Is Education Screwed In KY? Probably.

Matt Bevin excluded K-12 schools from funding cuts in an austere state budget proposal that would slash funding to Kentucky’s public universities. [H-L]

Donald Trump may be about to do something that has never been done in the modern presidential nominating era: Win a state primary without a single endorsement from a member of Congress. [HuffPo]

On Tuesday, state Sen. Gerald Neal learned that Charles Booker, his former protege who Neal defended when he lost his job with the Legislative Research Commission for appearing in an ad for Alison Lundergan Grimes, was running against him. [C-J/AKN]

Top Democrats from Michigan’s congressional delegation have introduced a bill to expand lead poisoning notifications in the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Mich. [The Hill]

The state’s minimum hourly wage would be raised to $10.10 over the next two and half years under a bill that cleared a House committee today. House Bill 278, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would increase Kentucky’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $8.20 this August, $9.15 in July 2017 and $10.10 in July 2018. The increase would not apply to businesses that have a recent average annual gross volume of sales of less than $500,000. [Press Release]

Lieutenant General John “Mick” Nicholson, the current head of NATO’s Allied Land Command, has been chosen as the new commander of international forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Wednesday amid concerns about setbacks in the fight against the Taliban. [Reuters]

Kentucky environmental advocates are worried that budget reductions called for by Gov. Matt Bevin will make it impossible for the Energy and Environment Cabinet to perform its basic functions. [WFPL]

Donald Trump’s rivals are mocking the GOP poll leader for his decision to skip this week’s Fox News debate and deprive them of their last chance to confront him before Monday’s Iowa caucuses. [Politico]

More than 300 candidates have filed to run for office in this year’s election, including 220 for state House races. [Ronnie Ellis]

Here is some of the best reporting on, and key moments from, the on-going public health crisis in Flint, Michigan. [ProPublica]

Ashland school superintendent and former mayor Steve Gilmore told his school board Monday he will step down in June because he is seeking his previous job. [Ashland Independent]

After a Texas-based grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood on Monday, clearing an Austin-based clinic of any wrongdoing, GOP presidential candidates are simply doubling down on their opposition to the national women’s health organization. [ThinkProgress]

Matt Bevin’s proposed state budget includes $60 million in state bonds for a proposed $250 million overhaul of Lexington’s convention center. [H-L]

When Bernie Sanders released his universal health care plan last week, promising that most people would receive more generous insurance coverage while paying less for medical care, most policy experts said it sounded too good to be true. [HuffPo]

Bevin’s Already Harming Education In KY

Really, there aren’t more pressing educational issues to tackle instead of pandering in an election year? A Kentucky Republican state senator from London has introduced a bill that he said could have prevented biblical references from being cut from a presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas at a Johnson County elementary school. [H-L]

French President Francois Hollande has declared what he called “a state of economic emergency” and says it’s time to redefine France’s economic and social model. [HuffPo]

The Bevin administration has shut down an advanced battery research and development center in Lexington that involved cooperation between the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and a big federal energy lab and automakers. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled President Obama cannot use executive privilege to keep records on the “fast and furious” gun-tracking program from Congress. [The Hill]

Police departments across Kentucky began outfitting officers with body cameras last year, but don’t expect state troopers to join their ranks anytime soon. [WFPL]

Puerto Rico, struggling to make its debt payments, outlined an increase in its financing gap on Monday, saying it now projects a $16.06 billion hole to fill, cumulatively, over the next five years, an increase of $2.1 billion from a September projection. [Reuters]

The brother of former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will be back in court for a domestic violence charge. [WHAS11]

A Senate subcommittee is looking at waste by a Pentagon task force. It would do well to review the reasons why a major hydroelectric power plant sits unfinished. [ProPublica]

For years there have been calls for more transparency in Kentucky’s retirement systems, especially the system for lawmakers. [Ronnie Ellis]

As state lawmakers consider a medical marijuana bill in Georgia, the measure is getting support from an unexpected source: a conservative Republican state representative. [ThinkProgress]

There are monumental and historic reasons to march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but to the crowd who gathered at Union Chuch on Monday despite frigid temperatures, there were modern reasons as well. [Richmond Register]

