Whitney Jones

News Reporter

Whitney grew up listening to Car Talk to and from her family’s beach vacation each year, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced her to This American Life that radio really grabbed her attention. She is a recent graduate from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she studied journalism. When she’s not at WKMS, you can find her working on her backyard compost pile and garden, getting lost on her bicycle or crocheting one massive blanket.

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Roads & Highways
4:13 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Cairo Residents Prefer Rebuilding Ohio River Bridge

Credit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet official says the public prefers rebuilding the U.S. 51 Ohio River Bridge in a new location, after a round of public meetings in Cairo, Illinois, and La Center this week.

Spokesperson Keith Todd said the other options KYTC is exploring in its long-range study include rebuilding the bridge at its current site and rehabilitating the current bridge.

Todd attended the Cairo meeting and says most people he spoke with preferred rebuilding the bridge, which he said would be best done near the current structure.

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Environment
4:14 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Johnson County, IL. Supports Moratorium on Fracking

Credit http://energy.umich.edu

Johnson County has joined other counties in southern Illinois supporting a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

Vice Chairman Phil Stewart was the one Johnson County Commissioner who did not support the one-year moratorium. He says the area needs the jobs.

“Johnson County is, you know, a poor county, needs some revenue,” Stewart says. “And I think it would help.”

But, Stewart says most of the jobs would be temporary.

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Government
3:36 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Barkely Tower to Stay Open Through September

Credit Barkley Regional

Barkley Regional Airport tower is staying open through September instead of closing June 15.

The Federal Aviation Administration announcement affects 149 small airports and comes after President Barack Obama signed the Reducing Delays Act May 1. The bill originally allowed the FAA to divert $253 million from other funding sources to end furloughs and keep the towers open. But keeping towers open became optional when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid objected to the provision.

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Government
2:33 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Kentucky Reports Decline in General Fund Revenue

Kentucky has huge declines in revenue from key tax sources despite a rebounding national economy. State Budget Director Jane Driskell released a monthly revenue report for April today showing corporate income tax revenue is down by nearly 90 percent.

Property tax collections fell 53.5 percent for the month. Cigarette tax revenue is down 22.2 percent. And collections from the all-important sales tax were off 7.3 percent. The two bright spots in the monthly report are a 5.5 percent increase in income tax revenue and an 18.6 percent rise in coal severance tax collections.

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Education
1:00 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

South Christian Elementary Closes Early for Power Outage

Credit Wikimedia Commons

South Christian Elementary school is closing early today due to a power outage. Christian County Public Schools spokesperson Heather Aubin says the power outage can’t be fixed during the school day, but she expects workers will resolve the issue by Monday.

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Environment
4:22 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Southern Illinois County to Discuss Fracking

Credit http://energy.umich.edu

Some Johnson County Illinois residents are asking their county commissioners to consider supporting a 2-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” as oil and gas companies continue to look at southern Illinois land for extraction. 

Johnson County Economic Development Director Ronald Duncan said if fracking begins it could bring some money the county’s way.

“If we take examples of the economic impact that it’s had in other places,” he said.” I’m thinking specifically of southeastern Ohio, the Dakotas. You see this very, very strong impact up front. A lot of people coming to town, a lot of trucks, a lot of lunches sold at the counter. Just the sheer number of people doing that work coming in perhaps could boost the retail trade here in our community significantly.”  

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Education
11:14 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Murray High School Ghost Out Warns Against Drunken Driving

Whitney Jones WKMS News

It’s prom season in Kentucky, and that means after-prom parties. At least one high school is using this annual event to address teenage drinking and driving. In 2011, eight teenagers died in drunken driving accidents and there were a total of 375 crashes. Whitney Jones has more on how one police department hopes to prevent underage drinking and driving.

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Business
12:48 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Big Rivers Electric Rates Likely to Increase

Credit securitynet.org

Big Rivers Electric’s decision to let Century Aluminum out of its contract in August, may mean significant electric rate increases throughout the region.

Big Rivers spokesperson Marty Littrel said the aluminum smelter will be able to buy electricity elsewhere on the open market. But since the smelter is Big Rivers’ biggest customer, Littrel said the power supplier has to raise rates about 20 percent.

“All we’re trying to do is cover our expenses here,” he said. “We’ll likely have to idle a plant because this is a huge revenue loss for us.”

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Politics
4:33 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Sunday Alcohol Sales at Restaurants Unlikely

Credit iStock

A Murray city councilman says the group’s decision to allow Sunday alcohol sales at a golf course sends mixed signals to the community even though the issue seems dead.

Councilman Greg Taylor is one of three council members who voted against allowing Sunday sales. He says in a previous reading of the ordinance that allowed sales at the Murray Country Club, the Public Safety Committee suggested Sunday restaurant sales as well. The restaurant language did not make it to a council vote.

Taylor says while the golf course can serve alcohol on Sundays, restaurants won’t anytime soon.

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Education
2:35 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Graves County Names New School Superintendent

Credit Paul Schaumburg / Graves County Schools

The Graves County Board of Education named Kim Harrison as the new superintendent, effective July 1.

Harrison has served as the Graves County assistant superintendent for the past four years and as elementary instructional supervisor for the past eight years. Before that she was the principal at Wingo Elementary School. Harrison has worked in education in Graves County for 13 years.

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