Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations in Bowling Green are going to look similar to last year because of the surging omicron variant, but the committee planning the event says it will be more meaningful.

The devastating tornadoes tore through Bowling Green and other parts of Kentucky over a month ago. Relief efforts are ongoing, and communities have started the healing process.

The Martin Luther King planning committee of Bowling Green will hold a virtual celebration on Monday, January 17th to not only to honor the civil rights leader, but to also uplift the community after weeks of hardship.

"We've definitely have proven Dr. King's legacy within the city of Bowling Green. As tragic as it was (tornadoes) it has been a very proud moment because we stepped up," Shannan Dixon, chairperson of the committee said.

Dixon says this year’s program will include musical numbers and multiple speakers from the community. A keynote speech will be delivered by Pierre Quinn, a leadership and emotional wellness speaker.

Dalton York

First Lady Jill Biden was in Bowling Green Friday to see some of the damage from the Dec. 11 tornado and to get an update on recovery efforts. Her first stop was in a tornado-ravaged community.

Jill Biden walked through the Creekwood neighborhood, where the sound of roofers told of some of the recovery efforts on homes still standing. Many of the lots are still filled with piles of debris that were once homes. 

The First Lady stopped to talk with Mirjeta Mustafa who was with her two daugters, ages two and four. Mustafa said she told the First Lady what happened the night the tornado struck and how she, her husband and two young daughters had to move from their damaged home.

KET screenshot

Gov. Andy Beshear delivered his budget address Thursday night, laying out a series of spending priorities like universal pre-K, raises for state workers and a boost in funding for higher education, which is still reeling from more than a decade of cuts.

The governor had already unveiled many of his proposals over the last week after House Republicans broke tradition and released their spending plan early.

But still, the governor used the televised address to make the case for a sweeping two-year budget plan that would take advantage of windfalls from a historic budget surplus and federal relief dollars.

“Now is when we must make the bold investments. Now is our chance to move this state forward—not right, not left but forward,” Beshear said.

Gage Skidmore

Kentucky lawmakers are filing bills to expand a tax-credit scholarship program recently declared unconstitutional. 

The program, also known as Education Opportunity Accounts, would have allowed individuals and corporations to receive a tax credit of up to 97% for donations to a scholarship fund. Low- and middle-income families could apply to use those funds for private school tuition in the state’s most populous counties.

Lawmakers passed the program in 2021, but it never got off the ground. A Franklin County judge struck down the program in October for running afoul of a provision in the state constitution that prevents the collection of tax dollars for private schools. 

Private school advocates are appealing that decision. They’re asking the state Supreme Court to hear the case.

Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test rule Thursday, declaring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had exceeded its authority. But at the same time, the court upheld a regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that mandates vaccines for almost all employees at hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers that receive federal funds.

The vote to invalidate the vaccine-or-test regulation was 6 to 3, along ideological lines.

“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the majority said in an unsigned opinion. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”

Corrine Boyer

Investments in public safety are a priority for Gov. Andy Beshear as he offered another preview of his budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year. 

Kentucky State Police was one of the main beneficiaries of possible funding and a top concern for the governor. 

“The Kentucky State Police is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of troopers. They’re at their lowest number in over 30 years,” Beshear said. “That creates a public safety crisis.”

To address the staffing shortage and aid with retention and recruitment efforts, Beshear’s budget proposal allocates a $15,000 pay increase to state troopers.

Prominent Kentucky Republican and three-time candidate for governor Larry Forgy has died.

Forgy’s sister, state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington posted the news on Facebook Thursday morning.

“He was a devoted son, brother, father, and friend in addition to his long and distinguished career in law and politics. We are all heartbroken to lose this wonderful man who had a profound impact in Kentucky, but we are comforted to know that he is now in the embrace of our Heavenly Father. We are grateful to all who have assisted in his care and comfort during his last several years of declining health,” Forgy Kerr wrote.

Forgy was 82 years old and had been in declining health for years. He died at 12:50 a.m. Thursday at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, according to his sister.

J. Tyler Franklin

Indiana Congressman Trey Hollingsworth will not seek reelection this year.

Hollingsworth, a Republican, announced his third term would be his last with a newspaper op-ed and a social media post.

He did not provide a reason for his decision not to run, but hinted that he might stay in public service.

“As I contemplate how I can work for you in new and better ways in the future, I won’t run for reelection this year,” Hollingsworth said in the statements. “You deserve a Member of Congress totally and completely focused on the 9th District, and, though I have remained committed to that promise these three terms, now I will fight for you and us in different ways.”

Lisa Autry

The value of used cars has increased by as much as 40% and that means vehicle owners will be paying more this year in property taxes.

The Kentucky Department of Revenue recently sent a letter to local property value administrators alerting them of the “unprecedented” rising value of most motor vehicles.

Warren County PVA Susan Oliver Lewis said a variety of factors are contributing to the hefty increase, including constraints on new vehicle production and inventory, higher prices for new vehicles, and a limited supply of used vehicles.

“So if there’s less supply and demand is still there, prices go up," Lewis told WKU Public Radio. It’s not necessarily a tax rate increase. It’s supply and demand. If vehicles are costing more, then you’re going to pay more in property tax.”

Sydney Boles

Lawmakers are threatening to claw back $15 million of taxpayer money given to a northeastern Kentucky aluminum mill project that still hasn’t broken ground after five years.

Senate Bill 48 directs the state’s Cabinet for Economic Development to recoup the funds from Braidy Industries—now known as Unity Aluminum—by the end of the year unless the company gives back the money on its own.

The measure passed out of the Senate Appropriations and Revenu    e Committee on Wednesday, but lawmakers still sounded hopeful that the project would be successful and that the bill wouldn’t be necessary.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said the project is “moving forward” and that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement preventing him from talking about why he was optimistic about it.


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Bryan Lemon

LRS Live Replay: Kyshona & Dax Evans

February's Lost River Sessions LIVE show at the Captiol Arts Center in Bowling Green was a special one. Fans saw local singer and songwriter Dax Evans take the stage, performing some heartfelt original songs. Meanwhile, Nashville artist, and former music therapist Kyshona, blessed the venue on the eve of her album release with new music.

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