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday blasted the Republican field for their rhetoric on destroying the Islamic State. [Politico]

Parent Maggie Draus is concerned about the news that Lexington’s Cassidy Elementary School is one of several in Fayette County likely to get portable classrooms in the fall because of overcrowding. [H-L]

China’s economic growth edged down to 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2015 as trade and consumer spending weakened, dragging full-year growth to its lowest in 25 years. [HuffPo]

Tuesday Evening Dept Of Bitterness

Once again, bills have been filed in the Kentucky legislature that would provide a one-time death benefit to help the survivors of fallen employees of emergency medical services. The state pays a lump sum to the families of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty, but not to the survivors of EMS workers. Survivors of paramedics in Lexington are eligible for the benefits because they are part of the fire department. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton’s plan to stem her slide against Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary began to come into clear focus Sunday night in the fourth Democratic debate. [HuffPo]

A Jefferson County Public Schools board member is once again calling for the closure of the school that falls in the shadow of one of Kentucky’s largest coal-fired power plants and Louisville biggest source of industrial emissions. [C-J/AKN]

On Friday, the Obama administration announced a halt to new coal leases on federal land. In Wyoming, most of the federally-owned coal mines and revenue from coal leases pays for school construction. [NPR]

The McConathy Farm Rescue Team has rescued nearly 60 horses to date and recently took in seven horses between the ages of two and 10 from a farm in Lawrenceburg. [WKYT]

The Taliban were threatening on Tuesday to capture three key strategic districts in Afghanistan’s province of Helmand as fierce fighting with government forces stoked fears over the Islamist insurgents’ gains in their traditional heartland. [Reuters]

High pension liabilities were discussed during the presentation of the City of Ashland 2015 fiscal year audit — a problem cities all over Kentucky are having, according to officials. [Ashland Independent]

When news broke today that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian would be freed from his longstanding imprisonment from Iran, it came as a welcome surprise to many reporters. But not, apparently, to some journalists at The Huffington Post, CNN, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. [Poynter]

Morehead State President Wayne Andrews lifted his Powerball ticket in the air and joked with faculty that he’d only retire if he owned the winning lottery digits. Andrews extinguished rumors he’s leaving the university and strategized ways to circumvent potential budget cuts on Wednesday during the 2016 MSU Spring Convocation at Button Auditorium. [The Morehead News]

A former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden and wrote a bestselling book about the raid is now the subject of a widening federal criminal investigation into whether he used his position as an elite commando for personal profit while on active duty, according to two people familiar with the case. [The Intercept]

“I’m not here to lecture you,” said Beth Nimmo, the mother of slain Columbine High School student Rachel Scott, speaking to students at Knox Central High School on Friday, “I’m just here to talk to you as a mother…and I hope you can use this as an opportunity to step away from something that may be harmful to you, a mindset, an activity, or whatever that may be.” [Richmond Register]

Candidates for the Democratic race for the White House have clashed on gun control and healthcare in their liveliest TV debate so far. [BBC]

The National Book Critics Circle will honor famed Kentucky author Wendell Berry with a lifetime achievement awards and has named Lexington poet Ada Limón as one of 30 finalists in six categories for outstanding books of 2015, the group announced Monday. [H-L]

A group of Americans who went missing over the weekend in Iraq were kidnapped from their interpreter’s home in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi government intelligence official. [HuffPo]

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GE Sale Has Louisville A Bit Anxious

More than 17,000 Kentucky food stamp recipients in eight counties must begin part-time work, education or volunteer activities in order to keep their benefits under a requirement reinstated this month. [H-L]

After Mitt Romney’s resounding defeat in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee commissioned a 97-page report that laid out “a path forward for the Republican Party to ensure success in winning more elections.” It sounded great. But its drafters probably didn’t envision that the GOP’s “path forward” would involve its 2016 presidential front-runner arguing in a nationally televised debate that its second-place contender is ineligible to serve as president. [HuffPo]

Papaw Beshear’s back at Stites in Lexington. They even sent out a fancy press release about it. [C-J/AKN & Press Release]

President Barack Obama has vigorously defended his legacy while striking an optimistic note for America’s future in his final State of the Union address. [BBC]

