A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Chris Stevenson: Direct Support Professionals are crucial to caring for those with disabilities

Some people are born natural caregivers; nurturing, patient, and attentive. These qualities cannot be learned but are necessary for important roles in providing support to the most vulnerable members of our communities. Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are not only natural caregivers but also have an astounding passion for the people they support. DSPs are trained professionals who work with Kentuckians...

Bill Straub: The biblical world view as seen by certain folks may not square with Bible — or the rest of us

Even in these trying days of division and bitter partisanship most everyone can agree that God, who has been on the job controlling the heavens and the earth for a goodly number of years now, is a pretty busy guy, or gal if your theological sentiments lean in that direction. Now the deity is considered pretty much infallible by most of his/her followers, who take issue only when the lord steps aside...

Ryan Quarles: ‘Ag Tag’ donations are an investment in the future of Kentucky agriculture

In the weeks to come, many of you will head to your county clerk’s office to renew your farm vehicle license plates, or “ag tags.” When you do, I hope you will make a voluntary donation to the Ag Tag Fund for the future of Kentucky agriculture. Proceeds from the fund are divided equally among Kentucky 4-H, Kentucky FFA, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) for youth development and...

Randy Steele: Legislation permits use of eye care technology and protects Kentucky consumers

Vision is critical. From safety to education to employment to daily needs, we depend on our eyes to function.    Doctors of optometry are the primary eye care providers in Kentucky, and we take that responsibility seriously. We support House Bill 191, because it permits the use of new eye care technology by Kentucky consumers, but protects them as well. Currently, Kentucky has no standards that address...

Constance Alexander: How do you tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys?

In Nancy Willard’s poem, “Questions My Son Asked Me, Answers I Never Gave Him,” the first unanswerable is, “Do gorillas have birthdays?” Adults are used to responding to such complicated queries from kids. The best answers demand a leap of faith, mixing the mundane with the magical, in a show of clever deception. Why is the sky blue? Because blue is God’s favorite color. Where do babies...

Damon Thayer: Busy week in Frankfort highlighted by introduction of comprehensive pension reform bill

After weeks of anticipation and months of discussions and meetings with stakeholders, the Kentucky Senate Majority Caucus filed its comprehensive pension reform bill as Senate Bill (SB) 1 on Tuesday, February 20. While SB 1 marked the filing of one of the most significant pieces of legislation of the 2018 Session, we continued to hold committee meetings and voted bills out of the Senate chamber, making...

Mitch McConnell: Bipartisan budget a step forward in combating opioid crisis, but more must be done

On an average day, 175 Americans die from drug overdoses. Families in Kentucky and throughout the nation are bravely confronting substance abuse – including heroin, prescription drugs, and an alarming resurgence of methamphetamine – and law enforcement is working hard to help. With our communities in crisis, I remain committed to finding comprehensive solutions to end this suffering through coordinated...

Bill Straub: Guns are the problem; to say otherwise is ridiculous as well as dangerous. Stop

The Republican Party oftentimes appears to have been overtaken by zealots who have succumbed to what can only be described as a philosophy of willful ignorance. No matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they stick to their partisan guns – oftentimes quite literally – for the simple reason they choose not to believe. It’s clear, for instance, that human activity is the primary motivator...

Jeanine Grant Lister: It’s time to pay attention, ask young people what they think of gun violence

In light of the tragic shootings at Marshall County High School in Benton, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, it seems that everyone is tut-tutting and wagging their heads over the tragedies. The WHY of these incidents has gotten me to thinking about how to create change. We need to find out why kids…and adults, too…think that a gun is any solution to a problem....

Constance Alexander: Frank X Walker brings Medgar Evers back from the grave with “Unghosting”

Summer days when I was nine, between endless games of hopscotch and hide-and-seek, I tried to finish at least a book a day. My quest was to score the most points in my local library’s vacation reading club, and that summer “Little Women” slowed me down. Probably the biggest book I had ever read, it was also the first one that made me cry. In the chapter entitled, “The Valley of the Shadow”...

