Contract awarded to stabilize landslide by school
FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky has awarded a contract to stabilize a landslide threatening the only access to a Bell County school.
The Division of Abandoned Mine Lands says bids for the project in the southeastern Kentucky county were opened this month. The low bid of $2.13 million was submitted by Jackson and Jackson Reclamation Services from Clay County.
The project estimate was nearly $2.6 million, and the average of five bids submitted was $2.5 million.
The project will stabilize the landslide through construction of concrete retaining walls tied into bedrock with 30-inch diameter concrete caissons.
Excess soil from the project will help cap a nearby landfill.
The Division of Abandoned Mine Lands says the project is a priority because of the threat to Bell Central School Center.
Group opposes tax incentives for Noah’s Ark park
FRANKFORT (AP) — A national organization for the separation of church and state has urged Kentucky officials to deny state tax incentives for the Noah’s Ark theme park in northern Kentucky.
The group, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, points to hiring practices by the park’s parent organization, Answers in Genesis, The Courier-Journal reported.
In a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear, Americans United said the website of Answers in Genesis requires that job applicants agree with its Christian “Statement of Faith.”
“An applicant must profess . that homosexuality is a sin on par with bestiality and incest, that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that the bible is literally true in order to be considered for the job,” Americans United officials said in the letter.
That policy amounts to religious discrimination in hiring and may violate the Kentucky Constitution’s ban on preferences “to any religious sect,” the group said.
The coordinator of the project, Mike Zovath, told the Louisville newspaper on Friday that the entity developing the park — the for-profit Ark Encounter LLC — is distinct from the not-for-profit Answers in Genesis.
Suggestions sought for education standards
VERSAILLES (AP) — Kentucky education officials want to tweak the state’s English and math standards and they want help doing it.
Officials unveiled a website on Monday where people can view the state’s hundreds of English and math education standards. People can rewrite the standards or they can click a green thumbs-up icon, similar to Facebook’s “like” button.
State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said the process is not a referendum on the standards and noted the department would ignore complaints that don’t contain suggestions for improving the standards.
Kentucky was the first in the nation to adopt the English and math standards, which were modeled after the Common Core standards that have since become a flashpoint in national politics.
The website is http://kentucky.statestandards.org.
Sen. Paul calls Hillary Clinton a ‘war hawk’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling Hillary Rodham Clinton “a war hawk,” Sen. Rand Paul says that if the former secretary of state seeks the presidency, some voters will worry that she will get the U.S. involved in another Mideast war.
Paul is a leading anti-interventionist in the GOP and is considering running for president. Last year he opposed President Barack Obama’s call for military action in Syria.
In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Kentucky Republican predicted a “transformational election” if the Democrats nominate “a war hawk like Hillary Clinton.”
“I think that’s what scares the Democrats the most, is that in a general election, were I to run, there’s gonna be a lot of independents and even some Democrats who say, ‘You know what? We are tired of war,’” Paul said. “We’re worried that Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war, because she’s so gung-ho.”
Michael Czin, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said on Sunday in a statement that Democrats are eager to debate Paul about “his fringe, isolationist vision” that Czin says would end all aid to foreign allies, including Israel.
“That’s the vision he’s laid out and defended time and time again and that even conservatives have said would bring ‘terrible misery’ to millions of people across the globe,” Czin said Sunday in a statement.
Loss of passenger pigeon explored in film
HENDERSON (AP) — A hundred years ago, the last passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo. They were hunted to extinction, with the last one dying Sept. 1, 1914.
Now there’s a documentary that looks at the bird’s extinction and current wildlife habitat loss.
The film, “From Billions to None,” will be shown Sunday at 2 p.m. CDT in the John James Audubon State Park Theater in Henderson.
In addition, the Kentucky Parks Department says an exhibit on the passenger pigeon will be on display in the Audubon Museum lobby during September. Both the film and exhibit are free.
Former lawmaker given role in governor’s office
FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed a former state lawmaker to be director of his office’s legislative services.
Beshear says his choice, Roger Thomas, has experience and knowledge of the legislative process that’s “second to none.” He says Thomas’ understanding of the General Assembly will be vital to achieve a successful legislative session next year.
Beshear’s office says Thomas will retain his position as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. In that role, Thomas serves as CEO of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board and executive director of the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation.
Thomas was as the state representative for the 21st District from 1996 to 2004.
Behavioral health building opening at Army post
FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Fort Campbell is cutting the ribbon this week on its Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health System building.
The new building sits adjacent to the current Child and Adolescent Psychiatry building. The behavioral health team had been working in separate locations until the new building was complete. Workers will now be closer, making it easier to coordinate services.
The ribbon cutting at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky border is Wednesday.
The post says the behavioral health system is in its initial stages at Army installations. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital will serve as the Southern Regional Medical Command’s prototype.