Litigation surrounding the license for a Corbin quarter horse racing track continues after an injunction hearing scheduled for Tuesday was postponed. [Richmond Register]

The conservative state of Texas has for years scaled back its pollution laws as it sought to keep a business-friendly atmosphere, all to the dismay of environmentalists. Now, two environmental groups are pushing back against the state. [ThinkProgress]

The longer jackasses fawn over Kim Davis, the longer Kentucky looks stupid. [WKYT]

The Obama administration on Friday said it would announce the next steps in its planned overhaul of how the United States manages coal development on federal land, which sources have said includes freezing new leases. [Reuters]

Things in Bowling Green apparently suck so badly that people are making pipe bombs. [BGDN]

The United States has spent nearly half a billion dollars and five years developing Afghanistan’s oil, gas and minerals industries — and has little to show for it, a government watchdog reported. [ProPublica]

This is a sad, frustrating situation no matter how you look at it. [WAVE3]

Obama administration officials are set to announce plans Friday to overhaul the program that allows private companies to mine coal on federal land. [The Hill]

Prompted by new federal regulations, the state’s two largest utility companies are closing several storage ponds that collect the coal ash burned by power plants. [H-L]

General Electric Co agreed to sell its appliances business to China’s Qingdao Haier Co Ltd for $5.4 billion in cash, the companies said on Friday. The move comes weeks after GE abandoned a $3.3 billion deal with Sweden’s Electrolux following months of opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators. [HuffPo]

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Drink A Bunch Of Bourbon This Weekend

The red steel shipping container was once used to transport toothbrushes and bras. By May, it and another container will be transformed into a one bedroom, one-bathroom, 640-square-foot home that will be part of a new live-work community on York Street spearheaded by the North Limestone Community Development Corp. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent much of this week waging a dishonest attack on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his campaign’s Wall Street reform platform. [HuffPo]

Charter schools are a way for the Christian Taliban and their wealthy friends to get rich using taxpayer dollars. But there’s always some wingnut or someone with 30 pieces of silver in an impoverished community claiming otherwise. [C-J/AKN]

New York’s first medical marijuana dispensaries are opening their doors on Thursday, as the state launches one of the most conservative programs of its kind in the United States. Meanwhile, Mike Ward’s trying to do for Kentucky what Nick Lachey did for Ohio. Spoiler alert: that means he’s trying to ruin everything by profiting personally. [Reuters]

Recent Immigration roundups in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina are sending ripples through WAVE Country as more and more immigration detainees have been brought to a Kentucky jail. [WAVE3]

Turd Cruz’s plan to deport everybody brown is somehow worse than Donald Trump’s. [ThinkProgress]

Matt Bevin warned of steep spending cuts while the state House Republican leader gave a mysterious warning that Monday could be “an historic day” in the only legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats during a dinner with state business leaders. [WKYT]

One US service member has been killed and two wounded reportedly during a special forces mission in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province. [BBC]

This might be the year that Kentucky allows people to clear Class D felony charges from their records. But supporters still have a hurdle or two to clear in the state Senate. [WFPL]

For the first time, you can easily search whether your hospital, clinic, pharmacy or health insurer has been named in patient privacy complaints, breaches or violations. [ProPublica]

Key House Democrats haven’t had time to review a major education reform bill proposed by the Republican Senate but they didn’t sound very receptive Thursday. [Ronnie Ellis]

The economy added 292,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department reported Friday, up from 252,000 in November. [Politico]

Terry Gibson is warming up on a stationary bicycle, a yellow paper mask over her nose and mouth. Later she’ll do strength training. Then she will go home, walk her dog and clean her house. [H-L]

Economist Joe Stiglitz warned back in 2010 that the world risked sliding into a “Great Malaise.” This week, he followed up on that grim prediction, saying, “We didn’t do what was needed, and we have ended up precisely where I feared we would.” The problems we face now, Stiglitz points out, include “a deficiency of aggregate demand, brought on by a combination of growing inequality and a mindless wave of fiscal austerity.” [HuffPo]

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Some Fun Merry Christmas Bad Things

