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Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport

Aviation students in the Owensboro region can complete their degrees and receive training without ever leaving home under a new program between Owensboro Community and Technical College and Eastern Kentucky University. 

Under the agreement, students will take their first two years of classes at OCTC and complete their bachelor’s degree at EKU online.  They’ll then have hands-on training at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport. 

EKU’s Director of Aviation Ralph Gibbs says programs like this will fill a real need.

"There's a forecast demand of pilots over the next 20 years that is 500,000," Gibbs told WKU Public Radio.  "That's such an astronomical number that even if I had the next 20 years to create new pilots at the Richmond campus, it wouldn't even put a dent in it."

EKU has similar agreements with community and technical colleges in Hazard, Middlesboro, and Ashland.

Funtown Mountain Facebook

The future of an amusement park in south central Kentucky looks grim as the owner faces legal troubles.  Officials have closed Funtown Mountain just off I-65 in Cave City because of safety violations. 

Cave City Police Chief Jeff Wright says much of the park has been destroyed since owner and Louisville businessman Will Russell announced publicly that he was giving away some of the property.

"The bottom building where the gift shop used to be is ransacked.  Everything is broken, torn out.  Everything that used to be inside the building like ice cream machines, coke machines, they've all just been thrown out in the parking lot," Wright told WKU Public Radio.  "In all my law enforcement career, I've never seen anything like this happen.  To be honest with you, it's just been an embarrassment to the city of Cave City as far as I'm concerned."

Russell himself has caused some of the destruction, claiming it was a form of art. 

Russell made the following statement on the Funtown Mountain Facebook page Wednesday:

"When we acquired the property in June, there were buildings and warehouses full of old stock and souvenirs that we could never use," wrote Russell.  "This is why we decided to let the people of Kentucky have these items for free. This has created some good will towards the project and inexplicably some animosity from a small group of opposing voices."

The post also noted that Russell is taking some time to execute plans for Funtown Mountain and that he intends on it being a full-time amusement park by spring 2016.

Russell has been arrested twice since July and is facing drug and alcohol charges. 

Russell purchased the old Guntown Mountain property and re-opened it in June as Funtown Mountain.  He received a $250,000 loan from the Kentucky Tourism Development Land Program and raised more than $26,000 through an online campaign.

Ryland Barton

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will be released from an Eastern Kentucky jail, provided she does not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses by her deputies.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis into the custody of U.S. Marshals on Thursday. Davis had refused to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. She’s said issuing the documents to same-sex couples violates her deeply held religious beliefs.

Last month, Bunning ordered Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses, but she remained defiant. Several of the deputy clerks in her office began issuing marriage licenses to all couples on Friday.

On Tuesday, Bunning ordered Davis to be released from the Carter County Detention Center. But he wrote that she could not interfere with her deputy clerks issuing the documents.

Davis’ fight against same-sex marriage has drawn national attention to the small towns of Grayson — where she was jailed — and Morehead, where she works.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were expected in Grayson.

Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, has also planned a visit.

A substitute teacher for Bowling Green city schools will remain in jail on child pornography charges.  A detention hearing was held Friday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. 

Leon Lussier was arrest Tuesday on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.  He was denied bond by Magistrate Judge Brent Brennenstuhl who said the 49-year-old Lussier posed a risk of harm. 

An international investigation launched by Canadian police alleges Lussier was streaming child pornography videos.  Authorities says a search of his Bowling Green home uncovered videos of children engaged in sex acts.

Lussier has worked as a substitute teacher in Bowling Green schools since 2012.  Following his arrest, the school system placed Lussier on indefinite suspension. 

He will return to court September 23 for arraignment.

Eyder is reporting today from Morehouse, Ky.

In what was an emotional and contentious scene at the Rowan County, Ky., Courthouse this morning, one dramatic legal standoff came to an end when a gay couple was issued a marriage license.

James Yates and William Smith, who had tried this five times before, arrived at the courthouse just as the sun started peeking out from under the mountains on the horizon.

They walked past protesters — some condemning them and some cheering them — and entered the clerk's office.

Update 6:21 p.m.: Gov. Beshear Again Says No To Special Session For Clerks Bill

In a statement released Thursday evening, Gov. Steve Beshear again said he would not call a special session for the General Assembly to consider legislation that would relieve county clerks of the obligation to issue marriage licenses.

The legislative effort, which has support in both political parties, is a response to Kim Davis’ ongoing refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Lisa Autry

The National Corvette Museum marked a milestone Thursday when it celebrated the reopening of the Skydome, the site of a massive sinkhole collapse on February 12, 2014. 

Eight prized cars fell into the 45-foot hole and most suffered extensive damage. 

Executive Director Wendell Strode thanked the community for its support throughout the ordeal.

"While we had a disastrous situation, everybody worked together and we're back better than ever, stronger than ever, more united than ever," Strode told WKU Public Radio.  "It's just a great day."

