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The Front Page [03.18.11]

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McCracken County Prospective Coal Facility Controversy
A controversial zoning change request drew 200 people to a meeting of the McCracken County Planning Commission Wednesday night. Industry has targeted 400 acres that include Carneal, Heady, Tucker, and Metropolis Landing roads for rezoning from Rural Residential to Heavy Industrial.
Purchase Players: Zany Rendition of “The Princess and the Pea”
If you thought you knew the story of “The Princess and the Pea,” the current Purchase Players production could turn your impression on its ear. This weekend, the Mayfield-based playhouse opened “Once Upon a Mattress.” The original off-Broadway production starred Carol Burnett as the princess. Jacque Day spoke with the young director-music director team Samantha Doran and Justus Wright, about their collaboration on this play and others.
Kentucky’s Civil War Part 2: Slavery in the Commonwealth
Over the course of this 150th Anniversary year of the American Civil War, we’re bringing you a series of in-depth stories about the war in our region, its causes and its effects. Today, we take a closer look at how Kentucky dealt with one of the Civil War’s central issues: slavery. We’ll also hear from the slaves themselves, with re-enactors giving voice to the accounts of those experienced slavery in western Kentucky first-hand.
MSU Grad Gives Personal Perspective of Japanese Quake
In the wake of the earthquake in Japan, many have wondered how the situation is for those living in Japan. News reports have kept us informed about the progress in recovery, but few have spoken directly with the people living in the country. Chris Wells is a Murray State University graduate. Wells has spent the past 16 years in Tokyo where he works as an English language narrator, voicing English scripts for companies and government agencies. Angela Hatton spoke with Wells.
Q&A: Author Susan J. Douglas on ‘Enlightened Sexism’
Susan J. Douglass is a prize-winning author, columnist, professor and cultural critic. In her most recent book, Enlightened Sexism: (The Seductive Message That Feminism’s Work Is Done) Douglas continues her analysis of the mixed messages surrounding women, and the struggle she sees in the media between embedded feminism on the one hand and enlightened sexism on the other. WKMS Volunteer Dr. Bob Lochte speaks with Douglas about her career and writings.
Manager Says Nuclear Enrichment Safer in Disaster Than Nuclear Power
A nuclear power plant affected by last week’s 8.9 earthquake in Japan continues to pose a danger. As workers try to stabilize the reactors at Fukushima, nuclear industry employees in other countries watch anxiously. The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant produces the uranium fuel used in power plants around the world, including Japan. The Paducah plant is also near the New Madrid fault line, which scientists have estimated has the potential to cause a major earthquake.
Levee Keeps Smithland Dry (and Smiling)
As river flood levels crest and begin to recede this weekend many area residents will offer sighs of relief. Over in Livingston County, at the confluence of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers lies the town of Smithland and nestled in that quiet bend is Smiley’s Levee Caf . Its namesake is what’s keeping a portion of the town from being submerged by the swollen Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. Chris Taylor calls up the restaurant to see how things are going.
Politics surrounding Medicaid in Kentucky
As the first week of the special legislative session on Medicaid draws to a close, it now appears lawmakers may spend another week in Frankfort. So far, they’ve failed to compromise on a method for balancing the Medicaid budget. Securing a middle ground has been tough in this year’s highly political atmosphere.
Continuing Coverage of the Medicaid Special Session
The special session on balancing Kentucky’s Medicaid budget continues in Frankfort. Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh says the early focus of the session is on the House of Representatives, where the Medicaid bill is beginning its legislative journey.
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Written by Chris Taylor

March 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Posted in The Front Page

The Front Page [03.11.11]

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Civil War Dispatch 9 – Louisville, a bastion of Unionism
Each week, WKMS’ own Civil War correspondent Todd Hatton brings us stories written by author and historian Berry Craig detailing the Commonwealth’s role in the American Civil War. On today’s Kentucky Civil War Dispatch, we look at Louisville and its place as a bastion of Unionism in the Bluegrass.
Nursing Homes: finding the right caregivers
Hiring the right people has long been a problem at Kentucky’s nursing homes. Low pay, hard hours and heartbreaking work complicates the job of finding and keeping competent employees. In addition, they also need caregivers capable of compassion. Kentucky Public Radio’s Stu Johnson takes a look at the profiles of two such women.
A March Conversation with Murray State’s President
No matter where you look it’s hard to escape talks of cutting budgets. The conversation is loudest in Washington. And in their monthly chat Chad Lampe hears from Murray State President Dr. Randy Dunn about federal budget talks with our Kentucky delegation and the impact their decisions on Murray State.
Governor Beshear on the upcoming special session
Despite cautious optimism over better-than-expected state revenue receipts, Kentucky lawmakers have been wrangling over spending issues, and budget cuts in the recent regular session. And it appears as though they’ll keep wrangling, as Governor Steve Beshear has called a special session to begin Monday. Todd Hatton spoke with Governor Beshear to get his perspective on the upcoming special session, and the rhetoric surrounding it.
International Students Yearn for Family at Graduation
Murray State University’s international students have to give up a lot when they come to study in the United States. Most importantly, they separate themselves from their families. Some students go home once a year, or every few years. Sometimes parents come to the states to visit, but that’s not guaranteed. A graduating student may want his or her parents to come for the graduation ceremony. If they do, they need to start planning early.
Fulton Independent Schools’ Superintendent Dianne Owen on Denied District Merger
Fulton Independent School District’s Board of Education voted this past week against a proposed merger with Fulton County Schools. The decision comes as both districts watch a decline in students and a decline in funding. David Schmoll sits down with Fulton Independent School’s Superintendent Dianne Owen to discuss the board’s decision not to merge.
Lawmakers Will Return for Special Medicaid Session
The dust is still settling from this year’s regular legislative session, but Kentucky lawmakers are being ordered back to Frankfort for a special session on Medicaid. Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh explains what’s behind this unusual turn of events.
Christian Co. Schools Superintendent on Commissioner’s Decision
There’s been quite a bit of noise in the Christian County Schools system recently. Kentucky’s Education Commissioner Terry Holliday made some waves when he overrode a state audit board’s recommendation and moved to disband Christian County High School’s site-based council, a local advisory group of parents and teachers. The high school is ranked among the lowest-performing in the commonwealth. Jacque Day discussed the ongoing situation with Superintendent Brady Link.

Written by Chris Taylor

March 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Posted in The Front Page

The Front Page [03.04.11]

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Federal Cuts to Affect Low-income Rural Kentuckians 
This week, the U.S. government averted a temporary shutdown by passing a continuing resolution, CR, to fund operations through March 18. But the move only buys a little time to resolve a hotly debated budget. The proposed House measure places dozens of government-sponsored programs on the chopping block, from the Fish and Wildlife Service to HUD, to Women, Infants and Children. Jacque Day brings us this report on how cuts may affect our region’s low-income residents.
Kentucky Civil War Dispatch 8: Lincoln’s first address
Each week, WKMS’ own Civil War correspondent Todd Hatton brings us stories written by author and historian Berry Craig detailing the Commonwealth’s role in the American Civil War. On today’s Kentucky Civil War Dispatch, new U.S. President and Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln is sworn into office, and in his first address, urges calm amid the rising sectional tensions.
Nathan Brown on working with Project AIDS Orphan
In the U.S., a dollar and a half is the cost of a casual trip to a vending machine. In Kenya, those same six quarters can change a school child’s entire life. Nathan Brown of Project AIDS Orphan talks about helping Kenyans help themselves.
High Speed Rail and Rural Counties
By the end of 2010 the federal government had doled out nearly five billion dollars. As the nation sets out on this massive undertaking, transportation officials consider how to incorporate high speed rail into daily travel. Angela Hatton spoke with Ed Cole, Executive Director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee and former Environmental Planning Director for the state Department of Transportation. Cole explains how the rail corridor may affect rural communities in Kentucky and Tennessee.
How Technology is Changing the Way Libraries do Business
Despite the rise of the internet and all of the information it provides, librarians argue their mission remains unchanged. They say only a library guarantees free access to information. Still, as KPR’s Charles Compton reports, technology has changed the way libraries do business.


Murray State Men’s Basketball Coach Billy Kennedy on the Upcoming OVC Tournament 
The Murray State Men’s Basketball team heads into the OVC tournament as the number 1 seed for the second year in a row. Last year the Racers won the OVC tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament .This season the Racers struggled out of the gate, but ended up taking the regular season crown. OVC’s Coach of the Year Billy Kennedy sits down with David Schmoll to discuss the Racers’ season and their next challenge.
Growing up in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement
Dr. Jacqueline Carter is a neurologist at Western Baptist Hospital. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.



One Lawmaker’s Annual Pitch to Reform Taxes Interests Few
A Kentucky lawmaker determined to update the state’s antiquated tax code has made his annual pitch for reform. But as Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh reports, the bill is generating little excitement as time runs out on the 2011 session.

Written by Chris Taylor

March 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Posted in The Front Page

The Front Page [02.25.10]

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Andrew Jackson Smith: Civil War hero
In January 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Andrew Jackson Smith the Medal of Honor. Smith served in the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and is one of only 25 African Americans to earn the honor for service in the Civil War. Jacque Day brings us this story of a local man who transcended slavery and prejudice to emerge as an example of American heroism.
New Kentucky Law Divides Optometrists and Ophthalmologists
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear Thursday signed into law a measure allowing optometrists to perform some surgeries previously only performed by ophthalmologists. The bill sailed through the legislature rapidly with little dissent among lawmakers, with one Republican Gubernatorial Candidate concerned with the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by PACs. But, while the debate in the legislature was relatively minor David Schmoll reports, outside the Capitol, debate was much more intense.
U.S. Drug Czar and Kentucky’s pill epidemic
The director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy toured Kentucky this week, and he’s heard from a wide range of people about their perspectives on prescription drug abuse. Kentucky Public Radio’s Brenna Angel reports on what these experts want the Drug Czar to know about Kentucky’s pill epidemic, and how Gil Kerlikowske plans to help.
MSU author on the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery in Western Kentucky
Judy Shearer is PR Communications Coordinator for the Department of Art and Design at Murray State, and she’s written a book coming out later this spring that reveals much about how slaves and masters affected each other, and how they affect us still.
Civil War Dispatch 7 – Two African Americans in the Commonwealth
We continue our ongoing commemoration of the U.S. Civil War in the Commonwealth. On today’s Kentucky Civil War Dispatch, we take a look at the case of two African Americans in the Commonwealth, one free, the other a slave, whose desire for freedom made it all the way to the highest court in the country.
Civil War era re-enactors are nothing new for the region. But a group of all African-American women re-enactors is something special. The Female Re-Enactors of Distinction or FREED, recently visited and performed in the Clarksville, Tennessee and Hopkinsville area. The all-volunteer group is an auxiliary of the African-American Civil War Museum and Memorial in Washington, D. C. As Angela Hatton reports, their goal is to represent people who have been forgotten.
Anti-Bullying Legislation Heads to House Floor
A bill that expands the protections given gay students against bullying is on its way to the house floor. The action came after testimony from three gay students who were targeted by bullies while in high school.
Constitutional Convention
A bevy of reporters showed up Tuesday at the Kentucky State Capitol. Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh says the big draw was debate over a balanced budget resolution backed by the state’s junior United States senator.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Posted in The Front Page

The Front Page [02.19.11]

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E-cigarettes deliver nicotine hits and controversy
We live in an ever-growing “e-world,’ from e-mail to e-bay and countless other “e” products and services. Kentucky Public Radio’s Ron Smith reports that one relatively new “e” item, the e-cigarette, is delivering nicotine hits and plenty of controversy.
February conversation with Murray State President
Dr. Dunn and Chad Lampe discuss the suspension of a Murray State professor over alleged racist slurs as well as the budget priorities for the university.
Civil War Dispatch 6 – America’s 16th President
We continue our ongoing look back at the U.S. Civil War in the Commonwealth. On today’s Kentucky Civil War Dispatch, America’s incoming 16th president heads to Washington, and begins his efforts to hold the country together even before he’s sworn in.
Darrell Scott on upcoming Lovett Live concert
Singer/songwriter Darrell Scott has been a working musician for over three decades. Music from the Front Porch host John McMillen spoke with Scott about his Kentucky roots, his latest album, and what to expect when he performs Saturday, February 19 at 8 as part of MSU’s Lovett Live Onstage Series.
Raffaele Ponti on PSO’s “Brilliant!”
George Eldridge sits down with Paducah Symphony Orchestra conductor Raffaele Ponti to learn more about Saturday’s performance of scores from Academy Award-winning films.
Antique Mall Closure Causes Unrest in Small Town
Hazel, Kentucky, is a border town in Calloway County, just before the Tennessee state line. It’s a town of fewer than five hundred people, and it would be a blip on the road for most travelers if it wasn’t for Hazel’s most important asset: antiques. The city’s official website calls antique stores “the lifeblood of this community.” As Angela Hatton reports a dispute over business licenses may hurt the future of those stores.
In 1960s Baltimore, the 50s are out, and change is in the air. This weekend, Murray’s Playhouse in the Park opens “Hairspray.” Based on the 1988 film by John Waters, this musical comedy takes on society’s injustices and the many forms of prejudice. Director Lisa Cope and Murray State freshman and cast member Aaron Jones joined Jacque Day for this discussion.
Conversation with Irish novelist, MSU Watkins Chair Martin Roper
Irish novelist Martin Roper is Murray State’s newest endowed Watkins Chair in Creative Writing. His acclaimed first novel titledGone was published in 2002 by Henry Holt, and portions of the book also appeared in The New Yorker. And he’s presently at work on a new novel. Martin Roper reads Thursday, February 17 as part of the Murray State University Reading Series. He joined Jacque Day for a discussion about his life and work.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

The Front Page – Chinese New Year Special [02.11.11]

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Chinese Students Adapt to American Freedoms
The Chinese government actively encourages students to study in America and earn their degrees from American universities even with the two powers at two ends of the political spectrum. David Schmoll looks at one student’s journey into the American political system.
Chinese agriculture major Corona on music and Murray
Electronic musician Corona has a sound all her own. Corona is in Murray on a research program from an agricultural university in China. She’s working on international affairs research, but in her spare time, she turns to her passion, music. She’s taken her own time out of her six month stay in Murray to participate in the music department’s music synthesis class. Rebecca Feldhaus talked to Corona about what makes her music so personal.
“Mom’s Cooking” Important Chinese Tradition
American’s understanding of Chinese food has come a long way since the days of Chop Suey in San Francisco’s Chinatown. According to trade magazine Chinese Restaurant News, there are over 43,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States. But the majority of restaurants are “Americanized,” and not good representations of authentic Chinese dining.
The cultural differences of faith between China and Murray
Rebecca Feldhaus brings us the story of one Chinese student who has found faith in Murray and helps us understand cultural differences surrounding faith in her home country.
Murray State’s President on relationship with China
Murray State University President Dr. Randy Dunn sits down with Chad Lampe to talk about the growth of the University’s Chinese student population and recruitment efforts.

Community impact of MSU’s cultural exchange with China
Kate Lochte discovers Murray State’s interest in a cultural exchange with China grew the accrual of relationships, both institutional and personal.

Ping Pong, Education & Competitiveness in China
Ping pong is one of China’s most popular sports. Chris Taylor heads over to Murray State’s Wellness Center to square off against MSU Chinese language instructor Frank Geng. And, as he finds out, the Chinese culture’s take on the spirit of competition is not all about who wins and it’s not even all about sports or athleticism either.

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Murray
Much of the world celebrated the lunar New Year last week. It’s the year of the rabbit and February 3rd marked the start of the Chinese Spring festival this year.
Chinese Students Dating in the U.S.
Another part of any culture is finding the right mate. Traditionally dating in China is more formal and drawn out. But here at Murray State specifically many embrace an American style of dating.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Posted in The Front Page

The Front Page [02.04.11]

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The Myth of Practicing Law
Attorneys are commonly viewed as wealthy individuals, but according to a recent study out of Northwestern, upwards of 15,000 attorney and legal staff jobs have been eliminated as companies scale back on legal expenses. Those recently departed from law school may have their eyes set on the dollar signs ahead in their career, but as David Schmoll reports, those dollar signs may be a bit further down the road than a lot of society thinks.

 

The Civil War in Western Kentucky Part 1
We begin another series on the Civil War, this one taking a more broad view of the war in our area. We’ll look at the issues, people, places, and events unique to the Four Rivers, and get insights from the experts.

 

In-depth on Kentucky House Illegal Immigration Legislation
The issue of illegal immigration is likely to get a lot of attention over the next few weeks in Frankfort. Whether the Kentucky general assembly takes any final action on legislation is another matter. Kentucky Public Radio’s Stu Johnson reports it appears house members are preparing for a deliberate review of illegal alien legislation.

 

The Q&A – The economic impact of arts in Paducah
Todd Hatton sits down with Market House Theatre’s Executive Director Michael Cochran to talk about the economic impact from the arts in and around Paducah and what it means for the community beyond economics.

 

Paducah Seeks to Hire More African-American Teachers
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, 93% of teachers in the public school system in 2010 were white. Nationally, the number is lower, but not by much. The majority of Kentucky residents are also white, but that’s changing. African-Americans make up eight percent of the state’s population. But African-Americans make up 13% of the public school population. At Paducah Independent Schools, white students are the minority.

 

Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth Speech
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear told state lawmakers last night he continues to oppose broad-based tax increases, and he’s urging unity, not divisiveness.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Posted in The Front Page