No Puppies & Rainbows Here Today

HELP PROTECT OUR SOURCES! Stop the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell-Phil Rison insanity! [CLICK HERE]

The Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky’s independent campus newspaper, announced Monday that it will cut production of the print newspaper from five days a week to two in an effort to put more emphasis on its online products. [H-L]

This is just… sick. Two beloved Virginia journalists were shot and killed Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire in a shocking moment caught on live television. [HuffPo]

A wildlife research organization that studies the expanding range of cougars in North America has come to a different conclusion from the one offered by state authorities on how an ill-fated mountain lion made its way into Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

Here’s a real ruh ro moment for a few legislators… The chief executive of and six employees running the website were arrested Tuesday and charged with promoting prostitution under the federal Travel Act. [The Hill]

The high fence surrounding a Purdue University research farm here was installed to keep out pesky deer, but this summer it served a second purpose: Keeping federal drug agents at bay. The research farm, 10 miles south of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, is home to the first legally grown industrial hemp crop in Indiana in decades. [News & Tribune]

Often maligned for speaking too frankly, Vice President Joe Biden’s reputation for shooting from the lip might be one of his biggest weapons if he does decide to run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [Reuters]

Three Kentuckians made Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” list. [Business First]

Across the country, those who support abortion rights and those who oppose them are feuding in court over how much information should be disclosed about women undergoing abortions. Supporters say there’s no margin for error. Opponents say it’s about ensuring quality care. [ProPublica]

House Speaker Greg Stumbo will propose a constitutional amendment that would allow as many as seven casinos to open in Kentucky, with tax revenue from the businesses dedicated to public education, boosting the racing industry and shoring up the state’s ailing retirement system. [WFPL]

By 2050, an area of forests the size of India is set to be wiped off the planet if humans continue on their current path of deforestation, according to a new report. That’s bad news for the creatures that depend on these forest ecosystems for survival, but it’s also bad news for the climate, as the loss of these forests will release more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. [ThinkProgress]

Only the Madison County School Board and the fiscal court as well as the cities of Richmond and Berea, have not set property tax rates for 2015. [Richmond Register]

NPR’S Audie Cornish talks to Megan Greene, managing director and chief economist at Manulife, about how the interest rate hike will affect mortgages, auto and student loans, and consumer behavior. [NPR]

Visitors entering the Georgetown Police Department’s new $5 million headquarters on Bourbon Street might notice two details. [H-L]

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest renewed the Obama administration’s call for Congress to take action on gun control after a gunman shot and killed a reporter and cameraman during a live television broadcast on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Rand & Donald Start Mega Slap Fight

HELP PROTECT OUR SOURCES! Stop the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell-Phil Rison insanity! [CLICK HERE]

On the first day of the academic year, Fayette County Public Schools’ new superintendent, Manny Caulk, rode a school bus to Mary Todd Elementary with students who, he said with a smile, “told me everything.” [H-L]

The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional. The ruling will affect the 11 inmates currently on the state’s death row. [HuffPo]

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will file a resolution next year to remove the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky Capitol and place it in a museum. [C-J/AKN]

Billionaire Donald Trump is firing back against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Hopeless), saying Paul “has no chance” of winning the White House in 2016 in the latest salvo between the GOP presidential candidates. [The Hill]

A revision of Richmond’s nuisance ordinance that would criminally penalize landlords after tenants receive three police citations in six months, such as late-night noise at the same location, drew protests before the city commission Tuesday night. [Richmond Register]

Transition care for transgender members of the U.S. military would cost around $5.6 million a year, “little more than a rounding error” as a share of total expenditure, according to new research published amid criticism of proposed funding. [Reuters]

The Boyd County Sheriff’s Office launched a new hotline on Wednesday for reporting illegal drug activities. [Ashland Independent]

The Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the use of a safety device for bottles of children’s medication containing liquid acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. [ProPublica]

Legislative leaders plan to pare down from about 30 the number of applicants under consideration to become the Legislative Research Commission’s new director. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump thinks he would do “very well” in a potential general election against Vice President Joe Biden, as the chatter about a Biden presidential run ratcheted back up this week. [Politico]

The Rowan County Clerk’s Office has turned away three gay couples seeking marriage licenses today despite a federal judge’s order that dismissed Kim Davis’ argument involving religious freedom. [The Morehead News]

Prominent Muslim leaders are putting the final touches on a new statement on climate change, hoping to issue a sweeping call to protect the planet and insist that followers of Islam have a religious duty to help the environment. [ThinkProgress]

Five Kentucky state parks have become certified “waystations” for Monarch butterflies and are working to protect their habitat. [H-L]

Less than eight months into 2015, humans have already consumed a year’s worth of the Earth’s resources. [HuffPo]

Will A Republican Caucus Be A Thing?

