It’s All Puppies & Rainbows This A.M.

Berea College received a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town award of $100,000 to help revitalize rural areas of Eastern Kentucky. [H-L]

The European Union approved the Iran nuclear deal with world powers on Monday, a first step towards lifting Europe’s economic sanctions against Tehran that the bloc hopes will send a signal that the U.S. Congress will follow. [HuffPo]

For so long, he searched for the word. To describe what he felt but dare not say aloud. To rationalize the thoughts that consumed his days. To understand why being Jennifer, despite his most fervent attempts, just didn’t feel right. [C-J/AKN]

Anthony Cruz leaned in over the low plastic table between us, his bony knees knocking its edges, his eyes wide and full of a happy urgency that felt out of place against the dull cement block walls of the jail visiting room. [The Intercept]

“Faces of Big Run” were scattered throughout the conference room at the Holiday Inn Express on Wednesday, telling stories of Big Run Landfill employees who appear to want to protect the site against negative public perception. [Ashland Independent]

Just like in Kentucky, where it’s good for the Beshear Family’s wealthy donors and not so great for everyone else. The global economy is improving. Just don’t tell many of the people who live and work in it. [CBS News]

Runoff from heavy rains in the Cumberland River Basin is pushing the level of Lake Cumberland upward to the highest point since the seven-year rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam was completed. [Richmond Register]

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others. [LA Times]

A former member of Glasgow Independent Schools’ board of education and former Barren County judge-executive has sued the school board over its handling of a property donation that resulted in a school’s name change. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Polar bears are the kings of the ice surface covering the top of the globe, but the ongoing loss of the Arctic sea ice on which they hunt seals is causing summer food deprivation that threatens these imposing white-furred predators. [Reuters]

At its regular meeting (last) Monday, Morehead City Council followed through on its agreement to amend the current fiscal year budget and restore $39,000 to the Rowan County Ambulance Service. [The Morehead News]

The military built another multimillion-dollar building in Afghanistan that no one used. In its latest report, the inspector general found that the U.S. military continued to build a $14.7 million warehouse after it knew it wasn’t needed, echoing an earlier investigation into an unused $25 million HQ. [ProPublica]

The power washer was spraying away another year’s worth of grime this week as residents of Fancy Farm prepared for the annual picnic at St. Jerome’s Parish, where Kentucky’s politicos flock on the first Saturday of August each year. [H-L]

A NATO airstrike hit two Afghan military checkpoints on Monday in a restive province east of the capital, Kabul, killing seven Afghan troops in what an Afghan official describes as an accident due to bad coordination. [HuffPo]

Kim Davis Has Another Hearing Today

Pope Francis’ pronouncements about the immorality of social injustice and environmental degradation have rattled economic conservatives worldwide, and nowhere more than in King Coal’s Appalachia. [H-L]

Last year was likely the warmest year since 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed on Thursday in a report written by hundreds of scientists from 58 countries. [HuffPo]

It’s been a pretty good stretch for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell — in fact maybe his best ever. In January, he took over his dream job after Republicans thrashed Democrats in last year’s mid-term elections. [C-J/AKN]

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers. [BuzzFeed]

Kentucky Republican activists gather next month and they’re likely to give their blessing to a 2016 presidential caucus to benefit favorite son Rand Paul and replace the traditional primary. But they’re also likely to expect the cost to be borne by Paul’s campaign and that might end up being the fly in the ointment. [Ronnie Ellis]

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday she was open to raising a threshold for determining a bank’s systemic importance and indicated that U.S. lenders had made progress in their submissions of so-called living will plans this month. [Reuters]

Look, we love to give Whitney Westerfield a hard time but this just seems silly. The politics of personal destruction are bleeding over from Jack Conway’s people aligned with Mark Riddle and his underlings. An outside group supporting Republican state Sen. Whitney Westerfield has gone on the attack over the lack of prosecutorial experience of Democratic candidate Andy Beshear, among other issues. [CN|Toot]

The Obama administration Saturday called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “abhorrent” following its suicide bombing in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province that killed 115 people a day earlier. [The Hill]

