Rick Howlett

Broadcast Managing Editor

Rick has been a member of the WFPL News team since 2001 and has covered numerous beats and events over the years.   Most recently he’s been tracking the Indiana General Assembly and the region’s passion for sports, especially college basketball.


Local News
11:24 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Winter Storm Dumps Ice, Sleet and Snow on Region

Local and state crews continue the job of clearing the latest round of snow and ice from roadways today.

The winter storm has moved out of the Louisville area, but most roads are still slick and hazardous.

Freezing rain, sleet and several inches of snow forced the closure of area school districts again Monday, including Jefferson County Public Schools.

Highs today will only reach the mid 20s, with overnight lows dipping into the single digits.  

Local News
5:00 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Maker's Mark Announces $67 Million Expansion

Rick Howlett

Maker’s Mark is announcing plans for a $67 million expansion of its distillery in Loretto, Ky.

The bourbon maker says it will expand operations with an exact replica of its two existing stills, boosting production by 50 percent.

Construction of  a new still is expected to take about 18 months to complete.   Maker’s Mark will also build a series of warehouses over the next seven years for aging the increased volume of bourbon.

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Local News
10:51 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Fund for the Arts CEO Barbara Sexton Smith Announces Retirement

The leader of the Louisville area’s Fund for the Arts says she’ll retire from the post later this year.

Barbara Sexton Smith announced today that she’ll leave the job of president and CEO after the 2014 Fund for the Arts campaign.    

Sexton Smith has been with the organization for 16 years and was appointed three years ago to replace Allen Cowan as CEO.    She says she put off retirement plans to take the job then,  and new leadership is part of the Fund’s overall strategic plan.

Sexton Smith told WFPL  she plans to stay active in the arts.

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Local News
2:02 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Family Commits Suicide

Mecklenburg County, N.C. Sheriff's Office

A medical examiner says a former Kentucky-based soldier hanged himself at the federal prison where he was serving life sentences for raping and killing a teenage Iraqi girl and fatally shooting three members of her family.

Prison officials in Arizona found 28 year old Steven Dale Green dead in his cell Saturday.

Green, from Midland, Texas, was a private in the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell when he deployed to Iraq.

Local News
10:35 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Larry Collmus Named New Churchill Downs Track Announcer

Churchill Downs

Racing fans at Churchill Downs will hear a new voice calling the action when the Spring Meet begins in April.

Larry Collmus becomes just the seventh person to hold the position of track announcer.

Collmus’s voice is already familiar to many racing fans. He’s called the last three Kentucky Derbys forNBC.

The 47 year old Maryland native will continue to call Triple Crown and Breeder’s Cup races for NBC in addition to his duties in Louisville. He’ll also stay on as the Winter Meet announcer at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Local News
3:00 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Pitino Says Fan Behavior Has Worsened in Many Arenas

WFPL file photo
Rick Howlett

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino says Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart was wrong to shove a Texas Tech fan who yelled an insult at him from the stands Saturday night.

Pitino says he tells his players to “turn the other cheek” and ignore any taunts they get from opposing teams’ fans.

But he understands Smart's anger.

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Local News
6:31 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Indiana Gay Marriage Amendment Clears Senate Panel

An Indiana Senate committee has approved a controversial proposal to write a gay marriage ban into the state constitution.

The Republican-led measure passed the Senate Rules Committee Monday by a vote of 8-4. It now goes to the full Senate.

The measure cleared the House last month after language was removed that would
have banned civil unions.

Gov. Mike Pence and other Republicans want the provision to be restored so the
proposal can go before voters in the fall.

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Local News
1:31 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Spaghetti Junction Ramp Reopens After Repairs

Ohio River Bridges Project

Repairs are complete on the ramp that carries traffic from Interstate 65 North to westbound Interstate 64. The ramp was reopened to traffic at 1:00pm today. 

Mindy Peterson with the Ohio River Bridges Project says the ramp had to be shut down more than a week ago so workers could repair one of its supports.

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Local News
5:13 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Efforts Continue to Address Propane Shortage

Wikimedia Commons

Government officials and suppliers say they’re continuing efforts to help ease the region’s propane shortage.

Demand and prices for the heating gas have soared as temperatures have plummeted.   Supplies were already affected by a record harvest that required farmers to dry large amounts of grain.

Midwestern states are the hardest hit by the shortage, but many Kentucky homes have been in short supply as well.

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Local News
3:12 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Surveillance Bill Wins Indiana House Approval


The Indiana House has approved a bill that would restrict law enforcement access to surveillance drones, GPS trackers and cell phone searches.

The measure easily won passage today by a vote of 85-11.

The legislation comes amid growing concern over the National Security Agency's access to citizens' phone and Internet records.

Under House Bill 1009, law enforcement agencies would first have to obtain court orders before using technology such as unmanned aircraft, real-time tracking devices or requesting passwords for electronic data.

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