11:52 am
Mon November 17, 2014

McCarthy Rejects McConnell's 'War on Coal' Charges

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy in June, 2014
Credit EPA

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy is rejecting claims that her agency is waging a “war on coal”.  Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, McCarthy says she expects coal to remain as part of the energy mix and that the coal industry is not specifically being targeted as the agency tries to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. 

Last week, Senator Mitch McConnell told the Courier-Journal that the Obama administration’s approach to the coal industry was a “true outrage”, and also criticized the just-announced climate agreement with China. 

4:36 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Automated Truck Screening to Increase at Kentucky Weigh Stations

Kentucky's Automated Truck Screening Project usage is about to almost double at interstate weigh stations.  There are currently five systems deployed at weigh stations throughout the state.  The technology allows for automated license plate readings that can be used to determine if a truck has delinquent taxes or regulation violations. 

State Division of Motor Carriers Assistant Director Brian Beaven says truck traffic in Kentucky and other parts of the eastern half of the U.S. is about to increase. "A lot of that to do with the widening of the Panama Canal for much larger containership," said Beaven. "They expect that to make a huge increase on the trucking traffic coming in from the eastern ports of the United States."

There are 14 truck weight stations across Kentucky.  Beaven says four additional automated truck screening systems are expected to be up and running by the end of the year.  "We can screen for safety issues.  For instance, a trucking company has a high driver or vehicle out of service rate, we can flag that to bring it to the officer's attention.  We also can screen for federal out of service orders," added Beaven.

Beaven says the automation system replaces workers who have to read numbers off moving trucks as they pull into the weigh station.

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3:49 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Judge: Kentucky Must OK Sale Of Alcohol Distributor

A Franklin County Circuit Court judge has ordered the state to approve the sale of a small Owensboro distributor to Anheuser-Busch in a decision that could prompt a legislative fight when the General Assembly meets in January.

Judge Phillip J. Shepherd ordered the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue a wholesale beer distributor's license to Anheuser-Busch within the next week, which would allow the sale to go through. Other alcohol distributors and retailers have opposed the sale, arguing it would give Anheuser-Busch too much power to control how competing products are distributed.

A spokesman for the department said the state is reviewing the decision. Shepherd noted the case is part of a debate that dates back 50 years over whether brewers should be able to own the distribution.

1:45 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Mammoth Cave Proposing Increase in Fees for Cave Tours, Other Services

Mammoth Cave is considering an increase in user fees in 2015.
Credit WKU Public Radio

Mammoth Cave National Park is planning an increase in the amount of fees visitors would pay for cave tours, camping, and picnic shelters.

Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead announced the proposed fee increases Friday afternoon. Under the plan, the cost of most cave tours would increase by $1-$2 dollars, with camping fees climbing to $5 from the current rate of $2.

The cost of reservable picnic shelters would jump $25.

Those interested in commenting on the proposed changes can do so until December 5.

Written comments can be made at the National Park Service planning website.

Craighead says the proposed fee increases would result in an additional $350,000 a year that the park would reinvest in projects.

“Our highest priority right now is to complete the renovations of the Mammoth Cave Hotel. The fees are also used to pay for the cave guides who do the tours, and for a variety of operational costs, like cleaning the campground," the Barren County native said.

Eighty percent of the fees collected at Mammoth Cave are used to pay for facilities and services at the park, with the other 20 percent used support projects at national parks that don’t charge entrance fees.

1:28 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Same-Sex Couples File Supreme Court Appeal

Same-sex couples seeking the right to marry are asking the Supreme Court to settle the issue of gay marriage nationwide.

Appeals being filed Friday urge the justices to review last week's lower court ruling that upheld anti-gay marriage laws in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the first appellate ruling to side with states seeking to preserve gay marriage bans since the Supreme Court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law last year.

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12:52 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Forecasters: Cold Temperatures Will Stick Around For The Next Week

Forecasters say high temperatures on Tuesday could fail to reach the 30 degree mark.

Much of Kentucky is preparing for a very cold weekend and a frigid start to next week.  Forecasters predict temperatures on Tuesday could struggle to reach 30 degrees.

