courtesy The University of Kentucky

In  June the New York Times best seller list was made up of several non-fiction books about race and 'white privilege' in America.

In today's interview, Cheri Lawson talked briefly about 'white privilege' with Carol Taylor-Shim, director of Bias Incident Support Services at the University of Kentucky in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs.

Citing large increases in COVID-19 cases in other states, a Lexington council member expressed concern last week about potential spread of the virus in social gatherings locally.

Eastern Standard Preview

5 hours ago
Eastern Standard

Covid concerns: ARH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Maria Braman on rising cases in rural Kentucky | Human Resources consultant Lyle Hanna on the demands of an HR manager in a pandemic | Our Future Tense series: how covid has made life stranger than sci-fi | And, Silas House on the re-issue of his first three novels, complete with some surprises.

Eastern Kentucky University is about to see new leadership on diversity and inclusion issues at the Richmond campus.  The EKU Board of Regents was briefed on those developments last week.

West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy

Emergency response data from across the Ohio Valley show sharp increases in suspected drug overdoses since March, when health measures including school and business closures and stay-at-home orders increased social isolation. For public health officials, it’s a grim reminder that another epidemic is ongoing and possibly worsening during the isolation associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Eastern Kentucky University Athletics Director Matt Roan has announced three student-athletes and three athletics staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. 

In a campus-wide email, Roan said the infected individuals have been isolated and the athletics department is amending voluntary workout schedules.  In recognition of the entire campus community privacy, the individuals are not being identified.

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason will retire the end of this year after leading the historic horse racing track for eight years.  His announcement Thursday paves the way for an historic transition with Keeneland’s legal counsel Shannon Bishop Arvin taking the reins in January.  She will become Keeneland’s eighth president and the first woman to serve in that role.

This weekend’s Fourth of July celebration in central Kentucky will be quite different because of coronavirus activity. 

Eastern Standard for July 2, 2020

Jul 2, 2020

The education and training of police officers takes place at EKU, and calls for police reform are not going unnoticed | Teaching in pandemic conditions |  Builder of giant greenhouse expands the vision | UK historian Tracy Campbell on his new book: "The Year of Peril: America in 1942" and how those times relate to the present.

Contact: Tom Martin at or leave voicemail at 859-622-9358

Lexington’s mayor and public health commissioner are concerned about increases in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.  Mayor Linda Gorton and Dr. Kraig Humbaugh participated in a council COVID-19 update Wednesday. 

Gorton said the central Kentucky community has seen 29 deaths. “Half of those occurred in June.  To me that’s startling.  So, we went March, April, May and then half of those deaths have been in June,” said Gorton.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton has announced the appointment of 70 citizens to the new Commission for Racial Justice and Equality. The mayor wants the large panel to work quickly to develop recommendations.

The mayor is charging the commission to seek solutions to dismantle systemic racism in Fayette County.  Officials say the 70 participants include long standing community leaders, emerging leaders, and grassroots advocates.

Work continues to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a destination resort just outside the Red River Gorge.  A virtual update was held Tuesday night.  Officials with the design firm Stantec are working up a resort concept and considering six sites. 

Fayette Public Schools To Open August 24th

Jul 1, 2020

Fayette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk announced Wednesday that August 24th will be the first day of class for Lexington public school students.  Caulk said the new model provides for on-campus face-to-face instruction. 

The Superintendent noted the school system is considering several possible configurations when it does re-open.  He said each scenario involves consideration of a number of factors including academic instruction, extra-curricular activities, transportation, and health and screening protocols.

Outdoor recreational opportunities for children in Lexington are about to pick up this weekend.  Along with additional outdoor activities come some health recommendations.

Lexington Parks and Recreation officials say the Fourth of July holiday on Saturday will also mark the re-opening of public playgrounds around town.  Parks and Recreation Director Monica Conrad said children will need to wear masks and keep their distance from other climbers and swingers. 

EKU Counseling Center

In Today's Interview, Nick Rogell, Staff Therapist at EKU Counseling Centers, offers tips on how to stay motivated during these times of uncertainty. Rogell is leading the Peak Performance Workshop Series at EKU.

Governor Beshear is painting a dire future financial picture for state government unless another infusion of federal coronavirus related dollars comes to the Commonwealth.

