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UK Student Government sponsors Oct. 12 forum with down-ticket candidates


Candidates in four state constitutional down-ticket races are to participate in a forum Oct. 12 sponsored by the University of Kentucky Student Government Association.

The forum is for candidates for auditor, treasurer, secretary of state and agriculture commissioner.

It is to begin at 7 p.m. at UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts and is free and open to the public.

Boone Proffit, director of the student government’s government relations, will host the forum. Josh Douglas, a faculty member at UK’s College of Law, will moderate.

–Jack Brammer

Absentee Voting in Nov. 3 General Election Now Open


FRANKFORT – Eligible voters may now cast mail-in absentee ballots in Kentucky’s Nov. 3 general election, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Friday.

WEKU to air programs with gubernatorial candidates

Kentucky’s three candidates for governor will be featured in separate hour-long programs airing on WEKU-FM and two other Kentucky Public Radio stations on Sept. 15, Sept. 17 and Oct. 9.

The programs will each air at 1 p.m. EDT and feature, in succession, Republican nominee Matt Bevin, independent candidate Drew Curtis and Democratic nominee Jack Conway.

Matt Bevin names Jessica Ditto communications director


FRANKFORT — Jessica Ditto, who has more than 10 years of experience in political and public sector communications, was named Monday communications director and campaign spokesman for Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin.

Federal aid for July storm damage available for 3 more KY counties


FRANKFORT — Residents of three additional Kentucky counties with damage from severe storms and flooding in July are eligible for federal assistance, Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they are Breathitt, Fleming and Perry conties.

Federal funding was already available to affected individuals in the counties of Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble.

“This is good news for residents of Breathitt, Fleming and Perry Counties as they work to recover from these devastating storms,” Beshear said. “Our emergency management officials have worked hard to document damage and help in recovery efforts. I encourage citizens in the eligible counties to register with FEMA.”

People in the specified counties who need assistance can apply with FEMA online at: or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Strong storms from July 11 to 20 caused heavy rain and flash flooding, which claimed lives, washed out roads and forced people from their homes in the affected communities.

Four deaths have been attributed to the flash flood in the mountain community of Flat Gap in Johnson County.

Breathitt, Fleming and Perry counties were already on the list of those eligible for public assistance.

In those counties, federal funding is available to local governments and certain private non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides.

The other eligible counties are Bracken, Carroll, Carter, Clay, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Magoffin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Spencer, Trimble, Washington and Wolfe.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire state.

“This is a very positive outcome,” Kentucky Emergency Management director Michael Dossett said. “The incorporation of Breathitt, Perry and Fleming counties immediately makes available federal resources to impacted citizens for their long-term recovery efforts.”

Beshear issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for all of Kentucky on July 13. The state’s Emergency Operations Plan and the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center were activated.

During the disaster, Beshear also issued an executive order prohibiting price gouging in the sale of goods and services in the state, and implemented other provisions to protect Kentucky consumers.

Additional information on KYEM’s Recovery Branch and FEMA’s assistance programs can be found at where you can also ‘like’ and ‘follow’ KYEM on Facebook and Twitter.

–Jack Brammer

Drew Curtis plans to file Monday as independent for governor

By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT – Drew Curtis of Versailles plans to officially enter this year’s race for governor on Monday as an independent candidate.

Curtis, founder of, an Internet news aggregator, said Friday he has collected about 8,000 signatures, about 3,000 more than the 5,000 needed to get on the ballot.

Curtis’ wife, Heather, will be his running mate.

Tuesday is the last day a candidate can get on the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election.

The two major candidates for governor are Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway, both of Louisville.

Kentucky unveils new campaign to promote HPV vaccine

By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT –Kentucky will start a statewide campaign July 20 to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated against human papillomavirus, a virus that can cause cervical and oral cancer.

Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, Health and Family Services Audrey Haynes and state Public Health Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield announced the campaign Monday at a Capitol news conference.

Luallen said a $500,000 federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will pay for the campaign that will run through September and feature TV, radio and print ads developed by Louisville-based Doe Anderson.

The vaccine is for girls and boys.

Kentucky trails the national average of children vaccinated for the virus.

Currently, only 27 percent of Kentucky girls ages 13 to 17 have received the recommended three doses of the HPV vaccine compared to 38 percent throughout the nation, and only 19 percent of the state boys have received only one dose.

Dr. Hatim Omar, a professor of pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine who runs an adolescent health clinic at UK, said in a statement that nearly everyone will get one or more types of HPV in his or her life.

That will cause in some, he said, genital warts, cervical, vulvar, penile, oral and other cancers.

“The vaccine is safe and effective in preventing 70-90 percent of these diseases, which makes it a no-brainer to have everyone eligible immunized,” Omar said.

The target group for the vaccine is children 11 or 12 years old. Teens who did not get the vaccine when they were younger should ask their health-care provider about it, said Mayfield.

Women can get the vaccine through age 26 and men can get vaccinated through age 21.

The vaccine includes three injections in the arm over a year.

Health insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine. The Vaccines for Children programs helps families of eligible children who do not have access to vaccines.

KY Sen. Chris Girdler of Somerset will not seek re-election next year


FRANKFORT — State Sen. Chris Girdler, R-Somerset, announced Thursday he will not seek re-election to the Kentucky Senate next year.

