12:32 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Report: Grimes Did Not Talk Coal in DC Speech

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes did not mention coal in a speech at a Washington fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to a recording obtained by Politico.
Grimes' campaign said last week she planned to use the event to demand the Senate take action to invest in clean coal technology. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign criticized Grimes for not mentioning coal and questioned her commitment to the state's coal industry.

Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton said Grimes did not break her promise because she spoke to Reid privately about the issue. Reid said in a statement that Grimes has spoken with him many times about her opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's new emission standards for coal-fired power plants.

9:19 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Danville Approves Gay Rights Ordinance

The Danville City Commission has approved a gay rights ordinance, though it includes an exemption for religious organizations.

Media report officials voted 4-1 on Monday in favor of the ordinance that makes it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It was the seventh city in the state to approve such a measure.

Despite some objections, officials adopted the amended version that includes an exemption for "faith-based" institutions after Sunrise Children's Services said it would move its child care center out of Danville without one.

The Baptist-affiliated agency receives a significant portion of its funding from the government, but it refuses gay job applicants.

The ordinance will become law after it is published by the local newspaper.

3:47 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Black Bear Sightings Reported in South Central Kentucky

Credit Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

If you live in south central Kentucky and recently thought you saw a black bear, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. They are, in fact, roaming the region but one expert says it’s perfectly normal.

"This is the time of year when young bears are getting kicked out of the nest and striking out on their own.  Probably what people are seeing are young male bears, 110-130 pounds, and a year-and-a-half old," explains Mark Marraccini with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Black bears are more common in eastern Kentucky, but sightings are becoming more common in other parts of the state. Marraccini adds that the bears are likely traveling north from Tennessee.

There have been recent sightings in Allen and Logan counties. 

Bears tend to have a natural fear of people, and if left alone, they pose no risk to humans. Kentucky law prohibits feeding bears.

"Don't do things to cause these bears to become nuisance bears, let them be wild bears. Kentucky has plenty of cover and natural foods for bears to sustain themselves and they will do so," adds Marraccini.  "People have a tendency to want to feed them to hold them in an area because they enjoy watching them, and that's understandable, but it's easy for them to see people as an easy source of food handouts and then start ignoring their native foods, the forest foods."

When bears become a nuisance, Fish and Wildlife officials have to step in, which most often, results in euthanasia. 

1:26 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Four Tennessee VA Facilities Face Added Scrutiny

Veterans Affairs facilities in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and McMinnville have been flagged for further review following a nationwide audit of the agency's troubled appointment process.

The audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics around the country found that a 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA has since abandoned that goal.

Tennessee facilities in Memphis, Johnson City and Nashville were unable to schedule appointments within 30 days for about 7,000 veterans, or 3 percent of the total. 

Revelations of long wait times and falsified records forced the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki last month.

10:02 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Sinkhole Repairs Delayed at National Corvette Museum

A 40' wide by 60' deep sinkhole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum February 12.
Credit National Corvette Museum

Visitors to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green can continue to see the sinkhole that swallowed eight classic cars throughout the summer. 

The Skydome where the collapse occurred will not be repaired until after the museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

"We decided to leave the Skydome as is until the end of August because we already have about 6,500 Corvette enthusiasts pre-registered for the event, and they all want to see the cars and the hole," says Marketing and Communications Manager Katie Frassinelli.

Attendance at the museum since the February 12 collapse has been up nearly 50% over the same time period last year. 

"The feedback we're receiving from guests is that a lot of them are stopping in who may not have otherwise," adds Frassinelli.  "People are planning visits to Bowling Green specifically to see this.  If you talk to some of the hotels, they're seeing more visitors because of this."

Given the recent boost in attendance, the museum is expected to hit its 3 millionth visitor within the coming days.

The museum is awaiting price estimates on the various options to repair the Skydome, from keeping all of the sinkhole, to leaving just a small portion of it, to restoring the building to the way it was before.

9:14 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Seats Contested for Western Kentucky Utility Board

Competition is fierce for a couple of seats on a western Kentucky utility board that recently saw rate increases.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports one seat on the Kenergy Corp. board that represents west Daviess County has an 18-year incumbent facing two challengers.

Larry Elder says it's the first time he's had competition for the seat. He says he thinks the competition stems from recent power rate increases by Big Rivers Electric Corp.

Big Rivers Electric Corp. is the wholesale power supplier for Kenergy and two other distributive co-ops in western Kentucky. Altogether, they serve about 112,000 customers in 22 counties.

Big Rivers raised rates after an aluminum smelter left its system to purchase power on the open market.

Board election results will be announced on June 10.

11:56 am
Thu June 5, 2014

400 Mile Yard Sale Brings Shoppers From Far and Wide

Wayne Wade keeps an eye on his customers and on Highway 68 in the background during the first morning of the 400 Mile Sale.
Credit Joe Corcoran photo

The next four days are a bargain hunter's dream as the 11th annual "400 Mile Sale" returns to the Commonwealth. It's Kentucky's yard sale, stretching along Highway 68 from Maysville to Paducah and into western Tennessee, and giving people a chance to show off their trash and treasures to anyone and everyone willing to stop and look.

This is the fourth year Wayne Wade has set up shop at his friend's yard in Warren County. He says he likes the spot since it's under two big trees that give them shade from the sun and cover from the rain.

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9:43 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Retired Western Kentucky Priest Pleads Guilty to Sex Abuse of Minor

A former western Kentucky priest has pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse in the 1970s. 

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports the Rev. Louis Francis Piskula, who is now 74, entered into a plea agreement Wednesday that dropped a first-degree sodomy charge brought in a 2012 indictment. 

Piskula's lawyer, Steven Dowell said his client "vehemently denied" the sodomy charge and dropping it made it possible for Piskula to accept the deal. It calls for a maximum five-year sentence, with sentencing set for Aug. 6. 

The case involved a minor under the age of 12 while Piskula was serving at Blessed Mother Catholic Church in Owensboro.  Piskula was priest at several Catholic parishes in Owensboro, Murray, Paducah and Whitesville.

He was ordained in 1975 and retired in 2002.

8:16 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Severe Weather Impacts Parts of Western Kentucky

Communities throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois are contending with high water, hail damage, and downed trees this morning following severe storms that passed through the region Wednesday night. 

Residents in Beulah in Hopkins County reported a large funnel cloud at about 7:30 p.m., and a large wedge-shaped tornado close to a mile wide was reported in Christian an hour later.  Winds of up to 70 miles an hour were recorded near Elkton in Todd County. 

Weather observers say flash flooding was severe in some areas.  Water was reported to be bumper height in parts of McCracken County, with heavy localized flooding in Ballard and Daviess. Hopkinsville reported a half inch of rainfall in five minutes, and some individuals trapped in their home required water rescues near Sedalia in Graves County.  

The National Weather Service also says power outages were widespread in Graves and Trigg counties.  Officials are warning motorists to avoid areas with water over the roadways.

6:11 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Lawsuit Filed Over Danville Pawnshop Shootings

A man accused of killing three people inside a central Kentucky pawnshop last year now faces a lawsuit filed by the mother of one of the victims. Barbara Lewis filed the lawsuit against 49 year old Burnside pastor Kenneth Allen Keith on behalf of herself and her two grandchildren who are 10 years and 20 months old.

Lewis' son, 35 year old Michael Hockensmith, and his wife, 38 year old Angela Hockensmith, of Stanford and 60 year old gold broker Daniel Smith of Richmond were killed in the shootings.

The lawsuit filed in Boyle County Circuit Court seeks $665,000 for Michael Hockensmith's lost wages and $7,341 for funeral expenses as well as unspecified damages and damages for the two children.