- Associated Press - Friday, April 11, 2014
Crews complete slide of new Ohio River bridge

MADISON, Ind. (AP) - Indiana and Kentucky highway officials say they’ve completed sliding into place a nearly half-mile-long bridge over the Ohio River.

The Indiana Department of Transportation said construction crews finished sliding the Milton-Madison Bridge 55 feet laterally Thursday from temporary piers onto five refurbished permanent piers.

INDOT says the bridge connecting Milton, Ky., with Madison, Ind., is now the longest bridge in North America to be slid laterally into place. The $100 million project is a joint effort with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The slide began Wednesday morning but was halted due to high winds. It resumed Thursday after contractor Walsh Construction brought in materials to deal with the windy conditions.

INDOT says it will take about a week to complete inspections and finish road connections before the bridge reopens to traffic.


Beshear signs cannabis oil bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky farmers can grow hemp, and now Kentucky doctors can use it for medicine.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law on Thursday a bill that allows doctors at two Kentucky research hospitals to prescribe cannabidiol to treat patients. The oil gets a lot of attention because it comes from marijuana plants. But Kentucky plans to get its supply from industrial hemp crops that at least seven Kentucky farmers plan to plant next month.

The bill Beshear signed comes one year after the Kentucky legislature laid the groundwork for the state to begin growing hemp again - marijuana’s less potent cousin that once thrived in Kentucky before it was banned.

The federal farm bill - signed into law in February - allows states to grow hemp for research purposes. Next month, at least seven Kentucky farmers plan to plant hemp for various pilot projects in partnership with Kentucky research universities, according to Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Those projects include medical research.

Supporters of the bill note that cannabidiol has been particularly effective in treating seizures in children. That’s one of the main reasons state Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, sponsored the bill. Denton has a daughter who once suffered from epilepsy.

“People were having to move out of our state to go and live in Colorado or California just so they could get this. I thought that was crazy,” Denton said. “If it’s really great, we should have that available for our folks here in Kentucky.”


Kentucky budget surplus less likely

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s general fund tax revenues increased 2.4 percent in March - enough to ward off a deficit but not enough to promise a surplus.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell announced the state collected $753.5 million in March, a $17.7 million increase from last year. State officials predicted Kentucky’s revenues would grow 2.1 percent in the 2014 budget year that ends June 30. For that to happen, revenues must grow 3.9 percent in the next three months.

Driskell said she is confident the state will meet the estimate but said a surplus is becoming less likely.

Road fund revenues increased $22.8 million in March, an increase of 19.9 percent. Road fund collections must increase an additional 2.7 percent over the next three months in order to meet the estimate.


UofL surpasses fundraising milestone

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The University of Louisville said Thursday it has surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal with more time left to pad the final amount before the capital campaign aimed at boosting student scholarships, faculty support and research wraps up in less than three months.

In a pep rally-type campus announcement in front of the administration building, UofL President James Ramsey said the school’s record-breaking campaign will continue its upward trajectory in academics, research and athletics.

“We can continue to impact the lives of our students, our faculty,” he said. “We can continue to do pioneering research.”

Through the end of March, nearly 76,000 donors had contributed to the “Charting Our Course” campaign, including more than 44,000 first-time donors, the school said. The total amount raised had reached $1,004,587,433, it said.

When the fundraising campaign began in 2007, UofL set a goal of $750 million by 2013. The school’s trustees later raised the goal to $1 billion and extended the campaign until June 30 of this year.

“Today is the beginning of a better future for this university,” said Robert Hughes, chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees.



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