A piece of World War II history can be spotted in the skies over the Louisville area this weekend. It's one of the stops on a national tour by a restored B-17 Bomber. The Boeing B-17 is better known as the Flying Fortress. More than 12,000 were produced starting in 1935. Many of them took part in missions over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War Two. Only a dozen are still flying today. This one, making a stop at the Clark County Airport in Sellersburg, Indiana, was built in 1945. Its’ been restored by the non-profit Liberty Foundation and was used in the 1990 film Memphis Belle, about the famed B-17 that survived 25 combat missions in the war. This is a plane built for combat, not for comfort, and just climbing aboard is an adventure. Inside there are machine gun positions, a turret ball, a radio room and a narrow catwalk that leads to the cockpit. Our flight team is led by Ray Fowler, who lets passengers wander about the aircraft during the flight. "The two pilot seats are best seat in the house, but everyone gets to go down the nose to get in the bombardier seat and to move through the different combat positions," Fowler said. "So we tell everybody it’s a great way to experience the B-17 without actually getting shot at, which is important." The Liberty Foundation is offering public flights aboard the B-17 this weekend. It cost $450 dollars per person for about a half-hour ride, but Fowler says it’s a necessary charge. Keeping the plane airworthy and on tour costs more than $1.5 million each year. "We spend more than we’ll ever bring in with this airplane. Just insurance alone is about $70,000 per year, so we don’t ever catch up, we just offset our costs Our goal is to keep them out of the museum, to keep them flying. We do that through public support." Earier this week, the Liberty Foundation offered free rides to World War Two veterans. "Those days are gone forever. Never going to be a war fought like that one anymore," said Wayne Tabor of Jeffersontown, who flew 30 combat missions on a similar aircraft. Tabor’s first mission was on March 22, 1944, over heavily defended Berlin. "Oh, boy. We lost two airplanes that day with midair collisions, lost two more the next day with midair collisions. After we’d been over there after a full ten missions and we figured up how many planes we’d lost, (we said), 'uh oh, we don’t have a chance, man.'" The B-17 Flying Fortress will be at the Clark County Airport Saturday and Sunday. Flights are in the mornings, but the aircraft will be on the ground for tours in the afternoons. There’s no set admission charge for the tours, but donations are encouraged.
The Kentucky State Fair Board has approved its operating budget for fiscal 2013 that includes a projected deficit of more than $5.4 million.Business First reports that the budget was approved during Thursday' monthly fair board meeting.The budget forecasts a net income of more than 476-thousand dollars but also projects nearly $3.7 million in capital expenses and $2.3 million in construction expenses.It also includes a cost-cutting plan crafted by new board CFO Gary Stewart.The board has lost revenue streams from the termination of its contract to manage the KFC Yum Center, and the closure of the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park more than two years ago.A request for proposals for a new park operator will be open until October 19.
The drought last summer will reduce corn and soybean harvests in Kentucky, but not to the degree once feared. That’s the assessment of state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. "Yields are a little better than what we thought they were going to be, which says a lot about technology about the corn seed, because there are a lot of those counties, in Fulton County and Calloway County, that didn’t’ get any rain in May, June or July but they still yieled something. So, that was encouraging," Comer said during a visit to Frenchburg this week. Comer says some western Kentucky counties were expecting to lose about 75 percent of their corn crop. He believes that number will be closer to 50 percent.
Some tailgaters won't be allowed to imbibe before the University of Kentucky's football game against South Carolina this weekend. UK President Eli Capilouto has imposed an alcohol ban for non-reserved tailgating spots near the stadium in Lexington. The new rule also prohibits DJs and bands, and comes after fights broke out before and after Kentucky's loss to Western Kentucky earlier this month. Capilouto said in a campus email Thursday that police will bolster their presence in the non-reserved tailgate area along Cooper Drive near Commonwealth Stadium. His email encourages tailgating but in a "responsible fashion." It's not the first time UK has dealt with recent unruly fan behavior. The school's celebration of its national basketball championship this past spring was marred by numerous small fires and gunfire that wounded one man.
