Constance Alexander: Commonwealth Honors Academy help students escape their comfort zones

Take any daily task – turning a page, extinguishing a candle, popping a balloon – and students of Taylor Clements in Murray State University’s Commonwealth Honors Academy can raise it to a level of meandering directness stunning in its deliberate complexity. Clements calls the elective he teaches in the three-week program Special Topics in Design, but the fancy title stands for a series of problem-solving...

Commentary: Kentucky off to good start in becoming the engineering, manufacturing hub of excellence

By Gov. Matt Bevin Special to KyForward From the beginning of our administration, we have set the goal of making Kentucky the engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in the world. We are off to a good start. We recently shattered our annual record for new economic development projects and we did so in only the first five months of 2017.  Many factors weigh into the decisions of businesses...

Commentary: Guilty until proven innocent? Status quo defenders slow to see voters’ desire for change

By Blake Brickman Special to KyForward In 2015, the majority of Kentuckians in 106 counties voted for a governor they believed would change the trajectory of the state for the better: Matt Bevin. Voters were tired of the political status quo—unfunded pensions, deep-seated political corruption, false promises, and thousands of jobs lost to neighboring states. That momentum carried through to the...

Ron Daley: Enrollment, funding losses threaten continued rural school achievement and progress

The remarkable classroom achievement made by teachers and students in eastern Kentucky schools, as well as economic vitality in the region, is threatened by the dramatic loss of student enrollments and the corresponding loss of funding. The 21 school districts in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) have lost 13,660 student enrollment since 2000. This loss represents more than an estimated...

Bill Straub: According to Bevin’s view, you’re either for him or against him — there’s no middle ground

WASHINGTON – Ladies and gentlemen, meet the prophet from New Hampshire. Gov. Matt Bevin has, it seems, expanded his duties well beyond those generally assumed by a head of state, transforming before the naked eye into St. Matt the Divine, asserting that those laughing at one of his, shall we say, curious ideas “hate God’’ and, under a proper reading (his) of the gospels, are going to hell....

Commentary: Civility is missing in public discourse — we need to find a way to bring it back

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Civility is on life support. But the body politic was sick long before James T. Hodgkinson assaulted GOP Congressmen at a baseball practice, critically wounding Rep. Steve Scalise and wounding five others after asking whether the men on the field were Republicans or Democrats. Kentucky witnessed a similar event eight weeks ago when a machete-wielding Transylvania...

Constance Alexander: Penguin Project’s production of Willy Wonka delivers slew of sweets to all involved

The day before dress rehearsal and, true to form, things are going – well, not too smoothly. Lines are dropped, cues missed, and someone forgot part of a costume. A murmur ripples through the cast and crew of “Willy Wonka, Jr.” at Murray’s Playhouse in the Park. But before it swells into a wave and sweeps them all into panic, the voice of a cheerful and patient angel soothes the troubled waters. “We’re...

Commentary: Streamlining, improving adoption in Kentucky the goal of new legislative work group

By David Meade Special to KyForward In the 2017 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly, a focus like no other was placed on children and families. In historic fashion, the legislature passed critical legislation to improve foster care placement, protect life, and combat our devastating drug epidemic. And thanks to the leadership of Speaker Jeff Hoover, we will now have the chance to do even more...

Commentary: Lawmakers should use attorney general settlement funds to battle addiction, violence

By Andy Beshear Special to KyForward While state leaders may not always agree on how to solve an issue, we can all agree on the major issues staring us in the face. Properly funding state employees’ pensions seems to be the issue mentioned the most. Measures passed in 2013 and 2016 by the General Assembly have focused resources on addressing that issue, and a special session is planned for later...

Bill Straub: When it comes to replacing Obamacare, McConnell, GOP make sure the fix is in

WASHINGTON – Let’s get a few things straight. Republicans control both the House and Senate and they are on the verge of replacing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, with a hideous facsimile that, by almost all accounts, threatens the insurance coverage of about 23 million Americans, cuts Medicaid to the bone, reduces subsidies afforded to help individuals attain coverage and...