Is an “opinion” from the state Revenue Department the same as its “advice?” The Madison County Board of Assessment Appeals grappled with that question Friday afternoon after hearing testimony from attorneys for Eastern Kentucky University and the Madison County school and library boards. [Richmond Register]

Concerns are mounting that huge checks in the GOP primary will hurt the party’s chances of taking the White House. [Politico]

The attorney for a former Glasgow police chief suing the city and current interim chief is seeking to get the court proceedings in the case moved outside the county. Matt Baker, the attorney for Guy J. Turcotte, who is now a lieutenant colonel at the Glasgow Police Department, filed a motion last week in Barren Circuit Court stating his reasons for wanting the change. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Pluto has mountains made of ice that are as high as those in the Rockies, images from the New Horizons probe reveal. [BBC]

Marina operators were pleased about the potential for a new business opportunity when Congress authorized floating cabins last year on lakes in the Cumberland River basin, including Lake Cumberland. Now, however, some operators are objecting to guidelines on the cabins set out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the lakes. [H-L]

The geographic areas where Lyme disease is a bigger danger have grown dramatically, according to a new government study published Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Gay Panic Is Heating Up Everywhere

Steve Robertson, chairman and executive director of the Kentucky Republican Party, is taking a job next month with a public affairs firm in Lexington. [H-L]

We’re still trying to eliminate sweatshops and child labor by buying right. But that’s not how the world works in 2015. [HuffPo]

Churchill Downs Inc., having bet on the future of free games played online, is asking a federal judge to dismiss a case that contends those games are illegal casino gambling. [C-J/AKN]

At a roundtable in New York on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate and former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) released his immigration platform for “New Americans,” announcing that he would go further than President Obama on immigration policies by enacting sweeping reforms to provide deportation relief for undocumented immigrants. [ThinkProgress]

It’s not ginseng harvest season, but that’s not stopping some people from taking this uncommon plant. [Ashland Independent]

Wondering why poor kids are unhealthy? The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday adopted a GOP amendment that would provide schools flexibility in meeting Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules for serving whole-grain products and reducing sodium levels. [The Hill]

A new law is beginning in Kentucky that allows motorcyclists to run red lights. [WHAS11]

In a video released Wednesday night, multiple police officers seem to be holding 28-year-old Sandra Bland to the ground while she cries out, “You just slammed my head into the ground, do you not even care about that?” Three days later, Bland was found dead in a jail cell. [ThinkProgress]

A company owned by Republican candidate for Kentucky governor Matt Bevin has been delinquent on its property taxes multiple times and is currently listed as “not in good standing” in Maine. [WAVE3]

Closed committee meetings are typically wonkish, routine affairs. But Friday’s session of Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee broke that pattern in spectacular fashion, laying bare the growing acrimony and sense of disorder within the House Republican Conference. [Politico]

A controversial project that called for logging and burning to improve forest health at Land Between The Lakes has been canceled. [WLEX18]

The US and Russia are among five countries to have signed a deal to prevent commercial fishing in the melting Arctic sea ice near the North Pole. [BBC]

A 30 percent jump in fatal drug overdoses in Fayette County last year contributed to a statewide increase in drug-related deaths, state officials reported Wednesday. [H-L]

Washington has delayed highway funds so long even red states are raising gas taxes. [HuffPo]

UofL Messes Have Grown Since 2008

The University of Kentucky named longtime faculty member Lisa Cassis its vice president for research. [H-L]

The criminal justice system is “particularly skewed by race and by wealth,” President Barack Obama said on Tuesday in a speech at the NAACP Annual Convention in Philadelphia, citing a “long history of inequity in the criminal justice system in America.” [HuffPo]

Despite a consultant’s findings that University of Louisville President James Ramsey is paid above the market rate, the board of trustees’ compensation committee recommended Monday that he get a 6 percent merit pay increase and a bonus worth about $150,000. [C-J/AKN]

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to tread lightly when it comes to overhauling the central bank, warning that proposed changes could undermine its ability to support the economy. [The Hill]

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway issued a press release Tuesday warning flood victims to be aware of potential price-gouging scams in areas affected by recent storms. [Ashland Independent]

A regional cap-and-trade program has added $1.3 billion in economic activity to nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states since 2011, while decreasing their carbon emissions by 15 percent, according to independent analysis released Tuesday. [ThinkProgress]