Less than six weeks before Election Day, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock are in a statistical dead heat for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat.The Howey-DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll puts Donnelly ahead with 40 percent compared to Republican Richard Mourdock’s 38 percent, which is within the 3.5 percent margin of error. The survey of 800 likely voters follows many other polls that have depicted the contest as a neck-and-neck race to replace outgoing Sen. Dick Lugar.Close to $10 million has been spent in the race thus far, and outside groups, such as the conservative Super PAC Crossroads GPS, has spent close to $1 million this week opposing Donnelly's candidacy.But Donnelly campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Shappell says her candidate’s two-point edge shows Hoosier voters are rejecting Mourdock’s approach and the heavy amounts being spent to defeat him."This is the same man who said that the highlight of politics to him inflict his opinion on others, who has questioned the constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare," she says. "Joe Donnelly is the true bipartisan, common sense candidate in this race and he has the record to prove it."Since the general election, Donnelly has targeted moderate and Republican voters who supported longtime Sen. Dick Lugar, whom Mourdock defeated in the GOP primary earlier this year. And the Donnelly campaign has been running ads that call out Mourdock's ties to the tea party.The Mourdock campaign has recently highlighted that their candidate has a business background and can reach out beyond the GOP base as he has worked to tie himself to Indiana Republicans such as Gov. Mitch Daniels. They have attack Donnelly for supporting President Obama's health care law and for failing to say whether he'd vote for Sen Harry Reid, D-Nv., as majority leader.But observers have questioned if Mourdock's makeover will work with Election Day fast approaching.Mourdock deputy campaign manager Brose McVey says Hoosier voters are tired of the out of control government spending and that Democrats have run nasty and misleading attacks against their candidate, especially from Reid."Mr. Reid has been especially aggressive," he says. "He thinks he can buy a Senate race in Indiana this fall. He needs it to remain majority leader. And we think that when Hoosier voters realize that their vote may determine if Harry Reid remains the leader of the Senate it's going to be an advantage for us."Reid has been critical of Mourdock since the general election began, and his American Majority Super PAC has poured in money to support Donnelly.Indiana is leaning Republican in both the presidential and gubernatorial race, and state lawmakers have passed legislation to cut Planned Parenthood funding and right-to-work measures. It is considered a conservative state, but that has put added pressure on Mourdock, who remains tied with Donnelly.The Howey-DePauw survey shows President Obama trailing Governor Mitt Romney by 12-points, and Republican Congressman Mike Pence is leading Democrat John Gregg in the governor's race by 13 percentage points."Voters have become aware of and are rejecting his ‘my way or the highway’ approach. That’s truly the choice here," says Shappell. "Do we want someone who is going to work with others to move our country forward? Or do we want more gridlock, more of that Washington way, and that’s what Richard Mourdock truly represents."
The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, which provides free studio arts education to Kentucky high school students, will reinstate its new media program for the next fiscal year. Earlier this month, the arts education organization announced it would suspend the new media program for one year to help address its $50,000 budget shortfall, the result of state-wide 8.4 percent budget cuts designed to address Kentucky’s structural deficit. GSA is an agency of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage cabinet. A private donation from Louisville philanthropists Gil and Augusta Holland, as well as additional funding from the office of the secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage cabinet, will pay for the program this year. Cabinet spokesperson Gil Lawson says the state contribution came from leftover cabinet grant funds. “Our agency was able to fill that gap because we felt it was important and we were able to muster the resources for this,” says Lawson.Suspending the new media program would have recouped about three-quarters of GSA’s $50,000 budget shortfall. The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts will raise an additional $13,000 to address GSA’s remaining budget shortfall. GSA executive director Carrie Nath says the new media program accounted for a larger chunk of the budget shortfall than they had originally calculated.“This specific discipline has a lot of equipment costs and additional costs other disciplines might not have because of the nature of the artistic discipline," says Nath. "The total when we were completely finished was $37,000.”Last summer, GSA served 225 students in nine disciplines in its competitive three-week summer residential program. New media students study video production, animation and digital imagery in the summer program and at free workshops held across the state every fall.In 2013, GSA will pare down the summer new media program slightly, admitting ten students instead of 12. New media will be offered at all four of this fall's four ArtShops, the free day-long workshops GSA offers to high school students across the state. Applications for the 2013 summer program will be available online in October.
Ground was broken Thursday on the fourth Family Scholar House in Louisville that will serve a large waiting list of 642 single-parent families seeking help toward earning a college degree.The 19th Century Parkland School is being renovated to serve 48 more local families when it opens next year.President Cathe Dykstra said for the hundreds of families not in the residential program, the Family Scholar House offers other services to keep families on track to complete their degree.An applicant must complete certain tasks to become part of the pre-residential program where they'll have access to resources that Dykstra said will motivate them to continue on their path.“They have an academic advisor, a case manager, they have peer support workshops, they have opportunities for their children to be involved in activities like toddler book club and family nutrition and wellness," she said.Dykstra said Family Scholar House has been growing in the region and around the commonwealth and is looking for new locations where it can expand the residential aspect of the program.“As long as this need continues to grow, we must stretch and continue to build. I would love to do a fifth one here [Louisville]. We’re going to do one in Carrollton and we’re going to do one in southern Indiana although we haven’t identified a location there yet," she said.The Family Scholar House has served nearly 260 families so far, and 81 have earned a degree through the program. Dykstra said although not everyone earns a degree, there are other measures of success, like the 100 percent of families that have transition into stable housing.The Parkland House project’s $10.1 million dollar budget received federal, city and private funding.
