4:54 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Blue Devil Returned To Corvette Museum

The 2009 Corvette damaged by the Feb. 12 sinkhole has been restored and returned Wednesday to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.
Credit National Corvette Museum

The 2009 Corvette known as the Blue Devil is back at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green following its restoration by General Motors. 

The car was one of the eight that was swallowed by the gigantic sinkhole that opened underneath the museum in February.  The restored Blue Devil was unveiled last week, but hadn't completed its journey back to Bowling Green until Tuesday.

Two more damaged Corvettes will be restored; the other five will become part of a future museum exhibit documenting the sinkhole.

4:22 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Ethics Investigation Into Rep. Whitfield Continues

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield
Credit Office of Rep. Whitfield

The House Ethics Committee in Washington is extending its investigation into actions by 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky.   A federal ethics probe released Monday found there is "substantial reason to believe" that Whitfield and his staff had improper lobbying contacts with his wife. Whitfield's wife is a lobbyist for the national Humane Society and has pushed legislation before Congress.

The federal Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body, has provided its findings to the House Committee on Ethics, which is continuing to investigate and will make the final decision on whether to discipline Whitfield.

Craig Holman is a government affairs lobbyist for the non-partisan, non-profit organization Public Citizen.

He believes the panel will take the findings seriously.

“I consider this a very substantial, fact-finding report that the ethics committee cannot ignore,” said Holman.

Whitfield, a Republican from Hopkinsville, has previously denied the claims.  He did not respond to requests for comment this week.

1:47 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Kentucky Baptist Convention Withdraws from Church for Supporting Gay Marriage

Crescent Hill Baptist Church Pastor Jason Crosby urged KBC members not to cut ties with his congregation.
Credit Kentucky Baptist Convention

The Kentucky Baptist Convention has voted to sever ties with a Louisville church after its decision to support homosexuality. 

Crescent Hill Baptist Church announced last year that sexual orientation and gender identity would not be a factor in hiring, ordinations, or performing marriage services. 

The KBC is holding its annual meeting today in Bowling Green.  Executive Director Paul Chitwood told WKU Public Radio the vote to disassociate from the church was difficult but necessary.

"We are grieved by the necessity of that decision," said Chitwood.  "However, given the fact that Crescent Hill has chosen to affirm homosexuality, it really places them outside of the Bible's teaching and outside of Baptist beliefs."

Crescent Hill Pastor Jason Crosby maintains the Bible doesn’t explicitly condemn homosexuality.

"In addition to that, we concluded that Jesus' clear instruction to love others as ourselves is what drew us to reach the conclusion that we would fully welcome and affirm gay and lesbian individuals here at the church," stated Crosby.

Crescent Hill is scheduled to perform its first gay marriage ceremony at the end of the month. 

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10:09 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Former Mine Inspector Faces State Ethics Charges

A former state mine inspector indicted for taking bribes from a state lawmaker is now facing charges from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

The commission charged Kelly Shortridge with four counts of violating state ethics laws for his part in a scheme with Democratic state Rep. W. Keith Hall. A federal grand jury has indicted Hall for paying Shortridge more than $46,000 to ignore safety violations at some mines Hall owned. Shortridge is accused of trying to extort more money from Hall and for lying to federal agents.

Both Hall and Shortridge have pleaded not guilty in federal court. The ethics commission unveiled a formal complaint against Shortridge that could lead to a civil penalty after a formal hearing.

Hall represented Pike County for 14 years before being defeated in the May primary.

4:42 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Conway Cleared To Use State Workers For Security

Jack Conway

Attorney General Jack Conway can use state employees on state time for security purposes at private or political events during his campaign for governor, the Executive Branch Ethics Commission ruled Monday.

Conway asked for an advisory opinion after a review from his office recommended he have protection at public or publicized events. The review cited recent instances where people have approached Conway and threatened him and one instance of someone showing up at Conway's house and harassing his family.

The review did not say why Conway was threatened. In March, Conway received national attention when he declined to appeal a judge's ruling ordering Kentucky to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. A spokeswoman in Conway's office did not immediately return requests for comment.

Conway is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

3:38 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

There Are Only 11,600 Coal Miners Left in Kentucky

Credit Frankie Steele / KYCIR

Overall coal production in Kentucky remained steady between the second and third quarters of 2014, but that’s because losses in the eastern part of the state were offset by gains in the west.

But the quarter also brought new lows for the state in terms of coal employment, according to the state's quarterly coal report. The new employment numbers—just 11,670 coal miners working in Kentucky, and only 7,229 miners in Eastern Kentucky—represent the lowest ever recorded in the state since it began keeping track in 1927.