Glendover Elementary first grader Anneliese Morgan has started a service project that will likely impact refugees in Lexington for months to come: She galvanized students at her school to collect boxes full of shampoo, toothbrushes, laundry soap and other items that will help ease the transition for newly arrived refugees. [H-L]

The federal government’s case against the man suspected of helping the San Bernardino shooters would be weaker if the NRA and other gun rights groups had their way in court. [HuffPo]

This traffic school fight has been going on for how long now? How much has it cost? [C-J/AKN]

The recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have put pressure on local authorities to show they’re ready for that kind of violence. Some jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles, are stepping up exercises and terrorism simulations. [NPR]

Kentucky Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland, has announced he will run for re-election in 2016. [Ashland Independent]

Wild bees in the US have declined in many farming areas according to the first national effort to map their numbers. [BBC]

The Berea Independent Board of Education unanimously adopted four main goals to improve the school district during Monday’s board meeting. [Richmond Register]

With all that’s going on in the world — from record-breaking warm spells to rapidly melting ice sheets — it’s easy to ignore something so seemingly mundane as dirt. But scientists at the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Center for Sustainable Futures suggest that we ignore dirt at our own peril. [ThinkProgress]

Heading into the holiday season, state officials say traffic deaths on Kentucky roadways are up from a year ago. [WHAS11]

The Pittsburgh City Council on Monday voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, falling in line with a growing number of municipalities that have taken similar actions in recent years, city officials said. Meanwhile, Kentucky twiddles its thumbs. [Reuters]

Norton Healthcare and the University of Louisville have released the details of the agreement the parties reached Friday to settle an ongoing dispute over Kosair Children’s Hospital. [WFPL]

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Fewer people in the state are getting their GED because of more rigorous standards and the move to a computer-based test, according to a report released Tuesday by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. [H-L]

Reinforcements have been rushed to a besieged southern district threatened for days with takeover by Taliban fighters, Afghanistan’s acting defense minister said on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

UofL Scandals Are Always In The News

Welp, that was messed up for a while. An all-clear was given Wednesday after the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services building in Frankfort was evacuated on reports of a man who might have had a gun. [H-L]

A prominent advocacy group is trying to enlist basketball fans to do something about the scourge of gun violence in America. [HuffPo]

Katina Powell, the author of “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against her by a University of Louisville student seeking the profits from her book that claims a former Louisville basketball staffer paid the self-proclaimed “escort queen” and others to provide strip shows and sex for recruits and players. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump maintains his lead among the GOP field but half of Americans would be embarrassed to have the real estate mogul as president, a new poll found. [The Hill]

Representatives from Addiction Recovery talked to the city council about its faith-based recovery center being established in Catlettsburg. [Ashland Independent]

While pretty much every aspect of the global ecosystem has been heating up, freshwater lakes are warming faster than the oceans or the air, according to a new study from NASA and the National Science Foundation. [ThinkProgress]

Seems Kim Davis still wants to be the center of attention. Fortunately for her, the Associated Press and people like Matt Bevin are hanging on her every word. [AP/WKYT]

A suicide bombing in Afghanistan has killed six US service members in one of the deadliest attacks on American forces this year, US officials say. [BBC]

The Perry County Community Foundation has awarded $9,000 to Teach for America-Appalachia in to support education in Perry County. [Hazard Herald]

The warm air surging up the East Coast on Christmas Eve will prove nothing short of historic. Dozens of records will fall, some by very large margins. [WaPo]

The Harlan County Board of Education is exploring the idea of returning at least a thousand dollars per year to the salaries of the district’s academic coaches. [Harlan Daily Independent]

Lindsey Graham’s departure from the race set off a scramble among his rivals to try to pick up the support of the South Carolina senator and his backers, a valuable commodity given the state’s first-in-the-South primary. [Politico]

So much for that billion bucks. The maker of OxyContin will pay $24 million to settle a claim that it misrepresented how easy it is to get hooked on the powerful painkiller, driving up drug problems and deaths in Kentucky, Attorney General Jack Conway announced Wednesday. [H-L]

The “Seinfeld” writer who coined “Festivus” wants Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) to stop tweeting about his beloved secular holiday. [HuffPo]

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]