A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Labor secretary says 1,074 teachers violated the law during ‘sickouts’ but will not face fines, this time

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Labor Secretary David Dickerson announced Friday that no fines will be levied against teachers for protesting pension legislation considered during the 2019 General Assembly that resulted in at least 10 districts being forced to cancel classes due to teacher shortages.
 
The “sickouts” hit Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district with...

Pressure builds for Ky. Blackjewel miners to get back pay, but they pledge to hold out until others also paid

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Pressure is building for Blackjewel miners in eastern Kentucky to get their back wages. But the laid-off miners blocking coal shipments there intend to hold out until former employees of the bankrupt company in several other states are paid as well. Jeff Willig from Harlan County is one of the group that’s been dubbed the “Fab Five” – the...

As coal industry continues collapse, miners left with uncertainty, fighting for benefits and back pay

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A wave of coal company bankruptcies has left miners fighting for back pay and medical benefits. Three large coal producers have gone under this year. At the same time, an epidemic of black lung disease is sweeping many coal mining communities. More than 1,000 coal miners were laid off after West Virginia-based Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Photo...

Rick Pitino’s attorney wants more information; UofL board of trustees were asked about payments

By Russ Brown Kentucky Today The fallout continued Wednesday from the bombshell revelation that a University of Louisville board of trustees member may have been a key figure in the sex parties. And it isn’t likely to die down anytime soon. For starters, Rick Pitino’s attorney in his suit against U of L, filed a motion to “explore David Grissom’s claim” that a trustee...

Andy Beshear unveils economic and jobs plan; platform promotes agritech and manufacturing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear rolled out the first part of his economic and jobs agenda during a campaign stop Wednesday in northeastern Kentucky. Accompanied by his running mate Jacqueline Coleman, House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook and Rep. Terri Branham Clark, D-Catlettsburg, Beshear unveiled what he terms the first pillar of his “Kitchen...

Former UofL board chairman testifies president was aware a trustee funded basketball sex parties

By Russ Brown Kentucky Today Consider this: You are the chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Louisville. The U of L president tells you that a member of the board was the cash source of payments made to the strippers and prostitutes in the school’s sex parties two years ago. Would you: (a) demand to know the identity of the culprit; (b) pass that information on to authorities...

Research group head, Ky. native says gun violence incidence in state twice as high as New York City

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky tops New York City when it comes to gun fatalities, according to Mark Bryant, a Harlan County native and Lexington resident who leads the Gun Violence Archive. Formed in 2013, the research group compiles gun death information from thousands of sources around the country. Bryant said no one had been keeping accurate statistics on gun deaths. Nearly 64%...

Pew Trusts: Real ID causing real problems as states cope with changing rules and late rollouts

By Elaine S. Povich Pew Charitable Trusts In half a dozen states, including the most populous state of California, the Real ID rollout is a real mess. Technical glitches, delays and miscommunication are roiling the Real ID implementation in those states, calling into question whether residents will have the secure driver’s license needed to travel by air or enter government restricted areas after...

FairWarning: The gas field next door: Living amid old storage wells at risk of leaks poses major threat

By Susan Abram FairWarning More Americans than previously estimated live within a city block of aged, underground natural gas storage wells, some more than a century old and most of them lacking modern designs to prevent major leaks, according to researchers from Harvard University. Using satellite imaging, researchers estimate that 20,000 homes and about 53,000 people across six states live within...

Vice President Mike Pence comes to Ky. with $9 million in federal grants to battle opioid epidemic

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today More than $9 million in federal grants to combat opioids in Kentucky were delivered Thursday. Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, joined Gov. Matt Bevin in southeastern Kentucky. Pence said the grants included $750,000 in training grants for the University of Pikeville, $167,000...

Kentucky lawmakers writing of draft of ‘red flag’ legislation in advance of 2020 General Assembly

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A bipartisan group of Kentucky state senators is working on so-called red flag legislation that they hope to introduce during the 2020 session of the General Assembly. The proposal would allow people such as police, family members and mental health professionals to seek the protection order from a judge, which would keep the individual from access to weapons, and determine...

Agriculture leaders, hunger advocates promote ‘Double Dollars’ program in news conferences

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles joined leaders of the Community Farm Alliance (CFA) and other partners on Tuesday to raise awareness of a state program that makes more fresh, local produce available to low-income Kentuckians. Kentucky Double Dollars doubles federal SNAP, WIC, and Senior nutrition benefits at 41 participating farmers’ markets in the Commonwealth. This program is a collective...

As healthcare costs rise, more Kentuckians relying on community health centers for medical care

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service One community health center in eastern Kentucky is reflecting on its 14 years serving rural residents, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. Karen Ditsch runs Juniper Health, a community health center in Lee County, one of 24 federally funded health centers in the state. She says before her clinic in Beattyville opened, residents had to travel...

McConnell waves Republican Banner, praises Ky. Republicans, Trump during Fancy Farm speech

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was effusive in his praise of Kentucky Republicans during his speech at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic and political speaking in western Kentucky on Saturday. “Under President Trump, Gov. Bevin and our united Republican leadership, Kentucky is leading the way,” he said. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the podium...

Matt Bevin, Andy Beshear fire off familiar jabs in front of rowdy crowd at annual Fancy Farm Picnic

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Both gubernatorial candidates, Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Andy Beshear, used familiar themes during their remarks Saturday at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic and political speaking event in this small western Kentucky community. Partisans on both sides did some cheering and jeering in a typically rowdy atmosphere as the political rivals faced off. It won’t be...

Allstate agents offer financial education classes to Kentucky domestic violence survivors

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Allstate insurance agents are helping domestic violence survivors with financial literacy by teaching financial education classes at shelters across the Commonwealth. Kimberlie Rigsby is an Allstate agent in Brown County who also is a domestic violence survivor. She teaches women the basics of budgeting, bank accounts and credit scores. Rigsby says many people...

E-cigarette tax bill aimed at curbing epidemic of teen vaping would equal tax on pack of cigarettes

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Electronic cigarette use or “vaping” is on the rise among teens, and some Kentucky lawmakers believe a tax on e-cigarettes may help deter young people from using them. State Reps. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, and Jerry T. Miller, R-Louisville, announced a bill last week that would add an excise tax on e-cigarette sales in the state. The tax would be equal...

O. Leonard Press, who left lasting legacy across Kentucky through the founding of KET, has died

O. Leonard Press, a visionary who embraced the medium of television to deliver greater access to education to Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth with the founding of KET, died Wednesday, at the age of 97. “While it is with a heavy heart that we share news of Len’s passing, it is also with tremendous pride and admiration that we can look back on a life well-lived, one that has made such a positive...

Kentuckian Kelly Knight Craft confirmed as latest United States ambassador to the United Nations

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Kentuckian was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to serve as the nation’s ambassador to the United Nations. Kelly Knight Craft has been serving as Ambassador to Canada since 2017, becoming the first woman to serve in that post. In her new role, she will serve as the country’s chief representative at the U.N. General Assembly, as well as on the Security Council. She...

Fancy Farm this Saturday kicks off political season, focus on gubernatorial candidates; election Nov. 5

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Expect some fancy talking at the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday in western Kentucky as the fall political campaign season gets off to a rousing start.

 Much of the spotlight will be on the gubernatorial race with incumbent Republican Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. They will have eight minutes apiece to bend the ears of an audience that knows how...