Will Russell sure is milking you-know-what out of his arrest in an attempt to gain publicity. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This sad Eastern Kentucky situation has made international news. Search teams in Kentucky are looking for six people missing after heavy floods that already killed two people. [BBC]

Rowan Fiscal Court hopes to cash in on state road and bridge funds before the end of the year. [The Morehead News]

The Supreme Court was definitive in its decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide, but what is far from clear is whether U.S. companies must offer corporate benefits to same-sex spouses. [Reuters]

Visitors to all five national parks in Kentucky can earn a special free commemorative patch in recognition of the National Park Service 2016 centennial. [WKYT]

Labor leaders said there was a clear understanding that no national unions would make an endorsement before July 30. But the American Federation of Teachers jumped the gun. [Politico]

It took only a few minutes for nearly everything James Martin owned to swirl away in a muddy torrent. [H-L]

For a while the Wisconsin governor, running for the GOP nomination for the presidency, has been engaging in his own version of dog-whistling to homophobes, as he and the GOP struggle with the reality that the base of their party is still in the Stone Age on LGBT rights, while most Americans support equality. [HuffPo]

Corrupt Guy Dies, Media Gushes

Lester H. Burns Jr., a one-time candidate for governor and one of Kentucky’s most colorful, best-known defense attorneys before going to federal prison in the 1980s, has died. [H-L]

War-time suicide attempts in the Army are most common in newer enlisted soldiers who have not been deployed, while officers are less likely to try to end their lives. At both levels, attempts are more common among women and those without a high school diploma, according to a study billed as the most comprehensive analysis of a problem that has plagued the U.S. military in recent years. [HuffPo]

Lawyers for the Sierra Club and LG&E on Thursday argued for two hours over the meaning the word “occasional” in a federal court hearing stemming from a pollution lawsuit filed last year involving the Mill Creek power plant. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Charles Grassley is demanding the American Red Cross explain how it spent nearly half a billion dollars raised after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. [ProPublica]

Fourteen schools will now offer free breakfast and lunch to the entire student population during the upcoming school year. The total includes all but four schools (Madison Central and Madison Southern high schools, B. Michael Caudill Middle and White Hall Elementary), which is a broad difference from last year. Only five schools previously offered the free lunch plan. [Richmond Register]

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will meet privately this month with leaders of the nation’s largest labor federation as she seeks to prevent a revolt by union members infuriated by her cautious stance on a looming trade deal, labor sources told Reuters. [Reuters]

Health officials, confronted with a shocking increase in heroin abuse, are developing a clearer picture of who is becoming addicted to this drug and why. The results may surprise you. [WFPL]

As the world enters into a sixth great extinction, scientists are racing against the clock to save genetic evidence from plants around the world. [BBC]

Kentucky has added two towns in the southern part of the state to those designated as “Trail Towns.” [WKYT & Press Releases]

The Obama administration faces an uphill battle when it seeks to convince a panel of federal judges to let the president’s executive actions on immigration take effect. [The Hill]

Um… Officials say a West Virginia man had been keeping two deer in captivity at his home for at least a year. [Ashland Independent]

Jeb Bush’s unprecedented $114 million haul makes it official: Big money rules American presidential politics. [Politico]

Has Lexington turned into the new Louisville with all the robberies and shootings? [H-L]

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management said on Thursday that hackers had stolen sensitive information – including Social Security numbers – of about 21.5 million people who have undergone background checks for security clearances since 2000. [HuffPo]

Way To Go, Glasgow Independent

The Herald-Leader just highlighted why it may not be a bad thing to let Republicans to take control of the statehouse. A couple years out of power would result in a number of Democratic resignations in leadership, a bunch of corrupt actors could be weeded out, giving the younger generations time to get their act together to once again lead. [H-L]

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said on Sunday Supreme Court justices of his liking would not have legalized same-sex marriage and would have struck down a key provision of a national health care law. [HuffPo]

Outside of Broadbent Arena teenage riders anxiously awaited the start of the Kentucky State Fair 4-H Horse Show on Sunday. [C-J/AKN]

