Regional

Joe Corcoran

Bowling Green mayor Bruce Wilkerson is adding the title of college president to his resume.

Daymar College announced Wednesday that Wilkerson will lead their campus in Bowling Green.

He’ll continue as the city’s mayor.

The Owensboro-based school’s campus in Warren County had 214 students enrolled last year, and produced 133 graduates.

Wilkerson said he’ll focus on the quality of students, not quantity.

“Numbers aren’t the important part," the Bowling Green Mayor said. "Our focus will be on the individual student and making sure they have the opportunity to meet the goals they’ve set for themselves. We hope that in doing that, the reputation of Daymar will lead us to grow.”

Daymar’s reputation took a hit in 2014 when it was sued by then-Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway for alleged violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

A religious group building a massive Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in Kentucky has won a legal battle over the state’s withdrawal of a potential tax incentive worth millions.

A federal judge ruled Monday that Kentucky officials violated the ark builders’ First Amendment protections by blocking it from the sales tax tourism incentive that could have been worth up to $18 million.

The Ark Encounter, being built by Christian group Answers in Genesis, is due to open in July.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled the state’s Tourism Cabinet cannot exclude the ark attraction from the incentive based on its “religious purpose and message.” The state initially celebrated the project but reversed course in late 2014.

Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham says the ruling is a “victory for the free exercise of religion in this country.”

Last week’s winter storm set a record in Bowling Green.  Friday’s snowfall was the third unusually large snowstorm to impact the region in the past 12 months. 

The 12.2-inch snowfall was the third largest single-day snowfall in Bowling Green history dating back to 1893.  State Climatologist Stuart Foster at WKU said the snow also came on the heels of nearly ten inches in February 2015 and more than seven inches last March.

"Those came with a lot of complicating factors in terms of some frigid temperatures and then after one of those events, we had a lot of rain on top of that," Foster said.  "While we had a lot of snow this time, we kind of dodged a bullet too."

During the peak of Friday’s snow storm, more than seven inches of snow fell in a six-hour period between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. 

Eastern portions of the state also posted some impressive snowfall amounts of up to 22 inches.  Accumulations were much lower in western Kentucky.

Kentucky LRC

A top Democrat in the Kentucky House says he will not seek re-election.

Johnny Bell of Glasgow plans to retire from the General Assembly after eight years. 

The House Majority Whip says the political atmosphere in federal and state legislatures has changed, and it’s more about politics than about serving the people. The 50-year-old Bell serves Barren and a portion of Warren County. 

His announcement comes as Democrats hold a narrow 50-46 majority in the Kentucky House with four seats up for grabs in a special election March 8. 

Glasgow Attorney Danny Basil and City Councilman Joe Trigg, both Democrats, will run for Bell’s seat along with Republicans Freddie Joe Wilkerson and Steve Riley.

Tuesday is the filing deadline for candidates seeking office this year.

Investigators in Pulaski County are trying to determine what caused a fire that destroyed a farmhouse and killed two people.

Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson tells local media outlets that the fire occurred Sunday afternoon at a house about a mile and a half off the road.

The names of the victims had not been released as of Sunday night, but Robinson says the victims were a man and a woman.

Robinson says snow and ice made it difficult for crews to reach the structure, but the delay did not make much of a difference.

Kevin Willis

Classes at all WKU campuses have been canceled Monday. Offices will remain open.

Here is the latest update on road condition from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet office in Bowling Green, released Sunday morning:

After making headway on many Priority A routes yesterday, single digit temperatures have caused any water left on the roadways that were clear to freeze overnight. This has created icy patches, some of them large, that could be hard to see for motorists. Also patches of coverage still remain on some priority A routes.

Salting operations were halted last night due to the frigid temperatures, but plowing operations were out in force. Crews were able to plow Priority B and some Priority C routes overnight and will continue to do so today. Temperatures are predicted to be above freezing today with sunshine which will be a tremendous help to clearing roadways. As temperatures begin to rise, salting operations will resume. As the ice and snow left on the roadways begin to melt throughout the day slushy conditions can be expected along with water on the roadways.

Most roadways still have hazardous conditions on them, especially at intersections. Crews will continuing working around the clock in shifts to get the roads cleared.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employee has died while plowing highways in Christian County, according to KYTC spokesman Keith Todd.

Todd identified the employee as Christopher Adams. Adams started his shift around midnight Saturday. Todd reports Adams had called his supervisor around 5:50 a.m. Saturday to report his plow had slid off KY 115.

Adams was found slumped over his seat and unresponsive by his supervisor.

Following a response from area paramedics, Adams was pronounced dead by the county coroner. Adams had worked for the cabinet for 16 years.

A massive snowstorm that affected most of the East Coast finally ended Sunday morning, leaving in its wake 1-3 feet of snow over major cities, at least 18 storm-associated casualties and severe coastal flooding.

While the snow has stopped, the weather warnings continue. High winds will create blowing and drifting snow in some areas, the National Weather Service warns. And while New York City lifted a police-enforced travel ban on Sunday morning, many authorities are asking citizens to refrain from driving for another day as efforts to clear off the roads continue.

Lance Dennee / WKMS

The AP is reporting that I-75 in eastern Kentucky has been reopened Saturday afternoon following the winter storm that hit the state Friday.

Some motorists were stranded on the interstate for hours. An official tells the AP there were no injuries related to the traffic standstill.

Update at 10:00 a.m.:

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet office in Elizabethtown issued the following update on road conditions throughout the region Saturday:

With snow and ice teams working around the clock since late Thursday night, most primary routes in District 4 have improved greatly since accumulating precipitation ended and moved east. I-65, Western Kentucky Parkway and Bluegrass Parkway are all open but traffic continues moving at a slower than normal pace.

