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.

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Local News
1:29 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Western Kentucky to Get 364 Area Code, Ten-Digit Local Dialing

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a new area code for western Kentucky.

The new area code, 364, will be added to the current 270 footprint.

PSC Spokesman Andrew Melnykovich say with the overlay, people who currently use 270 won’t have to change numbers, but there will be a different dialing pattern.

"In order to distinguish between the two area codes within the same area, ten-digit dialing with become mandatory for all local calls. That’s similar to what you see in most big cities in the United States today," he said.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Ousted Indiana House Democratic Leader Re-elected to National Party Committee

A national campaign group has re-elected former Indiana House Speaker and Democratic leader Patrick Bauer to its board.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee helps Democrats campaign for seats in statehouses across the country.

It re-elected Bauer to its board Thursday.

Bauer’s standing among Indiana House Democrats has fallen this year.

Local News
11:55 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Officials Defend Tolling To Help Fund New Bridges

From brentspencebridgecorridor.com

State and federal officials say new Ohio River bridges cannot be built without tolling as part of the financing plan.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Ohio’s governor to construct a new, $2.5 billion double-deck span to replace the Brent Spence Bridge linking Covington and Cincinnati.

Beshear says there’s no chance the federal government will pick up the whole cost of this project or two new bridges planned for the Louisville area.

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Local News
4:41 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Kentucky Flu Activity 'Widespread,' Vaccinations Urged

The Kentucky Department for Public Health says flu activity across the commonwealth has increased to widespread, meaning there are outbreaks of the illness in at least half of the state’s regions.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Craig Humbaugh says the flu usually peaks from January through March.

"In fact, last year’s flu season was relatively late in coming, and this year’s flu season is starting early," he said.

Politics
4:24 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

In Farewell Speech, Lugar Calls for More Unity, Less Posturing

Outgoing U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana says Congress and the president need to establish a closer working relationship, especially in the area of national security.

The Republican, who’s leaving Capitol Hill after 36 years, delivered his farewell address on the Senate floor today , saying the current dialogue on national security is one of the least constructive he’s ever witnessed.

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Local News
1:39 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Indiana HS Coach Defends 107-2 Basketball Blowout

Wikipedia
File photo

The girls’ basketball coach at Indiana’s Bloomington South High School says he and his players were not trying to embarrass an opponent they defeated by a score of 107-2 this week.

The team’s rout of Arlington has sparked outrage among some fans and prompted a state prep sports association official to say he never wants to see anything so one-sided again.

Bloomington South coach Larry Winters tells the Indianapolis Star that he played everyone on his team and they didn’t stop shooting because he felt that would have been more embarrassing to Arlington.

Education
11:43 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Bennett Named Florida Education Commissioner

From tonybennett2012.com

Indiana's recently ousted state school superintendent is Florida's new education commissioner.

The State Board of Education selected Tony Bennett, a Republican who lost a bid for re-election in Indiana last month, today in Tampa.

The board picked Bennett from a slate of three finalists.

The others were Murray State University President Randy Dunn, who once served as state superintendent in Illinois, and Arlington, Va., education consultant Charles Hokanson, a former deputy assistant U.S. secretary of education in President George W. Bush's administration.

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Business
2:57 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Nine Companies Promising More Than 2,500 Indiana Jobs

Nine companies are promising to bring more than 2,500 new jobs to Indiana within the next six years by locating or expanding operations in the state.

Gov. Mitch Daniels joined executives from the companies for Tuesday's announcement at his Statehouse office. He says the companies, ranging from Indianapolis-based Angie's List to an Arizona-based food maker, expect to hire 2,550 new workers by the end of 2018.

The companies' plans vary widely.

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Politics
1:05 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Kentucky State Sen. Kathy Stein Plans Apology for 'Nimrod' Comment

A Lexington lawmaker says she will apologize for making a disparaging comment about another legislator that appeared on Facebook.

Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she made the comment on an old blog and thought it would be private, but the commenting system was powered by Facebook and so her post also appeared on her Facebook account.

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Local News
5:14 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Petrino Introduced As New Coach of the WKU Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky University has introduced Bobby Petrino as the school’s 18th football coach.

Petrino returns to the college game eight months after his firing from Arkansas for lying about an extramarital affair he had with a woman on his staff.

"I'm honored to sit in front of you as the head coach of Western Kentucky University," Petrino said at a late afternoon news conference.

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