The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has signed off on a budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

In a special meeting on Friday, members approved a $375 million spending plan that includes an increase in tuition for undergraduate students. The Board passed the 2022 fiscal year budget with one dissenting vote from Student Regent Garrett Edmonds. 

The budget also permanently removes the distance learning fee on classes taught remotely, which the university says will result in a tuition savings to students of about $2 million. 

After holding the line on tuition last year during the pandemic, Regents approved a 2% hike, which will help create about $2 million that will go into a compensation pool for faculty and staff raises.  Speaking to reporters following the budget vote, WKU President Timothy Caboni said the university is seeing the effects of salary compression.

Creative Commons

Kentucky’s dispute with a Baptist adoption agency that turns away LGBTQ foster parents could be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Catholic organization that also rejects same-sex couples.

On Thursday, the high court sided with Catholic Social Services, a private agency that sued the City of Philadelphia for refusing to renew an adoption and foster care contract due to local anti-discrimination laws.

Kentucky has been locked in a similar battle with Sunrise Children’s Services, a Baptist organization that has so far refused to renew its contract because of a clause that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation

The fight has become a top priority for elected Republicans in Kentucky, who accuse Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of violating the organization’s religious freedoms.

Honor Flight Bluegrass

Some of Kentucky’s last remaining World War II veterans will do some reminiscing in the skies this weekend. 

The non-profit Honor Flight Bluegrass is bringing a B-25 Bomber to Paducah, Somerset, Morehead, Leitchfield, and Frankfort.

The plane was built in 1944 and is owned by the Commemorative Air Force out of St. Louis.

The Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund is sponsoring the flights at no cost to 35 veterans, the oldest being 103.

Jeff Thoke, board chairman for Honor Flight Bluegrass based in Louisville, says Kentucky only has about 2,000 living WWII veterans.

Chris Jenner

A former teacher at a Louisville Catholic school says the archdiocese fired her because she had sex outside of marriage. 

Former St. Andrew Academy middle school teacher Sarah Syring is suing the Archdiocese of Louisville. According to the complaint, after Syring told her administrators she was pregnant last fall, they gave her a choice: resign or marry the child’s father. She declined to do either, and the archdiocese fired her, saying she had broken provisions in the employee handbook. 

“I was shocked,” Syring said. “I just had a nice rapport with so many of those kids, and—man—I cried. I cried a lot.”

Syring is alleging gender discrimination. She says she, a woman, was fired for having extramarital sex. Meanwhile, she says, the archdiocese was aware of an male employee who had extramarital sex, but did not terminate him.

Larue County Man Arrested Over U.S. Capitol Attack

Jun 17, 2021
Wikimedia Commons

Another Kentuckian has been arrested for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Law enforcement arrested Kurt Peterson, a resident of Hodgenville near Elizabethtown, on Wednesday in connection to the riot, according to the FBI’s Louisville field office. Federal officials have charged Peterson with obstructing an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, destruction of government property and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. All together, those charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 31 years in prison or fines totaling more than $250,000.

Andrea Robinson

As Kentucky emerges from the isolation and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on mental health and domestic violence is rising to the surface. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Andrea Robinson, who was recently named president of the board of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Robinson is executive director of Oasis, a domestic violence service agency in Owensboro. During the past year, when the pandemic was raging, Robinson says Oasis received half as many calls as it did the previous year and that just increased concern for victims of domestic abuse.

Updated June 16, 2021 at 2:08 PM ET

Two organizations filed a lawsuit against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in an attempt to block the state's push to end pandemic unemployment benefits on June 19. This lawsuit may be the first of its kind that aims to stop states from ending these benefits earlier than Congress mandated.

Lisa Autry

City leaders in Bowling Green have passed a $122 million budget that increases spending without tax hikes.

The city commission gave unanimous, final approval to the spending plan during a meeting Tuesday night. The budget is for the 2021-22 fiscal year beginning July 1. 

Coming off spending cuts in the current year’s budget due to uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, the next one boosts funding thanks to increased revenue projections. 

The spending plan also increases wages for the city’s lowest paid employees to $15 an hour.  Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said the minimum wage increase was given “out of necessity” as the nation faces a pandemic-related worker shortage.

“We’re in the same competition to get people to work," Alcott told WKU Public Radio. "We’ve got to entice people to come work for us just like everyone else.”

LRC Public Information

Kentucky lawmakers will get data they need to draw new legislative and congressional maps later this summer after 2020 U.S. Census results were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a normal year, legislators would have gotten census data before this year’s legislative session and could have already drawn new district boundaries.

But the delayed release means lawmakers will be scrambling to redistrict the state ahead of next year’s elections for all Kentucky’s congressional seats and most legislative seats.

Legislators discussed the timing issue during a meeting of the Interim Committee on State Government Tuesday.

Julie Bowles

When driving south on Chestnut St. in Bowling Green, toward the traffic circle on Western Kentucky University's campus, a beautiful grey home sitting behind a lovely tree stands out.

That structure is the African American Museum.

For some, it may be unassuming, but once you're inside, you're taken on a tour of generations of Black Bowling Green that includes military uniforms worn by African American soldiers, the first Black homecoming queen at Western Kentucky University in 1972, and memorabilia from neighborhoods like Jonesville, Shake Rag, and Delafield.

 

    

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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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