HELP PROTECT OUR SOURCES! Stop the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell-Phil Rison insanity! [CLICK HERE]

In April 2005, President George W. Bush hailed “clean coal” as a key to “greater energy independence,” pledging $2 billion in research funds that promised a new golden age for America’s most abundant energy resource. [H-L]

Whatever eventually happens to Donald Trump’s candidacy — and he stumbled personally as a candidate here Thursday night — this much should be clear to America and the world after the first Republican debate: Trumpism is taking over a political party that will have a good chance to win the presidency in next year’s election. [HuffPo]

You think this DCBS retaliation is unique to Northern Kentucky? One social worker we’re aware of was targeted for holding people accountable. Teresa James actually sat in on the worker’s hearing — something that came about after their supervisor, retaliating against them, accused them of stealing a cheap camera… despite having a fancy phone and even fancier camera of their own. Retaliation is the norm. Period. [C-J/AKN]

In America, only the rich can afford to write about poverty. There’s something wrong with the fact that a relatively affluent person can afford to write about minimum wage jobs while people experiencing them can’t. [The Guardian]

If Sen. Rand Paul wants a presidential caucus in Kentucky, state Republican Party leaders want to see the money to pay for it upfront. [WFPL]

Mitch McConnell is discretely laying the groundwork for the fall’s budget negotiations, which promise to be a major headache for the new Senate majority leader. The Kentucky Republican has three priorities for the year-end talks that will dominate Congress starting next month. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s proposed Republican presidential caucus would be March 5 and candidates would only need 5 percent of the vote to qualify for delegates as the state seeks to woo the large field of contenders and their millions of dollars amid Rand Paul’s sluggish campaign. [Ashland Independent]

A majority of Americans, white and black, believe that more needs to be done to fight racism in the United States, following a year of protests over the treatment of minorities by police, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Wednesday. [Reuters]

After thinking about it overnight, Republican candidate for state auditor Mike Harmon announced Thursday Jesse Benton will cut ties to Harmon’s campaign. [Ronnie Ellis]

This is why we can’t have nice things in rural America. How a little known agency mishandled several billion dollars of stimulus money trying to expand broadband coverage to rural communities. [Politico]

In a bold move, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court against Gov. Steve Beshear and Wayne Onkst, state librarian and commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. [The Morehead News]

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was forced to backtrack after saying funding for female health was too high. [BBC]

A multistate law firm has stepped into the effort to represent hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky facing the potential loss of their Social Security disability payments. [H-L]

Ohio Gov. John Kasich drew applause during Thursday’s Republican presidential debate for saying that he accepted gay marriage even though it was counter to his “traditional” views. [HuffPo]

State Media Ignoring Glasgow Messes

A lawsuit filed in federal court in California against Maker’s Mark Distillery was dismissed on Monday. The plaintiffs had alleged that they were mislead by the premium bourbon’s claims on the label to be “handmade” but U.S. District Judge John A. Houston found that the claim “cannot reasonably be interpreted as meaning literally by hand nor that a reasonable consumer would understand the term to mean no equipment or automated process was used to manufacture the whisky.” [H-L]

New research indicates that Washington, D.C., is rapidly sinking into the ocean, news that might not make the rest of the country all that sad. [HuffPo]

Unless you’re traveling through Woodford County because Woodford County is the traffic devil. Kentucky speeders get off easier than drivers in other states, according to a 2015 WalletHub study that ranked the “Strictest and Most Lenient States on Speeding and Reckless Driving.” [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump’s explosive rise in the polls has come at the expense of every other GOP presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — who arguably have been helped by the businessman’s rise. [The Hill]

There weren’t many substantive insights drawn from Monday’s debate between Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway before a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Business Summit crowd. [Ronnie Ellis]

Opponents of President Barack Obama’s soon-to-be-implemented policy to cut carbon emissions from power plants are planning to use an unlikely and potentially potent weapon against him: the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that saved Obamacare. [Reuters]

A hearing has been set for next week regarding whether to take a former police chief’s lawsuit against the City of Glasgow and the current, interim chief outside Barren County. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Despite his plum position, Rogers finds himself at odds with GOP leadership on a path to stave off a government shutdown. [Politico]