Construction Manager Mike Murphy of Murphy, Scott, and Daniel reflected on the past 18 months and said each phase of reconstruction had its challenges.

"Initially, it was how to get all the cars out safely with the structure in the condition it was in, so it was two-fold," Murphy explained.  "We had to secure everything first to bring the heavy equipment in, and then extract the cars, and of course a lot of them weren’t intact. This was the first big challenge."

The repair work took the Skydome from three levels to one, which created more display space. 

A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail for contempt Thursday after she insisted that it would violate her conscience to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her deputy clerks were summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning after she repeatedly denied them marriage licenses, cited her religious beliefs and “God’s authority.”

A federal judge ordered that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be taken into custody on Thursday over her refusal to issue marriage licenses despite a court order.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Ryland Barton reports:

We’ll have more soon.

Ryland Barton

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will be back in federal court Thursday morning in Ashland. For the past several days, she has defied a federal judge's order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying her religious views prevent her from signing off on them.

An appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court have declined to interject on her behalf. So today's hearing will determine whether Davis is in contempt of U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order last month to resume issuing marriage licenses. She could be fined or even put in jail.

This week, Davis spent much of her days with her office door shut and the blinds down, avoiding people and the media spotlight.

Under normal circumstances, Davis' is responsible for mundane tasks — vehicle registration renewals, running elections — for a county of fewer than 24,000 residents. But this summer, she's found herself at the center of a national controversy.

So who is Kim Davis?

The 49-year-old Democrat was first elected to this post in November. She replaced her mother, Jean Bailey, who served as county clerk for 37 years.

Ludovic Bertron, Wikimedia Commons

The controversy continues to swirl around Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her repeated defying of court orders to issue marriage licenses based on her religious opposition to gay marriage. 

The director of The Fairness Campaign in Kentucky Chris Hartman was in Rowan County this week when several couples were denied marriage licenses and saw how devastated they were. 

“It’s a dehumanizing, demeaning and demoralizing feeling to be told over and over and over again that you are so different and I am so opposed to you that I simply cannot give you the basic right the Supreme Court of the United States has twice affirmed you deserve,” said Hartman.

Hartman said there are only three county clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses out of the 120 clerks in the state. He said he thinks that if those three clerks can’t do their jobs, they should step aside. 

“They’re getting paid to do a job," said Hartman. "They were elected to do that job. The folks of Rowan County and everywhere else deserve to have their basic rights met and these marriage licenses delivered and if they can’t do they need to step aside and let someone who fulfill their role who can.”

Kim Davis and the six deputy clerks in Rowan County have been summoned to a contempt hearing Thursday in Ashland.

Defying legal decisions that go all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky.., clerk, continued to deny marriage licenses on Wednesday in protest of same-sex marriage.

As Kentucky Public Radio's Ryland Barton reports, Davis, who has become a divisive figure in the national debate on same-sex marriage, has been summoned to a federal court on Thursday for a hearing on whether to hold her in contempt.

With that, here's what we know about Davis:

A substitute teacher for the Bowling Green Independent School District is under arrest on child pornography charges. 

A letter that went out Wednesday to staff and parents says Leon Lussier was suspended from employment indefinitely while he is under federal investigation. 

According to Superintendent Gary Fields, Lussier passed background checks before he was hired in 2012.

"On all of our employees, we do state and federal criminal background checks," Fields told WKU Public Radio.  "There were no red flags on those reports, as well as professional references that applicants have to complete, as well."

Fields said the 49-year-old Lussier has worked in all schools buildings in the district, but there’s no indication any of his victims were students.  It's also unlikely that Lussier received or viewed images while on school grounds.

"Our substitute teachers do not have access to logging into the computers or have any access to technology while they're in the building," explained Fields.

Lussier holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and has been in education since 1998. 

He was arrested at his home Tuesday and taken to the Warren County Regional Jail.  Lussier is scheduled to appear Friday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.

Update 9:10 p.m.: Beshear’s Statement

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Steve Beshear said “117 of our 120 county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender.”

Here’s his full statement:

A district judge in Warren County has agreed to serve a one-month suspension from the bench following an investigation by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission. 

The probe found that Judge Sam Potter, Junior’s alcohol dependency affected his job performance.  According to the commission, he appeared in court disheveled and engaged in erratic behavior. 

Potter’s attorney Charles English said while public officials are held to a higher standard, anyone call fall victim to alcohol addiction.

"Even judges are subject to this disease," English told WKU Public Radio.  "Judge Potter unfortunately became an alcoholic, but he's gone through a treatment program now, and fortunately he's cured."

Judge Potter returned to the bench July 1, and English says he has been performing admirably.  Under an agreement with the Judicial Conduct Commission, Potter will serve an unpaid suspension for 30 days beginning December 15.

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