A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear unveils ‘Education First’ budget ending 14 years of cuts; funds health, pensions, social workers

Gov. Andy Beshear outlined his first budget to lawmakers on Tuesday prioritizing education, health care and protecting our children, underlining his belief that a budget is a statement of values. “It is a budget that not only ends years of painful cuts, it also makes a major investment in public education, fully funds expanded Medicaid, makes a historic investment in protecting our children, directs...

Follow-up legislation to 2019’s School Safety Resiliency Act easily clears Kentucky Senate

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Follow-up legislation to last year’s school safety bill easily cleared the state Senate on Monday. Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, the sponsor of the bill, said over the past year he has listened to stakeholders and people across the state to come up with changes to the original School Safety Resiliency Act. “A good bill has become even better,” Wise told his colleagues,...

UK distilling, wine and brewing students learn about art and career potential of blending in spirits industry

Don McGrew, Americas Blending Technical Manager for the James B. Beam Distilling Company, talks to UK students about the art of getting the right barrels in the right bottles. (Photo by Matt Barton) By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Don McGrew knows bourbon, from seed to sip, barrel to bottle. He’s been in the spirits industry for more than a quarter of a century and is currently the Americas...

Kentucky could look to neighboring West Virginia for lessons on funding public pension system

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service As state lawmakers continue to grapple with funding teacher pensions, some say lessons from neighboring West Virginia can offer insight into whether or not Kentucky should switch to a defined-contribution retirement plan for teachers or uphold its public pension system. There are more than 40,000 public school teachers in Kentucky. (Image from Adobe Stock, via...

Kentucky’s Nick Richards adds another feather to his cap with SEC Co-Player of the Week honors

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Nick Richards added another chapter to his storybook season Monday. The Kentucky junior forward was named Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week and NCAA March Madness Player of the Week Monday after averaging 22.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in No. 13 Kentucky’s wins over Georgia and Texas Tech last week. He also won both awards following Kentucky’s...

Senate president, long the key obstacle to medical marijuana in Kentucky, now sees ‘narrow path’ to it

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The most important legislative opponent of legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky said Friday that there is a “narrow path forward” for it. Senate President Robert Stivers said that the day after a medical-cannabis bill was filed in his chamber. Senate Bill 107 has bipartisan sponsorship from 11 of the Senate’s 38 members. It is a companion...

John Calipari, former UK players shocked and saddened by death of L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Like thousands of basketball fans, teams and coaches across the nation, John Calipari was speechless after hearing of the death of Kobe Bryant on Sunday. The Kentucky coach said, “we all are in a state of shock over the news of Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter and those who perished with them. No words work on a day like today; only a prayer.” “Lord, we all mourn...

Nick Richards comes to rescue with 25 pts., 14 rebounds as Cats win in OT over Texas Tech

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The amazing transformation of Nick Richards continues. The Kentucky junior forward scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 15 Kentucky to a 76-74 win over 18th-ranked Texas Tech Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge in Lubbock, Texas. Richards scored the first five points in overtime to give Kentucky a 69-64 lead and drained a pair of free throws with 10.3...

This week at the Capitol: Lawmakers address issues ranging from voter identification to school safety

As sure as gavel strikes mark the start of a Kentucky General Assembly session, packed hallways in the Capitol Annex are a sign that a session has gone into high gear as people from across Kentucky converge to make their voices heard. That was clearly the case this past week as thousands of Kentuckians came to the Capitol Campus to weigh in on issues ranging from voter identification to school safety....

Kentucky freshman Kahlil Whitney announces he will leave Wildcats to continue journey elsewhere

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kahlil Whitney will continue his collegiate career elsewhere. The Kentucky freshman forward announced Friday via social media that he would be leaving the program after “several conversations with my family and coaching staff.” Whitney said playing for the Wildcats “had always been a dream of mine” but has had a change of heart and added that his time at Kentucky...

2019 Runhappy Eclipse Awards announced, Bricks and Mortar Horse of the Year, Champion Turf Male

KyForward staff   HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced Thursday that Bricks and Mortar, who was undefeated in six starts last year, was voted the 2019 Runhappy Horse of the Year at the 49th Annual Runhappy Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino...

Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport sets record, serves nearly 1.5 million passengers during 2019

A record number of passengers traveled through Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport in 2019. As the primary air transportation provider for Central Kentucky, Blue Grass Airport saw 1,465,049 total passengers — enplanements of 735,564 and deplanements of 729,485. This is a 7.6 percent total passenger increase over 2018 and is the eighth consecutive year the airport has seen a record number of travelers. The...

Home sales skyrocket to record levels in December, demand remains strong in Central Kentucky

Home sales surged in December, jumping 19 percent over 2018, to bring 2019 to a close as the highest year on record for real estate transactions. With 1,054 sales in the last month of the year, versus 887 in 2018, total sales for 2019 ended at 14,153, up 7 percent over the 13,278 sold last year. Single-family home sales saw an increase in sales of over 19 percent for the month, with 994 total sales...

Texas Tech embraces rare encounter against Kentucky in Saturday’s Big 12/SEC Challenge

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Texas Tech and Kentucky have played just four games against each other and the two teams haven’t met in more than two decades. A fifth meeting will take place this weekend. For the first time since 1965, the 15th-ranked Wildcats will take on the No. 18 Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge Saturday. The two programs haven’t played since Kentucky...

UK provides update on $15 million KeY Treat study aimed at eradicating hepatitis C in Perry County

By Allison Perry University of Kentucky On Wednesday, University of Kentucky officials provided updates on the recently launched Kentucky Viral Hepatitis Treatment Project (KeY Treat), a three-year, $15 million study co-funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) with the ultimate goal of eradicating the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Perry County. Led by UK...

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital to close by Sept. 30, costing 1,000 jobs in Ashland area

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in the Ashland suburb of Russell will close by Sept. 30, says the Bon Secours Health System, which operates it. The 214-bed hospital opened in 1953, when Ashland and Russell were booming with steel, railroad and petrochemcial industries. Now, the hospital cannot “effectively operate in an environment that has multiple acute care facilities competing for the same...

Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans among 15 named to Naismith Defensive Player of the Year watch list

The reigning Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year is being recognized for his stout defense once again. Kentucky men’s basketball’s Ashton Hagans was one of 15 players to appear on the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s midseason watch list for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award on Wednesday. He is the only player from the SEC listed. Players not on the midseason...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Leaky Bucket update shows state still struggling to slow spending

Kentucky continues to struggle to slow state spending in key areas that are diverting funds from investments in education, according to a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The Leaky Bucket: 10 Years Later, released Tuesday, is an update of the Chamber’s original report that identified corrections, Medicaid and public employee benefits as major budget leaks that were consuming tax...

Transylvania University selects Brien Lewis as 27th president; Toronto native begins duties on July 1

Brien Lewis has been selected to serve as the 27th president of Transylvania University. Board of Trustees Chairman William T. Young Jr. announced Tuesday that Lewis, the current president of Catawba College, will start on July 1. “I am delighted that Brien Lewis will serve as Transylvania’s next president. His selection comes with the unanimous approval of both the Presidential Search Committee...

With family looking on, Ashton Hagans puts on a show as Wildcats complete sweep of Georgia

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Ashton Hagans always seems to turn it up a notch against Georgia. With several of his family members in attendance, including his mother, Hagans scored 23 points and just missed a double-double with nine assists to lead No. 15 Kentucky to an 89-79 win over the Bulldogs on Tuesday night to complete a regular-season sweep. “It’s always good to go against my home state...