The latest column Greg Stumbo’s LRC staffers have written for him is about drug abuse. [Floyd County Times]

The Eagle was built by the Nazis and fought for Hitler in World War Two – so how did a tall ship that once flew the swastika end up as a training vessel for new US Coast Guard cadets? [BBC]

The first extension of Mountain Parkway in a half-century is set to begin next year with the reconstruction of a wider, safer Restaurant Row in Salyersville. While visible road work is underway to the west, teams are busy finalizing construction plans, land acquisitions and utility relocation efforts to prepare for a summer start. [WTVQ]

The United States is emerging as the world’s hog farm—the country where massive foreign meat companies like Brazil’s JBS and China’s WH Group (formerly Shuanghui) alight when they want to take advantage of rising global demand for pork. [Mother Jones]

Lexington gets a lot of things right. The University of Kentucky opened a new bike path Wednesday at the Arboretum to connect bicyclists from south Lexington neighborhoods to campus and downtown. [H-L]

It was 50 years ago Thursday that President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation that created Medicare, dramatically altering life for America’s seniors. But as debate over the program rages on, its conservative critics have learned to be more crafty about what alternatives they propose — and how to justify them. [HuffPo]

Anti-Gay Davis Heads To Court Today

In 1967, Liane Peters, an immigrant from Germany, fell in love with a quiet, handsome man she worked with at a Miami bakery. The couple went together to the Dade County courthouse and asked for a marriage license. But she was white and he was black, and a county judge turned them away. [H-L]

“When I’m complimented for speaking good English — and this happens to me frequently — the person complimenting me, they are not a mean, evil person,” Sue elaborated. “They mean to compliment me but they don’t see what message it sends — that I am a perpetual alien in my own country, I am not a true American. When you try to tell them you feel insulted, they get defensive and they don’t understand it. They begin to perceive I am oversensitive. This is the power of microaggressions.” [HuffPo]

The Bevin camp has decided to strike early on the issue of gay marriage. And now Jack Conway has decided he’s kind of afraid of the gays because it’s politically expedient. [C-J/AKN]

When will Kentucky get on this bandwagon? 2050? Washington state took in $65 million in tax revenue from the recreational marijuana market during the first 12 months since it became legal to produce and sell, according to data released by state regulators this week. [Reuters]

The civil suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on behalf of four Rowan County couples, two same-gender couples and two opposite-gender couples, against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and the county will be heard for a preliminary injunction hearing on Monday, July 13 at noon in U.S. District Court in Ashland. [The Morehead News]

Bankers and new accounting rules are emboldening governments to borrow-and-bet their way out of pension problems, a strategy that’s backfired in the past. [ProPublica]

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration will phase out its District 6 Pikeville office over the next 15 months or so, splitting its duties between MSHA offices in Norton, Va., and Barbourville and reducing the number of mine inspectors. [Ronnie Ellis]

Nine current and former immigrant detainees are allowed to file a lawsuit against a private prison contractor that paid them $1 a day for forced labor at a Colorado detention center, a court ruled this week. [ThinkProgress]

Early Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he was working on legislation that would allow those authorized to perform marriages to issue marriage licenses and county clerks would just record them. [State Journal]

The Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling left many conservative Christians steamed, with some calling for new constitutional amendments and others urging resistance against America’s new legal reality. [Politico]

Amendments to the county’s solid waste plan and enforcement of its solid waste ordinance were two tools Boyd County commissioners pondered Tuesday in what has become a twice-monthly fiscal court ritual — wrestling with a solution to the odors emanating from the Big Run Landfill. [Ashland Independent]

The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You’re wrong, I’m not racist at all. I don’t even see any racism.” [Click the Clicky]

We told you this was coming but no one wanted to listen. Not even folks at the Herald-Leader. Calling for a “change in culture,” Kentucky Board of Education members voted unanimously Friday for a state takeover of Menifee County Schools, a district with about 1,100 students in Frenchburg. [H-L]

Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old from South Carolina who is accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston last month, never should have been allowed to purchase a weapon, the head of the FBI said Friday. [HuffPo]

KDE Deserves A Top To Bottom Audit

Like we’ve been telling you for a long time. The Kentucky Board of Education will consider Friday whether to take over the Menifee County school district according to a news release. [H-L]

Coming back from its Independence Day vacation, Congress appeared no closer Tuesday to finding a way to avoid yet another government shutdown showdown in the fall. [HuffPo]

