6:43 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Escaped Inmate Caught in Daviess County

An escaped inmate has been arrested and three other people have been charged with assisting him in Daviess County.

Kentucky State Police says tips led them to Troy Lyons at a home in Owensboro Tuesday. Police say Lyons walked away from custody in Hopkinsville on July 19th. Troopers also charged Sara Lyons, Dawn Fulkerson and Eric Fulkerson with hindering prosecution or apprehension on Tuesday.

All were in the Daviess County Detention Center.

4:18 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Cave City OK's Package Liquor Sales

Voters in Cave City have approved package liquor sales in the Barren County town.

The vote was 230 for, 132 against in the two precincts that voted in the local option election. The result means that Cave City will now be allowed to have two full liquor stores.

Liquor sales by the drink have been allowed at several locations in Cave City, including the Convention center and two restaurants, since 2006.

5:23 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

$1.3 Billion In State Contracts Not Unusual, Says Lawmaker

State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello
Credit Kentucky LRC

Amid a $91 million state revenue shortfall, the Kentucky legislature’s Government Contract  Review Committee approved $1.3 billion worth of contracts this month. Outgoing Republican Sen. Sara Beth Gregory is a co-chair of the committee. She says the high dollar figure comes at the beginning of a new fiscal year, when  large numbers of contracts are typically renewed -- about 1,700 contracts in July alone.

But Gregory says that there are still contracts that creep into the committee that warrant more scrutiny from the public and the media.

 “It is somewhat surprising how much is overseen by this committee and how much comes before this committee or has the potential to come before this committee with relatively little press coverage,” said Gregory.

Gregory  says  the committee’s decisions can be overruled by the secretary of the finance cabinet, and that the best they can do is try to draw attention to contracts that award more money than they should.

The Legislative Ethics Commission reports that despite a reduction in contracts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the amount swelled to $3.4 billion from 2007 to 2011.

3:33 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Kentucky Families Impacted by Impasse Over Adopted Children in African Nation

Malachi Meacham, at his orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bethany and Jon Meacham of Louisville adopted Malachi over a year ago, but he remains in the DRC.
Credit Meacham Family

Bethany Meacham talks about her family's efforts to bring their adopted son Malachi to the U.S.

A decision by the government of an African nation is having a big impact on U.S. families trying to bring home adopted children, including at least 20 families in Kentucky. Citing concerns about the health and well-being of children previously adopted children, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last fall cancelled the exit permits needed by adopted children to leave the country and join their new families abroad.

Bethany Meacham of Louisville is one of the mothers caught in limbo due to the decision. Bethany and her husband, Jon, decided to look into adoption after a miscarriage made them think they might not be able to have a child naturally. Bethany has since given birth to two children, now ages 4 and 1. But after learning about the conditions of orphans in the DRC and doing further research, the Meachams decided to adopt a son from that country.

“So we started the paperwork process to adopt from there, three-and-a-half-years ago before we ever set foot in Congo. Since then, my husband was able to go last November for the first time and meet our son, who was legally adopted and who was ours at that time.”

“His orphanage had actually just burned down, so my husband took supplies to the orphanage.”

The Meachams named their son Malachi, and he became their legally adopted son last July. But the Meacham’s hopes of bringing their son to Kentucky were derailed when the Congolese government announced it was halting the issuing of exit visas for foreign adoptions. Since then, Bethany Meacham says she has had to be content with getting bits and pieces of information about Malachi, the son she’s never really gotten to know.

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2:58 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Hardin County Works to Stave Off Fort Knox Cuts

As the U.S Army works to downsize, thousands of jobs are at risk at Fort Knox.  The community around the central Kentucky post is mounting a campaign to save more than 4,000 military and civilian jobs that could be lost by 2020.   

The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce has organized a letter-writing campaign in hopes of influencing the Army’s decision.  Chamber President Brad Richardson says the state has made a strong commitment to Fort Knox since the 2005 base realignment and its related growth. 