A Republican entrepreneur seeking to push his party to fight climate change and support clean energy said on Sunday he has given his first big campaign gift to Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. [Reuters]

Two new public relations students from Eastern Kentucky University recently began their summer internships with Shaping Our Appalachian Region, better known as SOAR. [Richmond Register]

Something very unusual happened at the nation’s highest Court this year. The justices adjourned for their summer vacation and liberals were left feeling pretty good about the just-completed Supreme Court term. [ThinkProgress]

Corrupt, backward school boards are still causing big problems. The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has ruled that the Glasgow Independent Schools Board of Education violated the state’s open meetings laws when it discussed in closed session the renaming of South Green Elementary School. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Scientists have warned that marine life will be irreversibly changed unless CO2 emissions are drastically cut. [BBC]

If you think gay marriage isn’t going to matter in the gubernatorial race, you’ve got about zero understanding of Kentucky’s good old boy political system. [CN|Toot]

My mother’s family fled communism twice. The first time was from China. Then, after Saigon fell in 1975, they left Vietnam. [NPR]

The newly-formed Lawrence County Community Fund (Fund) announces its formation. [Ashland Independent]

Rand Paul on Monday blasted a National Endowment for the Arts grant to help build a movie museum. [The Hill]

Hard work should pay off. That belief is at the heart of the American dream. [Tom Eblen]

What could go wrong? Doctors are prescribing amphetamines for binge eating. [Mother Jones]

Gay Panicked Republicans Freaking Out

Keep pandering, Addia, keep pandering. A state representative will sponsor legislation aimed at making clear that ministers and others who object to same-sex marriages on religious grounds would not have to perform such services. [H-L]

So let me be clear about a few things: I do not want to order a wedding cake from a bakery owned by a guy who thinks I’m going to hell. I have no desire to purchase bouquets from a florist who pickets Pride parades. I wouldn’t serve pizza at a wedding if the owner paid me and offered to serenade my guests with an a cappella version of “Born This Way.” And finally, the suggestion that I would be insane enough to want to force a homophobic clergyperson to preside over my most sacred day is beyond insulting. [HuffPo]

The Republican Party of Kentucky is putting finishing touches on a proposal that would preserve Rand Paul’s fallback plan to win re-election to the U.S. Senate next year if his campaign for president falters. [C-J/AKN]

Republicans and Democrats are locked in an increasingly bitter debate over government spending, with few legislative weeks remaining to avoid another shutdown this fall. [The Hill]

Kentucky’s voters have seen this script before: insurgent Kentucky Republican takes down established candidates openly or presumably preferred by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky’s ultimate establishment Republican. [Ronnie Ellis]

Sometime in the next few weeks, aides expect President Obama to issue orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up on nonviolent drug offenses. With the stroke of his pen, he will probably commute more sentences at one time than any president has in nearly half a century. [NY Times]

Beginning Monday, the Glasgow Police Department will be changing its policy and charging $5 for all documents relating to fingerprints, accident reports, accident photos, response reports and any other report that the police department releases from their office, according to a press release issued by GPD Public Affairs Officer Julie Anne Williams. [Glasgow Daily Times]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… Woolly mammoths spent their lives enduring extreme Arctic conditions including frigid temperatures, an arid environment and the relentless cycle of dark winters and bright summers. [Reuters]

Something tells us this won’t end well for him. Green County Clerk Billy Joe Lowe said he will resume issuing marriage licenses next week, but only to heterosexual couples. [WFPL]

China – the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases – has announced details of its climate action plan. [BBC]

The Paramount Arts Center announced its lineup of shows for the coming year and it includes a little something for all ages and tastes. [Ashland Independent]

Meanwhile, one of Clinton’s closest rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, has so far ducked serious scrutiny over his own handling, and deleting, of official emails conducted on a private Gmail account. [The Intercept]

It is an iconic moment in U.S. Marine Corps lore, and it’s now memorialized in bronze on the lawn of Morgan County’s Old Courthouse in West Liberty. [H-L]

There was a time when she liked acting in goofy comedy skits at her Detroit church or crawling into bed with her grandmother to watch TV. She loved to sing—her favorite artist was Chris Brown—but she was too shy to perform in front of other people. [HuffPo]