Regional

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."

Local governments are already moving to set up needle exchanges just a day after the Kentucky state legislature authorized the programs through a comprehensive heroin bill.

If implemented, drug users would be able to exchange dirty needles for clean ones from local public health departments.

Rice Leach, the commissioner of the Lexington-Fayette County Public Health Department, said needle exchanges would stymie the transfer of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV.

“From a public health point of view it’s a perfect way to reduce the spread of diseases if not managed properly,” Leach said. “And those diseases manage to work their way into the population that does not use drugs.”

Public health departments in Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky have indicated they support needle exchanges and are working with local councils to approve programs.

In a statement, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness said officials were “studying the possibility of local implementation.” The Louisville officials will examine cost, locations and possible partners for an exchange, the department said in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court gave a former UPS driver another chance to show her employer discriminated against her when she was pregnant, sending the case back to a lower court.

Pages