Matt Markgraf

Matt "McG" Markgraf joined the WKMS News Team in January 2007, while pursuing his bachelorâââ

Matt Markgraf

A black Democratic Kentucky lawmaker who was told by a white Republican colleague to “sit down” during a heated moment in the during this year’s legislative session is calling on Democrats to “take a stand.”

Louisville representative Charles Booker was the featured speaker at the Alben Barkley Dinner Thursday night in Paducah, one of the many political gatherings ahead of the Fancy Farm Picnic. WKMS News estimates more than 300 people were in attendance.

Booker recalled the moment near the end of the general session that involved Paducah representative Randy Bridges.

Matt Markgraf

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North was greeted with a standing applause welcome at a Republican rally Friday night at a rally at Murray State University.

The Lakeland GOP rally organizers say more than 300 people attended the event, walking past a crowd of protesters into Lovett Auditorium, where a large U.S. flag extended across the stage. The "Night Before Fancy Farm" was hosted by the Calloway and Marshall Republican parties and was one of several political rallies across the west Kentucky region ahead of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County, which kicks off the election season in the commonwealth.


Murray State University President Bob Davies is leaving to take a job in Michigan. Central Michigan University announced today Davies will be their 15th president. CMU  trustess introduced Davies this morning in a meeting.  He will begin his duties September 1.

CMU’s main campus is in Mount Pleasant. The public research university has more than 23,000 students. The Central Michigan Chippewas compete in the Division One Mid-American Conference. The university’s 14th president George Ross announced in January that he’d step down on July 31. The Board of Trustees began planning a search soon after Ross’ announcement. Executive Vice President and Provost Michael Gealt is serving as interim president.

Nicole Erwin

Gun rights and gun violence have dominated national and regional headlines this year, following several shootings, including the deadly shooting last January at Marshall County High School in west Kentucky.

Now, as 3-D printed guns could potentially upend the national conversation, and as the president of the National Rifle Association visits the region on Friday, the Paducah/west Kentucky chapter of the nonpartisan group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America is looking to build consensus on gun safety. Christa Dubrock is the group's Local Lead for Paducah. 

Matt Markgraf

Murray State University is closing early on Friday to accommodate an increased number of visitors for a Republican event featuring National Rifle Association President Oliver North.  

The Republican parties of Marshall and Calloway counties are hosting "The Night Before Fancy Farm." The doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 in Lovett Auditorium on the main campus. According to a release, Murray State is closing all campuses from 3 p.m. to 9:30. The university is expecting a large number of visitors on the main campus and is locking all doors south of the Curris Center by 3 p.m. for security purposes.

Marshall County Circuit Court video screenshot

Marshall County Circuit Court has released previously sealed documents in the case of accused Marshall County High School shooter Gabe Parker.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals ordered Thursday that an arraignment video along with other documents involving the January 23 shooting be released.

Note: Watch Gabe Parker's previously sealed arraignment video below.

The presiding Judge Jamie Jameson had ordered that documents remain closed due to a defense attorney’s questioning of Parker’s due process in juvenile proceedings.  In the arraignment video Jameson, also urged confidentiality of the proceedings in the event that the case moves to trial.

Congressman James Comer of Kentucky's 1st District says he is 'ok' after a chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck in Virginia. 

Comer tweeted that most of the members are also okay but said there are serious injuries.

In an interview with WKMS, Comer said he feels 'blessed' that he is okay. He said there was a 'massive impact' about two hours into the train ride and that the train came to a complete stop.

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

She wore black Converse shoes and Louisville Cardinals sweatshirts and loved classic rock. He played on the high school baseball team and enjoyed history and the outdoors. They were 15. They were Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope. They started school together and they ended school together. They were killed in a shooting spree at Marshall County High School on Tuesday, January 23.

Police say a 15-year-old student opened fire in the commons area as school began for the day. A total of 16 were shot and others were injured. Bailey Holt died in the school and Preston Cope died after being transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

Nicole Erwin, WKMS

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin asked families and friends of the victims of the Marshall County High School shooting gather on the stage of a local art center as he declared Sunday, January 28, 2018 'A Day of Prayer for Marshall County.'

Bevin offered words of encouragement and faith and called for prayer, while criticizing those who 'mock' the sentiment of "thoughts and prayers."

Police say a 15-year-old male student of Marshall County High School entered the school and fired a handgun, killing two - Bailey Holt and Preston Cope - and injuring 18 others. Police have not identified the shooter, but say he was nonviolently apprehended and that prosecutors are looking The shooting has drawn international attention and shaken rural Marshall County to the core.

Matt Markgraf

Prosecutors won't yet seek attempted murder charges against the 15-year-old suspect in a deadly shooting spree at Marshall County High School and will charge him with first-degree assault for now.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall told reporters Wednesday that the 15-year-old boy will face 12 counts of first-degree assault instead of attempted murder because they feel they have a better case for those charges right now. Darnall pointed out that the penalties for first-degree assault are the same as for attempted murder.

Kentucky Democratic Party

The Kentucky Democratic Party has named a new chair. The KDP State Central Executive Committee elected Ben Self to the position on Saturday. 

The Pike County native and Lexington resident is co-founder of West Sixth Brewing and the 'Bread Box' - a mixed-use development in which the brewery is located.

Self began his political work as an activist for the Democratic Party during former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's presidential campaign in the 2004 election. He then co-founded the progressive tech firm Blue State Digital with other former Dean staffers and later served as Technology Director of the Democratic National Committee.

U.S. Congressman James Comer of Kentucky said the investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia has been a national distraction.

The investigation headed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller led to the indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Monday. Manafort was charged with tax fraud and money laundering.

Comer said he supports the legal process but special investigations always go beyond the original intent. 

Matt Markgraf

Murray State University President Bob Davies said he hopes for a bipartisan Congressional effort to find a long-term solution for DACA recipients working towards university degrees and contributing to society.

DACA is the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for people known as "DREAMers" who entered the country illegally as children. The Trump administration announced this week it will end DACA and will work with Congress to address immigration issues.

Anthem Not Offering Health Insurance Plans in Half of Kentucky in 2018

Sep 7, 2017
feverpitched, 123rf Stock Photo

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield officials said on Wednesday the company will no longer offer health insurance plans in 61 counties in Kentucky in 2018. 

Anthem Public Relations Director Mark Robinson said the decision to scale back in Kentucky is based on a continuation of “market place uncertainties.”

Credit Photo corresponding to letter post via

Paducah area African American church leaders and the local N.A.A.C.P. are calling upon the city to remove the statue of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman on Fountain Square.

A letter published over the weekend suggests in its place installing a plaque that explains why the statue was removed and listing the names of slaves owned by Tilghman. The Lloyd Tilghman House Facebook page says he owned five slaves. The historic home is a museum in the city.

Members of the Paducah Area African American Methodist Episcopal Churches, local N.A.A.C.P., Community Clergy Fellowship and Community Coming Together signed the letter to the City of Paducah stating that "The vast majority of Black citizens in this city emphatically do not want to preserve the painful legacy of slavery and white supremacy" represented by the Tilghman statue.