Kentucky’s Primary 2020 results are in, more than a month later than most political observers would have said earlier this year.  County election officials may already be thinking about a general election just over four months away.

Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins said he was concerned about handling the large number of mail-in ballots.  But, the county clerk added that process went well, it was in-person voting at UK’s Kroger Stadium that had some issues.  Blevins said states which routinely do more mail-in voting have centralized issuance and receipt facilities.

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents adopted a new budget, set zero increase tuition, dining, and housing rates, and extended the interim presidency of David McFaddin Tuesday. 


The Fischer administration’s decision-making around the Breonna Taylor case could soon be the subject of a Metro Council investigation.

The leaders of the council’s Government Oversight and Audit Committee announced plans Monday to file a resolution that would allow them to initiate such an investigation. The council is on summer break, and could take up the issue on July 23.

Committee chair Brent Ackerson (D-26) said he is hoping for a broad investigation, calling it a “massive” issue.

Courtesy Amy McGrath

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath has won Kentucky’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and will take on Mitch McConnell in the fall after a close race with progressive state Rep. Charles Booker.

The results came in a week after Kentucky’s primary election, allowing local election officials to count mail-in ballots, which accounted for about three-quarters of all votes submitted during election.

Booker garnered a majority of votes in the state’s two most populous counties, Jefferson and Fayette, winning by more than 35,000 votes in his hometown of Louisville.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The Senate Health Committee discusses plans for reopening schools and offices that have been shuttered by the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Watch the live video Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. below.

Brittany Patterson

On a recent sunny weekday, Bill Currey proudly walks among 30 neatly stacked, brightly colored plastic kayaks. Birds chirp merrily, and the soothing sounds of the meandering Coal River permeate the background — nature’s version of a white noise machine.

For the tanned Currey, who also owns an industrial real estate company, being here, on the river, is as good as it gets. His goal is to share this slice of paradise with as many people as will listen.


In our monthly conversation with EKU Interim President David McFaddin, we discuss the upcoming Board of Regents meeting this week where next years’ budget will be approved.  We will also talk about a tuition freeze for students in the fall, A new director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion and ongoing planning to reopen campus in the fall.  We will also talk about EKU football in a Covid-19 environment.

The person heading up the state’s coronavirus contact tracing program says initial reports from the field indicate successful connections are being made.  Mark Carter gave an online presentation Monday to the Kentucky Primary Care Association.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and a well-known central Kentucky orchard filed a lawsuit /Monday over COVID-19 restrictions.  Named as defendants are Governor Beshear and several of his cabinet and public health officials.  It seeks to declare several executive orders violations of Kentucky’s Administrative Practices Act and the state constitution.

Today's Interview: Financial Aid Campaign for Students

Jun 29, 2020
Aaron Thompson / Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

In Today's Interview, Aaron Thompson, President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education tells WEKU about the importance of every college student applying for financial aid. Thompson tells us why it's important to apply and how to get help filling out the FAFSA form.

Eastern Standard Preview

Jun 29, 2020
Eastern Standard

The education of police officers and the influences of today's national reckoning over policing, equality and racial injustice | Planning to teach in pandemic conditions: a new series listens to teachers and superintendents | AppHarvest, builder of a giant greenhouse near Morehead, expands the vision | Tom Eblen discusses with UK historian Tracy Campbell his new book about 1942 and how those times relate to the events of 2020.  

Contact: Tom Martin at or leave voicemail at 859-622-9358

The Fayette Urban County Government is preparing to enter into a new fiscal year this week.  Lexington council members are well aware of financial challenges made so much more intense through the coronavirus related shutdown of the local economy this spring.  Still, there was sufficient money in the rainy day fund to end this fiscal year in the black. 

Triple A: Less Travelers On Road This Summer

Jun 29, 2020

The Automobile Association of America is predicting Americans will take some 700 million trips between now and the end of the summer.  That would reflect a 15% decline over the July through September time period.


The Board of Regents at Western Kentucky University has passed a budget that trims $27 million in costs, amid uncertainty from the coronavirus.

WKU is expecting its largest freshman class in 18 years this fall, which would have helped offset an overall decline in enrollment and tuition, but the school had to make further budget adjustments once the pandemic hit in March.