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
5:30 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Indiana Hires Firm to Review Accounting Errors

Indiana is hiring an international accounting firm for an audit of how the state lost track of more than $500 million in tax revenue it had collected.

The State Budget Committee announced the hiring of Deloitte LLP Monday.

The firm will likely brief state budget officials in July on the scope of the audit that's needed. Officials say the external audit won't start until after that briefing.

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Education
4:15 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Indiana Voucher Program Growing

File photo

(Information for this story came from the Associated Press)

Indiana's school voucher program has finished its first year with enrollment on the rise and supporters trumpeting the program's successes.   

Some 4,800 Indiana students have signed up for vouchers to attend private schools this fall. That's up about 800 students from the program’s first year, and the voucher deadline is still months away.

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Science
4:30 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Rare "Transit of Venus" Can Be Seen Tuesday

Astronomy buffs will have an opportunity to view a rare cosmic event tomorrow.

That’s when the planet Venus will pass directly between the sun and Earth.  Such transits occur in pairs eight years apart.  The pairs are separated by gaps of more than 100 years.

The last transit of Venus occurred in 2004.  The next one won’t happen until 2117.

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Local News
4:15 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Kentucky Panel to Discuss Safety of Temporary Structures

A new panel that will study Kentucky’s safety rules for large outdoor tents and other temporary structures will hold its first meeting this week.

The advisory committee was formed in response to last year’s deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair and a recent beer tent collapse in St. Louis.   The two weather-related incidents killed eight people and injured dozens of others.

Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet Spokesman Dick Brown says the 19-member panel will hold its first meeting Thursday in Frankfort.

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Local News
3:56 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Preliminary East End Bridge Work Set for August

Ohio River Bridges Project

Indiana officials are advertising for bids for preparatory work on the state‘s portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield says construction will begin this summer on a road extension between Utica, Indiana and the River Ridge Commerce Center.

It’s the first step toward construction of a new east end bridge.

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Local News
2:32 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

State Tax Overhaul Panel Begins Regional Hearings

From Chad Lampe, Kentucky Public Radio

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission are seeking public comment to help develop recommendations on overhauling the state tax code. 

Abramson says around 100 people attended the first of six regional public hearings last night in Paducah. The commission wraps up public meetings in August and will have three months to finish the plan by a November deadline. Abramson is hopeful the plan will pass the legislature.

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Business
4:46 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

NIH Conference Begins in Louisville Wednesday

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, researchers and small business owners from across the country will be in Louisville starting tomorrow for a conference focusing on research into health and life sciences.

The National Institutes of Health provides more than $700 million for small businesses to do research and this conference at the downtown Marriott will feature workshops for start-up companies to learn the funding process and access those funds.

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Local News
3:11 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Indiana Begins Gathering Input for Raw Milk Study

Indiana officials begin gathering online input this week for a study on the sale of raw milk. The information will be turned to the 2013 General Assembly. 

Current Indiana law prohibits the sale of milk that has not been pasteurized. But its proponents say raw milk from pasture-fed animals contains beneficial nutrients depleted by the process and should be available for sale.

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Local News
5:17 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Eggners Ferry Bridge to Reopen Ahead of Schedule

Officials say western Kentucky’s Eggners Ferry Bridge will reopen Friday, two-and-a-half days ahead of schedule.

The bridge, which carries US 68 and KY 80 traffic across Kentucky Lake, has been closed since it was struck by a cargo ship on January 26.

Crews have been conducting emergency repairs on the 80 year old span. The incident forced some motorists to take a long detour around the closure.

Sports
6:22 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Racing Commission Considering Ban of Anti-Bleeding Drug

From Josh James, Kentucky Public Radio

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has set a town hall meeting to discuss a proposal that would phase out the use of an anti-bleeding drug on race days in the U.S. The drug, furosemide, also known as Lasix, is given to horses to prevent bleeding in the lungs caused by the stress of racing. Eric Mitchell, editor-in-chief for Bloodhorse magazine, says Kentucky is among the first states to debate a limited ban on the practice.    

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