Matt Markgraf

Matt "McG" Markgraf joined the WKMS News Team in January 2007, while pursuing his bachelorâââ

Matt Markgraf/WKMS

Rumors have been circulating in Calloway County for months regarding secret audio recordings in the courthouse. WKMS News investigated the cameras and how county officials are addressing the concerns. 

The investigation began on a concern involving surveillance cameras in the offices of the Calloway County Clerk and Property Valuation Administrator recording audio. Since then, WKMS News has conducted hours of interview and received hundreds of documents.

Matt Markgraf/WKMS

A quilt themed around the nuances of time is the Janome  America Best of Show winner at the American Quilter’s Society Fall Paducah QuiltWeek. Kathy Wylie of Ontario, Canada says her quilt titled ‘For Such A Time As This’ features a large medallion divided into 12 sections representing a clock and months in a year, each with distinctions.

Comer.House.gov

Kentucky Congressman James Comer said there are a lot of minor differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill, but the “big gorilla in the room" is SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) work requirements. Comer is on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee that met Wednesday. Controversial work requirements for the program often called ‘food stamps’ remains a sticking point. Comer strongly supports the requirements and sees no compromise on the issue.

MSU.Edu

 Murray State University interim president Bob Jackson estimates this year's fall enrollment total to be between 9,500 and 9,600. That total would be the university's lowest fall headcount in 18 years and the fourth consecutive year of decline. That enrollment trend was displayed above Murray State's Board of Regents at a retreat Thursday. Jackson is in his third week as interim president following Bob Davies' departure earlier in August and says "moving the needle" is a top priority.

MSU.edu

Murray State University has lifted its ban on Greek Life social events. Chapters can begin planning for the 2018-19 academic year. University officials outlined policy changes in a press conference Friday as a result of committee meetings over the summer. College of Business Dean Tim Todd described some highlights from a list of newly implemented changes:

“We lowered the number of attendees at social events. We increased security measures at social events. We enhanced and increased education and training.”

GoRacers.com

A private, Christian university in northern Texas has named the former Murray State University Director of Athletics their new A-D. Abilene Christian University announced Monday that Allen Ward will be their ninth Director of Athletics.

Ward’s first day is August 6. Murray State President Bob Davies said on Friday Ward is leaving after being “presented an opportunity that he and his family could not turn down.”

Ward has served as MSU’s AD for 13 years. Under Ward, the Racers won 39 Ohio Valley Conference championships and played in the NCAA 29 times.

Stress Management Blog

While the holidays are often accompanied with feelings of joy and happiness, one in five people feel an 'extreme' level of stress. That's according to Murray State University psychology professor Dr. Michael Bordieri. He says that stress largely comes from social expectations that the holidays be perfect. A stress-free holiday, he says, can include letting go of this idea.

Kentucky.com

Retired teachers are voicing concerns about the ability to for Kentucky schools to hire quality teachers should a core component of the proposed pension plan be enacted. Kentucky Retired Teachers Association Executive Director Tim Abrams says having teachers switch to 401(a) plans would be a drain on taxpayers and offer fewer benefits.

Abrams said many teachers are willing to forgo cost-of-living adjustments to help fix the system. That is, he said, until he tells them what it would mean to their bankbook. 

Matt Markgraf

Congressman James Comer faced a crowd of constituents upset over the Republican-led tax bill at a town hall in Hopkinsville Monday. Representatives of the progressive group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and others say the bill benefits the wealthy and corporations at the expense of individuals who benefit from deductions for health care and graduate school. Comer said most of the 1st District would benefit from the bill.

A conservative watchdog group is suing the Kentucky Secretary of State and State Board of Elections claiming a failure to maintain accurate voter registration lists.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is convening a task force to develop a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the commonwealth. 

A Lexington writer recently learned lessons in Paducah on how the state's second-largest city could include its literary heritage to a UNESCO network. 

A team of 10 Kentucky public health nurses and two staff members are deploying to Florida to assist Hurricane Irma victims. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers say the biggest traffic surprise during the total solar eclipse was the immediate surge of outbound traffic after the eclipse ended. 

Hopkinsville Community College says the total solar eclipse was the “largest event ever held on campus.”

Retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak has 'written the book' on eclipses - many, many books, actually. He has seen 27 total solar eclipses and at least one on every continent. Matt Markgraf speaks with Espenak about why you should see the total eclipse, what it is, how to predict one and what kind of gear he's using to take photos of "The Great American Eclipse" on Monday.

The Paducah Board of Commissioners issued a statement on Wednesday condemning racial hatred and violence in the wake of events in Charlottesville, Virginia

Hemp farmers and processors in Murray presented progress and problems in growing the crop to U.S. Senator Rand Paul on Thursday. Paul is in the region as part of a tour discussing healthcare options and made a stop in Murray to talk hemp ahead of visits to other communities. Afterwords, he also commented on North Korea and health care reform options.

The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment has awarded The Pennyrile Area Development District nearly $1.7 million for economic development efforts around Fort Campbell. 

Kentucky Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is again refusing to comply with a federal request for state voter information. 

The National Weather Service in Paducah says it’s likely going to be sunny and hot on August 21 on the day a total solar eclipse crosses the U.S. and will be at the point of greatest eclipse in the region.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is preparing for hundreds of thousands of people coming to the region next month for prime viewing of the total solar eclipse.

Murray State University officials described clean-up work underway, university priorities and where the students will live, following the blast at a residential college last week. 

U.S. Congressman James Comer says he is "disappointed" in President Donald Trump's new restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. But, he said he is encouraged to see American agriculture as a priority for future U.S-Cuba engagement. 

The Republican Party of Kentucky has named Sarah Pickerel as new Executive Director. 

A nationally recognized educator is advocating for more teacher freedom in their classrooms. Ron Clark is a featured speaker at the annual College and Career Readiness Summit at Murray State University this week. He spoke at a press conference before addressing a packed room in Lovett Auditorium Wednesday morning. He said teachers are often “shackled” when it comes do doing their job. 

Former Democratic Maryland Governor and Presidential Candidate Martin O'Malley says the Democratic Party can make a comeback after last year's election losses so long as the focus is on jobs and wages and not ‘distractions’ from the Trump administration, like alleged ties to Russia or the Paris agreement.

More than 10% of Fort Campbell’s power requirement is now produced through renewable energy. 

A three-day event billed as ‘the only all-lesbian film festival in the U.S.’ is returning for a second year this weekend in downtown Paducah. Cinema Systers Film Festival organizer Laura Petrie said she was inspired by the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, an annual event that ran for 40 years before closing in 2015.

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