U.S. highways such as 31-W, 31-E, 60, 62 and 150 are still covered in many places, particularly in our eastern counties where snow accumulation totals are between 12 and 15 inches.

Secondary roads which include many state routes are still mostly covered.  These will be a major focus for snow and ice teams today.  Crews will continue to plow roads and treat where possible.  Sunshine will be very favorable to improving road conditions.  Crews will work into the evening, but with temperatures forecast generally close to zero around the region, chemical treatments will be ineffective.  After plowing is complete today, treatment will resume on Sunday.

The snow will glow white on the mountains tonight — the Appalachians, that is, from North Carolina through Pennsylvania.

The wind is howling — gusts over 60 miles per hour in some areas, the National Weather Service reports — as this swirling storm moves up the coast.

Kevin Willis

4:12 p.m.:  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says major problem areas in the state include Hart and Rockcastle counties:

With nightfall quickly approaching, snow and ice crews will remain on the job for the rest of evening and into Saturday.

Today’s heavy snow storm dumped over 14 inches of snow in some parts of the state causing many delays, service disruption, impassable roadways and overturned semis along the interstates.  

The most problematic areas for traffic included I-65 near Hart County; I-75 in Rockcastle County and spots of U.S. 23 in Lawrence County.  Extra resources have been dedicated to clear these priority routes.

4:01 p.m.:  Truck driver Mike Edmonds has been stuck at a Kentucky truck stop all day as the snow piles up around him.

Edmonds told the Associated Press that the parking lot is so slick that vehicles spin out when trying to get back on Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County. And even if they leave the truck stop, they're stuck in traffic due to numerous wrecks in both directions.

Edmonds says he doesn't expect to get back on the road until Saturday. He's hauling a load of carpet to Michigan.

Rockcastle County has received a foot of snow, with higher accumulations possible.

Asked how he's spent his day, Edmonds replied: "Talking with the other drivers about how screwed up the weather is."

Kevin Willis

A winter storm warning goes into effect Thursday night for much of Kentucky as the state deals with a second round of snowfall this week.  However, this storm system is much stronger. 

Meteorologist Ron Steve with the National Weather Service in Louisville says more than a foot of snow is expected in some places.

"There's going to be a pretty good swath basically paralleling the Western Kentucky and Bluegrass Parkways from Hopkinsville, up through Elizabethtown towards Lexington that could get ten to 14 inches and even some locally higher amounts than that," Steve predicted. 

Bowling Green can expect between five and nine inches of snow.  Four to eight inches is predicted in Somerset.  Owensboro should get between four and six inches of snowfall, and Elizabethtown should prepare for between ten and 14 inches. 

Forecasters say there will be some sleet and freezing rain, as well as ice accumulations of up to a quarter inch. 

Travel is expected to become very dangerous.  In addition to the snowfall, wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour will reduce visibility.

Lance Dennee / WKMS

Kentucky is preparing for the impending winter storm.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for our listening area starting Thursday evening at 6 p.m. central time, and continuing through Saturday morning.

See the National Weather Service forecast for our region.

The wintry mix will begin late this evening with snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Up to a quarter-of-an-inch of ice could form on roads and create dangerous driving conditions.

The mix will change completely to snow on Friday and the snow is expected to continue until Saturday morning.

Areas north of the Cumberland Parkway could get nine or more inches of snow.

South of the Cumberland Parkway near the Kentucky and Tennessee border will get four to six inches of snow.

“Over the next 48 hours, a major winter storm is expected to impact many regions of Kentucky— potentially causing ice-related damage, service interruption and impassable roadways,” said Governor Matt Bevin. “Our agencies are monitoring the conditions and coordinating communications with local officials and emergency personnel in preparation. Safety is our first priority; so it is very important to restrict travel to a minimum.”

Gusty winds of up to 25 miles-per-hour means there will be blowing and drifting snow, with poor visibility for driving.

The strong wind could also cause power outages in some areas.

Thursday's Weather Closings

Jan 21, 2016
Kevin Willis

WKU campuses in Bowling Green, Owensboro and Glasgow will open Thursday on schedule. Campuses in Elizabethtown and Fort Knox will open at 10:30 a.m. ET.

You're advised to use your best judgment when traveling and be cautious of potential black ice on roads and sidewalks.

Campbellsville University will be on a snow schedule Thursday. Staff are asked to report at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Lindsey Wilson is operating on a delayed schedule Thursday.

Update: All Western Kentucky University campuses are closed Wednesday, and are classes have been canceled.

Lindsey Wilson College and Campbellsville University are also closed Wednesday due to the winter weather.  

Original post:

The western half of Kentucky is under a Winter Storm Warning as the first measureable snow of the winter is on its way. 

Forecasters are predicting around five inches in Bowling Green, four inches in the Somerset and Owensboro regions, and two inches in Lexington and Louisville. 

The heaviest amounts will start Wednesday morning and continue into the afternoon.  Hydrologist Mike Callahan with the National Weather Service in Louisville says the snowfall could be tricky for commuters.

"They need to be extremely careful," Callahan told WKU Public Radio.  "A lot of people are misguided thinking that a little bit of snow isn't a problem and sometimes a little bit of snow can be more treacherous than after the snow falls for a while."

Callahan says this will mainly be a snow event, but forecasters are watching another storm system that will occur Thursday night and into Friday that could bring a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. 

Temperatures this week will be steady with evening lows in the 20s and daytime highs in the low to mid 30s.

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