Coal employment in Kentucky has been decreasing fairly steadily since 1979, but the latest dramatic drop started around 2011. A number of factors have affected coal production in the Eastern Kentucky coalfields: low natural gas prices; declining reserves; power plants’ ability to easily burn cheaper, high-sulfur coal from the Illinois Basin; and stricter environmental regulations have all contributed.

The situation hasn’t been quite as dire in Western Kentucky, which traditionally employed far fewer miners and produced less coal than the east. That’s no longer true—in the first quarter of 2013, Western Kentucky production surpassed Eastern Kentucky coal. Between the second and third quarters of this year, Eastern Kentucky’s coal production dropped by 4.3 percent, while Western Kentucky’s production grew by 5.2 percent.

2:22 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Ransdell To Join Army 'Golden Knights' in Pregame Jump

WKU President Gary Ransdell will deliver the game ball Saturday after performing a tandem jump with a member of the U.S. Army "Golden Knights"
Credit WKU Athletics

The pregame entertainment prior to WKU’s game with Army this weekend will come from above.

The U.S. Army Parachute team, known as the “Golden Knights” will be performing along with a special guest – WKU president Gary Ransdell. 

Ransdell is scheduled to do a tandem jump while holding on to the game ball.

“This is one way that I think we can highlight the importance of military service, not only to this university, but certainly, most importantly, to our nation and what those young men and women mean to our freedoms and their efforts to protect those freedoms,” said Ransdell.  “So that’s the primary reason I’m doing this.”

And while Ransdell doesn’t regularly jump out of planes, he’s no rookie either.

“I’ve done this once before, this is not my maiden voyage,” said Ransdell.  “I did it at Fort Knox with the Golden Knights a few years ago and it was an amazing experience.  There were 8-10 people standing around watching that one, so this one will be a little bit different.”

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4:32 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Dating Violence Bill Undergoes Rewrite

Attempts to win approval of dating violence legislation in the Kentucky General Assembly could be bolstered by a new strategy. 

Kentucky Domestic Violence Association Director Sherry Currens says lawmakers will be asked to consider creating a new section in Kentucky Revised Statutes for domestic partner dating violence. Currens says the domestic partner statutes pertaining to dating violence have been aired in the state capital numerous times.

 "And it's calling it an IPO, so it's an interpersonal protective order and it will be in chapter 456. So it's establishing a new section," said Currens.

Currens says there were some members of the state legislature who asked for domestic partner dating violence protections to be removed from current spouse abuse statutes.  The revised legislation was reviewed during an interim legislative meeting Friday. 

Currens says lawmakers should be well acquainted with the issues today. 

"I think everybody is pretty familiar with the bill, with the concept.  As I said before, it's a very long bill, but it's mostly just moving existing statute into a new section, so they're really aren't that many changes to the bill.  So, I'm very hopeful," explained Currens.

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10:48 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Ball Files For Divorce After Failed Senate Bid

Gordon Ball
Credit Courtesy

The Democratic Knoxville attorney who lost the U.S. Senate race to Sen. Lamar Alexander on Tuesday has filed for divorce from his wife of 10 months.

 Gordon Ball told the Knoxville News Sentinel  that he had no comment on the divorce other than to say that the campaign was very stressful.

The complaint filed in Knox County Chancery Court on Friday names Marjorie Happy Hayes Peterson Ball as the defendant. The newspaper could not reach her for comment.

 The complaint cites "irreconcilable differences, inappropriate marital conduct" and "intolerable indignities" as the grounds for divorce.

 Ball has been married three times previously. The complaint says this is his wife's third marriage.

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2:32 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Report: Homicide Suspect Fatally Shoots Self Along I-65

Investigators in Tennessee are searching for 45-year-old Joseph Parker after they say he called 9-1-1 early Friday to report that he'd killed his wife.

 Update 5:13 p.m.

The Daily News quotes the Springfield Police Chief as saying Joseph Parker shot and killed himself after he was pulled over by police on I-65 in Simpson County on Friday afternoon.

Original Post:

Authorities are searching for a Springfield man they say admitted killing his wife.

According to media reports, a man who identified himself as Joseph Parker called 911 around 2:45 a.m. Friday and said he had killed his wife two days earlier.

When officers arrived at the home, they found the body of 44-year-old Samantha Parker, but her husband wasn't there.

The cause of death has not been released. However, authorities have classified the case a homicide.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the case. The state added 45-year-old Joseph Parker to the Tennessee's Top Ten Most Wanted list.