"The state stepped up more than any state in the nation to support the growth so we feel the Army needs to look at us more as a growth installation rather than contracting the installation," Richardson told WKU Public Radio.

Richardson cited $251 million in new schools, roads, and other infrastructure around the post. 

The cuts the Army is considering at Fort Knox would be on top of the 3,500 positions already eliminated with the inactivation of the Third Brigade Combat Team.  Under a worst case scenario, 4,100 hundred jobs would be cut, resulting in a $500 million loss in payroll.

1:17 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Kentucky Bourbon Inventory Tops 5 Million Barrels

Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky bourbon makers are churning out larger volumes of whiskey being stored for aging.

The Kentucky Distillers' Association said Tuesday the state's bourbon inventory has topped 5 million barrels for the first time since 1977.

It says Kentucky bourbon distilleries filled 1.2 million barrels last year, the most since 1970.

Production has soared by more than 150 percent in the last 15 years, resulting in nearly 5.3 million aging barrels at the end of 2013.

KDA President Eric Gregory says the surging production comes amid big financial investments by distillers that are creating jobs and attracting record numbers of tourists. Gregory says the bourbon resurgence shows no signs of slowing down.

The KDA's Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour logged more than 630,000 visits last year, a new record.

5:27 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Fort Knox Role in Housing Young Immigrants Dismisssed

No Central American youth are on their way to Fort Knox.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul Paul told the annual meeting of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Monday that the southern U.S. border has been so porous that some of the children would be shipped to Fort Knox. A Paul spokesman said in a follow-up statement the Senator's office was "aware that Fort Knox has been discussed as a possible location for unaccompanied migrant children."

However, the offices of two other members of Kentucky's federal delegation, Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie and Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, say they've been told by the U.S. Health & Human Services Department that Fort Knox was briefly considered as a potential Unaccompanied Alien Children shelter, but it isn't being considered anymore.

5:46 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Alltech Expanding To Pikeville Hoping to Play Role In Revitalizing E. Kentucky

Alltech is investing about $24 million in a new Eastern Kentucky facility to help shore up economic development in the area.

Touted by Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers, the development will expand Alltech’s distillery operations on a 380-acre reclaimed surface mine, and will grow to include aquaculture fish farms and an  egg laying operation.

Deirdre Lyons is director of corporate image for Alltech. She says Eastern Kentucky brings back memories  of her native homeland.

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4:08 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Kentucky Sees Drop in Food Stamp Recipients

For the first time since the Great Recession, most states are seeing a drop in the number of people relying on food assistance from the government. 

According to an analysis by a non-profit Washington D.C. think tank, 47 out of 50 states over the last year have seen their food stamp caseloads shrink.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put Kentucky in the mix. 

Nearly 56,000 fewer Kentuckians were on food stamps at the end of June compared to a year ago, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

"There's a strong connection between how many people are eligible for food stamps or receiving food stamps to unemployment and the economy, so those things are pretty closely related," says Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. 

Bailey says Kentucky is adding jobs, but at a modest pace.  He predicts it will be at least three years before the number of available jobs returns to pre-recession levels. 

Kentucky’s unemployment rate has been on a gradual decline for the past five months.  June’s jobless rate stood at 7.4%.

2:46 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Sen. Paul: Some Child Immigrants May Go To Fort Knox

Sen. Rand Paul
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says Fort Knox is being considered as a possible place to temporarily house some of the immigrant children pouring across the country's southern border.

Paul spokesman Dan Bayens says the senator's office was notified that the Army post in central Kentucky has been under review as a place to take in an undetermined number of unaccompanied Central America minors.

Paul commented on the situation during a speech Monday to a Kentucky Chamber business summit in Louisville.

The Kentucky Republican spoke out against transporting the children to Fort Knox. He says they should be treated humanely until being returned to their home countries.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Crosson says Fort Knox was on a short list of potential military sites to house the children.

Crosson says it was determined that Fort Knox won't be available until at least September due to ROTC training at the post.

The Border Patrol says more than 57,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.