Kentucky Press News Service

Bevin calls special legislative session to deal with pensions. It starts at 8 p.m. EST

December 17, 2018 - 10:55pm
In a surprise move Monday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called a special legislative session to deal with the state’s struggling pension systems. He made the announcement just before 4 p.m. Monday, saying the session would begin four hours later at 8 p.m. “I am going to use the powers that have been granted to me to call the legislature into special session that will be effective tonight at eight o’clock,” Bevin said in a brief statement. “They will be coming in.” The call comes just four days after the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down Senate Bill 151, the legislature’s controversial pension overhaul bill that passed in the final days of the 2018 legislative session. The court ruled Republican legislative leaders erred by not giving the pension bill the constitutionally required three public readings in the Senate and House chambers before passing it last March. 2018-12-17T18:08:45-05:00

‘This is how cowards run a government.’ Teachers, public workers scramble to Capitol.

December 17, 2018 - 7:55pm
School teachers, public employees and their supporters quickly mobilized Monday after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin called a special session of the Kentucky legislature to make changes to the state’s pension systems, giving them only four hours notice. “I think we’ll see at least as good a crowd as we did the night they passed the sewage bill in the first place,” said Jessica Hiler, president of the Fayette County Education Association. Advocacy groups said they were scrambling to get their members to the Capitol in time to protest the special session, which was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. EST. Anyone who couldn’t make it to Frankfort was urged to call their lawmakers and demand that they adjourn immediately, the groups said. 2018-12-17T18:16:28-05:00

Was Matt Bevin's ProPublica video rant just a kiss-up to Donald Trump?

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Gov. Matt Bevin's Facebook rant about the Courier Journal's one-year partnership with ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative reporting organization, seemed to some like the unhinged ravings of an irrational politician. The fact that Bevin would lash out Wednesday night like he did at the Courier Journal and ProPublica — without even knowing what the upcoming investigation is about — had some questioning whether he had something to hide. But a source called Thursday morning with an interesting theory — and it shouldn't be dismissed. Bevin's rant had nothing to do with the Courier Journal and its partnership with ProPublica. It has nothing to do with what the two news organizations are going to dig up about his administration. "Get this," the source said. "It has everything to do with Trump." 2018-12-17T13:19:51-05:00

Appalachian water crisis demands new revenue streams, stronger oversight

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Personal stories of families collecting rainwater, going without laundry or bathing, and keeping children out of school seem like the stuff of a hurricane aftermath or other weather emergency — not routine life in America. Those are just a few of the findings of the Herald-Leader’s “Stirring the Waters” investigation into eight Eastern Kentucky water systems. The project — a partnership with the Charleston Gazette-Mail and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, coordinated by The GroundTruth Project and its new initiative, Report for America — showed many are living as if in an impoverished, undeveloped country. 2018-12-17T13:10:11-05:00

Focusing on present will show clearest vision

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Although 20-20 may denote flawless vision, nothing is perfect about our leaders playing politics and looking ahead rather than staying focused on the here and now. Somewhere along the way, especially in Washington, D.C., many of those seeking office have lost sight of what it means to be a public servant and why it is they should be running in the first place. 2018-12-17T13:03:33-05:00

Pension law overruled, but should be revisited

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
We are a nation of laws and, as citizens, we should always follow and respect those laws. We might not always like the laws or court decisions, but we should always try to adhere to them. On Thursday, we learned that the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down a law that made changes to the state’s struggling public pension system. Those who marched should be happy now that the state’s high court struck down the law, but we don’t believe this is the end of the effort to try to put this out-of-control pension system into a healthier place. 2018-12-17T12:58:01-05:00

Juvenile killed at house; suspect at large

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
A juvenile who was shot Sunday night at a Bowling green house died early Monday, and police are searching for another juvenile believed to be the shooter. The Bowling Green Police Department responded at 8:27 p.m. Sunday to the reported shooting at the address. City police officers remained at the address late Sunday processing the scene. 2018-12-17T12:53:21-05:00

Tick-tock

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
We get threats all the time, mostly idle and from local people who are hacked off about something that we put in the paper about them or a family member. A local disgraced lawyer and his band of idiots made threatening calls at one time, he’s in jail now so I guess he got what he deserved. On Dec. 13, I received an email of a bomb in our building. Apparently, there were businesses and media outlets in 21 states that received the same email. But we were the only media outlet in Kentucky, that I know of, that received that email. 2018-12-17T12:48:06-05:00

Fire safety important during winter

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Winter is when firefighters see the deadliest fires. While all fires can't be prevented, some can be with attention and maintenance to heating units and holiday decorations. "From November to March is the deadliest time for fires," said Steve Leonard, battalion chief for the Owensboro Fire Department. "Eighty percent of the fire deaths occur in our homes ... That's because we allow conditions to exist that allow a fire to start or spread." While city fire officials haven't seen any fatal fires so far during the holiday season, there have been fires where holiday lighting is believed to have been the cause. 2018-12-17T12:24:02-05:00

Steve Vied's 41-year reporting career closes with some final thoughts

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
If this were a normal Monday for me, my Road Trips column would fill this space. But my "normal" has changed. After 41 years at the Messenger-Inquirer I have retired. My last day at the newspaper was Dec. 7. Deciding to retire was a difficult decision. But it was time. My byline has been appearing in the Messenger-Inquirer since late 1977 -- a lifetime ago it seems. I was in the sports department for the first 13 years. 2018-12-17T12:18:10-05:00

