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Round-Up: Tuesday February 26

More and more indigent people are dying and counties are footing the bills; Enquirer reporter dies after collapsing in the newsroom; Bill would give Gov. Beshear an extra year in office;

Take a look at what's making news around Covington and Kentucky:

COUNTIES COPE AS INDIGENT BURIALS INCREASE

Unclaimed bodies are increasing in counties across the country:

Every situation is unique, but coroners and local government officials tell a similar story: The economic downturn has left many people without the money to pay for funeral services that can cost thousands of dollars, and it's falling on cities and states to cover the bills.

"You see them more and more because of the economy and people in dire states with financial problems," said Kevin Kirby, a funeral home owner who doubles as the Warren County Coroner in Bowling Green.

No organization or state tracks the number of indigent burials.

Full story: AP/Brett Barrouquere

ENQUIRER REPORTER BARRY HORSTMAN DIES SUDDENLY

Veteran local reporter Barry Horstman whose long career included a stint at the Cincinnati Post and most recently at the Cincinnati Enquirer, died after collapsing in the Enquirer newsroom:

Horstman, 60, of Mount Lookout, was a consummate story-teller, either when writing a story or regaling others with tales of his latest international vacation.

“Barry was an investigative reporter. He was tough. He was relentless. But he was the sweetest man in the world. And that all makes sense. He was so tough because he loved this community so much. He wanted it to be as good as it could be. This is a terrible loss to our Enquirer family and a loss to the community,” Enquirer Editor Carolyn Washburn said.

Horstman grew up on the west side of Cincinnati where his family owned Glenmore Bowl in Cheviot. Horstman was an avid and talented bowler, becoming so proficient that he once was ranked No. 2 in the country in his age group.

“Barry was a newsman’s newsman,” said Mike Philipps, a former editor at The Cincinnati Post and now president of the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Full story: Cincinnati Enquirer/Kimball Perry

SEE ALSO: WCPO

FRANKFORT HEADLINES

BILL SUPPORTING SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS PASSES STATE SENATE AP

THAT BILL MAY BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL Courier-Journal

BILL ALLOWS PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS:

Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat and majority caucus chair, is a sponsor of the legislation, along with Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville.

House Bill 456 would allow Kentucky to use “public-private partnerships” — arrangements that can include, for example, companies assuming the financing, design and operations of a road in exchange for collecting toll revenue or other payments. The bill allows the partnerships with adjoining states.

Full story: Courier-Journal

PENSION BILL IS HEADED TO HADES Courier-Journal

LAWMAKERS WON'T PURSUE LOTTERY TAX TO HELP PENSION SYSTEM AP

SENATE APPROVES TO CHANGE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION YEARS:

The state Senate approved a constitutional amendment Monday to hold the election of governor and other constitutional officials in even-numbered years every four years, beginning in 2016. The vote on Senate Bill 48 was 25-12, mostly along party lines. Twenty-three votes are needed in the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said his bill would save the state $1.4 million and increase voter participation in elections for governor by having them the same years as elections for president. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has said he has not heard any complaints about Kentucky’s election cycles.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was elected to a second four-year term in 2011 and would serve an extra year under the proposal.

More: Herald-Leader

BILL RESTRICTS GOV. BESHEAR ON FEDERAL HEALTH CARE REFORM Bluegrass Politics

GOVERNOR: NEW REVENUE ONLY WAY TO RESTORE CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES cn|2

KY TRIES TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF SEX TRADE AP

STATE CLOSE TO CLOSING LOOPHOLE THAT PROTECTS AMUSEMENT PARK OPERATORS FROM FINES AP

STATE SENATOR LAUDS POLL SHOWING SUPPORT FOR HEMP, POT:

(Sen. Perry) Clark says he hopes fellow state lawmakers are paying attention to national trends and the shift in public opinion among Kentuckians.

"Clearly we’re forming a cannabis majority in this nation. You know 19 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, at least two states have gone total recreational and eight other states have passed industrial hemp," he says. "It’s time for us to think forward and realize this is not the top problem that we’re having in Kentucky."

Poll numbers show 39 percent of voters support legalization for recreational use, but 49 percent still oppose that idea. And despite the new survey information, both hemp and medical marijuana face stiff opposition in the state legislature.

Full story: WFPL

LOUISVILLE MAYOR: POLL VALIDATES PUSH FOR LOCAL SALES TAX OPTION WFPL

WHO WERE THE BIG SPENDERS ON LOBBYING IN FRANKFORT IN JANUARY? Courier-Journal

GAY MAN'S LLAMA FARM IN KENTUCKY IN JEOPARDY AFTER FIRING

National attention has been pouring in this week for a Kentucky farmer who claims he was fired from his day job for being gay:

Kevin worked as a public school teacher for fifteen years before retiring to run his farm full-time. A few years ago, he went back to work as the director of a day care center in Ashland, Kentucky. After being mocked and teased by co-workers and superiors at work, some of whom constantly referred to him as "twinkle toes", the center forced him to resign in spite of his spotless record.

He sued for wrongful termination and, though the judge agreed that he had been treated unfairly, there is no Kentucky state law regarding anti-gay discrimination at the workplace.

More than a year later, Kevin is still out of work, exhausted, and behind on bills and legal fees. He continues to work on the animal sanctuary he runs on his 18-acre property. LLA-Nanny Farms is home to llamas, cats, dogs, chickens, donkeys and pigs. Many of the animals, especially the 30+ dogs, came to Kevin as strays.

