Regional

Emil Moffatt

The Bowling Green – Warren County Regional Airport is one of four airports that will be getting more environmentally friendly ground support equipment.

The Tennessee Valley Authority says it is joining forces with the airports and FedEx to replace some of their diesel-powered ground support equipment with the new gear.

The Bowling Green facility is the only one in Kentucky to receive TVA cash incentives based on the type and amount of equipment purchased.

TVA says more than 55 pieces of diesel-powered gate equipment will be replaced over the next few months with no emission, all-electric equipment. TVA says the move will help reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions within the Tennessee Valley region.

TVA provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors in seven southeastern states.

Louisville Panel Holds Meeting on Confederate Monument

Jul 25, 2016
Jacob Ryan

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's public art commission is holding a public meeting about relocation sites for a Confederate monument near the University of Louisville.

The move comes after a judge last month ruled that Fischer has the authority to remove the monument.

The Courier-Journal reports the art commission has been receiving public comments on potential new sites for the stone obelisk that was built as a tribute to dead Confederate soldiers. Suggestions include the Perryville Battlefield State Park of the Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman in her ruling noted the historical significance of the century-old monument but wrote that it's also a divisive symbol in Louisville.

A Bowling Green organization that provides treatment for youth suffering from alcohol and drug dependency has received additional state dollars. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear presented Necco with a $700,000 check Thursday.  Beshear said early intervention is key to breaking the cycle of addiction.

"If you can get somebody successfully through recovery, not only are they not going to use, but their kids and their kids' kids are less likely to use," stated Beshear.  "By investing in adolescent treatment now, we increase our chances of reducing future costs of law enforcement, incarceration, and health services."

Necco received the funding from an Oxycontin lawsuit filed by the attorney general’s office against Purdue Pharma.  The settlement dollars are going to drug treatment and recovery facilities throughout Kentucky. 

Necco has ten offices statewide, including locations in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, and Somerset.

Elena Elisseeva

A non-religious couple is claiming discrimination from a western Kentucky county official who refuses to marry the couple without a religious ceremony.  

Jon and Mandy Heath arranged to marry at the Trigg County Courthouse this month, but say they were informed by Judge Executive Hollis Alexander that he won’t perform the secular ceremony they requested, only a religious one.  

According to the couple's complaint, Alexander told them "I include God in my ceremonies, and I won't do one without him."

Andrew Seidel, an attorney with the Minnesota-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, says he sent a letter to Alexander emphasizing that any requirement of a religious ceremony is unconstitutional. “There is a separation of church and state in this country," said Seidel. "Our government cannot require citizens to have a religious ceremony, to say religious language, to engage in any form of religion whatsoever. And that is what this judge was trying to do here.”

Lisa Autry

After pleas from the public, a traffic signal will be installed at a busy intersection in Bowling Green where a young girl died earlier this year. 

Ten-year-old Giselle Arias was struck and killed March 30 while crossing at the intersection of Gordon Avenue and Scott Way. 

Nearby residents and State Representative Jody Richards pressed the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to install a traffic signal to avoid future tragedies. 

Following a meeting last week with Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton, state highway officials announced plans to install a signal and to constrict traffic on Gordon Avenue from four lanes to three. 

The cost and timeline for completing the work have not been determined.  More than 9,000 vehicles travel Gordon Avenue each day.

A western Kentucky tourism official says fundraising is continuing toward the construction of a proposed museum dedicated to bluegrass music legend Bill Monroe.

Ohio County Tourism Commission executive director Jody Flener told the Messenger-Inquirer  that the project's goal is to raise $1 million and conduct a groundbreaking next spring.

Although an architect has yet to be hired, Flener says the museum will focus on Monroe, his family and his band, the Bluegrass Boys.

Flener says Ohio County has received $300,000 in state funding for the project.

Monroe died in 1996. Three years later the county spent $250,000 for several Monroe memorabilia items that have been kept in storage.

A museum website was started in April. The website is selling customized bricks for $75 and $250, depending on size.

Fort Campbell

U.S. Army Major General Gary Volesky says recent terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe are some indication that the so-called Islamic State is losing in Iraq.

Members of the Fort Campbell 101st Airborne Division deployed to Iraq in March as part of the 18-nation Combined Joint Forces to train Iraqi Security Forces. In a live Facebook video from Baghdad Thursday, Volesky said morale is good as forces prepare to retake the ISIS stronghold of Mosul. He believes U.S. troops have made great strides against ISIS over the last several months.

“You look at their level of communication on social media, it dropped by 45 percent because we’re just crushing them," commented Volesky.  "That’s why they’re really going to these attacks out in Brussels, Paris, California.  They’re trying to export it to keep people’s attention off of what they’re losing here in Iraq.”

Lisa Autry

The man charged in the brutal murder of a young girl in Allen County was back in court Wednesday.  Timothy Madden made his first court appearance since January.  He is awaiting trial for kidnapping, raping, sodomizing, and murdering seven-year-old Gabbi Doolin. 

During the preliminary hearing, the defense asked for more time to review evidence submitted by the prosecution.  Another court date was scheduled for September 7.  Outside the courtroom, Gabbi’s cousin Lori Doolin Wilson said the waiting is hard.

