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Local News
12:41 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Indiana Delays Approving Tolls Rates, Kentucky Fears Higher Project Costs As Result

Artists rendition of the new East End Bridge; three of Louisville's five bridges will be tolled when the project is completed.
Credit Ohio River Bridges Project

In a surprise move, Indiana officials said they were not ready to approve toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project, which could end up costing Kentucky taxpayers or commuters.

The bi-state tolling body was expected to approve toll rates Thursday morning, which will be used to pay for the new East End and downtown bridges and for the reworking of Spaghetti Junction. Instead, Indiana officials removed the item from the agenda. Afterward, spokesman Will Wingfield told media the state just wasn’t prepared.

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Politics
11:40 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton Supports Military Action Against Syria

Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton

Former Congressman Lee Hamilton says he hopes U.S. lawmakers act responsibly and give President Obama authorization to launch military strikes against Syria.

The president's request to strike Syria has divided Democrats with many—such as Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky—saying they are unconvinced by the administration's argument thus far.

Considered a foreign policy expert, Hamilton is a Democrat who represented Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District for 35 years. He is scheduled to speak about the wide-ranging foreign policy challenges facing the U.S. at a speech Thursday evening at Bellarmine University set for 7 p.m.

In an interview with WFPL News, Hamilton says Congress has been too deferential to U.S. presidents on foreign affairs in the past, but he would back the president's efforts in Syria.

"I would vote for the resolution. You have three options: first of all, do nothing. I think that’s not acceptable. That would mean in effect that (Balshar) al-Assad can with impunity attack his own people with chemical weapons," he says.

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Local News
10:55 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Richie Farmer to Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

WFPL file photo
Rick Howlett

Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner and UK basketball star Richie Farmer has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in a government corruption case that would put him in prison for some two years.

Defense attorney Guthrie True filed a motion for a change of plea this morning,  signaling that he has reached agreements to resolve all pending and potential criminal and ethics charges. If convicted, Farmer could have faced 10 years in prison.

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Local News
10:00 am
Thu September 5, 2013

How Long Louisvillians Live Depends on Their Neighborhood, Education, Study Says

Credit Shutterstock.com

Louisvillians' neighborhood and education level have a great effect on how long they'll live, said a new study released Thursday morning.

The Building a Healthier Louisville study from the Greater Louisville Project is meant to compare where the city's health stands to peer cities. (Louisville doesn't do well—more on that later.)

But the study points to a wide disparity in life expectancy across Metro Louisville. Here's a breakdown:

83-Year Life Expectancy

Northeast Louisville

St. Matthews

Southeast Louisville

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Local News
6:45 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Committee Expects To Approve Ohio River Bridges Tolls Thursday Morning, Rates Still Uncertain

Artists rendition of the East End Bridge, one of three that will be tolled to pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Credit Ohio River Bridges Project

The Indiana and Kentucky bi-state tolling body will meet Thursday morning and decide toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project, but those rates are subject to change if the project’s costs change, officials say.

Tolls have not been met with open arms by everyone, but bi-state officials say tolls are a necessary funding mechanism for new East End and downtown bridges and the reconstruction of Spaghetti Junction.

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Local News
6:00 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Lawmakers Meet Behind Closed Doors to Discuss Sexual Harassment Allegations

Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

Kentucky’s top lawmakers convened in Frankfort Wednesday in an effort to learn more about the handling of harassment claims within the Legislative Research Commission in the wake of sexual harassment allegations made against Rep. John A. Arnold by veteran LRC staffers.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Senator Rand Paul: President Obama Failed to Make Case Against Syria

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
Credit U.S. Senate

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., says President Obama has failed to make a compelling case for the U.S. to launch a military strike against Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 to give the president authority to do just that, with three Republican senators joining Democrats to support the resolution.

Paul voted against the resolution along with four Republicans and Democrats Tom Udall of New Mexico and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

The resolution is now headed to the full Senate for a vote next week.

Paul says he isn't convinced a limited bombing of Syria will detour its government from using chemical weapons again, and he warns it could escalate violence in the region.

From Paul's office:

"We are told there is no military solution in Syria, yet we are embarking on a military solution. The president has failed to demonstrate a compelling American national interest in the Syrian civil war.

To be sure, there is a tragedy of a horrific nature in Syria, but I am unconvinced that a limited Syrian bombing campaign will achieve its intended goals. I frankly think that bombing Syria increases the likelihood of additional gas attacks, may increase attacks on Israel and turkey, may increase civilian deaths, may increase instability in the Middle East and may draw Russia and Iran further into this civil war.

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Politics
5:01 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Report: One in Six Kentucky Households Cannot Afford Healthy Food

Credit File photo

One in six Kentucky households report having serious problems affording nutritious food, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report released on Wednesday also reveals basic hunger needs in the state have increased over the past decade even as lawmakers in Washington are proposing to dump millions of food stamp recipients.

Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, about 113,000 had at least one or more members living in the home forced to reduce their food intake. The agriculture department's report shows 15.6 percent lack adequate food choices, a five percent increase since 2003.

Many argue government help such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program combat those hunger issues. But food stamps face a possible $40 billion worth of cuts in Congress, which could eliminate benefits for up to 6 million Americans.

Jason Bailey is director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He says the cuts are coming at a time when many families are still struggling economically.

"It’s not like they’re also proposing to create 4 to 6 million jobs that these folks can get to provide enough income for them to pay for their food needs. It’s an incredibly cruel and counter-productive proposal at a time when unemployment is still high," he says.

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Education
4:58 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Louisville Schools for At-Risk Students Say JCPS Not Doing Enough to Keep Kids Safe

Credit Shutterstock.com

Leaders from five agencies that serve at-risk children in Louisville say the Jefferson County school district isn't doing enough to ensure there are ample employees to keep students and staff safe at their schools.

Maryhurst, St. Joseph Children’s Home, Boys and Girls Haven, Home of the Innocents and Uspiritus (Brooklawn and Bellewood campuses) all treat children with emotional and behavioral disorders, many of whom are wards of the state or have had traumatic life experiences or unstable homes.

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Environment
4:41 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Judge Grants Temporary Injunction, Environmental Groups Appeal Kentucky Mine Decision

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A judge has temporarily halted work at a surface mine in Eastern Kentucky, while he considers an appeal.

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