The Supreme Court of Kentucky has agreed to take up a case dealing with a Lexington company’s refusal to print t-shirts for organizers of the city’s gay pride parade.  The court will decide whether the actions violated the city’s fairness ordinance.

The lawsuit began in 2012 when Hands On Originals owner Blaine Adamson refused to make t-shirts for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, saying doing so would violate his religious beliefs.

The group filed a complaint with the Lexington Human Rights Commission, which said that the company had violated the city’s law forbidding businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation, but the company appealed the decision.

Mayor: Confederate Statues Could Come with Endowment

Sep 11, 2017
Stu Johnson

The mayor of a Kentucky city says money is being raised to pay for the upkeep and security of two Confederate statues if the monuments are relocated to a cemetery.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said in a letter to the Lexington Cemetery board that private donors started the endowment.

City spokeswoman Susan Straub says the group has pledges of more than $100,000.

Stu Johnson

Lexington's council has voted to proceed with plans to move two Confederate statues from a historic downtown site.

Next steps include asking the Kentucky Military History Commission for permission to relocate the statues. 

Before backing the mayor’s proposal to move the John Hunt Morgan and John Breckinridge statues, council members heard from dozens about the issue.

Stu Johnson

The Lexington Fayette Urban County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to back Mayor Jim Gray’s plan to move two Confederate statues from the old historic courthouse grounds. 

But the issue of where to move the statues remains.

Additional seats were positioned on the second floor of city hall well before the work session began.  

Marilyn Dishman favors removing the statues of John Hunt Morgan and John Breckinridge from their downtown site.

Lexington Mayor Pushes to Remove Two Confederate Statues

Aug 12, 2017
Ryland Barton

The mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, says after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, he is taking the steps to remove two Confederate-era statues from the lawn of a former courthouse.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Mayor Jim Gray said in a statement Saturday he will ask the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council at its Tuesday work session to ask a state military commission for permission to take down the statues of John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge.

Wikimedia Commons

As Lexington experiences a surge in the number of people begging for money along city streets, angry citizens have taken to Facebook to document and criticize panhandlers.

The Panhandlers of Lexington Ky. Facebook group has more than 3,000 followers and features user-submitted photos of people asking for money along Lexington’s thoroughfares.

Most of the page’s content is critical of the panhandlers, some posts simply document the intersection where someone saw a panhandler and sometimes the group’s organizer posts local news articles about the recent swell of panhandlers.

The group’s organizer declined to comment for this story, but the page’s about section says its purpose is to “bring awareness to a problem that is getting worse in Lexington.”

Wikimedia Commons

On a sunny spring afternoon, Grover Rawlins stands at the intersection of Maxwell and Limestone streets near the University of Kentucky campus, waving at cars and asking people for money.

“I don’t bother nobody or nothing, I just sit here on the curb,” Rawlins said. “They give me a dollar or two — I don’t get mad at them or nothing. I’m not out to hurt nobody, I just have to make a dollar.”

The intersection has become a hub for homeless people since February when the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Lexington’s ban on panhandling was unconstitutional.

Hundreds of Prosecutors Convene In Lexington For Annual Conference

Aug 20, 2014
Stu Johnson

Christian County is trying a unique approach to combat growing domestic violence issues.  The Christian County attorney's office has a subdivision solely focused on working domestic violence cases. Attorney Tonya Fleming began her new job August first. Fleming says she hopes to help break the cycle of abuse.

"The biggest issue that I think we have in domestic violence is victims not realizing they are victims,” said Fleming.  “It's the cycle of abuse and they keep going back to it.  My biggest goal is to try to educate people and to know they can do better for themselves and they don't have to be in that environment."

Fleming is one of about 600 prosecutors meeting this week in Lexington for the annual Kentucky Prosecutors Conference. 

Metcalfe County Attorney Barry Gilley says he's been practicing some form of law for 37 years.  During his time in the legal profession, Gilley says he's also represented offenders.  He says a lack of patience makes his job tougher today.

"It makes practicing law a lot more difficult, cause you're dealing with people who are on an emotional ride one way or the other anyway and then they have less patience and they're not taught patience anymore.  You know we as a society don't teach patience," said Gilley.

Thursday's agenda includes a meeting of the Legislative Interim Committee on Judiciary.

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.

Lexington Mayor Suspends Rupp Renovation

Jun 18, 2014

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has suspended efforts to renovate the home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team.

The proposed $351 million project to renovate Rupp Arena and build a new convention center in downtown Lexington has languished for some time.

Gray said Wednesday he suspended work on the project after UK withdrew its support for a proposed annual $10.7 million lease on Rupp, beginning in 2018. Gray said officials had designed the proposed renovation based on what the university said it needed.

Gov. Steve Beshear said he still thinks the original project is what Lexington and the university need. The governor said he hopes UK will eventually be ready to move forward with the project.
UK spokesman Jay Blanton said the university did not have any immediate comment.

University of Kentucky Could Lift Ban on Alcohol By Fall Semester

Apr 24, 2014
The University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is set to allow alcohol on campus with specific guidelines yet to be determined.   The announcement came this afternoon from UK President Eli Capilouto.  UK has been an alcohol free campus for more than a decade.   UK Student Government Association President Roshan Palli served on the Student Health and Safety Workgroup which compiled the report.

"We want our students on campus when they're engaging in social activities and when they're not, so we don't want alcohol to be an issue that we choose to force off our campus,” said Palli.  “Exactly where, you know, that's a good question.  I think that's definitely what the implementation committee gonna be having to explore."

Palli hopes the revised alcohol policy can be implemented by the beginning of the fall semester.  The report also calls for extending the Code of Student Conduct beyond the campus boundaries.

Lexington Man Charged with Threatening Governor, Family

Mar 14, 2014
Office of Ky Governor

A Kentucky man has been charged with threatening to kill Gov. Steve Beshear, his wife and their family in a series of Facebook postings.

Federal agents say in court documents that they believe 22-year-old William Collin Bordt of Lexington also may have posted threats to a former employer and a politician in South Carolina.

A criminal complaint filed federal court in Lexington says Kentucky State Police and federal agents arrested Bordt on Wednesday and charged him with using interstate communications to make threats.

Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Michael Romagnoli wrote in an affidavit that Bordt posted, "Your both dead if he doesn't step down" and other messages on the governor's Facebook page.
Bordt's attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.

Kentucky Healthcare Exchange Call Center Opens

Aug 16, 2013

A call center opens today with five-dozen agents on hand to answer questions about  Kentucky’s new health care benefit  exchange.  Kentucky is ramping up its effort to ensure health coverage for more than 600,000 Kentucky residents.

“They are actually taking phone calls from folks that are calling in asking questions about connect,” said Kerri Banahan, director of the exchange office.  “And through connect individuals will be able to apply for Medicaid as well as premium assistance which will help them pay for part of their premium amount with a private health insurance company.”

Banahan says some 70 calls came in Thursday, a day before the official launch of the call center. Open enrollment for the new insurance program begins in October. 

A new billboard in Lexington is creating a stir with its message. "Don't believe in God?" it asks. "Join the club." Then it has a website where people can go for more information.

Gov. Steve Beshear says two Kentucky airports will receive more than $3 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration to make needed improvements.