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The Kentucky National Guard is holding a departure ceremony for a unit of about 150 soldiers who are deploying to the Middle East.

A statement from the National Guard says friends and family are gathering Wednesday at Perry County Central High School in Hazard to send off soldiers with the 207th Horizontal Construction Company. They are expected to return in about a year.

The statement says soldiers will execute complex construction projects in austere environments with a focus on repairing roads and runways, base maintenance and culvert installation.

WKMS file photo

Two western Kentucky sites are closer to joining the National Register of Historic Places. The Kentucky Heritage Council board approved all fifteen nominations today (Monday), including the Paducah City Hall and the Kentucky Hydroelectric Project in Grand Rivers.

KYTC

A new interchange in Marshall County will open this week. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the Julian Carroll-Purchase Parkway/Kentucky 348 near Benton is scheduled to open Friday afternoon. 

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More than 30,000 Kentuckians have signed up for health insurance since the state transitioned to the federal exchange on November 1.  Healthcare.gov replaced the state’s previous insurance portal known as Kynect.  The enrollment numbers are slightly higher than those this time last year, according to state officials. 

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An independent review panel says Kentucky's social service system is ‘grossly underfunded’ as the state's child protection system struggles with the large number of children whose parents are abusing drugs. 

Fort Campbell

Fort Campbell is holding a memorial service for 248 soldiers who were killed 31 years ago in a plane crash.

A statement from the Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line says the service will be held Monday at the Gander Memorial Site.

The plane crashed Dec. 12, 1985, at Gander International Airport in Newfoundland, Canada. The soldiers were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. They were headed back to the post from a six-month peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.

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With an eye on the Zika virus, Kentucky Public Health officials are urging pregnant women, those who might be pregnant and their sex partners to carefully plan holiday trips.

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[This story originally aired December 14, 2012.]

Gander, Newfoundland isn't much bigger than Mayfield, KY, but since the 1930s, it's been one of the world's more important airports.  It played a pivotal role in World War 2 as a staging area for U.S. and British Commonwealth war planes.  More recently, the people of Gander played host to the more than 66 hundred air travelers stranded there by the closure of North American airspace following the 9-11 attacks.

Gander has, however, been closer to American tragedy.

When Cindy Hunter received her Medicare card in the mail last spring, she said she "didn't know a lot about Medicare." She and her husband, retired teachers who live in a Philadelphia suburb, decided she didn't need it because she shared his retiree health insurance, which covered her treatment for ovarian cancer.

https://liheap.dpw.state.pa.us/

The last day for residents in the Purchase Area to sign up for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program is tomorrow.  

West Kentucky Allied Services operates the program which helps families keep the heat on during the winter with funds from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.  

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