Stu Johnson (KPR)

Kentucky Public Radio Correspondent

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.

stu.johnson@eku.edu

ket.org

Kentucky’s fourth district congressional race has thus far centered around the seven candidate GOP primary. But there are two democrats vying to replace retiring longtime lawmaker Geoff Davis. Greg Frank is active duty military. He argued for bringing troops home from Afghanistan on KET’s Kentucky Tonight.

ket.org

Henderson physician James Buckmaster believes the cost of health care can be monitored by doctors delivering the care. Buckmaster is one of two democrats vying for the first congressional seat in western Kentucky.  He operates a reduced rate health clinic in Henderson.

“We charge probably 50 to 60 percent less than the other clinics do in the area…we’re able to pay our bills , feed our kids, send them to school…you don’t have to take everything when you come out of this world.”

For the first time since 2005, the Kentucky Watershed Watch Program is changing the tests it conducts on rivers, lakes and streams.  Throughout the year, the program’s 12 hundred volunteers take samples, giving the state a better feel for the quality of its surface water.  Joanna Palmer with the Watershed Watch Office says they’re now teaching new methods to volunteers...

“If they are following the protocols, the sampling protocols that we use here in the division of water..it will give us a better idea of what is happening in the stream,”  said Palmer.

ket.org

Kentucky lawmakers along with Governor Steve Beshear are getting an earful from their constituents about yet another special legislative session.  It’s unclear how long lawmakers will be in Frankfort to try and iron out an agreement about funding road projects.  And Senator Jack Westwood says taxpayers are making their voices heard.

“Cause all of us are hearing from the folks back home, who are very upset and angry…that they’re sending us back…we once again couldn’t get it done in the 60 days allotted, so here we are back doing the business at 60 thousand dollars a day.”

Author: Jim Champion, via Wikimedia Commons

National grain specialists are predicting a record amount of corn could go in the ground this spring.  As Kentucky Public Radio’s Stu Johnson reports, a rise in corn yields has been a trend in the commonwealth...

University of Kentucky Extension Professor of Grain Crops, Chad Lee says Kentucky’s corn acreage could go up about ten percent this year.  Lee says the profit potential is partly the result of warmer than usual weather.  He says, in the bluegrass, corn has gone from being the number three crop to number one in the last few years.

The warmer than usual March weather is prompting a fast start to Kentucky’s camping season.  Kentucky Department of Parks spokesman Gil Lawson says many of the 31 campgrounds across the Commonwealth are open for business..

“Typically on most years we open on April first but, with this warm weather we’ve had lots of demand for camping so most of our campgrounds have opened up early in March to allow people to camp,” said Lawson.

Lawson adds the March 2nd tornadoes outbreak didn’t impact state parks to any great degree..

ket.org

Just days remain in this year’s legislative session. And with lots of bills still on the board, some Kentucky lawmakers offered their assessments on productivity during KET’s Kentucky Tonight this week. Retiring Representative Danny Ford believes legislative redistricting really bogged down the process.

A new report says college students in America are a trillion dollars in debt. Kentucky has seen a similar increase where annual student-debt climbed from $324 million in 1999 to almost $1.2 billion a decade later. Erin Klarer, who’s a vice president with Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, still says taking on such debt can sometimes be the right choice.

“You know we don’t want to blanket that all debt is bad but we do at KHEAA we want to encourage responsible borrowing,” said Klarer.

Floods in 2011 and this year’s tornadoes could complicate the tax returns filed by Kentucky farmers.  For example, when farmers receive an insurance check for damaged crops, IRS spokesman Luis Garcia says they must claim that money as income.  And, if bad weather forces the early sale of livestock, Garcia says that income can sometimes be claimed on next year’s tax return.

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Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says a recent report puts the commonwealth as the fourth most medicated state in the country.  Conway appeared with three other guests on KET’s Kentucky Tonight.  The discussion centered on what’s been called a pain pill epidemic across the state.

“We are losing more people to prescription pill overdoses than car accidents and you know what, we think that’s under reported because only about half of overdoses make it to the coroner, state medical examiner’s office where we get these statistics."

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