Commentary: Nurturing the person in the classroom an important part of educational experience

By Kellie Jones Special to KyForward It was my first year teaching and I was expecting my first child. A parent of one of my students felt the calling to encourage me daily and provide a healthy snack for me and my baby. I would often find a piece of fresh fruit neatly placed in the center of my desk accompanied by a hand- written note of encouragement and appreciation. I found myself looking forward...

Bill Straub: Despite policies that damage their state, Kentuckians continue to show support for Trump

WASHINGTON – So, to quote that leading light and respected political philosopher Sarah Palin, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya?’’ From all early indications, not so well, unless, of course, playing kissy-face with the Russian bear, replacing a half-way decent health care law with a fraud that would delight Bernie Madoff, a return to the dirty air and polluted waters of...

Commentary: K-12 school districts leaders in development of Silicon Holler and the new economy

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Our communities need to move beyond “Kentucky Work Ready Communities” to “Future Work Ready Communities.” Communities need to advance to a higher level of community and economic development, ensuring they build their own global economy ports. The Kentucky State Workforce Board and Economic Development Cabinet deserve praise for establishing the highest level...

Constance Alexander: Path to wider accessibility includes both a process … and a playground

“Once you complete the survey, you’ll never look at a building the same way again,” Carrissa Johnson says. She is referring to Accessible Murray, a campaign that raises awareness of accessibility issues, and helps organizations identify whether their facilities are disability friendly. As an Independent Living Specialist for Murray’s Center for Accessible Living (CAL) — and a person...

Commentary: The fear within the debate on fairness affects those on both sides of the issue

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Participating in a city council meeting can be intimidating. And the intimidation factor is magnified when a controversial issue is on the agenda. Such was the case in Bowling Green last Tuesday when the city commission had a special working session to discuss the proposed sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination ordinance. I was one of...

Commentary: After the debate, common ground must be found on the issue of charter schools

By Brigitte Blom Ramsey Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence Charter school legislation hung in the balance in the waning days of the 2017 session of Kentucky’s General Assembly.  At the center of the debate is HB520 – passed Wednesday on the House floor after three hours of intense discussion and by the Senate this week.  We agree with strong assertions on both sides of the conversation: ...

Bill Straub: Planned Parenthood provides important service and Republicans can’t make that go away

WASHINGTON – For years, right-wing lawmakers in Washington and Frankfort have been pursuing Planned Parenthood in the same way Wile E. Coyote chases that elusive Road Runner. Even the results are strikingly similar – they never nab their prey and they wind up looking increasingly ridiculous as an anvil drops on their heads. Planned Parenthood has proved an available target of critics since its...

Commentary: Consider agriculture’s importance on National Ag Day — and the rest of the year, too

By Ryan Quarles Special to KyForward National Ag Day is Tuesday, March 21, and it is a good time to reflect on some of the many ways agriculture affects us every day. Agriculture is a major economic driver in Kentucky and the United States. Nationally, it is one of few sectors that can boast a trade surplus. In Kentucky, agricultural exports totaled an estimated $1.46 billion in 2015. A University...

Constance Alexander: Nita Head’s legacy perfection achieved when there’s nothing left to take away

My favorite story about Nita Head concerns weaving, an art she honed in later life. When her husband, Bob Head, told me the tale, he prefaced it by mentioning Nita’s frugality and discipline, traits likely acquired when she was growing up in the mountains of North Alabama. This is how it goes: After spending about 35 hours on a weaving, following the meticulous process of weft and warp, Nita discovered...

Commentary: Removing undocumented immigrants would have major affect on Kentucky economy

By Anna Baumann Special to KyForward Undocumented immigrants living in Kentucky pay $36.6 million in state and local taxes each year, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. These substantial tax contributions should be acknowledged as lawmakers consider the economic and social impact of immigration policy and enforcement in the U.S. – including a recent executive...

Commentary: House plan unwinds coverage gains, makes harmful changes to Medicaid program

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward By several measures, Kentucky has been the nation’s biggest winner from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nearly seven years later, those gains and more are at risk in the recently released American Health Care Act (AHCA) – which not only fails to replace the ACA resulting in lost coverage for millions, but goes beyond it to restructure the Medicaid program in...

Bill Straub: To no one’s surprise, under GOP health plan, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

WASHINGTON – If, as Forrest Gump’s mom was fond of saying, “Stupid is as stupid does,’’ there is a whole lot of people doing stupid in the nation’s capital these days. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t hardly identify the stupid without a scorecard. Most of the horrors are, of course, emanating from the White House, where President Donald J. Trump often seems out to prove that...

Commentary: Standing with courage — what it takes when it’s time to do the right thing

By Stephen L. Pruitt Special to KyForward Courage is a trait and a value. It’s a value I have discussed before. Today, I want to discuss a different kind of courage than the courage to do the right thing. I want to discuss the inspirational type of courage. It is the kind of courage that I have had the great opportunity to witness first hand and I would like to share it with all of you. February...

Constance Alexander: Inspired by images of people with disabilities, 7th graders celebrate Poetry Month

This year, January, February and March stacked up so fast, it has been hard to keep up. And now I hear the faint patter of graceful April approaching, fragrant as spring rain and sweet camellias. April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate the power of words. Compliments of the Academy of American Poets, this is the twenty-first birthday of Poetry Month. Western Kentucky is noting this important...

Commentary: Proposals before General Assembly risk driving corrections costs higher

By Ashley Spalding Special to KyForward Going into this legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly was poised to make criminal justice reforms that would reduce the state’s growing inmate population and associated costs while also maintaining public safety. However, some of the criminal justice legislation moving through the legislature would take the state in a very different direction...

Commentary: Odds of a criminal repeat offending would decrease under proposed legislation

By William M. Lear Jr. Special to KyForward Kentucky has a jobs problem. Employers struggle to find the talent they need, and job seekers cannot find the jobs they want. In fact, there may be as many as 110,000 open jobs in our state, but not enough skilled workers to fill them. To close these gaps between available jobs and skilled workers, we must broaden our efforts in recognition that this is,...

Jeff Rubin: Providing care for a loved one impacts more than you think — support is available

By Jeff Rubin Special to KyForward You don’t have to look far these days to find someone taking care of the wellbeing of a parent, spouse, or friend. You may, in fact, be one of them. If you are, you’ve joined the ranks of approximately 735,000 Kentucky “family caregivers” and some 65 million adults nationwide who have taken on that role. By definition, a family caregiver can be anyone (a...

Bill Straub: Adjustments to Obamacare could have avoided many of the problems GOP now criticize

WASHINGTON – The President of the United States recently allowed that he has proved tardy in offering his long-awaited replacement for the Affordable Care Act because “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,’’ sounding for all the world like an eight-year-old confronting theoretical physics for the first time. The comment is yet another example of those whoppers Donald J. Trump...

Commentary: Islam in America — the stories we don’t get to hear about Muslims in mainstream life

By Madison Stuart Special to KyForward At the start of January, as several inches of snow dusted the campus and friends began posting pictures of warm adventures in Thailand and Israel and Ghana, I found myself seriously regretting not spending my senior CentreTerm abroad. However, after returning from what seemed like a month-long trip, I believe I could not have had a more enriching—or timely—CentreTerm...

Constance Alexander: Book arts project provides way to reach out to adults with disabilities

Even amidst the clutter of her busy office, a conversation with artist Nicole Hand is an island of calm, with the kind of easy back-and-forth associated with a porch swing or a hammock on a summer day. Currently a Professor of Art and Interim Assistant Dean at Murray State University, she teaches printmaking, bookbinding and drawing with a combination of grace, wit and wisdom. A noted artist in her...