Dr. Greg Goodrich with the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU says a prolonged stretch of sub-freezing weather in Kentucky is unusual for November. He says a super typhoon in the Bering Sea last week has caused the mercury to plummet here.  

“What that did is it dislodged the polar vortex and caused a piece of it to slide southward across Canada and into the United States,” said Goodrich . “And so the leading edge of that cold air crossed our area on Wednesday and looks like we’re going to get another reinforcing wave of that cold air here over the weekend  to make it even colder early next week.”

Goodrich says these temperatures are more commonly seen during the winter months in Kentucky.

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10:18 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Kentucky Drops 2-Drug Executions, Reworking Method

Kentucky is dropping its proposed use of a two-drug execution method after the prolonged deaths of inmates in two other states that used a similar means to carry out death sentences.

In a filing Thursday in Franklin Circuit Court, prosecutors cited "recent events in other states" as the reason for seeking to rewrite the regulations over the next six months.

Lethal injections have undergone scrutiny in recent years as the drugs used to carry out the process have become tougher for states to get as pharmaceutical companies barred their use for executions.

Executions in Kentucky have been on hold since 2010 when Judge Phillip Shepherd took issue with how executions were handled.

Since then, Ohio and Arizona have both used a two-drug method in executions that were prolonged.

5:10 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Luallen Takes Oath As New Kentucky Lt. Governor

Crit Luallen
Credit Courtesy

Crit Luallen is Kentucky's 56th lieutenant governor after a private swearing-in ceremony at the home of a retired Kentucky chief justice.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear chose Luallen to replace outgoing Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, who resigned to take a job as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama at the White House.

The former Democratic state auditor who has twice declined runs for higher office, Luallen has worked for six governors with positions including budget director and secretary of the finance and tourism cabinets.

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4:52 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

New Book Considers Jefferson Davis' Legacy As Confederate Commander in Chief

Jefferson Davis Birthplace Memorial in Fairview, Kentucky
Credit Emil Moffatt

Abraham Lincoln’s place in history is well-defined. He’s the great emancipator, the man who preserved the Union.   

Jefferson Davis’ legacy, however, is a little more complicated.

The two men were born within 120 miles of each other in rural parts of Kentucky.  Today, the Lincoln birthplace in Hodgenville is a National Park, featuring a granite memorial rising above rolling green hills.

“There’s four flights of the steps as you head up to the memorial, said park superintendent Bill Justice. “They are, in their own way, an invitation to go up and go into the memorial itself."

A replica of the austere log cabin in which Lincoln was born sits inside the ornate structure.

“There’s also a beautiful skylight up above there that provides an opportunity for natural light to flow into the building,” said Justice. “It has a very ‘memorial’ feel to it; the beautiful pink granite around the edge, the plaster-finished fixtures on the wall, the florets in the ceiling.  [It’s a] really, really beautiful interior for this memorial.”

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12:59 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Bowling Green Widow Asks for Wrongful Death Lawsuit to be Dropped

Brandon Bradshaw who shot in February 2013 when he pulled over his truck following a traffic dispute with then-Warren County court security officer Tommy Brown.

A federal judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from an apparent act of road rage last year in Bowling Green. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Brandon Bradshaw was shot three times in a parking lot on the 31-W Bypass and later died at a hospital. 

Bradshaw’s widow filed the lawsuit against Tommy Brown, who at the time, was an off-duty Warren County court security officer.  Brown claimed he shot Bradshaw in self-defense after the two argued in traffic.  Also named as defendants were law enforcement and medical personnel, accused in the suit of reckless disregard for Bradshaw’s life. 

Heidi Bradshaw’s attorney Gary Logsdon told WKU Public Radio that he voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit at her request.

"I honored that request because these are very difficult cases, difficult not just in the legal sense, but they take a toll on a person who participates, and that's a personal toll," said Logsdon.  "She told me the lawsuit and any funds derived from this would not heal the hole in her heart and the longer we litigated the less she came to peace and closure."

According to Logsdon, there were no settlements in the case. 

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley dismissed the civil suit Wednesday in federal court in Bowling Green.  The criminal case was resolved last year after a Warren County grand jury did not find enough evidence to indict Brown.