6:21 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Beshear Pleased With Appeal in Seven Counties Case

Governor Steve Beshear says he is pleased with a decision by the Kentucky Retirement Systems to appeal a recent ruling that would allow quasi-governmental agencies to withdraw from the beleaguered public pension system.

Earlier this month a federal judge ruled that groups like the mental health nonprofit Seven Counties Services, which is currently filing for bankruptcy as a result of its pension debt, could exit KRS because they aren’t government agencies.

Beshear says that if the decision is upheld, it would create millions of dollars in new unfunded pension liabilities.

“It is a very dangerous ruling, in terms of the financial stability of our pension system. And so I want to make sure that that gets a full hearing and hopefully will get overturned on appeal,” said Beshear

The Kentucky Employee Retirement System’s total unfunded liability is about $17 billion.

5:14 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Bills Promise to Strengthen Kentucky's Cyber Security Measures

Gov. Steve Beshear ceremonially signed a pair of bills Wednesday aimed at improving the state’s ability to protect Kentuckians’ data.

House Bills 5 and 232 require the state and private businesses to notify citizens in the event that their collected personal data is compromised by a security breach

“With more of our sensitive financial and health information being stored on the Internet everyday, both government and private businesses have to embrace the latest technology to protect that sensitive information,” said Beshear.

The legislation also permits the government to investigate security breaches, and to take steps to protect personal information collected by the state.

3:21 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Doctor at Monroe County Medical Center Arrested, Charged with Prescribing Meds that Led to Death

A south-central Kentucky doctor has been charged with prescribing pain medications outside of her professional practice, resulting in the death of a patient.

A federal grand jury in Bowling Green indicted Dr. Clella Hayes of Glasgow on Wednesday. Hayes is charged with issuing and authorizing prescriptions for fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, Demerol, hydrocodone, Cheratussin and Valium over a five-year period.

The grand jury also alleged that Hayes gave the painkiller fentanyl to a patient in 2011, causing the patient to die.

Hayes was arrested Wednesday.

Hayes is listed among the family practitioners at Monroe County Medical Center in Tompkinsville. Court records did not list an attorney for Hayes. A message left for Hayes and hospital administrators was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.

3:19 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Federal Funding Uncertain for Kentucky Road Projects

Road construction projects in Kentucky and the rest of the country will be in jeopardy if Congress doesn’t find a way to replenish the national Highway Trust Fund. 

The fund, which reimburses states for transportation costs, is expected to dry up by late summer.  As a precaution, Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Chuck Wolfe says Kentucky has delayed the start of some projects.

"We had about $195 million worth of contracting work that we would have advertised for bids last month, but did not do so," comments Wolfe.

The Highway Trust Fund has always been funded by the federal gasoline tax, but Congress hasn’t raised the tax since 1993.  Inflation has increased the cost of construction and cars have become more fuel efficient, resulting in shortfalls in the fund.

Wolfe says in the past Congress has tapped into other sources of taxpayer dollars, but has been reluctant in doing so. 

1:48 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Paul: Immigration Reform Did Not Sink Cantor

Credit WKU PBS

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said immigration reform was not to blame for the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday night.

Cantor lost to Dave Bratt, a little-known economic professor whose campaign focused largely on immigration. His defeat had some wondering if it would be difficult for the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to pass immigration reform.

But Paul said a number of issues contributed to Cantor's defeat, including his past votes to raise the debt ceiling and the controversy surrounding the National Security Administration's domestic spying program. He said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's victory in South Carolina proved immigration was not the paramount issue.

But Paul - a potential 2016 Republican candidate for president - acknowledged immigration reform remains a tricky area for Republicans.

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1:24 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Southern Baptist Leader: No Change on Marriage Stance

The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention says the denomination won't relax its position on same-sex marriage and transgender identity, even as courts across the country strike down gay marriage bans and the group tries to bolster membership.

On Tuesday at their annual meeting in Baltimore, members of the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing efforts by governments to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy."

On Wednesday, SBC President-elect Ronnie Floyd, a megachurch pastor from Arkansas, told The Associated Press that the convention doesn't plan to alter its stance even though American culture is changing.

1:04 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Bowling Green Aviation Enthusiasts Wait for Big Reveal of NASA Jet

The tail of the restored T-38 Talon is shown while parked inside a hangar at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport. The full reveal will come Saturday.
Credit Dan Cherry

An aircraft that played a key role in America’s “Space Race” is preparing to go on display at Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park. 

The supersonic jet, called a T-38 Talon, was used by NASA for training exercises before being retired in 2011. 

“Every man to walk on the moon has flown this T-38," AHP President Jim Wright said in a news release.  "The pedigree of this aircraft is  just phenomenal.”

The now-restored jet was flown by the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts, including Kentucky’s own Terry Willcutt.  The Logan County native and WKU graduate will be on hand for the plane’s reveal this Saturday at the annual Hanger Party, a fundraiser for the Aviation Heritage Park.

"It's going to make a tremendous exhibit for Aviation Heritage Park,  Executive Vice President Dan Cherry told WKU Public Radio.  "It's smaller than the others we have out there, but it's got tremendous curb appeal.  It's really an attractive airplane."

The jet was found in the Arizona desert in March.  It had been sent to storage at an Air Force base in Tucson.

Cockpit restoration on the T-38 Talon will continue over the summer before the storied aircraft takes its place as the fifth addition to the Aviation Heritage Park on Three Springs Road.

7:37 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Arkansas Pastor is New Southern Baptist President

An Arkansas megachurch pastor is the new president of the Southern Baptist convention. The Rev. Ronnie Floyd received 52% of votes from delegates to the annual meeting of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Floyd beat out the Rev. Dennis Kim, the Korean-American pastor of a bilingual Maryland church, who received 41% of the vote. Floyd has been pastor at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas for 27 years. About 8,500 people worship each week at one of the church's several locations. He was nominated by the powerful head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Rev.  Albert Mohler.

Mohler told the crowd of 5,000 meeting in Baltimore that Floyd is the person who can lead the Nashville-based denomination at a time of "horrifying moral rebellion" in the nation.

7:22 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Pension Board To Discuss Bankruptcy Ruling

The Kentucky Retirement System Board of Directors will have a private meeting today to discuss a recent bankruptcy ruling that could threaten the financial future of the system and its 300,000 participants.

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled last month that "Seven Counties", a private community mental health center that has filed for bankruptcy, is free to leave the Kentucky Employees Retirement System. State officials fear the decision will allow other community mental health centers to also leave the system and require taxpayers to cover the cost.

The Kentucky Employees Retirement System is the worst funded major public pension system in the country, according to Fitch Ratings, with an unfunded liability of $17.1 billion.

4:46 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Arnold Appeals Commission's Verdict on Sexual Harassment Claims

Former State Rep. John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador

Former Kentucky state Rep. John Arnold has filed an appeal in an ethics case in which he was found guilty of abusing his office by sexually harassing three female state House employees.

Arnold’s attorney filed an appeal in Franklin Circuit Court on Monday asking a judge to rescind a public reprimand and $3,000 in fines levied against the former lawmaker by a state ethics panel last month.

The appeal claims that the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission acted outside of its jurisdiction when it ruled against Arnold because he was not a sitting member of the legislature at the time of the trial.