When Kevin spoke to BuzzFeed, he said his main concern was that, due to his financial problems, he wouldn't be able to feed all of his animals. He has never sold any of them, not even his prize-winning llamas. Now, though, he worries that he may be running out of options.

More with photos: Buzzfeed

POLITICS:

DEMOCRATS BELIEVE ASHLEY JUDD IS GOING TO MAKE A RUN AGAINST SEN. MCCONNELL ABC News

PROGRESSIVE GROUP BUYS AD ATTACKING MCCONNELL ON GUNS ISSUES cn|2 & YouTube

MCCONNELL REJECTS "WEAPONS BANS" cn|2

WHAT DO JUDD'S TWEETS SAY ABOUT HER POSSIBLE RUN FOR OFFICE? WHAS

SEE ALSO: Mitch McConnell is at least supportive of another actress from Kentucky. He congratulated Jennifer Lawrence, of Louisville, on winning Best Actress at Sunday's Academy Awards

HEY, WHAT ABOUT A POSSIBLE GRIMES/MCCONNELL RACE?:

(Judd) may not be Democrats' best choice as a Senate candidate (unless the race comes down to her University of Kentucky loyalty against McConnell's University of Louisville connections), but I'm not sure she's the albatross around their necks so many Democrats fear.

But fear her they do, which has them casting about for anyone but Judd. Most of the talk has been about Grimes, who has several attributes that seem to make her the perfect candidate to challenge McConnell.

She has won a statewide race. She has no voting record to attack. The highlight of her first 14 months in office has been visiting American troops in the Middle East and her subsequent commitment to making it easier for Kentuckians among those troops to exercise their voting rights.

Who is going to attack her on this issue?

Her family's close relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton gives her access to their nationwide fund-raising network. So, she ought to be able to match McConnell dollar for dollar and then some.

And any daughter of Jerry Lundergan, a former state representative and former Democratic Party chairman who has amassed a fortune in the catering business, has to have inherited more than a little of his moxie.

Admittedly, Grimes has been in her first elective office a very short time. And politicians who reach too far too fast and fail sometimes disappear from the history books. That has to be a consideration for her. But the upsides in taking on McConnell are also significant.

Full story: Herald-Leader/Larry Dale Keeling

LIBERALS & TEA PARTY UNITE TO DEFEAT MCCONNELL? The Daily Caller

SEN. RAND PAUL: ALLOW SCHOOL CHOICE FOR ALL Courier-Journal

THE LIMITS OF RAND PAUL'S LIBERTARIAN IDEALS MSNBC

MORE HEADLINES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:

STRONG SUPPORT FOR RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE Wall Street Journal

MANY FAMILIES REBUILD SINCE MARCH TORNADOES Cincinnati Enquirer

NKY ADDICTION SUPPORT GROUP RE-STARTS AP

KENTON CO. LIBRARY GOING SMOKE-FREE Cincinnati Enquirer

24 ARRESTED IN NKY DRUG ROUND-UP WCPO

$1.8 MILLION WORTH OF COCAINE CONFISCATED IN LEXINGTON Herald-Leader

KY HOMEOWNERS GET $55 MILLION IN SETTLEMENT RELIEF WKYT

OWENSBORO EXPECTS $20 MILLION INCREASE FROM TOURISM Herald-Leader

KY BRIDGE TO BECOME BUNGEE JUMPING SPOT WKRC

INTERESTED IN MENTORING AT COVINGTON SCHOOLS?

From Covington Partners:

Do you wonder if you're making a difference? Are you having difficulty connecting with your mentee? Are there obstacles standing in the way of good communication? Then join us for a mentoring panel discussion on Feb. 26. This will be a great opportunity to ask tough questions, share stories and give good advice based on your own mentoring experiences. We will have a knowledgeable panel to offer insight, but all attendees will be welcome to join the conversation. The topics covered will be relevant to new and experienced mentors alike, and food and drink will be provided.

Guests are welcome if you know someone who might be interested in becoming a mentor. Feel free to share this information with them or bring them along to the session.

The event is today (Tuesday) from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. in the Holmes Middle School library.

HOLMES BOYS AND GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAMS SET FOR REGIONALS

The Holmes Bulldogs are set for the post-season. The boys play in the first round of the Ninth Region tournament tonight at the Bank of Kentucky Center at NKU. It's a re-match between Holmes and Newport Central Catholic, one of only two teams to defeat the Bulldogs this season. Check out the preview: NKY Sports

The girls team is also set for the regional tournament. Check out the preview: nkyFAN

KY SUPPORTED LINCOLN'S EFFORTS TO ABOLISH SLAVERY 111 YEARS LATE

Woops:

Here's an OMG fact for you: The Kentucky legislature didn't go on record against slavery until 1976 — 111 years after the 13th Amendment prohibiting involuntary servitude became the law of the land.

Full story: Herald-Leader

KET IS PLEASED WITH 'DOWNTON ABBEY' RATINGS

Kentucky Education Television (KET) is happy with the number of viewers checking out "Downton Abbey":

KET doesn’t purchase Nielsen ratings, so they won’t have the figures on the seven-episode third season of “Downton Abbey” for a while. But KET Director of Programming Craig Cornwell says, “We knew going into the beginning of Season 2 that there was a great deal of interest in “Downton Abbey.”

Nationally, it set ratings records for Masterpiece, and with all the viewer calls we were receiving, we thought our audiences here in Kentucky would be strong. When the second season of ‘Downton Abbey’ ended last February, KET viewership on Sunday night had increased by 40 percent.

Full story: Insider Louisville

Compiled by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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