Jim Gooch: Clearing up misconceptions about HB 227 and Kentucky’s net metering law

As chairman of the Kentucky House of Representatives Energy and Natural Resources Committee for more than 19 years, I have seen both the highs and lows of energy policy in Kentucky. I chaired the committee when coal production was at its all-time peak in Kentucky, and I fought the federal government as it tried to take down one of Kentucky’s signature industries. Electricity rates in Kentucky have...

Susan Donovan: By allowing school shootings to become the norm, we fail our communities, children

We are failing our children, we are failing our communities, and we are failing our nation. Three of the deadliest shootings have occurred in the last five months. How can we stand by helplessly and watch the continuation of such senseless violence? What do we tell our children and our grandchildren about the steps we took to correct the devastating violence in our schools? School safety should...

Commentary: Kentucky has earned a rightful reputation as a hub for modern manufacturing

By Susan Elkington and Jay Timmons Special to KyForward Though some may not know it yet, Kentucky has rightfully earned a reputation as a hub of modern manufacturing. In fact, more than 240,000 Kentuckians work in manufacturing, and modern manufacturers are looking to hire across the commonwealth. In Georgetown, Kentucky, modern manufacturing takes the form of auto production at the Toyota factory...

Bill Straub: How does Rand really feel? He was for it before he was against it — is that right?

WASHINGTON – Harken back for just a moment to the 2004 political season when John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, rather clumsily – even for him – attempted to explain his opposition to an $87 billion supplemental funding bill to pay for the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by asserting “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Kerry,...

Mitch McConnell: Budget act ensures Berea College can continue mission for Kentucky’s students

Last December, Bernie Sanders, a liberal Senator from Vermont, led every single Senate Democrat to impose an endowment tax of around $1 million per year on Berea College. This was a particularly outrageous act of partisan hypocrisy from a Senator who claims to want free college for all. But when it came to this particular college – which already provides tuition-free education for students whose...

Constance Alexander: Murray Art Guild’s ‘Interwoven’ brings little pieces together for sense of community

Whether by chance or choice, in joy and sorrow, by accident or design, communities are made up of interconnected lives. As a reminder of that interdependence, Debi Henry Danielson, Executive Director of the Murray Art Guild (MAG), likes finding ways to invite people who do not think of themselves as artists to create individual pieces that will eventually blend into a larger design. MAG’s current...

Letter to the Editor: In order to protect state’s youth, marijuana should not be legalized in any capacity

In order to protect the youth of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the drug-free and prevention coalitions of Northern Kentucky wish to educate our communities and legislators with regard to marijuana. It is our opinion, based on the facts presented below, that marijuana use should not be legalized in any capacity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has NOT recognized or approved the use of...

Damon Thayer: After six weeks of legislative session, Senate continues to make progress on key legislation

Week six of the 2018 Legislative Session is in the books, and bills continued to move steadily through the Senate as work on the budget and pension reform continues. While we have not released a pension proposal just yet, we are hopeful that it will be made public in the coming days as we continue to sort out details on this complex issue. As for the budget bill, its fate currently is in the hands...

Andy McDonald: Kentucky’s emerging solar industry threatened by HB 227’s ending of net metering

Kentucky’s young solar energy industry is being threatened by the state’s electric utilities, who are trying to stifle competition and limit their customer’s freedom to use solar energy in their homes and businesses. House Bill 227 would end net metering, a simple and effective policy that allows customers with solar electric systems to connect to the power grid and be credited for excess energy...

Bill Straub: Prayer is powerful, good and comforting, but actions are required to stop gun violence

WASHINGTON – It is becoming quite apparent that St. Matt the Divine has little or no interest in serving as the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. No, what Gov. Bevin really aspires to do is serve as prayer leader of a 4.4 million-member congregation that, collectively, will chant all of the Bluegrass State’s worldly cares away. Mad Matt was at it once again this week at the 52nd Annual...