Regional

As Alabama becomes the most recent state to issue same sex marriages, some lawmakers there are decrying a federal judge’s decision to strike down the ban and the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene. Kentucky, another largely conservative state, may receive a final decision on its gay marriage ban this summer. The impending decision has some public officials reexamining their role as marriage officiants.


Right to Work legislation that passed in the Kentucky Senate failed in a House committee.  
 
After hearing nearly an hour of testimony the House Labor and Industry Committee soundly rejected the bill Thursday.
 
Supporters said it was needed to clear away hurdles for future economic development and job growth.  

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments Thurs on whether sexual conduct between two teenagers should be prosecuted as a crime.

The case, from Woodford County, involves a 15 year old boy and his 13 year old girlfriend.
The boy pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for having sex and exchanging nude photos with his girlfriend. He was designated a juvenile sex offender. The girl was not charged.

An attorney for the boy said the teens had no intention of committing a crime.

The attorney general’s office says the boy was charged because he initiated the acts and had previously been charged with indecent exposure in a separate case.

No date has been set for the court to issue a ruling.

Kevin Willis

Staff members with the National Corvette Museum are celebrating the progress that’s been made one year after a sinkhole opened up beneath the facility.

Six of the eight vintage Corvettes that fell into the hole have been fully restored, with the remaining two still being worked on.

Meanwhile, reconstruction of the area where the sinkhole struck beneath the museum’s skydome is expected to be complete by mid-summer. Nearly 4,000 tons of crushed limestone have filled in the sinkhole. Zach Massey, an engineer with a Bowling Green-based construction firm leading the renovations, says it’s impossible to predict whether another sinkhole might hit the area.

“If it swallows the building, we can’t stop that. But there are some additional settlement and movement (where the sinkhole occurred) that we can anticipate. We know there are some loose rocks down there. We had some Ph.D’s go down there and map it, and had some professional geologists go in and take a look at it.”

A WKU graduate believed to have been held as a prisoner of war longer than any other Kentuckian has died at the age of 85.

The Courier-Journal reports Col. Dewey Lee Smith of Louisville passed away this week while on vacation in Alabama.

Smith served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. The plane he was flying was shot down June 2, 1967, over North Vietnam.  Smith was captured and held as a P.O.W. for nearly six years until his release on March 4, 1973.

He was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart.

Smith was commissioned a second lieutenant through the WKU Air Force ROTC program in 1953, and joined active duty later that year. He also played on the WKU football team.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded a $128.3 million contract for a new bridge over Lake Barkley to Denver-based PCL Civil Construction.

The new Lake Barkley Bridge will carry US 68/KY 80 over Lake Barkley joining Trigg and Marshall counties and serve as the eastern entrance to LBL. 

“Replacement of the bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley has been a priority of my administration, and it’s a great pleasure to see the awarding of the culminating contract,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The importance of these bridges to the tourism industry of Western Kentucky cannot be overstated.”

The new bridge will place the 83-year-old Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge and is part of the larger Lakes Bridge Project.  

The current bridge has only two lanes, each 10 feet wide with no shoulders.  The new bridge will feature a unique basket-handle tied arch design with four travel lanes, each 11 feet wide, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle path.

Abbey Oldham

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the day a sinkhole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, swallowing up eight vintage vehicles.

While the sinkhole damaged the facility, it also led to a spike in attention and attendance at the museum.

In the age of the internet and social media, the images of eight classic corvettes falling from the floor of the Bowling Green museum into a sinkhole went viral.

YouTube footage of the event has been viewed more than 8.5 million times, and museum officials say they saw a 67-percent increase in attendance for the year.

You can see a photo slideshow of the Corvettes being extracted from the sinkhole here.

Credit http://401kcalculator.org / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The Kentucky Retirement Systems billed Hopkins County more than $51,000 last month for so-called pension spiking, or artificially raising employees’ wages to increase their benefits, but county officials are disputing the matter.

Hopkins County Attorney Byron Hobgood said the Kentucky Retirement System bill is for a retiree who lost wages during a long medical leave and then received a pay increase the following year when he returned to work.

Hobgood said the legislation against pension spiking shouldn’t apply to this situation.

“The evil that it was designed to prevent was where, for example, you have a person that was a state employee and that for whatever reasons they were able to inflate artificially, not because of a promotion that was bona fide or a career advancement,” he said. “They’re doing the same job at the place but yet their salary goes up a whole lot in the last 5 years so that they could get a larger pension.”

Hopkins County Treasurer Cindy Jones disputed the KRS bill but current law doesn’t allow citing unpaid medical leave and the subsequent pay increase as exceptions from pension spiking.

Lisa Autry

Butler County is joining the growing list of Kentucky counties passing or considering right-to-work laws. 

On a vote of 4-1, the fiscal court voted gave preliminary approval to a local ordinance this week.  Butler County Judge-Executive David Fields said the measure wasn’t a vote against unions.

"I don't think anyone on our fiscal court voted for it to be against a union," Fields told WKU Public Radio.  "They were advised that this was something we needed to do to help get industry in here.  I think that was the total thing they looked at on the vote."

The vote came despite a lawsuit against Hardin County for passing a similar right- to-work law, which makes it illegal for employers to require their workers to join a labor union.  A final vote on the Butler County ordinance is scheduled for February 23. 

Butler joins Logan, Adair, Whitley, and Rockcastle counties in passing ordinances on first reading.  Six counties have so far taken final votes on right-to-work laws.  They include Warren, Simpson, Todd, Fulton, Hardin and Cumberland counties.

Former Hodgenville Mayor, City Clerk Enter Guilty Pleas

Feb 11, 2015

A former mayor and city clerk in central Kentucky have pleaded guilty to multiple charges two weeks before their trial was to begin.

The News Enterprise reports former Hodgenville Mayor Terry L. Cruse pleaded guilty in Nelson Circuit Court to nine counts of abuse of public trust and two counts of complicity to theft. Charges of theft, violating campaign contribution restrictions and forgery were dismissed.

Former City Clerk MaDonna Hornback pleaded guilty to 54 counts of abuse of public trust and two counts of complicity to theft. Two theft charges were dismissed.

A grand jury indictment accused both of using a city-issued fuel credit card to make personal purchases.

The plea agreement also calls for them to pay restitution to the city of more than $16,000.

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