Muhlenberg County

ACLU of Kentucky

The Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit for a case in Muhlenberg County over song lyrics in a Facebook post.

In August, James Evans of Central City posted lyrics on his Facebook page from a song called “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)” by the band Exodus. The 2010 song is about the Virginia Tech shooting.

Evans was arrested that month on a criminal charge of first-degree terroristic threatening, a felony. The charge was eventually dismissed.

The ACLU of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit this week claiming Muhlenberg County Police Officer Michael Drake falsely arrested Evans for posting those lyrics. Evans’ attorneys—Brenda Popplewell and William Sharp—claim that arrest was illegal and violated their clients’ First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The lawsuit was filed at a U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky and names Muhlenberg County and Officer Drake as defendants.

Although the numbers are expected to change slightly over the next few months, the board agreed to cut 50 jobs and slice teachers' pay by 9.8%.

According to WBKO-TV, an estimated 500 people jammed into Muhlenberg County High School's auditorium Monday night, mostly teachers and their families opposed to the cuts. Both in their comments and on printed signs, members of the public said the cuts would lead to increased class sizes within the district and impact learning.

Muhlenberg County is hosting a show this weekend that pays tribute to the area’s most famous musical sons. The show, called “Walk Right Back”, honors the music of the Everly Brothers.

Don Everly was born in Muhlenberg County in 1937, and during 15 years beginning in 1988, he and his brother Phil performed an annual “homecoming” concert in Central City.

Joe Hudson, the executive director of the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame and the organizer of Saturday’s concert says the influential harmonies that the Everly Brothers sang in the late 1950s and 60s played a major role on future musical acts.

“The significant impact that the Everly’s harmonies had on other bands, even The Beatles, is really humbling when you look at the fact that it all roots back here to a small town in the middle of Muhlenberg County," Hudson told WKU Public Radio. "They had that family harmony that you just cannot reproduce, and their harmonies are still known as some of the best and tightest harmonies that have ever been recorded.”

Plans have been scrapped for a proposed natural gas power plant in western Kentucky. 

Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric announced plans last year to construct a $700 million facility in Muhlenberg County. 

The utilities announced this week the project was canceled because nine municipalities have chosen to terminate their contracts with the utility companies. 

State Representative Brent Yonts of Greenville is disappointed by the loss of construction jobs.

"It would have brought people into the county to live, to work, and maybe even settle here at some point in time," said Yonts. "It will have a substantial negative impact on the county because we will not be getting the benefit of that work."

A new natural gas plant would have made up for the loss of an old coal-fired power plant in Muhlenberg County that’s slated to close next spring. 

KU and LG&E still plan to build a solar-generating plant, but Yonts believes it would have less economic impact.

A Muhlenberg County woman has been indicted on multiple charges, including murder, in connection with the death of her ex-husband last month. 

Attorney General Jack Conway says 61-year-old Central City resident Brenda Hardin will be arraigned in court on Wednesday.  She’s accused of fatally shooting her husband, 64-year-old Ronnie Hardin. He was found July 7 in the outbuilding of his former home. 

Conway’s office also says Ms. Hardin is also charged with tampering with physical evidence, after they say she moved her former husband’s truck.

A Canadian mining company will pay $3.2 million to settle allegations of Clean Water Act violations in Muhlenberg and Crittenden counties.

Elgin Mining of Vancouver, British Columbia, and the U.S. attorney's office in Louisville reached the agreement Thursday. Under the terms of the settlement, Elgin Mining will pay $3,071,292.00 to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' Wetland and Stream Mitigation In-Lieu Fee Program, which provides mitigation credits for impacts to Kentucky's wetlands and streams associated with discharges of dredged or fill material.

Elgin Mining is also required to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 to the United States.

The government alleged that the company failed to mitigate the dumping of waste into streams and wetlands in Muhlenberg and Crittenden counties, resulting in the loss of the waterways.

Tennessee Valley Authority

Construction crews have cleared about 60 percent of the land needed to begin building a new natural gas facility at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. The new plant is scheduled to open by spring of 2017, and will take the place of two coal burning units currently in operation at the TVA facility.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the future site of the new gas-burning unit, Transition Manager Billy Sabin said this week’s announcement of new E.P.A. regulations on power plant emissions won’t impact the Paradise Fossil Plant, because the TVA had already decided to reduce carbon emissions at a much faster rate than what the federal government is now seeking.

“We will have a reduction of about 50 percent of coal. Because Unit 3 will continue to run, it’s going to burn about 2.7 to 3 million tons of coal a year,” Sabin said. “So it’ll be about a 50 percent reduction from what we do now.”

Sabin says the excavation stage of the new cleaner-burning gas plant project will be completed by early 2015, with construction of the facility following. He says the new facility, known as a combined-cycle gas plant, has several advantages over the older coal-burning model.

Utilities Ask For Delay on Power Plants Request

May 1, 2014

Kentucky Utilities Co. and Louisville Gas and Electric Co. say they want to delay a request to build a natural gas power plant in Muhlenberg County and a solar facility in Mercer County because nine municipal customers plan to cancel their wholesale power contracts with KU.

KU and LG&E say the cancellations are effective in 2019 and total approximately 320 megawatts of load. The companies asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission in January for approval for the two facilities. The companies asked the PSC to delay the case for up to 90 days while it considers the effect of the termination notices.

The companies said the potential loss of the nine customers won't affect service to their remaining 1.2 million customers but could have an effect on the cost to serve the customers in the future.

Tennessee Valley Authority

The U.S. Supreme Court is upholding the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal pollution that crosses state lines.

Tuesday’s 6-2 decision is being called a major victory for the Obama administration’s environmental agenda, and will likely have a major impact on coal-fired power plants in Kentucky and other states.

The White House has put forth a set of new Clean Air Act regulations aimed at cutting pollution coming from coal-fired power plants. Coal industry advocates and many Republican lawmakers—including Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell—have sharply criticized those regulations, describing them as government overreach and a “war on coal.”

The EPA is expected to unveil new climate control regulations in June to cut down on carbon pollution from coal plants. Kentucky gets an estimated 90 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants, such as the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County.

Many power suppliers have been anticipating increased scrutiny of coal pollution, and have been implemented changes at their plants to make their coal-fired operations more environmentally-friendly.

Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Scott Brooks told WKU Public Radio that Tuesday's Supreme Court decision has "no impact" on the utility's plans for the Paradise plant.

Emil Moffatt

The Library of Congress has unveiled the list of this year’s 25 additions to the National Recording Registry.

Among the recordings – the Everly Brothers 1960 hit “Cathy’s Clown”, which was recorded at the RCA “Studio B” in Nashville.

Earlier this year, Muhlenberg County held a celebration of life for Phil Everly, who died January 3rd.  Everly and his brother Don held a series of charity concerts in their family’s hometown in Western Kentucky in the 1980s and 1990s.    

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