A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: Mischievous Christmas gifts for Kentucky politicians, a tradition continued

Thirty-nine years ago, Ed Ryan, then the Frankfort Bureau chief of The Courier-Journal, wrote a column headlined “Possible gifts for officials, first family.” Ed had great material to work with – Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., his appointees and wife Phyllis George Brown – and he made the column annual. Ed died in 1984, at only 45, but his journalistic legatees have continued the tradition. Since...

Bio-acoustic fish fence aimed at stopping Asian carp migration now operational at Lake Barkley

An experimental project designed to keep invasive Asian carp from moving farther up the Cumberland River was unveiled Friday at Lake Barkley. A bio-acoustic fish fence (BAFF) was deployed on the downstream side of Barkley Lock. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and U.S. Congressman James Comer along with project partners, ceremonially inaugurated the BAFF system as part of a three-year evaluation to deter...

Bill Straub: Who’s paying attention to what KY’s DC delegation is doing? Your reps deserve scrutiny

WASHINGTON – Back in early April members of the Kentucky congressional delegation, quite appropriately, sent a letter to President Extremely Stable Genius supporting a request from Gov. Mad Matt Bevin that a large swath of the state be declared a disaster area. In the letter, the lawmakers maintained that the Commonwealth “experienced severe weather that produced strong wind and torrential rain,...

Farm Bill passes both Senate, House, on way to president; includes industrial hemp production

Staff report The U.S. House passed the 2018 Farm Bill on Tuesday by a vote of 369-47, joining the U.S. Senate in approving the bill that empowers farmers to expand cultivation of industrial hemp. It now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. He is expected to sign the bill into legislation. The hemp industry is poised to become a $20 billion industry by 2022. U.S. Senate Majority Leader...

Bill Straub: Certainly no witch hunt as Mueller moves right along; and a word about ‘great guy’ Art Schmidt

With the November election now less than two months away, Republicans are ratcheting up their calls for a quick and painless end to the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s apparent maneuvering in the 2016 presidential election that resulted in, and it hurts to say, “President’’ Donald J. Trump (good Lord in heaven). The probe, entering its 15th month,...

Bill Straub: Go figure (if you can) the double-talk that doesn’t want to add to deficit except for ‘tax cuts’

Our old friend, the Wonder Boy, Rep. Thomas Massie, has built a well-earned reputation as a budget hawk, voting, for instance, against a measure sending disaster aid to communities damaged by Hurricane Harvey because it added to the federal deficit. Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, has called adding to the national debt, which currently rests at $20.5 trillion, “lunacy’’ and that it “must...

First District Congressman Whitfield announces resignation, special election to be held to fill seat

First District Congressman Ed Whitfield has submitted his resignation to Gov. Matt Bevin and will leave office officially on Sept. 6, the day the House is to return from its August recess. Whitfield, who was not seeking reelection, has been a member of Congress since 1994. In his letter to Bevin, Whitfield said, “It has been my honor and privilege to have represented the constituents of the First...

Bill Straub: GOP takes playing the time-honored ‘religion card’ down a much darker road

WASHINGTON – As a rule, Republican politicians in Kentucky and elsewhere go to great lengths to convince members of the voting public that they count themselves among those folks who fully and faithfully embrace the Baby Jesus. The fact that these office-seekers always feel closest to the deity, more fervent, around Election Day, when the followers of the Savior head for the polls, is pure coincidence....

Kentucky Boys State emphasized leadership, integrity for many state leaders

Around the Kentucky Boys State logo is a sentence that reads: “A week that shapes a lifetime.” Campbellsville University hosted the group of 115 young men June 4-10. “The program has had a long rich tradition nationally and throughout the Commonwealth for preparing young men for civic participation and military service,” said Max Wise, Kentucky State Senator and associate professor...

Bill Straub: Democrats barely offer a fight in 1st District as GOP dominates Congressional race

WASHINGTON – The First Congressional District in far western Kentucky, so far to the left on a road map that it almost falls into the Mississippi River, was once one of the most reliable Democratic regions in the entire country. No more. And its geographic position is the only thing that can be considered to the left in the commonwealth. The district, formerly the breeding ground of folks described...