Coal production mountaintop removal mining has fallen 62 percent since 2008, dropping at a faster rate that overall coal production during a period of industry decline. [C-J/AKN]

Kentucky is terrible on the fiscal health front. Absolutely terrible. [Click the Clicky]

Our thoughts are with Sharon Smith-Breiner of the Montgomery County Board of Education. This is her father. Tragic situation. [WDRB]

States are mounting an uneven fiscal recovery from the Great Recession, with energy-rich states leading and Northeastern states with big pension obligations lagging, a new study shows. [USA Today]

Despite the news business becoming an evolutionary field, it seems the Daily News can’t evolve from days of the past. [WKU Herald]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid passed the blame on Wednesday over the Senate’s inability to overhaul the Bush-era No Child Left Behind bill. [The Hill]

The Native American mounds constructed in the Ohio River Valley are regarded as a feat of ancient construction. [Ashland Independent]

A federal appeals court said Louisiana is not required to install air conditioning on death row in its main state prison, but violated three death row inmates’ constitutional rights by subjecting them to extreme heat that regularly topped 100 degrees (38 Celsius) in the summer. [Reuters]

“We Will Hold”. Those immortal words from the history of the U.S. Marine Corps are now the title of the life-sized bronze statue of Col. William E. Barber that was dedicated July 4 in West Liberty. [The Morehead News]

Many students across the US must undergo security screening before entering their schools each day – including placing their bags in x-ray machines and walking through metal detectors. [BBC]

It’s cut and dry and there’s no need for a wasteful special session. The clerks either need to issue licenses or resign. We can’t say it enough. [H-L]

Say hello to one of Triceratops’ oldest relatives. Scientists recently discovered the fossilized bones of a striking new species of horned dinosaur in southern Alberta, Canada. [HuffPo]

Worst Gubernatorial Campaign Ever?

In their first public, joint appearance as candidates for governor, Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin traded only soft verbal blows, setting the scene for some potentially nasty campaign fights down the road. [H-L]

A website surfaced on Saturday containing a possible trove of photos of Dylann Roof and a racist manifesto explaining why he allegedly targeted Charleston, South Carolina, in a shooting this week that killed nine African-Americans. [HuffPo]

Louisville Metro Police officers and area youths held a frank conversation following a recent police shooting at a forum in the California Community Center on Thursday. [C-J/AKN]

The Confederate flag was adopted to represent a short-lived rebellion to extend and protect white supremacy and black slavery. [Vox]

Campbell District Court Judge Gregory T. Popovich is facing 15 days of suspension from the bench for misconduct. The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission issued its findings Thursday evening, saying Popovich violated five canons of the state Code of Judicial Conduct. []

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn (D) said on Sunday that he believes the Confederate flag stirs up memories of insurrection against the U.S. [The Hill]

Oh, god, the humor. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, (D-Prestonsburg), has announced the formation of the House Special Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology. Rep. Martha Jane King (D-Lewisburg) has been appointed to chair the committee, which will meet during the interim months of the General Assembly. [Berea Online]

Tensions are building inside and outside the white marble facade of the U.S. Supreme Court building as the nine justices prepare to issue major rulings on gay marriage and President Barack Obama’s healthcare law by the end of the month. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin told county officials from across the state gathered here for a conference there are “very distinct differences” between him and his Democratic opponent for governor, Jack Conway. [Ronnie Ellis]

With tears welling in her eyes, Hillary Clinton on Saturday delivered an emotional call to action after the Charleston church shooting, first vowing to fight for “common sense” gun reforms, then shifting to an assessment of racism in America. [Politico]

Moments before Rowan Fiscal Court adopted its operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, Judge-Executive Walter Blevins suggested the county add a half percent occupational tax increase for one year. [The Morehead News]

The People v. the Coal Baron. Don Blankenship always knew exactly what he wanted during the years he ran Massey Energy, once the sixth-largest coal company in the United States. He had specific and emphatic ideas about how to operate mines, how to treat employees and how to deal with regulators. When he issued instructions, he wanted them followed to the letter, and this wasn’t just true about his business. [NY Times]

Educators from Maine and Virginia are among the finalists for Fayette County Public Schools superintendent. [H-L]

Russell Moore still thinks the religious right will win the battle against same-sex marriage. Oh, not at the Supreme Court later this month — like nearly everyone else, Moore is almost positive the right will lose there. But the long game… that, he says, could be a different story. [HuffPo]