Regional

Regional
8:45 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Auditor Sets Public Hearings on Kentucky's Rural Hospitals

Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen will visit Westlake Regional Hospital in Columbia, Kentucky on Aug. 12.
Credit Westlake Regional Hospital

Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen has set 10 hearings across the state to discuss the fiscal health of rural hospitals.

Edelen's office says 45 percent of Kentucky residents receive health care at small, community hospitals and that the facilities help drive local economies.

The hearings start next week in Prestonsburg and continue through Aug. 12 in Campbellsville. They kick off a study by Edelen's office to look at challenges facing small hospitals. The auditor's office is seeking financial records of dozens of rural hospitals and plans to issue a report this fall.

Edelen's office says hospital administrators and staff, local elected officials, other health care providers and the public are invited.

A list of hearing locations can be found at www.auditor.ky.gov.

Regional
2:04 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Fountain Temporarily Shut Down at Bowling Green's Circus Square Park

Circus Square Park near downtown Bowling Green
Credit Emil Moffatt

One way many Bowling Green families cool off in the summer is with a stop by Circus Square Park near downtown.  But the water fountain at the center of the square that often serves as a playground for small children won’t be working for the next few weeks. 

On Monday, crews discovered a hydrochloric acid leak that damaged some of the underground wiring for the pumps that operate the fountain.  City spokesperson Kim Lancaster says a contractor is currently evaluating how much damage was done.

“It looks like we have a good chance of getting the fountain at least partially operational in the next couple of weeks,” said Lancaster.  “It may not have all of the pumps running and it may not have the patterns that we like to run.”

Lancaster says an estimated timetable for a full repair is still unknown.  She says the hydrochloric acid is used to maintain a pH balance of the chlorine, much like a swimming pool.

Regional
2:38 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Former Law School Classmates Seek to Honor Slain Somerset Attorney

Classmates of a murdered Somerset attorney are honoring his memory by seeking to create an endowment in his name. Mark Stanziano, 57, was shot and killed June 27 outside his law office in downtown Somerset. A suspect charged with the murder has pleaded not guilty.

Shortly after news of the killing broke, a group of Stanziano’s former University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law classmates decided to begin a fundraising campaign towards an endowment that would benefit the school’s moot court team.

U of L development officer J.P. Davis says the team offers law students the chance to practice what they’ve learned in a mock courtroom setting.

“The competition actually provides students with the opportunity to practice traditional appellate advocacy, mock trials, and alternative dispute resolution skills. It basically gives them an experiential opportunity to hone in on those skills,” Davis told WKU Public Radio.  

Davis says the school is setting a $25,000 goal for the endowment.

Regional
12:20 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Searchers Find No Remains that Match Leg Found in Ohio River

An initial search for more remains after a human leg turned up in the Ohio River turned up no results. But, Henderson County Chief Deputy Coroner Don Farris says it is likely a match will be found.

Farris told The Paducah Sun that he feels confident about finding a match to the leg, which surfaced Friday near Henderson.

The coroner's office sent the leg -- two lower leg bones and a shoe-- to the medical examiner's office in Madisonville. Farris says there are several missing people in the tri-state area, increasing the likelihood of a DNA match being made.

The Henderson County Rescue Squad and the Henderson Dive Team searched near where the bones were found. Perry Township in Indiana sent a rescue boat with sonar equipment to assist.

Regional
5:21 am
Mon July 7, 2014

KSP Looking for Logan County Inmate

Kentucky State Police in Bowling Green were contacted by the Logan County Detention Center regarding an inmate that had escaped.

21 year old Christopher Scarbrough of Russellville is described as a white male, 5'11", 160 pounds with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen at the Logan County Detention Center Sunday afternoon.

Anyone with any information on Scarbrough's whereabouts is asked to call State Police at 1-800-222-5555.

Regional
7:14 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Already a Valuable Resource For Forecasters, Kentucky Mesonet Looks To Sustain Growth

Dark clouds roll through over a farm near the Logan County/Warren County line off Russellville Road in June
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

When severe thunderstorms fire up around the Commonwealth, forecasters with the National Weather Service often make use of a network of automated weather observation stations around the state. The network, known as Kentucky Mesonet, has seen steady growth over the last eight years.

But the challenge now facing the network is long-term sustainability.