Girdler, a former aide and district director for Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset, said in a statement that after more than “a year of prayerful consideration and conversations with my wife and close friends, I have confidently come to the decision that I will not be seeking re-election in 2016.”

Girdler, who won an election in 2012 to represent the 15th Senate District that includes Pulaski, Lincoln and Boyle counties, said he has a deep passion for public service but his wife, Courtney, and he are expecting their second daughter soon “and my passion for public service pales in comparison to the love and passion I have for my family and my faith.”

Girdler noted that he suggested many times on the campaign trail in 2012 that he did not plan on serving in the Senate for a long time.

“I feel I made that abundantly clear when I opted out of the legislative retirement plan upon being sworn in to prove that I was not in the General Assembly for the perks and privileges, but there to do the people’s business, and that is exactly what I have done,” he said.

Auditor Edelen to hold statewide meetings on untested rape kits


FRANKFORT – State Auditor Adam Edelen and officials with the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs will hold 14 meetings across the state this summer to talk about the state’s problem with untested rape kits.

Edelen, a Democrat who is seeking re-election this year, said the meetings are part of his office’s efforts to conduct a statewide count of untested sexual-assault kits.

He also plans to make recommendations to the state legislature to reform how evidence in cases of sexual violence is handled.

The statewide count was prompted by legislation sponsored this year by Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville.

Senate Joint Resolution 20 calls on Edelen to count the number of untested sexual-assault evidence kits in the possession of law enforcement. Kentucky State Police officials have said there might be as many as 2,000 to 5,000 untested kits sitting on shelves in police stations and prosecutors’ offices across the state.

Edelen said the kits contain biological evidence collected from assault victims during investigations and might contain DNA from assailants who can be identified by comparisons with the national DNA database.

“These meetings are an important part of our examination of the complex issues surrounding untested rape kits,” Edelen said in a release. “I hope to hear from law enforcement, prosecutors, survivors and others as we begin working toward recommending reforms to the system.”

Edelen said he wants to talk to survivors, victims’ advocates, nurses, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and others who are involved in sexual assault investigations and gather testimony about the issues and challenges they face.

He said his office is focused on issues such as how kits are logged, tracked and stored, how decisions to test kits are made, whether victims are notified of the status of their kits and whether law enforcement have sufficient policies, procedures and training to handle kits and deal with victims.

Survivors, victims’ advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors and others who are involved in sexual assault investigations are invited to attend the meetings to voice their concerns and experiences.

Persons who would prefer to share privately their concerns with the auditor’s office may request time in advance of the meetings to do so, Edelen said.

Also, individuals may share their stories, concerns and opinions via email at Confidentiality may be requested.

Here is the schedule of the meetings:

June 23
2 p.m. CST
New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services, 1716 Scherm Rd., Owensboro

June 26
10 a.m. CST
Purchase Area Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center, 1605 North Friendship Road, Paducah

June 30
10 a.m. EST
Women’s Crisis Center, 3580 Hargrave Drive, Hebron

July 1
11 a.m. EST
Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services, 751 South Provident Way, Elizabethtown

July 7
10 a.m. EST
Cumberland River Behavioral Health, 1203 American Greeting Road, Corbin

July 7
2 p.m. EST
Adanta Sexual Assault Resource Center, 130 Southern School Road, Somerset

July 8
1 p.m. EST
Center for Women & Families, 927 S. 2nd Street, Louisville

July 9
10 a.m. CST
Economic Justice Institute, 2109 Old Louisville Road, Bowling Green

July 9
2 p.m. CST
Hopkinsville Municipal Center, 715 S. Virginia Street, Hopkinsville

July 13
10 a.m. EST
145 Constitution Street, Lexington

July 14
11 a.m. EST
Mountain Comprehensive Care Center’s Healing Program for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, 104 S. Front Street, Prestonsburg

July 14
2 p.m. EST
The Rising Center, 637 Morton Blvd., Hazard

July 21
10 am EST
Mason County Health Department, 120 West Third Street, Maysville

July 21
2 p.m. EST
Park Place, 1701 Central Avenue, Ashland

–Jack Brammer

Conway and Overly agree to appear at six forums or debates with Bevin and Hampton

conwaysetupJack Conway’s Democratic gubernatorial campaign on Monday released a schedule of six forums where Conway or his running mate, state Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris, plan to appear alongside their Republican opponents, Louisville financier Matt Bevin and Jenean Hampton.

“I look forward to a serious discussion with my opponent about the issues that matter most to Kentucky families,” Conway, finishing his second term as attorney general, said in a statement.

Ben Hartman, Bevin’s campaign manager, said: “We have agreed to some (of the forums) and are in the process of scheduling the rest. As Matt has said numerous times since Election Day, we would like as many debates as possible.”

Matt BevinThe schedule offered by Conway is:

June 19: Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association summer conference at the Galt House in Louisville.

July 23: Kentucky Farm Bureau “Measure the Candidates” forum at KFB state headquarters in Louisville.

Oct. 6: Centre College in Danville. This will be broadcast on television.

Oct. 19: Kentucky Educational Television’s Kentucky Tonight forum for lieutenant governor candidates in Lexington. This will be broadcast on statewide television.

Oct. 25: Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. This will be broadcast on television.

Oct. 26: KET’s Kentucky Tonight forum for gubernatorial candidates in Lexington. This will be broadcast on statewide television.