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.

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.

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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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.

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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1:52 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Beshear: Kentucky Road Projects Delayed Because of Highway Trust Fund Stalemate

In less than a month, states across the U.S. could see a 28 percent cut in funding for highway projects.  Congress hasn’t been able to pass a bill that would shore up the federal Highway Trust Fund. 

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the commonwealth has already put $185 million dollars’ worth of construction projects on hold because of the stalemate in Washington.

“Believe it or not, when it comes to absorbing the impact of this funding crisis, Kentucky is in better shape than most of the other states,” said Gov. Beshear. “We have been and will continue to use state-generated transportation funds to mitigate, as much as possible, short-term impacts in our federal program.”

But, Beshear says among the construction now on the shelf is a project that would widen Interstate 65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown.  U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx joined Beshear at a press conference Wednesday in Frankfort, urging congress to act.

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12:59 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Judge Sides with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Jurisdiction for Bridge Collapse Lawsuit

A cargo ship took out a 322-foot section of the Eggners Ferry Bridge in western Kentucky on January 26, 2012.

A federal judge has sided with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in a lawsuit against the owner of a ship that damaged a western Kentucky bridge.  The ruling says the case against employees of Foss Maritime Company must be heard in a state circuit court.  

The Transportation Cabinet sued seven current or former employees for their part in the 2012 crash of the Delta Mariner, into the Eggners Ferry Bridge on Kentucky Lake.  An entire span of the bridge was demolished and had to be replaced.  The state is seeking to recover more than $7 million in damages. 

The Transportation Cabinet filed suit against Foss Maritime, the owner of the cargo vessel, in Marshall Circuit Court and requested a jury trial.  Seattle-based Foss Maritime got the case removed to federal court.  But in a ruling this week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell Judge ruled that "state courts remain competent to  hear maritime causes of action as long as the defendant is a person and not a vessel."  The decision leaves open the possibility of a jury trial.

Foss Maritime maintains it is not responsible for causing the collapse because some of the bridge's navigation lights were not working.  The Cabinet’s lawsuit claims the crew ignored a series of warnings from the U.S. Coast Guard about the malfunction.

9:58 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Owensboro Eyes Stricter Smoking Ban

A western Kentucky city is considering a proposal to make a ban on smoking even stricter.

Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne told the Messenger-Inquirer that the proposal would ban smoking in all public places, including parks, outdoor dining areas and properties owned by the city.

The city is already under a smoking ban approved in 2006 by Daviess Fiscal Court, which banned smoking in buildings open to those under age 18.

Payne says he has unanimous support from the City Commission for the proposal, which will be considered in August.

4:15 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Baptist Church in Kentucky Prepares to Hold First Gay Marriage Ceremony

David Bannister and Steven Carr have been together for more than six years.  They plan to get married next May at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville. 

The Courier-Journal reports the 1,200-member congregation places women in leadership and is already more liberal than most churches in the Baptist denomination.  Highland Baptist left the conservative Southern Baptist Convention about 20 years ago.  In 2012, the church ordained its first openly gay minister. 

The couple planning to wed there next spring hopes they can be legally married in light of recent rulings striking down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage.