Regional

Map Evansville

An online tool with information about Evansville-area businesses and their attitudes towards LGBT customers and employees is looking to expand.

The Map Evansville website is the brainchild of University of Southern Indiana psychology professor Amie McKibban, who asks business owners to fill out a survey, with the results shared online.

McKibban says the recent controversy in the Hoosier State regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has led to a spike in the number of businesses that want to fill out the assessment.

“I think we jumped from 30 businesses to about 71 in a matter of two weeks," the USI professor said.

McKibban and a USI student are struggling to keep the website updated with the amount of new information being sent in.

McKibban is seeking private and corporate support that she says will be used to update the website’s current software and develop a mobile app that can be used by area residents and visitors to learn more about how businesses handle LGBT issues.

“So it’s really easy, if you’re out and about, or if you’re new to the area or visiting the area. You can download the app and find the restaurant you’re looking for, or perhaps a bakery you’re looking for, a clothing store, a place of worship—whatever you’re looking for,” McKibban said.

Some parts of the air show are being limited at Thunder Over Louisville this year because of the height of the new tower being built as part of the Ohio River Bridge Project.

Aimee Boyd of the Kentucky Derby Festival told The Courier-Journal that the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be in the April 18 show but won't be able to perform the full aerobatic show.

Organizers say the Federal Aviation Administration has limited movement of some of the largest and fastest aircraft. Boyd says the restrictions apply to the kinds of planes used by the Thunderbirds and The Blue Angels, the Navy's flight demonstration squadron.

The Thunderbirds last performed at Thunder in 1997.

Boyd says the festival will work with the FAA in the future to find ways for the planes to perform their full aerobatic show.

Not all Derby Day events will take place in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.

The 79th annual Governor's Derby Celebration in downtown Frankfort is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 2.

The governor's office says visitors can expect the traditional fare of past Derby Celebrations, such as a farmers' market, arts and crafts, specialty vendors, children's activities and live music.

This year's celebration will also include the Derby Dash, with races for children ages 2 to 12.

Many downtown Frankfort restaurants and stores will be open with unique and traditional Derby offerings during the celebration.  Visitors will also be able to tour the Capital City Museum, the Thomas D. Clark History Center, the Old State Capitol and the Old Governor's Mansion -- all located downtown.

A reduced crew of firefighters remains on site at the fire that broke out Friday at General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville.

Okolona Battalion Chief William Schmidt said the fire isn’t still burning, but there are spots smoldering and smoking. About 200 firefighters battled the blaze Friday at Appliance Park; now, Schmidt said that force has been reduced to about 30.

“We still have people out there. I couldn’t tell you when we’re not going to have people out there,” he said.

Now, crews are working to pick through the building’s wreckage to reach what Schmidt called “hot spots.”

“We’re having to utilize wrecking crews and contract crews to be able to dismantle the steel, to be able to safely reach those areas,” he said. “And that’s just time consuming.”

The shelter-in-place that was in effect for those living near Appliance Park was lifted Sunday night. Though technically General Electric could resume operations in its other buildings at the plant, the company has told employees the facility will be closed this week. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Southern Kentucky Book Fest

Bestselling "Outlander" novels author Diana Gabaldon is among dozens of authors and illustrators expected at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest later this month in Bowling Green.

The Book Fest is set for April 17 and 18 at Western Kentucky University's Knicely Conference Center. Planned are author presentations, panel discussions and book signings.

Several authors who will be at the main event on April 18 will present writing workshops during the Kentucky Writers Conference on April 17.

A Writers Workshop for Teens and Children's Day are also planned.

Update 3:45 p.m.: Air Situation

Regulators detected hydrochloric acid gas in the smoke at the site. But they haven’t found any signs of the toxic gas downwind. The city’s air pollution monitors have registered slightly higher levels of particulate matter today than is typical, but there haven’t been any large spikes in air pollution since the fire began.

Update 2:10 p.m.: Shelter Warning Back to Half-Mile

The shelter in place warning was changed back to a half-mile of Appliance Park because of changing weather conditions, MetroSafe said.

President Obama visited downtown Louisville Thursday in an effort to bring light to a federal grant program that will help cities train more people for tech jobs.  The president praised Louisville officials for their efforts to make these jobs more accessible to the city’s residents.

 Obama told a group of supporters and employees at Indatus that there are about two thousand vacant IT positions in Louisville. He says it’s mostly because there aren’t enough people with tech skills to fill them.
Indatus is a data technology downtown that is among a handful of companies committed to hiring people who finish a local online coding workshop called Code Louisville.

Obama said Code Louisville—which involves city government, local businesses and grants from the federal government-- is a proven way to close that gap. "And my administration is proud to be investing in Code Louisville because we want more places to follow Kentucky’s example." he said.

In an effort to replicate Code Louisville throughout the country, the White House is offering one hundred million dollars in grants to cities interested in training their residents for the tech industry.

Authorities in Louisville made more than 100 water rescues early Friday as area storms flooded roads and prompted at least one evacuation.

Louisville MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Duncan says 116 water rescues had been made since 1 a.m. Friday.

Duncan says there was also a mandatory evacuation for the first floor of an apartment building. Elsewhere, a mudslide had blocked a road.

Duncan told The Associated Press the area had gotten 6 inches of rain overnight but no injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service says a flash flood warning is in effect Friday morning for north central Kentucky.

Updated at 6:21 p.m. ET

Lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas have approved changes to their respective "religious freedom" measures designed to answer critics who charged the laws were meant to discriminate against gays and lesbians by allowing businesses to refuse them service.

The amendments were passed by Legislatures in Indianapolis and Little Rock after a day of wrestling over the details of amendments to the measures.

Update at 4:40 pm:

The crash site has been cleared and normal traffic flow has resumed.  

Original post:

We have a traffic advisory Monday afternoon for I-65 Southbound in Hart County.

The left lane is closed near Mile Point 61 just south of Munfordville (Exit 65) due to a Semi / RV crash.

Traffic is backed up in the left lane to Exit 65, where the construction zone split divides traffic into two separated lanes.

Motorists should choose the right lane at the split to avoid becoming stuck in the queue.  

Due to the constricted nature of the construction zone, clearing may take a couple of hours.

Motorists stopped in the left lane between the crash site and the split point at Exit 65 will not be able to continue south until the scene is clear.  

Delays are likely for both lanes as southbound motorists approach Exit 65.

Indiana Governor: New Law 'Not About' Exclusion

Mar 30, 2015

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the new state law that's garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination against gays and lesbians and said Sunday it wasn't a mistake to have enacted it.

Pence appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to discuss the measure he signed last week prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Since the Republican governor signed the bill into law Thursday, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the nation, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana. Already, consumer review service Angie's List has said it will suspend a planned expansion in Indianapolis because of the new law.

Pence did not answer directly when asked at least six times whether under the law it would be legal for a merchant to refuse to serve gay customers. "This is not about discrimination, this is about empowering people to confront government overreach," he said. Asked again, he said, "Look, the issue here is still is tolerance a two-way street or not."

Sexual orientation is not covered under Indiana's civil rights law. Pence has said he "won't be pursuing that."

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