Kentucky will be ‘epicenter’ of industrial hemp production, Comer tells conference

An up-close view of a hemp at University of Kentucky’s 2014 research plot (Photo from UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment)   Industrial hemp will cover tens of thousands of acres and generate thousands of jobs in Kentucky in the near future.   That was the message from Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer as he spoke to hundreds of hemp growers, processors and enthusiasts...

Homegrown by Heroes rancher to host alpaca dinner to benefit Farmer Veteran Coalition

A Kentucky Proud and Homegrown By Heroes producer will host a one-of-a-kind dinner with alpaca as the main attraction.   Alvina Maynard’s River Hill Ranch near Richmond will welcome up to 30 guests for the farm-to-table dinner on Sept. 26 from 6-10 p.m. Chef Robert Weickel of Hill Restaurant, a pop-up restaurant in Lexington, will prepare the meal.   Alpaca is a nutritious meat. (River...

Bevin maintains edge over Comer, recanvass results in only minor changes in vote totals

Each of Kentucky’s 120 county boards of elections rechecked and recanvassed each voting machine Thursday to verify the vote totals in the May 19 Republican Primary Elections for Governor/Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture. The statewide recanvasses were requested by James Comer and Chris McDaniel, candidates for Governor/Lieutenant Governor, and Richard Heath, candidate for Commissioner...

‘We want to make Kentucky synonymous with hemp like Idaho with potatoes,’ ag chief says

Kentucky became one of the first states to pass legislation that set up an administrative framework for the production of industrial hemp, once federal restrictions were lifted. (KyForward file photo)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   The latest hemp update from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture came at a tobacco warehouse where a packed house included former and current...

Bill Straub: GOP candidates' promise to kill Kynect shortsighted at best, insane at worst

WASHINGTON – It might be considered unkind to describe Earl Landgrebe as a dolt lo these many years after his death but facts, as the old saying goes, is facts.   Landgrebe was an undistinguished Republican congressman from Indiana in the 1960s and ’70s who probably is best known for being the last lawmaker to express undying fealty to President Richard Nixon, standing up for the disgraced...

Bill Straub: GOP candidates’ promise to kill Kynect shortsighted at best, insane at worst

WASHINGTON – It might be considered unkind to describe Earl Landgrebe as a dolt lo these many years after his death but facts, as the old saying goes, is facts.   Landgrebe was an undistinguished Republican congressman from Indiana in the 1960s and ’70s who probably is best known for being the last lawmaker to express undying fealty to President Richard Nixon, standing up for the disgraced...

Kentucky hemp growers needed for next round of pilot projects; applications by Jan. 1

University of Kentucky’s research plot of hemp (Photo by Matt Barton)   Kentucky farmers and processors interested in participating in the 2015 round of industrial hemp pilot projects must apply by Jan. 1, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has announced.   “The first round of pilot projects with the universities and individual farmers in 2014 yielded a tremendous amount of data...

USDA block grants will help Kentucky’s specialty crops businesses ‘grow and prosper’

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Earlier this month, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that nearly $118 million in grants would go to states to help in efforts of strengthening markets for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.   That money was part of the Farm Bill package passed by Congress earlier this year. Vilsack...

Food Network’s Pioneer Woman headlines sixth Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show

Ree Drummond, Food Network’s Pioneer Woman, will sign books and present two live cooking demonstrations at the Incredible Food Show on Oct. 11 in Lexington. (Photo from Ky. Proud)   The Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show promises to be, say organizers, well … incredible and for the sixth year in a row on Oct. 11. This year’s highlight is two live cooking presentations by Food...

Two elementary schools now Commonwealth Gardens where students can grow own food

Produce from the governor’s garden (Photo from Office of the Governor)   Two Kentucky elementary schools – one in Jefferson County and the other in Ohio County – are launching school gardens this month.   First Lady Jane Beshear and Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens joined others at Hartstern Elementary to dedicate a new Commonwealth Garden. The...