Commentary: The time has come to revise Kentucky’s landmark 40-year-old ‘sunshine laws’

By Amye Bensenhaver Special to KyForward While employed as an instructor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism, former hostage Terry Anderson recounted his five-year battle with federal agencies to obtain copies of public records under the Freedom of Information Act relating to the government’s efforts to secure his release from Hezbollah kidnappers during his nearly seven-year captivity. Anderson...

Constance Alexander: Commonwealth Honors Academy features forensics, a faceless chicken … and food

According to the website, the Commonwealth Honors Academy (CHA) at Murray State University offers “a rich range of recreational opportunities, cultural and artistic events, outstanding field experiences, and a distinguished convocation of speakers and classroom guests” that enhance the academic curriculum. With a focus on leadership and service, CHA features a required interdisciplinary Humanities...

Commentary: Governor, calling journalists insulting names has no place in civil discourse

Note: An ethics complaint has been filed against Gov. Matt Bevin, who purchased a house near Louisville from a supporter for $1.6 million. Bevin’s attorneys have appealed the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator’s assessment of more than $2 million. Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus visited the house in March to check reports that Bevin was living there. Despite the fact Loftus,...

Commentary: How we teach and learn must evolve to match the needs of our global economy

By Eli Capilouto Special to KyForward New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman believes that today’s college graduates must do much more than compete for a job. In a global economy, marked by constant change amidst the twin forces of innovation and disruption, competing for today’s good job isn’t good enough. Graduates today, he writes, “will have to ‘invent’ a job … and, given the pace...

Bill Straub: Stance of Pruitt, Trump, McConnell on global warming issue does a disservice to the nation

WASHINGTON – Apparently they don’t offer course work in science or mathematics at Lafayette High School and Georgetown College, two of the educational institutions that deigned to issue a degree to Scott Pruitt, but they must offer some great classes in magic – the administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency just conjured up 50,000 new coal mining jobs out of thin air. Pruitt, yet another...

Ron Daley: Making rural American communities more vibrant begins with engaging area’s youth

Rural communities must engage their youth if they are to prevent the continued exodus of their creative talent and futures. Rural America has long suffered the brain drain and loss of educated talent, entrepreneurs and leadership. However, there are signs in the makeup of the emerging youth that this loss can accelerate this outmigration causing even more desperate ghost communities. For the first...

Constance Alexander: Art of outreach is a give-and-take process, highlighted by Side by Side project

Lily Higgins stacked boxes in a pyramid and iced the surface with scads of glue glitter and pompoms to create “Racetrack Birthday Cake.” Garrison Kelly turned a piece of wood into a graceful mallet and used colored pencils to trim the ridges with a rainbow of blue, purple, yellow and orange. Jayson Walker’s inventive inclinations were sparked by storytelling, and he created a book called “Spiritual...

Commentary: Meaningful liability reform underway in Kentucky, but further work remains to be done

By Michael G. Adams Special to KyForward For too long, Kentucky has been a favored hunting ground for trial attorneys due to its designation as one of the nation’s worst places for legal liability, which has made it difficult to attract physicians, hospitals and businesses to the Commonwealth. Thankfully, Gov. Matt Bevin and the General Assembly made significant progress in reforming our legal liability...

Jeff Rubin: Current drug epidemic may be even worst than people think and elderly not immune

Not a day goes by that you can’t pick up a newspaper or listen to the news and not be reminded of the drug epidemic in Kentucky and the surrounding region. Here, as in many communities across the Commonwealth and our nation, an increasing number of young people, and not so young people, have fallen victim to some sort of substance abuse or addiction. The result of which, accidental or otherwise,...

Commentary: Celebrating Kentucky’s 225 years of statehood and our distinguished history

By Mitch McConnell Special to KyForward On June 1, the Commonwealth of Kentucky celebrates the 225th anniversary of its admittance as a state into the Union. Originally a part of Virginia known as “the Kentucky County,” it became the 15th state of this nation in 1792. So I want to celebrate my home state of Kentucky, a place the Native American Wyandot nation called the “land of tomorrow.”...