Inside BGMU's water treatment plant as workers conduct over a million tests per year on Warren County's drinking water
For 72 hours earlier this month, residents in Toledo, Ohio were told not to use the city’s water because of toxic algae bloom. It’s a story that gave many a renewed appreciation for being able to turn on a faucet and drink what comes out.
In Warren County, Bowling Green Municipal Utilities is in charge of the treating the water and delivering it to the community.
Doug Kimbler, superintendent of treatment plants, took us on a tour last week so we could get a better idea of what actually goes into the process. We started by overlooking the source: the Barren River on the east side of downtown. Then, we briefly stepped inside.
“We have two pumps actually running in here right now, it’s fairly hot day for Bowling Green. We’ll probably produce somewhere between 21 and 22 million gallons of water between Bowling Green and Warren County for the day,” said Kimbler above the din of the pumps.
Some retired military veterans are asking Kentucky lawmakers to commit funding for a new long-term care facility for veterans that would be located in Bowling Green.
The commonwealth currently has only three such facilities, with a fourth veterans nursing home scheduled to open next summer in Hardin County.
Dr. Ray Biggerstaff served in Vietnam as a Captain with the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell. He told state lawmakers in Frankfort that the number of veterans in the south-central Kentucky region makes Warren County a logical location for a long-term care operation.
“When we take a look at the demographic data for Bowling Green and the Barren River Area Development District, we’re looking at a total of 20,000 veterans in that particular area. Surrounding the area, we have an additional 22,000 veterans that are in the perimeter,” said Biggerstaff.
Biggerstaff said he also thought a long-term care facility for veterans in southern Kentucky could attract veterans who live in northern Tennessee.
In testimony before a joint committee on State Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Biggerstaff said backers of the proposed veteran’s nursing home in Warren County have identified a 30-acre site off I-65 near the Kentucky Transpark as a possible location for the facility.
The nursing home being built in Hardin County will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department, and feature a dozen ten-person homes providing full nursing services to 120 veterans. It’s scheduled to open next June.
Kentucky’s three nursing homes for veterans currently in operation are in Hopkins, Jessamine, and Perry counties.
Veteran State Representative Jody Richards of Bowling Green is facing his first Tea Party challenger in the November election. Jenean Hampton is taking on the longest continuously serving state representative in Kentucky history.
"There was much prayer involved. This wasn't my plan," said Hampton in an interview with WKU Public Radio. "Sometimes you're screaming at the TV, you see things that need to be improved, and you're screaming that someone needs do something, well sometimes that someone is you."
Hampton serves as chair of the Bowling Green-Southern Kentucky Tea Party. The 55-year-old Republican is an Air Force veteran and businesswoman who wants to use her private sector experience to spur economic development in the commonwealth.
In her first run at public office, Hampton is taking on political heavyweight Jody Richards who was first elected to the legislature in 1975 and served as House Speaker from 1995 to 2009. Over that time, he's become the recipient of several plum committee assignments, including Appropriations and Revenue. Richards told WKU Public Radio that his influence in Frankfort could not be matched by a newcomer.
"No new person would have my committee lineup nor would they have the connections I do," he suggested. "I pride myself in working well with both sides of the aisle."
A new $150 million aluminum production facility in Bowling Green will create 80 new jobs.
Governor Beshear was on hand Wednesday morning at the Kentucky Transpark as ground was broken on the Japanese-European partnership. The joint venture between Contellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation will create finished aluminum body sheets for cars and trucks.
Construction on the 225,000-square-foot facility will begin this summer.
Cathy Roemer-Garrison is always looking out for innovative ways to teach. She’s an English as a Second Language instructor at Moss Middle School in Warren County.
"I came across on the Internet something about children reading to shelter animals, and that the research showed it was successful at improving reading fluency and building self-esteem, which is a perfect fit for my ELL kids," explained Roemer-Garrison.
She took the idea to Principal David Nole, who admits he was skeptical at first.
"I thought, 'How's that going to improve what we're doing?' The more I listened the more I realized she was going about the heart of the reader, and that's just developing the love to read," Nole said.
And so it began. An initiative called Paw Pals: Literacy with Love. Every Wednesday, Roemer-Garrison visits the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society with a group of ELL students, or English Language Learners. Most are from war-torn countries, but at the shelter, those memories are overcome with smiles and laughter.
On this visit, a shelter employee brings out eight-week-old long-haired Chihuahuas.
Seventh graders Graciella Ventura of El Salvador, and Soe Meh and Bway Baw both of Thailand, sit in a circle, each holding a puppy and a book. Storytime is about to begin. Ventura has a wide grin as one of the puppies licks her face.
Warren County sheriff Jerry "Peanuts" Gaines has been sworn in as the newest president of the Kentucky Association of Counties Executive Board. Gaines is the first sheriff to ever serve in the one-year position.
Gaines said he wants to bring more conferences and meetings of the group to the Warren County area and work with local officials such as Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton to develop a better way for sheriff's offices serving papers.
But overall, Gaines says KACo runs well and he just wants to continue the success it's had so far.
A Warren County Circuit Court Judge is taking a medical leave after being diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer.
Judge Margaret Huddleston says she will start chemotherapy immediately with a goal of returning to the bench by the first of 2014. She will not seek another eight-year term on the bench after her current term is completed.
Judge Huddleston was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2003. Following ten years of remission, doctors recently determined that the cancer had metastasized in her lungs.
Huddleston has presided over the Warren County Circuit Family Court, Division III, since being appointed to the bench by then-Governor Paul Patton in 1998. She won election to the bench in 1999 and was re-elected in 2007.
First District Warren County Magistrate James "Doc" Kaelin announced Wednesday morning that he does not plan on running for another term after his current one ends next year.
The Bowling Green Daily News reports Kaelin is in his 20th year of service in county government. He told the newspaper he's proud of the fiscal court's role in the growth that Warren County has seen during that time and added, "I just feel it's the time."
Wednesday is the first day for candidates to file to run for office in 2014.
A group of state, federal, and local law enforcement officers executed a search warrant Monday morning at the office of a Bowling Green cardiologist. The Bowling Green Daily News reports Dr. C. Fred Gott was not present during the search and has not been charged with any crime.
The Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force issued a release saying the search warrant was the result of a joint investigation also involving Kentucky State Police, the state attorney general’s office, Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division, the FBI, the DEA, and Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The newspaper reported law enforcement officers carried computer hard drives and boxes of papers out of Dr. Gott’s office this morning and loaded the items into trucks. The federal search warrant is a sealed document.