Flickr/Creative Commons/Doug Kerr

Owensboro is joining the federal interstate system.  The Natcher Parkway will become an interstate spur connecting Owensboro to I-65 in Bowling Green. 

Mayor Ron Payne says the designation has been years in the making and will be a major boost to tourism.

"We have an international bluegrass music center and museum that's under construction, and with our riverfront and all the conventions we're having, I think to finally get Owensboro on that interstate map is really going to be a boost to economic development here," Payne told WKU Public Radio.

Governor Matt Bevin will make the official announcement Friday afternoon at the Owensboro Riverport Authority.  Signage will be unveiled designating the Natcher Parkway as a future interstate spur connector. Bevin is expected to offer more details in the news conference, including a start and end date for the project.

The state budget includes $66 million in construction funds for Daviess, Ohio, Butler, and Warren Counties for upgrading the Natcher Parkway to interstate standards.

U.S. Army Fort Campbell Facebook

Military police have apprehended a soldier after report of an active shooter at Fort Campbell. 

The soldier was in the 101st Airborne Division . The incident occurred near the Campbell Army Airfield. 

Spokesman Robert Jenkins says no injuries were reported and the installation is secure. He says gates are open and there are no threats to the post or local communities.

Jacob Ryan, WFPL

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has ceremonially signed legislation that requires all untested sexual assault examination kits to be sent to the Kentucky State Police crime lab by the beginning of next year.

Some sexual assault kits have been sitting on shelves since the 60’s

By July 1st of 2018, the bill will require the state to test sexual assault kits within an average of no greater than 90 days.  Bevin said the state can do even better than that, “These are things that should be the bare minimum I think we can do a whole lot better than this once we’ve got this entire backlog taken care of and we’re well on path to getting that done.”

The bill was proposed by Louisville Democratic Sen. Denise Harper Angel who described the bill's intent, “It says you will wait no longer for justice and that we, the government will do what we can and what must do to defend and protect and ensure swift and proper justice for all those victims.”

The testing turnaround time is required to be no greater than 60 days by July 1st of 2020.

An investigation by former Auditor Adam Edelen revealed that there are over 3,000 untested rape kits held by local law enforcement in the state.

The state legislature set aside $4.5 million to fast track testing of the kits. Kentucky State Police is hiring 10 new biologists to help speed up the process.

Kentucky Office of the Courts

A Boone County man wants a divorce, but hasn’t been able to get one because he is deemed mentally incompetent under the law.

Mentally incompetent Kentuckians aren’t allowed to get divorces due to a 1943 state Supreme Court decision.

But on Friday, Kentucky’s highest court heard arguments over whether Elmer Riehle should be allowed to divorce his wife Carolyn, also his legal guardian since he was declared mentally incompetent in 2013.

Steven Megerle, Elmer Riehle’s attorney, argued that his client is competent enough to file for divorce and shouldn’t be treated differently from anyone else seeking to end a marriage.

WKU Public Affairs

Western Kentucky University is entering into a long-term partnership with the Medical Center at Bowling Green. 

The WKU Board of Regents met in special session on Friday and approved a new $22 million sports medicine complex on campus that will be constructed and paid for by the hospital. 

The new facility will provide space for WKU’s Department of Physical Therapy and the Med Center Health’s new Orthopaedic/Sports Medicine/Rehabilitation group.  WKU President Gary Ransdell says the complex will benefit the school in many ways.

"Let's start with the $22 million investment on campus, major enhancements to our Doctorate of Physical Therapy program to pick them in concert with a sports medicine and orthopaedic group, and a partnership with an exceedingly strong health care provider in our community," Ransdell told WKU Public Radio.

The 57,000-square-foot complex will also include an indoor multi-purpose facility.  It will be located between the football practice field and the baseball field on Avenue of Champions.

Med Center Health will become the official health care partner of WKU will eventually operate the campus health services center that is currently run by the Graves-Gilbert Clinic.

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.

Creative Commons

The mayor of Glasgow is holding a news conference Friday afternoon to talk about concerns related to a local utility, according to the Daily Times.

The Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s rate structure charges customers much higher rates during one “peak” hour each month.

The EPB notifies customers through texts, phone calls, and television announcements ahead of days when the peak hour is likely to occur. Some citizens have complained that the new rate structure is unfair to those who need to run air-conditioning during the hottest days of the summer, and can’t afford the higher costs.

Mayor Dick Doty has invited the public to attend the news conference at 2 pm Friday in the City Council chambers.

In the interest of disclosure, the Glasgow EPB is an underwriter with WKU Public Radio.

ACLU Settles Lawsuit Over Students' Right to Free Speech

Aug 18, 2016
Creative Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has settled a free speech lawsuit sparked by a student's T-shirt.

The Tennessean reports that the federal lawsuit was filed last November on behalf of a Richland High School senior who was censored by the school system after she wore a shirt to the school supporting equality for lesbian and gay people.

The shirt read: "Some People Are Gay, Get Over It."

The lawsuit said the school's principal prohibited the student from wearing that shirt or any other shirt referencing lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender rights because it might provoke other students.