State climatologist and WKU professor Stu Foster says the automated reporting sites provide real-time data such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall amounts. The data is collected and uploaded to the Kentucky Climate Center every five minutes and is available for anyone to see. 

He says it can give the weather service a better idea of what’s actually going on on the ground in addition to what they can see on radar.

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Summer Camp
8:46 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Photo Gallery: Center for Courageous Kids Camp

Two campers and one counselor take a canoe out on the lake at the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.
Abbey Oldham

The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky., hosts nine different summer camps at no cost to their families.

They welcome up to 128 children who suffer from a different illness each week. The Center for Courageous Kids is a non-profit medical camping facility that has been open since February 2008. Since then, they have hosted over 16,500 campers from 40 different states. The Center sits on 168 acres on Scottsville and includes a bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, manmade lake, archery station, arts and crafts building, medical center, dining facility, and lodges for the campers. 

Photojournalist Abbey Oldham visited the Center on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, and took photos of what the Center offers its young campers.

Regional
8:41 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Army Study Analyzes Cutting 16,000 Personnel from Fort Campbell

A new analysis conducted by the U.S. Army offers the possibility of Ft. Campbell losing up to 16,000 members of its current personnel.
Credit Ft. Campbell

The Army has analyzed the impact of cutting 16,000 personnel from Fort Campbell, which would be about half of its current population.

This analysis was part of the Army’s Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment 2020 Force Structure Realignment,(SPEA) which studied the impacts of reducing the force from around 500,000 to between 440,000 to 450,000. The draft study found there would be no significant impact from the Army’s force reductions, though there are many factors to be assessed before reduction numbers are finalized for the 30 individual locations, including Fort Campbell.

The assessment indicates Fort Campbell is a major economic influence in Christian County, Kentucky, and Montgomery County, Tennessee, where the Armed Forces accounts for 23 percent and 14 percent of the workforce respectively. Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp says the SPEA is only a study and has not affected Hopkinsville’s planning. He says there was no impact on Fort Campbell after a similar evaluation was done two years ago.

“We don’t know if anything will happen but we expect that there would not be a significant reduction at Fort Campbell because Fort Campbell is one of the most strategic military posts in the country,” Kemp said. “We’ve been briefed at Fort Campbell by the command down there and we’ve endeavored to obtain as much information as we can.”

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Regional
3:43 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

New Operator of WKU Health Clinic Promises Expanded Hours, Services

Credit WKU

On August 1, the Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green will take over operations of the WKU Health Services Center. 

WKU decided earlier this year to privatize the facility in a move that’s expected to save the university about $1 million  a year. 

Graves Gilbert Human Resources Director Debbie Diamond confirmed to WKU Public Radio that the three doctors and a nurse practitioner currently on staff were not retained.

"They have sent in applications and resumes to us.  At this time, we're not hiring any physicians," said Diamond.  "We're using our current family medicine physicians, but that could change down the road."

July 24 is the last day that doctors Patricia Blewett, Allen Redden, and Ray Rowland will see patients.  According to Diamond, the campus health facility will continue to offer the same level of care, with additional expertise.

"We have 89 physicians and over 21 specialties, so if a patient needed more specialized care, we have the internal departments that can offer that care.  I think everybody will have better access to health care," added Diamond.  "We'll also be able to offer more access to insurance carriers just because of our size and capability of negotiating with the carriers."

Starting August 1, the campus facility will be open to the general public and have new hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Thursday to vote on a contract with Graves Gilbert.

Regional
3:40 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Federal Highway Trust Fund Insolvency Threatens $185 Million in Kentucky Projects

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Congressional inaction threatening the solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund may cost Kentucky $185 million for projects, drastically changing how the state pays for road construction, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday.

Beshear and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was visiting the state, criticized Congress for  inaction that will reduce the amount the highway trust fund reimburses states for roadwork by 28 percent, affecting upwards of 700,000 jobs nationwide.

"Simply put, if you drive on Kentucky's highways, or if your business depends upon our roads to move your workers, your goods, your supplies or your customers, you will see a negative impact," Beshear said.

Of the $185 million in jeopardy, $150 million will affect the widening of I-65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman said. The remaining $35 million is slated for "pavement rehabilitation" projects across the state.

Neither Beshear nor KYTC Secretary Mike Hancock offered a figure of how many road contracting jobs in Kentucky could be affected if Congress doesn't shore up the fund.

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