KSP seeks ‘armed and dangerous’ Marion, Ky. man

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
The Kentucky State Police are requesting assistance in locating a wanted person who is considered armed and dangerous. In a news release Friday, KSP Lt. Dean Patterson said that Kenneth Brian Fitzgerald, 31 of Marion, is wanted for theft over $10,000 and by Kentucky Probation and Parole officers for absconding parole. Fitzgerald has a history of being armed and physically violent and should be considered dangerous. He should not be approached by the public. He is believed to be staying in the border areas of Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, and Lyon counties. 2018-12-17T12:16:16-05:00

Neil Ramsey to resign from Kentucky Retirement Systems board

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Neil Ramsey announced at Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees meeting on Monday that he is in the process of resigning from that position, citing a conflict with a state law that prevents a trustee from also serving as a city council member. However, right after Ramsey made this announcement, the KRS board voted to create a new unpaid adviser position just for Ramsey, allowing him to continue working with the investment committee that he has chaired since his appointment as a trustee by Gov. Matt Bevin in June of 2016. 2018-12-17T12:03:22-05:00

Kentucky GOP sifting through teachers' emails for political misuse

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
The Republican Party of Kentucky has sent a wave of open records requests for the work emails of several teachers, including some who ran for office in November's election — a move it said was a way to see if there was widespread misuse of government resources. But some educators see it as an intimidation tactic. While the GOP has declined to say how many requests it has submitted or for whom, at least some of the requests are for Democratic candidates who lost their elections. 2018-12-17T12:00:06-05:00

Kentucky is in a $43 billion pension hole. Here are some reasons why

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
In 2000, Kentucky’s public retirement plans were fully funded. Since then, they’ve accumulated nearly $43 billion in debts — making Kentucky’s pension system one of the worst-funded in America. Determining exactly how Kentucky got into this mess is a complicated exercise, partly because the reasons vary among Kentucky’s distinct pension plans for teachers, state government workers and local government workers. But here — in simplified terms — are some primary reasons. 2018-12-17T11:56:09-05:00

‘Worse and worse.’ Time to address Eastern Kentucky’s water woes, officials say.

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
In Eastern Kentucky, dealing with an absence of reliable, clean drinking water has become a part of daily life for many families. A series of stories published by the Herald-Leader recently, titled Stirring the Waters, featured a family in Martin County who are often forced to collect rainwater to get by during long outages. Other residents said they are afraid to drink the water that comes out the tap, leaving them to spend upwards of $50 a month on bottled water for drinking and cooking. Now, some state and local officials have called for increased regulation and accountability of water districts. 2018-12-17T11:47:07-05:00

Kentucky hunters face new restrictions after wasting disease is found in Tennessee deer

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
In an attempt to stave off a wasting disease that is affecting deer and elk in much of the rest of the country, state officials on Saturday said they are implementing new restrictions on deer brought in from Tennessee. “Effective immediately, hunters are prohibited from bringing any deer from Tennessee into Kentucky unless the brain and spinal column have been removed first,” the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources said in a news release. The department said the decision was made because preliminary testing showed chronic wasting disease in 10 white-tailed deer in Tennessee. 2018-12-17T11:41:03-05:00

AG Andy Beshear says he will fight to keep Affordable Care Act

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said Saturday will lead the fight to keep the Affordable Care Act. Beshear said he will call a news conference Monday to give more details of his plans to ensure the massive healthcare bill survives a legal challenge. On Friday, a Texas federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. That ruling will be appealed. 2018-12-17T11:34:17-05:00

Local leaders remember Arrow Air flight 1285

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
The tragic plane crash that killed 248 Fort Campbell soldiers on Dec. 12, 1985, outside a small Canadian town in Newfoundland is more than a memory in the southern Pennyrile. Both Fort Campbell and Hopkinsville hosted ceremonies Wednesday in remembrance of those fallen at Gander on Arrow Air flight 1285. Col. Joseph Escandon, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, spoke at both memorials. 2018-12-17T11:22:50-05:00

180 to be laid off at Georgetown plant

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
Some 180 employees, or about half the current workforce, at the Leggett & Platt adjustable bed plant in Georgetown will be laid off by the end of March 2019. The announcement was made Thursday and is due to “consolidating operations,” stated a company press release. “The business cycle is wonderful when everything is going up,” said David Johnson, senior employee relations representative. “It is horrendous when it is going down, and unfortunately that is where we are now.” 2018-12-17T11:15:10-05:00

Houdini’s new home soon to be settled

December 17, 2018 - 1:55pm
A cast on the broken lower right leg of Hou­dini, a goat who roamed for years along Interstate 65 in southern Hardin County, now is off and his health appears to be progressing, Hardin County Animal Care and Control Director Mike McNutt said. He said it will be another week or so before Hardin County’s most famous goat is expected to be medically cleared following an October traffic mishap. A new home for Houdini also could be on the horizon once he completely mends. The goat has a Facebook following of more than 30,000. 2018-12-17T11:06:23-05:00

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