The number of Kentucky public high school students taking Advanced Placement tests and scoring at higher levels continues to rise.AP classes give students a chance to earn college credit while still in high school.In 2008, Kentucky increased its efforts to make AP classes and exams more accessible to students. Today, the Kentucky Department of Education continues funding and encouraging students to push themselves and the most recent AP numbers reflect this.Data released by the College Board this week shows 26,523 students took at least one AP test last school year, nearly doubling the amount taken in 2008 (14,664).The data shows the number of African-American and Hispanic students are growing at the fastest rates, but the percentage of students taking AP exams in the two minority groups--when compared to the demographics--still lags behind white students.The number of African-American students taking AP exams has gone from 686 in 2008 to 1,412 in 2012, and the number of Hispanic students has gone from 283 in 2008 to 754 in 2012.The number of white students taking one or more exams went from 12,511 in 2008 to 22,014 in 2012.When compared to their respective demographics that means about four percent of white students take an AP exam, around three percent for Hispanic students and around two percent for African-American students.Nearly half of all tests taken scored high enough to earn college credit.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich are squabbling over talks of bringing an NBA franchise to the city.Recently, Fischer met with business leaders and local boosters about the prospect of bringing professional basketball to the KFC Yum Center. The downtown arena has been facing financial troubles, and the parent company of the current arena manager—Anschults Entertainment Group (AEG)—has announced plans to sell the subsidiary.But as The Courier-Journal's Tom Sullivan reports, Jurich took exception to Fischer holding a meeting about bringing the NBA to Louisville without including the arena's main tenant."(Mayor Fischer) is a guy full of signals,” Jurich told the newspaper. "He needs to work a little bit more with transparency. He likes to throw that word (transparency) around, but you need to practice what you preach."As political observer have pointed out, the university is one of the chief obstacles to bringing pro basketball back to Kentucky. During the C-J interview, Jurich added that the university initially wanted an on campus arena, but agreed to a downtown location and that amending the lease agreement would be a "bait-and-switch" by the city.Reports are also beginning to leak ou that Fischer had the unusual idea of having the Indiana Pacers play 10 home games in Louisville.From WHAS-11:During a mayor's office meeting about Cardinals soccer and a new soccer stadium, Fischer brought up basketball and an idea for the Indiana Pacers to play ten games at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville during the regular season, according to Kenny Klein, U of L Sports Information Director. Klein said the information came from Jurich, who declined to be interviewed.(SNIP)A Pacers public relations official said he was "not aware of any such thing."The numbers show the Pacers make over $100 million in revenue and pull $16 million in gate receipts.
This week on our new audio diary series “The Big Break,” Actors Theatre of Louisville apprentice Samantha Beach and Kentucky Opera studio artist Brad Raymond take us inside tech week, the full rehearsals leading up to opening night.Samantha captures the sounds of "Dracula" from underneath the Bingham Theatre stage and tells us what "rat down!" means, while Brad explains how a bad voice day can throw off an entire "Tosca" tech rehearsal.Learn more about our audio diarists, who report in every Thursday about what it's like to work in a professional performing arts company.
Kentucky’s poet laureate will read from her new book in the Axton Reading Series at the University of Louisville tomorrow.Morehead will read from her new collection of poems, “Late August Blues: the Daylily Poems,” in U of L’s Ekstrom Library, in the Chao Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.Morehead is also the author of "In a Yellow Room," "Our Brothers’ War," "A Sense of Time Left" and "The Melancholy Teacher." She teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Spalding University.Since taking the office of poet laureate in April 2011, Morehead says she’s logged about 30,000 miles on her car traveling around Kentucky to give readings and talks on literature and literacy.“I’ve gotten to meet people all over the state who love literature. There are pockets of people everywhere. Last night there was a large audience at Northern Kentucky University,” says Morehead.“There have been audiences in Jackson, Kentucky; and Pippa Passes, Kentucky; and Paducah and Hopkinsville. It’s been nice connecting with people who like what I do and who are doing it themselves, either teaching or writing or just reading,” she adds.Morehead’s latest book is “Late August Blues: The Daylily Poems,” a gently melancholy collection of persona poems in the vein of Edgar Lee Masters’s “Spoon River Anthology.”The collection is illustrated by Carolyn Whitesel and published by Kentucky's Larkspur Press, which is owned and operated by celebrated letterpress publisher Gray Zeitz. Zeitz is the recipient of a 2012 Governor's Award in the Arts. Morehead named the characters in her poems after different types of daylilies growing in her husband’s garden. Daylily varieties carry human names, like James Marsh and Mary Todd, and Morehead took the inspiration for her human characters from the flowers’ shapes and names.“Because at the time I was writing the poems for (her previous collection) ‘The Melancholy Teacher,’ so many of these poems end up having to do with education, the people in education, the ideas in education,” says Morehead. Morehead’s poet laureate term will continue through April, when the new poet laureate will be inaugurated. Nominations for the next poet laureate are being accepted by the Kentucky Arts Council through September 30.
