Regional

As part of its efforts to get Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill, the U-S Department of Transportation has released an “infrastructure snapshot” that paints a grim portrait of Kentucky’s roads and bridges.

According to the fact sheet, more than 31% of Kentucky’s 14,000 bridges are considered structurally deficient or obsolete. The snapshot also highlights a report that says driving on roads in need of repair costs Kentucky drivers $543 million a year in vehicle repairs and operating costs.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe says Kentucky is not unique in its problem of having more infrastructure needs than money to pay for them.

“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is daily in the position of having to manage its money and be keenly aware of its priorities - and priorities can change," adds Wolfe.

The federal Highway Trust Fund expires at the end of this month. The U-S Department of Transportation is championing its GROW America Act – a six-year, $478 billion spending plan.

Fort Knox is one of only three military posts to grow under the Army’s plan to reduce its ranks by 40,000 troops. 

Fort Knox was spared from any cuts, and will in fact, gain 67 soldiers. 

Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson said he stayed cautiously optimistic while waiting since last year for the Army’s decision.

"We had gotten good feedback from Washington and our congressional delegation about how Fort Knox was being viewed, and out letter-writing campaign where we submitted 14,000 letters was pretty impressive I think," Richardson told WKU Public Radio.

Under a worst-case scenario, Fort Knox could have lost 4,1000 soldiers and civilian workers. 

Richardson said it’s still important to tout the impact Fort Knox has on all of Kentucky as the Army continues to downsize and trim costs over the next two years.

The Army has announced the details of its plan to cut 40,000 troops over the next two years and it calls for Fort Campbell’s personnel to be reduced by 363 soldiers.

That number is far less than some potential scenarios. One called for as many as 16,000 soldiers to be cut from the base on the Kentucky/Tennessee border. Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble says he’d rather the base not lose any of its 26,000 soldiers, but says he’s happy with the decision.

“We’re thankful that it was not any worse," adds Tribble.  "Honestly, I think it shows the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, the people making these decisions understand what a great thing we have at Fort Campbell.”

A larger reduction could have been a major blow to the community in the wake of the Pentagon’s decision last year to deactivate the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade – a move that lowered the base’s active population by 24,000 soldiers.

A county clerk says nearly half of the county clerks in Kentucky have asked Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the legislature to address the issue of gay marriage licenses after same-sex marriage was legalized.

Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe says a letter sent Wednesday by 57 clerks to Beshear explains that they face a conflict between their religious beliefs and job duties following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 ruling.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Greg Stumbo asked Beshear to call lawmakers back into session over the issue. But Beshear said there was no need for lawmakers to consider an issue the Supreme Court has settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis after she refused marriage licenses to two gay couples and two straight couples.

Fairness Campaign

A Kentucky group that advocates for the LGBT community is hoping to expand Bowling Green’s civil rights ordinance.

The Fairness Campaign wants the city to become the ninth in the state to pass a fairness ordinance that would prohibit LGBT individuals from being discriminated against in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The campaign’s western Kentucky regional organizer, Dora James, says the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage isn’t the last hurdle for LGBT rights.

“There are no state or federal enumerated laws that protect against LGBT discrimination, so a lot of people are surprised to know that it’s 2015, but you can totally be fired from your job, or denied housing, or kicked out of a restaurant or park for being gay or transgender.”

The Bowling Green chapter of the Fairness Campaign is seeking signatures for a petition to present to the Bowling Green city commission in support of a fairness ordinance. They’re also holding an event Thursday night in the city’s downtown called “Love Takes Over: LGBT Fairness on Fountain Square.”

The goal of the event is to get signatures on a petition encouraging city government to add the LGBT community to the current civil rights statute covering the town. Those that sign will get a pin allowing them entrance to several concerts around town, as well as other specials at supportive businesses.

Elizabethtown Police Fatally Shoot Man with Knife

Jul 8, 2015

Kentucky State Police are investigating a fatal shooting in Elizabethtown involving two city officers. 

The News-Enterprise cited a police statement in reporting that 28-year-old Joshua Steven Blough of Big Clifty died after being shot by two officers. The statement said Blough was armed with a knife, refused to drop the weapon and began approaching officers in an aggressive manner when he was shot.

Elizabethtown police spokesman Virgil Willoughby has said officers were on a welfare check when the shooting occurred.

The officers -- 37-year-old Scot Richardson and 32-year-old Matt McMillen -- were placed on routine leave while the shooting is investigated.

The newspaper reports Blough survived being shot by a state trooper in 2012. It cited a 2012 police statement that said a trooper shot Blough in the neck after he produced a weapon during a burglary.

Nelson County Sheriff's Office

The Nelson County Sheriff's Office says the boyfriend of a missing mother of five has agreed to take a lie detector test.  
 
Friends and family continue their search for 35-year-old Crystal Rogers. The search area has expanded with teams combing additional areas off of the Bluegrass Parkway.  
 
Rogers' car was found abandoned near mile marker 14 with her purse and cellphone inside. The 2007 maroon Chevrolet Impala also had a flat tire.  
 
Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly says Brooks Houck, Rogers' live-in boyfriend, is the last reported person to see her at his family's farm.  
 
The family has increased their reward to $40,000 for information that leads police to find Rogers.

Nelson County Sheriff's Office

Police are investigating the disappearance of a Bardstown woman whose car was found abandoned on the Bluegrass Parkway.  Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly says 35-year-old Crystal Rogers hasn’t been seen or heard from since July 3.

"What made us alarmed is that her keys, purse, and phone were still inside the car and the car had a flat tire," Mattingly told WKU Public.  "It's also unusual for her not to have contact with her family."

The car, a maroon 2007 Chevy, was found Sunday off the westbound lanes of the Bluegrass Parkway at mile marker 14. 

Rogers is 35 years old, 5-foot-9, and 150 pounds with blonde shoulder-length hair. Anyone with information is asked to call the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office.

Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk who is refusing to issue gay-marriage licenses -- or any marriage licenses at all -- following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told The Associated Press that her Christian beliefs prevented her from complying with the decision, so she decided to issue no more marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit against her Thursday afternoon on behalf of four couples: two homosexual and two heterosexual couples who each tried to get licenses from Davis' office this week and were turned away.

Davis is among a handful of judges and clerks across the South who have defied the high court's order.

The Fourth of July is almost here, and that means fireworks season.

Officials say the safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a public display. But the Kentucky Fire Commission, which is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in Versailles, says people who want to set off fireworks in a county where it is allowed should follow these guidelines:

   --Buy from a reputable dealer and follow manufacturer directions.

   --Have water nearby to extinguish discarded fireworks or for an emergency.

   --Place fireworks on a flat surface, clear of combustible materials and buildings.

   --Light one firework at a time.

   --Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.

   --Keep bystanders at least 25 feet away.

   --Don't let young children handle or ignite fireworks.

   --Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

   --Stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch fire.

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