Rick Howlett

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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Lance Dennee / WKMS

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is urging motorists to stay off highways to allow emergency crews to clear snow and stalled vehicles. Heavy snowfall across the region led Beshear to declare a state of emergency for the second time in a month.


A bill that would authorize $3.3 billion in bonding to fund Kentucky’s ailing pension system for teachers has passed the Kentucky House of Representatives.

The Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System only has 53 percent of the money it needs to make future payouts to about 141,000 retired teachers. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the risks of borrowing to fund teachers’ retirements are outweighed by not taking action.


Republican James Comer has officially filed to run for Kentucky governor. The first-term agriculture commissioner has been raising money since September along with his running mate, state Senator Chris McDaniel of northern Kentucky.

The latest Bluegrass Poll in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race gives Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes a two-point lead over incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell, 46 to 44 percent. 

The latest Bluegrass Poll in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race gives Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes a two-point lead over incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell.

The survey of likely voters has Grimes with 46 percent support and McConnell getting 44 percent. Libertarian candidate David Patterson has three percent, with seven percent of voters undecided. The margin of error is plus or minus four points.

A formal announcement is expected next month that Louisville is getting a professional soccer team.

Architect Wayne Estopinal is among a group of local investors behind a plan to bring the successful Orlando City franchise to Louisville.           

Mayor Greg Fischer’s new budget proposal includes a $581,000 appropriation to make Slugger Field soccer compatible.

Estopinal says the soccer team would begin play at the ballpark next spring.

The University of Kentucky Wildcats are preparing for their matchup against Wisconsin Saturday night in the men’s NCAA Final Four.     

UK advanced to the national semifinals Saturday with a three-point victory over Michigan.   

Some had begun to give up hope of any UK tournament success as far back as early March, when the slumping Wildcats lost at 10-18 South Carolina.        

In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.

Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.

The University of Louisville’s 2014 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order goes to a professor and researcher for his writings on nuclear proliferation.

Jacques Hymans is associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California.  He’s being honored for his 2012 book, "Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians and Proliferation."