Absentee ballots are on their way to more than two-thousand Kentuckians overseas. Many of the ballots are going to men and women in the military. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is proposing some changes in election laws to help military men and women. One of them would allow military personnel to vote by e-mail. Currently, they have to send in their ballots by standard mail. Grimes recently returned from a trip to the Middle East to assess absentee voting procedures. “The process of receiving, filling out, and returning an absentee ballot, whether you are in the Middle East or here in the United States, it can take weeks, especially for those active duty military members that I saw," Grimes said. The proposals will be considered by state lawmakers in 2013. The general election is November 6th.
The advisory board tasked with overseeing Kentucky's health insurance exchange is set to have its first meeting Thursday.The 19-member board is made up of public officials, insurance executives, doctors and consumer groups. The agenda is short, focusing mainly on organizational tasks like forming subcommittees. The board is also getting an overview of the exchange from Executive Director Carrie Banahan.The exchange will offer Kentuckians an online marketplace to compare and buy health plans, and one of the panel's first tasks will be to choose a vendor to help set up the system."We’ll be updating the board on our initiatives there, we hope to have a signed contract with that vendor hopefully in the next week or two," says Banahan, adding “You know, right now it’s called the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, but we will be renaming it in the next few months as other states are.”The board will also look at new state regulations that may be necessary for the smooth operation of the exchange.
Gov. Steve Beshear has named the 17 members of the state’s new Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel, which is comprised of a wide range of professionals.The panel will act independently from the state, although for administrative purposes it’s placed in the Justice Cabinet.Its job will be to review certain child abuse cases on a quarterly basis to make sure the state government is complying with its policies.The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has been criticized for not handling certain cases appropriately and it remains in a legal battle over the release of certain records it wants kept private.The 17 member panel includes legislators, law enforcement, and social service professionals who will review certain cases and make recommendations as needed to the various public and private agencies charged with keeping children safe.The panel will also produce an annual report of case reviews, findings and recommendations that will be submitted to the governor and will be made available online.Beshear signed an executive order creating the panel after a bill establishing the same panel failed in the General Assembly this year. Rep. Tom Burch, of Louisville, is Chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee. He serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member.Sen. Julie Denton, of Louisville, is Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. She serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member.Teresa James is the Commissioner of Department for Community Based Services. She serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member.Family Court Judge Brent Hall, of Elizabethtown, serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member and is selected by the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court.Dr. Carmel Wallace, of Lexington, represents physicians for the University of Kentucky’s Department of Pediatrics’ Medical Home Clinic and is selected by the Attorney General.Dr. Melissa Currie, of Louisville, represents a board-certified child abuse pediatrician from the University of Louisville’s Forensic Medicine program and is selected by the Attorney General.Dr. Tracey Corey, of Louisville, is the state medical examiner.Andrea Goin, of Evansville, Ind., is the Henderson County Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Director for The Children's Advocacy Center of Green River District. She represents CASA program directors and is selected by the Attorney General.Kevin Calhoon, of Frankfort, represents peace officers with experience investigating child abuse and neglect fatalities and near fatalities, and is selected by the Attorney General.Joel T. Griffith, of Dry Ridge, represents Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky Inc. and is selected by the Attorney General.Jenny Pitts Oldham, of Elizabethtown, is the Hardin County Attorney. She represents practicing local prosecutors and is selected by the Attorney General.Sharon Currens, of Frankfort, is the executive director of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.Dr. Ruth Shepherd, of Frankfort, is the acting chair of the State Child Fatality Review Team.Robert Walker, of Lexington, represents practicing social work clinicians and is selected by the Attorney General.Carmella Yates, of Lexington, represents practicing addiction counselors and is selected by the Attorney General.Maxine Reid, of Barbourville, represents Family Resource and Youth Service Centers and is selected by the Attorney General.Judge Roger Crittenden, of Frankfort, is an at large representative selected by the Attorney General. Judge Crittenden will serve as chair of the panel.