However, a U.S. District judge wrote a preliminary injunction defending students' rights to wear pro-LGBT apparel to school as long as it does not disrupt the school environment.

Kentucky State Fair

State officials are raising awareness about the Zika virus at this year's Kentucky State Fair.

Officials from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Department of Public Health and the state agriculture department are holding an informational event for the media on Thursday at the fair.

Their goal is promote awareness about the Zika virus. The officials involved include Dr. Ardis Hoven with the Department for Public Health and ag commissioner Ryan Quarles.

The informational session will be at the Health Horizons Area, South Wing B of the Kentucky Exposition Center.

City of Bowling Green

A former Bowling Green firefighter is seeking compensatory damages in a federal lawsuit against the fire department and city. 

Jeffrey Queen claims he endured a hostile work environment based on his sex and religion.  His attorney is Michele Henry of Louisville. She says during his five years at the department, Queen also overheard derogatory comments towards Muslims and African-Americans.

"He was greatly disturbed by that, and tried to complain on a number of occasions and was never able to resolve the situation," Henry told WKU Public Radio.  "The fire department never took those complaints seriously, never investigated them, or took any action to resolve this problem."

The city has acknowledged that one firefighter was placed on administrative leave for burning a copy of the Quran.  He retired before receiving any further discipline. 

Warren County Regional Jail

A Bowling Green man who admits to trying to kill his father during a Sunday church service was in court Monday.

Warren Circuit Judge Sam Potter set Ethan Buckley’s bond at $500,000 and appointed him a public defender.  He is due in court again Friday for a preliminary hearing. 

According to the arrest citation, the 21-year-old Buckely said he felt “moved by the message” at Hillvue Heights Church before he stabbed 40-year-old David Buckley several times in the neck with a pocket knife.  He told police his intention was to kill his father and that he tried to cut his jugular vein so the death would be painless. 

David Buckley is in The Medical Center at Bowling Green, but his condition is unknown.  Ethan Buckley remains in the Warren County Regional Jail charged with First-Degree Assault-Domestic Violence.  The felony charge carries a possible ten to 20-year prison term if convicted.

BGPD Photo

A 21-year-old man is in jail after witnesses say he stabbed his father multiple times during Sunday morning church services at Bowling Green's Hillvue Heights Baptist Church.

Ethan Buckley is being held under felony assault-domestic violence charges. His father, whose name has not been released, is being treated at Bowling Green's Medical Center.

Bowling Green police describe the attack as an isolated incident with no other injuries reported.

Witnesses say Buckley was subdued by the church security team, some of whom were armed, and by an associated pastor who leaped over two pews to tackle him. No shots were fired.

Congregation members said both men filled out first time visitor cards at the beginning of the sermon and said they were from Arkansas. A car that was towed from the church parking lot had Davidson County, Tennessee license plates.

City of Bowling Green

Bowling Green officials say a firefighter has retired after a video surfaced showing him burning a copy of the Quran.

The Daily News of Bowling Green reports the incident surfaced as part of a lawsuit filed this week by a former city firefighter. In a statement to the newspaper, city officials acknowledged receiving a complaint and a video of the incident in April.

City officials said they placed the firefighter depicted in the video on administrative leave. But officials say the firefighter, who has not been identified, retired before they could take other disciplinary action.

The incident was part of a lawsuit filed this week by former firefighter Jeffrey Queen, who says he faced a hostile work environment. Bowling Green officials say the allegations in no way represent the city's values.

Joe Corcoran

The city of Owensboro is known for a lot: bluegrass music, barbecue, and its downtown riverfront.

It’s also known for holding the last public execution in America.

Eighty years ago, tens of thousands of people from all over the country crowded Owensboro’s downtown and newspapers all over the country carried the front page story of the hanging of a black man convicted of raping a white woman.

The echoes of that event are still being felt in Owensboro eight decades later, especially for one woman who witnessed the event as a young girl.

It was still dark early that morning of August 14th, 1936.

Rachel Abbott, who was five at the time, was still asleep when her older sister tiptoed across the room to her bed and woke her up. “I didn’t know what was going on,” Abbott recently told WKU Public Radio. “My sister was eight so she probably knew more about it than I did.”

What was going, just two blocks away, was the hanging of Rainey Bethea.

Kentucky State Parks

Four Kentucky state resort parks will receive $4.9 million in funding for renovations.

The announcement this week is part of a campaign called “Refreshing the Finest”—a statewide effort providing structural repairs, painting, and other upgrades.

The latest round of funding will be used at Barren River, Dale Hollow, Lake Cumberland, and Rough River Dam State Resort Parks.

“Most of the money is either going toward safety upgrades or other aesthetic improvements," said Kentucky State Parks spokesman Gil Lawson. "For example, at Lake Cumberland, we had several sidewalks that were cracked or in disrepair, and work on that is nearly complete.”

Lawson said the funding will also provide new dining room finishes and painting at Dale Hollow; electrical repairs and painting at Barren River; and conference center painting and repairs at Rough River Dam.

A total of $18 million has been dedicated to state resort park improvements that are scheduled to be done by the end of next year.