A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Constance Alexander: Looking back on college graduation and a year of living dangerously

The first wave of the Baby Boomer generation graduated from college fifty years ago, but you can’t talk about the class of ‘68 without referring to the so-called Summer of Love, 1967. The season was not without strife. For the first time ever, American support for the war in Vietnam fell below 50 percent in opinion polls. News of riots in Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit and elsewhere...

Melissa Martin: Humans love their stuff, but do you own your stuff, or does it own you?

Humans love stuff — all kinds of stuff. Small, medium, large. We love different sizes of stuff. We just love our stuff! But, do you own your possessions or do your possessions own you? Think about it. Our houses, garages, attics, basements, and sheds are full of stuff. Then, we rent storage space for the rest of our stuff. And we visit it, to make sure its safe. We don’t want our items stolen,...

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Aiming to legalize growing industrial hemp and help Kentucky farmers expand

For far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp. Although it was a foundational part of Kentucky’s heritage and today you can buy products made with hemp at stores across the country, most farmers have been barred from planting it in their fields. I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles in place and give our...

Jeff Rubin: Silent crimes against children, women and elderly need to become less silent

April is Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time that places the spotlight on two issues I find disturbing, both for the nature of the crimes and the helplessness of the victims. That’s why the recent report on child maltreatment released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau got my attention. The report cites Kentucky as the second highest state...

Bill Straub: Bevin’s actions, while reprehensible, were not surprising and his ‘apology’ didn’t help

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (No, check that. Try Nina Simone) WASHINGTON — A rather famous Kentuckian, a fellow named Lincoln, is credited with saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.’’ It is a precept that apparently escaped...

Mitch McConnell: As ‘Tax Day’ passes, say goodbye to unfair, outdated tax code now in the past

For many middle-class families and businesses, Tax Day is circled on the calendar with regret and trepidation. But this year, this depressing day had a silver lining — simply put, it’s ‘out with the old, and in with the new.’ Today is the last time American families will have to file under the unfair, outdated tax code that Congress and the president got rid of a few months ago. Republicans’...

Constance Alexander: Calloway Co. Public Library to honor Kentucky writers during National Poetry Month

Ask any Kentuckian about misconceptions associated with the Bluegrass State and responses range from horrendous to hilarious: “Yes, we wear shoes,” or “No, we are not inbred,” or “Sorry, but everyone in Kentucky doesn’t get tickets to the Derby.” Most of us are content to break out the mint juleps at home and watch the race on TV. One area in which Kentucky claims an impressive and undisputed...

Dorsey Ridley: A perspective on what happened in legislature last week, overturning vetoes and more

Legislators returned to Frankfort on Friday and Saturday for the final two days of session — and we were not alone. Teachers and retirees were back at the Capitol, dressed in their red shirts, rallying for public education. As with all my sessions in Frankfort, I was a strong advocate for our public schools and for all those in education who have dedicated their careers and lives to our students....

Prichard Committee: Kentucky is backsliding on its education progress; we need sense of urgency

At the close of what has been a tumultuous legislative session, state lawmakers voted to override Governor Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the budget for the next two years, as well as a separate revenue measure that raised additional public funds through a series of tax changes. “While these veto overrides move us forward, it is clear more progress must be made to stem the erosion of Kentucky’s commitment...

Commentary: Tim Ortman: Goal of real fake news is to create distraction, disrupt election process

Today, the term ‘Fake News’ is firmly entrenched in our lexicon. It seems everyone from Trumpite retirees, to neo-political millennials, freely toss around the phrase. The term was even recognized as, “The Word of the Year” by UK-based Collins Dictionary. Ortman Candidate Trump didn’t actually invent the term. He copied it from political satirists who were using the term a decade prior to...

Bill Straub: Kentucky is the Jack Benny of the states; tries to run the government on the cheap

Kentucky is forever trying to get by on the cheap, making it the Jack Benny of the 50 states. You can bet that the only time the state will spend money to provide the sort of services necessary for the 21st Century is when it’s absolutely forced into a corner. Even then, like Benny when a robber threatened him with “Your money or your life,’’ it will offer a long, pregnant pause before responding,...

Gov. Bevin explains veto of budget and tax bill, says Kentucky’s financial future requires tough decisions

For many months, we have been working to resolve the toughest financial crisis Kentucky has ever faced, a crisis that began many years ago and that previous governors and legislators either negligently handled or ignored. It is now snowballing out of control. Nothing about this process has been easy. That does not, however, take away from the present reality that we are facing, or from the difficult...

Constance Alexander: Christopher P. Collins – husband, father, citizen, soldier, teacher, poet, Ph.D.

His home page is a black and white shot of Arlington National Cemetery. While the sky hovers at the edge of a storm, endless rows of headstones line up with military precision beneath clusters of leave-laden trees. There is some open space in the center, perhaps awaiting the arrival of other soldiers from different wars. By contrast, the cover of Christopher P. Collins’ award-winning collection of...

Whitney Westerfield: First step for victims’ rights complete, more work to be done in November

Last year in Kentucky there were 23,785 felony cases that resulted in a conviction. In each case, there was a victim who had to navigate a complicated judicial system at a severe disadvantage to those accused of doing them harm. Too often, the criminal justice system meant to work for them caused even more anguish. Sen. Westerfield It shouldn’t be this way in Kentucky. And, with your help in November,...

Mitch McConnell: Kentuckians are filing last tax returns under old system as new tax law takes effect

This time of year, Americans are taking part in an annual headache-inducing ritual: filing their income tax returns. Most of us dread completing this complicated paperwork and writing a check to the IRS each year, particularly under the current arcane federal tax system. Thankfully, as a result of the historic overhaul of the federal tax code, this is the last time that you will have to file under...

Dorsey Ridley: Voting for legislation that has not been made fully transparent is not in public’s interest

The last five days of this session were framed by the voices of citizens from around the commonwealth making their wishes known. Thousands came to the Capitol daily, chanting and marching from early in the morning to late in the evening. The protests culminated on Monday, the 58th day of the 60-day session, when teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, public employees, and retirees descended...

Bill Straub: Worst member of a historically rotten cabinet — drum roll, please — Yes, it’s Scott Pruitt

Identifying the worst member of President Trump’s historically rotten cabinet is akin to picking out the most malodorous skunk at a polecat farm. The senses reel. Literally. Amazingly, despite the presence of jaw-dropping incompetents like Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one contender is lapping the field and, to borrow the renowned phrase...

University of Kentucky: On Biennial Budget — net reduction 3%, saving University Press, ‘path forward’

Dear Campus Community, On Monday evening, the General Assembly passed a Biennial Budget that now goes to the Governor for his review. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the state budget includes a reduction of $16 million in our base appropriation but does provide a performance funding pool of $31 million for postsecondary education institutions.   We likely will receive between $8 million to $10 million from...

Jason Bailey: Tax plan is a tax shift with troubling long-term effect of state’s revenues; cuts for wealthy

The General Assembly tax bill Monday is a shift in taxes away from corporations and high-income people and over to low- and middle-income Kentuckians. Although the official estimate is that it would bring $248 million more in net revenue by the second year, the plan relies heavily on a fading source in a cigarette tax increase and very uncertain new revenues from conformity to the federal tax code....

Constance Alexander: Conflict and compromise come alive on Western Kentucky History Day

For the fourth year in a row, students from elementary, middle, and high schools in Western Kentucky made the past come alive on History Day. The annual event, sponsored by the Kentucky Historical Society, brought approximately seventy-five youngsters to Murray State University’s Crisp Center in Paducah last week, where they competed for opportunities to showcase their history projects at a statewide...