Allison Crawford

A proud native of Murray, Kentucky, Allison Crawford grew up roaming the forests of West Kentucky and visiting national parks across the country. Allison graduated in 2014 from Murray State where she studied Liberal Arts, Television Production, and Spanish. She loves meeting new people, questioning everything, and dancing through the sun and the rain.

Though her heart belongs to Murray, constant travel and exploration are necessary for her survival. If not reporting for WKMS, she can be found calling for owls in the Land Between the Lakes, working to advance environmental sustainability, or going on an adventure. She will never stop dancing and hopes to make a positive impact in this world several endeavors at a time.

NOAA, via

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting tests to determine if it is possible to clean up more than 120,000 gallons of clarified slurry oil that spilled into the Mississippi River after a tow boat collision Wednesday night. 

Coast Guard spokesperson Lora Ratliff said it may be impossible to recover the oil because it sinks. The Coast Guard reported Saturday there were no visible signs of oil along the river bank.

Ratliff said air monitors have shown the spill has not impacted air quality.

The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the cause of the collision.

Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky farmers are planting more than 1,700 acres of hemp  as part of the second year of the state’s industrial hemp research program, with 256 of those acres in west Kentucky.

State Kentucky Industrial Hemp Coordinator Adam Watson said this year there are 1,742 acres approved for hemp, up from 33 acres last year. Watson said the significant increase in acreage was possible because of new processors coming to the table.

“A lot of processors have been eyeing hemp for a long time. But of course the federal status basically prevented anyone from being able to work with it. So it’s something that they’ve been on the sidelines for a while. And when Kentucky was able to give them a home and give them the ability to move forward with their work, they were very eager to work with us,” Watson said.

Watson said 9 western counties have acres approved for industrial hemp. He said hemp would fit well in western Kentucky’s large scale farming of agronomic crops, but wouldn’t replace staples like corn or soy any time soon.

Bill Clift of Caldwell County is planting 30 acres on his farm. Clift said he was interested growing hemp because of the possibility of getting in on the ground floor of a new and prosperous industry.

University of Kentucky archaeologists are finishing their dig at a prehistoric Native American campsite on the edge of Lake Barkley in Canton. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet found the site during land analysis for a new bridge.

Lead Archaeologist Mickey Loughlin said this site ranks high in importance on a 1-10 scale.

With one of the highest rates of homeless veterans in Kentucky, Christian County is working to make it easier for those vets to find housing. The Kentucky Housing Corporation and the Housing Authority of Hopkinsville have joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

The program gives veterans preference over others when applying for housing. Hopkinsville Housing Authority director Vickie Smiley says Christian County’s high concentration of homeless veterans is due to Fort Campbell. “They can get their medical benefits and have the use of the army base, you now, trying to stay so close. So, with the army base being in our county, that makes it a lot easier for them to get treatment,” Smiley said.

Kentucky HUD Field Director Christopher Taylor says the program makes it easier for veterans across the state who don’t already qualify for Veterans Affairs Supported Housing vouchers. “The problem is with those vouchers is you need have a honorable discharge to qualify for it, you need to be eligible for VA benefits, and you have to live in either urban area or somewhere by a military base. So those veterans that want to stay out in rural Kentucky that’s really outside of Christian county, that VASH voucher would not work for them,” Taylor said.

Taylor says about 80 percent of the state has signed onto the Challenge so homeless veterans who don’t qualify for VASH will still have support finding housing.

Smiley says the Housing Authority Board signed onto the challenge last week and veteran preference will go into effect July 1st.

Kentucky State Police say hundreds of drivers are stranded on a more than 80-mile stretch of Interstate 24.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s declaration of emergency has freed up National Guard personnel to help evacuate those stranded. KSP Post 1 public affairs officer Jay Thomas says the back-up begins at mile marker 11 and stretches all the way to the Tennessee state line.

McCracken County Emergency Management spokesman Beau Dodson said a few wrecks early Thursday morning caused the Interstate to shut down.

“With snow coming down 1, 2, 3 inches an hour, there was really no way to fix the situation other than to close the Interstate.”

Dodson said many are also stuck on I-24 waiting to get into Kentucky from Illinois and Tennessee. Crews are working to clear roads but Dodson said it is going to take while before cars can be cleared from the road and snow plows can get through.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Facebook

Citing a need for docking locations on the Ohio River between Louisville and Paducah, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded the city of Owensboro a $1.5 million grant toward the building of a new 500 foot dock for traveling boaters.

City attorney and assistant city manager Ed Ray says the intended location for the transient dock is in front of the city’s convention center.

James Madison (Madisonville Police Department) / Facebook

Snow-induced emergency response needs have the Madisonville Police Department gassing up its fleet of surplus military equipment.

Chief Wade Williams said the department has 4 unarmored utility hummers to be used in adverse conditions like these. He said both police and emergency responders are using the vehicles for residential calls.

“Someone may be out of a critical medicine or oxygen, or someone that’s home-ridden. From that end all the way over to we’ve had several large scale accidents involving semis and trying to get people into shelter that were stuck on the roadway. Normal vehicles wouldn’t travel in a lot of this,” Williams said.

He says the hummers are unarmored and usually only rolled out during extreme weather, but are also used in drug enforcement.

“Unfortunately we have methamphetamine issue here in Kentucky and sometimes those labs are ad-hoc, off road, in some desolate area that we need some of these vehicles to get to,” Williams said.

As Alabama becomes the most recent state to issue same sex marriages, some lawmakers there are decrying a federal judge’s decision to strike down the ban and the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene. Kentucky, another largely conservative state, may receive a final decision on its gay marriage ban this summer. The impending decision has some public officials reexamining their role as marriage officiants.

Kentucky State Senator Whitney Westerfield,a Republican from Hopkinsville, might put his name in the currently unopposed race for Kentucky Attorney General. Westerfield said he doesn’t want current candidate Democrat Andy Beshear to be Kentucky’s only option.