eclipse. 

With two minutes and 40 seconds of totality, Hopkinsville is considered the best viewing location in the world, but an astronomy professor at Western Kentucky University says other cities in Kentucky are attractive viewing spots, as well.  Dr. Richard Gelderman says, for example, Franklin will have totality for two minutes and 25 seconds.

Hopkinsville Police Dept.

A Hopkinsville police officer is in jail on child sex abuse charges. 

Ian Levi Damber, 32, was arrested Friday morning and is charged with five counts of first-degree sexual abuse. 

KSP Capt. Brent White says that on August 17, troopers began an inquiry into a complaint from a local church.  Upon learning that the subject of the complaint was a Hopkinsville officer, they accelerated the investigation which led to the arrest Friday.  

HPD says Damber has been an officer at the department since 2013 and that he chose to “terminate his own employment” Friday morning.

 

Hopkinsville High School has refused to run three students’ senior yearbook quotes that reference their LGBT lifestyles, and one of them has filed a petition against the school board saying its discrimination.

More than 1,500 western Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee residents gathered at Fort Campbell Tuesday night to share concerns about potential cuts.

Kentucky State Senator Whitney Westerfield,a Republican from Hopkinsville, might put his name in the currently unopposed race for Kentucky Attorney General. Westerfield said he doesn’t want current candidate Democrat Andy Beshear to be Kentucky’s only option.

A state Senator and Representative from Hopkinsville are among a small group of lawmakers working to craft new legislation aimed at curbing the state’s rising problem with heroin.

Senate Judiciary Chair Whitney Westerfield and House Judiciary Chair John Tilley are helping to create a bill they hope can pass the 2015 General Assembly. A bill introduced in this year’s session failed because of concerns over a part of the measure that would have allowed prosecutors to charge heroin traffickers with homicide if someone they sold to died from an overdose.

Speaking to CN2’s Pure Politics, Senator Westerfield said a bipartisan group from both the House and Senate believes something needs to be done to strengthen the state’s heroin laws. The Christian County Republican says he wants to see a bill that cracks down on dealers while also increasing treatment options for addicts.

A recent report from Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy showed deaths caused by heroin increased by more than 12 percent in 2013.

Lisa Autry

A bill allowing the use of cannabis oil for treatment of certain medical conditions is one step from becoming Kentucky law. 

The oil, extracted from marijuana and hemp plants, is giving a Hopkinsville family hope for their infant daughter.

Six-month-old Clara Gilliam was born a healthy, nine-pound, nine-ounce baby girl.  But at three months, her behavior started to baffle her parents, Jerry and Julie Gilliam."She started to have what appeared to just be constipation or stomach aches, but her eyes were deviating to the sides, and as a mom, you just know when something's not normal," explained Gilliam.

There was something more to the strange postures and facial movements.  Baby Clara was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome, a rare disease affecting only 800 people in the U.S., and all of them females. It turned out that Clara was having seizures.

Julie Gilliam sat in her Hopkinsville home last week, rocking Clara and giving her a bottle.  Her contentment was cut short. 

"She's starting to have a seizure right now.  It looks like it will be a mild cluster," Gilliam remarked.  Sometimes in between the spasms she's crying and all you can do is hold her and comfort her, but it doesn't get any easier as a parent."

A company that aims to manufacture steel tubes for the energy industry is expanding its operations and employment in Hopkinsville.

PTC Seemless Tube Corporation announced Thursday that it plans to create nearly 300 jobs and invest over $100 million  in a new manufacturing facility. It’s a return to the Hopkinsville area for the company, which previously closed its Christian County facility in order to move closer to its customer base.

PTC Seemless now says it wants to return to the region by retrofitting and expanding its former facility. The new manufacturing operation will involve 256,000 square feet of building area.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has given preliminary approval for $12 million in tax incentives for the project.

A longtime western Kentucky senator has conceded his loss in the race for the 3rd District seat. Democratic Sen. Joey Pendleton told the Kentucky New Era that he congratulates Republican Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville attorney, on his win and wishes him "the best of luck" during his service in the legislature.

Smoking will be barred citywide in Hopkinsville come January after the city council passed a ban on lighting up. The Kentucky New Era reported that Mayor Dan Kemp broke a 6-6 tie on the council at a meeting Thursday night.

Officials in another western Kentucky city have taken a preliminary vote to ban smoking. The Kentucky New Era reports the Hopkinsville City Council narrowly passed a first reading of the measure during a meeting Tuesday night in which the mayor cast the deciding vote. A second reading must be approved before the law takes effect.

Democratic State Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville has suspended his campaign after the death of his opponent's father. Pendleton said in a written statement that he is putting politics on hold out of respect for the family.

Thousands are expected in Hopkinsville to attend the 25th anniversary of an event that remembers the Trail of Tears and celebrates Native American culture. The annual Intertribal Pow-Wow is set to be held Saturday and Sunday at Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville.

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