"We're all not happy with how slow it's going, but we understand that's the process," Wilson commented. "We just want justice served and this needs to be done correctly."

Doolin’s body was found in a creek behind Allen County-Scottsville High School last November just 30 minutes after being reported missing at a youth football game. 

Body of Missing Fort Campbell Soldier Found

Jul 13, 2016
Ft. Campbell

The body of a 101st Airborne Division soldier who was swept away by strong currents during severe weather at Fort Campbell has been found.

The post said Tuesday that the soldier was found less than a half-mile from the low water crossing over Little West Fork Creek on the post where he was swept away Friday evening.

The soldier's name hasn't been released pending notification of family.

Civilian and military agencies were called to help find the soldier.

Jerry Buchanan, emergency management director in Montgomery County, Tennessee, told The Leaf-Chronicle that the creek had been swollen by heavy rain.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Two dozen Hardin County area nonprofits are trying to gain a better picture of the local homeless population.

The groups are hoping to draw 300 to 400 families to an event Wednesday afternoon in Elizabethtown.

Megan Stith, President and CEO of United Way of Central Kentucky, says the groups are reaching out to those who may have been missed during a statewide homeless count conducted earlier this year.

According to Stith, those could be people “who are living with relatives, in between housing situations and staying with friends, or have family staying in multiple locations, or staying in a shelter or some kind of temporary or transitional housing.”

Stith says the event will be a one-stop opportunity for those who are housing or food insecure in Hardin County to learn more about local programs that can help. Feeding America is providing food distribution at the event.

KRS

Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball filed legal papers today to overturn the state pension system’s payment of $50,000 to cover the cost of its ousted chairman’s lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin.

Bevin removed the former chairman, Louisville banker Tommy Elliott, from the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees in April — three years before his term expired. Elliott and another trustee sued the governor and KRS in Franklin County Circuit Court in June, seeking to restore Elliott to the board.

KRS paid their legal bill of $50,000, saying state law calls for the agency to pay for legal costs “arising from the performance” of trustee duties.

Ball, a Republican first-termer like Bevin, disagrees. In a written statement, she said the law applies to current members of the KRS board.

“Mr. Elliott is not a current member,” she said. “Whether the termination of Mr. Elliott was rightful or wrongful, he has, in fact, been terminated and therefore cannot use $50,000 of hard-earned money of Kentucky retired workers to pay for his legal challenge.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/Albert Mock

Daviess County has declared a local state of emergency following strong storms Friday morning. 

Judge-Executive Al Mattingly says the declaration will allow the county to be reimbursed for clean-up costs associated with the storm that brought winds of up to 70 miles per hour.

"We had a lot of tree damage, limbs blown down, and a lot of trees uprooted as a result of the saturated soil and high wind.  Some of those trees fell on homes or vehicles," Mattingly told WKU Public Radio.  "We also had a lot of agricultural crop damage."

About 10,000 Daviess County homes and businesses lost power.  There were no injuries reported. 

Mattingly says the storm came on top of heavy rains and flooding earlier in the week which led to a statewide emergency declaration. 

Meanwhile, Governor Matt Bevin on Friday issued an executive order that bans price gouging.  The order prohibits businesses from inflating the price of gasoline, building supplies, and other goods and services during the statewide emergency.  The order will remain in place for at least 30 days. 

Bill Nye Visits New Noah's Ark Attraction He Criticized

Jul 8, 2016
Rick Howlett

Bill Nye is touring a new Noah's Ark attraction in Kentucky that he has called a danger to the nation's science education.

Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham invited Nye, best known for his 1990s science TV show, to visit the Ark Encounter on Friday. The two became acquainted when they engaged in an online debate in 2014.

A statement from Answers in Genesis says Nye is touring the ark with his own film crew. The Christian group says the ark is part of its ministry that teaches Old Testament stories as true historical events.

After the 2014 debate, Nye said he hoped the ark would never be built, because it would "indoctrinate children into this extraordinary and outlandish, unscientific point of view."

The ark opened to the public Thursday.

State police have arrested a woman for the murder of a Smiths Grove woman last month.

After a stand-off with police at a Rockfield home, Mary Thompson was arrested for the shooting death of 51 year old Dealynn O’Connor in Smiths Grove June 17th  .

A news release from State Police says they learned Wednesday that Thompson was in the home in Rockfield. She was arrested after 7:00 Thursday night.

Rick Howlett, WFPL

After years of planning, fundraising and a legal battle with the state, the Ark Encounter theme park opens to the public Thursday near Williamstown, in Northern Kentucky.

The park — which features a full-scale model of Noah’s Ark — was dedicated earlier this week in a ceremony that included the blowing of the shofar, or ram’s horn. Some 7,000 donors got an early look at the ark, a literal interpretation of the story of Noah’s Ark told in the Old Testament of the Bible.

It was built by the Christian group Answers in Genesis, which also operates the Creation Museum not far away in Petersburg.

The official opening marks a moment of jubilation for the group’s founder, Ken Ham, and the park’s creators. But opponents aren’t staying silent.

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